Breaking and Entering

We can never underestimate mankind's capacity for self-deception. In December of last year the Weinstein brothers rushed Breaking and Entering into one theater to create Oscar eligibility. You'd have to call that extreme optimism, in light of the fact that only 33% of the film's eventual reviews were positive. It never did reach more than 95 theaters, and never made the top thirty films in any given week. It grossed less than a million dollars in the USA, maybe about double that in the U.K. Did they really think this was going to pull in some award season hardware, or were they posturing? Hard to say. The Weinsteins have been able to work Oscar magic with mediocre films in the past (Cider House Rules, e.g.), and this film is not without virtues, so maybe they really believed it had a chance. It has a prestigious international cast, treats serious themes and was directed by Anthony Minghella (The English Patient,  Cold Mountain, The Talented Mr. Ripley). Above all, Breaking and Entering is full of gravitas and a sense of its own importance.

As George Constanza might say, "it was full of it all right."

Jude Law plays an architect who is so dedicated to his goal of revitalizing decaying London neighborhoods that he actually moves his house and office into a newly-gentrifying community of immigrants. It doesn't work out. The office is soon burglarized twice - by the same people, it turns out. Fearing a third break-in and frustrated at the lack of action from the police, Jude stakes out his own office and soon spots the crook, a young boy who had fled with his mother from the former Yugoslavia during one ethnic cleansing or another.

The situation gets very complicated when Jude, who is frustrated and bored with his long-term relationship, gets into a physical relationship with the burglar's mother, played by Juliette Binoche with two facial expressions - "about to cry" and "staring with dead eyes." Come to think of it, those two facial expressions represent about 90% of Binoche's career, so I guess she was cast perfectly. The burglar's mother gets involved with Jude because she wants to protect her son, and is basically offering her body for Jude's silence, but he doesn't exactly understand that, or doesn't want to.

The four main characters (Jude, his partner, the burglar and the burglar's mother) would probably created enough emotional edge for any film, but the script gives Jude and his partner an autistic daughter as well, and the family ties are further complicated because Jude is not the girl's biological father and he's not even married to the partner of ten years (Robin Wright Penn). Then there are the issues of Jude's business partner, the Serbian crooks, some cops, and a hooker with a heart of gold (Vera Farmiga). Farmiga basically plays the wise but world-weary hooker role with the stock Eastern European fortune teller accent, as handed down to her from the will of Anne Bancroft.

The film would have done well to get rid of several of those characters. Jude didn't really need to have a partner at all, and the hooker could also have been dropped altogether. The daughter could have been eliminated or made into an unexceptional child. That would have left the film tighter, and would have left more time to develop the three key relationships which form the true emotional center of the film (Jude and partner, Jude and crook's mother, crook and his mother). The additional characters and themes were probably intended to add intellectual heft and social consciousness to the film, but served instead to divert the main flow of the film while creating a running time which was excessive for such an inward and lifeless film.

There is some tremendous nudity in the film, but it is basically only accessible by freeze-frame. There is a scene where Binoche gets naked and crawls into bed with a sleeping Law, all to be photographed by her friend. (It's blackmail evidence, if necessary to secure his silence.) The stills show up later on Law's computer via e-mail, and we get a complete glimpse of what the scene must have looked like originally. While the moving images show only Binoche's breasts, and modestly at that, the still images show the full monty front and rear from Binoche, as well as Law's bum. Unfortunately, the computer screen is only visible for a few frames, the images are extremely small, and it's not possible to see the nudity without pausing.

Of course that's what we're here for!

(By the way, the DVD has several deleted and extended scenes, but there is not a longer version of that scene.)

If I followed our formula to a "T" the film probably should be graded a D or a D+ because it was a failure at the box office as well as with the critics, and I didn't like it myself. But I'm going to have to call it a C- based on the solid performances and the respectable 6.5 at IMDb (7.0 from women). It obviously has some admirers, but it certainly gets no recommendation from me for the readers of our pages.

Juliette Binoche (film clip)
Vera Farmiga (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.







Sacrifice of the White Goddess

Sacrifice of the White Goddess (1998) is a zero budget jungle holocaust offering that has turned up on a triple feature DVD, which also includes Naked Amazon (1954), a kind of cross between National Geographic and a Doris Wishman nudist film with actual Indian breasts; and White Slave, AKA Forest Slave, Amazonia: The Catherine Miles Story, Cannibal Holocaust 2: The Catherine Miles Story and Captive Women VII: White Slave. I have covered the cannibal movie under at least one of its names, and I doubt that anonymous native breasts will be of interest, I stuck with Sacrifice of the White Goddess.

As the film opens, Francine Chevalier is an archeology student with no money, no goals, and a boyfriend she is sick of. Then she reads a Mayan text from the school library, and decides to dump her boyfriend and go to Mexico to search for treasure. She finds being broke in Mexico even less fun than being broke at school, at least until she meets Lisa Beavers. She wins the lottery and the two pick up Steve McKinney in a bar, and head for the jungle armed with a tourist Mayan treasure map. After the obligatory topless scene with Lisa Beavers in a small waterfall. Lisa falls three feet off a log into a calm river and drowns.

And then there were two.

Some random Mexicans make short work of Steve, and are about to have their way with Francine, when a Mayan High Priestess (Holy Crossen) shows up with her groupies and takes her back to a ceremonial site, where Holy Cross-en shows her breasts and then carves Francine's heart out. Note that this is not a spoiler, as it is the opening scene, with everything else a flashback narrated by Francine.

IMDb has yet to hear of this, and both Lisa Beavers and Holy Crossen have zero credits, but I would not be surprised to learn that they were porn actresses. The transfer was obviously mastered from a VHS copy. In fact, this one may well have been shot on video tape to begin with. It is a complete failure as a jungle holocaust film, but has amazing bad movie appeal. Were it the only offering on the DVD, I would hesitate to recommend it, but the triple feature is a bargain, with two oddities and a pretty good Italian genre effort supposedly based on a true story.


Holy Crossen



Lisa Beavers










If you want to make a movie and you need an actress for a really sexy role a good choice would be Maggie Gyllenhaal. Here's Maggie in some sexy scenes.







Escape Clause

Richard Ramsey (Andrew McCarthy) gets a phone-call from a man who claims that Richard's wife hired him to kill him for $10,000. When he meets him one evening, the hitman is shot to death himself. Not much later his wife Sarah Ramsey (Kate McNeil) is also murdered, and Richard is the main suspect. After that the story gets more complicated, and there are several people who could have murdered both. For example Abe Shinoda, a Japanese partner of Richard's. Also Richard's stepfather Owen Jessop could have had his reasons to do it. And then you have Leslie Bullard, a friend of Sarah and Richard ...


Kate McNeil



Laura Catalano







Notes and collages

Love on a Branch Line

Abigail Cruttenden








Hard Corps



Brandi Alexander







Nicole Kidman in Dead Calm - in a high definition film clip. Sweet!
Helen Mirren and Saskia Wickham and others in Prince of Jutland (film clip here, captures below)
Faith Thrue in I Jomfrauens Tegn (film clip from Marvin, thumbnail to the right)
Jan McKenzie in Gator Bait (film clip from Kitt, thumbnail to the right)
Jordana Brewster in The Invisible Circus in HD. (film clip here, capture to the right). Before I saw this HD clip, the size of Jordana's breasts never really sank in. That girl is stacked!
A bigger, better version of the Natalie Portman sack dress exposure.
The paparazzi catch British soap star Jessie Wallace topless.
The paparazzi catch Fran Drescher in a bikini. Fran is not exactly Jessica Biel in the fitness department.






The Comedy Wire

Comments in yellow...

California legal experts say Paris Hilton's request for a pardon from her 45-day jail
sentence is ludicrous because between early release due to jail overcrowding and time off for good behavior, she probably won't spend more than 3 to 5 days in jail. 

*  Well, that's hardly any deterrent!  I think we can all agree, this case requires the death penalty. 


Police in Rio de Janeiro arrested a British man who thought he'd planned the perfect murder.  He wrote up an 11-step plan, including arriving at his victim's apartment at 3:15 p.m., asking if he's alone, putting on gloves, hitting him, undressing him, tying him up, breaking his neck with a monkey wrench, putting pills in his mouth, taking all his cash and credit cards, checking his computer archives, locking the door with gloves on, and leaving at 7:30.  But he made two mistakes: when he tried to attack the victim, the man ran into an elevator and hit the alarm.  Also, police found his entire 11-point perfect murder plan on his laptop

*  He forgot step 12: "Delete perfect murder plan." 

Military officials in Cyprus have banned the Love Bug 2, a small personal vibrator, on national security grounds.  The sex toy is popular throughout Europe, but the maker, Ann Summers Inc., had to add the warning, "Not for use in Cyprus," to the user manual because it's operated by a remote control with a range of up to 18 feet.  A Cyprus military spokesman said they'd never even seen one, but they have classified it as a "small range device" whose radio frequencies could interfere with military communications. 

*  This is a dream come true for men: they can give a woman an orgasm using a remote control and never have to get up from in front of the TV. 

Tuesday night, the Milwaukee Brewers held an unusual promotion: Prostate Exam Night.  Anyone who agreed to take a "free and confidential" rectal exam got two free tickets to a future Brewers game.

*  Rectal Exam Night?  So that's what the giant foam finger means!

On this day in 1933, Nazi Germany staged massive public book burnings.

*  And this was before Jackie Collins had ever published a thing.