Saturday, April 11, 2009

ANGELS & DEMONS

Next movie due from Ron Howard is the second of Dan Brown's widely acclaimed books to be adapted into a movie. Angels & Demons again follows a religious theme as in The Da Vinci Code.

All the political and religious intrigue arises following the death of a Pope in the Vatican. Is this the work of the secretative organisation known as the Illuminati?

Promising to be an exciting sequel to The Da Vinci Code, one hopes that Dan Brown’s book is successfully translated to the screen.

Angels & Demons is due for release in Australia on Thursday May 14th 2009.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Travel - BAROSSA VALLEY
The Barossa Valley was given its name by Surveyor-General William Light in memory of Barrosa in Spain, where he had fought in a decisive battle in 1811. The district was settled in the 1840s by British and German immigrants. Some of the original German place names were replaced during the First World War by English names. The main settlements Lyndoch, Tanunda and Nuriootpa lie in a flat valley. The attractions it offers include festivals including the annual Barossa Vintage Festival usually in April of each year. The Festival features many aspects of life in the valley with support from Australian and internationally known performers from classical to pop to rock. And with it being in the wine growing capital of Australia, there are many opportunities for wine tastings and of course fine dining too. There is plenty of accommodation for visitors, but at festival times it is fully booked. For more information about the Barossa Vintage Festival visit www.barossavintagefestival.com.au/ For general information about the Barossa Valley contact: The Barossa Visitor Centre 66-68 Murray Street Tanunda, SA 5352 Australia Lyndoch Lyndoch is located at the southern end of the Barossa Valley and is in close proximity to many of the exceptional wineries, which give the Barossa its internationally recognised wine region. Colonel Light spelt Barossa with two r’s (Barrossa) and Lyndoch was spelt (Lynedoch). The hills reminded Colonel Light of the "Barrossa" area in Spain and the valley were Lyndoch now stands he named after Lord Lynedoch who fought with him in the Peninsular War in Spain in 1812. Lavender Farm Lyndoch At present the Lyndoch Lavender Farm have over 6 acres of lavender that is used in our many products. There is also a display garden with over 80 different varieties of lavender. Why not try the offerings at the gift shop through the cafe including Platters {Anitpasto, Gourmet Dessert or Cheese}, Scones and Biscuits. This is perfect to sit back and relax in beautiful surroundings with a cappuccino, long black or a lavender tea. Try the sweet taste of lavender with Lavender Ice-cream; Scones and Biscuits they available all day. To visit the Lavender Farm Website, click on the picture of lavender. Tanunda Tanunda, centrally located in the Barossa Valley, 70 kms from Adelaide, is a large rural settlement which boasts beautiful leafy streets and is surrounded by vineyards. It was the focal point for the early German settlement, growing out of the village of Langmeil, which was established in 1843. It is the cultural heart of the Barossa Valley and is known for its authentic heritage character and many fine churches. Just a short drive from Taunuda is the Kaiser Stuhl Conservation Park with its diverse landscapes, excellent birdwatching and pristine creeks.
The gum trees at Peter Lehmann's
Part of the Peter Lehmann’s Winery
BETHANY The small township of Bethany is the oldest German settlement in the Barossa Valley. Founded in 1842, by a congregation of Lutheran families, the name Bethany is indicative of the religious beginnings of the settlements in the Barossa Valley. Today, the Village’s cottages imitate those of the European dwelling that the settlers would have resided in before migrating to South Australia. Many of these cottages have been restored and transformed into art galleries, antique stores and craft shops.
Yalumba wines
World famous Yalumba Winery
Wine Tasting at Richmond Grove
Wine Tasting at Richmond Grove
Amongst my favourite Barossa Valley wineries are: Bethany Winery My favourite is the Old Quarry Fronti – a superb white port. The famed Bethany Fronti is made in a tawny style, from Muscadele, Muscat ap. Grains and Pedro Ximenez grapes picked late in the season, fortified with brandy spirit and aged in old oak to produce a balanced fruity wine Stanley Brothers My favourite is the Choc-a-bloc Port Choc-A-Bloc is a luscious dessert wine, made using a fortified Australian Tawny wine base and seeping it with chocolate. A pleasant accompaniment with sweets or coffee. Kies Winery My favourite wine is the 2008 Sparkling Heysen Gold – a very light sparkling white. A fruity Sparkling Frontignac. A vibrant, fruity experience that is perfect for Summer. Kellermeister Wineries My Favourite is Black Fire – again a sparkling white - White Frontignac grapes showing grapey flavour to please the palate and a light sweetness which does not build up on the palate. It is just like drinking a bunch of fresh grapes. TO COMPLETE YOUR DAY IN THE BAROSSA VALLEY!
A day in the Barossa Valley is not complete without a visit to acclaimed cook – Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop just a short drive from Nuriootpa. There you can relax by the side of the lake watching the turtles swim and enjoying fresh produce with your favourite coffee or a glass of wine. Well worth the trip and a chance to taste her many culinary products to tempt your palate.
Maggie Beer's Pheasant farm How to get to the Farm Shop
RESTAURANTS - NED KELLY'S RETREAT
Today, in the eyes of many, Ned Kelly has become Australia's foremost folk–hero and a symbol of national pride. Certainly, Ned possessed qualities that far surpassed the other bushrangers of his era. He was an expert with a “running-iron” on stolen, unbranded stock and was a deadly–accurate shot with a revolver or a rifle. Despite being a largely self–educated man, he was surprisingly articulate, boasted an almost poetic turn of phrase and a sardonic sense of humour. Ned’s family meant everything to him and he was the man of the family at the age of twelve. He was fiercely loyal his friends and supporters, to the extent that he would risk his own skin to ensure the well-being of an ally. Over the years the Kelly Gang have been the subject of numerous books and articles; radio and television programs; movies and theatre productions; and countless souvenir and consumer items. To better understand the Kelly uprising, we recommend further research starting with our book reference section. As readers we gain valuable insight into the depth of Kelly’s resolve. We need look no further than the famous exchange between Ned and his nemesis Sir Redmond Barry during the final stages of his Trial. It was here the self-important Barry, who prided himself on his eloquence and ability to match wits with the best of them, came unstuck when he initiated a courtroom exchange with a man of little formal schooling. That Ned showed Barry up for what he really was — a pompous aristocrat completely out of touch with the common man — became Ned’s final masterstroke. And now in Adelaide, Ned Kelly’s memory lives on in Ned Kelly’s Retreat – a family restaurant that is fully licensed. Situated in the midst of North Adelaide’s popular O’Connell Street, the restaurant is full of memorabilia of this Australian Larrikin. From murals to posters to paintings to large metal sculptures, Ned Kelly is immortalised. But the restaurant does not stop there. The fare available is brilliant Australian cooking with names that add to the dining experience. Most menu items draw their names from Ned, his gang and from the area where he reigned “supreme” as a bush ranger. Start the meal off with some hot toasted damper with cheese and bacon – my favourite – followed by Stringy Bark Creek Chook – tender warm pan-fried chicken strips served on a bed of salad with sun-dried tomatoes and mushrooms as an entrée. Then it is a gourmet’s delight to select something from the mains menu appropriately called Ned’s Main Hold Up. My favourite is Grandma Quinn’s Jolly Jumbuck – traditional Aussie loin of lamb cooked the way Grandma Quinn did at the family farm with a choice of roasted capsicum or spring onion sauce – the onion sauce is superb! And then if you have enough room after the very generous serves, various Aussie desserts are available to hold up your culinary interest. To accompany your course, a varied selection of good Aussie wines is also available. If you have young children with you, then they are catered for in a menu appropriately called Ned’s Little Outlaws. To visit Ned Kelly’s Retreat’s home page click here.

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Thursday, April 9, 2009

With all the confusion about the leaking of pre-release copies of the X-Men Origins: Wolverine to peer-to-peer download sites on the web, interest in the movie has intensified. Starring Australia's Hugh Jackman, we eagerly await the release on May 1st 2009. Follow thislink to the Official Home Page X-Men Origins : Wolverine Just to whet our appetites, here is the latest trailer:

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Movie Review - BOTTLE SHOCK
Wine, like most things in life, is about feeling. Like any substance providing a sensorial experience, its popularity has created an industry devoted to sharing the moment of its first taste. Inspired by true events, Bottle Shock's group of beverage merchants have a shared passion in creating their own liquid dynasty. That their efforts created history shows the power of this very delectable drink. Parisian wine seller Steven Spurrier (Alan Rickman) is in a quandary. Keen to ramp up his ailing business an idea forms to hold a blind taste-test with French wine competing against California's new imports. Dubbed the 'Judgement of Paris' the 1976 contest would have a marked affect on California's Napa Valley wineries. One of its vineyard operators, Jim Barrett (Bill Pullman), would feel the most rewards forging a new bond with his wayward son, Bo (Chris Pine), that wine's great fluidity would only strengthen. Slightly faltering in its marriage between fact and fiction, Bottle Shock unearths some interesting subtexts. More than any other alcoholic drink, wine appears to uplift an event's atmosphere. Where champagne is often associated with grand occasions, wines are noted for creating more intimate moods. This rounds the package its makers sell in complementing social gatherings with vintage ranges making instant experts of its drinkers. Played against America's Bi-Centennial backdrop, the protagonists pride in their craft makes for engaging viewing, with the industry's latent parochial snobbery eventually giving way to begrudging respect. Using a contest of wills between father and son as its main thrust, much interest is gained from their tug of war between old and new ideals. It's especially pleasing seeing Rickman and Pullman make welcome cinematic returns with only the pacing letting the movie down. This is keenly felt in several sequences adding nothing to the overall outcome. The shoe-horning of these scenes in order to make events appear more exciting tends to drag the film down. Coupled with a rather lacklustre performance from Pine as Bo, Bottle Shock dangerously veers on the edge of becoming as stale as corked plonk. Thankfully it comes alive towards the end with the sweeping aerial shots of the expansive Californian vineyards perfectly enhancing the somewhat arch script. Basically a traditional 'David vs. Goliath' tale, Bottle Shock's many quirky moments enables some degree of individualism. Nicely shot and enlivened by Rickman's snide presence, it proves there is always a story to tell behind each lovingly prepared Chardonnay.
Rating out of 10: 6 Reviewed by Patrick Moore

Monday, April 6, 2009

Movie Review - INKHEART
Inkheart features another performance from Hollywood's most dependable actor Brendan Fraser. That isn't exactly a good quote as Fraser again finds himself in his usual comedic fantasy role. From playing teens in fantasies to now being their fathers, it seems he's an unfortunate victim of Tinseltown type-casting. Nevertheless he delivers a strong rendition in a film verging on passable entertainment. Silvertongues are a unique breed by reading stories to their loved ones. Their words literally come alive when characters enter the real world. Mortimor Folchart (Brendan Fraser) is one of these whom, after losing his wife due to his unwanted talent, decreed never to read again. This becomes impossible due to the arrival of Dustfinger (Paul Bettany) a fictional character who desires to return home. Telling Mortimor his wife is trapped in Inkheart's fantasy universe; they must battle against its evil ruler Capricorn (Andy Serkis). Attempting to protect his daughter and rescue his wife, Mortimor's gift could also become his greatest curse. With actors of Jim Broadbent's and Helen Mirren's calibre appearing, one would have expected an escapist romp in the Harry Potter mould. This you almost receive with a pretty interesting concept about the wonder of imagination bought to vivid life. Based on a novel by Cornelia Funke, Inkheart's travels from page to screen is not without its concerns. Whilst story and cinematography are top notch, the characters hardly register on the sympathy scale. Most of them, including the leads, have their own selfish agendas in reaching their goals with their constant ill tempered manners making for wearisome viewing. Another mistake is director's Iain Softley's approach in telling the tale. Oddly concentrating on the supporting cast than the leading hero/villain gives a disjointed feel in a story reliant on a traditional structure. What's on display is reasonable, although with the resources available Softley fails to utilise them to his advantage. Generally there is an appropriate level of wonder and some nice humorous flourishes even if some of the performers tend to outrageously over-act. Andy Serkis in particular is guilty of this, although his underuse throughout underscores Inkheart's much unfocussed narrative. Undemanding littlies should get something out of this, whilst more discerning audiences may find the constant chase/capture formula rather tiresome. As another notch on Brendan Fraser's fantasy belt, Inkheart is a very average entry signalling it's perhaps time to move out of the pigeon hole in which he seems to have become comfortably trapped. Movie Review rating 5 / 10
Movie review by Patrick Moore Inheart released in Australia on Thursday 2nd April 2009. If you have any comments to make about this Movie Review, then please use the comment box, titling your comments with Movie Review Inkheart Patrick Moore's Movie Review is an alternative look at current movie releases in Australia.
Move Review - THE PINK PANTHER 2
Movie critics deserve reader's sympathies. Avoiding the slings of arrows of the profession, our senses are often subjected to a multitude of bad productions and career defining lows. Nowhere is this clearer than in Pink Panther 2 which sees Steve Martin slump further into the depths of professional nadir. Seeing a once great comedian in this state is a pretty sad spectacle in a wretched outing managing to outdo its predecessor in enduring awfulness. Tired of its many treasures being stolen by master-thief The Tornado, the French government form an elite squad. Dubbed The Dream Team, amongst its number is bumbling Inspector Clouseau (Steve Martin). Constantly the bane of Chief Dreyfuss' (John Cleese) life, the defective detective aims to get his man. Helped by his trusty assistants Ponton (Jean Reno) and Nicole (Emily Mortimer), Clouseau's peculiar skills have a habit of winning the day despite his endless mishaps. Of Pink Panther 2's many sins, the greatest is its unrelenting humourlessness. Applying the 'laugh-free zone' term to its maximum, it has none of the elegant wit or style of the original series. The set up of gags is a prime example of its inept handling where the expected pay offs fail to match early potential. Using several moments of crude humour to liven the plot only highlights its desperation in finding cheap laughs at any price. Its complete separation from the Blake Edwards/Peter Sellers version is readily apparent, lacking any of the chaotic flair that made them such a powerful combination. Although quite good at physical comedy, Martin possesses none of Seller's intuitive comedic abilities in wringing the most out of various situations. It would have been preferable had he found a vehicle suited to his own persona rather than taking on the mantle of one done so successfully by someone else. The only one having a good time is John Cleese who almost matches the older series' frantic spirit. The rest of the cast do what they can with the flimsy material, trying desperately not to look like they're in it just for the money. Pink Panther 2 is a deeply unfunny experience further adding another nail in Martin's career coffin. As one who grew up watching his brilliant performances in many films, it's very depressing seeing him reduced to this. For the sake of his diminishing reputation, he should finally bow out gracefully before his remaining fans deliver their own pink slip.
Movie Review rating 0 / 10 Movie review by Patrick Moore Pink Panther 2 released in Australia on Thursday 2nd April 2009. If you have any comments to make about this Movie Review, then please use the comment box, titling your comments with Movie Review Pink Panther 2 Patrick Moore's Movie Review is an alternative look at current movie releases in Australia.
ANNOUNCEMENT
I am to be joined by Patrick Moore who, in his inimitable style, will review the latest in movies. You may or may not agree with him, but he will give you food for thought as you read what he thinks! Welcome to the blog Patrick!