"Bitter Moon"

Bitter Moon (1992) is a 138 minute Roman Polanski soft core melodrama starring his real life wife Emmanuelle Seigner, Peter Coyote, Hugh Grant and Kristin Scott Thomas. Thomas and Grant are in their seventh year of marriage, and embark on a cruise to Istanbul and eventually India to add zest to their marriage. They quickly meet sexpot Seigner, and soon after her crippled husband, Coyote. Coyote tells Grant the story of their relationship, and, as he does so, Grant becomes increasingly attracted to Seigner. Coyote was an American wannabe author with no talent living in Paris when he met Seigner, a wannabe dancer working as a waitress. He had enough inheritance so he did not have to work, and the two gave in to a consuming passion until they had tried everything, and even Seigner's dominatrix to Coyote's pig, complete with pig mask, was not enough to arouse passion. At that point, Coyote tries to throw her out, but she comes back, and he treats her as badly as possible hoping she will leave.

It is no wonder that Coyote cant sell anything, even his dialogue is terrible. Seigner shows breasts several times, a good rear nude shot, and a brief crotch shot while dancing in a thin dress. Thomas shows breasts and a brief flash of bush, panties, or some other black thing near the end.

IMDB readers have this at 6.7 of 10, with all demographics about the same. Ebert wrote what I thought read like a negative review, then awarded 3 stars. Berardinelli savaged it, then awarded 2 stars. My own feelings were summed up nicely by the first comment at IMDB, "Not just 'bitter', but rancid..." The overacting was staggering, the story did not engage me, and the ending made no sense to me. I will give them some credit for good external shots in Paris, but the transfer was grainy. This is a C-, and just barely.

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  • Emmanuelle Seigner (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23)
  • Kristin Scott Thomas (1, 2, 3, 4)
  • Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy)

    Bitter Moon (1992):

    Nobody can accuse Roman Polanski of being in a career rut.

    If you looked only at his serious early successes, like Knife in the Water, and his most recent movie, The Pianist, you would conclude that he is some kind of morose, ultra-somber Northern European intellectual, like Strindberg. In fact, you would be quite wrong. In the 40 years between those two movies, he has flitted about like a butterfly from mood to mood, and genre to genre. He has made many horror movies, but they range from serious stylish ones like The Ninth Gate, to campy ones like Rosemary's Baby, to out-and-out farces like The Fearless Vampire Killers. He has also made a crappy pirate movie starring Walter Matthau, a beautiful and sensitive Thomas Hardy period piece, a daring version of MacBeth with a nude Francesca Annis sleepwalking scene, and one of the greatest Film Noirs ever (Chinatown).

    This particular Polanski film, Bitter Moon, is a sexy trash movie, basically the kind of lurid fare you'd expect from Zalman King. In fact, you could probably watch this as a trilogy with Wild Orchid and Two Moon Junction, and never know you'd switched directors.

    An English couple (Hugh Grant and Kristin Scott Thomas) is taking a cruise to exotic ports, seeking to add zest to their bored lives. Grant makes a pass at a sexy Frenchwoman (Emmanuelle Seigner) one night, is rebuffed, and is then warned away from the woman by her crippled husband. The husband says he is not protecting his wife, but is being solicitous of Grant. He claims his wife is a monster. The husband (Peter Coyote) claims that the sexy Frenchwoman is responsible for his withered condition, and he then proceeds to explain how all that happened in a series of flashbacks. Grant listens to the stories because - well, what else is there to do to pass the time in the evenings on a long ocean voyage?

    The flashbacks detail a sexually obsessive relationship between two people who created a world of their own, then didn't know how to function when they became sexually bored with one another, experienced a painful break-up and an even more painful reunion.

    Needless to say, Hugh Grant being Hugh Grant, he pays no attention to the husband's advice, and pursues the sexy woman, resulting in wild, lurid, over-the-top consequences for everyone, involving perverted sex, humiliation, sadistic manipulation by Coyote and Seigner, murder, suicide, serial vomiting, and other expected shipboard activities.

    The story is "sex gratia sexis", so forget about the plot. That isn't the central allure of the film. Your reaction to the movie will depend on whether you'd like to see Mathilde Seigner in various stages of undress performing various sexual practices. There are some very sexy ones. Seigner plays a dancer, and one night she performs a dance while wearing only a transparent nightie. This scene includes a graphic gynecological shot of Seigner, who is director Polanski's wife. In another scene, Seigner intentionally dribbles milk from her mouth onto her body, then gets Coyote to lick it all off. Seigner and Scott-Thomas even have an onboard lesbian tryst in which Scott-Thomas flashes her own body. It's pretty steamy stuff, if you're in the mood for an erotic entertainment.

    I thought it was tawdry, and the three main characters were all detestable, but it is very sexy, and I think that's was what it was supposed to be.

    Based on our system, this film is a C+. It's the movie equivalent of top notch junk food! Without the sex and nudity, it would be a steamy and predictable potboiler with little redeeming value, but the sex and nudity are the reasons to watch it.


    The Guru (2002):

    This is a very gimmicky premise-laden romantic comedy.

    A young Indian dance instructor moves to the United States to pursue his dream of show business success. The concatenation of events leads him first to porno movies, where he meets a porn star who has developed a philosophy of inner peace and integrated sexuality which helps her accept her shady career. The Indian guy ends up using this philosophy to become a popular self-help guru who specializes in sexuality.

    During the course of the film, people constantly break into elaborate dance numbers, following the conventions of the Old Hollywood and Bollywood musicals. The colorful dances are pretty much the sole source of amusement. They are some great dance routines, but unless you are really into colorful 70s dance numbers (ala "Grease") and their Indian equivalents, heavily spiced with a romantic relationship between Heather Graham and an Indian guy, you may want to find another way to pass the time. In addition to the inherent problems with suspension of disbelief caused by the endless musical numbers, and the fact that neither the situations nor the characters are remotely credible, this film is poorly acted and almost completely unfunny.

    To get the flavor of the film, imagine My Big Fat Greek Wedding rewritten for Indian people, with additional humor provided by Pauly Shore, with Heather Graham in the female lead, and with a jillion spontaneous dance numbers.

    Some people liked the film, especially women. Given that women usually like colorful costumes and dance numbers better than men do, it is no surprise that the film has chick-flick-type scores in its IMDb ratings. (5.8 from men, 6.6 from women, highest scores from women over 45)

    The only thing I really enjoyed in the film was the by-play between Marisa Tomei and Christine Baranski as a feuding mother-daughter in a rich society family. I have never really thought of Tomei as a hot number, but she was really quite sexy and she displayed a remarkably nice booty which was barely covered by see-through panties.

    It is a full-featured DVD, with two full-length commentary tracks and some deleted scenes. Judging from the reviews, this film is a C. It is adequate, pleasant fare for fans of musicals. I never got disgusted or bored enough to reach for the remote, but I never really enjoyed it either. Watch it if you like choreography. Avoid it if not, because the dances are essentially the whole show. The rest is at the Pauly Shore level.

    • Marisa Tomei - not nude, in her underwear, but very sexy
    • Heather Graham - not nude, nothing special (1, 2, 3)
    • Miscellanous naked chicks (1, 2)




    • Charlie's French Cinema Nudity site is updated. His comments: "Emilie Dequenne (Brotherhood of the Wolves) for the international audience. It also includes Jeanne Balibar in the directing debut of her husband, actor Matthieu Amalric. We once discussed Jeanne's appearance in Rivette's Va Savoir (an intellectual "nature of reality" film reminiscent of Pirandello). This film is even more esoteric!
    • Updated volumes: Sarita Choudhury, Beatrice Dalle, Juliette Lewis, Emmanuelle Seigner, Kristin Scott Thomas (latter two are the same pics in today's Funhouse)


    Other crap:

    Here are the latest movie reviews available at

    • 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 Lawdog or Junior or C2000 or Realist or ICMS or Mick Locke, or somebody else besides me)
    • If there is no asterisk, I wrote it, but am too ashamed to admit it.

    'Caps and comments by Brainscan:

    My daddy always told me "you get what you pay for." That's a lie; he never said anything of the sort, but it's true anyway.

    So when you pay a boatload of martial artists to "act" in your movie, you are gonna get two things: 1) some kick-ass fight scenes; 2) some really, really awful acting. Awful? No, miserable. Make that laughable.

    That's what Hulk Hogan, producer of Dragon Fire did-- went and got him an army of kick-boxers and karate-judo-mess-your-face-up-with-my-foot types and stuck em all in a movie, set in L. A. in the year 2050, and yelled, "Action!" Well, the director yelled, "Action" and off they went in a movie that is cross between Terminator 2020 and Gymkata (and since I am one of 10 people who has seen both you are just gonna haveta take my word for it).

    Handsome tough guy comes to LA to determine who killed his brother and to exact revenge. He is trained by a guru to fight in something closely resembling an Ultimate Fighting match and befriends another ultimate fighter, whose sister turns out to be a stripper. Of course. In the end... Hell, I don't know. Watched this mama only so long as there were nekkid babes on the screen and when it was clear there would be no more, I didn't just hit the eject button, I clobbered that button in some hope that it would make the movie stop. Instantly.

    Pamela Runo (aka Pamela Pond) plays the sister-stripper. Saw her years ago in some movie and thought she was a real babe. And sure enough, her face is right purty (as they say in Texas, right Scoop?) and though her frame has been surgically enhanced, it is not of the obnoxious variety.

    Pammy struts her stuff in two stripping scenes and one sport-humpin scene. The first stripping scene is shot under strobe lighting. Now that makes watching it in real time a real pain because most frames are in the dark, BUT on frame-advance you get every fifth frame brightly illuminated. Perfect capping material. Grabbed a couple hundred frames and stuck some of them together into a bunch of collages, several of which ain't bad at all, if I do say so myself.

    You get to see Pam's robo-hooters from every damn angle and every lighting condition you or I could think of. You get to see her bum in collage 8, and if you look closely at the bottom right frame of collage 6 (I certainly did), you get to see what can be described only as a pube-slip.

    By the way, the sport-humpin scene is a real chuckle. Pammy's got sheets all the way around her, including between her and the male protagonist. Contraception in the 21st century.

    Okay, there are more babes in this movie but I'm trying to sort out who is who (or whom). Stay tuned.

    Scorpion's Skinemax
    Angela Davies
    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

    The Skinemax babe bares breasts and pubes in several sport humpin' scenes from an episode of the late night series "The Best Sex Ever". Episode: "The Seduction of Veronica".

    Julie Strain and The Porcelain Twinz
    (1, 2)

    All 3 ladies play with each other in more lesbian scenes from "13 Erotic Ghosts".

    Catherine Bell The beautiful "JAG" star shows off some great cleavage in bootleg 'caps from "Bruce Almighty".

    Sharon Stone
    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8)

    Before she became really famous, she made a Spanish film called "Sangre y arena" aka "Blood and Sand" (1989). The Region 1 DVD is set for release on June 17. In the meantime, here are some 'caps of Stone topless and getting it on by Hydargos.

    Heidi Lynne Staley
    (1, 2)

    The former Penthouse Pet (October '94) and late night cable babe baring all in scenes from "Heavenly Hooters".

    Juliet Mills Going all the way back to 1972 for these 'caps of the UK actress in scenes from "Avanti!". Close up toplessness, plus far off bush and bum views in a collage by PAL.