Back In The Day

Way back in the day, when things were simple, and there was far less to bitch about.

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Posts Tagged ‘Community’

Toy Story 3

Posted by Cantankerous Panda on June 22, 2010

TOY STORY 3 (2010)


I had forgotten what a solid franchise Toy Story was until I saw this film on Saturday. It doesn’t necessarily have a prerequisite for the other two films, but seeing them certainly would help to inform this installment. This film has it all–a decent story, enjoyable characters, great humour, content for both adults and children, and even decent tear-jerking and fear evocation. The plot is absolutely solid–the toys are facing a life-changing dilemma as Andy, their owner, is about to head off to college and has to go through his belongings. Read the rest of this entry »


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The Box

Posted by Cantankerous Panda on April 30, 2010

THE  BOX (2009)

I hate that I keep doing this to you guys, but I have been running around like a chicken with my head cut off for the past week and a half or so, which is why I have been holding out on you with my reviews. But have no fear, dear minions–I fully intend to get my ass back in the theatre and my DVDs back in my player in order to bring you snazzy little reviews for your reading pleasure!!

I watched The Box recently, not knowing that I was walking into another Richard Kelly film. For those of you who do not know, Richard Kelly was the indie wonder-child who delivered hipster-favourite Donnie Darko to an unsuspecting world. I’m not trying to dismiss Darko or Kelly’s work on that film, as I really did enjoy it and I think it was an interesting and well-made film, but if I had known that The Box was Kelly’s film I would have been better prepared and, probably, a little more wary. The concept of The Box reminds me much of the classic horror story “The Monkey’s Paw”. The Box is ‘based’ on the short story “Button, Button”, by Richard Matheson, but the screenplay is Kelly’s (which, again, would have been good to know–shame on me!). I have not read Matheson’s story, but what little I have read about it leads me to believe that it is infinitely better than what Kelly offered. I should note that Matheson’s story was also used on the Twilight Zone series, and Kelly’s film almost feels like a far too long and overworked episode. Read the rest of this entry »

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Role Models

Posted by Cantankerous Panda on February 27, 2010


Yes, I am reviewing a silly comedy. This means I will also be reviewing The Hangover and I Love You, Man in the near future. In today’s world of Judd Apatow comedies, there’s something to be said for the comedies people group in with Apatow’s films but are not actually his… and are also probably funnier. I’m a bit biased about Role Models simply because it’s a movie directed by David Wain of MTV’s The State (an amazingly brilliant ’90s sketch comedy show that was big on random humour). Wain peppers former State members throughout his films (see one of my favourites, Wet Hot American Summer) and so every film he does makes me happy even if I don’t love the actual film (probably shouldn’t see The Ten– it’s OK at best). However, Role Models is actually quite hilarious and full of wonderful performances that includes a lot of improv from the cast.

Read the rest of this entry »

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TV Lineup

Posted by Cantankerous Panda on September 29, 2009

Yes, I’m a goddamn slacker and I admit it. I am thinking about changing my formatting around, because I realized that it’s making me lazy (all the name listing and stuff). Yeah, that’s pathetic, but it’s true.

First I am going to break down some recent movies I’ve seen so I can keep a list going for myself:

City of Embers, Inglourious Basterds, District 9, The Hangover, Sunshine Cleaning…. and I am so blanking on everything else I have seen. I know I have more, but lack of meds= poor memory, so deal with it. Of those, I say Inglourious Basterds is the absolute MUST SEE movie.

Let’s talk a bit of TV, shall we?

The Fall TV Season was in full swing last week with the premiere of some of the most watched shows on TV. Let’s take a look at some returning favourites, as well as some potential new loves. I need to tell you that I find myself in quite the pickle since there’s so much happening on TV this season that I simply CANNOT KEEP UP and I don’t have enough room on my DVR to record all of the overlapping shows! WHAT’S A GIRL TO DO?! Sigh. Anyway, on with it!

Series that are returning this year that I watch:

NCIS is probably one of the best shows on TV. It has a stellar cast, awesome scripts, and great humour while still maintaining its drama. Last week we saw the conclusion to a very troublesome cliffhanger involving one of the most beloved characters, NCIS Liason and Mossad Officer Ziva David (Cote de Pablo). With the promise of things getting much more interesting between her and the VERY Special Agent Anothony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly), I’m still just as hooked as ever on this show. The show airs on Tuesday nights at 8:00 PM on CBS, and I suggest you pick up the DVDs and catch up to the show ASAP.

CSI (THE ORIGINAL IN VEGAS, BABY!) returned with the SURPRISE re-appearance of Sara Sidle! Well, it wasn’t such a surprise to me, as I read things like Entertainment Weekly, but still, it was a surprise for the team. And she was definitely needed. Ever since Sara (Jorja Fox) left, followed not-so-soon after by Grissom (William Petersen), the team has lacked cohesion, and I don’t think that was just a device used by the writers. Laurence Fishburne has been doing a great job, and I’m glad they got rid of the Riley character, who started out strong but then was just a huge bitch, and I think Sara will play a nice stabilizing force in the team. Also, Sara and Grissom are MARRIED. How cute is that?! CSI is on Thursday nights at 9:00 PM on CBS.

Fringe left off at an interesting point last season, with Olivia in a strange alternate universe with Leonard Nimoy (I shit you not), and brought us back into the mix with more confusion than ever. I had heard that Fox had fired Kirk Acevedo (the actor who plays Charlie) and it seems they are intent on getting rid of his character. We’re now two episodes into the season, so that shouldn’t spoil it for anyone who watches the show. For those of you who don’t watch the show, let me tell you this: last week’s episode reminded me of just how much this show is like The X-Files, except JJ Abrams’ version of it. Not saying that’s a bad thing, but it’s hella similar. Fringe is on Thursday nights at 9:00 PM on Fox. I Tivo it in favour of CSI, even though I want to have my way with the ever delicious Joshua Jackson. Mmmmmm.

Dollhouse, Joss Whedon’s crazy “people are programmable” show, ended on its strongest notes last season with the reveal of Alpha, played by the ever-lovable Alan Tudyk of other Whedon projects (Firefly, most notably). For a show that focuses on “non-people”, we really needed some strong characters, and Whedon delivered with Alpha. Sadly, since that whole drama wrapped up last season, we’re back in Whoreville (right where Whedon wants us, much to Fox’s chagrine) and while Echo is finally becoming interesting on her own, I have to say that it’s not enough. I don’t care about the whoremance of the week. I care about the subplot. Unlike the X-Files or NCIS, this cannot get by with simple “case-based episodes”, even if you splash it with a bit of the underlying stories. Its strengths are in the implications of the dollhouse, what it means, where it’s going, and what’s happening with the dolls, most notably Echo (I’m really sick of them trying to emphasize how ‘special’ Echo is. We get it. She is ‘broken’ without being broken. Stop telling us that). This is probably the most frustrating show I watch because I think it has such potential but Whedon is too wrapped up in himself to do it justice. I get that it’s supposed to be a commentary on Hollywood and that kind of mindset, but it’s moved beyond that and I need you to leave the whores at the door. I don’t watch to see Eliza Dushku’s body shown off in every way imaginable on network TV. And PLEASE stop with the “SURPRISE! THIS ESTABLISHED CHARACTER IS ACTUALLY A DOLL” thing. That happened three times last season, and the show was brand-fucking-new. Anyway, Dollhouse airs on Friday nights at 9:00 PM on Fox.

New series that I watch (or am trying to watch):

NCIS: LA had its official kick-off right after NCIS, and I will be honest: I haven’t watched it yet. I saw the crossover that introduced it to us back in spring and I wasn’t that thrilled. They got rid of the female lead, which I have to say I approved of because I didn’t like Louise Lombard in CSI, either. There’s just something about her that makes her come across incredibly stiff and frigid, and I think it might be because she’s forcing the American accent (she’s British). Anyway, I will have to sit down and watch this one, but it had LL Cool J and Chris O’Donnell in it so it should be at least a little bit fun. It’s on Tuesday nights, 9:00 PM, on CBS.

Glee is sort of a breath of fresh air for its ingenuity, and as an avid fan of both showtunes AND a capella, it’s clearly something I enjoy. My biggest problem with Glee is in its over-the-top drama, which I do not think it needs. I am fine with the stereotypical high school archetypes showing up–it worked for The Breakfast Club (RIP John Hughes) and I can even get behind some of the over-the-top silliness, but it’s going a bit far. Two pregnancy dramas both with lying women (and thanks for the awesome portrayal of women there, folks)? A high school cheerleading coach (played by the AMAZING Jane Lynch who is a comedic genius) who manages to have power over EVERYONE? It’s a little much. What breathes life back into the show is how well it goes into its musical numbers, and how fresh and fun they feel without being too cheesy. The Glee Club performances bring the essential element to the show–that of actual glee. And that is what keeps me coming back for more. I have to admit that some of the dark, twisted humour in it is totally up my alley, as well. Oh, and while they mix in some new “hot” music for the kids to perform, they are BIG on the 80s and 90s classics like Don’t Stop Believing and I Wanna Sex You Up. How can I NOT like this show?! Glee airs on Wednesday nights at 9:00 PM on Fox.

Community has some similar snarkiness to it as Glee, and, like Glee, I believe it has a “preview” last spring, as well. It’s a show about the “patheticness” of community college centered around a guy who was a lawyer and got disbarred for having a bogus major in college. All he knows how to do well is lie, and it focuses on his relationship with other students.  It’s full of hilarity due to its lovably absurd characters. This has a very notable cast member: Chevy Chase. He plays a “creepy old guy” at community college, and he’s ridiculously idiotic and plays it with a totally straight face. It’s good to see Chase in this role. I like it a lot. Community airs on Thursday nights at 9:30 PM on NBC (seriously, Thursdays are INSANE).

FlashForward is the new sci-fi show that has totally sparked my interest. It centers on this FBI agent and the people in his life, but the main premise is that one day, without warning, everyone on the planet blacks out for a little over two minutes, regardless of what they are doing. You can imagine the chaos that ensues due to this. When people come to, they remember this “dream” that they had that takes place 6 months in the future, and realize it was a flash forward in time and space instead of an actual dream. The questions now are why did this happen, how did it happen, and will it happen again? Also, why the flash forward, and what does it mean? It’s very intriguing, incredibly well-done in a cinematic sense, and really makes me think that is has much more promise than Lost. I strongly recommend people watch the pilot for this show, because it totally rocked my world. FlashForward airs at 8:00 PM on Thursday nights on ABC (yes, ABC. I was shocked, too).

The Forgotten is the NEW CHRISTIAN SLATER (spoken a la Clueless). It’s another one of those case-by-case shows, brought to you by THE Jerry Bruckheimer, but it’s not another CSI or Law and Order. These are the people who are not official law enforcers, but who gather together as a task force to help find the identities of the Jane and John Does out there when the police have to move on. It’s a touching concept, really, and I know such task forces exist. It might be a little too hokey at first, but it has some promise and I was interested in the case as it went along. I don’t know if I like the dead girl voice-over stuff, but I’ll see how that goes. And Christian Slater is always pure love. The Forgotten airs on Friday nights at 9:00 PM on ABC.

Modern Family is what I am going to call a hilariously witty and zany comedy. It’s the most quotable show of the past week, in my opinion. It’s about three separate families: the traditional married couple with three kids, an older divorced man with his second, much young, immigrant wife and her 11 year-old son, and the gay couple who adopt a Vietnamese baby. They seem disjointed at first, until we realize that the wife of the first family is the sister of one of the gay men, and their father is the divorced older man (played perfectly by Married With Children’s Ed O’Neill). There’s definitely a dysfunctional family aspect to this story, both within each individual family and within the larger family, but it’s absolutely hilarious and this episode ended on a heartwarming note rather than the bitterness that Arrested Development constantly shoved down our throats. There’s a lot of 4th wall breaking, as well. As for the quotable aspect, here’s a breakdown of my favourite line from TV last week: The husband in the “traditional” family is talking about how he’s the “cool father” and is telling the person behind the camera how he’s “hip”: “I surf the web, you know, I text! ‘LOL’-Laugh Out Loud; ‘OMG’-Oh My God; ‘WTF’- Why The Face?” I laugh every time I think about that line. There’s also an AMAZING scene towards the end that I have to link here:

Yeah, every baby should be introduced to families like that. Modern Family airs on Wednesday nights at 9:00 PM on ABC. ABC has been surprising me this year, in a totally pleasant way!

For reality TV, we’re already well into both Top Chef and Project Runway.

Project Runway is in Los Angeles this year, and it has certainly taken its toll on the show. With a lack of Nina Garcia and “The Duchess” Michael Korrs (that’s my nod to the AMAZING blog Project Rungay), the show is starting to hurt. They keep rotating in guest judges so there’s no consistency, and last week the judges seemed to be judging on totally different criteria, not only from the original instructions given to the designers, but also from designer to designer. It’s terribly frustrating, and I quite frankly would rather ditch Heidi Klum and move the show back to NYC with Nina and Michael rather than have to suffer through this type of season again. And can we please move beyond “Make a pretty dress” challenges?? My favourites are Shirin, Althea, and potentially Epperson (much as I dislike him as a person, I think he has talent). I haven’t gotten a real feel for the others, except I know I dislike Irina. I like Gordana, as well, but she hasn’t wowed me just yet. And last week’s winner, Nicholas, was a complete joke. Project Runway is now a Lifetime affair, and it airs Thursday nights at 10:00 PM (encore showing at 11:30 PM after Models Of the Runway, where models get process-of-eliminationed off the show via designers picking which models they want for the next challenge. Oh, and there’s apparently model-drama).

Top Chef is in Las Vegas, which feels sort of cheap to me. I am not digging the “super quickfires” with thousands of dollars being thrown at them. I think immunity is enough, thanks. This season we have a TON of really talented cheftestants, and while some of them were clearly the weaker links, I really like this group. It’s also HUGELY into the lesbian scene this year, which is fine and all, except this one chick named Ashley bitched about having to cater a wedding because “she can’t get married, so why should she have to do this?” Um, because it’s your fucking job, you ungrateful bitch. Seriously, I don’t give a fuck. This is not a political stage here, missy. This is a cooking show and they are willing to let you cook your food for a chance to win A LOT of money to help advance your career. Save your “woe is me, I am not an equal” tears for The Bachelorette; this is not the time nor the place. You are in my bottom three and you will remain there for all eternity (also, your food has been subpar so far, and you got lucky with that one challenge that you won). Also in my bottom picks are the obnoxious Michael (the short, dark-haired one) who thinks he is FAR better than he really is, and Robin, who totally won the last challenge because a judge with a boring palette was the guest and Robin mentioned her cancer. Way to go, Robin. You should have been sent home the previous week, not Mattin. But I digress. My tops are the twin brothers (yum!) Bryan and Michael, Kevin (who seems like the nicest person ever) and Jen. Jen Jen Jen. Jen is my new Casey. She has her shit together and I don’t recall her making anything horrid. Even her dish that she felt wasn’t her “best” landed her in the top chefs last week. Seriously, this girl has mad skills and I am hoping that she ends up in the final 3/4. Top Chef airs on Bravo TV on Wednesday nights at 10:00 PM (encore showing at 11:00 PM)

Shows that they didn’t bring back or are dead to me (this one is short):

Life was an absolutely brilliant show. It was funny, clever, smart, and just all-out enjoyable. It was right up there with NCIS. NBC didn’t do a thing with promotion, and they axed the show after two years. And for some unknown reason, they decided NOT to move the show over to NBC’s sister station USA, which proudly hosts all sorts of “characters”, including Monk and Psych (I love Psych, by the way– it airs Friday nights at 10:00 PM on USA). Life would have fit perfectly on USA, but they didn’t move the show. I recommend renting the DVDs so you can see the wasted brilliance of that show. Season 2 was greatness. Damian Lewis and Sarah Shahi were epically wonderful.

House, M.D. is dead to me. I will always love Hugh Laurie as Dr. House, and I will always have my fan-fantasy of him getting with Dr. Allison Cameron (Jennifer Morrison), but that ship has sailed, it seems. They have killed his character in ways I cannot even describe, and this show has one of the worst accountability for cannon and consistency that I have ever witnessed. Why build up sexual tension between House and Cameron, so much so that they have a very hot kiss, just to act like it never happened? Why have Dr. Chase basically date rape Cameron while she was clearly high on ecstasy, show her all repulsed by him and mocking him for being “quick to the finish”, only to engage in a purely sexual relationship that later turns into a marriage? Her character was growing, dammit! And then they beat her back down and put Slutty–er, I mean CUDDY– in the spotlight. Her character is a mess. She’s an empty set of tits. I wish I were joking. She talked about how she had to fight her way to this position of authority in a male-dominated workplace, and yet she walks around in these ridiculously tight skirts and waaaaay low-cut blouses, making her into a sex object. There’s no way that works. She has no backbone whatsoever, and her relationship with House makes me want to vomit. They lack chemistry in every way, and considering how poorly he treats her and how authority and not being shat on by men in the medical world was really important to her, I cannot even begin to fathom how she can have romantic feelings for him. When she was trying to get pregnant, he yelled at her–while she was having a breakdown–that she would be a horrible mother. Oh yeah, that would surely make my panties all wet! Cuddy belongs with Wilson, not House. I’m tired of the “every woman wants House” aspect to the show. It’s clearly written by men who truly believe that all women love assholes. I mean, I love House because I can watch him from afar. If I had to deal with him on a day-to-day basis, I’d despise the man. So basically House + Cuddy = vomit, and Cameron + Chase = vomit (also, Jennifer Morrison and Jesse Spencer, aka Chase, were getting married in real life, but broke up awhile before they decided to do the Cameron/Chase marriage. How weird do you think that was?!) House airs on a day without much going on but I refuse to give it any bump by listing it.

So that’s it, my lovable little munchkins. That’s all the TV I can think of for right now, and it’s A LOT. I don’t have enough time for this much TV, dammit! And I promise to try and get back into the swing of things with reviews. Like I said, I’m considering a serious reformatting. Perhaps I will just mention names as I go along instead of listing all the specifics at the get-go.

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