Saturday, November 5, 2011

MOVIE REVIEW ... CONTAGION

 

contagion-movie-poster-2011-1020735020Contagion’s director Steven Soderbergh recently announced he was retiring from making films.  A great shame as he has been one of the recent few successfully blending an independent sensibility within commercially driven stories.  Contagion is a good example as it bases its stirring tale with harsh facts.  While it doesn’t totally succeed in entertaining while it educates, his strong visual style ensures Contagion is a thought-provoking tale of fear and paranoia.

When an unknown disease hits world-wide mass panic ensues.  Affecting millions the attempts at containing the virus become more important than finding a cure.  Mitch (Matt Damon) and Alan (Jude Law) race against the clock to prevent further catastrophe to those around them.

Catching any type of unknown disease is something everyone fears.  This is why Contagion is captivating and uncomfortable viewing exploring people’s differing reactions.  From using the disease for self-gain to fighting for survival, not one person’s aim is the same as it grips the global populace.  The screenplay shows characters at various rungs of the social ladder with their background determining reactions.  The large ensemble fit into the narrative with ease even if some of their characters aren’t given much chance to shine.

Contagion is often engaging if not as gripping as it could have been.  There’s no particular sense of drama despite the catastrophic situation.  Although Soderbergh didn’t need to adhere to the usual Hollywood histrionics his interpretation of the story feels more clinical than emotive.   The occasionally intrusive score doesn’t help either although the cinematography achieves the level of visual realism for which he strives.

Hopefully Soderbergh will re-think his professional stance by continuing to make quality movies like Contagion.  Anyone fearless in broadening the mind of their audience is much needed with works such as this a haven for those over-come by multi-plex banality.

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Movie Review Rating out of 10:  6

Movie Review by Patrick Moore

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

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MOVIE REVIEWS ... THE THREE MUSKETEERS

 

three-musketeers-teaser-poster_409x540Those expecting a serious and reverential adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’ seminal novel will probably be disappointed with The Three Musketeers.  This is the umpteenth version in as many years. Director Paul W.S. Anderson is hardly known for his subtlety.  Having helmed the Resident Evil zombie flicks, his over the top style sees the Musketeers saving Paris with swords and guns blazing.  A silly load of old nonsense is entertaining despite this even if fans may gasp at the liberties taken with Dumas’ work.

Young D’Artagnan (Logan Lerman) dreams of becoming a Musketeer for the French King.  Meeting three seasoned Musketeers who take him under their wing, they become involved in a plot by the wicked Cardinal Richelieu (Christoph Waltz) to start a war with Britain.  Fighting with fine skill against the Cardinal and the dastardly duo Milady de Winter (Milla Jovovich) and the Duke of Buckingham (Orlando Bloom) they have their work cut out in saving France from unending peril.

There have been so many incarnations of The Three Musketeers it seems each succeeding version has tried to out-do the last.   Anderson’s take surely must be the most outrageous as it throws the characters into one swash-buckling dilemma into another.  Wildly deviating from Dumas’ story it doesn’t seem to care for realism and goes full hilt into fantasy territory.  Filled with plenty of derring-do the action is well staged and effectively uses every penny of its mega-budget.

No one will win any acting awards but it is nice seeing stars like Bloom play against type and enjoying themselves.  The greatest aspect is the cinematography which lovingly reveals the amazing French locations in all its glory.  These add a touch of class despite the increasingly frantic carry-on proving scenery can add much to a slice of outrageous hokum.

The Three Musketeers is diverting fluff if one doesn’t take it too seriously.  It sets out to be a grand folly and succeeds.  It probably won’t add much to Anderson’s credibility although one thinks he wouldn’t care as long as the dollars roll in.

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Movie Review Rating out of 10:  5

Movie Review by Patrick Moore

If you have any comments to make about this Movie Review, then please use the comment box, titling your comments with Movie Review The Three Musketeers

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

Official HomePage click HERE

MOVIE REVIEW .... PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 3

 

Paranormal aktivity 3 plakat A1 SK.inddThe Blair Witch Project has a lot to answer for.  A huge success in 1999 it ushered in a new era of cheaply made horror.  Filmed entirely on video with actors screaming in front of the camera with minimal emotion it became an unlikely hit.  The Paranormal Activity franchise has taken its cue to the ultimate degree with various spooky happenings occurring on a shoe-string budget.  Its third entry is no different as it uses every piece of creaking door and moving objects to supposedly terrifying effect.

Katie (Katie Featherston) and Kristi (Sprague Grayden) are two young sisters living with their mother Julie (Lauren Bittner) and her boyfriend Daniel (Brian Boland).  The family seem to enjoy life when suddenly events take a sinister turn.  Hearing strange noises and witnessing odd occurrences, Daniel takes it upon himself to capture everything on film.  What he sees fills him with dread as events escalate to a deadly and shocking denouncement.

Paranormal Activity 3 adheres to exactly the same formula as the others.  Since it has made tons of money from doing so you can’t really blame the producers for continuing.  It would have been great had it actually been scary – a prerequisite for any alleged horror movie.  Whilst it has its moments this third entry refuses to try anything new with the endless ‘bump in the night’ motif becoming tiresome.

The only aspect of interest is the character’s back-story.  Expanding on previous instalments it answers some questions raised.  Unfortunately even more are posed with logic taking a holiday.  Certain character motivations make little sense with the story ultimately relying on their reactions to events rather than developing their personas. 

Those wanting no-frills thrills may receive something out of Paranormal Activity 3.  Others who recall the halcyon days of horror such as the Nightmare on Elm Street films may wonder why the genre has fallen so far as to rely on such insipid and uninspiring entries such as this.

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Movie Review Rating 2 / 10 

Movie Review by Patrick Moore

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

Official HomePage click HERE

LEONARD STONE PASSES

 

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E! News has confirmed that Leonard Stone, the actor best known for playing Violet Beauregarde's father in the classic 1971 fantasy film "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory," died Wednesday. He was 87.

The cause of death was cancer, according to a statement from the actor's family.

As fans of the 1971 big-screen Roald Dahl adaptation will recall, Stone's character notably complained to Gene Wilder's crazy confectioner that he's "got a blueberry for a daughter" when Violet transformed into the giant fruit after trying Wonka's Three-Course-Dinner gum.

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The actor got his start on the stage, having trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts before serving as the captain on a minesweeper during World War II. Following the war, Stone appeared on stage in South Pacific, Look Homeward, Angel and Bob Fosse's musical Redhead, for which he won a Tony for Best Supporting Actor in 1959.

Stone appeared on such '50s and '60s staples as :The Donna Reed Show," "The Jean Arthur Show," "Rawhide" and "Perry Mason" among others.

After "Wonka," he landed parts in nearly every major prime-time hit of its day, from "M*A*S*H" and "The Bob Newhart Show" in the '70s to "The Dukes of Hazzard," "Hill Street Blues" and "L.A. Law" in the '80s.

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Stone's most recent credits include playing Warren Buffett in the 2005 TV movie "See Arnold Run" and lending his voice to the animated series "Avatar: The Last Airbender."

The actor passed away surrounded by his wife, daughters and grandchildren.

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“STEVE JOBS” A BEST SELLER

 

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"Steve Jobs" by Walter Isaacson has been a huge seller since it hit stores October 24.

The book, titled simply "Steve Jobs," also achieved the biggest week of sales for any book in the U.S. for almost a year.

Published by Simon & Schuster on October 24, the book outsold the next bestselling book of the week, John Grisham's "The Litigators," by more than three to one. After only six days of sales, the Jobs biography is already the 18th-bestselling book of the year in the US, according to BookScan's figures.

Simon & Schuster's decision to move up the book's publication by a month after Jobs' death October 5 appears to have paid off. Fuelled by intense interest in the late tech visionary's life and career, the biography arrived on a wave of publicity, including appearances by Isaacson on CBS's "60 Minutes" and CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight."

The 656-page book traces Jobs' 55 years of life, from his hippie youth and co-founding of Apple in his parents' Silicon Valley garage to his ouster from the company, triumphant return 11 years later and remarkable successes in the past decade with the iPod, iPhone and iPad.

The book has already produced plenty of headlines, including how Jobs regretted waiting too long after his cancer diagnosis to get surgery that might have saved him.

“Steve Jobs” is available in Australian Book stores having been released on 24 October 2011.

“The Litigators” by John Grisham was released in Australia on 25 October 2011.

JUST FOR FUN

 

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MORE SELF ANNIHILATING SENTENCES

 

Are you ever stuck for words or in need of a way out of a tricky conversation? Not any more – ‘Self-Annihilating Sentences‘ are the perfect get-out clause which will instantly put an end to any argumentative or stagnant discourse!

 

  • If anything is on your mind, get it off your chest.
  • If you must do it inadvertently, at least do it right.
  • We should utilize the word use more often.
  • Survival is important, but don't stake your life on it.
  • It's about time we returned to the status quo.
  • Always use rather than instead of instead of.
  • Don't be so proud of your humility!
  • You should get in on the ground floor before the program gets off the ground.
  • If you don't say no, it doesn't matter to whom.
  • Every man has the right to quote himself - provided he gives himself due credit.

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TRIVIA BITS

 

  • As of Dec. 31, 2000, the number of climbers summiting Mt. Everest reached 1314, and the number of deaths on the mountain reached 167.
  • As the Pacific plate moves under its coast, the North Island of New Zealand is getting larger.
  • As you age, the number of taste buds you have tend to diminish.  An average child is born with about 10,000 taste buds.  An average elderly person only has about 5,000.  This is partially why many kids hate vegetables so much.  Vegetables can be very bitter to “super tasters” or those close to that.  As you age and your taste buds diminish, this bitter flavour goes away somewhat and changes the taste of the vegetables dramatically in the process.
  • Astronaut John Glenn ate the first meal in space when he ate pureed applesauce squeezed from a tube aboard Friendship 7 in 1962.
  • At 840,000 square miles, Greenland is the largest island in the world. It is three times the size of Texas. By comparison, Iceland is only 39,800 square miles.
  • At Darts, a score of 26 is called 'bed and breakfast'.
  • At full tilt, Pumas can leap a distance of about sixty feet.
  • At the age of 12, Martin Luther King became so depressed he tried committing suicide twice, by jumping out of his bedroom window.
  • At the age of 26, Michelangelo began sculpting his monumental statue of David. He finished it seventeen months later, in January, 1504.
  • At the deepest point, an iron ball would take more than an hour to sink to the ocean floor. ( 11.034 km )
  • At the nearest point , Russia and America are less than 4 km apart.

QUOTABLES

 

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Friday, November 4, 2011

THIS WORLD … DESERTS

 

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JUST FOR FUN

 

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WORLDS BUILDINGS … SAGRADA FAMÍLIA, SPAIN

 

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Surely the most extraordinary church on the planet, from the mind of one of history’s most eccentric designers: Antoni Gaudí.

With its tapering towers like the straightened arms of an octopus, construction of Sagrada Família began in 1882, though Gaudí’s vision was so complex that the church is still unfinished.

It will ultimately feature three façades and 18 towers, the tallest of them (170m) representing Jesus Christ.

Plans are to have the Barcelona icon completed in 2026, the 100th anniversary of Gaudí’s death, although it will almost be a shame now to see it finished.

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COOL IMAGES

 

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MARVELLOUS MERINGUES

 

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MORE WAYS TO PHONE IN A PIZZA ORDER

 

“Life get’s tedious don’t it” sang Carson Robinson in the 1940’s. Ordering pizza can be so repetitious ... so .... put some fun into it!

 

  • Order with a Speak-n-Spell where applicable.
  • Ask how many dolphins were killed to make that pizza.
  • While on the phone, fake entering puberty. Fluctuate pitch often; act embarrassed.
  • Engage in some serious swapping.
  • Dance all around the word "pizza." Avoid saying it at all costs. If he/she says it, say "Please don't mention that word."
  • Have a movie with a good car chase scene playing loudly in the background. Yell "OW!" when a bullet is fired.
  • If he/she suggests a side order, ask why he/she is punishing you.
  • Ask if the pizza has had its shots.
  • Order a steamed pizza.
  • Get taker's name. Later, call exactly on the hour to say, "This is your (time of day) wake-up call, So-and-so." Hang up.

“CLASH OF THE TITANS 3”

 

clash_of_the_titans03"Wrath of the Titans" is yet to open , but already Warner Bros. Pictures has planned a third film for the "Clash of the Titans" franchise. The story will continue the adventures of Perseus, played by Sam Worthington.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Dan Mazeau and David Leslie Johnson, who wrote the script for "Wrath", have been attached to pen the screenplay for "Clash of the Titans 3". Producers Basil Iwanyk and Polly Johnsen will also return for the third film.

Multiple insiders revealed that Toby Kebbell's Agenor, who will be introduced in the second movie, will be back for the threequel. Jonathan Liebesman is also expected to tackle the directorial duty once again, although no official deal has been signed.

TRIVIA BITS

 

  • Antarctic means ' opposite the Artic '.
  • Anteaters prefer termites to ants.
  • Ants are social insects and live in colonies which may have as many as 500,000 individuals.
  • Ants don't sleep.
  • Aphids are born pregnant without the benefit of sex. Aphids can give birth 10 days after being born themselves.
  • Armadillos are the only animal besides humans that can get leprosy.
  • Armadillos have four babies at a time and they are always all the same sex.
  • Armoured knights raised their visors to identify themselves when they rode
  • Arrowroot, an antidote for poisoned arrows, is used as a thickener in cooking.
  • As of 1996, Hee Haw holds the record for the longest running weekly first-run syndicated show in the history of television. It spanned over 4 decades, from the late '60s to the early '90s, airing every Saturday night at 7:00.

THE DUCHESS OF CAMBRIDGE

 

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She has only recently joined the royal family but already the Duchess of Cambridge is the queen of British fashion, according to UK style magazine Harper's Bazaar.

The 29-year-old who married Prince William in April in front of a global audience estimated at some two billion people, has topped the 2011 British best dressed list, published in the latest edition of the glossy on Tuesday.

"Catherine's incredible style evolution has gripped us all," Bazaar UK editor Lucy Yeomans said on the publication's website.

"She gave us the year's - if not the century's - most thrilling fashion moment at the royal wedding, and is shaping up as an amazing ambassador for British designers and the high street."

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A panel of judges including Yeomans, designer Antonio Berardi, milliner Philip Treacy and designer Roksanda Ilincic decided unanimously that Catherine should be crowned the 2011 winner.

The slim brunette took out the 2011 title ahead of singer Florence Welch, actress Andrea Riseborough and model Kate Moss, with designer Stella McCartney and actress Keira Knightley also named in the top 10.

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