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Independence Day: Resurgence (2016)
They made the first film again, with a few more and bigger bangs, unoriginal boring aliens you've seen the like of so many times before and an even more cheesy script than the first movie. Most of the cast just went through the motions, many of the younger ones ought to be seeking other forms of employment. The CGI was epic in scale but not in originality,the story hackneyed and clichéd. OK it's not a film to be taken with any sort of seriousness, but this was just poor.
On the opening afternoon there were just 5 of us in a 200 seat theatre - but it was a dull day and I guess most people were out voting in the EU referendum (or working!), but maybe the mediocre press reviews had an effect.
They shouldn't bother to resurrect the aliens unless they can bring something a bit more original to the screen. I wish I'd have joined the rest of the family in the screen next door for The Jungle Book rehash, which they said was very good.
Midsomer Murders: The Flying Club (2014)
Competently made bit of hokum
Not a series I normally watch, but as it was made at the airfield I know very well and some scenes were in the hangar I know intimately, I was interested. Flying bits were generally well staged and nicely photographed. What was careless was the Cessna 150 suddenly becoming a Piper Cub during the supposed night time body drop. The Cub was used in a later preposterous scene where someone didn't notice a light aircraft about to fly into and kill him.
Almost as bad as the churned out 1970s US crime dramas in which aircraft continuity was laughably bad between scenes, but they were made on the cheap using stock footage. The director should get a slap on the wrist for this one, probably done to cut costs. Even non aircraft buffs would have spotted this howler. The Cessna 150 has a nose wheel, the Cub is a tail-dragger and a completely and noticeably different shape in all respects.
Having an Air Transport Auxiliary sub plot was appropriate as during the war the location airfield, White Waltham, was the organisation's headquarters.
Good supporting cast and generally enjoyable, but the perpetrator is obviously signalled really early on, so not much suspense!
Time Lock (1957)
Bell 47 helicopter appearance
I remember seeing this movie on TV in the USA in 1961 when I was a nipper, it's always stuck in my mind, I have no idea why. Watched it again recently on TV, probably in the small hours, must've had insomnia. Not the worst 1950s B feature I've ever seen.
Reference the helicopter, as the film was made in the UK I'm pretty sure it was G-AKFB, with the registration crudely altered to a Canadian one. There were only 3 Bell 47s around in the forties/fifties according to the UK register, the only one apparently airworthy in 1957 was this one, which was then owned by BEA Helicopters. It was built in 1947 and was finally withdrawn from use in 1967, not a bad age for an early helicopter. I must get out more!
20,000 Men a Year (1939)
Although I have never seen this movie I can confirm that the flying sequences were shot at Monrovia Airport near Pasadena. This airport closed in 1953, according to the website "Abandonned and little known airports", which details many airports in California and elsewhere which were used as movie locations. Interestingly very close to the airport was the site of the very first Macdonalds restaurant. There is now no sign whatsoever that there ever was an airport there, like many old airports in the LA area the unstoppable tide of housing and commercial development has erased all memory. Laurel and Hardy also filmed at the airport on occasion, and I have seen amateur colour footage of a Boeing 247 being used during the filming of a scene at Monrovia from an unknown "gangster" movie.
Fathom, a film of its time
I'd never seen or even heard of this offering in the 60's comedy spy genre until Film 4 padded out their evening schedule with it. How dated it all looked, understandably. But it was a jolly romp, great locations and with pretty good enthusiastically staged stunts. Ms Welch was very decorative as usual and the Britsh character actors excellent in support. Good to see Tom Adams in a solid supporting role, Clive Revill was always good value in this sort of movie too. Amazingly the two aircraft flown in this movie, a Cessna 172 and a Piper Cherokee 180, are still active and licenced in the UK, wearing their original registrations, forty years after the film was made.