Sliver (1993)


Although the original source material is a novel by Ira Levin (Rosemary's Baby, The Stepford Wives, The Boys From Brazil), Sliver is a Joe Eszterhas script and it adheres to his basic formula, in which the protagonist wonders whether he/she is being paranoid in thinking his/her lover may be a killer. In the process of creating a film from Levin's book, several things went wrong, and the final script ended up as a jumbled mess. First of all, Levin's book is really about the relationship of the book editor and the evil mastermind who owns and runs the building (the Stone and Baldwin characters, respectively). The Tom Berenger character, an impotent author who lives in the building, existed in the film script merely to add a red herring, somebody else who might have committed the murders, thus adding some suspense, and some tenuous logic to explain why Stone did not leave Baldwin as soon as she found out that he was watching and taping every apartment. The existence of the author (Berenger) is not so bad, ipso facto, but the film's real problem was created when test audiences didn't like the movie's original ending, in which the evil mastermind was finally revealed to be an evil mastermind. Eszterhas was told to write some alternative endings, and the legend is that he completed five fully scripted endings in one long weekend of work. The final theatrical version promoted the impotent writer from red herring to killer, but by doing so it introduced several contradictions in the film's internal logic:

1. The film's first victim and Sharon Stone were both chosen as tenants by the building's owner because they looked like his mother. It would make sense for him to be obsessed with the women, but does not make sense for the author, who had no particular connection with either of them.

2. Stone finds some tapes in which the building's owner is having sex with two of the prior victims, despite his vigorous protestations to the contrary. This was obviously the logical prelude to his revelation as the killer. Except that he wasn't. He was just sexually exploiting the women who were killed, and lying to Stone about it. It's just a coincidence that they were killed. (Clears throat.)

3. In the final cut of the film, Berenger is the killer, and we find that out for sure because Baldwin has the first murder on tape, with a clear view of Berenger's face, as revealed in the final scene! But if Baldwin is not the killer, why has he never checked to see if the murder was on tape? And if he has never checked, why has he hidden that particular tape in the first place? Obviously, all of that set-up was written with the assumption that Stone would find the hidden tape, and it would prove that Baldwin was the murderer. When the ending was changed to make Berenger the killer, Baldwin's actions made no sense. Why would he have hidden a tape proving that someone else committed the crimes?

4. Polly Walker (playing another victim who lived in the building) was killed by someone who knew she was in the stairwell at a time which could not have been predicted because it was prompted by a temporary short in the building's power supply. The building owner (Baldwin) could have known she was there because of his video hook-ups. He could have been there, waiting for her, ready to kill her. On the other hand, the author (Berenger) could not have been there waiting for her, because he had no way to know she was there or would soon be there. Only the guy with the magical omniscient video connection could know that, and therefore had to be the murderer. (I can only assume that he also caused the two temporary power failures in the building, but in the final cut they were made to seem accidental.)

Of course, one cannot fault Eszterhas for the problems caused by the re-write. He had written all the clues correctly in the first place, and every one of them pointed to Baldwin. Before the marketing guys got involved, director Philip Noyce had shot the original Eszterhas script shot-for-shot, word-for-word. Unfortunately, he was told at the eleventh hour to change the murderer. Eszterhas did some re-writes, and there were some re-shoots, but Eszterhas was not told to re-write all the previous events which proved that the other guy did it! The result was a mess.

The film had some potential to be both a thriller and a reflection on the loss of privacy in the modern high-tech world. In my opinion, it failed on both counts. The thriller part was spoiled by the re-writes, and the reflections on society resulted in some boring sequences in which Stone and/or Baldwin eavesdropped on the soap opera lives of random people for what seemed like interminable periods, thus making the plot not only illogical, but often unfocused and boring as well. I was watching with others, and the words, "Jeez this is boring" were heard frequently - the kiss of death for a "thriller."

But it is an "erotic thriller," you are thinking, "perhaps the erotic elements picked up the ball when the thriller elements fumbled it?" Unfortunately not. Given the re-teaming of Eszterhas and Stone from the highly successful Basic Instinct, it was not unexpected that critics compared the eroticism in the two films, and Sliver tended to suffer in that comparison for a few reasons:

1. Sharon Stone is much more effective as the cold, calculating sex-driven killer than she is as the vulnerable, sexually repressed housewife.

2. Basic Instinct came first, and in many ways Sliver tends to seem like a "me, too" effort.

3. Basic Instinct is filled with really hot sex scenes and plenty of clear nudity. The sex and nudity in Sliver is not as hot, not as prolific, and is either very dark or seen on a black and white TV screen within the film.

By the way, there is a good reason why the R-rated and unrated versions of this film have the same running length. They both include the exact same footage! The difference between them is that four minutes of the R-rated version have been pan-'n-scanned to obscure particularly graphic nudity and sexual activity. For example, the scene where Stone sits on Baldwin's lap is seen in its entirety in the unrated version, but is cropped to "head & shoulder" action in the R version. (In this particular example, neither version has any nudity.)


Sharon Stone


Allison Mackie

Other Crap:

The Daily Show: "We're making incremental, abstract progress in the wars on terror and drugs." 

"Daily Show: Bathtub Cheese: Culture of Death

  • Dan Bakkedahl investigates illegal street cheese with names like gold mold and crack wax.

The complete South Park episode: Return of Chef 

Carlos Mencia's Wetback Mountain 

Tourist attraction of the day: The Field of Corn in Concrete, Dublin, Ohio 

Letterman: "Top Ten Signs You're On A Lame Spring Break"

  • 6. Limbo stick looks an awful lot like a human femur
  • 2. Conga line ends at Scientology Center

The Farce is with Samuel L. Jackson

  • "THINKFilm has set a late-summer release for Farce of the Penguins, a parody of the documentary March of the Penguins to be narrated by Samuel L. Jackson. Bob Saget wrote the script and is directing."

You're in luck. The official Barry Manilow 2005 calendar is still in stock. 

The Hollywoody Show reviews V for Vendetta 

The trailer for The Bridesmaid, Claude Chabrol's new film

  • Claude Chabrol? Talk about the last of the Mohicans! His first IMDb credit is in 1956.
  • "It's love at first sight when bridesmaid Senta falls into the life of handsome young Philippe at the wedding of his younger sister. Though their passion for each other is as obvious as it is unquestionable, Philippe soon discovers that Senta's life is shrouded in mystery and her stories surrounding her past anything but believable. When one day she asks Philippe for an extreme proof of his love, Philippe must come to terms with who his lover might really be. But is this just another of Senta's fantastic tales? And how far is Philippe willing to go, even as his love for her seems to know no limits?"

 Agnes and His Brothers

  • "Agnes and his brothers have little in common, except an eccentric old father, relationship problems that are totally screwing up their lives, and the distinct possibility those two things are connected. Hans-J�rg conceals his sexual frustration behind his meek librarian appearance. Werner is much more successful at political combat than family diplomacy. Agnes is haunted by the mother she never knew and perhaps too nostalgic about her past as a man. Despite her efforts, transgendered Agnes just can't quite fit into the mold of the little homemaker expected by her bossy boyfriend. Once she's out on the streets alone, Agnes wipes away her tears and proudly takes on her bleak future with a smile. A profoundly human family drama, it's a story full of passion, poetry and humor about three brothers searching for love and acceptance, and at the same time, a fascinating snapshot "

"Penelope Cruz had to wear a false bottom for her new role because film chiefs decided she lacked curves." 

A completely fake trailer for Snakes on a Plane 

A clip from the soon-to-be immortal cinema classic, Snakes on a Plane  

The New York Times says the dog ate their homework

  • "An article in The Metro Section on March 8 profiled Donna Fenton, identifying her as a 37-year-old victim of Hurricane Katrina who had fled Biloxi, Miss., and who was frustrated in efforts to get federal aid as she and her children remained as emergency residents of a hotel in Queens. (Go to Article)
    Yesterday, the New York police arrested Ms. Fenton, charging her with several counts of welfare fraud and grand larceny. Prosecutors in Brooklyn say she was not a Katrina victim, never lived in Biloxi and had improperly received thousands of dollars in government aid. Ms. Fenton has pleaded not guilty. For its profile, The Times did not conduct adequate interviews or public record checks to verify Ms. Fenton's account, including her claim that she had lived in Biloxi. Such checks would have uncovered a fraud conviction and raised serious questions about the truthfulness of her account. An article about her arrest and the findings from additional reporting about her claims appears here."

 This week's movies (2000 screens): Stay Alive - only one review - and it's not good.

  • "'Stay Alive consistently proves itself to be the most idiotic film this year that wasn't directed by Uwe Boll.'"

This week's movies (2800 screens): Inside Man - 86% positive reviews.

  • In a bit of a miraculous turnaround for Spike Lee, he follows his worst movie (She Hate Me) with some of the best reviews of his career! Many have compared this film favorably to The Usual Suspects.


Movie Reviews:

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




Fleisch (1979)

Fleisch (1979) is a West German made for TV thriller staring Jutta Speidel as a foreign exchange graduate student on scholarship. As the film opens, she marries fellow grad student and starving musician Herbert Herrmann, and the two head off on their honeymoon. Basically broke, they check into a fleabag motel in Los Cruces.

After an all too brief sex scene, where Jutta shows breasts and buns, they go for a romp in the desert to enjoy the sunset, and almost miss the ambulance that arrives to haul them off, obviously called by the landlady. Speidel gets away, but Herrmann is injected with something and hauled off to parts unknown. Speidel is almost caught when she tries to get the landlady to help, then manages to flag down long haul trucker Bill (Wolf Roth) who eventually believes her, and agrees to help. The plan is to return to the hotel and try to get abducted, but enlist the aid of his trucker buddies to halt the ambulance on the road and extract a confession from one of the drivers.

What they have uncovered is just the tip of a huge organ black market operation being run out of the Roswell Air Force Hospital. When Roth is also taken, Speidel is on her own in freeing both him and her husband.

IMDb readers say 6.1. It was so well received that it enjoyed a brief European Theatrical release. While more of a thriller than an expose of a sinister medical conspiracy (like Coma), it was well acted, had very sympathetic characters, and managed a lot of suspense. It is also known as Spare Parts in English speaking countries.

 This is a C+, both as a thriller and as a TV movie.


Jutta Speidel.





Today we visit "Vice Academy 2".

Toni Alessandrini breasts playing a stripper.

Ginger Lynn Allen sexy in her underwear then topless.

Ginger Lynn Allen and Linnea Quigley boobs doing a striptease.

Linnea Quigley topless.




Dann reports on House of the Dead 2:

I ripped the original House of the Dead for being nothing more than a giant Sega commercial, and a poorly done one at that. 2005's House of the Dead 2, produced for the Sci-Fi Channel, is no award-winner, but it's definitely better than the original, and loaded with nudity that was undoubtedly clipped out of the broadcast version.

In this one, government agents are searching for patient zero, the first one to spread the zombie plague introduced in the first movie.

When a university becomes infected, the agents are sent in with a group of troops whose job it is to contain the infected, and rescue any uninfected that may remain.

Some nice ass-kicking action and special effects, a cast as good or better than the original, and the aforementioned nudity, make this a sequel superior to the original. Whether that makes it good, you'll have to decide for yourself.

Paige Peterson Emmanuelle Vaugier Victoria Pratt
Nadine Velazquez Danielle Burgio others




Stephanie Seymour is still with us, still getting nekkid.
A nice collage of Chloe Sevigny
Katherine Brooks in Surrender
Julie Clay in Surrender


Pat's comments in yellow...

Male Jessica Alba fans will be upset to hear that not only is she not nude in Playboy, she apparently won't even don a bikini anymore.  In interviews with the L.A. Times and FHM, Alba said Hollywood "wants you to take your clothes off all the time when you're younger.  I won't do that."  From now on, she said, "I'll leave the slutty girl to other people, and I'll play the sweet, moral girlfriend who believes in love," which is more interesting "than playing a vixen."  And if you miss her famous curves, too bad.  She said, "I have curves, but I don't really like them.  I wish I was skinnier and taller."

*  I saw her at the Oscars: she's halfway there.

*  She won't take off her clothes when she's young, curvy and hot ... She'll wait until she's old, bony and broke. (The Farrah Formula)

*  Nice to see a young actress in 2006 who's really going after the Mary Pickford roles.

*  This could kill her Hollywood career, but she could be really big in the burgeoning Afghanistan film industry.

The upcoming film "Snakes On A Plane," about a bunch of poisonous snakes getting loose on a plane, may be the first bad movie to generate so much buzz, it's being expanded before it's even released.  The concept and title are so hilariously stupid, websurfers have made millions of jokes, turning it into the most talked-about movie of the year and prompting New Line cinema to do five days of reshoots to add even more over-the-top gore, snakes and nudity.  And a Samuel Jackson line that appeared only in the trailer - "I want these motherfucking snakes off the motherfucking plane!" - has become such a popular catchphrase, it will now appear in the movie.

*  Twenty-seven times.

*  If they add a cameo of Medea gettin' sassy with a snake, this could make more money than "Titanic."

*  The nudity is so they can show trouser snakes.

*  Finally, a movie gives us exactly what we expect from Hollywood: a planeload of snakes!

*  Some movies are so bad, they're good, but they promise this one will be so bad, it's horrible.