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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Bond Cars at the Dezer Museum



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The iconic Aston Martin

If you are really into the James Bond aura and want to see what it's really like to stand by and touch some of the most iconic cars in history, consider visiting The Miami Auto Museum at The Dezer Collection in Miami. Or, if you are in England or the rest of Europe, there is a temporary exhibit going on now in London where you can experience some of this good stuff. "Bond in Motion" is at the London Film Museum in Covent Garden from 21 March, running throughout 2014.

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The famous Toyota 2000GT from "You Only Live Twice"

The Dezer has one of the largest collections of James Bond props and vehicles in the world. The Miami Auto Museum at the Dezer Collection’s James Bond Exhibit includes a fascinating array of automobiles, motorcycles, submarines, airplanes, helicopters, boats, and snow mobiles. In other words, if it moves in a Bond film and doesn't drink martinis shaken not stirred, it's probably found its way into the Dezer.


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The Jaguar XKR's ordnance includes rockets in the door. The XKR also has ramming spikes for getting up close and personal when pursuing Bond.

The collection is home to the golden gun itself, a T-55 Soviet tank featured in the 1995 Bond film Goldeneye, a BD-5 Microjet, and six Aston Martins, among many other props.  The James Bond Exhibit will also showcase vehicles from The Ian Fleming Foundation.






Friday, March 7, 2014

Dr. No - Behind The Scenes

Sean and Ursula Look as if They Were Having a Ball!


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Ursula played a local conch diver

While filming "Dr. No" in 1961, stars Sean Connery and Ursula Andress took full advantage of the lovely Nassau, Bahamas surroundings - and each other.

As these behind-the-scenes shots taken by United Artists of the two show, Sean and Ursula were having a lot of fun both on and off the camera. We see them cuddling, playing with wild birds, Sean crashing after a night of drinking - all the sorts of things you would expect from young rising stars. Even director Terence Young gets into one of the shots, apparently reviewing Ursula's dialog with her.

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An Irish 1962 poster for the first James Bond movie, Dr No, with a dress hand-painted over the original bikini-clad image of Ursula Andress. Note the strategic placement of Jamess Bond's gun and his impish grin, they were not trying to be subtle. 

Naturally, there are all sorts of shots of Ursula in her iconic white bikini and Sean showing off his fine physique. They each perform handstands, Sean helping Ursula, and there are candids of them lolling on the beach. Somewhat surprisingly, Ursula is shown sunbathing topless in one shot, which would have been quite daring in those days. Anything for her art!

Sean later retired to the Bahamas. Perhaps it was partly because of his good memories of these days.

These are great shots. The studio photographer must have taken several rolls, saved only the best, and then filed them away for fifty years. Some of these have been just rediscovered and scanned in from the original prints. They may give you a whole new appreciation for "Dr. No."


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This didn't make it into the film

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Sean was a former Mr. Universe runner-up

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Ursula looks much less exotic here than made out to be in the film
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Sean giving Ursula his trademark raised eyebrows look

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Sean Connery Ursula Andress Dr. No animatedfilmreviews.filminspector.com
I wonder if this local girl still remembers this?

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Sean Connery Ursula Andress Dr. No animatedfilmreviews.filminspector.com

Sean Connery Ursula Andress Dr. No animatedfilmreviews.filminspector.com

Sean Connery Ursula Andress Dr. No animatedfilmreviews.filminspector.com

Clearly, Sean and Ursula spent more time together than absolutely required for filming

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Director Terence Young going through the script with the stars



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The studio insurers probably would have had a stroke if they saw this


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Sean Connery Ursula Andress Dr. No animatedfilmreviews.filminspector.com
This appears to have been whilst rehearsing their scene



















Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Eva Green Becomes a Villainess in "300: Rise of an Empire"

The Lovely Eva Green is Back!


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Eva Green as Artemisia in 300: Rise of an Empire

Eva Green is back!

Vesper Lynd from "Casino Royale" is appearing in "300: Rise of an Empire," based on a Frank Miller graphic novel. Zack Snyder co-wrote the screenplay, while Noam Murro directs. Snyder directed the original "300," but his "Man of Steel" film got in the way. “There was no way I could do it,” the writer-director said of the 300 sequel. There is complete continuity between the two films, though, so if you liked the first one, this sequel should feel right at home.




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Eva Green trained hard for the role

"300: Rise of an Empire" picks up where "300" left off. In the original film, King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) and his unit of 300 Spartans fought the massive Persian army at Thermopylae circa 480 B.C. In this sequel, Artemisia (Eva Green) leads the vast Persian armada against the small, outmaned Greek fleet, led by Admiral Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton).


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Describing her role, Eva says:
“She is like a man in a woman’s body.She’s very ballsy and very brave, and she was traumatized as a child, so she builds this armour around her to survive. And she’s obsessed with revenge and, yes, she’s bonkers.”
We all loved Eva Green in "Casino Royale," so it is great to see her back in another high-profile adventure.


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Eva Green

Eva trained for weeks in Sofia, Bulgaria before filming began to learn how to wield a sword. It was very physically demanding.
“You feel very powerful actually, but not straight away. The squats and the lunges were, oh my god, very painful. But after you get through it, you feel very proud of yourself.”
Eva Green rose to stardom in "The Dreamers," and that film is well worth checking out if you like Eva and want to see more - a lot more - of her.

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Artemisia bows before her king

I have a separate page devoted to Eva, with a lot of really good shots of her in and out of her previous high-profile roles, here.


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Eva Green in 300: Rise of an Empire jamesbondreview.filminspector.com

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Eva Green with costar Lena Headey


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Saturday, March 1, 2014

Liam Neeson as James Bond?

This Man Would Have Been A Terrific Bond

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Liam Neeson in "The Grey"

Many fans know that Liam Neeson married Natasha Richardson, that they lived happily together for many years, and that she died tragically about five years ago. They also probably know that he starred in "Schindler's List" as Oskar Schindler and "Love Actually" as Daniel.

What they may not know about Liam is that he came about as close as you can get to playing James Bond.
"I was heavily courted, let's put it that way, and I'm sure some other actors were too. It was about 18 or 19 years ago and my wife-to-be said, 'If you play James Bond we're not getting married!' And I had to take that on board, because I did want to marry her."
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Liam Neeson in "Taken 2"

He gives no hint as to why Natasha was so adamant about Liam's not playing Bond. Perhaps the fan adulation troubled her? It's all speculation.

This would have been about the time that Pierce Brosnan took over. There is no question that Pierce was a good Bond. The only question is whether Liam Neeson would have been better.

There is little question that Pierce Brosnan was a great choice as Bond. Having Liam play those roles, though, would have given them a tougher edge and not the same "pretty boy" image that many pinned on Pierce. Liam has become more of an action star recently with the "Taken" series, showing hints of what might have been.

Liam Neeson certainly is not wanting for work. As he says:
"I made nine films last year, four of them were animated, it was stupid! I'm keeping busy, which is thrilling. I love to work."
Personally, I think that Liam Neeson would still make a great James Bond today.

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Liam Neeson in "Taken 3," not yet released


Thursday, February 27, 2014

New Bond Film Starts Filming in October


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Ralph Fiennes in "Schindler's List"

As we have already stated, Ralph Fiennes has been tapped to replace Dame Judi Dench as M in the Bond series. Everybody in the know has been mum about the film so far, with no plot details leaked. It's all under tight wraps, probably with numbered scripts and all that.

However, Fiennes did let loose one little tidbit of information. The next James Bond film is coming, all right. Discussing his upcoming schedule, Fiennes said:

"It's meant to start shooting in October," he said. Continuing, he admitted, "I haven't read a script yet, so I can't tell you much. They'd probably swear me to secrecy anyway."

Oh, come on, Ralph, we know they wouldn't let you blab out the details in advance. Don't be coy, Roy.

The scheduled release date for this next Bond film, "Bond 24" for the moment, is November 15, 2015.





Monday, February 24, 2014

Sam Worthington Hurting Chances to be Next Bond

He's Got the Look - Does He Have the Class?

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Sam Worthington

Sam Worthington auditioned with Daniel Craig the last time the James Bond 007 was up for grabs. He even made it to the final three - and didn't get it. More's the pity, he's a fine actor and would fit the role.

Perhaps, however, he would fit the role of the bare-knuckles brawler a bit too much.

Sam was arrested recently in New York City's shady West Village for engaging in fisticuffs with a camera-wielding paparazzi. The details of course are a bit in dispute, but the story is that Sam was defending the honor of Lara Bingle, who may (or may not) be his wife. The pap allegedly kicked her - which begs the question why would he do that? - and Sam, perhaps a bit in his cups after spending time at the bar, reacted in perhaps over-gallant fashion with a punch or two.

You know someone is famous if nobody even knows if the lady he hangs out with is his wife. How does that Beatles tune go? "Got to be good-looking cos he's so hard to see." Yeah, something like that.

Anyway, the saving grace (so far) is that there is no hint that it was a gay bar where the incident took place. And I am not implying anything at all, especially considering the (perhaps) missus was in attendance. However, for those who may not be familiar with the different quarters of New York City, the West Village is one of the, shall we say, more gay-friendly environs in the world. And before you get up in arms as to how I feel entitled to characterize that area - I live right down the street. Literally. I've passed by the shops with the whips and chains many a time.

Worthington plays Jake Sully in the "Avatar" films (yes, another one is coming), and appeared in "Clash of the Titans." His resume at this point is at least as firm as Daniel Craig's was at the time of his casting, perhaps even more solid. So, it is not going out on a limb to predict that, after Craig winds up his tenure as Bond with his concluding two films as is widely anticipated, that Worthington would be perfectly placed to assume the role. This would proceed just as Roger Moore waited in the wings for a decade for Sean Connery to move on and Pierce Brosnan patiently waited out Timothy Dalton (and for his annoying tv contract to expire).

Now, don't get all hoity toity about an Australian possibly playing the role of Bond. Yes, Sean Connery is Scottish, and Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton and Daniel Craig are as English as they come, and Pierce Brosnan Irish to a fare-thee-well. All fine gents, and all from the British Isles. However, oft-overlooked Bond George Lazenby (who did do a fine job in his sole turn in the role in "In Her Majesty's Secret Service") was Australian, paving the way (perhaps) for fellow Aussie Worthington. And this is oft forgotten, but the original James Bond, the one who started the whole thing on American television, was Barry Nelson - an American.

So, there is no reason that Sam Worthington couldn't take over as Bond sometime around 2020.

If he can stay out of further trouble, that is.

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Sam and "wife" Lara Bingle

















Saturday, February 22, 2014

Dame Judi Dench - M as Never Before

A True Diamond of Stage and Film

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Dame Judi Dench

One does not have to exaggerate the accomplishments of star of stage and screen Dame Judi Dench - they speak for themselves. She has won nine BAFTAs, seven Laurence Olivier Awards, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, an Academy Award, two Golden Globe Awards and a Tony Award. For her accomplishments as of 1970, was named an Order of the British Empire. Later, she was honored with the title of Dame Commander of the British Empire in 1988. In 2006 she was recognized with a Fellowship at the Royal Society of Arts.

Oh, and besides all that, she finally became a household name around the world when she began playing the role of "M" in the James Bond series. No, some folks' deeds speak for themselves and require no elaboration. There isn't another actress in the world who has that sort of resume, anywhere, any time.

But let's look a bit at her life anyway, just because. It's not as though she were hatched in mid-life as the most renowned actress of her time, which is when many gained her film acquaintance.

Early Life


Actress Judith Olivia Dench was born on December 9, 1934, in North Yorkshire, England, to parents Reginald, a doctor, and his wife Eleanora. Reginald was the resident doctor for the Theatre Royal in York. Naturally, Judi showed up at the theater from time to time. It kindled a love of theater that never has been quenched.

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Judi Dench showed her love of acting early on. She loved to dress up, and would sing alongside her mother at the family piano. Oddly enough, though, her introduction to the theater was not as an actress. She worked on the York Mystery Plays as a wardrobe girl, while her father took care of the family acting chores with bit parts.

Dench attended an all girls Quaker school, then followed that up with a brief stop at the York School of Art. She then went to London's Central School of Speech Training and Dramatic Art. The decision, Dench admitted, could be blamed on her brother Jeffrey, another aspiring actor who also attended the school and pushed his sister to pursue stage work. "I'd never have thought of acting if it wasn't for Jeff," she has said. A star is born.


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Dame Judi Dench as Ophelia in 1957

Dench's appeal opened doors for her. She made her stage debut in 1957 with the Old Vic Production Company at the Royal Court, turning heads, as Ophelia in Shakespeare's Hamlet. Dench continued work with the Old Vic for another four years.

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As Juliet in 1960, directed by "Romeo and Juliet" expert Franco Zeffirelli

In 1961 Dench joined the Royal Shakespeare Company, the start of a 30-year run with that playhouse that would see Dench take on every leading female Shakespeare role. Shakespeare - it's a British thing, for sure. But if you're going to do it, do it right - like Dame Judi.

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Dame Judi Dench relaxing

But Dench's talent wasn't limited Shakespeare or drama. In 1959 she made her television debut in the BBC series "Hilda Lessways." She stretched further when she took on comedic roles, including stage productions of Oscar Wilde. In 1968 she had a starring role as Sally Bowles in "Cabaret." She might have come to American attention sooner had she been chosen to star in the film of that name, but Liza Minnelli beat her to it.

Swinging '60s


The 1960s brought Dench to the big screen as well. Her performance as a young wife in "Four in the Morning" (1965) earned Dench the first of her ten British Academy of Film and Television (BAFTA) awards. Other strong performances in additional British movies followed. Coupled with her continued stage work in "Cabaret" and many other triumphs, Dench's fame in her native England grew.

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As Sally Bowles in "Cabaret" 1968

It continue on like this for many years. There were always plays to do, the occasional film, perhaps an odd job on television here and there. Becoming a legend in her native land, however, wasn't enough for Dame Judi Dench. There were virgin fields to conquer.

Mid-Career: Bond Calling, Will You Accept?


The Beatles made it look easy: get on a plane, get off the plane in New York City, become legends. It's really not quite that easy, thought. Just ask Cliff Richard, who is as big as Elvis in the United Kingdom, but who, despite sporadic success in the States and several attempts to gain a foothold there in the '70s and '80s, just never quite crossed over that threshhold.

Dame Judi Dench only managed it, despite all the awards and all the renown back in jolly old England, when she took on the role of a pop culture icon. Her early play work had brought to the States, but Dench was hardly a household name there. It wasn't until the 1990s, most notably as a result of her role as M, James Bond's boss in "GoldenEye" (1995) that she opened eyes across America. Dench has continued to reprise the role with each new Bond film, including the 2012 release, "Skyfall." Sadly, "Skyfall" turned out to be her last outing in the role. She was the only carry-over from the cast when the producers "rebooted" the franchise with "Casino Royale," which is about the highest compliment an actress can receive that isn't actually called an award.

Dame Judi Dench as M in "Skyfall"

With all that, she has some regrets. Dame Judi Dench has remarked that she wishes she had "sorted James Bond out" before relinquishing the role of M. Dench has admitted giving the role up was hard, and now she has wryly reflected on her regrets, telling The Hollywood Reporter she wishes M had "Sorted James Bond out. She's always trying to and she hasn't succeeded yet."

The arrival of Daniel Craig with "Casino Royale" was accompanied by a significant boost in her character's role and a new, somewhat maternal, tilt. That had its positives... and its negatives. "I was always complaining when I played M that I never got out of the office... I did at the end you see, and look what happened to me!"

You'll have to see the film to understand what she means there, I won't spoil it here.

Ralph Fiennes will take over the role of M in future films, the next one scheduled for release in the autumn of 2015. He'd be the first to admit, however, that he could never fill Dame Judi's shoes.


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Dame Judi in 1968

Along the way, Judi Dench had married actor Michael Williams in 1971. The couple worked several times together, including in the British television series, "A Fine Romance," and the film "Tea with Mussolini" (1999). The two remained together up until Michael's death from cancer in 2001. Dench and Williams had one child together, the actress Finty Williams.

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Dame Judi Dench appearing in "Waste," 24 May 1985

The Bond role rejuvenated Dame Judi's career, though, truth be told, she was doing just fine anyway. In 1997 she further endeared herself to movie audiences in her first leading role as Queen Victoria in the biopic Mrs. Brown.

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Dame Judi as The Queen in "Shakespeare in Love"

But it was another royal performance, this time as Queen Elizabeth I in "Shakespeare in Love" (1998), that finally earned her an Oscar. Despite an on-screen time totaling just eight minutes, she won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress that year. One may surmise that raising her profile with the M role may have made some Academy voters a bit more receptive to the grand old lady of British stage and screen.


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Dame Judi adops no airs when signing for fans

Other memorable roles followed the Bond success. Among them were "Chocolat" (2000), "Iris" (2001) and "Notes on a Scandal" (2006). There certainly were plenty of film offers, some of which she accepted, but that's not to suggest that Dench suddenly turned up her nose at her passion, stage work. The roles, though, now included American ones on Broadway. The same year she won her first Oscar, Dench also earned a Tony for best actress for her role in "Amy's View." In 1996 she won an unprecedented two Lawrence Olivier awards for Best Actress and Best Actress in a Musical. That's not easy.

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Dench's approach to her work is highly personal. She famously doesn't read parts before accepting them, choosing instead to rely on the recommendations of friends and colleagues as to what is suitable. With her stage work, she is widely known for coming to rehearsals not having read the entire play. "Not reading pushes me to a kind of dangerous edge and there is something in me that needs that," she has explained. She also has said that herbs have helped her to memorize her lines.

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It's impossible to argue with the results of her methods. Over the course of her career, Dench has been recognized repeatedly as the best there is. In addition to her 1999 Oscar, Dame Judi has received six Academy Award nominations, which is right up there with compatriot Peter O'Toole despite her late start. She's also won two Golden Globes and six Lawrence Olivier Awards. In 2006 she was recognized with a Fellowship at the Royal Society of Arts.

Are there beckoning fields yet to dream of for the greatest living actress? "I'd quite like to have done some sort of unbelievable action film," she admits. There's still time.

Dame Judi: a national - no, make that international - treasure.


Below is a recent interview by Dame Judi Dench in which she reflects upon her life and her major cause, Alzheimer's research.






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