Quite a few interesting items today:
Lucy Lawless did another great topless scene in Spartacus, episode 6. I
have not watched it yet, but Deep at Sea did
some great 720p film clips, and I snapped a few sample captures, seen below.
Lawless and Lesley-Ann Brandt
Lawless Brandt and others
Sickened is the latest (still unreleased) from the guy who directed Into the
We've seen Nancy Feliciano earlier.
Here are come caps of Debbie D from the movie
And here are some publicity snaps
A Closed Book
Act 2 spoilers below. Act 3 is not spoiled, at least not
in that sense of the word, although it is spoiled by its bad writing.
A Closed Book is essentially a stage play in three acts with two characters,
similar in many ways to Sleuth.
In Act 1 we meet a crotchety old English art critic who has lost his sight in an
accident. The curmugeon hopes to write one more book, and is interviewing a
40ish woman named Jane to be his amanuensis. She accepts the job, which consists
of living with him in a massive gothic mansion (played by
Knebworth House) and typing as he
dictates. Things progress in a normal, predictable way for some thirty minutes,
with no indication that the film will be a thriller or a mystery. This act
theoretically relies on the verbal interaction between the characters to grab
and hold our attention.
Things start to get weird in Act 2. As the pair works together in a late night
session, the blind man asks his amanuensis to put another log on the fire. She
responds by throwing his first edition Thackeray into the flames. She continues
to mislead him in various ways. She brings him the wrong jigsaw puzzle from a
museum gift shop. She gives the housekeeper a week off so that he has no other
contact with the outside world, then she reads him the newspaper and simply
fabricates absurd stories - "Donald Trump has become a Muslim." Her pranks
gradually turn more malicious.
In Act 3, all the mysteries are unveiled and we are finally allowed to see what
is really going on. There is a rapid-fire series of plot twists.
This screenplay was adapted from a highly regarded literary thriller, and it has
to be considered a failure and a disappointment, considering that the author of
the eponymous novel, Gilbert Blair, also authored the screenplay and managed to
turn his much-praised book into a dreary little film.
There is essentially nothing happening in Act 1 except set-up, so the author
needs to catch our attention with an intriguing premise and hold it with some
sharp dialogue. He does neither. The crotchety blind luddite, played by Tom
Conti, is a literary cliché and his genius is never evident to us. Oh, we are
told he is a genius, but that is demonstrated neither by his words nor by the
inchoate new book, which seems to be nothing but stuffy posturing. If the genius
is merely lacking in genius, the secretary seems to be lacking any discernible
personality, so the dialogue between the characters is mundane and predictable.
Act 2 is largely successful in maintaining its air of mystery, but even that
stanza is marred by some heavy-handed musical cues, and some behavior which is
out of character for the amanuensis. There is an awkward nude scene, for
example, and the fact that the secretary, while subverting some trivial elements
of the author's life, is recording his precious book faithfully! In the book
(according to the reviewers), it was clear that the secretary was feeding the
author misinformation so that he would incorporate it into his book and thus
destroy his own credibility with claims that seemed like surreal madness. That
makes excellent sense, but no such indication is given in the film.
Act 3 delivers the unraveling, but it is underwhelming and banal. The build-up
of Act 2 leads us to expect something much more original and satisfying in the
final stanza. The plot twists would be obvious except for the fact that they
tend to be smaller-than-life, or at least less dramatic than we might have
expected, and the melodramatic final twist is handled so casually as to seem
like an anticlimactic afterthought. Indeed, perhaps it was an afterthought. I
think the script must have been rewritten many times because the IMDb page lists
a female cast member playing "Jane's successor." Not only did I not see that
actress, but the current resolution of the film, at least the part I called an
afterthought, precludes the possibility of a successor, thus indicating that a
previous cut of the film must have had a different ending. (I don't know how the
Why does the film adaptation fall so flat? I think some problems must have been
generated by the fact that the male British secretary was played by a female
American, namely Daryl Hannah, whose inner-directed acting style and limited
emotional range frequently made it seem that she wasn't interacting with the
author at all, but just kind of mumbling to herself. She does two nude scenes,
one of them probably body-doubled, but neither of the scenes seem in character.
(After the curtains have been pulled back, the full-body nude seems to make no
sense in retrospect. I can't explain more without spoiling the plot.) I don't
suppose the scenes would have been there at all if the character had been a
male, as originally written. Those awkward moments seem less like character
development than simply excuses to show an attractive naked woman.
Not that there's anything wrong with that.
Official home page for the
Here are Daryl Hannah's nude scenes.
The topless scene is clearly Hannah. The other scene does look exactly as Hannah
looked 30 years ago, but seems like much too young a body to be her current one.
In general, Hannah does look good for her age (she turns 50 this year), but she
had something done to her lips, ala Meg Ryan, and
the results seem grotesque to me.
Two samples below: