Sunday

Snow Cake

2006

Holy Hannah. This is my second consecutive Canadian film featuring Carrie-Anne Moss and Callum Keith Rennie. Actually, "Canadian film featuring Callum Keith Rennie" is redundant. He is in every Canadian movie. As you know, Canada has been heavily influenced by French culture, so they have copied the constitutional provision that requires every film made in the country to feature Gerard Depardieu, except with Rennie's name substituted for Depardieu's.

The storyline in Snow Cake revolves around a tragic auto accident. A taciturn old Englishman, on his way to Winnipeg through frozen northern Ontario, for mysterious reasons explained later as part of the story's hook, picks up a young female hitchhiker at a truck stop. Although she never stops gabbing, and he rarely starts, the grumpy gentleman finally starts to warm to her openness and na´vetÚ - just as they are run over by a massive truck near the town of Wawa, just north of Lake Superior. He walks away nearly unscathed, but she is killed instantly.

This is not really a spoiler in that it happens shortly after the film begins.

The old man knows that his hitchhiker was taking some odd gifts to her mom, so he resolves to track down the mother and deliver the gifts himself, along with his condolences. The mother turns out to be a "high-functioning autistic," and the two of them form an unlikely bond which lasts until the girl's funeral. The other players in the drama are: a sexually voracious neighbor who seduces the older gentleman; an inept local cop who wants the horny neighbor's attentions for his own; the driver of the truck which killed the girl; and the parents of the autistic woman, who actually raised their granddaughter as well.

That's just about the entire movie. The old fellow spends a few days in Wawa and arranges the funeral. He bonds with some of the locals, thinks about staying, then decides to resume his trip to his original destination.

As you may have guessed, it's not an action film. 

There is a mystery in the subtext, in that the gentleman refuses to tell anyone about his life or why he is driving to Winnipeg, but that's not what makes or breaks the film. The appeal of this Canadian drama inheres within the characters and the actors who give them life. There is nothing to quibble about when it comes to the actors. Alan Rickman plays the older man with dignity, sadness, and only a touch of his normal cynicism. Sigourney Weaver plays the autistic woman. Carrie-Anne Moss plays the sexy neighbor. Weaver and Moss were nominated for Genies for their performances, as was the girl whose brief appearance as the daughter was quite quirky and charismatic. The film also received a nomination for cinematography. Of the four nominations, only Moss walked off with the hardware.

Snow Cake is a film which has caused a sharp divide between critics and moviegoers. In general, the critics dismissed it as a pseudo-Egoyan film without Atom's customary gravitas, and sharply criticized the unlikely trail of melodramatic baggage carried by the Rickman character. It turns out that he kidnapped the Lindbergh baby, murdered several children, and wants to give Iranians the atomic bomb so they can conquer Canada and eat all the cute little Husky, Newfy, and Lab puppies. I fabricated that, of course, but it gives you the right general idea. As the character's secrets are revealed, the script piles tragedy upon tragedy into this guy's background, until he makes Job seem to have gotten a free skate. The Guardian was especially harsh in its criticism, awarding the film the lowest possible score, but few critics really liked it. The Metacritic score was 54, with not a single score above 75 among the fifteen critics they cited. The harshest reviewers used words like "cloying" and "mawkish" to describe the film's overall tone.

The individuals who have commented at IMDb could not disagree with the critics more dramatically. The film is rated 7.7 with nearly 4000 votes. 87% of those votes have been a seven or higher. The actual numerical average score is 8.1; the median is 8. The most typical comment is "one of my favorite films." And these comments are not the usual phony-baloney IMDb plants linked to new accounts which have never commented on another film. These are real comments from real people.

I tend to be with the people on this one. The critics raised some good points about the outrageously melodramatic back story for the Rickman character, and the script could have added a little more dimension to the cop character, who turned out to be more or less like a comic relief buffoon from an Italian opera, but in general I think the film's merits outweigh its flaws by enough to tilt the balance to "favorable."

I don't really find the film mawkish at all, although it certainly has placed plenty of intimacy and emotion right on the surface. How could it do otherwise, given the subject matter? In fact, I think the premise could have been mawkish, but avoided that pitfall quite skillfully. Rickman's sardonic attitude toward the autistic woman is refreshing. He finds her annoying, and tells her so, but he also makes genuine contact with her as a fellow human being, and not just as a helpless creature who needs his assistance. The portrayal of the autistic woman is complex, and often very entertaining. She is truly irritating at times, but the script makes some interesting use of her condition, since she is not really capable of sustaining a normal level of human grief, and yet is facing one of the greatest tragedies a human ever has to face - a mother's loss of her own child. Her emotionless and completely pragmatic approach to life and death is interesting and sometimes very amusing. "My daughter is dead. We can't make her come back. Life is for the living. Let's go play on the trampoline." I appreciate the fact that the film doesn't go for an Egoyan level of gravitas, but chooses instead to leaven the tone with humor and whimsy.

The script also allowed the autistic woman moments of real insight which revealed the shining intelligence beneath her emotionally damaged exterior. Many people with functioning autistic children commented on the IMDb board about the realism of the character, and praised Weaver's portrayal. I can't evaluate the matter personally, but I weigh those comments much more heavily than those of the critics who thought Sigourney laid it on too thick, ala I Am Sam.

As I started to watch this film, I was immediately engrossed in the battle of wills between the daughter and Rickman, with her pressing him to open up, and Mr. Sarcastic softening ever so slowly. I was into their conversation and really starting to like the girl. I was pleased to see him finally break into a smile at her antics - just as the truck came out of nowhere and barreled into them. I am impressed by the tightrope walk attempted by a storyline which knocks off such a great character so quickly and so forcefully, thus completely altering the focus of the film. Of course, anybody can TRY that walk without a net, but I am even more impressed when the attempt is actually quite successful.

Some critics argued that the script would have seemed weak without the major talents of Alan Rickman and Sigourney Weaver to carry it, but that seems to me like persnickety and hypothetical quibbling. Sure, Raiders might suck with Wally Cox as Indiana Jones, but the fact of the matter is that it has Harrison Ford, and this movie has Rickman/Weaver. In either example, the principals bring so much to the table that the film works.

There is no real nudity. At least I don't think so. Maybe Moss showed some areola in her sex scene with Rickman. Here's the film clip, so you can figure it out on your own, provided that you want to see a 60-year-old guy making hot monkey love with Trinity. Some large captures are seen below, but they are still inconclusive.

 

 

 

  • * Yellow asterisk: funny (maybe).

  • * White asterisk: expanded format.

  • * Blue asterisk: not mine.

  • No asterisk: it probably sucks.

OTHER CRAP:

Catch the deluxe version of Other Crap in real time, with all the bells and whistles, here.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Fallo!

(2003)

We are back in the twenty-first century for an episodic Tinto Brass flick. This particular episode, called "Botte d'allegria" features some full frontal fury from Angela Ferlaino  - and watch out for the sausage sandwich she is making.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notes and collages

Phoenix

1998

Kari Wuhrer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Exes & Ohs"

(Season 1 - 2006)


198 collages from the light lesbian comedy cable series recently released to a season one box set with all six episodes. The episodes are heavily laced with so-called RULES for lesbian dating as if they have ever existed when men date women. Unlike "The L-Word," there is almost no nudity.


episode 1: "There Must Be Rules..."


(1) Marnie Alton: partial boob changing.


(2) Michelle Paradise: making out with Marnie Alton


(3) Darby Stanchfield: making out in steam room


(4) Katelin Chesna: making out with Michelle Paradise


(5) Christina Chambers: cleavage




episode 2: "Roads Previously Not Taken..."


(6) Marnie Alton: having lesbian sex with Karen Holness


(7) Rochelle Arnott: very sexy waitress



episode 3: "Cutthroat"

(8) Linnea Sharples: tight jeans and t-shirt

(9) Anna Amoroso: nipple pokies



episode 4: "Love, Money and a Six Olive Martini"


(10) Marnie Alton: cleavage in leotards


(11) Chelah Horsdal: tight sweater




episode 5: "Pole Dancing and Other Forms of Therapy"


(12) Brenda Crichlow: sexy as pole dancing instructor


(13) Carly Bentall: sexy as pole dancing student


(14) Chelah Horsdal: having lesbian sex with Michelle Paradise



episode 6: "What Goes Around.."


(15) Marnie Alton: nipply in wet t-shirt


(16) Michelle Paradise: brassiere having lesbian sex with Darby Stanchfield


(17) Darby Stanchfield: bare back having lesbian sex with Michelle Paradise


(18) Heather Matarazzo: lesbian kiss with Amy Dudgeon


 

 

 

 

 

 

Pics

I need to make some unique headings and sections for these two guys, DonBun and Dragon, who now seem to be regular contributors again, but I haven't gotten around to it.

Donbun

Debra Winger in An Officer and a Gentleman
Kelly Craig in 300
Lena Headey in 300

Dragon

Kim Dickens in Hollow Man
Shannah Laumeister in Detour
Shanna Moakler in Seeing Other People
Clemence Poesy in The Summer of Olga
DeAnne Power in A Passion for Murder

 

Film Clips

 

Two spectacular HD clips (1920x1080) from He Got Game (1998): Milla Jovovich and Rosario Dawson.

Four nekkid women from 2002's Frida (more than four if you count Salma's lesbian partner): Mia Maestro, Lucia Bravo, Ivana Sejenevich and of course Salma Hayek.

Angie Cepeda in Pantaleon y las visitadoras (2000)

Amy Smart in Mirrors (2008). Crap quality, but the film doesn't even come out until August, so I reckon we should be happy for what we can get. Unfortunately, she's not even topless. She's wearing pasties, as shown in the the brightened capture below.

Laura Ramsey in the Ruins. (2008) In this case, the film clip is not as important as the other material. The first .jpg below is from the film, the other two are from Interview.