Tag Archives: Comedy

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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.

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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 – Hawaii Five-O – Mana’o

Nice role reversal

This week:
Danno’s old partner is murdered and disposed of in the most delicious way. Sierra from Dollhouse has a new mission. Danno is determined to prove his innocence. Cross and double cross. Old enemies become allies. They solve the case. Garrett says Book him, Danno. Some cheesy American stuff.

Pluses:
Is always good to see Dichen Lachman in a role.
Nice shift away from the normal case scenario.
Nice backstory for Danno.
Buddy cop development.
Most creative interrogation method I have ever seen on teev.

Minuses:
Kono still very much a “support” vs the major kick butt player she was in the pilot.
No shonky policework – except that play ground visit.
is like every major crime syndicate in the world putting down roots in Hawaii?
Obvious twist.
What was with the Bing plug?

I must admit, I am getting a little tired of the first part of each show. Random people doing something random and most likely a touristy appropriate past time in Hawaii then BAM dead body or murder… could be Bones, NCIS, Law and Order, Castle etc… This week’s episode name – Mana’o – means to have faith, confidence, to believe – which is very apt considering noone but Danno believes in his friend’s innocence. Another enjoyable romp that suspends any need for thought.

#threepandas


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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An Exercise in Twitter Engagement

Ghost Riders in the Sky - great opening number and photo shared via twitter to those following the #612hashtag

Much has been said of the ABC’s embracing of the Twitter phenomenon. We have even seen op ed pieces running in online news sites about how this focus is incorrect – with a Twitter only competition proof of discrimination against their regular listeners – and their re-reading tweets as giving people who tweet’s opinion more weight because they are shared with the public twice – once on twitter then once on the radio.

Anyway, I was part of that Twitter only competition.

It ran two different ways for two different presenters for ABC Brisbane 612 Radio. The prize was to participate in “Tweet Seats” at a theatre production – The Ultimate Rock and Roll Jam Session – being held at The Twelfth Night Theatre in Brisbane. The catch? For this double pass, you had to wear the @612Brisbane twitter tee and live tweet the show with the #612jam hashtag (you can see our efforts here by searching on the hashtag). To win a spot – you either had to tweet in a specific sentence (1st 6 got a double pass – I was first though I am not sure if that is a good or bad thing but it did get me awesome seats!) or review the radio show in a tweet (140 characters or less).

I can only speak from personal experience and what my friends tell me – but most of my friends who listen to 612 do so either via their phone/apps or via the blog – cherry picking the pieces they are interested in after the links are tweeted. I listen while driving, but at least 50% of my listening is on delay via an application that provides digital radio coverage to your iPhone/iPod. Given that this usually has a delay behind regular radio of what I am guessing is at least 10 seconds, I can’t actually win a dial in competition and I am certainly not going to try and quickly dial while driving 100kmph on the motorway. So for me, a twitter competition is most likely the only way I am going to win a prize (I did win movie tickets last month, but that was all timing – I was just settling into my car when the song you needed to hear came on – so I dialled in).

So let’s talk about the event.

Tweets from almost two years ago still on the most recent tweet list...

It was a great idea – to have people live tweeting a show – though there are a few things that I think should be taken into account in the future.
Make sure the venue has good coverage.
Sounds obvious, but at least 4 of us had real issues with coverage – with it dropping in and out or just unable to get reception.
The seats themselves – we were three rows back (and I and my friend were smack bang in the middle right in front of the “star” of the show). So for us to tweet, we had to “low tweet” so tweeting low in our laps with our brightness turned way down to try not to annoy the people behind us – though I am sure we were a real distraction. It was VERY weird to be at a show tweeting – and looking left I could see the white lights of the view screens standing out in the dark theatre.
The organiser of the event had a twitter account that had barely ever been used, and didn’t engage us. No asking us who we were, our user names – nadda. Let’s face it, someone who hasn’t even bothered to tweet more than a few times in over a year isn’t the best person to be driving this. She tried, but not understanding twitter was a hurdle – telling us what her twitter handle was would have been a start – I only stumbled on it by chance.
The show itself was lots of fun – a bit of a comedy of errors (I will get around to reviewing it shortly) and the cast tweeted during intermission and after the show – though it would have been good to get some engagement going in advance.
The 612Brisbane account was reweeting some of the tweets from the event, and this did engage the greater twitter audience – I received a few tweets asking what was going on – where I was etc after I was retweeted, plus a fair amount of communication from my regular followers asking for information from my #612jam’ing their stream – though nothing negative – which was good because I was concerned I would annoy some of my followers.

So what did we learn if anything from this exercise.
Check the reception at the venue before you commit.
Put together an engagement strategy and get the participants/show connected with each other.
It was a good choice of show – you didn’t have to think while watching and was easy to tweet – though not sure how transferable us talking about songs and events on stage translated to the greater audience. I can’t see us live tweeting King Lear any time soon.
Maybe place us before a break in the seating so we aren’t so distracting to the paying customers.

EDIT: I personally don’t see embracing Twitter as a new medium to connect with listeners/viewers as a bad thing. You can pretty much pick any group and say they have an advantage. I think the the ABC balances it well. For example, I love how Virginia Trioli will read out emails and Facebook comments then made jokey comments back to her followers on twitter during her off air time in the show. 612Brisbane  and some of their announcers really engage with their audience, and I do wonder whether there has been an increase in their blog traffic since they started tweeting segments. From my own andecdotal evidence based on a sample of one (me), I will tune in via my app at work if something is coming up that really interests me vs waiting to hear it later. How do I know what is coming up? Twitter tells me. So to have a competition to engage a particular segment of your audience isn’t discriminatory at all – I think it is merely responding to your market share and providing appropriate opportunities. Let’s not talk about the #fidlerannouncement.

I doubt this will be the last Tweet Seats event – and I would certainly enter to go again – and the event (not the show) I rate as

#twoandahalfpandas though I think with a little tweaks these could be highly coveted #fourpanda events.
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Review – The Red Chapel – #BIFF

Simon, Mads and Mrs Pak present the pizza oven device

Poor Mrs Pak has no idea what is really happening.

This is a hard movie to describe. I have seen a few people try – but it doesn’t quite get to how I see it.
In short, two Korean born Danish comedians (Simon and Jacob) return to Korea but go to North Korea, not South Korea. They are accompanied by their “manager” (Mads Brugger) under the pretence of putting on a comedy show for the North Koreans in a cultural exchange – possibly the worst show ever produced. In truth, they are there to show the darkness that pervades North Korean society by their interactions and Simon who as a (self labelled) spastic is a living representation of what is never allowed in North Korea – perfect children only please.

The movie works on many layers and asks the viewer many questions, often ones that are very uncomfortable, while at the same time filling you with shock, awe and laughter by what they are prepared to do to get their point across – and how eagerly the North Koreans lap it all up. Mads Brugger does realise that he is also manipulative and cruel in forcing his comedians past their level of comfort and ethics – putting on a face for their hosts, while at the same time the North Koreans are being manipulative and cruel under the guise of helping and love for their guests and their Dear Leader. There are a few moments in the documentary where you think – no, there is no way – but there it is, unfolding out in front of your eyes.

The impact on Simon was heartbreaking. Seeing a “perfect” world where everyone is happy, beautiful and loved that he can never be a part of is so emotional and honest. Then to see how Mads continues to manipulate and force him to push forward is just as heartbreaking. It should be noted that Simon is the only one in North Korea who can speak their mind. Not only is he speaking Danish (their handler speaks English) but he is speaking “Spastic Danish.” So while Mads and Jacob are careful in what they say, even in Danish, Simon tells it like it is – the only time he dissembles is in English and in letters. You laugh as Mads deliberately lies as he translate, but at the same time you squirm on the inside.

The manipulation of the North Koreans knows no bounds. From a bus load of pretty girls for the boys to picnic with to totally redoing their comedy show including patriotic sentiments and hiding Simon’s disability, it leaves you gob smacked. Watching though, it is impossible to forget that these people’s lives, and those of their families, depends on making this work to make North Korea shine. I do have real fear in my heart for the North Koreans involved, especially Mrs Pak. Then you think about the entire population of the country – living in fear, lies and mistruths – always watching what they do and say – even their children. It is no life to live like that.

Pluses:

The march.
The uniforms.
Pineapple.
The filming style.
The honesty.
Pins.
Pizza.
The pain.
The hopelessness.
The tears.
The table.
Wonderwall.
Simon saving Mrs Pak.

Minuses:
Did they really think about the fall out back in North Korea?

This was my “life changing” moment of the festival – every year you want one – you don’t always get it – and this year I was beginning to think it was going to be one of those years where I picked the wrong movies. Then I saw The Red Chapel. It touched me in ways I can’t put into words – infact I have tears behind my eyes as I write this, then I will smile and laugh as I remember a particular obtuse moment. I have wanted to go to North Korea for many years, and have looked at various tours to go – but couldn’t bring myself to give my western currency to the regime… for the same reason I have never gone to Indonesia or Burma/Myanmar. After seeing this documentary I desperately want to go, while at the same time horrified by what I saw and what I would experience.

#fourandahalfpandas

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Review – Community – Cooperative Calligraphy

It's called a Bottle Episode, Troy.

 

This week:
We learn what a bottle episode is. Clothes come off. Slim Jims are in the most unusual places. Real feelings under the surface simmer up. Annie’s Boobs.

Pluses:
Excellent dynamic of the cast – was great to see the alliances change so fast.
Brutal comments in self defense.
Annie’s Boobs.
Puppies!
Puppies!
Puppies!
Troy putting two and two together.
Puppy Parade.
Did I mention there were puppies?

Minuses:
No Starburns.

This was a fantastic little episode, with some brilliant tie ins to previous episodes and each character was themselves, but amped up to 11. It was really fantastic to see what can be achieved with dialogue and good acting. Dan Harmon is my hero.

#fourandahalfpandas
SPOILER
Apparently you can see the moment that the pen goes astray (when the Dean comes in the first time) but I can’t catch it.

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SPOILER TWO: Thanks to Simon for this link to the exact moment of the incident!