Star Wars The Phantom Menace

Went to see Star Wars The Phantom Menace at the weekend on the big screen at Cineworld in Weston. I did wonder if the cinema were slightly optimistic about the crowds, as they screened it on their biggest screen. There wasn’t that many people watching; though it was Sunday afternoon so that may explain the lack of audience.

It was a treat to see the film in the cinema, though I did go and see it 25 years ago in the cinema too. The age of the film shows, in some respects, with regard to the CGI, the shots of the planets in some places looked artificial, and the later films were much improved.

Yes, we know it’s not the best Star Wars film, there is quite a few people out there who really dislike the film (and all the prequel films), but as a cinematic experience it was nice watch. The pod racing really works well on the big screen, as does the star fighters attacking the droid control ship.

I did enjoy the experience. I wonder if they will do the same for the twentieth-fifth anniversaries of the next two films?

I also only realised that Brian Blessed was in the film this viewing, he plays Boss Nass, the leader of the Gungans.

Then and Now – Never Let Me Go

This is a regular series of blogs about photographs of the same place taken years apart. I quite like those Then and Now comparison photographs that you see in books or on the Twitter or Facebook.  The first of the posts in this series was of a council building in Manchester.

This is a slight different version of the posts I do, as these are then and now photographs of a location used in the film Never Let Me Go which was released in 2010.

The lives of three friends, from their early school days into young adulthood, when the reality of the world they live in comes knocking.

The film was set in an alternate 1980s UK. 

Various scenes were filmed in Clevedon and Weston-super-Mare.

Once scene was set in the Regent Cafe on 13 Regent St, Weston-super-Mare BS23 1AP.

What I always find amusing was that though the film was set in the 1980s they didn’t need to dress the cafe to fit in. Even the interior cafe shots in the film were taken in the cafe, and that was how it was back when it was filmed in 2009.

The cafe closed after the covid pandemic, and has been replaced by Burger Barn.

I took photographs of the Burger Barn, the cafe when it was closed in 2023 and the original Regent Cafe in March 2013. All images cropped to match film scene.

Burger Barn photograph January 2024.

Regent Cafe closure February 2023.

Regent Cafe March 2013.

Remembering The Eagle has Landed

Cinematic Advent Calendar #07 - The Eagle has Landed

Back in 2012 I was doing a cinematic advent calendar and on the 7th December 2012 I posted about The Eagle has Landed.

There are quite a few films in that advent calendar that have significant memories over and above the film itself. With The Eagle has Landed I went to see it at the Aldeburgh cinema with my grandparents. Looking back I was seven (maybe eight) when I went to see it, which when you consider the current certification of 15 was way too young! What I do remember was that whenever there was a scene with blood, my grandparents would say to me, that’s tomato ketchup! I think because I saw that film at that cinema that it is one of my favourite films and in that list.

Cinematic Advent Calendar #07 - The Eagle has Landed

The film was set in Norfolk and partially in the Channel Islands. However, the filming of the Channel Islands and coastal scenes was mainly filmed in Cornwall. The majority of the film was in and around the fictional village of Studley Constable, these scenes were filmed in the village of  Mapledurham in Oxfordshire.

In March 2014 I was driving from Oxford to Reading, and having watched the film recently and checking out IMDB for the filming locations, I realised that Mapledurham was on the way. So I set the sat nav and drove to the village. It was easy to find and I drove down to the Manor House.

I think what surprised me was how little the village had changed in the last forty years.

It still looked very much as it did in the film.

During the filming mock buildings such as shops and a pub were constructed on site in Mapledurham while interiors were filmed at Twickenham Studios.

They had added a waterwheel to the mill for filming, but apart from that it was very familiar.

I didn’t spend too long looking around, as I didn’t have enough cash for the parking meter, and I had meetings to go to.

There is going to be a Lego Back to the Future DeLorean

Inspired by the DeLorean car seen in the time travelling adventure film franchise from Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment, the LEGO Back to the Future Time Machine set allows builders to create the car from either the first, second or third film. What’s more, it comes complete with a light-up flux capacitor, a box of plutonium, Marty’s hoverboard and LEGO minifigure versions of Doc Brown and Marty McFly.

So if you like Lego and you like Back to the Future, then you are in luck as Lego are releasing a large scale model of the DeLorean. You can construct it as it was in the first film, or the flying version from the second film, or the one in the third film with the 1950s style tyres. Alas no rail version as seen at the end of the third film.


I do wonder if Lego will release that time travelling train that Doc has?

Going to the cinema

On Friday night we went to the cinema, after checking we ended up at Cineworld in Weston.

We spent over eight pounds on one portion of popcorn and some pick and mix. I can never understand the cost of cinema food. I understand the economics of it, but I do wonder sometimes if that model is flawed.

We saw The Fast and the Furious 9 which was a fun escapist film. It didn’t take itself too seriously, so neither did we. This is the first of these films I have seen from the franchise, having said that I don’t think you needed to have seen the others to enjoy the film (well except perhaps the post credits clip).

Despite being almost opening night, a Friday night and peak time of 7:40pm the cinema was quite empty. The whole complex looked very sad now that Prezzo, Pizza Express and Loco Mexicana have all closed down. The only places left are Nandos and Costa. How long will it be before Cineworld decides to shut.

Murder Mystery on Netflix

We enjoyed Murder Mystery on Netflix.

This is not a deep film.

It is a comedic fun murder thriller.

If you like Adam Sandler films then likely you will enjoy this.

“I guess you guys aren’t ready for that yet. But your kids are gonna love it.”

One of my favourite films of all time is Back to the Future. 

Back to the Future DeLorean

There is that scene in the film where Marty McFly plays in the band (playing Earth Angel) and successfully attempts to get his parents to dance and kiss. He then moves onto playing Johnny B Goode.

So was interested to see this Youtube video from 2016.

Michael J Fox joined Coldplay on stage in New Jersey in 2016, playing Johnny B Goode – recreating one of the original movie’s pivotal scenes. Before that song, Coldplay did play Earth Angel. Michael played McFly as a gift to Chris Martin’s son Moses, whose favourite film is Back To The Future.

One of the reasons this hit my radar was that Michael J Fox has reprised his Marty McFly character in a new video for rap star Lil Nas X.

Stranded at the drive-in…

With the Covid-19 lockdown, the cinema was closed down. So at the end of May I was intrigued to see on the BBC News an article about drive-in cinema.

Obviously when I checked, the Bristol tickets were sold out probably down to the news article, I was a little disappointed. Even so I put my e-mail address down.

So was pleased when a day or so later the company behind the venture had released more tickets. I quickly went in and bought a “ticket” for Back to the Future. The ticket covered a car not the number of people in the car. The only downside was that we would need to wait until September.

In July we saw some cinemas reopen, so we did go and see The Empire Strikes Back as well as Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. It was nice to see these (old) films in the cinema.

Come September, and the date of the showing, we headed off to the drive-in cinema which was taking place at Bristol Airport. We were going to see Back to the Future. 

As we drove through Banwell there were a couple of idiot BMW drivers who were driving rather badly. They were braking hard and accelerating sharply. In addition to driving too fast and overtaking dangerously. This wasn’t needed and made the drive to the airport slightly more stressful than it needed to be.

Having arrived at the Silver Parking at Bristol Airport, we drove to where they were showing the film. The staff were friendly and welcoming.

We were quite near the back, so the screen was smaller that I would have liked. It was certainly nothing like the huge screens I had seen in American films. 

We had 6:30 tickets, but if you had the 6:00 tickets you would have been closer to the front and nearer the screen. In theory there were 7:00 tickets, but there were no cars behind us! I think some people had arrived early. If we were to do this again I would either try and buy the 6:00 tickets or arrive early.

There was a bit of time before the film started so we had our picnic. There was an option to buy food and drink and have it delivered to your car, but most of it wasn’t gluten free and it was also quite expensive – not too surprising it was a cinema!

For the picnic, I avoided sandwiches, we had gluten free sausages rolls (homemade), sausages, as well as fruit. There was carrot sticks and hummus too. I had some quiche and a scotch egg.

The film started. We really enjoyed the film. We had to use our radio to tune into the soundtrack, but every so often the car would turn the radio off, so we had to turn it back on again.

After the film was finished, we waited our turn and then drove out. What was nice the crew behind the whole thing were waving to everyone as they left. It was really dark as well. We then drove home.

Would we go again? Probably.