Friday, February 18, 2011

James Bond Characters: The Supporting People in 007's World

A variety of James Bond characters have featured in the 007 movies. Some have provided vital support to Bond in the field whilst others work at MI6 in the British Secret Service.

The main recurring characters in 007's world are M, Miss Moneypenny, Q and Felix Leiter. Here is a quick summary of the main James Bond characters:


The stern and imposing boss of James Bond and head of MI6 is M. He is known for sending Agent 007 on missions from his opulent London office. As much as M admires Bond's work on assignment, he loathes his uncivilised deeds. M has been played by Bernard Lee, Robert Brown, and Judi Dench in the official Bond movie series.

Miss Moneypenny

The extremely dependable secretary for M is Miss Moneypenny. She is known for her can-do attitude and has a high regard for Agent 007, MI6's top agent. Before Bond departs on his missions, he often enjoys a bit of casual banter with the delightful Miss Moneypenny. The character of Miss Moneypenny has been portrayed by three different actresses: Lois Maxwell, Caroline Bliss and Samantha Bond.


The person responsible for providing field equipment for James Bond is Q. He is the head of MI6's Q Branch and is renowned for producing uncanny gadgets that often save 007's life. Q is in charge of a laboratory that creates state-of-the-art devices for Agent 007. Q has been played by Desmond Llewelyn and John Cleese.

Felix Leiter

Bond's loyal ally in the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is Felix Leiter. He has often befriended 007 on various missions and featured in nine official Bond movies. Leiter has been portrayed by various actors in the 007 film series. David Hedison and Jeffrey Wright are the only actors to have played Felix Leiter on two occasions.

General Anatol Gogol

General Gogol is head of the KGB and appeared in six Bond movies. He is portrayed by Walter Gotell and known for his interactions with MI6 and Agent 007 on a variety of missions.

Sir Frederick Gray

The Minister of Defence for the British government, Sir Frederick Gray, is known for providing James Bond with vital information during mission briefings. He appears in six 007 films and is portrayed by Geoffrey Keen.

Bill Tanner

Appearing four times in the 007 movie series, Bill Tanner, is MI6's Chief of Staff. Tanner is known for giving crucial support to James Bond on assignment. Michael Kitchen is the only actor to play Bill Tanner twice.

Charles Robinson

The Chief of Staff for M, Charles Robinson, provides important support to James Bond. He works alongside M and is responsible for the safety of Agent 007. He is played by Colin Salmon and appears in three Bond movies.

Sheriff J W Pepper

One of the notable James Bond characters is the colourful Louisiana policeman Sheriff Pepper. He is portrayed by Clifton James and appears in two 007 movies.

Jack Wade

Working for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Jack Wade assists Agent 007 on two missions. He is portrayed by Joe Don Baker and known for his casual attire and contempt of the British methods.

Valentin Zukovsky

Ex-KGB agent Valentin Zukovsky provides indirect support to James Bond on two missions. He is portrayed by Robbie Coltrane and uses his criminal connections to give inside information to 007.

René Mathis

One of the most recent James Bond characters is René Mathis. He is a reliable ally to Agent 007 in two Bond movies and is portrayed by Giancarlo Giannini. Mathis is known for giving Bond vital support in Montenegro and Bolivia.

For more information on the James Bond characters visit The Bond Journey.

Grant is an avid fan of the James Bond movie series and founder of The Bond Journey, an educational website featuring information on the actors, characters, films, girls, villains and music.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Captain America and His Famous Shield

Every superhero has a distinctive outfit and frequently an interesting accessory. Batman has his bat belt. Wonder Woman has her bracelets. Captain America has his shield.

The shield is indestructible after having been produced in a lab accident. Due to the nature of the accident the actual method used to make its powers has never been duplicated.

But it is more than just a defensive shield. It is also an offensive weapon Captain America can wield like a boomerang to take down multiple opponents.

More recently, the shield has gained exposure as a concealed and unanticipated star in the Iron Man films.

Captain America's shield fleetingly appeared in the movie Iron Man. It briefly appears in the background of a shot of Tony Stark getting out of his armor. According to director Jon Favreau one of the visual effects artists included it as a joke. But is was a joke based in fact and not a random event. In the Avengers comic book series Tony Stark does take the shield to his lab to make improvements to it. Since it made sense the background prop was left in the Iron Man movie.

Then in Iron Man 2 the shield again makes an appearance. Tony Stark is trying to create a new element necessary to save his life. While building a machine in his lab he is interrupted by an agent from the super secretive and ironically named S.H.I.E.L.D. agency. The agent notices the shield and asks Stark how he got it. In a funny moment Tony demands the shield as being perfect to conclude completion of his machine. He then uses it as a simple prop, like a book under a short table leg, to level out some of the machine's tubes.

Since Marvel is building up to an Avengers movie where Captain America, Iron Man, and other superhero characters will appear, this all just happens to tie in magnificently for fans of the red, white and blue superhero and other Marvel characters.

See Captain America's original, triangular shield at the Captain America Shield page, and other merchandise and products at the Captain America gifts site.


Friday, February 11, 2011

Some Unforgettable Top Movies To Watch And Enjoy

Hollywood has made and seen many amazing movies that stay on top of the charts forever. Movies made in English are usually great but they have a downside too. There are a few movies that can be remembered forever. The classics include "Titanic", a love story that ends tragically. One of the best plots ever is of the movie called "The Shawshank Redemption", which offers a lot of hope to the audience. Under comedies, the best ever is "Dr. Strangelove" which was released way back in 1964.

Horror movies are pretty well acclaimed and the film "Psycho" from the 60s stands out. A fantasy thriller, "Inception", which released recently in 2010, is said to be the most revolutionary film as it involves a very innovative way of thinking. "Star Wars", "Pulp Fiction" and "The God Father" are history makers because of the brilliant response from the public. These movies are famous all over the world, even in countries where the English language is not formally spoken. "The Lord of the Rings" provides excruciating talents onscreen and is a top movie.

Among other top movies to watch there are films like "Memento", "Forest Gump", "The Matrix", "It's A Wonderful Life", "Vertigo", "Fight Club", "Citizen Kane", etc. The top movies are nominated for the world's best awards, The Oscar and The Grammy. It is really a privilege for a film to just be nominated for an Oscar award, winning it is a totally different honor. Movies made by famous filmmakers are not the best ones always, low budget and lesser known people make great movies too. The secret is to check out the ratings before watching a movie because that gives us the surety that the movie will be a pleasurable experience. Thus, the above mentioned movies are some of the all time best films ever made in the history of English cinema.

Chris is writing to share articles on topics like top movies to watch and comedy movies 2010. Visit to read more detail.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Helena Bonham Carter Movies and Autographs

Helena Bonham Carter began her acting career in 1979 when, at age 13, she entered a national poetry writing competition and used her second place winnings to place her photo in the casting directory "Spotlight." She soon had her first agent and her first acting job, a commercial, at age 16. Soon after she landed a role in the movie A Pattern of Roses (1983). The role lead to her being cast in A Room with a View (1985) and Lady Jane (1986), which was her first leading role.

Since that time Helena Bonham Carter's autographs have steadily gained in value as she continues to star in hit movies. Especially since she usually signs her full name which thrills collectors and fans alike. Unfortunately, the popularity of her autographs also means that there are more fakes and forgeries being sold and collectors should be careful to buy only from a trusted dealer.

Other notable credits include her appearance with Steve Martin in Novocaine, her memorable performance as Marla Singer in David Fincher's Fight Club opposite Brad Pitt. In Tim Burton's remake of Planet of the Apes, she played an ape, Ari. She followed up her success with Thaddeus O'Sullivan's The Heart of Me, and Big Fish, her second effort with Tim Burton in which she appeared as a witch.

Helena Bonham Carter was nominated for a Golden Globe for the fifth time for her role in partner Tim Burton's film adaptation of the Steven Sondheim musical, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Since their meeting while filming Planet of the Apes (2001), Helena Bonham Carter and Burton have made four movies together and live in adjoining residences in London, sharing a connecting hallway, and have two children: Billy Ray Burton, 4, and Nell Burton.

Other recent work includes Conversations with Other Women opposite Aaron Eckhart, as Mrs Bucket in Tim Burton's massive hit Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and the dead heroine in Tim Burton's spooky Corpse Bride.

However, perhaps her most memorable role may be as Bellatrix Lestrange in the Harry Potter movies; The Order of the Phoenix, The Half-Blood Prince, and The Deathly Hallows.

Click Here for more information about Helena Bonham Carter Movies and Autographs

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Monday, February 7, 2011

Oscar Predictions 2011: Which Movie Will Win the Best Picture Award?

The question of the year in the movie industry: Who will win the Best Picture award? Who will take another Academy Award home as winner and who will just spend the night applauding others? As no one knows for sure yet, let's take a look at the list of the Best Picture Nominees and try to come up with some system to make predictions.

Best Picture Nominees for the 83rd Academy Awards:

Black Swan -- director: Darren Aronofsky; writers: Mark Heyman, Andres Heinz; stars: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis and Vincent Cassel;

The Fighter -- director: David O. Russell; writers: Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy, Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale and Amy Adams

Inception -- Director: Christopher Nolan; Writer: Christopher Nolan; Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Ellen Page

The Kids Are All Right -- director: Lisa Cholodenko; writers: Lisa Cholodenko, Stuart Blumberg; stars: Annette Bening, Julianne Moore vand Mark Ruffalo

The King's Speech -- director: Tom Hooper; writer: David Seidler; stars: Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter

127 Hours -- director: Danny Boyle; writers: Danny Boyle, Simon Beaufoy, stars: James Franco, Amber Tamblyn and Kate Mara

The Social Network -- director: David Fincher; writers: Aaron Sorkin, Ben Mezrich; stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield and Justin Timberlake

Toy Story 3 -- director: Lee Unkrich; writers: John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, stars: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen and Joan Cusack

True Grit -- directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen; writers: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen; stars: Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon and Hailee Steinfeld

Winter's Bone -- director: Debra Granik; writers: Debra Granik, Anne Rosellini, stars: Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes and Garret Dillahunt

Hm, now that's a list of some pretty good movies, how are these guys in Academy Awards supposed to decide, who is better? Whom they should give the Oscar statue? Oh the tension... Maybe we can help out by comparing them -- how they were created, how they did in theaters and awards? Maybe we can develop some kind of system for determining the most likely winners...

You can see that most of them have really big names in cast and crew. Thought celebrity pressure can come from any of these movies; it's not clear how to evaluate one or another star's influence for popularity of the movie. Also, one should not forget that we all have our favorites, which is not good for making objective predictions. So we have to take some other, measurable and comparable things into account when deciding.

First thing we could look at is a) how much was invested in creating these movies b) how much they earned from them. In short -- were they successful and the effort worth the money?

List no. 1: 'Budget size vs. success'

  1. Black Swan -- budget: 13,000,000; earnings: 83,250,375; ROI: 5.4
  2. The Kids Are All Right -- budget: 4,000,000; earnings: 20,803,237; ROI: 4.2
  3. The King's Speech -- budget: 15,000,000; earnings: 57,313,881; ROI: 2.8
  4. True Grit -- budget: 38,000,000; earnings: 137,963,519; ROI: 2.6
  5. Winter's Bone -- budget: 2,000,000; earnings: 6,271,086; ROI: 2.1
  6. The Fighter -- budget: 25,000,000; earnings: 72,680,740; ROI: 1.9
  7. The Social Network -- budget: 40,000,000; earnings: 95,408,473; ROI: 1.4
  8. Toy Story 3 -- budget: 200,000,000; earnings: 415,004,880; ROI: 1.1
  9. Inception -- budget: 160,000,000; earnings: 292,568,851; ROI: 0.8
  10. 127 Hours -- budget: 18,000,000; earnings: 11,296,805; ROI: -0.4

What we get here is a very simple list of the Best Picture nominees according to return on investment [ROI] made in making them. The biggest return taking the first place, when going down to the smallest in the bottom. Basically, it shows how much money oscar nominees made in US from premier till January, divided by their estimated budget ($ numbers from IMDB and Conclusion - big budget is not everything you need for a blockbuster - "Black Swan" and "The Kids Are All Right" budgets were more than 10 times smaller compared to Inception, but they managed to make around 4 - 5 times more from one dollar invested. The biggest loser so far "127 Hours", which haven't managed to earn enough to cover costs yet. I didn't rank them according to gross earnings, as popular opinion and sales can easily be manipulated by increasing spending on advertising, ROI shows a lot more in this case.

Secondly, we could consider how have these movies done in professional competitions?

List no. 2: 'What do the pros think?"

  1. The Social Network -- nominations: 55; Wins: 49; Oscar nom.:8; Total: 112
  2. The King's Speech -- nominations: 73; Wins: 16; Oscar nom.: 12; Total: 101
  3. Black Swan -- nominations: 71; Wins: 21; Oscar nom.: 5; Total: 97
  4. Inception -- nominations: 57; Wins: 27; Oscar nom.: 8; Total: 92
  5. True Grit -- nominations: 55; Wins: 12; Oscar nom.: 10; Total: 77
  6. 127 Hours -- nominations: 55; Wins: 4; Oscar nom.: 6; Total: 65
  7. Winter's Bone -- nominations: 42; Wins: 19; Oscar nom.: 4; Total: 65
  8. The Fighter -- nominations: 32; Wins: 23; Oscar nom.: 7; Total: 62
  9. The Kids Are All Right -- nominations: 51; Wins: 3; Oscar nom.: 4; Total: 58
  10. Toy Story 3 -- nominations: 18; Wins: 18; Oscar nom.: 5; Total: 41

Here I added up all nominations with wins to see which movies were noticed the most in different awards. Here "The Social Network" takes lead, with "The King's Speech" and "Black Swan" still in top three before the big spenders "Inception" and others. Hmm do we see a trend here already?

Thirdly, it's very important to compare how viewers and critics evaluate these movies:

List no. 3: 'A, B, C... or F?'

  1. Toy Story 3 -- IMDB: 8.7; 92; average: 9.0
  2. The Social Network -- IMDB: 8.2; 95; average: 8.9
  3. The King's Speech -- IMDB: 8.5; 88; average: 8.7
  4. Winter's Bone -- IMDB: 7.5; 90; average: 8.3
  5. Black Swan -- IMDB: 8.6; 79; average: 8.3
  6. 127 Hours -- IMDB: 8.2; 82; average: 8.2
  7. Inception -- IMDB: 9.0; 74; average: 8.2
  8. True Grit -- IMDB: 8.2; 80; average: 8.1
  9. The Fighter -- IMDB: 8.2; 79; average: 8.1
  10. The Kids Are All Right -- IMDB: 7.4; 86; average: 8.0

I ranked these movies according to IMDB and rankings average. "Toy story 3" does very well here, by both viewers in IMDB and critics in Some of the previous leaders spatter across the list giving an interesting perspective for possible Oscar evening winners.

And finally, to get the result we need to sum up all previous scores - from 1 to 10, the smallest score being the best:

List no. 4: 'The Grande Finale'

  1. The King's Speech 8
  2. Black Swan 9
  3. The Social Network 10
  4. Winter's Bone 16
  5. True Grit 17
  6. Toy Story 3 19
  7. Inception 20
  8. The Kids Are All Right 21
  9. 127 Hours 22
  10. The Fighter 23

So here you go! Top 3 most possible Oscar winners according to our little calculation are: leader "The King's Speech", followed by "Black Swan" and "The Social Network". I guess this not a big surprise as "The King's Speech" already boast 16 wins in such awards as Golden Globes, British Independent Films and others. Let's not forget 12 Oscar nominations, which is a great accomplishment by itself.

Edmundas invites you to visit 'Top Best Movies' website for latest list of the best movies of 2010: For more information, reviews and comments check out The Best Movies blog:

Edmundas Balcikonis


A Handful of Britain's Best Up and Coming Actors

The BAFTA awards always provide an occasion to celebrate all things British, including England's best up and coming actors. While the awards are a great excuse to take note of those who are excelling now, they also give a reason to look towards the next couple of years and guess on who is soon to be seen on the red carpet. Below are a handful of British actors and actresses who may not be rewarded this year but will soon be all over the film news.

Tom Felton

Most notable for his performance in the Harry Potter series as Draco Malfoy, Felton hopes to use it as a stepping stone to further his career. Poised to shed the supporting actor role, Felton will star in Rise of the Apes as Dodge in 2011, which is to be set as a present day prequel to the film classic Planet of the Apes.

In The Apparition, Felton will be playing opposite Ashley Greene from the Twilight series as an expert in the supernatural who tries to help a family being haunted by a presence accidentally conjured during a University experiment some years earlier.

Felton also happens to be a budding musician in his band Feltbeats, so also be sure to check out this young heartthrob on Youtube.

Andrea Riseborough

Riseborough already has a TV BAFTA nomination under her belt for her performance as Margaret Thatcher in The Long Walk to Finchly, but bigger things are on her horizon as she recently appeared in Never Let Me Go. Riseborough also has a larger role as Rose in the upcoming film Brighton Rock.

Brighton Rock is an adaptation of the 1930s novel by Graham Greene about a troubled sociopath attempting to cover the tracks of a murder. The film is set in 1960s England and received great film reviews after its showing in the surprise film spot during the 54thLondon Film Festival. Riseborough is sure to impress the critics in her role opposite Sam Riley in this suspenseful thrill ride.

Will Poulter

Though young and relatively inexperienced, Poulter is sure to be a hit after his exquisite performance in Son of Rambow where he captured the imagination of the audience.

His most recent role, however, is certainly the best stepping stone of his young career as he played Eustace Scrubb in the wildly popular The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Scrubb is at first an annoying cousin on his visit to Narnia, but later becomes very generous after he is cursed with the plight of being a dragon. Although a children's tale, Poulter pulls off the role with brilliant effectiveness, which shines all the more bright when surrounded by the rest of his mediocre-at-best Narnia cast.

Emily Blunt

Sure Blunt has already had a pretty illustrious career with her award nominated roles in The Devil Wears Prada and The Young Victoria, but she is yet to break through with a big time win. This is all to change rather quickly as she is set to star in four films debuting in the next two years.

The first of which, The Adjustment Bureau, also stars Matt Damon who plays a charismatic United States Congressman. Damon meets the ballet star, Elise Sellas, played by Blunt, and the two try to uncover the forces preventing them from becoming the ever-so-cheesy couple the audience yearns for.

Blunt has also completed work on the animated film Gnomeo and Juliet as the voice of the lead female. A take on the classic Shakespeare play, Blunt's character falls into a forbidden romance with Gnomeo, voiced by James McAvoy. The film features music by both Lady Gaga and Elton John. Be sure to keep an eye out for the film trailer for this one.

Future film reviews are sure to include many headlines that include these British stars in the making. Be sure to keep an eye out for them in the coming years as they will no doubt haul in all of the necessary hardware to be considered a proper A-list celebrity.

Andrew Joyce is an avid movie viewer, who writes reviews and his opinions of what's happening on and off the silver screen.


Monday, January 31, 2011

The BAFTA 2011: Preview Vs My View

An awful lot of political considerations come into play over awards of any kind. From the Oscars to the Nobel Prize, many of us deemed "the ordinary public" would like to believe that such accolades relate to excellence, and hang onto a romantic view in which merit and justice bear some relation to each other.

But such views are getting harder and harder to hold.

A quick look at the BAFTA 2010 nominations for Outstanding British Film shows two films I actually wanted to watch, one I thought I should watch because I'd seen a clip on Jonathan Ross, and two I thought best to avoid at all cost, if for utterly different reasons.

For my money, Tamara Drewe was one of the best British films to come out in 2010. Lively performances, evocative camera-work and a great screenplay make it a charming picture, faithful - in clever and surprising ways - to the Posy Simmons graphic novel from which it came.

However, the great and good of BAFTA know more than I. Tamara Drewe might have been a very good movie, but the category is Outstanding British Film, which implies that the picture must have a little something more about it to gain such a heavyweight award.

All these nominated films do have "something about them" - it's true: most took healthy returns at the box-office when they opened, at least compared to their less-nominated peers, and most especially when they opened in the US. (Sources: IMDB and The Numbers.)

I'm no cynic.

It's important to keep the film industry going in Britain, so The Academy has to reward success. But it does highlight how those films which have achieved better box-office may get pushed to the top of the awards list.

In the end, unless a picture is truly newsworthy - like this year's Monsters, supposedly made for less than a million dollars, and on a single laptop - those films with the best marketing can't help getting the most attention from the judges. The current system works best for those films with the right mix of quality, marketing and box-office.

There's always an exception, of course. Some nominations are given to films that seem worthy, often for political (small 'p') or Political (big 'P') reasons, whatever the relative merit of the nominees. In the BAFTA world-view this appears to happen because the film concerns a subject so abnormally dull that the rest of the world, outside its native land, could not possibly have the slightest interest in it; or because it addresses a theme of political correctness that's important pro-tem.

Of course, sci-fi pix with romping special effects and huge marketing budgets still - inexplicably perhaps - make it into the Best Film category, if only because they employ everyone in the industry. But this year, the sci-fi boys have their work cut out, because they're up against interesting films of real quality.

Everyone complains, rightly, about the state of the film industry, and bemoans its fate and future.Yet good-quality films still will out. The dark, beautiful Biutiful, featuring a haunting and elegiac performance from 2008 Oscar-winner Javier Bardem as a man struggling to put in order his complex personal, psychic and business affairs before he dies, has already gained enormous prestige - not only as a film Not in the English Language, but for Bardem as a candidate for Best Actor.... and it hasn't even been released in the UK or the US yet.

And films like Tamara Drewe, which pulled in an abysmal $18,604 during its first US weekend and hasn't gained a single BAFTA nomination,* will sometimes have the last laugh. My prediction is that this picture has a great future as a family favorite and will make everyone involved with it - from its perennially excellent director, Stephen Frears, to all of its adorable cast, to its screenwriter Moira Buffini - very proud, and, hopefully ever more successful. Over time, since its autumn release, it's done very nicely, thank you, and there's every reason to suspect that we may be celebrating its excellence for many years to come.

* Gemma Arterton has been nominated for the Orange Rising Star Award, but this is voted on by the public, and is not awarded by the academy.

Alex Brunel is an American writer/researcher based in Stratford upon Avon, England. As well as living an exceptionally interesting life, she writes and reviews for anyone who will pay her quite a few who don't.

She's currently working on an adaptation-for-TV of Christine Richard's novel, "Whitewalls," set in the Scottish Borders.

You can see a collection of Alex's short stories under her pen name Riveralex - online - at Storywrite