"I Spit on Your Grave" from
I Spit on Your Grave
(1978), which IMDB calls Day of the Woman, is a
controversial film about a woman who is raped by
4 men, and then gets even. Many complain that
first time director Meir Zarchi dedicated 40
minutes to the rape, and not nearly enough time
to the revenge. Although the rapes occur over 40
minutes of screen time, a lot of that is spent
with her trying to escape. It could be argued
that the lengthy rape sequence was needed to gain
audience sympathy for her 4 murders.
I found the movie to be
poorly acted, and poorly directed. In several
cases, I think I could see what the director was
trying to accomplish, but he did not achieve the
desired results. He used a lot of long shots, and
several long scenes where there is no action at
all on screen, probably to give a sense that she
was being terrorized for what would seem to her
to be forever. After the first rape, the victim,
played by Camille Keaton (Bustor Keaton's niece)
just lies there for almost a minute. She then
meanders slowly off, presumably in a daze, and
runs into the same group. The actual rapes are
well-staged from an anatomical standpoint, but
her reactions did not ring true. I could almost
hear a director saying "Scream now ... ok,
kick your legs ..." Add to this the total
absence of a score, and the film just did not
draw me in.
After the rape, she does
nothing for two weeks, visits a church to confess
in advance, then goes after the 4 men. She
seduces the first one, then hangs him. It is hard
for me to believe that a woman brutally raped
would have sex with one of the rapists as part of
the revenge. It was hard for me to tell if this
was just an exploitation film using rape and
revenge to justify nudity and sex, or a serious
statement about rape. There must be something to
the movie, however, as it caused such an
emotional response in so many people.
I did find some things
to like about it. The settings are beautiful, and
well-photographed. Camille is lovely, and shows
all of her charms repeatedly. I think, with the
addition of a score, better acting from the
rapists, and a re-edit to help the pace, this
could have been a good film.
Camille Keaton (1,
10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25)
80" from Tuna
Star 80 (1983) was
director Bob Fosse's final film. It tells the
true story of Dorothy Stratton, Playmate of the
year in 1980. It is packaged somewhat like a
docu-drama, but features a strong performance by
Eric Roberts as Paul Snider, a petty hustler who
discovered Dorothy, seduced her, helped launch
her career, then killed her in a jealous rage.
Mariel Hemingway is not given as much credit for
her performance, but I liked the way she subtly
transformed from young, naive hick to mature
sophisticate. I would rate this one as watchable.
The DVD transfer is barely adequate, with no
Mariel Hemingway (1,
Again, not a lot of female nudity in the new
releases this week. These two films had only male
comments on "The Hurricane"
I had a classics
professor who once told me that the modern world
has no more ability than the Greeks to
distinguish biography from hagiography. In other
words, when we tell a man's life story, we tend
to elevate him to sainthood rather than show the
complexity of his personality. This is true
because of several factors. (1) We like to have
saints and heroes. We want to believe they
exist.(2) We make movies with different
motivations from when we make documentaries. We
make documentaries to present the factual truth,
but movies are made to get to a deeper truth
inside the facts. Sometimes we even sweep away
the facts to get to the truth, as the filmmakers
perceive it. Ghandi would probably be the most
significant whitewash of this type, but there are
many other examples as well.
I don't know what Rubin
Carter was like, or the merits of his case. I
don't know about the three Canadians who helped
him find new evidence, or the youngster who
originally brought Carter and the Canucks
together. I haven't read their book
("Lazarus and the Hurricane"). So,
instead of quibbling about the facts, I perfectly
willing to accept that Carter was completely
innocent, and was railroaded by racism and
corruption. That certainly would be no surprise
in a 1960's New Jersey courtroom, would it? If
the Atlantic City casinos accept betting on
verdicts, you can bet the smart money is usually
OK, I'll buy his
innocence, but I'm less willing to accept that
Carter was wiser than Aristotle, more learned
than Erasmus, more self-aware than Buddha, more
articulate than Churchill, and more patient than
Job. I suspect he was a regular guy who did a lot
of seedy things and made a lot of powerful
enemies with words and deeds that would not so
easily fit into the life of St Francis of Assisi.
But the movie made him seem spiritually pure.
This movie got my heartstrings several times.
It's powerful. But I have the feeling it's
manipulative, and probably a lot less honest than
it should be. It is from the Ghandi school of
hagiography, and not from the "Nixon"
school of warts-and-all biography.
Of course, I don't know.
Maybe Hurricane was precisely as portrayed here.
And maybe the RSC will hire Randolph Mantooth to
play King Lear.
Sorry, no naked babes.
Denzel did a backside scene, but I assume that
ain't your cup of tea.
comments on "Boiler Room"
An update of "Wall Street" to the
present. A movie with a good manly adreneline
rush, and a lot of misogyny. Not a bad flick in
that I watched it without the FF button, because
it has a decent little criminal investigation
subplot and some strong performances. No female
nudity. No male nudity in the regular film, a
butt shot of Scott Caan in the deleted scenes.
The same deleted scene also shows an occasional
peek at a floppy boob from an anonymous
prostitute as Caan mounts her from the rear, but
nothing worth capping.
What the hell is the deal on the popularity of
Giovanni Ribisi? I know that people don't always
agree on these things, and that there is always
room for disagreement. Let's take the topic of
Patrick Swayze. I think he "blows", but
not everyone agrees. Others think he
"sucks", while still others may feel
that he "munches" or "bites".
And that's OK, because that's what democracy is
all about - the free exchange of ideas.
But what is there to like about this Ribisi
guy? He looks like a vampire. His smile looks so
forced and unnatural that it makes Steve Forbes's
loony smile seem as natural as those smiling
posters of Redford as The Sundance Kid. If you
met Ribisi on the street, you would automatically
assume that he was a disgruntled postal worker on
the way to slaughter the boss who fired him. And
the co-workers who taunted him - not so much with
words as with their healthy tans and unforced
laughter at perfectly appropriate times.
Plus this kid is no Edward Norton. He doesn't
discard his appearance and personality and find
the soul inside each new character, and the body
to represent that soul. No, he's always Phoebe's
brother on "Friends".
Now when he plays a none-too-bright psychotic
who is among the downtrodden, I like him. But as
a manly go-getter in an expensive suit, trying to
join the good ol' boys of tomorrow? Bit of a
stretch for my credulity.
Capshaw in "The Love Letter" Laura
Harris from "The Faculty" Lisa
Eilbacher, "Live Wire" Milla
Jovovich from "He Got Game" Natasha
Gregson Wagner, "Modern Vampires"