Posts Tagged ‘period’

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 – The Playboy Club – Pilot (S01Ep01)

Saturday, September 24th, 2011

Pick a bunny, any bunny.

Synopsis:
It is 1960’s Chicago, and the Playboy Club is the hottest “key” in town. The bunnies are the most liberated women around, they can be whomever they want, including the African American “Chocolate” Bunny. Into this mix we have the movers and shakers, corrupt and not, in Chicago. What could possibly go wrong?

Pluses:

Interesting concept.
Liberation and repression with false expectations all rolled into one.
OMG it was David Krumhotlz as Billy Rosen.
Could be an interesting series arc if it gets its full run.
I like the gay rights subplot (including Sean Maher).
Nick Dalton is the name of the main character – I know a Nick Dalton.

Minuses:

For all its sexy bunny outfits, and Bunny Mansion parties, it was decidedly unsexy.
Not tightly written.
Characters need a lot of fleshing out.
Didn’t really have much suspense – even the big suspense scene.

This show didn’t really gel in the pilot. It has the potential to be an interesting character driven piece, they just have to work out what type of show it is – it doesn’t quite know yet. Is it noir? Is it T&A? Is it Mad Men lite?

#twoandahalfpandaswithabunnytail

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 – 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 – Solomon Kane (2009)

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

Agents of Satan like to crucify too!

Synopsis:
Solomon Kane is a bad ass privateer/military man serving under Queen Elizabeth I, bent on treasure and destruction until he finds out that his evil ways means he is doomed to Hell. Go figure. He turns into a man of peace, until Evil takes hold of his little corner of England.

Pluses:
Lots of shots that were graphic novel perfect (mind you I have never read it) but you know the look I mean.
John Purefoy.
Pete Postlethwaite (already missed).
Nicely styled.
Interesting take on that time period – no Gloriana.
Some of the fight scenes were nicely done.
The cellar dwellers.
Some of the special effects were pretty sweet – especially the ones involving mirrors.

Minuses:
Some of the sets were pretty badly made – the graveyard of the old church especially.
Didn’t really gel as a story.
Solomon’s speaking voice.
He sent her back???

This movie at times felt and looked big budget, and at other times it had all the signs of a made for SyFy movie. It had all the components on paper to make it work, but it just didn’t. Obviously, there is no franchise out of this, which is a shame, because Solomon Kane is an interesting character, just not necessarily the way he was written for the movie – just like Van Helsing.

#twoandahalfevilfightingpandas

Preview – Camelot – Pilot (S01Ep01)

Sunday, March 6th, 2011

"I thought I was going to get laid, not have to deal with challenges," said Arthur, frustrated by his lack of action.

Synopsis:
Starz, the US network is funding even more Brit drama. Camelot tells the story we all know so well. King Arthur, Merlin, Morgan, Camelot etc, but approaches it from a slightly different angle (apparently). Starting with the death of Uther Pendragon, we will follow Arthur from his birth as a green King, through to the Once and Future King.

This week:
Morgan commences her plan for power and ropes in an unlikely ally. Merlin picks Arthur out of obscurity and brings him to Camelot where Arthur faces a whole slew of problems and challenges he never thought to ask about before agreeing to be King.

Pluses:
Brilliantly styled. I cannot tell you how well the costumes are constructed.
Eva Green as nefarious Morgan.
Arthur is portrayed as very flawed.
It was an absolute joy to discover James Purefoy as King Lot.
The way magic is underplayed.
Speed. This episode covered a lot of ground, yet moved very fast and was tightly edited.
Killer cast.

Minuses:
Some of the dialogue was pretty awful – especially Merlin’s. I felt a little sorry for Joseph Fiennes having to deliver those lines.
I didn’t know boybangs were in fashion back in dark ages Britain.

I am a huge fan of the Legend of King Arthur so I was always going to watch this, but really enjoyed myself. The only thing I don’t like is that I have to wait till April for it to be released.

#fouronceandfuturepandas

Review – Never Let Me Go (2010)

Friday, February 11th, 2011

All the role playing in the world can't prepare you for meeting "real people."

Synopsis:
Based on the best selling novel of the name name, Never Let Me Go is the same world as ours, only slightly different. In the recent past, children were copied/created to provide donor organs when they came of age. These children are raised in an exclusive boarding school, but grow up knowing their eventual fate. We follow three of these children from their youth through to “completion.” Tommy (Andrew Garfield), Kathy H (Carey Mulligan), and Ruth (Keira Knightly) search for what makes them who they are, their soul and their “original.”

Pluses:
Everything is so poignant.
The acting is outstanding – especially Carey Mulligan. Her voice overs touched my heart.
The children and their “bumper crop.”
Tommy’s outbursts – especially towards the end.
The concept of hope.
Humanity – having a soul.
The belief that Love is verifiable.
The idea of “completion.”
Loneliness.
Fish out of water.
Art direction.
Stunning panoramas that contract so well with the insularness of their existence.
Outstanding cast – including supporting cast.

Minuses:
Wanted to know what happened to their friends at The Cottages.
Give Knightly a sandwich!

I had no idea Tommy was Andrew Garfield until his hair was cropped very in the last third of the movie – and then I instantly recognised him from The Social Network. This was such a moving and thought provoking movie. As Kathy says, “We all complete.” Life is short. Sometimes you know what your fate is, other times you don’t, but it is how you embrace who you are and how you live that counts. The maturity and understanding that they embraced their fate was so well delivered. This is not your “Happy Ever After” chick flick and the SciFi component is so far less than minimal I almost didn’t tag it as such.

This movie is being released on March 31st in Australia (6 months after the US release) – or you can get it on US iTunes now.

#fourpandas