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
2. Basic Instinct
came first, and in many ways Sliver tends to
seem like a "me, too" effort.
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.
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.)
The Daily Show:
"We're making incremental, abstract progress in the wars on terror and
"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
Tourist attraction of the day:
The Field of Corn in
Concrete, Dublin, Ohio
"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
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?"
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%
- 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
Yellow asterisk: funny (maybe). White asterisk: expanded format.
Blue asterisk: not mine. No asterisk: it probably sucks.
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
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
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.
Dann reports on House of the Dead 2:
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.
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
* 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
* Some movies are so bad, they're good, but they promise this one will be so
bad, it's horrible.