Empire of the Wolves (2005)

Empire of the Wolves is a high-concept French thriller targeted specifically at the audience which embraced Crimson Rivers as a cult hit. Like Crimson Rivers, it is based on a novel by Jean-Christophe Grangé about two cops investigating a series of grisly murders. Like Crimson Rivers, it features Jean Reno as one of the cops.

A young Parisian cop is stymied by the complexities of "Little Turkey" in his investigation of three murders which seem to involve ritual mutilation. Knowing that he needs help to solve the case, he reluctantly calls on a disgraced cop (Reno) who has an intimate knowledge of Little Turkey and useful connections within the Turkish community.

Unfolding parallel to this story is another which initially seems unrelated, about a French housewife with a particularly mysterious case of Cinema Amnesia. In this particular variation of the disease which has crippled so many film characters, the victim can remember everything except her husband. And I mean everything. She can remember the names the 1906 Cubs and Martin Bormann's third cousins on his mother's side. She can recall the vehicular traffic counts at every major intersection in Estonia. She remembers the big white house on Elm Street, and her little sister Dagmar, and her big brother Nels, and Papa. But most of all, she remembers Mama. Yet show her a picture of her husband and she's as baffled as President Bush trying to read Finnegans Wake.

What do these two ostensibly unrelated stories have to do with one another? Your desire to know that is what will keep you watching the film, assuming it is enough to reels you in. It worked for me.

It is an extremely complicated plot which folds in upon itself like an Escher painting, and it's really too contrived. I won't spoil the exact plot of this film, because some of you will find it worth watching, but I'll give you a parallel example to illustrate its potential for confusion. Suppose you are a professor with some kind of problem with the mob, a problem so bad that you have to get plastic surgery and assume an identity as an illegal Mexican farm laborer. Now suppose that some insane scientists are trying to prove that they can take any simple old Mexican farm laborer and re-program him so completely that he can pass as a professor. Of all the paperless laborers in the world to kidnap against his will, the mad scientists choose you, the one who really is a professor posing as a laborer. That isn't actually what happened in this movie, but it gives you the general idea of the kinds of things to expect. The scientists don't know who you really are because they had no idea that you were living undercover when they kidnapped you. The mob doesn't know who you are because you don't look the same, and there is no way for you to betray yourself, because you don't know that you are you.

Can you see the potential for extreme complexity and confusion in that premise? It would be like adding more layers on top of The Bourne Identity, a film with which Empire of the Wolves has certain common elements. Well, the actual case in the movie is much more complicated than the example I gave. The plot is just filled with twists and turns and secret societies and ancient gods and unexpected revelations and everything but the kitchen sink. To make matters even harder to follow, one of the two seemingly unrelated storylines splits into two story  threads. Reno and the young cop split up for various reasons which I can't reveal, so their stories are thereafter told separately, and the narration must then shift between three stories instead of two, and we are wondering if they will ever cross ...

Do they? Watch it and see, if you are curious. Tip one: if you are curious, don't pay the full price for it. It has been offered for less than ten bucks NEW, and you can own a used copy for about the price of a Blockbuster rental. Tip two: you might want to suffer through the sub-titles, because in the dubbed version Jean Reno sounds like a 20 year old junior at the University of Wisconsin.

The film is too complicated and too contrived by half, but it's also entertaining and engrossing in a lot of its own over-the-top ways. I'm not sure I really understood what the hell was happening in the last 25 minutes, or even how all the various elements tied together at the end, but even the most confusing elements looked pretty cool! On the other hand, I am a fan of Reno and Grangé, so your mileage may very considerably.

Arly Jover

Some unknown woman (or mannequin)



The Matador (2006)

A salesman and a hit man walk into a bar ...

Dark, hip "unlikely buddy" comedy with Greg Kinnear and Pierce Brosnan. Generally pretty good reviews. Not all that much nudity. The woman in this zipped .avi is Azucena Medina, and you'll see the top portion of her ass-crack.


Other Crap:

The Seahawks score a bunch and shut down Carolina's vaunted passing attack.
  • Delhomme had a QB rating of 35 for the game. For an NFL starter it doesn't get much worse than 15 for 35 with 3 INTs! And that's all she wrote.

So much for the Broncos being undefeated at home. The Steelers had The Right Stuff, and Roethlisberger showed he can do more than just tackle.

Here's today's Sundance Insider, in .pdf format

"Little Miss Sunshine" wows 'em at Sundance

  • Prolonged standing ovation
  • All-time record sale

Sundance report: Maggie Gyllenhaal Gets Really Naked - again!

  • "She debuted in Sherrybaby, in which Gyllenhaal plays a wayward, alcohol- and drug-abusing paroled mother whose child is living with her brother- and sister-in-law. On its face it seems like a Lifetime movie, but Sherrybaby is fairly edgy. Gyllenhaal gets good and naked and has at least one explicit sex scene with a stranger played by Rio Hackford."

Kidnapped garden gnomes found in snowy Swedish forest

  • A letter from the "Garden Gnomes Liberation Army" claimed responsibility for their disappearance. I didn't make that up.

Denise Richards and Neve Campbell Lesbian Scene, in slo-mo, from the Wild Things special edition

Great Britain faces critical shortage of the letter "u"

Walter Cronkite says we should pull out of Vietnam and use the money to fund Project Mercury

Judge: Jolie's kids can take Pitt's name and start wearing cool shades.

  • They are now named Brad Zahara and Brad Chivan. And little Brad Zahara is a girl.

Weekend Box Office Results

  • It was a very healthy weekend for the box office, and that was unexpected. Last weekend had been down 12% from the equivalent weekend in the previous year, but this weekend was 17% better than last year's equivalent!
  • Every film reached or exceeded expectations except Hostel. Many exceeded expectations by 30% or more.
  • Underworld: Evolution did as well as predicted, despite some scathing reviews.
  • Hoodwinked expanded to 600 more theaters, and thus performed nearly as well as it did last week.
  • Transamerica and Cache turned in some solid per-screen averages in micro-distribution.

Dave Barry's blog flushed out the headline of the day so far: "Soybean paste turns toilet industry on its head"

Alexander the Great, the Michael Jordan of hockey, makes an insane goal.

  • "Even Wayne Gretzky, who was coaching the opposing team, commented 'that was pretty sweet.'"
  • Kid will be around a while. He just turned 20!!

Undeterred by his last failure (BloodRayne), Ewe Boll presents the trailer for his next flop (In the Name of the King.)

  • It's a medieval tale with the usual knights and castles - and a cast that includes ol' Gator McKlusky his ownself as the king (!) and Shaggy as a duke. (!!)
  • Ray Liotta and Jason Statham are also on hand because even ancient kingdoms needed lower-level, blue-collar mobsters.
  • Leelee Sobieski, Kristanna Loken, and Claire Forlani are also in the cast, so we can at least hope for some nude scenes.
  • Oh, yeah, and Ewe also employed John Rhys-Davies because (1) somebody in the damned film had to speak the King's English (2) all movies about ancient kingdoms have to include John Rhys-Davies. It's in the Magna Carta.
  • I have read that the budget for this film was $60 million dollars!

Bryce Dallas Howard discusses her explicit nudity in Manderlay

New York Post Online: Celebrity Photos at the Golden Globes

The trailer from Stick It (menu to the right)

  • Jeff Bridges will play the coach of a team of rule-abiding gymnasts who develop a taste for rebellion after a renegade member (Missy Peregrym) joins the crew. Vanessa Lengies co-stars as Peregrym's rival.

A clip from Tamara

  • After a teenage prank on the unpopular girl in school, Tamara (Jenna Dewan), goes horribly wrong, the pranksters decide to cover their tracks and bury the body. However, death won't keep Tamara down as she's a witch. Returning from the grave with a new, seductive look and a motive for a revenge to match, Tamara hunts down and kills all those involved in her death.



Movie Reviews:

Yellow asterisk: funny (maybe). White asterisk: expanded format. Blue asterisk: not mine. No asterisk: it probably sucks.




"Asylum "

Asylum (2005) is an English Indie about Natasha Richardson as wife of a rising public health psychiatrist, and her Lady Chatterly-like affair with one of the patients. There are no likeable people in this film, with the possible retiring director of the asylum. It is peopled by Stepford Wives of stuffy shrinks with private agendas, a snotty husband more concerned with work than family, a brat of a young son, the mother-in-law from hell and Richardson's character, which was entirely too self-centered to be sympathetic. I generally do not like films full of people I would not voluntarily spend time with in real life. This was a noticeable exception. I have no idea if this was a love story, a psychological thriller, or an indictment of the mental health system of the 50s, but, whatever it was, it held my interest.

Breasts and buns from Richardson helped, of course. The nudity is frequent, and in clear light. The sex scenes also had a great deal of raw passion. Finally, while I had some inkling where the story was headed, it was not entirely predictable.

IMDb readers say 6.3. Ebert gives two stars. It did nothing in a limited US theatrical release. I am honestly not sure why I enjoyed this, but demographics at IMDb predicted it. In the 45+ age group, men rated it 7.3, with women at 3.8. For other age groups, it is near chick flick territory below 30, and even from 30 to 45. Clearly, this film appeals to young women and older men, but I am at a loss to explain why. This is s C.

Natasha Richardson

"Wilder Napalm "

Wilder Napalm (4.7), quite simply, is one of the stupidest ideas for a film I have ever heard. To compound this, the cast includes the likes of Debra Winger, Dennis Quaid, and Arliss Howard, all of whom are credible performers. Quaid and Howard are brothers, both having the ability to start fires with their minds. After a tragic accident when they were young, Howard elected to suppress his power, and try to live a straight life. This is made more difficult by wife Debra Winger, who is something of a Pyromaniac, and is under house arrest for arson as the film opens. Brother Quaid revels is his powers. He works as a circus clown, but is about to break into TV based on his ability to start fires. When Quaid shows up to tell Howard that he is going public, and to steal Winger, things heat up, so to speak.

Winger, who has a brief nipple slip in a dark sex scene, is honestly a hoot in this film, and seems to have had great fun in the part chewing the scenery. The pecker contest, fireballs at 60 paces, between Howard and Quaid wasn't nearly as entertaining. IMDb readers say 4.7. This was intended as comedy, but the battle between Quaid and Howard just wasn't funny. This is a low C-.

Debra Winger


Today from the Ghost...Gisele Lindley from the bizarre movie "Forbidden Zone."

Gisele Lindley

Today the old Time Machine travels back ten years for "Depraved".

This one features a sexy looking Latino lovely Seidy Lopez and she even has a "Babe in Bondage" scene of a consensual nature.

Barbara Niven AKA Barbara Lee Alexander has a great soapy tits in the bathtub scene.

Seidy Lopez

Barbara Niven


I have something unusual for today. These are scans from the July 1976 edition of the British men's magazine, Mayfair, that showed up on the web just the other day (I worked on them just a wee bit). Usual lovely bit o' tail in the mag-- of particular interest are two women who were part of the American B-movie scene in the 70's. One of them is Angel Thompkins, famous for movies such as Prime Cut (which has been capped beautifully in recent weeks). Angel posed under her own name. The second gal posed as Olivia Paddon but it is the goddess, Lenka Novak, who appeared in Kentucky Fried Movie, The Coach and Cheerleader's Wild Weekend. Lenka looks fantastic in these scans; and unlike her topless-only appearances on the silver screen, here she gives up all three B's. I've seen a few other scans of of them from the Hefmag...but these are numerous and more than sorta okay looking.


Angel Thompkins

Lenka Novak




'Caps and comments by Oz:

"Lost Things"
Back to the East coast for some nice breast views of Lenka Kripac and Alex Vaughan who go topless sunbathing.

Alex Vaughan Lenka Kripac

"Getting Square"
Getting Square (2003) was another comedy but with no nudity. There's some nice caps, with mainly cleavage, of Freya Stafford, Sue Ellen Underwood, Marea Lambert Barker and Helen Thompson.

Freya Stafford Sue Ellen Underwood Marea Lambert Barker Helen Thompson

"The Night We Called it a Day"
The Night We Called it a Day (2003)...there's no visible nudity, but it features Portia De Rossi when she was called Mandy Rogers (back in Australia). But of course, she is now a lesbian and is Ellen Degeneres' current squeeze.

Portia DeRossi Rose Byrne

"Metal Skin"
Tara Morice and Nadine Garner are shown topless in Metal Skin (1994), although Nadine's could have been a prosthetic. However, I don't think so.

Nadine Garner Tara Morice

From C2k, here is "Underworld" and "Thunderbirds" babe, Sophia Myles showing just a bit of nipplage in scenes from the UK movie "Colditz".

Classic 80's nudity by Dai with Joyce Hyser topless in scenes from "Just One of the Guys" (1985).