Posts Tagged ‘DRAMA’

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

Broadchurch (Season 1)

Monday, July 8th, 2013
Yeah, I know I look like shit. I'm still your boss!

Yeah, I know I look like shit. I’m still your boss!

This was originally created as a stand alone series, however it has now been renewed for a second season.

Broadchurch tells the story of the death of a youth in a small beachside town and its impact on the community and the police is an emotionally exhausting yet totally engaging journey. Tennant (DI Hardy) moves to this small town with no real crime after a terrible murder case. Infact the first crime we see him investigate is a perfect entrée into the community. Colman (DS Miller) is the local police woman who has to manage this terrible murder of her friend’s son, while still remaining professional officer – hard to do when you know the victim AND every possible suspect and have for years.

Pros:
Brilliantly written.
Minor characters are so well developed with strong arcs of their own.
The child actors are not your typical can’t act for anything child actors.
The killer is revealed in a way that is heartbreaking.
The depth of the main characters is extraordinary.

 Minuses:
I had a headache from crying so much after the conclusion.
I didn’t pick who the murderer was till a particular conversation between two characters about an unrelated matter – then I knew – but it was so close to the reveal that it barely counts.

Broadchurch was the best 8 hours of TV I had seen since Borgen. Like the fantastic NordicNoir, a lot of what is said is actually, unsaid. The ability to build and then deflect tension is outstanding while never losing empathy for any of the characters. Even when the murderer was caught, my heart was still breaking.

FIVEPANDAS

#Fivecrimesolvingpandas

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 – The Vampire Diaries – The Birthday (S03Ep01)

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

Damon is drinking and brooding. It must be a day ending in Y.

This week:
What a difference a Summer in Mystic Falls makes. Everything is the same, but also totally different. Elena and Damon still have unresolved feelings. Elena is pining over Stephan. Stephan is still on his blood kick. Klaus is still reading his own publicity. Caroline and Tyler are spending a lot of time together. Jeremy is seeing the ghosts of his ex-girlfriends and Ric is still lost. It doesn’t take much though to change the game…

Pluses:
Ripper Damon wasn’t just a lame copy of the idea of Ripper from Buffy. It is a little bit more literal than that.
Caroline and Tyler dynamic.
Jeremy telling the truth.
Andy’s exit.
Damon’s “humanity” and the contract to Stephan’s lack of control.
No actual witches on the ground this episode. Yes I still can’t stand Bonnie.

Minuses:
A lot happened, but at the same time, other than changing the dynamic, not a lot occured.
For a big bad, I find Klaus a tad lame. Bring back Elijah!
Brooding, dark Stephan (only mildly less boring that brooding, sanctimonious Stephan).
Donde estas Catherine?

This was a rollicking little episode that got us right back into the game that is Mystic Falls. Where the first families think they know everything but actually know next to nothing. Where life and death is only as real as the person with the power to make it so, and where dopplegangers, witches, werewolves and vampires are just your regular walk in the park.

#threehybridpandas

Review – True Blood – Season 4 (SPOILERS)

Monday, September 26th, 2011

I actually LOL'ed when they did the slow motion walk.

Over all, this season didn’t take me on the same sort of journey as previous seasons. We had vampires, shifters, fairies and wolves (oh my!) – but we also had witches and ghost whisperers.

Pluses:
Jason development (apart from the first arc).
Tara is dead! (I know she won’t stay dead and I am thinking a faery twist)
Alcide is finally rid of Debbie.
Tommy is finally dead (I hated that whole Mickens plot from last year).
Nan is finally dead – the true death.
Lots of puppy dog (and nekkid) Eric.
Andy’s journey.
Jessica’s development.
Loved the Rene moment!
Gran!

Minsues:
WTF? Ghost Whisper? The worst episode in TB – ever.
The break from the books – now normally I don’t mind – but the whole Eric and Sookie thing – too neatly wrapped up – the books did it MUCH better.
Jason’s “recovery” after being repeatedly raped.
Sookie did very little, if any, character development this season.
Sookie has very bland threesome fantasies.
MoonGoddess Yawn Emporium.
I didn’t think that the arc of “mainstreaming” really meshed neatly with the whole witch thing very well.

Any TrueBlood is better than no TrueBlood, but I do so hope next season gets back on track. The last episode helped me forget a lot of what I didn’t like, but still just an average season.

#twoandahalffangedpandas

Review – Person of Interest – Pilot (S01Ep01)

Sunday, September 25th, 2011

Yes, you are being watched so don't go out in ugg boots, m'ok?

Scenario:
Post 9/11 the world changed. We are all now watched by CC TV, and tracked in our day to day lives. What if the patterns of our day to day lives gave away more than just suspected terrorism plots?

Pluses:
Jim Caviezel (though apparently he calls himself James now).
Michael Emerson.
Interesting concept.
Nice fight scenes.
Leg shots!
Love the cutaways – very uncomfortable.

Minuses:
Writing didn’t really build suspense.
Found it hard to get into it till about 20 mins.
Had trouble being empathetic to the characters.
Not sure I like the whole “cop trying to find the truth” arc – been there done that a gazabillion times. Given the premise it could have been a lot more interesting and menacing.
Discussed but didn’t address the loss of human rights to gain “freedom.”
Think it is going to be very formulaic.
No female lead.

For a pilot, it wasn’t bad – but it wasn’t great. It told me what was happening, what to expect from week to in way of episodes. It is enough to have me coming back for a few more weeks to see what happens, but not convinced yet.

#twoandahalfwaitingtobeimpressedpandas

Review – The Lying Game (Episodes 1-5)

Sunday, September 25th, 2011

Having everything, including a family who loves you, doesn't automatically make you a better person....

Synopsis:
If Ringer is twin swapping for adults (why it is on the CW I don’t know), then The Lying Game is twin swapping for teens. Sutton Mercer is rich, pretty and a bitch. She recently discovered that her parents lied about her adoption and decides to find the truth. She discovers she has a twin sister, Emma during this search. Emma is a foster kid, trapped in the system with a creepy “brother” who wants to sleep with her. Emma does a runner to Sutton after the brother tries to blackmail her into sex. Following? This is like the first 7 minutes. Sutton has a lead on their supposedly dead birth mother, and convinces Emma to swap with her so she can find her. What could possibly go wrong?

Pluses:
Nature vs nurture.
Teenagers having manufactured problems.
Twists and turns.
Adrian Pastar from Heroes.
Some very interesting choices for supporting characters (Tyler Christopher from General Hospital!)
Twists and turns.
Emma’s development.
Everyone lies (I sound like House).
Awesome sound track – got to the be the same guy who does TVD.

Minuses:
Sutton is a bit of a one trick pony.
Doesn’t seem to be a lot of grey to the characters – white hat/black hat.
Char has potential to be a really strong and interesting character, Kirsten Prout can act the socks of others in this show but hasn’t had the opportunity as yet.

For a bit of teen drama, this is much better than Pretty Little Liars, but I don’t think it will be as popular as it isn’t quite as OTT  and salacious as PLL. A fun 45 minutes of escapism each week – and we all know how much I love a teen drama!

#threeteenpandas