Innocence (2000) is a well-respected Australian film about love. The two lovers, he widowed for 30 years, and she married in a secure but non-sexual, unfulfilling relationship, were lovers as young adults. Oh, and they are in their 70's. Since so many people think so highly of this film, I won't write the spoiler I would need to explain why I saw this as the worst kind of chick flick I have ever seen. It also brings in one of my least favorite film elements at the end.

The present day is punctuated with flashbacks, in which we see Kristien Van Pellicom showing her breasts several times, and a headless woman, probably her character, running by flashing bush in a blurry sequence. With a user rating of 7.2 of IMDB with nearly identical scores from men and women, a $2.19M US box office, and favorable reviews from most critics (except Village Voice, that never likes anything), you might enjoy this. I didn't. Nobody had the high moral ground, the ending came out of nowhere, and the plot seemed to be playing on my emotions as an end in itself. This is clearly a C+, but in a genre I hope to avoid forever.

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  • Kristine Van Pellicom (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21)

    "Love Liza"

    Love Liza (2002) -- Apologies to Scoopy, because forgot about his review of this film, or I would not have bought it, and also to the critics who found something wonderful here. but I watched it with no preconceptions, and honestly thought they were all mildly retarded, including Kathy Bates as the mother of the woman who committed suicide, Phillip Seymour Hoffman as the grieving, gasoline huffing widower, his RC model buddy, and the girl who wants to date him. I was amazed when I started reading reviews, and found out that they were not supposed to be retarded at all, and that only Hoffman was supposed to be strange due to grief and his gas fume sniffing.

    Ann Morgan, as the dead wife, is seen completely naked in a flashback scene. Scoopy's original review gave the scores, which were far more favorable than expected. I agree with Scoopy that I will not watch this again. Based on the widespread acceptance, this must be a C.

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  • Ann Morgan (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

  • Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy)

    Tuesday is the day when I get the new releases from Blockbuster, which appear in the Wednesday edition. This is generally not my favorite day of the week even in the best of circumstances, since either Tuna or I manage to review really good movies and/or movies with nudity before they appear in Blockbuster, so I end up going through Hollywood formula leftovers on Tuesday. This week was worse than usual. These movies are both terrible and have no nudity at all.



    View from the Top (2003)

    This is the movie in which Gwyneth Paltrow plays a small-town girl who uses a career as a flight attendant to escape a dead-end life.

    There are two fundamental problems with View from the Top:

    1. Although it was marketed as a comedy, it isn't really funny and rarely tries to be. It is a naive, wide-eyed romance about a small-town girl trying to live out her dream to be somebody. It's closer to a romantic comedy, but that's only because love does finally conquer all. It's probably better described as a lightweight drama with some attempts at funny moments.

    2. It has a very confused POV. Gwyneth Paltrow goes through the entire movie determined to follow her dream and let nothing get in her way. In the last five minutes or so, she decides that she should alter all of her life-long dreams just to be with the right guy, and that her dreams weren't really worth jack shit.

    I suppose that teenage girls might think there was some entertainment value here, and sub-18 year olds do rate it much higher than other age groups, but my own daughter's review was succinct: "Sappy, and with the sappiest musical score ever. It's like they made a movie aimed at young girls, but they let 40 year old gay guys pick the music. Eeeeew"

    I thought it over and realized she had a point.

    The most interesting thing about the film is to speculate about what the hell is happening to Gwyneth Paltrow's career. Four or five years ago, she seemed to be Hollywood's go-to girl for every important role. Now all the important roles for women 25-39 are going to Zellweger or Winslet or Cameron Diaz or even Jennifer Connelly, while Gwyn has concurrently made some lightweight choices. View from the Top and Bounce are both poor films and unimportant ones. Some of her other choices in the past three years have not been awful movies (Duets, Shallow Hal), but are insignificant ones, and have thus signaled Gwyn's removal (or perhaps I should say self-exile) from the A-list.

    Looking at her upcoming schedule, I don't see any certain blockbusters, but I'd guess that's it's not too late for her. She may get some critical credibility back by playing the lead role in a biopic of the late Sylvia Plath, but I can't imagine the suicidal poet route is going to improve her box office average, even if it does give her some award opportunities and a chance to work with her underrated mom, Blythe Danner.

    Her best hope for a return to fame and glory seems to be her reunion with John Madden - no, not the vociferous football coach-turned-commentator, but the director of Shakespeare in Love. She will co-star with Anthony Hopkins in Madden's" Proof".

    Of course, when you're talkin' about careers on the wrong side of the mountain - Rob Lowe was in this movie. He had about three lines, and those could have been cut.

    Info page and critical summaries here

    No nudity, but some sexy material from two famous women:

    • Gwyneth Paltrow (1, 2, 3)
    • Christina Applegate (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)




    Bulletproof Monk (2003)

    Brandon Tartikoff became the youngest man ever to head a network when he became president of NBC in 1980 at the age of 31. Tartikoff left behind a permanent linguistic legacy when two of his pet phrases came out of industry jargon and became part of popular culture. (1) He used the term "high concept" to describe a show that could be summed up in about ten words. (2) The high concept situation comedy summaries popularized the phrase "hilarity ensues".

    • The viceroy catches hunger-striking Gandhi eating a rack of lamb. Hilarity ensues.

    • Bill's late mother comes back as a talking barcalounger. Hilarity ensues.

    • Child genius ordained as a 12 year old priest. Hilarity ensues.

    • Ashley and Mary-Kate hit by falling cocoanuts. Amnesia and hilarity ensue.

    The catchphrase "hilarity ensues" has certainly been around at least since the fifties. I can't state the case with certainty, or prove it with citations, but I'm quite sure it has always been a favorite of TV Guide for condensing comedy show summaries, probably dating back to the New Stone Age, or at least to I Married Joan.

    • Ricky needs new luggage. Lucy overhears him complaining to Fred about "getting rid of the old bag". Hilarity ensues.

    • Judge Bradley Stevens sentences Joan's dope dealer. Hilarity and cold turkey ensue.

    The movie Bulletproof Monk is a perfect example of high concept:

    Monk, only protector of all-powerful ancient scroll, must choose successor. Chooses Stifler. Hilarity ensues.

    OK, to be honest, almost no hilarity ensues. The film's weakness is that it makes almost no use of its intriguing "Stifler as Chosen One" premise. There is very little humor. In fact, it is just another 1980s style Hong Kong movie, except in English, and it takes itself much too seriously. It operates at a comic book level of depth and characterization - exaggerated sadistic Nazis and Buddhist monks who have read too many fortune cookies - but it offers little of the wild action and fun normally offered by comics as compensation for the lack of profundity. A good comic knows that it can strive to be profound only to the extent that it earns its stripes with energy,  pyrotechnics, and an offhanded, casual approach to infinity. The action in this flick develops too slowly, and the payoff is too small. Great fight scenes seem to be promised, but they never really occur.

    Some of the action is pretty damned confusing as well. I kept thinkin' "Where did those characters go? Why did they introduce those people in the first place? When did the monk actually come clean about the scroll? What really happened to those other monks in the torture contraptions?" I had to drop all these sorts of objections, however, because these problems are all solved within the DVD. Just watch the deleted scenes, and all is explained.

    By the way, Stifler's mentor is The Monk With No Name. I'm guessing that when he was studying Buddhism, the made him give up all his worldly possessions except his Clint Eastwood movies, and America albums.

    • Jaime King - not even close to nudity, but as long as I watched the sumbitch ....

    Info page and critical summaries here






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    Here are the latest movie reviews available at

    • 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 Lawdog or Junior or C2000 or Realist or ICMS or Mick Locke, or somebody else besides me)
    • If there is no asterisk, I wrote it, but am too ashamed to admit it.

    Graphic Response
    • Kim Dickens, toplessness and a far-off gyno view in scenes from "Things Behind the Sun" (2001).

    Be sure to pay Graphic Response a visit at his website.

    'Caps and comments by Brainscan:

    A range of things today.

    First up is the rest of the Adrienne Sachs caps from "In the Cold of the Night". This was a killer performance by Adrienne, in an otherwise awful movie. Damndest thing, though... within a couple of years she was done in Hollywood. Mighty fine looking woman, who deserved much better. Nine collages of Adrienne, starting with hooters in a shower, progressing to hooters and bum in bed and ending with hooters in a hottub.

    Two photo models, playing photo models, show up modelling photos in this magnum opus. They are veteran body double, Shelley Michelle and one-timer Tammy Hanson.

    Maga-cutie, Amie Elizabeth, was in "Foolish". She shows off a nicely proportioned upper body. Traci Bingham was also a member of the Foolish cast, but she gives us only cleavage. So what is up with that? Tracy and Carmen Electra get nekkid at the drop of a hat in front of a still camera but never, no no never, give up the goods in a movie. Can someone please explain that to me?

    "Rowdy Girls" had more than Hefmates and Pets. Two women play topless hookers in a bawdy house where no one seems to get laid. They are Chonda Fuller and Tracy Cranshaw (not sure which is whom). And then Sita Thompson plays the buxom, married lust-interest of the unmarried sherrif's deputy. Boy, does that cause problems.

    Last up are a couple of women from the late 60's movie, Madigan. Dated and contrived, the movie does give us Toian Machinga in a fleeting, blurry topless scene. Her character is supposed to be nekkid, but if you look at the bottom left frame, you can see she is wearing a patch over her bottom goodies. And Susan Clark plays Henry Fonda's sweetie, but she's not so friendly as to drop the sheet that's between him and the goal line.

    Zenguru's Runway Report
    Another batch of runway models showing some skin while "on the job".

    'Caps and comments by Dann:

    Some amazing see-through blouses were the real highlight of this 1979 movie billed as a "Mexican cinema classic".

    The story is fairly simple: two men commit a robbery, and while one is captured, the other flees to live on a deserted beach with his lover, named Erotica. When the partner escapes, he joins them and we wind up with a lover's triangle. Not a ground-breaking story, but interesting because of Rebeca Silva's wardrobe. She wore see-through tops (or no top) throughout the movie.

    Natasha Gregson Wagner

    Patricia Arquette
    (1, 2, 3)

    From the David Lynch movie "Lost Highway" (1997). Both ladies go topless, and Arquette also bares a little bit of bum.

    Anna Ammirati
    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

    Vidcaps from the Tino Brass movie "Monella" aka "Frivolous Lola" (1998). If it says Tinto on the box then you can count on a couple of things....breasts, bums and plenty of bush. In this case there are even some up close and personal gyno-views.

    Kelly Macdonald
    (1, 2, 3, 4)

    The petite "Trainspotting" babe topless in scenes from "Some Voices" (2000).

    Pat Reeder
    Pat's comments in yellow...

    Now, Wait A Hollywood Minute! - David Spade's "Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star" topped a slow movie box office weekend, but Spade's victory was tempered by news that he's being sued by Wham-O. In the movie, Spade tries to learn what it's like to be a kid by jumping on a Wham-O Slip 'N' Slide, but he does it dry and bellyflops, then he pours oil on it and crashes into a fence. Wham-O wants the movie yanked from theaters because they say this violates safety guidelines and might prompt other adults over five feet tall to misuse the product and sue them over the resulting injuries. Paramount said the suit is without merit.

  • Everyone knows David Spade isn't over five feet tall.
  • They want to protect the public by yanking a David Spade movie from theaters? Sounds perfectly reasonable to me.
  • Paramount claims nobody could be that stupid...but then again, a David Spade movie IS #1 at the box office.
  • By coincidence, "Slip & Slide" is also the name of Wham-O's law firm.

    These Stories Are A Real Pain In The Butt - Jennifer Lopez told W magazine that tabloid stories about her being furious and calling off her wedding to Ben Affleck because he went to a strip club were "insane." She said, "I know what he does, he knows what I do...I knew he had gone."

  • His bodyguards are required to tell her everything.
  • If she called off weddings over something that, she'd hardly ever get married!
  • If he wants to spend the evening with a naked woman, he can always take J-Lo to an awards show.

    Battery Not Included - A jury in St. Paul, Minnesota, found in favor of Marilyn Manson in a federal lawsuit filed by a concert security guard. He wanted $75,000 for emotional distress and other injuries after Manson pulled the guard's head into his groin during a concert and gyrated. Manson didn't deny the act, but said it didn't constitute battery, and the jury agreed.

  • The jury might've ruled differently if they'd know Marilyn was a guy.
  • The guard actually liked it, and that's what caused him so much emotional distress.
  • The guard should think of it as his big break, like when Courtney Cox danced with Bruce Springsteen.