Wednesday, August 26, 2015

James Bond: Each Actors Series Ranked

There have been seven different actors who played James Bond and each of their films feel like their own mini-franchises, each with their own distinct feel, style, tone and charm. Rather than rank all seven Bond actors based on their performances, I’m ranking them on their individual film collections, and they’ll be ordered from least favorite to my personal favorite James Bond Series. 

(7) David Niven – 1 Bond Film - Casino Royal (1967)

Pore David Niven, it’s bad enough that he only stared in one single Bond film, but that specific Bond film has the distinct reputation for being the absolute worst of the whole series, and for good reason. While all the names and characters were the same, his 1967 movie titled “Casino Royal” played out like an overly frantic and overly silly comedy with a noticeable lack of any real laughs.  

(6) George Lazenby - 1 Bond Film - On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)

Of all the actors to play James Bond, George Lazenby was always my least favorite, he just didn’t look the part, and lacked the charm of his predecessor. It’s no wonder he only had one Bond outing, but to be fair his 1969 film titled “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” was a respectable entry in the Bond cannon. Not much to say here, it was a one film series, and didn’t leave that much of an impact on me as a 007 fan.  

(5) Sean Connery – 7 Bond Films - Dr. No (1962), From Russia with Love (1963), Goldfinger (1964), Thunderball (1965), You Only Live Twice (1967), Diamonds Are Forever (1971) & Never Say Never Again (1983)

What’s this, Sean Connery’s classic Bond series ranks at number 5 on my countdown, how’s that possible, especially when he’s widely regarded as the best actor of the series, and has had the most respected entries in the whole franchise? Well, to be perfectly honest, there are only 3 Sean Connery Bond films that I really like, while the others just feel tired and dated. Sure, Sean Connery is awesome in the role of 007 but his films have only come off as okay good when compared to the other Bond films, at least for me.

(4) Roger Moore - 7 Bond Films - Live and Let Die (1973), The Man with the Golden Gun (1974), The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), Moonraker (1979), For Your Eyes Only (1981), Octopussy (1983) & A View to a Kill (1985) 

To be perfectly honest, I was first introduced to James Bond through Roger Moore’s film series, so they have come off stronger with more nostalgia value and re-watch-ability. Most of my favorite Bond movies come from the Roger Moore films, including “The Spy Who Loved Me”, which is my favorite of the whole series. 

(3) Timothy Dalton - 2 Bond Films - The Living Daylights (1987) & Licence to Kill (1988)

He may have stared in only two Bond movies, but in my opinion Timothy Daltons film series marks some of the sharpest and slickest films 007 has to offer. His films are a little darker but with just enough of the same charm and wit that made the originals so fun. Timothy Dalton himself is also a very underappreciated Bond actor in my opinion, personally I think he’s one of the best actors of the whole series. 

(2) Daniel Craig - 4 Bond Films - Casino Royale (2006), Quantum of Solace (2008), Skyfall (2012) & Spectre (2015)

Timothy Dalton started the notion of darker Bond films, but it was Daniel Craig who perfected the craft, making Bond come off more like a complex anti-hero, with more realistic storytelling, less over the top gadgets, and some thrilling action scenes. His film series came very close to being my favorite, but the only thing missing is the overall fun factor of the previous films. 

(1) Pierce Brosnan - 4 Bond Films - GoldenEye (1995), Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), The World is Not Enough (1999) & Die Another Day (2002)

I know the Pierce Brosnan films weren’t the most critically successful, but personally I think his films are the best of James Bond. There fun, there over the top, there action packed, their stuffed with gadgets, catchy theme songs, and lots of eye candy. While Pierce Brosnan isn’t my favorite actor to play Bond, I think he looks the part more than anyone else, and his series is always what comes to mind first when I think of James Bond.

The End  

Monday, August 24, 2015

My Top 10 Favorite Bond Villains

Like any classic Hollywood hero, James Bond has a classic adversary, actually a whole gallery of classic adversaries, from the midgets, to the mad men, here are my personal top 10 favorite Bond villains.

10. Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd from “Diamonds are Forever

I really couldn’t care less about two gay hetman and their barrage of silly buns, however these two are so recognizable that they’ve been parodied in the media and recreated on multiple TV programs, and it’s kind of hard to forget them.  

9. May Day from “A View to a Kill

A ferocious, super strong henchwoman serving under a villain played by Christopher Waken, what’s not to like. She pretty much steals the show with a menacing scowl, and a last minute reformation that leads to a nodal sacrifice.  

8. Mr. Tee from “Live and Let Die

Any villain should be considered armed and dangerous, but for this guy it’s quiet literal. If his size and wicked smile didn’t scare you, the metal claw for a hand certainly will.  

7. Zao from “Die Another Day

An Asian assassin with a scared face all smothered in diamonds, that’s awesome. Oh, and he’s not the typical comedic relief villain either, he's about as threatening and lethal as they get.

6. Xenia Onatopp from “GoldenEye

Before she terrorized the X-Men as the Dark Phoenix, Famke Janssen was a Russian assassin with a tight grip. Onatopp has sense become one of the most famous female villains in the 007 roster, and personally, I couldn’t agree more because she’s every bit as breath taking as she is ... well, breath taking. 

5. Oddjob from “Goldfinger

So, I’ve mostly comprised this list with the supporting villains, but they always seem to be the most fun anyway. For example, take this Asian assassin armed with a super sharp boomerang hat that can cut through statues and fists that can brake gulf balls, he’s every bit as awesome as he is iconic.  

4. Jaws from “The Spy Who Loved Me” & “Moonraker

He’s probably the most famous supporting villain in the whole series, thanks to his formidable size, refusal to die and of course his big mouth full of supper sharp, supper strong metal teeth.

3. Blofeld AKA Specter from “You Only Live Twice”, “Diamonds are Forever” and various other Bond Films

No other villain has been a pain in 007's side like the evil Specter, the mysterious cat stroking mastermind behind several diabolical plots. He is the biggest, most frequent reoccurring villain in the franchise and the one who always gets away to do more evil another day.  

2. Scaramanga from “The Man with the Golden Gun

A Bond villain played by Christopher Lee, need I say anymore. It’s the late great Christopher Lee, and he’s never been more awesome then as this third nippled assassin with a Golden Gun, and he pretty much steals the whole show, even from James Bond himself. Oh, and he’s also got that unforgettable little midget who would be the inspiration for Mini Me of Austin Powers fame.

1. Goldfinger from “Goldfinger

Of all the classic James Bond villains, none of them come off quiet as iconic or as memorable as this gold smuggler who aims to become the richest villain of them all. He may not look like much of a threat but he sure makes good on his demands, is very smart and has one of the franchises most memorable remarks as he expects Bond to just “DIE!”  

James Bond Countdown will conclude with "All Individual Bond Actors Series Ranked

My Top 10 James Bond Theme Songs

Of course the instrumental James Bond theme music is classic, but the beauty of 007 is that he gets a catchy new theme song for every one of his movies, and that’s awesome. So, keeping in my monthly tradition of pulling out the best of what Bond has to offer, here are my personal top 10 favorite James Bond Theme Songs. Now I can’t talk in too much detail about a song, you really just have to listen to it yourself, but if that’s the case, here are the ones that I’d highly recommend you listen too. 

10. Paul McCartney and Wings "Live and Let Die" theme from “Live and Let Die” (1973) 

It’s the famous theme song with the creepiest opening credit segment of them all. It stars nice a pretty at first, but then it gets wilder, more bombastic and as stated above, has no shortage of crazy imagry that help set the tone for the film.  

9. Madonna’s “Die Another Day” theme from “Die Another Day” (2002) 

Fans seem to either really hate or love this song, and if I’m putting it on my list, that probably means I like it. I especially like the opening credit scene, as the upbeat tempo of dance, pop and electric music clash brilliantly with the disturbing imagery of Bond being tortured and surviving in prison. I can understand why many hate this song, but I find it a catchy tempo that I just can’t get out of my head.

8. Nancy Sinatra’s “You Only Live Twice” theme from “You Only Live Twice” (1967) 

The contemplative lyrics mixed with moody music and an almost beautiful overtone make this a memorable and atmospheric song from the James Bond cannon.

7. Carly Simon’s “Nobody Does It Better” theme from “The Spy Who Loved Me” (1977) 

Many artists have given this song a go, but nobody sings it better then Carly Simon. It’s a subtle, quieter theme song, and like so many other 007 themes, it got an Oscar nod.

6. Duran Duran’s “A View to a Kill” theme from “A View to a Kill” (1985) 

It’s bouncy, it’s flashy, it’s got a cool techno beat and it’s a seriously underrated gem from Bonds collection of theme songs. It’s a mix of rock and new wave that help generate both excitement and tension for this theme, and the 3 minuet music video opening offers some colorful imagery.  

5. Tina Turner’s “GoldenEye” theme from “GoldenEye” (1995) 

I know a lot of people are going to kill me for saying this ... but in all honesty, forget about Shirley Bassey’s Goldfinger theme, the real golden track that disserves all the attention is Tina Turner’s GoldenEye theme. It’s slick, it’s sly, it’s got an awesome opening credit scene, and it’s just a downright sexy track that just fits along with Bond perfectly

4. Adele’s “Skyfall” theme from “Skyfall” (2012) 

Now here’s a much darker and eerier theme song from the James Bond Cannon and the first to actually win the Oscar for best original song. With an appropriately creepy opening that features all kinds of twisted imagery, this theme song is all haunting atmosphere, and I just love it.   

3. Sheryl Crow’s “Tomorrow Never Dies” theme from “Tomorrow Never Dies” (1997) 

This was the era in which every James Bond music video style opening credit segment was chalk full of flashy visual effects and sensational music. Somehow it’s Sheryl Crow’s “Tomorrow Never Dies” theme song that just hits all the right notes. It has the cool build up, the sweet tone, the powerhouse vocals and lots of cool imagery.

2. Sheena Easton’s “For Your Eyes Only” theme from “For Your Eyes Only (1981) 

While Sheena Easton’s face is a little to frequent in the opening credits, I honestly find this theme song to be the most beautiful and spell binding of all the Bond themes. While this has never been one of my favorite Bond movies, this Oscar nominated song is hands down the bright spot of the film and the most captivating of 007 themes.

1. Chris Cornell’s “You Know My Name” theme from “Casino Royale” (2006) 

This is it, no other James Bond theme song gets me more hyped for action then Chris Cornell’s “You Know My Name”. Right from those awesome electric guitar notes in the beginning, this song pumps up the action, gets you energized, has just enough subtle moments to allow the audience to catch their breath, and I honestly think if features the coolest opening credit sequence of the whole series. The music, the visuals, the beat, the lyrics, it’s just the perfect song to go along side James Bond.

James Bond Countdowns will return in "My Top 10 Bond Villains"

Friday, August 7, 2015

My Top 10 Favorite James Bond Girls

Nothing says clichéd damsel in distress or clichéd action heroine like a James Bond Girl. It’s one of the biggest trademarks of the series, you just can’t have a 007 adventure without a token Bond Girl to steal the show, or perhaps I should say “supply the eye candy”. It’s not always about who’s the most well developed character, who’s the strongest fighter or even the most attractive, for this list it’s all about who’s the most memorable and who left the biggest impact. Now this all is subject to personal opinion, so forgive me if I leave off some of the classic Bond Girls. 

#10 Pussy Galore (played by Honor Blackman) – Goldfinger (1964)

Obviously she’s one of the franchises most famous and beloved leading ladies, but personally, I never liked her that much. I just found her to be kind of generic, and even forgettable. So why is she on my list, because her name is “PUSSY GALORE”, that's the definitive silly yet awesome name for a 007 girl. It’s become a tradition that Bond girls have a name with some kind of sexual pun built in, but they all pale in comparison to this hilarious title, even James Bond has a funny reaction to how obscured her name is.    


#9 Domino (played by Kim Basinger) – Never Say Never Again (1983)

Before Kim Basinger shined as one of Batman’s most memorable girl friends in the 1989 “Batman” classic and before winning a Golden Globe for the 1984 film “The Natural”, she was first a note worthy James Bond Girl friend that often gets overlooked. The character herself may come off like your typical, one note Bond Babe, but she has some memorable scenes, including an upbeat tango dance with 007 and a note worthy finally where she saves the day by rescuing James Bond and axing off the main villain, not to many Bond girls do that.

#8 Mary Goodnight (played by Britt Ekland) – The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)

No other Bond girl is as conventional or as clichéd as Mary Goodnight. This young blond has all the traits of your classic token female, and yet somehow she stands as one of the most memorable of the series. While a little dimwitted, she proves she can rescue herself before our hero can get the chance and of course no other Bond girl rocks a bikini like her. Sure there have been others, but honestly I think Goodnights blue swim suit even out matches the iconic figure of Ursula Andress from “Dr. No”, yeah, I said that.     

#7 Octopussy (played by Maud Adams) – Octopussy (1983)

Actress Maud Adams was featured as a Bond girl once before in the 1974 film “The Man with the Golden Gun”, but her character was killed before she could make a lasting impression. She got her second chance as the title character Octopussy whose name might just be the most memorable sense Pussy Galore. This joule smuggler is yet another Bond girl originally employed by the bad guys, but then struck out on her own and became one of the franchises most iconic ladies. She’s just the girl to put 007 in double O Heaven.  

#6 Tracy Di Vicenzo (played by Diana Rigg) – On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)

While I wouldn’t call her one of the most attractive Bond girls, she’s definitely one of the most intriguing and helped make George Lazenby’s single Bond picture a classic amongst fans. While James Bond always has a relationship with his girls, no one stole his heart like Tracy. To further prove the point, she’s the only Bond girl that our hero has ever married. Unfortunately, their honeymoon is cut short in one of the most tragic and unforgettable endings of the whole series. 

#5 Jinx (Played by Halle Berry) - Die Another Day (2002)

Born on Friday the 13th, this Bond girl was appropriately nicknamed “Jinx”, and is regarded as a bad luck charm to all but James Bond, who had the best luck in the world receiving her as a partner. She’s a sword fighting, bikini warring babe that pays omega to some of the classic Bond girls, while creating her own traits and can kick some serious ass.

#4 Colonel Wai Lin (played by Michelle Yeoh) – Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)

I might have mentioned earlier that I really like Asian woman ... well, this chick has a lot more to offer then your typical Asian good looks. She’s a martial arts master, doesn’t fall for seductive tricks, has surprisingly good chemistry with our main spy hero and is just a strait up awesome character. This Chinese spy is widely regarded as one of the best Bond Babes, and her character was so successful that MGM tinkered with the idea of giving her a standalone spin-off movie. It also helped launch the carrier of Michelle Yeoh, leading her to star in awesome films like “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon”.

#3 Solitaire (played by Jane Seymour) – Live and Let Die (1973)

Now here’s one of the more interesting Bond girls, with Solitaire you can never tell if she’s good, evil or both. She’s a girl with psychic powers, is under the employ of an evil drug lord, but meets her match when she fails to predict that her heart will be stolen by 007. Jane Seymour was in her mid 20’s when she took on the role of Solitaire, making her one of the youngest Bond girls, but also one of the most beautiful and had a note worthy carrier in films like “Somewhere in Time” and she also stood out as Sinbad’s love interest in “Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger”. With one heck of an attractive figure, and always shrouded in mystery, she’s one Bond girl to watch out for.

#2 Vesper Lynd (played by Eva Green) – Casino Royale (2006)

Probably the most complex and tragic of the Bond girls, Vesper has trouble deciding where her elegance lies, but one thing’s for sure, she’s one of the phew woman to really win the heart of James Bond. Launching the carrier of Eva Green, this captivating agent proves to be both a valuable ally to Bond and also his greatest weakness. Their back and forth relation is one of the highlights of the series, and concludes with the most tragic ending sense “On Her Majesties Secret Service”.  

Before I crown my #1 girl, here are some honorable mentions ...

Kissy Suzuki – You Only Live Twice (1967)

Mata Bond – Casino Royale (1967)

Tiffany Case – Diamonds are Forever (1971)

Lupe Lamora – Licence to Kill (1989)

#1 Agent XXX (played by Barbara Bach) – The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)

Of all the memorable Bond girls, my absolute favorite by far who stands proud and tall among them is the Russian KGB agent Anya Amasova, code named XXX from “The Spy Who Loved Me”. This was a chick that could put up a fight and had a sly demeanor. Her relation with Bond was also really good, instead of just falling in love with him, she actually hated his guts because he was responsible for her husband’s death and that built conflict between them. Under the circumstances, she had no choice but to work with 007 and that made for a far more interesting character than what we’re use to seeing in Bond films. She had great chemistry with Bond, owned every scene she was in and helped make “The Spy Who Loved Me” my favorite of the entire Bond film series.

James Bond Countdown will return in “My Top 10 Favorite 007 Theme Songs