"Dark City"

Dark City (1998) is Science Fiction, and is shot in a dark noire 40's style. I dislike dark films, and am not overly fond of Science Fiction in general. This film would have had to be very good to overcome my prejudices, and it was. Like Matrix, it is a film about a futuristic world, and people who are trying to figure out what the world is and why. Unlike Matrix, we discover the answers to these questions as the characters do, rather than having the story explained in expository dialogue, and the special effects are orders-of-magnitude better in Dark City. The mood is set by art direction, photography and acting, and is consistent from beginning to end. It is impossible to talk much about the plot without writing a spoiler, but this is a physical world inhabited by real people, not a mental cyber-creation as in Matrix. Nearly everyone loved this film including Ebert, Maltin and Berardinelli, and it is rare that those three agree.

An Australian production, it was written and directed by Alex Proyas, who also brought us The Crow. What he achieved here is a complete world that is believable even though some of what happens is improbable. It works because of the attention to consistency and detail. It is more of an experience than a plot, and, although the plot is interesting enough, it is experiencing this world first hand that makes the movie. The exposure is by Melissa George playing a prostitute. We see breasts, buns, and a wisp of bush. If there was one flat note for me, it was the performance by John Hurt as a police detective. Why this film was not given some recognition by the Academy is a total mystery to me. IMDb readers have this at 7.2 of 10. According to IMDb the budget and gross were an identical $27M worldwide. It won a host of awards, mostly at Sci Fi/horror/fantasy festivals. The dvd is excellent, with two complete commentaries, and both a widescreen and a full-negative 4/3 version. The 4/3 version shows more skin than the wide screen one. It boasts two commentary tracks, the first, a scene by scene breakdown by Roger Ebert, the second a running commentary by the main production people, including writer, director, editor and art director. This is a B-. If you haven't seen it, it is a very under-rated film.

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  • Melissa George (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21)

    "Desert Hearts"

    Desert Hearts (1985) is a personal favorite. I rented it the day it was released on New Years Eve as one of several movies, and was totally blown away by it. It is the best lesbian film ever made, and has one of, if not the, hottest love scenes every filmed. Donna Deitch, in her directoral debut, got this character driven drama/love story just right.

    Helen Shaver plays an East Coast professor in her 30s who comes to a ranch in Reno in 1950 to establish residency for a quickie divorce. She is finally leaving her husband after 17 years of what was a marriage of professional convenience totally devoid of love or passion. A person who likes things orderly, this is the biggest risk she has ever taken. Enter Patricia Charbonneau as the lesbian daughter of the ranch owner. Charbonneau immediately sees that Shaver is what she has been hoping for - someone who matters, and Shaver slowly realizes that it is not that she is asexual, but rather that she was looking to the wrong gender. Each has exactly what the other lacks, which is the reason for their attraction. Shaver admires Charbonneau's spirit, and the way she is open and honest about who and what she is. By the same token, Shaver has intellectual depth, and the ability to commit which Charbonneau lacks.

    The story examines with much sensitivity Charbonneau's conquest, and Shaver's struggle to cut loose. When the two finally get together, the sex, although not that explicit, ignites the screen. It is not just what they do to each other, but the way they do it, and the way they look at each other. Beautiful scenery, good cinematography and decent art direction make this one of my favorite films. Interesting to me, the love scene is done with no score. This had the effect of making me focus completely on the two women and the way they were focused on each other.

    The DVD is letterboxed to preserve the original aspect ratio, and is a good transfer, with excellent color saturation and contrast. It sports a directors commentary which kind of wanders all over the place, but made some interesting points. Deitch based the film on a semi-autobiographical book. She raised enough to make the film by selling shares to everyone she had access to with money. She was unable to cast Charbonneau's part in LA, and went looking in New York. When she met Charbonneau, she new she had found the right actress, despite the fact that Charbonneau had never been in a film or on television. She brought her back to LA to read with the three women who had made the short list for the other lead, and Shaver and Charbonneau were magic together. Many actresses declined to read for any role in a film about lesbian lovers with a happy ending.

    Deitch toyed with the idea of a sequel, which she eventually dropped, but she did share what, in her mind, happens to the two characters. Charbonneau moves to New York, and the two are together for a time, but Charbonneau ends up with a woman closer to her own age, but stays in New York and becomes a successful sculptor. Shaver finally has the courage to come out as a gay woman, and faces a lot of prejudice from the faculty at her University.

    Maltin is unimpressed at 2 1/2 stars. Ebert agrees. IMDB readers give it 6.5/10. Lesbian sites rank it as the most influential lesbian film of all time. Shot on a budget of $350,000.00, the US gross was a very respectable $2.492m. The genre is gay/lesbian drama, and this simple love story has enough universality to be accessible to anyone. It is the chemistry between the leads, in the end, that make the film. This is a B-. Even if you don't like gay/lesbian themes, you might well enjoy this one.

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  • Helen Shaver (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12)
  • Patricia Charbonneau (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12)

  • Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy)


    • I wrote a very long commentary about Antonia, aka Antonia's Line, which Tuna reviewed yesterday. Since I have no pictures, the review can be found here.
    • I also wrote a very long commentary about Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11, which has nothing to do with nekkid chicks, so the review can be found here.



    In many ways, this film is a pedestrian Hollywood thriller like a thousand before it. The president's daughter is kidnapped, and the plot starts twisting. How did the secret service miss it? Why was she kidnapped? Is it possible that the kidnappers do not know who she is? She seems to be dead? Is it possible that she is not? If the death was faked, was it done by the kidnappers, the daughter, the President, some people close to the President. If somebody faked it, and there is evidence that they did, why so?

    The film rises above that level of mediocre plotting and hackneyed suspense devices because David Mamet (Heist, The Spanish Prisoner) is a great screenwriter who simply re-invents the genre with his technique. To begin with, he doesn't give us any back story. Perhaps you think I spoiled the film by telling you so much in the previous paragraph. The problem is that anything I told you at all would have been a spoiler. My first clause, "the president's daughter is kidnapped", was already a spoiler because the film begins somewhere in the middle of an interrogation. We don't know who is interrogating whom, and we don't know the subject of the interrogation. We don't know if a crime has been committed, or what it might be. We only know that some very serious men are very concerned about something big. David Mamet manages to create an additional mystery for us by forcing us to try to figure out what the plot is in the first place. In the hands of a hack, this could have been a disaster. In Mamet's hands, it is as smooth as silk, continually involving, constantly engaging the minds of the viewers. That man can write. He has a great knack for creating a mystery, then solving it while creating another, deeper mystery.

    Like any Hollywood thriller, this film has a serpentine plot with more twists than a Chubby Checker retrospective, but Mamet plots so confidently that he onviously figures out in advance what has happened, then gets his suspense from HOW the twists are revealed rather than WHAT is revealed. I found all the plot twists reasonable in the context of the film, and Mamet's dialogue is as smart as ever.

    • Kristen Bell (1, 2)



    This won't mean jack to you unless you're from the UK, but if you are from Britain, you should enjoy an escaped breast from a kiddie show host. Holly Willoughby falls out of her blouse while dancing around on her Saturday morning show, The Ministry of Mayhem.



    Other Crap archives. May also include newer material than the ones above, since it's sorta in real time.

    Click here to submit a URL for Other Crap




    Here 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 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.

    NOTE: because of a unique combination of circumstances with the Windows media player and some substantial bandwidth theft, we will have to do all of our movie files in zip format. Left click on the files as you normally would to view a picture. When you get a choice, click on "save", and put it on your hard drive in the directory of your choice. UnZIP and play from there.

    I know this is not especially convenient, but it allows the film clips to continue. I can protect .zip files from hot-linking in the same way I can protect still images. For some reason, if I protect .avis and .wmvs from hot-linking, they will not play in the Windows media player, and I can't get a satisfactory work-around. Perhaps I will find a better solution, but for now this new policy allows you to continue getting the movie clips you want to see, which is much preferable to my abandoning the clips altogether.


    Rosanna one more time

    • This should be the last of Rosanna Arquette for a while. This time the film is Baby, It's You. (.avi - zip) (.wmv - zip)


    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. http://www.headbands.com/gspot/ 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.

    Crimson Ghost
    NOTE: We currently have to do all of our movie files in zip format. Instead of viewing them online, save the zip files to your hard drive in the directory of your choice, un-zip and play from there.

    Today the Ghost takes a look at the 1976 movie "Swashbuckler" starring Robert Shaw, James Earl Jones, Peter Boyle, Geneviève Bujold, Beau Bridges and Anjelica Huston.

    In today's 'caps and clips we see Geneviève Bujold (or a stunt double) dive off a pirate ship nekkid. Plus we also see some underwater rear nudity.

    'Caps and comments by Meaulnes:


    Here are a few more 'caps of topless scenes from the 1971 TV Series "Casanova".

    Lyn Yeldham, charming here, revealed again in 1972's "Au Pair Girls", then seems to have disappeared. As for Christine Noonan, you may recall seeing her rolling around on a cafe floor with Malcolm McDowell in Lindsay Anderson's "If".

    • Lyn Yeldham (1, 2, 3, 4)
    • Christine Noonan (1, 2, 3)

    Mr. Nude Celeb
    'Caps and comments by Mr. Nude Celeb:

    "Xchange" (2000)
    "In the near future, travelling from one place to the next is simplified by the means of transferring your mind into the body of another individual at that location. This new techonology creates a new kind of terrorism. When a powerful CEO is murdered, a police officer must use the technology to track down the killer..."

    This sci-fi/action movie is about as good as you can expect considering it stars Stephen Baldwin... I was pleasantly surprised by the nudity however... out of 5 actresses with speaking roles, 4 of them get topless...

    Amy Sloan is a cute small breasted redhead with lots of enthusiasm in her sex scene... apparently she played an inmate in "Gothika"... gotta go back and check that shower scene and see if she made an appearance there...

    Janet Kidder is the neice of Margot Kidder... and she has more than a passing resemblance to her as well...

    I'm been a fan of Pascale Bussieres for a while now and to be honest, she was the only reason i picked up this movie... and i was not disappointed in the closeups of her breasts!

    Lisa Bronwyn Moore has been in a ton of movies with mostly small roles... while she is nothing special in my book, she does show the biggest breasts in this movie (if size matters to you).

    Caroline Dhavernas
    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13)

    The French-Canadian actress and star of the short-lived series "Wonderfalls" going topless and full frontal in scenes from the Peter Greenaway movie "The Tulse Luper Suitcases: The Moab Story" (2003).

    Alanis Morissette The singer showing off a surprising amount of cleavage and doing a great job filling out a Hooters shirt for a bit on "Jimmy Kimmel Live".

    Eliza Dushku The "Tru Calling" star grabbing her boob and making an adjustment at a red carpet event.

    Paris Hilton
    (1, 2, 3, 4)

    Paris wearing a semi-see-thru shirt on her way into the Ed Sullivan theater before an appearance on Letterman.

    Laura Osswald
    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

    Señor Skin 'caps of the young German actress looking very nice topless in scenes from "Seventeen - Mädchen sind die besseren Jungs" (2003).

    Pat Reeder www.comedy-wire.com
    Pat's comments in yellow...

    "FAHRENHEIT 9/11" MAKES $21.8 MIL
    Now He's Rewriting BOX OFFICE History! - Michael Moore's anti-Bush movie, "Fahrenheit 9/11," played to packed houses and long lines in limited release, becoming the first documentary to top the box office with a $21.8 million weekend take. The movie only cost $6 million, with a $10 million publicity budget.

  • Plus $3 billion worth of free publicity from the news media.
  • Now, Michael will have millions more dollars to criticize rich fat cats with!
  • These were the same people who spent last week in line to buy Clinton's book.
  • To thwart the movie, President Bush ordered all American thermometers to be switched to Celsius.

    Sponsored By Lysol - A phone survey by the University of Arizona found that people have a false sense of security about germs. 76 percent thought fast food restaurant toilet seats had more germs than a park picnic table, but tests show the table is worse. 64 percent thought public bathroom doorknobs had more germs than an ATM keyboard, but the ATM has more. They also didn't know home kitchen sinks have more germs than bathroom sinks, and work telephone receivers have more germs than the office toilet seat.

  • And yet, the researchers used their office phones to do this survey.
  • Turns out public bathrooms are so clean, you don't need to bother washing your hands after you use them.
  • Cash is covered with germs...That's why I never get sick.
  • Of course, most park picnic tables haven't been cleaned since they were installed.

    Who Won This Lawsuit? - The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports that Oregon is among the first states to receive free CDs for public schools and libraries, as part of a record company CD price-fixing lawsuit settlement. But the labels apparently just dumped their surplus stock. There were lots of no-name flops, and one school district got 413 copies of the Greatest Hits of 1971. The Puget Sound District, which has 35 schools, got 1,355 copies of Whitney Houston's single of "The Star-Spangled Banner." And another school district got 387 copies of an explicit CD by the late rapper Big Punisher and 356 copies of Barry White's heavy-breather, "Staying Power."

  • Sex Ed class will never be the same.
  • The kids can play the hits of 1971 in Ancient History class.
  • At least now, the kids have no excuse for not knowing the words to "The Star-Spangled Banner."
  • In a related story, Oregon school districts are adding skeet-shooting classes.

    Paging Johnnie Cochran! - Friday at New York's JFK Airport, rapper DMX (Earl Simmons) was arrested on a range of charges after he allegedly crashed his SUV through a gate, falsely told the attendant he was a federal agent, then accused another driver of cutting him off and tried to pull the man out of his car. Police also found a billy club and some crack in DMX's vehicle. He may face up to seven years in prison. It apparently all started with a dispute over a $9 parking fee. DMX had hundreds of dollars on him when he was arrested.

  • But he needed that money to gas up his SUV.
  • The good news: the prison has free parking.
  • Assault, impersonating a federal agent and possessing crack...The cops call that "The Rapper's Hat Trick."

    Test Positive Or Go Home - The New York Post's Page Six reports that Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne are creating a new reality show based on "American Idol," but for rock bands. The winner gets a slot on the OzzFest heavy metal tour. There's one basic rule: all bands have to go through rigorous drug testing.

  • To see if they need more.
  • The first 30 minutes of every episode will just be guys peeing into cups.