"Do You Remember Doly Bell"

Do You Remember Doly Bell (1981) is an excellent coming of age film set in 1960s Sarajevo, It was the first feature film by writer and director Emir Kusturica, a Sarajevo resident, after graduating from a Prague film school. Much of the story was based on his own childhood. Rather than tell a story of men who were larger than life, he chose to tell the story of everyman, and, at the same time, show the different views of Communism prevalent in 60s Yugoslavia. We follow a young man whose father has failing health, but is a good man. He is clearly his father's favorite, is interested in hypnotism, being part of a band, and, eventually, in Dolly Bell. A criminal of his acquaintance leaves Dolly Bell, one of his women, with our hero. Given that she is not shy about showing her body, and the body is worthy of study, our young hero is impressed.

Ljiljana Blagojevic as Dolly Bell shows breasts and buns. IMDb readers have this at 8.1. It won several awards when it was released, and launched Emir Kusturica as a major International director. I adored the film, partly because of the insight into ideologies and social customs new to me, and partly because the people seemed so real. It is in Yugoslav, with optional English subtitles. This is a B-. Even those who despise subtitles and are not usually crazy about coming of age films might enjoy it.

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  • Ljiljana Blagojevic (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17)

  • Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy)

    The Interpreter (2005)

    Stop me if you've heard this one.

    The male law enforcement officer is on a stake-out. His job is to watch a potential murder target, an attractive female with whom he has already made an inchoate connection. He is in the apartment building across the street from hers, with a vantage that allows him to look inside two of her windows. He has the binoculars on her as he sees her in her bedroom, preparing to take a shower. Hubba hubba! Suddenly, his instinct tells him to move his eyes to the other window, where he sees the bad guy breaking into her living room through the apartment door, carrying a personal armory that would impress General Patton. The cop can see that the victim has no idea she is in trouble. Lacking another way to communicate with her, our hero immediately runs down the stairs in his building, across the street, up the stairs in her building ... the film cuts from the intended victim to the murderer to the cop.

    Will the cavalry arrive in time ... ??

    Oh, wait, you have seen that before? Well, apparently the filmmakers are aware of that because they changed the outcome. Our hero arrives too late. Mr. Baddie goes into the bathroom, hears the shower running, and fires a few rounds into the shower curtain. Then he has to turn his attention to the sound of the cop entering the apartment.

    You're thinking, "What is wrong with that? It is very cool and completely realistic that the cop didn't arrive in time. That is a great way to keep a genre film from getting mired in the usual clichés."

    Yeah, except for one thing. That ain't how it worked out.

    Remember, the reason our hero went dashing to the rescue is that he could see the victim acting oblivious to the threat. But in the next five seconds, in the short time it took for the bad guy to go from the living room to the bedroom, our victim sensed some trouble, and ran out the bedroom window and down the fire escape, leaving the water running in an empty shower.

    We do not know this immediately. Cop and baddie have the usual gunfight in which they each discharge about ten thousand rounds in a city apartment. Bad guy hits the floor. Good guy runs to the shower, sees the holes in the curtain, thinks the woman must be dead, pulls the shower curtain back ... nothing but water. He then runs to the window, and figures out what she must have done.

    It is a good scene. It contains both tension and mystery. It was one of several similarly well managed scenes which brought on the nail-biting.

    There's really only one thing wrong with it. It couldn't actually happen. How could the victim suddenly sense her predicament and immediately run for the fire escape? And how was she lucky enough to have turned the water on before she fled, even though she was still fully dressed? Even if all that were possible, how could she get out of that window fast enough to avoid being seen by Mr. Baddie, who would be looking right at that window as he moved from the living room to the bedroom?

    My jaw just dropped as I watched that completely implausible scene unfold. WTF??

    You can probably find dozens of similar logical lapses if you watch this film too analytically. A secret service agent figures out that an assassin will try to shoot a speaker at the podium of the U.N. General Assembly. He immediately starts lecturing the other agents about how hard it is to find people who will volunteer for suicide missions, and that suicidal terrorists can't be patterned - they could be anyone. I don't know if that is true or not, but have you spotted the complete lapse in logic? Why does the killer have to be on a suicide mission? The agent has assumed that a guy smart enough to get into the U.N. General Assembly with a high powered rifle is not smart enough to have an escape plan. Hey, dude - compared to smuggling a weapon in there, getting away is the easy part! In the confusion and bedlam, he might even be able to walk out of the building with the frightened tourists.

    There was no good reason to conclude that someone brilliant enough to pull off the assassination could not have an escape plan. Even if that seemed less likely to them than a suicide mission, they had no reason to rule out that possibility out. So how could our hero know that they were looking for a man on a suicide mission? Easy! He knew he was in a movie, so he read ahead in the script, and it said so right there! Bingo!

    Oh, yeah, and then there is our Secret Service agent. He's pretty much like any other secret service agent you've seen on TV

    • he always wears a dark suit

    • he makes sarcastic remarks to witnesses

    • he has really long, unkempt Spicoli hair.


    I have to admit that I am not aware of the specific grooming requirements for the United States Secret Service, but I'm just going to take a guess that sarcasm and long, wild Spicoli hair are probably not part of the program. (See the Movie House for a picture.)

    Oh, well, enough nitpicking. I'm going to end up saying that this film is not so bad, so all of my quibbling and whining has simply been to offer you some perspective on the reviews that have called this a smartly written adult thriller. It is nothing of the kind. It is a standard TV police procedural similar to hundreds of films you've seen before, except it has these additional positives:

    • there at least three excellent, well orchestrated nail-biting scenes in which the protagonist races against time and/or the antagonists
    • the two leads are two of the very best actors in the English-speaking world (Kidman, Penn), and it is unusual to see performers of that caliber in a genre film.
    • the film has to pad the procedural out to two hours and both lead actors are especially effective at portraying grief, so the script gives them both backgrounds which layer in some drama with the police procedural. Kidman may now be the all-time cinema grief queen, her only serious competitors being Susan Hayward and Penn himself. I don't mean to imply that the interpreter's (Kidman's) unfortunate personal history is superfluous bullshit. To the contrary, it is absolutely essential to the story. In fact, without it there is only half of a movie. Given that, the casting of Kidman was a real coup!
    • the script does not muck up the story with a silly romance between the cop and the interpreter.
    • the film is the first in the past five decades to be allowed to film inside the U.N. building. To the best of my knowledge, the only previous film to incorporate genuine U.N. interiors was Maxwell Shane's 1953 cold war thriller The Glass Wall.

    The cop's (Penn's) grief, by the way, is just something that was tacked on for added character depth. It seems that his wife left him for the zillionth time, but she was just about to return when she got in a fatal car crash, and now  ...  the cop keeps calling his own home phone, just to hear her voice on the answering machine, and so he can have a good cry on camera. Unlike the back-story for the interpreter, this could have been retained or discarded without affecting the plot.

    In addition to some of the negatives I noted above, it should be noted that the conversations between Kidman and Penn are irritating, boring and pretentious. At one point Kidman explains that she could not be in on the assassination plot, even though she is from the same country and despises the leader being targeted. Why not? After all, the leader is responsible for the murders of all of her family, isn't he? Because "vengeance is just a lazy form of grief," and she's not lazy. Oh, well, that's OK then. Sorry for asking. She then goes on to explain her point with some allegorical tale which is taken from the native people of her home country, and involves foxes and grapes and turtles and rabbits and victims and swimming aardvarks and prodigal sons. Frankly, I was getting tired of her answering every question with a parable, riddle, or fable. In addition to studying the folk legends of her country, she seems to have memorized everything ever said by Aesop, Confucius, and Jesus.

    Although it was billed as a "political thriller", The Interpreter doesn't really have any strong political position more controversial than "we should talk to each other instead of shooting" and "genocide is a bad thing." In that latter case it is not really clear that the script writer even understands what genocide is. The evil "genocidal" dictator in the film is not really genocidal at all. He does not choose to kill people based on their tribal membership or skin color. He simply kills everyone indiscriminately if they are in the way of his attainment of absolute power, especially those who disagree with him. Is he a mass murderer? Sure. Is he Evil? Goes without saying. Is he genocidal? Eh... not so much.

    There were three major political thrillers that came out right about at the time of Nixon's resignation: The Conversation 1974, The Parallax View 1974, Three Days of the Condor 1975. In that highly polarized time, it was all the rage for liberals to express their opinions in the guise of thrillers. (It's like a parable. Kidman's character would love it!) The director of Three Days of the Condor was Sydney Pollack, who is also the director of The Interpreter, so this is presumably Pollack's take on a revival or update of the 70s-style political conspiracy thriller. Big Syd did OK, but The Interpreter is no masterpiece, and is not especially memorable, despite all the star power. It is just an above average film with a modern take on that long neglected sub-genre. No more or less.

    There are two strippers. One is topless, one not. I don't know which one was topless. The two women are Bridget Doerksen and Ana Maria Lupo.  The topless one was blond, so the one with the Germanic name (Doerksen) might be a good guess, but who knows these days?


    Daybreak (1993)

    Sigh. Even the best science fiction stories are often thinly-disguised morality plays about the logical extension of what we know about such topics as overpopulation, pollution, space travel, and the underside of human nature.

    It usually turns out to be bullshit, of course. When the future actually arrives, it is easy to see that the future world they imagined was not about the future but about their own present. A good percentage of time they predicted everything exactly the opposite of what really happened. Science fiction writers of the past, for example, once imagined a future world filled with every more gigantic, noisy, and polluting machines. The real development of machines made them ever tinier, quieter, and more efficient.

    The tendency of futurologists to be consistently incorrect is explained by a sociological (and mathematical) phenomenon called regression, which is to say that once anything gets too far from where most people want it, it gets pulled back by a centrist tendency. Take Central Manhattan, for example. If you wrote a science-fiction story in 1980 after studying the development of Times Square from 1955-1980, how would you imagine Times Square to look in 2005? The answer is basically that you could not possibly have been more wrong. The fact that the area got ever more sleazy and dangerous in that first 25 year period was not a trend that could be extrapolated into the future. Eventually, the area got too far from what average people consider acceptable, and various social forces forced it to regress toward the mean, toward "normality." In fact, it is pretty much the same now as it was in 1955, except with the technology of 2005. It's all commercial and touristy and white-bread, and there are times when you almost wish the old porn theaters, street hustlers, and rip-off joints would return. Almost.

    Daybreak has that kind of problem. It was written in the early days of the AIDS scare, and it envisions our time to be sharply polarized into the plague-free ruling classes and the diseased, who are forcibly removed from society and quarantined. Rebels fight against the marginalization of the victims. Of course, none of that happened. Reality intervened, and the United States did not become more sharply divided regarding AIDS. Medicine did its share, tolerance did its share, education did its share, prominent heterosexuals like Magic Johnson started to turn up HIV+, and we gradually became better at both treating it and dealing with its stigma. HIV+ people now walk among us, live long lives after they are diagnosed, and are not universally turned into social pariahs. This film got pretty much everything wrong.

    In many cases, we forgive sci-fi films their wrong headedness if they give our imagination some exercise. I suppose the future may be nothing like the way it is pictured in Blade Runner, yet that film still uses art and action and invention and a touch of poetry to bring us into its alternate world. Daybreak, in contrast, has nothing to offer in the realm of imagination. It presents a world that looks and sounds exactly like the one we live in, or lived in way back in 1993. People wear the same 1993 clothes, and drive the same 1993 cars, and live in 1993 apartments, and use 1993 appliances. The only difference between Daybreak's world and the real world is that AIDS is far more virulent.

    So what does the film have to offer? Not much. Underneath its half-hearted sci-fi veneer, it's a routine kind of love story between the rebel leader and a "healthy" girl who [previously had been handing around with the modern equivalent of the Hitler Youth.

    It's sort of like West Side Story with a bad cough. Except it's the made-for-cable version.

    It does feature Cuba Gooding pre-stardom, and several nice topless scenes from Moira Kelly, who was lookin' mighty good in 1993!

    • Moira Kelly (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)


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    We have a winner for our "Best Lesbian Love Scene" poll.
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    Crimson Ghost
    NOTE: We currently have to do all of our movie files in zip format. Instead of viewing them online, save the zip files to your hard drive in the directory of your choice, un-zip and play from there.

    Today from the Ghost...a few assorted video clips. Zipped .wmvs as usual.

    Halle Berry
    (1, 2)

    Berry showing some serious thongage while playing an exotic dancer in a before-she-was famous role. Here she is in scenes from the Bruce Willis/Damon Wayans movie, "The Last Boy Scout". Directed by Tony Scott and written by Shane Black ("Lethal Weapon", "The Long Kiss Goodnight") this semi-forgotten 1991 movie is a still a decent watch after 14 years. True, it is a little dated, but not so much for the content as for the genre and style. However, if you are fan of guns, car chases, explosions, fist fights, well dressed bad guys and good guys delivering constant one-liners, this is an excellent example of the action/comedy/buddy genre at it's peak.

    Maité Embil
    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)

    Brief breast and bum views in scenes from the Mexican movie "La Tregua" (2003).

    Roberta Angelica
    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

    Toplessness, thongage and a little bit of leather in scene from the Dolph Lundgren movie, "Tied Up" aka "Jill the Ripper".

    Mr. Nude Celeb
    Demi Moore
    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

    Excellent 'caps of Demi topless (pre-implants) in a several scenes from "About Last Night..." (1986).

    Demi Moore
    (1, 2)

    Moore topless once again, this time after the robo-hooter installation. In #2 we also see partial rear nudity. Scenes from the 1995 version of "The Scarlet Letter", starring Gary Oldman and Robert Duvall.

    Michelle Johnson
    (1, 2, 3, 4)

    Young, busty and beautiful in scenes from 1984's "Blame It on Rio". Topless in links 1 and 4, frontal nudity in #3.

    Michelle Johnson
    Demi Moore
    (1, 2)

    More skin from "Blame It on Rio".

    Kate Beckinsale
    (1, 2, 3)

    Here is the "Underworld" and "Van Helsing" star almost looking like a completely different person in her youth. Let's call her Kate 1.0. Here she is topless and only wearing semi-see-thru undies in scenes from the 1994 movie "Uncovered". Thanks to Kitt for these 'caps featuring her only movie nudity.

    Georgina Cates
    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)

    Señor Skin 'caps of Cates going topless for her first major screen role. Here she is in scenes from the UK movie "An Awfully Big Adventure" (1995), starring Alan Rickman and Hugh Grant.

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