"Strip Show", from Tuna
I'll bet you can guess
what this is about from the title and the cast.
How do they get the casting done for these
flicks? Claude Reins turns to his lackies and
says "Major Strasser has been shot .......
" And you know the rest. On with the show!
The one usual suspect missing from this one was
Maria Ford, but most of the others made an
appearance. thumbnails Kelly Hoffman (1,
Monique Parent (1,
Hi, I'm Tane McClure (1,
10) Monique Parent AND Tane McClure
Bad Lieutenant", from Tuna
A movie of almost
unremitting ugliness about the pit of man's
basest instincts, ala "Blue Velvet".
Keitel is a cop, but he ain't exactly Joe Friday.
In fact, Charles Manson would find him a little
out of control.
He's a cocaine addict
and an alcoholic, hates himself, lashes out at
his family, gambles, bullies, steals evidence,
sells leniency, you name it. No redeeming
characteristics that we can see. A soul lost. He
is investigating a depraved crime - a nun raped
on an altar. His investigation is made nearly
impossible by the fact that the nun knows who did
it, and will not say because she forgives them.
His contact with the nun, and musings upon this
dilemma lead him inside himself as well as toward
the culprits. Will he find some moral truth, or
will he sink to even lower depths? Reviewers were
mixed on which of these chpoices was actually
evoked by the finale.
The film is famous for
some graphic Harvey Keitel nudity. It is gritty,
uncompromising, scummy, and inspired by the
darker angels of our nature. Very few of the
characters even have names, lest our knowing them
keep us from the detachment we need to despise
them. In other words, a good date movie, or a
real feelgood hit for you and the kids.
thumbnails Victoria Bastell (1,
Frankie Thorn (1,
Big Easy", from Johnny Web
Attorney Ellen Barkin knows that cop Dennis Quaid
is corrupt, but how corrupt is he? Is there a
good guy beneath all the institutional corruption
in Louisiana, or is he really dirty? And does he
love her, or is he posing to get insider info
from her? It's an OK flick, no great challenge to
your intellect. Would be terrific as a hot
mainstream entertainment if only Barkin had shown
a lot more, ala Turner in "Body Heat".
But she did give us some peeks in this
atmospheric N'awlins pic. Ellen Barkin (1,
Analysis", from Johnny Web
I'm not sure if you
Hitchcock fans will love this extension of the
master's genre, or be appalled at the blatant
rip-off the the great man's techniques. The
climax is staged on a crumbling lighthouse, at
night, in a storm, with people clinging to
railings, with the raging sea and rocks far
below. Several shots in this movie are shot
straight down of almost straight down from a
dizzying height. You'll see some of that in the
caps. Tuna didn't like it much, but I thought the
movie was pretty darned cool, although I still
don't know exactly what was going on. It's one of
those with continuous twists and turns, and I
didn't even understand the last one. You need to
keep a flow chart to keep track of it all.
Gere is a psychiatrist.
His patient, Uma Thurman, suggests that he meet
with her sister to help unravel blocked memories
from their childhood. Her sister turns out to be
Kim Basinger, so Gere drops his initial
reluctance and proceeds to play hide the kielbasa
with Kim, as any of us would have done, given the
same opportunity. As it turns out, Kim herself
needs Gere and his contacts as support for a
medical condition known as "pathological
intoxication", which she intends to use as
an alibi for ...
What is Uma's real role
in the entire plot? How much is real and how much
is artifice? Did Uma make up her entire past as
part of Kim's master plot? Or is someone else
besides Kim pulling the strings? Are either of
them telling the truth? Gere has to use his head
to sort through all the stings and
Quite a spectacularly
filmed movie. Not only attractive, but plenty of
things like gothic angles and over-the-shoulder
POV shots of people running. Completely
Hitchcockian, like it or leave it. For me, grade
B Hitchcock is still pretty good entertainment.
If only someone with a bit more animation and
color than Gere had been in the shrink role. He
is really just kind of a generic guy, isn't he?
Great looking guy, delivers a line competently,
nothing really wrong with him, but no noteworthy
unique characteristics, no charisma, no real
personality in his characterizations. He's just
there. You don't remember one thing about his
character after the movie has finished. If Brando
has too many eccentricities in his portrayals,
Gere seems to have none at all, which is equally
Kim Basinger (1,
Messenger", from Johnny Web
Milla as Jeanne d'Arc. I
talked about it before. She's the female Keanu.
Like Keanu, she can be effective if used
properly, but this was a role calling for real
depth, plus the ability to step out of 20th
century speech and mannerisms. Milla was just not
cast wisely, ala Keanu in Dracula. I kept hearing
her Valspeak as she summoned the troops, and she
has approximately the same commanding voice as
the late Margaux Hemingway. Of course, the
director was her husband, so that could explain
how she got the job. That director, Luc Besson,
is proving to be a major disappointment. This is
not a good movie at all, but especially not from
a man who has shown the great talent of Besson's
past. He was just a kid when he dazzled the world
with "La Femme Nikita" (he actually
wrote The Fifth Element when he was in his mid
teens). He's only 40 now, so he has plenty of
time to recover, but so far his great talent is
leading nowhere. There's plenty of realism and
technique on display here, but what makes Besson
think that a film needs about 45 minutes of
realistically grisly and chaotic 15th century
battles, where we viewers can't tell which side
the soldiers belong to, and where we can't find
an emotional anchor because we don't know who is
who? I hit the FF button constantly. In fact, I
probably watched the entire movie in about 30
minues, because I just forwarded through the
battle scenes until the plot stasis dissolved and
something else happened.
The movie shifts back in
forth in its interpretation of Joan. Was she
simply a lunatic? Were her successes just
accidents, as some of the military men claimed?
Was she ever believed, or did everyone always
realize she was loony, but decide to exploit her
until she was no longer useful. Milla portrays
Joan as blatantly over-the-edge, so convinced
that she is God's messenger that she will brook
no disagreement with her positions, no matter how
minor, since such is disagreement with God.
In this representation,
everyone was glad to be rid of her when the torch
was lit. As the viewer you think, as a rational
man would have thought at the time, "Maybe
she was railroaded on the heresy charges, but
thank God I don't have to listen to her any
more." I would have lit the fire myself if I
could have reached through the screen. The
interpretation can't be blamed entirely on Milla.
After all, the director let her do it that way,
so they must have created it jointly.
I'm not sure if you can
see a nipple here or not, but I capped it. You
can make the call on your own, I guess. Milla