Friday, February 24, 2012

the writing episode is here.... 'The Sunshine Happy Kpants Hour' ep 20.... come get some.

The 20th episode of 'The Sunshine Happy Kpants Hour' is uploaded and now available through iTunes, Talkshoe and The Social Engine podcast pages!

This is the long awaited writing episode. All of the writing featured in this episode was created by Cody Kirker. We start off with a poem and then lead into the first two parts of an ongoing story. They're all horror/zombie themed and I think you'll dig them. Get your shotgun and ENJOY!

Songs played:

1) Damaged Goods by Little Plastic Stars

2) The Dead by Jordan Reyne

3) Taste The Barrel by Big John Bates

4) Overheatin' by Crankshaft and the Gear Grinders

5) Carry On by dZ

6) There's No Sympathy For The Dead by Escape

7) Dear Mama by AJ Butler

Friday, February 17, 2012

So, you want something new on your iPod? Here you go! 'The Sunshine Happy Kpants Hour' ep 19.... large and in-charge. (like Charles used to be.)

The 19th episode of 'The Sunshine Happy Kpants Hour' is uploaded and now available through iTunes, Talkshoe and The Social Engine podcast pages!

Not my best show, by far.... but a show none the less. This weeks topics include more talk about my week and making the most out of your time, a question about history and my favorite zombie transformations. It's one that'll have you thinking. ENJOY!

Songs played:

1) Just Breathe by Vintage Blue

2) Mysterious Mystery by Persian Claws

3) I'm All, So You're All by Automatic Static

4) The Tale Of Gloomy Gus And Miss Blue by I Am The Icarus

5) Fake Smiles by Northside Garage

6) When I Know You Care by Minor Delilah

**** SIDE NOTE: I am still accepting submissions for my upcoming "writing" episode. I will be reading submissions on the air and putting music underneath to match. I'm looking for poetry or short stories of about 5 pages or less. Any topic. Shoot me an email at: JoelAwfulShow@gmail.com or www.facebook.com/joelunitardshow Thanks!

Friday, February 10, 2012

ep 18 of 'The Sunshine Happy Kpants Hour' is here, finally.... can you dig it....?

The 18th episode of 'The Sunshine Happy Kpants Hour' is uploaded and now available through iTunes, Talkshoe and The Social Engine podcast pages!

Another week has gone by and here's another show for you! This week I talk about the importance of telling people how you feel, more animal fun facts and a zombie question from Cody. ENJOY!

Songs played:

1) Ghosting by Secret Rivals

2) Only With You by Kimi Lyn Smith

3) The Great Unknown by Sincerely, Iris

4) Gold by Sue Newberry and the Law

5) Ten To One by The Naxalites

6) Don't Move To Minnesota by Elsa Rae

**** SIDE NOTE: I am still accepting submissions for my upcoming "writing" episode. I will be reading submissions on the air and putting music underneath to match. I'm looking for poetry or short stories of about 5 pages or less. Any topic. Shoot me an email at: JoelAwfulShow@gmail.com or www.facebook.com/joelunitardshow Thanks!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Well, kids.... here we are again. It crept up on me this year, but it's officially my 2nd birthday celebration for this blog! I can't believe I've been filling the internet with my silly thoughts for that long, but it seems to be true. Yet, somehow you all keep coming back!

My goal for this year is to expand the readership of 'A Momentary Lapse, With Joel' and I could use your help. I've already started looking for listing sites to share the love, but I'd love it if you could pass this along to your friends and family too. My other goal is to be a bit more consistant with the reviews. It's been a crazy year and this one is starting out no differently. However, I still want to make this more steady, like my other blog: http://gregoryrobot.blogspot.com .

I also am considering adding a book review every now and then, more television reviews and maybe even video game reviews! Now that I have been reading again, getting into some TV shows people have recommended and playing a lot more XBox 360, it only makes sense to blog about it. Right? Not that I feel I have a whole lot of insight to offer you on any of those things. I just love to write and people seem to enjoy it. Also, if you have anything you specifically want me to talk about or review, drop me a line or leave a comment. I'll do my best to honor your request.

That's it! I won't keep you too long, as I want to get back to writing more fun stuff for you to read. All in all, I give this blog 4 out of 5 stars. I don't want to give it 5, as I need something to strive for next year. Thank you so very much for your continued support and here's to yet another year of fun! ENJOY!

If you like this blog, check out some of my favorite films: 'House of a 1000 Corpses', 'Dead Man' and 'Eraserhead'

(below is the NSFW trailer for a movie that I don't think is real.... but it's fun anyway.... check it out! I would watch it, if it got made.)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

my thoughts on.... 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes'

It was a nice, clear day in the late 90's and I was spending time with my dear friend Dennis. We were hanging out at his bachelor pad at the Bon Villa apartments. It wasn't much of an apartment, small and all, but it had charm to spare and a 14 inch color TV. On that day, they were running a 'Planet of the Apes' marathon. At this point, I had never seen a 'Planet of the Apes' film. Dennis and I sat there and began to absorb the film and soon I was engrossed.... so much so, that we had to make a run to the local White Hen Pantry for snacks and beverages so that we could spend the entire rest of the day watching all of the films.... in a row. That was how my love affair started. Since then, I have purchsed the films on both VHS and DVD and will probably get them on Blu-ray someday. I even own the remake and saw it in the theater. I have a t-shirt made for me, by a friend of Dennis, that has the apes on it from the original film. I love all things 'Apes' and 'Apes' related. Needless to say, I was not super impressed with Tim Burton's take on the franchise and kind of hoped it wouldn't spawn a sequel. Luckily, it never did. What did happen, was a fresh take on the whole storyline with a whole new cast and making something new out of something old. I had my reservations, after getting burned with Burton's epic. I had even more reservations after seeing who the leading man was. Because of those reservations, I stayed away from this film for a long time. On top of that, the film makers decided not to go with the "monkey suits" and to instead go with CGI, this really made me put the brakes on and made me really nervous. Despite all of that, I knew that someday I'd have to watch it. I can't call myself an 'Apes' fan and not see it, right? Even after more reviews than I can count, that proclaimed it an amazing flim, I still hesitated. Even after all of my friends told me I had to see it and how kick ass it was, I hesitated. As of yesterday, I stopped hesitating and watched it.... this review is the result of that viewing and yes, I'm willing to admit I may have been wrong to wait so long.

The amazing thing about the original films, is the context in which they were written and filmed and the amazing cast and crew that was involved. They were explosive times and things were changing everywhere. Society was in constant flux. The films reflected those times. The films were great because of that, but it also didn't hurt to have some top notch effects artists working on the films and creating a near believable ape. This film didn't seem to have that 'wow' factor to me. It just felt like it was going to be another special effects extravaganza and another reason to hate big budget films. That was all based on the trailers and still photos, not on the actual end product. Now, my first concern was the actor in the lead: James Franco. I've never been a fan of his and am still a bit perplexed about why he's so popular. I have stayed away from Danny Boyle's '127 Hours' because of him, even though I love the subject matter and story. I guess that's my hang up and not the rest of the world's. The film also stars: Freida Pinto, John Litgow, Brian Cox, Tom Felton, David Oyelowo, Tyler Labine and Andy Serkis as 'Caesar' (the main 'ape'). Although I was not familiar with Ms. Pinto's other work, she impressed me and was very enjoyable. The rest of the cast are actor's that are always dependable and always worth watching. I especially enjoyed John Lithgow's performance and after his recent stint on 'Dexter', I was hungry for more of him on screen. He's an incredible actor who has had an awesome career. He was perfectly cast in this film and stole the scenes he was in. Andy Serkis also proved once again why he's the 'go-to' guy in the business for CGI creature actors. He seems to be able to do no wrong. The director of this film, Rupert Wyatt, only has a couple of film credits to his name. He seems to have just come out of nowhere. However, his directing in this film was spot on. He knew how to get the most out of the cast and crew and how to use the CGI effectively. He also created some beautiful scenes that accented the film's pivitol moments. (See the scene where the apes are going tree to tree in the suburban neighborhood.) I look forward to seeing what Mr. Wyatt has coming up in the future. Although the storyline was not a direct adaptation of Pierre Boulle's original novel, "La plan├Ęte des singes", it still paid homage to it. The writers Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver took the best elements of the book and added some of the most classic dialouge and elements of the original film. It was like watching a mirror image of something you loved, but with an HD filter on it. In case you've never heard of the writer's, they were the ones who wrote 'The Relic' and 'Eye For An Eye'. They wrote those two movies together. Amanda also wrote 'The Hand That Rocks The Cradle', which I'm sure many of you have already seen. The film has a very diverse pedigre and, for some reason, it really seems to work.

So, for those of you who've seen all of the prior incarnations of the 'Apes', here is the basic plot of this version: (taken from IMDB.com) "At the story's heart is Caesar (Andy Serkis), a chimpanzee who gains human-like intelligence and emotions from an experimental drug. Raised like a child by the drug's creator, Will Rodman (James Franco) and a primatologist Caroline Aranha (Freida Pinto), Caesar ultimately finds himself taken from the humans he loves and imprisoned in an ape sanctuary in San Bruno. Seeking justice for his fellow inmates, Caesar gives the fellow apes the same drug that he inherited. He then assembles a simian army and escapes the sanctuary - putting man and ape on a collision course that could change the planet forever." Basically, this film starts where the fourth film in the original series takes place. It negates the mythos that was created in 'Escape from the Planet of the Apes' (the 3rd film), but I suppose that's not the worst thing. It creates a universe where everything isn't necessarily cyclical, but we have yet to see where they take us in the timeline later. The orignal series taught us to believe that the apes took over because two apes came from a spaceship and began breeding on earth. But where did it all really begin? That part is never quite explained. It just seems that one thing led to another and they all led back to the beginning. There is no clear cut logic or reasoning, in this version of the 'Apes' there is a specific chain of events that sets the whole thing in motion. Basically, the beginning of the end of the human civilization and it's all James Franco's fault. (and the company he works for.) I don't know that I 100% agree with the explanation used in 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes', as to how it all began, but the film is so well done that I can't deny it either. It also makes more sense than the original films version of the story did. When this film was over, I wanted to see more, as soon as the credits began to roll. That, to me, is the biggest compliment I can give this film. That and the fact that I wanted to see it again, as soon as I turned it off. This will be a part of my library of films, eventually.

Why am I so fond of the 'Apes' films, you might ask? Let me take a quick moment to explain. Any of you who are avid readers of this blog or listen to my weekly podcast, 'The Sunshine Happy Kpants Hour', know that I love zombies. What does that have to do with apes? Let's take a brief break from the review for a moment to think about this. Zombie films are used, in a lot of cases, as a statement on the problems in society. The 'Apes' films are the same way. Zombie films are about humans being overcome by massive hordes of the living dead. In 'Apes' flims, the apes overcome the humans as well. In both types of films, we have fights between both sides of the cause. We have good guys and bad guys, both with different agendas, showing how different people would deal with a massive change in society. We see how everything would break down in the face of a possible extinction level event. Basically, both in zombie films and in 'Apes' films, we find out the true nature of ourselves through the eyes of both humans and non-humans alike. To me, it's the near perfect scenario to really get perspective on my own life. I don't want anything like this to ever really happen, but it can be kind of fun to be taken away to another place and to put myself in the situation shown. It is a never ending source of enjoyment for me to role play out in my head, how I would survive. It's both frightening and exciting at the same time. It's kind of like riding a roller coaster. You have the nerves building up, as you climb the giant hill and then everything drops and you free fall.... unsure of your own safety, but loving every minute just the same. I get that rush everytime I see a great zombie film and everytime I see a great 'Apes' film. Sadly or maybe not so sadly, there aren't as many 'Apes' films as there are zombie ones. I think the novelty might wear off a bit faster with 'Apes' than with zombies, but I've been proven wrong before. Sorry to sidetrack you.... back to the review.

Here we are, the film has been watched and the comparisons made. In the end, I hate to admit it.... but I loved this film. It was everything I wanted Tim Burton's version to be, but wasn't. I still am not a James Franco fan, but he didn't ruin this and that is good enough for me. I am not sorry I hesitated, because this way I was able to come to this film on my own terms and not having any real bias towards it. Perhaps, the fact that my expectations were lower, increased my enjoyment of this? Perhaps. I hear that a sequel that is already in the works and I hope that they stick with the same formula that they used here. It worked and worked well. I can easily give this 5 out of 5 stars. I kind of want to knock it down a bit for the extreme use of CGI, but the story and everything else was so great that I won't let it spoil the whole experience. This film fits nicely into the 'Apes' timeline and creates new legends for the next generation of 'Apes' fans. My biggest concern is that it may go the way the original 5 films went. What I mean by that is that they seemed to go down in quality with each passing year. Even though 'Conquest of the Planet of the Apes' is my favorite in the series, it didn't have all the money behind it that the original had. J. Lee Thompson, the director, made it work though.... and work damn well. However, by the last film, 'Battle for the Planet of the Apes', we basically had a made for TV movie. It starred Paul Williams and that should be enough to scare you off. Even with that being said, it's still a great installment in a solid franchise. I will always love those films, flaws and all. With all of that being said, no matter what happens now with the new generation of 'Apes' films, there will always be 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes' to stand alone as a film making hallmark in the 'Apes' francise.... James Franco, CGI apes and all.

If you like this, please check out the original films: 'Planet of the Apes' (1968), 'Beneath the Planet of the Apes', 'Escape From the Planet of the Apes', 'Conquest of the Planet of the Apes' and 'Battle for the Planet of the Apes'. There are also several TV shows for the 'Apes' sprinkled throughout the 70's and 80's and some interesting documentaries. Finally, although I don't 100% recommend seeing it, you should also check out Tim Burton's take on the subject with 'Planet of the Apes' (2001).... it's the only way you can claim you're a true 'Apes' fanatic like me!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Episode 17 is here and ready for duty.... 'The Sunshine Happy Kpants Hour', the only show with whole wheat added.

The 17th episode of 'The Sunshine Happy Kpants Hour' is uploaded and now available through iTunes, Talkshoe and The Social Engine podcast pages!

This week is a zombie-rich episode with 2 topics covering the undead, some sad news and fun facts about animals! It's a patchwork quilt of info-tainment. ENJOY!

Songs played:

1) Horror Movie Song by Cancer Killing Gemini

2) Twentynothing by Proof I Exist

3) Low by Karyn Ellis

4) Secret Codes by The Minor Leagues

5) Original Copy by Ex Norwegian

6) Don't Drink The Water by DIRK

**** SIDE NOTE: I am still accepting submissions for my upcoming "writing" episode. I will be reading submissions on the air and putting music underneath to match. I'm looking for poetry or short stories of about 5 pages or less. Any topic. Shoot me an email at: JoelAwfulShow@gmail.com or www.facebook.com/joelunitardshow Thanks!

my thoughts on.... 'Apollo 18'

There's no need for me to go over my feelings on the "found footage" genre of horror. I've said it all already. That being said, this is another example of the oversaturation of the market with these types of film. It's becoming the new 'go-to' kind of movie to make if you're an up and coming film maker. They're cheap and easy to make and can be quite effective when done right. This is the new zombie film. I just wish there was some kind of regulatory council on this type of thing. They would rule that only a certain number of "found footage", zombie and vampire movies can be made a year and prior approval is required. That way, only the good ideas would be produced. But, that would be censorship and I don't get behind that. So I guess we'll just have to wade through the crap to find the good stuff.

Now, about the movie in question, 'Apollo 18'. When I was a kid, I loved all things space related. I was huge into space travel and so when I heard about this movie.... I was geeked. The commercials peaked my interest even more, but I was concerned that this might not be what it was promising to be. Soon the reviews came in and they seemed to back-up that theory. Regardless of the bad press, I still wanted to see it for myself so that I could make an educated decision on it. I'm glad I waited and decided to see it myself, as it really needed to be seen. It's an original idea and I'm all for stories of 'alternate-history'. (ie: the upcoming 'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter') I have to admit that in the beginning of the movie, I was impressed by the quality of the production and how good they made it look. It really felt like old school NASA footage. That, sadly, didn't last. It seemed as though they ran out of money or steam midway through. The whole thing just kind of fell apart about 45 minutes in. I felt like I was just watching any other movie about astronauts.... only with weird alien thingys. (I don't want to give away the alien thingys too much, in case you decide to watch it for yourself.) Despite the sudden drop in quality, I watched on in the hopes it would payoff in the end. Things just continued to get worse and by the end, I felt like I'd wasted my time.

The plot: (taken from IMDB.com) "Decades-old found footage from NASA's abandoned Apollo 18 mission, where two American astronauts were sent on a secret expedition, reveals the reason the U.S. has never returned to the moon." That pretty much sums it up. The producer and director really push the point that it's supposed to be real. A lot of it matches up with the technology of the times. I'm assuming that somebody felt that this was going to be a blockbuster.... too bad it wasn't as big as they'd hoped. It's not that the plot was lacking, it's just that the aliens were kind of lame and the acting was sub-par. The writing for these two astronauts, made them look kind of unintelligent. They made stupid decisions that made a bad situation worse. I mean, they didn't get chosen for the space program for being good looking. They went through a battery of tests and were found to be extremely competent people who could thrive under pressure. I saw none of that here. And the cover up angle was weak, at best.Despite the uninspired execution of this movie, I still have faith in the "found footage" genre. I think there are still good stories out there waiting to be told. I'm not sure that every movie would fit in this genre. (like the possilbe decision to make 'Halloween 3' a "found footage" film) But after seeing what was done with 'The Blair Witch Project' and 'Paranormal Activity', I really see potential. Actually, the night I watched this, I made it a whole "found footage" fest. I also watched the Spanish film 'Atrocious' and the low budget 'The Poughkeepsie Tapes'. (reviews coming soon) They were 3 very different movies and complimented each other well. This was 'alternate history', 'Atrocious' was kind of a ghost story type thing and 'The Poughkeepsie Tapes' was a faux-documentary with footage included that was shot but the serial killer in the story. Four hours I'm actually glad I spent, even with this movie included.

After all is said and done, I don't regret watching 'Apollo 18'. I only wish they'd kept up with the quality they started off with and that they'd gone another direction with the villan. I really tried hard to get past all of that, but it just didn't work. There's no two ways about it, this movie is not something I would recommend. I settled on 2 out of 5 stars. The main reason I ended up there was the fact that it just went so far downhill. This movie could have been amazing or at least a whole lot more fun. The tagline basically read that this was the movie that explained why we never went back to the moon.... I think it was really the reason why we'll never go back to watch this again. Maybe this is footage that never should have been "found".

Much better examples of the "found footage" genre: 'The Blair Witch Project', the 'Paranormal Activity' films and 'Paranormal Entity'

Friday, February 3, 2012

my thoughts on.... 'The Hangover part II'

I remember the first time I heard about 'The Hangover', I didn't have a whole lot of interest. Then everyone started talking about it and how good it was. At that point I started to wonder if maybe I was missing out on something really good. So, eventually, I took it upon myself to give it a shot.... I really enjoyed it. As of today, it is a part of my DVD collection and I've watched it a few times. Now, when I heard about the second one, I was hopeful for the same characters.... but in a different situation. Instead, we got a 'Die Hard 2: Die Harder' situation. What I mean is.... we got the same scenario again, but in a different place. Then the reviews came in and they were pretty mixed. I still had a desire to check it out, as I really love 'Die Hard 2'. Once I rented it, I didn't actually get around to watching it for over 2 weeks. I just wasn't in the mood for more of the same. When I finally did see it, well, I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised. I think that I actually liked it more than the original. (Did I let the cat out of the bag too early?) The reality of the situation is: more of the same isn't always a bad thing! We had all of the original cast back for this movie. We had the same director and even if the story was almost identical, it felt fresh to me again. I actually think that the familiarity with the characters and situation made me appreciate it more and the I could laugh out loud because I was ready for it. All of those things are good things, I think. Who doesn't like things that are familiar? I do.

The (repeat) storyline goes like this: (taken from IMDB.com) "Stu is getting married. Along with Doug, Phil, and his soon-to-be brother-in-law Teddy, he regretfully invites Alan to Thailand for the wedding. After a quiet night on the beach with a beer and toasting marshmallows by the camp fire, Stu, Alan and Phil wake up in a seedy apartment in Bangkok. Doug is back at the resort, but Teddy is missing, there's a monkey with a severed finger, Alan's head is shaved, Stu has a tattoo on his face, and they can't remember any of it. The wolf-pack retrace their steps through strip clubs, tattoo parlors and cocaine-dealing monkeys on the streets of Bangkok as they try and find Teddy before the wedding." (Why does everyone leave Doug out of the posters and stuff? At least he was mentioned here. Justin Bartha got a bum deal with these movies.... just sayin'.) Sounds familiar, yes? Right up to the very end of the movie, it's extremely similar.... all of it. I just want to make that very clear, this is virtually the same movie.

Let's pause a minute and think about the track record of the director, Todd Phillips. I think that you'll understand and appreciate this movie a bit more, if you know where it's coming from. He's directed a lot of comedies, including: 'Due Date', 'The Hangover', 'School For Scoundrels, 'Starsky and Hutch', 'Road Trip' and the classic 'Old School'. He's no stranger to this medium and so covering similar ground again is not a surprise. It's what he knows and what he does best. He also wrote most of the movies and produced them too. The original movie made a lot of up and coming celebrities careers take off. There is no denying that 'The Hangover' is a brand name people like. With all of that being said, they can't go back to this same creative well again. Just like with the 'Die Hard' films, you have to come up with something fresh by the third film, or risk killing the franchise. If there ends up being a 'The Hangover part III', it HAS to be something different. My question is, can they use the same characters in a different situation and it still be as funny? There are several logical ways this could go, one of them is expecting a child soon and all of the hijinks that ensue with that, a divorce party for one of them where they end up somewhere crazy or something, etc. As of the writing of this review, Zach Galifianakis said in an interview that part 3 is in the works. The premise would basically be the three guys trying to get him out of a mental institution. Zach gave up the basic plot of the 2nd one in an interview the last time. Todd Phillips denied the rumor, but then said he out right lied about it and that Zach was right the whole time. Perhaps lightning will strike twice? If they do make a 3rd and the plot isn't the same, would you want to see it? Only time will tell. I would be there.

At then end of all of this, is the question more of do you want to see the same movie again? or do you want to see a funny movie, even if it's about the same as the original? (It's really the same thing) It all comes down to whether or not you found the first one funny and if you find the second one funny too. We watch sitcoms all the time and they've been around for as long as TV has existed. The reality of sitcoms is that they are all pretty much the same thing every week. It's like the line from 'Friends' (a sitcom) where they guys are watching an episode of 'Three's Company' (another sitcom). Phoebe asks what episode it is they're watching of 'Three's Company' and Chandler says, "It's the one where there's a misunderstanding." Phoebe says, "I've seen that one." And walks away. That's because 'Three's Company' was basically the same scenario over and over. That's why sitcoms occasionally have 'A very special episode'. That's code for, 'A show that strays from the formula, be aware!'. The point of that is that movie sequels really aren't that different. We don't go for the plot so much as to see our favorite characters again and see what they're up to now. Things change with the characters, even if the plot stays the same. All of the guys in 'The Hangover' series have changed in two movies, just like John McClaine in 'Die Hard' changed. So put things in perspective before any sequel and understand that it isn't going to be a whole different movie, it's going to be familiar faces in a slighty different situation, end of story. Even the new 'Batman' films have been guilty of that. Bruce Wayne changes and the world around him changes, but in the end.... it's about Batman fighting a bad guy or two and having to save Gotham. Right?

I really liked 'The Hangover part II' and I found myself laughing out loud a lot more than in the orignal. I felt it was a solid 4 out of 5 star comedy. It's pretty hard to get me to laugh anymore. After growing up on sitcoms and films and being a bit of a comedian myself, it is hard to get me to find something funny. And my sense of what's funny is a little strage too. (years of seeing the same things over and over) So maybe you won't see eye to eye with me, since your perspective is different than mine. I would ask that you still give this movie a shot, you might be surprised. I mean, who doesn't love a monkey that likes to lick.... well, you'll see.

If you like this, check out a couple of Todd Phillips other movies: 'The Hangover', 'Old School' and 'Road Trip'