Alice 2

Alice Through the Looking Glass is a 2016 American fantasy adventure film directed by James Bobin, written by Linda Woolverton and produced by Tim Burton,

It is based on the characters created by Lewis Carroll and is the sequel to the 2010 film Alice in Wonderland.

The film stars Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Mia Wasikowska, Matt Lucas, Rhys Ifans, Helena Bonham Carter, and Sacha Baron Cohen and features the voices of Stephen Fry, Michael Sheen, Timothy Spall, and Alan Rickman in his final film role.

As the Rotten Tomatoes site reads:
Alice Through the Looking Glass is just as visually impressive as its predecessor, but that isn’t enough to cover for an underwhelming story that fails to live up to its classic characters.

So it’s not surprising that despite some very impressive CGI that went into the $170 million budget, it’s just not very engaging.

The first thing wrong is the actress playing Alice Mia Wasikowska, at 27 when she made this, she is just too old and mature to play Alice, who has always been a young girl in the adventures. The story isn’t that good. It starts will a good action scene of a ship fleeing through stormy weather, but when it is revealed that the Captain is Alice, it looses credibility (being set in 1849).

She has to go back in time to save the Mad Hatter, why is not clear and there are leaps of logic that string the story together.

The best thing is Helena Bonham Carter, in all-out mode as the Red Queen, Anne Hathaway is the White Queen.

And Sacha Baron Cohen seems to be enjoying himself as Father Time.

Meanwhile, time is ticking away the decade…

Tick

Tock

Tick

Tock

Tick

Tock

Tick

Tock

 

 

Bronze Riddles

A Riddle in Bronze
by Simon Haynes (2019)

A steampunk adventure set in London, England, 1871.

Professor Twickham and his daughter seem to be meddling in the occult, purging spirits and meddling in the afterlife.

I don’t know what Simon Haynes hoped to achieve with this book, but it ends up as an average young adult adventure. The ‘magic’ system is not explained very well, so it’s never that clear what is at stake. I just hope he gets back to his Hal Spacejock books that were much better.

 

Mandalorian

The Mandalorian, also known as Star Wars: The Mandalorian, is an American space Western web television series that premiered on Disney+ on November 12, 2019.

Set in the Star Wars universe, the series takes place five years after the events of Return of the Jedi and 25 years prior to the events of The Force Awakens.

The series features some well known actors:

  • Carl Weathers as Greef Karga, an ex-magistrate and leader of a bounty hunter guild who hires The Mandalorian to track a valuable asset.[7]
  • Werner Herzog (Director) as the Client, an unnamed man with Stormtrooper bodyguards who arranges for The Mandalorian to track a valuable asset.
  • Nick Nolte as the voice of Kuiil, an Ugnaught moisture farmer.
  • Taika Waititi (NZ Director/Actor) as the voice of IG-11,[a bounty hunting droid.
  • Amy Sedaris (unrecognizable) as Peli Motto, a docking bay attendant and ship mechanic.
  • Bill Burr (comedian) as Mayfeld, a former Imperial sharpshooter and the point man on Malk’s crew.
  • Richard Ayoade (The I.T. Crowd) as the voice of Q9-0, aka “Zero”, a droid member of Malk’s crew.

And an unknown, Pedro Pascal in the main role.

It’s a good series, having the look and feel of the original series (without the CGI overload of episodes 1-2). The story centers around a Yoda-like being who the Mandalorian protects.

While complete, at the end it does hint at what’s to come in the nest series. With a budget of $12.5 to $15 million for each of the eight episodes it shows on the screen.

 

 

 

Jumanji 1

Jumanji is a 1995 American fantasy adventure film directed by Joe Johnston.

It is an adaptation of the 1981 children’s book of the same name by Chris Van Allsburg and the first installment of the Jumanji franchise.

The film stars Robin Williams, Kirsten Dunst, (who was just 12 at the time) David Alan Grier, Bonnie Hunt, Bradley Pierce, Jonathan Hyde, and Bebe Neuwirth (who was also in the latest movie).

The story centers on a supernatural board game that releases jungle-based hazards upon its players with every turn they take. As a boy in 1969, Alan Parrish became trapped inside the game itself while playing with his best friend Sarah Whittle. Twenty-six years later, in 1995, siblings Judy and Peter Shepherd find the game, begin playing and then unwittingly release the now-adult Alan.

Unlike the later films, this takes place in the real world with creatures coming through the game to cause havoc in a small town.

Robin Williams is the real star, and delivers a performance not as outrageous as he can, but provides the humour.

The film is notable as one of the  earliest to use computer

generated images, coming just a few years after Jurassic Park (1993).

Jumanji 2

Jumanji: The Next Level

An American action adventure comedy film directed by Jake Kasdan and written by Kasdan, Jeff Pinkner and Scott Rosenberg.

It is the second sequel to 1995’s Jumanji, following 2017’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, and the fourth installment, overall, in the Jumanji franchise.

Featuring the regulars: Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black and Karen Gillan reprising their role.

And few actors I had seen before: First, John Ross Bowie from Big Bang Theory.

And an actress I had seen before but couldn’t place; Bebe Beuwirth who was Frazier Crane’s wife in Cheers and Frazier.

 

 

 

Scenic Coggiola

The 1991 Renault Scenic (Coggiola) was revealed at the Frankfurt Car Show.

It had Power steering, four-wheel drive and automatic load levelling system. Powered by a 150bhp 2.0-litre multivalve engine.

 

Gospel Secrets

The Secret Gospel
by Dan Eaton (2015)

First discovered in an interview on RNZ Mediawatch.

Dan Eaton was born and raised in the Middle East by missionary parents and spent much of his childhood in Egypt. After attending university in New Zealand, Eaton moved to Southeast Asia, where he spent over a decade as a foreign correspondent for the major news agencies Agence France-Presse and Reuters. He’s also a former national affairs editor of The Press and the recently appointed director of National Security Policy at the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.


In 1958, a young Bible scholar stumbles upon a version of the Gospel of Mark far older than that recorded in the New Testament. Unfortunately, his discovery brings him nothing but vilification and accusations of forgery. Eventually, the Secret Gospel simply disappears.

Fifty-one years later, the scholar is dead, the victim of an apparent heart attack. However, evidence found in his room, coupled with a letter to Cairo-based journalist Alex Fisher, suggests murder-and hints that the missing gospel harbors deep secrets.

Although well written, it lacks the intensity and plot intrigue of a modern thriller.

I would call this a mix of Agatha Christie and a history lesson. The author’s background work really shows as a lot of the book is explaining the history of the area, from Biblical times to recent Vatican doctrines.

This has the feel of a 1970’s (Dick Francis) story.

 

 

 

 

 

3 Wheels

Spotted at a Hospital car-park, two unusual motorcycles. A blue and white Yamaha Tricity 155.

Displacement: 155.00 cc
Engine type: Single cylinder, four-stroke
Power: 10.9 kW @ 6750 RPM
Torque: 14.40 Nm @ 6000 RPM
Fuel control: Single Overhead Cams (SOHC)

Overall height: 1,210 mm
Overall length: 1,980 mm
Overall width: 750 mm
Ground clearance: 125 mm
Wheelbase: 1,350 mm
Fuel capacity: 7.20 litres

 

ELO ‘Mt Blue Sky’ rip-off

 

Daihatsu TA-X80

1987 Daihatsu TA-X80

Sliding Doors Designed in a wind tunnel

Daihatsu’s TA-X80, a 2-seat mini-midi with a 1.0-liter twin-cam 24-valve turbo V6.

The TA-X80 get its name from Technology Advanced eXperimental, and the fact that it marks the 80th anniversary of the Daihatsu company.

Specs:
4×4 on-demand (variable torque-split full-time 4WD), automatic 4-speed gearbox
Petrol engine displacement: 996cc
Power: 95.5 kW @ 9,000rpm
Length: 3.9m, width: 1.695m, height 1.065m
Weight 880kg
Top speed: 250 km/h
Acceleration: 0-100 km/h 5.5 s

 

Ford Ghia

1985 Ford Probe V (Ghia)

Wrap-around Sliding Doors

The Probe V achieved a 10% reduction in drag coefficient, achieving 0.137 to Probe IV’s 0.152. This tiny, but very significant, 10% reduction in drag required building a whole new concept to achieve it.

The wheel skirts are integrated in the body’s outer surface so when the front wheels are turned the membrane flexes to clear the tires.