"Un Amour de Swann"

Un Amour de Swann (1984) was the first adaptation of a Marcel Proust story. Set in the 1890's in Paris, it is a story of an obsession by aristocrat Swann (Jeremy Irons) for a courtesan, played by Ornella Muti. This relationship eventually causes him to be shunned by Paris society. The story is really more about his obsession than its consequences, however.

It received several awards for the look of the film, but nothing for acting or story. Muti shows breasts in three different scenes, and Anne Bennent also shows breasts in a brothel when Irons is pumping her for information about Muti's lesbian encounters (doggy style). The film is rated 5.3 at IMDb. I found it painfully slow and talky, which was made worse by the fact that it is entirely in French. Costumes and set decoration are impressive, but I found little else worthwhile here. On the other hand, this is not at all my sort of film, and is probably of interest to die hard genre addicts, and is hence a C-.

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  • Anne Bennent (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18)
  • Ornella Muto (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17)

    "Cidade de Deus"

    Cidade de Deus (2002) gets its name (City of God) from a slum on the outskirts of Rio, built to keep the poor and homeless out of sight. A thriving community grew up, but it is unfortunately run by gangs who sell drugs and commit armed robbery. Their other pastime is killing each other. This is based on a true story as told by Rocket, a product of this slum, who didn't want to be a hood (like his brother), or a cop (they were equally crooked) because he didn't want to get shot. He relates the history of his family and friends leading up to the moment the film starts with, where he is caught between two armed mobs, one of gangsters, and one of cops.

    His story traces the rise to power for Li'l Ze, a kid his own age, who controlled half the City of God, but got into an extended war with the other mob. The nudity comes from a pivotal scene in the film. The three tops hoods, including Rocket's and Li'l Ze's brothers, stage a robbery suggested by Li'l Ze. They go into a motel and rob all the couples having illicit sex. Li'l Ze, then about 8 years old, is left outside to watch for the police. After the three leave, Li'l Ze goes in and kills everyone. Liz Padovani shows breasts as one of the women having sex in the motel.

    Since I am highly recommending this film, I will leave the rest of the plot for you to discover. IMDb readers have this at 8.7 of 10, making it number 32 of the top 100 films. Ebert says 4 stars, and Berardinelli 3 1/2. IT garnered too many awards and nominations to list here, but the Oscar nominations point out the strengths of this film. Best Cinematography, Director, Writing, and Editing. In other words, it is very well shot, and holds your interest start to finish. The film is almost non-stop violence, much of it involving very young kids, but it makes you feel like you are really there. This is a B.

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  • Liz Padovani (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)

  • Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy)

    The Day of the Locust (1975)

    Nathanael West wrote the novel version of The Day of the Locust in 1939. It is a biting satire on the nature of Los Angeles and the people who moved there to be part of the film industry. It's not the funny kind of satire, but the funhouse mirror kind of satire that plays out like one of those Venetian balls with exaggerated masks and costumes. It's not the subtle kind of satire that is richly nuanced, but a cynical and somewhat adolescent kind of mockery. It's filled with movie fans and fanatics, eager tourists, hopefuls, hangers-on, would-bes, and never-weres, all of whom are basically brain-dead grotesques. It also reaches beyond the studio walls to satirize the other schemers and charlatans (from cockfighters to revivalist preachers) who exploited the city's newfound popularity. The Day of the Locust is a cold, harsh and ugly book filled with universally unsympathetic characters.

    It was the wrong book for the wrong time.

    That was the Great Depression, and the war in Europe had just begun. Nihilism was the wrong ingredient to add to that recipe. People wanted to believe that the movie industry included something more than sideshow freaks, and they turned to movies primarily for vicarious escapist fun. A dark, frightening world wasn't looking to find out that the movie world was even darker and more frightening than reality. West's book sold fewer than 2000 copies. The reviews were abysmal. West wrote, in a letter to Scott Fitzgerald, "The box score stands: Good reviews— fifteen per cent, bad reviews—twenty five per cent, brutal personal attacks—sixty percent."

    The "wrong time" ended, of course, and The Day of the Locust became the right book for the next era. The actual measurement may have been a mere 11 years, but the cultural and historical distance between 1939 and 1950 was about as great as any eleven years have ever been in mankind's history. After the war ended, and the Depression had been replaced by post-war prosperity, society in general moved up to a higher level in Maslow's hierarchy, and the formerly universal craving for more wealth and fame at all costs was steadily eroded by an ever-growing awareness of the impact of the new consumerism on America's values, which in turn led to criticism of the cultural and spiritual effects of that new wealth. In the course of this modernist trend, somewhere around 1950, West's nihilist novel was rediscovered, and he was acclaimed a genius for having seen, years before the rest of us, how hollow was America's core.

    Mr.West didn't get to enjoy his upgraded reputation. He died in an auto accident in 1940, about a year after The Day of the Locust was published. He was virtually unknown to the general public and frankly, his death didn't even attract much attention among the literati. His obit was lost in the shuffle since he had the bad timing to die the very next day after his friend and far more famous colleague, F. Scott Fitzgerald.

    West's book really remained in relative obscurity, as it has to this day, but it developed a strong cult following, and it seemed like a perfect anti-establishment project for a film in the early 70s, when the "rejection of materialism" crowd had become such a large sub-culture it was virtually the mainstream culture.

    A lot of talent went into this movie. The director was John Schlesinger (Midnight Cowboy), and he was reunited with his Midnight Cowboy screenwriter, Waldo Salt, a three time Oscar nominee who now has a screenwriting award named after him. The cinematographer was Conrad Hall who is arguably the most accomplished cinematographer in history with ten Oscar nominations, the first in 1966, the last in 2003.

    Formidable talent, indeed, and I suppose those gentlemen did a good job of filming West's unfilmable book. They managed to hold onto the basic themes while they transformed the caricatures into characters and made them more or less credible, making it possible for the audience to believe it is watching real events transpire. (Well, at least most of the time). West's book had been surreal, and the characters in it literary concepts rather than people, but the filmmaking team kept that kind of aloofness to a minimum, perhaps knowing full well that surrealism is instant box office death.

    I have to confess, however, that I never really would have understood the point of the movie, except that I already knew it from the narrative sections of West's novel. West was explicit about explaining that the movie world, that California in general for that matter, was creating a seething sea of discontent by luring people in search of their dreams, and then crushing those dreams. West viewed the sum total of that disillusionment as a festering malaise which might turn at any moment to rage, and eventually does shape itself into a riot, some kind of frenzied Gotterdammerung where the common people rise up against the movie moguls, the pretense, and the city itself, eventually tearing it all down. Without West around to explain that to me, however, I couldn't really pull it all out of the images and incidents in this film. The film does give off a feeling of falsehood turned chaotic, which may be the closest a film could come to West's apocalyptic vision.

    I got the impression that, in trying to remain faithful to West's book, the director and screenwriter basically decided that they needed to include everything. The book includes an Aimee Semple McPherson type of Holy Roller who does the whole "preaching for dollars" routine, as well as a re-enactment of the Battle of Waterloo which results in a major catastrophe. The film retains these scenes, but neither of them seems to be smoothly integrated into the storyline.

    You'll probably watch this film with the feeling that a bit more focus would have gone a long way.

    1975 audiences reacted to the film about the same way that 1939 audiences reacted to the book. It came out, got mixed reviews, generated no box office to speak of, and disappeared without a trace. In fact, the movie and the book have retained certain eerie parallels. In the years since the film came out, it has attained a lot of the cult status that the book attained many years after its own release. I don't think you will find that the movie has much appeal now, either, despite that cult status. It's old hat. Yesterday's papers. The themes that were so fresh in 1939 were already starting to be hackneyed in 1975. In 2004 you're likely to say "been there, seen that, and it was done better".

    If you're a major film buff, there is a lot to see along the way. The art design is superior, the look consistently reminiscent of an old sepia-hued art deco postcard. There is an Oscar-nominated performance by Burgess Meredith. Lots of plusses. I admired a lot of things as I watched, but I was ready for it to end long before the 144 minutes had run their full course.

    On the other hand, you do have to love a movie with Homer Simpson as a major character.

    • Karen Black (1, 2, 3, 4)



    Thanks for the heads up on the Dream Lover DVD. I just read what you had on the site, that it is the "R" version. I have one more question about those "Unrated" DVD versions sold through Amazon Canada and UK respectively.

    Can you ask on the site, or maybe you know some folks in those countries who can report whether those versions are truly unrated?  If the Canadian version is unrated, I'll get that one since it is Region 1, but if it isn't and the UK version is, I'll get the UK version since it is Region 0, so it will play on my DVD player.

    Anyway, I would appreciate it if you could help me look into this just a bit more and if you know a soul or two that maybe they can help us figure out if there is the best version of the film available in the best format in this day and age.
    Thanks Again,




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    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 Junior or Brainscan, or somebody else besides me)
    • If there is no asterisk, I wrote it, but am too ashamed to admit it.


    Words from Scoop.

    .avi's from Shiloh.

    .wmv files made by Scoop from Shiloh's .avi's.

    Classic Euro-treasures



    Perhaps these tips will help if you have trouble with the codecs for these movies:

    Shiloh says:

    FYI when I hypercam vids to make the file size smaller I use DivX MPEG-4 Fast-Motion for the video compressor, then I use virtualdub to compress the audio. The properties for the vids says the video codec:  DivX Decoder Filter & audio codec:  Morgan Stream Switcher which I'm not familiar with. When I compress the audio with virtualdub I use MPEG Layer-3.  A friend of mine told me about compressing the audio about (6) mos. ago. Like I said previously, only been capping for a year & a half & I'm no expert. Hopefully this info will help members with the proper codecs for my vids.
    When I cap big brother's I use hypercam mostly & sdp & asfrecorder if the set up allows me. I stopped using camtasia cause the file sizes were always too big, could never figure out the process, over my head lol, plus it cost too much to buy in my opinion.

    A reader says:

    You mentioned that some users were having trouble with the videos on your site. There is a tool designed to determine what codec is needed for a video. Hope this is useful to you or your users.

    Scoop says:

    I made the .wmv versions of each video. The codecs for these: Windows Video V8, Windows Audio 9. The upside of these is that you know the codecs, and they'll play in the Windows Media Player. The downside is that they are slightly larger, and slightly lower quality.

    Mr. Nude Celeb
    Mr. Nude Celeb takes a look at "Club Dread", the slasher/comedy from the Broken Lizard guys.

    • Brittany Daniels, the "Joe Dirt" co-star showing some pokies and cleavage. (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

    • Jordan Ladd goes topless. (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)

    • Elena Lyons, topless.

    • Tanja Reichert, also topless.

    • Elena Lyons and Tanja Reichert together. A little lesbian kiss in #1, both ladies topless in #2. (1, 2)

    Lindsay Lohan
    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

    A few high quality stills of the "Mean Girls" star. Links 1 and 2 are from SNL, #3 is from Leno, and 4-6 are from MTV.

    Now about those MTV pics...ok, Linday is cute with big boobs, has made a few bucks at the box office and is a hot commodity in Hollywood right now. With all that going for her, you think her "people" would learn how to dress her better.

    Michelle Trachtenberg
    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11)

    The former "Buffy" star in scenes from the wonderfully funny comedy "Eurotrip". Bikini 'caps in links 1-3 and partial breast views from the night club scene in links 4-11.

    Kate Hudson
    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

    Wow! Awesome high quality stills of Kate showing a whole bunch of leg during her recent appearance on Leno.

    Mariko Itsuki
    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

    Natsuko Kayama
    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)

    Something a little different from Skin-san. Here are two Asian beauties in scenes from something called "Big Boobs Buster" (1990).

    Pat Reeder
    Pat's comments in yellow...

    Can They Tattoo It On? - A federal appeals court ruled that Houston, Texas, can force strippers to display their city licenses while performing. Club owners say it endangers the dancers, who perform under stage names, by allowing stalkers to learn their real names. But the city claims the license display will allow cops to determine more easily whether a nude dancer is complying with city regulations. The club owners vowed to appeal to the Supreme Court.

  • This is the first time strippers have complained about having to display anything.
  • It also shatters the illusion to learn that Amber Mounds is really Ethel Hoffelmeyer.

    Reality TV - Engineers at Japan Broadcasting Corporation have developed a prototype for UHDV (ultra high definition video) that has 16 times better image resolution than HDTV. They put a camera on a car and drove around, then showed the video on a 12x20-foot screen. The test audience was astonished at how sharp it was. Some even became nauseous at the disconnect between seeing such realistic movement and not feeling it.

  • Wow! This sounds great!
  • But they really started barfing when they saw the cast of "60 Minutes" in ultra high definition.

    The Chord Heard 'Round The World - A team of master guitar makers commissioned by the Discovery Channel have built the world's largest fully-functional, complete-to-scale, electric guitar. It's 32-feet-5-inches long, weighs over 2,500 pounds, and was tested through a massive 36 x 10-foot, 650-watt amplifier.

  • And it still wasn't as loud as Ted Nugent.
  • I have a bigger one, but it's an air guitar.

    Sweet Tart - The Sun reports that Madonna is planning a clothing line called "Sweet Heart" for girls age two to 16. Some of the clothes are inspired by traditional dresses in her children's book "The English Roses," but other outfits for the chic toddler include a leather jacket, a miniskirt with the word "Love" on it, and tops made of see-through chiffon. A source told the paper that Madonna was inspired by her daughter Lourdes, who's only six, but Madonna lets her wear miniskirts and makeup.

  • But only on dates.
  • And her own little cone bra.
  • And due to genetics, Lourdes already has to get wax jobs.
  • She's selling see-through tops to girls so young, there's nothing to see yet.