Smokin' Aces

Smokin' Aces is basically the same type of movie as The Usual Suspects or Pulp Fiction, an ultraviolent black comedy with a central story told through several different points of view in intersecting storylines. A mobster orders a big-time hit - a million dollar contract on a mob stoolie named Buddy Israel. The size of the bounty attracts every lowlife in the world, from incompetent small-time crooks with a dream, to slick professional hit men with elaborate electronics, weapons, and disguises. It has become common knowledge that Israel is in the penthouse suite of a Tahoe hotel, and two FBI agents (Ryan Reynolds and Ray Liotta) have to get him out of there safely before the army of mercenaries can fill him with lead.

The most interesting question about this film involves the vast gap between the critics and the fanboys. It is rare to see such a massive difference between Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb:


IMDB 6.5 out of 10
Rotten Tomatoes 25% positive reviews

The difference can easily be found by drilling down through the IMDB demographics.

Age Under 18 7.6
18-29 6.7
30-44 6.1
45 or older 5.6
Top 1000 voters 5.3

So it's a movie for teenaged fanboys. This obviously didn't help the writer/director get positive reviews since very few movie reviewers are less than 18 years old. The film's narrowly targeted appeal also hurt at the box office. The R rating meant that the people who would have liked it the most couldn't get in to see it. It did open in the #2 spot with a fairly solid $14 million weekend, but dropped rapidly and finished with only $35m. A 2.5 multiplier (35/14) is disappointing, and indicative of one of two things. Either the business was heavily front-loaded, which is often the case with fanboy movies, or the word of mouth was disappointing. In this case it was probably more of the former than the latter.

The movie was far better than I expected. I avoided it for as long as possible because the trailer made it seem to be a shallow and chaotic slay-fest, and I hate that kind of film. As it turns out, that was only about 15% of the film's running time, and the rest of it included some fairly interesting character development and an underlying mystery about the relationship between the mobster ordering the hit, the FBI, and the guy who is to be hit. The director also demonstrated some technical virtuosity. Although the script was deeper and richer than expected, there were still some problems in the narrative. The sheer quantity of offbeat hit men prevented the script from developing them all, and too much of the story was revealed by long monologues over flashbacks, ala The Usual Suspects. I suppose our system would peg it at C-, a film which is fun for genre nuts, but has have little or no appeal for those on the outside looking in.

Janet Edwards (Film Clip)




* Yellow asterisk: funny (maybe).

* White asterisk: expanded format.

* Blue asterisk: not mine.

No asterisk: it probably sucks.


Catch the deluxe version of Other Crap in real time, with all the bells and whistles, here.









More (1969) is a West German "drugs suck" film, notable only because the female lead was the American expatriate Mimsy Farmer. Klaus Gruenberg graduates college, travels to Paris in search of sun and fun, burgles a house, and meets Mimsy Farmer at a party. His burglary partner advises him to drop her, but of course he doesn't. She leaves for Spain and invites him to join her. He is still fencing the loot, so it is a week before he gets there, and finds that she has some odd relationship with an older German man. Eventually, he talks her into moving in with him. They go through nearly every recreational drug imaginable on the way to heroin. For no particular reason, she has a girlfriend (Louise Wink) and there is a mild lesbian scene.

Other than that, the film bravely posits that becoming a heroin addict has a negative impact on longevity. Maybe that was news in 1969, but I doubt it. If you enjoy "drugs suck" films, then watch Sid and Nancy, The Rose and Requiem for a Dream. This one is barely competent. IMDb readers say 6.1. Ebert awards 2.5 stars, which translates to "don't waste your time." The production values are competent, but the story is lacking. Yes, you get to see their fall, but at 102 minutes, it simply takes way too long for the inevitable to happen. Worst pf all, I didn't like any of the characters, and the performance by Klaus Gruenberg is abysmal, so this turned out to be the only "humans vs heroin" film where I was actually rooting for heroin.

 For those who, like me, have had more than enough of this genre, this is a must-avoid.



Mimsy Farmer shows breasts and buns, and also shows bush through a mosquito net.



Louise Wink shows a breast from the side.









Straw Dogs

Time Travel today as the Time Machine takes us back to 1971 for Straw Dogs. This movie was all about the lovely Susan George baring her bosom as she flashes some construction workers outside as she stands in a window. Then one of the guys decides to go inside and rape her, but she doesn't really fight him off.










Deadly Instinct

AKA "Breeders"

A spacecraft crashes on the campus of a small school near Boston. The ship carries a horny alien monster who came to earth to mate. The students believe the spacecraft is only a meteor until people on campus start to disappear. Louise (Samantha Janus) is the coed who starts to figure out things aren't quite right, but she becomes the main suspect for the police.

At at the same time, they find a series of underground tunnels and go searching for clues, only to find horrible deaths at the hands of the monster. The monster turns most of the girls into sex slave zombies who get killed before Louise and friends find out that removing their necklaces will make them normal again!



Katy Lawrence


Samantha Janus









Notes and collages

H.O.T.S., Part 2

Angela Aames, one more time

Angela Aames













The Comedy Wire

Comments in yellow...

Earl Adams of Bentonville, Arkansas, is demanding the city pay his
two teenage sons $10,000 damages each after they found a book in the library called "The Whole Lesbian Sex Book."  He said that's the penalty under Arkansas' obscenity laws.  The city attorney calls his claim baseless, but Adams complained that after seeing the lesbian sex book, his sons were "greatly disturbed," and it caused "many sleepless nights in our house."

*  The $20,000 is to pay for laundering their sheets.

John McCain said he was just joking around with fellow veterans last week when he sang "Bomb Iran" to the tune of  "Barbara Ann," and critics should just "lighten up"

* Especially that obnoxious Simon Cowell.

Pfizer is warning doctors that their Parkinson's drug, Cabaster, could have a side-effect: as a substitute for the pleasure substance dopamine, it could turn users into sex-crazed gambling addicts.

* I could live with that.

* Between throwing dice and having sex, they're still shaking constantly.

* The good news: if you become sex-crazed, Pfizer makes a drug for that: Viagra.