I went into PwC DTLA today to get my laptop issues resolved. Took some time but it was a nice mental break, although I couldnt’ stop from crying when I visited with Derrick briefly. It was also raining like crazy today, which made it annoying. Larry got gaggy as I had asked for him to shower today, which he hadn’t done for quite a while. The stress of the shower itself is a lot, and I’ve already bought a shower seat for him, as well as brought up a chair for him to sit on if necessary in the bathroom. I got home around 1 with lunch, and then played some Jedi Fallen Order, which is a GREAT video game. I also was weak and bought myself a Valve Index VR kit for my computer. I won’t get it probably till next year. Oh well, my Christmas gift to myself, I guess? I was texting with Nicki today and I think the thing I’d like to get for Larry is a wedding album finally. I think that will mean more than some thing. Who knows. Anyway, we then finally got to see Knives Out!
It was a lot of fun, and I am so happy that Rian Johnson is making great movies. I still absolutely love watching The Last Jedi. Such a great movie. Nicki joined us for that at our Cinemark theater right here which is just fantastic. Who would think that from how it looks on the outside, but it is wonderful little theater. Will be interesting to see if the NoHo West has a movie complex there when it opens? Could signal the end for this one? But the prices here are just incredibly cheap and the seats are all recliner, which makes it lux. Tomorrow we go to Santa Monica UCLA to sign the paperwork and get the clinical trials started.
Oh also the new James Bond movie trailer came out for ‘No Time to Die’. Looks intriguing so far!
This was a fun day.We were able to sleep in a little bit (not much), as we had tickets to the London Film Museum’s exhibit “Bond in Motion” – a collection of Bond cars and vehicles from throughout the movies.Started at 10am, which was our window (although from having visited there now, I don’t think it was quite necessary to buy the tickets in advance; better safe than sorry).So we got a quick breakfast in at the nearby Starbucks, then walked over to the museum.Yeah, walked, as our hotel is so centrally located.Walked through the West End, seeing the theaters for Aladdin and Harry Potter on the way there.It was also raining slightly, which was about time as London is supposed to have some rain! It also was nice for it to be cool a little as it’s been pretty damn hot/warm here and in Paris!
Anyway, we got to the exhibit and it was absolutely amazing.Everything was laid out in a great fashion and there were so many important cars to the series present, from the Aston Martins, the Rolls Royces, Jaguars, etc.Quite amazing, and I took lots of pictures.Larry bought lots of cool things too, including the guide book.We also got a few shots with the life size Connery mannequin up front.Just spectacular the whole thing.Well worth coming to London for!!!!
So….let’s try to break these pictures down in some kind of order…first, getting to the London Film Museum via the route shown above:
A rainy start to our day in SoHo
The walk to the museum took us through the West End – and next to the show we’d see the next day
Rainy conditions won’t stop us from taking a pic
Didn’t make it to this sold-out show
Our destination – the Bond in Motion exhibit
The Foyer of the Exhibit:
Awaiting us in the lobby – a Sean Connery Bond mannequin
Pretty good likeness
There were great clips being shown throughout
Barnes, Hobie Barnes
Now we’re talking
MI:6 Mock-up from The World Is Not Enough:
The MI:6 mockup used when planning The World Is Not Enough’s opening scene
The part of the building where the boat launches from
You Only Live Twice:
The “Little Nellie” autogyro from You Only Live Twice
Little Nellie from below
The boxes that held Little Nellie in You Only Live Twice
Heading down into the main exhibit…
The main floor of what was shown was simply spectacular. Almost every vehicle you’d expect to see was there, seriously.
A View To A Kill:
We found the Rolls Royce from a View to a Kill – poor Tibbets
It’s actually Cubby Broccoli’s Rolls
Goldeneye / Goldfinger:
The Aston Martin DB5s shown here had a model version based off of the Goldfinger one, as well as a real car that was used in Goldeneye.
Us with an Aston Martin DB5 – from Goldeneye, we think
It’s the same model of car that was also in Goldfinger, as you can see in the movie in the background
Another view of the Aston Martin DB5 as well as a model made for Skyfall
The Rolls Royce Phantom III from Goldfinger – what a car
Die Another Day:
Evil Zao’s Jaguar XKR from Die Another Day, with optional machine gun
Bond’s Aston Martin V12 Vanquish from Die Another Day
Larry with the fold-up jet from Octopussy’s opener
Octopussy’s Tuk-Tuk Taxi from the drive through India
The Living Daylights:
The Aston Martin V8 from The Living Daylights – note the cello and case in the background
The World Is Not Enough:
The BMW Z8 from The World Is Not Enough – this one wasn’t sliced in two
The model King helicopter from The World Is Not Enough with death blades
Quantum of Solace:
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service:
Tracy’s Mercury Cougar XR7 from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
Another view of the Mercury from OHMSS
Diamonds Are Forever:
Diamonds Are Forever’s Spectre Bath-o-Sub that belonged to Blofeld
The Ford Mustang Mach I from Diamonds Are Forever
Honda ATC 90 belonging to White as Bond escapes in Diamonds Are Forever
Map Tokens for Diamonds Are Forever
The Spy Who Loved Me:
The submersible Lotus Esprit S1 from The Spy Who Loved Me
Very cool to see this
Clapper from Spectre
Inside the Cars from Spectre part of the exhibit
The gorgeous Aston Martin DB10 from Spectre
The Jaguar C-X75 that tries to catch Bond in Rome in Spectre
The Rolls Royce Wraith the picks Bond up in Africa in Spectre
Another view of the Jaguar
The Land Rover Defender that tries to escape Bond in the Alps in Spectre
Some promotional stills from the latest Bond movie, Spectre
For Your Eyes Only:
The Neptune 2-Man Sub from For Your Eyes Only
What remains of the Citroen 2CV from For Your Eyes Only
The Man With the Golden Gun:
The Man With the Golden Gun’s AMC Hornet X – not corkscrewing through the air at this moment
The really jacked up Aston Martin DBS from Casino Royale
It did a lot of rolls to look like that
Various Odds & Ends:
Pierce Brosnan’s Bond passport
And Daniel Craig’s Bond passport
The faked up IDs from Casino Royale – Stephanie Broadchest was really her spy name
Lots more motorcycles
Ken Adams’ signature – he’s the production designer behind so much of Bond
Props from Moonraker
The lounge down here was pretty nice and we enjoyed a cappuccino
Just saying – this was the best collection of James Bond cars you could ever hope to see.
The James Bond Walking Tour
But that wasn’t the end of our James Bond adventures today.So after the London Film Museum exhibition, we came back to the hotel to drop off the new goodies we’d just bought, then headed back out to Charing Cross Station as at 2pm, we were joining up for a James Bond Walking Tour!!!Holy crap, this is quite an amazing and somewhat grueling walk, as you walk a LOT.Starting at Charing Cross, you get some insight into how the underground sections were used quite frequently, especially for the chase scenes in Skyfall.
We then meandered through London to various locales that were used in Spectre and Skyfall before heading to the National Gallery Museum right near Trafalgar Square.Got a lot of backstory on the filming there as well as the use of art, especially in Skyfall.The use of the various paintings, combined with the accounts of Admiral Nelson in the battle of Trafalgar and how those were analogous to James Bond and M’s demise….holy shit, it was amazing.Then when in the National Gallery (didn’t know we’d be going in there!), we saw not only where Q and James Bond meet for the first time in Skyfall, but also the painting that James Bond notices in Dr. No, which at the time in the 60s had just been stolen. AWESome.
Heading to Charing Cross for our James Bond Walking Tour
You have to take this shot. It’s the law.
Making our way back into the West End
I’m everywhere – as is my name
The starting point for our Bond Walking Tour was the Charing Cross Underground station
In Charing Cross’ Tube Station & Outside Rules
Charing Cross Station was used a lot in Skyfall
although of course it will be changed for whatever the movie needs it to be
This staircase is featured in Skyfall
This upscale restaurant is where the team regroups before the final act in Spectre
Off to Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square was our next stop
and we were about to go into the National Gallery
Us in the Square
rude photobomb, dude
And Inside the National Portrait Gallery
This portrait is one of the items that Dr. No stole in Dr No
This Joseph Turner painting, The Fighting Temeraire tugged to her last berth to be broken up, holds meaning and was in Skyfall
The museum interior is beautiful
After leaving the museum, we walked through Trafalgar Square and over to the Admiralty Gate which faces Buckingham Palace. These were the scenes of other M:I6 locations in the movies, which was a lot of fun.The guide was just such a great source of knowledge and energy!
We then walked over through the Whitehall street area which is a huge place for Skyfall, passing 10 Downing Street too.After getting a great shot in the middle of the street that matches Bond’s chase of Silva down the street, we all then hopped on a red London Bus (which I’d been wanting to do!!! Score!) and rode the route down to a station right across the Thames from where the MI:6 building actually is and what you see in the movies.That was where the tour ended, and it was just a blast to have gone on it.Seriously.Amazing!!!
Through Trafalgar Square to the Admiralty Gate
Bond exits this way in Skyfall
One of the lions in Trafalgar Square
Nelson, a little bit clearer
We’re outside what has been used as a facade for MI6 in certain movies
Looking towards Buckingham Palace
This is Admiralty Arch – and has been used in various establishing shots throughout the series
Walking Around the Whitehall Area:
Here we are in Whitehall
which is very much a government-focused area
More movie magic – this is NOT an actual Underground exit like it was in Skyfall
Royal Tank Regiment Memorial Statue
Who’s driving that?
Can’t remember what this exterior was used as
Oh – that’s the rooftop from the end of Skyfall
They’re the Horse Guards
And then near 10 Downing Street, with some Action Shots:
This is 10 Downing Street, where the Prime Minister lives
so now we’re in the middle of the street
and it’s where Bond is running after Silva through London in Skyfall
and so of course, we had to recreate the pose
I’m totally running here
The double-decker red bus took us down the Thames so we could get the across-the-river view of MI:6. It was awesome.
MI6 along the Thames
We got to ride a double-decker bus to the next location!
So exciting – I’d wanted to ride one
Our destination was across the Thames from the MI6 building
It’s obviously been made famous in the Brosnan and Craig Bonds, up until Spectre that is
Those apartments are insane looking
Levene, Larry Levene
Our tour group got a workout that day – they were so much fun
That loft up top was used in Get Him to the Greek
I coudl totally enjoy that living space
After the tour, we were on our own to get back
ooo, the Shard from a great distance
Such a striking building – want to visit it one day
Closer to MI6
You can see we’re a bit of a ways away from the main tourist part of London
Look at these places – kind of over the top
On the Vauxhall Bridge as we get closer to the other side of the Thames
The day wasn’t over yet!
We walked across the Vauxhall Bridge to the Tube station there, taking it back to the Westminster area as we had a Champagne Experience on the London Eye at 7.But that wasn’t for a few hours, so we ended up finding a place called Slug & Lettuce to eat at, which was a bit of a more corporate looking place to eat.It worked for us, although the food wasn’t anything special to write home about.After that, we got checked in at the London Eye for the Champagne Experience, which was okay.The time was good as the twilight was ending and the lights were coming on, and we got a glass of champagne and the host was very helpful with taking pictures of us.It was a good time but we were definitely getting tired.
Heading Back to the London Eye Area
After a brief tube ride north, we were back at the Westminster area
And the London Eye was our next destination
I like this picture
We had time to kill and were hungry – and there’s not a lot of places to eat in this area
ooooo, dramatic shot of the London Eye
The Champagne Experience on the London Eye at Sunset
About to board our Champagne Experience pod
Looking towards Charing Cross Station
The London Eye has a spectacular perspective of London
We were enjoying the time, but it was a bit packed in there
The Charing Cross Station and Golden Jubilee bridges
Pretty cool shot of Parliament and us
Parliament, Big Ben
You can see in the distance on the Thames where the MI6 area is where we just were
The walkie-talkie building
Inside our Champagne pod
We’d been on our feet most of the day, but that didn’t stop us from walking back to see what’s what.We crossed the Golden Jubilee Bridge and then meandered through the West End and SoHo again, finding Chinatown this time as well as the gay bar area.
Oh yeah, also found a gelato place that made the coolest rose formation of ice cream in a cone for you.It was delightful, and Delicious.
The Aquarium all lit up
London Eye – RED
Big Ben looks cool at night
Closer to the Jubilee Bridges
Charing Cross all dramatic like
Up on the Jubile Bridge
Oh yeah – we had a gorgeous presentation for our gelato that night
then walked through Chinatown, which is right next to the West End and SoHo
Movies! Â We’ve seen a few lately! Â Must briefly talk about them!
Saw this on November 7, 2015 at the TCL Chinese Theater in glorious IMAX
Mixed reviews be damned,Â SPECTRE was pretty damn fun and was a great entry into the James Bond franchise. Â The setup of the plot is that even though you may have thoughtÂ Skyfall finished setting up the pieces so that James Bond can go and do some spy shit out there unencumbered by the shackles of his past, you’re not quite right. Â In fact, a message from an old friend spurs James on to get to the bottom of things (coughBLOFELDcough) and learn that the last 3 movies had a throughline to them that even he didn’t realize. Â Anyway, we get taken through Mexico City (the much-lauded Day of the Dead sequence is breathtaking and is one of the more tense scenes in recent Bond history), London, Rome (ah, ROME!!! Â It was great to see it again even if in movies), the Austrian mountains (definitely had a On Her Majesty’s Secret Service vibe)Â and the Moroccan desert in spectacular fashion as James goes on the hunt for the guy behind it all. Â It’s awesome. Â There’s plenty of over-the-top action setpieces, good James Bond humor, bad-ass villains, and of course Bond Girls for those who care. Â 🙂 Â I know I enjoyed the movie as did Larry, and the presentation of it at the Chinese Theater was phenomenal.
Wonderfully, we also got to see the full trailer forÂ The Force Awakens and it was absolutely magical. Â There were many rounds of applause just for that trailer.
Bridge of Spies (2015)
Saw this on Oct 31, 2015 at the Pacific Theaters in Americana.
It’s a little strange when a Steven Spielberg movie seems to have minimal buzz around it, right? Â Because while there were ads for this movie on TV (I remember because what caught my attention is the super-hot guy who plays Gary Powers shown in the ads) you don’t really get the sense that this is a STEVEN SPIELBERG picture. Â It looks almost generic. Â But damn, that’s a really inaccurate impression to have as this movie was pretty great. Â It is set Â in the 50s & early 60sÂ when the Cold War was in full swing. Â Tom Hanks, amazing as always, portrays James Donovan, an insurance lawyer who gets enlisted into providing legal defense for an accused Russian spy. Â He takes it on even though he knows it makes him wildly unpopular, but he believes that the US should give all accused a fair shake. Â Little does he know that his work is only beginning as he gets further enlisted to help when Gary Powers gets shot down in his U-2 aircraft over the Soviet Union; also over in Berlin, Germany, the Wall is going up and an American student is caught on the wrong side and is accused of being a spy. Â Donovan becomes the unofficial means for the US to figure out a way to get both Americans back from the Germans and Russians. Â It’s an absolutely fascinating look at the world then. Â It’s a time we don’t really get much in movies anymore, so to see the hostile and frankly now-unbelievable world of East vs West Berlin is jarring. Â I don’t doubt thatÂ Bridge of SpiesÂ will get some Academy recognition but I also wouldn’t be surprised if it’s low-key nature means it gets somewhat overlooked. Â But YOU should make sure to go see it. Â If only just to see this hottie:
Okay, also go see it for the amazing true-life story of James Donovan. Â It’s kind of incredible it all happened.
SPECTRE comes out in November (EVERYTHING AWESOME IS COMING OUT IN NOVEMBER!) and we’re now finally approaching the point in time when the theme gets released. Â Today is the preview of some music, and it’s suitably orchestral and James Bond-y! Â Larry & I are both interested to see where the actual song goes – but that mystery isn’t going to be solved for a few more days.
The last few days have been fairly relaxing and wonderful. After Christmas with Mom, Stacie and Trent, we had a very uneventful Friday, what with me mostly playing Wolfenstein: The New Order and then us watching A View to a Kill that night. EXCITING!
The next day was a bit more productive! After getting up, we first made our way over to an open house in the Mt Washington / Highland Park area. The house was a good price but there was going to be a lot of work & $$$ needed in order to make it a place Larry & I would love. If we were flippers, I bet you could do some really great things with the house. I knew immediately that we’d have to rip out the carpet in the living room and probably tear down the rear deck / get rid of the broken hot tub. And that’s just for starters. The rooms were weirdly shaped, but the one thing this place had going for it was the kitchen. It was stellar. And the view from the back porch? Also pretty awesome:
After looking at that house and also realizing the location wasn’t quite right for us either, it was off to Mom’s to help get some of her gifts installed and built!
We had gone to IKEA with her a few weekends ago to have her look at the desk and chair she had wanted to replace the large desk that used to be in her office. Well, she ordered the items and had them delivered, but it’s IKEA so of course you have to put it together yourself. And you know what? It was pretty easy to get done and now that office room isn’t nearly so cluttered!
Then we installed the soundbar and subwoofer system we gave to her to replace the one that seemed to have failed. Mission accomplished, and the sound is LOTS better in her living room.
That evening, we rewarded ourselves with a well-deserved dinner at Dim Tai Fung at Americana, enjoying the spectacle there at the shopping center at a particularly picturesque time of night:
Finally, on Sunday, we took a walk around Griffith Park’s eastern, flat section as Larry and I are in the market to look for other nice places to go for a run. The Silver Lake reservoir is awesome, but after awhile, things get boring. So we drove over to the park and took a nice nearly-6-mile walk on a stunningly beautiful day. I think we’ve found a great new place for runs in the future too!