Saturday, February 7, 2015

Just For Fun 07 February



A Guy Williams Moment


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Trivia Bits 07 February


double bass

The cello is not the largest instrument in the string section of an orchestra – the double bass (pictured) is!

The main ingredients of popular dessert crème caramel are sugar, milk, cream and eggs.

Snowy (French: Milou) is a fictional character in The Adventures of Tintin, the comics series by Belgian cartoonist Hergé and is a white wire fox terrier who is a companion to Tintin, the series' protagonist. Snowy is a central character in all Tintin stories and debuted on 10 January 1929.

The real first name of the children’s character Doc McStuffens, a 2012 animated pre-school children's television series of the same name, is Dottie.

Directed by Harry Watt Target for Tonight was a 1941 documentary filmed, acted, and written by the Royal Air Force all while under fire and went on to win an honorary Academy Award in 1942.

The 1993 novel The Virgin Suicides, the debut novel by American writer Jeffrey Eugenides, features Lux, Therese, Mary, Bonnie and Cecilia Lisbon who are the daughters in a Catholic family living in Grosse Pointe, Michigan in the 1970s.

The ancient remains found in Lake Mungo were discovered in the 1969 - 1974 in the Australian state of New South Wales specifically the World Heritage listed Willandra Lakes Region.

For portraying both Rama and Sita in the 1917 silent film Lanka Dahan, Anna Hari Salunke is credited with playing the first double role in Indian cinema with Anna being an Indian actor who performed female roles in early Indian cinema and also a cinematographer.

The 2012 American television police procedural series starring Mary McDonnell Major Crimes is a spin-off of the 2005 TV series The Closer starring Kyra Sedgwick as Brenda Leigh Johnson, a Los Angeles Police Department Deputy Chief who has a reputation as a Closer — an interrogator who not only solves a case, but obtains confessions that lead to convictions.

With nearly 9.5 million active reserve and paramilitary personnel, North Korea reportedly has the largest military organisation.

Quotables 07 February



Friday, February 6, 2015

Movie Review ... Foxcatcher


Foxcatcher posterActors known for comedic roles and turning to dramatic is nothing new.  Robin Williams, Jim Carrey and Bill Murray successfully moved between genres.  Whilst initially strange, the line between comedy and drama isn’t as huge as one would think.  Those well versed in comedy usually are able to embody some drama in any situation.  This is why Steve Carrell is so good in ‘Foxcatcher’.  Already garnering praise, it provides him with a career-best performance in a very engaging film.

Dave (Mark Ruffalo) and Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) are Olympic medal winning wrestlers.  Seeking sponsorship to train for the 1988 Olympics, wealthy heir John du Pont (Steve Carrell) comes to their aid.  Desperate to achieve respectability, du Pont allows the brothers to train at his estate ‘Foxcatcher’.  Increasingly moving under his control, the brothers discover a darker side to du Pont’s suave demeanour.  The trio’s lives take unexpected and deadly turns.

It would be remiss to say ‘Foxcatcher’ belongs to Steve Carrell.  Whilst he is amazing in his role, Ruffalo and Tatum provide equally fine performances.  All fully embody their characters with Dave’s calm disposition and Mark’s head-strong nature affecting du Pont’s viewpoints.  A strange, sad, pathetic sociopath, du Pont’s embracing of the Schultz’s brother’s ambitions is often eerie.  Through them du Pont validates his sense of worth as, despite his immense inherited wealth, his existence hasn’t amounted to much.

Director Bennett Miller wisely underplays the intense script by discarding the temptation to use melodramatic music to highlight the drama.  Instead he allows the personal relationships slowly to percolate into a crescendo of taut anxiety.  The cinematography effectively serves his bleak vision with the differing weather seasons mirroring the change in mood between characters. 

‘Foxcatcher’ marks Carrell’s entry into more serious roles. Hopefully he’ll continue in his popular comedic ones as well. In the meantime ‘Foxcatcher’ gives notice of another dramatic talent giving a fine performance in a consistently gripping true-life tale.

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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


Movie Review ... The Gambler


The Gambler posterGambling is one of the oldest forms of recreation.  Taking chances on a flip of a card, the gambler hopes to win big.  Money’s allure can become a dangerous addiction with the thirst for gaining dollars all consuming.  ‘The Gambler’ looks at how a man’s quest for cash becomes his undoing.  Exploring a dangerously dark world, it offers lessons in endlessly satisfying one’s cravings.

English professor Jim Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) loves to gamble.  Desperate to satisfy his desire for the luck of the dice, he goes to any length to fulfil needs.  Borrowing money from various gangsters including Frank (John Goodman), he quickly is out of his depth.  Desperate to find a way out, Bennett hatches an audacious plan to escape the clutches of those trading in filthy lucre.

Like the spin of a roulette wheel, ‘The Gambler’ comes with mixed odds.  Neither fish nor fowl, it stumbles due to a muddled screenplay.  You are never sure of the reason for Jim’s behaviour and his tendency for self-destruction is unexplained.  Scenes with his mother Roberta, played by the always wonderful Jessica Lange, only provide vague clues.  As Jim has little redeeming features, ‘The Gambler’ is somewhat of a chore to watch.

In spite of these drawbacks and fine performances, Rupert Wyatt’s direction conjures some interest.  How various gangs use Jim as a bargaining tool in turf wars is fascinating with the tension of Jim’s situation keenly felt.  Unfortunately ‘The Gambler’ spends too much time on irrelevant character moments. Making for an unfocussed narrative, the themes ‘The Gambler’ pushes become frustratingly smothered.

‘The Gambler’ is still worth watching even if it isn’t as good as it should have been.  The gambling world isn’t made to look any better either with ‘The Gambler’ deftly providing a warning to not over-indulge in taking lucky chances.

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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


Movie Review ... Mortdecai


mortdecai-poster-1There is nothing worse than seeing a comedy struggling for laughs.  Desperately pulling gags out of thin air is painful to watch and is something which ‘Mortdecai’ does much.  Despite an all-star cast and high production values, this mish-mash of ‘Pink Panther’/’Austin Powers’ slapstick quickly falls apart.  Although comedy can be subjective, some mirth is needed for viewers to appreciate.  ‘Mortdecai’ has few and quickly plunges over a comedic cliff with little chance of revival.

Charles Mortdecai (Johnny Depp) is an impish British cad of the highest order.  Art dealer and con-man, his latest mission finds him searching for a lost painting.  Having the location to a horde of Nazi gold, the portrait is something Mortdecai must find.  Unfortunately the Russian mafia, MI5 and his interfering wife Johanna (Gwyneth Paltrow) are just as eager. Juggling these distractions, Mortdecai goes to great lengths to obtain his cherished prize.

‘Mortdecai’s’ biggest weakness is the central character.  A direct clone of ‘Pink Panther’s Inspector Clouseau, Mortdecai quickly becomes irritating.  The stiff-upper lip ‘jolly good show’ caricature Depp relies upon swiftly becomes tiresome.  In small doses it is bearable but extended over movie-length it fails to service a jumbled plot.  Depp and cast wildly over-play their roles with nothing for the scatter-shot humour to grab onto. 

Often the screenplay runs away from the performers.  Despite amusing moments, director David Koepp fails to keep the struggling story under control.  It isn’t any wonder the cast ham it up for all its worth.  Despite many faults, ‘Mortdecai’ has a great visual style with flair gone into establishing the world-wide hunt for the painting.  This gives the movie some much needed scale even if the often bawdy humour derives from the vaults of antiquity.

Although there have been far worse films than ‘Mortdecai’, it still doesn’t make it any good.  Lumbered with a confused, rambling story-line and over the top acting, it is a mis-fire that all involved should avoid if they want future careers.

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Movie Review Rating out of 10:  3

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






Just For Fun 06 February



A Guy Mitchell Moment



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Trivia Bits 06 February


truman capote

Truman Streckfus Persons known as Truman Capote (pictured) was an American author, screenwriter and playwright, many of whose short stories, novels, plays, and nonfiction are recognized literary classics, including the novella Breakfast at Tiffany's (1958) and the true crime novel In Cold Blood (1966), which he labelled a "nonfiction novel."

Until sometime after the Norman Conquest when the capital was moved to London, Winchester was the capital city of England.

The European city-state of The Vatican is the world’s smallest official country.

Venetian architect Girolamo Sartorio, the brother of composer Antonio Sartorio, designed the first German public opera house, the Oper am Gänsemarkt in Hamburg built in 1678.

The Penguin’s alter ego is Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot and is a fictional character, a supervillain who appears in comic books published by DC Comics in the Batman comic series.

Anna Karenina is a novel by the Russian writer Leo Tolstoy, published in serial installments from 1873 to 1877 in the periodical The Russian Messenger with the novel beginning with one of its most oft-quoted lines Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.

Born in Amsterdam, New York, Issur Danielovitch is better known as an American film and stage actor, film producer and author Kirk Douglas.

Florence Nightingale was known to have an owl that she carried around in her pocket which she rescued as an owlet while at the Parthenon in Athens, Greece in 1850 which who she named Athena after the Greek goddess of war and wisdom.

2010 Danish one-hour political drama television series Borgen tells the story of charismatic politician Birgitte Nyborg who unexpectedly becomes the first female Prime Minister of Denmark. "Borgen" ("the Castle") is the nickname of Christiansborg Palace, which houses all three of Denmark's branches of government: the Parliament, the Prime Minister's Office and the Supreme Court.

A lusophone is someone who speaks the Portuguese language either as a native speaker, as an additional language, or as a learner with Lusophone countries incluinge Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, East Timor, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Portugal, São Tomé and Príncipe, and the Chinese Special Administrative Region (SAR) of Macau.

Quotables 06 February



Thursday, February 5, 2015

Just For Fun 05 February



A Guy Madison Moment


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Trivia Bits 05 February


The Catcher in the Rye

Holden Caulfield is the protagonist in the 1951 novel The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger (1951 cover pictured) with Holden becoming an icon for teenage rebellion.

Muhammad Ali Jinnah was instrumental in 1947 in founding the country of Pakistan officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

The pink river dolphin commonly known as the Amazon River dolphin, is a freshwater river dolphin endemic to the Orinoco, Amazon and Araguaia/Tocantins River systems of South America.

Urquhart Castle situated beside Loch Ness in the Highlands of Scotland with the present ruins date from the 13th to the 16th centuries, though built on the site of an early medieval fortification.

The wattle Acacia riceana, native to Tasmania, was named in honour of British Whig politician Thomas Spring Rice who was Chancellor of the Exchequer at the time of its discovery in 1839.

Drawing over 300,000 tourists a year, Alice Springs, the heart of The Red Centre, has a permanent population approaching 30000 with beef and camel rearing, flower and date cultivation are the principal industries besides tourism.

English food commodity dealer and exporter Richard Tylman, Mayor of Faversham during the reign of Elizabeth I of England, was a sole supplier of corn to the London merchants among the local exporters in 1580.

Romansh is the official language of the European country of Switzerland since 1938 and as an official language along with German, French and Italian since 1996.

The Uruguay River flows through Uruguay and also Argentina and Brazil and the river measures about 1,838 kilometres (1,142 mi) in length and starts in the Serra do Mar in Brazil.

Professor James Moriarty was introduced by Scottish physician and writer Arthur Conan Doyle in his December 1893 short story The Final Problem first published in Strand Magazine a monthly magazine composed of fictional stories and factual articles.

Quotables 05 February



Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Just For Fun 04 February



A Groucho Marx Moment


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Trivia Bits 04 February



An American stock exchange NASDAQ (pictured) , which stands for National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations, is the second-largest stock exchange in the world.

The investigation into the 1995 murder of Celine Figard saw the UK's first national DNA screening programme in the hunt for a suspect covering over 5,000 people.

A dzo is an animal that is crossed between a cow and yak whilst dzo technically refers to a male hybrid, a female is known as a dzomo or zhom.

Women’s Pole Vault was included for the first time at the Sydney 2000 Summer Olympics.

Peru is a country in western South America is the home to Machu Picchu which most archaeologists believe was built as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti (1438–1472) and is often mistakenly referred to as the "Lost City of the Incas", but it is perhaps the most familiar icon of Inca civilization.

If suffering from ombrophobia, you would have a fear of rain.

Transylvania is a historical region of the European country of Romania and in the English-speaking world has been strongly associated with vampires, chiefly due to the influence of Bram Stoker's novel Dracula as well as its later film adaptations and off-spins.

La Salle Road in Hong Kong is named after French educator Jean-Baptiste de la Salle with the La Salle College Kowloon opening on 6 January 1932.

Five of King Henry VIII’s wives were named Catherine or Anne - Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Anne of Cleves, Catherine Howard and Catherine Parr. Jane Seymour was the sixth wife.

Cast in 1828, the bronze equestrian statue of George IV by Sir Francis Legatt Chantrey, which stands in Trafalgar Square was originally meant to be on top of the Marble Arch.

Quotables 04 February



Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Just For Fun 03 February



A Greta Garbo Moment


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Trivia Bits 03 February


Francis Drake

Captaining the Golden Hind on its circumnavigation of the globe between 1577 and 1580 was English sea captain, privateer, navigator, slaver, and politician of the Elizabethan era, Francis Drake (pictured).

Australian professional athlete Emma Moffatt is best known for competing in the triathalon winning a bronze medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, and won the gold at the ITU Triathlon World Championships in 2009 and 2010.

Australian comedian actress Rebel Wilson had a major character in the 2012 movie Pitch Perfect  with a character called Fat Amy.

Carbon (from Latin: carbo "coal") is the chemical element with symbol C and atomic number 6 having several forms including graphite, diamond, and amorphous carbon. The physical properties graphite is opaque and black, is soft enough to form a streak on paper, hence its name, from the Greek word "γράφω" which means "to write", and is a very good conductor of electricity.

The 2014 Winter Olympics was officially opened by Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia.

Spanish painter Diego Velazquez was a prominent artist from the Baroque period and was the leading artist in the court of King Philip IV and one of the most important painters of the Spanish Golden Age.

The original Wii is a home video game console released by Nintendo on November 19, 2006.

The tricuspid valve is found on the right dorsal side of the heart, between the right atrium and the right ventricle with the function to prevent back flow of blood into the right atrium.

American film and television actress Lara Flynn Boyle’s first major role was Donna Hayward in the TV series Twin Peaks an American television serial drama that follows an investigation headed by FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) into the murder of homecoming queen Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee).

Open to three year olds, the annual Australian Derby Thoroughbred horse race at Randwick Racecourse in Sydney, Australia is held in the month of April.

Quotables 03 February