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"The Name of the Rose" (1986)

The Name of the Rose (1986) is another film distributed on unobtainium. There is a German Pal VHS version, and there was a region free Brazilian DVD distribution. I was lucky enough to get a copy of the region free Brazilian release. The film was a critical flop in the US (Maltin, 2 stars and Ebert, 2 1/2), and was also a box office flop in the US. It was, however, a smash hit in Europe, and most of the rest of the world, and garnered many awards in Europe. Why? It is a European sort of film. The pace is leisurely, the tone is dark, the locations perfect, and the story is complex, and is not spoon fed to the viewer. IMDB readers have it at 7.5/10, with most of the comments coming from European readers.

Sean Connery stars as Brother William of Baskerville, a Franciscan who has come to a Benedictine monastery in Italy from a debate among Benedictines, Franciscans and Papal delegates as to whether the clergy should take vows of poverty or not. The Franciscans favor helping the poor, the rest believe in helping themselves. As the year is 1347, we are literally taken to the Dark Ages, and one of the darkest periods in Catholicism. The Inquisition is in full swing, and most books are kept in hiding by Monasteries because they conflict with Catholic doctrine. Connery, we later learn, has a history with the Grand Inquisitor, and is the Sherlock Holmes of the religious set, being both brilliant, and more enlightened than his peers.

When he arrives at the monastery (actually Kloster Erbach in Germany), there has been a mysterious death that is being attributed to the devil. He is called upon the solve the mystery. With him is a young protege, who is the narrator of the story, and plays Watson to his Sherlock. I am going to strongly recommend this film, so don't wish to give away any plot details. The mystery story line alone would sustain this film, and has plenty of twists and turns, but there are also many intertwined themes, mostly about excesses of the church, including homosexuality, surreptitious sex with a local peasant girl in exchange for food, murder, heresy, burning at the stake, hoarding knowledge, and economic oppression of the common folk.

Connery's young charge has a sexual encounter with an attractive peasant girl, Valentina Vargas, who shows everything in very dark scenes. The film is very moody, and is darkly lit, which is appropriate to the dark ages, but makes for difficult capping. The film also stars Christian Slater. There was not a flat performance anywhere in this film, the costumes were appropriate, the location perfect, and the art direction top notch. The film didn't just explain the Dark Ages, it took us there.

IMDB list the film under its German name, Der Name der Rose. It also saw major releases in France and Italy. It was made for $20m. and only grossed $7.2m in its US release, but did a very respectable $77.2m worldwide. I strongly recommend this film to anyone who isn't completely opposed to the genre. Some familiarization with Catholic history makes the film more enjoyable and understandable.

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  • Valentina Vargas (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11)

    Jr Here...believe it or not, despite my obvious love of robo-hooters and crappy movies, I agree with Tuna, "The Name of the Rose" is an excellent film that I have loved since I first saw it when I was about 17. If you're the kind of dude that can sit though a movie without needing car chases and machine guns, give it a shot.

  • Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy)
    New DVD

    I looked at Jerry Maguire. Show me da fuckin' money. If you haven't seen it, shame on you, because you'll probably enjoy it. It's a terrific old-fashioned film, similar to Almost Famous except about maintaining ones soul in big-time sports instead of in big-time music. Plus, it's a sports movie that you can actually watch with a woman and get laid afterwards.

    • Kelly Preston. (1, 2)

    Zardoz is a futuristic fantasy with a 60's feel, in which the entire future lifestyle choice comes down to either a failed hippie commune or a brutal recreation of Taras Bulba.

    You have to love any movie which starts with a giant stone head floating down from the sky, soon to be worshipped by various people in red panties or cheap Eastern European suits. The head is named Zardoz, and he speaks only to the panty men, who are apparently in charge of population control. Zardy says, "the gun is good, the penis is evil, and I think the blender and the gall bladder could go either way", at which point he spits out guns and ammo enough for the panty men to kill some more Eastern European refugees. The panty men also wear droopy moustaches and red bandoleros to match their panties, making them look like the dream sequence dance numbers from a broadway musical version of Viva Zapata.

    But one of the panty men (Bond, James Bond) stows away in the stone head, and uses it to penetrate the dreaded Vortex, a sheltered bubble in which the inhabitants have advanced beyond homo sapiens, and are now immortal, having shed both death and sleep from their lives. Although they are advanced beyond comprehension, they grind wheat into flour with a technology from the first millenium. I guess it's a whole hippie organic thing, because they all meditate together and dress up like a Peter Max nightmare of hippie existence, complete with beaded curtains and blacklight posters. They also live in an English country mansion and sew their own clothing, since the last GAP was closed hundreds of years earlier.

    This effete ruling class has taken political correctness to an extreme, to the point where any non-correct thoughts are punished with "aging". In a world where everyone lives forever, there is no death penalty, so the ultimate punishment is to doom people to living forever as senile codgers. The codgers, called "renegades", live in their own part of the vortex, where they spend every minute of every day and night dancing to old Jimmy Dorsey songs in a forlorn ballroom. There is one more Immortal group in the vortex, the "apathetics", who have fallen prey to the ultimate disease of eternal life - no, not the possibility of watching re-runs of The Nanny forever, but rather boredom. Imagine if you had to live with the same 25 hippies, baking organic green bread and sewing your own clothes, every day for the rest of eternity, without even sleep as a break from the monotony. I know I'd become an apathetic.

    When the brutal outlander penetrates the Vortex, things get really screwed up. The Immortals want to study him because he can die, and his penis works, while theirs doesn't. They're really into the whole penis thing, and they keep showing him nude mud wrestling movies in order to watch the effect on Sean Connery's dick. After 300 years of The Nanny, this must seem like major entertainment to them. Finally, some of the women come up with a rather self-serving way to impart to Connery all the knowledge of mankind. They do this by "osmosis", which is their term for making a mind-link download to Connery's brain, while he is making a penis-link download to them elsewhere. Remember these women haven't seen a hard dick in 300 years.

    It later turns out that Connery is not really the savage he appears to be. The Immortals begin to think something may be amiss when Connery starts quoting T.S. Eliot from memory and playing Rimsky-Korsakoff on household appliances.

    Then it turns out that Connery is a super-being who has developed an intricate plan to penetrate the vortex, destroy it, and let his fellow Pancho Villa Panty-Men inside to kill the Immortals.

    Upon further unraveling, it turns out that Connery himself was actually genetically engineered over generations by some of the Immortals, as part of their long-term plan to end their infinitely boring immortality. At one point, some of the immortals, who engineered the plan, help Connery escape from the other immortals by dressing him up in a bridal gown.

    In a final twist, when the ultimate Trickster tells Connery that he engineered the whole thing, Connery replies "but I have looked into the life-force that put the idea in your head". Whatever that means. The trickster, Arthur Frayne, begins the film in a preface, as a disembodied head narrating to the audience, saying "I am Arthur Frayne, and I am Zardoz". Then the camera zooms in on him and he has a moustache, goatee and eyebrows painted on with magic marker.

    Poor John Boorman, the writer and director, was asked to do a commentary for the DVD, and even he finds it embarrassing now. He comments on some of the scenes, "yes, well, it's all rather absurd looking at it here, isn't it?". Most of the time he couldn't think of anything at all to say, so he just rambled on about how Connery stayed at his house during the shooting, since it was only ten miles away from the seedy mansion that played The Vortex. Apparently, Connery was an exemplary guest who always played his music very low, brushed his teeth after every meal, and never left any of those dried toothpaste stains on the sink. I'm not making this up, by the way. Boorman really doesn't seem to have any sense of what might make for interesting commentary.

    There are some good things to say. The film has some imaginative visuals, and this DVD represents the first time that the full 2.35 theatrical aspect ratio has been seen since the film was actually in theaters. For some reason, the widescreen laser disc was cropped to 1.85. I did enjoy seeing the full framing.

    I also enjoyed the cerebral aspect of the movie. It is cheesy, and pretentious, and dated, and a lot of other unflattering things, but it also comes from an era when people used to come out of movies and talk about the ideas they presented. This film is filled with interesting ideas about the nature of immortality, and how it wouldn't be quite as good as it sounds. Think about it, how would you keep from being bored? How would we punish people? How would we control the population? The world is overpopulated now, although we die. Imagine how crowded the planet would be if we all kept living forever. The basic ideas behind the movie were interesting, and the intricate multi-layered plot was clever. Unfortunately, Boorman got lost somewhere on the road that led from good ideas to a good movie. At one time he must have hoped for profundity, but looking at it now, it's nothing but snicker fodder for the undergrad dorm rooms. To paraphrase Churchill, never has it been so sad that something was so funny.

    Assorted ladies without tops...

  • Sara Kestelman
  • Sally Anne Newton
  • Charlotte Rampling (1, 2)
  • Unknown (1, 2)
  • Nut51
    Élisabeth Bourgine Excellent 'caps of Élisabeth in the tub in scenes from "Cours privé". Great breast exposure, plus if you send down the divers, you'll also see pubes.

    Sophie Broustal Sophie getting felt up by someone that looks like my old high school guidance counselor. Scenes from "Toutes peines confondues" (1992).

    Nicole Calfan
    (1, 2)

    From a movie with one of the longest titles ever...1970's "Êtes-vous fiancée à un marin grec ou à un pilote de ligne?". Which roughly translates to "Are you engaged to a Greek sailor or an airline pilot?" -Just rolls off the tongue, doesn't it.

    #1 has almost full side breast exposure
    #2 has lots o' leg

    Isabelle Carré
    (1, 2)

    Everything except for gyno-cam views in scenes from "La Femme défendue" (1997).

    Sandy Wasko
    (1, 2)

    From an episode of "Passion Cove".

    #1 has nice topless and bare bum exposure.
    #2 had some serious simulated sex, plus a can of Readi-Whip

    Julie Meadows Another babe from the late night series "Passion Cove". Personally I'm hoping for all new episodes of my favorite late night show..."Hot Springs Hotel"!

    Brinke Stevens Topless, rear and frontal views in scenes from the B-movie classic "Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama" (1988).

    Michelle Bauer Topless and frontal goodies, also from "Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama"

    Rawhide Kid
    The SI Babes show continues with Kylie Bax looking really nice (and playful, even!) in a nice see thru red top. Unfortunately, she's hiding the goodies!
  • Kylie Bax

    Three shots of Kristy Hinze here. In number 1, she's wearing a nice tiny bikini that looks like it was made from someone's kerchief. Kristy #2 shows some nice cleavage in a red bikini and #3 taking on a slight Spanish flair with basic black and a sombrero. Ole!

  • Kristy Hinze (1, 2, 3)

    Last but certainly not least is Kim Alexis wearing a very small black one piece with a really nice rear exposure! A Buttman's dream!

  • Kim Alexis

  • Cambo
    Pam Grier The Nubian Queen of 70's Blacksploitation movies going full frontal in these scenes from 1972's "Hit Man".

    Shawnee Free Jones The lovely blonde topless in a love scene from "Denial".

    Sissy Spacek Topless in "Welcome to LA"

    Various Babes Assorted freaky nudity from Ken Russell's "Lair of the White Worm".

    and ...
    (1, 2)

    Minor see-thru nipple exposure. Great scans by Blaskshine.

    Ariel Kiley

    Jamie-Lynn Sigler

    Two collages from a recent episode of "The Sopranos".

    Ariel plays stripper at the club, and here she is "working".

    Jamie-Lynn, plays Tony's daughter. Here we see her in her bra and gettin' it on while at school.

    Trish Stratus Mega cleavage while Trish kicks some ass on WWF RAW. Vidcaps by Crow.

    Cameron Diaz Cameron in "Charlie's Angels", by Penman.

    Definitely mindless fun! I really enjoyed it. However, I do agree with Scoop, I would have loved to have seen more of Bill Murray, Luke Wilson, Sam Rockwell, Matt LeBlanc and Tom Green. Individually, each actor pretty much stole any scene they were in. I guessing that they have a whole mess of footage with these guys that ended up cut. Sadly however, the DVD features to me are just "ok", and include a behind the scenes look at the Kung Fu FX, a segment about the director, some not-that great deleted scenes and a music video. The one exception is the funny "battle of wits" between Murray and Curry.

    Kate Hudson Mega upskirt views from the movie "Gossip". 'Caps by Snowblind.

    Mena Suvari Mena in her undies in scenes from "Loser". Also by Snowblind.

    Antje Schmidt Clear topless exposure, plus partial rear and frontal goodies. From the movie "Im Innern des Bernsteins" (1995), by UC99.

    The Funnies by Number 6
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