Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy)

American Psycho (2000)

Nothing to add. This is a pic I forgot yesterday.

Krista Sutton


The Amateur (1981)

One of the nicest things about the DVD revolution is that is has encouraged smaller publishers to acquire the rights to and release some forgotten films. A lot of those have been art films and grade-B efforts from the drive in and double feature eras, but every once in a while an old mainstream effort is pulled back from oblivion.

Such a film is The Amateur, which was considered a major project and earned some respect in its own day.

  • A Canadian film, it was nominated for 10 Genies (the Canadian equivalent of Oscars), although it went home from the ceremony 0-for-10.
  • The film stars an eclectic international cast. Canadian Christopher Plummer is one of the leads, but the star is John Savage. He may not seem like a big star to you today, but Savage had been elevated very close to the A-list by a good run in the late seventies with The Deer Hunter, Hair, and The Onion Field. People wanted to hire him in those days, although nobody seemed to have a very clear idea about which roles he was suited for.
  • The director was Charles Jarrott, a British director who had come close to the A-list himself in the late sixties and early seventies with two Tudor dramas: Anne of the Thousand Days and Mary, Queen of Scots. His stock dropped somewhat after the famous uber-bomb Lost Horizon, but by the time he directed The Amateur in 1982, he was still considered a respected director. For that matter, he is still  directing, although nearly 80!
  • The budget was about $10 million dollars, which was a healthy amount in 1982. It's up there on screen, too. There are some outstanding location shots in Vienna and the surrounding area, and there are a couple of expensive looking set pieces.

So what happened over the years to doom this film to obscurity? Well, John Savage did not go on to become a superstar, as you know, so there was no interest generated there. And the film is one of those Cold War espionage films which now seem so very dated. The film wasn't topical enough or good enough to remember for the right reasons, nor was it bad enough to remember for the wrong reasons.

The premise of the film sounds a lot like Gorky Park. A solitary American goes behind the Iron Curtain on a mission of personal revenge, and is assisted by a smart, honest Eastern European cop. The similarity between the two films ends at the set-up level however. The Amateur is told from the American's point of view, not the local cop's, and the American is not a tough guy who speaks the local language, but a wimpy mathematician who seems to think he can just slip into Soviet-controlled territory and knock off three hardened terrorists.

The terrorists in question murdered the genius's girlfriend when she was working on a photographic assignment in Munich (played by Vienna).  It was one of those ugly deals where the terrorists were going to kill one hostage every fifteen minutes until they got their way, and she came up first in the rotation. He works for the CIA as a cipher expert, encoding and decoding various messages, and goes to his bosses for assistance. They say they can do nothing, so he devises a plan in which every secret in the history of the CIA will be revealed to the press unless they let him go into the Eastern Bloc and take out the terrorists. After having read the last sentence, you don't think his plan is plausible, and you realize that he wouldn't have a prayer. The CIA bigwigs have the same reaction, but since they have no choice, they send him for agent training in order to buy enough time to figure out how he has rigged the system.

Once he gets into Czechoslovakia, the CIA manages to foil his blackmail scheme, at which time they decide to send more CIA men to Prague (again played by Vienna, only this time with the German signs papered over), but to kill our hero, not to help him. Therefore, the terrorists, the communists, and the CIA are all using professional killers to try to kill him, and he is just "the amateur." He seems to be doomed, but he gets a break. A scholarly local policeman (Christopher Plummer) takes an interest in this whole business of CIA agents shooting at other CIA agents, and wonders why. When he finally figures out the whole scenario, he ends up wanting to help our nerdy hero. Why is the Czech so eager to help our hero, and why is the CIA so eager to kill him? That is the mystery which forms the real core of the plot.

I liked this film, although it really has a lot of problems. In fact, I can't imagine how it was ever nominated for awards. Some of the plot elements are just absurd.

1. When the head terrorist comes out of the building to kill his first hostage, he stands on the sidewalk and shoots her in the head, then calmly walks several yards back into the building without a shield of any kind. Hundreds of sharpshooters are focused on him, and he is unprotected, but they do nothing.

2.  When Savage is working at his desk, the film painstakingly demonstrates that he needs to wear his glasses. When Savage is in training to be an agent, the film painstakingly establishes that he is the world's worst marksman. Yet when he comes face-to-face with the terrorist, he is able to kill him with one very difficult perfect shot, and he is not even wearing his glasses at the time!

3. Savage makes his way into Czechoslovakia on foot. He has to walk miles and miles in the snow, on difficult hilly terrain, even sleeping overnight in the process. He knew this was coming, yet he had slipped over the border wearing only a short leather jacket, and he never even buttoned it up! He must really be style-conscious. Not to mention weather-resistant.

4. Speaking of that leather jacket, nobody in Prague seems to think it looks out of place in the freezing winter climes, despite the fact that (a) it is inappropriate for the weather; and (b) it's the only expensive leather jacket in all of Czechoslovakia.

5. There are several instances where Savage tracks someone down in completely improbable ways that make no sense either at the time or upon later reflection.

6. All important CIA guys are always within six feet of the director when news of Savage comes back to them. One time this happens in the director's office in the middle of the night, one time it happens while they are attending a gala. This must be a subset of the basic cheesy film rule which states that any movie character who turns on a TV will immediately see a news story that affects him personally.

7. The high level Czech policeman played by Plummer (who is also a professor) delegates no authority at all. When the CIA and the Czechs are doing surveillance and counter-surveillance in the middle of the night, staking out an apartment where Savage is thought to be taking refuge, ol' Christopher Plummer is there personally, sitting in one of what seems to be a fleet of cars parked outside that apartment building. Do they burst into the apartment to do something important? No, it's just routine surveillance. No matter where Savage's traile leads

Despite all these mystifying lapses in common sense and logic, I got drawn into the mysteries and counter-mysteries, I found the resolution reasonably satisfying, and I really enjoyed the European locales, including the poor sections of Prague (Vienna), and some small towns which time has forgotten. There is also a great set-piece which involves a shoot-out in a warehouse filled with mirrors and chandeliers.

Plusses and minuses.

It's a film which has been forgotten and I suppose you can leave it forgotten if you aren't into the cold war espionage genre. If you do like those films, however, this is a pretty decent one that you have probably not seen, and which you have certainly not seen at this level of quality, because is now available in an excellent widescreen anamorphic DVD produced by Anchor Bay. There are no features, but they did a great job at re-mastering and transferring the film itself.

Chapelle Jaffe

'Caps and comments by Brainscan:

In a previous incarnation, when I really did scan afew things, my favorite subjects were Brazilian women. Great figures, beautiful cabooses, all natural bods...I miss those days. I have since evolved...some would say mutated...into a capper of obscure movies and things like that. But when my eyes fell upon the title "Emmanuelle in Rio" I could not resist. Instead of scanning them, I could cap Brazilian women and all the world would be a better place for it. Sure enough this edition of the Emmanuelle tradition has her employed as photographer in Rio, commissioned to hire a bunch of gals for a music video. And what you get is Emmanuelle and five other women doing the triple B bosa nova. We are talking full frontals and long, lingering close-ups of some righteous looking fannies. Some near gynocam shots, too. So what if the plot blows chunks? This is not Godfather part IV for heaven's sake; it's an Emmanuelle movie.

A few notes.

Ludmilla Ferraz plays Emmanuelle. She is the only one credited in the disk I rented but CNdb identified the other women, most likely from the TV show that went into the making of this movie. If you trust the kind soul who posted the review to that site... and i do...then the labels on these collages are correct. Ludmilla does not take off her clothes very often in the movie, but her sport-humpin' scene shows us just about every square inch of her surface (collage 3 is the most revealing).

Ludmilla Ferraz

Juliana Batista plays Emmanuelle's sister, who Emmanuelle refers to as a slut. Imagine that. How many guys do you have to pork for Emmanuelle to call you a slut? Reminds me of a saying I used to hear in the Republic of Texas-- it's like being called ugly by a frog.

Juliana Batista

The only robo-hooters are sported by Simone de Morais; and as luck would have it, Simone is in a half-dozen butt-naked scenes, and her butt, naked, is wonderful. So I grabbed a bunch of frames and picked out the best.

Simone de Morais

All the gals except Emmanuelle are in this weird-ass scene where some floridly gay guy helps undress them as Emm looks them over. This includes Simone, who she just finished photographing the hell out of, and her frickin's sister. WTF? She has to inspect her sister because she doesn't what she looks like??!! And since all the gals she inspects wind up in the video the only purpose for the scene was a noble one indeed--to give us the best possible view of their cabooses.

Some camera views were easy to cap but a whole bunch had extreme movement chatter, making them impossible to deal with. Too bad, since it limited the number of frames I grabbed to about 2000.

Deena Casiano

Janaina Lima

Tatiana de Souza

Anyway, there ya go. This is a movie with a bunch of women who may not have a face to match CZJ but each of whom has a way better body. Way better. i approve.

'Caps and comments by Hankster:

Today we return to "Shadows Run Black".

Here's a whole bunch of caps of Barbara Peckinpaugh from this would be slasher flick which really focused on getting as many women naked as they could (not a bad thing). Barbara had no problem with that as she gives us all three B's. Of course she also made adult films using the name Barbara Britton so this would have been a piece of cake for her.

Barbara Peckinpaugh

Then we have a "Babe in Bondage", Elizabeth Trosper tied up and gagged while wearing only a night gown. Why is it that so many times the top billed female is the only one that doesn't get naked in these films?

Elizabeth Trosper

We wrap it up with Rochelle Brodley showing tits only. I guess she had some modesty.

Rochelle Brodley

Crimson Ghost

Busty blonde Skinmeax babe, Yvette Tyler. Here she is topless and baring jus a bit of bum in a episode of the series "Compromising Situations".

In theaters now! Scarlett Johansson looking pretty darn good in scenes from "The Island".

Another great batch of 'razzi pics featuring Elizabeth Hurley doing some topless sunbathing.

Hollywood Party Girl Tara Reid caught looking a tad intoxicated as she hangs out with Paris Hilton.

Paparazzi 'caps of marginally sane songstress Mariah Carey.

More 'razzi pics. This time it's "Desperate Housewives" co-star Nicollette Sheridan showing off abs and pokies.

Marvin 'caps of Maria Schneider beautifully baring all 3 B's in scenes from "Last Tango in Paris" (1972).

Movie Reviews


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  • 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.

Other Crap
Urban Legends Reference Pages. "Claim: Photograph shows golfers fleeing from the approach of a grizzly bear. Status: True."

Latino Review offers a first peek at Darren Aronofsky's new sci-fi movie, The Fountain. ("The journey of one man in the present as well as both 500 years in the past and into the future. Among the issues it tackles are love, death and immortality.")

FilmJerk's Early Report for July 31

Wedding Crashers officially moves up to #1

  • The two films from two weeks ago (Wedding Crashers and Wonka) held on to the top two spots for the third straight week.
  • Last week's releases all but dropped off the map. Each of the four dropped more than expected. Each of the four dropped at least 50%. The Devil's Rejects suffered the worst fate by following a disappointing opening with a precipitous 62% fall-off
  • This week's releases were mediocre, opening in the 3-4-5 slots. Sky High was probably the most positive surprise among the new releases, in that it was predicted to finish last among the three, but actually finished as the best of the three. That was not the kind of news to prompt a general V-E day level of rejoicing, however, since it was still within 20% of the prediction, and could muster no better than a tepid third place.
  • The penguin movie again did quite well. It stayed in the number ten slot despite losing to the three new releases, because it managed to pass three other films which beat it last week! Overall, the penguin film was #2 in revenues per screen, losing only to Wedding Crashers.
  • The massive failure of big budgeters like Stealth and The Island will have to force Hollywood to look past "explosion films" for their summer line-ups. That's OK by me. I'd rather see them make twenty films for seven million each than one for 140 mill. Maybe there will be five interesting films in that bunch instead of a single mega-bomb. I do think that the studios have to think about the possibility that their future revenue equation may include an ever lower percentage of earnings from theatrical revenues and constantly greater dependence on DVD sales and rentals. If they lock on to that equation, they should start making better choices about how to spend their money.


Stephanopoulos interviews Rick Santorum (Video and transcript)

Pogue's Song Spoofs about the world of computers. Dated, but still entertaining.

"The entire acclaimed BBC episode 'Eye on the Universe'."

A subtle obscene joke on The Family Guy (Apparently the censor didn't "get it")

First look at Jennifer Aniston in Rumor Has It

First look at Charlize Theron in North Country

Yet another remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, this time starring Nicole Kidman

The trailer for a Greek film, Hard Goodbyes: My Father

  • "Hard Goodbyes: My Father tells the story of a lonely boy named Elias who makes a pact with his father to watch the moon landing of astronauts on television in 1969. Father and son love to recite the stories of Jules Verne, the man who had envisioned the 'shot to the moon' a century earlier. Elias and his dad are adventurers and explorers who spend their time together spinning tales of the imagination that take them far away from their home in Athens, Greece and off to their imagined refuges on islands and in space. They even name the blue family car 'Birbilo' and turn it into their own spaceship. Elias worships his father who is often away on business trips. One day, his father doesn't come back. That promise of watching the moon landing will go unkept and Elias must rely on their shared love of storytelling to transcend the unimaginable."

Hustle and Flow, as reviewed by the master of all media except the important ones, The Filthy Critic

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