Nightman Listens To – Duke Ellington At Newport (Top 1000 Albums Series)

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Greetings, Glancers. We’re back once again to treat our ears and inferior minds with music to make us better people. Having said that, I immediately don’t have a good feeling about this one; it’s jazz, and jazz and me go together like Israel and Palestine. What can I say, I’m just not a fan of the brass.

What Do I Know About Duke Ellington: He was (is?) a Jazz musician

What Do I Know About Live At Newport: It’s a live show? At Newport?

Well, that was quick. Before I hit play, I will say that as I was typing this I saw that there is the original recording and a 1999 remaster clocking in at over 2 hours. I… I think I’ll stick with the original for now, thanks. There’s only five tracks, which probably means they’re all ten minutes long. Yippee!

‘Festival Junction’ opens with clapping and a very polite and unnecessary introduction. More clapping. A new thing. Tom And Jerry. Smooth. Fast and uppy downy. Mad skills. Piano. More. Drums. There’s the beat. More claps. Here we go, cats. I can imagine both weird 50s dancing and weird 50s hoodlums tipping their caps. In sync. Sounds like they’re having fun. It’s not annoying me in any way, but it’s just background noise for me. I’m sure if I’d been there I may have been swept up in the live atmosphere. it sounds like twelve different TV gameshow themes being played at the same time. Some squeals now. Those high notes do nothing for me, sir, but the crowd seem to be creaming all over them.

‘Blues To Be There’ starts with another spoken intro. Are all these new or improvised pieces that no-one has heard before, so they need to walk them in with words? Or was that just the style of the time? Slow, bluesy piano. Cymbals. Brass. It, and most jazz, still makes me think of Tom And Jerry, and I don’t think that’ll ever change. Halloween moment. Again it’s fine for me to have in the background, but I’m not a fan of music for background purposes. Who keeps shouting ‘yeah’? More twiddly now. Clapping. Oh, wait, not over yet. I wonder if anyone is going to move into the house across the road. It’s been empty for a year, and the sold sign has been up for about three weeks now. Actually, the sold sign split in half thanks to the wind the other night. It’s Friday January 27th as I write this, people usually move in on Fridays, right? More clapping. No, still going. People still write and listen to and release jazz, right? Young cubs I mean. It’s not about to die out. Every time I hear a car engine pausing outside I think it’s going to be someone new moving in over the road. End.

Newport Up‘ sees another introduction, man these hip cats sound so square. Fast, bouncy, skirts swirling, feet kicking. This one builds a frantic pace and has plenty of solo moments backed by exuberant backing blasts. Sorry guys, but again by non-jazzy ears are looking out for hooks rather than freestyle, so I can’t be the most objective about this. I like it, sure – it isn’t annoying and I appreciate the speed and skill of playing. But technical artistry is one thing, crafting memorable music that I can recall at a moment’s notice is another. Now it sounds like Archer. 

Jeep’s Blues‘ is immediately sex music. Tom And Jerry sex music that is – you know, one of those moments when the girl cat comes in and turns her eyelashes into a beckoning finger. It also sounds quite a bit like The Pink Panther in places. Yes, 99% of jazz music I know comes from cartoons – that’s why I’m listening to this – to increase my knowledge and better myself. What exactly are you doing? Yeah exactly, so shut up. It ambles and rambles on, nothing to see or hear here I’m afraid.

Diminuendo and Crescendo In Blue‘ is apparently two tracks merged together for this live outing. Piano and percussion. Then crazy horns. So this is ticking along nicely, I can’t really differentiate it from any of the previous tracks, probably because I’ve already forgotten them. It’s softer now, someone is clapping their hands, and someone keeps yelling. The shouting is quite annoying because I’ve no idea why he’s doing it. Is this good? Is that why? The crowd is damn well into though, maybe he’s just stoking the fire. Again, great skills on display, but the music isn’t my sort of thing and I’ve never been able to stand too much brass. That beat just keeps going on, this guy keeps playing, and the crowd is getting louder. It’s funny as he seems to be playing whatever the hell he likes. But again, it’s minutes and minutes of what my philistine ears determine to be the same few notes. Obviously it’s not that, but that’s how it seems. How hasn’t this guy fainted yet? Now the pianist is doing weird shit. Must be his turn now. Now they’re all at it. It still sounds like gameshows and cartoons and Dick Van Dyke movies. I’ll admit my foot got tapping in literally the final minute, and those final screeching notes are horrific and brilliant, but it’s over now and I can’t say I’ll ever listen to it again. Someone’s talking now. End.

What Did I Learn: I still don’t like jazz. Or ‘get’ jazz. Whatever. This is fine but doesn’t sounds any different from most other jazz I’ve heard. All I can say is thank God they invented the guitar and the amp and all the rest.

Does It Deserve Its Place In The Top 1000 Albums Of All Time: Well, it sure as hell wouldn’t appear in mine. But presumably this was a landmark for jazz, or live albums, or a combination of both. I’d love to see the crowd as it sounds like they are losing their minds. Again, I don’t really have any frame of reference to compare this with. Show me some bad jazz and let me see how it makes me feel, and then I’ll listen to this again to see if it’s any different. That’s always a good marker for getting into a genre you’re not familiar with. Show them a turd, then show them a diamond. As I have no clue what I’m talking about, this gets a 2 for maybe as I simply can’t give it a definite yes because I didn’t really like it, and I can’t give it a no because people who know better would throttle me. With their feeble jazz hands.

Colin Larkin’s Ranking: 460/1000

Amazon Vine Freebies – October 2016

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Blair Witch

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I’ve been a The Blair Witch Project fan and defender since day 1; I still think it’s terrifying. It was with both great interest and apprehension when I saw this sequel being announced – found footage has basically had its moment in the commercial sun for now so what more could this movie possibly add? Having said that, A Horrible Way To Die, The Guest, VHS, were all films I enjoyed so at least I was confident in the pedigree and talent involved. I see he has also just announced he’s remaking the glorious I Saw The Devil. Is there a German word for being both worried and excited at the same time? Whatever this is, that was me. Anticifearmeich? That’ll do.

We start, as we often do with these sorts of movies, by meeting the ill-fated group in the middle of a plot-building conversation. They have just received an odd email containing some blurry video clips which feature someone running, or possibly being pursued through an old house. The recipient of the email is James, the younger brother of Heather Donahue – one of the three people who disappeared years earlier near Burketsville. It’s the first new footage, or lead, in her disappearance in a long time. James is now an adult himself, and decides to allow his friend Lisa to document his research as part of a student film she is making. James, Lisa, and their friends Peter and Ashley prepare to embark on the same trail that Heather, Josh, and Mike set off on all those years ago – in search for closure or explanation or entertainment. This time though they are coming in more fully prepared – GPS, High Def cameras, cellphones, a drone camera, and even pulling in a couple of locals to help – Lane and Talia who sent the found footage in the first place and claim to be very familiar with the woods and their history. Unfortunately, the y don’t inform the local authorities or anyone else of their plans, or even bring some pebbles to mark their way. You know the moment they enter the woods that they won’t be getting out.

There is a sense of familiarity and inevitability in Blair Witch – both positive and negative. It is a true sequel, but it feels like a reboot. The scares and atmosphere are evocative of the original, but there isn’t anything new or interesting enough to terrify as the original did. There is plenty of meandering through the woods, arguments and tension, and before long the noises outside the tent start and all hell breaks loose. There are innovative moments here but they aren’t fully explored – the loss of time and the related paradoxes, the festering wound, the potential of the drone. Naturally these would be difficult to expand upon given the format and as they stand they provide a further air of mystery, but I would have liked a little more. I don’t have much to say about the characters – none of them are as irritating as many can be in this sort of film, but none of them stand out in any meaningful way. Winguard doesn’t get the opportunity to unleash much of his usual flair and wit until the final act, but there are mini scares and laughs throughout – if you were bored by the first, then maybe this one will hold your interest better.

Once we reach that final act we get into good old ‘picking off one by one’ territory. It approaches being pulsating, it is certainly exciting and mixes action and horror with claustrophobia and the fear of expanse. The film is more visceral and we see more violence on screen than anything covered in the original, though nothing is too extreme as the camera only glimpses or sideswipes the chaos. There is one criminal disappoint towards the end as certain things are revealed on camera – I’ve never been a full advocate of the ‘less you show the scarier it is’ school of thought, but it does apply aptly here. he stupid thing is that I’m happy with the idea of the reveal, but not the execution – there’s a multitude of ways that the reveals could have employed but they went for the most ridiculous and when it is for something so big it leaves a stain that can’t be removed from the film.

If you’re a fan of the original you’re going to see this, in fact I’m sure you probably have already. It hasn’t, and isn’t going to change the world like the original did. It wasn’t successful enough to get anyone interested in making another one, but it is another stepping stone in Wingard’s career. It’s a higher echelon found-footage movie but it doesn’t come close to matching the chills of its mummy or any of the true greats of the genre; it’s just another decent horror movie.

Best Art Direction – 1970

Official Nominations: Patton. Airport. Tora Tora Tora. The Molly Maguires. Scrooge.

This, like Best Costume Design, is always a difficult one to argue against. You can add films to your list of nominations till the cows come home (damn cows always going AWOL), but generally the official nominations are fine. Patton picked up the win in 1970 and it’s expected. Airport is a close second, Scrooge as a period piece looks grimy and authentic. Tora Tora Tora is more notable for its Cinematography, while The Molly Maguires is the most likely choice to drop though it still looks good.

My Winner: Patton

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My Nominations: Patton. Airport. The Conformist. Cromwell. On A Clear Day We Can See Forever. Ryan’s Daughter.

I bring over a few new options to spice things up – a music, two historical epics, and The Conformist which remains one of the most beautiful movies of the Seventies. Cromwell is a watchable warts and all (ahem) drama while Lean’s Ryan’s Daughter is as big, bold, and excessive as you would expect while lacking the subtlety of his earlier work. Minnelli’s films always look gorgeous – I’m not a fan of the music or musicals in general, but there’s a definite style and love of how cinema should look, exemplified in On A Clear Day We Can See Forever.

My Winner: The Conformist

Ranking The Bond Women – The Majors

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Finally we reach the climax of our sordid affair (revisit Part One and Two here). Pop! Below are the most famous Bond girls with the biggest, juiciest parts. The women which all the men want to be with, the ones which fans remember most fondly, and the ones which have kept many a teenage boy warm and wet on a cold winter’s night. I hope you’ve saved some energy for the final push. Here we go. Here we GO. HERE WEEE GOOOOOO!!!!!

41. Tiffany Case – Diamonds Are Forever

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What can I say – I just don’t like Jill St John. At least not here, where her face, hair, voice, and running around all piss me off. Jill St John has also appeared in The Lost World, Tender Is The Night, and a bunch of other stuff.

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40. Fatima Blush – Never Say Never Again

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A general WTF, this mauling of Fione Vulpe from Thunderball is a sadomasochist who enjoys the kill in a way Xenia Onotopp would later perfect. There’s so much wrong with the movie that is’s not a shock that this character is a bit of a mess – failing to kill Bond in ever more outlandish ways. Before he blows her up. With a pen. leaving just her smoking shoes behind. Having said that, Barbara Carrera has a real go at the role, and even bizarrely earned a Golden Globe nomination for it. She appeared in some notable movies and TV shows through the 70s and 80s, including The Island Of Dr Moreau, and Lone Wolf McQuade but has since retired as an actress.

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39. Magda – Octopussy

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A lead henchwoman of Kamal Khan, she helps him at the various auctions for the Faberge eggs. She starts out in the traditional route by trying to seduce Bond, but unlike most she succeeds in her ulterior motive. However, she takes a 180 turn in the end, switching sides to eventually helping Bond. A little too stern for my tastes though, but she does kick ass pretty effectively. Magda is the former Miss Scandanavia Kristina Wayborn’s most famous role, but she has also shown up in shows like Airwolf and Baywatch. 

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38. Miranda Frost – Die Another Day

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Ah yes, the old ‘Olympic medalist turned MI6 agent turned turncoat’ shtick. In a better film she would make a much more interesting character, but… but. You all know Rosamund Pike so I don’t need to tell you about her – she’s fine in the role, a little bland, too cold, and doesn’t do anything to make her stick out in the upper echelons of Bond girls.

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37. Christmas Jones – The World Is Not Enough

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She doesn’t come only once a year. Heh. Hum. Yeah, she’s hot. Denise Richards.

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36. Strawberry Fields – Quantum Of Solace

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Another case of an interesting character given bland treatment. I’m not the biggest fan of Gemma Arterton anyway, and nothing she does in this film changes that fact. Still, the character is interesting, and she does help Bond, and she does of course end up dead, but we don’t get to care enough about her to make Bond’s revenge any more engaging. Arterton’s rise was very quick, appearing in her first movie shortly after graduating, and becoming a Bond girl a year after that. She has also appeared in the St Trinian’s series, Clash Of The Titans, and The Girl With All The Gifts.

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35. Rosie Carver – Live And Let Die

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Everyone hates Rosie Carver, right? Terribly annoying, sells Bond out, spends most of the movie screeching, then freaks out in a potentially culturally insensitive scene. She’s high though because she is memorable, or because she appears in memorable scenes – her death scene is hilarious. Gloria Hendry has remained active over the years, appearing in many famous Blaxploitation movies in the 70s and the odd comedy or horror up to present day.

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34. Plenty O’Toole – Diamonds Are Forever

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Maybe the Bond Girl who is least remembered out of all those with a truly memorable name, Plenty represents the worst of the series’ treatment of women. It is made clear she is only interested in money, attaching herself to various men in various casinos. Bond doesn’t give a shit about her, she’s thrown out of a window, she’s jealous and possibly manic, and then she is drowned. What was the point? Lana Wood is still very active today, having seemingly retired in the mid 80s after appearing in many hit TV shows from the 60s onwards. You’ll know her from Peyton Place and even as a child in The Searchers. 

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33. Madeleine Swann – Spectre

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A combination of good actress, beauty, and good character ensure Swann makes a strong Bond girl. She’s the sort of estranged daughter of the villain Mr White, and she is intelligent and self-sufficient. There’s just something missing, either in the performances or the character or the story that keeps her from being a personal favourite. She doesn’t feel conflicted enough. I’ll need to watch the movie again and see if she moves up the list, but for now this is where she stands. Lea Seydoux is one of Europe’s biggest stars currently, after giving notable performances in a variety of blockbusters and critically acclaimed movies such as Ghost Protocal, Blue Is The Warmest Colour, and The Grand Budapest Hotel. 

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32. Severine – Skyfall

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The latest in the long line of tragic Bond girls, Severine starts out helping the bad guys. Dark, sultry, seemingly evil, it isn’t long before she sides with Bond. We all know what that means folks, as within a few scenes she is beaten, bloodied, tied up, and then shot in the head. She is there to make Silva seem all the more evil and cold-hearted, but she makes enough of an impact in the movie that we feel her loss. The film continues without a traditional Bond Girl. Berenice Marlohe came to acting quite late, making her first appearance at 28 and known mostly for French TV before appearing in Skyfall, though she will also be in Terence Malick’s Weightless.

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31. Camille – Quantum Of Solace

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Camille, and Quantum Of Solace, suffers by following Casino Royale and Vesper. Fans were clamoring for a direct sequel and ending to that story, but instead get led into more questions, tangents, and less interesting characters. Camille gets a powerful back story and is one of those characters who could see having their own spin-off  – she is strong, resourceful, and bent on revenge – she also doesn’t submit to Bond’s magic dong. Unlike previous movies and Bond girls she doesn’t get any standout scenes, although I need to revisit the movie to see if my feelings have changed. Olga Kurylenko is another former model who began a string of action movie appearances after giving notable performances in French Cinema, and can be seen in Hitman, Seven Psychophaths, and Oblivion. 

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30. Elektra King – The World Is Not Enough

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Elektra is someone who deserved a more nuanced and exciting film. She is a central villain, but for much of the movie garners our sympathy as she appears to be a victim of torture. Of course it turns out she had a perfect upbringing, born into wealth and fame but eventually betraying her family and joining Renard as terrorist partners. Even after killing her, Bond appears to feel bad. Sophie Marceau first appeared on screen as a teenager, quickly picking up higher profile roles and eventually appearing in Braveheart and Anna Karenina.

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29. Jinx – Die Another Day

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It’s Halle Berry, yo, and she’s one of the few respectable parts of Die Another Day. Like every other part of the movie, she is infected by camp – bad dialogue, knowing smirks, and other assorted shite, but still – it’s Halle Berry yo.

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28 – Holly Goodhead – Moonraker

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As it was the late 70s, those crazy women took it upon themselves to infiltrate all manner of male-oriented jobs, eventually leading the fight to Outer Space. Goodhead is a match for Bond in all departments, outdoing him in the brains department. Not that any of this stops him from attempting re-entry (or rear entry as I like to imagine Q saying). Bond and Goodhead fight and escape from Jaws and a variety of other henchmen all over the world only to find themselves in Space, having to to it all again. Goodhead is good in a fairly bad movie. Lois Chiles had appeared in a string of hits during the 70s before making Moonraker, and although she wouldn’t have the same successes in later years, she continues to appear in high profiles works such as Dallas and Broadcast News. 

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27. Andrea Anders  – The Man With The Golden Gun.

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It’s Maud Adams again, and it’s yet another tragic Bond girl death. The mistress of Scaramanga, she wants Bond to kill Scaramanga so that she can escape his clutches. As is almost always the case, Bond gets what he needs but the villain discovers the betrayal and the girl dies. It’s another iconic death scene as Bond chats to Anders for a few moments not realizing she has already been shot and killed in front of thousands.

26. Teresa Di Vicenzo – On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

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I imagine many people would have this character much higher on their list than I have placed her. She is one of the more important Bond girls, given how she and Bond actually get married. But this is Bond we’re talking about, so we all know how that marriage will end. She’s not as high on my list as the character simply isn’t interesting or memorable enough – certainly not to the extent that I would see Bond wanting to settle down with her – it just doesn’t come across as convincing to me. Diana Rigg is good in the role – you’ll know her from The Avengers and Game Of Thrones.

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25. Aki – You Only Live Twice

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Aki and Suzuki from You Only Live Twice have always been interesting to me. Although Aki gets a great death, I’ve always thought that her character should have been merged with Kissy Suzuki; if that had happened she would have been one of the finest Bond women and Bond characters. Aki shows herself to be a strong agent and saves Bond from death on more than one occasion. She was played by Akiko Wakabayashi, a veteran of Godzilla and other Toho monster movies.

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24. Fiona Vulpe – Thunderball

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Another early femme fatale for Bond to deal with, Volpe is particularly skilled and bloodthirsty, killing her own team members as punishment. Ironically she is later killed by one of her own when Bond spins her into the path of an oncoming bullet. She is played by Italian actress Luciana Paluzzi who has made mostly Italian movies such as The Venetian Affair but also appears in US films like The Greek Tycoon.

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23. Domino Petachi/Derval – Thunderball/Never Say Never Again

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The character of Domino doesn’t differ enough between the two movies to warrant two separate entries. Domino doesn’t merely sit around waiting to be rescued and sexed, she helps Bond investigate, fight, and it is her who brings down the big bad. You all know Kim Basinger, while Claudine Auger has continued a successful European career throughout the 60s, 70s, and 80s in movies like Sons Of Satan and Lovers And Liars. 

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22. Sylvia Trench – Dr No/From Russia With Love

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The original Bond girl – before Honey Ryder, before Miss Moneypenny, Sylvia Trench was the booty call Bond kept on speed dial between missions. She never had much screen time and as the series progressed and Moneypenny was introduced, Trench disappeared without subsequent mention – presumably she was shot, fell into a shark infested lava pit, and had her remains scattered to piranha. Or she got a mid-management job in Tesco. Eunice Gayson appeared in British TV ad movies such as The Saint and The Revenge Of Frankenstein but gave it all up in the early 70s.

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21. Tatiana Romanova – From Russia With Love

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Bond’s drilling stick does its stuff early on in the series, as it repeatedly turns foes into fuck buddies, and Tatiana Romanova is no exception. An agent of SPECTRE, she is basically forced into making a sex tape with him so that the British Secret Service look like…. faded rock stars? I don’t know, the details are a bit fuzzy. Who know how it ends though, one shake of Bond’s magic wang and she betrays her bosses and kills Rosa Klebb. She’s pretty hot for an early Bond girl too, so that’s good. Daniela Bianchi was a ballet dancer, then model, then actress in mostly Italian movies, but retired in 1970.

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20. Octopussy – Octopussy

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When the movie is named after you, you’d better be spectacular, and when you have a name like that, you’d better be suitably protected to block the advances of eight Donald Trumps. We’ve covered Maud Adams already in our list yet she deserves special credit for appearing in three separate Bond movies. She’s high on the list because she’s very good in the role and because Octopussy is an important character. She is further away from my taste in Bond girls than most though, and because of that I can’t rate her any higher. The movie isn’t that great either which doesn’t help, but still – Adams is a Bond legend.

19. Lisl Von Schlaf – For Your Eyes Only

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I’ve often said For Your Eyes Only is one of the most emotional Bond films, and not merely because of what happens on screen. Lisl Von Shlaf surrenders to Bond in the film, and is of course killed later (by The Dove), but in real life actress Cassandra Harris was married to one Pierce Brosnan at the time of filming. She was instrumental in getting her husband cast as Bond, although she would never live to see it – dying after a long battle with cancer in 1991, making her appearance and performance all the more poignant now. She isn’t in the movie for very long but always made an impact on me, possibly accentuated by how much I love the film.

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18. Pam Bouvier – License To Kill

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MRS BOUVIER!!! Yeah, I can’t read that name without thinking of old Abe Simpson. One of the most active Bond girls, she is a pilot and is handy with a gun, so I should love her but sorry people, I just can’t get too enamoured by short hair. Yep, short hair does nothing for me, and as at least half of this list is based on sleaze I half (have) to be hairsh (harsh). I generally like the performance, but she does feel a little too sulky or pouty or something. Sporting the short hair is Carey Lowell, another model turned actress who has since retired – you may know her from Sleepless In Seattle or Law And Order. 

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17. Stacey Sutton – A View To A Kill

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While we’re on the subject of things that don’t do it for me, the old blonde bombshell or ditzy routine leaves me cold (flaccid). There are a few exceptions, which my wife always mocks me for, and while Stacey Sutton is not one of those exceptions, I have a lot of time, patience, and appreciation for her than most and no-one is more surprised than me. Tanya Roberts is just hot here, there’s no getting away from it. Stacey Sutton may be regarded as the most annoying Bond girl of the lot, and it isn’t difficult to see why with all the ‘oh James’ and the more screechy ‘ARGHH JAMES!’ variant passing her lips regularly. I’m not sure of Roberts was meant to be playing the role in such a way, but she has a lot of screen time and is hot for most of it. Maybe I feel bad for Tanya Roberts – always getting roles in crap movies, cult movies, or just missing on on the big credits – you’ll have seen her in Charlie’s Angles, That 70s Show,  Beastmaster, and the epic Bodyslam. 

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16. Pussy Galore – Goldfinger

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Many see Pussy Galore as the definitive Bond girl, and many see Goldfinger as the definitive Bond film. Both are understandable. People forget though that she spends a large part of the movie as a villain, acting as Goldfinger’s pilot. She does turn later on, though this is a grey area as she doesn’t succumb to Bond’s advances and it is implied that she is gay. I like Honor Blackman, but I think this is down to her raw sexiness and energy rather than any sort of physical attraction – based on appearance only she is another Bond girl who does nothing for me. But the name, the performance, and the iconic status ensure she is high on this list. Blackman has been acting since the 40s and is still going now, known for The Upper Hand, Jason And The Argonauts, and Cockneys Vs Zombies.

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15. Kara Milovy – The Living Daylights

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After quite a few ‘not to my tastes’, up pops Kara (played by Maryam d’Abo) who is definitely much more up my street. Kara is a musician who Bond ‘rescues’ and they spend most of the movie together. She is neither a complete damsel in distress, nor a fearless warrior but she proves herself to be capable at both helping and harming Bond, and surviving. It’s good to see Bond girls get this much screen time and attention as the relationships formed feel more interesting. Kara would unusually be the last blonde main Bond girl until Spectre. d’Abo is a British model and actress who missed out on appearing in A View To A Kill but has also appeared in Dorian Gray and Xtro. 

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14. Honey Ryder – Dr No

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The original and best? Well.. yes and no. She is technically the first Bond girl (what about me, Miss Trench?) and she does have that iconic entrance, and she is pretty hot and appears independent and strong. She just isn’t that deep of a character and aside from a few moments she spends most of the movie being dragged along by Connery. In fact, she isn’t even in most of the movie, appearing only halfway through. Still, Ursula Andress in 1962 was one of the most desirable women on the planet and the combination of looks, iconic imagery, and history ensure she is high on my list.

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13. Paris Carver – Tomorrow Never Dies

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I’ve never really been into Teri Hatcher, but I always liked her on Superman and later on Desperate Housewives. It stands to reason then that she would appear quite high on my list of favourite Bond girls. She’s another secondary Bond girl and doesn’t have too many minutes of screen time, but she does make an impact – maybe it’s a mix of the music too as anytime I think of her that violin music pops up in my head too. She is an old flame of Bond – someone that it seemed he was genuinely in love with once, but he abandoned her as he couldn’t afford to have someone close to him in his line of work. She is now married to the big bad – you know the drill by now – Bond meets her again, luvin’, she gets killed, revenge, roll credits. I do like every scene she is in though, short as they may be.

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12. Mary Goodnight – The Man With The Golden Gun

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Yeah, not the most useful character and the epitome of the dumb blond ‘save me, James’ archetype, Goodnight was nevertheless played by Britt Ekland – if Britt Ekland isn’t on your list of top hottest anythings then I have serious trouble believing you’re an actual person. She is sexually frustrated by Bond throughout the movie while she in turn sexually frustrates every single person watching as she spends most of the movie in various bikini states. The character is apparently not as useless in the books, and appears in multiple different stories. Britt Ekland has appeared in many classic and not so classic movies including The Wicker Man, Get Carter, and The Monster Club. 

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11. Lupe Lamora – License To Kill

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With the odd exception now we are into the Bond girls now that I both love the most and get the hornies for. Lupe Lamora is the other Bond girl from License To Kill, the mysterious, and desirable kept wife of the main bad guy – Sanchez. She is sort of unique in that, even though she betrays her man by helping Bond, she isn’t killed – she has wiles and strength and independence, and she doesn’t get it on with Bond. At the end of the movie Bond picks Bouvier over her – rather him than me. Talisa Soto is easily one of the hottest Bond girls and she is another model/actress who has rarely hit the heights of film fame after her Bond appearance, but she did feature in the Mortal Kombat series.

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10. Naomi – The Spy Who Loved Me

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It’s something you’ll see a few times in this top ten – female Bond villains. How can anyone argue against Naomi or Caroline Munro. She is stunning, more than a little dirty looking – whatever the hell that means – smart, and happens to be pure evil. She never turns from the dark side, never gets spurted by Bond’s magical love juice, and she gets an epic death. Munro gives a wicked performance, and spends a lot of time in a bikini. She is notable for also appearing in Casino Royale (The sixties version) and has appeared in some of my favourite cult movies – you may know her from The Golden Voyage Of Sinbad and Gameshow 3-2-1. 

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9. Wai Lin – Tomorrow Never Dies

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The undisputed badass Bond Girl, Michelle Yeoh’s Wai Lin is a better fighter than Bond and just as capable as an agent, proving to be an indispensable ally. After some early mistrust between the two ,they realise they are essentially on the same mission and join forces, complementing each other well and having only playful hints of attraction. It would have been great to see a spin-off series featuring Wai Lin – basically a Chinese 007, but this never happened and was probably never considered. Michelle Yeoh is of course an all round badass, as seen in everything from Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and its sequel, to Sunshine and the Police Story series. She’s also incredibly hot, intelligent, does her own stunts, and could destroy anyone reading this.

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8. Kissy Suzuki – You Only Live Twice

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As mentioned earlier, I think it would have been more interesting if Aki and Kissy were merged into one character. Kissy is another strong and capable ally for Bond, helping him investigate Blofeld’s base and eventually getting stuck in during the epic ninja battle at the end. It goes without saying that she’s sexy, but it’s that ability to hold her own that ensures the high spot. Mie Hama had already and later went on to star in a bunch of Japanese movies before apparently retiring in 1989 and becoming a cultural ambassador.

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7. May Day – A View To A Kill

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Another villain, and easily one of the toughest, most recognizable Bond girls of the bunch. I can’t say that I’ve ever been attracted to Mayday, but there’s no getting away from the fact that she’d snap you in two and that she appears to be just as strong and dangerous as Bond. She does die in the end after kind of changing sides when she sees how truly psychotic Zorin is, but by that point she has killed several people. She gets a heroic death of sorts, her final words being a request for Bond to get Zorin – in her way she is just as iconic as Honey Ryder. Grace Jones is a model, actress, artist, and musician, having great success in all fields.

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6. Anya Amasova – The Spy Who Loved Me

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Bond has met a few capable women in his time, women who are just as good at their job as he is – quite a few of them in this top ten. Anya may be the best of these – basically a KGB, female version of 007. Agent XXX blames Bond for her boyfriend’s death (he did kill her) and their relationship is tense in the opening moments, with her knowing much of his history and frequently getting the upper-hand. Later they are instructed to work together for the common goal and they flirt by trying to out-perform each other in their mutual tasks. Amasova is a terrific Bond Girl and even though we know Bond is the star and that she will eventually fall into his arms, we know that she has been, and will again be out there doing her own thang.

Barbara Bach is easily one of the hottest Bond women but gave up on acting shortly after marrying Mr Ringo Starr, though you may have also seen her in Force 10 From Navarone.

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5. Solitaire – Live And Let Die

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Jane Seymour is one of the hottest women ever, nevermind being a Bond Girl. Solitaire is a pretty unique character in the Bondverse too, a psychic virgin and kept woman of the voodoo businessman Dr Kananga. Dutifully, Bond takes her virginity and her magic powers, rendering her both useless and untrustworthy to Kananga, but it’s a mystery why any of his henchmen didn’t ‘have a go’ first – that Tee-Hee fella looks the type. After all that she does become a typical damsel in distress who Bond must rescue, but she’s just so damn pretty that I don’t care. Seymour is well cast and while she doesn’t really show off many of her acting talents, we would see those later in the likes of Dr Quinn, and Battlestar Galactica.

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4. Melina Havlock – For Your Eyes Only

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Melina gets a lot of stick. From idiots. Now that we’ve cleared that up, in terms of hotness there are few higher than her in my sick and unnecessary gauge. Dark, mysterious, sultry, what more could you want? Melina wants revenge for the death of her father and is fiercely determined to complete this mission, much to the annoyance of Bond. The two eventually team up and take down the bad guys together, and then do what Bond does best. Carole Bouquet (not bucket) went on to star in a tonne of movies and series, mostly European including Too Beautiful For You and the – wait, there’s a TV remake of Rosemary’s Baby!? WTF.

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3. Xenia Onotopp – Goldeneye

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Straight up, with a twist. That’s kind of all you need to know. Onotopp is simply joyous, and who wouldn’t want to have their final moments being crushed to death between those thighs? Dark, brooding, sexy, and with a comical sexual appetite which dwarf’s Bonds, Onotopp is a psychotic killer who enjoys nothing more than mowing down innocents with her gun. Bond barely escapes with his nuts and life intact after several confrontations with her, and she’s another villain that you don’t really want to see killed because she’s so much fun. Famke Janssen’s electrifying performance ensured that she would have a huge Hollywood career appearing in the XMen and Taken franchises among others.

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2. Natalya Simyonova – Goldeneye

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Ah Natalya, surely a favourite of any geek. Clever, funny, handy enough in a fight, and sweet jeebus wouldn’t you know she’s hotter than a Severnaya Sauna. She is the only survivor of the Janus attack in Siberia (well, unless you count Boris as a survivor too), she escapes certain death a second time, this time with Bond and the two work together to stop Sean Bean’s maniacal ramblings. Natalya is one of the few Bond girls to truly get under Bond’s skin referring to his ‘it’s what keeps me alive’ with ‘it’s what keeps you alone’. She’s another character who I would have loved seeing again and could imagine Bond giving up his other life for. Izabella Scorupco is another model who has tried her hand successfully at music and movies, appearing also in Vertical Limit and Reign Of Fire.

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  1. Vesper Lynd – Casino Royale

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Quite frankly, anyone who doesn’t put Vesper as their number one Bond Girl is a moron. She’s number one is every respect, she just is. Oh look  – dark, sultry, mysterious – is it any wonder she’s top of my list? She’s also an equal to Bond in the flirting stakes and she is the one that he does appear to want to throw it all away for. You know what happens to those women though, don’t you? Her death was the impetus for later Bond movies and it had such an impact in Casino Royale that the resolution to that whole story as played out in later films has been, well, crap. I want full-on, badass, revenge mode Bond, but we never get that.

One of, if not the most important reason that Vesper is number one is down to Eva Green’s performance. Aside from obviously being gorgeous (and thank God we’re at the end of this thing so that I can stop feeling dirty by lowering myself to such base interests) her performance is superb, easily worthy of an Oscar nod and towers above most performances in the series, Bond girl or otherwise. Green is easily one of the best actors in work today, as seen here and in The Dreamers and Penny Dreadful.

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There you have it – an exhaustive list of breast and other bits. You can go off now, clean yourself up, and then come back and let us know in the comments who your favourites are!

Society

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Neither of the people above are in this movie

 

I’ve always loved Society. I mean it’s crap, but it’s camp, cheesy, and wickedly bizarre. I think I first heard about it in some movie magazine in the 90s which had a bit about the most gory film of all time, and I think it put Society in its number one spot. I went hunting for the VHS the very next day. I remember being confused by it all – not by the plot, but by the lack of gore. Then I checked the magazine and it mentioned the final 10 minutes. Then I saw the final 10 minutes and laughed my ass off, so much so that my face became merged with my ass (SPOILER IN-JOKE).

Society is Brian Yuzna’s most well known film. Well, as a Director. He’s been involved in horror for decades now, Producing hits like Re-Animator and From Beyond. This is his first and finest attempt as a Director, a satire of the insular world of America’s rich, white, and privileged. Young Bill Whitney feels out of place – he may be some sort of very tiny jock at his school, but he hangs around with losers and although he has all the wealth in the world he goes to a shrink about the nightmares and paranoia he suffers from. When he receives a cassette apparently recording his family involved in an orgy of incest he fears he is both losing his mind and in danger from his family and friends. Before long Billy’s fears and proven to be true and he has to find a way to either expose or escape the carnage.

Billy Warlock of Baywatch fame, who must have been almost 30 at the time, plays the teenage Billy. I’ve always liked Warlock, but this isn’t a movie you watch for the acting. You’ll recognize plenty of faces, but no-one gets a lot of screen time. This is a film about the messy plot and the messier effects. There are plenty of hilarious moments involving hair-eating mothers, 80s fashion, and of course the closing moments. The effects are dated now but there is still a shlocky vibrancy and originality to them. I can’t call what happens gory, mostly it looks like rubber coated in ham and glossed in Saturday morning kids TV show gunge. It’s the idea of these folks getting together for orgies, whatever the reason, and the silliness of the creations which still make the film stand out – it’s all so ridiculous that you’re bound to laugh when you watch. It’s a film everyone should see once, preferably drunk.

Let us know in the comments what you thought of Society if you’ve seen it, or if anything I’ve said above makes you want to watch!