Saturday, September 12, 2015

Movie Review ... Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials


Maze Runner The Scorch Trials posterThere have been so many young adult book-to-screen adaptations that it’s difficult distinguishing between them.  Each seems to blend into the other with a story’s uniqueness often lost.  Whilst feeling very familiar, ‘Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials’ gains some interest.  A riff on the successful ‘Hunger Games’ series, the second in James Dashner’s book trilogy dazzles as its heroes tackle a myriad of murderous escapades.

Having survived a deadly maze, Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) faces a new challenge.  Along with friends including Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) and Teresa (Kaya Scodelario), Thomas has to uncover WCKD’s dastardly plan.  An evil organisation hell-bent on crushing its citizen’s spirits, WCKD meets fierce opposition.  Travelling to an obstacle-ridden landscape called the Scorch, Thomas and his group take the dangerous journey with the aim of destroying their wicked oppressors.

‘Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials’ is a stronger film than its predecessor.  Further establishing its own mythology, the sequel generally discards the leaden pacing holding down its initial effort.  Moving briskly towards each deadly obstacle, the narrative uses its characters well.  Thomas becomes a strong hero without seeming too indestructible.  He makes mistakes like any person would but has the necessary conviction to make him a watchable lead.  O’Brien plays the hero well with his co-stars making their characters reasonably memorable.

Wes Ball’s direction shows flair in crafting ever new deadly ways to entrap his heroes.  Infusing an intriguing mix of horror, drama and explosive action, Ball knows how to handle these elements.  Although the screenplay adheres to a certain formula, it differentiates itself from others due to its energetic spark.  Anything can and does happen with some genuine twists maintaining interest. 

Whilst ‘Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials’ isn’t the eye-popping spectacle it wants to be, it still offers diverting viewing.  There have been worse recent film franchises, with the sequel building enough intrigue to warrant further adventures into the diabolical labyrinth.

Maze Runner The Scorch Trials 987

Rating out of 10:  6

Movie Review by Patrick Moore

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Trivia Bits 12 September


Evonne Goolagong Cawley 

The first tennis player to win the Australian of the Year award was Evonne Goolagong Cawley (pictured) in 1971 and was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 1985 and three later was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Woombye on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, is home to one of Australia’s big things – The Big Pineapple which is 16 metre high and was originally opened on the 15 of August 1971.

The 1859 McLane-Ocampo Treaty would have given the United States extensive free trade and transit rights across Mexico and the right of military intervention, in exchange for a $4 million loan to the Benito Juarez government then fighting a civil war, but was never ratified by Congress.

In a contemporary update of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's character Sherlock Holmes, starring as Dr Joan Watson in the 2012 American crime drama TV series Elementary is American actress, model and artist Lucy Liu.

Australia author and playwright Patrick White wrote a 1962 play titled Season at Sarsaparilla.

Out of the five designated protected areas in Bahrain, Al Areen Wildlife Park is the only protected area situated on land covering a total area of 8 km sq and was first established in 1976.

The compilation album #1 to Infinity was released by Mariah Carey was released on April 27, 2015 by Epic Records with the song Infinity as the lead single.

A bouchon is a type of traditional restaurant in Lyon, a city in east-central France, serving such delicacies as pig's head cheese, tripe soup and andouillette.

Used primarily as a cooling agent, Dry ice is the solid form of the gas carbon dioxide (CO2) which is generally accepted that dry ice was first observed in 1835 by French inventor Adrien-Jean-Pierre Thilorier (1790–1844), who published the first account of the substance.

Mount Ida is a mountain in north-western Turkey, some 20 miles southeast of the ruins of Troy

Quotables 12 September



Friday, September 11, 2015

Trivia Bits 11 September


Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal (pictured) is a white marble mausoleum located on the southern bank of Yamuna River in the Indian city of Agra in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 and attracts some 3 million visitors a year.

Bono Manso, the capital of Bono state, was an ancient Akan trading town in present-day Ghana, which was frequented by caravans from Djenné as part of the Trans-Saharan trade.

In Greek mythology, a Charis or Grace is one of three or more minor goddesses of charm, beauty, nature, human creativity, and fertility, together known as the Charites or Graces and consist of, from youngest to oldest is Aglaea ("Splendor"), Euphrosyne ("Mirth"), and Thalia ("Good Cheer").

Russia, China, Mongolia and Kazakhstan come together at the Altai Mountains, a mountain range in East-Central Asia and where the rivers Irtysh and Ob have their headwaters.

In September 1842, American singer, stage actor, and newspaper editor George Washington Dixon walked a 15-foot (4.5-meter) platform for 76 hours without sleep, part of the long tradition of pole-sitting.

Originating in Belgium, the ingredients in a popular main dish moules-frites are mussels and fries.

Melbourne born sculptor Norma Redpath created the large carved-wood mural Areopagitica, suggested by the content of the essay Areopagitica of 1644 by the English poet John Milton, in 1958 – 1959 and is a relief carving in silky oak and tempera which is housed in the foyer of the Baillieu Library of the University of Melbourne.

A British overseas territory, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands are located in the southern Atlantic Ocean with no native population on the islands.

There have been about 30 films made at or about Alcatraz, the now-closed federal prison island in San Francisco Bay, including The Rock (1996), Birdman of Alcatraz (1962), and Escape from Alcatraz (1979).

The year 1990 is represented by the Roman numeral MCMXC.

Quotables 11 September



Thursday, September 10, 2015

Trivia Bits 10 September


Agatha Christie 09

English crime novelist, Agatha Christie (pictured) went missing for 11 says in 1926 and on 14 December 1926, she was found at the Swan Hydropathic Hotel in Harrogate, Yorkshire, registered as Mrs Teresa Neele, the surname of her husband's lover from Cape Town, with the reason for her disappearance has never been known.

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, was located in Iraq and is the only Wonder whose location has not been definitely established.

Consisting of a large number of islands in Oceania lying to the east of Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1978.

Anosmia affects the human sense of smell and is the inability to perceive odour.

Greg Chappell was the Australian captain in the 1977 Centenary Test cricket match played between the English cricket team and the Australian cricket team to mark the 100th anniversary of the first Test cricket match played in Australia and was played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Melbourne, Australia.

The fictional character Jonah Takula, a rebellious 14-year-old Australian boy of Tongan descent, was created by Australian comedian, actor, musician and writer Chris Lilley for his 2014 Australian television series Jonah from Tonga.

The 2013 American 3D computer-animated adventure comedy movie The Croods featured the characters Eep (voiced by Emma Stone) and Ugga (voiced by Catherine Keener).

The 1999 hit song Smooth begins with the lyrics Man, it’s a hot one and a collaboration between Latin rock band Santana and Rob Thomas and won three Grammy Awards: Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals.

The 2010 British crime drama television series Sherlock, a contemporary adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes detective stories, features Sergeant Sally Donovan, played by English actress Vinette Robinson, who resents Sherlock's presence at crime scenes, calling him a "freak", and warns Watson that Sherlock is a psychopath who will one day get bored of catching killers and become one himself.

Believed to have been written in the 12th or 13th century, Regimen sanitatis Salernitanum (The Salernitan Rule of Health), a medieval didactic poem, was considered a scholarly medical work that was seriously discussed until the 19th century.

Quotables 10 September



Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Trivia Bits 09 September


The Blue Boy Thomas Gainsborough

The Blue Boy was painted circa 1770 and is a full-length portrait in oil by Thomas Gainsborough, now in the Huntington Library, San Marino, California and is thought to be a portrait of Jonathan Buttall (1752–1805), the son of a wealthy hardware merchant.

For the first time 3G services were used in India to announce the election result for the Andhra Pradesh by-elections in 2012.

Metastaseis is a 1954 orchestral work for 61 musicians by Greek-French composer, music theorist, and architect-engineer Iannis Xenakis who became especially known for his musical research in the field of computer-assisted composition, for which he founded the Equipe de Mathématique et Automatique Musicales (EMAMu) in 1966.

Winning the medal count at the Sydney 2000 Summer Olympic Games was the USA with a tally of 93 medals.

As of April 4, 2015, Polish mixed martial artist Joanna Jedrzejczyk became UFC women’s champion in the strawweight division.

Standing 13.6 m (44 ft) tall on its cubical white marble socle, the fluted Corinthian Column of Phocas, erected in 608 to flatter the Eastern Roman Emperor Phocas, was the very last addition made to the Roman Forum.

The term given to the holes in a block of Swiss cheese is eyes, and Swiss cheese without eyes is known as blind with the terms also applying to cheeses of this style made outside Switzerland, such as Jarlsberg cheese, which originates in Norway.

Change of venue is the legal term for moving a jury trial away from a location where a fair and impartial jury may not be possible due to widespread publicity about a crime and/or the defendant.

Announced by Jacques Schneider, a financier, balloonist and aircraft enthusiast, in 1912, The Schneider Trophy was awarded for seaplane racing with an offered a prize of approximately £1,000 and was held twelve times between 1913 and 1931.

The lightest weight of line used in the production of ruled paper is described as feint.

Quotables 09 September



Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Trivia Bits 08 September



Macaws (pictured) are native to South America with most species associated with forests, especially rainforests, but others prefer woodland or savannah-like habitats and are distinguished by proportionately larger beaks, long tails, and relatively bare, light-coloured, medial (facial patch) areas.

Known as the King of Songs and the Soviet Sinatra, Azerbaijani singer Muslim Magomayev, who sang with great success in the 1960's at La Scala and the Paris Olympia, was not allowed to pursue an international career by the Soviet Ministry of Culture.

The Al Anbar Governorate is the largest area in the country of Iraq and shares borders with Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

The grunion is a sardine-sized fish only found off the coast of California and Baja California that comes up on sandy beaches at very high tides, during the new and full moons, to lay its eggs.

American action-adventure television series MacGyver ran for seven seasons from 1985 to 1992 and follows secret agent Angus MacGyver, played by Richard Dean Anderson, who works as a trouble-shooter for the fictional Phoenix Foundation in Los Angeles and as an agent for a fictional United States government agency, the Department of External Services (DXS).

Roman embassies to China are reported in Chinese historical accounts from as early as CE166.

Australian actor and radio presenter Samuel Johnson played Evan Wylde, a would-be-writer who is in need of motivation, in the 2001 Australian television drama series The Secret Life of Us.

Part of Niagara Falls, The Horseshoe Falls are located in the Canadian province of Ontario and the US state of New York.

American science fiction entertainment franchise created by Gene Roddenberry, Star Trek first aired in 1966 and ran for three seasons on NBC following the interstellar adventures of James T. Kirk and the crew of the starship Enterprise, an exploration vessel of a 23rd-century interstellar "United Federation of Planets".

The official highest recorded temperature is 56.7C/134F measured on 10 July 1913 at Greenand Ranch, Death Valley, California.

Quotables 08 September



Monday, September 7, 2015

Trivia Bits 07 September



Orangutans (pictured) are native to Asia and although native to Indonesia and Malaysia, orangutans are currently found in only the rainforests of Borneo and Sumatra.

The shape of each side of the four sided regular tetrahedron is triangular.

The Island of Mauritius is in the Indian Ocean about 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) off the southeast coast of the African continent.

American singer, musician, and actor Elvis Presley’s fathers name was Vernon and his mother was Gladys with Elvis being on his mother's side, Scots-Irish, with some French Norman with one of Gladys' great-great-grandmothers was Cherokee and his father's forebears were of Scottish and German origin.

Octavia Spencer won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role as the outspoken black maid Minny Jackson in the 2011 American drama film The Help adapted from Kathryn Stockett's 2009 novel of the same name.

American actor Penn Badgley starred as Dan Humphrey in the American teen drama based upon the 2002 book series by Cecily von Ziegesar Gossip Girl with the character Dan described as being attractive and sensitive, loves to write poetry, and one of his poems, "Sluts," was featured in The New Yorker.

The 1960’s American comedy television series that satirizes the secret agent genre Get Smart featured the cone of silence which was two transparent plastic hemispheres which are electrically lowered on top of Max and Chief and which invariably malfunctioned.

The first singing commercial aired on Minneapolis' WCCO radio station radio on Christmas Eve, 1926 for Wheaties cereal as four male singers, eventually known as the Wheaties Quartet, sang the jingle.

The name of the popular Spanish drink, Sangria, comes from the Spanish word for bloodletting and normally consists of wine, chopped fruit, a sweetener, and a small amount of added brandy and is deep red in colour.

After World War I, Turkey was formed out of the Ottoman Empire which was founded by Oghuz Turks under Osman Bey in north-western Anatolia in 1299.

Quotables 07 September



Sunday, September 6, 2015

Trivia Bits 06 September



Eye of the Tiger is a song by American rock band Survivor (pictured) released in 1982 as a single from their third album Eye of the Tiger and was written as the theme song for the movie Rocky III at the request of actor Sylvester Stallone, who was unable to get permission for Queen's Another One Bites the Dust.

Bangladesh first competed at the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics with a single competitor, Saidur Rahman Dawn, in the men's 100 metres sprint event.

1962 British drama film starring Peter O'Toole Lawrence of Arabia and the 2000 American-British epic historical drama starring Russell Crowe Gladiator were both filmed in the ksar Aït Benhaddou in Morocco.

After being held in Adelaide, South Australia, the Australian F1 Grand Prix moved to Melbourne, Victoria in 1996.

Call me Ishmael is the opening line to the book Moby Dick, published in 1851 being the sixth book by American writer Herman Melville.

Based on the Ern Malley hoax of 1943, in which two poets created a fictitious poet, Ern Malley, and submitted poems in his name to the literary magazine Angry Penguins, My Life as a Fake is a 2003 novel by Australian writer Peter Carey

One of Australia's best-known marine biologists Isobel Bennett had five species of marine animals and a coral reef named after her and also wrote the 1971 book The Great Barrier Reef, the first book to give a general picture of the reef,

The sitting President of France is also the co-prince of Andorra, a sovereign landlocked microstate in south-western Europe, located in the eastern Pyrenees Mountains and bordered by Spain and France.

Omar Bongo was President of Gabon for 41 years from 1967 until his death in 2009 making him one of the longest serving rulers in history.

Occasionally, after a canon of works has an accepted numbering, when an earlier work is discovered it is given the number zero for example Bruckner’s Symphony No.0 is considered to have been written between Symphony No. 1 (1866) and Symphony No. 2 (1872) and premiered on 12 October 1924 but was never numbered by the composer.

Quotables 06 September