Five for the Fifth: Special James Bond Edition

FiveForFifth_Bond

Welcome to FlixChatter’s primary blog series! As is customary for this monthly feature, I get to post five random news item/observation/poster, etc. and then turn it over to you to share your take on that given topic. You can see the previous five-for-the-fifth posts here.

Well, since SPECTRE is released this weekend here in the US, I’m dedicating this month’s edition to be ALL THINGS James Bond!

007chatter1. As I grew up watching Bond movies, I have a special fondness for the franchise. Even though I haven’t always loved all the movies, I always look forward to seeing a new one whenever it comes along. If you’ve read my blog long enough, surely you’ve noticed that this is a pretty frequent topic here, I even have a special category for it… 007 Chatter.

My twin brothers and I would watch Bond movies on VHS (yes I’m that old) over and over, and we’d always watch ’em when they’re on TV.  I actually don’t remember which Bond film I saw for the very first time, I just know it was a Roger Moore film.  Now, he’s not my favorite Bond (some loyal readers know it’s THIS guy), but I always have a fondness for some of his movies, especially For Your Eyes Only.

So tell me, how did you first discover the Bond franchise?

2. One of the things I LOVE about the franchise is that it’s pure escapist entertainment. Yes, we’ve got the guns, gadgets and girls, but for me, it’s location, location, location. You can always count on Bond movies to be shot on location in the most exotic places in the world.

There are SO many places in Bond movies I’d love to visit, but you’d have to be a billionaire to have THAT kind of bucket list. So I were to pick only six Bond locations to travel to in my lifetime, I’d choose these from each of the six Bond actor’s film:

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So what’s your favorite Bond film setting?

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3.  As the saying goes, “a hero is only as good as their villain”. It’s true for most great stories, but it’s extremely crucial when it comes to the Bond franchise. The worst Bond movies is often as a result of a weak villain, whether it’s in the writing or in the casting, but I think the latter plays an even crucial role.

The topic of Bond villains have been covered several times here. We’ve talked about the best and worst villains, as well as who I’d like to see as a Bond villain a while back. In regards to that last one, I still stand by these choices as none of them have ever been cast yet (what a shame!)

BondBaddies
L-R: Alan Rickman, Gary Oldman, Cate Blanchett, Clive Owen and Timothy Dalton

Oh man, it’d be a dream to see Timothy Dalton be cast as the next Bond villain. I mean he’s contracted to do three Bond films before the MGM legal woes basically caused Dalton to walk out, so casting him as a Bond villain would just be the perfect *atonement.* If you’ve seen him in Showtime’s Penny Dreadful, you’ll see he’s still got the chops, not to mention he still looks pretty damn good in his 70s! If only Penny Dreadful‘s creator John Logan, who’s also one of the writers of Skyfall and Spectre would agree with me, he could pitch that to the Broccolis! 🙂

Which actors/actresses are on your wish list as a Bond villain?


4.
I’m not going to talk about who should replace Daniel Craig as Bond at this point. There’s just been way too much talk on that topic and Craig is supposedly under contract for at least another Bond movie anyway. I already talked about who I think would be great to play 007, but what I haven’t ever really discussed is Craig himself… apart from his role as Bond.

DanielCraig

I’ve only seen Craig in a handful of non-Bond roles, the first one being Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. Yep, he was Lara’s um, boy toy before Gerard Butler got the *honor* in the sequel. I haven’t seen any of the Dragon Tattoo movies nor Layer Cake, but I did see him in supporting roles in The Road to Perdition and Munich. That’s about it. So I really don’t know how good an actor he is apart from the Bond films, which doesn’t exactly show his range.

I’m curious, what’s your favorite Daniel Craig role apart from 007? 

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5. 
This month’s Five for the Fifth’s guest is a longtime friend and fellow Bond fan Dan from Top 10 Films site! Dan’s posted a myriad of Bond-related top 10s, including top 10 Bond gadgets from contributor Rodney aka Fernby Films, so it’s no surprise that his question would be gadget-related. Check out this awesome infographic on this very topic!

NELRKo3dovVxPN_1_1

So what’s your favorite James Bond gadgets? Is there a memorable moment(s) when Bond uses one of his gadgets to get out of a sticky situation?


Well, that’s it for the James Bond edition of Five for the Fifth. Now, please pick a question out of the five above or better yet, do ‘em all!

Everybody’s Chattin’… RIP Richard Kiel (aka 007’s best henchman Jaws)

EverybodysChattin

I have New York City on my mind today as my hubby and I are flying there tomorrow for a few days. I’ll be taking a few days off blogging as well… but hey no fret, you have my fellow bloggers to keep you company [as if you aren’t reading each other’s posts already, ahah].

So here are some awesome posts my friends have put up this past week:

Margaret (aka Lady Sati) kept up with her Fincher series with another highlights from his films, this time it’s a memorable scene from The Social Network.

Kristin took part in the Flick Chicks’ Guilty Pleasure Blogathon, check out which five movies made her list.

SpectresCatWho doesn’t love cats… on screen or otherwise. Well Nick picked six best movie cats (but where’s Puss the Boots??) 

As for Telly Chattin’, Melissa posted her August TV Favorites, Zoë reviewed Netflix series House of Cards Season 1, whilst Getter (aka Mettel Ray) set her sights on What’s New this Fall.

Michael continued his awesome TMT series with Marnie, a Hitchcock movie I’ve been wanting to watch for some time, whilst Cindy highlights her favorite stop-motion animated movies.

We can always count on Mikey to bring us the most important news updates. He took to the streets of Glasgow to chat with some movie geeks about what they think of the whole Scottish Independent issue. 

Notable Reviews, mostly of films I haven’t seen yet:

CalvaryImageNostra reviewed Zero Theorem, Steven reviewed A Love Song for Bobby Long, Irene reviewed Blue Ruin. Rodney reviewed Draft Day, and Mark reviewed another Brendan Gleeson film I’m looking forward to seeing, Calvary.Meanwhile, Wendell reviewed a recent remake which I have seen and actually quite enjoyed, Robocop.

As for mini reviews, Fernando reviewed Chef & The Maze Runner, and Tim reviewed a couple Japanese animated movies.


RIP Richard Kiel

I just found out last night as I wrote this post that a character I grew up with just died. Richard Kiel died on Wednesday at the age of 74.

RichardKielJaws

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Mr Kiel w/ fellow Bond villains: Christopher Lee, Rick Yune & Toby Stephens!

I remember growing up watching Roger Moore’s Bond movies, I was quite afraid as well as amused by the steel-toothed henchman. I don’t know much about his personal life but reading his articles about him, sounds like he’s a gentle giant whose smile was always as big as his stature. I also remember him in Happy Gilmore, it was such a hoot when he showed up and of course Mr. Kiel was always a scene stealer.

As a mini tribute to the late Michigan-born actor, here are three memorable scenes of him as Jaws, the ultimate & best Bond henchman ever.

 


Hope you all have a wonderful weekend! See you sometime next week!

007 Chatter: Musings on Bond Villains and Top 7 Picks

It’s the last day of the Bond month, the 50 year anniversary of the first Bond film, Dr. No, which opened in the UK on on October 5, 1962. These 007 posts are also part of the Skyfall countdown which will open on November 9 here in the US! As I don’t cover the horror genre on this blog, I figure it’d be fitting to do a post on those wicked Bond villains on Halloween.

Special thanks to Raul Marin of The Movi3 Lounge for this guest post!
Three of his picks actually match my own top five I posted two years ago 😀


Just as the day turns to night, the month celebrating the 50th anniversary of the James Bond franchise comes to a sudden end. However, this is only the beginning of more to come! There is another film to look forward to in a few days, as Daniel Craig will once again play the iconic role in Skyfall.

As we all anticipate this next film with great excitement, I invite you to think about the villains that we have seen in the franchise over last 50 years. There are six men who have had the pleasure of playing this amazing role. They have dazzled us with their strength, charm, and bravery to save the world against impossible odds. Before we can appreciate the amazing acts of this extraordinary British agent, we have to recognize the worthy adversaries he has encountered before saving the world. Before you can have a hero, you need a villain that can challenge him or her to overcome adversity. After winning many battles, you become a hero with your good deeds and amazing courage. When life is on the line, there has been no one better than James Bond to save humanity from chaos and destruction. The beauty of this franchise has been that someone with the talent and abilities of Bond has been needed to bring down the most dangerous and criminal-minded villains on the planet.

The role of villains in this franchise is something special. To put this in a better perspective, Bond has what it takes to be a devastating villain in any film. He is a strong, determined, and fearless agent that will do what it takes to save the world. The villains on the other hand, use their abilities and resources to establish world order and domination under their control. They also share the same characteristics as Bond. Which brings up a great point: it is not about the strengths and abilities that you have; it is about what you choose to do with them. Since we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of this incredible franchise, it is only fitting to recognize the seven best Bond villains. Of course, there have been many villains throughout these 23 films, but there are seven in particular, who went beyond the expectations of a great villain.

There’s even a book dedicated to the evil masterminds of the Bond franchise

It is not enough to simply have the role of a villain in a film; it is something that should be earned in the eyes of the director and the audience. What makes these seven villains stand out more than the rest are a couple of characteristics; mainly the possession of power. In their respective films, there is no question of the power, influence, and authority that they have over the people that work for them, and the fear they have caused in the world because of that. Another characteristic that they all share is style. This can be interpreted in a lot of ways, but the reality is, they each demonstrate their personalities with great charisma, elegance, and even a sense of humor. Above all, they each demonstrate a relentless, diabolical, and cold-hearted hunger for killing Bond, and destroying whatever gets in the way of their dreams.

Many, if not all, villains in this franchise have had evil henchmen whose jobs are to make killing Bond easier them. They may not be complete villains, but if you still cringe at their presence on screen, they have done their job well. Jaws and Oddjob did the best jobs of that in my humble opinion. Soon, Javier Bardem will add himself to the list of actors that have graced fans everywhere with their on screen presence as a villain in Skyfall. It may be too early to say that he belongs among the best, but there is certainly great excitement and expectation for him to be among the ranks of the most evil men that Bond has had to face.

It is with great pleasure that I list my top seven Bond villains:


Dr. Julius No (Dr. No) – played by Joseph Wiseman

Hugo Drax (Moonraker) – played by Michael Lonsdale



Frank Sanchez (Licence to Kill) – played by Robert Davi



Aris Kristatos (For Your Eyes Only) – played by Julian Glover



Le Chiffre (Casino Royale) – played by Mads Mikkelsen



Emilio Largo (Thunderball) – played by Adolfo Celi



Red Grant (From Russia With Love) – played by Robert Shaw




Special Recognition:

  • Jaws – Moonraker, The Spy Who Loved Me
  • Oddjob – Goldfinger


Now your turn! Who are YOUR picks of top Bond villains?

007 Chatter: Our picks of six worst Bond villains

In anticipation for Bond 23, a.k.a. Skyfall (view trailer) coming on November 9th, 2012, Ted and I are starting a new monthly series called 007 CHATTER… look for it sometime in the first week of each month.

I’ve also added a new category for this, so click on 007 Chatter on the category drop-down menu for all Bond-related posts.

Ted’s Picks

In my opinion there has never been a great villain in a Bond film, there were some decent ones but I’m still waiting for the Hans Gruber or The Joker type of villain to appear in a Bond flick. With the upcoming Skyfall, I do hope Javier Bardem can pull off a great villain that I’ve been craving in a Bond film since well forever.

That being said, there were so many bad Bond villains throughout the franchise, below are my top three worst Bond baddies and henchmen/women.

Max Zorin and May Day from A View to a Kill

This was a tragedy, how could you have Christopher Walken playing a villain in a Bond flick and yet his role was so badly-written? I mean come on, it’s Christopher Walken, he could’ve been the best Bond villain ever had the writers came up with a better concept for his character. Instead what they came up with was to have him play a mad industrialist who’s trying to monopolize the tech world by destroying Silicon Valley, really? I think Steve Jobs has done a better job of that and he didn’t even have to kill millions of people to accomplish it. Then they decided to include a henchwoman played by Grace Jones; she’s one scary woman and not in a good way. I’ll leave it at that.

Maximilian Largo and Fatima Blush from Never Say Never Again

There were so many things wrong with this remake of my favorite Bond film, Thunderball. First, Sean Connery was way too old to play Bond, it was creepy watching him romances the very young Kim Basinger. Then somehow they decided not to make the movie exciting, seriously try watching this flick and not fall asleep. In an interview, Irvin Kershner (yes the same director who made The Empire Strikes Back) said he didn’t want to include too many action scenes in the movie but was forced by the studio to shoot a couple of additional of action set pieces. If you saw the movie then you know how lackluster those sequences looked on the screen, Kershner flatly admitted that he just didn’t care for those scenes and decided not to put much effort into directing them. Well Mr. Kershner you accomplished your mission.

But the worse offense to me was the casting or should I say miscasting of the main villain. In the original film, Largo wasn’t a great villain but the actor who played him did a decent job with it. In this remake, Klaus Brandauer was cast as Largo and he might be the least intimating Bond villain ever. I remember the first time I saw this film, when his character appeared on screen, I tried hard not to laugh because he’s such a dorky looking person that I thought, really he’s supposed to be Bond’s main antagonist? Now I thought the casting of Barbara Carrera as the henchwoman Fatima was a good idea but he character was so boring that she didn’t add much to the story, she’s no Xenia Onatopp. To be fair though, the character from the original film wasn’t that strong either.

Dominic Greene and Elvis from Quantum of Solace

I’m one of the few people who enjoyed this film but again they totally miscast the main villain. Mathieu Amalric played the CEO of the mysterious Quantum organization and he was just wrong for this role. He’s not a bad actor by any means but for a Bond villain, I wanted to see someone who’s intimating and can actually kick Bond’s ass. Now I understand that most CEO of big companies look more like Mathieu Amalric, for example Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates came to mind. But in a film world, I want to see a bigger than life person not some dorky looking dude.

To add insult to injury, the filmmakers thought hey why not include a henchman who looks like pedophile and not have him doing anything except looking creepy throughout the movie. The role of Elvis was played by Anatole Taubman, I had to look it up on imdb to make sure since his name was never utter in the film. Of all the henchmen in the Bond franchise, he’s probably the least intimating of the bunch.

HONORABLE MENTION:

Mr. Big/Kananga from Live and Let Die


Ruth’s Picks

Now, my picks are focused on the main villain. They’re agonizingly-bad enough on their own without the *help* of a henchman.

Brad Whitaker in The Living Daylights

I was watching The Living Daylights the day I wrote this. I like this movie, mind you, but man, what the heck was the casting manager thinking casting Joe Don Baker as the shady arms dealer. Up until then, I actually quite like the double-crossing General Koskov (Jeroen Krabbé) and Pushkin is played by the always-watchable John Rhys-Davies. But Whitaker is just sooo cheesy, I mean, even Art Malik as the as the Afghan Mujahideen leader is a thousand times cooler than this guy. The moment he appears I swear this movie just stoop down a few notches to become a barely B-movie action flick!

Such a shame considering how classy Timothy Dalton is as Bond. Even his death being pinned under a giant Wellington statue is rather lame, though his personal war museum of himself dressed up as historical military leaders like Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, even Attila the Hun is preposterous fun.

Elliot Carver in Tomorrow Never Dies

I think the idea of a media mogul as a Bond villain is quite clever and timely for the beginning of the 21st century, now if only they cast someone remotely interesting. Johnathan Pryce had zero charisma and his overacting didn’t help matters. I find it hard to believe him in the role of a headlines-obsessed, power-hungry megalomaniac.

I find him to be a weak villain in every sense of the word, he never even fight Bond or anyone in a hand-to-hand combat, and he manages to mock Michelle Yeoh’s Wai Lin’s Kung Fu moves. I mean she’s a skilled Chinese spy, I kept wishing she’d just break his neck in one swift kick!! When Bond finally offed him with his own sea drill (ouch!), it wasn’t a moment too soon.

Renard in The World in Not Enough

Now, unlike the two I mentioned above, Renard is actually played by a capable actor, Robert Carlyle. So it’s a pity that he’s written up to be such a feeble character. It had so much potential, I mean the guy has a friggin’ bullet in his brain which makes him immune to pain as it destroys his senses. You’d think he’d be this cool, bad-ass baddie, but he barely has any screen time and ends up playing second fiddle to his lover Elektra.

Now, I actually like French actress Sophie Marceau in the role of an oil heiress who falls for the man who abducts her. Interesting story if it had been explored a bit better, but the whole two-villains idea falls flat here. Poor Carlyle, not only does he have to put up with having this constipated look throughout the movie, he also has to put up with Denise Richards playing a nuclear scientist!!

HONORABLE MENTION:

Nick Nack (Hervé Villechaize) in The Man With the Golden Gun

Gustav Graves (Toby Stephens) in Die Another Day


Now that you’ve read our pick of the worst Bond villains, check out my wish-list of actors I’d like to see as 007’s nemesis.



Well, those are our choices, folks. Now, who’s YOUR pick of the worst Bond villain ever, let us know in the comments.

Question of the Week: Which actor(s) would you like to see as Bond villain?

It’s been fun reading all the Bond posts spearheaded by ParagraphFilmReviews’ James Bond January event. A few of my blog friends Marc, Ross and Darren are participating… props to all of ’em for saying nice things about my favorite Bond 😀 But it’s this particular post that inspire me to write this post… “Sean Bean should be the bad guy in every Bond film,” Ross McG brilliantly quipped, and y’know what, I can’t exactly disagree w/ that idea. But of course we can’t have that, and I’ve always despised films that somehow bring back dead characters in some absurd dream sequence or something of the sort.

Sean Bean as Alec Trevelyan in Goldenye

Anyways, what we already know so far with Bond 23 is that it’s finally back on track again with Sam Mendes directing. Daniel Craig will be back, as well as Judi Dench as M. Yay! (I love that the best MI-6 director is a woman). Even though I grew up watching the larger-than-life villains in various Bond films, I kind of want a more ‘realistic’ villain that’s less of a caricature like say Carl Stromberg or Hugo Drax (though I’m contradicting myself as I quite like the latter as I mentioned here). I’m thinking those more in the vein of Sean Bean‘s Alec Trevelyan in Goldeneye and maybe even Robert Davi in Licence to Kill, essentially someone whom I can picture Bond actually being friendly with in another life, y’know. I’d also like to think that with an acclaimed Oscar-winning director like Mendes at the helm, why not get a real thespian to portray a more complex and intellectual baddie, but without taking the fun out of a Bond flick of course (yeah I know, aren’t I picky).

Anyhoo, here are just a few names that came to mind as I’m writing this post:

  • Alan Rickman
    Though I love Rickman in his good guy–even romantic–roles as much as the villainous ones, let’s face it, he’s such a bonafide, reliable baddie. Plus he can imbue sophistication and elegance into any role, always a nice criteria in a Bond villain IMO. I know he probably won’t go into iconic-villain territory after his classic turn as Hans Grubber in Die Hard, but oh, wouldn’t it be nice?
  • Gary Oldman
    Here’s an actor who can play practically anything believably, the ultimate chameleon. I wholeheartedly agree with this astute commenter on the post about Oldman … “He’s a brilliant actor who makes every role his own and has managed to avoid being pigeonholed by Hollywood. Yeah he often plays baddies/heavies, but he never plays a certain TYPE of bad guy, he brings something new to the table every time.” Exactly. He could be a figure that Bond looks up to, who in the end turns out to be the one who betrays him.
  • Clive Owen
    I said in Ross’ post that why not cast a villain that’s just as smooth and cool as 007 himself? With all the casting rumor and Clive being in a bunch of people’s wish list for the role (including mine), it’d be such a treat to see him on the opposite side, going toe to toe as Bond’s arch nemesis. With a shrewd script, it could be the best Bond ever. With a villain like this, it’d be tough to root for the hero!
  • Cate Blanchett
    There’s barely a memorable woman villain in a Bond flick (Elektra King is close, but not quite), but with Blanchett I think she can do the job and maybe even warrant an Oscar nomination, ha! She’d be reunited with Judi Dench, who’s her co-star in Notes of a Scandal, and maybe her character is has a connection with M somehow which creates a rift between her and Bond.

    And last but not least, my ultimate dream Bond villain:
  • Timothy Dalton
    Andy @ Fandango Groovers once had this splendid idea of casting Dalton as an older, retired Bond. Now, the chance of that dream coming true is unfortunately zilch to none. Not that this one has even a slightly bigger chance of happening either, but think about it, it really would be awesome, wouldn’t it?

    In the comment section the post, Ross lamented “… 20 odd films, and in not one of them is the audience at any stage worried about the fate of the lead character…” Well, I always thought Dalton’s Bond got that sense of danger and ruthlessness that makes us believe he’s capable of killing in cold blood. With the right direction and script, perhaps we could at least add more tension and suspense in the Bond/baddie dynamic and actually believe at least for a moment the seemingly-indestructible super spy is in serious peril.

Well, feel free to add to the list, or supply your thoughts about any of my picks.