"Jan Dara"

Jan Dara (2001) is a Thai coming of age story based on a first novel by Utsana Phleungtham. Jan's mother died at his birth, and we learn that the man who raises him is a step father, who blames him for his mother's death, and abuses him often. For years, his only friend in the house is his Aunt Waad (Wipawee Charoenpura), who bares a daughter to his step father. The father spoils the daughter rotten, providing yet one more person to abuse and berate Jan. When the cook's son, a few years older than Jan, moves into the house, Jan is introduced to the joy of sex with Sugunya Kongkawong, another servant girl. He also falls madly in love with a young woman he first sees on the streets, but has a platonic relationship with her.

Life gets better when Khun Boonlueang (Christy Chung) moves into a house built for her on the property as the stepfather's latest mistress. Jan becomes friends with her, and eventually lovers. Then his step sister is caught playing sex games with the cooks son and blames Jan, so Jan is sent away. When she turns up pregnant, he is brought back to marry her. Finally, we learn the real circumstances of his birth.

Phleungtham, Kongkawong and Chung all show breasts. The film is liberally peppered with sex scenes. IMDb readers have it at 7.2. It is beautifully photographed. It is in Thai with optional English subtitles that are enough to follow the story. I am sure there are cultural nuances that I missed, but it was an engrossing enough story to fill the 120 minutes. With very little to compare it to, it is a C+. It is a beautifully photographed and sensitive coming of age story with clear breast exposure from Christy Chung.

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  • Christy Chung (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11)
  • Sugunya Kongawong (1, 2)
  • Wipawee Charoenpura (1, 2, 3, 4)

  • Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy)

    Great news in the Mailbox:

    Hi Scoop!

    Some good news from the Norwegian/American (!) movie "Factotum" which opened here last week. It's based on several short stories by Charles Bukowski, and stars Matt Dillon, Lili Taylor and Marisa Tomei. And for the good news: Marisa Tomei gets topless! That should be a first time ever. The movie will be appearing in Cannes - so hopefully it'll be distributed so that an able capper can get a hold of it.



    The Life and Death of Peter Sellers (2004):

    I have formed an hypothesis: technique is a substitute for content.

    There may have been a time when experimental techniques served to punctuate content, but that time seems to have passed. In our era, when you see the fourth wall start to disappear, you know the movie is running out of things to say and is trying to distract you by employing the obvious misdirection techniques used by amateur magicians.

    Let me illustrate. You have decided to write a biopic of Peter Sellers. You've done your homework, and discovered that he was a very, very troubled man, neurotically insecure, not very likeable, and none too bright. Sellers believed in psychic humbuggery, terrorized his children, beat his second wife, and left his first wife because of his totally unrequited love for Sophia Loren. As the scriptwriter, you've realized that telling the truth about this man will lead to an unpleasant viewing experience for many who love his work, and will cause people unfamiliar with his work to avoid it. Let's face it, Peter could be a very unpleasant guy, given to childish temper tantrums, delusions, and fits of sheer nastiness.

    You're a writer, so you know how to soften the blow a bit. You will show some of the great comedy bits that made Sellers so beloved by film fans. You will get the director to hire a brilliant character actor who can not only capture Sellers the man, but can completely replicate all of the characters Seller ever played. Ultimately you have to ask yourself, "What is the purpose of this film? And what is the hook that keeps people interested?" You come up short. You just don't really have any point other than that Sellers was a deeply troubled guy. You don't really have a tight little script - like Immortal Beloved, and you are not making a comment on the nature of genius - like Amadeus. It's just a rambling chronological recounting of events. You got nothin'.

    So you decide to fill it with technique. You have your brilliant character actor assume not only all of Sellers's movie roles, but also become Sellers as all of the other characters in the Sellers saga, by having the lead actor impersonate all of the other actors playing major roles. In the course of doing that, you have "Sellers as his mom" or "Sellers as his wife" or "Sellers as his psychic" address the camera directly, explaining some element of the exposition, or providing some psychological insight. Throw in some dream sequences, break down the fourth wall, add some crazy psychedelic musical montages to recreate the cheesy side of 60s culture, and voila! Instant genius in a can.

    I blame Eugene O'Neill for this. Yup, the great playwright. It's all his damned fault. He just couldn't stop tinkering with the classic theatrical format, and he tacitly gave everyone permission to do this kind of thing. O'Neill's Strange Interlude covers a long stretch of one woman's life with four lovers. It is a two part play in nine acts which was performed both as a matinee and an evening show, with a dinner break in between. It is filled with asides and long stream-of-consciousness soliloquies. We hear the actors deliver their lines, and then we also hear what they were really thinking. Sometimes it is staged with multiple actors delivering the spoken dialogue and the thoughts. At other times a single set of actors tries to deliver the natural dialogue and the subsequent hidden thought process by conveying the changeover to the audience through acting technique.

    O'Neill could get away with this kind of experimentation for three reasons: (1) because he was original; (2) because he was using his technique to supplement his content, not to supplant it; (3) because he was Eugene O'Neill, dammit. The authors of The Life and Death of Peter Sellers are not doing anything new, can deliver no great point by using this technique, and are not Eugene O'Neill, but they have nonetheless tried to create a kind of lower grade Strange Interlude that moves through Sellers's consciousness as his mind wanders from the real to the surreal, from his life to the life of his characters, from "playing himself" to playing the other people in his life.

    This could have been an utter disaster, but it is not. One thing holds it together. Geoffrey Rush is a fooking genius. I am hesitant to say that he is the greatest character actor in history, because he is up against the likes of Dustin Hoffman, Kevin Spacey, Sir Alec Guinness, and Sellers himself, but Rush has proved that he is in the same league as those guys. There are times when you simply forget he is actually some lanky Australian guy with a craggy face, and see Peter Sellers on screen. It is uncanny. This film was aired on BBC and HBO, and was therefore not eligible for Oscar consideration, but in most years Rush would have been the sure Oscar winner for a performance like this. As it turns out, 2004 was not a routine year, and he would undoubtedly have lost anyway. Rush's performance is similar to Jamie Foxx's in that they were both re-creating the lives of great stars, and Rush's performance of comparable quality, but Foxx would have won because Ray is a better movie, because Ray Charles died during the year that the film came out, and because Ray Charles is more universally known and loved than Peter Sellers. At any rate, I think you can see my point - Geoffrey Rush's evocation of Sellers is a tour de force. It is one of the greatest performances in the history of filmed entertainment, generally in the same league as Jamie's performance as Ray.

    In addition to the excessively experimental narrative technique, the film has some nice production values, but simply needs to be either much longer or much shorter. If it is to cover this much of Peter's life, it would have been better off as a 12 part mini-series, in which it could have shown a more balanced and nuanced picture of the man. If it is to stay within the confines of a two hour film, it would have been better off to find a specific focus within his life and to create a structure supporting that focus.

    On the separate subject of the DVD - it is excellent, as you might expect from HBO and BBC. There is a good 16x9 widescreen transfer, two separate commentary tracks, a "making of" featurette, and eight deleted scenes which include the complete storyline with Lynne Frederick, Peter's fourth wife.

    Overall, a standing, shouted "bravissimo" is in order for Mr. Rush, and hearty applause for HBO's usual first-class job on the DVD, but only a polite golf clap for the movie itself. It is absolutely worth seeing because of Rush, but is less than the sum of its parts.


    Vampires: The Turning (2005):

    A young couple is on vacation in Thailand. They are watching a Muy Thai competition when the woman gets soaked with blood and sweat from a particularly effective blow. She tells her boyfriend, "we have to talk." It turns out that they want different things in life. He wants to be splattered in blood while watching fights from ringside, and she wants ... well, pretty much anything else. Certainly anything that involves staying dry of the bodily fluids of strangers. She walks away. In reply to his question, she states that she is going "home."

    Unfortunately, the walk home from Thailand to Piscataway, New Jersey is fraught with many perils: sore feet, long swims, and of course vampires. She is abducted by the local vampire motorcycle chopsocky gang, and her boyfriend resolves to get her back. He is one tough Muy Thai mofo but, unfortunately for him, vampires have super strength to go with their own martial arts skills, not to mention sharp teeth and cool bikes in a rainbow of colors to match their glowing eyes. There is only one thing he can do - become transformed into a vampire so he can equal their strength and hope to outperform their fighting skills.

    He therefore seeks out the chief vampire chick who is kind of Vampire Zero - she originally created all the other vampires, but now fights against them because they have used their vampire powers to kill and taunt people with ninja skills instead of just hanging around and whining about being immortal and never getting to wear her wedding dress. Fortunately, there is a little known proviso in the Vampire Code which stipulates that vampirism can be undone if the reversal occurs during a certain eclipse. She's been waiting for that moment for eight hundred years, hoping to undo all the vampires she created. Since it just so happens that the eight hundred years is up the next day, she can turn our hero into a temporary vampire, although she warns him against the dark forces that will struggle to keep his soul in  Vampireland. She further advises him that the biting process also includes some really hot sex, so he shrugs off the perils and proceeds to have some steamy bat love with another woman in order to work on his relationship with his abducted girlfriend.

    Blah, blah, yadda, yadda, good vampires, bad vampires, bad actors, worse actors, vampire hunters, confusion, overlong fight scenes, etc. This is supposed to be a sequel to John Carpenter's Vampires. I don't see much connection, except that some vampire hunters show up for a couple of minutes.

    There is one good point to the film - it has a nice rich look. The set designer and cinematographer did their jobs well, and it has some of the best lighting ever seen in nighttime action. Unfortunately, their output was not employed properly in the sex scene, which was killed in the editing room by dissolves and excessive snipping.

    • Stephanie Chao (1, 2)


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    • The yellow asterisks indicate that I wrote the review, and am deluded into thinking it includes humor.
    • If there is a white asterisk, it means that there isn't any significant humor, but I inexplicably determined there might be something else of interest.
    • A blue asterisk indicates the review is written by Tuna (or Junior or Brainscan, or somebody else besides me)
    • If there is no asterisk, I wrote it, but am too ashamed to admit it.

    Jr's Polls
    Scoop came up with a good idea for our next poll that should stir up some conversation, if not some controversy.

    This week's poll....

    Email Scoopy Jr. if you'd like to add nominees or offer suggestions for future polls.

    Here are the results of our previous polls:
    The Top 20 Nude Scenes of 2004
    The Best Nude Film Debuts of the 80s
    The Best Nude Film Debuts of the 90s
    Which actress has been the most convincing playing a stripper.
    Who has the best bum in Hollywood?
    Best All Time Television Comedy
    Best Nudity in an Oscar-winning performance
    The Top 20 Best Straight Sex Scenes
    Best Lesbian Love Scenes

    'Caps and comments by Spaz:

    "Johnny" (1999)
    The first of the Canadian indie director Carl Bessai trilogy each starring Sabrina Grdevich.

    "Mile Zero" (2001)
    The second of the trilogy.

    "Lola" (2001)
    The third.

    "Space Fury" (2000) aka "In the Dead of Space"
    Grade-D sci-fi.

    Trailer Park Boys season V: episode The Fuckin' Way She Goes
    If you're wondering about Lucy's new boobs, they're fake.

    Show Me Yours II: episode Intentional Phalluss-Y

    • Kristin Booth: boob almost falling out of dress.
    • Precious Chong: bra and panties having sex. She's Tommy Chong's daughter whom he named after a prized stash he lost.

    Here's some assorted info....
    The Made-in-Canada gorefest "Samhain" will be released to US DVD under the title "Evil Breed: The Legend of Samhain" on October 4 (nearly three years after the announced release date). Whether or not will they keep the scene where Jenna Jameson is cut up into into haggis is not known.

    'Caps and comments by Dann:

    "Reform School Girl"
    Reform School Girl is a 1994 made-for-cable remake of a 1957 film of the same name.

    Set in the 50's, it tells the story of a young woman who is being abused by her Uncle, and is drawn to a bad-egg greaser who abandons her to face the rap for a car he had stolen. Sent to reform school, her worries are to cope with the harsh environment while also being deeply concerned about her younger sister, who is still living with the uncle.

    Although they threw in some lesbian sex and nudity, this is definitely not a sexploitation flick like 1986's Reform School Girls. It is a serious look at some problems confronting young women not just in the 50's, but still today. It's limited and sometimes trite, but not bad at all.

    Brigitte Bako Here she is posing for "Holding Your Own Boobs magazine" in scenes from the new Canadian TV series "G-Spot".

    Jennifer Esposito Not yet on video! Here's the sexy New Yorker showing a rare bit breast exposure in scenes from "Crash" (2004), starring Don Cheadle and Sandra Bullock.

    Megan Lee Ethridge Another not-yet-on-video find! Here she is baring breasts and bum in scenes from the lo-budget sci-flick, "Alien Abduction" (2005).

    Natalie Avital
    Tara Killian

    Both ladies are tied up and topless in scenes from the Horror/Thriller "Shallow Ground" (2004).

    Unknown An unknown topless babe in scenes from "Pit Fighter" (2005).

    Unknowns 3 unknown nekkid babes going full frontal on the most recent episode of the awesome Showtime series "Penn & Teller: Bullshit!".

    Colleen Camp Going all the way back to 1974 for these cleavage 'caps from "The Swinging Cheerleaders"

    Jenna Elfman
    (1, 2)

    The "Dharma and Greg" star walking around in her undies in scenes from the John Badham movie "Obsessed" (2002).

    Jessica Alba
    (1, 2)

    Behold, Jessica and all her Alba-licious-ness. In #1 we see her in her "Sin City" leather chaps. Link #2 features the super hot paparazzi bikini pics that first hit the web about 2 months ago.

    Natalie Portman
    (1, 2, 3)

    Another look at Portman as a stripper in scenes from "Closer".

    Sara Silverman The sexy comedienne showing off some great cleavage and bending over into a very inviting posture.

    Helen Hunt
    (1, 2, 3, 4)

    Here are some excellent high quality images of the "As Good as It Gets" star wearing a see-thru dress at a recent celeb-event.

    Vivica A. Fox The sassy co-star of "Independence Day" and "Kill Bill" showing a truck load of cleavage while out on the town.

    Pam Anderson
    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14)

    Señor Skin 'caps of everyone's favorite busty blonde going topless in a love scene from her first starring movie, "Snapdragon" (1993).

    A quick site note
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