Video clips: Nicole Kidman, Part 3 of ?

Dead Calm (1989). Movie House review. Also known as Part One of the Billy Zane Sinking Ship Tetralogy. Zane is even further over the top than usual, but the film is generally an entertaining thriller. Important thing is Kidman removes her clothing. (Zipped .wmv)

Moulin Rouge (2001). Movie House review. A musical with no substance, but what style! Kidman makes a rare display of a sense of humor, but only shows one brief nipple. (Zipped .wmv)

Birthday Girl (2001). Movie House review. Another thriller. Not a bad little flick after it gets going, but a total box office bomb with $2.4 million on its opening weekend, a 52% drop the second week, and no third week. Fortunately, Kidman took a big pay cut ($1.5 million) to do this film. Her normal salary at the time was $7 million (for 2001's Moulin Rouge and 2002's The Hours)  - more than Birthday Girl's entire gross! (Zipped .wmv).

Incidentally, contrary to her reputation and her salary expectations, Kidman has never been very strong at the Box Office. In her entire career she has been in only ONE movie to exceed $100m in domestic gross, and that was Batman Forever, which was certainly not driven by her presence. Details from Box Office Mojo. Her salaries in the last five pictures have ranged from $15m to $17.5 m, per IMDb. Four of the five did between $59m and $95m. The fifth one was the pretentious Birth, which took in a mere $5 million after having paid $15m to Kidman! Her last three wide releases had opening weekends in the $20-$22m range.




Video clips: some silly crap

Nicole Richie falls out of her dress during an interview. (Zipped .wmv)

Maria Sharapova falls out a bit at Wimbledon. (Zipped .wmv)

Joan Collins - five clips from the immortal cinema classic, The Bitch (Zipped .wmv) ... (Movie House review)



Do You Like Hitchcock? (2005)

More from Dario Argento!

A young man named Giulio, now a film student at a university in Turin, has been a voyeur since he was a child. He often watches a beautiful young woman named Sasha who lives in the apartment across the street. Sometimes he sees a little flesh, and at other times he sees arguments between the girl and her mother. He becomes sufficiently obsessed with the girl to follow her around town, where he sees her renting Hitchcock movies and apparently scheming with another attractive young woman, a blonde.

When the girl's shrewish mother turns up dead and the girl inherits a great deal of money, Giulio is intrigued. He knows that the girl and her attractive friend are both interested in the film Strangers on a Train, and he imagines that the women have decided to commit two murders based on the premise of the Hitchcock film - an exchange of murders between strangers, with each having an ironclad alibi for the victim they know. Giulio figures that the blonde has killed Sasha's mother while Sasha had an ironclad alini, and that Sasha must now reciprocate. He becomes determined to study the blonde's life to see who she might want Sasha to kill.

Needless to say, Giulio's girlfriend is not at all amused by his obsession with the two foxy women, his voyeurism, or his ridiculous theories about murders inspired by obscure films. But are they really so ridiculous, or has he stumbled upon the real plot? Are the women aware of his theories? If so, and if they really are murderers, isn't his own life in danger?

The main Hitchcock template for this film is not Strangers on a Train, but Rear Window, a film that is frequently referenced here right down to some small details like Giulio's broken leg, which confines him to his apartment with his binoculars. Oh, yeah, and there is a very strong element of Dial M For Murder as well, although I can't discuss that without spoiling a late plot development. While he was at it, director Dario Argento also referenced two Brian de Palma films, Dressed to Kill and Body Double. And those are only the obvious ones that I noticed. He may have dropped sly references to several other films as well, and all within a reasonably coherent plot. (The film does have one immense flaw in its logic, but it is in a matter secondary to the murder case.)

Do You Like Hitchcock? is not particularly bloody by classic Argento standards; and the individual scenes are not as taut and suspenseful as they might have been. The whole film just seems to be a playful homage on Dario's part, the result being a film which is neither very flamboyant Argento nor very controlled Hitchcock, and which is really too light in tone to be the work of either. Given the obvious references, the Donaggio score, Dario's inherent competence, and nudity from four attractive women, it is not an unpleasant way for a film geek to pass 90 minutes, especially since the English dubbing is far better than usual. In general, I thought it was good fun, although I didn't really care about the solution to the mystery. On the other hand, if you are not already a fan of De Palma, Hitchcock, and Argento, this film is not likely to provide your epiphany.

The DVD is not recommended because it is too damned dark, and has only one short "behind the scenes" featurette. If you want to see the movie, don't own it, rent it.


Elisabetta Rocchetti
Chiara Conti
Cristina Brondo



Dear Uncle Scoopy,

A couple of years ago you, with the help of a member who is an expert on this sort of thing, did me a HUGE favor by identifying a soft-core actress (Fawna MacLaren) I'd become smitten with and the name of the movie (Lover's Leap) I had a scene of her in.  Now I'm in a similar bind, and I was hoping you and your crack squadron of soft-core experts might be able to help.

A year or so ago, I stumbled upon this movie (on Cinemax, I think) and taped this fantastic scene.  I've since become very, umm, attached to this scene and the woman in it.  I have attached six photos of the scene in question.  I would be extremely grateful if you or someone you know could identify this woman and/or the name of this movie.




You're On Notice

Today's notes: "YUR MY BEE-OTCH ... ROFL ... PARIS"

The single best-known song in the world - John Denver - Country Roads

John Denver - Rocky Mountain High Video

OK, last John Denver song, I promise. This one brought a tear to my eye: John Denver & Cass Elliot sing Leaving on a Jet Plane 8/19/1972

The Skeletor Show:
One of Bob Hope's all-time snarkiest movie lines:

1950's Johnny Reb Cannon Commercial!
The classic Great American Soup commercial with Ann Miller
Legal downloads: Free Movies in the Public Domain

Cruise commits the ultimate Hollywood sin - leaving money on the table

Ari Gold's Best Moments

Some clips from Jackass Number Two

Daily Box Office for Friday, August 25, 2006
  • Invincible (Disney football movie starring Marky Mark) opens a hair above expectations
  • The snakes head for the airline crapper, with a 60%+ drop from last Friday.
  • The Illusionist did well in its expansion to 144 theaters, taking 15th place

The New Yorker has an interesting article about Perelman and the Fields Medal

Privacy advocates sue Barney the dinosaur

YouTube could be a steal at $1 billion

Star Wars meets the Village People

More advance looks at the robot designs from the Transformers movie



Movie Reviews:

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


L'Appartment (1996)

Rome (2005) is an award winning HBO offering from the UK based on the end of Caesar's reign. The deluxe box set is a little pricey, but very nicely done. Tonight, I present the images from Episode one, which includes full frontal and rear nudity from Polly Walker and Kerry Condon, and buns from an unknown doing street theater.

The first thing that struck me about this series was that Romans all had British accents. I found this jarring at first, but it makes sense. Had this been a US series, everyone would probably have had American accents. They actually used accents to distinguish nobles from plebeians. I also thought the bikini waxing was anachronistic. Other than that, they seem to have gone to great pains to get period detail correct, and were interested in historical accuracy, even down to battle strategy.

IN the first episode, we are introduced to all of the characters. Caesar is still in Gaul, mopping up the last pockets of resistance. His daughter dies in childbirth, leaving Pompey Magnus with no remaining loyalty to Caesar, amidst a growing concern with the senate that Caesar has become too popular with the people, and may try to become king. Pompey Magnus makes his first move against Caesar. Caesar announces that he will be returning to Rome.

While it was nominated for many awards, it received few. I will reserve judgment until I have seen more episodes.


Polly Walker
Kerry Condon






Dann reports on Ghosts Never Sleep:

In many ways, this 2005 drama reflects every person's worst fear: that things spiral out of control putting you in a position where you are held responsible for things you didn't even do.

Jared is a struggling writer with a tragic past. When he writes of a dark family secret, his mother, who is determined to keep things hidden regardless of the cost, causes a chain of events that eventually leave Jared fleeing from the law.

Further complicating things is his involvement with Melissa (Shea Alexander), a coke-driven aspiring producer who strips to make a living while desperately trying to fund her project. She needs Jared to write the screenplay of his latest work.

The film delivers top-notch acting by several name stars such as Faye Dunaway as the mother, and Sean Young as Jared's wife. It's very worthwhile when you're in the mood for a thoughtful storyline with rich character studies.

Shea Alexander







Sandra Bullock in the immortal cinema classic Who Shot Patakango? I really like Sandra, but she has made some of the worst friggin' movies in history. She has IMDb ten credits in the fours or lower.

  1. (4.92) - Two If by Sea (1996)
  2. (4.86) - The Preppie Murder (1989) (TV)
  3. (4.81) - Miss Congeniality 2: Armed & Fabulous (2005)
  4. (4.66) - Who Shot Patakango? (1989)
  5. (4.56) - When the Party's Over (1992)
  6. (4.29) - Who Do I Gotta Kill? (1992)
  7. (4.17) - Religion, Inc. (1989)
  8. (3.34) - Fire on the Amazon (1993) (V)
  9. (3.31) - Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997)
  10. (3.22) - Hangmen (1987)

I've never seen Hangmen, but it would have to be pretty goddamned bad to be worse than Speed 2 and Fire on the Amazon. Many people consider its director J. Christian Ingvordsen, to be the worst of all time. He has a good case. His filmography makes Uwe Boll and Fred Olen Ray look like Spielberg and Michael Curtiz. He has made 11 films that have an IMDb rating, and 9 of them are rated 3.0 or lower! (And the other two ain't so hot either!)

  1. (4.37) - Strike Zone (1999)
  2. (3.93) - Blood Relic (2005) (V)
  3. (3.02) - Cyber Vengeance (1995)
  4. (2.90) - Hangmen (1987)
  5. (2.89) - Absolute Aggression (1996)
  6. (2.79) - Comrades in Arms (1991)
  7. (2.66) - Firehouse (1987)
  8. (2.65) - Backfire! (1995)
  9. (2.48) - The Outfit (1993)
  10. (2.42) - Mob War (1989)
  11. (2.24) - Airboss (1997)


Julia Stiles. Every so often, Hollywood invests a lot of time and effort to convince us that someone is a star, and we just don't buy into it. Keanu Reeves comes to mind. The latest such project is Julia Stiles. At various times, they have tried to paint her as a sex kitten (in a Poison Ivy clone called Wicked), as a Shakespearian actress, and as a professional dancer - all with hilarious results. Then they cast her as a CIA bureau chief in the first Bourne movie, even though she was 20 at the time, and looked 14.

I suppose she may make it yet. She just needs a niche. Keanu was a laughingstock for years (remember his ridiculous accent in that Dracula movie?), but now is a dependable go-to guy for certain types of roles. He'll never be Kenneth Branagh or Russell Crowe, but he's OK as long as he can speak in his natural voice and doesn't have show any great emotional depth. Maybe the breakthrough part is out there for Stiles as well.