Wednesday

Starship Troopers 3: Marauder

The first sequel to Starship Troopers had absolutely none of the Úlan of the original, which was a sweeping Paul Verhoeven sci-fi epic based on a Ray Bradbury book written for juveniles. The first film presented a semi-satirical, semi-inspirational portrayal of a cosmic struggle between humans and space insects for control of this part of the galaxy, with a particular focus on some high school seniors in Buenos Aires. It was a film that could be viewed as an anti-war, anti-Fascism satire or as an inspirational pro-war film which argues that a strong and unified Earth government would be necessary in order for our race to survive a struggle for survival. The director was effectively able to balance the surface story with the underlying irony and iconoclasm.

The second film was quite a poor sequel. The story dropped the original characters, all the satire, and  the global overview, choosing to focus on a single front of the war, a lonely outpost on a faraway planet in which a group of humans made a desperate Alamo-like stand against a bug army.

The third film actually is a sequel to the first one. In essence, it's the film that the previous one should have been. Johnny Rico (Casper van Dien), the ultra-tough hero who worked his way up from private to lieutenant in the first film with his battlefield prowess, is back and is now a colonel protecting an entire planet. His regiment suffers an ignominious defeat. (We later learn that the failure of Rico's defense strategy was caused by a human traitor).

The satirical propaganda commercials are back. The political machinations and inter-service rivalries are back. There are bigger and better warrior bugs, smarter brain bugs, another human psychic who can converse with bugs, more co-ed group nudity, and many other elements which tend to make the film a continuation of the original. The new hook in episode three is that the future humans, who have fundamentally been atheistic for some time, are turning back to God as the war efforts sour. The fascist government is trying to suppress freedom of religion, even as it also steps up further restrictions on freedom of speech. Meanwhile, the human psychics determine that the bugs also believe in God!

It does fall short of the first film in several places:

(1) there are too many cheesy (and repetitive) CGI effects

(2) there are too many prolonged battle sequences at the expense of character development.  There are lots of characters identified by name, and the film seems to promise that we will get to know them, then just drops them in favor of explosions, gunfights, and fires. For example, Van Dien assembles an elite team of seven crack infantry soldiers for a grueling mission, and the team members are introduced in a long nude sequence as they are fitted for armor suits, ala Robocop. But after that scene, they are never really shown again. We see their suits in battle action, but when it comes to what's inside the suits, we see only Van Dien. Even Van Dien's story will be a mystery if you have not seen the first film. The audience never really gets to know the humans. We root for them only because it's our nature to root for handsome humans fighting against ugly insects.

(3) some of the acting is sub-par, most notably Cecile Breccia, who doesn't seem to speak any English at all. I suppose she learned her lines phonetically, but I often failed to grasp what she was trying to say.

It's not as good as the original, but it's good enough to have turned me around on the series, and it's excellent for a direct-to-vid effort. Like the original, it strikes a pretty good balance between stirring heroics, satire, and parallels to our own times. It also introduces some interesting ideas. Because SST2 was so boring, I didn't have any enthusiasm for #3 before I actually started watching it, but now that I've seen SST3, I am looking forward to a number 4, assuming that it will continue the Johnny Rico storyline with Van Dien.

This film clip has nudity from Cecile Breccia, Nicole Tupper, and Tanya van Graan. (And a bunch of dudes, including Van Dien)

Sample captures:

Breccia

 

van Graan

 

Tupper

van Graan and Breccia

all three women

 

 

 

  • * 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Serial

(1980)

Kate: "Carol, gay or straight, you still have that certain something ... you're a cunt."

Carol (sadly): "Still?"

Kate: "Work on it."

I first became aware of Serial in book form. I stopped at a book store during lunch and found it on the bargain table. I spent the rest of the day reading it from cover to cover, ignoring work, absorbed in a brilliant send-up of life in the late 70s in Marin County, California.

The film is true to the book, so one cannot truly appreciate its satirical insights without knowing something about Marin, which is directly across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco, and is where all of the hippies migrated when Berkeley and The Haight declined. The real die-hard freaks moved into remote communities and/or communes, but the bulk of the so-called counter-culture settled into straight middle-class lives and became co-opted into the capitalist system. The men donned suits and ties and bought BMWs, the women joined consciousness-raising groups, and the kids were raised permissively and sent to trendy pop shrinks. There is still a good deal of this culture in Marin County today.

Tuesday Weld, Martin Mull, and their daughter are installed firmly in the culture of fern bars, Beamers and "I'm ok, you're ok," but Martin is sick of relationship talks and would like to get laid a little more often, while Tuesday Weld feels they don't really communicate. Their teenaged daughter is chafing at parental restraint, and Tuesday is usually on her side. Their world includes Dickie Smothers as a new age minister, Peter Bonerz as a POP psychologist, Sally Kellerman as a free spirit into serial bigamy, and a host of others.

Then their lives start to collapse. Their daughter runs away to join a San Francisco religious cult, Martin has an affair with his secretary (at an orgy), and Tuesday has an affair with her dog groomer, then moves out.

"Kate left me."

"'Right on' your ass. This is serious. She even took the Cuisinart."

It is one of my favorite films from the 80s, and it's finally available on DVD.

 

Patch Mackenzie

Sally Kellerman

 

Tuesday Weld

Unknown

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Ubalda, All Naked and Warm (1972)

With a title like that you know it must have some nudity, and this one stars two of the best of that Era. First up the lovely Edwige Fenech shows off her very nice tits.

 


Not to be outdone, blonde Karin Schubert displays her own charming pair of assets.
 

 

 

 

 

 

Notes and collages

The Eyes of Laura Mars

1978

Faye Dunaway

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before the Devil Knows You're Dead

2007

Marisa Tomei in HD. Film clip here; collages below.

 

 

 

 

 

Death of a Ghost Hunter

2000

I've seen several good low-budget horror flicks lately, and this 2007 effort is another one. The acting isn't perfect, but over-all, it's a pretty cool ghost story.

In 2002, a renowned ghost hunter is hired by a homeowner to conduct a paranormal investigation of the home in which his relatives had been killed in 1982. She will be accompanied by a cameraman, a reporter, and a spiritual advocate who is against the investigation, saying it is "disrespectful" to the good Christians who died in the house.

They use scientific techniques not unlike what you may have seen on Sci-Fi channel's Ghost Hunters series and as the instruments start to register activity, things start to get crazy. Even more important, they find evidence that the events in 1982 may not have been what they seemed.

This was shot in nine days on a shoestring budget, and as I mentioned, some of the acting is a little shaky, but the story is a good solid ghost story, and overall, the movie was quite enjoyable. If you like ghost stories, watch this one.

Lindsay Page

 

 

 

 

 

Pics

Sienna Miller came right back and got topless for us again!

I wonder if she owns any clothing.

 

Also "naked on yachts" - Davinia Taylor

and Uma (well, not naked, but ...)

 

Film Clips

Katrin Cartlidge in Before the Rain. Samples below.

Isabelle Illiers in Fruits of Passion