The Skeleton Key (2005)

Built on several unexpected twists and a surprise ending, The Skeleton Key is one of those films which is impossible to describe without spoiling. Briefly, a young hospice worker decides to leave institutional work and go into private care. Her first client is an elderly man living on a crumbling Southern plantation in the Louisiana bayou country. She finds that the house and the surrounding area are teeming with hoodoo, a form of black magic which traces its roots to African tribal lore. I hesitate to say any more other than that it can be considered a supernatural suspense yarn.

The film's strongest positives center around its visual appeal: texture, mood, and atmosphere are all delivered in spades by a beautiful combination of spooky bayou exteriors and interiors cluttered with the paraphernalia of frightening and unknown practices. Within that Gothic foundation, suspense is built slowly and scares are earned without any cheap shots like the inevitable hidden cat. The negatives involve a very formulaic Hollywood studio script and that the showdown involves the usual undefeatable villain who seems to recover several times from fatal blows.

For me, the factor that tilts the scale in the positive direction is the "look back" factor. When one writes about a bad mystery film while knowing the ending, the process of recapping the earlier details for others unearths a myriad of contradictions and several things that seemed to make sense at the time but no longer add up, given the ending. When writing about a good mystery film, the opposite happens. The ending provides illumination to tiny details that didn't make sense at the time. As I was watching the film I was getting irritated by certain details, thinking things like, "How could she know that? She wasn't there." There were about a half dozen apparent gaps in the film's logic. When I knew the ending, however, all of those details did make sense. If I had approached all of those contradictions with a different attitude, replacing my skepticism with trust that each apparent contradiction was a piece in a carefully-assembled puzzle, I might well have solved the mystery before the solution was fed to me.

My only real complaint is that it's a little draggy. After all, it's basically just a typical 1950s comic book story from the likes of "The Vault of Horror," so I couldn't shake the feeling that the same story could have been delivered more effectively as a 60 minute HBO show. At any rate, it's a pretty slick little puzzle, with an ending that I didn't anticipate but which nonetheless fit the facts, and it's dripping with atmosphere along the way. The critics seemed to want more, but I think that's pretty much all you can reasonably expect from the genre, and audiences seemed to agree. If you look at the measurements, you'll see that the critical scores are quite low, but the audience scores are solid. (IMDb 6.3, Yahoo B-, Box Office $48m). That sums it up. It's not a genre classic, but it's a satisfying summer flick.

Kate Hudson


Backtrack (1990)

Review here.

I didn't watch this again. Frankly, I didn't like it the first time, even though Jodie Foster is sexy in it. These caps are taken from the ICMS videos, which are a very good thing. (See his section below.) You see, every known DVD of this film includes only the widescreen theatrical aspect ratio. On the other hand, the German TV stations broadcast the full 35mm frame, and that means more Jodie. ICMS was lurking, waiting for his chance, and he captured the goods. Jodie seems to be speaking German, but I'm guessing you probably won't even notice.

Oh, Deutschland, you really are über alles. Just don't take that too seriously this time.

Jodie Foster



Other Crap:

First review confirms our worst fears: 'Pink Panther' painfully unfunny

Oprah Reverses Her Endorsement of the Bible, Citing Inconsistencies

Next Christmas day, we will celebrate an important birthday of a gentle man who brought the world a message of love.

  • I am speaking, of course, of Jimmy Buffett, who can call his next album "A Pirate Looks at 60." Feel old, ye boomers, for on Christmas day this year the son of a son of a sailor will be 60 years old. Florida's #1 citizen/spokesman can then officially change his name to Jimmy "Early Bird" Buffett.
  • And, yes, I am a parrot-head and proud of it. I do wish, however, that Jimmy had not decided to open a chain of Cheeseburger in Paradise restaurants.

ROTTEN TOMATOES: 7th Annual Golden Tomato Awards

Conan O'Brian demonstrates what his show looks like when watched under the influence of drugs.

The Simpsons - Four Beheadings and a Funeral

"Kiwi film-maker Lee Tamahori faces up to a year in jail and a $7200 fine after his arrest in a Hollywood prostitution sting."

  • Here's the best part - he wasn't consorting with a female prostitute. He WAS one.
  • Tamahori is perhaps best known for directing one of the Bond films, but his masterpiece is Once Were Warriors, a highly regarded film about the Maori legacy in New Zealand.

Headline of the day: "Whale vomit could net family millions of dollars"

Here's the trailer for Nacho Libre, starring Jack Black as a masked Mexican wrestler.

Rare Licensed DVD's has an excellent value this week: eight uncensored and rare Jess Franco films in a boxed set with a sticker price under $100. I have to warn you about one thing: although the DVDs are all-region, they are in PAL format. In general, that means Americans can play them on a computer a DVD drive, but will not be able to play them on a standard TV from a standard stand-alone DVD player. If you are in an area where PAL is the standard, it's smooth sailin'. Check the linked site for more info about these matters. (Or write the guy. He's very good about answering his mail.)

Jess Franco 8 DVD Gold Box Set

We're about to see Mohr-Cox

  • I knew that would happen when Brokeback got the Golden Globe

Asian-American actors Takai, Phillips honored

  • The only reason I linked to this is that I was completely surprised to find that Lou Diamond Phillips is Asian

DIY VIDEO: Homemade shirt-folding device

Grandpa Munster Dies at 95

Letterman: Top Ten Reasons A Snowboarder Is Looking Forward To The Olympics

Daily Box Office - Friday, February 3, 2006

  • The biggest surprise of the day is that When a Stranger Calls opened much bigger than expected. The predictions said "mid teens," but it took in $9 million on Friday alone.
  • In contrast, Something New seems to be weaker than expected. The forecasts said $7-9 million, but Friday was below $2.
  • The only other unexpected development was the reappearance of Walk the Line in the top ten, despite NOT having been nominated for its anticipated Best Picture Oscar.

Submitter wrote: "Pam Anderson may hold the record of total amount of cleavage ever displayed. (Not that there is anything wrong with that.) I feel that a lifetime achievement award is in order here!"



Movie Reviews:

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




"Mad Cows"

Mad Cows (1999) is a comedy from the UK staring Anna Friel and Joanna Lumley. Many of my pleasant surprises in films come from quirky British comedies ( Little Voice comes immediately to mind). Unfortunately, this wasn't one of them. Friel has had a baby, only to be spurned by the father, a rich spoiled brat and TV personality with dreams of running for his local MP seat. Friel feels unprepared for motherhood, has no money and has illegal alien status, as she left Australia to be with her boyfriend. She turns to Lumley for a hand. Lumley is aging, and not attracting the sort of men she was used to. Further, after some bank collapse, she is using her plastic somewhat creatively, and the bill collectors are after her.

In a market, Friel stuffs a packet of frozen peas down her bra to stop her over-full breast from aching, and is arrested for shoplifting. Once in jail, a corrupt councilor tricks her into signing adoption papers. She has Lumley smuggle the baby out of prison, and then escapes. She is now a fugitive, an illegal alien, penniless, and doesn't know where Lumley is with her baby. Not only that, but the couple the councilor was selling her baby to is after her.

As I re-read the above, it seems rather more serious than funny, which may well be why most to the jokes fell flat for me. Heavy accents made some of the dialogue hard to follow as well.

Friel shows her right breast in a sex scene.

IMDb readers say 4.3. The BBCi Films review awards 4 stars out of 4, and then goes on to say:


"'Mad Cows' is a desperately poor and unfunny enterprise. But fans of Joanna Lumley will doubtless enjoy her performance in what is essentially an excellent transfer to DVD."

I don't see how I could put it better. There is nothing notable about this film. This is a D, but one of the better looking Ds I have watched.

Anna Friel

"Girl Slaves of Morgana Le Fay"

Girl Slaves of Morgana Le Fay (1971), or Morgane et ses nymphes is an early soft-core French film. Director Bruno Gantillon learned film making in the army, and landed a job with a trendy TV magazine called Dim, Dam, Dom. After this experience, he approached the producer Catherine Winter about making a feature film. She was not willing to trust an unknown with that much money, but funded a short, which did well. Based on that, he was given the nod for a sex film, which was suddenly marketable. The film he made was cut by the censors, but managed to make a profit in France anyway, and made it to some other countries, but not England or the US.

Fans of Jean Rollin will feel comfortable with his premier films, which features young lesbians in an old castle, either naked, or wearing long, flowing pastel robes, all with a very languid pace. The story is straight forward. Two girls are on a road trip, and, after stopping in a really creep pub, where they are warned to turn back, they run out of gas, and spend the night in a cold stable. Naturally, they have sex to keep warm, although we don't really see that. One of them wakes up, and her friend is gone. An evil dwarf guides her to a magic boat, which leads her to a castle owned by Morgana Le Fay. After her training with Merlin, she landed her current gig as mistress of a tribe of lesbians. She gives the women brought to her two choices. Either eternal youth and hot lesbian sex, or wasting away in a dungeon with all of the other stupid candidates. It is an easy decision for one of the pair, but not as easy for the other.

Meanwhile, the evil dwarf has been waiting for centuries to become master, and have Morgana switch from beautiful young women to his wrinkled dwarf body. Like that is really going to happen.

Mireille Saunin, as one of the two girls, shows breasts and buns. Régine Motte, as one of Morgana's favorites, shows breasts. Several unknowns show breasts, and one shows bush.

IMDb readers have this at 5.3, with only 37 votes. That pretty much sums it up, as a forgotten film that many think should have been forgotten. On the other hand, the imagery is lovely, and the acting was not bad. The castle location is wonderful. Those who enjoy the imagery of Jean Rollin might want to see this one, as the story is a little more coherent and the eye candy about the same. This is a C-.

Mireille Saunin

Régine Motte



We found our Babe to tie up.

The Time Machine went all the way back to 1976 for "Satan's Slave" and Monika Ringwald who's tied to a tree stripped of all her clothes then branded and whipped.

Monika Ringwald

Then we have a few more from "Carnal Desires" as Susan Featherly is topless and almost full frontal.

Susan Featherly

First we have six clips of Jodie Foster from the European fullscreen version of Backtrack (1990, aka. Catchfire). Most of you are probably aware that all commercial DVD's of this film are widescreen and missing Jodie's full frontal shower appearance. The version that aired just a couple of days ago on German TV remedies that problem and although they didn't air the sharpest copy in the world, it is still a nice improvement on VHS based clips.

Both Scoop and Tuna have reviewed this movie in the Movie House and they weren't impressed to say the least. While I can agree with most of the shortcomings they mention, I still found the film a pleasant watch. For once I didn't mind the logic gaps too much and quite liked Jodie in the role of a sensuous sexpot, it makes quite a difference from the cerebral, intelligent but somewhat distant women roles she usually plays.

What can you expect in the clips?

Clip #1. Jodie in a sheer nightie caressing her pussy (I didn't lie did I?)

Clips 2 and 3. Frontally nude in the shower, dorsally putting on some clothes

Clips 4, 5,and 6. Panties and garter-belt while putting on stockings

To compensate for the lack of nudity in the last three clips I'm adding two clips from a German TV-movie. In 2002's Ein starkes Team-Kinderträume Saskia Schwarz puts in a triple B performance . Saskia is not that well known but she seems so happy to bare it all that I think the download is still worth the while.

  • Saskia Schwarz (1, 2)


    From "Mutant X" to X rated....

    Once again, here is Canadian babe Lauren Lee Smith baring breasts and bush in several explicit scenes from "Lie with Me". Look for it on DVD just in time for Valentine's Day!

    Polly Shannon also stars in the movie, but doesn't show anything.

    Lauren Lee Smith



    'Caps and comments by Spaz:

    "Lust och fägring stor"
    "Lust och fägring stor" (1995) aka "All Things Fair" a Swedish coming-of-age movie set during WW2. Both Marika Lagercrantz as the boy's teacher and Karin Huldt as his svelte neighbor show full frontal nudity.

    Marika Lagercrantz Karin Huldt

    "The Protector"
    "The Protector" (1998) aka "Death Run". Action movie so bad the ending credits were omitted because the supporting cast did not want be associated with it, Meeka Shiro (aka aka Meeka Majic aka Meeka Magic) is very sexy as an undercover cop who takes her role literally. Also there is the obligatory strippers and robo-hooters.

    Meeka Shiro strippers

    "Malarek: A Street Kid Who Made It" (1988)
    A Canadian movie based on a true story. The only nudity is by an uncredited stripper doing the high kicks. Claudia Cardinal is also sexy in a bit part. She was Greta Scacchi's booby and butt double in Salt on Our Skin (1992).

    Claudia Cardinal stripper

    "Secret de banlieue"
    "Secret de banlieue" (2002) aka "Suburban Bliss"...A black comedy about Quebec surburbia. Elise Guilbault is shown in underwear while Veronique Clusau shows some cleavage.

    Elise Guilbault Veronique Clusau

    "Nô" (1998)
    Movie about Quebec politics although the title is a pun on the Japanese word "noh" from traditional Japanese theatre. Anne-Marie Cadieux is shown in a brassiere which never comes off.

    Anne-Marie Cadieux

    "Degrassi: The Next Generation"
    From episode: I Against I. A recent episode where Amanda Stepto and Stacie Mistysyn who grew up on the original Degrassi series are now full fledged MILF cougars chasing young male strippers. Amanda shows some cleavage while Stacie wears a flimsy blouse. Principal Raditch would have never approved.

    Amanda Stepto Stacie Mistysyn

    "The Secret Life of Algernon" (1997)
    Light drama starring Carrie-Anne Moss from The Matrix. No nudity but Carrie-Anne Moss shows come cleavage and her male co-star gets to cop a feel.

    Carrie-Anne Moss

    "Street Legal" From episode "BRT and Associates: A New Beginning". Season seven opener from 1992 where Maria del Mar debriefs a senior partner in the shower. Damn those foggy doors.

    Maria del Mar

    "Dead Man's Gun"
    From episode "Ties That Bind". Miriam Smith shows some stockings and cleavage while getting ravaged.

    Miriam Smith

    "Due East" (2005)
    Light Showtime drama directed by Helen Shaver about teen pregnancy with just about every men-are-pigs and women-stick-together cliche in the book.

    No nudity but Clara Bryant is shown nekkid in the bathtub, Cybill Shepherd shows some cougar cleavage, Kate Capshaw also shows some cougar cleavage, Katharine Isabelle and Nicki Clyne are sexy as a cheerleaders, Kimberley Warnat (the topless surfer babe from National Lampoon's Going the Distance) is also sexy, Lynda Boyd shows some nice leg, and Gabrielle Miller from Corner Gas shows some cleavage.

    Clara Bryant Cybill Shepherd Kate Capshaw Katharine Isabelle

    Nicki Clyne Kimberley Warnat Lynda Boyd Gabrielle Miller