Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny — a solid 8/10

We went to see Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny at it’s premiere day (which was yesterday).

“They look like snakes.” It’s such a simple line of dialogue, yet after 42 years and four previous movies, we know exactly what that means to retiring archaeology professor, Dr. Henry Jones, best known to all as Indiana Jones.

Two and a half hour of crazy adventures in the city, the desert, the sea, and in the air, what else would you expect from a movie with Indy? And an occasional tear somewhere at the end.

The movie was good, in mine and Ani’s opinion.

The movie was a 2D release, like in the old times and the cinematography was beautiful, as well as John Williams’s music score.

Some people will say it wasn’t as good as the first three Indiana Jones movies. Well they’re maybe right, but this didn’t prevent us from enjoying the this fifth part in the Indiana Jones saga.

Michel, Ani, Simona

review from IMDb:

Indy’s farewell fares well

“As the final chapter of the beloved franchise, this entry is the first one not directed by the legendary Steven Spielberg (listed here as an Executive Producer). Instead, James Mangold takes the reins, and also shares writing credit with his frequent collaborators Jez Butterworth and John Henry Butterworth, as well as “Indiana Jones” veteran David Koepp. Of course, George Lucas and Philip Kaufman receive credit for their original characters.

Harrison Ford once again dons the familiar whip and hat, and at 80 years of age, still possesses the screen persona and magnetism that first won us over in “Raiders of the Lost Ark”. The extended and frenetic opening sequence finds a young Indy (Ford is digitally de-aged for the sequence) at the tail end of WWII fighting Nazis over what else, a prized ancient artifact. I’ll leave the specifics to those who watch the film, but just know that it’s an interesting historical choice, and also one that matters little in relation to the enjoyment of the film.

Working alongside Indy in the opening sequence is his pal and fellow archaeologist, Basil Shaw (talented character actor Toby Jones. However, the fun part for me is seeing Thomas Kretschmann and Mads Mikkelsen share scenes as Nazi Colonel Weber and Dr. Voller, respectively. These are two of my favorite actors and I do wish they had a couple more exchanges.

The story picks up with modern day Dr Voller and his band of misfits tracking down the relic and disturbing Dr. Jones’s retirement party. It’s at this point where Indy’s goddaughter Helena (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) pops up creating a three-way battle for the priceless relic. This sets off a chain of events that leads them on a global trek to desert, sea, and hallowed cities of antiquity. Fans of the franchise know that the story is secondary to the characters and action, and there is no shortage of action on speeding trains, galloping horses, motorcycles, tuk tuks, vintage airplanes, and scuba dives. Antonio Banderas shows up as a boat-owning old friend of Indy, but it’s the appearance of series favorites John Rhys-Davies as Sallah, and Karen Allen as Marion, that generated cheers from the audience.

At times this feels like a live action cartoon, and that’s not meant as criticism. It’s pure fun, fantasy, and adventure cloaked in nostalgia; and the film is a fitting conclusion to a world class franchise.”

Jean-Paul Belmondo is no more…

Jean-Paul Belmondo died yesterday, at the age of 88.

A few quotes from this article published in the New York Times:

Later in his career Mr. Belmondo professed an unpretentious modesty, shrugging off his success, but at his box-office height in the 1960s, he was anything but modest. In an interview with the film critic Rex Reed in 1966, he all but sneered at American fans who were lining up to see his movies. “I do not blame them,” he said, puffing on a cigar and stretching out his long legs underneath a table at Harry’s Bar in Venice. “I am worth standing in line to see.”


More and more Mr. Belmondo became known for popular adventures, usually comic thrillers. And he became famous for elaborate stunts in which he took great pride in performing himself. He hung from skyscrapers, leapt across speeding trains, drove cars off hillsides. Co-stars said he seemed all but fearless. While shooting one scene in South America, he was warned that a river, into which he was about to plunge for a scene, was filled with poisonous snakes and piranha. Mr. Belmondo grabbed a chunk of corned beef and slung it into the murky water. When nothing happened, he jumped in and filmed the scene.


A year later the marriage had ended in divorce. Mr. Belmondo had three children with Ms. Constantin. The eldest, Patricia, died in a fire in 1994, but their younger daughter, Florence, and a son, Paul, survive him. The divorce was rumored to have resulted from a romance by Mr. Belmondo with one of his co-stars, Ursula Andress. He and Ms. Andress did have a long-term public relationship after the divorce. He was later romantically involved with another actress, Laura Antonelli. But not until 2002, when he was 70 years old, did he marry again, to 24-year-old Nathalie Tardivel. That marriage ended in divorce six years later. They had a daughter, Stella, who also survives him.

As a kid, I watched quite a few movies with Jean-Paul who at this time was at the peak of his career, notably L’As des As (Ace of Aces) and a few others. I will miss his bright smile — but I can still re-watch some of his best movies…

Jean-Paul Belmondo in Ace of Aces (L'As des As)

R2 D2 sounds (download)

Do you know R2 D2? :-)

(Note: Are you here for the R2 D2 sounds in MP3 format? Scroll to the end of the page where are the download links!)

And before we continue, here’s a sample R2 D2 message that you can listen to:


R2D2 and Obi-Wan Kenobi
R2 D2 and Obi Wan Kenobi (source for this photo: — btw, this is a cool Twitter thread that contains lots of interesting Star Wars facts)

And you know how R2 D2 “speaks”, by producing short bursts of various beeping sounds?

Here’s a refresher (in case you lived in a distant galaxy far, far away) — the moment when Luke and R2 D2 meet Yoda for the first time on Dagobah… unforgettable!

[Luke Meets Yoda (Empire-Strikes-Back), mirror copy of this video ]

OK so fast-forward to how R2 D2 “speaks” — I always wanted to be able to use some of his sounds when my smartphone notifies me of a new message or alerts me of something else, etc. A while ago I found this nice one-page website,, and there you could enter some letters/words into a text field and then the R2 D2 translator would “translate” them into R2 D2 “language”. And you could even download the translations in MP3 format!

This website still exists but since Adobe discontinued Flash at the beginning of 2021, it now stopped working (the Flash plugin in it, actually) and so the R2 D2 translations disappeared. Luckily, I was able to download some of these translations before the site’s content was gone.

I am now providing them here so others could download and compile their own R2 D2 translations:

1. R2 D2 “translations” from A to Z and 0 to 9 (individual MP3 files):

AB.mp3 | CD.mp3 | EF.mp3 | GH.mp3 | IJ.mp3 | KL.mp3 | MN.mp3 | OP.mp3 | QR.mp3 | ST.mp3 | UV.mp3 | WX.mp3 | YZ.mp3 | 12345.mp3 | 67890.mp3

2. R2 D2 “translations” (a single ZIP file with all the MP3’s in it):

Once you download the sounds, you can use some audio editing program to mix them, split them, and create various combinations for your smartphone’s notifications or whatever. :-)

Note: I got the MP3’s from the website but I have no idea what is their original source. Hopefully George Lucas wouldn’t mind. ;-)

The most iconic vehicles in movies (Part 1)

This is the beginning of my list of some imaginary (and some real) vehicles that appeared in movies and that I think are super-cool. Note that this is my personal rating — feel free to agree, to disagree, or to create your own list. You’ll get some extra bonus points if you share a link to your list in the comments section!

Now let’s begin.

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1. Batmobile car (🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥) from the movie Batman (1989)

Batmobile (Batman, 1989)
[ ~ source: Batman 80th Anniversary – ]

This is probably my absolute favorite — the Batmobile. And more specifically, this exact version of the Batmobile.

Directed by Tim Burton and starring Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson, and Kim Basinger, Batman (1989) was dark and magical. I simply loved it when I saw it on the big cinema screen soon after its release, almost 30 years ago. The actors were brilliant, and the music (composed by Danny Elfman) was a perfect match for the grim story.

But I digress a bit… Back to the car in the movie — the Batmobile. This version of the Batmobile became one of the most iconic car designs ever. And this is for a reason — it was awesome in almost every aspect!

The designer of the Batmobile was Anton Furst who worked under the guidance from Tim Burton.

“We wanted the Batmobile to become some extraordinary machine that you had never seen before,” Anton Furst said. “The car was built in kevlar — a polycarbonate that is extremely light and yet very strong. It is the same material used to make racing cars. We then had a custom paint job done on it. There were about six different layers of colors to give the car the finish of a beetle — a lot of colors coming through the blackness so that it had a three-dimensional quality to it rather than being just a flat black. We did not go to a full gloss on it. We left it with a slight matte finish to make it look more like a war machine.”

Arguably the most popular feature in Batman’s arsenal, the Batmobile presented the filmmakers with their biggest challenge. “The Batmobile worried us a lot,” Tim Burton admitted. “Early on, it seemed that everything Anton and I came up with just looked like we were putting fins on cars. Cars can so easily become a joke — people don’t realize how difficult it is to make a new kind of car.” But envisioning the Batmobile as a kind of shining armor for the Dark Knight, Anton Furst managed to design the vehicle as an extension of Batman himself.

“I never really saw the Batmobile as just a car,” Furst said. “I always thought of it as an appendage to Batman’s exterior — just like his cape or his suit.”

~ source: 1989 Batmobile –

Fun fact #1: The 1989 Batmobile was based on a 1974 V-8 Chevrolet Impala chassis but the car used headlights from a Honda Civic, turned upside down.

Fun fact #2: One of the original Batmobile cars from the 1989 movie appeared in a music video (Batman Evolution) made by The Piano Guys. The online version of the video later disappeared (first from YouTube, and then also from Vimeo), never to return — now you can only listen to the audio track. I guess Warner Brothers filed a complaint with Sony Music (with whom The Piano Guys signed a deal a few years ago), because Batman is copyrighted and the famous car design from the 1989 (and other) movies is copyrighted, too…

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2. The Millennium Falcon spaceship (🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥) from the movie Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope (1977) (*)

The Millennium Falcon spaceship (Star Wars IV, 1977)
[ ~ source: The Millennium Falcon – ]

The Millennium Falcon — sometimes lovingly called by Star Wars fans the “biggest piece of junk in the entire galaxy” — needs no introduction. It appeared in (*) Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope (1977), Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983), and now also in the new Star Wars episodes (VII, VIII, and IX).

This spaceship has an unconventional design. There is some asymmetry to it, some bold elegance! But not only that.

When the first prototype of the Millennium Falcon was designed, George Lucas and his crew realized that it looked too similar to the main ship of “Space: 1999”, a science fiction series that was filmed shortly before A New Hope and aired from 1975 to 1977. (The first prototype of the Falcon still earned its place in the original trilogy: Tantive IV, Princess Leia’s ship in A New Hope from which the droids are sent to Tattooine, was actually a modified and re-scaled prototype of the Falcon.) Since Lucas decided that the Falcon needed to be redesigned, modeler Joe Johnston had about four weeks to create an entirely new version of the Falcon for the filming of A New Hope.

According to the legend of the Falcon’s conceptualization, the final version of the ship was actually inspired by a hamburger. George Lucas allegedly saw a hamburger with a bite taken out of it and an olive pinned to its side and advised Johnston to envision such a shape while designing the flying saucer.

~ source: Star Wars: the final design of the Millennium Falcon —

Fun fact: A spaceship design inspired by… a hamburger. ‘Nuff said! :-D

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3. X-Wing starfighter (🔥🔥🔥🔥🧊) from the movie Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope (1977) (*)

X-Wing (Star Wars IV, 1977)
[ ~ source: What’s different about the new X-Wing? – ]

While we’re on the subject of Star Wars, I want also to mention the X-Wing starfighter. The X-Wing spaceship/fighter appears in all Star Wars movies, I to IX (*), and although its design changes substantially over the years, one design element remains the same — the ship’s wings open in the shape of the letter “X” (you can see this feature in action in the Death Star battle scene from “A New Hope”).

The X-Wing is cool in many ways, most notably because it can fly in atmosphere, in space, and in hyperspace. Yes, the X-Wing can jump into hyperspace, just like the Millennium Falcon and some larger ships! And to help the pilot, each X-Wing also has a droid which is taking care of calculations related to the hyperspace jumps. Luke Skywalker had R2-D2, for example.

Fun fact: During the shooting of Star Wars IV: A New Hope, Lucas and the Industrial Light & Magic team ran into many unforeseen difficulties, not the least of which were blue screen limitations. These blue screen limitations led to the changing of the name “Blue Squadron” to “Red Squadron” and also to the change in the color of markings on the X-Wing film models.

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4. Lotus Esprit submarine (🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥) from the movie The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)

Lotus Esprit submarine (The Spy Who Loved Me, 1977)
[ ~ source: Lotus Esprit submarine car – ]

This is an old classic James Bond movie, starring Roger Moore and Barbara Bach. The car in the underwater scenes is a real Lotus Esprit S1 converted into a submarine car for the movie. It’s quite cool! (Here’s an excerpt from the famous over-ground and under-water chase.)

Fun fact: Once the shooting of the movie was completed, the original Lotus Esprit submarine was stored in a New York storage container, then forgotten and abandoned. Later the container was sold for mere $100 (yes, one hundred US dollars). The car was discovered beneath blankets in 1989, and then sold for more than half a million pounds at an auction in London, many years later! Its current owner is Elon Musk.

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5. DeLorean time machine (🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥) from the movie Back to the Future (1985)

Delorean DMC-12 (Back to the Future, 1985)
[ ~ source: Back to the Future Delorean DMC-12 – (and also Oto Godfrey and Justin Morton) ]

Do you remember Doc Brown and Marty McFly from Back to the Future. I bet you do!

This movie trilogy (by the team of Steven Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis) featured a real car — the DeLorean DMC-12, modified to become a time machine. Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd were fantastic in this movie!

The DeLorean DMC-12 (the real car) was an almost unique concept. It was only the third car ever to have gull-wing doors! It’s hard to imagine the DeLorean as being a one of a kind, but that was the case. When it was produced, the DMC-12 was also one of the only two rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive cars on the market. Unfortunately for the DeLorean DMC-12, the other car that shared its unique engine configuration was infinitely more popular — that was the legendary Porsche 911. The 911 was smaller, lighter, had four seats, and was much faster… and that’s why it’s still one of the most popular sports cars today.

~ source: 20 things about the DeLorean from Back to the Future –

One of the cars used during the shooting of the three movies is now on a display at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.

Fun fact #1: Why the specific number of 1.21 gigawatt of power was used in the film? Turns out, 1.21 GW is maybe not a totally arbitrary number. What’s even more interesting, is that the speed of 88 mph (141.5 km/h) also appears to be special — read the comment starting with “An in-universe explanation with a bit of math makes it all clear…”, although the next comment (starting with “Some nice speculations here, but according to producer and co-writer Bob Gale…”) tries to explain that this was just a random, round number.

Fun fact #2: The time machine went through several variations during production of the first film from the Back to the Future trilogy. In the first draft of the screenplay, the time machine was a laser device that was housed in a room; at the end of the first draft the device was attached to a refrigerator and taken to an atomic bomb test site. Director Robert Zemeckis said in an interview later that the idea was scrapped because he did not want children to start climbing into refrigerators and getting trapped inside. In the third draft of the film the time machine was a car, as Zemeckis reasoned that if you were going to make a time machine, you would want it to be mobile. The specific choice of vehicle was a DeLorean DMC-12.

Fun fact #3: There was a popular film exploring the subject of time travel, simply called The Time Machine (1960). It was an inspiration for Back to the Future, and the producers added a neat little tribute to the 1960’s film — the DMC-12’s displays are colored red, yellow, and green, the same colors as used in The Time Machine. The opening scenes of both movies are also similar, in case the homage wasn’t obvious enough!

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6. Porsche 911 car (🔥🔥🔥🔥🧊) from the movie …? From all movies!

Porsche 911 (1968)

[ ~ source: Classic Cars — Porsche 911 (1968) ]

Speaking of the DeLorean DMC-12 and the Porsche 911 — check the previous point 5. — the Porsche 911 is also a super-hot looking car! And the original 911 series is also often cited as the most successful competition car, ever.

So what’s the movie where the famous Porsche 911 appeared in? There are so many of them that it’s hard for me to take my pick! So, let me list just a few + add links to some short movie clips where the Porsche can be seen in action. Brace yourselves!

The Marseille Contract (1974) – car chase [Porsche 911 vs Alfa Romeo Montreal]
This scene is from the movie The Destructors (1974), with Michael Caine in one of the leading roles. (Note: The original title of the movie was The Marseille Contract.)

Against All Odds (1984) – car chase [Porsche 911 vs Ferrari 308]
This scene is from the movie Against All Odds (1984) featuring Jeff Bridges and James Woods.

Red 2 (2013) – car chase [Porsche 911]
This scene is from the movie RED 2 (2013) with Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, and Catherine Zeta-Jones.
Fun fact: Only one man in the world can get into the car like that (just watch the video)! :-)

Bad Boys (1995) – car chase [Porsche 911 vs Ford Shelby Cobra]
This scene is from the movie Bad Boys (1995), with Will Smith and Martin Lawrence.

— The Porsche 911 appeared briefly (and sometimes, not so briefly) in a number of James Bond movies as well.
— Arnold Schwarzenegger was driving a Porsche 911 in Commando (1985).
— Designers and illustrators are drawing the Porsche 911 all the time.
— The list is too long!

Fun fact: The Porsche 911 made its public debut at the 1963 Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung, better known to English speakers as the Frankfurt Motor Show. It was initially designated as the “Porsche 901”, after its internal project number. However, Peugeot protested on the grounds that in France it had exclusive rights to car names formed by three numbers with a zero in the middle. So, instead of selling the new model with another name in France, Porsche changed the name to… you guessed it right, 911. It went on sale in 1964.

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The end? Not sure… I have more ideas! Hope I’ll have some more free time on my hands to write about cool cars and spaceships! :-)

Michael Jackson: “This Is It” (the movie, imdb #tt1477715)

On Thursday, me, Ani & Nixo went to see a movie. This happens rarely for me, but it was worth it, especially this time!

Michael Jacskon, This Is It (movie poster)

This Is It“, dedicated to the memory of Michael Jackson, and starring Michael Jackson.

(official trailer @ youtube, available also in HD)

In the movie, I saw the work of an amazing musician “behind the scenes”, in rehearsals, in life! I saw Michael Jackson (almost) without make-up and sometimes… even without his sunglasses! :)

Most of the footage shows the preparation for the concerts in London, where Michael Jackson and his group of musicians and dancers had a planned series of 50 shows at the 02 Arena.

Unfortunately, Michael died (or was killed?) just before the tour has begun… This was really it, “This Is It” — his last tour that did not happen… :-(

Before I went to see this movie, I was a bit afraid that I may be disappointed. I was afraid to see a former star, supported on the stage so that he won’t fall down? I was afraid to see Michael Jackson that doesn’t sing and doesn’t dance?

Well, I wasn’t right!

Michael was singing, dancing and was giving everything out of himself at the rehearsals! You will really see it like you never did before, if you go to see this movie!

These would have been the best, the most original shows in his career — if they did happen, of course…

If you like Michael Jackson and appreciate his creative work — go to see this movie on a big screen (the quality of the sound is important, too)!

And if you don’t like Michael Jackson, but you love beautiful music and beautiful dance — go to see this movie on a big screen, you won’t regret it, too! Buy tickets for “This Is It”, and you will see a real genius at work! You will see and hear real music! You will also see a lot of funny moments during the rehearsals — you will see how an amazing gang of musicians and dancers work together with an even more amazing guy — who is no more, unfortunately…

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An unknown for me commenter said the following words at, after watching the movie:

Title: Genius?
Date: 29 October 2009
Rating: 10/10
Author: shakazulubb, from Germany

This was a clear view into the integral preparation of a concert by a complete genius. I was never a Michael Jackson fan, however, my wife was and since she was desperate to see the film I decided to accompany her. I was astounded. I could not believe this man in the film was the same person that is was always hounded by the press and made to look like the devil. He was by no means weird, ill health, or a drug user. If he was, he masked it very well.

The film shows us what we are missing as far as the concert goes and what a pity, it would have been amazing! He seemed at ease, and so happy and normal while on stage, as if it was built to be his. You would never believe this was the ”freak” that the world perceived him to be. Shame on those people. Genius at work, a perfectionist down the smallest detail and I think the film has captured this very well. What I liked a lot was the fact that the film was not concentrating on his death and tragedy, but solely on his concert, his music, and his geniality and it was a fitting tribute to one of the greatest musicians of our times. So I would urge anyone who has had any miss conceptions about the man to go see this, you like me will more than likely change your views on the man.

RIP, Michael!

— A very good and exact comment!

In “This Is It” I saw a happy person who was dreaming of music, and dreaming to be there again — on the stage, to sing and dance for all of us!

A lot of people paid tribute to him and his music, when he left this earth, earlier this year… But Michael is not here anymore… And there will be no concerts in London, not this year nor the next — no concerts, ever. Only some recordings are left, some raw footage from the rehearsals…

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I can’t find the right words, sorry. So, just go and spend some money to see the movie. This will be money well invested, I promise.