Everybody’s Chattin’ + Previews of Into The Storm & SHOWTIME’s Penny Dreadful

EverybodysChattin

Hello everyone! As promised, here’s the second Everybody’s Chattin’ post to make up for the one I missed last month.

So here are 10 of my favorite post from fellow bloggers from the past week:

Now this is a post every movie blogger should read and undoubtedly can relate to … Dan wrote about this thought-provoking article on finding a voice in film criticism.

Ryan of The Matinee, the original founder of The Blindspot Series posted an intriguing Canadian-made film I’ve never heard of before: Jesus of Montreal. I’m definitely intrigued!

Bowie_ThePrestigeIf you haven’t checked out Cindy’s blog, consider this your recommendation. She’s always got great film observations and commentaries, like this one about Musicians Who Become Actors. Surely you have your favorites?

Speaking of favorites, have you checked out Sati’s 10 Favorite Female Characters from both TV & Movies?

And since I just posted my entry to Sati’s Spin-off Blogathon, check out which character Chris (Terry Malloy Pigeon Coop) and Mark (Marked Movies) wanted a spin-off on. Both are such cult favorites!

Now, speaking of blogathons, the reigning King of such blog event Nostra is at it again with his Blogathon Relay! This time the focus is on 10 Most Iconic Movie Characters. The first blogger he passed the baton to is my pal Keith of Keith & the Movies, drop everything now and see which one he’s taken out & add to the list!

Last but not least,  Biblical films seem to be the genre du jour in Hollywood this year, Darren Aronofsky’s Noah opens this weekend and Ridley Scott’s Exodus w/ Christian Bale as Moses opens later in December. I haven’t seen it yet but A Fistful of Films’ Andrew has, check out what he has to say.


Now, before you’re off, check out these previews of my two crushes’ next film/TV show:

IntoTheStormTrailer

Richard Armitage‘s disaster thriller INTO THE STORM with The Walking Dead‘s Sarah Wayne Callies is released on October 8. Nice to see Richard in the lead role, yay! That last part with all those Boeing planes are too darn eerie given what’s happened with the Malaysian Airlines though, I’m quite surprised they didn’t take that out of the preview.

 

PennyDreadfulShowtime

And for you horror lovers out there, this SHOWTIME series Penny Dreadful should be right up your alley. I blogged about this one a while back when Timothy Dalton was cast. I don’t have cable but once it’s out on iTunes or Netflix I’ll watch it for Dalton who plays Sir Malcolm, a hardened African explorer on a deeply personal quest. I’m glad he’s not playing one of the demons, ahah. He still looks sooo good and it’s interesting to see him alongside my favorite Bond girl Eva Green here.

Created by John Logan  (screenwriter of Gladiator, The Aviator, Skyfall) and produced by Sam Mendes, seems like the Bond connection is quite strong here, ahah. Check out the hair-raising trailer:

 


Stay tuned for Ted’s review of Sabotage tomorrow!


Thoughts on Into The Storm and/or Penny Dreadful?

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The Alphabet Movie Meme

AlphabetMovieMeme Boy it’s been a while since I did a movie meme, but this idea by Katy at the Drama Llama is just too fun to resist. Thanks Karamel Kinema for the awesome banner image. Well, it’s pretty self-explanatory what this meme is all about, so lets just get started.

Anticipating Movie of 2014

XMenDaysOfFuturePast

I was going to answer Interstellar but that Nolan movie isn’t out until November so I set my sight to something a bit closer that’s out in May. The trailer for X-Men Days of Future Past makes my head spins but it also gets me super psyched to see it!

Book Adaptation I’d Love To See

BookAdaptation_LoveWalkedIn

A couple of years ago I posted this list of books my pal Ted and I would like to see being adapted on screen. I haven’t read hardly any good book since (yes I wish I were a voracious reader) but out of those, I’d think this one would’ve been adapted by now. It’s an unusual love story in that it’s not just between a man and a woman, and it’s got a slight throwback to Hollywood’s golden era that I think would be cool to see on screen.

Celebrity I’d Most Like To Meet

Male

RA_Bafta_Closeup

I simply have to find out if Richard Armitage actually looks THIS perfect up close. He seems like an intelligent bloke, so I’m sure he’d make a fascinating company over coffee … and I wonder if I could ever beat him in a staring contest ;)

Female

CateBlanchett

I bow to the great Cate Blanchett. She is such a phenomenal actress whose beauty, intellect and immense talent makes her a modern screen legend.

Dream Director-Actor Pairing

Michael Mann and Tom Hiddleston

Mann_Hiddleston

I love Michael Mann’s cerebral thrillers. I’d love to see the exquisite Tom Hiddleston tackles something like Heat, The Insider or even playing a chilling baddie like Tom Cruise in Collateral. The versatile Brit can do anything, I’d love to see him display his range.

Essential Classic Film

Roman Holiday

RomanHoliday

It remains one of the most romantic and beautifully-shot film ever, starring two of my all time favorite movie couple. I’ve listed 59 reasons why it’s awesome. I’m sure I can come up with more.

Favorite Film Franchise

The Lord of the Rings

LOTR_trilogy

One of these days I have GOT to find time to watch the extended version. It’s nothing short of astonishing how Peter Jackson has brought J.R.R. Tolkien’s stupendous literary work to life.

Genre(s) I Watch The Most

Action Thriller and Period Drama

Action_PeriodDramaGenres

I think I watch these two genres as frequently. It should be no surprise that most of them have a British cast ;)

Hidden Gem

Dear Frankie

DearFrankie

There are many other movie gems I could recommend but I always go with this one as it was made with a itsy-bitsy budget, but the story, Scottish setting, and acting are all superb that I wish more people would see it.

Important Moment in My Film Life

FlixChatterLOGOMy passion for movies practically soars exponentially after I started blogging. Thanks to fellow cinephiles who inspire me every day and makes me love movies all the more!

Just Right for A Rainy Day

Sleepless in Seattle

SleeplessInSeattle

“It rains nine months of the year in Seattle.” Well if one day I move to Seattle, I’d be happy to still be watching this whilst I’m vegging out on the sofa. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this movie, Nora Ephron’s script is so brilliant that it kept this movie from being unbearably sappy. If only rom-coms today are half as good as this.

Kiddie Movie I Still Shamelessly Enjoy

Sleeping Beauty

SleepingBeautyBriarRose

I’ve loved this as a kid and Briar Rose/Aurora is my favorite Disney princess! Even to this day, before all the CGI technology in animation, the visuals are still amazingly beautiful, and the music based on Tchaikovsky’s ballet is equally enchanting.

Location I’d Most Like To Visit

RivendellMiddleEarth

No doubt it’d be Middle Earth, especially if Aragorn or Thorin would be willing to be my tour guide ;)

Marathons I Watched

Gregory Peck Movie Marathon

GregPeckDVDCase

Some of you likely remember when I was besotted by this Hollywood’s classic leading man. I blogged about some of ‘em already, that’s perhaps the last extensive movie marathon I did, which was well worth the effort!

Netflix Movie I Actually Watched

I have Netflix Streaming which is one my the primary sources to rent movies from. This is the last one I rented as they’ve got quite a nice selections of documentaries. Clearly I’m fascinated by all things Middle Earth.

BeyondTheMovieLOTRdoc

One Movie I Saw In Theaters More Than Once

Idris_PacRim

I’ll go with the latest one I saw twice in the theater in 2013, and that’d be Pacific Rim. I’m not ashamed to say that I LOVE that movie, and really, when you’ve got exhilarating action, great music PLUS sexy Idris Elba as Stacker Pentecost in his smashing black armored Jaeger suit, what’s not to love?

Preferred Place To Watch A Movie (Cinema or at home)

Either place is fine by me. As much as I love the comfort of watching films whilst vegging out on my sofa, some films are meant to be seen on the big screen. Unless of course I have a home cinema like THIS.

DreamHomeCinema

Quote that Inspires Me

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

SamFrodo_TwoTowers

Samwise Gamgee, is one of the most selfless and wisest movie characters ever brought on screen. The unsung hero of the LOTR trilogy always puts others first before his own. Apparently when Tolkien wrote him, he was inspired by the character of English soldiers he met during World War I.

Remakes (Friend or Foe?)

Generally speaking… foe. But not every remake is terrible. I actually like the Coen Brothers’ True Grit, Sydney Pollack’s Sabrina, Peter Jackson’s King Kong, James Mangold’s 3:10 To Yuma, just to name a few.

Ben-Hur1959

Heck, even one of my favorite films of all time, Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ is a remake of the 1925 silent film with the same name.

Snack I Enjoy Most

Peanuts

FaveSnack_Peanuts

Twist(s) That Boggles My Mind

Sixth Sense & Unbreakable

SixthSense_Unbreakable_Finale

Whatever has happened to M. Night now, it doesn’t change the fact that Sixth Sense and Unbreakable, which he made back to back, are both phenomenal films. Both endings floored me, and it was such a great feeling when a film managed to surprise you in such a big way.

Unapologetic Fanperson For

Timothy Dalton

TimothyDalton

Dalton seems to have always marched to the beat of his own drum and I love him for it. He’s so criminally underrated and I’m front of the line in the Dalton-is-Best-Bond brigade. He’s obviously fantastic as a hero, byronic (Jane Eyre) or otherwise, but also as a villain (The Rocketeer).

Very Excited For Award Show Season?

Sure, why not. Bring. It. On.

Wish I Never Watched…

The Exorcist

TheExorcist

I really wish I hadn’t seen this. THAT face still haunts me to this day. I remember that after watching it in college, I asked my then boyfriend (now my hubby) to sleep in the living room as I didn’t dare to be alone in my apartment!!

XXX Movie I First Watched At A Young Age (R or NC-17!)

I don’t remember the name of it, as all I remember was that it has ‘Girl’ in it in the title. It could’ve been a foreign film as it was in black and white. I must’ve been only 11 or so, but that was the first time I saw full frontal nudity on screen!

Your latest movie-related obsession

Hmmm, does Richard Armitage count? He’s my latest obsession and he’s a movie actor so yeah, that’s my answer right now. My formerly-Gregory-Peck-filled Tumblr‘s been pretty much been taken over that beautiful man. Yes, I think I’m secretly moving up the rank in the Armitage Army ;)

ZZZ-Catchers (name a movie that has put you to sleep)

The Great Gatsby (1974)
GreatGatsby1974
Say what you will about the Baz Luhrmann’s film but at least it wasn’t boring! I was thinking of comparing this one to the contemporary version but I couldn’t even go through it! I finally turned it off after I dozed off a couple of times.

Well that’s my Alphabet Movie Meme, folks! Feel free to continue this movie meme (make sure you link back to Katy’s post). I’d love to see the answers you come up with!

ABC’s TOY STORY of TERROR – The only Halloween Special I’m excited for this month

ToyStoryOfTerrorBanner

Wahoo!! My favorite toy gang is back! Can you believe it that it’s been 3 years since TOY STORY 3 was released? Well, that film made my top five of 2010, one of those rare movies that garners a full 5/5 score from moi. Now, I did have a small quibble about that film in that it didn’t have enough Mr. Pricklepants, voiced by, who else, Timothy Dalton of course!

So imagine my thrill when I heard his deep, inimitable voice narrating this spooktastic half-hour special coming to ABC on Wednesday, October 16 at 8 p.m. ET. Of course it’s always fun to see Woody, Buzz and the his riotous team back together again!

ToyStoryOfTerrorPic
This is the plot per Huffington Post: What starts out as a fun road trip for the “Toy Story” gang takes an unexpected turn for the worse when the trip detours to a roadside motel. After one of the toys goes missing, the others find themselves caught up in a mysterious sequence of events that must be solved before they all suffer the same fate in “Toy Story of TERROR!”

Angus MacLane, one of Pixar’s animators who worked on a bunch of Pixar animations since A Bug’s Life is directing the short feature, and Oscar-winning composer Michael Giacchino who won for UP worked on the score.

Check out the trailer:

I LOVE all the vocal talents here, Tom Hanks as Woody, Tim Allen as Buzz, Joan Cusack as Jessie, Don Rickles as Mr. Potato Head, Wallace Shawn as Rex and Kristen Schaal as Trixie. A while back Tom Hanks described the challenges of voicing Woody on the Graham Norton show. Oh you’ve got to see it for yourself, it’s such a hoot! It shows just how awesome and affable Hanks is, and makes you truly appreciate his — and others’ — voice work in this Pixar masterpiece trilogy.


Related post: Top 10 Favorite Pixar Characters


Can’t wait to see this one. How about you, folks?

Everybody’s Chattin’ … and Timothy Dalton Casting news & rumor I’m super excited about

Happy Friday everyone! Those of you in the US, hurray for long Labor Day Weekend! :D

It’s been quite a hectic week for me at work, but fortunately there’s no press screenings I’m interested in all week so that actually helps a lot. Allow me lament a bit though about how this Summer’s put quite a dent on the hits and comments on the blog :( I guess I chalk it up to people being away on a break and what not, but still it’s kind of a bummer.

Ah well, enough complainin’. There ARE those of use who are still bloggin’ away in the Summer months, churning great posts on a daily/weekly basis. So I’m going to highlight those who’ve been particularly supportive to FlixChatter in their readership and comments. I REALLY appreciate it folks, I know we’re all busy people so I’m grateful that you not only took the time to visit, even if the movie(s) being posted aren’t necessarily your cup of tea.

EverybodysChattin

Firstly, have you heard about this new movie site Cinema Axis? It’s a film blog based in Toronto, Canada with contributors hailing from various parts of Canada and the United States, spawned from the blog Big Thoughts from a Small Mind. One of the contributors is Steven Flores from Surrender to The Void blog. So pay them a visit and take part in the August edition of I Have Scene it Before, one of their monthly series.

Now that Summer is officially over, we’re all gearing up for Fall movies (well I am anyways). So check out Keith’s list on which movies to Flaunt or Flush. Thanks for the warning Keith!

Oh, and speaking of what to flush, in case you’re thinking of Ethan Hawke’s action flick The Gateaway, well, you might want to think again. Check out Terrence’s warning er review and watch at your own risk!

Most of you already tired of me saying this but yes, I’m still kicking myself that I missed the film fest screening of this film last April due to a snow storm!! Well, Mark’s review of MUD certainly makes me more eager to finally rent it!

Michael recently posted his Top 10 Greatest Sci-fi Films circa 2000-2013, and I absolutely LOVE his list, especially since he’s got Wall•E and District 9 on there! Saunter over there and see which ones of YOUR favorite made his list.

Since I mentioned Surrender to The Void blog, Steven has been spotlighting Woody Allen of late. Check out his latest post on the New York auteur, Part 4: The Wilderness Years (2004-2013)

You might’ve read Fernando’s post from Comic-con where he met the cast of Kick-Ass (SO jealous. Aaron Johnson is gorgeous!). Well, what did he think of the sequel? Read his review of Kick-Ass 2.

Fans of Breaking Bad, I suggest you check out Sati’s commentary in her Open Letter to Anna Gun. Though I don’t watch the show, I find that the discussion about Skyler White quite interesting.

Last but not least…

Chris T. has returned from his London vacation (where he non-nonchalantly bumped into RICHARD ARMITAGE outside of Harrod’s!!). I’ll be working on my post for his DEBUTS Blogathon starting next week. Check out which sites are participating in this exclusive blog event ;)


Now, about that casting news…

Well, I’m thrilled that my longtime crush TIMOTHY DALTON is joining SHOWTIME’s psycho-horror thriller series Penny Dreadful!

There are FOUR Bond connections on this one as the creator of the series is John Logan (Hugo, The Aviator, Gladiator) who also wrote Skyfall AND he’s producing the series with Skyfall director Sam Mendes! Now of course you already know Dalton is my favorite Bond, so it’s a thrill to see one of my favorite Bond girls Eva Green is also part of the cast!

Dalton_Green_PennyDreadful

Darn it, it’s about time Dalton’s back on the spotlight again. I’m always so perplexed that super talented thespian like him don’t get more work! I mean he could’ve easily done every role offered to his British peers like Anthony Hopkins, Patrick Stewart or Jeremy Irons! Per THR, Dalton, who joins Eva Green and Josh Hartnett, will play Sir Malcolm, a hardened African explorer on a deeply personal quest. Here’s the premise per IMDb:

Some of literature’s most famously terrifying characters, including Dr. Frankenstein and his creature, Dorian Gray and iconic figures from the novel Dracula. become embroiled in Victorian London.

Production is set to begin in October in London for its debut in spring 2014. I just might have to get cable for this!

Now, this one is just a rumor for now, but it’s enough to send me into a frenzy when I first heard about it (just ask my husband, I was practically hyperventilating!) :D

Last week, I was lamenting on the Batman casting on Man of Steel sequel, but this week, THIS is a rumor I can get behind:

In response to that I tweeted this:

OH MY! I sooooo hoping this isn’t JUST a rumor. Please make it happen people, pretty please! I just so want Dalton to be in something so HUGE which hopefully propels him to get even more roles! I’ve always loved Alfred Pennyworth and with the likes of Michael Caine in Nolan’s Batman trilogy, we definitely could use another British thespian this time around. (I just realized it’d be cool that Dalton signed up for TWO projects with Penny in them, ahah)

BatmanBeyond

Of course I always envision that Dalton as the older Bruce Wayne type, a la Batman Beyond where he’s retired and a recluse who ends up being a mentor to a young Batman. If you’ve seen the TV series, you’d see how Dalton is so perfect in that role. He’s still a pretty lean guy at 69, certainly he can still be bad ass!

In any case, fingers crossed Dalton is indeed cast! That’d just be THE best news of the year for me :D


Well, what do you think of this casting?

Have a great weekend all! Hope you see some good movies! :D

Special Anniversary Top Ten: Memorable Wedding Scenes

IvanRuthHoldingHands10th on the 10th. My friend Becky just pointed that out to me yesterday as I was completely oblivious :D Well, today is my 10th wedding anniversary with my beloved. Time flies when you’re having fun they say, and I’m truly blessed that I still adore my husband – if not more so – today as I did 10 years ago when I married him. More importantly, I still like him as a person and we just get on so well day in and day out. Truly, there’s nobody I’d rather spend time with for the rest of my life.

So for this special occasion, I thought I’d do a top 10 list of my favorite wedding scenes. These are obviously a personal list, as everyone is going to have a different list that speak to them based on what movies they have seen.

1. Love, Actually

This is such an awesome surprise, I wish this happened at my wedding ceremony! Keira Knightley and Chiwetel Ejiofor made for a lovely couple and I LOVE their expression as the musicians start popping up from the church’s pews and balcony, serenading the bride and groom with a joyous rendition of The Beatles’ All You Need Is Love. Of course I also can’t help feeling so bad  for Andrew Lincoln’s Mark who’s secretly in love with his best friend’s bride.


2. Sound of Music

I wish I could find the clip for this beautiful wedding ceremony of Maria and Captain Von Trapp to embed here. I always tear up when I watched this scene as soon as the organ started playing How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria. It’s one of the grandest processional ever and I LOVE the shot as Maria walks down the looong aisle towards the oh-so-dashing groom in uniform. You can listen to the music below as it’s really one of the best part about this scene.

SoundofMusic_Wedding


3. Four Weddings & A Funeral

Just like my own wedding, things don’t always work out perfectly. But it’s the goofs and blunders that made it so memorable! I never forget this scene of Mr Bean, er Rowan Atkinson as Father Gerald who’s so nervous he kept flubbing the vows! I think my favorite part is when he said ‘johned’ instead of ‘joined’ and ‘awful’ instead of ‘lawful’ wedded wife. Classic!


4. Sense & Sensibility

I just had to put this here as you all know it’s one of my favorite films of ALL time. I mean after all the Dashwood sisters had to go through the entire movie, it’s just lovely to see both of them get their happy ending. Plus it’s always awesome to see Alan Rickman smiling gleefully as Col. Brandon finally got to marry the girl of his dreams. I adore Patrick Doyle’s music and it just adds to the delightfully jubilant scene down to the finale with Brandon tossing the coins as Willoughby watches from a distance. Living well truly is the best revenge.


5. Vicars of Dibley Christmas Special

I have got to include both the rehearsal and the wedding scene of this popular British sit-coms. I LOVE Dawn French, she’s just a hoot to watch. After officiating dozens and dozens of weddings, the town’s female vicar Geraldine finally gets to be the bride! And she’s not marrying just anyone, Harry Jasper Kennedy is played by none other than Richard Armitage. Nice to see his lighter side as he often plays such a serious, brooding roles. Oh and there’s Hugh Bonneville. Long before he became Earl of Grantham, he’s a regular in so many great British comedies and he’s such a hoot here as Geraldine’s fellow vicar Jeremy who has a crush on her. The whole supporting cast is just brilliant on this show.

Rehearsal

Wedding


6. License To Kill

The wedding might be jovial but the marriage itself, well, not so much. But hey, this wedding boast one of the most memorable groom arrival ever. Talk about a grand entrance! After successfully nabbing Sanchez, one of the most elusive criminals, Felix jumped out of an airplane on a parachute with sexy spy James Bond in tow!! Boy, I’d love to have Timothy Dalton looking dashing in a tux at my wedding [ooops, did I just say that out loud? Don't tell Ivan ;)]


7. Bride & Prejudice

I didn’t mean to have two Jane Austen-related entry here but I can’t leave this one out! The Punjabis do weddings like nobody’s business, you’d be hard pressed to find a more festive celebration than this one. This is the moment when Lalita (aka Elizabeth Bennett) first meet her dashing Darcy, but it’s Balraj (aka Mr. Bingham) who stole the show as the Indian M.C. Hammer!


8. Spider-man 2

Ok, now this isn’t the kind of wedding I’d wish for on any groom, but a girl has to follow one’s heart! Unlike the classic ‘bride kidnapping’ scene in The Graduate, nobody steals Mary Jane from her astronaut groom. Everything seems to be going so well in the beautiful church, the wedding music is playing and the groom is beaming with happiness… but the bride never shows. Then we see Mary Jane in her gorgeous white dress running as fast as she could from the church to Peter Parker’s apartment.

“Isn’t it about time somebody saved your life?” – Mary Jane

It’s one of my favorite scenes in what remains to be my favorite Spider-man films!

9. My Best Friend’s Wedding

My favorite scene of the whole movie actually doesn’t involve the bride and groom. Julia Roberts’ Julianne didn’t succeed in snatching the groom after all and though she seems to have made her peace with that, she still feels somewhat left out. But thanks to her gorgeous BFF George (Rupert Everett, dashing as ever), she doesn’t have to feel that way for long. I LOVE how he surprises her at the reception and the way he suavely sashay into the room towards her as they speak on the phone.

10. My Big Fat Greek Wedding

Uniting two different cultures would inevitably make for an unconventional wedding and this film illustrates that in such a riotous fun. Nia Vardalos and John Corbett have a great chemistry together which is lovely to watch, but this scene is particularly memorable when Toula’s father Gus eventually gets over his disappointment that his daughter didn’t end up marrying a nice Greek boy. His speech just sums up the sentiment of mixed marriages perfectly.

Here tonight, we have, ah, apple and orange. We all different, but in the end, we all fruit.

Honorable mention:

Father of the Bride

It’s perhaps a cliche to include this scene as it’s in EVERY single wedding list, but hey, I guess it always get picked for a reason. Though I can’t quite relate to the premise as my own father was never really present in my life, let alone at my wedding, I still think it’s a heart-warming movie that truly illustrates a father’s love. Certainly one of Steve Martin’s best roles that he’d most be remembered for.


Hope you enjoy the list. Now feel free to supply your own picks of memorable movie weddings!

Happy Birthday Timothy Dalton & Gary Oldman – 5 Fave Roles of two of my favorite British thespians

It’s a double birthday special folks!

It’s been ages since I’ve done a birthday post. The last one I did was nearly a year ago was for Gabriel Byrne! Well, today happens to be the birthday of TWO of my favorite British thespians, Timothy Dalton and Gary Oldman! Born on March 21, fourteen years apart. Both are extremely talented, known for playing diverse roles convincingly, yet neither one has won an Oscar (what a travesty!). At least Oldman was nominated once for his role in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Interestingly enough, both of them have played a British spy, though James Bond and George Smiley are on two opposite spectrum in terms of realism, though Dalton did strive to make Bond as grounded as possible.

So for this post, I’d like to celebrate their birthdays by posting five favorite roles from each actor. I’m throwing in TV miniseries as well for good measure.


DaltonBanner
Dalton67NAME: Timothy Peter Dalton
BIRTH DATE: March 21, 1946 (Age: 67)
HEIGHT: 6’2″
EDUCATION: Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, London
PLACE OF BIRTH:
Colwyn Bay, Wales, United Kingdom

Personal Quote [on playing Bond]:

“You can’t relate to a superhero, to a superman, but you can identify with a real man who in times of crisis draws forth some extraordinary quality from within himself and triumphs but only after a struggle. Real courage is knowing what faces you and knowing how to face it.”


FIVE FAVORITE ROLES:

James Bond, The Living Daylights & Licence To Kill

Yes this one is entirely predictable, but can you blame me? I’ll always be a card-carrying member of the Dalton-Best-Bond brigade and make no apologies for it. I admire his dedication to the role, his determination to keep Ian Fleming’s vision in his portrayal, and ultimately, his top notch portrayal. I think the fact that he’s so grossly underrated makes me like him more. I think his fans care more about this than he does, he always comes across like he couldn’t care less what people thinks, naturally his Bond is the same way. I love his defiant remark after deliberately disobeying his boss’ order in The Living Daylights:

“Stuff my orders! I only kill professionals. That girl didn’t know one end of a rifle from the other. Go ahead. Tell M what you want. If he fires me, I’ll thank him for it.”

Dalton_BondPics

Nevile Sinclair, The Rocketeer

If one looks up ‘charming villain,’ Mr. Sinclair’s face ought to pop up. He’s the quintessential seductive bad boy with delusions of grandeur. He’s channeling classic swashbuckling movie star Errol Flynn here and his performance is just so spot on. Effortlessly stealing the spotlight for the supposed lead actor Billy Campbell, really with a villain like Sinclair, who needed a hero?

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Mr. Rochester, Jane Eyre

The fact that Dalton could convincingly play someone who couldn’t be more different from each other is a testament of his incredible versatility. This is another role where a bunch of thespians have brought into life, but Dalton’s version remains my favorite. He showed such vulnerability as the ultimate Byronic hero with mercurial moods. I love that the 1983 Jane Eyre version stayed true to Charlotte Brontë’s novel, as Dalton delivered the lines so perfectly and with so much emotion. The proposal scene remains one of my favorite scenes of all time, in fact, I rewatched parts of it over the weekend and fell in love with his Rochester all over again. I’ve done a tribute of his performance in this post, so I invite you to check out some of the clips from that miniseries.

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Eddie Myers – Framed

TVminiFRAMEDdvdcoverThis 1992 British TV miniseries is so massively underrated you’d be lucky if you could even find the proper dvd to watch it! The only one available in the US is the Americanized version which is edited down to about half of the 4-hour version. I couldn’t even find any photos of him in that role, only this from the dvd cover but with him sporting that wet shirt, I’d think that’d suffice, don’t you? ;)

Dalton played a con-man turned informant in this crime thriller.Though production quality is far from stellar, I love the manipulation game between his character Eddie Myers and a young, ambitious police officer played by David Morrissey. You’ll be amused to see a very young Penelope Cruz in a small role as Dalton’s lover. There’s an exhilarating heist scene towards the end of the series that shows Dalton’s Bond-esque action prowess.

Someone made this clip on Youtube that’ll give you an idea what the show looks like:

Simon Skinner, Hot Fuzz

Dalton seems to enjoy playing bad boys. He relished at the opportunity to play a slimy supermarket owner, playing up the creep factor to the fullest, complete with thin, black mustache! Who says Dalton can’t be funny, his comic timing here is excellent! His super villain Simon Skinner paired with Simon Pegg as super cop Nicholas Angel adds up to massive hilarity, everything in this movie is intentionally over-the-top, but it works! He seemed to have a lot of fun with the role here, and he lights up the screen every time he came on screen.

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HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Prince Barin – Flash Gordon

He kind of looks like Errol Flyn here again didn’t he? I’m surprised he hasn’t actually played Robin Hood in his career! I used to have such a huge crush on him as a kid, and I had no idea who his name was and that he was going to be Bond, I was like ‘who’s that dark haired prince??’ It’s another case where I couldn’t care less for the hero, I thought Flash Gordon looked like a blond Ashton Kutcher!

Dalton_PrinceBarin


OldmanBanner
Oldman55NAME: Leonard Gary Oldman
BIRTH DATE: March 21, 1958 (Age: 55)
HEIGHT: 5’10”
EDUCATION: Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance, London
PLACE OF BIRTH: London, United Kingdom

Personal Quote [on playing George Smiley]:

“George is a man of few words. He doesn’t need the karate and the fast car and the gun. That’s what makes George dangerous, is the fact that he does blend in and he disappears. He’s the one to watch. He’s the leopard camouflaged by the jungle, ready to pounce, so its nice to play someone like that. He operates from a very unseemly passive position.”

FIVE FAVORITE ROLES:

Norman Stansfield, The Professionals

As the pill-popping corrupt DEA agent, Oldman was psychotic perfection. He’s the quintessential dirty cop, practically an evil incarnate in the way he tormented Leon and Mathilda. Yet he’s still mesmerizing to watch as the character’s so driven by his madness. It’s the kind of performance that made your skin crawl, but one you won’t soon forget.

Oldman_TheProfessionals

James Gordon, Nolan’s Batman Trilogy

It’s interesting that Christopher Nolan turned to an actor with a knack for playing bad guys for the role of a wholly decent cop, the only one left in the entire Gotham. It’s brilliant casting as another actor might make the character a boring decent cop, but not so with Oldman, Gordon is an intriguing character as the sole policeman the hero could trust, with his own share of dilemma as he’s torn between his loyalty to the force and his sincere desire to serve the city and its people. It helps that he’s got a great rapport with Christian Bale, too. Gordon made the role his own as he got to do more with the role than in previous films, complete with fun one liners. “I have to get me one of those,” he quipped as Batman rode away in his awesome Tumbler!

Oldman_JimGordon

George Smiley, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Finally Oldman’s got an Oscar nomination! He could’ve easily nabbed at least several nods for his earlier roles. It’s another transformative role like he did as Ludwig Von Beethoven in Immortal Beloved, where he’s practically unrecognizable playing a much older character. It’s what I’d call the anti-Norman Stansfield as there’s nothing over the top about his understated performance as the cool, composed and astute British spy. He’s NOT a super spy mind you, just a very good one and his grounded performance worked as he anchored the whole film. Even amongst a stellar British cast, Oldman still stands out far and above the rest.

Oldman_Smiley

Count Dracula, Bram Stoker’s Dracula

When Fogs asked about favorite movie monster this past week, I immediately thought of Oldman’s role in as as Count Dracula. He’s a monster to be sure, but yet he’s quite romantic with an elegant swagger, plus he’s got such scorching chemistry with Winona Ryder. He’s seductive yet utterly terrifying prince of darkness that it could easily be one of the best Dracula ever. He looks good in period garb as well, ok so maybe the princess Leia hairdo is a bit tough for anyone to pull off, but I like his long, dark, wavy locks under that top hat.

Oldman_Dracula

Sirius Black, Harry Potter series

I was torn between putting Beethoven or Sirius here as I love both performances. I do love the father/son relationship between Sirius and Harry and also because there’s a dualism in him. We don’t know whether he’s a good or bad guy, perhaps both, and an antihero is always an interesting character. He’s sporting that long, dark, wavy locks again that suits him so well. Of course what he did to save Harry in the Deathly Hallows made me like him more. It’s no surprise he’s one of my top 10 favorite Harry Potter characters.

Oldman_Sirius

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Beethoven, Immortal Beloved

This seemed a tailor-made role for Oldman, playing a mad musical genius. It’s a travesty that Oldman wasn’t nominated here as he not only transformed himself physically for the role, he also captured the composer’s inner turmoil, passion and madness. The scenes of him going deaf is heart-wrenching, it’s as if we could feel his world turning silent.

Oldman_Beethoven


Check out my previous individual tribute post for each:

Timothy Dalton Birthday Tribute  |  Chat-worthy Thespian – Gary Oldman


Well, it’s your turn to wish them a happy birthday! Now, what’s YOUR favorite role from each actor?

007 Chatter: Bond 50th Anniversary Minimalist Posters

007CHATTER

I haven’t done a 007Chatter nor poster post in a while, so might as well hit two birds with one stone. Besides, when I saw this last week I just couldn’t resist sharing them. Thanks to The Huffington Post for the tip. These minimalist posters were designed by the creative duo Clif Watson and Maria Taylor of Herring & Haggis design company.

23 James Bond Films,
23 Days,
23 Poster Designs.

Each day, leading up to the U.S. premiere of Skyfall, we watched a film from the 50th Anniversary blu-ray collection and created a poster design for it.

Here’s what they came up with for Skyfall:

Skyfall_MinimalistPoster

I LOVE the organic simplicity of the design, it’s decidedly un-Bond-like, forgoing the usual stereotypes of the glitz and glamor of the super spy. Watson was quoted by the HP article said this about their approach on the design: “We agreed early on that we would avoid the typical Bond marketing subject matter. No girls, cars, guns or martini glasses allowed!”

Primarily a typographical and color exercise, each design utilizes a map to highlight the key location from 007’s mission. What a brilliant idea! Very clever and creative, I love how the use of colors also convey the mood of each film.

Here are additional favorites of mine from their collection [click on thumbnail to see a larger version]:

The posters are no longer available to purchase, unfortunately. But you can view the entire poster collection on their site: 007.herringhaggis.com.

Fans are getting more and more creative in designing posters of their favorite films. Here are more beautiful fan-made ones I found on Skyfall:

I also love this illustrations of all the Bond actors I found on Filmofilia site. Not sure who created it, but it’s one of the best I’ve seen and each Bond sketch actually resembles the actual actor, which is quite a feat. Even in a form of a drawing I still love Timothy Dalton most ;)

BondActors_Illustrations

Anyway, I’m quite looking forward to the Bond 50th Anniversary tribute at the Oscar ceremony this year. Not sure what’s actually going to be featured or whether all of the Bond actors will be there [oh wouldn't that be nice?], but for sure new mama Adele is going to sing the Skyfall theme song! Does this mean Roger Deakins would finally win an Oscar in his 10th nominations? I sure hope so!


Well hope you’ve enjoyed these posters. Which ones do you like best?

Action/Comedy Weekend – The Living Daylights, The IT Crowd & Dredd

MLKdayHappy Martin Luther King Jr Day!

It’s cool that it also happens to be Obama’s second presidential inauguration day. I posted two MLK-related movie posts [here and here] two years in a row to celebrate our hero of the civil rights movement. I don’t know if any of those films are going to be made anytime soon. I certainly hope so, I’d love to see a proper biopic made on Mr. King.

Well, this weekend I didn’t go to the movies, apart from The Last Stand screening I went to last week. Too bad that it bombed, I thought it was a fun action flick. I wasn’t expecting it to win the box office, but at the very least it’d make it to the top 5. In any case, it’s a big weekend for Jessica Chastain with TWO of her movies at number 1 and 2 at the box office. I don’t think I’ll be seeing Mama but nice to see Zero Dark Thirty is still gaining momentum.

Well, it’s been quite an action/comedy-filled week for me. Here’s a breakdown of what I saw:

The Living Daylights (1987)

TLD_DeviantArtFanPoster

[Poster courtesy of DeviantArt – LOVE it!]

I don’t know how many times I’ve seen this movie but I love it more every single time… and Timothy Dalton is the main reason for it. Every time I watch his Bond movie it’s a bittersweet moment as I miss that third outing I wish he had done… I often imagine what it’d be like to have a Skyfall-quality production with him in the role. Oh be still my heart! I’ve already posted a review of this movie a couple of years ago but I plan on doing a proper appreciation post for The Living Daylights to celebrate its Blu-ray Amazon release next month! I’ve already pre-ordered my copy :D
,,,


The IT Crowd (BBC sitcom, 2006-2010)

TheITCrowd

Thanks to all who recommended this sit-com to me when I mentioned Chris O’Dowd on this ‘discovery’ post! O’Dowd, Richard Ayoade and Katherine Parkinson are so hilarious! The show is about a ragtag group of tech support workers who works at the basement at a large corporation. It’s classic, off-the-wall British humor which I love and everyone is just hysterically funny, even the supporting cast: the CEO Denholm (Christopher Morris) and Richmond (Noel Fielding whom I’ve just found out from Novia from the Mighty Boosh show). I’ve watched about six episodes so far on Season 1, so a lot of catching up to do as there are four years worth of stuff to watch. I’ll never get tired of Roy [or his recording] answer the phone with:

Hello, IT. Have you tried turning it off and on again?


Dredd (2012)

DreddPoster

In a violent, futuristic city where the police have the authority to act as judge, jury and executioner, a cop teams with a trainee to take down a gang that deals the reality-altering drug, SLO-MO.

I LOVE Karl Urban but I knew I can’t handle this movie on the big screen, let alone watch in 3D! Seriously, this movie is so gory I’d probably pass out. It’s one of the most violent movies I have ever seen, I think I had my eyes closed a couple dozen times, at least. My hubby actually cued me when the really gruesome stuff was on as he knew it’ll give me nightmares. The movie is only 95 minutes long, though with all that slo-mo [no, I don't mean the drug but the film-making style], it’s probably only an hour long ahah. Boy, but was it intense. Right from the opening sequence when Dredd was tailing a gang of criminals using the banned substance, the action rarely let up.

DreddPics

This is quite a different movie I expected from English director Pete Travis, whose credit include Endgame and BBC miniseries The Jury [which featured one of my favorite Gerry Butler roles]. Dredd is super violent, bloody and gruesome, but yet the style & sfx is quite distinctive. I question whether it’s necessary for it to be so gory though, some of it could’ve been toned down a bit and perhaps still achieve the desired effect. I mean, I get that they’re trying to portray this tarnished, grim dystopian world, but at times the violence seems to have be done as pure shock value.

That said, I thought the script by Alex Garland (28 Days Later, Sunshine) is pretty good, it’s not unnecessarily convoluted, plus the self-satirical humor actually works. Yeah, I wish I could see more of Karl Urban’s gorgeous face, but y’know what, he’s VERY good in this role. He’s able to somehow act with his voice and mouth alone, and partnering him with a rookie psychic Anderson (a blond Olivia Thirlby) is brilliant as it brings a level of humanity to his robot-like persona. Stunning Lena Heady as the drug lord Ma-Ma is even more bad ass than 300‘s Queen Gorgo, sporting a huge scar on her cheek, she looks like a sadistic mutant.

The movie’s definitely not for the squeamish [and I'm one of them], but I’m glad I gave it a shot. It’s a decidedly simple story but the execution [pun intended] hits the bulls eye. I never read the comics but I read some reviews that this pleased die-hard comic fans. Well, it might’ve won over new ones, too!

4 out of 5 reels


Well, that’s my weekend viewings. Did you see anything good?

My Movie Alphabet Blogathon – Actors/Directors Edition

Thanks to Mettel Ray for starting this Movie Alphabet as part of her 400th Blog Post celebration! Her original list consists of movies, directors, actors and actresses, but to switch things up, I’d like to just focus on actors and directors for my list as I’ve done the film version in this Cinematic Alphabet a year ago. So for each letter in the alphabet, I choose to highlight those whose work and performances have become my favorite over the years. I might add honorable mentions later on but it’s taken me much longer than I thought to even just coming up with these, so without further ado, here we go:

A  – Audrey Hepburn

The epitome of beauty and class. I love Audrey ever since my mother brought My Fair Lady from her trip to Europe when I could barely speak any English. She’s such a captivating actress beautiful inside and out, I really admire her charity work outside of her iconic performance in many delightful films.


B – Ben Affleck

I never thought I’d  put Ben Affleck on any of my favorite list, but the only reason I’m putting him here is for his DIRECTING work, especially Gone Baby Gone and ARGO. I think he’s become one of the most talented directors working today.

C – Cate Blanchett

I love this beautiful and massively talented Aussie actress. I haven’t seen her in anything all year so I’m so looking forward to seeing her reprise her role as Galadriel in The Hobbit! I’m also excited to see her in Terrence Malick’s upcoming film Knight of Cups with Christian Bale! I think she might be in two films with Terrence Malick next year.

D – Denzel Washington

I just love how dignified his name sounds and he certainly is a classy actor, not to mention gorgeous. There are some films that don’t appeal to me until he’s cast, and even in so-so movies, Denzel is still great to watch. I think one of his best roles is Philadelphia and American Gangster (I have yet to see Training Day yet).

E – Ewan McGregor

Clearly I have a penchant for Scottish guys, especially the cute ones who can sing ;) I haven’t seen too many of Ewan’s work but I LOVE him in Moulin Rouge and boy, he could’ve easily have a singing career! He also sang in Velvet Goldmine in his earlier days but his role as the romantic poet Christian stole my heart. His duet with Nicole Kidman is just lovely!

F – Frances O’Connor

I just saw this Aussie actress in Lumpy at TCFF screening and was pleasantly surprised to see her in that film. I think she’s so massively underrated, I wish she had gotten more roles in Hollywood. I absolutely love her in Mansfield Park and also in the time travel adventure Timeline.

G – Gerard Butler

Speaking of cute Scots who can sing ;) Well I think it’s obvious who I’d pick for G right, he..he.. Seems like a lot of my crushes’ names start with G… Gregory Peck, Gabriel Byrne… but I think Gerry is the only one I’m most consistent on. It’s been interesting following his career over the years and even though he hasn’t got a hit yet lately, I think he’s a charismatic and talented actor, not to mention versatile! So yeah, I think I’ll be a GB fan for years to come.

H – Harrison Ford

It’s amazing how he almost quit acting after American Grafitti! Can’t imagine a more successful actor with so many lucrative franchises under his belt. I like him in action films, but he also shines in dramas like Regarding Henry. My all time favorite role shall always be Indiana Jones though, I mean, he’s the epitome of effortless machismo.

I – Ian McKellen

I was flabbergasted that Sean Connery turned down a high-paying job playing Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings franchise, but now I can’t imagine anyone else by Sir Ian McKellen in that role. His gravitas and THAT voice that can be both authoritative and soothing makes his performance so iconic. I also love his villainous turn as Magneto in the X-Men films, as well as his super creepy role in Apt Pupil.

J – Judi Dench

One of my three favorite British dames – along with Helen Mirren and Maggie Smith – the 77-year-old thespian has such a strong screen presence and an un-inimitable voice to boot! As I said in my Skyfall review, it’s the best casting decision ever to have her play M. She made the usually forgettable character so much more interesting, no wonder Mendes gave her so much more screen time in the latest Bond flick. I also love her softer side in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

K – Keanu Reeves

I love Keanu… or Chuck as my friend Mark calls him. Yes he’s not the most expressive actors but he’s got quite a screen presence and that certain unique-ness that separate him from the pack. He’s great in action flicks surely (The Matrix, Speed, Constantine, etc.), but I also love him as a romantic lead in A Walk in the Clouds. I just rewatched Point Break recently which was done 21 years ago, and seeing him in the 2012 documentary Side by Side, it’s amazing how this guy practically doesn’t age!

L – Lee Pace

Ok I just realize there are like five Hobbit-related people on this list, ahah, trust me it’s not intentional but clearly Peter Jackson has a keen eye for casting. I’m truly hoping that this highly-anticipated LOTR prequel will launch a few actors’ career, one of them is this super talented Oklahoma native who wowed me in The Fall and also Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day. How this guy is not more famous than Ryan Gosling is beyond me!

M – Michael Mann

For someone as accomplished as Mr Mann, I’m surprised he’s not as prolific. He’s only got ten feature films under his belt, and out of the seven I have seen so far I’ve only been disappointed with this one. I’ve been watching his work as executive producer of the Miami Vice TV show which was one of my favorites growing up. But he’s done at least three that I’d consider a masterpiece: Heat, The Insider and The Last of the Mohicans; whilstthe other three are very, very good.

N – Nicole Kidman

I don’t always seek out every movie she’s in but she’s definitely a darn good actress. It’s quite interesting to see her transformation from a freckled-face redhead to a glamorous porcelain-skinned doll much like her character in The Stepford Wives. I really think she needs to lay off Botox or whatever it is she’s using, as I think she’s already very beautiful. She can be quite fierce if she wants to be, like in To Die For, but one of my favorite roles is the tormented courtesan Satine in Moulin Rouge.

O – Olivia Williams

There are two Olivias I was going to include here, the other one was Olivia de Havilland who played Melanie in Gone With the Wind. But I decided to go with the one I’ve seen more of. I’ve only seen the London native’s work in supporting roles (The Sixth Sense, An Education), but they’re all very good. She was particularly good in a scene-stealing role in The Ghost Writer as the wife of a retired UK Prime Minister. I’m not too fond of the film but she was memorable.

P – Peter Jackson

He hasn’t made many films, but the Lord of the Rings is one of my all time favorite franchise, hence my anticipation for The Hobbit. I’m also one of those who likes King Kong, so I might still give The Lovely Bones a try one of these days despite the dismal reviews. Even when he’s not making films, he’s indirectly contributed to major hits like X-Men: First Class, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Prometheus, etc. through his visual effects company WETA Digital.

Q – Quentin Tarantino

As I’m not a fan of violent movies, I can’t say I’m a huge fan of QT’s films but I can’t deny his talent and brutal honesty for ‘copying’ other filmmakers work whilst still making them his own. Out of the three of his films I’ve seen, I think I like Inglourious Basterds the most. It’s one of those films I never thought I’d enjoy but it was definitely a pleasant surprise despite my nerves being stretched to its snapping point in more than one occasion.

R – Richard Armitage

I think if you’ve read this blog you should notice this tall, dark and handsome Brit gets a lot of mentions. In fact, I dedicated a post when he was cast in The Hobbit as Thorin! I fell for him in the BBC miniseries North & South, but he also wowed me in other series since – The Vicars of Dibley, MI-5 and Strike Back. I sincerely hope this role in The Hobbit will (finally) catapult his career in Hollywood. He’s far too gorgeous and too talented to only be confined in TV world!

S – Sean Connery

Ok, even as a Bond aficionado, I wasn’t exactly planning on putting two Bond actors back-to-back on this list, but hey, why not? Sir Sean was perhaps the most famous Scottish movie star when he was cast as 007 and having seen Dr. No recently, he certainly has the looks and swagger like nobody’s business. The former body builder is more than just a Bond actor though, he’s great in various roles such as The Untouchables, The Hunt of Red October, Just Cause, The Rock, and of course, his scene-stealing role in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade!

T – Timothy Dalton

Here’s another Bond actor who’s sooo much more than his most famous role. In fact, even though he’s my favorite Bond (yes Daniel Craig is a close second), I absolutely adore him in a role that’s as far away as 007 as you can get: Mr. Rochester in BBC’s 1983 Jane Eyre. He’s wonderful in larger-than-life heroic roles like Julius Caesar, but I also love him as a baddie in The Rocketeer and the made-for-TV thriller Framed with David Morrissey. I’ve already covered how criminally underrated he is and how much I’d love to see him in a romantic thriller with the likes of a fellow seasoned Brit Helen Mirren, so I think my feelings for him is clear.

U – Uma Thurman

I haven’t seen Uma in anything lately but I quite like her in some roles. Her Oscar-nominated performance in Pulp Fiction made her a star and a cult classic status. Seems like QT knows how to tailor a role for her as she was memorably bad ass in the Kill Bill movies. She’s going to co-star with Gerry Butler in his upcoming soccer dramedy Playing for Keeps but curiously absent from all the promos for the film as they seem to only feature Catherine Zeta-Jones or Jessica Biel. Does that say something about her current star power??

V – Vanessa Redgrave

Did you know that Vanessa Redgrave was in a relationship with Timothy Dalton for fourteen years? Apparently they met on the set of Mary, Queen of Scots and were both passionate about Shakespeare, natch! I have been seeing her in a few films lately and she’s certainly a force on screen, from her younger years starring in Camelot all the way to her spectacular supporting role in Coriolanus. I love her in Letters for Juliet where she actually co-starred with her current husband Franco Nero.

W – William Wyler

Every time I go through his filmography, I’m always amazed at Mr. Wyler’s varied work. He’s one of those directors who can’t be confined into any genre as he could do tackle any one of them. Three of my favorite films of his are a Biblical epic (Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ), a western (The Big Country) and a romantic comedy (Roman Holiday). I still need to see the war drama Mrs. Miniver, amongst a plethora of his other work.

X – Professor X

Ok, I don’t know of ANY actor/director with this name so I broke the rule a bit and feature one of my favorite characters instead. Professor Charles Xavier of the X-Men franchise was played by two brilliant actor: Patrick Stewart and James McAvoy in the prequel X-Men: First Class. I LOVE both of their performances and the character itself is inherently intriguing and his relationship with his friend-turned-nemesis Magneto is the most compelling part of that franchise.

Y – Yul Brynner

Ok, there are very limited names that starts with Y so I chose Yul Brynner for his iconic performance in The King and I and The Ten Commandments. Apart from those two films I haven’t seen anything else he’s done. The Russian actor (his real name was Yuli Borisovich Bryner) has one of those ‘exotic’ look that made him quite versatile playing all kinds of ethnic characters. He’s also an accomplished photographer and often take pictures of the sets of the various projects he worked on over the years.

Z – Zhang Yimou

I had just become acquainted with his work a few years ago when I saw House of Flying Daggers and was treated to such a visual feast of vivid colors and breathtaking cinematography. His distinct visual style is legendary, which you might have seen in the Jet Li movie Hero or if you saw the 2008 Beijing Olympics Games Opening Ceremony in which he directed. His latest work was Flowers of War which I still need to see one of these days.


Well that’s my Movie Alphabet, folks. Hope you enjoy my list. If you haven’t done one already, I invite you to join in on the fun!

007 Chatter: (Ian) Fleming’s Bond – The James Bond of the original novels compared to the 007 movies Part 2

Welcome to another edition of 007Chatter!
Just because Skyfall has been released in the US now, doesn’t mean we can’t continue talking about Bond. So this is the second part of Marcus’ post where he compared the Ian Fleming’s Novels to the Bond Films. In this post, Marcus takes a closer look at what is going on inside Bond — his relationships to the two important women in his life provide a great contrast to his movie image.

Check out PART I if you haven’t already.

Thanks again to Marcus Clearspring for these two-part posts!
Check out his movie blog Cinesprit and his writing blog.

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My introduction to Bond movies were double features at our small town cinema. Two Bonds on the big screen for half the price of one blockbuster ticket in London. Once I discovered that deal, I was eagerly opening the weekly listings to see when the next double feature was showing. Like most people who were happy with the movies, I wasn’t really aware of the books. Then I discovered several Bond books on the family bookshelves which changed my view of the Bond character completely.

Only five of the movies really follow Fleming’s novels closely. Dr No, From Russia with Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball, and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. All the first movies made, with the exception of You Only Live Twice, which mixes in so much new stuff that it greatly differs from the novel.

The novel would be difficult to adapt to the screen. The first one hundred pages consist largely of Bond and Tiger Tanaka, head of the Japanese Secret Service, talking about cultural differences between British/Western ways and Japanese/Asian perspectives. The final showdown does not take place in a hollowed-out volcano as in the movie. You Only Live Twice is an exception, a very strange novel in many ways. The final showdown is quite literally fantastic. Definitely to be recommended if you are open to a different kind of 007 narrative.

In general, the movies liberally mix and match individual scenes and characters from the novels. The best example is Live and Let Die. The movie has very little to do with the novel except for Bond chasing Mr. Big’s drug ring and visiting Harlem. However, some of the most memorable action scenes from Live and Let Die are mixed into other movies. For example, the scene in For Your Eyes Only with Bond and Melina, the woman  with the crossbow, being dragged as shark bait behind a boat.

Then two scenes in Licence to Kill. The one where Felix Leiter has been fed to sharks and has a classic Fleming line attached to him saying “He disagreed with something that ate him“. The other is when Bond breaks into the warehouse belonging to Crest. The scene is much longer in the novel and has far more suspense. As I said in my first post, its surprising that many action scenes are more engaging in the novels.

I’d like to focus on two topics which generally put Bond’s character in a negative light. His relationship to women and the perception from the movies that he’s merely a blunt instrument, an assassin with no introspection. Both topics are different in the novels.

There is a common perception that Bond is a misogynist and only sees women as “disposable pleasures.” Particularly for the movies of the 1970s that is often true. The phrase, I believe, is from Fleming’s Casino Royale and quoted in the movie. However, in the novels, I would argue that’s only a setup by the author to get Bond more emotionally involved.

It’s like in romantic comedies and dramas. In the beginning, the male or female lead declare to their best friend how they are totally finished with serious relationships because men/women are so awful. We all know that’s a setup, that they will hook up at the end with the person they disliked the most in the beginning. The greater the distance created, the greater they can fall in love later on. I think Fleming does this too. Only, it’s not served as a fluffy romance, so many people don’t seem to recognize it behind the rough and tumble macho disguise. Why else would Fleming have Bond literally call  himself a misogynist, then have him fall in love? Bond gives a simple explanation. It’s because he has never met a woman he could have an interesting conversation with. Surprising insight, if you only know the movies.

Bond only falls in love twice in the novels. That is with Vesper in Casino Royale and Tracy in On her Majesty’s Secret Service. Vesper, the sphinx, is the first woman he can talk to with ease. Tracy, a woman with “issues”, becomes Mrs Bond.

These are some of the most fascinating parts in any of the Bond novels. It’s this very tough character, an assassin, being caring and tender, able to relate to another person. Mixed with action and imminent danger this delivers a great result. It goes far deeper than the stock “hero getting the girl” because Fleming adds so much interior to Bond’s character.

Bond’s introspection is what sets him apart from many other action heroes. He will question what he needs to do and what he has done. He will ponder the moral and ethical sides of his actions, question the service he works for. There is an entire short chapter in Casino Royale, where, while recuperating in the clinic, Bond speaks to Mathis about his job, pondering whether he should quit. He questions whether his actions are any better than those of the villains he hunts. Some interesting thoughts and answers from Mathis which are worth reading and thinking about.

One thing to keep in mind is that the novels were written in the 1950s and obviously do not reflect what’s considered politically correct today (see note below on Live and Let Die). It’s a post World War II era. The onset of the Cold War.

Here’s a brief personal ranking of the novels.

Best:

  • On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
  • From Russia with Love
  • You Only Live Twice
  • Dr No
  • Thunderball
  • Goldfinger

Mediocre:

  • The Man with the Golden Gun
  • Live and Let Die*

* Caution: “Live and Let Die” contains many racial references considered highly offensive today.

Weak:

  • Diamonds are Forever

Special mention:

The Spy Who Loved Me is an exception in the series, written entirely from the perspective of a woman. James Bond only has a short appearance. You can’t really count it as part of the normal Bond novels. It is interesting though and I plan on re-reading it.

There would be lots more to say. I can only encourage anyone interested in Bond, to check out the novels and discover a depth of character not present in any of the movies to date.


So that concludes the two-part post on how the Ian Fleming’s Bond books compare to the Bond movies. 

What are your thoughts on this topic?