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By Jason Apuzzo. • Sean Connery turns 80 today, and we want to wish him a Happy Birthday.  Connery’s done many great films and created many great characters over the years, but his lasting achievement is obviously going to be having created the most memorable characterization yet of James Bond.  Indeed, due to the combined efforts of both Connery and Ian Fleming, 007 probably became the most iconic literary and /or filmic character of the Cold War era.

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Sean Connery.

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I just recently was watching Goldfinger and Thunderball, and the thing that struck me most about those films was the studied ease with which Connery mixes machismo, and a dry, urbane wit.  Very few actors have ever been able to combine those things as well as Connery did in his prime.  Daniel Craig and Sam Worthington, please take note: you become an action star by doing more than just sneering at the camera and head-butting your co-stars.  It takes a dash of intelligence, and more than a little humor.  The key factor with Connery is the fun he’s having along with the audience as his character is put into increasingly more insane situations.  That fun is utterly infectious, and is what makes the early Bond films so droll and delightful.  Happy Birthday to the estimable Scotsman.

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In related Connery news, somebody in the UK recently dug up a previously-thought-lost copy of the BBC Anna Karenina that Connery did in 1961 with Claire Bloom, just one year before Connery became a megastar with Dr. No.  It will be out on DVD next month.

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• There’s apparently going to be a Hurt Locker-based reality TV series that will be following a bomb-disposal squad in Afghanistan.  The show will be titled “Bomb Patrol: Afghanistan,” and will take viewers behind the scenes of a U.S. Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit.

I didn’t think reality  TV could be more frightening than “The Real Housewives of New Jersey,” but this surely is.  The courage of the men and women who do this sort of thing for a living is beyond anything I can imagine.

• You all know that we’re fans of Frank Miller here at Libertas, and now there’s a bit more to see of Frank’s forthcoming new ad series for Gucci … which has a bit of old-fashioned James Bond flair, perhaps?  Check out the new ad below.  It’s very sexy, love what Frank’s doing here.

• Did you know that vampire-related entertainment properties have brought in about $7 billion to the Hollywood economy? That’s what the Hollywood Reporter is claiming today.  I’m going to assume for the moment that it’s young female audiences who account mostly for this.  As I’ve been saying here for months, I think that the Harry Knowles-style fanboy is slowly in the process of being displaced by romance-starved young women as Hollywood’s primary consumer. This is just another sign of it.

• Speaking of romance-starved young women … do you remember the satiric review I did the other day of Piranha 3D?  The purpose of that review was to satirize how a progressive-Marxist style intellectual might react to that very silly, very fun little film.  Well, would you like to read what an actual, progressive-Marxist style reading of Katy Perry’s new album looks like? Read the LA Times review of Perry’s new Teenage Dream album.  I kid you not: the LA Times reviewer is convinced that Perry’s music is essentially a paean to rampant American consumerism.

Here’s an excerpt from the review below:

More than her Christian background or the chick-lit limits to her take on sexual liberation, what makes Perry a controversial artist is her essential hollowness. “Do you ever feel like a plastic bag drifting through the wind, wanting to start again?” she sings in the power ballad “Firework.” Perry felt like that bag, but then realized what a bag was for: to be filled up with shiny, purchasable things.

Though her lyrics generally recount familiar scenarios on the road to romantic fulfillment, Perry’s real subject is consumerism. [Emphasis mine.]  From the bouncy-house Scandinavian beats provided her by super-producers Max Martin, Stargate and her mentor Dr. Luke to the childlike enthusiasm with which she embraces lyrical clichés to the vocal style that combines sports arena chants with karaoke croons to her Halloween store look, Perry is the living embodiment of what it means to be bought and sold.

Her songs are like ads, with hooks that hit like paintballs and choruses that exhort like slogans; she delivers them with the gusto of a pitchwoman. On “Teenage Dream,” the songs alternate between weekend-bender celebrations of hedonism and self-help-style affirmations encouraging listeners to get an emotional makeover. Either way, acquisition is the goal: of a great love, a happy hangover, a perfect pair of Daisy Dukes.

I think Prof. de Molay will be emailing this reviewer shortly, as they probably have a lot to talk about.

Owen Wilson & Carla Bruni. Note baguette.

• IN CLASSIC MOVIE NEWS … Everybody’s talking about Josef von Sternberg right now because a series of von Sternberg classics are coming to DVD (see here, here and here), and there are some screenings coming up in New York of some of his classics.  I’m a big fan of von Sternberg’s work, particularly his films with the great Marlene Dietrich.  In other classic movie news, there’s a new biography out of Cecil B. DeMille that looks quite good (although I strongly recommend C.B.’s classic autobiography); the LA Times interviews Gone With the Wind’s Ann Rutherford this week; there’s a new rumor about a forthcoming Stanley Kubrick Blu-ray collection; there’s some fun speculation about what deleted scenes might be available on the forthcoming Star Wars Blu-rays; and our friend Patrick Goldstein at the LA Times talk about the new Liz Taylor-Richard Burton biography, Furious Love.

• AND IN TODAY’S MOST IMPORTANT NEWS … Woody Allen says in an interview that French first lady and Libertas favorite Carla Bruni was “very professional” on the set of his new film Midnight in Paris – and that working with her was “smooth and pleasant.”  We expected no less.  Carla apparently plays a guide at the Rodin Museum, and she was so good Allen’s going to keep all her scenes in.  This may be the first Woody Allen film I see in years.

And that’s what’s happening today in the wonderful world of Hollywood.

Posted on August 25th, 2010 at 11:45am.

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7 Responses to “Hollywood + Classic Movie Round-up, 8/25; Happy 80th Sean Connery!”

  1. Matt says:

    Could it be that Perry commits the original sin of the artist? She actually produces a product that people are willing to pay for?! I mean, WTF! What a sell out. Everybody knows that to be a real artist, you can’t actually make money! To actually have the disgusting bourgeois class give you their filthy money…how horrible. All real artists live off stipends from the state and wouldn’t dare produce anything the filthy consumer class would actually want.

  2. johngaltjkt says:

    I’m sure you’ll be shocked to hear that I’m a HUGE Connery fan and I tried to watch Zardoz recently and couldn’t make it to the end. Even Sean has had his moments (movies)!

  3. M. Riva says:

    Sean Connery is certainly the best Bond to date, and perhaps the last of the truly masculine stars. On the other fronts, I’m looking forward to reading the Liz Taylor-Richard Burton book. Their torrid romance (even denounced by the Vatican!) makes all of today’s vapid celebrity romances pale in comparison. Not to mention which, they also had real talent. I hope Liz is doing well nowadays. One doesn’t get much news about her. I miss seeing her on the screen.

  4. Hollywood + Classic Movie Round-up, 8/25; Happy 80th Sean Connery ……

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  5. Party Girl says:

    I love the 80’s soundtrack in the Frank Miller “Gucci” ad! It really takes me back … Anyone know what it is? I think it’s “Tears for Fears,” but I’m not exactly sure.

    • Govindini Murty says:

      I’ll try to find out what the song is, Party. I like the ad too and its general air of decadence. I’m not sure about the product placement though. If it’s a perfume ad, they shouldn’t have keychains dangling everywhere. I love the black platform high heels though – get me a pair now!

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