Music Break: Top 10 Favorite Bond Songs

10FaveBondSongs

This Music Break is so long overdue! I listen to basically two music genres regularly: classical and soundtrack. And growing up the James Bond soundtrack got a lot of play in my house as my two brothers love ’em too and my penchant for them continue to this day. Over the years I don’t know how many Bond CDs I’ve bought as they keep updating their collections [just like they do with their box-sets, heh]. From the classically-tinged ones to the more contemporary sounds, I love most of the Bond songs from the 23 films, with only a few exceptions (i.e. Die Another Day by Madonna, ugh). This list consist of the Bond songs, not themes by John Barry, David Arnold, etc. So far, my absolute favorite Bond theme is City of Lovers from Casino Royale that I featured a while back.

The other day I was thinking how it’s been ages since I made a Bond-related post. Well, inspired by last Monday’s birthday of the jazz great Louis Armstrong, as well as my pal Michael’s Songs on My iPod series, post #6 specifically, it’s time to reveal my top 10 favorites! I actually made a top 5 back in 2010, but I decided to expand my list to 10. So here goes (in order of release):

1. From Russia with Love (Matt Monro) – From Russia with Love 1963

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2. We Have All the Time in the World (Louis Armstrong) – On Her Majesty’s Secret Service 1969

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3. Moonraker (Shirley Bassey) – Moonraker 1979

4. For Your Eyes Only (Sheena Easton) – For Your Eyes Only 1981

5. All Time High (Rita Coolidge) – Octopussy 1983

6. The Living Daylights (A-Ha) –The Living Daylights 1987

7. Tomorrow Never Dies (Sheryl Crowe) – Tomorrow Never Dies 1997

8. The World Is Not Enough (Garbage) – The World Is Not Enough 1999

9. You Know My Name (Chris Cornell) – Casino Royale (2006)

10. Skyfall (Adele) – Skyfall (2012)


HONORABLE MENTIONS:

  • Goldfinger (Shirley Bassey) – Goldfinger (1964)
  • Nobody Does It Better (Carly Simon) – The Spy Who Loved Me 1977
  • Goldeneye (Tina Turner) – Goldeneye 1995
  • License to Kill (Gladys Knight) – License to Kill 1989

So are you a fan of any of these Bond songs? Which one(s) are YOUR favorite?

Musings on the case of Great trailers, bad films & Bad trailers, great films

TedSaydalavongBanner

Movie trailer is the greatest selling tool in marketing for Hollywood. Heck even tech start-up companies today are using short trailers to sell their product. Case in point, a start-up company I’m involved with just got done with a short intro/trailer about the product, I saw it and I thought it was awesome, well maybe I’m biased since I’m part of the company and I designed the site. Anyhoo, back to movie trailers, they’re meant to get audiences excited and film bloggers, critics and cinephiles everywhere will talk about it for months before the actual film hits theater.

PrometheusHDtrailerThink back to last spring when Fox unleashed the trailer for Prometheus, many people got excited and said it’s going to be the greatest sci-fi film ever and so on. Well when it finally hit theaters, those same people were disappointed and blame Fox for duping them into thinking the film was going to be the greatest thing since sliced bread. Well that’s their goal, to dupe you into theaters and pay to see the film, they don’t care if you like or not, they already got your money. Heck I got duped into seeing two bad films because their trailer looked great, the remake of Total Recall and The Bourne Legacy.

Ruth’s note: Now, just as I was prepping this article, another trailer for Pacific Rim came out. I like Idris Elba but I thought the trailer is terrible, and Ted aptly called it ‘Transformers meets Godzilla’ ahah. We’ll see if this would end up in the ‘Bad trailers, Good Movies’ category.

Once in a while though studios tend to release some not so great trailers but the actual films were quite good. Anyway, here are some good examples of what I’m talking about:

Great trailers, bad films

Mission: Impossible 2

First off I would like to confess that I enjoyed this film but I also have to admit that it’s a lousy film. The trailer made it look like it’s going to be a non-stop thrill ride but most of the action scenes didn’t happen until the last 40 minutes of the movie. I like the concept of IMF team taking on the evil pharmaceutical company and a rouge agent but the love triangle between the hero, villain and heroine just didn’t work and it’s way too cheesy. But I love the motorcycle, cars and helicopter chase near the end and Anthony Hopkins delivered the best line in the film: “It’s not mission difficult Mr. Hunt, it’s mission impossible. Difficult should be a walk in the park for you.”

Star Wars Episode 1: Phantom Menace

Nothing much to say here since most of us have seen the film and we’re pretty much in agreement that the film sucks. But the trailer was pretty great, hearing that famous theme music by John Williams, seeing light sabers and space ships just got everyone excited. Unfortunately the actual film was filled with bad dialogues and wooden acting. But the light sabers battle between Darth Maul, Obi Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn was pretty great.

Fun fact, the trailer played in front of Meet Joe Black and a lot of Star Wars fanatics paid just to see this trailer. I took my then girlfriend to see Meet Joe Black and I remember a few people left the theater after EP1 trailer finished. Just FYI young readers, this was few years before internet trailers became the norm, people would actually paid tickets just to see trailers, I know it’s stupid and I’ve never done it myself but that was the only way to see trailers of big films back then.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

After the awful X-Men: Last Stand, Fox was hoping this film will reboot the franchise in the way that Batman Begins did for Batman. With Hugh Jackman back as Wolverine and a respectable director behind the camera, all of X-Men fans expected greatness. Of course our excitement jumped to new heights when a trailer debuted a few months before its release. The trailer made it look like the film is going to be a gritty take on the popular character, I must’ve watched it like 10 times when it debuted.

Unfortunately when the film finally opens, it was an incoherent mess; there were rumors that Fox didn’t like the dark tone of the film and demanded director (Gavin Hood) to make changes. Whatever happened behind the scenes really destroyed what could have been a great film about Wolverine’s origin.

The World Is Not Enough

The last Bond film of the 20th century looked great and since I’m a Bond fanatic I was stoked to see this film. With the promised of a new great villain and a respected director, many thought this could be an excellent Bond film. Even with the silly casting of Denise Richards as a scientist, I was still convinced this could be a great film and after seeing the trailer, I got super excited.

Well as we all know the actual film was pretty bad, I actually thought the franchise might be over because of this film. Of course I was wrong since it’s a box office hit and it took another awful Bond flick to convince the producers that they need to reboot the franchise.

,,,

Bad trailers, great films

Batman Begins

With the huge success of The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises, most people often forget that the first film in the series was a modest success. In fact, this film’s opening weekend was a measly $47 mil. When Warner Bros. announced they were going to reboot the franchise, I was super excited because Batman is my favorite comic book superhero and I needed to get the bad memory of Batman & Robin out of my mind. With a young and upcoming director Chris Nolan behind the camera and a new Bruce Wayne/Batman, all Batman fans everywhere were super excited.

Unfortunately when the trailer came out, I was very disappointed. I thought it looked clunky and wasn’t well put together. The pacing was a bit off, too much of the plot were revealed and it just didn’t flow well. Compare that to The Dark Knight’s and The Dark Knight Rises’ trailer, Begins’ trailer was quite weak in my opinion.

The Bourne Supremacy

In my opinion this film is the best of the franchise but when I saw the trailer, I thought it looked awful. Just like Batman Begins’ trailer, it wasn’t well-edited, very clunky and sort of gave away too much of the plot. Again fortunately the actual film was great.

Blade Runner

Most trailers of older films tends to give away too much of the story and this one is no different. Seriously this trailer is over 3 minutes long! If I was old enough around the time this film came out, I might’ve skip seeing it in theater. I thought the final cut trailer that came out back in 2007 was much better, see them for yourself.

Original trailer


Final cut trailer

– Post by Ted S.


So those are some examples and I know there are tons of other great trailers, bad films and bad trailers, good films out there. Feel free to share your own list of trailers in the comments section.

Top 5 WORST James Bond Films Ever Made

In light of news for the upcoming James Bond film titled Skyfall, I’m teaming up with my pal Ted S. to list five WORST James Bond films ever made.

Ok so the likelihood of Oscar winner Sam Mendes’ Bond film would end up on this list is pretty slim. For sure this one is off to a flying start with the most award-winning Bond cast ever — Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes, Albert Finney & Ben Wishaw joining Daniel Craig on his third outing as 007.

Craig with new Bond girls Bernice Marlohe & Naomi Harris

Ted: I think most film lovers have seen some or maybe all of the James Bond films; even if you’re not into them, I’m quite sure you’ve seen one or two Bond films in your lifetime. As for me, I considered myself a Bond fanatic, I mean come on now, the dude looks good, gets to sleep with beautiful women, drives a super expensive car, blow a lot of stuff up and save the world from the bad guys. It’s a fantasy for every male out there, okay maybe some would rather be Batman or Superman but I digress.

I’ve seen all of the Bond films and read most of the books, so I guess I’m qualified to give MY list of the worst Bond films ever produced. Just remember films are subjective, so don’t get mad at me if I included your favorite Bond films on my worst list.

Ruth: James Bond is huge in my household growing up. I used to watch the older Sean Connery Bond movies with my brothers who were both 5 years older than me, but the Bond I grew up with were Roger Moore & Timothy Dalton. I think Bond movies are the quintessential escapist entertainment — cool actions, exotic locales and our suave hero hardly ever gets hurt. But out of 22 Bond films, there are definitely quite a few duds.

Ted gave me this list a few months back and guess what, apparently we share a similar taste when it comes to Bond movies as I also regard these as my least favorite. We differ on one that I include on the honorable mention though, but let’s get to the top five first:

1. Never Say Never Again

Ted: There are several reasons why I think this is the worst Bond film ever. First off, this one wasn’t considered part of the Bond franchise since it was produced by Warner Bros. (MGM bought the rights a few years ago but it’s still considered the black sheep of the franchise) and also it was a remake of a much superior Bond film, Thunderball. Yes, it starred Sean Connery but he was in his late 50s around this time and when you paired him with the young Bond girl, Kim Basinger, it was kind of creepy.

The villain was pretty weak, in fact I thought the actor who played the villain was very dorky looking and every time he appeared on screen, I started laughing. Then there’s the action or should I say what action? There were two major action sequences in the whole film and they were badly directed by Irwin Kirchner, this is the same man who directed The Empire Strikes Back; not sure what happened there. In an interview, Kirchner said he didn’t want to direct those action scenes, so I guess that’s why there were so badly shot. And lastly, the film was just plain boring.

Ruth: An elderly, balding Bond just ruins the image of the super spy. You know the phrase, quit when you are ahead? Well, Connery definitely overstayed his welcome with this one.

2. A View To A Kill

Ted: You know the film isn’t any good when you have Christopher Walken is playing the villain and yet he’s boring as heck. Also, Roger Moore wasn’t such a young man anymore; he looked bored and probably wanted to be anywhere else but on the set of this film. Oh yeah, Grace Jones was probably the most scary Bond girl/henchwoman ever and not scary in the good way.

Ruth: Grace Jones aside, this movie also had one of the worst Bond girls ever. I realize some Bond girls are merely serve as ‘damsel in distress’ but Tanya Roberts took it way too literally. She came across ditzy and whiny, I mean saying the word ‘Oh James’ multiple different ways doesn’t exactly count as acting!

3. Diamonds Are Forever

Ted: So Connery was basically begged to come back and play Bond again since On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was a box office disappointment. They even paid him a then record $1.2 mil to reprise his most famous role. This was the film that kicked off the comedic tone in the Bond films throughout the 70s and 80s, the dark ending of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service made the studio very nervous so they asked the filmmakers to tone done the seriousness of the film. I think this film has probably the worst Bond girl ever, Jill St. John’s character was badly-written and she didn’t really do much in the film besides showing off her body. But what I do I know; the film was a huge success.

Ruth: I think I must’ve dozed off when I saw this one with my brothers but there was hardly anything memorable in this film. I think the only worthy thing about this one is the theme song sang by the inimitable Shirley Bassey.

4. You Only Live Twice

Ted: This film does have some cool action scenes but when Connery put on fake slant eyes so he could he disguise himself as a Japanese man, it was the low point in the Bond franchise. But this was back in the late 60s so I guess I can forgive the filmmakers for coming up with such an offensive idea.

The concept for the film was decent, but the execution just wasn’t there. The directing was sloppy and the editing was even worse. Another thing that surprised me was how bad the film looked, I mean this was a big-budgeted film for its time and it looked pretty ugly. The other Bond films in that same decade looked spectacular, maybe the director and cinematographer wanted to give the film a new look but in my opinion they failed.


Ruth: I don’t think I have anything else to add. Having a 6’2″, ultra-tanned, hairy Scot pretending to be an Oriental man is more than enough reason to include this on the worst list. I mean, seriously, it doesn’t get any more absurd than this, I don’t care what era it’s set in, there’s just no excuse for it. Oh and the villain Spectre was basically laughable, no doubt this is where Austin Powers got most of its inspiration from for Dr. Evil.

5. The World Is Not Enough

Ted: Denise Richards played a scientist. Again, Denise Richards played a scientist in this movie. The very same Denise Richards who was married to Charlie Sheen and she played a scientist! I guess I made my point, but Denise was not the only problem in this movie. The plot was lame and Brosnan look bored in the entire film. Michael Apted was not known for doing action films and it showed because most of the set pieces were so boring. The only best action scene in the whole film was the boat chase in the beginning. One critic said it best when she reviewed the movie, “The spy who bored me.” I totally agree.

Ruth: If casting could kill. Never in the history of a Bond film has there been a casting decision as ludicrous as this one. Not only did this one boast the most idiotic Bond girl name ever conceived — Dr. Christmas Jones (as if adding Doctor in front of it would make it better??) — there are lines like this, “I thought Christmas only comes once a year.” I rest my case.

Honorable mentions:

  • The Man with the Golden Gun
    Ted: The film almost destroyed the franchise because it tanked at the box office so bad that United Artists considered pulling the plug any future Bond projects. But when they looked at the world wide box office numbers, they decided to keep going with it. The film only earned around $20mil here in the states.
  • Die Another Day
    Ted: The film that ended Pierce Brosnan’s run as Bond. I actually enjoyed the first half of this one but wow, the rest of the film was awful. Bond surfing in the beginning then later he surfed again? It was bad.
  • Moonraker
    Ted: I believe the tagline for this film was, ‘James Bond in space.’ I guess most of the big budgeted films around this time were trying to cash in on the Star Wars craze and so why not send Bond into space right? I think out of all of Roger Moore’s Bond films, this one ranks as the most ridiculous one in my opinion. I didn’t include it on my top 5 worst list is because I enjoyed most of the film, while I hated everything about A View to a Kill.

  • Live and Let Die
    Ted: Roger Moore’s first outing as Bond was a pretty weird movie, the film hardly had any action in it and the villain again was quite weak. The reason I didn’t include it on my top 5 list was because Jane Seymour was so gorgeous in this one, she’s one of my favorite Bond girls.
  • Quantum of Solace
    Ruth: Now this is my pick as Ted quite like this one. I really, really want to like this film and yes I did have a high expectations considering how fantastic Casino Royale was. But really there was just too much fighting in this film and the action sequences were too choppy and too brutal for what I expect a Bond film to be. Dominic Greene may be a good actor but he just makes a dull and lackluster villain. Add the overly-serious Olga Kurylenko who’s all business and no fun, it is the audience who is in need of a bit of solace as we’re ripped off some good escapist fun at the movies.


So what do you think of our list? Share your thoughts and name your own picks of worst Bond flicks in the comments!