Category: Motoring

Momentous Milestones

This was not how I had intended to end my weekend, driving back from Nottingham to Slough. My car broke down, just off the M69 as we were approaching the A46 outside Coventry. A call to Green Flag and a forty minute wait later, we were towed over to the nearby Tesco supermarket. It was nearly 8pm at this point, the supermarket long since closed but the petrol station was open and we bought some sandwiches while we waited. The car was going to be loaded onto a trailer and driven down to Slough but we had up to a 90 minute wait. It was going to be a long night. The truck arrived within thirty minutes and we were on our way home. We did not expect to be home before 11pm.

On Trailer

We had been in Nottingham for the 100th Birthday celebrations of my long term family friend’s mother. It had been a wonderful but tiring day and we looking forward to getting home at 7pm to prepare for another working week. It was not to be.

Destination London

Some movies you anticipate for over a year, sometimes longer. Triple ‘A’ grade movies, such as The Dark Knight Rises, The Man Of Steel and even the finale to Hangover. However, there are also the second tier of movies, Grade B if you will, which you try and catch at the multiplex but if you do not, you are not that disappointed. It is not the end of the world. You will always catch on blu-ray a few months later or subsequently when they appear on television several years later. The Fast & Furious franchise is one very much close to my heart as a petrol head but I can take it or leave it. This was only the third movie of the now six movie franchise that I had actually watched on the big screen. I recall watching the first movie while at University and being blown away. This was the first time that I could recall Hollywood producing a worthy racing car movie. Japan (in particular) but other nations had a long history of race car movies. Sure it was not perfect by any means but it was a start and I had enjoyed the ride. If you had told me then, that I would have seen sequels five and six at the cinema, over ten years later I would not have believed you!

As agreed after watching the last installment back in April 2011, (we had stayed for the post-credits scene which set up the plot for the sequel) I was going to watch Fast Six and all further sequels with my bestie Pav. I originally had thought he would want to catch the afternoon showing at 2pm but instead he opted (once cleared with Emily) to come along to the 8:30pm showing in our second home (screen four). The auditorium was at 60% capacity when I booked tickets on Sunday evening just before dinner. I was really looking forward to the movie. It has been a while since I visited a cinema at peak time on a weekend, rather than the cheaper saver Tuesday. It was worth paying full price in my opinion for what would be a great action movie. Sometimes, you just want to be entertained and escape away from life’s troubles. You can leave your brain outside and have a few hours to be taken on an epic adventure.

Fast & Furious 6

I happened to watch Kermode on BBC News briefly on Friday evening before I headed to the gym. He reviewed Fast Six, explaining if you had seen the full trailer, you had seen all the best parts from the movie and you could spare yourself the time and money of watching the rest of the movie. I have to disagree with Mark (I usually do). This is an action movie, the set pieces are always completely ridiculous, stretching the believable to the limit and on this occasion most of the action takes place in London. The film delivered pretty much what I expected and maybe a little bit more. The comedy value was turned up a level with even Hobbs having some classic lines. It was great fun and I will catch it again when released on home media. In fact, I really want to watch Fast Five again! Good fun and the great news is that the next movie will be part of a new trilogy – 7-8-9…

Since joining Tumblr, I stumbled across The FastCast blog. Mainly because I entered cars as one of my hobbies and I believed I was linked through by a Tumblr car photography blog. One of the first entries was a podcast, previewing the sixth installment in the franchise. If you are a fan and want a recap before you have seen the movie, I highly recommend you listen to this episode, it is just under an hour and various aspects of the entire franchise are discussed including what to expect in the upcoming movie. I listened to the episode while in the gym the other day and hope to listen to the review episode in the coming week. The movie was released a week later in the States to make the most of a long weekend for Memorial Day. A special dedication therefore to the podcasters themselves, Creighton DeSimone and Chris Ziegler.

Let It Crumble

I am not a major fan of James Bond. My Dad is the biggest fan I know but he has grown up with the movies! We are very different as father and son, he prefers the comic dryness of Englishman Roger Moore and I prefer the gritty realism of Welshman Timothy Dalton. In fact, there was a point at the turn of the century, when the last Bond movie I had seen was actually 1989 Licence To Kill. The Pierce Brosnan movies had passed me by for what would be my lost Bond decade. It was not until I was in college and my dearest friend Pav mentioned that the opening to The World Is Not Enough was the best opening to any (action) movie he had ever seen, did I re-consider the franchise. Perhaps Ian Fleming’s MI6 secret agent was worth another try.

The build up to this release was immense, even if you do not factor in the 50th anniversary of Dr. No. The third outing for Craig had been a major disappointment. Craig was never my choice to be in the role, I thought it was the ideal time for a black actor to be set into what is regarded as the quintessential British spy. However the producers, even in early 2004 felt this was too much of a risk to take. (Perhaps they will take the risk after Craig’s final two part finale piece over the next few years). Did people still want Bond? Casino Royale was good, Bond was portrayed with a modern day realism, sure he was cocky but not at all cheesy. He came across as hard work and I believe as a spy, this would be his overwhelming persona. On screen, Craig delivered, but the movie itself was very well put together with an excellent cast and most importantly great villain. I enjoyed the movie back in late November 2006, even if there were a bunch of uncontrollable schoolboys sitting in the row behind us at the Vue Oxford. There was enough going on to keep you involved and perhaps the only missing element was more Bond girls.

Nevertheless I was happy with the new direction the franchise was heading in and looking forward to the next instalment. What is it with Bond movies and the month of November? Are we never to get a release in the summer months? Oh yes, that is during the US blockbusters and the marketing team do not want to compete with the likes of Transformers 4 or Thor 2. I was actually out of the country in November 2008, for the release of sequel, Quantum of Solace. (Out of the country purely in the laterally rather than geographical sense, I was actually in North Wales). I went to the see movie at the Odeon with my best mate Dave. He had never seen a Bond movie at the pictures before so this was a new experience. I was disappointed for several reasons. The plot was non-existent, the villain was light weight to say the least and the whole objective was revenge. Revenge as a theme works in some movies but not with Bond. (For the record, I have not seen On Her Majesty’s Service). Another area where both movies were below the standard of their predecessors were the songs. It still is the utmost honour to be chosen to pen the theme tune to Bond. However, after poor song releases which did not even feature the title of the movie in their lyrics, it was time to get back to basics. On this point, beyond all others, Skyfall goes back to the oldschool. Adele was an inspired choice and her song added to the excitement of the movie. It is a shame, as I left the cinema this afternoon, how underwhelm I felt.

Sure it ticks many of the Bond boxes, action from the get go, sexy Bond girls and delightfully evil villain but the whole final third was a major disappointment. My expectations had been blown out of the stratosphere by friends, work colleagues and even some online commentators (plus Chris Evans and Vassos Alexandar on BBC Radio 2). I was expecting a major show down between Bond and Silva. It never materialised after over two hours of major meandering around each other, the build up to the final epic battle, never lives up to your heightened expectations. Similar to Mission Impossible III (just like Craig, Cruise’s third outing as Ethan Hunt) the bad guy is built up to such an extent but under utilised in the third act. Having said that, at least there is a final battle of sorts between Hunt and Davey. While keen not to reveal too much of the plot, all I can say is that Bond appears to be caught on the back foot throughout. The film borrows a great deal of plot devices from The Dark Knight, so it was a shame they could not have come up with a more original story but then this is Bond and as much as they try to go against type, why change a formula that has worked for fifty years.

My Dad’s friend went to the Royal Premere in London on Wednesday 23rd October – two days before the national release in the UK. Unfortunately my Dad was not able to attend as there was only one ticket but he did get his hands on the official souvenir programme. Impressive to say the least, shame the film for me, was a great deal of image over substance. A shame, but with a two part finale for Craig, hopefully this was just an extended two hour trailer to setup the personnel for films twenty four and twenty five!

Skyfall

This Guy is Elite!

I collected my A3 from Pav quite late into this evening. He had the car for the past week and a half to complete a full protection detail. I had not been able to provide the car last summer, but made the most of my holiday this year by leaving the car with him while in India.

My Dad saved me a copy of The Metro from Tuesday 20th July (three full days before my return). Showing me the article on page three. I kept this knowing that my dearest friend Pav would admire enviously the work of Gurcharn Sahota. Just check out the gallery on the Official EFD website.

Elite Detailing & Protection

Yes, there will come a day when Crystal Detail are too busy to handle my vehicle and I will upgrade to the guy who is Elite! (PS – still got his feet on the ground, working on super cars but driving home in a battered old VW Polo!)

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