Category Archives: Film

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Hi Panda Lovers
My new home is going great guns and would love to see you there.
You can get your fill of TV, FILM, OP ED PIECES, and BRISBANE AUSTRALIA FOCUSED PIECES.

Some of the popular tv shows I review are:
SMALLVILLE, VAMPIRE DIARIES, NIKITA, THE WALKING DEAD, CAPRICA, FRINGE, BOARDWALK EMPIRE, MAD MEN, PRETTY LITTLE LIARS, HAWAII FIVE-0, COMMUNITY and many more.

Some come visit.

You can also follow me on Twitter where I link my new articles where I talk back to my followers and love to hear your feedback.

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HowManyPandas is Mirgrating

I was feeling like this earlier - but click on the pink panda packing heat to visit my new site.

Yes – we are going official – to howmanypandas.com
Give me a little time to work it all out – but I have a few reviews ready to go… once I work out how to do it.
Das Panda
PS. Is pretty much done now, but I need to retag and recategorise everything. Also for some reason I can’t get my twitter feed up. No problem. You will need to change your RSS to my new site. So please don’t forget.
XOXO
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Review – Easy A

Hi there, I'm Olive and you all think I am a dirty skank.

After getting badly burnt by the Hangover, I was hesitant to journey into Easy A, but some friends who saw it at the movies (whose opinions I mostly agree with) told me that this was a surprisingly good film. And you know what? They were right.

Olive, through the medium of a webcast, decides to set the record straight of her decent into wantoness. Done in amusing chapters, she retells how one lie becomes another and another while trying to help people and the next thing you know you are getting paid for sex via a gift card in the carpark of a restuarant with a guy who you thought liked you.

Pluses:
Great script – the dialogue is very good – yes it suprised me too.
Cute idea well implemented.
Just enough Penn Badgley for him not to be annoying.
Great hat tips to the movies I grew up on.
The twists and turns and the lie upon lie.
The family scenes – hysterical. Made me wish I had a family like that – though as a teenager I would have been horrorified for thinking my family could be cool.
Ah Christians you crack me up – this was so stereotypical it was all I could do not to be outraged at myself for laughing.

Minuses:
Aly Michalka’s portrayal of Rhiannon – probably the weakest character.

This film takes a dark story and retells it with sarcasm, wit and a wry sense of humour. Emma Stone’s Olive was perfect. She captured the sense of the moment and the character. Her throwaway lines were the ones you always wished you had thout of. Easy A is actually something that I would want to watch again on a rainy Sunday afternoon.

#fourpandas
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Review – Shrek Forever After

Bloated and unfunny - the cat or the movie or both?

The movie that should never have been made.

Shrek, feeling the strains of fatherhood wants his own life back and gets conned by Rumpelstiltskin. He then spends the rest of the movie trying to get his old life back. When he does, he realises how blessed he was all along.

Excuse me while I am noisily sick into this conveniently located barf bag.

Pluses:
Donkey was still amusing.

Minuses:
Fiona is happier not empowered.
The quality of the animation.
The script.
The story.
Oh god, everything else.

I must admit I only kept watching for Donkey. He is my favourite character from the franchise after all. After the dismal showing of Shrek 4 I decided to dig out Shrek on my iTunes drive and watch it again. The first thing that struck me was the attention to detail and the crispness of the animation – something that was surely lacking in this forth instalment. I guess all the cash was spent on getting the stars to sign back on to such a woeful script. Actually it was beyond woeful. All the charm of the original was gone – not that I was that surprised considering how bad the third one was.

#oneandahalfpandas

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Review – GasLand

Depressing in its telling but motivating in what it leaves in you.

I missed this doco during BIFF – it was clashing with something and opted against this controversial journey documented by Josh Fox.

Often in docos I am more interested in the motivators (of the documenter and the documented) than the story they actually tell. This was one of those docos for me. Fox owns a property in Pensilvania and had received an offer for drilling rights on his property. He decided to find out what the outcomes might be if he signed – what he found he didn’t like, and documented his voyage of discovery.

It is worth nothing that this piece is entirely from the side of Fox and those opposed the drilling. As such, often the editing is extremely unflattering and detrimental to the gas companies. There is certainly a problem but it was the motivation of the companies involved and the power of their money and as a consequence, their reach, that I found incredibly depressing. I am certainly concerned that there can be such negative impacts on millions for the benefit of some – and that rings true for what recently occured in Queensland, where high levels of carcinogenic chemicals were reported in water around the coal seam gas exploration sites. Just yesterday, Farmers on the Darling Downs locked out exploration teams. From what I have read, it is a slightly different process to the US, but the drive of shareholder returns > all it seems these days. (Oh I am starting to sound like a Socialist Panda). In truth, I don’t trust the government or “the corporations.”

Pluses:
It is a personal journey.
The style – often it costs a lot to have production look that rough – this felt authentic.
The people Fox meets – often their abiding sense of humour.
The frustrations people feel and the clear lines in government.

Minuses:
Too one-sided for me to really love this doco.
When it went from journey to preaching/activist it lost it power for me.

This is a long doco, that I found dragging. The same over and over – but then that is the point he is trying to make. That being said, I wouldn’t be revisiting this show again any time soon. If it does anything well, it makes the audience want to understand more.

#twoandahalfpandas

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Review – La Femme Nikita (France 1990)

Did someone ask for gritty and bleak?

I have been loving SBS this month – to celebrate 30 years on the air, they have been playing everyone’s favourite world movies. Over the weekend, while I was engaging in Adventures in Puppy Sitting, I stayed up late to watch the original incarnation of Nikita. It has been years since I saw it and really only remembered a couple of scenes, so given how much I am loving the CW’s redux of Nikita, I had to watch.

Nikita is a junkie, punk bad girl who murders a policeman in cold blood and is convicted of his and the deaths of victims in the movie’s shoot out – which opens the film. Finding herself in a hidden world of training and development at the DGSE (the French CIA), Nikita transfers herself from riding the line of being cancelled (to use the CW’s Nikita’s terms) to being a glowing success – a hot hit woman.

Upon her completion of her training, she starts what she fools herself into thinking is a normal life till the people that made her come calling.The second half of the movie traces her trying to balance her love and pretend life with his boyfriend and the demands made by her true employers.

Pluses:
The disparity between worlds.
Viktor.
Lies and the lies to hide the lies.
People looked real, unlike the US versions.
Believable characters trying to live in a world out of their control.
Brilliant set pieces – that restaurant scene is just glorious.
The dark humour littered throughout the movie.

Minuses:
Some bits were a tad over the top, but I think it was to show the differences.
By some bits, I mean the overacting of Anne Parillaud.
The unlikely relationships she develops.

Even with the effects of time (learning what a mouse is hehhe) it is still a dark adventure into an under world beyond the law. It was certainly ahead of its time and spawned a successful ongoing franchise. All that being said, it wasn’t as good as I remembered it. I loved how gritty it was, but its over the top depiction of wild Nikita just saw me lack empathy for the protagonist.

#threeandahalfpandas

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Review – The Hangover

Let's sit around and act annoying to pandas

A group of four guys head to Vegas with the intent to go wild before one of them gets married. 1 is whipped, 1 is the wife’s brother, 1 is getting married and the other guy is the token “cute” one. They wake up and can’t remember what happened, why their villa is a mess, why there is a tiger in their apartment and where their friend who is getting married actually is. Over the course of the movie they work their way backwards through their night in Vegas.

What am I doing, you all know the story.

Pluses:
The photos in the credits.

Minuses:
The rest.

OMG I can’t believe people recommended this to me. It was better than Hot Tub Time Machine (which isn’t saying much), but I had numerous tweets telling me I should watch it because it was just so crazy funny/awesome etc. I have decided that my sense of humour is so off the wall that I just don’t get main stream Hollywood humour any more. I didn’t laugh once. Maybe if I was drunk and in a full cinema but I certainly wouldn’t wish this film on anyone, and there is going to be a sequel? I really didn’t find it funny at all. From stereotypes to overacting this movie was as unfunny as Schindlers List – though at least Spielberg wasn’t going for laughs.

#halfapanda
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Review – Reign of Assassins – Australian Premier – #BIFF

Beautifully and creatively shot on every level

For some reason this was touted as the new John Woo movie – but we couldn’t see his name as Producer or Director in this romp. I have seen elsewhere on the net that he has been credited as a co-director. Okaaaaaay.

In many ways, RoA’s ticks the boxes for a matrial arts movie. Silly pretense, grudges, fights, pretty girls who are dangerous, cross and double cross. And look, I was enjoying it as a piece of pure escapism movie going, until it became about testicles. It didn’t need to. Even if it had just stayed on mega martial arts skills I would have been happy with that. That twist wasn’t necessary IMHO. The other twist though I didn’t see coming.

While I have heard some people say that the romance story wasn’t in line with the story, I found he acting between Michelle Yeoh’s Zeng Jing and Jung Woo-sung’s Jiang Ah-sheng was lovely – and I thoroughly enjoyed the disparity between their little ideal world and what was going on around them. So NEENAH to those who didn’t like that.

Pluses:
Lovely comedic dialouge
Some good fights (though some were a little silly)
Awesome twist!
Sword play.
The filming of the fights was pretty hot too – especially the watershedder sword shots.

Minuses:
Testicles anyone?
Silly names.
In high dialouge scenes the subtitles moved too quickly to take in the scene and the words.

Even with the silly twist, it was an enjoyable way to finish the festival and I am very pleased I saw it. I generally wait for DVD, so this was the first wuxia movie I had seen since Hero – so it was lovely to revisit the experience on the big screen.


#twoandahalfpandas

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Review – I Love You Phillip Morris – #BIFF

Of all the prison libraries in all the world you had to walk into this one...

This is the ultimate con movie. Ok – it is also a romance movie. Oh and it is a comedy too. But at the end of the day it is all about the con.

Everyone in this movie gets con’ed – everyone – including the viewer – yes I admit I got majorly con’ed. Hook, line, sinker and copy of angling times (to quote Red Dwarf).

But let’s talk about the movie.

Jim Carrey plays police man Steven Russell who is married with a couple of kids, and whom, after years of searching, finds his birth mother who wants nothing to do with him. He packs up his life and heads to Texas where a life changing moment makes him realise he wants to be happy and to be himself – gay. What follows are Russell’s lives, cons, loves and brilliance. As he put it, it is expensive to live on the high on the gay hog. While in prison he falls for Ewen McGregor’s Phillip Morris. Things go well, go badly and well just go. What is the most bizarre part of this “con-rom-com” is that Carrey’s Russell was actually successful at his lives – just greed and lifestyle got the better of him.

Pluses:
Prison romance.
CFO.
Aids tests.
Texas.
Throw away lines.
Carrey really can act – I had forgotten!
Some of McGregor’s acting.

Minuses:
McGregor’s terribly fake eyebrows.
Some of the scenes were a bit OTT.
Trying to cater to the general audience.

Until I saw The Red Chapel, this was my pick of the festival. It isn’t perfect, but is so enthusiastic that you forgive its failings. I look forward to its American release next month.

#fourpandas

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Review – Howl – #BIFF

Awwwww.

Straight up – I am not a modern poetry kind of Panda.
That being said, I was interested in Howl because of what it achieved, not so much the poem itself which I have never read.
Ginsberg is one of the most celebrated poets of the last century, and I wanted to know why and how he achieved this fame.
Unfortunately that really wasn’t the primary focus on the movie. It really felt like there were four movies in one, none of them to the depth I needed to really “get” it. Firstly we have Ginsberg reading the poem in a club. Secondly we have an imagining of the poem through animation. Thirdly we had him being interviewed post poem and trial. Forthly we had the trial. Oh and we also had him writing the poem.

Pluses:
I didn’t mind the animation for the first half of the movie but it got old fast.
Courtroom pieces.
Grinsberg’s recollections.

Minuses:
The poem.
Too many competing voices.
I really wanted to know more about Ginsberg than we got.

Not really my cup of tea and bit too all over for me to connect with this highly regarded piece. I walked in with expectations and they weren’t met.

#twopandas

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