Lazing On A Sunny Afternoon

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Photo credits Alberto Stumpo
Reading Time: 7 minutes

by Edward Hunt

Week Mostly Ending Friday 17th of November, strong aviation theme. Bringing to you the weekly Friday morning column “The Sunny Afternoon line”. It’s Friday lunchtime, can’t be arsed, maybe there’s something funny on the interweb. Guaranteed Safe For Work and absolutely no Rule 34.

THE GOOD

  • It was the Dubai airshow this week, so I was mostly in Dubai (obvs). Actually, I am not sure why that necessarily qualified as ‘Good’. Small point of interest, the UAE aerobatics team (flying Italian MB-339 light jet fighters) solo pilot performed a hammer-head at low altitude. I would not do that in an old jet-powered aircraft as the engines are not terribly powerful / robust and hence at high risk of compressor stall at low speed. Little altitude to recover. My fighter-pilot colleague agreed. So there.
  • The awful UK Home Secretary, Suella Braveman, was fired. Slightly oddly, ex-PM David Cameron was hired to replace her. I dunno, blame BREXIT.
  • Despite it being one of his iconic traits, this is probably good for the chap. And he’s not getting any younger.
  • Good way to fight back against the Cost of Living Crisis.
  • And also oooh, oooh.

THE BAD

  • Not sure about the ‘Fascism’ bit, but did Sam’s contract as a gardener really extend to carrying all of Frodo’s baggage to Mount Doom? And fighting horrid beasties? And then the ungrateful muddy-fridger sent him home, alone, before ultimately clobbering him with a rock. Not what I would call a progressive perspective on employer-employee relations. Merry and Pippin might have been teeth-grindingly irritating, but at least their partnership had an air of equality.
  • Let’s just file this under ‘bad’. Many reasons why.
  • You could argue ‘Good’ as increasingly the short-arse’s military is coming around to the idea that he is an incompetent little fudge-wit. But ‘Bad’ because they still have not mastered the knack of surviving this. Someone out there should buy them the The Ladybird Book Of Stalin
  • This is bad news if you are a total lard-arse and aim to keep going *Warning, May Contain Daily Mail*.
  • Just ‘Bad’.

AND THE VAGUELY

  • I’ve been telling him this for years but the silly little boy wouldn’t listen.
  • As the old saying goes, you can lead a horse to an aircraft but you cannot make it sit down and listen to the safety instructions. Also, pun on ‘stall’.
  • This week in history the Suez Canal was finished. A while back, mind. I wonder if shortly afterwards a vessel got stuck?
  • I used to do this myself for just this reason. Parents put an end to this for the very sensible reason that it made it appear that my mother was neglecting to iron my clothes.

WORD OF THE WEEK

POST-SECURITUM

  • The act / state of carrying, without dropping anything, the contents of your unpacked hand-luggage from the security scanner belt to the tiny tables provided. Also, possibly trying simultaneously to re-dress one or more items of clothing.

“I was managing the post-securitum zone like a Boss until – enroute to re-packing table – I foolishly tried to rethread my belt”.

BONUS ROUND FILM REVIEWS: FANTASTIC BEAST SERIES PLUS ANOTHER ONE THAT IS NOT (SPOILERS!)

Let’s be honest here, this was about the money. Most people did not care and still do not care. The middle one was OK, mainly due to Mads Micklesomething. No one could really claim that they added anything to anything except sweet dollah to various bank accounts. Pretty cynical really, like setting up a crack stall outside a school for recovering addicts. They were not not-going to make money, but it was somewhat dirty money and all involved should be – but clearly are not – ashamed. I watched these over the flights to and from Dubai, BTW. I could not be arsed with anything more intellectual.

  • FANTASTIC BEAST AND WHERE TO FIND THEM

Right. This got some positive reviews, including a hilarious one from The Guardian that described it both as ‘a rich, baroque, intricately detailed entertainment’ and ‘unpretentious’ showing if anyone had not already noticed, that the Guardian is unconsciously a long way up its own rear end. I found it passable, the plus side being the 1920s New York effects and the downside being almost everything else. Likely I missed a cornucopia of Easter Eggs, but I’ll live. Redmayne spent 2 hours pulling puppy-dog faces at everyone and engaging in various slapstick “humour” with CGI stuff.

Colin Farrel is a gov’t something in opera costume but then turns into an albino Johnny Depp. Other characters interact. Tubby comic relief guy plays Everyman in the unfamiliar world of magic. Errr…..there is a vague ethical question about witches being able to read minds that goes rather unaddressed. The American justice system comes in for a kicking. McGuffins be all McGuffy. Am genuinely struggling to remember what happened in the end. I think Johnny Depp nèe Farrel defeated everyone then was in turn defeated by a sentient leaf or something like that. Proper SSD Executor levels of ‘huh?’?

I must admit to not quite getting the Ezra Miller / beast thing that I am pretty sure is then undone in the other two. Oh, and Jude Law delivers his lines with a slight Cornish burr to indicate that one day he will become Michael Gambon.

Was OK, I suppose. Fairly missable. I just could not quite see the point.

Right, I will level with y’all, I watched this one last and the last one second. I think that says quite something about a) my lack of sleep and b) how little engagement I felt that it was not until I watched this one that I realized my error. Let’s just assume you were watching them in the correct order. This starts with another kick at the US justice system / prison treatment procedures. Johnny Depp escapes in a totes OTT scene that makes very little sense. Then, ummmm…I kid you not, I will have to go and check Wiki. Something in France….something with Redmayne, something with Miller. Redmayne and brother doing a HILARIOUS dance with some scorpion-type things. Hilarious, honestly.

Actually, was that last bit in the last one? I really cannot now remember.

Oh, and there was a Kravitz. But it was not a Lenny.

The American No-Maj (can’t be arsed, I’ll just add the link) is trying to find his witch not-wife that can read minds that has gone to the Dark Side and something-something. The Miller character is Dumbledore’s nephew or though that might or might not be a reveal in this film (I had been travelling for quite a long time by this point).

Finally, and in a totally surprising plot twist, Johnny Depp escapes because this is a trilogy.

Look, it was not terrible but I can usually remember film plots quite well and this one has failed to land a punch. There is more Jude in it, if that floats your boat. As usual, we have come down to the operatic everyone-related-to-everyone-disguided-as-someone-that-might-not-but-actually-is-but-not-who-you-are-meant-to-think-it-is school of plottery. Harry Plottery, if you will. I leave that uncopyrighted. You’re welcome.

One of the reviews described it as ‘homework’ and I agree. The original films you could watch on a sleepy afternoon. This you have to be paying attention to a film that is supposed to be lightweight and fun. Double fail, there.

As you may recall, I watched this as the middle one but frankly did not notice, which says quite a lot about the series. This is better than the other one as Mads Middlething is far, far better than Depp. AFAIK the Grinwald character – being Hitler – was supposed to have a degree of charm and Albino Depp really did not.

Anyway, Mads is forgiven for Depp’s crimes (just go with it) and allowed to run for Chancellor of Europe or something like that by the outgoing Chancellor who claims to believe that Mads being defeated in an election will scupper latter’s plans (aka Germany 1932-33). Idea is that some magic deer will bow to Mads or one of the other candidates, thus indicating that he / she should lead, which frankly is taken from the ‘farcical aquatic ceremony’ scene from Holy Grail. But, ye know, serious. Or supposed to be. I chuckled.

Miller killed the magic deer’s Mummy, BTW. But OMG there were two small ones. And Redmayne found the other one. Mads has one but it is dead and he is necromancing it so that it will bow to him, but the Goodies have the other one that is actually alive and they will use it to show that Mads’s one is dead and then the alive one will bow to the ‘correct’ candidate (bet you it’s the Non-Caucasian Female Candidate Because Mads Is White And Male And Hollywood Is Subtle).

Did I mention that Miller is Jude’s brother’s son? Well, he is. The brother is the pub landlord, if you recall your Harry Potterisms. Anyway, the Goodies gate-crash the Chancellor crowning-by-magic-deer ceremony that has flags and vertical themes like a good old rally. Oh, forgot to tell: because Jude and Mads were a couple ages ago – and did the whole Hollywood couple swap-vials-of-blood creepy thing – they now cannot fight. That they were a couple, I think, was in Deathly Hallows. Probably.

So, the dead deer bows to Mads but Redmayne produces the not-dead one (there was thing about identical briefcases but let’s skip that) and the not-dead one bows to Dumbledore and he says ‘thanks, but I’m OK’ so it bows to the lady instead (told ya!). Miller turns up all dying and accuses Mads of betraying him in a wheezy way that is totally not like Vader in ROTJ (did I mention he now has long black hair in a Snape / Vader helmet way? Sorry, meant to. Very Snape foreshadowing in just about ever way). Mads gets cross and the blood-link thing breaks so now he and Jude can get their wands big and powerful and really go to town on each other. Fight scene. Jude wins. Mads makes some kind of statement about how really he is only trying to work for the good of the Wizard Volk and then promptly vanished in a puff of something. I think Miller and Dumbledore’s brother go back to the pub so former can die. Goodies go back to Hogwarts.

Also, various flashbacks and character set-ups along the way but I skipped those.

I think this was the best one but just because Mads is pretty good. Also, having watched it second I was not so fatigued. I would not recommend them, per se, there are far worse things. Further films utterly, utterly unnecessary but highly likely given that Grindletwat is still alive and hence can be killed again.

Not of great interest to many people but it had lots of F4Us and F8Fs and the CGI allowed for quite a few of them at once (note, if you have no idea what I just said, this likely is not for you). It is a stirring tale of an African-American aviator struggling to find acceptance in a 1950s US Navy fighter squadron. Before eyes roll and toes curl, it is actually not that bad and the 2 leads are fairly watchable. Also, Elizabeth Taylor.

And that’s really all I got to say about that.

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Edward Hunt
Edward is a defence consultant working independently for various companies and governments. He has lived in Trieste since 2017 after moving with his family from London. Currently he also writes articles for various aerospace industry magazines, works with flight simulator game developers and corrects erroneous opinions in the FT comments sections like a Boss.

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