I am turning 60 today. When I started this page I was 46!

A lot of pages. A lot of words.

More to come ...

The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer


If you read this column every day, you realize that I usually leave the vintage stuff for others. I want to get the latest stuff to appear in the theaters or on DVD or even occasionally on TV. About seven years ago, that included a lot of older material which was coming to DVD for the first time, but now that most of the classic nude scenes have made it to DVD, there's really nothing "'new'' coming out of the past, so I'm looking for material created in the past year or so. I've never been much interested in reliving the past, anyway. To paraphrase "Madison County," the old dreams were good dreams, and I'm glad to have dreamt them, but they are gone now, and there are new ones ahead. Reviving the past with friends at reunions can be kind of fun because that version of the past changes as you do, and as you need to remember it. But reviving the past by watching old movies can be downright depressing, because those movies have not changed with you. Many of the films you loved in your youth just don't hold up to any objective scrutiny. You loved them because of the time and place in which they existed, and that time is gone, as is the person you were then. It's much nicer to leave those films as treasured memories, where they shine unblemished, and intermingle with warm recollections of the events that surrounded them: "I saw this on my first date with ..."; or "I remember that film - I was trapped in Oswego in a snowstorm and there was nothing else to do, so we caught the late show in a neighborhood theater and ate at a pizza place which only happened to be open because the owner couldn't get home in the storm."

Unfortunately, I had to rewatch many 1967-74 films during the past decade in order to chronicle the nudity, and I often found myself wondering why I ever thought they were any good. Perfect example? I had such great memories of The Graduate - until I actually watched it again. It does have a good beginning up to the point where Benjamin is seduced by Mrs Robinson, and it has a memorable ending. Of course, those are the only sections anyone ever remembers about the movie. And with good reason. In between those parts is an unbearably bad story line about a total douchebag of a guy who is stalking a girl despite the fact that she keeps getting more and more creeped out by him. Dustin Hoffman's character could not be less appealing. If you saw that part without the intro, you would assume it to be the introduction to a unpleasant grade-B slasher movie which ends up with Katherine Ross being eviscerated in a back alley.

Sigh. Memory shattered.

That brings us back to The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer. I never saw it in 1970, but I have heard friends speak of it warmly and often, perhaps because it disappeared almost completely, unreleased on home video and rarely shown on TV, and therefore existing only in their memories. It featured the all-star team of British comedy from the second half of the 20th century. The droll comic genius Peter Cook starred and co-wrote the script with Monty Python's Graham Chapman and John Cleese, who also play minor roles. Other members of the cast include Denholm Eliot, one of The Two Ronnies (the dwarfish one), and the Nobel laureate playwright Harold Pinter, using his memorable basso profundo voice to impersonate a slimy TV presenter, and making his only film appearance between 1967 and 1985.

And it has a great nude scene.

Sounds good, right? When it came to Region 2 DVD, I jumped on it.

Yet another disappointment. It's not a bad film, but is an unexpectedly serious one. Expecting silly shenanigans, surreal situations, farce, and absurdist notions, I instead found dark and deadpan social satire.

The basic problem with the film is that the authors are out of their element. They are all excellent at writing sketch comedy with absurdist touches and non-stop humor, but this is more or less a dark comedic story in the Kubrick vein. That format requires both a slick narrative and characterization, and that immediately raises two problems:

1. The film contains long stretches with exiguous wit, as the authors establish characterization or plot.

2. Point one is bad enough, I suppose, but the problem might be overcome if those three guys were any good at writing plots and creating dimensional, developed characters. They are not. They are good at creating zany caricatures, non-sequiturs, and jokes. As a result, the story drags on and on and on in completely predictable fashion at a snail's pace, and some scenes don't even try to be funny. Denholm Eliot and Graham Chapman are straight men here, as they usually are. Cook is known for his wit, but has to stay in character here and really makes no effort to be funny at all. He is an eerily menacing and Machiavellian character who walks into a failing advertising agency, pretends he's employed there, and works his way up until he becomes master of the house, then of the Tory party, then eventually absolute dictator of all the UK. He has no punch lines. In fact, his role mostly consists of disguising his feelings by saying things like, "Oh, yes, quite," while he smiles falsely and seems to be reproaching the person he has just agreed with. This is the sort of undeveloped, one-note character that works well in a short sketch, but 90 minutes of him is about 88 too many. His continuous presence on screen means that much of the film makes no effort at verbal wit.

That's not to say the film is a complete waste of time. Several of the minor characters are humorous, and there are moments when the film uses the authors' considerable gifts to great advantage. Cleese even does some silly walking (and silly dancing), and it can be hilarious, especially to Python fans who make the association. Cook's ex-partner, Dudley Moore, did not appear in this film, but he was represented in absentia by a fictional place name. On his way to the top, Cook's character becomes the MP for a remote place called "Budleigh Moor."

And the nude scene really is as good as advertised: a beautiful woman stark naked, photographed perfectly in just the right light. That leads to another of the film's significant plusses, one which came as a complete surprise to me. The cinematography is uniformly excellent. And I don't mean just kinda good, but spectacularly good. Who could have guessed? The DP on this film was Alex Thompson, the same man who received a justly deserved Oscar nomination for having photographed Excalibur. The interiors of Rise and Rise include gorgeous sets which are photographed elegantly, and many of the exteriors are highly memorable. There are many brilliant exterior scenes from which to choose an example, but my favorite shots came during a sub-plot in which a troop of British special forces crossed the mountains to rob some Swiss gold. The dramatic visual presentation of that caper would be the most impressive part of a Bond film, let alone a silly satire of British politics. It is so stunning that it almost seems inappropriately dramatic in a film made by Cook and some Pythonites.

The cinematography probably seemed to be the film's greatest strength when it screened (and bombed with both moviegoers and critics), but seen in retrospect, the film's real strength is its perceptiveness. The script may not be all that funny, but it absolutely gets the Order of Merit for prescience. It depicts politicians as scheming egoists clinging to power with highly orchestrated presentations of half-truths, while presenting the public false images sculpted from opinion polls. In a pre-Watergate world that must have seemed like a combination of satirical exaggeration and surrealist humor. The intervening years have taught us that it is pretty much just a straightforward exposition of the way things really work.



The naked lady (including a full frontal behind a translucent door) is Vanessa Howard. She retired from acting within a couple of years after playing this part, and she later admitted that she hadn't been much interested in acting in the first place. That shows in her performance, which is mediocre at best. She ended up living in Hollywood, married to beaucoup de bucks in the form of Hollywood high-muck-a-muck Bobby Chartoff, who produced a lot of memorable films, including Rocky, Raging Bull, and The Right Stuff, all of which earned him Oscar nominations. (He won the Oscar for Rocky.)

Sample frames below.






  • * Yellow asterisk: funny (maybe).

  • * White asterisk: expanded format.

  • * Blue asterisk: not mine.

  • No asterisk: it probably sucks.


Catch the deluxe version of Other Crap in real time, with all the bells and whistles, here.










Despite praise from critics, Solaris is one of the least-popular films ever made, if not THE least. I believe it is the only film ever to score straight Fs from every demographic group at CinemaScore, in some 25 years of testing.

Budgeted at $47 million, with an ad budget of another $30m, Solaris grossed only $14m. And mind you, this was a George Clooney movie made after Ocean's 11 had grossed $183 million and Perfect Storm had pulled in a comparable $182m. In the pre-Good German, pre-Solaris days, Clooney was considered just about the biggest box-office draw in Hollywood. The post-Solaris world has been a different one for him. Except for the Ocean's sequels, no subsequent Clooney film has grossed more than $70m.

The point is even more dramatic when viewed through a lens which is focused on the career of director Steven Soderbergh. Here are the grosses for his first five studio films of the century:

As they say on Sesame Street, one of these things is not like the others.

(By the way, Solaris actually played on more screens than Traffic, and by a wide margin, 2400-1700.)

HD film clip of Natascha McElhone (and Clooney)

Collages below







Zack and Miri


From "Zack and Miri Make a Porno" we have porn star Katie Morgan and her mega hooters getting it on in these caps and two 1920 x1080 clips.






The Gene Generation


The best thing about this Sci-Fi is that Bai Ling wore some sexy outfits, and did some nudity. The worse thing about it is pretty much everything else.

In the future, DNA Hackers hack into people's bodies and kill them to get their DNA. Michelle (Bai Ling) is an assassin paid to hunt down and kill the hackers. At the same time, Michelle tries to care for her younger brother, who has a propensity for getting involved with the wrong people. Eventually, they both wind up fighting for their lives.

There is some fun here, and I did like some of the future world scenery, but overall, this one is just pretty lame and only for Bai Ling fans.


Bai Ling







House of Love


Part 1

Catalina Larranaga

Catalina Larranaga and Kelli McCarty

Small sample below.








Notes and collages


The Ruins


Laura Ramsey










Jeanne Moreau lingerie from the b&w Bunuel film "Diary of a chambermaid"
Laura Troschel glimpses of nudity from the b&W Italian film "A mosca cieca"
Jessica Lange see through from "King Kong"
Me Me Lai nude from the Lars von Trier film "The element of the crime"


Leelee Sobieski underwear from "A soldier's daughter never cries"
Maria-Josee Croze nude from "Ararat"
Anna Karina from the Godard film "Le petit soldat"
Giovanna Ralli from the Italian western "Il mercenario"
Angela Merkel showing a lot of cleavage
Some nude models and Helmut Newton

Tomorrow: seven film clips to accompany today's pictures.





Some models getting nekkid: Natalia Belova

Some models getting nekkid: Michelle Buswell

Some models getting nekkid: Jamie "Don't call me 'Major'" Gunns


Some models getting nekkid: Cheyenne Tozzi

(This one was an oops captured by paparazzi)

More of Lily Allen in that blue outfit which exposes her bum

Maureen Zaim in Wedding Crashers: Uncorked Edition

Siwan Morris: full frontal nudity in "Skins." (Gotta love British telly.)



Helen Mirren topless in Caesar and Claretta. Never seen this before.

How many more hidden performances contain Mirren nudity?


Film Clips

Gabriella Hall and Blake Pickett in The Sex Files: Alien Erotica





Avalon Anders, also in The Sex Files. One sample below.

The R-rated trailer for Finding Bliss. There was a rumor that Leelee would be naked in this film (as per another actress), but the final cut has been screened by various people who have reported that it's just not true. (She is seen topless from the rear, so she may have been naked on the set, but so far it's not on camera.)

Joan Severance in Angel of Desire

Geraldine Martineau in La Fonte des Neiges

Zazon Castro in La Fonte des Neiges

Mia Kirshner and Katherine Moennig in this week's episode of The L Word