Saturday, March 14, 2015

Movie Review ... Chappie



Chappie posterNeill Blomkamp made his name directing acclaimed sci-fi films ‘District 9’ and ‘Elysium’.  Drawing from headlines exploring the divide between rich and poor and racial disharmony, those works were memorable.  The same cannot be said for ‘Chappie’ which is an amalgamation of various genres failing to find its own groove.  Although well shot with technically proficient action scenes, ‘Chappie’ is a less than stellar addition to Blomkamp’s repertoire.

Tech-expert Deon Wilson (Dev Patel) creates an effective mechanised police force.  Much to the chagrin of Deon’s rival Vincent (Hugh Jackman) they successfully assert order.  Keen to craft an artificially intelligent being, Deon creates a droid called Chappie.  When seized by thieves, they use it for their own ends.  Becoming a criminal scourge, the robot unwittingly places everyone’s lives in peril.  Events turn deadly as the war between man and machine spirals out of control.

Whilst Blomkamp’s innovative visual style is evident, his story-telling technique falters.  The characters are so nasty it is difficult caring about their fate.  Since Chappie mimics the actions of his crooked captives, the care factor in its plight is near zero.  Only Deon elicits any sympathy as he tries to unravel a dangerous situation.  The performers do their best with the poorly written material with Chappie’s CGI renderings startling.

Any gains hardly matter due to the script’s familiar concepts.  The sight of an artificially intelligent robot gaining knowledge has been done numerous times.  Add the usual genre riffs Blomkamp plunders and ‘Chappie’ has little to call its own.  Only towards the end does it gain traction with a cleverly inspired conclusion.  Reaching this point is a chore with characters and a clumsy screenplay sinking initial potential.

‘Chappie’ is a very disappointing effort from a gifted director.  Blomkamp can do better than rip-off other films.  With more care in crafting his own skills in telling grandiose tales, he can succeed in making more engrossing films than his latest.

Chappie 009

Movie Review Rating out of 10:  4 

Movie Review by Patrick Moore

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Trivia Bits 14 March


tam-tam  cymbal

A tam-tam (pictured) is a gong with a substantially flat surface that when struck gives a "crash" rather than a tuned note and have become part of the symphony orchestra.

Mount Wellington overlooks the Australian city of Hobart, Tasmania.

It is in darts that you stand behind the oche also known as the throw line or toe line which is generally 7 ft 9 1⁄4 in (2.369 m) from the face of the dartboard, measured horizontally.

The Poc-Poc’s feature in the TV series The Adventures of Abney & Teal a British-Canadian children's television programme which uses a mixture of 2D and CGI animation based on the works of writer and illustrator Joel Stewart.

The female Smith's blue butterfly has only seven days to feed, court, mate, and lay eggs and is an endangered species occurring in fragmented populations along the Central Coast of California.

Seafood is the main ingredient of a plateau de fruits de mer and is served with condiments such as mignonette sauce, cocktail sauce, and lemon.

Elizabeth Batts was the wife of British explorer, navigator, cartographer, and captain in the Royal Navy James Cook and were married on 21 December 1762 at St. Margaret's Church in Barking, Essex.

In a lost commentary on the Book of Genesis, Nerses IV the Gracious, Catholicos of Armenia from 1166 to 1173, related the story of how some Armenian monks were allowed to see the Garden of Eden.

The 1971 book Rabbit Redux featuring the character Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom was written by American novelist, poet, short story writer, art critic, and literary critic John Updike

Originally recorded as the B-side of the Righteous Brothers’ 1965 Hung on You was the famous song Unchained Melody and produced by Phil Spector climbing to #4 on the 1965Billboard Hot 100 chart and reaching #14 in the UK in 1965.

Quotables 14 March



Friday, March 13, 2015

Trivia Bits 13 March


Frank Hardy Aust Author

Controversial Melbourne businessman John Wren was the subject of the 1950 Frank Hardy (pictured) novel Power Without Glory for which Hardy was tried for criminal libel in 1951 because of the depiction in the novel of "West's" wife having an affair, but he was acquitted on the grounds that the work was, as he said, a mixture of fact and fiction and was the last prosecution for criminal (as opposed to civil) libel in Victoria, Australia.

The national bird of India is the Indian peacock being a large and brightly coloured bird of the pheasant family native to Asia.

In Australia, The Whitsunday Island group comprises 74 Tropical islands dotted amongst the Coral Sea and The Great Barrier Reef with several of the islands being developed with holiday resorts ranging from cheap backpacker style to palatial, multi award winning resorts.

Colby cheese originated in the USA when Joseph F. Steinwand in 1874 developed a new type of cheese at his father's cheese factory near Colby, Wisconsin with the cheese named after the village, which had been founded three years earlier.

Spanish chef Elena Arzak, joint head chef of three Michelin starred restaurant Arzak in San Sebastián, Spain, was named the best female chef in the world in 2012 by Restaurant magazine.

In the 2010 British children's television series The Octonauts features Peso who is a penguin with the series based on American-Canadian children's books written by Vicki Wong and Michael C. Murphy.

The Amstel River flows through the European city of Amsterdam with the river's name derived from Aeme stelle, old Dutch for area abounding with water.

In Greek mythology, the Chimera was made up of the three animals – the lion, the snake and the goat and was a monstrous fire-breathing creature of Lycia in Asia Minor.

The official codename for the 2011 hunt for Osama Bin Laden was Operation Neptune Spear.

There are 64 squares on a chess board.

Quotables 13 March



Thursday, March 12, 2015

Trivia Bits 12 March


 gretel  yacht

Australian media proprietor Sir Frank Packer challenged for the 1962 America’s Cup with the yacht Gretel (pictured). 

In 1634, Boston innkeeper Samuel Cole established the first tavern in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, which was featured in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's play John Endicott set in the early 1660s as part of the trial of Wenlock Christison, one of three dramatic poems in a collection called New England Tragedies.

Of the 21 Grade I listed buildings in Coventry, United Kingdom, 11 date back to the 14th century including St Mary’s Hall, a mediaeval guildhall that has functioned as a meeting place for various groups since the 14th century and was once the prison of Mary, Queen of Scots.

Nation state in southern Central Europe Slovenia has a coastline on the Adriatic Sea with the official language being Slovene.

In the 2005 book Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits & How Baseball Got Big, Cuban-American former Major League Baseball (MLB) outfielder Jose Canseco claims to expose steroid use in baseball.

Ping, Pang and Pong are characters in Giacomo Puccini’s opera Turandot taken from a Persian collection of stories called The Book of One Thousand and One Days and first performed on 25 April 1926 and conducted by Arturo Toscanini.

The first professional basketball team that an American basketball player Wilt Chamberlain played for was the Harlem Globetrotters in 1958.

British celebrity chef, restaurateur and television personality Marco Pierre White became the youngest chef to win two Michelin stars while at Harvey's in Wandsworth Common, London which was named Restaurant of the Year by The Times in 1987.

The Tropic of Capricorn is the circle of latitude 23o 26’ 14.908” south of the Equator.

The 2013 comedy The Internship starring Vince Vaughan and Owen Phillips is set at the multinational company Google.

Quotables 12 March



Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Trivia Bits 11 March


Joan Crawford

Joan de Beauvoir de Havilland is better known by her stage name of Joan Crawford (pictured). 

The three main regions of Belgium are Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels with the name Belgium derived from Gallia Belgica, a Roman province in the northernmost part of Gaul that before Roman invasion in 100 BC was inhabited by the Belgae, a mix of Celtic and Germanic peoples.

In February 2013, it was decided that a cat token would replace the Iron taken in earlier versions of the game Monopoly.

Sports manufacturer Reebok takes its name from a species of the African antelope and precisely comes from the Afrikaans spelling of rhebok.

The Loire is the longest river in France with a length of 1,012 kilometres (629 mi) draining an area of 117,054 km2 (45,195 sq mi), which represents more than a fifth of France's land area.

Grammy Award winner Olivia Newton-John co-founded the store Koala Blue in the US in 1988 originally for Australian imports, evolving into a chain of women's clothing boutiques and now the brand name for a line of Australian produced wines, confections, and bed/bath products.

The largest island in the Torres Strait Islands is Muraleg also known as Prince of Wales Island which is the largest of the Strait's islands, and forms the centre of this closely grouped cluster with the Torres Strait separating far northern continental Australia's Cape York Peninsula and the island of New Guinea.

American actress and singer Betty Jane Watson created the role of Laurey in the first London production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s’ Oklahoma! in 1947.

Everything’s Alright is an Andrew Lloyd Webber song from his musical Jesus Christ Superstar which opened on Broadway on October 12, 1971, directed by Tom O'Horgan, at the Mark Hellinger Theatre.

The Mekong River forms part of the border between Laos and Thailand.

Quotables 11 March



Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Trivia Bits 10 March


 Montebello Genocide Memorial

Opened in April 1968, The Montebello Genocide Memorial (pictured), the largest Armenian Genocide memorial in the United States, is a monument in Montebello, California, dedicated to the victims of the Armenian Genocide of 1915–23.

In the game of Poker, a Flush is a hand containing five cards of the same suit not in sequence.

The first Australian woman to direct a Hollywood movie was Gillian Armstrong after being approached by the American film company MGM to finance her direction of a big-budget feature, which became Mrs. Soffel (1984) starring Mel Gibson and Diane Keaton.

Playing Thor’s love interest in the 2013 movie Thor: The Dark World was Natalie Portman as Dr Jane Foster.

Russian-born American artist, painter, designer, and illustrator Roman Chatov painted the silk scarf that caused American dancer Isadora Duncan's accidental death in 1927 when the silk scarf, draped around her neck, became entangled around the open-spoked wheels and rear axle, breaking her neck.

The textile calico originated in India and is a plain-woven textile made from unbleached, and often not fully processed, cotton.

In the sport of fencing you would wear a lame electrically conductive jacket.

English surgeon John Freke was the first ophthalmic surgeon when in 1727 the Governors of St Bartholomew's Hospital, London decided that there was a requirement for some surgeons to be specialists, and Freke was appointed to deal with diseases of the eye, becoming the first ophthalmic surgeon.

If a ship is a collier, it carries coal.

Erwin Rommel, popularly known as the Desert Fox, was a German Field Marshal of World War II where he earned the respect of both his own troops and his enemies.

Quotables 10 March



Monday, March 9, 2015

The Many Names of Money


Not Matter What It Is Called It’s Still Money ….


In place of worship it's called offerings

In marriage it's called a dowry

In divorce it’s called alimony

When you owe someone it’s called a debt

When you pay government it’s called a tax

In Court it's called fines

Government to retirees it’s called a pension

Boss to workers it’s called a salary

Master to subordinates it's called wages

Children it's called pocket-money

When you borrow from bank it's called a loan

When you give to another for favours it's called bribe

Payment to an agent for services rendered it's called a commission

When you offer after a service it's called a tip

When you aid the poor it's called a donation

Author Unknown

Source Email

Trivia Bits 09 March


 television series Arrow

Oliver Queen (played by Stephen Amell), John Diggle (played by David Ramsey) and Quentin Lance (played by Paul Blackthorne) are characters from the 2012 American television series Arrow (poster pictured).

Lithuania's name was recorded for the first time in a 9 March 1009 story of Saint Bruno recorded in the Quedlinburg Chronicle by its Latinized Slavic name form Litua.

Former Australian professional female tennis player Alicia Molik was born in the Australian city of Adelaide and won two grand slam doubles titles, at the Australian Open in 2005 and the French Open in 2007.

Canadian actress Sarah Chalke played Dr Elliot Reid, intern and later private practice physician, in the American medical comedy-drama television series Scrubs which ran from 2001 to 2010.

Giggle and Hoot, a 2010 TV programme for the Australian children's channel ABC2, depicts of the adventures of Jimmy Giggle, and his best friend Hoot the owl.

Inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame in 2009, country singer Carrie Underwood, who has no formal training in voice or singing, graduated magna cum laude from Northeastern State University with a degree in journalism on May 6, 2006.

Formed in 1936, Aer Lingus is the national flag carrier of the European country of Ireland and operates a fleet of mostly Airbus aircraft serving Europe, North Africa, Turkey and the USA.

Olympus Mons, as at January 2014, was the highest known volcano in our solar system on the planet of Mars with a height of nearly 22 km (14 mi) almost three times as tall as Mount Everest's height above sea level.

German opera with spoken dialogue in two acts Fidelio is the only opera by Ludwig van Beethoven and was first produced in a three-act version at Vienna's Theater an der Wien, on 20 November 1805.

Maratelli and carnaroli, native to the Asigliano Vercellese province of Vercelli northern Italy, are varieties of rice.

Quotables 09 March



Sunday, March 8, 2015

Trivia Bits 08 March



Ancient Greek historian Herodotus (pictured) lived in the fifth century BC (c. 484–425 BC) and has been called The Father of History, first conferred by Cicero, as well as The Father of Lies, first conferred by Voltaire.

St Columba's Church, Warcop, Cumbria England, stands on the site of a former Roman campwhich was in the medieval era was owned by Shap Abbey, a monastic religious house of the Premonstratensian order.

The Maghreb is a region on the continent of Africa previously known to Europeans as Barbary or Barbary States and is usually defined as much or most of the region of western North Africa or Northwest Africa, west of Egypt.

Tetris, a tile-matching puzzle video game originally designed and programmed by Alexey Pajitnov in the Soviet Union, was released on June 6, 1984.

The Vedas are the oldest scriptures of Hinduism in which the individual verses contained in these compilations are known as mantras with some selected Vedic mantras are still recited at prayers, religious functions and other auspicious occasions in contemporary Hinduism.

Long associated with the Westphalia region of Germany and first referred to in print in 1450, Pumpernickel is bread traditionally made from rye flour.

In the Tour de France, the rider finishing in the last position receives the Lanterne Rouge with the phrase from the French "Red Lantern" referring to the red lantern hung on the caboose of a railway train, which conductors would look for in order to make sure none of the couplings had become disconnected.

Dr Leslie Winkle is a recurring character on the 2007 debuting American sitcom TV series The Big Bang Theory and is played by Sara Gilbert.

The controversial sinking of the ARA General Belgrano, an Argentine Navy light cruiser, occurred during the Falklands War in 1982.

The Gouin Reservoir in Quebec, Canada, a man-made lake, is not one contiguous body of water, but the collective name for a series of lakes separated by innumerable bays, peninsulas, and islands with highly irregular shapes.

Quotables 08 March