Tag Archives: twoandahalfpandas

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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 – Smallville – Abandoned

Well of course I have krytonite in my blades. It is also in my breast implants.

This week:
Tess goes back to where it all began, and she had no clue what was coming (me either – nice twist!). Lois sticks her nose into Cal-El’s and Jor-El’s relationship in true Lois style. Clark gets his shirt off again. No Oli though shirtless this week (for a change) – in fact, no Oli.

Pluses:
Great backstory to Tess – especially after mini Lex told her how weak she was the other week.
Ohhh supervillan trio, huzzah!
DarkSide may be out of sight but is not forgotten.
Lois and her mum (nice HT to The Adventures of Lois and Clark by casting Terri Hatcher as her mum).
Tess’ real family.
Clark having some family time.

Minuses:
Super ninja girls with Kryptonite weapons – like you do.
Bit contrived – felt more cartoony that many episodes for a while.
No Oli.
I still think Granny Goodness is just a stupid arse name.

Overall this was a nice episode, that tied up some things and opened some new doors – it was all about threes. Lois, the General and her mum; Lois, Clark and Jor-El; Clark, Lois and his Dad; Clark, his Mum and his Dad; Tess, Granny and her real father and the Dark Trio. The only non-three was Clark and Tess – and as such I kept expecting Oli. I do look forward to our Dark Trio in coming weeks and hope Clark can stop moping around and step up. Even since Clark came out (so to speak) Lois has been the strong one in the relationship. A bit too fillerish and cartoony for me to truly love this ep, but still a nice little romp.

#twoandahalfpandas
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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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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 – Freakonomics – #BIFF

Gibney Pure Corruption

A perfect shot reflecting the balance of the two major concepts explored in this piece.

Takes a number of different ideas, based in and around economic/statistical concepts and attempts to communicate those formulated thoughts to the audience. Some are used are “fillers” to set the theme for the upcoming short or to explain that what we think to be true may not necessarily be true.

 

Pluses:
Gibney’s Pure Corruption – by far the most interesting and informative of the segments that also wasn’t trying too hard.
I liked the opening and closing credits.
The research behind Spurklock’s piece.

Minuses:
I really didn’t like Jarecki’s style – dealing with issues such as crime and abortion with a hipster narrator and base animation didn’t do anything for me.
Drawing on people’s own racist mindsets for jokes.
Relying on schadenfreude.
Ewing and Grady’s over managed incentive piece on education.

Look, it isn’t a bad film per se, it just didn’t have that cohesion that a good multi-directorial documentary needs. They tried to do it, but it didn’t really come off. To me, the to camera banter felt like add ins on a DVD that had all the segments on it – they didn’t really tie them together or engage me.
Further to this I felt that most segments lacked resolution – if they were meant to be a mini movie in the greater movie/documentary within a documentary – surely the basic structures need to be followed. I think that is why I liked Gibney’s Pure Corruption so much. It set the scene – I met the protagonists, I felt empathy for the players, it related back to something I knew and then tied it all up neatly – all while being beautifully shot and lyrically narrated.

#twoandahalfpandas
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Review – Inception

Yeah this scene was pretty cool but meh.

So I finally saw it.

I wouldn’t watch it again, though people have told me I need to, to really GET the movie. What is there to get that I missed the first time – the continuing themes and teasers? Ohhhh and don’t forget that twist at the end… like that was going to be any sort of surprise, nor the fact that they didn’t give a definitive answer.

Pluses:
Didn’t drag that much.
Some nice camera work.
Maths.
Architecture.

Minuses:
Felt like I had seen it before – not the whole thing together – but most parts individually.
Unlikeable protagonist.
Trying very hard to be clever.
Did anyone not pick up what had happened from the first time Limbo was mentioned and what was going to happen?
It felt like I was watching a 70’s movie but with better production values.

I realise that for many people this movie was life changing, but if it was that life changing to you, maybe you should change your life yourself rather than let an average movie with nice special effects and camera work do it for you. Luckily this is an old movie and no one will read this post even if I promote it so my negative sentiments will remain forever lost in cyberspace.

#twoandahalfpandas
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Review – Vampire Diaries – Rose

Damon Rose TVD

Ok, for this scene I need "tortured love, brooding, whimsical, contemplative and handsome?" CHECK!

This week:
We pick up hours after Elena’s kidnapping. The Originals. The Petrova Doppleganger. The Big Bad. Tyler learning about himself.

Pluses:
Nice to see Caroline and Tyler interact.
Elijah.
Jeremy and Bonnie bonding.
Rose smacking Elena – I wanted to right then too!

Minuses:
Really all that build up for 5 mins?
Action was a bit meh.

Not the strongest of eps. Lots of dialogue which I thought was really setting us up for the next few weeks – but was all over in moments. Maybe this ep was the lead up to the roll through of the back half of the season. I hope so.

#twoandhalfpandas
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Review – Stargate Universe – Pathogen

Bullet now please.

This week:
Be good and you can play! Mummy! Drink some more wine! Penis waving. A takeover. Sneakniness.

Pluses:
I did like the character development of the guest cast.
Interesting development within the Lucian Alliance.

Minuses:
Thoroughly predictable arc for Chloe.
Rush is still minus a bullet to the head.
Still no minor character development (I don’t include posturing).
Colonel Young – worst leader ever or worst leader ever.

This wasn’t a brilliant ep, but it was up on last week. There was one standout – piano music instead of a mournful guitar. There is now the feeling of something getting ready to bubble away in the background. Patience is a virtue that I am sorely lacking – like most pandas.

#twoandahalfpandas


Review – Grill’d – Chermside

Happy, happy, joy, joy.

After much procrastination and downright laziness I finally had a Grill’d Burger on Thursday night.

Yes, I officially popped my Grill’d cherry, if you want to be crass, and well, yes I do.

For me, Sushi Sushi’s sushi is one of the tradeoffs of fighting the Thursday night traffic to go to Chermside for late night shopping, but since I was there to celebrate my friend selling his apartment just hours earlier, I didn’t push sushi, and we went to Grill’d. Now, those that know me out of cyberspace know that I live about 100m from a Grill’d, but have never been.

Not once.

Why? Because I thought it was much more expensive that it actually is. I see natural and lovingly made and I think “oh a $15+ burger, get nicked.” I am not a burger person at the best of times, but for me anything over $10 for a burger better come out with the Arch-Angel Gabriel trumpeting its delights. I was pleasantly surprised by the prices when I checked the menu. I decided to go with a Simon Says – which is chicken breast, bacon and avocado. My friend went with his usual Bacon and Cheese burger and we got some chips and aioli.

The service was brilliant. The staff were all happy, chatty, laughing, having a great time engaging with their customers – it was like being in an Apple Store on opening day, only I could walk out with a full tummy and not an iPod.

I have to admit, I would go back, but I wouldn’t order the same meal. The chicken was very thin and bland, so when I bit in, it was like eating a bacon salad roll, vs. a chicken burger with bacon and salad. The bread was lovely and fresh, the lettuce cracked when I bit in – so super fresh! I am not a foodie, but it was one of those bitey lettuce that tastes sharp – awesome. Another big plus was how unmessy I got eating it. A friend of mine has a running joke of “how many napkins?” (coming soon to a tumblr near you I am sure) I was convinced I would end up with it all over my hands, but happily this wasn’t the case. For the record, I only used two napkins.

The chips were nice! They had dried basil or something on them. I wanted to say “ohhh a little bit fancy” but I was at the wrong burger chain for that! They were also very light to eat, so most enjoyable. I didn’t partake of the aioli, but my friend loves the stuff, so I assume it is goodness in a tub.

Pluses:
Great service/super friendly staff.
Made fresh with real ingredients.
Not that long a wait.
Chips were totes awesomes for reals.
Menus make great wrapping paper.

Minuses:
Chicken was a bit bland.
Fricking hell the birds were noisy!

I will certainly go back, but I can’t see it being a regular thing, like my Sushi Sushi sushi. I “may” give my local Grill’d (The Valley) a go but I won’t order Simon Says again. I think next time I will pick a slab of dead cow with pineapple aka: Summer Sunset.

#twoandahalfpandas (and #oneandahalf of those pandas is for the service and attitude of the staff alone)
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