Archive for the ‘Film’ Category

Mr. Holmes (2015)

Sunday, July 19th, 2015
The ever enigmatic Mr. Holmes

The ever enigmatic Mr. Holmes

Sherlock Homes is now in his 90’s and struggling to remember his last case as his memory fades. Why did he give up a successful detective career? What terrible thing must he have done that he walked away? We follow Sherlock on his journey or remembering, and forgetting that is so gently and poignantly written.
Pluses:
Milo Parker is amazing
Gorgeously written – each word has a place
Multiple story lines playing out across different time lines
Wonderfully styled
Sir Ian McKellan is astounding – playing a man 30 years apart.

Minuses:
Laura Linney – was there no one else available to play this part?

It was lovely to see a movie focusing on a well known character that isn’t all pyrotechnics and GCI. Just good old fashioned story telling and brilliant acting. I admit to wiping away a tear or two a few times throughout the movie and laughing out loud at the cheekiness!

howmanypandas.com 4.5

4.5 reflective pandas

Thankyou to @ReviewBrisbane for the tix.

Fury (2014)

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014
What makes a hero? Not murder.

What makes a hero? Not murder.

Synopsis:
Man’s inhumanity to man. (Robert Burns)
War is hell.  (William T. Sherman)
War makes monsters of us all. (George R.R. Martin)
Any of these famous quotes fit Fury perfectly.
This movie is a no holes barred, brutal take on war. What it does to people and what people do to each other. Set during the last days of WW2 in Nazi Germany, we follow the crew of Fury, an Abrahams Tank and what it means for them to be in the midst of the fighting.


Pluses:
The characters are multifaceted. The heroes are not heroes.
The writing is brilliant with the story development and clever use of back story.
Amazing acting.
Clever camera work, creating a feeling of claustrophobia.
Astounding cinematography and set design.
Use of archival footage.


Minuses:
Realistic battle scenes and post conflict imagery.
Did I mention realistic?
Use of archival footage. This left us even more broken.


Overall, this movie was brilliant. But it was as harrowing as it was brilliant.
It is not a feel good movie.
It is not a date movie.
If you want to have hope in your fellow man, avoid. I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone with a generous heart.
howmanypandas.com 4
#4emotionallybrokenpandas

Review – Star Trek – Into Darkness (2013)

Thursday, May 9th, 2013
Was I the only one to see a Star Wars image in this shot?

Was I the only one to see a Star Wars image in this shot?

Synopsis
After a terrorist attack on Earth, the crew of the Enterprise form up and head off to try and catch the culprit – who is harbouring more than one game changing secret –  all while dealing with oh so much lens flare.

Pluses:
Witty banter – there was some truly great dialogue in this instalment.
Good use of supporting characters.
Spot the cameos.
Cumberbatch fighting when he was way outnumbered.
Some great wide angled shots.
Hat tips to the original series/film franchises except one (in cons).

Minuses:
One particular scene’s dialogue – I won’t give it away – and while there was the odd titter at the exchange, it was totally unnecessary.
The over complexity belying one contact point on of a piece of equipment.
Not enough Cumberbatch.
Too many male tears feeling somewhat disingenuous.
A reverse of a classic scene from the original movie franchise.
They hung so much light on one plot point resolution that I can’t imagine anyone not seeing it coming.
Vulcan hair styles are not designed for running.

Overall, it was a very enjoyable flick. I didn’t realise I was seeing the 3D version (I try and avoid them like the plague), and while there were the usual 3D designed scenes, some went past so fast as to not “get” the 3D experience.
Did anyone else think the StarFleet uniforms looks a bit like the SS just in grey and without skulls and bones on the hats?
PS. There’s nothing at the end of the credits, so if you don’t feel like sitting through them after the 3D candy ends, you won’t miss anything.

howmanypandas.com 4

 

 

 

#fourlensflaringpandas

Review – The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey (2012)

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013
Maybe if we eat throughout the food we can stay awake

Maybe if we eat throughout we can stay awake

To say I was excited about The Hobbit would be a complete understatement. I followed all the pre-release info with bated breath. Imagine my disappointment to not being able to go and see it the instant it opened? (I was involved in a car vs cyclist incident) So I waited and waited. Avoided reviews, opinions and stayed true. I finally saw it in late January shortly before heading back to hospital for surgery. Urgh.

Synopsis:
Nothing happens.

Positives:
Was nice to see the familiar locations and style.
So many of the cast were actors I have enjoyed for years.

Negatives:
Does Jackson need a new island or something? Cuase there is NO reason to drag this out so badly.
The writing was so untidy. Yes The Lord of the Rings was long but it moved. The Hobbit was a rollicking fast adventure story, not a long drawn out battle with Hobbit Cancer.
Was absolutely unwatchable to someone who had a shorter attention span (due to injuries).
Filled with tosh – and not the good Tosh.0 either.

I gave up after about 50 mins or so – when Bilbo was about to go snatched by the Trolls.

Nothing happened. I remember a funny piece by The Onion about how the movie was 50 mins of Bilbo deciding what to pack. Yeah, that.

If I ever break my leg again and am high on pain killers I might give it another go, but for now, I’ll just wait for the third movie, then wait for it to come to TV, then possibly go out that night.

onepanda

 

 

 

 

#OnePanda (but only because I loved LOTR so much).

Review – The Imposter (2012)

Monday, March 11th, 2013
The Imposter - Close Up

When is the truth really the truth when not even those who know can tell it.

Synopsis

This documentary with reenactments won a prize at Miami International Film Festival as well as being a Grand Jury finalist at Sundance, so I was interested in seeing it. If I had of just seen this as a fiction based on a true story, I would never have believed it. We are such odd creatures, driven by motivators others do not, cannot, possibly hope to understand.

The Imposter tells the true story, with interviews from the key players, of a young french man who pretended to be a missing American teenager in the late 90’s who had been missing for a few years. What follows raises questions you desperately want to ask but also don’t want answered. That such a fraud was able to be perpetrated at all asks still more questions, but in the end, all you are left with a feeling of profound sadness. A beautifully crafted but incredibly profound sadness.

Pluses

Fantastically edited making you reconsider your own assumptions.
Reenactments are not overdone and edited tightly with the interviews.
Real people are often far more compelling than anything fictional.
The twists and turns of truth.

Minuses

The constant disbelief, even though you know it is true, leaving with that sadness that continues to resonate.

This negative is actually a very strong reason to see the film – because of its challenge to you and how your feelings towards to participants change throughout the film.

 howmanypandas.com 4

 

 
#FourPandas

Review – Tree of Life (2011)

Saturday, July 2nd, 2011

Sean Penn's character ponders the meaning of life.

Synopsis:
Middle aged dude in current time period spends the day pondering how he got to where he is now. He does this by going back to the primordial ooze and works his way forward, spending a large part of the movie in space, under water, with the dinosaurs and reliving a Summer in his childhood.

Pluses:
No denying that Brad Pitt’s acting was the best this about this movie.
It finally ended.

Minuses:
Where to start?
Dinosaurs?
Jesus H Christ the amount of David Attenborough-esque shots was a joke.
Way too much time trying to be existentialist.
The time line was totally out. If he grew up in the 50’s, how can he be in his 40’s now?
The promise of nature vs grace was ignored.
It’s ok because a carnivourous dinosaur did’t eat a dying dinosaur. WTF?

Now I know this isn’t your normal narrative style movie, but this was drawn out in ways it didn’t need to be. It reminded me of that movie you saw at uni if you were stoned. Can’t remember what it was called, but that one. Totally unnecessary “bullshit wank wank whine whine oh thank god it is over” movie.

On the plus side, my friend and I went to an early preview 2 weeks before opening and we got good champagne and more popcorn that we could eat. It promised so much, and didn’t deliver at all.

#halfawankypanda

 

Review – The Way Back (2010)

Sunday, April 10th, 2011

How far would you go to be free?

Synopsis:
World War Two is raging through out Europe. Sent away to Siberia for crimes (real and imagined) our unlikely band of heroes plan their escape, which sends them on a journey across Eastern Asia. Based on the true story of one of three men who walked out of Siberia and into India.

Pluses:
Amazing acting (though I admit when Farrell said his first line I groaned, but quickly forgotten).
Incredibly journey, physically and spiritually.
Always nice to see Saoirse Ronan in a movie that doesn’t suck.
The scenery.
The pace was nice and even.
Love the combination of the wide shots with the close ups for urgency of their situation.
Beautifully shot and executed.
I admit I cried.
Would have liked to know what happened to the other characters who made it out.
The ended – I know it was cheesy but I was totally bought in.

Minuses:
I thought the beginning was a bit stereotypical.

This movie will lift you up, drag you down and leave you exhausted but revelling in the experience.

#fouremotionallyexhuasedbutrewardedpandas

 

Review – Age of the Dragons (2011)

Saturday, April 9th, 2011

When I said yes to this role I didn't know I was going to have to sit in the make up chair for hours every day. Going to fire my agent!

Synopsis:
Imagine Moby Dick isn’t a whale but a dragon. The Rachel isn’t a whaling boat but a person. Queequeg isn’t a burly warrior but a hipster, and the Pequod isn’t a boat, but a land vehicle.

Pluses:
I am all for unusual adaptations.
Scenery was nice.

Minuses:
How do you screw up a classic like Moby Dick? (see synopsis for answer)
Vince Jones with dialogue.
No gams (less the raiders count).
Ahab’s backstory.
Love interest in Moby Dick??
Average CGI.
The Pequod was a bit of a joke.

I knew I was getting myself in for something terrible, but this was bad. Beyond bad. The acting (How did they get Danny Glover? Did he need a new ferrari or something?). Now, don’t get me wrong, I love bad movies when they are good bad movies, but this was just bad.

#halfanadaptedpanda

Review – Stonehenge Apocalypse (2010)

Monday, April 4th, 2011

Look out! It is a Stonehenge Apocalypse!

Synopsis:
During an Egyptian style tomb excavation, Stonehenge is “turned on,” and commences a count down to destroy the world as we know it. Only a radical fringe scientist can save the world from the real scientists stuck in their ways before more people, and the world is keeeled.

Pluses:
Seeing Stonehenge move was awesome.
The story was so bad it was hysterical.
Spot the Stargate franchise cast.
Oh it is an angel trying to save the world.

Minuses:
OMG the dialogue.
The lack of background cast. The SWAT assault is exactly what I am talking about here.
The special effects.
The military decision making.

This movie was recommended to me as a bad, oh so bad movie, and didn’t disappoint. It was atrocious. Awesomely atrocious.

#oneandahalfapocalypticpandas

Review – Arctic Blast (2010)

Monday, March 28th, 2011

 

This is my "I am a serious meteorologist face" that I use when I tell people the world is going to end.

Synopsis:
A world leading meteorologist is working in Hobart (yes HOBART) as a tear in the ozone layer causes icy air from the mesophere to rush down to the Southern Ocean and an Ice Fog (yes an Ice Fog) is heading towards Tasmania. Can our hero scientist save Tasmania, the world, his daughter AND his marriage?

Pluses:
I laughed within 20 seconds.
Nice to see a disaster movie with Australian accents.
Hobart is very pretty.
Michael Shanks is the lead for all the Stargate tragics.

Minuses:
The acting.
The dialogue.
The mix match in deaths – the first few all died one way, then they died a different way from the same event.
Did I mention the acting and dialogue?
The plot.
After Hobart, every other event happens over the landmark of an international capital city.
The special effects weren’t very special.

What Arctic Blast proves is that Australia can’t make an Eco-Disaster movie. Let’s be honest though, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

#halfanembarrassedpanda