Saturday, July 12, 2014

Movie Review ... Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes

Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes posterIn 2011 ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ successfully re-invented the stalled franchise.  Providing an intelligent approach to the material whilst having the requisite action, it proved popular with audiences and critics.  Its sequel ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ is just as effective.  Continuing the engrossing story of ape vs. human, it benefits from the new century’s reliance on CGI.  Enabling believability the original series could only have wished, the new Apes continuation gathers at a more furious pace in its latest instalment.
A decade after a lethal virus has destroyed most of humanity; its remnants attempt to survive.  This is made harder to the presence of a group of genetically evolved apes led by Caesar (Andy Serkis).  Malcolm (Jason Clarke), a prominent member of the human tribe, wants to form a bond with the simian inhabitants.  Unfortunately others from both the ape and human camp want to seize Earth as their true home.  With the battle between them intensifying, only one group can survive and claim ultimate victory.
‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ successfully adds more textures to its predecessor.  Having its non-human characters display a myriad of emotions mostly without actually speaking is no mean feat.  That the movie pulls it off is a credit to the performers and animators.  Unlike most CGI-driven films, ‘Dawn’ is in a class of its own with some magnificent effects.  This aids in allowing for full immersion into its world with the apes becoming more interesting than their human counterparts.  
The amazing CGI highlights how the ‘Planet of the Apes’ concept works much better now than when it first appeared.  Free of the ‘people in rubber suits’ hampering enjoyment of the original movies, the new apes feel more natural and real.  The action sequences underscore this freedom of movement with the creativity gone into them evident.  Director Matt Reeves excels himself with these scenes but also allows the story to breathe.  This isn’t a simple sequel cash-in – genuine thought has gone into crafting a gripping tale of conflict, betrayal and survival
Building on the success of its forebear, ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ is a worthy follow-up.  Continually arresting until its final frame, it whets the appetite for the expected next outing for the animalistic series.

Movie Review Rating out of 10:  8
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. 


A Don McLean Moment


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Trivia Bits 12 July


The 15.4-metre (51 ft) long Anantashayana Vishnu at Saranga is the longest sculpture of a reclining Vishnu in India.

The Magyars are an ethnic group belonging to the European country of Hungary.

Kolkota, capital of the Indian state of West Bengal, is called the City of Palaces because of its abundance of European-style buildings.

On December 17, 1973 Pan Am Flight 110 was attacked by six gunmen of the Abu Nidal Organization at Leonardo Da Vinci International Airport in Rome.

Musically, the opposite of playing legato is playing staccato.

The Singapore Grand Prix 11 was held at the Marina Bay Street Circuit in 2013 and was won by Sebastian Vettel driving for the Red Bull Racing-Renault team.

George Williamson Crawford, a New Haven city official, activist, and freemason, was the second black graduate of Yale Law School around 1900.

Time’s Magazine 2012 Person of the Year was US President Barack Obama.

H. B. Reese, the creator of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups created in 1928, once worked for famed chocolatier Milton S. Hershey as a dairy farmer and shipping foreman.

Cuban singer-songwriter Jon Secada earned the Grammy Award and received the highest number of nominations at the Lo Nuestro Awards in 1993.

Quotables 12 July



Friday, July 11, 2014

A Don Knotts Moment


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Trivia Bits 11 July


The Romanian flag features rectangular panels of red, yellow and blue and wad adopted 24 June 1848. The blue panel is always flown next to the pole, then yellow then red.

Chichen Itza was a large pre-Columbian city built by the Maya civilization with the archaeological site located in the municipality of Tinum, in the Mexican state of Yucatán.

Joan of Arc was burnt at the stake in 1431 in the French city of Rouen.

On Wings' songs Cook of the House and Love in Song, ex-Beatle Paul McCartney plays the same double bass that Bill Black played on Elvis Presley hits such as Heartbreak Hotel.

Premiering on Sunday, October 23, 2011, Once Upon a Time is an American fairy tale drama series that takes place in the fictional seaside town of Storybrooke, Maine, whose residents are actually characters from various fairy tales transported to the "real world" town and robbed of their real memories by a powerful curse with episodes typically feature a primary storyline in Storybrooke, as well as a secondary storyline usually from another point in a character's life before the curse was enacted.

English musician Jay Kay is best known as the lead singer of the band Jamiroquai.

In October 1947, the USAF Northrop YB-49, a prototype jet-powered heavy bomber aircraft, set both unofficial endurance record of staying continually above 40,000 ft (12,200 m) for 6.5 hours.

The champion of a good cause is often known as the White Knight.

A prehistoric mound is located on the U.S. Air Force's Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio and is believed to have been built by people of the prehistoric Adena culture, who inhabited southwestern Ohio approximately between 500 BC and AD 400 and was listed on the US National Register of Historic Places in 1972.

India launched the Mars Orbiter Mission in November 2013 by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) from the First Launch Pad at Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh near Chennai.

Ball’s Pyramid, the tallest volcanic stack in the world is located of the coast of the Australian state of New South Wales and is part of the Lord Howe Island Marine Park.

Quotables 11 July



Thursday, July 10, 2014

A Don Ameche Moment


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Trivia Bits 10 July


Express Yourself was a 1989 hit for American singer-songwriter Madonna being from her fourth studio album Like a Prayer.

The main vegetable in the traditional Irish champ, native to the North of Ireland, is the potato being made by blending scallions or green onions with creamy mashed potatoes.

While travelling in Italy in 1898, American hydraulic engineer Clemens Herschel found an ancient manuscript about the water system of Rome, and translated and published it in English.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are characters from William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet.

Vishvaksena is described as the commander-in-chief of the army of the Hindu god Vishnu and the gate-keeper and "chamberlain" of Vishnu's abode Vaikuntha.

The Aswan Dam is an embankment dam situated across the Nile River in Aswan, Egypt.

The Best Actress Oscar went to Marion Cotillard for the 2007 movie La Vi en Rose.

When the Plaza Mayor of Manila was renamed Plaza de Roma in 1961, the city of Rome reciprocated by renaming one of its squares "Piazza Manila".

French can-can dancer made famous by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec through his paintings, Jane Avril was the inspiration for Nicole Kidman's character, Satine, in Baz Luhrman’s 2001 film Moulin Rouge!

During the 1939 Battle of Wizna in Poland during World War II, German planes dropped leaflets asking the Poles to surrender.

Quotables 10 July



Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A Dolores del Rio Moment



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Trivia Bits 09 July


Canadian-American actor David Manners lived for 67 years after starring as Jonathon Harker opposite Bela Lugosi in the 1931 film Dracula, but claims to have never watched it.

The title role in the 1965 movie Dr Zhivago was played by Omar Sharif; co-starring Julie Christie , Geraldine Chaplin, Rod Steiger and Alec Guinness; directed by David Lean and winning 5 Academy Awards.

In the Google logo the e is red in colour.

Soukous is a genre of dance music that originated from African rumba music of the Belgian Congo and French Congo during the 1940s.

According to legend, one of the Holy Nails used in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ was incorporated into the Iron Crown of Lombardy made in the Early Middle Ages and consisting of a circlet of gold fitted around a central iron band, which according to the legend was beaten out of a nail of the True Cross. The crown is kept in the Cathedral of Monza, outside Milan.

The J J Liston trophy is awarded to the best a fairest senior player in Australian Rules with the Victorian Football League.

American New Wave rock quartet based in Los Angeles, The Knack had a 1979 hit with the song My Sharona.

The frog Paedophryne swiftorum was discovered by a student on a 2008 Cornell University expedition to Papua New Guinea.

Chetham's Library in Manchester, England is the oldest public library in the English-speaking world being established in 1653 under the will of Humphrey Chetham for the education of "the sons of honest, industrious and painful parents", and a library for the use of scholars.

English cricketer Graham Gooch is the only centurion in Test cricket history to have been dismissed by handling the ball.

Quotables 09 July



Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A Dolly Parton Moment


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Trivia Bits 08 July


Detective Loki in the 2013 crime thriller Prisoners is played by Jake Gyllenhaal and was directed by Denis Villeneuve with the cast also including Hugh Jackman, Viola Davis, Maria Bello, Terrence Howard, Melissa Leo, and Paul Dano.

In 1935, J Edgar Hoover became Director of the US Government agency the FBI - The Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The Old Gum Tree under which South Australia was proclaimed as a colony of Great Britain on 28 December 1836 is located in the Adelaide suburb of Glenelg North.

The 1903 Tour de France, the first Tour de France won by Maurice Garin, often required riders to cycle through the night because the stages were so long, all started before dawn with the last stage starting at 21:00 the night before.

Kangaroo Island is the third largest island in Australia after Tasmania and Melville Island.

In 1655, Alfonso Litta - the archbishop of Milan - organised a militia of 900 armed clerics during the invasion of the Duchy of Milan by Thomas Francis of Savoy.

The 1998 movie The Thin Red Line, an American war film written and directed by Terrence Malick, was set during World War II and starred Sean Penn, Jim Caviezel, Nick Nolte, Elias Koteas and Ben Chaplin.

Pope Benedict XVI made history in becoming the first Pope to use Twitter with his handle being @pontifex.

Orica-AIS is an Australian women’s professional team in the sport of Cycling.

18th century French salons were often led by those who were creating the Encyclopédie, a general encyclopedia published in France between 1751 and 1772. As of 1750, the full title was Encyclopédie, ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers, par une société de gens de lettres, mis en ordre par M. Diderot de l'Académie des Sciences et Belles-Lettres de Prusse, et quant à la partie mathématique, par M. d'Alembert de l'Académie royale des Sciences de Paris, de celle de Prusse et de la Société royale de Londres. ("Encyclopedia: or a Systematic Dictionary of the Sciences, Arts, and Crafts, by a Company of Men of Letters, arranged by M. Diderot of the Academy of Sciences and Belles-lettres of Prussia: as to the Mathematical Portion, arranged by M. d'Alembert of the Royal Academy of Sciences of Paris, to the Academy of Sciences in Prussia and to the Royal Society of London.")

Quotables 08 July



Monday, July 7, 2014

A Dirk Bogarde Moment


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Trivia Bits 07 July


Minsk is the capital of the European country of Belarus.

The Adoration of the Shepherds (1607–10) by Domenichino shows the newborn Jesus listening to bagpipe music.

Mount Coot-ha overlooks the Australian capital Brisbane in Queensland.

An exact copy of Our Lady of Lourdes from the Grotto of Apparitions pilgrimage by John Paul II adorns the main altar of the Church of the Holy Virgin Mary of Lourdes in Kraków.

The Mekong River empties into the South China Sea.

Mount Cunningham on South Georgia in the South Atlantic Ocean was named after Scottish mountaineer John Crabbe Cunningham who died after being struck by waves off Holyhead in 1980.

Out of thirty-one international cricket centuries scored by Sri Lankan cricketer Aravinda de Silva, eleven were made against Pakistan.

The 12th letter of the Greek alphabet is MU.

The Singapore Constitution that came into force on 9 August 1965 was not drafted as a single document but was made up of provisions from three separate statutes - the Constitution of the State of Singapore 1963, provisions of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia made applicable to Singapore by the Republic of Singapore Independence Act 1965 (No. 9 of 1965, 1985 Rev. Ed.), and the Republic of Singapore Independence Act itself.

Swedish scientist Arvid Carlsson won the 2000 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for work leading to the treatment of Parkinson's Disease.

Quotables 07 July

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Movie Review ... Jersey Boys

jersey-boys-posterOne of the first stage shows claiming the mantle of ‘jukebox musical’ was ‘Mamma Mia’.  Based around ABBA tunes, its threadbare plot was secondary to toe-tapping songs and party-like atmosphere.  Since then many have tried to take a slice of this profitable pie.  One of them was ‘Jersey Boys’ – about the rise of American harmony group ‘The Four Seasons’. Having seen the show and Four Seasons singer Frankie Valli in concert, I can attest to the power of their songs.  Whilst the film adaptation follows a very familiar biographical path, it retains some of the group’s dynamic mystique.
Frankie (John Lloyd Young), Bob (Erich Bergen), Nick (Michael Lomenda) and Tommy (Vincent Piazza) are singers looking for a break.  Raised in the rough streets of New Jersey, they aim to use their talents to better their lives.  Eventually forming the group The Four Seasons, their skills swiftly sees them rise to the top.  All isn’t plain sailing, with marriages, divorce and mob connections conspiring to tear them apart.  Their passion for music remains constant as they attempt to cement their legacy for future generations.
The second musical biography directed by Clint Eastwood after 1988’s ‘Bird’, ‘Jersey Boys’ is the best of his recent work.  More focussed with a compelling story, it’s an engrossing look at the creation of a popular group.  Unlike some biographies, Eastwood manages to retain the theatrical show’s rough edges.  No person is presented as a white-washed saint with their foibles laid bare.  The performers embody their roles perfectly allowing you to be drawn into their crushed hopes and rising dreams.
What generally matters is the music which of course is great.  Fans will know the tunes well and all are sung to perfection.  Whilst certain story elements have been changed and some discarded from the show, the authentic feel and main dramatic points are retained.  Momentum is well maintained and the period production design is of a high standard. 
Given their growing popularity, jukebox musicals are here to stay.  If they are of the quality of ‘Jersey Boys’, then that’s a good thing.   The film adaptation is generally faithful to its source and may make new followers of a group whose musical allure will forever remain.
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Movie Review Rating out of 10:  8
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.


Movie Review ... The Two Faces Of January


hr_The_Two_Faces_of_January_2A skill of a good thriller is to instantly entice viewers.  Slowly unfurling the mystery and danger characters face, their plight should maintain attention until the final denouncement.  ‘The Two Faces of January’ does this with ease.  Based on noted thriller writer Patricia Highsmith’s 1964 novel, her use of anti-heroes flouting the law is readily seen.  Graced with sumptuous location filming in Greece and Turkey, ‘The Two Faces of January’ is a visual and emotional ride refusing to let go.

Visiting Greece in 1962, husband and wife Chester (Viggo Mortensen) and Colette MacFarland (Kirsten Dunst) enjoy the idyll.  Whilst walking around Athens, they meet Rydal (Oscar Isaac) a tour guide carrying a few secrets.  Striking a friendship, the couple invite him to their hotel.  Upon arrival Rydal becomes involved in a chain of events forever changing the trio.  Jealousy, deception and death plague them as each attempt to untangle themselves from a seemingly inescapable web of lies.

Encompassing nearly all of the seven deadly sins the characters in ‘The Two Faces of January’ run an emotional gamut.  From one swift action, their moral code quickly becomes askew.  Each has a lot to lose as they go on the run.  Chester’s murky background hides his true motivations which affect Colette and Rydal’s chances at escaping from the situation.  Enhanced by excellent performances you feel their character’s genuine desperation as the net slowly tightens.

Hossein Amini directs with a good eye for crafting true tension.  Almost creating an Alfred Hitchcock-like atmosphere of skulduggery, Amini’s movie shares many similarities with Hitchcock’s directorial famed works.  This is highlighted by the Bernard Herrmann’s-esque score effectively increasing the unease enveloping everyone.  The brisk run-time aids in maintaining focus and ensuring the taut screenplay loses none of its power.

‘The Two Faces of January’ is a solid adult thriller made in a classic style.  Much like the suspense movies which used to flood cinemas in the 1950’s, it does the job in capturing the essence of what made those films so popular.


Movie Review Rating out of 10:  8

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.

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A Dionne Warwick Moment


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Trivia Bits 06 July


The word ukulele comes from the Hawaiian word meaning jumping flea.

Yoko Ono's 1969 song "Don't Worry Kyoko (Mummy's Only Looking for Her Hand in the Snow)" was inspired by a custody battle over her daughter, with whom she didn't reunite for another 25 years.

Written and produced by Motown's main production team Holland–Dozier–Holland, Where Did Our Love Go?, released on June 17, 1964, became The Supremes' first number one hit after being rejected by The Marvelettes.

Patience Latting was not just the first female Mayor of Oklahoma City, but also the first woman to serve as mayor of any U.S. city exceeding 350,000 people. She was Mayor from 1971 to 1983. The Patience Latting Library, the newest branch of the city's public library system, was opened to the public in 2011.

Australia’s oldest Chinatown is on Melbourne being established during the Victorian gold rush in 1851 when Chinese prospectors came to Australia for the gold rush in search of gold.

Rechelle Hawkes, the captain of the Australian Women’s Hockey Team, delivered the Athlete’s Oath at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Within Superman's Fortress of Solitude, there is an apartment set aside for Supergirl as well as an alien zoo, a giant steel diary in which Superman wrote his, a chess-playing robot, specialized exercise equipment, a laboratory where Superman worked on various projects such as developing defenses to Kryptonite, a (room-sized) computer, communications equipment, and rooms dedicated to all of his friends, including one for Clark Kent to fool visitors. Superman's Fortress of Solitude is outlined in DC Special Series #26 (1981); Superman and his Incredible Fortress of Solitude.

British Comic strip character Modesty Blaise was created in 1963 by Peter O'Donnell (writer) and Jim Holdaway (art).

The two Canadian provinces bordering New Brunswick are Quebec and Nova Scotia.

A 1540 bottle of wine from Würzburger Stein, a vineyard in the German wine region of Franconia, may have been the oldest wine ever tasted. An unopened bottle from the 1540 vintage is still kept today in the cellars of the Bürgerspital zum Heiligen Geist wine estate, a charitable foundation based in Würzburg.

Drive, the 2011 movie, starred Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan and Bryan Cranston.

A speleologist studies caves, their features, make-up, structure, physical properties, history, life forms, and the processes by which they form (speleogenesis) and change over time.

The computing acronym GIF stands for Graphics Interchange Format and is a bitmap image format that was introduced by CompuServe in 1987.

In Greek mythology, the twin sister of Apollo was Artemis often described as the daughter of Zeus and Leto.

The 1977 novel The Thorn Birds was written by Australian author Colleen McCullough which in 1983 it was adapted as a TV mini-series starring Richard Chamberlain, Rachel Ward, Barbara Stanwyck, Christopher Plummer, Bryan Brown and Jean Simmons. Set primarily on Drogheda, a fictional sheep station in the Australian outback named after Drogheda, Ireland, the story focuses on the Cleary family and spans the years 1915 to 1969.

With a top speed of 240 km/h, the Formula Rossa roller-coaster is located in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.

Russia’s special military forces are known as the Spetsnaz which is an umbrella term for any special forces in Russian, literally "special purpose forces".

The peak of Mount Hikurangi (1620 metres) is the highest non-volcanic peak on the North Island of New Zealand.

Australian journalist/author Caroline Overington wrote the 2013 novel No Place Like Home

In 1971, Pakistani political scientist, writer, journalist, and anti-war activist Eqbal Ahmad was indicted on charges of conspiracy to kidnap Henry Kissinger due to his strong criticism of the Middle East strategy of the United States.

Quotables 06 July