Cat Chaser (1989) is one of those films that cappers have been waiting for on DVD due to the full frontal exposure from Kelly McGillis. Charlie tipped us that it was available on Region 2 PAL in France, and it finally cleared Homeland Defense and got to me today. Unfortunately, it is a rather weak 4/3 transfer with all of the nude scenes very dark, and a nasty moire problem through most of the running time. I seem to recall a spread legged shot of Kelly turning up somewhere, but it was not to be found on this DVD. I suspect there is another 90 seconds of material still not included.
An ex Army ranger and veteran of the Dominican Republic intervention (Peter Weller) is running his own hotel in Pompano Beach, Florida, when an ex Airborne veteran who also served in the Dominican intervention checks in. He turns out to be a sort of private dick, working for a former general from the Dominican Republic in charge of torture, who is now a major crook, and married to Kelly McGillis, the woman most often in our hero's day dreams. Weller returns to the Dominican Republic to relive some memories, shake some ghosts, and try to find the rebel girl that spared his life. McGillis shows up, and the two have a very hot sex scene in his motel room.
Upon their return to Pompano Beach, McGillis' husband the crook has discovered her infidelity and wants out of the pre-nuptial agreement that would give her a cool two million, an ex cop who works as an enforcer is plotting to kill McGillis's hubby and walk off with his secret stash of cash, and Weller is trying to win the fair maiden.
McGillis shows breasts in the sex scene with Weller, and then everything while her husband is harassing her at gunpoint to sign a new pre-nuptial agreement. IMDB readers have this at 4.9 of 10. With a better transfer, I might have enjoyed it a little more, but the video quality was terrible, the characters were too one-dimensional, and the series of double-crosses was just not that engaging. D+
Do you believe that crap? Tuna gets the long-awaited Cat Chaser
DVD and the key footage has been cut! Here is the missing footage
from earlier VHS caps by Aesthete and Graphic Response (1,
Two short comments about films which went to DVD today, with no
Wicked Minds (2003):
For the record, this is a made for cable murder mystery starring
Angie Everhart. Angie has three sex scenes and a shower - but there
is not one bit of exposed flesh in the film. The thriller portion of
the film is not bad, with several unexpected twists, but - well, is
that what you go to an Angie Everhart movie for? I would have said
"good plot for an erotic thriller" if it WAS an erotic thriller. It
is only erotic by Amish standards.
The Bank (2001):
This is an Australian mystery/thriller, and a good one that had
me curious about the outcome, and caught me by surprise at the final
plot twist, even though it offered two big clues earlier. I saw the
clues, and realized they were clues to something, but I couldn't
quite put it together. The film maintains some suspense throughout,
and is a helluva first offering from a fledgling director.
It's about a mathematician with a breakthrough in econometric
forecasting, and the ruthless bank CEO who plans to exploit the
brilliance of the formula to crush competitors and world economies.
Anthony LaPaglia does his best impersonation of Gordon Gecko.
It is yet another movie with sex scenes and no nudity. Good sex
He (reluctant about first time sex): Shouldn't we get to know
She: But we might not like each other.
He (stripping her): You're absolutely right.
Gangs of New York (2002 or 2001 or something):
Martin Scorsese fell in love with this story in 1970
and decided to make a movie about it. In 1977, right after he
made "Taxi Driver," he took out a two-page ad in Variety to announce
his next production: "Gangs of New York." Thirty one years after he
first read the story, he finally convinced someone to make it. It was
to be released in December of 2001. It took another year before he
could get it distributed. Miramax hated the bloated film so much in
2001 that they threatened to
shelve it forever unless Scorsese fixed it.
It finally made it into theaters in December of 2002,
still 168 minutes long.
better than Miramax feared, but not as well as they hoped. It never
made the top three during any week, but grossed just less than $80
million. That's not bad, but will still leave the studio with about
$100 million worth of red ink to cover from foreign rights, broadcast
rights, retail sales, and rentals. The foreign box office was more
than $100 million dollars, so things are not looking too bad.
I was impressed by Gangs of New York, and I really
loved parts of it. I think it is possible for you to enjoy this film quite a
bit, but you need to clear your head right now and realize this: it is
not a historical film. Oh, yeah, it's about the development of New
York from 1846 to 1863, and it features some real incidents, real
people, and real issues. But those times didn't go down the way it is shown in
the film. Fuggitaboudit.
1) The story was amended to fit the points Scorsese
wanted to make. In the actual Draft Riots, for example, it was an exclusively Irish mob
that rampaged through the black neighborhoods, killing, looting, and
torturing. The blacks of the era were actually doing better than the
Irish economically, and that was greatly resented. In Scorsese's
storyline, the nativists were the virulent bigots and the Irish
respected the Samurai code of honor or something, so he couldn't tell
the truth about what happened. Similarly, the naval bombardment was
fabricated out of thin air.
2) The behavior of the working class mobs was
altered to make the story grand and operatic. In fact, this is an
opera without the songs. Battle sequences begin with long, flowery
speeches as if they were in a Dungeons and Dragons recreation. "I
challenge thee by the ancient laws from the long ago time." That kind of
3) The historical characters never looked like the people
pictured in this film. The costumes shown here are not evocative of the
period, but were created from the imagination of Scorsese and his
design people. Although everyone in the film is poor, and fights
constantly with clubs and knives, they almost all have perfect teeth.
(In those days, even peaceable middle class people lost their teeth
early). The prostitutes all have perfect skin, and are young and
4) The characters don't behave like people, but like
movie characters. DiCaprio is seeking revenge against the guy (Bill
the Butcher) who killed his father, so the first thing he does is to
save his life, so he can kill him later. Needless to say this decision
results in great tribulation for New York, the world, and especially
DiCaprio. But, of course, when Big Bill has a chance to kill Leo, he
chooses to let him live as well. This results in great tribulation for
him. Characters almost never do anything logical or in their own best
interests. Luckily there was no real mystery, so DiCaprio didn't have
to tie Bill up and tell him the plot, or leave him tied up in a room
to die later.
5) The character of Bill the Butcher is not acted or
written naturally. He bears no resemblance to anyone who has ever
walked on the face of the earth. His dialogue consists of ornate
vocabulary and pseudo-Shakespearian phrases uttered in Brooklynese,
reminding one of Leo Gorcey in those old Bowery Boys movies. The
knife-throwing accuracy he demonstrates here is not actually
attainable. He is a colorful character, a Dickensian villain, a
Snidely Whiplash created
for our entertainment.
Acting goes through trends. The current fashion is for actors to abandon that Stanislavsky/Strasberg theory
of natural humanity and create highly stylized, memorable
characters, ala Samuel Jackson in Pulp Fiction. You regular readers
know that Samuel L is probably my favorite actor, and that bible-quotin'
gun-totin' performance was some truly bad acting - but nonetheless
one of the greatest characterizations in screen history.
If I controlled the annual acting awards, I would
create several different categories, separating this kind of
made-for-award characterization from naturalistic acting. I'd call
this type of performance the Samuel L Award for Memorable
Characterization, and give it as a separate award from those which
are given for actual acting. Each year it would be presented to
somebody for going as far as possible to amuse and entertain us. I
would certainly give Daniel Day-Lewis the Samuel L Drama Award for
2002. (DeNiro would win the Samuel L Comedy Award for singing the
entire score of West Side Story off-key, and mimicking Natalie
Wood's version of "I Feel Pretty".)
So is Gangs of New York a bad movie? No, not at all.
Where is it written that a historical epic has to be accurate to be
good? There is a literary tradition that supports this type of
flamboyant mythologized treatment, and that tradition is as old as
literature itself. The first known written literature in the
Western world is mythologized history. Do you find the Iliad and The Odyssey to be
realistic portrayals of the Trojan War and the travels of Odysseus?
Hell, no. They make an Oliver Stone historical movie look like a
scholarly Ph. D treatise at Cambridge. Well, I hear some people think those are pretty good
despite their obvious multiple layers of bullshit..
Homer's work is a mythical retelling of events, exaggerated and
embellished to draw out the human truths which are greater than mere
facts. In the literary pedigree of the English language, Dickens's
work is similar. Do you think Dickens believed those characters really
existed, and that those silly plot devices were plausible? He wasn't
daft. Well, at least not completely daft. He did all that on purpose.
By creating larger-than-life situations he was able to present big
sweeping themes in a way that average people could relate to. Scorsese
is employing the same tactics. In fact, this film is about as
Dickensian (and Homeric, for that matter) as any purely American story can be.
If you approach Gangs of New York as a sensible
historical drama with realistic characterizations, and think of it as
an "important" film, you will be disappointed. But you'll have a lot
of fun if you just remind yourself that the story takes only some
minor details from history in order to create a context for Scorsese's
intelligent pyrotechnics and Daniel Day Lewis's performance as villain
of the year. Scorsese did not want to make the film resemble "The
Winds of War". He was going instead for "The Seven Samurai". Codes of
honor. Flowery speeches. Theatrical announcements. Costumes.
Is it a great
entertainment picture? No, but it's a good one. It
has Daniel Day-Lewis's inspired piece of Memorable Characterization.
His presentation of Bill the Butcher, with his growling rhetorical
flourishes, his precision knife-throwing, his ruthless killing, his
silly Dr Seuss hats, and his preposterous moustache, is one that will
be long remembered in cinema lore. Classic stuff. Bill also has
the one and only laugh-out-loud moment in the film. You will know what
I mean when you hear the way he delivers the line "whoopsy daisy". If
you're not planning to see the film, you can get the feel of the joke
by imagining Darth Vader blowing up somebody's home planet, killing
billions, then realizing he destroyed the wrong planet and growling
"whoopsy daisy" theatrically, in his most pompous basso profundo.
On top of Lewis's strange, flamboyant, complex
performance, the film has Scorsese's incomparable talent for
presenting a story visually. This film looks fantastic.
On the negative side, it has two elements that keep
it from greatness as a pure popcorn flick.
- First, it is 168 minutes long, and seems longer.
Too long for the popcorn market.
- Second, there is really nobody to relate to
except the Liam Neeson character, and he dies in the opening
credits. Without emotional identification, it's difficult to stay
involved in the story for the three hours of running time. Clearly
Bill the Butcher is the only interesting character, and he's the bad
guy. Frankly, he was so much more interesting than the good guys
that I was rooting for him to win. And in a way, he did.
Here are two Scorsese facts that will probably
(1) Scorsese has never had a hit movie - he had
previously maxed out at about 60 million dollars. He raised the
bar somewhat with Gangs of New York, to $77 million, although the film may
or may not make a profit, hinging on post-theatrical revenues.
(2) Scorcese has never won an Oscar. GONY was nominated for ten,
GONY is a good movie, sometimes a brilliant movie. If it isn't as
good as Scorcese's fans claim it to be, neither is it as lame as its
detractors say. It looks spectacular throughout, and it has Bill the
Butcher. That's enough for me.
For the miscellaneous nudity, see my previous articles on the film.
It's all a bunch of anonymous hookers anyway. The important thing is
Dear Uncle Scoopy,
Here are three topless shots of Elena Sahagun
that show her face, from Terminal Virus.
Mediocre caps, from my tape of the movie on cable, but this is
her best nude scene.
Air attack costly for Jack Nicholson's ex: not that good a
story, except that the prosecutor said she "can't handle the
truth"! I wonder if he said it in a Nicholson voice.
rebuttal at the MTV roast
Why Ann Coulter is no longer published on National Review Online.
To paraphrase it in one sentence: "We're right-wing, but sane, and
she's nuttier than the fucking Blue Diamond factory"
Environmental group gives Bush an 'F'. They are gearing up for
their big push to vote for Ralph Nader, thus assuring the President
another four years in office.
Homeland security trains Llamas for disaster duty
French remove U.S. references in liberation museum. If there
were no France, we would have to invent it.
archives. May also include newer material than the ones above,
since it's sorta in real time.
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.