The Dead Girl

Imagine a Quentin Tarantino premise being assembled by a woman with no sense of humor.

That's The Dead Girl.

It is a series of five short stories that are all woven around the discovery of a dead woman somewhere in the desolate, remote areas of Southern California. The first story is about the socially-challenged woman who finds the body, and her date with a creepy retail clerk so fascinated with serial murder that we think he may be the murderer. The second story is about a forensic pathologist who hopes that the dead girl is her long-missing sister, so she can finally be free from the uncertainty. The third is about the wife of a trailer-trash slob who is given to mysterious disappearances, and who has apparently committed violent crimes which his wife decides to cover up. The fourth is about the mother of the dead girl, whose identity is finally revealed. It turns out that mom knew almost nothing about her daughter's life as a prostitute. The fifth story is a flashback to the final day of the dead girl's life.

Does the film have artistic merit? Absolutely. It provides an incisive look at the lives of women - their real lives underneath their facades. It exposes the compromises they make constantly and the self-delusion that they use to cope with lives filled with loneliness and despair, lives far worse than those they once dreamt of.

Having said that, I'd add that it does not present a balanced or nuanced look. It is unremittingly bleak and sad. If you can make a list of everything you don't want to see on screen, 90% of the elements of the list probably appear here. Mary Beth Hurt naked. A rotting corpse in close-up. An autopsy. An ancient woman being bathed. People treating each other cruelly and sadistically. An intellectually-challenged woman with rape fantasies. Two creepy murder suspects. Doomed junkie prostitutes. A little girl headed for a damaged, psychotic adulthood. The Dead Girl makes Requiem for a Dream seem like an uplifting film, except that it lacks the satiric edge of Requiem. It's just non-stop depression.

A real prescription for blockbuster status!

Although it features many recognizable actors and received some respectable reviews, it took in a grand total of $19,000 at the box office, which probably means that many people associated with the film never even paid to see it. It was released into two theaters on December 29th to establish Oscar eligibility, but despite being reviewed by many top New York and California papers, it never got into any additional theaters and and even those two dropped it after the mandatory two-week run.


It is written well and performed by pros, but is such a complete downer that it has absolutely no commercial appeal. It's for the art house crowd only, and even within that group it's only for the most suicidal.

SIDEBAR: Toni Collette gets my chameleon award for the most flexible physical appearance of any woman in film. She can look absolutely homely (as she does here), completely average (Little Miss Sunshine), or totally hot (The Last Shot).






* 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.









Zusje (1995), or Little Sister, is an art film from the Netherlands, and a first effort from Director/Writer/Producer Robert Jan Westdijk.

Little sister's older brother arrives with a video camera in hand, after a long absence from his sister. We eventually learn that the two were caught naked in bed together as adolescents, and he was shipped off to boarding schools and ostracized by the family. He has shown up with the stated purpose of making a movie about his sister, but actually to relive and force her to remember exactly what had happened many years ago between them, so they can both get closure. Her current boyfriend is in the way, as is one pf her girlfriends who desires big brother.

The is not the same old formula film, but a quirky, personal sort of story, which is a very good thing in my estimation, and the sort of thing that is doing very well in Europe at the moment. The entire film was shot hand-held (shaky cam), is rather grainy, and I did find it slow to develop, but the payoff made it all worthwhile, and the ending managed to surprise me completely. It stars Kim van Kooten in the title role. This was her first film, and she was wonderful in the role, dominating the screen. The performance made her a star.

This is a C+ as an European art film. Those who like that sort of thing need to see this one.

It is available in a Region 2 DVD with many, many features from Rare Licensed DVDs.  It is in Dutch with a choice of English or French sub-titles.

Zusje DVD Little Sister Kim van Kooten (1995)

IMDb readers say 7.5, and the film won numerous film festival awards for the director.


As always, if you are interested in an all-region DVD player, RLDVDs is your source.

*Special Deal* Region Free DVD Player Plus 4 DVDs


Kim Van Kooten








Beyond Re-Animator

Today we take a little jaunt into the horror realm. Elsa Pataky portrays the unlucky heroine who meets a very nasty fate

Before that happens we get to enjoy a very sexy lady with a great pair of legs and very brief breasts in a bedroom scene. Raquel Gribler plays a nurse with cleavage ( I am all for that) who winds up having those luscious orbs nibbled on by a lunatic.








Monkey Shines

An accident leaves athlete Allan Mann (Jason Beghe) paralyzed from the neck down. His good friend Geoffrey Fisher (John Pankow) presents Allan with Ella, a monkey from his lab, that he had trained to perform household tasks for him. But unknown to Allan, Geoffrey has been experimenting with a drug that has enhanced Ella's intelligence. Soon Allan believes that Ella is capable of picking up his thoughts and desires and that they have a psychic link. But as Allan becomes increasingly frustrated with the powerlessness of the state he is in, Ella starts going out and killing the people who are the focus of Allan's anger.



Janine Turner


Kate McNeil







Notes and collages

Purple Rain

Apollonia Kotero







Day of Wrath

Probably considered a B-movie if for no other reason than the cast, 2006's Day of Wrath is a very good period piece that is a drama, mystery, and thriller all rolled into one. Star Christopher Lambert is not one of my favorites, because he always comes off a little stiff, but he's adequate in this movie, and the story is interesting and involving.

The story is set in 16th century Spain during the Spanish Inquisition. During that time, Spain was purging itself of Jews, who were considered heretics for their non-Christian beliefs, and anyone who admitted to Jewish ancestry was subject to torture and death.

A local sheriff is investigating murders where local people, some prominent, turn up dead and mutilated, but then the bodies disappear completely. As the body count grows and the sheriff learns more, and secrets are revealed, he finds himself opposed by a local mercenary group who is backed by some surprising and powerful figures, and signs point to involvement by people running the inquisition.

A well-done movie with a least a healthy sprinkling of historic fact, and more importantly, it holds your interest. I was pleasantly surprised that this movie was much better than I expected.

Scoop's note: I had exactly the same reaction. I couldn't believe I was praising a Lambert movie, and said, "It is one of the best non-theatrical movies I have seen recently."

Blanca Marsillach Hajnalka Pandi

A film clip of Catherine Deneuve in L'Aggression

Julie Delpy's most famous frontal nude scene in The Passion of Beatrice

Sigourney Weaver in Half Moon Street

Susie Porter in Better than Sex

Tyne Daly (!!!) in The Adulteress. Never seen this. Probably never will. Not sure I want to. Not only does it feature the ugly broad from Cagney and Lacey naked, but it's rated a sterling 2.0 at IMDb. (To be fair, she didn't look that bad at all.)

Trishelle Cannatella and Trish Schneider  in The Scorned

Have you wondered whatever happened to Jane March? Me too. What happened is that she is in something called Stone Merchant, an Italian film starring Harvey Keitel, Jordi Molla and Salieri. Keitel plays an Islamic terrorist. Molla plays a journalist who has been a victim of terrorism. March is Molla's wife. This is only the second IMDb credit for March in the past nine years, which is quite a fall for someone who was working with Bruce Willis not too long ago.

Kimberly Williams in Elephant Juice (film clip)
The Hulkstress - Brooke Hogan (Hulk's daughter)