erik lundegaard

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Thursday December 04, 2014

Christoph Waltz is the New James Bond Villain. What Does He Have in Common with the Last One?

Christoph Waltz

Heeeeere's Blofeld! Another foreign actor goes from best supporting actor to Bond villain. 

Apparently we have a new James Bond villain for the 2015 Bond movie, “Spectre.” Apparently it's Christoph Waltz. Shocking casting.

This would be, what, the fourth Bond movie since the Daniel Craig reboot? So who have been the Bond villains and who have been the Bond girls during this period, and where have they come from? 

Glad you asked. 

Year Bond Movie Bond Girl Country Bond Villain Country
2006 Casino Royale Eva Green France Mads Mikkelson Denmark
2008 Quantum of Solace Olga Kurylenko Ukraine Mathieu Amalric France
2012 Skyfall Berenice Marlohe France Javier Bardem  Spain
2015 Spectre Lea Seydoux France Christoph Waltz Austria

Lesson? Both bad guys and sexy broads come from someplace else but sexy broads come mostly from France. Bad guys? They're from anywhere. Anywhere except the UK and the USA.

How does this compare with the previous Bond incarnation, by the way? The pre-9/11 Bond played by Pierce Brosnan?

Glad you asked.

Year Bond Movie Bond Girl Country Bond Villain Country
1995 GoldenEye Izabella Scorupco Poland Sean Bean UK
1997 Tomorrow Never Dies Michelle Yeoh Malyasian Jonathan Pryce UK
1999 The World is Not Enough Denise Richards USA Robert Carlyle UK
2002 Die Another Day Halle Berry USA Toby Stephens UK

A bit different. Pre-9/11.

For what it's worth, the last time an American played the Bond villain was in 1989's “Licence to Kill,” which, as Bond movies go, kinda tanked. Robert Davi was the actor. And the last Brit to be Bond girl? Maryam d'Abo in 1987's “The Living Daylights.” 

Even so, French girls and sinister foreigners (West European) isn't a bad model for the new Bonds. And even better if the sinister foreigners have recently won a best supporting actor Oscar, as the two most recent Bond villains have. 

So which other recent best supporting actor winners might make a good Bond villain? 

Glad you asked. Here are the recent winners:

  • Jared Leto
  • Christopher Plummer
  • Christian Bale
  • Alan Arkin
  • George Clooney
  • Morgan Freeman
  • Tim Robbins
  • Chris Cooper

Bale would be great. So would Freeman. Imagine him applying his twinkly smile and smooth baritone to the villain's role. But if you want the full Monty—best supporting actor and non-US and UK national—you have one choice in the 21st century, Benecio del Toro, who played a memorable but small-time punk in the last Timothy Dalton Bond movie. Before del Toro, you'd have to reach all the way back to 1984 and Haing S. Noir, who died by 1996 at the age of 55. Apparently non-USA and UK actors tend not to win best supporting actor. 

So I guess the ultimate lesson from this dip into Oscar and Bond history is that while foreign best supporting actors may make great Bond villains, they're few and far between. 

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Posted at 01:05 PM on Dec 04, 2014 in category Movies   |   Permalink  
Friday November 28, 2014

'Five Came Back' Trivia Question

According to Mark Harris' book, “Five Came Back: A Story of Hollywood and the Second World War,” which Hollywood movie did Joseph Goebbels call “an exemplary propaganda film for [the] German industry to copy”?

Answer in the comments section ...

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Posted at 04:43 PM on Nov 28, 2014 in category Movies   |   Permalink  
Wednesday October 29, 2014

Berenice Bejo in Seattle

This past week, the Seattle International Film Festival (a year-round organization) put on a mini-French film fest, and last night Berenice Bejo, my No. 2 French film crush (after You Know Who), arrived to introduce her film, “Le dernier diamant” (“The Last Diamond”).

The film? Eh. Her? Pow. Here she is before the show with SIFF's artistic director Carl Spence (who, for some reason, is blurry in all of my amateur shots):

Berenice Bejo at SIFF festival in Seattle

Berenice Bejo at SIFF in Seattle

Vive le difference!

No, not that one. This one: As I was thinking the usual idiot thoughts (Pretty ... but wearing oddly baggy clothes ...), Patricia leaned over and said, “I think she's pregnant.”

So far nothing in the media about it. Is this a scoop?

Berenice Bejo in Seattle

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Posted at 05:44 AM on Oct 29, 2014 in category Movies   |   Permalink  
Monday October 06, 2014

Tom Hardy is the New Marlon Brando

Since I didn't see “Bronson” in 2008, the first time I had the chance to see Tom Hardy in a signifcant big-screen role was in “Inception”; and to me he just leapt. This is what I wrote then:

For his team, Cobb already has Arthur, his point man, and he quickly gathers the rest: Ariadne, who will design the dream, Yusef (Dileep Rao), who will administer the drugs, and Eames (Tom Hardy), the forger, who can impersonate important people from Fisher’s world in the dreamscape. It’s both a good team Cobb has assembled and a good team writer-director Christopher Nolan has assembled. Ellen Page is whip-smart. Cotillard is both dreamy-looking lost love and dangerous femme fatale. But I may have been most impressed with Hardy. He steals every scene. The scam is Cobb’s, the whole story is Cobb’s, and everyone seems to channel their energy into these, and his, obsessions; but Hardy suggests for Eames a life outside of this story. We don’t have much to wonder about with Cobb but we have everything to wonder about with Eames.

Is wondering about a character the key to our interest in the character? And when did I (and everyone) begin to think of the Brando comparison? With “Tinker Tailor”? Not with those blonde locks. “Warrior” maybe? Although the movie was a bit cartoonish, and “The Dark Knight Rises” even more so. Maybe in “Lawless”? He grounds a mediocre movie there. I guess it was his quiet more than anything. It was the suggested toughness. Yeah, it was also the lips and the hair. But in his latest, “The Drop,” the comparison gets ridiculous:

Tom Hardy is the new Marlon Brando

Brando in “On the Waterfront” checks out Hardy in “The Drop.”

He's not doing homage, by the way. There are a lot of similarities between Terry Malloy and Bob Saginowski, but the differences are key. Review up soon. Go see it, if you have the chance. 

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Posted at 07:37 AM on Oct 06, 2014 in category Movies   |   Permalink  
Tuesday August 26, 2014

Siskel, Ebert, and Top 10 Woodys

Woody Allen in Love and Death

Woody Allen, with one of the title characters, in “Love and Death.” Gene Siskel recognized the genius before others.

At the end of the 1970s, Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert did a “Sneak Previews” episode arguing over who was the funnier filmmaker: Woody Allen or Mel Brooks. Siskel went Allen, Ebert went Brooks. I remember back then talking about it with my dad, the film critic for The Minneapolis Tribune. How could anyone choose Mel Brooks over Woody Allen? Sure he was funny, but ... Brooks has made only five movies in the ’70s, almost all parodies of film genres, and the last two, “Silent Movie” and “High Anxiety,” were hardly winners. Allen made a movie a year. He’d won two Academy Awards. His movie, “Annie Hall,” had won the Oscar for best picture. He kept growing. Plus I thought he was just funnier. Mel over Woody? Was Roger nuts?

“They probably flipped a coin,” my father said, “and Ebert lost.”

Looking over Siskel and Ebert’s annual top 10 lists recently, I see now that Siskel was in fact a bigger Allen fan than Ebert. “Annie Hall” was Siskel’s No. 1 movie of 1977. (No. 8 for Ebert.) “Manhattan” was No. 5 for Siskel in ’79. (It didn’t make Ebert’s list.) Siskel included “Annie Hall” among his best films of the decade and Ebert didn’t. Siskel included “The Purple Rose of Cairo” among his best films of 1985 and Ebert didn’t.

From 1975 to 1989, Woody Allen wrote and directed 14 movies, and half of them, seven, made Siskel’s annual top 10 list. My favorite inclusion is probably “Love and Death” as the third-best movie of 1975—ahead of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” “Dog Day Afternoon,” “Barry Lyndon” and “Jaws." That’s still when Woody was doing broad comedy, too. But Gene always liked broad comedy.

Roger included five Allen movies during this period: Three at the end of the ‘80s—“Hannah and Her Sisters,” “Radio Days” and “Crimes and Misdemeanors”—and two from the ‘70s: “Annie Hall” and “Interiors.” Ebert would go on to include one more Allen movie on his top 10 list, “Everyone Says I Love You” from 1996, but Siskel’s list is almost the canon, isn’t it?

Siskel's Top 10 Woodys Ebert's Top 10 Woodys
Love and Death, 1975 (#3) Annie Hall, 1977 (#8)
Annie Hall, 1977 (#1) Interiors, 1978 (#6)
Manhattan, 1979 (#5) Hannah and Her Sisters, 1986 (#3)
The Purple Rose of Cairo, 1985 (#10) Radio Days, 1987 (#7)
Hannah and Her Sisters, 1986 (#1) Crimes and Misdemeanors, 1989 (#8)
Radio Days, 1987 (#7) Everyone Says I Love You, 1996 (#8)
Crimes and Misdemeanors, 1989 (#7)  

Anyway it's interesting to sort it all out this way. Might do more with other directors soon. 

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Posted at 06:04 AM on Aug 26, 2014 in category Movies   |   Permalink  
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