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"At Close Range" (1986)

Slam (1998) is an Indie, co-authored by the principle cast. It is set in the Washington DC inner city. Saul Williams plays Ray Joshua, small time marijuana dealer and talented "slammer." (Slamming is a half rap half poetry performance art). When his best friend is shot shortly after handing him half a lid, he runs, and is arrested and held on possession. He is told that he has three choices: he can cop a plea and get two years, take his chances in court and probably get 10 years, or rat out his friends and get off. None of the three appeal to him. During a very eventful few days in jail, he meets an English teacher named Lauren Bell who works with prisoners (Sonja Sohn), is nearly killed by rival gangs, and discovers that there is another way to deal with the violence, poverty and unrest around him with his art, and that true freedom is something you have inside you, not something under the control of others.

A fellow prisoner arranges bail for him, and he convinces his shot friend, who survived, that retaliation for the shooting is not the answer, and actually plays into the establishments hands. He then finds and beds Sonja. Sonja is very hot in the sex scene, mainly do to facial expression. The rest of the film concerns Ray's relationship with Sonja, and how he struggles to face his upcoming court date. Much of the cast was amateur, and included real poets, but both Sonja and Williams were very strong. The "Slamming" was powerful and expressive, and the camera work was top notch, using a perfect mix of static shots and hand held, and included many more artistic shots than you would expect in a film about the inner city.

The film won numerous awards including Sundance and Cannes. The critics can't agree. Ebert says 2 1/2, Berardinelli says 3, and Maltin awards 3 1/2. Apollo says 88/100, and Apollo readers give a whopping 90/100. IMDB readers say 7.2/10. Made for $1m, it grossed just under that in theatrical release. Sonja shows glimpses of breasts during the one sex scene, and pokes through a white t-shirt for over half the film. She has been getting steady work since her appearance in this film. I give it somewhere between three and three and 1/2 stars. It was a very pleasant surprise visually, the performances were far better than I expected, and they managed to present a good picture of ghetto life and the prison experience without being too depressing.

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  • Sonja Sohn (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)

  • Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy)
    I looked at Oliver Stone's Heaven & Earth in far more depth.

    I eventually went back and listened to all Stone's commentary and watched all the deleted scenes. Some powerful stuff. I still think the film has a lot of structural problems, but it is often very beautiful, consistently educational. For me to spend 6 hours on a DVD, I think there must be something special there. I know a lot of you guys don't like Oliver Stone or his politics, but I don't care about who he votes for, or if he alters a fact to improve a story. I look at it this way. If there was an incident where Hitler or Nixon was kind to a dog, and Stone retells the incident with them kicking the dog, I figure that is a case where the facts

  • get in the way of the truth.
  • .... and are also insufficiently entertaining.

    If you want the facts, read the World Almanac, don't watch an Oliver Stone movie. I think Stone can be irritatingly pedantic and indefensibly pretentious. (God save us from Indian Shamans, mud-worshipping villagers, and other primitive people whose ignorance isn't really ignorance, but a special relationship to nature!) But to me his faults are the faults of a man too passionate about what he believes it. Is that such a terrible thiung? If so, he joins those other terrible guys, Thomas Paine, Voltaire, and Churchill? We need those guys, warts and all. Stone is also one of the very few men in the world with both the skill and the sensitivity to demonstrate what a glowing and poetic medium film might be, what a key it can be to unlock the mysteries of the human soul, if only we can keep it from being completely dominated by adolescents and money changers.

    Two thumbs up, quite enthusiastically, from me and Tuna.

  • Hiep Thi Le (1, 2, 3, 4)
    Charlie's site is updated. Mammoth update this week.
    Encyclopedia Volume D, part 6, is uploaded. There are many in the update that never appeared in the Fun House
  • PhD
    PhD is not one of out veteran contributors, but he sent in enough material at one time to cover what he missed in the past! Here's the first installment
    Theresa Russell in Hotel Paradise
    Stefania Sandrelli in The Key
    Stefania Sandrelli in The Key
    Anna Schneider in Le Destin Des Steenfort
    Ione Skye in Four Rooms
    Ione Skye in Four Rooms
    Jutta Speidel a great woman, and a great watchband, in "Fleisch"
    Jutta Speidel in "Fleisch"
    Stefanie Steppenbeck in The Other Wolanski
    Stefanie Steppenbeck in The Other Wolanski, because you can never have too many Wolanski's
    Frankie Thorn in Warm Texas Rain
    Tabea Tiesler in Sportarzt Conny Knipper
    Meg Tilly in Girl in a Swing
    Meg Tilly in Girl in a Swing
    Laura Tonke in Just Married
    Laura Tonke in Just Married
    Marie Trintignant in A Summer Night in Town
    Francesca VanThielen in When the Light Comes
    Suzanne van Borsody in Liebe und weitere Katastrophen
    Antje Westermann in Angst
    Smadi Wolfman working without Abbott and Costello in Petits Desordres Amoureux
    Smadi Wolfman not meeting Frankenstein, but again in Petits Desordres Amoureux
    Annie Wood in Cellblock Sisters
    Mimi Rogers in "Full Body Massage"
    Mimi Rogers in "Full Body Massage"
    Mimi Rogers in "Full Body Massage"
    Mimi Rogers in "Full Body Massage"
    Romaine Bohringer in "Total Eclipse"
    Romaine Bohringer in "Total Eclipse"
    Dame Elizabeth Berkley in "Showgirls"
    Dame Elizabeth Berkley in "Showgirls"
    Lara Flynn Boyle in "The Road to Wellville"
    Lara Flynn Boyle in "The Road to Wellville"
    Akira does more cheerleaders
    I admit that I'm just thrilled that Akira did such a thorough job on "Bring it On". Because I want to see the caps? Hell, no, although he did his usual great job. But because many of you want to see them, and because of Akira I don't have to do them!
    (Dushku, Sloane, Sloane, Union, Union)
    Penman does "Arena"
    The Pam Grier gladiatrix movie. Nice work, but massive downloads
  • Lucretia Love
  • Margaret Markov

  • and ...
    Danyi Deats in "River's Edge", as presented by Dann.
    Anne Heche
    (1, 2)

    I think you will be impressed by Watty's collages of Ms Heche in Psycho. Nice layout. By the way, if you weren't aware of it, in a few of these frames the camera shot pretty much right up her bunghole!
    The Funnies
    A dozen reasons why dogs are better than women

  • Dogs don't cry unless they have to pee.
  • Dogs love it when your friends come over.
  • A dog's time in the bathroom is confined to a quick drink.
  • The later you come home, the happier your dog is to see you
  • Dogs like it when you leave lots of things on the floor.
  • Dogs understand that instincts are better than asking for directions.
  • No dog ever put on 100 pounds after reaching adulthood. (Although I have a labrador that gave it the college try)
  • Dogs agree that you have to raise your voice to get your point across.
  • Dogs would rather have you buy them a hamburger dinner than a lobster one.
  • You never have to wait for a dog, they're ready to go 24 hours a day.
  • Dogs enjoy heavy petting in public.
  • Dogs find you amusing when you're drunk.
  • The Sleuth
    A few notes from our resident guru, the Maharishi of Naked Celebs, Celebrity Sleuth.

    Dear Scoop:

    Having now caught up to date on the Funhouses I missed, I offer the following comments:

    o On 2/24, Tuna asks someone to help ID two women from "Love By Appointment": the "Unknown" black girl is Cathy Rosier, a French actress of the late 70s and early 80s. The "Madam" looks to be Francoise Fabian, but the blonde wig makes her almost unrecognizable, so I can't be sure...

    o I can confirm that it definitely is Andrea Thompson in "Manhattan Gigolo" {she often used to go by the name, "Andrea Thompson Kelly" back then...and claimed to be Grace Kelly's niece!}.

    o The link #10 in Blackshine's "Unknowns" is model Cecilia Nord. That's the only one I'm positive of {few have faces}.

    o How can one {such as I} get a copy of "Big Brother Uncut: the UK Version"...does Watty have it in VHS/NTSC or can it be transferred?

    o FYI Trivia: Sheila Kelley, nude in upcoming festival flick, is married to The West Wing's bearded Richard Schiff.

    o Now appealing to your expertise {or that of your contributors}: There are two great Yamila Diaz-Rahi topless shots, that are not in the Encyclopedia, but yours truly {the scion of Internet Incompetence} can only capture them as thumbnails. They're very small on this site: Perhaps you or a contact knows how to enlarge and capture them. They're the best ever of her... (Scoop's note - I couldn't find that site. Maybe one of you knows what he means.)

    Click Here!