Saturday, February 14, 2015

Movie Review ... Kingsman: The Secret Service


Kingsman The Secret Service 98When James Bond first turned towards the gun-barrel in 1962’s ‘Dr.No’, a cinematic industry was born.  Spawning mega-fortunes for most concerned, the franchise has lasted decades.  No surprise many have tried to emulate its’ success.  Some have succeeded, others have failed.  Based on a comic book ‘Kingsman: The Secret Service’ liberally takes cue from 007’s adventures.  Smart, clever and resolutely stylish, it is a beguiling wink to Ian Fleming’s enduring creation.

Harry Hart (Colin Firth) is part of a top secret spy organisation.  Tasked with recruiting suitable candidates, he meets Gary (Taron Egerton).  A tough street kid, Gary’s roughish demeanour hides a calculating mind.  Seeing much potential, Harry begins training his new apprentice.  This can’t come soon enough when evil billionaire Richmond Valentine (Samuel L Jackson) threatens the world order.  Quickly learning the ways of espionage, Gary sets his sights in becoming an agent worthy of valour.

Having directed the first ‘Kick-Ass’ and ‘X-Men: First Class’, Matthew Vaughn is an expert at comic-book movies.  ‘Kingsman: The Secret Service’ cements his fine reputation.  Fully embracing the outlandish story’s possibilities, he revels in the absurd situations and crisply written dialogue.  There’s a confident swagger about the script without being too clever.  He is ably assisted by the actors who throw themselves into this outrageous scenario with gusto.

‘Kingsman: The Secret Service’ doesn’t take itself too seriously and nor does it attempt to be a ‘worthy film’. It is a straight-up thrill ride of brilliantly staged action scenes with easily identifiable characters.  The cinematography is a major plus with each scene shown in broad comic-book strokes full of colourful vitality.  Fans of Bond, Bourne and other spies will receive a kick out of the small nods to other thriller films while it delivers its own brand of secret agent hijinks.

After a slew of similar genre films not cutting the mustard, ‘Kingsman: The Secret Service’ delivers the goods.  Fun, vibrant and exciting, hopefully others will take a leaf out of its book by remembering to add some lush colours to the usual formula.

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Movie Review Rating out of 10:  9

Movie Review by Patrick Moore

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

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Movie Review ... Selma


Selma posterSometimes one person can make a difference.  Galvanising others to help right injustices, a lone voice can become an oasis in a desolate wilderness.  Dr. Martin Luther King Jnr. was unafraid in making himself heard.  Charting a turning point in American history, ‘Selma’ displays much of the fiery passion driving King in attempting equality for all.

Tired of the endless racial discrimination against American Blacks in 1965, Dr. Martin Luther King Jnr. (David Oyelowo) takes a stand.  Determined to achieve equal voting rights, he gathered like-minded groups to make their thoughts heard.  Marching from the township of Selma to Montgomery, King, with the support of wife Coretta (Carmen Ejogo), wanted to create history.  Against violent opposition, the price of victory would mark a milestone in American society.

‘Selma’ is a fascinating examination of recent history.  Fighting against racism and apathy, King had major hurdles to overcome.  His dealings with President Lyndon Johnson, effectively played by Tom Wilkinson, show that smart political brinkmanship was crucial.  Negotiating with various factions with their own ideas on handling situations, King’s efforts are all the more remarkable.  Oyelowo perfectly embodies King’s sense of justice and magnetic charisma. 

The strong script is anchored by Oyelowo’s performance.  Wisely keeping the obligatory ‘preaching from the pulpit’ scenes to a minimum, it instead concentrates on King’s fellow activists and home-life.  Refusing to shy away from some of his less than noble personal traits, the story doesn’t portray him as a religious deity. Instead it shows his inspirational leadership to followers desperate to eradicate a dreadful situation.  The disgraceful attitude of decision makers of the time beggars belief making one amazed these events only occurred half a century ago.

Gripping and powerful, ‘Selma’ tells a remarkable true tale.  One could only imagine what King would have thought of the current American President.  No doubt he would be pleased his efforts indeed made a difference providing the opportunity to reach potential all deserved.

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Movie Review Rating out of 10:  8

Movie Review by Patrick Moore

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

Official HomePage click HERE


Movie Review ... What We Did On Our Holiday


What We Did On Our Holiday posterThe best stories usually revolve around families.  Whether literal or groups of close friends, the familial unit allows all types of tales and reactions to surface.  ‘What We Did on Our Holiday’ is a satisfactory addition to the formula.  A light drama full of genuine pathos and solid performances, it shows that blood ties can affect generations.

Travelling with their three children to the Scottish Highlands estranged couple Doug (David Tennant) and Abi (Rosamund Pike) look forward to a break.  Arriving to visit Doug’s father Gordie (Billy Connolly) for his birthday, the family are eager to celebrate.  Other plans quickly de-rail the festivities.  Secrets surface and loyalties tested as everyone realises how fluid familial bonds can be.

‘What We Did on Our Holiday’ is a breezy affair imparting few messages.  Exploring how lies constrict people from communicating and the damage caused, it is interesting how each generation deals with conflict.  The children in particular are free of the burden of the frustrated dreams of their parents with the adults indulging in worse mis-behaviour.  Forced to examine their parenting, Doug and Abi have to find a way to re-establish parental boundaries in order to protect their family.

The fine ensemble creates a believable group of odd characters.  Their emotions can be seen in any large family trying to work together in maintaining personal connections.  Their quirky natures mirror the sly comedy even if the direction occasionally skims over the edge of sentimentality.  It is careful never to cross into silliness with various situations grounded in some form of reality.  The Scottish locations add to the emotional remoteness all feel. 

‘What We Did on Our Holiday’ isn’t perfect but it successfully raises a few laughs.  Full of charm with genuine poignancy, it plays to the actor’s strengths and underscores the old saying ‘you can choose your friends but never your family’.

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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 movie releases in Australia.


Movie Review ... Fifty Shades Of Grey


Fifty Shades Of Grey posterLike the ‘Da Vinci Code’, ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ became a publishing event.  Gaining infamy for its title alone, author E.L. James must be delighted to see it rack in dollars.  That doesn’t mean it was any good with the bestseller lists masking a poorly written tome.  Success breeds spin-offs despite poor quality which is something Hollywood knows.  Determined to capture a slice of commercial literary erotica, the film version adheres to its contrivances in cynical detail.

Ana (Dakota Johnson) is a literature student sent to interview wealthy businessman Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan).  Enraptured by his charms, she falls under his spell.  Equally beguiled, Grey aims to control her affections.  Beginning a passionate affair, their sexual predilections know no bounds.  Discovering the man beneath the Armani suit, Ana’s life is altered in unimaginable ways.

Despite a reputation for saucy sexcapades rivalling Caligula, ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ is much ado about nothing.  The over-hyped sex scenes have been toned down for commercial consumption with Sam Taylor-Johnson’s direction only providing sketchy character portraits.  Ana and Christian are such uninteresting people with little charisma their sexual chemistry is virtually non-existent.  It doesn’t help that Dornan and Johnson’s wooden performances fail to bring life to the sexy shenanigans.

Whilst the idea of someone using unromantic sex to wield more power is intriguing, the script’s misogynist tone is hard to take.  ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ pretends feminism never happened with its antiquated attitudes undermining what’s left of Ana’s dignity.  The auto-tuned music adds to the screenplay’s predictability in spite of gorgeously shot locations.  Saddled with an unconvincing relationship and un-erotic couplings, any gains made quickly vanish under the weight of the film’s overly-earnest demeanour.

Due to a loyal fanbase and high advance ticket sales ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ will be a huge hit.  Sequels, already in the works, ensure the phenomenon will continue.  Non-fans may wonder what the fuss is about with the end product proving to be resoundingly anticlimactic.

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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.

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Monday, February 9, 2015

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Just For Fun 08 February



A Gwen Verdon Moment


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Trivia Bits 08 February


Sir Don Bradman

Sir Don Bradman (pictured) often referred to as "The Don", was an Australian cricketer, widely acknowledged as the greatest Test batsman of all time was born on 27 August 1908 at Cootamundra, New South Wales.

The 1814 novel Mansfield Park was written by Jane Austen at Chawton Cottage, East Hampshire district of Hampshire, England, between February 1811 and 1813 and was published in May 1814 by bookseller and publisher Thomas Egerton.

About 1708 Johann Sebastian Bach composed the cantata Aus der Tiefen rufe ich, Herr, zu dir (From the depths I call, Lord, to thee), BWV 131, as a young organist at Mühlhausen's Divi Blasii church in Thuringia, Germany.

India is home to the world's largest population of tigers in the wild and according to the World Wildlife Fund, of the 3,500 tigers around the world, 1,400 are found in India.

English musician Ian Kilmister is better known as Lemmy and is best known as the lead vocalist, bassist, principal songwriter and the founding and sole constant member of the heavy metal band Motörhead as well as a former member of Hawkwind.

American film director, producer and screenwriter Chris Columbus is known for the debut of the Harry Potter movie franchise directing the first two films in that franchise and produced the third in the series of eight.

Released on May 24, 2005 Pon de Replay was the debut single recorded by Barbadian recording artist Rihanna, from her debut studio album Music of the Sun (2005).

By the Italian Renaissance artist Pisanello, the medal of the Byzantine emperor John VIII Palaeologus was the first Renaissance portrait medal and was likely to have been made some time between 1438 and1439 when John visited Italy to attend the Council of Ferrara with the aim of uniting the Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches.

Probably derived from the Latin word caeruleus, "dark blue, blue or blue-green", Cerulean is a shade of the colour blue with the first recorded use of cerulean as a colour name in English was in 1590.

English poet, literary critic and philosopher Samuel Coleridge Taylor wrote the poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner written in 1797–98 and published in 1798 in the first edition of Lyrical Ballads.

American author and journalist Ernest Hemingway worked as an ambulance driver in World War I at the Italian war front.

Quotables 08 February