Saturday, November 21, 2015

Movie Review ... Secret In Their Eyes



Secret In Their Eyes posterEveryone likes a good mystery.  Sifting through clues trying to uncover a secret is something most enjoy.  Agatha Christie built a career on this as her countless books attest.  ‘Secret in their Eyes’ takes cue from these puzzle solvers.  An intriguing amalgamation of thriller and searing drama, crime enthusiasts should find much to divert their questioning attention.

FBI investigators Ray (Chiwetel Ejofor) and Jess (Julia Roberts) and supervisor District Attorney Claire (Nicole Kidman) form a close team.  Their bond is soon torn apart when Jess’s daughter is found murdered.  Years later Ray discovers new clues to the crime.  Determined to catch the killer, Ray re-teams with his friends to finally put to rest ghosts of the past.

‘Secret in their eyes’ is a decent thriller effectively engaging the mind.  Supporting by a fine trio of strong performers, the story’s twists are well handled.  Whilst primarily a mystery ‘Secret in their Eyes’ deals with the bonds of friendship and eternal regrets.  The trio’s emotional state flings them in unknown directions forcing them to confront buried issues.  How they handle these forms the basis of genuine conflict between them adding to the film’s intensity.

Billy Ray directs ‘Secret in their Eyes’ with workmanlike precision.  Although his direction highlights the plot’s predictable elements, Ray manages to draw the best from his cast.  ‘Secret in their Eyes’ is a character-driven movie rather than relying too much on action which suits the material.  Ray realises this with some powerful scenes between characters.  The central mystery is interesting with a conclusion hard to predict.

A serviceable thriller mystery mavens should enjoy, ‘Secret in their Eyes’ works.  The strong cast and nicely paced script make for an arresting few hours for budding detectives of any age.

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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 ... The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2


Mockingjay – Part 2 posterSuzanne Collins’ ‘The Hunger Games’ book series has been very popular.  Spawning several spin-offs and raking in dollars, it was inevitable Hollywood would call.  Perfectly capturing the ‘franchise’ mentality of current commercial film-making, ‘The Hunger Games’ has been a licence to print cash. Stretching out the finale in the bid for more filthy lucre, ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2’ concludes the cash-cow to the expected sadness of its producers.

Determined to confront evil President Snow (Donald Sutherland), Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) aims to rid the nation of Panem of his wicked tyranny.  Helped by friends Gale (Liam Hemsworth) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), Katniss risks her life to endure one final game in the hopes of creating a brighter future for her people.

‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay: Part 2’ bucks the recent trend of extended finales.  Whilst stretches of padding are evident, this second chapter of the last book works better than the endings for ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Twilight’.  Francis Lawrence’s direction has a lot to do with this, as he manages to keep the action and story moving.  It comes apart a little with a somewhat jumbled ending but until then it is diverting viewing.  The series’ themes of media manipulation and survival at any cost are mixed well into the narrative and are strongly conveyed.

Jennifer Lawrence and her co-stars effectively step into the breach for the final time.  Lawrence’s heroine is forced to endure the politicking as well as plotting revenge against the President.  As the evil dictator, Sutherland has the most fun, spitting forth his lines with velvety venom.  Their characters manage to hide the mechanical predictability of the franchise although the action sequences and moments of genuine tension make this instalment more memorable than most.

‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay: Part 2’ mostly delivers a stirring finale.  With news of a prequel/spin-off series being developed, it seems franchises can be squeezed for all they’re worth.  For now, the series ends on a reasonable high that should satisfy the book’s hard-core fans.

Mockingjay – Part 2 9876

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.

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Trivia Bits 21 November



A banteng (pictured) is a species of wild cattle found in Southeast Asia and have been domesticated in several places in Southeast Asia and used as working animals and for their meat.

In 1561, Madrid replaced Valladolid as the capital of the Spanish region when Philip II moved his court to Madrid installing it in the old castle.

In 2013, the world’s largest producer of gold was China followed in order by Australia, the United States, Russia, and Peru.

The Red Guard was a mass paramilitary social movement of young people mainly students who went through China in 1966 destroying anything old including ancient musical instruments and artworks

When released as a single in late 1961 Unchain My Heart  was a hit song written by Bobby Sharp and recorded first in 1961 by Ray Charles accompanied by his Raelettes, Charles sang about wanting to be free from a woman who won't let (him) go.

The May to October 1868 Aboriginal cricket tour of England predated, by 12 years, the first tour of England by white Australians.

In the 1996 film The Pompatus of Love, the main characters sit around discussing the meaning of the word pompatus and was a low-budget, independent film received mixed reviews but won several minor awards.

English rock band from Abingdon, Oxfordshire, formed in 1985, Radiohead released their third album OK Computer in 1997 which propelled them to international fame; featuring an expansive sound and themes of modern alienation.

Claire and Mitchell are the first names of Jay’s two oldest children in the 2009 premiering American television sitcom Modern Family which presented in mockumentary style in which the fictional characters frequently talk directly into the camera.

On June 25, 1678, Elena Lucrezia Cornaro Piscopia, a Venetian philosopher of noble descent, became the first woman to receive a Doctor of Philosophy degree.

Quotables 21 November



Friday, November 20, 2015

Trivia Bits 20 November


Mariinsky Palace

Built between 1839 and 1844, Marie Palace, also known as Mariinsky Palace (pictured), was the last Neoclassical imperial palace to be constructed in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

While both male and female platypuses are born with ankle spurs, only the male's spurs produce venom, which although powerful enough to kill smaller animals such as dogs, is not lethal to humans, but the pain is so excruciating that the victim may be incapacitated.

The Slovak National Theatre hosted its first performance, the Czech opera Hubička by Bedřich Smetana, at its opening on March 1, 1920.

Two Australian states have a Barwon River – Victoria and New South Wales.

Australian Peter Lik is best known in the field of photography especially for his nature and panoramic landscape images and who took his first photo in 1967 at the age of 8, after his parents gave him a Kodak Brownie box camera for his birthday.

The elephant’s gestation period is 24 months with interbirth intervals usually lasting four to five years with births tending to take place during wet seasons.

The 2011 ARIA Album of the Year was won by the Australian indie rock-folk music band formed in 2009 Boy & Bear for the album Moonfire recorded at Blackbird Studio in Nashville, Tennessee, with producer Joe Chiccarelli.

Alpha Centauri, the brightest star in the southern constellation of Centaurus and the third brightest star in the night sky, and Proxima Centauri, a red dwarf about 4.24 light-years from the Sun, are stars.

Launched in September 2001 and sponsored by the Australian Government, Australia has a National Public Toilet Map, allowing users to locate the 14,000 public toilets across the country to four decimal places of latitude and longitude.

Cymru is the Welsh name for Wales which has over 1,680 miles (2,700 km) of coastline and is largely mountainous, with its highest peaks in the north and central areas, including Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa), its highest summit.

Quotables 20 November



Thursday, November 19, 2015

Trivia Bits 19 November


A Burial at Ornans

Gustave Courbet was a famous French artist who led the Realist movement in 19th-century French painting and whose oil on canvas work A Burial at Ornans (pictured), 1849-1850, at an exhibition at the 1850 – 1851 Paris Salon created an explosive reaction and brought Courbet instant fame.

Odoardo Beccari was an Italian naturalist best known for discovering the titan arum, the plant with the largest unbranched inflorescence in the world, in Sumatra in 1878.

The symbol of the element Plutonium is Pu and is a radioactive chemical element, an actinide metal of silvery-gray appearance that tarnishes when exposed to air and forms a dull coating when oxidized.

The common Yiddish insult of schmuck means male genitals and is derived from the German word for ornament.

Netherlands born Mata Hari used her skills as an exotic dancer and a courtesan to spy, apparently for both sides, during the Great War of 1915 to 1919.

The Vatican City, officially Vatican City State, is the world’s smallest country by area and population whose territory consists of a walled enclave within the city of Rome with an area of approximately 44 hectares (110 acres), and a population of around 840.

A silkie is a breed of chicken named for its atypically fluffy plumage, which is said to feel like silk, are well known for their calm, friendly temperament and are considered an ideal pet.

Czechoslavakia, a sovereign state in Central Europe that existed from October 1918, peacefully dissolved into the Czech Republic and Slovak Republic on January 1, 1993.

Michael Stipe was singer for the American rock band from Athens, Georgia, REM who formed in 1980 releasing fifteen albums between 1983 and 2011.

Australian playwright, screenwriter and director Matt Cameron wrote the play 2003 Ruby Moon’ about the tribulation of two parents whose daughter disappeared down the cul-de-sac on her way to Grandmother’s house one mysterious afternoon.

Quotables 19 November



Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Trivia Bits 18 November


troop of monkeys

A group of monkeys are known as a troop (pictured).

The light cruiser Oyodo of the Imperial Japanese Navy was Admiral Jisaburo Ozawa's flagship after the aircraft carrier Zuikaku was sunk during WWII's Battle of Leyte Gulf.

Best known for his Civil War novel Miss Ravenel's Conversion from Secession to Loyalty, American Civil War-era novelist John William DeForest coined the phrase the Great American Novel as the title for his 1869 essay published in US weekly magazine The Nation.

Emma Constance Stone, who in 1890 became the first woman to be registered with the Medical Board of Victoria, became the first woman to practice medicine in Australia and played an important role in founding the Queen Victoria Hospital in Melbourne.

The two main insects in the Lepidoptera order of species are moths and butterflies both called lepidopterans.

Frank Music Company on West 54th Street, New York opened in 1937 supplied generations of instrumentalists, singers and composers including pianist Emanuel Ax and violinist Pamela Frank prior to closing in 2015.

Burrata, a fresh Italian cheese, is made from cream and mozzarella and is a typical product of the Murgie in Puglia, a region in the south of Italy.

Used in Spain until the mid-19th Century, doubloons were 32-real gold coin, weighing 6.77 grams (0.218 troy ounces) being were minted in Spain, Mexico, Peru, and Nueva Granada with the term first used to describe the golden excelente either because of its value of two ducats or because of the double portrait of Ferdinand and Isabella.

The Ombla River near Dubrovnik, Croatia, is claimed to be the shortest river in the world, flowing approximately 30 metres (98 feet) before emptying into the Adriatic Sea.

Thought to have originated in the arid plains of central Asia, where it then travelled along the Silk Road, reaching the Crimea by 1343, the Black Death was one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, resulting in the deaths of an estimated 75 to 200 million people and peaking in Europe in the years 1346–53.

Quotables 18 November



Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Trivia Bits 17 November


Brown Thrasher

The Brown Thrasher was originally nominated as the state bird of the US state of Georgia by schoolchildren in 1928, but wasn't officially adopted until 1970.

One of the earliest examples of the popular game of miniature or putt-putt golf was the earliest documented mention in the 8 June 1912 edition of The Illustrated London News, which introduced a minigolf course called Gofstacle.

The 2012 science fiction novel The Martian was written by American novelist Andy Weir and is his first published novel and follows the fictional American astronaut Mark Watney as he becomes stranded alone on Mars and must improvise in order to survive.

Gabon the west coast of Central Africa is crossed by the equator.

Sashimono were small banners worn on the backs of Japanese medieval troops for identification during battles especially during the Sengoku period—a period of long civil war in Japan from the middle 15th to early 17th century.

Steve Prestwich was best known as the drummer of the Australian rock band Cold Chisel that originated in Adelaide, Australia in the 1970’s with Jimmy Barnes as lead singer.

Built between 220–206 BC by the first Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, the Great Wall of China meets the Bohai Gulf at Shanhai Pass with the part of the wall that meets the sea named the Old Dragon Head.

The Battle of Blood River is the name given for the battle fought between 470 Voortrekkers led by Andries Pretorius, and estimated 15,000–21,000 Zulu attackers on the bank of the Ncome River on 16 December 1838.

American television sitcom Seinfeld ran for nine seasons from 1989 starring Jerry Seinfeld, as a fictionalized version of himself and set predominantly in an apartment block in Manhattan's Upper West Side in New York City.

The 2015 Dutch MotoGP Grand Prix was won by Italian professional motorcycle racer Valentino Rossi who won from pole position at the track known as the Cathedral of Speed or The TT Circuit Assen, a motorsport race track built in 1955 and located in Assen, Netherlands.

Quotables 17 November



Monday, November 16, 2015

Trivia Bits 16 November


Doric columns

Doric is the oldest, strongest and simplest of the Grecian orders of architecture where the Doric columns (pictured) stood directly on the flat pavement of a temple without a base; their vertical shafts were fluted with 20 parallel concave grooves.

Brunei is located on the island of Borneo which is the third-largest island in the world and the largest island in Asia and is divided among three countries: Malaysia and Brunei in the north and Indonesia to the south.

The capital city of Romania is Bucharest which lies on the banks of the Dâmbovița River, less than 70 km (43.5 mi) north of the Danube River.

England hosted and won the 1966 FIFA World Cup after England beat West Germany 4–2 in their first FIFA World Cup title with the final held at Wembley Stadium which was the last to be telecast in black and white.

In The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, the third and most famous segment in Walt Disney’s 1940 animated film Fantasia, Mickey Mouse brings a broom to life.

A conchologist studies mollusc shells with Stone Age seashell necklaces found, sometimes in areas far from the ocean, indicating that they were traded and shell jewellery is found at almost all archaeological sites, including at ancient Aztec ruins, digs in ancient China, and the Indus Valley.

American author Dan Millman wrote the 1980 book Way of the Peaceful Warrior - a part-fictional, part-autobiographical book based upon the early life of the author.

When he was promoted to president of the Great Northern Railway in 1919 at the age of 40, Ralph Budd was the youngest American railroad president up to that date.

Colonel William Light was a British military officer and the first Surveyor-General of the Colony of South Australia and when he died on 6 October 1839 in Adelaide, aged 53, he was buried in Light Square, one of the five squares of the City of Adelaide.

In the human body, the scapula connects the clavicle to the humerus.

Quotables 16 November


being loved

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Movie Review ... Spectre


Spectre posterThe James Bond film producers have long claimed their determination to put ‘every penny spent on screen’. Occasionally this has been a hollow promise although ‘Spectre’ deservedly lives up to that boast.  Like no other series, the Bond franchise is top-tier movie-making with the massive budgets providing for spectacular action sequences.  Like its predecessors, ‘Spectre’ has a huge scope as it reverts to the series’ more traditional trappings to deliver a spectacle others movies find hard to match.

James Bond (Daniel Craig) receives a cryptic message from his past.  Going to Mexico to chase leads, he uncovers a sinister organisation called SPECTRE.  Led by the mysterious Oberhausen (Christoph Waltz), it has links to Bond’s history.  Soon involved with a daughter of an assassin, Madeleine Swann (Lea Seydoux), Bond enlists the services of allies including Q (Ben Whishaw). Untangling the web of secrets and deception, Bond uses his licence to kill with utmost frequency.

After his success with the previous Bond movie ‘Skyfall’, director Sam Mendes returns to direct ‘Spectre’.  Familiarity must have blunted his edge as Bond’s latest adventure has a low-key feel. Whilst that sounds absurd for a famed action franchise, ‘Spectre’ infrequently embraces the high-spirited colour for which the series has been known.  Although the action sequences are excellently portrayed, the rambling plot and tonal inconsistency detract.

Saving any minus points are the fantastic cinematography and performances. Craig effortlessly moves into his Bond persona and leaps into the action with gusto.  His co-stars equally do their best against a story occasionally drifting into tedious exposition.  This is especially evident with Waltz’s scenes as his primary villain barely registers.  Overall ‘Spectre’ isn’t the most memorable Bond movie with its slow pace dragging what should have been an amazing adventure.

One can’t quibble about the glossy veneer in which ‘Spectre’ resides.  The producers have spent their money well in this point.   Unfortunately the unengaging script gives this – apparently final Daniel Craig-starring Bond – a muted farewell than the rousing finale he deserves.


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



Trivia Bits 15 November


Vanessa Carlton

The Vanessa Carlton (pictured) song A Thousand Miles became popular amongst U.S. troops serving in the 2003 Invasion of Iraq, and was the most requested song on the radio station BFBS Middle East in April 2003.

The leg break bowled by Shane Warne to Mike Gatting that turned around the 1993 Ashes cricket series is widely known as the Ball of the Century.

First featured on the album Days of Future Passed by The Moody Blues, the song Nights in White Satin largely ignored on its first release in 1967, but reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 when it was re-released in 1972.

During the American Civil War, an early Union steam torpedo boat, USS Spuyten Duyvil, was used to clear obstructions so President Lincoln could visit the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia after General Lee's withdrawal.

Writing 18 novels and novellas, six collections of short stories and four collections of essays, American novelist and short story writer William S Burroughs wrote the novels Naked Lunch (1959) and Junkie (1953).

A jilbāb is a long loose fitting coat or garment worn by Muslim women and covers the entire body, except for hands, face, and head.

The plant genera Bergerocactus and Bergeranthus are named after Alwin Berger, a German botanist best known for his contribution to the nomenclature of succulent plants, particularly agaves and cacti and who from 1897 to 1914 he was curator of the Giardini Botanici Hanbury at La Mortola, near Ventimiglia in northwestern Italy.

Etch A Sketch drawing toy was invented by André Cassagnes of France and subsequently manufactured by the Ohio Art Company with the toy released in the United States in time for the 1960 Christmas season.

The First Fleet of 11 ships landed in Botany Bay in 1788 after sailing from Great Britain on 13 May 1787 to found a penal colony that became the first European settlement in Australia.

Unlike many of the Bee Gees' singles, which were recorded in Miami, Florida, Stayin' Alive was recorded at the Chateau d'Herouville in Paris.

Quotables 15 November