Saturday, August 15, 2015

Movie Review ... The Man From U.N.C.L.E.


the-man-from-u-n-c-l-e-posterThe list of recent films based on TV shows is endless.  ‘Mission: Impossible’, ‘The Addams Family’ and others have enjoyed big screen outings which is ironic given how dependant TV was on films to fill its schedules when it began.  Now the tail wags the dog with films relying on the small screen for inspiration.  ‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E.’ is the latest to transition to a bigger canvas in its own stylish way.

The 1960’s sees the Cold War heating up.  With tensions between Russia and America at fever pitch, an unlikely alliance emerges.  When a sinister criminal organisation obtains a stash of nuclear and hi-tech weapons, action is needed.  Spy agency U.N.C.L.E. hatch a plan to bring together top agents Iilya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer) and Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill).  Working for their respective countries, they race against the clock to prevent global cataclysm.

Directed with confident panache by Guy Richie, ‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E.’ is a fun ride.  Although firmly set in the swinging 60’s, it has a sleek modern feel.  Helped immeasurably by the wonderful cinematography bringing out the screenplay’s colour, it zips along at a fast pace.  The explosive action is greatly enhanced by the humorous touches Richie infuses.  Less physically tough than his previous work, Richie’s world still has a sense of danger amidst the Cold War hokum.

The solid cast aid these elements well.  Cavill and Hammer make a good team, finely handling the obstacles the script delivers.  Despite the often ridiculous scenarios, it is easy believing in their camaraderie because of the lead’s chemistry.  The soundtrack and costume designs are another big plus although the film is careful not to turn completely into a retro-nostalgia fest.  The story always remains main focus, strongly holding the action and mayhem together with ease.

‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E.’ is fun escapist fare.  It respects its source material with this successful adaption of the TV series sure to see Hollywood plunder the television archives further for more inspirational hijinks.


Movie Review Rating out of 10:  8

Movie Review by Patrick Moore

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Trivia Bits 15 August


frill necked lizard

The Australian animal the frill necked lizard (pictured) features on the Australian two cent coin prior to its discontinuation in 1991.

The 13th-century Tale of the Greenlanders is one of the main sources of information for the Norse colonization of the Americas relating the colonization of Greenland by Erik the Red and his followers.

Bassist Andy Rourke and drummer Mike Joyce were members of the 1980’s English band from Manchester The Smiths and have been called the most important alternative rock band to emerge from the British independent music scene of the 1980’s.

In the Australian Federal Parliament House, Canberra, the colour of the seats in the House of Representatives or the Lower house is green whereas the seats in the upper house or the Senate are red.

With a long history in Europe reaching back to antiquity, the swastika, also known as the gammadion, was believed to be a charm designed to ward off evil and was popular as a good luck charm with early aviators.

With the ISO code of HNL, the currency of Honduras is the Lempira which is subdivided into 100 centavos.

Typically Southern African roibos tea is coloured red and it is common to prepare rooibos tea in the same manner as black tea and add milk and sugar to taste, or include a slice of lemon and using honey instead of sugar to sweeten.

Previously the Speaker of the Sejm, the only woman to have held the post, Ewa Kopacz is a Polish politician who the Prime Minister of Poland on September 22, 2014.

Riding on white, red, black, and pale horses, The Four Horseman of the Apocalypse are described in the last book of the New Testament of the Bible, called the Book of Revelation of Jesus Christ to Saint John the Evangelist.

2011 British—Kenyan children's television series, based on African folk tales and aimed at 4 to 6-year-olds, Tinga Tinga Tales featured Red Monkey and Orange Monkey.

Quotables 15 August



Friday, August 14, 2015

Trivia Bits 14 August



The 1976 Winter Olympic Games (poster pictured) officially known as the XII Olympic Winter Games were a winter multi-sport event which was celebrated February 4 – 15, 1976 in Innsbruck, Austria.

First diagnosed in Panama after which it was named, Panama disease a fungal plant disease of the roots of banana plants is resistant to fungicide and cannot be controlled chemically.

On March 19, 2004, the Witty worm self-replicating computer worm was the first worm to attack the pieces of software designed to defend against computer worms and was named because the phrase "(^.^) insert witty message here (^.^)" appears in the worm's payload.

The 4 Deserts Race Series is an annual series of four 250 km (155 miles) races across desert conditions on the continents of Asia, Africa, South America and Antarctica.

English indie rock band Florence and the Machine released their album How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful on 1 June 2015 in the UK through Island Records and was the band's first studio album in three and a half years.

The Cumberland Land Snail is a native land snail to the Cumberland Plain in Sydney and was declared an Endangered Species under the New South Wales Threatened Species Conservation Act In 1997 as its habitat has been largely destroyed.

Taking four to five years to yield a commercial harvest, Coffee trees produce highly aromatic, short-lived flowers producing a scent between jasmine and orange which produce cranberry-sized coffee cherries.

Spanish Conquistador Hernán Cortés de Monroy y Pizarro led an expedition that caused the fall of the Aztec Empire and brought large portions of mainland Mexico under the rule of the King of Castile in the early 16th century.

Shitake, enokitake and king oyster are all types of edible mushrooms.

In the late 19780's, Interabang was an Italian television adventure series about a secret treasure hidden inside a number of special souvenir statues of the Leaning Tower of Pisa Socialism is the general term for the political and economic theory that advocates a system of collective or government ownership and management of the means of production and distribution of goods.

Quotables 14 August



Thursday, August 13, 2015

Trivia Bits 13 August


marvin the martian 

The martian from the Looney Tunes cartoons was Marvin (pictured) who made his debut in 1948's Haredevil Hare, is the quietest of the Warner Bros villains, and the most soft-spoken, and unlike most of the other villains, he is very clever and competent in general.

Designed by champion Australian golfing icon Greg Norman, The Glades Golf Club situated in Robina, Queensland was officially opened in December 2000 and is a par 72, 6420 metre championship golf course that spans 65 hectares of land with 98 bunkers over 18 holes and also 9 hectares of wetland area to create a natural wildlife sanctuary within the course.

As a contribution to the Music for UNICEF fund, the Bee Gees' song Too Much Heaven royalties went to UNICEF and was performed at the Music for UNICEF Concert on 9 January 1979.

Standing over the Harlem River in New York City, the High Bridge was designed by John B. Jervis as part of the Croton Aqueduct project in the 1840's.

The Ploutonion at Hierapolis, a religious site dedicated to the god Pluto, is in the modern day country of Turkey and was discovered in 1965 by Italian archaeologists, who published reports on their excavations throughout the decade.

Alsace, Centre and Picardy are administrative regions of France.

The Tasman Sea is a marginal sea of the South Pacific Ocean, situated between Australia and New Zealand and is often described by the diminutive term "The Ditch" and is comparable to referring to the North Atlantic Ocean as "The Pond".

Balthazar Vorster, better known as John Vorster, served as the South African Minister of Justice when Nelson Mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1964, and South African Prime Minister during the 1976 Soweto Riots.

North Berwick Harbour, Scotland was built in the 12th century as a ferry port for St. Andrews bound pilgrims, while Pagans believe "Satan himself" once worshipped on the Harbour's "Auld Kirk Green".

A resident breeding bird in the tropical New World, from Mexico through Central America to Peru, Trinidad and northern Argentina, The Great Black Hawk is a bird of prey in the family Accipitridae, which also includes eagles, hawks and Old World vultures.

Quotables 13 August



Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Trivia Bits 12 August


Shibam Yemen 

UNESCO World Heritage Site Shibam (pictured), famous for its mudbrick tower houses rising 5 to 11 stories high, is located in the country of Yemen.

Announced in May 2015, genetic information from a 35,000-year-old wolf bone found below a frozen cliff in Siberia shows canine domestication may have occurred earlier than previously thought and they lived on Russia's Taimyr Peninsula probably between 27,000 and 40,000 years ago.

Providing the voice for Rango in the 2011 American computer-animated action comedy western film Rango was Johnny Depp with the movie winning the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.

The griffin, a mythical beast, has the body of a lion and the head, wings and foreclaws of an eagle and there is evidence of representations of griffins in Ancient Persian and Ancient Egyptian art dating back to before 3000 BC.

Cinderella's slippers were originally made out of fur as the story was changed in the 1600s by a translator and it was the left shoe that Aschenputtel (Cinderella) lost at the stairway, when the prince tried to follow her.

The wealthy owner of the renowned family estate of Pemberley in Derbyshire and rumoured to be worth at least £10,000 a year Mr Darcy was a main character in the Jane Austen novel Pride and Prejudice first published in 1813.

A British serial killer who was dubbed by the press "The Yorkshire Ripper" during his crime spree, Peter Sutcliffe was in 1981 Sutcliffe was convicted of murdering 13 women and attempting to murder seven others.

18th Century Emperor Paul 1 of Russia ordered the name of his mistress Anna Lopukhina to be given to warships and to be inscribed on the standards of his Leib Guard.

An opera in four acts La bohème was composed by Giacomo Puccini to an Italian libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa, with the world premiere performance of La bohème was in Turin on 1 February 1896 at the Teatro Regio, conducted by the young Arturo Toscanini.

Human Rights activist el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz was better known as Malcolm X and has been called one of the greatest and most influential African Americans in history and his biography The Autobiography of Malcolm X, published shortly after his death in 1965 is considered one of the most influential nonfiction books of the 20th century.

Quotables 12 August



Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Trivia Bits 11 August


Carl G. Fisher

Despite a sight-impairment disability, Carl G. Fisher (pictured) became a notable American entrepreneur, who helped develop sealed beam headlights, the Lincoln Highway - the first U.S. transcontinental paved roadway, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and the resort city of Miami Beach, Florida.

The six countries of Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland and Lesotho all share a border with South Africa.

From the musical Wicked came the song Dancing Through Life and is sung between Fiyero, Elphaba (the Wicked Witch of the West) and Glinda, Nessarose (the Wicked Witch of the East) and Boq, as well as other cast members with the show celebrating its tenth anniversary on Broadway on October 30, 2013 playing over 4,398 performances.

Rhotacism may refer to an excessive or idiosyncratic use of the letter r, the inability to pronounce or difficulty in pronouncing r, or the conversion of another consonant into r.

The name of the item used as a ball in ice hockey is called a puck s a disk made of vulcanized rubber and while a puck is not a ball, ice hockey is still considered a ball game.

Directing and starring in the 1974 satirical Western comedy film Blazing Saddles was screenwriter, comedian, actor, composer, and songwriter Mel Brooks supported by Starring Cleavon Little and Gene Wilder.

Florentine Mannerist sculptor Niccolo Tribolo is often called "the father of the Italian garden" for his axial designs for Cosimo I de Medici at the Boboli Gardens behind Palazzo Pitti and at Cosimo's villas in the early 1540's.

In the 1970s and 1980s boxer Tony Mundine won the Australian middleweight, heavyweight, light heavyweight and cruiserweight titles.

Heroic drama is a type of play popular during the Restoration era in England, distinguished by being composed in heroic verse, closed couplets in iambic pentameter, must focus on a subject that pertains to national foundations, mythological events, or important and grand matters and was invented by John Dryden for his 1670 play, The Conquest of Granada .

Tantalus, a Greek mythological figure, so offended the Greek gods that he was condemned to an eternity of hunger and thirst as a result of misbehaving and stealing ambrosia and nectar from the table of Zeus to take it back to his people and revealing the secrets of the gods

Quotables 11 August



Monday, August 10, 2015

Trivia Bits 10 August


Bo Derek

Born Mary Cathleen Collins was born in 1956 in Long Beach, California was American film and television actress, movie producer, and model better known as Bo Derek (pictured) perhaps best known for her role in the 1979 film 10.

The works The Scream (1893), The Kiss (1892) and Self-Portrait From Hell (1903) were painted by Norwegian painter and printmaker Edvard Munch.

Uto-Aztecan or Uto-Aztekan languages consists of over 30 languages found almost entirely in the Western United States and Mexico with the name of the language family was created to show that it includes both the Ute language of Utah, the Hopi people of northeastern Arizona and the Aztecan languages of Mexico.

If flying directly east from Birmingham, UK, the first country you would reach would be The Netherlands.

The diverse architecture of Póvoa de Varzim, a Portuguese city in Northern Portugal, includes Romanesque art, notable contemporary architecture and fishermen's houses that have been described as "Eskimo burrows".

Seven different types of tetrominoes or shapes are used in the video game Tetris.

Named after the ship HMS Beagle, on which Charles Darwin and Robert Fitzroy sailed around parts of Australia, Beagle Gulf is the body of water into which Port Darwin opens and is approximately 100 km long and 50 km wide.

The Terik language of Kenya is classified as endangered by UNESCO because the Terik people have increasingly become assimilated to the Nandi people in recent decades.

Italian explorer, navigator, and colonizer Christopher Columbus's journal is housed in the Archivo General de Indias, Seville, in a1572 building by Juan de Herrera that was UNESCO World Heritage Site listed in 1987.

Long Walk to Freedom was the title of Nelson Mandella’s 1995 autobiography which profiles his early life, coming of age, education and 27 years in prison.

Quotables 10 August



Sunday, August 9, 2015

Trivia Bits 09 August


Waldo-Hancock Bridge

The first permanent bridge across the Penobscot River below Bangor in Maine, the Waldo-Hancock Bridge (pictured), designed by David B. Steinman in 1931, came in so far under budget that another bridge was built with the money saved.

American actress and author Tatum O'Neal is the youngest person ever to win a competitive Academy Award, which she won at age 10 for her performance as Addie Loggins in Paper Moon (1973) opposite her father, Ryan O’Neal and who is 1986 married the professional tennis player John McEnroe, but divorced in 1994.

English former footballer Mick Mills was made captain of the England national football team which commenced the 1982 World Cup because Kevin Keegan was unable to play through injury.

Erected December 18, 1804, Jefferson Pier in Washington, D.C. was a survey monument for the first meridian of the United States, replacing one set by Thomas Jefferson in 1793, and was later used as a mooring bollard on the Potomac River.

Approximately 13.1 billion light years away, Galaxy EGS-zs8-1 was discovered by astronomers by Yale and University of California Santa Cruz scientists in May 2015 and is thought to being formed about 670 Million years after the Big Bang.

Cleopatra was the last of the Ptolemies to rule Egypt and when she committed suicide in 30 B.C., Rome annexed Egypt as a province.

Originally known as Les Schtroumpfs, The Smurfs was originally created and published in 1958 in Belgium as a comic and television franchise centred on a fictional colony of small blue creatures who live in mushroom-shaped houses in the forest and their names based on adjectives that emphasize their characteristics, such as "Clumsy Smurf".

When ants find food, they lay down a chemical trail, called a pheromone, so that other ants can find their way from the nest to the food source.

Australian radio host, comedian and television personality Wendy Harmer wrote the 2006 wickedly funny little illustrated gift book Nagging for Beginners.

Roquefort cheese a sheep milk blue cheese from the south of France and is white, tangy, crumbly and slightly moist, with distinctive veins of green mold.

Quotables 09 August