Saturday, October 24, 2015

Movie Review ... Bridge Of Spies


Bridge Of Spies posterThe Cold War lasted decades.  An endless cause of suspicion between America and Russia led to some very tense moments.  The 1950’s and ‘60’s perhaps was its apex with spy agencies from both sides working over-time.  Novelists and film-makers had a field day as the countless books and movies attest.  ‘Bridge of Spies’ effectively re-mines this potential.  Whilst the Cold War is officially yesterday’s news, it hasn’t stopped the shady world of spies and movie-making from cashing in.

When a Russian spy is caught on U.S. soil, the government puts him on trial.  Hired to defend him is Jim Donovan (Tom Hanks).  Knowing authorities want to see an enemy spy convicted, Donovan attempts to present a fair case.  Learning Russia has captured an American pilot, Donovan tries to convince his superiors to use the Russian spy as a bargaining chip.  The following chain of events test Donovan’s mettle as the stakes reach a crescendo of dramatic proportions.

‘Bridge of Spies’ is an agreeably old fashioned work from director Steven Spielberg.  That isn’t a slight despite its somewhat slow pace and occasional slice of typical Spielberg sentimentality. Unlike many recent productions, ‘Bridge of Spies’ takes its time to introduce its players in an often stressful game.  From Donovan to the highest political commander, everyone is playing a role in brinkmanship.  ‘Bridge of Spies’ effectively shows the constant machinations involved in order for each country to be seen as superior.

Donovan’s stoic determination to right wrongs is well conveyed by Hanks.  He plays the ‘everyman’ role so well and it’s easy feeling his character’s frustrations at the endless barriers he faces.  ‘Bridge of Spies’ rests squarely on his shoulders with his co-stars not particularly registering on the memory.  The often engrossing story and excellent cinematography make up for this as each scene is lovingly rendered under Spielberg’s steady guidance.

‘Bridge of Spies’ is a decent effort from Spielberg.  Whilst it isn’t one of his greatest, it tells a stirring tale of courage.  The Cold War may be history but similar wars remain with this history lesson offering some inspiration in gaining peaceful outcomes.

  Bridge Of Spies 987

Movie Review Rating out of 10:  7

Movie Review by Patrick Moore

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Patrick Moore's Movie Review is an alternative look at movie releases in Australia.

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Movie Review ... Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension


Paranormal Activity The Ghost Dimension poster‘Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension’ is the sixth and supposedly final instalment of the franchise.  Horror fans have heard this before with the ‘Friday the 13th’ and ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ franchises continuing after their alleged ‘final’ outings.  The end can’t come soon enough for the ‘Paranormal Activity’ series with its lazy shaky-cam horrors inexplicably raking in dollars.  Its promise of being the ‘last hurrah’ is one that it will be held to with its mediocre scares something true horror fans never want to see again.

Moving into their new home, Ryan (Chris J. Murray), wife Emily (Brit Shaw) and daughter settle in.  Their fresh start quickly goes awry when Ryan discovers some old videotapes.  Watching images of young girls being taught black magic, Ryan is disturbed by what he sees.  His fears become magnified when his daughter Leila (Ivy George) becomes trapped by evil supernatural forces.  Determined to protect his family, Ryan goes to great lengths to eradicate his home of evil once and for all.

Although better than its predecessors due to a more involving story, ‘Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension’ is still a depressingly lazy affair.  Using shaky-cam and endless screaming, it seems to think this amounts to genuine terror.  Sadly the only terror in evidence is from viewers realising they’ve paid to see this.  Using the same story template as the others, it fails to add much new.  The few fresh elements detailing how the series’ villains have evolved are interesting but there aren’t enough of them.

Director Gregory Plotkin oversees the production with little enthusiasm.  He doesn’t elicit much atmosphere which isn’t helped by the mediocre performances.  There’s no flair or imagination gone into creating something scary with the film almost wearing its cheapness as a badge of honour.  It’s tragic these types of films have become so successful, leading others to craft works with very little effort.  ‘Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension’ suffers from slow pacing and tawdry CGI – none of which is helped by the poorly handled 3-D effects.

‘Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension’ is as clumsily filmed as the others with its aims at being a memorable horror franchise laughable.  A threat of another instalment would be the only true scare it could provide with audiences hopefully avoiding this one in droves.

 Ivy George plays Leila in Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension from Paramount Pictures.

Movie Review Rating out of 10:  2

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 24 October


  True Grit poster

In the 1969 American western Technicolor film True Grit (poster pictured), US actor John Wayne wore an eye patch on his face as his character fictional biography Reuben Cogburn was born on July 15, 1825, was a veteran of the American Civil War who served under Confederate guerrilla leader William Quantrill, where he lost his eye with John Wayne winning the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role as Cogburn.

The Queen Maud Mountains are located on the continent of the Antarctica and when Captain Roald Amundsen and his South Pole party ascended Axel Heiberg Glacier near the central part of this group in November 1911, naming these mountains for the Norwegian queen Maud of Wales.

Opened in 1820, Union Bridge across the River Tweed between England and Scotland was once the longest wrought iron suspension bridge in the world and is now the oldest surviving.

American actress and community activist Sonja Sohn played Detective Kima Greggs in the 2002 American crime drama television series The Wire.

The Union Carbide disaster at Bhopal, India occurred on the night of 2–3 December 1984 in which over 500,000 people were exposed to methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas and other chemicals with the toxic substance made its way into and around the shanty towns located near the plant.

First made commercially in 1974 by a British company, Skittles, a brand of fruit-flavoured sweets, has the slogan Taste the Rainbow and have hard sugar shells which carry the letter S.

The Irish Civil War, between 28 June 1922 – 24 May 1923, and saw the establishment of the Irish Free State, an entity independent from the United Kingdom but within the British Empire.

Timon and Pumbaa are an animated meerkat and warthog duo introduced in Disney's popular 1994 animated film The Lion King.

Roswell, noted for a 1947 UFO incident when an airborne object crashed on a ranch near Roswell, New Mexico, with the most famous explanation of what occurred is that the object was a spacecraft containing extraterrestrial life.

Originally known as a Patersonia, the Tasmanian city of Launceston was the first to use anaesthetic in the Southern Hemisphere, the first Australian city to have underground sewers and the first Australian city to be lit by hydroelectricity.

Quotables 24 October



Friday, October 23, 2015

Trivia Bits 23 October


 Flynn of the Inland

The 1932 novel Flynn of the Inland (cover pictured) by influential Australian author Ion Idriess was a biography of John Flynn, founder of the Royal Flying Doctors service.

1972 Olympic gold medallist Australian former swimmer Shane Gould competed at the 2004 Olympic Team Swimming trials.

Lying on the Arabian Sea along the Gulf of Oman, Muscat is the capital of the country of Oman which features a hot, arid climate with long and very hot summers and warm "winters" and an annual rainfall in Muscat is about 10 cm (4 in), falling mostly from December to April.

Playing for Essex County Cricket Club, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire in a 12-year career, Will Jefferson is probably the tallest professional cricketer ever, at about 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) tall.

Australian clothing manufacturer and retailer (David) Fletcher Jones created the 72 scientific cloth sizes and was a pioneer in workforce participation in that staff of the company was incorporated into the ownership.

In astrology, each sign is divided into three divisions of 10 degrees, each sign has 3 decans, one for each division of 10 degrees.

A Technocrat is someone who occupies a senior position in a field such as science or economics and exercises a strong influence over society as a whole.

John S. Collins, who in southern Florida grew vegetables and coconuts on a barrier island, built 2.5 mile long wooden Collins Bridge across Biscayne Bay in 1913 which led to the development of Miami Beach.

Evonne Goolagong is an Australian former World No. 1 female tennis player who married British tennis player Roger Cawley on 19 June 1975 and then was known as Evonne Goolagong Cawley.

A tale from the Trojan War about the subterfuge that the Greeks used to enter the city of Troy and win the conflict was the Trojan horse which later inspired the saying Beware of Greeks bearing gifts.

Quotables 23 October



Thursday, October 22, 2015

Trivia Bits 22 October


Nena 99 Luftballons 

An anti-war protest song by the German band Nena (pictured) from their 1983 self-titled album, 99 Luftballons was a one hit wonder with an English version 99 Red Balloons also released after widespread success of the original in Europe and Japan but was not a direct translation of the German and contains somewhat different lyrics.

Australia’s flag bearer was five time Olympic gold medal winner Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe at the closing ceremony of the 2000 Sydney Summer Olympics or the Millennium Olympic Games/Games of the New Millennium celebrated between 15 September and 1 October 2000.

In the small South Australian port Ardrossan on Gulf St Vincent, Richard Bowyer Smith, the inventor of the stump-jump plough, opened a factory in 1880 for manufacturing the ploughs

Go ahead, make my day is a quote from the fourth Dirty Harry movie Sudden Impact released in 1983, directed by Clint Eastwood, making it the only Dirty Harry film to be directed by Eastwood himself, and starring Eastwood and Sondra Locke and was the highest grossing of the five films in the Dirty Harry franchise.

Commander Edwin Taylor Pollock became the first American governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands by beating the commander of the USS Olympia in a race to Saint Thomas in 1917.

According to the saying, Nod is the mythical land of sleep with the first recorded use of the phrase to mean "sleep" comes from Jonathan Swift in his 1737 work Complete Collection of Polite and Ingenious Conversation and Gulliver's Travels.

The first Intercolonial cricket match in Australia was played in Launceston, Tasmania between players from Port Phillip and Van Diemen's Land in February 1851.

The character Tom Ripley was created by American novelist and short story writer Patricia Highsmith for five books The Talented Mr. Ripley, Ripley Under Ground, Ripley's Game, The Boy Who Followed Ripley and Ripley Under Water, published between 1955 and 1991 - are referred to collectively as the Ripliad.

Errhine is the name given to medicines to be snuffed up the nostrils to promote sneezing and increased discharges.

Winner of the 2005 Archibald Prize, Australian artist John Olsen, painted Salute to Five Bells, inspired by Kenneth Slessor's poem in 1972-73 and is currently hung in the Sydney Opera House.

Quotables 22 October



Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Trivia Bits 21 October


Punch and Judy

Making the first recorded appearance in England on 9 May 1662, Punch and Judy (pictured) is a traditional popular puppet show featuring Mr. Punch and his wife, Judy with 9 May traditionally thought to be Punch's UK birthday.

Flinders Chase is the flora and fauna sanctuary on the western side of Kangaroo Island and is noted for endangered species and also home to geological phenomena.

The skiing resort of St Moritz is located in the Engadine valley in Switzerland which hosted the Winter Olympics in 1928 and 1948 and is a popular destination of the upper class and international jet set, as well as one of the most expensive ski resorts in the world.

Born in India, Australian explorer and journalist Emily Caroline Creaghe was a member of the 1882 – 1883 expedition across the Gulf of Carpentaria led by Ernest Favenc and whose biography is told in the book The Diary of Emily Caroline Creaghe: Explorer by Peter Monteath.

The US Virgin Islands used to be known as the Danish West Indies, a Danish colony in the Caribbean which were sold to the United States in 1916 under the terms of the Treaty of the Danish West Indies and were organized as the United States Virgin Islands in 1917.

It is in the American comedy television series, originally released October 15, 2000 Curb Your Enthusiasm that Larry David plays a fictionalised version of himself that follows Larry in his life as a semi-retired television writer and producer in Los Angeles and later New York City.

Enswathe means to enfold or enclose with or as if with a covering.

In the 2012 American 3D stop-motion animated comedy horror family film ParaNorman, Kodi Smit-McPhee voices Norman Babcock, an 11-year-old outcast kid who speaks to the dead.

Italian historian, politician, diplomat, philosopher, humanist, and writer Niccolo Machiavelli was born in Florence with the term Machiavellianism widely used as a negative term to characterize unscrupulous politicians of the sort Machiavelli described in his 1513 writing The Prince (Il Principe).

Flood walls are man-made vertical barriers that are designed to temporarily contain the waters of a river or other waterway during seasonal or extreme weather events.

Quotables 21 October



Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Trivia Bits 20 October


 Marie Curie 09

The first woman to win two Nobel Prizes was Polish and naturalized-French physicist and chemist Marie Curie (pictured) who in December 1903 was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics and in 1911 the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Australian novelist, playwright and author of non-fiction Thomas Keneally’s novel Schlinder’s Ark, the Booker Prize-winning novel of 1982, was adapted by Steven Spielberg into the 1993 movie Schlinder’s List winning the Academy Award for Best Picture.

First marketed in 1899 as a powder Bayer® Aspirin was the first drug ever to be marketed in tablet form which by 1900 was being compressed into a water-soluble tablet.

The main ingredient in the Italian dish pesce crudo is seafood with "pesce crudo" meaning "raw fish”.

Collaborative studio album by American rappers Jay-Z and Kanye West the album Watch the Throne on August 8, 2011 and the album produced seven singles, including the international hits Otis, Niggas in Paris, and No Church in the Wild, which all received music videos.

Running along the Columbia River in Astoria, Oregon, The Astoria Riverfront Trolley uses a 1913 trolley car acquired from an art museum in Texas.

Canadian actress Rachelle Lefevre stars as Julia Shumway an investigative reporter who becomes romantically involved with Barbie, played by Mike Vogel, an Iraq War veteran visiting Chester's Mill in the 2013 premiered American science-fiction drama television series Under the Dome based on the novel of the same name by Stephen King.

In 2012, Australian Master Chef contestant, Callum Hann, released the cook book The Starter Kitchen.

In the East Neuk of Fife, Scotland, Kellie Castle in Scotland dates back to 1150 and it is rumoured that the 5th Earl of Kellie hid there in a burnt-out tree stump for the entire summer following the Battle of Culloden in 1746.

Borog, Pigna and Trevi are districts in the Italian city of Rome.

Quotables 20 October



Monday, October 19, 2015

Trivia Bits 19 October


  The National Gallery of Victoria

Founded in 1861 The National Gallery of Victoria (interior pictured) is an art museum in Melbourne, Australia is the oldest public art museum in Australia and currently holds over 70,000 works of art which encompasses Indigenous (Australian Aboriginal) art and artefacts, Australian colonial art, Australian Impressionist art, 20th century, modern and contemporary Australian art.

Active from 1986 to 1991, Dr Dre was a member of NAW, an abbreviation of Niggaz Wit Attitudes, the American hip hop group from Compton, California, and have been credited as one of the seminal groups in the history of hip hop music.

In a leap year, July 1 marks the halfway point of the year as there are 183 prior to this day and 183 days left to the end of the year.

Archilochus was a Greek lyric poet from the island of Paros who is thought to have seen an eclipse of the sun on either 6 April 648 BC or 27 June 660 BC.

Native to parts of western Europe and northwest Africa, with the majority of species in Iberia, all species of the gorse have yellow flowers.

Leo Tolstoy's play The Living Corpse played in New York City in both Yiddish (1911) and German (1916) before it was ever staged in New York in English (1918).

Sharing a border with the South American country of Argentina are Bolivia, Paraguay, Brazil, Uruguay and Chile.

Nové Spojení, a series of railway tunnels and bridges built in Prague, won the transport category of the Czech Construction of the Year award in 2009.

The mandible, lower jaw or jawbone is a bone forming the skull with the cranium.

First issued on 14 May 1984 to replace the one dollar note and the first year of minting saw 186.3 million of the coins produced at the Royal Australian Mint in Canberra, the Australian one dollar coin features a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse and the reverse features five kangaroos designed by Stuart Devlin.

Quotables 19 October



Sunday, October 18, 2015

Trivia Bits 18 October



Developed by Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)’s Doug Waterhouse in the 1960’s, Aerogard (pictured) is an Australian brand of outdoor insect repellent applied directly to the skin by aerosol sprays, bottled creams and roll-ons.

The reticulated python, a species of python found in Southeast Asia, is considered to be the world’s largest species of snake and can grow to 6.95m/22.8ft in length.

The title given to the adult group leader for the youngest division of Girl Guides is Brown Owl.

Australian actor Frederick Alexander developed the educational process called the Alexander Technique – a form of education that is applied to recognize and overcome reactive, habitual limitations in movement and thinking.

The game of marbles uses Tom-Bowlers which are much larger in size than the average marble.

Calvados is an apple brandy from the French region of Lower Normandy and requires a minimum of two years aging in oak barrels.

An early form of school bus powered by both horses and mules usually loaded at the rear to avoid frightening the animals, a kid hack was a horse-drawn vehicle used for transporting children to school in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in the United States.

Before building his first railroad steam locomotive in 1832, American inventor and machinery manufacturer Matthias W. Baldwin was apprenticed as a jeweller and devised and patented a method for applying gold plating.

The 2012 book Cat Daddy was written by American Jackson Galaxy, a cat behaviourist and host of the television show My Cat from Hell.

Oriya is a one of many native language of India and is the predominant language of the Indian state of Odisha, where native speakers comprise 80% of the population, and it is spoken in parts of West Bengal, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh.

Quotables 18 October