Wednesday

Film clips:

If you are a fan of Jenny Agutter, then these clips should bring back pleasant memories. Here's Jenny stark naked in Equus. (Zipped .avi) The movie, unfortunately, is soporific and features Richard Burton at his very hammiest. (Movie House Comments)

 

Ghosts Never Sleep (somewhere from 2003 to 2006):

If you review the outline of the facts available at IMDb and the film's official site , you would conclude that Ghosts Never Sleep is absolutely atrocious:

1) The director and the author of the stage play could not originally agree about how to adapt the story to a screenplay.

2) The film was made in 2003. In the next three years, it managed to get screened only at some of the smaller film festivals. It doesn't seem to have won any awards or attracted any distribution deals from those screenings. It finally came to DVD in the late summer of 2006, some three years after it was lensed.

3) It is rated 2.7 at IMDb. A score below 3.0 qualifies a film for the infamous "Bottom 100" list at IMDb, so this film lacks only the minimum number of votes to qualify for a place in the Pantheon of Dishonor beside Spice World and The Beast of Yucca Flats.

Well, guess what? This is actually not such a bad film. It's a film that treats some very serious themes in a mature way, without any preaching, by letting the themes come through the plot development of a mystery/thriller. The dark-themed play wasn't quite good enough or marketable enough to attract any interest from the big name directors; the pitch wasn't quite strong enough to attract enough money to do the film right; and the final film was trapped in limbo between the worlds of art and commerce. But if the film's creators had been a little more experienced, and the budget had been a bit higher, this might have been a successful project. As it is, it provides a lesson in how thin the line is between success and failure.

Tony Goldwyn plays a writer whose screenplay is being shopped. In the course of its coming to light, it exposes a family secret which the author has never told his wife (Sean Young) about, and which his mother (Faye Dunaway) wants to keep a secret.

The screenwriters chose to tell this story in a very complicated manner, ala Adam Egoyan. It starts out with the author running away from a police pursuit, although it does not reveal precisely why the police are chasing him. It then takes that story forward chronologically, but also eventually includes a flashback to explain why the author was fleeing. While it is telling that story, the script intercuts three additional stories featuring the same characters. One of the stories takes place when the author was a child, and involves the gradual revelation of the family secret. A second story takes place four years before the police pursuit, when the author was first shopping his script. The final story takes place four years in the future, as the author's wife tries to heal from the trauma of the events which happened around the time of the police chase.

The multiple time-shifts make it sound like the script uses an excessive convoluted way to develop the plot, but it doesn't. It is always clear when each set of events is happening, and the complex structure allows the film to maintain audience interest by involving viewers in three mysteries at once. First, the audience wonders what the childhood secret is. Second, the audience is curious about what the author did to warrant a police chase. Third, one can't help but wonder what will happen to the troubled author after his stand-off with the police. Furthermore, the script is clever enough to fool the audience completely about the nature of the critical childhood secret which drives the plot. The facts of the case make it seem ever clearer that the secret must be one particular thing - and then it turns out to be something quite different. One character who seems to be lying turns out to have been telling the truth all along, but we never believed her because of her constant shuffling and equivocating. It turned out that she was being evasive to avoid revealing a completely different secret! Adam Egoyan himself might be impressed with the way that is handled, although he might suggest eliminating the portion of the film which takes place after the stand-off. There is no value derived from intercutting the "four years later" scenes with the other three stories, and the scenes with the wife and her psychiatrist are completely superfluous. Showing the ultimate fate of the author is necessary to satisfy mystery #3, of course, but could have been (and actually is) handled in a brief epilogue.

In addition to having some enthusiasm for the positives of the screenplay, I also feel that Tony Goldwyn did an excellent job as the emotionally unstable author, so I just can't understand the low IMDb score. I won't contend that the film is without negatives. It's inability to secure any distribution deal in three years tells you a lot about it. The production values are shoddy, several scenes need a few more lightbulbs, there are weak performances in a couple of the smaller roles, and it is just too dark to attract any box office. But those factors certainly don't qualify this serious, ambitious film to have an IMDb score like Leonard, Part 6. The IMDb score should actually be in the fives or sixes, a C- on our scale.

Oh - and the film also has some pretty durned good nudity from Shea Alexander.

Here are three .wmvs zipped together.

Here are the stills:

Shea Alexander

 

 

 

 

OTHER CRAP:

The Nairobi Trio. One of the strangest concepts from the bizarre TV pioneer Ernie Kovacs.

Juicy tabloid update on the McCartney divorce

Lindsay Lohan would really like to visit Iraq with Senator Hillary Clinton
  • Somehow, I think she'd have more fun with Bill

The trailer for Ground Truth
  • "The Ground Truth" stunned filmgoers at the 2006 Sundance and Nantucket Film Festivals. Hailed as "powerful" and "quietly unflinching," Patricia Foulkrod's searing documentary feature includes exclusive footage that will stir audiences. The filmmaker's subjects are patriotic young Americans ordinary men and women who heeded the call for military service in Iraq as they experience recruitment and training, combat, homecoming, and the struggle to reintegrate with families and communities. The terrible conflict in Iraq, depicted with ferocious honesty in the film, is a prelude for the even more challenging battles fought by the soldiers returning home with personal demons, an uncomprehending public, and an indifferent government. As these battles take shape, each soldier becomes a new kind of hero, bearing witness and giving support to other veterans, and learning to fearlessly wield the most powerful weapon of all the truth."

Two clips and two trailers from The Wicker Man

Seven clips and three featurettes from Snakes on a Plane

I think I have found my favorite super-hero

Awesome "street-art graffiti" - painted on train cars!

Goggles :: The Google Maps flight sim

Complete list of Homer Simpson's jobs - from Wikipedia

Lucas approves 20-minute version of the entire 'Star Wars' saga, not re-enacted by bunnies.

I'll bet you guys will never guess which of our contributors submitted this link: America's Sexiest Cheerleader - FHM Poll

The following words are those of the submitter of the link: "Here is a piece on Leonardo DaVinci's Horse",
  • "The short story is that Leonardo's original got as far as the plaster mockup. Sadly, before it could be cast in bronze, it was destroyed in an act of mindless vandalism. The Horse would've made Leonardo great as a sculptor and he never ceased mourning for his horse. Skip ahead a few hundred years and it finally is completed. At 24 feet high it's impressive as hell and the detail work is beautiful. It also give you a good idea of just how impractical the Trojan Horse would have been."

Jay Leno's new and improved Tank Car

Monty Python - John Cleese teaches his class how to defend against a man armed with a banana

Video: The Time Fountain (This starts out slow, but be patient - it's fascinating.)

President's Formal Statement on the (Hopefully Fatal) Plague Afflicting Commie Hairball Fidel Castro - (WHITEHOUSE.ORG)

Athlete Tests Negative For Steroids ... Congress Demands Full Investigation
  • Brant Clarkdale, a utility infielder for the Kansas City Royals who has never hit a home run at the major league level, set off a firestorm of controversy with his negative test results.

This week's movies: early report
  • World Trade Center, 2700 theaters, 67% positive reviews.
  • Zoom, 2300 theaters, no reviews yet. (Tim Allen as retired superhero called back into service.)
  • Pulse, 2000 theaters, no reviews yet. (Yet another English adaptation of a Japanese horror film.)
  • Step Up, 2100 theaters, no reviews yet. ("Underdog makes good" dance movie.)
  • Little Miss Sunshine, expanding to 140 theaters, tremendous reviews - 91% positive. (Quirky comedy with Kinnear, Carrell)
  • Little Miss Sunshine performed VERY well last week in 58 theaters. It took in twice as much per screen as Talladega Nights.

The Weekend Warrior makes his box office predictions for the upcoming weekend.
  • He does not think that any of the four new arrivals has enough muscle to knock Talladega out of the top spot.
  • He thinks that Oliver Stone's World Trade Center will be the rookie of the week, but with a tepid $17 million.
  • The logical extension of his forecast is that this week will be down slightly from the same weekend last year. If so, this will be a reversal of trend. Ten of the last eleven weeks have been above the comparable week from last year.

Helen Mirren to play the current queen of England.
  • I suppose this will be the least nudity Mirren has even done. I've heard she stays completely dressed except during the anal sex scene.

How to do the best magic card trick in the world!

"Paul Giamatti is in negotiations to star as sci-fi author Philip K. Dick in an untitled biopic."
  • He was an imaginative writer, but was there ever anything interesting in Dick's life? I thought he was a nerdy guy who never left his typewriter. If I remember right, he rarely left his house and didn't even learn to drive until he was almost 30!

    I guess it won't be an action film.

One Moment On Earth - a Mosaic made from thousands of images made at exactly the same moment.

India's Port of Doom, where passenger ships go to die.

"Hey, Dalton, is Mel Gibson really as bigoted as they say?" ... "Opinions vary."

Four clips, three outtakes and a trailer for Trust the Man
  • "A smart, sophisticated comedy about the challenges of love and marriage among modern day New Yorkers, Trust the Man features the romantic escapades of two couples: a successful actress (Julianne Moore) and her stay at home husband (David Duchovny); and her slacker younger brother (Billy Crudup) and his aspiring novelist girlfriend Maggie Gyllenhaal). The film follows these four on their pointed, often surprising and frequently hilarious search for love in the midst of careers, family, infidelity and the ever-daunting search for Manhattan street parking."

Building A Better Mouth Trap

 

 

Movie Reviews:

Yellow asterisk: funny (maybe). White asterisk: expanded format. Blue asterisk: not mine. No asterisk: it probably sucks.

 

Felicity (1979)

Felicity is a classic bit of Australian erotica about a college girl's coming of age. Director John D. Lamond says Emmanuelle was a big part of the inspiration, and he filmed some exotic exteriors in Hong Kong, although most interiors were shot economically in a studio in Australia. According to the DVD commentary, it was a financial success.

Felicity, played by Canadian Glory Annen, gets a chance to spend her holiday in Hong Kong as a guest of her father's friend. Prior to that trip, Felicity had some limited experience with her best school friend, Jody Hanson, but had more questions than answers. She has been longing to discover the secrets of the flesh, and this will be a perfect opportunity. Her education starts on the flight over, when the couple behind her, thinking everyone is asleep, get it on.

Her father's friend, Marilyn Rogers, is not only a gracious hostess, but hip as well. When Felicity spies on her and her boyfriend, she doesn't mind, and takes Felicity to buy some big-girl underwear. Good thing too, because Felicity loses her virginity the night of her first party. While the deflowering wasn't very satisfactory, her relationship with a local girl, Joni Flynn, is much more so, and includes a trip to a bath house where a naked Sarah Lee caters to Felicity's every whim, while Angela Menzies-Wills takes similar care of Joni Flynn. Felicity eventually finds a young man she cares about, and learns how good sex can be.

This film had an easy job getting by the UK and Australian censors because there was nothing really dirty or violent about it. Yes, most of the characters did full frontal and rear nudity, including a host of unknowns, and everyone had simulated sex, but it was a charming and believable story. There were no gynocam shots and no violence or nastiness to object to. On the other hand, I would imagine that it would have trouble pulling an R in the States today.

I found it a perfectly acceptable example of late 70's soft core. C.

IMDb readers say 4.4 with only 57 votes.

 

Glory Annen 

Jody Hanson

Joni Flynn

Marilyn Rogers

Sarah Lee

Angela-Menzies Wills

Unknown 1

Unknown 2

Other Unknowns

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

Dann reports on Legion of the Dead:

I suppose you could describe this 2005 horror/thriller as a B-movie version of The Mummy, but with a female mummy. Sure, not as good as the original, but hey, this mummy gets naked so all is not lost.

An Egyptian tomb is found in, of all places, the California desert. Turns out it is populated by the ancient Egyptian High-Priestess Aneh-Tet, who was banished from Egypt for being a very bad girl, so of course she made her way to California. Yeah, right.

The archeologist leading the team has less than good intentions, and manages to awaken the sleeping priestess, who now needs to sacrifice 6 virgins in order to attain immortal life. You bet, people start to die.

Silly but fun, a very typical B-movie but not too badly done. Worth a watch if you don't expect too much.

Claudia Lynx

 
 

 

An imager named RokWatch offers Adrienne Barbeau in Swamp Thing

Squiddy spots some see-through action from Christina Milian

Luanne Gordon in a Kiwi TV series, The Strip

One more HQ look at Courteney Cox in Sardinia