Saturday, October 3, 2015

Movie Review ... The Martian


The Martian posterRidley Scott knows how to embrace spectacle.  Utilising a screen’s every frame, the director of hits such as ‘Alien’ and ‘Blade Runner’ clearly enjoys pushing movie technology to its limits.  Whilst this hasn’t translated into a consistently good track record with several poor recent films, ‘The Martian’ corrects this.  It’s certainly a wonderful looking movie enhancing Scott’s visual credentials.  Pace-wise it isn’t that great but those wanting to drink in amazing visions should find much to quench their thirst.

On a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is caught in an astral storm.  Abandoned by the rest of his crew, the chances of survival are slim.  A determined character, Mark resolves to survive the harsh planet until help arrives.  Signalling to earth of his survival, his friends try to bring him home.  Alone on the desolate landscape, Mark’s intellect goes into over-drive as he combats all other-worldly obstacles in his path.

Based on Andy Weir’s novel, ‘The Martian’ is big in scope.  Scott knows how to project the expansive story with ease.  From Mark’s tribulations to the world-wide quest to bring him home, ‘The Martian’ has a true epic sensibility.  This is Damon’s show with his easy-going persona well suited to his dogged character.  Spending time with him isn’t too difficult as his spirited strength shines.  His earth-bound co-stars are equally fine, successfully infusing some character traits in their limited screen-time.

‘The Martian’ works best when showcasing its visuals.  Consistently amazing, they immerse the viewer into the alien world in which Mark resides.  Despite its surface gloss, at nearly two and a half hours in length ‘The Martian’ tends to over-stay its welcome.  Scott fails to reign in his self-indulgence with some scenes dragging thereby lessening the needed sense of urgency.  In-spite of these failings, Scott knows how to tackle a solid story with its emotional impact resonating until the finale.

With recent commercial films being all style and no substance, ‘The Martian’ provides a decent antidote.  Generally involving, its aims for a genuine big-screen experience are met under the assured gaze of Ridley Scott’s experienced eyes.


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.

Official HomePage click HERE



Trivia Bits 03 October


Anita King

In 1915, Hollywood actress Anita King (pictured) became the first female to ever drive an automobile across the continental United States alone and whose only companions, according to the Los Angeles Times, were "a rifle and a six shooter".

In relation to computers, PDF stands for Portable Document Format and is used to present documents in a manner independent of application software, hardware and operating systems and was initially released in 1993 by Adobe Systems.

Basketball was invented in 1891 by James Naismith who set out to invent a game to occupy students between the football and baseball seasons.

Opening for business in October 1903, The Willow Tearooms, designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, is the most famous of many new Glasgow tearooms opened in the early 20th century due to the emergence of the Temperance movement.

Guinea-Bissau, Nauru, Palau, Peru, Tuvalu and Vanuatu are all countries whose names end with the letter U.

Famous for playing Willow Rosenberg in the fantasy television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997–2003) is actress Alyson Hannigan.

English-born actor-manager and playwright Alfred Dampier adapted Australian novels and co-wrote, with J H Wrangham and Thomas Somers, the stage play Marvellous Melbourne in 1889 which ended with the heroine’s horse winning the Melbourne Cup.

Vexillology is the study of flags and is a synthesis of the Latin word vexillum ("flag") and the Greek suffix -logia ("study").

The little borgo of Settignano, near Florence, Italy, was the birthplace of four sculptors of the Florentine Renaissance — Desiderio da Settignano, Bernardo Rossellino, Antonio Rossellino and Bartolomeo Ammanati.

A serpent or dragon eating its own tail is the creature depicted in the ancient symbol known as ouroboros which first emerged in Ancient Egypt and has been important in religious and mythological symbolism.

Table Mountain is a flat-topped mountain forming a prominent landmark overlooking the South African city of Cape Town being featured on the Flag of Cape Town and other local government insignia.

Quotables 03 October



Friday, October 2, 2015

Trivia Bits 02 October


The Madwoman’s Underclothes

The 1986 book The Madwoman’s Underclothes (cover pictured) was written by Germaine Greer and is a collection of her essays from 1968 to 1985 on many and varied topics including marijuana, the women's movement, women's sexuality, Jimi Hendrix, pornography, sexual ethics, birth control, abortion, rape, the 1972 Democratic convention, Brazil, Cuba, Ethiopia.

Achieving the goal on 6 May 1954 at Iffley Road track in Oxford with Chris Chataway and Chris Brasher providing the pacing, the first athlete to run a mile in under four minutes was English former middle-distance athlete, physician and academic Roger Bannister.

The Sea of Okhotsk has a coastline on the Japanese island of Hokkaido and is named after Okhotsk, the first Russian settlement in the Far East first settled in 1639.

A toxophilite is someone who is fond of or an expert in the sport of archery derived from Toxophilus a 1545 book about archery by Roger Ascham — and is an imaginary proper name invented by Ascham, and hence title of his book, intended to mean lover of the bow.

Adopted in 1961, the four colours on the flag of Kuwait are green, white, red and black and is described as a horizontal triband of green, white and red; with a black trapezium based on the hoist side.

Christopher Nolan directed the 2010 science fiction heist thriller film Inception starring Leonardo diCaprio, Ken Watanabe, Tom Hardy, Tom Berenger, and Michael Caine with DiCaprio playing a professional thief who commits corporate espionage by infiltrating the subconscious of his targets.

Child actor Tommy Rettig, who starred as Jeff Miller in the first four seasons of the Lassie television series, became a noted database software author as an adult.

In geometry, a cuboid has six faces.

American criminal James Earle Ray was best known for being convicted for assassinating Martin Luther King Jnr on April 4, 1968, while standing on the second-floor balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee.

Danish physicist Niels Bohr made foundational contributions to understanding atomic structure and quantum theory for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1922.

On the island of Lindholmen in south-eastern Sweden and dating from 1692, the Karlskrona Ropewalk is Sweden's longest wooden building with a length of some 300 metres (980 ft).

Quotables 02 October



Thursday, October 1, 2015

Trivia Bits 01 October


Trinidad Moruga Scorpion

The Trinidad Moruga Scorpion (pictured) is a type of chilli pepper having a mean heat of more than 1.2 million Scoville heat units (SHUs) and individual plants with a heat of more than 2 million SHUs which simply means it is amongst the hottest in the world.

The comic opera The Marriage of Figaro in four acts composed in 1786 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart premiered at the Burgtheater in Vienna on 1 May 1786.

A group of cats is known as a clowder.

Bruce Lee is widely considered as the father of mixed martial arts who in 1964 was invited for the role of Kato alongside Van Williams in the TV series The Green Hornet and also played Kato in three crossover episodes of Batman.

The hare who attended the tea party is associated with the month of March and is a character in Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

Wuxi is an old city in southern Jiangsu province, People's Republic of China near Lake Tai being also famous for being one of the birthplaces of China's modern industry and commerce.

Australian professional golfer and entrepreneur Greg Norman’s first PGA win was at the 1984 golf tournament the Kemper Open at Pleasant Valley Country Club in Sutton, Massachusetts.

In 1978 Justice Leila Seth was the first woman judge on the Delhi High Court and in 1991 was the first woman to become Chief Justice in India.

Canadian author born in Salamanca, Spain, Yann Martel was awarded the Man Booker Prize for the 2001 novel The Life of Pi which according to Martel can be summarized in three statements- "Life is a story... You can choose your story... A story with God is the better story."

Quotables 01 October



Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Trivia Bits 30 September



Keying (pictured) was a three-masted Chinese junk 800-ton Foochow Chinese trading junk, which sailed from China to the United States and England between 1846 and 1848.

Leon Bismark Beiderbecke better known as Bix Beiderbecke was an American jazz cornetist, jazz pianist, and composer who, with Louis Armstrong and Muggsy Spanier, was one of the most influential jazz soloists of the 1920s.

In 2014 US actor Tom Hanks has released an IPad app that mimics a manual typewriter named the Hanx Writer.

Something wicked this way comes is a line from William Shakespeare’s tragedy Macbeth, believed to have been written between 1599 and 1606, and is most commonly dated 1606 and earliest account of a performance of what was probably Shakespeare's play is the Summer of 1606, when Simon Forman recorded seeing such a play at the Globe Theatre.

During the 1970s in Cleveland, Irish American mob informant Danny Greene drove a green car, wore green jackets, and had his union office repainted and re-carpeted in green to represent his Irish ethnicity.

American former World No. 1 professional tennis player Billie Jean King founded Women's Sports Foundation in 1973 to advance the lives of girls and women through sports and physical activity.

The Llibre Vermell de Montserrat is a 14th-century manuscript of medieval music made in a Catalan monastery for pilgrims to sing and now located at the monastery of Montserrat outside Barcelona in Catalonia, Spain.

Goldfields-Esperance is the largest region of the Australian state of Western Australia with an area of 770,488 square kilometres (297,487 sq mi) and is mostly a low and flat plateau of extremely ancient Precambrian rocks with soils extremely infertile and generally quite saline.

The only British Prime Minister to be assassinated in office was Spencer Perceval on the evening of 11 May 1812 and the assassin, John Bellingham, was a merchant who believed he had been unjustly imprisoned in Russia and was entitled to compensation from the government, but all his petitions had been rejected.

The Goldfinch is the 2014 Pulitzer-winning fiction novel by American writer Donna Tartt with the novel told in retrospective first person narration by Theodore "Theo" Decker, who recounts the story of his life thus far.

Quotables 30 September



Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Trivia Bits 29 September


 Elle McPherson

Eleanor Nancy Gow is the birth name of Australian-born supermodel Elle McPherson (pictured who in 1989 was given the nickname Elle "The Body" Macpherson by Time Magazine after she appeared on their cover and she went on to use the name in a number of business ventures.

The Perioikoi were free inhabitants but not citizens under Spartan rule, were concentrated in the beach and highland areas of Laconia and were the only people allowed to travel to other cities.

French association football player Lucien Laurent scored the first ever World Cup goal, against Mexico in 1930.

Played by a Scottish-American actor, singer and dancer John Barrowman, Jack Harkness was a character who first appeared in the 2005 Doctor Who episode The Empty Child and subsequently features in the remaining episodes of the 2005 series and also became the central character in the adult-themed Torchwood, which aired from 2006 to 2011.

In orthopaedic surgery, the use of plastic rods instead of metal pins and screws was developed by Dr Stephen Ruff and Dr Michael Ryan at the Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney in 1991.

The word avail when used as a verb means to have force and when used as a noun means an advantage to an end.

The Japanese city of Kobe was worst hit by the devastating Great Hanshin earthquake in 1995 which measured 6.8 on the moment magnitude scale (USGS).

Based on the memoir of American author, motivational speaker, and former stockbroker Jordan Belfort was the 2013 movie The Wolf of Wall Street directed by Martin Scorsese and starred Leonardo DiCaprio as Belfort.

Forming the coastline of South Korea are the Sea of Japan, the Korean Strait and the Yellow Sea.

Ridi Viharaya, a 2nd-century BCE Buddhist cave temple in Sri Lanka, was built by Dutthagamani of Anuradhapura in gratitude that the cave's silver helped him achieve his dream of completing Ruwanwelisaya.

Quotables 29 September



Monday, September 28, 2015

Trivia Bits 28 September


Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos

Located in the historic centre of Córdoba, Spain, the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos (pictured), apart from being the seat of the Spanish Inquisition was also the meeting place between Columbus and Isabella before he made his voyage to the New World in 1492.

In 1989, West German tennis player Steffi Graf won the Wimbledon Women’s singles title by defeating retired Czech tennis player Martina Navratilova 6–2, 6–7, 6–1.

The 2002 American space western drama television series Firefly featured a spaceship called Serenity, a "Firefly-class" spaceship, and followed the adventures of the nine renegade crew members in the year 2517.

As Jupiter rotates, or spins, faster than any other planet, a day on Jupiter is about 10 hours long and as it is so far from the sun that it takes 12 Earth years for Jupiter to make one trip around the sun meaning one year on Jupiter is 12 years on Earth.

Consisting of a round, cylindrical or a box-shaped open-topped container, made from or lined with a heatproof material and designed to hold burning charcoal, the Hibachi is used for cooking especially in traditional Japanese cooking.

The 2018 Commonwealth Games are scheduled to be held in Gold Coast City, Queensland, Australia, from 4 to 15 April 2018.

Benedict Arnold was an early American politician, who was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1829 despite the fact the person he was named after was revealed to be a traitor two weeks before he was born.

A female elephant is known as a cow, the male elephants as bulls and the young elephants as calves.

The 1988 Summer Olympic Games were celebrated in Seoul, South Korea from 17 September to 2 October with 159 nations represented by a total of 8391 athletes: 6197 men and 2194 women, 263 events were held and 27,221 volunteers helped to prepare the Olympics.

US actor Nicholas Cage is the nephew of director Francis Ford Coppola having been born Nicolas Kim Coppola, the son of August Floyd Coppola who is Francis Ford Coppola’s sibling, a professor of literature, and Joy (Vogelsang), a dancer and choreographer.

Quotables 28 September



Sunday, September 27, 2015

Movie Review ... Sicario


Sicario posterPolice and military procedurals have been very popular.  TV shows such as CSI, NCIS and the Law & Order franchises have educated viewers in the miniature of crime work.  Whilst shown in heightened reality, there’s been enough to captivate in showing the machinations of criminals and law-defenders.  ‘Sicario’ takes a leaf out of this successful book.  Delving into a grimy world of drugs and politicking, it’s a gripping procedural worth investigating.

Kate (Emily Blunt) is an idealistic FBI agent good at her job.  Determined to uncover any vicious crime, she usually finds her prey.  Enlisted by a government task force to tackle a drug war between the American and Mexican border, her resolve is tested.  Working with fellow agents Matt (Josh Brolin) and Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro) she soon discovers all is not as it seems with the war on drugs blurring the lines between friend and foe.

Any good movie should captivate from its first frame, something ‘Sicario’ effectively does.  Initially a typical drug-bust drama that morphs into a gripping tale of revenge. Whilst the law-enforcers are the tale’s ‘heroes’, events force viewers to question what they see.  Shaking the audience from their pre-conceived ideas, ‘Sicario’ provides genuine twists.  Kate, Matt and Alejandro all have their own agendas making for realistic conflict and true tension.

Denis Villeneuve’s direction wrings much from the premise.  Only using dialogue when absolutely necessary, he allows the mood to slowly surface.  Coupled with sparse use of music, Villeneuve forces his audience to observe the action.  The raids on drug compounds are genuinely gripping, dragging the observer right into the heart of battle. The actors do a fine job in these sequences ensuring their characters are shown in shades of grey rather than being empty characterisations.

One of the strongest movies about the drug trade in recent years, ‘Sicario’ benefits from authenticity.  Well performed with arresting cinematography, it’s a worthy exploration of a scene most should avoid.

  Sicario 9876

Movie Review Rating out of 10:  8

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 ... Pan


Pan posterOne of the benefits of a sequel or remake is that films can readily re-use sets.  Millions can be saved by using the same background with the extra cash reserved for star salaries and expensive CGI.  ‘Pan’ is a case at point.  The umpteenth and very familiar re-telling of the Peter Pan legend, audiences may experience déjà vu.  Glitzy and expensive looking, the story seems to have been copied from better predecessors.

Spirited away to the magical kingdom of Neverland, Peter (Levi Miller) wonders what has happened.  Discovering a place of beauty and danger, he slowly realises why he was transported there.  Upon meeting villainous pirate Blackbeard (Hugh Jackman), Peter has to meet the threat head-on in order to fulfil his destiny as the heroic Peter Pan.

‘Pan’ is a typical product of current Hollywood formula.  Setting up an origin story in order to create a franchise, it is a very by the numbers affair.  The Peter Pan story has been told countless times with this latest version adding nothing new. From Joe Wright’s pedestrian direction to the truly appalling performances, ‘Pan’ mechanically goes through the motions.  The use of over the top humour grates with the screenplay dubiously talking down to its audience.

The one saving grace is the special effects which are suitably dazzling.  The creation of the fairies and Neverland is startling with the money well spent.  Sadly the CGI is hung on a poorly scripted and predictable movie.  There’s never any sense of joyful fun or the elusive ‘wonder’ which such a film needs.  ‘Pan’ simply exists to become a cinematic cash-cow for a greedy studio.  In this instance it deserves scorn for the cynicism its film executives have shown to its audience.

Despite its glossy visual flair, ‘Pan’ is a poor excuse of a movie.  A mediocre adventure, its presence on the silver screen devalues the writing of Peter Pan’s creator J.M. Barrie.  It’s an embarrassingly bad yarn of little merit with its promise of sequels of which audiences should be afraid.

  PAN 876

Movie Review Rating out of 10:  1

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 27 September


 William Osler

Canadian physician William Osler (pictured) was one of the great medical teachers and wrote The Principles and Practice of Medicine in 1892 and also A Concise History of Medicine in 1919.

Mainly characterized by its numerous home workshops, the small German village of Lauscha, noted for its glass-blowing, supplied virtually the world with Christmas ornaments prior to World War 1.

From the Latin attollo meaning to lift up, comes the English word that means to praise highly – extol.

Found in South America, the male Surinam Toad, after mating, affixes the female's eggs to her back, where her spongy flesh will swell and envelope them and when the froglets hatch, they leave behind holes in their mother's flesh that they will remain sheltered in until large enough to fend for themselves.

The colour of the History category in the original Trivial Pursuit was yellow and was created in December 1979 in Montreal, Quebec, by Canadians Chris Haney and Scott Abbott.

It is in the racquet sport of Badminton at an international level that women compete for the Uber Cup named after a former British women's badminton player, Betty Uber and was first held in 1956–1957.

The 1906 Intercalated Games were held in Greece and were to be a series of International Olympic Games half-way between what is now known as the Games of the Olympiad but were held only once in Athens.

Daphne, a character in American animated TV series Scooby Doo has a surname of Blake and was depicted as coming from a wealthy family, noted for her red hair, lavender heels, fashion sense, and her knack for getting into danger, hence the nickname Danger Prone Daphne.

English chemist, meteorologist and physicist John Dalton developed the law of partial pressure of gasses and the atomic theory of matter.

In 1642, Dutch seafarer, explorer and merchant Abel Tasman discovered New Zealand, Tonga and Fiji.

Quotables 27 September