Saturday, March 21, 2015

Movie Review ... Run All Night



Run All Night poster‘Run All Night’ is Liam Neeson’s umpteenth movie for the year.  Seemingly making a film a week, his thespian ubiquity hasn’t gone unnoticed.  Whilst this vast output has produced some clunkers, ‘Run All Night’ isn’t one of them.  Utilising much from Neeson’s bag of tricks, admirers will be pleased.  Fast paced, edgy and featuring plenty of the death stares for which he is known, ‘Run All Night’ is a respectable addition to his gallery of tough anti-heroes.

Jimmy Conlon (Liam Neeson) will do anything to protect his family.  A feared hit-man, his skills are needed when his son Mike (Joel Kinnaman) becomes a victim of a home invasion.  Finding and killing the intruder, Jimmy is shocked to discover the culprit is the son of his former boss Shawn (Ed Harris).  Swearing bloody retribution, Shawn vows to destroy Jimmy’s life.  Desperate to protect his loved ones, Jimmy wages a deadly battle against former friends and foes in order to survive.

Neeson’s claim as a ‘21st Century Charles Bronson’ is assured with ‘Run All Night’.  Set in the seedy world in which Bronson’s ragged characters used to reside, it is an excellent mix of thrills and action.  His role is less heroic than usual giving him a chance to display range.  Conlon isn’t a nice guy and is as sleazy as the people he kills.  Setting him apart is a warped code of honour and past regrets. His shot at redemption arrives when his family are in peril.  Only then can he make peace with the demons driving him.

Much of the success lies in the strong direction and performances which successfully combine to fully immerse viewers into New York’s mean streets.  This allows total engagement in the character’s plights bringing the story’s sense of scale.  Set mostly at night, the camera swoops into grimy domains with gusto.  Whilst occasionally dragging, the screenplay conjures authenticity which helps in understanding Conlon’s actions and rugged world-view.

Even though his recent output has been vast, Liam Neeson needn’t be ashamed of ‘Run All Night’.  One of his better movies matching his skills with a solid script sure to cement his place as cinema’s leading action-hero lights.

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Movie Review 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.

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Movie Review ... Big Eyes



Big-Eyes-PosterThe last time director Tim Burton helmed a bio-pic was 1994’s ‘Ed Wood’.  Exploring the exploits of a famously strange film-maker, the subject matter was perfect for Burton’s gaze.  ‘Big Eyes’ doesn’t quite match that earlier work.  Although based on true events, it only achieves moderate success.  Sometimes stories have to fit the director handling them.  Whilst ‘Big Eyes’ has many suitably quirky moments, there aren’t enough to sustain the visual flair for which Burton has become known.

A successful painter whose portraits of large-eyed waifs became internationally known, Margaret Keane (Amy Adams) felt cheated.  With her husband Walter (Christoph Waltz) signing her portraits and taking full credit, Margaret’s talents weren’t properly recognised.  After Walter mass produced her work for cheap prints, she took action.  Taking Walter to court in a bid to re-claim her work, the case set a bench-mark in the name of art.

As with any movie biography, what’s on screen has to be taken with a grain of salt.  Nobody can exactly know how things happened.  Framed as an examination in self-esteem and trust, ‘Big Eyes’ derives interest.  As Margaret sees Walter de-valuing her work by selling cheap copies which mirrors Walter’s attitude towards her.  Using her talents for his own selfish needs, Walter’s actions could only be stopped when Margaret fully believed in her own sense of self-worth.

These elements provide a strong basis from which to craft the script.  Unfortunately the performances are hit and miss.  Although Adams and Waltz initially construct strong characters, Burton’s direction lets them down.  Confined to telling a straight bio-pic without his usual visual finesse, he over-compensates by sharply highlighting the couple’s marital dramas.  This leads to the actors delivering totally over the top interpretations.  Authenticity unfortunately becomes discarded in favour of outlandish theatrics robbing events of much believability.

‘Big Eyes’ is better than most of Burton’s recent output.  Whilst issues deprive it of being one of his best, it is nonetheless an intriguing slice of history.  It shows Burton can do other types of movies although hopefully his next will be better tailored to his unique talents.

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Movie Review 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 ... The Divergent Series: Insurgent


InsurgentPoster-1‘Insurgent’ is the sequel to last year’s ‘Divergent’.  Based on Veronica Roth’s ‘Divergent’ book series the franchise is a classic example of current Hollywood commercial film-making.  Adapting a popular teen-based fantasy novel franchise, Tinsletown has been awash with like-minded works.  ‘Harry Potter’, ‘Twilight’, ‘The Hunger Games’ are amongst others that have stuck to this formula.  Just as bland and indifferent, ‘Insurgent’ barely differentiates itself from the recent cult of book-to-screen mania.

Still desperate to save her world, Tris (Shailene Woodley) is ready for arms.  Helped by Four (Theo James), she aims to be free of the clutches of Jeanine (Kate Winslet), the powerful leader of the evil Erudite faction.  Battling a new swathe of enemies they search for clues to succeed in their quest.  Finding fresh obstacles, their resolve is tested as their families feel the wrath of their antagonists.

‘Insurgent’ rests a lot on Woodley’s shoulders.  She gives a fine performance as the angst-ridden heroine fighting for freedom.  The way her character battles her way to uncovering secrets and lies makes Woodley’s role memorable. Unfortunately not much else can be said for the rest of the film.  Whilst competently directed by Robert Schwentke, the shadows of similar movies loom large.  The plot, characters and overall style make ‘Insurgent’ as forgettable and disposable as its filmic brethren.

Making it barely stand out are the pacing and excellently staged action scenes.  Schwentke shows his forte in these sequences with the story’s theme of embracing individuality well integrated.  The irony is Woodley’s co-stars barely register due to their character’s blandness.  None make any impact with their personalities giving way to eye-popping CGI and gunplay.  It builds towards the inevitable sequel leaving enough intrigue to muster some enthusiasm for the follow-up.

‘Insurgent’ is a serviceable effort without being memorable.  Those who have seen comparable films don’t need to see this.  Had it been more original it may have passed muster.  That means little when the dollars roll in and Hollywood creates another facsimile in order to make more.

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Movie Review Rating out of 10:  5

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


Trivia Bits 21 March



Chuckwalla (pictured) are large lizards found primarily in arid regions of the south-western United States and northern Mexico.  

The hit song Karma Chameleon was a song from Culture Club’s second album Colour by Numbers released in October 1983 on the Virgin label.

Gelatine is one of the main ingredients of panna cotta which is an Italian dessert made by simmering together cream, milk and sugar, mixing this with gelatine, and letting it cool until set.

Whaam! is a 1963 painting by American pop artist Roy Lichtenstein who worked along with Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, and James Rosenquist.

Australian actor and musician Jesse Spencer stars as Matthew Casey in the American television drama series Chicago Fire which follows the lives of the fire-fighters and paramedics working at the Chicago Fire Department at the firehouse of Engine 51, Truck 81, Squad 3, Ambulance 61 and Battalion 25.

A collection of 981 texts known as the The Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered at Khirbet Qumran in the disputed territory of the West Bank between 1946 and 1956.

The metric unit for power is the watt named after the Scottish engineer James Watt.

Mental Notes was the 1975 debut album of the New Zealand band Split Enz featuring Phil Judd and brothers Tim Finn and Neil Finn.

A Roman inscription at the Syrian town of Darkush on the Orontes River attests to the existence of a shipbuilding industry for river-going boats in the town and also has the remains of an ancient bridge.

Updown Court is a Californian style residence in the village of Windlesham in Surrey, England with the 103-room mansion having 58 acres (230,000 m2) of landscaped gardens and private woodland. In 2005, the most expensive private home on the market anywhere in the world having been listed for sale with Savills and Hamptons International for in excess of £70 million (US$138 million).

Quotables 21 March



Friday, March 20, 2015

Trivia Bits 20 March


donald_in Frack und Zylinder Disney

Created in 1934 at Walt Disney Productions, Donald Fauntleroy Duck or Donald Duck (pictured) is a funny animal cartoon whose rich uncle was Uncle Scrooge also known as the stingy Scrooge McDuck the richest duck in the world.

Dragoon, Australian Saddleback Tumble and German Nun are types of Pigeons.

In late December 2013, Tropical Cyclone Christine hit the Australian state of Western Australia making landfall on the Pilbara coast nearly halfway between the major towns of Karratha and Port Hedland as a category 3 cyclone on midnight of 31 December 2013.

The Canary Islands are a Spanish archipelago located just off the northwest coast of mainland Africa, 100 kilometres (62 miles) west of the border between Morocco and the Western Sahara.

Famous for its annual three-day outdoor music festival, the town of Meredith is located in the Australian state of Victoria during which The Meredith Gift, a nude running race, with the chance to win The Golden Jocks trophy is held.

The Queen Charlotte Fault is Canada’s equivalent to the San Andreas Fault and is an active transform fault, located between the North American Plate and the Pacific Plate.

Japanese racing driver Hideo Fukuyama was the first Japanese driver to qualify for a NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship race.

Topping the medal count at the Moscow 1980 Summer Olympics was the Soviet Union with a total of 195 medals, including 80 gold, 69 silver and 46 bronze.

Chartered in 1937, The Chicago Teachers Union was formed after unpaid teachers revolted against Chicago banks during the Great Depression.

Hortus deliciarum, Latin for Garden of Delights, was a medieval illuminated encyclopedia written between 1167 and 1185 to teach about everything, including the torments of hell compiled by Herrad of Landsberg at the Hohenburg Abbey in Alsace.

Quotables 20 March



Thursday, March 19, 2015

Trivia Bits 19 March

 Turkish baklava
The traditional Turkish baklava (pictured) is a rich, sweet pastry made of layers of filo pastry filled with chopped nuts and sweetened with syrup or honey.
The colloquial term Moonies is often used to describe members of the Unification Church founded in South Korea in 1954 by Sun Myung Moon.
2012 Australian Paralympic wheelchair basketball player Leanne Del Toso played able-bodied basketball prior to being diagnosed with chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy.
Venus is the second planet from the Sun has no natural satellite and is named after the Roman goddess of love and beauty and reaches its maximum brightness shortly before sunrise or shortly after sunset, for which reason it has been referred to by ancient cultures as the Morning Star or Evening Star.
The flag of Mozambique was adopted on 1 May 1983 and includes the image of an AK-47 with a bayonet attached to the barrel and is the only national flag in the world to feature such a modern rifle.
MPEG-2 Audio Layer III is better known by MP3 as an encoding format for digital audio and is a common audio format for consumer audio streaming or storage.
In the "drinking and hacking" scene in the 2010 American drama film The Social Network, Jesse Eisenberg, as Mark Zuckerberg, can be seen wearing an Ars Nova T-shirt which originally belonged to Eisenberg himself.
The ISU (International Skating Union) is the international governing for the sport of Ice Skating covering competitive ice skating disciplines, including figure skating, synchronized skating, speed skating, and short track speed skating being founded in Scheveningen, Netherlands, in 1892, making it one of the oldest international sport federations.
John Newcombe was the first Australian to be ranked Number 1 tennis player in the world after the ATP computerised rankings were introduced in 1973.
To have a perfect game in ten-pin bowling, the player must have twelve strikes.

Quotables 19 March



Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Trivia Bits 18 March


 King George VI  Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret.

The two children of England’s King George VI are Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret (pictured – taken in 1947).

The 13th-century Treatise, an Anglo-Norman poem written in the mid-13th century by English knight and Anglo-Norman poet Walter of Bibbesworth, is one of the earliest books explicitly intended for children to hear and read.

Beyond the Mat is a 1999 American documentary featuring focusing on the lives of professional wrestlers outside of the ring, primarily Mick Foley, Terry Funk, and Jake Roberts, as well as some aspiring wrestlers.

A pangolin is a mammal that has large keratin scales covering its skin, and is the only known mammal with this adaptation being found naturally in tropical regions throughout Africa and Asia with the name pangolin comes from the Malay word pengguling, meaning "something that rolls up.

Jean Passepartout is one the main characters in Jules Verne’s 1873 novel Around the World in Eighty Days the story of Phileas Fogg of London and his newly employed French valet Passepartout who attempt to circumnavigate the world in 80 days on a £20,000 wager (roughly £1,511,978 today) set by his friends at the Reform Club.

Han Lee, played by Matthew Moy, is one of the main characters in the American Warner Brothers TV sitcom 2 Broke Girls.

In 1975, John Kerr, Governor-General of Australia, dismissed the then Prime Minister of Australia Gough Whitlam and his Labor Government.

In 2002, Adam Scott became the first Australian to win the Qatar Masters Golf Tournament.

Founded in 1902, Harold Park Racetrack in Glebe, New South Wales hosted the annual Miracle Mile harness race since 1967.

In the classic adventure 1883 novel by Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson Treasure Island, the pirate Captain Flint buried his treasure on the island.

Quotables 18 March



Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Slogans for St Patrick’s Day



Trivia Bits 17 March



In children’s fiction, Noddy (pictured) was a taxi driver and is a character created by English children's author Enid Blyton, originally published between 1949 and 1963.

Adelaide, the capital city of South Australia, is built on the Torrens River and is the only city in Australia entirely surrounded by parklands with white sandy beaches and the seas of Gulf St Vincent to the west and has a strong sense of history portrayed in its well preserved 'low rise' heritage buildings, churches and Edwardian mansions, some of which have been converted into tourist accommodation.

On 19 October 1872, The Holtermann Nugget was the largest recorded specimen of gold ever found, 1.5 meters (59 inches) long, weighing 286 kg (630 pounds), in Hill End, near Bathurst, New South Wales, with an estimated gold content of 5000 ounces (57 kg). A larger find was made by the same men, but was broken up soon after being brought to the surface without being photographed.

Located on the northern coast of the Black Sea, Crimea is an autonomous region of the Ukraine whose constitution was adopted on October 21, 1998.

The town and refugee camp of Khan Dannun in Syria was originally a basalt caravanserai built by the Mamluk governor of Damascus in 1376.

Cashmere is a fibre obtained from Cashmere goats and other types of goat with common usage defining the fibre as a wool but in fact it is a hair, and this is what gives it its unique characteristics as compared to sheep's wool.

Adopted on 18 October 1817, the square on the flag of Chile is coloured blue and consists of two unequal horizontal bands of white and red and a blue square the same height as the white band in the canton, which bears a white five-pointed star in the centre.

The planet Earth is not included in the English composer Gustav Holst’s orchestral work The Planets written between 1914 and 1916 with each movement of the suite named after a planet of the Solar System and its corresponding astrological character as defined by Holst.

The first member of the Beatles to be born was Ringo Starr, born Richard Starkey on 7 July 1940 in Liverpool, England.

French entertainer François Dominique Séraphin developed and popularised shadow plays in 18th-century France and after moving to Paris, Séraphin performed his shows at the newly opened Palais-Royal from 8 September 1784 often with French Royalty in the audience.

Creative St Patrick’s Day Cakes







Nibbles for St Patrick’s Day







Vintage Cards St Patrick’s Day



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Happy St Patrick’s Day


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Quotables 17 March



Monday, March 16, 2015

Trivia Bits 16 March



lassie come home

Lassie is a fictional female collie dog character created by English author Eric Knight in a short story expanded to novel length called Lassie Come-Home published in 1940, the novel was filmed by MGM in 1943 as Lassie Come Home (Pictured with Elizabeth Taylor)

Retskrivningsordbogen is a Danish orthographic dictionary published by the Danish Language Council to establish the official spelling of the Danish language and was first published as Svend Grundtvig's Dansk Haandordbog, published in 1872.

A soprano is a type of classical female singing voice and has the highest vocal range of all voice types and in four-part chorale style harmony, the soprano takes the highest part, which usually encompasses the melody.

In the US ZIP system, the letters ZIP stand for Zone Improvement Plan, a system of postal codes used by the United States Postal Service (USPS) since 1963.

Leukocytes are more commonly known as white blood cells which are the cells of the immune system that are involved in defending the body against both infectious disease and foreign materials.

Mint leaves and rum together with sugar (traditionally sugar cane juice), lime juice and sparkling water, are the main ingredients in the cocktail known as Mojito with Cuba being the birthplace of the cocktail.

Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt made his directorial debut with the 2013 film Don Jon which starred himself as Jon with Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore and Tony Danza

English record-breaking sailor and paramedic Seb Clover sailed the English Channel solo at age 11 and set a world record at age 15 when he raced against his father in an Atlantic Ocean crossing between 19 December 2002 and 12 January 2003.

The Kola Superdeep Borehole, the deepest artificial point in the world at 12,262 metres is in Russia with the drilling beginning and on 24 May 1970 and reaching the deepest point in 1989.

Insulin is produced in the human body by the pancreas and is central to regulating carbohydrate and fat metabolism in the body by causing cells in the liver, skeletal muscles, and fat tissue to absorb glucose from the blood.

Quotables 16 March



Sunday, March 15, 2015

Trivia Bits 15 March


  Portrait of a Man in a Turban

Portrait of a Man in a Turban (pictured) is a well known work by 15th century Dutch painter Jan van Eyck painted in 1493 which has been in the National Gallery, London since 1851.

The science fiction novel by Stephen King published in November 2009 and the American 2013 science fiction drama television series Under the Dome is set in the town of Chester’s Mill, Maine.

Running for 17 minutes and 59 seconds, the comedy team of The Three Stooges starred in the January 19, 1940 released short film You Nazty Spy, which satirized the Nazis and the Third Reich helping publicize the Nazi threat in a period when the United States was still neutral about World War II, and isolationist sentiment was prevalent among the public.

Matthew, John, Luke and Mark are considered the four gospels in the New Testament of the Bible.

The two main stars in the 1993 American thriller movie The Fugitive, directed by Andrew Davis, are Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones.

The host of the 1980’s science TV series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage was American astronomer, astrophysicist, cosmologist, author, science populariser and science communicator Carl Sagan.

Caimans and gharials are members of the reptilian order of crocodile.

American writer and producer R L Stine’s full name is Robert Lawrence Stine and is often referred to as the "Stephen King of children's literature."

Premiering on September 16, 1996, Judge Judy is an American arbitration-based reality court show presided over by retired Manhattan Family Court Judge Judith Sheindlin.

The Church of Saint Benoit in Istanbul, established in 1427, is the oldest Roman Catholic Church in the city still in use.

Quotables 15 March