"Strange Days"

Strange Days (1995) -- Take Rodney King vs. the LAPD, set it at the turn of the century, throw in a bizarre love rectangle, pump up the volume about 50 dB, and you have Strange Days. The King character, in this case, is a politically important rapper, and the LAPD actually blows him away. Replace the video recorder with the thought recorder from Brainstorm. A tape of the assassination is given to an ex cop, who is now engaged in the underground selling of thought recordings. He is obsessed with his ex girlfriend, Juliette Lewis, and also receives a tape of the rape and murder of a hooker he sometimes uses to make tapes for sale, Brigitte Bako. He thinks he has uncovered a plot within the LAPD, but it turns out to be a simple case of his best friend trying to kill off the competition and get Juliette Lewis, while blaming him.

What they couldn't obscure with loud music and special effects, they did in with smoke and lighting. There were glaring mistakes in the plot. In the tape that is the central point of the film, it is a tape made by Bako's character, and so should be entirely her POV, yet we see her several times in it, both when the cops first stop them, and then when she is running from the cops. Bako shows breasts and bush in the rape scene, and Lewis shows breasts in numerous scenes, both bare, and through transparent outfits.

IMDB readers have it at 6.9 of 10. It grossed $7.92M against a budget of $42M. Ebert awards four stars, admitting that the plot is full of flaws, but praising it technically. Berardinelli says 3 1/2. Rotten Tomatoes has it at 63%, with 60% from the top critics. It won two Saturn awards, best actress (Angela Basset) and best director. This is decidedly not my kind of film. The proponents praise the fast pace, saying that it keeps the viewer involved. That didn't work with me, and I suffered through the entire 145 minutes. For genre fans, it is a very well made example. C+.

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  • Brigitte Bako (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
  • Juliette Lewis (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)

  • Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy)


     Power & Beauty (2002)

    Before I saw this movie, all I knew about Judith Exner was that (1) she was a good looking woman who was the lover of three famous and very powerful men: Frank Sinatra, JFK, and Sam "Momo" Giancana, and (2) J. Edgar Hoover had her followed because she was romancing President Kennedy and mob boss Giancana simultaneously.

    That's still all I know about her.

    This film did add some tiny bits of gossip that I didn't know or had mercifully forgotten. If you believe its version of the story, Kennedy used Exner to deliver suitcases full of money to the mob, first to deliver some votes, then to assassinate Castro. If JFK did pay Momo to assassinate Castro, he really should have demanded a refund. As I write this, JFK has now been dead for 40 years, and Castro is still the ruler of Cuba. The script also implies that Sinatra introduced Exner to the mobster and the President specifically so she could be used as a go-between.

    As for Exner's personality - um - well. She was ...

    I don't know. I don't know what kind of family she came from, or how she supported herself, or how she came to know the mobsters who led her to Sinatra in the first place. Was she a good student? Did she aspire to be an actress? A writer? Did she have dreams that she abandoned to follow Frank and JFK around? Did she have a good sense of humor? Did she make sparkling conversation? Did she have a bad temper? Was she socially adroit? Was she good in bed? Did such powerful men pursue her solely because of her looks and availability? I don't know the answer to any of those questions. This film is the only biopic I have ever seen which gave me absolutely zero sense of the focal character.

    My impression is that Judith Exner was the only person in history who played a bit part in her own life story.

    The lack of character depth extended to almost all of the minor characters as well. The JFK character was fairly well fleshed out, and competently acted, but if you watched the scenes with Sinatra, you'd never know it was supposed to be Frank except for the hat. It looked nothing like him, and the hand gestures were too flamboyant, too uncool. It was, however, an excellent impersonation of Al Bundy. The rest of the Rat Packers were characterized ineptly as well. I don't know where Dino was, although he was listed in the cast. The guy who played Sammy had only one line, and blew it. And I had to watch some scenes over again to see if the Lawford actor was really supposed to be Lawford. Lame.

    As for Sam Giancana, well, he was portrayed as the greatest, humblest, nicest person on the planet since Francis of Assisi.  Gosh, what a loveable, caring mobster he must have been! (I don't know if that is accurate, but I'm skeptical.)

    How can you make a boring movie about JFK, the Rat Pack, and mobsters? I don't know, but they did it. There is really no reason to watch this film. The celebrity characterizations seem inaccurate, and the main character has no personality at all, good or bad. The only thing I enjoyed was the cover/impersonation of Sinatra's "I've Got You Under My Skin". Well, at least there was a little nudity, including a new look at Natasha Henstridge

    The Tuxedo (2002)

    Critics generally hated this Jackie Chan action comedy, although it did a respectable $50 million at the box office.

    Jackie plays the humble driver of a super-suave secret agent, the kind of guy who is so debonair and slick he makes James Bond look like Gilligan. It turns out that all of the agent's powers are in his computer-controlled clothing, which does everything from martial arts to  lighting ladies' cigarettes to singing and dancing. I guess you can figure out the rest. The agent goes down, slips into a coma, and Jackie has to fill in with the help of the magical clothes. His partner is a brainy agency scientist who gets a chance at her first field assignment (Jennifer Love Hewitt), so they are both essentially clueless.

    Unlike many of the critics, I'm a Jackie Chan fan. He has a great combination of boyish charm, good humor, and creative action. The martial arts scenes in his movies are usually both hilarious and astoundingly athletic. The guy is so graceful that he's even a great dancer, as he proves in this movie when he and his suit have to fill in for James Brown.

    I like Jackie in general, but not this film. The James Brown thing wasn't bad at all, especially when James Brown told JLH she had a "nice rack" but there wasn't much else I liked in this movie.

    The plot, especially the significance of the minor characters, was nearly incomprehensible. It appears that the film got edited quite a bit, probably at the last minute, because most of the deleted and extended scenes are completely finished scenes in all respects. By cutting out or shortening about a dozen scenes, the filmmakers managed to destroy the development of just about every one of the minor characters. They just drop in and out of Jackie's life without any rhyme or reason, and scenes seem to end in the middle. (The whole mess does make pretty good sense when you watch all the deleted scenes. Well MORE sense, anyway. It still isn't any good, but you can follow it)

    Actually, the major characters weren't much better. The bad guys aren't even threatening. They are just silly. On the good guy side of the ledger, I didn't even know much about Jennifer Love Hewitt's character. I didn't "get" her, although she was Chan's co-star. Even Chan's character was largely a cypher except for his driving skills.

    The action was average, which means it was below Jackie's usual high standard. The fight scenes were pretty good, and the dancing scenes were terrific, but nothing else provided much entertainment at all. It just sort of dragged. Even the closing credits, which are usually so good in Jackie's movies, were boring and repetitious, with only one running gag, the fact that Hewitt couldn't keep a straight face around Jackie.


    Other crap:

    What're the odds?


    FLASH - Julianne Moore now the betting favorite over Zeta-Jones. Intertops had been considering Zeta the favorite.

    75th Academy Awards: Best Actress in a Supporting Role

    From the Los Angeles Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, California. Closing Date: Mar 23, 2003 20:00

    Bet Selections Win Odds
    Julianne Moore 5/4
    Catherine Zeta-Jones 13/10
    Meryl Streep 3/2
    Kathy Bates 10/1
    Queen Latifah 20/1



    Here are the latest movie reviews available at

    • The yellow asterisks indicate that I wrote the review, and am deluded into thinking it includes humor.
    • If there is a white asterisk, it means that there isn't any significant humor, but I inexplicably determined there might be something else of interest.
    • A blue asterisk indicates the review is written by Tuna (or Lawdog or Junior or C2000 or Realist or ICMS or Mick Locke, or somebody else besides me)
    • If there is no asterisk, I wrote it, but am too ashamed to admit it.

    More NYPD Nude
    Even better 'caps of Charlotte Ross nude from Tuesday night's episode of "NYPD Blue".

    (FYI...these are all huge collages, 450k and up)

    • Ross. I'm not sure who to credit for this one, but this is the big winner! BIG 'caps, very bright, great quality and of course, the goodies.

    • Applecot's versions of Charlotte Ross. (1, 2, 3)

    'Caps and comments by Brainscan:

    An odd collection today. B-movie bims, cross-over pornabies and a former TV babe not known for her exposure.

    First things first: the last of the VHS caps from Stripper Wives.

    These include Kimberly Patton's robo-hooters. Don't recognize the name? Well, IMDB says she also goes by Kim McKamy, but that in most of her 120 videos she was Ashlyn Gere.

    And then there is Laura Palmer, who also did the adult video thing once upon a time. Again, hooters only.

    Janine Stillo has a brief topless scene... she is neither a stripper, nor a wife.

    And last up is veteran B movie babe Lauren Hays, who is both a stripper and a wife. This is a triple-B performance, with the furry parts showing up in the last two collages. Last collage has a sequence from her stripping performance in which she spreads her legs and drops a hat between them... but for a couple of frames you get a gyno-cam view of the world. Should mention the wierdest scene in this movie: Lauren day-dreams that her husband boffs another woman, played By Brande Roderick. And I'm thinking the only less likely than me boffing Brande Roderick is Mrs. Brainscan day-dreaming about it. Reality bites.

    Next up, Colleen Camp in DVD caps of Apocalypse Now Redux. Been done before by the best in the business but Colleen showed off her el perfecto frame all too infrequently.

    • Colleen Camp (1, 2, 3, 4)

    Jewel Shepard in VHS caps from The Sex and Violence Family Hour. Wierd-ass tape. First 60 minutes is Canadian sketch comedy, last 30 is four babes stripping down and talking about the first time they did the nasty. Jewel, a cult figure among B-movie viewers, is one of the babes. A triple-B performance, too.

    • Jewel Shepard (1, 2, 3, 4)

    Obscure topless babe, Kaitlin Hopkins, in VHS caps from Spirits. Rented this mama because Michelle Bauer is in it. Plays a topless demon dressed like a nun. I'll get to that winner of a scene in the next couple of days.

    • Kaitlin Hopkins (1, 2, 3)

    Instead of Michelle, allow me to offer one of the other members of The Big Three, Monique Gabrielle. Third member is, of course, Julie Strain. All were Pets and together or separately they starred in every B movie made between 1982 and 2002. Here is Monique in her prime in VHS caps from The Big Bet (1985). Full frontal at that.

    • Monique Gabrielle (1, 2, 3)

    B movie babes Melanie Hall and Shari Eckert in VHS caps from Nighttime Lover. Shari's fit to be tied, but it's all in fun.

    And last up is LA Law veteran, Michelle Green, in a videotape entitled I Posed for Playboy. Michelle does...pose, that is... but all she shows is some cleavage. Nevetheless, this the sexiest thing I've seen her in.

    'Caps and comments by Hankster:

    A grab bag today. Returning to "Black Mama, White Mama", a look at the legendary Pam Grier along with Margaret Markov showing off their tits as they come out of solitary confinement.

    I don't cap much from television but Rosie Perez looked pretty darn hot on Monday nights "Leno" with some nice cleavage and leg exposure.

    • Pam Grier and Margaret Markov (1, 2, 3, 4)
    • Rosie Perez (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

    Isabel Brook
    (1, 2, 3)

    Skimpy outfits and a subtle nip slip in #1. Vidcaps from "Faust: Love of the Damned" (2000).

    Monica Van Campen
    (1, 2, 3, 4)

    Also from "Faust: Love of the Damned". Van Campen is topless is several scenes.

    Charo Oubiña One more from "Faust". Charo wearing a see-thru bra.

    Leticia Brédice
    (1, 2, 3)

    Very nice toplessness plus rear nudity in scenes from the Spanish movie "Almejas y mejillones" (2000).

    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

    Another Spanish actress removing her top. Link #1 from "Almejas y mejillones". Links 2-5 from "Tuno negro" (2001).

    Caprice Bourret
    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

    The former Wonderbra model and Miss Teen California barely dressed in a spread for the UK version of April '03 issue of Maxim.

    Beverly Lynne
    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8)

    The former Eagles cheerleader topless, full frontal and havin' some pseudo sex in scenes from the "X-Treme Sports" episode of the late night series "Hotel Erotica" (2002).

    Pat Reeder
    Pat's comments in yellow...

    Pay Up, Or Nancy Kerrigan Will Break Your Kneecaps! - A county judge in Washington ordered Tonya Harding to pay $20,000 for damages to a rental home she was evicted from last year. The sum includes $5,145 back rent, legal fees, and repairs to fix damages "beyond normal wear and tear," some of it from pets.

  • No...No, that feces was definitely human...
  • That doesn't even include her unpaid hookup fees to park the house.
  • If I were renting a house to Tonya Harding, I would've made her put up a $20,000 security deposit.

    Shed A Few Pounds, Catherine - During her lawsuit against a magazine for taking secret photos of her wedding, Catherine Zeta-Jones denied that she was upset just because she'd sold the photo rights for 1 million pounds. She said that might be a lot of money to some people, "but it is not that much for us." So some schoolkids in Plymouth, England, who've spent years raising money for Nicaraguan children wrote to ask her to donate a million pounds to their cause, since it's not that much for her.

  • Sorry: Nicaraguan children might be important to some people, but they don't mean that much to her.
  • Too late: she already spent it on mirrors.
  • She didn't send them the money, but she sent them one of her wedding photos, which she thinks is worth a million pounds.