"Striking Resemblance"

Striking Resemblance (1997) -- the title tells you nearly everything you need to know about this film. It is an adjective noun, and is hence more than likely a soft core. With the word "striking" in the title, we can surmise murder mystery, and Striking Resemblance has the distinct odor of surprise evil twin solution (SETS). This would normally be enough cause to avoid it, and the 4.4 score at IMDB seals its fate, except for one thing. It is time to play guess the ending. Watch the film, and record the running time at the instant you figure out the solution. For me, it was at 51:43.

Lots of naked bimbos, including Nicole Gian as a police detective who cheats on her partner/boyfriend with a suspect and shows breasts and buns, CeCe Tsou, Kim Yates and Shauna O'Brien who give three B performances, and several uncredited strippers. I will say the simulated sex was rather convincing, but the acting was anything but. This is a D+, almost genre minimum.

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  • Cece Tsou (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15)
  • Kim Yates (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25)
  • Nicole Gian (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20)
  • Shauna O'Brien (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23)
  • Strippers (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8)

  • Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy)

    Ray (2004):

    At the time I checked the IMDb page for Ray, the lead comment said, "Great performances and music squandered in mediocre story."

    That is all sort of true, but it seems to me that it really lends the wrong perspective on the matter. If you have great performances and a couple hours of Ray Charles music, is the story really that important? Can that really be called "squandering"? C'mon, now, really?

    And when you're talking about performances, the lead performance by Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles is not merely great. It is one of those achievements so triumphant that it immediately renders all the annual competitions meaningless, and wins by acclamation. This is the second straight year we have been privileged to see one of those performances which are only supposed to occur about once per generation. Last year Charlize Theron turned in her uncanny performance in Monster. This year, Jamie. Just as it was with Theron last year, if Jamie does not win the Oscar, the Academy should immediately be disbanded, and a new, more sensible organization should be built upon its ruins.

    Take away the story completely, and you could watch a two hour Ray Charles concert with a little back-story, right? Well that is exactly what you get. I'm telling you that Jamie Foxx is not even in this movie. It is Ray Charles who appears as himself. From the moment Jamie totters into view, there is never any doubt in your mind that you are watching Ray Charles as a young man: the piano fingering, the way he moves, the walk, the voice, every mannerism. Even the face seems to be Ray's face. Of course, the great man did sing 90% of the music himself, and there is only one Ray Charles, but on those occasions when Jamie filled in some singing, the transition was completely flawless, and Jamie's fingering was so perfect that the film's director had far more options than are normally available in a musical biopic - he was able to use any camera angle he chose at any time, because if Jamie's fingering comes into view, you can be sure it is correct. (Jamie studied the piano in his school days, and he also worked directly with Ray Charles to get the details right.)

    Hats off to Double-X. He has an immeasurable depth of musical talent to go with his acting talent. Of course, it would be easy to assume he pulled this all off on talent alone, but that is not so. He worked his share of 16 hour days (and, according to the DVD special features, even some 23 hour days) to get everything exactly right, and he actually played all the scenes blind. Let me be sure you understand what I am saying. He was not just pretending to be blind behind some glasses. He was blind. The crew created the make-up so that Jamie could not see.

    While faithful to the facts of Ray's life, the story is not especially intriguing. It is a by-the-numbers biopic which hits upon too many details to develop anything with much depth, but it has some very strong positives:

    1. The fifties and sixties are evoked perfectly.

    2. I was impressed by the way the director chose to portray Ray's childhood memories with highly saturated representations of too-vivid colors, remembered as a once-sighted blind man might have remembered colors from the dimly-remembered days when he could see. (Ray was not fully blind until about age nine.) If I tell you that Ray was always haunted by the drowning death of his brother when they were both small children, and that the death continually came back to him throughout the film in dreams and hallucinations about death and water, you may think that the device sounds artificial, and yet I did not find it unnatural or self-indulgent in the course of the movie. It may be a heavy-handed device, but the director made it work

    3. The story is the truth. Ray is portrayed as a womanizer and a junkie. He can be emotionally shallow, disloyal, and cold to his friends, and he often lets ruthless ambition and musical perfectionism come between him and his friends and family.

    4. It makes the point that Ray was a cripple in some ways (his heroin addiction, e.g.), but his blindness was not one of them. In fact, as the credits were rolling, I was wondering if Ray's blindness was a gift rather than a handicap. Would he have been so driven if he had not been blind? Would he have been so completely at one with sound if he had also had his sight? In a way, you can argue that Ray's "handicap" was similar to John Nash's in "A Beautiful Mind" in that in both cases the men were geniuses because of their unique challenges, not in spite of them. If John Nash had not been able to see patterns that others could not, would he have been a great mathematician? If Ray had not trained himself to hear what others could not, would he have been a musical genius?

    I want to point out some very fine features on the DVD

    First, while the movie itself only shows appropriate excerpts from various Ray Charles songs, the director actually filmed complete versions of nine songs. If you are irritated by the fact that the movie cuts away just when you're really getting into the songs, you'll be able to get your fix and sing or dance along to the special features.

    Second, the discs include many interesting features on how the film was made. I watched all of them, and enjoyed just about everything, but the one I want to bring to your attention is some footage of a very old Ray Charles, obviously not in great health but still exuberant about music and generous with his praise, teaching Jamie to play like Ray. Imagine yourself in Jamie's shoes - trying to get it, failing, failing again, getting frustrated, failing again right in front of the great Ray Charles himself, getting more frustrated, failing yet again, and then having it all fall into place and hearing Ray himself say "I think the boy's got it!", obviously with great delight. I don't envy Jamie's incredible talent, but I do really envy his possession of that moment. It has to be a greater moment than the rest of us will ever know.

    Even if you don't find the biography to be all that engaging, well, so what? It's good enough to carry the Jamie/Ray concert. My dad and I once drove through a blizzard for hours to see Ray Charles perform in concert. Today I got to see Ray play from the comfort of my living room, and he even got a few decades younger.

    If only my dad had lived to see this movie!

    • Aunjanue Ellis. (1, 2) In addition to the other positives of the film, the director even managed to sneak a breast (collage 1) and maybe even some pubic hair (collage 2) past the MPAA and still get a PG-13 rating.


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    • The yellow asterisks indicate that I wrote the review, and am deluded into thinking it includes humor.
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    Words, pictures, and vids from ICMS

    "The Sweet Hereafter" (1997)

    In "The Sweet Hereafter" (1997) a 42 year old Alberta Watson gives the spectators a full frontal performance in a not so bright scene, but everything should be visible.


    "Winterschläfer" (1996)


    Now it's time again for a couple of German actresses before these girls start complaining that I've been neglecting them. In "Winterschläfer" (1996) Marie-Lou Sellem only shows a breast but Floriane Daniel shows everything in two clips. Unfortunately though, you can also see her lover's love tool.


    Just a few final thoughts on DVD's. I'm glad that my idea could be profitable but I don't have much hope that it will be picked up. The rights of a movie are no simple matter and all the parties who own the rights are mostly overprotective, sometimes greedy but nearly always divided. Reaching an agreement here must be a difficult task to complete. I always like to compare it with Europe under the feudal system.

    Another DVD segment, which you didn't mention, that wasn't expected to boom here in Europe, is the music DVD segment. Sales of those have risen enormously over the past year and they have an important place in magazines and shops now. I don't know about the situation in the US though.
    As for the successor(s) of the DVD, HD-DVD and Blu Ray, I'm wondering if consumers are ready for them and will invest in new equipment and disks. People have only just started to adhere to DVD and they already want to replace it? Isn't that a bit too fast? To me it certainly looks so for the more conservative European market, but of course I may be dead wrong here. Again I don't know about the US, but the successors of the CD, the Audio-DVD and the SACD, aren't exactly a big success here in Europe, and that's putting it mildly. I don't think they're available in my hometown, only Fnac in Brussels has a small choice. The biggest choice they have in this department is in their Monte-Carlo outlet, with the casino just around the corner ! I suppose this is purely coincidence but who knows :-) On the contrary CD's are still widely available.
    Once again I let myself ramble on a bit here, but I think these are my final words on the matter.

    Jr's Polls
    Here are the final results and comments for last week's poll Best Nude Debut, the 90's.

    This week's poll...
    Which actress has been the most convincing playing a stripper?

    Here are the results of our most recent other polls...

    The Top 20 Nude Scenes of 2004

    The Best Nude Film Debuts of the 80s

    Email Scoopy Jr. with your nominees, comments or suggestions.

    Crimson Ghost
    NOTE: We currently have to do all of our movie files in zip format. Instead of viewing them online, save the zip files to your hard drive in the directory of your choice, un-zip and play from there.

    First up from the Ghost...a few video clips (zipped .wmvs) of assorted Former Heffers.

    • Jeane Manson (August '74), topless in scenes from the Charles Bronson movie "10 to Midnight" (1983).

    • Ola Ray (June '80), also topless in scenes from "10 to Midnight".

    • Sharon Clark (August '70) baring breasts and bum in scenes from the 1976 movie "Lifeguard". (1, 2)

    • Tina Bockrath (May '90) full frontal in scenes from her one and only movie..."Totally Exposed" (1991). (1, 2)

    Next up, a whole bunch of 'caps of Skinemax babe Greta Dolan aka Mary Shannon in scenes from 3 different late night cable shows.

    • Greta Dolan topless in several scenes from an episode of "The Best Sex Ever". (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32)

    • Greta Dolan in scenes from an episode of "Hotel Erotica". Topless in all, plus frontal nudity in links 3,5,6,9,10 and 17. (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20)

    • More of Greta Dolan topless. This time in scenes from an episode of "Thrills". (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

    Here's a nice assortment of nekkid French babes...

    Lise Danvers
    (1, 2)

    Baring all 3 B's in scenes from "Contes immoraux" aka "Immoral Tales" (1974).

    Paloma Picasso
    Pascale Christophe
    Both ladies going full frontal in more scenes from ""Immoral Tales" (1974). Paloma is of course the daughter of Pablo Picasso.

    Marine Delterme Toplessness while in bed in scenes from the French comedy, "Michael Kael vs. the World News Company" (1998).

    Nadja Mons Topless and full frontal nudity in "Mes nuits avec Alice, Pénélope, Arnold, Maud et Richard".

    Sophie Marceau The French mega-star and former Bond babe bares breasts and bush in these scenes from the 1990 movie "Pacific Palisades".

    'Caps and comments by Dann:

    "Lana's Rain"
    The main message of this compelling 2002 drama seems to be that no matter how bad you think people are, they're really a lot worse.

    Darko and Lana, a brother and sister, escape to America from the war-torn Balkans and wind up in Chicago. Lana doesn't know that Darko is a low-level mobster and war criminal on the run from the international authorities. Despite the promise of a new land, things seem to once again go badly for the pair when their money and possessions appear to be stolen from the park while Lana dozes. Penniless, Darko convinces Lana that the only choice is for her to turn tricks.

    Although Darko thrives, there never seems to be enough money for Lana to quit hooking, and Darko eventually adds two more women to his stable.

    When rogue international agents snatch Lana and another hooker and torture them mercilessly to reveal Darko's whereabouts, she begins to realize her brother is nothing like he seems.

    A dark and unpleasant but extremely well-done movie with excellent story and acting, that will keep your interest until the end. Highly recommended.

    Fairuza Balk Here's a video clip (zipped DIVX .avi) of Balk briefly baring breasts while gettin' it on in scenes from "American History X" (1998). Thanks to AAA.

    Laurel Holloman
    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)

    Katherine Moennig
    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12)

    More 'caps by the Skin-man featurnig some lesbo lovin' from the made for Showtime series "The L Word". Both are topless, Moennig also goes full frontal in links 8 and 9.