Tag Archives: threeandahalfpandas

Don’t be a stranger

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 – Caprica – The DirtEaters

caprica dirteaters avenging angels

What all the cool New Cap City players are wearing.

This week:
The idea of ethnicity is re-explored through flash backs and choices by the Adama family. Daniel makes yet another deal with the devil. The Avenging Angels are the latest fad.

Pluses:
The idea that honest work like farming could be so distasteful to others.
One’s own choosing to return to the soil.
Sam and Joseph’s journey as children.
Daniel being even more devious.
Everyone has their own agenda.

Minuses:
I still lack empathy for Amanda.
That stupid editing between V-World and Caprica.
Tamara and Zoe aren’t strong enough actors to pull of their current story lines.

This was an incredibly strong character driven episode. It is a shame that just as this series/season found its feet, they were removed out from under. I write this having seen The Heavens Will Rise, and I found this episode a perfect counterpoint for the next step.

#threeandahalfpandas

Web Analytics

clicky.init(66351255);

Clicky


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

Web Analytics

clicky.init(66351255);

Clicky


Review – Caprica – False Labor

No one can hate themselves more than Daniel right now.

This week:
Daniel Greystone works through his mistakes and grief. Amanda Greystone fully immerses into the world of sister of Clarice.  Sam Adama gets his patriotism on. Joseph Adama gets lucky.

Pluses:
The Tauron subplot.
Character development of Sam – why are only learning of this now?
Daniel’s mechanisations.
Amanda’s subterfuge.
Don’t piss of someone with access to a Cylon.
No Zoe.

Minuses:
Acting of Anita Torrance’s Mar-Beth – plank of wood anyone? She is Australian isn’t she?
No Lucy Rand.

I am sure many people who watched this ep would have thought, OMG so slow! But it wasn’t slow – it was pure character driven drama – which is what the show should be.  This episode worked because it wasn’t trying to address too many themes at once, and the themes they did discuss were pure and honest.

#threeandahalfpandas

 
Web Analytics

clicky.init(66351255);

Clicky


Review – Brisbane Bandits vs Perth Heat – Season Opener

We are ominous - GRRRR! PS. Have you met our mascot?

The last baseball game I went to was with the ill-fated Daikyo Dolphins, 18 years ago. I remember the happy dolphin, snarling with shark sharp teeth, and sitting up on the hill with my friends at the old Gold Coast Stadium. I also remembered that the team had a lot of imports – including designated hitters who were fat and sat down after they reached first because they had someone else steal bases and run for them.

So last night, heading to the re-birth of the Australian Baseball League, 10 years after its last demise was a bit of a trip down memory lane… as well as reminding me just how much I had forgotten about baseball, including how much I enjoyed it.

The Brisbane team is called The Bandits – and while you can’t tell from the logo (face covered in shadows and a black kerchief), he is actually a Ranga and looks like a textbook illustration of a Cowboy stereotype. Not that it is a bad thing, but it did amuse me that the logo was so dark and menacing in comparison to their mascot. The Bandit himself reminded me of Nicole Kidman as a cowboy. Red hair, super wide smile and a face that doesn’t move.

The RNA Showgrounds is the new home for the Bandits. First up, the seats are remarkably uncomfortable. They might be OK for the fireworks at the Ekka, but for 3 hours or 5 hours in a double header – no way. BYO cushion needs to be written on every ticket.

We paid the big $12 each for premium seating, which saw us just to the right of home base, on the side of the visiting team. The seats were unallocated, but thankfully the person I went with arrived early and jagged us a good spot to see the action (not that there were any staff making sure you were going to the right area). The only problem with the premium seats is that you can’t see the score board over the dugout of the away team. Now I use the term ‘dug out’ loosely, as it wasn’t dug, but it was certainly out. It was a portable pagoda/marquee that just needed a big gust to blow it up and away. It was pretty cool to be able to see the players though while they were watching their team mates.

Blocking the scoreboard - but very cool to see them hanging out and stretching

Food was priced comparably to what you would expect at any other event of after a night partying. $5 for chips or a hotdog and $8.50 for a burger (They didn’t do a bag check – so I brought along sushi which I forgot to eat). The real disappointment though was the merchandise. The tees (well tee as there is no choice) is black with the logo and Bandits written on it. I am not sure why it doesn’t say Brisbane Bandits. The tee is also black. Yes black. I guess that goes well with their menacing logo, but I really don’t want to be wearing a black tee during the afternoon game, or even in the afternoon heat in Summer as I make my way to the game. Some of the supporting staff (e.g. the younger players who were supporting the teams) had two different white tees. They were brilliant. I would go either of those, though preferably the white with black piping, versus the white with black sleeves. The hat – $50 for the hat? Really? It isn’t even SunSmart! Were they hand sewed by ex-major leaguers with golden thread?

The logistics was also a bit haphazard. Maybe they weren’t expecting over 1000 people, though they did have over 500 tix presold apparently (1551 was the official count). But when I arrived shortly before 7pm, the line up for parking was insane (this Panda strolled in from her home in The Valley/New Farm area) and there was no one to assist in crossing the road. Some cars were swerving around those that were lined up and having to break to avoid the ppl who were crossing the road. Accident waiting to happen. Another challenge was getting in to the ground. There was no clear signage other than Tickets (to buy) so there was this massive pack of ppl with a combination of passes, print out tickets, looking where to collect their tickets and then the usual tickets. Turned out I was on the wrong side of the pack, as I had an internet print out ticket – which could only be read on the other side of the gate. Signs or staff directing ppl constantly would make a huge difference.

Once I take off my kerchief I am super happy and friendly!

The game itself was pretty fun. It took a while for the nerves to pass and the teams to gel, but it turned into a really good game. Bandits were more consistent in their hitting and their fielding, was on the whole, tighter than that of the Heat. One of the highlights, for me at least, were members tauntingly chanting BAAAAROOOON BAAAAAROOOON over and over as the Heat’s opening pitcher (Baron) was preparing to pitch. LOVED IT! The crowd also really got behind the local team, cheering as they were announced as they came up to bat, standing and cheering when we got a runner home. Great atmosphere. The PA system was a bit hit and miss, but you could recognise the songs, people got into the clapping and stamping, they even got up and sang Take Me Out to the Ball Game during the 7th Innings stretch. At the same time though, it wasn’t hokey American. It felt like a typical Aussie sporting event, just with Baseball.

Pluses:
Great atmosphere.
LOTS of activities for the kids (they get in free, youth are $6ish)
Awesome value for money $12 for 3 hours is fantastic – and for a double header you get TWO games for one price!
Really easy to get into the game – Baseball isn’t that complicated to understand.
On par food pricing.
Lots of Public Transport options (no CityCycle unfortunately)
Home by a decent hour, even on a work night.
Not too many imports.

This close for $12 - awesome!

Minuses:
The logistics and planning.
The inability to see the scoreboard from the “Premium Seats.” (I assume they would put the name of the player and stats etc on board while playing – could be wrong but I would like that).
Unappealing merch.
Safety in road crossing.
Spelling mistakes on their home ground sign – they play at the CORAL not the CORRAL.
You don’t get to see them play the same team again later in season unless finals.

If you want a really fun evening or afternoon out with minimal cost – you should check out the Brisbane Bandits. Get in with the diehards and have a ball!
EDIT: I forgot to say – Bandits trounced the Heat 8/3 and you can follow the Bandits via The Twitters.
EDIT of the EDIT: I forgot to say how impressed I was with the batting and base work of relief Pitcher Naughton as well as just how fantastically supportive the crowd was of Fukoda as he overcame some early nerves/adrenaline to do some awesome bat work and run like the blazers!

#threeandahalfpandas
Web Analytics

clicky.init(66351255);

Clicky


Review – Nikita – Phoenix

Cross and Double Cross.

This week:
Recruit Thom becomes an agent. Nikita finds herself involved in a more complicated situation than she bargained for. Alex really is becoming Divisonalised IMHO. Awesome lead up for the back half of the series.

Positives:
Really good plot with twists and turns I didn’t expect – in fact I loved it.
No romance.
Awesome household item fight scene.
I liked how the recruit story interspersed with the main arc very nicely this time.

Negatives:
No Owen.
Do we really think Nikita would trade one demon for another?
Alex being way too manipulative for my liking.

I think this is going to be one of the last Romance Free Nikita’s. You may remember a few weeks back I said that they were hiring a clean cut all American guy to be Nikita’s love interest. I expect those episodes to start hitting us soon. Such a shame – but better a romantic Nikita who kicks butt and has revenge tattooed on her heart than no Nikita – though I am curious as to how they will balance it, given that the death of her lover was her main driver in leaving then working to bring down Division.

#threeandahalfpandas

 
Web Analytics

clicky.init(66351255);

Clicky


Review – Smallville – The Harvest

I didn't know shows still used this as a fade out for sex...

This week:

Lois revels in having her own superhero.
Clark continues to be over protective.
Someone spiked the coolaid (water).
Religious fervour.
Lois steps up.
Clark becomes uberer.
Lex will always be Lex.
Pluses:
It was great to see the banter between Lois & Clark.
Lois driving the solution.
Nice twist on the usual plot.
They finally had the s word.
Tess’ realisation and decision.
Minuses:
Some of the guest acting was a tad hokey.
Not sure about the new twist on Blue Kryptonite.
Part of the set looked way fake.
Overall this was a good episode the further explored the Lois &Clark dynamic, especially as the cat is out of the bag, so to speak. I really, really liked how Lois didn’t just give up, whereas Clark was defeatist – Lois never did. I have to say though, the fade out scene of the two hands entwined was so kitch – we have seen a lot more than that – anyone else remember Lex and his sex romps and murder?
#threeandhalfpandas

Web Analytics

clicky.init(66351255);

Clicky


Review – The American #BIFF

Yes ladies, I am a paranoid, lean, mean, emoting machine.

Showing as part of the Brisbane International Film Festival was the advanced Australian screening of The American. This film tells the story of an assassin, on the run from those who recently tried to kill him. Tortured and paranoid as the result of his choices, Clooney’s character Jack/Edward lives a sheltered life – sometimes entering society, occasionally to bond but always busy (he takes on another assignment). His choice of relationships are a strong reflection of his own life choices, and the analogy of his own life to a noticable and endangered butterfly is nicely rounded out. This is a long con movie, with sporadic bursts of action or plot driving.

Pluses:
Italy – I want to go there now.
Clooney’s understated acting.
The slow burn.
Clara’s misunderstanding of Edwards behaviour for love, and him fooling himself into believing it.
The lack of dialogue – so very character and emotionally driven.
Beautifully shot.
Clooney going against type – it isn’t that hard to remember he is actually a very bad man. He is actually too bad to even call him an archetypal Byronic Hero.

Minuses:
Somewhat predictable. I guessed the every major plot point – though I did expect him to have something to do with the spate of murders (not the ones we actually saw him commit).
It is the standard hit-man plot.

I rather enjoyed this – it wasn’t outstanding, but it was on the mark. I can see this movie being a lot more popular with women than men – not just for Clooney, yes ladies you see a fair bit of him – but because it deals with the emotions that drive people’s choices and outcomes, not the large scale events – the action here is incidental.

#threeandahalfpandas
Web Analytics

clicky.init(66351255);

Clicky


Review – Vampire Diaries – Masquerade

Lucky I knew Elena wasn't coming, or your straightened hair would have confused me.

This week:
Yet another Founders’ Event. Team Elena decide to take down Team Katherine. Katherine makes a new puppy. Katherine is double crossed in her double cross. Elena doesn’t change her mind. Bonding of Caroline and Tyler over a secret. Katherine!

Pluses:
Elena sticking to her guns re Stefan.
The puppy making was great.
Caroline development – a real highlight of the ep.
Katherine.
Another awesome soundtrack.

Minuses:
Oh come on really? Elena, really? Where is your head.
How come who we thought would die didn’t die?
Correct me if I am wrong, aren’t they still in school – why are they never there anymore?
The last scene *snore*

Overall, still a very strong episode with some great resolutions to some stories and commencements of new ones. To be honest, I was neither surprised nor interested in the last moment of the show. It was a good idea to rebuild the suspense for our protagonist now that her nemesis has been temporarily iced (I so didn’t expect what they did to her), but felt a bit meh. I think it was just too fast, no build up from the previous scene. I don’t mind the plot device, even if it was obvious, but I think its implementation was lax.

#threeandahalfpandas

 
Web Analytics

clicky.init(66351255);

Clicky


Review – Jucy

I remember my bedroom looking like that when I was in my early 20's.

Jucy tells of the trials and tribulations of two twenty something women as they decide to take their lives in a new direction – success and love. Filmed in Brisbane, it is a delight to see the familiar landmarks (including the now gone Trash Video) but I must admit that the Australian accents made it seem more real than say, a US version, of this lovely little film. They call it a Womance, I call it a Wom-Rom-Com!

Pluses:
Real women.
Real issues.
Predominantly genuine feel.
Real choices (good and bad).
Generally solid dialogue throughout.
Some classic moments.
Everyone gets a resolution.

Minuses:
The male cast weren’t that developed, but then it isn’t about them, and it isn’t a traditional relationship movie – and that is central to its charm – so let’s pretend this is a Plus.
One or two moments that felt a little worn.

Overall, this is a delightful romp exploring the depths and limits of friendships, and therefore also of oneself. You also get a realistic insight into the realisation that choices aren’t easy to make or to stick to, and that sometimes to move forward, you have to go home. If you haven’t got your ticket to the Australian premier of Jucy, right here in Brisbane as part of BIFF, time to beg, borrow or steal one – or keep those fingers crossed for a domestic release.

#threeandahalfpandas

PS. I should disclose that I know a couple of people involved in the movie – including some great backup dancers!
Web Analytics

clicky.init(66351255);

Clicky