Tag Archives: fourandahalfpandas

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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.


Review – The Walking Dead – Vatos

Beauty and a moment of normality in a post apocalyptic world

This week:
Life returns to normal – as much as it can under the stress and duress of the zombie apocalypse, but the pressure does show. The boys are not alone in Atlanta. Behind darkness there can be light. Merle has disappeared with something very dear to our heroes’ hearts. Nowhere and nothing is safe.

Pluses:
The disparity between those perfect moments and reality – that eternal attempt to stay human (literally and metaphorically speaking).
Andrea and Amy.
My mind coming up with a stack of hypotheses while watching.
Moments of tenderness and hope.
The sense of loss.
So strongly character driven.
So simple yet so brilliant.
The development of Jim and Shane.

Minuses:
Losing characters I was just starting to love.
I think it was Merle who bought those Walkers to camp (I hope I am wrong).

I wouldn’t want to be signing on to that show – chances are you will die within a couple of episodes. I can’t express just how poetic this episode was – exploring the themes of humanity and family counterposed against the raw savagery of the Walkers.. From the colours to the light to the shot style, everything reflected the disparities. It was all I could do not to cry in the office – I watched this episode over lunch on my MBP.

My only concern is that it will develop into the depressing and hopeless (feeling) of SGU – however I understand the source material is strong, so fingers crossed this will not be the case.

#fourandahalfpandas

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Review – Mad Men – Blowing Smoke and Tomorrowland

What once I despised I have become.

I finally got around to seeing the last two episodes in Mad Men. I always meant to, and I was really engaged this series – but stuff came up and I forgot about it. It wasn’t till I was recently house-sitting and going through my media drive for something to watch (their dvd collection was almost non-existent and entirely non-compatible with pandas).

It was actually nice to see these two episodes back to back. From the uncertainty and lack of control in Blowing Smoke to sense of surety that Don felt in Tomorrowland it was such a good conclusion to this season and to his journey. It was also very pleasing in a schadenfreude way to see Betty’s misfortune as she lives out her choices.

Pluses:
Changing the message.
Seeing Don happy (or at least thinking he is happy).
Megan Calvet’s reaction to the milkshake.
Peggy and Joan discussing the development over a cigarette.
Seeing the kids actually happy and acting like a family.
Faye Miller breaking down on the phone.
Betty getting what she deserved.
Sally’s progression through therapy.
Sally’s little friend telling Betty that just because she was said not everyone else had to be.
Those brief moments of almost honesty Don has with the kids and then with Megan.
I also adored how of all the women he has slept with, he loves Megan.
Finally I found it very interesting that for all his snide looks about Roger marrying his secretary, Don will do the same.

Minuses:
No more Dr Miller.
I miss Cooper.
An eternity till next season.

I do wonder if we are going to get another time jump like we did for the start of this season. It was interesting how Dr Miller said that Don only liked the beginning of things, let’s jump past the honeymoon and see them as a family – I wonder if the kids will be with them instead of Betty – who as Sally’s friend correctly said doesn’t like kids. Bring on next year

#fourandahalfpandas

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Review – The Walking Dead – 1st 3 eps

Here we come, walkin' Down the street. We get the funniest looks from Ev'ry one we meet.

Review encompassing: Pilot, Guts and Tell it to the Frogs

I am not much of a horror loving Panda.

What gets me isn’t the blood and guts (more on guts later) but the suspense.

I can’t stand it.

Scary suspense even more so. It took me two goes to watch the pilot of The Walking Dead. The first run though, I didn’t make it past him entering the stairwell – yes I was that much of a sook. This time round though, I was in a bright airy lounge room while house sitting, with a guard dog pressed up next to me to keep me safe.

I really (REALLY) enjoyed the first three eps. For me the character driven under lays of the show was remarkably enjoyable. Yes there are the Walkers out there, and yes we are seeing people outside (way outside) of their comfort zones dealing with this problem, but the truth behind the characters still shone through thanks to great writing and acting by the cast. Some of the scenes were just so wonderfully shot, graphic novel perfect I am sure, with the imagery a constant reminder to the truth of their situation.

The first episode really set the scene and delved into the confusion and conflict felt by the survivors as well as their desire to make it through.
The second episode for me was my favourite of the three. The humour, the characters and the situations were just brilliant. OMG and the gutsy guts scene was just out of this world.
The third episode was much more character based with little Walker action, which was good because we got to see that survivors are still dealing with issues they were dealing with before the Fall (to use a BSG term) as well as dealing with the fall out of decisions they made post Fall.

Pluses:
Believable characters in a situation that is beyond belief.
Real world problems continue on.
Rag tag bunch of heroes.
Zombie makeup and acting is just awesome.
Loving the character if Glenn and his dark exuberance.
Dynamic between Lori and Shane now her husband is back.
Some of the set pieces in Atlanta were stunning.

Minuses:
Still getting to know the characters – which I guess is what the third episode was about.
Still don’t know what really happened – soon I am sure.

I haven’t read the graphic novels so I don’t know where this is going or what is going to be the big cross roads in the arc, but please don’t tell me as I want to discover it with the general audience

#fourandahalfpandas
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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!


Review – Fringe – Do Shapeshifters Dream of Electric Sheep?

Self medication is good, m'okay?

 

This week:
Self medication. Infiltration. Humanity. Threats. Dirt Nap. Getting jiggy.

Pluses:
Newton being awesome.
Fauxlivia’s power play.
Massive Dynamic.
The humanity of of the Shapeshifters.
Excellent empathy developed for the guest and minor characters.
I loved how Peter CAN tell and his thoughts about it.
Are Fauxlivia’s intentions still pure?

Minuses:
Newton no!!!! (loved that wry smile!)

I said in a review of a dismal ep of Caprica that this episode of Fringe handled the question of what it is to be human better than Caprica – which was a bit of a surprise as it is one of the main themes explored on Caprica. These few weeks while the show is on hiatus has been hard, as the show left the viewer really needing some short term resolution to its new questions. Oh and I loved the HT to Bladerunner author Philip K. Dick.

#fourandahalfpandas
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Review – Community – Messianic Myths and Ancient Peoples (aka ABED)

ABED - All Caps!

 

This week:
YouTube and AutoTune. Pearce goes petulant teen. Abed makes a movie. God works in mysterious ways.

Pluses:
The ep goes for 21mins 1sec – all of that time!
End gag was great and a twist on the norm.
Chase finally gets the opportunity to actually be funny.
Awesome subplots.
Meta!
Almost every line was one you wanted to remember to repeat later.
Jesus rap!

Minuses:
Nada – I just wish it went longer.

So just how good was this week’s ep? ABED trended on Twitter. My stream alone had ABED lines and fandom and it is 95% Australian. The last couple of eps I have said – MORE ABED! This week I got it, and then some. I loved how this ep didn’t focus on Britta and Jeff. Great play on the cult of personality and Hollywood’s obsession with itself. Up there for three way tie now on my fav ep of Community. I know I keep saying it – but Community really is the best show on TV you aren’t watching.

#fourandahalfpandas


Review – Boardwalk Empire – Pilot/Boardwalk Empire

 

Boardwalk Empire Atlantic City Boardwalk Episode 1

Luscious, gorgeously shot and a delight.

 

This week:
We dive into the luscious world of Prohibition  Atlantic City. Al Capone gets his break. Murder. Mischief. Deals. Busts (both kinds). The beginning of letting go and finding love.

Pluses:
Fantastic sets and art direction.
Incredible acting – Steve Buscemi thy name is Emmy.
Brilliant set up to the series.
Ugliness countered with beauty.
Martin Scorsese.

Minuses:
I thought the opening credits are a bit contrived.

HBO is back with a vengeance.  Based on the real life character of Nucky Thompson – this series raises the bar for TV even higher. The word that keeps coming to mind is luscious. The scope of this show, the sets, the party scenes. Just amazing. No wonder that HBO renewed it after just one episode went to air. A quick Google and I couldn’t see when it was coming to our fair shores – it is available on the US iTunes site which is pretty easy for we Australians to use (if we are clever, which we are).

#fourandahalfpandas


Dexter – Series 5 Return – My Bad

Heartbreaking as history repeats itself

This week:
Picks up right where we left off last season. It was just as bad as we all thought it would be. Feelings and grief drive people, all people to make questionable choices.

Pluses:
Outstanding acting across the board.
Excellent development of Dexter Morgan as a character and as a man.
Fantastic backstory with Rita and Dexter.
The Dark Passenger.

Minuses:
I will get back to you.

All in all an outstanding return to Dexter. Made me cry. This is going to be an challenging season to watch as Dexter comes to grips with his humanity. I want to give it #fivepandas but need somewhere to go.

#fourandahalfpandas