Monday, November 24, 2014

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Movie Review ... The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1

 

the-hunger-games-mockingjay-part-1-final-posterSome films are made by craftsmen while others are made by committee.  ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1’ falls into the latter.  Following from the previous instalment, ‘Catching Fire’ is less captivating and more calculating.  Based on Suzanne Collins’ popular book series, the movie franchise has generally done it justice.  ‘Mockingjay – Part 1’ sees this goodwill stretched as the final chapter is extended to enable the further ringing of box office registers.

After her rescue from the Hunger Games tournament, Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) becomes a hero.  A symbol of hope for her hometown of District 12, ruled over by evil President Snow (Donald Sutherland), Katniss is full of resolve.  One of her aims is to rescue Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), her games partner.  Helped by District 13’s President Coin (Julianne Moore), Katniss is determined to free her people from under the crushing weight of tyranny.

After ‘Catching Fire’s dynamic energy, much was expected for the follow-up.  Unfortunately ‘Mockingjay – Part 1’ takes the foot off the accelerator to deliver a somewhat plodding entry.  There isn’t anything inherently bad, just the story moves at a glacial pace.  This lessens the urgency our heroes face diluting much of its impact.  ‘Mockingjay – Part 1’ is akin to an amiable stroll rather than a furious race to a climax for which we have to wait for another film.

Francis Lawrence directs with a steady hand and utilises his actors well.  Jennifer Lawrence provides a solid performance even if her character is reduced to endless crying scenes.  Sutherland has the most fun as the waspish villain and adds colour to an otherwise drab movie.  The series’ themes still provide interest with the media manipulation to win wars fascinatingly conveyed.  The few action sequences enliven events and serve as an appetiser to a hopefully grand finale.

Sure to rake in big bucks, ‘Mockingjay – Part 1’ should achieve what it was created for.  Whether splitting the story into two is an artistic achievement is debatable.  Hopefully Part 2 will provide a satisfying climax even if the temptation to continue will always be too hard for Hollywood to resist.

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Movie Review Rating out of 10:  6

Movie Review by Patrick Moore

Agree with Patrick's Movie Review? Then please use the comment box.

Patrick Moore's Movie Review is an alternative look at movie releases in Australia.

Official HomePage click HERE

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Movie Review ... Human Capital

 

 

human capital posterCan wealth make people oblivious to other events?  Does money change moral codes?  ‘Human Capital’ attempts to answer these questions.  Based on Stephen Amidon’s novel, it uses an accident to tell a quartet of related stories.  Using a pseudo-Rashomon effect device – where the same incident is told from different perspectives – ‘Human Capital’ is fascinating.  Filled with strongly written characters, it is a fine study in wealth’s sometimes insidious nature.

On Christmas Eve, a cyclist is killed by a speeding driver.  Connected to this incident are Dino (Fabrizio Bentivoglio), his daughter Serena (Matilde Gioli) and their friend Carla (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi).  Living life in affluent wealth, they initially consider the death a passing nuisance.  As the police investigation intensifies, their insular world-view gradually unravels.  With black-mail, deceit and vengeance part of the mix, they discover money holds little sway in the search for justice.

Although Amidon’s book was set in America, ‘Human Capital’ easily translates to Italian climes.  The theme of money’s allure is universal with the story skilfully adapted.  Making it work are the intriguing characters and Paolo Virzi’s astute direction.  He generates a true sense of foreboding as his cast of personalities wrestle with inner traumas. Their reaction to wealth and those they meet is often startling.  When the lure of generating more dollars is in their grasp, their true nature surfaces as ‘Human Capital’ effectively conveys.

Within the mystery of the cyclist’s death is engrossing intermingling of timelines.  Flitting before and after the terrible event, the narrative slowly unfurls everyone’s emotions.  From desperation, desire, hate and love, their conflicted ideals become stretched. These scenes are free from any melodrama as the actors portray events with genuine authenticity.  Their surrounds are suitably lush adding to the script’s qualities until the captivating conclusion.

Whilst the motif of ‘poor rich people’ has been done countless times ‘Human Capital’ gives it a fresh sheen.  It proves why money will never go out of fashion with the constant lust for dollars a currency few would find hard to discard.

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Movie Review Rating out of 10:  7

Movie Review by Patrick Moore

Agree with Patrick's Movie Review? Then please use the comment box.

Patrick Moore's Movie Review is an alternative look at movie releases in Australia.

Official HomePage click HERE

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A George Hamilton Moment

 

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Trivia Bits 23 November

 

Julius Achon

Retired middle distance runner who specialised in the 800 metres and 1500 metres, Julius Achon was the first Ugandan athlete to win a gold medal at the 1994 World Junior Championships running the 1500m in 3:39.78.

The lightest weight division in professional boxing is minimumweight also known as strawweight or miniflyweight where boxers may weigh no more than 105 pounds (48 kg).

In 2009, The Black Eyed Peas, originally an alternative hip hop group who subsequently added R&B, pop, and EDM/dance influences, had a hit with the song Boom Boom Pow.

New York City Police Department officer John McLane is the main character in the movie series of Die Hard with the main character played by Bruce Willis.

The Exxon Valdez spill occurred off the coast of the US state, Alaska in Prince William Sound, Alaska, on March 24, 1989, when Exxon Valdez, an oil tanker bound for Long Beach, California, struck Prince William Sound's Bligh Reef at 12:04 a.m. creating a devastating human-caused environmental disaster.

Roary the Racing Car wears a white cap with the number one on it in the 2007 South Korean animated children's television show of the same name.

Flying due east from Hawaii, the first country to be crossed would be Mexico.

Classic Australian comedy Hey Dad..! is an sitcom originally airing from 1987 to 1994 and is the story of architect Martin Kelly who singlehandedly raises his children Simon, Debbie and Jenny after sis wife Margaret had died three years prior to the start of the series.

In 1965, Indonesia left the United Nations due to the election of Malaysia as a non-permanent member.

Bob the Railway Dog is a part is a part of South Australia’s railway folklore as travelled the South Australian Railways system in the later part of the 19th century, and was known widely to railwaymen of the day.

Quotables 23 November

 

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Saturday, November 22, 2014

A George Clooney Moment

 

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Trivia Bits 22 November

 

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Dr. No is a 1962 British spy film, starring Sean Connery (pictured), was the first official James Bond film based on the 1958 novel of the same name by Ian Fleming, and directed by Terence Young.

American motivational speaker and author Jack Canfield is best known as the co-creator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series first published in 1993.

The Pioneer River runs through the Australian city of Mackay, Queensland with a length of 120 km rising in the Pinnacle Ranges south-west of Mackay and flowing into the Pacific Ocean at Mackay.

Named after Sionna, a Celtic goddess, the River Shannon is the longest river in Ireland at 360.5 km (224 miles).

Los Del Río, meaning "The ones from the river", are a Spanish (Andalusian) Pop duo who formed in 1962 and are best known for their smash-hit dance single "Macarena", originally released in early 1994.

The American drama television series Six Feet Under revolves around the Fisher Family and first debuted in 2001 with the ensemble drama stars Peter Krause, Michael C. Hall, Frances Conroy, Lauren Ambrose, Freddy Rodriguez, Mathew St. Patrick, and Rachel Griffiths.

Hallulla, a popular food in Chile, is a flat round bread baked with vegetable shortening and is used for several traditional Chilean sandwiches.

In Kulubnarti, a village on an island of Kulubnarti in the Nile, the of mud bricked domed church contains incised graffito in Greek, Coptic and Old Nubian with the church being dated to the 13th or 14th century

A Screwdriver cocktail is made with the base spirit of Vodka combined with orange juice.

Quotables 22 November

 

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Friday, November 21, 2014

A Genevieve Tobin Moment

 

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Trivia Bits 21 November

 

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A Day At The Races (cover pictured) was the fifth album by British rock group Queen, released in December 1976 being the band's first completely self-produced album.

The 2010 movie Inception was written and directed by British film director, screenwriter and producer Christopher Nolan starring a large ensemble cast that includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Dileep Rao, Cillian Murphy, Tom Berenger, and Michael Caine.

The common four lettered name given to a shell-less terrestrial gastropod mollusc is slug.

American television, film and stage actress Edith "Edie" Falco played the titular character of the 2009 Showtime series Nurse Jackie, an American medical dark satirical comedy-drama series.

American former sex worker Divine Brown gained notoriety in 1995 for her involvement with English actor and film producer Hugh Grant.

The Ajacan Mission, a failed attempt by Spanish Jesuit priests to bring Christianity to the Native Americans of the Virginia Peninsula, predated the 1607 establishment of Jamestown by about 36 years.

Spain or Espana has the country code top-level internet domain of .es.

The line Doesn’t have a point of view is a line that comes from the Beatles song Nowhere Man from their album Rubber Soul released 3 December 1965 after being recorded in the EMI Studios, London.

The Syrian village of Deir al-Bukht, Monastery of the Bactrian Camel, was so named because the eighth-century Umayyad caliph Abd al-Malik kept a bactrian camel at the site.

Quotables 21 November

 

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Trivia Bits 20 November

 

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The Lion (pictured) used in the MGM studio logo was named Leo with there having been around seven different lions used for the MGM logo; these lions include Tanner and Leo, the current (and seventh) lion.

Australian film and television actor Gary Sweet played Steve McClintock in the Australian television series Police Rescue which originally aired between 1989 and 1996.

British tennis player, who won the Men's Singles event at the Australasian Championships in 1919 Algernon Kingscote was the son of British novelist Lucas Cleeve which was the pseudonym of Adeline Georgiana Isabel Kingscote author of over sixty works including The Woman Who Wouldn't in 1895.

After a reign of 63 years and seven months, British monarch, Queen Victoria, died on the Isle of Wight at Osborne House on Tuesday, 22 January 1901 at the age of 81.

Trogon is a genus of birds occurring in forests and woodlands of the Americas, ranging from south-eastern Arizona to northern Argentina.

Dating from the 9th-century BCE, the Syrian city of Tell Rifaat, a small city in northern Syria, dates back to the Iron Age when it was an Aramaean settlement known as Arpad.

In the game of Scrabble, the letters J and X are both worth 8 points.

The flag of Europe consists of a circle of 12 golden (yellow) stars on an azure background and is the flag and emblem of the Council of Europe (CoE) and the European Union (EU).

Liberty City and Vice City are featured in the video game Grand Theft Auto created by David Jones and Mike Dailly and first released in October 1997.

In the culinary term dulce de leche, leche means milk in English and dulce de leche translates as caramel.

Quotables 20 November

 

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A Geneviève Page Moment

 

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A Gene Wilder Moment

 

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Trivia Bits 19 November

 

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With a career spanning over 50 years, Duke Ellington (pictured) was an American composer, pianist and bandleader of jazz orchestras and leading his orchestra from 1923 until death in 1974.

Prison Break is an American television serial drama from 2005 until 2009 revolving around two brothers; one has been sentenced to death for a crime he did not commit, and the other devises an elaborate plan to help his brother escape prison.

The principal monetary unit of Spain prior to replacement by the Euro in 2002 was the Peseta.

Adelaide, South Australia lies on the Gulf St Vincent being was named "Gulph of St. Vincent" on 30 March 1802 by Matthew Flinders a distinguished English navigator and cartographer, who was the first to circumnavigate Australia and identify it as a continent.

Cynophobia is the abnormal fear of dogs and is more common in females than males.

Member of the 17th Century Polish nobility, Teofila Ludwika Zasławska and her second husband owned Baranów Sandomierski Castle in south-eastern Poland together with three other palaces designed by royal architect Tylman van Gameren.

Constructed in 1921, the Humble Oil Building was once the largest office building in Houston, Texas and was the first office building in the city with central air conditioning.

French physician, postmaster, cartographer, inventor and author on the subject of mathematics, physics and magic Edmé-Gilles Guyot was highly influential in the development of phantasmagoria and the cups and balls magic trick with his 1769 four part book Nouvelles recreations physiques et mathematiques featured descriptions of experiments and examples of how various innovative mathematical and magical tricks could be performed

The Yellow Hat sect is a school of Buddhism founded by Je Tsongkhapa (1357–1419), a philosopher and Tibetan religious leader with the most influential figure being the Dalai Lama.

Candidiasis is also known as the disease Yeast Infection and can result in minimal complications such as redness, itching and discomfort, though complications may be severe or even fatal if left untreated in certain populations.

Quotables 19 November

 

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A Gene Tierney Moment

 

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Trivia Bits 18 November

 

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Performed by American country music group Lady Antebellum, the lead-off single and title track to their second studio album, Need You Now (cover pictured) , was released on January 26, 2010 and was ranked as the number-one song on the U.S. Adult Contemporary chart on the Billboard 2010 year-end list.

Dushanbe is the capital of the central Asian mountainous landlocked country of Tajikistan bordering Afghanistan to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and China to the east.

The Book of Mormon, a musical by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone premiered on Broadway in March 2011 winning numerous theatre awards including nine Tony Awards, one of which was for Best Musical and the Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album.

In the 1960’s, Albert DeSalvo confessed to being the serial killer known as the Boston Strangler who was of attributed with the murders of 13 women between June 14, 1962 and January 4, 1964 in and near Boston, Massachusetts, United States.

Cloud Strife is a main character of the role-playing video game series Final Fantasy first released in 1997.

Taiga, also known as boreal forest, is a biome characterized by coniferous forests consisting mostly of pines, spruces and larches and is the world's largest terrestrial biome covering most of inland Canada and Alaska as well as parts of the extreme northern continental United States.

Playing Jill Taylor in the 1990’s TV sit-com series Home Improvement was American television and film actress Patricia Richardson.

Canadian film director, film producer, deep-sea explorer, screenwriter, and editor James Cameron won the Best Director Oscar for the 1997 movie Titanic starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.

In the famous folktale, ascribed to Aesop, Androcles and the Lion, Androcles removed a thorn from the paw of the lion.

Crossing the Rubicon is a reference to the historical leader Julius Caesar as the phrase originates with his seizure of power in the Roman Republic in 49 BC and Caesar leading his army across the Rubicon River, crossing from the province of Cisalpine Gaul into Italy – the point of no return.