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Tag: James Bond (71-80 of 96)

Happy 80th birthday to the best Bond ever!

Rmoore_lA big Monday shout-out to my main man with a license to kill, Sir Roger Moore, who turned 80 — 80!! — yesterday and finally got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame last week. Good on ya, James… I mean, Rog! (And, yes, PopWatchers, that’s right: Dude got frickin’ knighted by the Queen of England before he was bestowed the high honor of seeing a slab of concrete on one of the crappiest streets in L.A. embossed with his name. Oh, and, also, yes: He is older than Sir Sean Connery, go figure.)

Anyway, time’s right to re-raise that age-old question to which, in my opinion, "Roger Moore" is the only correct answer: Who’s the best James Bond? I think we children of the ’70s and ’80s have allowed those older folks/Connery groupies to own this debate for too long. First of all, just because SeanCon was the first, doesn’t mean he was the best. Honestly, I’ve had this conversation many times over the years, and all I’ve ever really heard from Connery fans is a lot of whining that the guy left the 007 franchise. Well, boo hoo. That still doesn’t change the fact that The Spy Who Love Me (pictured) is a trillion times better than Diamonds Are Forever, suckas. Second, the Scotsman may have an Oscar, but he doesn’t have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the loser.

addCredit(“The Spy Who Loved Me: Everett Collection”)

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Remembering Lois Maxwell

Moneypenny_lSure, Lois Maxwell had a 60-year career and acted in dozens of movies. But the Canadian-born actress, who died Saturday at 80, will best be remembered for one role that, though she played it in 14 movies, amounted to only a few moments of screen time. Maxwell played Miss Moneypenny from the first James Bond movie, 1962’s Dr. No (pictured) through A View to a Kill 23 years later, flirting fruitlessly with three 007s (including Sean Connery, pictured with Maxwell). I paid homage to Maxwell’s Moneypenny recently in EW.com’s Secretary’s Day gallery, noting that she was Bond’s most steadfast romantic foil over the decades. Alas, nothing ever came of the saucy banter between the spy and the secretary, but we still have all those sparkling double entendres, delivered unflappably and preserved forever.

addCredit(“Dr. No: Everett Collection”)

What's the biggest film franchise ever?

Potterbop_l_2Warner Bros. is gloating that, with five films so far grossing $4.47 billion to date all over the world, Harry Potter is the biggest movie franchise ever, bigger than the six Star Wars films or even the 22 James Bond films. A daunting achievement, to be sure, but it always irks me that box office boasts like this one are never corrected to adjust for inflation or actual number of tickets purchased. Give me those figures, and then I’ll be impressed.

By the way, if you were to assess a franchise based on its overall impact — on the box office, on other filmmakers, on the imaginations of viewers around the world — would it be one of these three or something else? Lord of the Rings? Star Trek? Superman? Go with your gut, PopWatchers.

addCredit(“Murray Close”)

Bourne vs. Bond: Who ya got?

Jamesbourne_lWith The Bourne Ultimatum set to become an instant blockbuster when it opens on Friday, it’s about time we at PopWatch deal with the question that everybody’s been talking about since Matt Damon’s series started five years ago: Which JB do you prefer — Jason Bourne or James Bond? Simple.

Or is it? Sure, for a long time, Jason was the hands-down winner. After all, The Bourne Identity introduced a much more visceral, energetic, edgy kind of spy thriller to audiences in 2002 — the same year in which my man Pierce Brosnan’s 007 went out with a whimper in Die Another Day. But then, all of a sudden, unexpectedly, as if out of nowhere, Daniel Craig thoroughly reinvigorated the James Bond franchise last year with Casino Royale, a film that certainly owed a huge debt to the Bourne flicks — but, in my opinion, exceeded them.

So, that’s right, my vote’s for James. What about yours?

The name's Faulks, Sebastian Faulks

Faulks_lDuring the late ’80s and early ’90s, in the throes of a fanatical preteen James Bond obsession, I started reading Bond novels when I got tired of watching the movies over and over. I dutifully made my way through a few of the Ian Fleming originals — but what I was really into were the flashier and trashier contemporary Bond spinoffs by English spy writer John Gardner. Looking over the list of the Gardner Bonds on Wikipedia, I fondly recall tearing through For Special Services; Nobody Lives Forever; No Deals, Mr. Bond; Scorpius; Win, Lose or Die; and a few others — I just wish I could remember the one where Bond makes love to a woman with one breast (who maybe later turns out to be a Blofeld’s daughter, or something else along those villainous lines).

Given all that, the news this week that another English novelist, Sebastian Faulks, has been recruited to write a new Bond novel for early next year was rousing enough to get me to pick up a phone and make some old-fashioned telephone calls. Before I knew it, I had Sebastian Faulks himself on the other line, game for a few questions about James Bond. Faulks, who lives in London, is the highly-successful author of On Green Dolphin Street and Charlotte Gray (the basis of a 2002 Cate Blanchett movie), and his Bond novel, Devil May Care, comes out on May 28, 2008 — Fleming’s 100th birthday. After the jump, the interview!

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Cast the next Bond babe

Fun little debate we had about the Bond Girls last week, huh, PopWatchers? Well, you won, we axed Halle Berry from our rankings because, you know, we aim to please. (Although, it seems like the Hollywood Walk of Fame doesn’t, since they awarded the Oscar-winning actress a star in their studded pavement yesterday.) Anyway, I loved some of your comments about what we omitted, like From Russia With Love‘s Tatiana Romanova (Daniela Bianchi) and the always lovely Miss Moneypenny (Lois Maxwell). But I’ve got nothing to say to those who praised Denise Richards’ Christmas Jones. (For shame!)

Still, you know, it’s time to move on — for us, and for the 007 franchise. Casino Royale‘s Eva Green truly was an all-time great, but the time has come for the Broccoli bunch to pick a new leading lady for the 22nd installment, which should start shooting several months from now. And, hey, we’re here to help! So, who shall it be? A few thoughts off the top of my head: Beyoncé Knowles, Rachel McAdams, Jessica Biel, Hilary Swank, Ziyi Zhang, Eva Longoria. Really, though, I leave it open to you… bring it on, people! Another super-sexy photo gallery featuring the top vote-getters awaits you.

Where should Eva Green rank on the list of all-time Bond babes?

1467__green_lThe lords of EW.com, PopWatch, and 007 have given me a do-over, friends — and I need your help!

Last fall, just as Casino Royale was about to roll out in theaters, I put together a list of the best and worst Bond Babes of all time. As it turned out, what started as an exercise in publishing a bunch of super-sexy photos wound up one of our most popular galleries. But as soon as I saw Casino Royale — and, specifically, its stunning leading gal, Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) — I knew I’d have to make a fix. Clearly, Green’s Bond Girl was one of the best of all time. Luckily, the success of the film’s DVD (speshly its high-def version) gives me the perfect chance to make amends. Here’s where you come in: I don’t know where in the list she belongs! This is where my rankings stand now:

10. Melina Havelock (Carole Bouquet), For Your Eyes Only (1981)
9. Tiffany Case (Jill St. John), Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
8. Rosa Klebb (Lotte Lenya), From Russia With Love (1963)
7. Wai Lin (Michelle Yeoh), Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
6. Xenia Onatopp (Famke Janssen), GoldenEye (1995)
5. Anya Amasova (Barbara Bach), The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
4. Jinx (Halle Berry), Die Another Day (2002)
3. Tracy di Vicenzo (Diana Rigg), On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)
2. Pussy Galore (Honor Blackman), Goldfinger (1964)
1. Honey Ryder (Ursula Andress), Dr. No (1962)

I’m thinking that Vesper/Green belongs somewhere in the range of No. 4, but I don’t know which of these fine femmes I’d want to kiss kiss bye bye. So please lend me a hand in shaking and stirring up the list, and then we’ll put up the revised gallery later this week.

addCredit(“Casino Royale: Susie Allnutt”)

Happy birthday, Shirley Bassey!

Shirley_lThe legendary Shirley Bassey, mistress of James Bond theme songs such as "Goldfinger," "Moonraker," and "Diamonds Are Forever," turns 70 today — not that you’d be able to tell watching this 2006 Marks & Spencer holiday ad in which she covers Pink’s "Get the Party Started." Anyhow, because Bassey’s remix CD is a road-trip staple for me, and because I’ve learned that nothing brings a rowdy karaoke-bar crowd to a state of stunned silence like covering "Goldfinger" (don’t ask), I got inspired to give Ms. Bassey the gift of a b’day haiku. Won’t you write one, too?

vocal thunderball
name’s bassey. shirley bassey.
license to (still) thrill

addCredit(“Shirley Bassey: Wesley/Keystone/Getty Images”)

Things That Make Me Die Inside, Vol. 6 (Photo Edition)

122357__rod_stewart_lThis just in from our now-blind assistant photo producer…

Oh, Rod! How low can you go?

So the new Bond flick is coming out this weekend… haven’t you heard? Well, while I was doing my photo research for the best and worst Bond girls, I came upon Britt Ekland (The Man With the Golden Gun) with another ’70s heartthrob. Yes, folks, that’s right, Rod Stewart! Who knew the tankini phenomenon all started with a dude?

addCredit(“Britt Ekland and Rod Stewart: David Steen/CAMERA P”)

Chris Cornell's Bond theme: 'Royale' with cheese

154041__chris_lI’ve always wondered why Bond theme songs continue to cause such a fuss. It just seems like there hasn’t been a decent title song for the series in a long time. Speaking of which, Casino Royale‘s theme, "You Know My Name," sung by Chris Cornell (pictured), is officially out now. (PopWatch found the song online for you back in September). The Audioslave frontman (a career choice I haven’t quite forgiven the former Soundgarden-er for) tries his darnedest to make a memorable anthem for Bond to rock to, but in recent tradition, fails utterly.

Not that I’m surprised. I mean, the last few Bond songs haven’t had shelf lives longer than their respective movies’ opening weekends (have you been thinking much about Sheryl Crow’s "Tomorrow Never Dies" or Madonna’s hideous "Die Another Day" lately?) "You Know My Name" is fine for background music as Bond speeds off in his Aston Martin, but with cheesy lines like "I’ve seen diamonds cut through harder men" and "The coldest blood runs through my veins," not even Cornell’s powerhouse vocals can save the tune.

When oh when will a popstar rise to the occasion and give 007 the theme song he is so due? (I’m not holding my breath.) And which Bond themes can you still listen to without cringing?

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