Deja Vu


Deja Vu is a crime-solving procedural with a time-travel overlay. If that sounds gimmicky to you, well that's because it is. If that sounds completely implausible, you win another cigar.

Now stop a second. Are all gimmicky movies automatically bad? No. Memento has a preposterous concept, but is a good movie because of what it does with the concept. Does implausibility conflict with merit? No. If we disallow nonsense, then we will have to throw out every single instance of time-travel which has ever been conceived, because none of them make sense. If someone going back in time can alter the present, then he could alter the circumstances that caused him to be sent back in the first place. But if he was never sent back, how could he alter those circumstances? Indeed, someone sent back into the past could alter the circumstances that allow the method of time travel to be discovered in the first place, meaning that time travel would never be possible, even though he has already traveled to the past. See what I mean? There is no way to alter events which have already happened, so any story which begins with this premise will automatically be filled with all sorts of illogical and contradictory circumstances.

So, since movies about time travel are inherently implausible, should we ban them?

Of course not. Nor should we ban films about other concepts which are purely imaginary. Imagination is part of art, and it is part of entertainment. Some would say it is the most important part of both, because we get enough of reality within actual reality. Maybe too much.

Just as a sidebar - while things which have been done cannot be undone, it may well be possible someday to view the past, even if we cannot physically enter it. The key is the speed of light. If the speed of light is an absolute barrier which cannot be broken, then it would probably not be possible to view the past, but if it is possible to travel faster than light, then ...

Here's how it would work. Imagine a place in the universe where the light from Earth takes ten years to reach. If you could get there in three years, then you would be living in 2010, peering through a powerful telescope at the year 2000, even though you would have left earth in 2007. Extend the concept still further. Imagine another place in the universe where the light from earth takes two thousand years. If you can get there in three years, again carrying your all-powerful telescope, you might actually be able to watch Caesar's assassination or Jesus' crucifixion in your own lifetime. Extend it further. Watch the dinosaurs.

Mind you, there are many problems with this concept. (1) Is such a powerful telescope possible? Maybe, but it can't be created with today's science. (2) Even if you could see such things, you might not be able to share what you have learned. Physicists are not sure whether your six-year round trip from Earth to there and back would land you in the earth of 2013, or at some point in the very distant future, perhaps even a point which contains a completely desolate Earth where there is nobody to care about your discovery. Some physicists think that such a time-warp would exist if you traveled NEAR the speed of light. Frankly, they have no idea what might happen if you could exceed it. (3) Finally, we simply do not know whether the speed of light is an immutable ceiling to the practical speed of objects, and even if it can be exceeded we do not know what would happen to objects which exceed it. But adding all those codicils, we can say that it is not entirely impossible to conceive that we could someday view the past. Why not? Even now we ourselves are viewing the pasts of distant planets and galaxies which may no longer even exist.

Deja Vu begins with that very plausible premise. That we can get a vantage point in space that allows us to view the events of precisely 102 hours ago. Of course, simply viewing what happened four days ago is about as exciting as watching C-Span, so the concept eventually had to be pimped out to allow Denzel Washington to enter the past.

The film can be split into two main parts. In the first, Federal Agent Denzel uses his view of the past to solve a crime of domestic terrorism and apprehend the baddie (played by the guy who played Jesus in The Passion of the Christ). A truly great movie would have stopped there and used what he had learned to establish some key truths about human nature. Deja Vu is not a great movie, but merely a very good one, so it continued past that point of no return into a second part, in which Denzel goes back to the scientists and browbeats them into using all the power in the known world to test the outer envelope of their technology and send him back in time to prevent the tragedy from having happened in the first place.

And, more important, so he can get laid!

I found that annoying, because it just looked the time-travel paradox square in the face and spit at it. All of a sudden there were two Denzels in the past of four days ago and they were both after some poontang. Of course, only one of them was after a criminal, since the other existed entirely in an alternate time-stream in which the crime had been prevented in the first place. Since the time-traveling  Denzel died, it would be fun to see a sequel in which alternate Denzel has to identify his own corpse and solve that mystery, particularly since he was driving the car with the explosives, which made him seem to be a possible suspect in the bombing!

The first half of this movie is absolutely terrific. The mystery is mysterious and intellectually engaging, and the screenplay is not weighted down by gunplay and explosions. There is one car chase scene, but that is certainly no cliché. In fact, it may be the most creative car chase ever conceived, in which one man is trying to follow another who is four days in the past! Unfortunately, the second part of the film indulges in all the shopworn devices which the first part scrupulously avoids. In addition to the inevitable time-travel problems, there's a predictable love story, a bunch of shoot-outs and, de rigueur since Jerry Bruckheimer produced, plenty of explosions.

Oh, well, let us not moan about what might have been. The last act of this film may be uncomfortable, and the ending is downright disappointing, but there's really no good way to end a time-travel adventure, is there? The fun of time travel is the journey, not the destination. Along the way, Deja Vu is an entertaining film, and a gripping one, and occasionally one with some strong emotional resonance. It manages to overcome the liabilities of its gimmicky premise by getting the human element right, by focusing on how people are affected by tragedy, and by some very savvy looks at how a smart detective might react and adapt when confronted with a new technology he had thought impossible. The director of this film did one other thing right. He hired Denzel Washington. Denzel must be the best in the world at two specific parts of the actor's craft: (1) No matter how ridiculous the premise, he is able to sell it as reality; (2) No matter how unnatural the dialogue, he can envision a way to deliver it which sounds completely unaffected and in character. Those talents made him the perfect actor for this film, which requires the audience to accept the preposterous as routine. The director identified the right guy and hired him. Given that the same director (Tony Scott) is a wizard at the technical side of film creation, that brilliant hiring decision was all he needed to make his film work.

The proper grade on our system is a low B-. In this case the "minus" is highly meaningful. It was not a mega hit, but it was a hit (more than $60 million at the box office). It was not a critical darling, but it got solid reviews (58%). I really enjoyed it myself, except for the last two minutes, and my only real complaint is that it was a good movie which should have been a great one, and could have been with only a little tinkering. 


Savage Messiah

I like Ken Russell's films. Russell is/was as nutty as a fruitcake, but back in his day he was just about the only guy turning out consistently daring movies. If there were not always good, at least they were crazy enough to provide some entertainment, and usually contained vast quantities of nudity by the standards of the era. Crimes of Passion is a truly strange Black Comedy. Lair of the White Worm is a rare case of a bad movie which is great fun to watch, ala Road House or Hell Come to Frogtown. The Devils is a genuinely good movie, and Altered States is not bad at all. His D.H. Lawrence movies (Women in Love and The Rainbow) are filled with nudity and capture Lawrence's spirit, for good or ill.

It is his biopics which are his strangest projects, offbeat, often surreal portraits of Lizst, Tchaikovsky, Valentino, Mahler and the French sculptor Henri Gaudier-Brzeska. None of these have much to do with the subjects, but are more about the relationships between artists, their troubled psyches, and their societies. They are probably more about Ken Russell than any of those particular men. Savage Messiah is Russell's portrait of Gaudier-Brzeska, and it is almost impossible to obtain on DVD. I've been looking for it unsuccessfully for years, but this film clip seems to have been obtained from a full-screen DVD, so it must exist somewhere. (I found the film cilp in USENET.)

The best news is that it is one of Helen Mirren's great youthful nude scenes, and she is literally strolling around stark naked in good light for quite a while while engaged in some pompous and fatuous dialogue.


The Denchmistress

Judi Dench is arguably the most awarded performer in film history. In addition to her six Oscar nominations, she has something like two dozen BAFTA nods.

But we all know that.

The key point is that she has done some nudity, and Mr. Skin has recently finished summarizing her two career ... er ... highlights.

Langrishe, Go Down (film clips)
Midsummer Night's Dream




* 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.







Heartbreak High

Heartbreak High (1981) is a raunchy teen comedy from Canada with a cast including Dean Wormer (John Vernon), Norman Fell and Robert Forster. Had it come five or so years later, it could have been described as a fast-buck attempt to cash in on the teen genre, which had by then become the industry's ATM. But this predated Porky's (also a Canadian film), 16 Candles, Risky Business, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Breakfast Club, etc. and hence should have had uniqueness going for it and should now be considered a pioneer.

In this less than perfect world, however, it is a monumental piece of dung.

Two rival schools in a town are working up to the big football game for the league championship and the coveted Hick Cup. Naturally, this involves coaches with odd habits, horny football players, and the girls that love them. One of the coaches (Dean Wormer) has been wearing his lucky longjohns for 30 years in preparation for the big game. The other (Robert Forster) has football-themed sex with the school music teacher, and once played for his rival coach. Predictably, the big game came down to the wire.

The genre would dictate practical jokes and harassment leading up to game day, but the best these folks could do was a player jumping from the counter of a diner and sitting on a cream pie, spraying it all over students from the other school, or one quarterback organizing a strip poker game to embarrass the other team's quarterback.

Not only is it very badly written and acted, it looks bad, the jokes don't work, and there is nowhere near enough skin for a raunchy teen comedy. The girls' locker room scene doesn't even have breast exposure! The poor digital transfer is simply another reason the film is unwatchable, and drops the grade from E to F.

IMDb has this somewhat overrated at 1.9, and lists it under an alternate title of sublime subtlety, "The Kinky Coaches and the Pom Pom Pussycats."


Christine Cattell showed breasts in the strip poker game.










Diamonds of Kilimanjaro

Today the Time Machine goes back to 1983 for Diamonds of Kilimanjaro, a Jesus Franco flick that is rather tame by his standards, but does give us ...

 beautiful Katja Bienert playing a topless jungle goddess, swinging in the trees.

Also a very sexy Mari Carmen Nieto with some nice full frontal scenes.






Cosma Shiva Hagen, part 1:

Rosa Roth

Daughter of New Wave/punk singer Nina Hagen and the late musician Ferdinand Karmelk, Cosma who was born in 1981. She dropped out of school to become an actress and, without going through any acting school, she debuted in 1996. Since then she has become one of the most in-demand new generation actresses of Germany. She won her first award after making a great impression in 1998 for the movie Todesengel, which also was her first onscreen nudity. From that point she was cast in many TV series and movies, and also had a great appearance in the pages of the German Edition of Playboy.


Cosma Shiva Hagen







Notes and collages

Carnal Knowledge, Part 3








 Baby Cart in Peril

Starting with a couple of Japanese movies in the blood-thirsty Lone Wolf and Cub series, we have the fourth movie Baby Cart in Peril aka Kozure Ôkami : Oya no kokoro ko no kokoro (1972). Michie Azuma is a topless and tattooed assassin.


Baby Cart 6 : Go to Hell

Baby Cart 6: Go To Hell, Daigoro aka Kozure Ôkami: Jigoku e ikuzo! Daigoro (1974) is the last in the series. Mayumi Yamaguchi is topless as she unwillingly goes through some incestuous loving and subsequent death.


Dying to Dance

No nudity in the TV movie Dying to Dance (2001), which is about the problems caused by anorexia.

There are pokies by Mary-Margaret Humes

and Kimberly McCullough is the anorexic.



Suddenly (1996) is another TV movie and we see a bit of Kirstie Alley's cleavage.



Amanda Donohoe spends a large part of Castaway (1987) completely naked and so there is not much we don't see of her.




Sorel Johnson


and Virginia Hey show their underwear.


Mysterious Island

Mysterious Island (2005) is a two-part mini series and we see some pokies by Gabrielle Anwar.


Silver Dream Racer

Some very brief nipple exposure by Cristina Raines in Silver Dream Racer (1980).


Turtles on their Backs

Turtles on their backs aka Tartarughe sul dorso (2005) is an Italian movie and Barbora Bobulova is shown completely naked.


Old, New, Borrowed and Blue

From Denmark we have Old, New, Borrowed and Blue aka Se til venstre, der er en Svensker (2003) and we see Simone Madsen play a topless stripper.


Lila Says

Still in Europe we have the French film Lila Says aka Lila di ça (2004).


Barbara Chossis is topless


 and Vahina Giocante shows her giocante vahina in an interesting upskirt.  (Film clip)


The King

We finish the European journey with the Greek movie The King aka O Vasilias (2003).

Marilita Lambropoulou shows us some bush.








Smokin' Aces

2006's Smokin' Aces is a cool action crime thriller with a twisty ending. It never slows down, and it has plenty of violence to quench the thirst of ass-kicking action fans.

A Las Vegas magician who has been a friend of the mob agrees to testify against them. The FBI learns that their key witness is now the target of a million dollar contract taken out by a dying mob boss who's not happy with bunny-rabbit man turning stool pigeon.

As our guy is stashed in a Tahoe penthouse protected by the Feds, several groups of contract killers descend on the hotel to carry out the contract, and they don't mind killing the other killers, and the Feds, to get the job done. When the FBI learns of the multiple contracts, they also converge on the hotel to add to the confusion.

A very bizarre story with an even more improbable outcome, this film is still a lot of fun to watch, especially for action junkies.

Janet Edwards Alicia Keys






Leah Cairns (Racetrack on Battlestar Galactica) seen topless in the Brit series Robson Arms. Film clip here, sample to the right.

The rest of the Allure nudes this year:


Kristin Chenoweth Cassie Marley Shelton