Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy)
The Card Player (2004)
The Card Player is a film which may leave you
pleasantly or unpleasantly surprised. It depends on your
Let's start with a blank slate. Assume you don't
know anything about the movie except that it went straight to video.
You'll find yourself watching a fairly interesting police procedural
with a few touches of mad imagination. It is the usual story of the
mundane hard-working police engaged in a battle of wits with an
insane super-criminal. In this case, Mr Insane kidnaps women, then
contacts the police to play online draw poker, best of five hands.
If the police win, the victim goes free. If Mr Insane wins, he slits
the victim's throat. For a little extra spice, a sound webcam
broadcasts the face of the bound victim to the police station in
Given that assumption, you will find that is a
serviceable film to pass the time when you're bored, much like a
gazillion other films which you have seen and forgotten. It is
similar, for example, to a 2001 film called Hangman, which featured
Lou Diamond Phillips. The Card Player obviously seems like a foreign
film, not just because it takes place in Italy, but because the
minor roles are all dubbed very poorly. On the other hand, the two
stars are competent actors who speak English, and they have most of
the screen time, so the acting doesn't destroy the fourth wall that
often. Apart from the poor dubbing, the only really weak
element of the film is that it spends altogether too much of its
running time simply showing the full play of every hand, despite the
fact that online poker is not much of a spectator sport. On balance,
the story's premise is not very original, and The Card Player is not
a good film, but neither it is a very bad one. It's probably better
than you expected.
Now let's tinker with your expectations. This time
you know in advance that it is a Dario Argento film. Given that you
now anticipate certain lurid pleasures from the film, you will find
yourself deeply disappointed.
- First of all, it is quite mundane, about as
routine as it could possibly be given that it is about an insane
super-criminal. No baroque flourishes, no shots from the insane
man's POV, no crazy lighting schemes, nothing very operatic.
- Second, it is not very violent. Almost all of
the slashing occurs off-camera. When the super-criminal wins the
poker hands, he flashes a knife menacingly at the bound victim,
whose face is seen in a tiny and blurry window on the computer
screen. The victim then drops out of sight, the web cam window
becomes blank, and the off-camera woman's screams intensify until
they stop entirely.
- Third, there is no significant nudity or gore.
There are some naked mutilated corpses, but they are obviously
either full-body dummies or women covered with extremely thick
prosthetics. There is no time when the corpses seem to be actual
There are a few good moments and interesting minor
characters, but it's just not the kind of over-the-top fun that you
expect from Argento. It's just a routine run-of-the-mill movie.
The Thing Below (2004)
film is also known as Sea Ghost.
basically the usual grade-B alien creature movie - high-ranking
military officers wearing mullets and long sideburns, cops
scratching their heads with loaded guns, painted clouds that never
move, stock footage of planes taking off, a cartoonish CGI monster,
guys at "command center" commenting on the action so we can follow
the plot - that sort of thing, all topped off with the usual "The
alien creature from the sea depths is roughly like some octopus
tentacles, except without the pesky attached octopus. It also has
the power of mind control like the monster in Event Horizon, so it
presents itself to the members of the search team in forms they will
allow to get near them. One crew member fancies himself quite the
cowboy, so the monster appears to him as The Man With No Name in
those Spaghetti Westerns, and challenges him to a showdown in the
dusty streets of a deserted Western town. (I assume this set was
available for free, so the director didn't want to waste the
opportunity.) Although the action takes place far out at sea, ol'
Tex never suspects a trap when he finds himself walking around
Tombstone circa 1880, and he has no qualms about coming near the
fallen gunslinger after the showdown, only to get choked and
strangled by tentacles. Another crew member loves porn, so the
monster comes to him in the form of the Adult Entertainer of the
Year, and lures him near with a sexy striptease. Once again, the
crew member illogically believes that she is really there to do a
personal hot oil lap dance for him, approaches her, and you can
guess the rest. There were other times when the creature took the
form of a crew member to gain the trust of another, but the script
quickly abandoned that device since it actually made some logical
probably easiest just to say The Thing Below is a Jim Wynorski
picture, because that's virtually a guarantee of something or
another. Ol' Wynorski has made about as many bad films as anyone in
- (4.43) -
Deathstalker II (1987) (V)
- (4.34) -
Transylvania Twist (1990)
- (4.31) -
- (4.27) -
This Earth (1988)
- (4.24) -
Chopping Mall (1986)
- (4.20) -
Miss Millions (1993)
- (4.18) -
Lost Empire (1983)
- (4.10) -
Force (2002) (V)
- (3.99) -
Neighbor's Wife (2001)
- (3.99) -
Bad Mama II (1987)
- (3.85) -
Against the Law (1997)
- (3.81) -
Haunting of Morella (1990)
- (3.80) -
of Desire (1993)
- (3.79) -
Gargoyles (2004) (V)
- (3.79) -
- (3.77) -
Sorority House Massacre II (1990)
- (3.68) -
Bare Wench Project (2000)
- (3.68) -
- (3.67) -
Chemistry 4: Full Exposure (1995) (V)
- (3.67) -
- (3.67) -
- (3.66) -
of Desire (1995)
- (3.60) -
Demolition High (1996)
- (3.60) -
- (3.60) -
Bare Wench Project 2: Scared Topless (2001) (V)
- (3.60) -
Return of Swamp Thing (1989)
- (3.52) -
Dinosaur Island (1994)
- (3.47) -
- (3.47) -
of Seduction: Body Chemistry III (1994) (V)
- (3.46) -
Curse of the Komodo (2004)
- (3.45) -
to Die (1990)
- (3.44) -
- (3.35) -
Stealth Fighter (1999)
- (3.28) -
Project Viper (2002)
- (3.26) -
Vampirella (1996) (V)
- (3.25) -
Virtual Desire (1995)
- (3.24) -
Rangers (2000) (V)
- (3.22) -
Pandora Project (1998)
- (3.19) -
- (3.17) -
Munchie Strikes Back (1994)
- (3.14) -
976-EVIL 2: The Astral Factor (1991)
- (3.12) -
Point Zero (2000)
- (3.12) -
Cheerleader Massacre (2003) (V)
- (3.05) -
Wasp Woman (1995) (TV)
- (2.83) -
- (2.77) -
- (2.55) -
- (2.34) -
Ghoulies IV (1994)
Is that a filmography, or what? Let
me put that list into perspective.
Jess Franco is sometimes cited as a
candidate when people evaluate the worst director of all time.
Franco has been directing for 48 years, and has 184 directing
credits at IMDb. In all that time, he has only 11 movies rated below
4.0 at IMDb, and none below 3.0. Wynorski has been directing for 20
years, and has already accumulated 41 movies below 4.0, of which
four of them are beneath 3.0.
Ed Wood's median lifetime score is
3.2 for eleven rated films. John Derek's is 3.0 for five films.
Wynorski's median is somewhat higher at 3.6 - but he has sustained
that level for 49 rated films.
Here's another way to look at it.
Plan 9 from Outer Space is rated 3.5, about equal to Wynorski's
career median, so his career is roughly Plan 9 times 49, which is
Plan 441 if my math is right.
Wynorski's highest rated movie (Deathstalker
II, which I like) is scored higher than the others because it is
outrageously and self-deprecatingly bad, not because it is good.
Since 1998, Wynorski has made only
one movie rated above 4.0. He has never made a movie rated higher
So you see what Wynorski's general
standard is, right? Well, Sea Ghost is so bad that Wynorski disowned
To be fair, I don't agree with this film's low ranking
within the Wynorski canon.
This movie is not good in the sense that it will steal any Oscar
but is reasonably good by the standard of grade-B straight-to-vids
and is not immediately recognizable as an amateurish or low-budget
effort. In fact, it actually could have been one of Wynorski's better films. On
DVD it looks like a real movie with a decent budget (the actual
budget was $1.5 million), and the acting is at least generally
competent, if uninspired. Of course, this kind of film can only be
so good, but given the inherent natural ceiling imposed by low
budget alien creature films in general, it really could have been OK
for one thing:
Worst ... CGI ... ever.
The creature looks about
as real as Pete's Dragon, but not as scary. That is the reason why
Wynorski disavowed the final cut.
On the other hand, even bad CGI monsters
are better than a rubber octopus or some guy wearing
a Halloween monster suit, so it isn't really fair that this film is
rated below Plan 9 or Bride of the Monster. It's not an outright
abomination, but just a basic straight-to-vid creature feature which
destroyed by bad CGI effects.
The Crimson Ghost
'Caps and comments by Hankster:
Today we return for more nudity & mayhem in "Ilsa the Wicked Warden."
First up is a topless Lina Romay as a "Babe
in Bondage" who is terrorized by the evil Ilsa played by Dyanne Thorne.
|Then another naked "Babe in Bondage," Peggy
Markoff, gets a nasty whipping by Ilsa.
|Next is Tania Busselier with perky nipples
lying in bed, a full frontal shower scene and then her turn as a
'Babe in Bondage" hanging topless in chains followed by some bush as
she is returned to her cell.
|For those who like it a little "Lighter" here's
Kate Hudson with a leg show on "Leno".
A note from ICMS
It's been a while. I wanted to follow up on today's story in the "Other
Crap" section about the rocking nun. In
case you're interested here is the picture from newspaper "Het Laatste
Nieuws" from August 23, 2005 of the aforementioned nun dancing dirty in
Cologne in the presence of Popie Ratzie. BTW, why assume that Flanders
equals not much fun? If that were the case, would I keep living here :-)
|Dragonscan looks at Julie Benz in
|Dragonscan looks at Kristin Davis in Sex
and the City
|Laura Prepon comes close to showing a
breast in Lightning Bug
|Lauren Lee Smith in Lie With Me. This
film purportedly shows unsimulated oral sex.
|Michelle March and
Charlotte Marshall strip off in the Caribbean
Here 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 Junior or Brainscan, or somebody else besides me)
- If there is no asterisk, I wrote it, but am too
ashamed to admit it.
Check out the product reviews for
Anal Douche at amazon.com
Robertson apologizes for assassination call, says it would
be OK just to wound Chavez.
Grammar Nazis Wrestle With Grammatically Incorrect 'Virgin'
"BUSH PROPOSES MOVING NATION'S CAPITAL TO IDAHO" ... Move
Could Mean Trillions To The Gem State
- Business Leaders Say Idaho, the state which currently
gives President George W. Bush his highest approval rating in
the nation, could soon be getting something in return as the
president today proposed moving the nation's capital to Idaho
for the remainder of his second term.
Chris Wallace chats with Jon Stewart about politics and Steve
The Daily Show's Senior Drug Dealer Rob Corddry is totally
Jon Stewart interviews Rachel Weisz
The Daily Show's Ed Helms looks into an 'extreme' health
insurance plan. Woo!
This Week in God: Compari-Sin Stephen Colbert looks at how
three different religions punish masturbation.
Woman Files Complaint After Doctor Tells Her She's Obese
- Irony #1: the patient complained because her doctor spoke
plainly and directly when he told her how to get healthy!
- Irony #2: the patient complained because the doctor said
he didn't want to take any more of her money!
- Irony #3: the Attorney General's Office tried to get the
doctor to settle the matter by agreeing to attend a medical
education course, so he could learn to confuse patients with
weasel-words and arcane medical jargon, to understate their
need to change unhealthy behavior, and to take more of their
money!! Now THAT'S proper professional behavior.
Weekly World News:
"POLISH HOOKERS PAY MEN TO HAVE SEX WITH THEM!"
Mickey Mouse attempted suicide in the comic strip, late October,
1930 (with links to every strip)
DC Comics wants Batman and Robin Back In The Closet
- The Kathleen Cullen Fine Art gallery in New York City has
been running an exhibition of the work of Mark Chamberlain
since February. The exhibition came to a screeching halt
recently in spite of the brisk sales of many of the pieces
exhibited. The subjects of the pictures Chamberlain was
exhibiting were as controversial as they were obvious —
uncompromisingly homoerotic depictions of Batman and Robin.
The New York Times offers a new explanation for the box office
slump: a lot of this year's movies suck. Yes, that explains
the failure of Stealth, but it does not explain why Cinderella
Man failed, or why Michael Bay's best movie did worse this year
than his bad ones did in previous years. Of course there have
been some product failures, but there is also a "paradigm shift"
Greenlight to Old School 2. The writer and director will
return, but the stars have not yet been signed.
Wired interviews Jon Stewart
Family Guy has fun with AIDS. This program has upset many
advocacy groups. “There is nothing comical about a person lying
in a hospital bed dying of AIDS or any other disease. Fox owes
people living with HIV/AIDS and their families an immediate
Curiosities from Japan's porno shops. (Amazingly free of
Thieves and parakeet rob a hardware store. ... "Police are
looking for a woman with a pierced eyebrow. Her accomplice is
described as a bald man, about 6 feet 4 inches tall and 240
pounds. A large green parakeet may be resting on a shoulder of
O, Canada, our home and modest land.
Canadian lottery winner wants new nylons They won 7.5 million Canadian dollars. Adjusting for the
exchange rate and prices in Toronto, she might be able to get
The Daily Show:
"With 58% of Americans unhappy with Iraq, President Bush has
started giving up naptime to drum up support."
The trailer for Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain
- "An epic love story set against the sweeping vistas of
Wyoming and Texas, Brokeback Mountain tells the story of two
young men, a ranch-hand and a rodeo cowboy, who meet in the
summer of 1963 and unexpectedly forge a lifelong connection,
one whose complications, joys and tragedies provide a
testament to the endurance and power of love."
- Cowboys who have to hide the love that dare not speak its
name? Could there be a more blatant Oscar grab?
- If you think the official description sounds syrupy, wait
until you hear the music. I'd call it The Cider House Rules
Again, but this makes Lasse Hallström's movies seem like
kick-ass redneck fun! On the other hand, major talent lurks
beneath the surface. Annie Proulx wrote the story and Larry
McMurtry co-wrote the screenplay.
The trailer for Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance
- "Ryu (Ha-kyun Shin), a young factory worker, has recently
quit art school in order to look after his sister, who is
dying a slow, agonizing death for want of a kidney. When a
doctor tells Ryu that he is an unsuitable donor and that the
chances of finding one is slim, Ryu turns to the black market.
But the old lady who runs an underground organ ring cheats
him, taking both his life savings and his kidney and leaving
him without the kidney she promised in exchange. Ryu's
girlfriend, a Raggedy-Ann leftist named Youngmin (Du-na Bae),
urges Ryu to kidnap the four-year-old daughter of
industrialist owner Park Dong-Jin (Kang-ho Song), who recently
laid off Ryu and many other workers from his factory. Ryu
agrees, but just as the plan is on the verge of success, Ryu's
sister discovers what Ryu and Youngmin have been up to, and
kills herself in despair. Compounding the tragedy, Ryu loses
track of his little illicit charge during a visit to his
childhood haunts, and she drowns in the river Ryu and his
sister played in as kids. Dong-jin's deep grief quickly turns
to rage and he embarks on an implacable quest for vengeance.
At the same time, Ryu goes after the organ traders, knowing
that if they had come through, none of the tragic occurrences
would ever have happened. Bound by their common sense of loss
and deep-seated anger, the two are on a collision course of
The international trailer from Wolf Creek
- "A chilling, factually-based, story of three road-trippers
in remote Australia who are plunged into danger when they
accept help from a friendly local."
- And by "factually-based," they mean Australia really does
exist! Or so they want us to believe.
Coming Soon! has two more new clips from Joss Whedon's Serenity
"W. vacationed so hard in Texas he got bushed. He needed a
vacation from his vacation." It's difficult to see why he
doesn't get along with the French.
Fascinating serious story:
In Iraq Jail, Resistance Goes Underground
Regis Philbin Competes for 'Best Regis' Award. Of course,
there are several other nominees, including Jimmy Fallon and
Ben Affleck goes back to writing. I know it sounds weird to
say out loud, but Affleck is an Oscar winner - for writing. He
has a TV series and a movie in the pipeline.
Hello Blubbuh, Hello Flabbah - Michael Moore writes home from
Porn Star or My Little Pony?
- "That's what we're here to find out. Below is a list of
names. Each name belongs to either a porn star, or a My Little
Pony. Your job is to try and tell the fornicator from the
latter. Supine or equine? New Wave Hookers or new-agey
This week's movies:
The Brothers Grimm - 42% positive reviews.
- Polarized reviews, ranging from "Gilliam is a film artist
with a grand and copious vision that he incorporates into
every frame of every film like a potion" to "Mr. Gilliam has
no clear idea what he's doing, so the movie is nothing more
than noise, costumes and disjointed special effects that do
not make an acceptable substitute for the sense of tempo the
rest of the film sorely lacks."
This week's movies:
The Cave - not enough reviews for a score
The Weekend Warrior makes his predictions for this weekend's box
- He is not very inspired by The Brothers Grimm, and thinks
it will battle The 40 Year Old Virgin for the top spot with a
- He's predicting a weak fifth place for The Cave
Google Talk is now ready to rock 'n roll
Pat Reeder (comedy-wire.com)
Pat's comments in yellow:
FEDS NAB CROOKS AT FAKE WEDDING
Ball And Chain - Dozens of wedding guests boarded a yacht docked off Atlantic
City for an elaborate formal wedding, only to find it was really an FBI sting.
The bride and groom were undercover agents who had lived among them for seven
years, investigating an Asian-US smuggling ring. The FBI staged the wedding
ceremony just to arrest the 87 guests, which also led to the seizure of $4.4
million in counterfeit $100 bills; $700,000 in fake postage stamps; over a
billion counterfeit cigarettes; a large quantity of methamphetamines, ecstasy
and Viagra; and hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of knock-off designer
* ...And 87 toasters.
* Too bad the wedding was fake; sounds like they brought some great gifts.
* Does the bride still have to write thank-you notes?
* Martha Stewart planned the wedding, as part of her community service.
* But all the loot they seized still didn't cover the cost of the wedding.
PET SEX MOTEL CATERS TO ANIMAL ATTRACTION
Las Ultimas Noticias reports that some entrepreneurs in Sao Paulo, Brazil, have
opened the Pet Love Motel, a sex motel for pets. Like
human versions, the rooms are decorated with cushions, satin sheets and ceiling
mirrors. A spokesperson said, "Pets have needs, and they also want some
* Doing it doggy-style isn't exciting enough?
* Their spokesperson: Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog.
* If you bring a parakeet, he'll just have sex with the bird in the ceiling
* Also like the human sex motels, it's where you go to get a little tail from
some bitch in heat.
* If you think your dog gets excited about a car trip NOW...
FOOTBALL TEAMS FACE PINK LOCKER ROOM
To intimidate and emasculate football opponents, the University of Iowa painted
the visiting teams' locker room at Kinnick Stadium pink all over: walls, carpet,
ceiling, toilet stalls, commode seats and even the urinals. Des Moines Register
columnist Sean Keeler said it's like "Barbie's Dream House on acid, a pastel
nightmare. You feel naked without a little dog in one arm and a handbag in the
* It's a locker room...They ARE naked!
* Oops, they forgot to take the urinals out!... Never mind: after 10 minutes in
there, they all pee sitting down.
* One team went in there, and the quarterback quit to become a Mary Kay
* The moral: never let Paris Hilton design your locker room.
* Of course, they could overreact and take even more steroids.
MAN FAKES KIDNAPING TO AVOID MARRIAGE
Police in Guatemala charged a 25-year-old man with wasting their time with a
false report after he disappeared on his wedding day, then showed up three hours
too late for the ceremony, claiming he'd been kidnaped. Police said they
discovered he'd lied "to escape the
wedding, poor bride."
* He's now begging the judge to sentence him to
* He had to choose between two prisons, and at least this one gives him time
off for good behavior.
* He and the Runaway Bride should get together, then jilt each other.
JITTERBUGGING NUN REPRIMANDED
Belgian nun Johanne Vertommen was reprimanded by her mother superior after news
photos of her at the Catholic Youth Day celebration in Germany were printed.
She was dancing with a missionary, and in one photo, she was flying up in the
air jitterbug style, while in another, she was hanging on with her legs wrapped
around him. She was in a crowd of 700,000, including the Pope. The nun
explained, "I wouldn't do this at home, but at such occasions I get carried away
by the enthusiasm of the group."
* From now on, she'll do all her dancing in the
* And now, 700,000 people know that nuns don't wear panties.
* This is why Baptists don't have sex standing up: it could lead to dancing.
* She may quit the convent and join the road company of "Nunsense."
ALI G TACKLES PAM
British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, best known for playing Ali G, pulled a stunt
that backfired on the beach in Malibu. In his guise as foreign TV reporter
Borat, he came out of the water on an inflatable turtle and knocked Pamela
Anderson to the sand with a flying rugby tackle. Her security men grabbed him
and dragged him back into the water. Pam was reportedly on the beach to preside
over a wedding ceremony for her two dogs, Star the golden retriever and Luca the
* For Luca's sake, let's hope he's the male.
* Doesn't he know it's not funny to interrupt a sacred religious ceremony?
* Pam tried to dodge him, but when she's on a beach, she runs in slow motion.
* Know what would be really funny? If the security guys had dragged him back
into the water and held him under for awhile.
NEVER PICK UP COURTNEY LOVE
The New York Post reports that journalist Neil Strass is writing a book about
pick-up artists, and he used the techniques he'd learned to pick up Courtney
Love while interviewing her for Rolling Stone. It worked too well: a few days
later, she said her car was repossessed and asked to move into the house he was
sharing with some pick-up instructors. She allegedly swore at a dog, threatened
to punch a
roommate, used his toothbrush, sat in on a pick-up class topless to offer her
own tips, and woke Strauss up at 2:20 a.m. holding a Prada shoe and saying,
"Let's redecorate the house! This will be our hammer!"
* You guessed it: she was hammered.
* After watching Courtney Love, all the men in the pick-up class decided to
* He's now trying to learn some expert techniques for getting Courtney Love out
of his house.
ROCK STAR BODY PARTS
Spin magazine listed the 25 "most incredible" rock star body parts, including
Michael Stipe's skull, Elvis' pelvis, Gene Simmons' tongue, Tina Turner's legs,
50 Cent's chest, Bruce Springsteen's butt and Tommy Lee's manhood. Topping the
list was Madonna's navel, and at #2, Keith Richards' liver. Spin said Keith's
liver tissue is so indestructible that when he dies, they'll line the exterior
of the space shuttle with it.
* Along with the lining of Whitney Houston's nose.
* Put them all together, and you have the new lead singer for INXS.
* Failing to make the list: Britney Spears' cellulite, Elton John's hair and
Courtney Love's brain.
CLINTON SOLVES POVERTY PROBLEM!
Bill Clinton is hosting a three-day "Clinton Global Initiative" in Manhattan to
help come up with solutions to global poverty. Attendance
costs $15,000 a person.
* My suggestion for ending
poverty: get a bunch of suckers to give you $15,000 each.
OBESITY NEWS ROUNDUP
The CDC's 2005 Obesity Report claims that 25 percent of Americans are now obese,
and 40 percent are overweight. Every state posted weight gains except, for some
reason, Oregon. Critics admitted obesity is a problem, but questioned the
methods, saying the CDC classifies anyone slightly heavier than the standard for
their height as obese, even muscular athletes.
* Like sumo wrestlers.
* Athletes are heavy, but they have no fat: their bodies are 90 percent muscle
and 10 percent steroids.
* Every place but Oregon, they conducted the polling at WalMart.
* Remember when the big worry in America was that children might go to bed
Dr. Terry Bennett of Rochester is being investigated by the New Hampshire
attorney general for bluntly telling a patient she was fat. He says it's his
standard lecture to all obese patients: that she can't get healthier by seeing
doctors but only by losing weight. The woman complained, and officials will now
decide if he was "inflammatory and degrading." Bennett said he didn't mean to
offend, he just told her the truth. Other formerly obese patients defended
him. One said she was furious at first, too, and stormed to her car, then
realized he was only the messenger.
* She realized it when she couldn't fit into her
* And you know what they say: "Don't eat the messenger."
* She refused to believe she's fat, even though he took out a tongue depressor
and she demanded one with a Fudgesicle on it.
* He told her she was fat, she demanded a second opinion, and he said, "Okay,
you're ugly, too."
* He said being blunt is the only way to get it through their fat heads.
Currently on disability. If you'd like to get in touch with him, his email
address is email@example.com
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