Saturday, April 18, 2009

Movie Review
THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PAJAMAS
During World War One, a Christmas Day tradition ensued where opposing soldiers would cease hostilities. Using the time for general socialisation and soccer games, this brief moment would unite common enemies. The Boy In The Striped Pajamas mirrors this event with an innocent relationship between German and Jewish boys. Witnessing their growing friendship through a barbwire fence, the needless notion of war and its many victims is once again highlighted. Eight year old Bruno (Asa Butterfield) is the son of decorated Nazi officer Ralf (David Thewlis). When his father is tasked with overseeing a concentration camp the family, including wife Elsa (Vera Farmiga) and twelve year old daughter Gretel (Amber Beattie), follow. Settling into their new house nearby, Bruno becomes bored and restless. On his aimless travels, he stumbles upon the camp's outskirts and young Jewish boy Shmuel (Jack Scanlon). Happy with someone to talk with, the boys form a close bond that regimented uniforms and ragged garments can never unravel. Extremely uncomfortable viewing for most of its length, this amazing film is made more powerful by its simplicity. By looking at the Holocaust through children's eyes, the endless politicking bogging down other similarly themed stories is pared down. Like any inquisitive young boy, Bruno wonders why time is spent hating others where forming lasting friendships seems more rewarding. Wonderfully played by Butterfield and Scanlon, you feel genuine sadness in how circumstances could have been very different for both, as well as the dreadful knowledge of what may transpire. What's really fascinating is the impact of age upon the officer's children. Already indoctrinated against other races, Bruno's elder sister's thought processes have taken on a more adult leaning. Young and more questioning of those around him, Bruno has the foresight to see the wrongs perpetrated but cannot fully understand their meanings. All is articulated very well in a tightly written script grasping the viewer from its sunny beginnings to its genuinely shocking denouncement. The small cast give excellent renditions of mostly sympathetic characters that unknowingly become trapped by their own actions. It's very rare that you sit in a cinema where the audience stays until the final credits. Such was the force of this well made film. It was good to think that in a multiplex full of mindless fare there was at least one humane film daring enough in making its viewers think. Movie Review Rating 8 / 10 Movie Review by Patrick Moore For The Boy In The Striped Pajamas home website click here The Boy in the Striped Pajamas released in Australia on Thursday 23rd April 2009.(seen at a preview) If you have any comments to make about this Movie Review, then please use the comment box, titling your comments with Movie Review The Boy In The Striped Pajamas Patrick Moore's Movie Review is an alternative look at current movie releases in Australia.
Movie Review FAST & FURIOUS
After the mediocre response to its last outing, the Fast and the Furious franchise appeared doomed. When desperate times call for desperate measures, an eager producer's limits know no bounds like a monolith rising from the ashes. Recruiting its original stars and returning to the first film’s flavour, the mega bucks this fourth entry has already generated vindicates the old maxim that if it ain't broke don't fix it. Continuing his dodgy dealings in Central America, wanted criminal Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) receives a nasty shock. Learning his girlfriend has been murdered, he follows a deadly trail leading to the doorstep of notorious druglord Braga (John Ortiz). Also on Braga's trail is FBI Agent Brian O'Connor (Paul Walker) who, assigned to arrest him, sees the chance to settle some old scores. Clocking a mileage of revenge and redemption, both men zoom full throttle towards achieving their own desired quests. These films are almost like its characters - defying you to criticise them. As a willing paying customer you know what to expect and that's exactly what you get. If you want loopy plotting, risible dialogue all mixed with macho men, hot chicks and fast cars then this is the place. Fast and Furious is brainless escapism at its best and it knows it - and all the more enjoyable for it. Directed with great energy by Justin Lin, each frame is painted in broad comic book strokes with the goodies and baddies wearing gangster bling with pride. Pleasingly there is a bit more to chew on plot wise this time as the dynamics between the leads continually change between being friends and foes giving events more dramatic weight. It's generally the car racing fans want to see and there are loads on display. Of particular note are the opening and closing stunts effectively bookending events with a tunnel death-race a novel twist. Diesel and Walker slip into their roles with ease and are given their moments to shine. Diesel is increasingly becoming the new Arnie with his barrel chested mumbler eagerly swatting the bad guys. The decent CGI work is another bonus although thankfully the stunts are mostly done 'for real' making them all the more exciting. A typical current example of presenting bare bones action with little story, Fast and Furious is entertaining nonsense. Breathlessly announcing a fifth entry upon this one's huge success, its producers must thank their lucky stars that four wheeled demons are just as much in vogue as the ones Marlon Brando rode in similarly themed rebel flicks over fifty years ago. Movie Review Rating 7 / 10 Movie Review by Patrick Moore Fast & Furious released in Australia on Thursday 16th 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 Fast & Furious Patrick Moore's Movie Review is an alternative look at current movie releases in Australia.
Movie HARRY POTTER 6
Warner Brothers have announced that the release date for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince has been brought forward to Wednesday 15th July 2009. A new trailer has also been released:
This is one date, amongst a few others, I already have in my diary as I am looking forward to the continuing saga on film of Harry Potter.
TRAVEL COOBER PEDY
Coober Pedy is the opal capital of the world supplying 85% of the world's opals. Approximately 75% of the population live underground in Dugouts for protection from the scorching heat and dust storms of summer. The name 'Coober Pedy' comes from the local Aboriginal term kupa-piti, which means 'boys' waterhole' Roughly halfway between Adelaide and Alice Springs, Coober Pedy has become a popular stopover point and tourist destination, especially since the completion of the sealing of the Stuart Highway in 1987. It is home to about 3500 people who directly or indirectly make a living from the success of the town's opal miners, and the nearly 100,000 tourists who call in each year to marvel at what is still regarded as the last frontier of Australia's wild outback. Coober Pedy has one of the most multicultural communities in Australia with an estimated 45 nationalities. Nearly half of the population live in inexpensive underground homes called 'dugouts'. Many of the dugouts are elaborate with all modern conveniences and sustain an all year temperature of 25 degrees Celsius. During the height of Summer temperatures can reach into the 50's outside whilst in winter the temperatures can fall below 10 degrees. Most of the year it is glorious weather averaging mid 20's. The annual rainfall is only 110mm making water as precious as the opal that is mined. Opal was first discovered by fourteen year old Willie Huchison from Mount Gambier in February 1915. As a member of his father's prospecting party, he and the others left Maree in December 1914 in search of gold. In temperatures often exceeding 45 degrees the party looked for gold while Willie was assigned camp duties. Being finished with his duties and rather bored Willie went exploring himself. He did not find any gold.... just the richest opal field in the world. Coober Pedy is situated at the edge of the Stuart Range on a treeless plain, which is covered with only sparse scrub and thousands of working and abandoned mines as far as the eye can see. This desolate landscape was chosen for the shooting of many feature movies. These include: Mad Max one, two and three, Beyond Thunderdome, (starred Tina Turner and Mel Gibson), Mars The Red Planet (starred Val Kilmer (Batman)), Pitch Black , Down & Under and many others. The mysterious lunar landscape makes Coober Pedy a unique and special place where you could arrive with just the shirt on your back and leave a millionaire. Many people have found opal whilst walking around, kicking stones over, or noodling (fossiking) in the disused mining dumps.
Underground Church in Coober Pedy
Attractions in Coober Pedy include the mines, the graveyard, and the underground churches. The first tree ever seen in the town was welded together from scrap iron. It still sits on a hilltop overlooking the town. The local golf course - mostly played at night with glowing balls, to avoid daytime temperatures - is completely free of grass and golfers take a small piece of "turf" around to use for teeing off. As a result of correspondence between the two clubs the Coober Pedy golf club is the only club in the world to enjoy reciprocal rights at The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews.
Coober Pedy Golf Club ............ St Andrews Golf Club
TRAVEL to COOBER PEDY
  • Travel By Car
Adelaide to Port Augusta (308 kms), Port Augusta to Pimba/Woomera(171 kms ), Pimba to Glendambo (114 kms), Glendambo to Coober Pedy (252 kms) total of 846 kms.
  • Travel By Coach
Greyhound (Phone: 131499) offer service in and out of Coober Pedy arriving around 6am and 7pm. To have a room available on arrival, at least 2 nights may have to be reserved.
  • Travel By Plane
Regional Express (REX Airlines) operate a daily service to and from Adelaide arriving mid afternoon, you can then be transferred to our door by shuttle bus, collected and returned to the plane when ready to leave.
  • Travel By Rail
The Ghan serves the town through the Manguri Siding, 42km from Coober Pedy, with trains twice weekly in each direction. Passengers on The Ghan are not usually allowed to disembark at Manguri unless they have prearranged transport due to the siding's isolation and the extremely cold temperatures at night. Taxi Service There is no taxi service in Coober Pedy, transfers must be arranged when making your reservations. For further travel information for Coober Pedy, click on the following links:
Accommodation:
Great Australian Cattle Drive Relive a very real part of Australian history on this Outback adventure - book early for six 5 day / 4 night tours between Friday 30 July and Sunday 29 August in 2010.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Movie Review - THE BOAT THAT ROCKED
Centuries of action have perfected the pirate art of power retrieval. Relieving their prey of the ability to control, their methods have turned some into folk heroes. Into the 1960's social revolution came a band of scavengers attempting to claim the power of rock music via illicit means. Director Richard Curtis' latest comedy shows these new breed of pirates knew how to shake the establishment with their form of cultural liberation. In 1966 a group of lads decide to take on their country's genteel radio system. Tired of the restricted playlists ignoring pure rock songs, they broadcast using an illegal ship radio signal. Dubbed Radio Rock, the motley crew consisted of a ragtag bunch bound by their musical knowledge. Among them is Carl (Tom Sturridge) and The Count (Philip Seymour-Hoffman) attempting to keep their dream together amidst much personal angst. Resolute politician, Sir Alistair Dormandy (Kenneth Branagh), efforts at ruining their fun times threatens to spoil their melodious merry-making. Filled with fantastic music, kitsch fashion and a great cast you'd think The Boat That Rocks would be more enjoyable. Whilst the eccentric group are initially amusing, after awhile the weight of so many characters and little story slowly sinks this potentially fun vessel. Curtis' directorial style highlights obvious gags allowing too much thespian ad-libbing. Unfortunately this becomes tiresome with main set pieces creating a very artificial atmosphere rather than something genuine. The idea is sound although occasionally it's easy to see certain actors desperately attempting to break free of their one dimensional characters. Curtis makes a mistake in quickly introducing the concept without properly fleshing out its protagonists. The film's overlong running time also deflates its set up. Despite this there are moments of pure joy in seeing the bolshy lads enter into the free-wheeling musical spirit of this socially important era. Seymour-Hoffman and Bill Nighy are the best of the ensemble with their British and Yank personas slotting nicely into the multicultural pot. Overall this is a pretty disappointing effort relying too heavily on an episodic format instead of a more cohesive approach. It is a bit ironic considering Curtis' writing pedigree with TV's Blackadder - a show full of memorable characters rather than the half developed ones here. If nothing else The Boat That Rocked should deliver a great soundtrack for collectors to buy. As a film it's a very mixed bag, with an interesting subject being turned into a rather bland and forced movie. Whilst the 60's are long gone, it's good to know the decade's spirit thrives in the classic tunes its personalities eagerly play. Move Review Rating 4 / 10 The Boat that Rocked home page click here Movie review by Patrick Moore The Boat that Rocked released in Australia on Thursday 9th 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 The Boat That Rocked Patrick Moore's Movie Review is an alternative look at current movie releases in Australia.
Movie Review - MARY AND MAX
After winning an Oscar for his popular animated short Harvie Krumpet, Australian film-maker Adam Elliot's star was in its ascendancy. Now five years later he presents his latest work showing growing creative maturity. If the classic TV series Thunderbirds made marionette's trendy then his use of plasticine should see it fly off the shelves with eager new fans interested in this very old art form. Lonely eight year old Melbourne girl Mary strikes upon an idea in finding companionship. Randomly selecting a name from an American phone book, she begins a pen-pal friendship with 44 year old Jewish man Max. Living in New York and suffering from Asperger's Syndrome, Max's sheltered life slowly allows Mary to enter. Over the course of 20 years the pair communicates across the seas bringing them the companionship they desire. There seems to be some snobbery towards animation unfairly restraining it from being a fully accepted cinematic medium. Although slowly being seen as more than 'children's flicks' its reputation hasn't really moved far. Mary and Max goes some way in correcting this with Elliot's bravery in tackling adult concepts with another story-telling device apparent. His brilliance is in making you believe in his characters with their imperfections and odd foibles running the gamut of emotions. Voiced by Philip Seymour-Hoffman and Toni Collette with narration by Barry Humphries, the tightly written screenplay is well served by the unique visuals. Even though at times painfully sad, the tale is enlightened with a very unique local sense of irony. How their letters slowly transform their lives and move them out of their introverted state is well realised as is the importance of honest friendship. It's this raw exploration of life which makes Mary and Max compelling viewing with a sweet melancholy effectively rounding out a complete story. The entire enterprise was obviously a labour of love for Elliot proving something imbedded with so much energy and effort is one to be admired. Mary and Max is simply told featuring a cast of performers seemingly more real than ones in any pompous blockbuster. Lovingly developed and superbly shot, this little gem shows the amazing talents this country has and further shifts the animated feature out of the shadows of early morning children's television. For Mary and Max Homepage click here Movie Review Rating 8 / 10 Movie Review by Patrick Moore Mary and Max released in Australia on Thursday 9th 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 Mary and Max Patrick Moore's Movie Review is an alternative look at current movie releases in Australia.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Movie Review - 17 AGAIN
17 Again is the latest production benefiting from Hollywood's recycling mantra. Instead of investing in new scripts, easily adapted old concepts are dusted off for new generations. Clearly evident in this case, the plot involving someone transported back to their youth is old as the hills. Mixed with current teen sensation Zac Efron's presence the ghost of previous entries looms large like a blast from the past. Facing divorce and estranged from his children, 37 year old Mike (Matthew Perry) wonders what went wrong. Filled with regrets and uncertain of his future, his visit to his old school changes everything. By meeting a mysterious janitor little does Mike know that he holds the key to his salvation. Magically transported back to his teen years, Mike seizes the chance to take charge of his life and, with the help of his nutty friend Ned (Thomas Lennon), faces the vexing question of whether he would make the same decisions all over again. Although a very well worn idea, it's interesting how each similar film has rewound twenty years. Never ten or some other number - this double score numeral subscribes to the adage that 'twenty years ago was the best time of your life'. Maybe this dovetails into the notion of those years representing a clean slate for one's personal philosophies to take shape. Not that these messages are too apparent in this amiable comedy which passes the time effectively. Scenes featuring the young Mike re-connecting with his family and youthful ambitions are well handled, with Efron showing some strong range even if he is once again playing a basketball loving teen. It's amusing how this genre seems to be a staple for teen idols to further their careers as former stars Kirk Cameron and Patrick Dempsey can attest. Hopefully Efron can use this as a springboard in breaking free of his squeaky clean image as I'm sure even he must be tired of showing off his pecs to an adoring fanbase. Thankfully 17 Again maintains freshness to the material with a great supporting role from Lennon as the wacky friend refusing to grow old. Whilst all in good clean fun without resorting to easily used sex jokes or lewd behaviour, it doesn't whitewash its themes of accepting past decisions and maintains good momentum. Being only a year younger than Matthew Perry's character, it's a little disturbing seeing his age as being called 'ancient'. But as 17 Again proves even mature film reviewers can, like its characters, create their own definition of 'being cool'. Movie Review Rating 6 / 10 Movie review by Patrick Moore 17 Again released in Australia on Thursday 9th April 2009. 17 Again Official Homepage click on any graphic in this post. If you have any comments to make about this Movie Review, please use the comment box, titling your comments with Movie Review 17 Again Patrick Moore's Movie Review is an alternative look at current movie releases in Australia.