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"Solomon & Gaenor" (1999)

Solomon & Gaenor (1999) is a tale set in pre WW I Welsh coal mining valleys about tensions between staunch Protestant Welsh miners and Orthodox Jewish merchants who immigrated from Russia. Based on historical fact, writer/director Paul Morrisson was inspired by riots that broke out among striking Welsh miners, who ended up looting Jewish businesses. The Jews had money, and were an easy target for the miner's frustration with strikes, poor working conditions, etc. This was Morrisson's first feature film -- his background was in documentaries. He chose an cross-cultural tragic love story as a means to explore the cultural differences.

Solomon is a young Jewish son of a store owner, who is not convinced that Judaism is the answer to everything. When his family turns him from accountant to packman (door-to-door salesman), he meets Gaenor, daughter of a Welsh mining family. Solomon falls instantly, as does Gaenor. Solomon hides the fact that he is Jewish from her, and they begin a passionate affair. Her pregnancy, and the public condemnation from her church, make the relationship nearly impossible. Solomon's secret is revealed, and both families do everything in their power to keep the two apart. Ioan Gruffudd as Solomon is brilliant, and he has real chemistry with the less experienced Nia Roberts, who plays Gaenor. It was important to Morrison to recreate accurate 1911 era Welsh mining towns, and also to have the Jews speaking Yiddish and the Welsh speaking Welsh. He had the lovers using English with each other in the English/International version, but also made a Welsh version where the two used Welsh. This required finding a young actress who could speak Welsh, and had the right chemistry with Gruffud.

Morrisson's documentary experience is evident, as he uses a rich color palate, dramatic photography, and spectacular for scenery in the filming. Critics treated this film harshly, comparing it to Romeo and Juliet. Ebert, in awarding two stars, said he had no sympathy for the lovers because they got what they deserved. IMDB readers were kinder at 6.8/10. The US theatrical release did about what you would expect from an art film, reaching 22 screens at its peak, and grossing about $0.3m in the US. I enjoyed this film very much. The chemistry between the young lovers was palpable, the production values were superb, and the film dealt with the clash of cultures with great fairness and sensitivity. The pace was leisurely, but, with the photography, that didn't detract from my enjoyment. I put it at 3.5 stars of 4, with a caution that it is for genre fans only.

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  • Nia Roberts (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12)
  • Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy)
    I did Jesus' Son. I think this is the third time I've seen it, and I still don't know whether I like it or not. Has some great moments, but not very cohesive, and doesn't know when to end the film. Great small part from Jack Black, the new John Belushi, looks like him, same attitude, same body, even has the same initials.

    The captures came out pretty darned nice.

    • Holly Hunter (1, 2)
    • Samantha Morton (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

    I also did Goya in Bordeaux. I thought this would make for some kick-ass DVD captures, and I was very satisfied with them. Doing movie captures has really changed my sensitivity to movies. When I was a younger man, my appreciation for films was driven by plot, character, atmosphere, performance, and nudity of course. When I was 25 I would have watched "Snow Falling on Cedars" and would have summarized it as a tedious film. Well, maybe it is, but now I can watch that sumbitch in awe, just wishing I knew how to create visuals that beautiful. I've come to appreciate the art directors, set designers, cinematographers, and lighting engineers a lot more. This movie is similar to Snow Falling in that it is too literate and best suited to watch with the FF in hand. In addition it's too "stagy". But they did their homework and created the look and feel of many of Goya's masterworks.

    More important, they got Maribel Verdu naked.

    The Industry Insider is a specialty filmmaker who visits our site pretty regularly. He and I have gotten to talk quite a bit in the past months, about our dads, who are both old and still hangin' in there, and also about some nostalgic stuff from the 60's and 70's. As it turns out, Insider was once the producer/director of an obscure afternoon soap opera that my friends and I used to watch religiously after high school! (It starred Tony Dow - Beaver's brother Wally- and Tommy Rettig - Lassie's master. Small damned world, isn't it? He was floored that I actually still know the words and tune to the theme song, even though I haven't thought of that show in 35 years. Amazing the stuff we retain up there. I'll never remember any woman's birthday in my life, but I can sing that friggin' song.

    Anyway, I suspect his life in his Malibu Beach house is probably a bit more exciting than the rest of our lives. He doesn't make porn films, but his photogenic house has been the site of a few, and he manages to snap off some polaroids and videos on occasion. He shared these anecdotes (and pictures) with us.

    Scoop, couple years ago there was a hot porn star called Raquel. Not Raquel Darrian. I forget her name, but my pictures of her are all called "Ali". This girl has a body to die for. The lez pic is this Raquel/Ali with Tiffany Minx. It was shot in my backyard. 6 of my neighbors were sitting on lawn chairs in their driveway watching the shoot. At one point Tiffany Minx was at my kitchen table and asked for a cigarette, so I gave her a Sherman. It's a brown color. She sticks it in her pussy and asks me to light it. Then she smoked it there. I had to get it on tape, as well as some of their lez scenes! Want the tape?

    Sure, why not? I think we've all wondered how porn stars smoke cigarettes. In the meantime, here's the polaroids.

    TomCat continued his French Babe theme with more of Sophie Marceau, this time in Fanfan!

    • Marceau (1, 2, 3)

    Charlie's site is updated with quite a large update this week

    The Second Chapter of Volume C is updated.

    And catching up - here are my thoughts on Truffaut's Mississippi Mermaid (pictures in yesterday's edition). Hey, even bad Truffaut is good stuff.

    Graphic Response
  • Barbara Carrera, Still looking great at age 40 something in this collage featuring nude scenes from the über-lame, straight to video movie "Point of Impact" (1993). How lame was it Jr? Well let me say this...

    Three words, "starring Michael Paré".

  • Brainscan
    A real treat for you and the guys today. Her name is Rowanne Brewer. Saw her in a movie with one of the Corey's a long time ago. Thing was called Round Trip to Paradise. Rowanne played a beauty contestant, object of Corey's lust. That's all I knew about her until I hit the web a couple of years ago. Turns out she was a beauty contestant, a Miss Maryland in 1998's Miss USA pageant. Didn't win the big enchilada, but was named Most Photogenic or some such thing. Then she went into swimsuit modeling and spent some time as one of Donald Trump's companions. So here are the scans I found of her from Sport Magazine's swimsuit edition and in a calendar and on the web. Topless one is from the web; don't know its original source although I suspect it was our friend the Sleuth.

    Okay, so far BFD. Not much more than you could find with a little work surfing the web. But now come the caps of Round Trip. Let me tell you right off the half-life of Rowanne's one topless scene is exceeded by that of most transuranic elements. We are taking picoseconds. Well, that's not true. A second, maybe one and a half. Those puppies are in the last collage. The good news is that her boobs are not her best asset and that she struts around in a thong in two other scenes (collages 2-4). This babe has or had a rumpus equal to that of Stephanie Seymour, and that's saying an awful lot. First collage is from a fantasy sequence with that damn Corey kid.

    The movie? As if you cared. It sucked large green weenies. Was supposed to be a comedy, a romance, an action flic. It was none of the above. The best this dag (and I mean dag, not dog) had to offer you have now seen.

  • Rowanne Brewer (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8)

    The pin-up aficionados in the crowd may remember there was a 60's model with a name very much like Rowanne's. In fact it was Roxanne Brewer. What are the odds? Anyway, Roxanne's best visible assets were definitely her hooters. (1, 2)

    Jr Here...D'oh! I messed up one of Brainscan's Shannon Elizabeth links yesterday. Being a west coaster, I think I was the last to know. Here it is again for anyone who missed it.

  • Schmutzfink
    An unusual theme this week...Turkish actresses.

    Jale Arikan
    (1, 2, 3)

    Vidcaps from "Der Jäger" (#1), "Schattenboxer" (#2), and "Schimanski muß leiden" (#3). #3 features the best lighting and exposure.

    Idil Üner
    (1, 2)

    #1 features boobs and bum in scenes from "Das Geheimnis". #2 shows breasts only in "Spuren im Eis - Eine Frau sucht die Wahrheit"

    Özay Fecht Topless 'caps from "Das Blaue Exil".

    and ...
    Jacqueline Lovell
    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

    As usual, Jacqueline shows off all of the goods in these vidcaps by Scanman from "I'm Watching You".

    Let's see what kinds of nudity Ms. Lovell delivered in this 1997 Skinemax flick...

  • Topless only: Link #2
  • Full frontal: Links #1 and 5
  • Straight Sex: Link #3
  • Masturbation: Links #4 and 6

  • Carla Gugino
    (1, 2, 3)

    Excellent topless 'caps with Carla doing a shower scene in the 1996 release, "Jaded". Thanks to Briggs for #1 and 2.

    Catya Sassoon
    (1, 2)
    Full frontal nudity in this shower seen from 1993's "Angelfist", by DeVo Of course, Catya's extremely fake boobs are very prominent. I'll guess that this scene with Catya and her other nude co-stars is probably the best thing about the whole kickboxing flick.

    Robert Leighton Topless in the Bill Murray comedy classic, "Stripes".
    Angela Taylor A busty brunette going topless in scenes from 1996's "Vice Girls" by Donbun. The reader comments in the IMDb describe it as surprisingly enjoyable, low budget fun.

    The Funnies
  • Bomb Squad practical jokes.

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