Posts Tagged ‘fourandahalfpandas’

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.

Sorbello’s Italian Restaurant – Mackay (Queensland)

Saturday, August 27th, 2011

Garlic Prawn Fettucini - so good I am actually thinking about writing a letter to ask for the recipe.

Based on the main strip in downtown Mackay is Sorbello’s Italian Restaurant – a place that the locals will tell you is one of the oldest and best places to eat in town. Unfortunately, I didn’t know this when I picked a location for lunch and had a very disappointing meal a few hundred metres up the road. After such a letdown, I went back to my hotel for wifi (little to no roaming on Three in downtown Mackay) and logged into UrbanSpoon. Thankfully, there was Sorbello’s with a massive 100% like rating. Allbeit there weren’t hundreds of votes, ok there wasn’t even ten, but considering all the other local restaurants were under 50%, I figured it was a good bet.

On my way there for dinner, I mentioned to the hotel staff I was going to Sorbello’s – needless to say that is when I was informed that it was THE place to eat in town. I had decided to arrive just as the dinner guests would be finishing up, to get one of the last meals before the kitchen closed around 8pm. I had assumed (incorrectly) that Mackay on a Saturday night would be like a small regional town – Mackay smells like steak on Saturday night by the way.

I turned up at 7.45pm and it was packed.

Let me rephrase that – it was overflowing. There were people waiting at the bar for tables to open up, and every inch of table was being utilised. I spoke to Con (one of the Sorbello brothers who own the place), and he agreed to squeeze me in on a table in the bar around 8.30pm.

After a stroll by the river, I returned to find a table for me in the bar. I picked one of my staple wines – Vasse Felix CDW and perused the menu. OMG it is huge! I panicked when I saw how big it was – because generally, the bigger the menu (content not actual physical size) the worse the food. I slowly worked my way through the 100 or more choices, and finally settled on Natural Oysters followed by the Garlic Prawns Fettucini.

Delicious doesn’t cover the Fettucini. The prawns were cooked to perfection, the pasta not gluggy at all. Just spectacular. The oysters were fresh and huge – really huge, but not chewy. I finished up my bottle of wine, and grabbed one of their home made gelato for the stroll back to my hotel. The food itself would be a reason to return, but the service was outstanding – so much so I tipped 20%. When I left at 10.45pm the place was just under 50% full but there were more tables arriving – for deserts and coffees. Sorbello’s is open until midnight. Be aware though, it is closed on Public Holidays.

Pluses:
Central location.
Very fresh ingredients.
Amazing service.
Excellent wine list.
Impossible NOT to find something you want to order.
Huge serves – the entree sized pasta is plenty big for a main.
Great atmosphere – everyone was having a brilliant time (including the staff).

Minuses:
The chocolate gelato was OK, not chocolatey enough for me.
The fettucini was quite broken, so it wasn’t really long enough to twirl (do people in North Queensland eat it with a knife and fork?).

Sorbello’s Italian Restaurant reminds me of those great Italian restaurants we went to as kids. Real restaurants, not a chain, or trying to be upmarket wanky. A real restaurant that takes pride in fresh ingredients, real flavour and good service. I am back in Mackay in October and cannot wait to return – though this time I am booking!

#fourandahalffullpandas
Sorbello's Italian Restaurant on Urbanspoon
Howmanypandas Queensland restaurants

Review – The Vampire Diaries – Season Two Wrap Up

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011

Catherine? Elena? Catherine? Loving a doppleganger and their original must be confusing.

This season:
It was the season of the witch in Mystic Falls. It was easy to work out who was a witch – they were African American. But the idea of balance – what witchcraft is all about we learn – was the underlying theme this season. From dueling and distrustful brothers (not just one set but two), double edged secrets, relationship roundabouts and giving up your life to do the right thing for once in your life: balance reigned supreme.
Caught up in the real world – I haven’t blogged an episode since Klaus. While that is only a day or two in Vampire Diaries time, it seems like years ago.

Pluses:
I freely admit to crying a heap during The Sun Also Rises.
Jenna’s choice (albeit unsuccessful) was magnificent. You could see her emotional pain and that realisation and decision. Brilliant.
Catherine having to go against everything she wanted to fool Klaus.
Caroline, Matt and her Mum.
Catherine’s last words to Elena. BOOM!
Damon getting his payoff.
The truth behind the myth.
Jeremy is seeing things?
THE BODY COUNT!!! (So many death scenes!!)
Brilliant soundtrack.

Minuses:
Bonnie – yawn.
Stefan getting blood lust (Angelus was so much cooler).
Elena being all lack of choice but still insisting she is making decisions.
Did I mention Bonnie?
Alaric woefully underused.
No werewolf vampire face off – I was really looking forward to an all out war in Mystic Falls.

From a show I started to watch because it was the funniest show on TV (after FoxNews), it has grown into a really strong, emotionally driven show. Their approach to mixed living, humour, love and loss is both fun and mature. Next season, based around the Originals I would imagine, is going to be a doozy (so long as there isn’t too much Stefan).


#fourandahalfvampypandas

Review – The Killing – Episodes 1-4

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

I am just going to sit here and pretend to smoke dope, doing my thing. Me a cop? Nah!

Synopsis:
Based on the critically acclaimed and popularly embraced Swedish crime drama “Forbrydelsen” (The Crime), the show follows the murder investigation of a seemingly happy and well adjusted young woman in high school. A large cast, all with their own agendas and secrets, this show has already woven piece of complex yet intriguing drama that sees my hypotheses blown out of the water on a weekly basis.

Pluses:
So many familiar faces (including small roles) but also some amazing new ones.
Michelle Forbes’ Mitch Larsen – truly amazing stuff. The scene in the 3rd (I think) episode where she tries to connect with her daughter is just heart breaking.
Joel Kinnaman as Stephen Holder. I was gobsmacked at how good this actor was and why had I never seen him in anything? Turns out he is a Swedish actor – so fantastic tie in.
The level of intrigue here is insane. Just when you think you know something, you don’t.
I love how we are seeing the same story from so many different perspectives plus the mini personal arcs of the main characters.

Minuses:
Having to wait a week every time to find out what happens.

I couldn’t actually wait to see what happens, especially given the original Forbrydelsen was 20 episodes, so I got the BBC’s subtitled show and watched all of them. One thing I will say, if you think that the The Killing is like a Sara Lee danish pastry (layer upon layer) it is NOTHING on the level of intrigue, false leads, character development and emotional gut wrenching that is Forbrydelsen. I am not quite as impressed with The Killing now I have seen the original, but this review was written before I had spent a good portion of the Longest of Weekends watching Forbrydelsen – so the original rating stands. Oh and I know who did it – so going to watch for all the signs – can already think of a couple I saw but dismissed.

#fourandahalfdrownedpandas

Review – Game of Thrones – Winter is Coming (S01Ep01)

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

 

WHEE! Puppies!

Synopsis:
This is a hugely sprawling fantasy socio-political drama in a world quite different (but with relatable similarities) to our own. Factions, intrigue and a magic thoughs of years old and lost. Sometimes you really don’t see the forrest for the trees.

Pluses:
Loved the opening credits. So many shows now, the credits are all just like sex with a 16yo boy.
We meet the main players (there are a lot and this doesn’t dumb it down for you so hang in there) and get a sense of the menaces rising within and around Westeros – both manmade and supernatural.
Beauty really can be skin deep.
Deception is everything.
Power corrupts so wonderfully.
Accept the label that people give you and make it your own.
PUPPIES!
Bothers and Sisters – love, power, care and domination.
Alliances.
The ending – a great way to keep the tension.
Sean Bean – nuff said.

Minuses:
We didn’t really get a sense of the relationship between the Stark children and the dire wolves. It really should have been developed further IMHO given what is coming.

I have been following this since there were whispers of it being made, so I am just chuffed that it is finally out and I am seeing one of my favourite fantasy dramas coming to life. That HBO is doing vs Hallmark is a HUGE relief. So far it hasn’t disappointed AND it has already been renewed.

#fourandahalfpandasoftheblack

Review- The Vampire Diaries – Klaus (S02Ep19)

Monday, April 25th, 2011

No offense Klaus, but I think Elijah is just a tad hotter, and he doesn't look at me like your favourite meal. #justsaying

Thie week:
After raising Hell witin Alaric’s body recently, we get some Klaus and Elijah backstory before we finally get the meet the real Klaus. Everything we thought we knew, we didn’t. Talk about a twist!

Pluses:
Nice parrells between the sets of brothers – Elijah and Klaus plus Damon and Stefan.
No Bonnie.
Damon trying to stay in control.
Jenna! Was I the only one saying “YAY!”
Fantastic Klaus, Elijah and Katherine backstory.
The truth about Klaus.
The teasing and hinting about The Originals. (Anyone else think that is Season 3?)

Minuses:
No Caroline – we left that at such a critical juncture.

This entire episode took place over a couple of hours. It was full on, flat strap story and character development w very little “vampirism.” This episode truly rocketed along, not staying on any one arc too long. It successfully built up the tension and the speed at which things are coming to resolution as we approach the end of the season. Talk about a game changer!

#fourandahalfOMGpandas

Review – Fringe – Bloodline (S03Ep18)

Monday, March 28th, 2011

 

Oh Seth, your hair is much better in Other There.

This week:
We are back in the Red, and pick up on Fauxlivia’s pregnancy. All is not well for Fauxlivia – she thinks she is being followed and her fellow Fringe Division Agents thinks that they don’t really know what is going on. Add to this a disease from Over There plus an abduction and the scene is set.

Pluses:
No waiting around for this story arc.
Not your usual case of the week.
Great development and use of Seth Gabel’s Lee.
Always nice to see Charlie Francis alive and well.
Hi there Fauxlivia’s mum.
Oh Walternate it was obvious but I feel you let me down.
Torv totally got me – and I am admit I cried.
Lee’s declaration.
Francis and Lee’s final moments.
Henry, our favourite cabbie, is back.

Minuses:
Didn’t feel that sense of urgency about Fauxlivia’s situations.
The twist was telegraphed a little too strongly.
Since when are the Observers so obvious?

After a very weak episode with Os and then a solid episode last week with Stowaway, we are back in the Fringe heartland of great TV. Oh and the title of the final episode has been released – OMG – but I won’t say anything here.

#fourandahalfredpandas

Review – Community – Critical Film Studies (S02Ep19)

Sunday, March 27th, 2011

Heading back, on the track, for a little green bag.

This week:
It is Abed’s birthday, so Jeff arranges an awesome Pulp Fiction party for him. Unbeknownst to Jeff, Abed has his own plans – to have a proper sit down dinner with real conversation.

Pluses:
OMG Abed’s sweater! (This plus the voiceover was an instant tell to the movie they were taking on this week)
The gang’s Pulp fiction outfits.
Troy and the suitcase.
Dany Pudi’s acting.
Jeff’s voice over.
So amazingly funny.
Jeff backstory.
Britta character development.
Not too much Pearce.
Cougar Town (say it in a breathy way).

Minuses:
Little too much Chang (not my favourite character).

With homages to two movie classics as well as the running Cougar Town story line, this episode was up there with the best. The story within a story within a story within a story. Classic. I don’t want to say much more because it will give it away, but if you have seen the major movie this episode hangs on (not Pulp Fiction) you will love every single second of this week’s Community, and probably will love it anyway.

In fantastic recent (since I last blogged about Community) it has been renewed for a third season. It is so nice to see a smart comedy finally accepted and not left hanging with a reasonably early renewal.

#fourandahalfsweatercladpandas

Review – The Chicago Code – Gillis, Chase & Baby Face (S01Ep03)

Sunday, February 27th, 2011

 

I am just going to sip my coffee while I try and not outsmart myself.

This week:
Wysocki and Evers are on the hunt for armed bank robbers. Colvin’s actions put Wysocki and Evers in danger. Organised crime go all passive aggressive. Colvin goes gunning for Gibbons via the Irish Mob.

Pluses:
Holy twists and turns, Batman.
The two major stories this week really complimented each other with great cross over.
The depths of corruption.
Play and double play.
100% engaging.
Wysocki vs Moosekian.
Outstanding writing.

Minuses:
I was disappointed in Wysocki’s niece’s choice but understand the peer thing, but still given her background I thought it unlikely.

The Chicago Code is far and away my favourite show on TV right now. Its intelligent writing and story arcs, incredible acting and brilliant delivery makes this show my #1 on the watch list. Make it yours too. The Chicago Code is on USiTunes.

#fourandahalfoutstandingpandas

Review – Community – Intro to Political Science (S02Ep17)

Saturday, February 26th, 2011

This may be my sister's outfit, but do you think these shorts make me look fat, Annie?

This week:
Progressive yet folksy Joe Biden is coming to Greendale to meet the Dean and the student council. With no student council, elections have to be held immediately. What could possibly go wrong?

Pluses:
Abed action (as much as Abed can).
Secret Service.
Jeff’s total domination of the debate without saying a thing.
Annie’s AV presentation. I laughed so hard I almost cried.
Greendale CCTV – loved their ticker too.
Key marks (Had me laughing before the credits).
The Dean’s sister.
Pierce wasn’t nearly as annoying as usual.

Minuses:
POP POP.

I loved this episode on so many levels. Abed and the Secret Service interactions were just glorious. Annie and Jeff’s interactions. Pierce’s motivations… all gold. Such a strong show, and this episode was great.

#fourandahalfsouthparkpandas