Fame (1980) is a musical, not in the sense that it is based on a Broadway show, but in the sense that they use music constantly to develop the story. Normally, I would not enjoy this type of film, however, I enjoyed this slice of life story about the New York Performing arts High School very much. It is character driven, rather than event driven, and doesn't really have a central conflict, so is lacking a traditional curve of excitement, but makes up for it in pure energy and pace. Two aspects drew me in and won me over. The first was the clear reminder of the synergy that takes place when you have a large group of talented people together in an environment where they can create together. The second was a clear depiction of the self-doubt that plagues every artist. The story covers 4 years and focuses on a single class, from their freshman auditions through their senior failures and triumphs.
While entirely fictional, it was largely based on interviews conducted with students and parents of the real Performing Arts High School. While not known for nudity, several actresses showed breasts. Irene Cara shows breasts near the end in a grainy TV monitor when she does a supposed screen test with a sleazebag. Nora Cotrone shows breasts in a dressing room when male students are peeking in. There is also an unknown who shows breasts in a similar scene. Dancer Antonia Franceschi has great pokies in several scenes.
IMDB readers score this at 6.3 of 10. It is rated 1`00% at Rotten TOmatoes, but based on only 6 minor reviewers. It received several awards and nominations, including two Oscars for Best Original Score and Best Song. This is a very good musical drama, hence C+
"Half Moon Street"
Half Moon Street (1986) is a film I saw years ago on VHS, and remembered as rather boring. I'm afraid my opinion hasn't changed. It is written as a political thriller, but has far too little action to be very thrilling. I assume you have all seen Scoop's review from last night, so I will use it as a point of departure. I never found Weaver convincing as a Harvard PhD. Her speech was wrong, and she was far too naive. Her sexuality as a woman who liked uncomplicated sex was somewhat daring in 1986. I think I more effective film could have been made emphasizing the love story between Weaver and Caine, and moving the political thriller story to the back burner. Their relationship was an interesting twist. He used escort services because he simply didn't have time for the "mating ritual," but never expected to find a female escort that was his intellectual and emotional equal. She was fiercely independent, or at least as independent as someone in her financial state could be, but found that she liked being with him.
As far as the feminist hoopla, and the supposed crime of her being so badly paid at her day job, it is nonsense. She took the prestigious job not realizing that the pay was not meant as a living wage, and that everyone else there was either already wealthy, or there on a grant. The nudity from Weaver is frequent and comprehensive on the 4/3 version, and the Widescreen was not especially stunning, so my images are all from the 4/3 version. She shows breasts several times, buns in a stocking and garter dressing scene, and a quick flash of bush in a shower, and then for three frames getting out. Based on these three frames, I am convinced that it is actually bush.
This film fails completely as a political thriller, but fares slightly better dealing with the Caine/Weaver relationship, so is overall a low C-.
|Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy)
Old School (2002)
Three facts should tell you more about the film than my
- Yahoo estimated that the average critical
response was a C+. That is about as low as the Yahoo summaries ever
go because they have a softball rating system. For example, they
converted Roger Ebert's scathing one star review into a D.
- On the other hand, Yahoo voters rate it 4.2/5. That's off the chart.
Citizen Kane is 3.9/5.
- Although rated R, thus missing much of its
potential audience, it grossed $75 million off a modest $24 million
budget. Let me put that in perspective for you with the stats from a
comparable movie. The original Austin Powers movie, although rated
PG-13, grossed $53 million. Old School is also expected to kick some
serious butt in the rental/retail market with an unrated DVD filled
with commentary, extra footage, bloopers, and original comedy
There you go. Many critics hated it, viewers loved it. My
recommendation: see it and laugh your ass off ...
... unless you are a
critic, in which case you should frown disapprovingly, then read an
essay about Aristotle's concept of comedy, to remind yourself of the
brighter angels of mankind's nature which have not been corrupted by
that horrible lowbrow Will Farrell. Before falling asleep, smile
approvingly, but fleetingly, when you think of the incisive
characterizations in The Hours.
A decade or two ago, "Slobs against the snobs" was the
favorite theme for R-rated youth-oriented comedies. Caddyshack and all
of Rodney Dangerfield's other films fall under this rubric, along with
Summer Rental, PCU ... the list goes on. The mother of all
anti-snobbery youth films is Animal House, which features John Belushi
against the administration and those proper fraternities filled with
future generals and politicians. In the quarter century since the
Deltas battled Marmalard and Dean Wormer, no film has really managed
to match the originality and anarchic spirit of the original Animal
Old School comes pretty damned close.
The biggest problem in duplicating the energy of
Animal House has been the Belushi gap. Any number of guys can fill in
for the others in the cast, but how do you replace Belushi? People who
worked with John in his stage days said that everything and everybody
stopped and focused on him when John entered a scene. He commanded the
stage completely, with the energy of a supernova. He had no governor
on his behavior, and no limit on his energy. He could and would do
anything in the world to get a laugh.
But there is one guy in the current comedy universe
who commands similar respect from his peers, and that is Will Ferrell.
Everyone who has worked with Ferrell speaks of him with the same awe
that people once reserved for Belushi. Like the late samurai comedian,
Ferrell is capable of infinite comic improvisations, lets loose
hundreds of crazy characters and impersonations, and seem to have
enough energy for a hundred men. Unlike Belushi, however, Ferrell has
never been able to channel his peer-acknowledged genius into very much
audience or critical respect. Most of Ferrell's over-the-top
performances in the past have simply been over-the-top, as opposed to
funny. Sometimes he has fallen back on the kind of stuff that causes
people to roll their eyes and think "this is dumb" - the whole school
of stupid hair-dos, pratfalls, and flamboyant gay gestures, for
example. Ferrell has been looking for the right vehicle that would
allow him to set free his comic madness while still staying inside a
believable character. He was looking for his Bluto.
He found it.
His performance as Frank the Tank, former fraternity
madman trying to settle into respectable life, is nuanced beautifully.
As opposed to Ferrell's usual energy which seems to exist solely for
the sake of energy, in characters that seem like characters rather
than people, Frank the Tank seems like a real guy. He's crazy, and
can't handle his booze, but he's a real character, not a caricature.
Farrell even brought some genuinely touching moments to Frank's
relationship with his wife. And there is no question that Ferrell will
do absolutely anything for a laugh. One moment he's tongue-kissing
Stifler in a bizarre homage to The Graduate, the next moment he's
running down an urban street stark naked, the next moment he's doing
rhythmic gymnastics to the tune of Chariots of Fire, all of it tapped
for every dyne of comic energy. He's one crazy mofo.
The premise of the film is as follows. Luke Wilson is a
meek but talented real estate lawyer who comes home early from a
convention to find his girl engaged in kinky sexual activities. He
moves out on his own, scoring a recently deceased professor's home
near a university. His two best friends (Vince Vaughn and Ferrell) see
this as an opportunity to loosen up their friend while reliving the
craziness of their own youth, so they somehow manage to convert
Wilson's home into Party Central for the entire university. The Dean
of the University, an old enemy of theirs, tries to get rid of them by
having the land re-zoned
for student housing and community service. No problem. The lads
counter by pulling some legal
strings to get the house officially declared a frat house. Because of
a technicality in the college by-laws, they are not even required to
restrict fraternity membership to existing students, so their roster
includes the three thirty-somethings who star in the film, a few guys
they know from work, some real students, and even an 89 year old
From there, it's the steps you might imagine (1)
uncontrolled mayhem from the fraternity until (2) the dean clamps
down, whereupon (3) they lads must prove they belong or get even with
the dean in some way.
The script and the rest
of the cast are just OK. There is nothing very original. Vaughn is OK
in his usual smart-ass way, but it is Ferrell
alone which lifts the film from smart-ass to kick-ass.
The one thing Old School
lacks is the reality base of Animal House and Porky's. When I watch
those two earlier movies, I can recall so many incidents from my
school days that I can get lost in my own mental wanderings and forget
about the films for a bit. They are comedies which gain humor from
wild exaggeration, so they are not purely reality-driven, yet they are very
much grounded in the reality of what it was like to be young and wild
when I was young and wild. Old School, on the other hand, doesn't feel real. It is a
completely contrived situation which was obviously concocted by comedy writers
trying to be zany, as contrasted to the script to Animal House, which consisted of some
comedy writers telling genuine (if embellished) anecdotes about their own youth.
That sense of artificiality keeps Old School from being a masterpiece, but doesn't
keep it from being one damned funny movie. Humorless critics didn't
care for these lowbrow hijinks, but I laughed out loud a lot.
One of the ten funniest films of the millennium so
Picture Claire (2001)
Although it premiered at the Toronto
festival, it's not really what you would think of as typical Film
Festival fare, because it is pretty much of a gimmicky,
coincidence-driven formula Hollywood thriller (even if it was filmed in
Toronto by Canadians). Film festivals usuallly like more personal or
"cutting edge" material.
The film is quite burdened down by
technique. Since Juliette Lewis plays a character who can't speak
English, she is constantly in a fog about the criminal plot which is
spinning around her. People come up to her and ask for something in a
language she can't understand. People shoot at her. The film uses
multiple images to picture how all the events are forming into her
thought process. Sometimes a split screen shows what she expects to
happen on one side, and reality on the other.
The plot depends on a lot of
coincidences. It's not unreasonable that Lewis could get into a small
tiff with the baddie (Mickey Rourke!) before heading to the
bathroom, and that Gershon could kill him while Lewis fixed her make-up.
The storekeeper, never having seen Gershon, identifies Lewis as the only
suspect she is aware of. OK. That was a believable coincidence to begin
the film. The remaining coincidences are not so believable. At one
point, Lewis hides on the photographer's balcony while he has sex with
his girlfriend. The lovers step out onto that balcony and Lewis wants to
avoid detection, so she drops to the next lower balcony and breaks into
the apartment beneath.
- Guess who lives there? You get a
100% if you guessed Gershon, the very woman she has been mistaken for.
While she is there, the innocent Lewis
decides to rip off Gershon's purse, because she's in an unfamiliar city
with no money, and she's starving.
- Guess what is in that purse? Again,
you're acing your SAT in Plot Conveniences if you guessed the missing
diamonds. So now she is not only the only suspect pursued by the
police, but she has accidentally picked up evidence of her motive for
the murder she didn't commit from a woman that she didn't know. You
tell me the odds of that happening in a city with millions of
There are a few more such contrivances
before the film is over, until I felt that the writer was really
stretching my credulity to the breaking point.
Those comments make it sound like I
hated the film, but that isn't true. Some things about it were
irritating , and it isn't exactly Rear Window, but I found it to be an
easy enough watch. I relaxed, watched it through, and never reached for
the FF button. I liked the nudity. I liked Lewis and Gershon, and I really enjoyed the way
Mickey Rourke growled through his small role. Tuna rated it a solid C,
and I would have said the same if there was a widescreen DVD with some
features. (The actual DVD is full-screen and featureless.) I guess it's
still a C-. If you like typical Hollywood thrillers, this is an OK
example, even though it is Canadian.
Li'l Kim continues her quest to be the dark-skinned Courtney
Love, with more concert exposure (1,
The International Documentary Association recently named Michael
Moore's "Bowling for Columbine" the best documentary ever.
Wire makes its case for "The Weather Undeground"
This story appeared on WENN yesterday:
* LIU WARNS: KILL BILL WILL MAKE YOU ILL.
Stunner LUCY LIU is warning sensitive fans to avoid her new
movie KILL BILL - because the dramatic violence will make them
physically ill. The CHARLIE'S ANGELS babe stars alongside UMA
THURMAN in cult director QUENTIN TARANTINO's long-awaited fourth
film, and predicts audiences will either flee from the cinema or
vomit in their seats when they watch the extreme action - even
if she thinks the violence is artistic. She says, "It's so
violent. People will leave the movie theatre or get sick in the
movie theatre. But there's so much violence that it becomes not
numbing, but almost comedic. "There's a scene where there's so
much violence that the colour of the film goes into black and
white, so that the blood looks like oil. It's cinematic, it's
art. "You can take it to a different level, and show what
violence is, in such a heightened manner that you don't think of
it as violence anymore, you think of it as a language. "If you
go to Kill Bill, you know there's going to be violence - that's
male golfer says he will kick Sorenstam's ass any day, any
course, and will put of a million to prove it.
In what is taking shape as a major upset,
Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien is the man to beat in the
upcoming World Stupidity Awards - he's well ahead of such
notorious knuckleheads as Hussein, Bush, and Baghdad Bob. The
competition is so stiff this year that Kim-Jong and Chirac
didn't even get nominations!
Where are they now department.
Former Beatle Pete Best
Politicians say the dumbest things
Get this -
Madonna's next film may be about locals
going sex mad after breathing in fumes from a Viagra factory.
Methinks Madge herself lives next to a factory with some
more L'il Kim pics. The Sun is there.
are the latest movie reviews available at scoopy.com.
- 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.
|The barely dressed Hip Hop star finally lost control of her clothes! In a recent concert, the tape that normally keeps her tops on didn't hold up, and her breasts got loose! Links 1-3 capture the moment. Links 4 and 5 are bonus see-thru views.
||A collage by Brainscan that I missed yesterday...the very lovely Skinemax babe in a great topless scene from "Instinct to Kill" (2001).
|The Kiwi actress looking lovely topless in scenes from "Stickmen".
|Monique van de Ven
|The Dutch actress bares everything in scenes from the 1973 Paul Verhoeven movie, "Turkish Delight".
||Canadian actress and Margot Kidder's niece, topless in a sex scene from the movie "X Change" (2000).
|Topless in bathtub scenes from the German TV series "Samt und Seide" (1999).
|The tall, blonde and naturally busty B-movie in Señor Skin 'caps from "Barbarian Queen II: The Empress Strikes Back (1992).
The latest news on her death as of June 5th is that music producer Phil Spector is claiming that "Clarkson Killed Herself". Spector stated:
It's a frame up. I didn't do anything wrong. I called the police myself. If they had a case, I would be sitting in jail right now. She kissed the gun. She killed herself. I have no idea why. I never even saw her before that night. I don't know where or how she got the gun. She'd asked me for a ride home. Then she wanted to see the castle. She was loud and drunk even before we left the club. She grabbed a bottle of tequila to take with her.