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 ‘recommended’


Posted by Cantankerous Panda on September 26, 2010


At last, my long-awaited review for Inception is here. Who DOESN’T want to talk about this movie? Now, I’m going to attempt to write about this in a way that allows people who have yet to see it to skip over the spoilery parts, but if you’re super-strict about such things you might just want to come back here after you’ve seen it. And yes, you should see it. I am breaking my pattern here and telling you upfront that this is a film to watch. I saw The Prestige and I did not enjoy it, but I really liked this film (and yes, I understood The Prestige far too well, which is part of the reason why I didn’t like it–but I’ll get into that when I write that film up). So, for those of you who are terribly behind on your cinema exposure, go see Inception and then get back to me. Read the rest of this entry »


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My Man Godfrey

Posted by Cantankerous Panda on July 2, 2010


“The only difference between a derelict and a man is a job.”

Another classic screwball comedy to throw into the mix. This title was always familiar to me, and yet I never really knew any of the stars, nor did I know anything about the plot. I found myself quite surprised and amused by the film, while also slightly irked throughout. The film is quick to the pick-up, dumping the viewer in a trash heap with a number of homeless men. When a few members of the bourgeoisie pull up to the site, one particularly snooty woman offers $5 to her homeless man of choice, telling him that they are taking part in a high-class scavenger hunt and that bringing in a “forgotten man” will bring their team a huge amount of points and the win. Little did she know that the man she chose is smart, quick-witted, and uncompromising of his dignity, nor is he afraid to speak back to those with money and power. Instead of helping her, he opts to help her kinder–albeit naive and spoiled–sister, and subjects himself to becoming an almost zoo-like spectacle to a room full of upper-crust men and women. Read the rest of this entry »

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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 French Connection

Posted by Cantankerous Panda on June 5, 2010


Behold, a young Gene Hackman and possibly the best car chase scene in cinematic history!

Forgive me, but I just got obsessed with The West Wing and I kinda need to finish it before the fall begins (SEVEN SEASONS) so I have been powering through the episodes and not devoting my free time to this blog. I am ashamed.

The French Connection should ring at least SOME bells. It’s a definite classic, it’s a rough and dirty film, and it’s incredibly famous for the car chase sequence. This is a major Oscar-winning film, bringing in the little gold man for Best Actor, Best Director, Best Film Editing, Best Writing (based on another work), and Best Picture–the first R-rated film ever to win for Best Picture after the MPAA adopted the rating system. It also had nominees for Best Supporting Actor, Best Cinematography, and Best Sound. It is another selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.  This movie, my friends, was a big deal. And rightly so. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by Cantankerous Panda on May 29, 2010

Before I start, just going to say RIP Dennis Hopper. All of you people should see Blue Velvet immediately to honor his memory (or Easy Rider, but I still haven’t seen that and it’s on my list).


A lesser-known Walter Matthau film! Walter Matthau is probably best known to you whippersnappers as one of the ‘Grumpy Old Men’, along with Jack Lemmon. That pairing was actually made famous in the film adaptation of the Neil Simon play “The Odd Couple”.  Both had extensive movie careers and were widely respected and adored by filmgoers everywhere. I just want to hug Walter Matthau when I see him onscreen. Oh, and he was quite a lot of fun in Charade (recommended).

Hopscotch is a comedy about a rogue CIA agent who essentially engages in a worldwide game of cat and mouse with his former employer and colleagues. Matthau stars as Miles Kendig, an extremely smart and seasoned CIA field agent whose new boss, Myerson (Ned Beatty of Deliverance), decides to punish his latest antics by relegating him to a desk job in the filing room. Kendig, a man of superior wit and whimsy, immediately goes to work on a scheme to deliver the biggest, most embarrassing, and costly “Screw you” to the CIA, and specifically Kendig himself. How does he go about doing this? By leading the CIA on a wild goose chase all over the world in an attempt to find him and stop him from writing a tell-all memoir about his experiences at the CIA– a memoir he is sending out, chapter by chapter, to all major national intelligence agencies worldwide… including the Soviets. Read the rest of this entry »

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Iron Man 2

Posted by Cantankerous Panda on May 17, 2010

IRON MAN 2 (2010)

I’ve had AC/DC on the brain for days, so seeing this film only helped keep that going. If you don’t know, the film could essentially be considered a giant music video for the AC/DC “album” ‘Iron Man 2’, which is really just a soundtrack compiled of a lot of their “greatest hits” that were used in the film. Oh, there are a few other songs in the movie that are not by AC/DC, but they don’t really matter :P. But I guess I should talk about the second installment of the superfranchise instead of the soundtrack, so here goes.

Unless you live under a rock, you know about Iron Man and you know the general storyline of the main character, Tony Stark/Iron Man. At the end of the last film the world had just been informed that Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) really is Iron Man, so now both Stark is even more of a celebrity. And everyone loves him. So now the question is, who could possibly be his adversary, and how? I mean, the guy’s suit is at least 17 different kinds of awesome and powerful. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by Cantankerous Panda on May 7, 2010

KICK-ASS (2010)

I’m writing this one piecemeal, so please bear with me if it’s a little disjointed–I’ve been working at a conference and I’m exhausted.

Kick-Ass explores similar territory as the film Mystery Men– there are “normal” people who dress up as superheroes to fight the criminals of the world (or the city in which they live); however, Mystery Men gave the indication that the heroes had some “lesser” superpowers, whereas Kick-Ass does not include the superpower aspect. Rather, it’s literally just people who want to throw on costumes and rid the world (or city) of “evildoers”. It’s a concept that the main character ponders about in the beginning of the film, posing the question, “Why hasn’t anyone else thought of this?” The thing is, I’ve read about people who have actually donned costumes and tried to “fight crime”, mostly within the boundaries of the law. So it’s not an entirely new concept, at least for me. However, the idea is a fun one, which is why I decided to see this particular film. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Philadelphia Story

Posted by Cantankerous Panda on April 14, 2010


Holy crap, everyone! I started using my Netflix account again, and I watched an old movie to review like I set out to when I originally made this blog. Amazing, right? I promise, I’m going to be more diligent with this again. Besides, I want to feel like I’m not wasting all this money on my Netflix account and just letting these DVDs sit. Now let’s get on with the classicy goodness!

First, some background! It was adapted from the 1939 Broadway play of the same name, written by Phillip Barry, and the screenplay was expertly written by Donald Ogden Stewart, with the help of the uncredited–and later blacklisted–Waldo Salt (After the blacklist was lifted, Salt won an Oscar for both Midnight Cowboy and Coming Home, and was nominated for Serpico). It was directed by George Cukor, director of such films as Adam’s Rib (which I actually have seen a long time ago, so it probably won’t be reviewed anytime soon), Gaslight (which is on my list) and My Fair Lady (a classic musical that you all should at least recognize). And this is where I shall veer off into another ramble, of sorts: I would wager that if I were to ask the majority of the people reading to name five classic Hollywood directors, they would come up short. This is a travesty, and I will not tolerate it! When picking out my films, I didn’t look at the name “George Cukor” with a cocked head and a knotted brow; rather, I exclaimed, “Oh yeah, George Cukor!” and happily added films to my list. This is because I was fortunate enough to have a film studies department at my university, and I took the opportunity to get a film major while there. Yes, plenty of people know a ton about classic films, including their stars, directors, screenwriters, cinematographers, etc., without the help of a film studies background; however, too many people, especially amongst today’s youth, know tragically little about this golden age of cinema. And when Alfred Hitchcock, whom I adore, is the only classic director that someone can name… well, a special kind of rage starts to boil within my blood. This plays into why I created this blog: just because a film is “old” and in black and white, doesn’t mean the film isn’t spectacular! You simply cannot appreciate the films of today without appreciate the films of yesterday. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Ghost Writer

Posted by Cantankerous Panda on April 4, 2010


Behold King Child Molester of Pedophilia! Sorry for the bad humour there, folks, but I had to get that out of the way– this is Roman Polanski’s new film. He was in the news not so long ago because the US Government finally decided that they wanted to extradite him in order to try him for these old rape charges lodged by a 13 year-old girl from 1977. I’m not weighing in on what I think of his actions or of the charges. I honestly don’t know much about either, but I will say that rape and pedophilia are very, very wrong and icky on so many levels. So, there’s that. Oh, some other Polanski police-related background info: he had been the initial suspect in his wife’s death in 1969. And by “death”, I mean the brutal murder of his pregnant wife, actress Sharon Tate, along with those of Steve Parent, Wojciech Frykowski, Abigail Folger, and Jay Sebring. Tate’s belly was stabbed several times, as well, ensuring that the baby would not survive. In case you were not aware, I’m referring to the most famous victims of The Manson Family, led by one Charles Manson. Just a bit of trivia for you; Polanksi’s been through some shit in his life. Oh, and did I mention he escaped from the Kraków Ghetto in 1943, his father survived the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp in Austria and his mother died at Auschwitz? Yeah… not exactly a trouble-free man, one might say.

But that’s neither here nor there! Despite my love for spewing film-related trivia at you, we’re here to talk about a movie! Shocking, right? I will come clean right away and admit that a large selling point for me was the fact that Ewan McGregor (Obi-Wan in the latest Star Wars Trilogy, Moulin Rouge, Trainspotting, etc. and so forth) stars in this film. I adore him more than any sane person who doesn’t actually know the object of their affection should, but what can I say? He’s not only incredibly sexy, but by all accounts he’s funny, charming, sweet, humble, and laid-back. Oh, and he’s talented AND is happy to strip for the camera. If I had a “swoon” emoticon, I would use it. But I’ll address actors and performances later. The other reason why I was interested in seeing this movie is that it does hit a bit of a genre sweet-spot for me: political thriller. I’m actually more picky about them than one might think, but since I didn’t get the feeling of this one being overly-preachy, and I didn’t really know the details of the story to see the parallels being drawn that I will also discuss later. What I got from the trailer really the gist of the film: Ewan McGregor is brought on to be the new “ghost writer” for a former British Prime Minister’s memoirs after the last ghost writer is found dead. The trailer indicates that there’s more to the death of the former ghost writer than meets the eye (authorities assumed he either threw himself off the ferry he was on or he fell in and drowned due to his high blood alcohol content), and that Ewan might be in danger due to his work on this project, as well. It also indicates that the deeds of the former Prime Minster are more sinister than expected… Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by Cantankerous Panda on March 13, 2010

MOON (2009)

This is an interesting, odd little film. It has hints of Castaway mixed with 2001: A Space Odyssey and a dash of Solaris (let’s think the book instead of the movie for that one), but don’t let that combination scare you. It’s far more interesting and enjoyable to watch than Castaway (yes, I unfortunately watched that monstrosity for a psychology class) and easier to comprehend than 2001. If you’re a big fan of Sam Rockwell’s, then this is definitely the movie for you. If you like watching basically one actor on screen for extended periods of time, going through psychological trauma of sorts, then this is also the movie for you. I’ll try to keep this one as spoiler-free as possible. If anyone sees this film (or has seen it) and wishes to discuss the details at all, then we can head down to the comments section and hope that everyone else reading this review will heed this warning: DO NOT READ THE COMMENTS IF YOU HAVE NOT YET SEEN THE FILM AND DO NOT WANT TO BE SPOILED! Ah, that’s better. Now allow me to talk about the film as enigmatically as I possibly can.

Read the rest of this entry »

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