Archive | July, 2012

PCP Overdose: Hey, What’s Going On

25 Jul

We’re still getting back in the swing of things here at PCP. As such, we saw fit to wave the traditional full episode log and shoot the breeze again with another Overdose. We talk relationship advice, comic-con coverage, more about the Dark Knight Rises (consider yourself warned of spoilers and Bane impressions) and more.

PCP’s Weekly Dose: The Dark Knight Rises Review

23 Jul

The Dark Knight Rises came out. We all went to see it. We tried to avoid spoilers, but they came up anyway (you’ve been warned). We talk about a lot of wacky/unrelated stuff before and after that. That’s the description, now listen to us do funny Bane impressions!

Marcus Reviews Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange

10 Jul

Start: Frank turns on his Playstation (The sound of the start up screen brings back fond memories), presses start on Street Fighter and our audio adventure begins!

Thinkin Bout You: By now we’ve all heard this song but for those that haven’t heard the album version yet it’s just the original version with some added vocals and instruments to round it all out. It’s still as great as it was the first time you heard it so I don’t need to really say much here. (5/5)

Fertilizer: The first interlude of the album features Frank singing a short but catchy little jingle about accepting someone’s bullshit if that’s all that they’ve got (even in a 30 second interlude his clever songwriting shines). I actually wouldn’t have minded hearing that as a full song because I know he would’ve made it truly interesting.

Sierra Leone : Over a filtered low-fi instrumental Frank tells a story of an experience with a girl named Sierra Leone while cleverly comparing her to the country in Africa that she was named after. It’s a short one (40 seconds less and it could be an interlude itself) but there’s something dream-like about this track that kept me coming back. (4/5)

Sweet Life: The third official track to be released off of Channel Orange is a jazzy little number about appreciating the more modest things in life. Singing “Why see the world, when you’ve got the beach?” Frank shows that he’s a man of simple tastes over the smooth Neptunes production. It may not be as lyrically adventurous as some of his other tracks but it’s the simplicity of it all that makes it all work so well. Definitely made me think of Maxwell when I heard it. (4.5/5)

Not Just Money: In the second interlude, two women talk about money not being the most important thing in life.

Super Rich Kids feat Earl Sweatshirt: Opening with piano strikes reminiscent of the Elton John classic “Bennie & the Jets”, Frank talks about his experience with a group of brash & spoiled rich kids with no supervision while crooning a little bit of “Real Love” by Mary J. Blige in the bridge for good measure. If you’d been to one of his concerts earlier this year or been on Youtube (like myself) then you’ve heard the live version of this track already but the album version features a short but effective verse from the elusive Earl Sweatshirt. Definitely one of the strongest tracks on the album and a personal favorite of mine. (5/5)

Pilot Jones: After a short spoken intro, Frank shows off his falsetto over a distorted beat that sounds like it’d be on Andre 3000’s The Love Below album as he chronicles his spontaneous relationship with a reckless older woman that he has irrationally fallen for. This track is yet another showcase of his creative and unorthodox that Frank is when it comes to storytelling. One of my favorite tracks on the album (4.5/5)

Crack Rock: Backed by an old school breakbeat-esque instrumental tells the tragic tale about a man who’s life fell apart after getting addicted to crack. It’s a pretty chill record overall but if I’m being honest it’s a bit weak compared to the other tracks on the album. (3.5/5)

Pyramids: Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard and played this track a ridiculous amount of times by now. This, to me, is Frank’s magnum opus. Starting off as a synth heavy jam telling the tale of the Egyptian princess herself and then eventually turning the song into a sensual slow jam about a stripper with clever allusions to the Egyptian lore with a John Mayer guitar solo to close it out, Pyramids is a truly epic track. If there was ever a song that showcases everything that’s special about Frank Ocean , this would be it. Arguably the best track to drop this year. (5/5)

Lost: “Girl you know your lost, lost in the heat of it all” Ocean sings as he as he divulges the details of his fling with a girl that takes them around the world making reckless decisions. It’s a solid track overall but there’s nothing that really makes it stand out, especially when it comes after a song like Pyramids. (3.5/5)

White feat John Mayer: This isn’t a longer version of the track of same name that was featured on the Odd Future Tape Vol 2, but is instead the third interlude featuring about 45 seconds of John Mayer strumming on the guitar.

Monks: Frank tells us of some of his sexual conquests with women while on tour, most noticeably an Indian girl with a British accent who’s in over her head, over a drum heavy funk groove. Another track that won’t really change your life but it’s catchy enough to not be considered filler. (3.75/5)

Bad Religion: After a couple of average tracks, Frank reminds us of his prowess with the pen as he tells a story of unrequited love in the form of a late night taxi cab confessional backed by a mournful orchestra. The truly interesting thing about the subject matter though is that it could either be about organized religion or a broken relationship, it’s all up to interpretation. It’s also on this track where he shows the first true signs of his bisexuality with the line “I can never make him love me” which is boldly sang several times in the chorus. It’s a controversial but nonetheless beautiful song and will definitely be one of the most buzz worthy tracks on the album. It’s a shame it’s so short. (4.75/5)

Pink Matter feat Andre 3000: Spacey background synths, a cinematic strings section, random chants and a lone guitar provide the backdrop for Ocean’s sultry vocals as he questions the meaning of life and spares with his “sensei” (I personally think he’s referring to God/”The Higher Power” here) in outer space. The song is already amazing on its own then the ever enigmatic Andre3000 shows up, drops one of the illest verses of the year so far, does a small vocal duet with Frank and closes the track out with another 8 bar verse. This song is right behind Pyramids as my favorite song on the album. (5/5)

Forrest Gump: The last track on the album also serves as its most controversial as Frank blatantly professes his love for the “Forrest Gump” over a southern-tinged instrumental. Once again the meaning of this song is completely left up to interpretation. It could be about him exploring his sexuality or it could be a concept song from the perspective of Forrest Gump’s love interest, Jenny. Nonetheless it’s a fun little track that closes out the album on a lighter note (albeit an eyebrow raising one). (4.5/5)

End: While a distorted version of Voodoo plays over a car radio, Frank and a female make out before she begins to tell him how special he is to which he seemingly shrugs off and goes back inside. Thus ending our adventure.

Overall:

Channel Orange one of those rare albums that comes along every once in a while that can truly be considered “special”. In a time where most R&B (and music in general for that matter) is beginning to retread the same tired topics and soundscapes, Frank Ocean’s debut album takes the norm and turns it on it’s ear. While it may not be everyone’s cup of tea and it’s bound to ruffle some feathers, one thing that Ocean succeeded in doing is make the first truly intriguing mainstream album in what seems like a long time. The music crosses several genres, Frank shows off impressive vocal range throughout, the song structures are unconventional & the lyrics are often times both thought provoking and heart-wrenching. Yes there are a couple of misfires (even the misfires are better than some artists better tracks) and the some of the song lengths leave a bit to be desired, but the good FAR outweighs the bad here. While artists like The Weeknd may have more expensive sounding production and more brash lyrical content, simply put no one is doing music like Frank Ocean right now. Frank doesn’t simply make songs he makes movies in audio form and you can’t help but get drawn into the journey that he takes you on. It’s honestly one of the few albums that I’ve ever heard that actually gets better with each listen. Time will tell if turns out to be a timeless album but one things for sure, Channel Orange may just be the best album to drop in 2012. Thank you Frank.

Lyrics: 5/5

Production: 4.75/5

Replay Value: 4.5/5

Rating: 4.75/5

Marcus and Shegaw Review The Amazing Spider-Man

4 Jul

Just 5 years after the suspension of the previous franchise, Sony saw fit to wipe down the mantle of the friendly neighborhood wall-crawler and give the world a reboot. The cast is younger, the mood is darker, the hair has a lot more product, but is it better than the Raimi movies? When a movie outright calls itself “amazing” in its title, you know it must be true. I mean, a movie would never lie to me, right? Well, listen to our review and find out.

Marcus and Shegaw Review Magic Mike

4 Jul

We’ve got something special for the ladies [and gentlemen] tonight: an intimate evening with PCP’s own Marcus and Shegaw. Yep, we decided to hit the flicks and give our take Flashdance: Chip N Dale Edition, er, Magic Mike. It’s the story of a stripper with the heart of gold trying to make it in the big city. No, that’s not true, but why don’t you wad up some singles, toss ’em at your computer and listen up to find out the real story with our review of Channing Tatum’s life story?

Marcus Reviews The Amazing Spider-Man

3 Jul

Synopsis:

 The Amazing Spider-Man is the story of Peter Parker (Garfield), an outcast high schooler who was abandoned by his parents as a boy, leaving him to be raised by his Uncle Ben (Sheen) and Aunt May (Field). Like most teenagers, Peter is trying to figure out who he is and how he got to be the person he is today. As Peter discovers a mysterious briefcase that belonged to his father, he begins a quest to understand his parents’ disappearance – leading him directly to Oscorp and the lab of Dr. Curt Connors (Ifans), his father’s former partner. As Spider-Man is set on a collision course with Connors’ alter-ego, The Lizard, Peter will make life-altering choices to use his powers and shape his destiny to become a hero.

What I Liked:

 My favorite thing about this movie by far is Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker/Spiderman. I’m well aware that Tobey Macguire was supposed to be portraying a more adult version of Spidey but he never quite felt like the Spiderman that I’d fallen in love when in the comics. Garfield’s Spidey on the other hand felt every bit like the lovable jackass that’s always been one of my favorite Marvel superheros. His portrayal of Peter was more akin to Ultimate Spiderman (which I’m admittedly more partial to) where he was less of a typical nerd and more of an outcast which felt more genuine to me due to his inherent social awkwardness, the lack of closure that he felt regarding his parents death years ago and ultimately the guilt over Uncle Ben’s death. He was so raw and genuine that at times I’d almost forgotten what kind of movie that I was watching. My favorite thing about Garfield in this though is the fact that he fully understood that Spiderman was everything that Peter wishes that he could be in public. As Peter Parker he was this tortured and awkward loner with a chip on his shoulder but when he donned the mask he became this snarky, brash hero who said whatever came to his mind at that moment and could kick your ass while he did it. I’m probably spending too much time on this particular part of the review but it was just so refreshing to see what Garfield brought to Spiderman.

The other performances in the film were also pretty great as well, Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacy and Rhys Ifran’s Curt Connors/The Lizard being the two standouts. One of my biggest gripes about Sam Raimi’s Spiderman movies was that Mary Jane was too much of a damsel in distress and really never did much of anything besides be a broken woman. It’s because of this that Emma’s Gwen Stacy was such a refreshing (don’t be surprised if you see that word alot) change from that. She was intelligent, supportive and resilient and even when things got dangerous she did what she could to help. I always appreciate seeing a strong and useful female protagonist in superhero movies because the damsel in distress thing is such a tired concept. Now for Dr. Curt Connors, he may not overshadow Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin in the memorable villain category but he was still the perfect adversary for Marc Webb’s incarnation of Spiderman. Much like Alfred Molina’s Doc Ock, Curt Connors was less of a bad guy and more of a victim of his own initially good ambitions going terribly wrong. It was an inspired choice to put him in this movie as the antagonist not only due to him being a redeemable villain but also for him having direct ties to Peter’s parents and Norman Osbourne. He was the perfect antagonist to start Marc Webb’s Spiderman saga and serves as a great launching pad into future plot lines.

Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield had loads of chemistry in this movie, so much so that I was completely able to overlook how underdeveloped Gwen and Peter’s relationship was in the movie. They were so good together that there were times during the movie that I thought I was watching some sort of indie rom-com instead of a superhero flick. Even though we all know what’s inevitably going to come of this pairing, I’m still very interested in seeing more of these two in the future.

Marc Webb also deserves much praise for his confident direction in the film. Not only did he bring the best out of the actors, but he also was able to set a tone of the film that had the right amount of familiarity while still making it his own which is important since he’s basically retelling a story that we all know by now. His Spiderman universe is a bit more rough around the edges but it’s not so gritty that it makes the lighthearted moments in the film seem jarring. There’s a certain moxie that Webb’s version of Spiderman has that I really appreciated.

The dialogue was another strong point of these movie. While everyone did a great job performance-wise, the dialogue definitely helped reinforce the characters. The script was snappy, intelligent and really did a great job of keeping each character true to who they were in the comics.

There were little things throughout the movie that fans of the comic books (like myself) will really appreciate. Even though it’s more influenced by Ultimate Spiderman there are things from the 616 universe that were thrown in that really put a smile on my face.

It’d be hard to fully explain without giving a visual example but this incarnation of Spiderman really actually felt like a spider. There were certain things that he did throughout the film that was extremely reminiscent of actual spider behavior. You can tell that time was spent actually researching spiders to make this as accurate as possible which I really appreciated.

The fight scenes in this movie were VERY well done and truly had me on the edge of my seat (Especially in the third act of the movie). There were a lot of moments where I felt like I was actually watching pages of the comic books come to life.

The Amazing Spiderman makes the first time in the Spiderman saga where New York actually FELLS like New York. Everything from the accents (Tobey Macguire almost made me forget that Peter’s from Queens) to the “same shit, different day” attitude was present and I loved it.

What I Didn’t Like:

There were a couple of scenes in the movie that were a bit TOO corny and over the top for my tastes, preferably the montage sequence where Peter was beginning to learn how to use his newfound powers which felt a little too much like 500 Days of Summer.

The after the credits stinger was a little TOO vague. I was left feeling more confused than intrigued.

Overall:

The Amazing Spiderman is a movie that didn’t NEED to be made but works because instead of trying replace the past Spidey films, it strives to establish it’s own identity and the results are very positive. It’s a movie that’s less about it being Peter’s “destiny” to be Spiderman and more about how he finds purpose in his chaotic life through donning the mask. Backed by a well-written script filled with dialogue that’s both intelligent and genuinely hilarious, a pitch perfect performance from Andrew Garfield, a strong supporting cast and Marc Webb’s confident direction holding it all together, The Amazing Spiderman serves as my personal favorite Spiderman film and is only matched by the 2nd Sam Raimi movie as the best Spidey flick overall. I’d definitely recommend checking this one out, I guarantee that you’ll enjoy yourself.

Rating: B+