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In 2011, I marked the 50th anniversary of Britain’s most iconic car, The E Type Jaguar. It seemed only fitting that I did the same for what is probably America’s most iconic car, The Ford Mustang.

There are several stories surrounding the origin of the name, it is most likely that The Mustang was named after the World War II fighter plane, the P-51 Mustang by stylist John Najjar. What we know for sure is that it was introduced on 17th April 1964 and is one of the most successful and iconic cars of all time. Now in its fifth generation it has appeared in countless films. If you look on the Internet Movie Cars Database, you will find 152 pages of listings for the Ford Mustang. There are surprisingly few iconic appearances for the car, but there are a handful of truly iconic ones.ford mustang bullitt

I have written in the past about Goldfinger (1964) and how James Bond became associated with Aston Martin and the DB5, what I have never written about was the other side of the DB5′s best seen in Goldfinger. In the book Tilly Masterton drove a “dove-grey Triumph TR3″ by the story had made it to the screen Triumph had been replaced by white Pre-production Ford Mustang convertible. It wasn’t the last time the mark would be seen in a Bond film. Fiona Volpe “takes Bond for a drive” in a Mustang convertible in Thunderball (1965). Sean Connery’s last appearance as Bond is also the last notable appearance for a Mustang in the film series. Bond drives Tiffany Case’s Ford Mustang Mach 1 in the Las Vegas car chase scene from Diamonds Are Forever. One of the better moments (despite the infamous continuity error) of a week film.Ford Mustang Goldfinger

The most famous mustang in its most famous and iconic movie. The 1968 Ford Mustang 390 GT Fastback driven by Steve McQueen in Bullitt (1968) as he chases a 1968 Dodge Charger R/T through San Francisco. Like anything associated with McQueen, the movie is the epitome of cool, a fact that isn’t harmed by a fantastic scene. It starts with the bad guys following McQueen, they lose sight of him. Then we see the Mustang appear in the rear view mirror of the Charger. The cars prowl around the city to Lalo Schifrin’s fantastic score, until: There is a click of a seat belt, the music cuts and is replaced by squealing tires as the Charger makes a run for it. For the next 8 minutes, there is no music, no dialogue, just screaming tires and roaring V8′s.

No list would be complete without a mention for “Eleanor”. The climactic final car chase in Gone in 60 Seconds (1974) features a 1971 Ford Mustang (masquerading as a 1973) and accounts for about a third of the movies runtime. The scene was recreated in the 2000 remake Gone in Sixty Seconds. Bigger, bolder and slicker but not necessarily better, this time “Eleanor” is played by a 1967 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500. The original Eleanor is referenced in Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof (2007) both verbally by Kim (Vanessa Ferlito) and visually in her car, a 1972 Mustang LeGrand.Eleanor Gone in 60 SecondsEleanor Gone in Sixty Seconds

And the future: Need For Speed (2014) features a 2014 Ford Mustang claiming to be a special unfinished Carroll Shelby special edition. The car features in some pretty good chase scenes across America in the movies second act. It ends with the as yet not released 2015 Mustang.Need For Speed 2015 Mustang

Keyhunter

Once in a while I go off on a tangent and write about something other than movies. On Saturday , I did something a little different. Looking online for things to do on his planned visit to Birmingham, Jon, a friend from university came across Keyhunter.

In the words of their own website: “Keyhunter is an entertaining puzzle-based live escape game; a new form of entertainment where you must escape from a room you are trapped in by finding hints and clues that point you to the right direction to solve various puzzles. These puzzles are the key to the objective of the game: unlock the safe, get the key, and escape.”Keyhunter

Not knowing exactly what to expect we booked online and headed down on Saturday morning. Located in an unassuming building on the fringe of Birmingham city centre on the aptly named Sherlock street. There is a choice of three games: “The Triads, The Double Crossing and The Red Curse”, we went for the middle difficulty The Double Crossing. After a short briefing we were locked in a room with an 1 hour countdown timer on the wall. The Game involves finding clues to unlock locks. These in turn lead to further clues to open other locks, until eventually you get to a safe containing a key to escape the room. They did give us a two-way radio allowing us to ask for up to three hints. Not wanting to give anything away, I will not say any more about the game.sherlock street

Starting slowly, taking ten minutes and needing to use one of our hints to solve the first puzzle, we quickly got the hang of things and finished the game with just over ten minutes to spare. The organisers recommend between three and six members per game, so we felt pleased with ourselves to complete the game with just two of us.Keyhunter Andy and Jon

Brilliant in its simplicity, amazingly I can’t find anyone else doing anything similar. If you are ever in Birmingham, I would recommend you give it a try. Jon is already planning a return visit with his wife Helen keen to join in too. Find out more on their website HERE.

 

Two comic books, two novels, a computer game, a children’s toy, a world war and three original ideas make us the source material for this month’s movies, but which will be movie of the month? Here are the contenders:

Stalingrad: Russian war film. A small group of Russian soldiers come together to defend a strategic building in the ruins of Stalingrad during World War II. The action scenes are well constructed and choreographed but overwhelmed by CGI. It also suffers from thinly sketched characters but is still worth seeing if only to see a war film a slightly different prospective. Stalingrad

The Lego Movie: Animated movie based on the building block toy. How do I reconcile my love of Lego and my apathy for animation? What could have been safe and dull is actually utterly bonkers and all the better for it. The end/payoff will divide opinion, but it worked for me. The greatest success of the movie is the way it actually understands what it is to be a kid playing with Lego.The Lego Movie

300 Rise of an Empire: Both a prequel and a sequel to 300 (2007), it ticks all the boxes, bigger, longer and dumber. The action is both as brutal and as overly stylized as you would expect, It doesn’t always work but when it does it makes for a fun movie. Lena Headey makes a welcome return but like everyone else in the movie is overshadowed by the fantastic Eva Green.300: Rise Of An Empire (2013) EVA GREEN as Artemesia

The Grand Budapest Hotel: Wes Anderson’s most Wes Anderson movie. Using two framing mechanisms, we are watching a story heightened by and filtered by two potentially unreliable storytellers. Although the film masquerades as a murder mystery it is more a cross between a farce and a caper. Anderson’s usual cast is on display but Ralph Fiennes is revelation.The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Zero Theorem: One man’s utopia is another man’s dystopia in Terry Gilliam near-future London set sci-fi. The plot is indecipherable but the existential subtext surprisingly obvious. The cast including Christoph Waltz, Matt Damon and David Thewlis are all good and look like they are having fun.The Zero Theorem

Need For Speed: Movies based on computer games have a reputation for a lack of plot, if anything Need for Speed has more plot than it needs. The basic story is a chase across country followed by a race, it doesn’t actually need more than that and it certainly doesn’t need to be over two hours long. Having said that, it is a largely fun film and the racing scenes are well shot.Need For Speed

Under The Skin: With no back-story or explanation we only find out what is happening as it happens, or do we? The plot is relatively simple on the surface but without any exposition it isn’t totally clear but is all the more interesting for it. Scarlett Johansson is unrecognisable in look at performance from Captain America but equally as brilliant.Under The Skin

Starred Up: A powerful and gritty British prison drama about a young offender who is moved to regular prison as he institution he was in couldn’t handle him. Things are complicated by the presence of his farther on the same wing. Well acted and starkly believable story that does the impossible, make the audience care about characters who initially without redemption. Expect to see a lot more of Jack O’Connell.Jack O Connell playing Eric in Starred Up.

A Long Way Down: I watched this adaptation of Nick Hornby’s novel almost exactly three years after suggesting it should be adapted for the screen. The casting is perfect and all the actors give good performances particularly Pierce Brosnan but the script and direction fall a long way short of the source novel.A Long Way Down

Captain America: The Winter Soldier: It’s not The Dark Knight, but this movie represents a deeper more grown up movie than we expect from Marvel. Combining an old fashioned thriller with an allegory of our time without losing the fun we expect from a comic book movie. It descends into explosions and people hitting each other as you would expect but it earns the right to do it before it gets to that point. A truly accomplished movie.Captain America The Winter Soldier

I have really enjoyed most of the films I have seen this month, but there is only one movie of the month: The Grand Budapest Hotel.The Grand Budapest Hotel

After reviewing every film I saw for a year back in 2010 I tend not to write many reviews especially for big movies where everyone including far more eloquent writers than me have their say. This doesn’t stop my own occasional musings. WARNING to anyone who hasn’t seen the movie, there are spoilers ahead.Captain America The Winter Soldier

The Marvel movie has suddenly grown up. Captain America: The Winter Soldier plays like a 1970s political thriller, a theme that is fuelled by the presence of Robert Redford. The great thing about the movie is how it has done this without losing the fun of other movies within the franchise. This 70′s style has been well publicised and discussed but it goes deeper than that. 70′s thrillers were all about uncertainty and paranoia and that is what we get here, but its a different type of paranoia. Where in the past we looked outwards, these days it is all about looking inwards. Can we trust our own governments? This is a post 9-11 paranoia, a surveillance state paranoia. This makes the film a powerful allegory for a time and therefore a historical document that it will be interesting to look back on many years from now.captain-america-robert-redford

It would be very easy to film about the fish out of water as Steve Rogers adapts to the modern world. As well as avoiding this, the movie actually makes a joke of it with Rogers making a list of things he has missed that people recommend to him. It appears that there may be regional differences. The version I saw included the 1966 World Cup final and Sean Connery, I have heard of a version that includes Oldboy. Instead of letting this idea overpower the plot it is kept constantly there but in the background. Through the involvement of Captain America the modern world is constantly held up against “The Greatest Generation”, this is where the idea of doing what is right rather than what is easy or what is expected comes from.steve rogers list

In the spirit of leaving an audience wanting more, there are at least five characters in the movie I would like to see get a more prominent role in a future film or even their own film:

  • Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson)
  • Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson)
  • Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell)
  • Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders)
  • Agent 13 (Emily VanCamp)Black Widow Nick Fury Peggy Carter Maria Hill Agent 13

Who is Sharon Carter / Agent 13 (Emily VanCamp)? Steve Rogers’ neighbour “Kate” unsurprisingly turns out to be an undercover S.H.I.E.L.D. agent assigned to protect Rogers. A little online research tells me that in the comic books (I have never read any Captain America) the character was originally the younger sister of Peggy Carter but a change in continuity turned her into Peggy’s niece.

Throughout the movie Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow: (Scarlett Johansson) is seen wearing a necklace with an arrow on it. A possible reference to the archer Clint Barton/ Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) who she was clearly close to in The Avengers. I guess we will find out more in Avengers: Age of Ultron and the announced Black Widow movie.black widow arrow necklace

Did everyone spot the Pulp Fiction joke? If you didn’t take a look at Nick Fury’s gravestone “The path of the righteous man. Ezekiel 25:17.”

The mid credit stinger is an interesting one. it introduces two character referred to as The Twins. They are clearly Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Pietro Maximoff / Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) who have already been for : Age of Ultron. The interesting thing about the characters is how they will fit into the Avengers universe. As mentioned above, I haven’t ready any Captain America but have read some X Men. In the original comic books Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver are the children of Magneto. As such a different version of Pietro Maximoff / Quicksilver is set appear in X-Men: Days of Future Past played by Evan Peters. With the mutant part of the Marvel universe under license to Fox it was only a matter of time before they both lay claim to a character.

The conclusion of the film sees what is effectively the end of S.H.I.E.L.D. as we know it. I am sure a future film we see a rebirth, however until that time, how will it affect Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) and his team in the TV show Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.? The continuity of the show appears to run alongside the movies, episode 8 The Well is set in the aftermath of the events of Thor: The Dark World. Clearly the show can exist outside the continuity of t.he movies, however to make such an effort to run them alongside each other they are clearly going to remain that way. This leaves some interesting plot possibilities. Agents of shield

Captain America: The Winter Soldier represents the mid point of Marvels Phase Two. Iron Man 2 was the only misstep in Marvels “Phase One”, with this in mind I am looking forward to the the next two instalments: Guardians of the Galaxy (Aug 2014) and Avengers: Age of Ultron (May 2015).

captamericablogathonCaptain America: The First Avenger saw Steve Rogers’ transformation into Captain America. It ended with him being frozen and defrosted in the modern world. In The Avengers he was too busy saving the world to think about what he had missed, but there is a brief moment of downtime at the start of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. As you would expect people keep recommending things to him, he appears to keep a notebook to these recommendations. I thought it would be fun to suggest a few films that he missed between 1943 and 2011. It seemed like a good idea for a blogathon, so here are the lists from other participants:steve rogers list

Novia from Polychrome Interest

Anna from Defiant Success

Josh from The Cinematic Spectacle

Brittani from Rambling Film

Jack Deth from flixchatter

Ted and Ruth from Flixchatter

ninvoid99 from Surrender to the Void

Mette from LIME REVIEWS and STRAWBERRY CONFESSIONS

Caz from Let’s Go To The Movies 

Wendell from Dell on Movies

Beatrice from Big Screen Small Worlds 

Andrew from A Fistful of Films

Domestic and Damned from Coffee and Casseroles

 

And finally my own three lists:

 

If I have missed anyone or if you want to join in send me an email (address in contact section above) or comment below.

captamericablogathonCap’ is clearly an action guy so for my third list of recommendations I have gone for action movies:

Enter The Dragon (1973)Enter The Dragon

Raiders Of the Lost Ark (1981)Raiders Of the Lost Ark

The Terminator (1984)The Terminator

Aliens (1986)sigourney weave aliens

Lethal Weapon (1987) Lethal Weapon

Die Hard (1988)die hard

Point Break (1991)Point-Break Utah and Bodhi

Hard Boiled (1992)hard boiled

The Matrix (1999)The Matrix

District 13 (2004)District 13

captamericablogathonFor those who didn’t see my original post, one of the extended trailers for shows a pocket note book where Steve Rogers makes a list of things people have recommended he should catch up on in the time he was frozen (1943 and 2011). The idea of the Blogathon is to recommend ten movies to him.

The guy was frozen for seventy years, he may want a little cheering up, so for my second list I have chosen just comedy movies:

Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)Kind Hearts and Coronets

Some Like It Hot (1959)some like it hot

The Apartment (1960)The Apartment

Monty Python’s Life of Brian (1979)Monty Python's Life of Brian

Airplane (1980)Airplane

The Blues Brothers (1980)the blues brothers

National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983)kinopoisk.ru

The Man With Two Brains (1983)The Man With Two Brains

The Naked Gun (1988)The Naked Gun

The Big Lebowski (1998)The Big Lebowski

And finally bonus pick, a pre 1941 film that he probably missed: The Great Dictator (1940)The Great Dictator

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