The Simian Line (2000):
The Simian Line is an old-fashioned feel-good romantic comedy
involving three couples, a psychic, and two ghosts who can only be
seen by the psychic.
The three couples live in
two neighboring houses in New Jersey, just across the river from The
City. Anchoring the cast is Lynn Redgrave, whose family has owned one
of the houses for generations. She lives with a much younger man, and
rents out additional rooms to a second couple, who look barely old
enough to have reached puberty. The third couple consists of a pair of
yuppies who have moved in next door. The two established couples throw
a housewarming party for the newcomers, and they also invite a psychic
to liven up the proceedings. They expect this to provide some harmless
fun, and it does for a while, but the vibes turn bad when the psychic,
who has some real gifts, sees the ghosts who haunts the house. This
immediately prompts all six inebriated partiers to declare her as
buggy as Quebec in summertime. Offended by their rudeness, the psychic
makes the cruel prediction that one of the couples in the room will
break up before the end of the year.
six partiers blow off the prediction as the ramblings of a loony, but
the very next day they are struck by the fact that another of her
predictions has come true - and it was something nobody could possibly
have guessed. Lynn Redgrave becomes even more convinced when the
psychic comes back to the house and makes some astoundingly accurate
statements about Redgrave's family. None of this seems surprising to
the psychic, since she got the info directly from one of the ghosts,
who is Redgraves's great-grandfather. Now you can see the predicament
Redgraves is in. She knows that one of the couples will break up. She
can see that the other couples are matched well, and seem happy. She,
meanwhile, is a 60ish woman trying to hang on to hunky Harry Connick
Jr. It's obvious to her that the handwriting is on her wall. Of
course, she then starts to misinterpret every word and every action of
Connick as a sign of infidelity or boredom, and this makes him him
understandably upset, since he's genuinely in love with her, and is as
happy as an English lord with a new derby. The resulting tension
causes her to make the prophecy self-fulfilling.
Now I can't really tell you much more except that
(1) the prediction was 100% accurate and (2) the film has a sweet
(well, bittersweet) ending.
The film was shot in twelve days with very little
money by an inexperienced director, so it is somewhat marred by
technical glitches which were the result of that writer/director
lacking experience, time and money. The worst of these amateur
mistakes involves pointless narration which not only seems
unnecessary, but co-exists with dialogue. It seems to have been added
in post-production to an already completed film, with the dialogue
track simply reduced in volume as the narrator recites. The worst
script problem resides in the fact that I was only interested in the
film in three situations: (1) when the Connick and Redgrave story was
developed (2) when the ghosts were around (3) when Cindy Crawford was
naked. The stories behind the other two couples were ... well,
So, in spite of that, is it worth a look? Surprisingly, yes. Oh, you
have to like this kind of syrupy story with a syrupy score, to be sure. It is a
chick-flick or a date movie, and it probably will appeal most strongly to the
pre-teens and young teens, but the people who love such things should
know that it is a sweet and gentle movie with a big heart and some
brains as well. I felt that those three situations I liked made it a
worthwhile watch for me. The few critics who saw it generally disliked it (12%
positive reviews), but I can understand that. It's not the kind of
slick, deep movie that critics like. Variety gave it a
fairly positive review with which I generally agree. It's scored a
respectable 6.0 at IMDb, which seems perfectly reasonable to me.
Just as surprising as the watchability of the
film is the fact that Harry Connick (as the toy boy) and Cindy
Crawford (as one of the yuppies) manage to hold their own among such
distinguished actors as Lynn Redgrave and William Hurt (as a genteel
Southern ghost). It's a shame for Cindy that nobody has seen this
film, because it would have given her a chance to cleanse the palettes
of a lot of people whose taste for her was soured by Fair Game. I, for
one, will stop using her as a punch line for bad acting jokes.
"Washington Students reject honor to 'Baa Baa Black Sheep' hero"
- "many monuments at UW already commemorate rich white men."
- It's true that Boyington was a messed-up guy in general (as he
would readily admit), but he was also a war hero who spent nearly
two years of his life in a Japanese POW camp. He was awarded the
Navy Cross and the Medal of Honor, and some say he was the #1
flying ace of the entire war. Not only that, he wasn't rich, or
even very white. Part Native American (1/4 Sioux), he came from a
poor family in a small logging town, and had an alcoholic
stepfather. He and his mother had to work their asses off to put
Pappy through school.
- The students said he was not the "sort of person UW wanted to
- As it turns out, the kids were right. The university's formal
mission statement specifically states that UW only means to turn
out "lily-livered pussies whose parents can afford to pay for
their degree." How did they go so very, very wrong with this guy?
- Additional reading:
Here are the notes from the student senate.
- Additional reading:
Here is the blog which broke the story on the 'net, including
many, many comments.
- TV's top everymen
Top Ten Surprises In The Dick Cheney Interview
- Admitted he's the guy who popped a cap in Suge Knight
- He's engaged to Katie Holmes
- Revealed list of the next ten old guys he plans to shoot
- Pinned Brit Hume to the wall with a ninja throwing star
First look at Naomi Watts and Edward Norton in The Painted Veil
The Smoking Gun:
Sicko Marriage Contract One For The Ages
Scenes and characters deleted from the first Star Wars movie.
- Unless you're a total Star Wars uber-geek, you've probably
never seen Han Solo making out with his girlfriend in the Cantina.
Circa 1942, Bugs Bunny sells War Bonds
- Fascinating vintage Americana, but parts of it would be
considered politically incorrect today. Bugs impersonates Jolson
Children's Drawings Enrage Muslim Clerics
"Sex video with Kid Rock will test faithful Stapp fans"
"V FOR VENDETTA: TALKING WITH NATALIE PORTMAN"
This week's movies, update:
Date Movie - 25% positive reviews
- "This would-be spoof of romantic comedies falls prey to the
misconception -- common in modern American humor -- that to make
reference to something is the same thing as parodying it."
URL says it all:
- They have some great content, but no thumbnails
Airlines lost 10,000 bags a day in '05
- Delta alone lost 570,000 bags
- One traveler reports that US Airways lost his bags 6 times in
The Japanese trailer for Fearless, Jet Li's latest
SI's Biggest Olympic Disappointments Of All Time
- With the exception of the 1980 Soviet Hockey Team, these
people aren't even close to long- distance runner Steve
Prefontaine, who was supposed to come back from Munich with not
just Olympic Gold, but sainthood. He finished out of the money.
- Prefontaine died tragically before he could get his second
chance at the 1976 Olympics. He is still considered America's
greatest distance runner, and has had two films made about his
life, one starring Jared Leto, the other Billy Crudup
Cheerleader Guy presents the first Baseball Cheerleaders:
The Marlins Mermaids (The Devil Rays will also have cheerleaders
Together at last - Grand Theft Auto and U2's Bono
Those three FSU Cowgirls now have their own Maxim spread
Another polyester-drenched installment of Retro SWAT!
Illegal weed moves ahead of cherries on the Top Ten list
- Get this: just the amount of marijiana SEIZED last year made
it Washington's #8 agricultural crop. If you assume that only 10%
is seized, the marijuana would be worth more than the other nine
Researchers are tracking a gigantic storm on Saturn that is
unleashing lightning bolts more than 1,000 times stronger than those
found on Earth.
Dog Show USA - smart border collie sets the table
The Video Game Controller Family Tree
Insane Skydiver - jumps from one plane to another
A real life break-up revenge site: Revenge World
Halle Berry fondles herself at the Hasty Pudding Awards
Man Charged With Pirating Oscar Screener
bribed teacher to skip gym
- "A middle school gym teacher let children sit out his class if
they paid him $1 a day, collecting perhaps thousands of dollars
Yellow asterisk: funny (maybe). White asterisk: expanded format.
Blue asterisk: not mine. No asterisk: it probably sucks.
Siesta (1987) is a Zalman King production. This time, he replaced the sad sax with a wailing Miles Davis, a huge improvement in my opinion, and starred Ellen Barkin. She gets very naked in good light in the first few minutes, then gets very naked in poor light near the end. Nothing of importance happens in the middle 78 minutes of this 90 minute film. It is yet another variation on the old thoughts of a person as they are dying plot, but more clumsy and more arty than most.
It was directed by Mary Lambert, who is not well respected as a director. I was probably the only person who liked her Grand Isle, which, as far as I know, is not yet on DVD. She does understand how to get women naked and take their pictures.
Barkin shows everything.
IMDb readers say 5.2, which I feel is very generous. It was nominated for two worst supporting actress Razzies. If you have never seen this plot device, the ending could surprise you, almost making it worth watching. Otherwise, watch the first and last 10 minutes, and rest assured that you have given it all the time it deserves. This is a D.
"The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave"
The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave (1971), originally La Notte che Evelyn usć dalla tomba, is actually sort of a Giallo, even though the title would lead you to believe it was a horror/Zombie film. The German version I screened, Die Grotte der vergessenen Leichen, or The Coves of the Forgotten Corpses, also advertised itself as a Zombie picture. It is not unheard of for a Giallo to be so twisted that it is impossible to follow, and that is the biggest problem with this one. It also seems to run forever.
An English Lord, who is mourning his dead wife, whom he may or may not have killed for being unfaithful, brings home red headed hookers, tortures them and then kills them, that is, until he meets the blonde of his dreams, whom he marries. Then people who are hanging around wanting to be his heirs start dying, and the grave of his wife is empty ... no, wait, it is full ... no wait, it is someone else in a skeleton costume. Then he is driven crazy ... ooops, no he isn't. Ok, you get the idea.
The good news is nudity from Erika Blanc, Maria Teresa Tofano, Marina Malfatti, and an unknown who plays the dead wife.
IMDb readers say 4.8, and the few reviews I found were not kind. This German DVD is, as far as I know, the first time an uncut version has been available. The transfer screams poor source material, as the color is washed out, and there is obvious film damage. The acting is typical Italian farce, and the dubbing into English was not at all good. This is a D.
Pat's comments in yellow...
ROWE WINS LEGAL ROUND OVER JACKSON
All Sales Final! - Michael Jackson's ex-wife, Deborah
Rowe, won a California appeals court ruling that her
parental rights to their two children were not
properly relinquished under the law. Rowe initiated
the move to give Jackson full custody, but the judge
now admits that rights can't be relinquished on the
parents' word alone, and he made a mistake in not
ordering an independent investigation into what was in
the children's best interests. He said it was an
"arranged deal from the beginning." Rowe, who's part
Jewish, fears that if Jackson continues his
involvement with the Nation of Islam, the kids might
* How long would that investigation have taken? 10
* Jackson's lawyers will argue that Rowe is just
experiencing "seller's remorse."
* This will go down in legal history as the case of
"Rowe Vs. Weird."
VALENTINE SEX PROVES TOO HOT
Come On, Baby, Light My Fire - Valentine's Day nearly
proved fatal for a couple in Southampton, England,
when they had to flee their house around midnight to
escape a fire. It took fifteen firefighters to
extinguish the blaze. The couple were embarrassed
when they were informed that it was sparked when they
rushed to the bedroom and their hastily-discarded
underwear landed too close to a romantic candle. A
fire service spokesman said it should remind people of
the dangers of unattended candles.
* And of polyester boxer shorts.
* It took fifteen firefighters? How big WERE those
Nobody Could Get Tired Of Those! - Academy Award
insiders say "Brokeback Mountain" may have peaked too
early and lose to "Crash," which already scored an
upset win at the SAG Awards. Proponents of the
"Brokeback Backlash" theory say that while Oscar
voters "respect and admire" all the nominees, "Crash"
is the only one they actually like. Some think
"Brokeback" has been praised beyond its worth because
of its subject matter, which most don't relate to,
being straight themselves. Oscar voters also don't
like being told that any movie is a lock to win, plus
they may be tired of "gay cowboy" jokes.
* I wish I knew how to quit those...
* Let's hope not: Jon Stewart has already stockpiled
300 of them.
* Actually, it's about gay sheep herders, and Oscar
voters don't want to be sheep.
* But "The English Patient" won, and nobody actually
* If there's one thing gay cowboys hate, it's peaking
* People in Hollywood don't support movies about
sexual quirks they can't relate to, like "The