There has been a MAJOR upgrade of the Julie Gayet page in the
Encyclopedia. She is one of France's greatest stars, and the page
really needed work.
reply to the New Zealand All Blacks Haka.
Barbra Streisand in a
see-through dress. Not in 1973. Now.
Tyra Banks Show looking
for audience members who will attend the show
in their underwear
Yes, that's a pistol
completely stuffed into the vaginal vault
SCHWARZENEGGER GIVES UP
- Or, as he likes to
call them - "plo-chops"
Stephen's Sound Advice:
How to Survive High School
Colbert discusses his
failure to receive a MacArthur genius grant
A script review of
Charlie Kaufman's Synecdoche!
- He thinks it is
weak and overlong, in stark contrast to the
LA Times, which felt it to be the greatest
artistic achievement in the history of
Here's the LA Times
Jon Stewart interviews
haircut-challenged Johnny Knoxville
Part 2, Johnny Knoxville
Part 3, Johnny Knoxville
The Thai coup's main
message was 'No Vote Win,' a harsh rebuke to
the government's 'Yes Vote Lose.'
The Daily Show's Rob
Riggle makes his debut with a military man's
POV of the Thai coup -- and freaky sex.
The Daily Show breaks
down the difference between meteorologists and
Part Two of the study
The Daily Show:
"By digging trenches
around Baghdad, Iraqis hope to keep out
Jon Stewart discusses
70s and '80s XXX Movies
With Memorably Kooky Trailers
Here is Bobby Kennedy
Jr's Rolling Stone article about the evils of
electronic voting machines.
(It will be in the October 5th issue)
- My favorite line:
"With a few key people in the right places,
it would be possible to throw a presidential
election." Thank God that never happened
before electronic machines. God only knows
who might have been able to steal the
presidency with voter fraud in .... oh ...
let's sat hypothetically: Texas and
- I guess Bobby Jr.
wants to turn back to the old days when only
Democrats were capable of voter fraud!
AHMADINEJAD: Are you
asking the questions that are on your mind or
questions that are given to you by others? ...
ANDERSON COOPER: Actually, in America, we have
a free press, unlike in parts of Iran."
Jackie Chan's career in
Big Papi homers twice -
and the Red Sox defeat Santana!!! Ortiz now
has 52, the all-time Sox record.
- (Yes, that's right,
Santana lost a game in the second half of
the season. It's the only one this year)
Disney to adapt more park
rides into movies.
- Given the monstrous
financial windfall from Pirates of the
Caribbean, Disney figures this ride-to-movie
thing is pretty sweet. Next up: Jungle
- I'm holding off on
this one. I'm waiting for Enchanted Tiki
Birds and the Hall of Presidents
This is a real
article, not satire:
Business grad students
most likely to cheat.
- "In their survey
comments, business school students described
cheating as a necessary measure and the sort
of practice they'd likely need to succeed in
the professional world."
The trailer from Thong
"Members of the Gallatin
City Council said they’re embarrassed by the
flood of publicity surrounding the filming of
a scene from the movie “Thong Girl 3” in the
mayor’s office, so they want to change a city
- No problem. They
can film Thong Girl Four at my place
The American trailer for
The History Boys
Scientists shocked as
Arctic polar route emerges
- Late this summer,
"a ship could sail unhindered from Europe's
most northerly outpost to the North Pole
The trailer for The Good
- DeNiro directed
this drama/thriller about the founding of
the CIA. Stars: Matt Damon, Angelina Jolie
Lewinsky Mulls '08 Run
- Former White House
Intern Characteristically Offers Self as
Alternative to Hillary
This week's major movie
- Jet Li's Fearless,
1800 theaters, 73% positive reviews.
Consensus: beautifully filmed, beautifully
- Jackass Number Two,
3100 theaters, 68% positive reviews.
Consensus: these total jerks can be pretty
- Flyboys, 2000
theaters, 36% positive reviews. Consensus:
full of itself for no good reason.
- All The King's Men,
1500 theaters, 16% positive reviews.
Consensus: Razzie time! Outrageous
overacting, inflated posturing, and
wallowing in more pig shit than James
Yellow asterisk: funny (maybe). White asterisk: expanded format.
Blue asterisk: not mine. No asterisk: it probably sucks.
Kissing on the Mouth (2005)
Kissing on the Mouth is an unrated micro-budget film created by four young
adults in their early 20s to present an honest and accurate picture of love
and sex in the new millennium for recent college graduates.
Kate used to date Kevin in college, but they broke up over cheating. She
now lives with Joe, but has started fucking Kevin again. She doesn't want a
deep relationship with anyone, as she explains to her best friend Kris. She
just wants to get laid. Kevin wants a real relationship now, and Joe is the
jealous type. None of the four have settled into careers as yet.
The four creators, Kate Winterich, Joe Swanberg, Kevin Pittman and Kris
Williams, not only played the four major roles using their own names, but did
100% of the crew work as well. Their editing is decent, as is the sound, but
the photography is not at all good. They shot it on digital video, and from
the look of it they did not use a high-end camera. Much of it is blown out,
and there are way too many extreme close-ups. Also, the camera isn't steady
much of the time, and the images are often unfocused.
The sexual content is far greater than most mainstream or even indie films,
although it never seems prurient. Kate Winterich shows all three Bs, and is
naked for a good deal of the film. Kate trims then shave her public hair on
camera in close-up, and one of the guys jacks off in the shower, complete with
money shot. It doesn't get much more honest than that. I guess it wouldn't be
much of a date movie, even though women shared equally in its creation. Men
rate it a solid 7.0 at IMDb, but women score it a bottom-dwelling 3.4.
This is a hard one to grade. They managed to book four festival showings,
and now have DVD distribution, which is not bad for a first effort at all.
Even Variety gave it a thumbs up for midnight festival viewing. I guess I'll
call it a C+, a success of some kind, although I can't figure out what the
genre is. I don't have anything in common with these people, so was not
especially involved with their lives, but the extreme nudity and sex was
enough to keep me awake.
The Piano (1993)
A mute woman (Holly Hunter) lives in Scotland with her father and her
illegitimate daughter. She only "speaks" in sign language through her daughter
(Anna Paquin), or by playing the piano. Daddy manages to marry her off, sight
unseen, to a man now living in New Zealand. When she arrives on the Kiwi coast
with her belongings, including her piano, her intended (Sam Neill) makes her
leave her piano on the beach. If you are guessing that this made for a rather
chilly honeymoon, you are way ahead of me.
When hubby takes off on a small trip, she strikes up a platonic
relationship with a European neighbor who has embraced the Maori and gone
native (Harvey Keitel). The neighbor hears her play, senses what she wants and
needs, and hatches a plan to seduce her. He trades 80 acres of land to her
husband for the piano, but demands that she be his teacher. It is then that
she figures out that she can win back her piano by getting increasingly
friendly with the neighbor. When her uptight husband discovers this
hanky-panky, things get out of hand, although the film does manage an upbeat
For those who enjoy symbolism, The Piano is dripping with it, to the extent
that director Jane Campion even won the Golden Palm at Cannes, where symbolism
can actually be exchanged for Francs at a very favorable rate. It wasn't just
the French who loved it. Nearly every critic found it to be one of the top
films of the year, and virtually every element of the film won awards:
writing, direction, acting, and even the technical aspects. The film earned
more prestigious honors than I have the time or energy to list, highlighted by
Oscar nominations for Best Picture and Best Director. It might have won in
many years, but lost out to the Schindler's List juggernaut, thus showing that
1993 was obviously the year for long meaningful films. A young Anna Paquin
received numerous best supporting actress nods, and Holly Hunter was
everyone's pick as best actress, winning the Oscar by keeping her mouth
completely shut and her clothes off. I mention this in the hope that many
other actresses will read this and try the same tactic.
It would be easy for me to write a review oozing with enthusiasm for this
highly acclaimed film, but it would be enthusiasm I don't feel. The pace is
extremely deliberate, and much of the film is a piano concert, evidently
featuring music actually played by Hunter. Hunter's performance may have truly
been brilliant, but I was not entertained or enchanted by this mute character
who rarely showed any expression on her face. Paquin did an impressive job
with a huge role, but I got very tired of her shrieking, and I never did see
what about Sam Neill finally won her over. It don't dislike the film, but I
must wonder if everyone who praised this film so enthusiastically 13 years ago
would feel as strongly about it today. IMDb readers now score it a
Made for only $7 million, The Piano grossed $40 million domestically,
despite being in only 671 theaters. That's more per screen than some $200
million blockbusters! Given the awards and the fact that the film earned a
phenomenally large amount for money for an art film, The Piano is clearly a B
by our definition.
It was released on DVD before I started reviewing movies, and the primitive
DVD includes a letterbox widescreen transfer and a full screen version, but
absolutely no meaningful extra features. The film would greatly benefit from a
new transfer and a commentary. I might even watch that.
Scoop's notes from October, 1999:
If your taste runs to action movies, this is not your cup of tea, but if
you appreciate some thoughtful filmmaking, you might enjoy this story about a
Scottish woman who goes across the world to an arranged marriage with a
stranger who lives in in a bleak part of New Zealand. Her new husband
(Sam Neill) is so
insensitive that he will not help her transport to his home the piano she
managed to drag from Scotland to the nearby beach in New Zealand. A roughneck
neighbor, who has virtually gone native Maori (Harvey Keitel), trades
the husband some land for the piano, and then allows the wife to buy it
back key by key with sexual favors. Despite his use of sexual blackmail and
his savage appearance, the neighbor turns out to be far more tender and
complex than the man she came to marry.
Jane Campion is the only female director ever to win the Golden Palm at
Cannes, and was only the second woman ever to be nominated for the Best
Director Oscar. Lina Wertmueller was the first, and Sofia Coppola has since become the third,
but none of them won the award. Campion did win the Oscar for Best Original
A background of still nature and piano music, splendid acting, and some
artistic photographic composition of the coasts and rain forests, make this
film a masterpiece in many ways, but the Golden Palm awarded to The Piano at
Cannes probably tells you all you need to know about what type of film it is.
Dann reports on Bare Behind Bars:
suppose it comes as a surprise that 1980's Bare Behind Bars is a
"Women in Prison" movie. It does have a few surprises, though, because
this Brazilian cult flick carries an X rating, rather than the R rating
that most of these sport. It's really hard-R most of the way, but a few
explicit scenes bought it the X rating from the MPAA and got it banned in
the UK and West Germany. While it was filmed in Portuguese, it does have
an English soundtrack, not that you need dialogue to figure out what's
The plot, weak as it is, revolves around a
woman's prison run by a brutal warden and vicious guards, all female, who
constantly torture and sexually abuse the inmates. The warden also has a
nice side job where she "sells" prisoners to rich local women who take
them home for lesbian sexual trysts.
Even the prison nurse enjoys romantic
interludes with the prisoners, easy for her since she is responsible for
periodic "examinations". Of course, the inmates themselves are busy
getting it on with one another, so no one is too concerned.
Finally fed up with all the abuse, three
prisoners escape, and promptly take up with local men so they can ... as
you might guess ... have sex. Lame and mostly laughable, but absolutely a
must-see for fans of the "Women in Prison" genre; probably one of the
better ones of that type.
People who know my work know I don't
usually do "scene collages", preferring instead to include as much of the
movie as possible for a particular actress or group, but in this case, I
had little choice. There was just too much to include in a single collage,
and even with everything, there was some explicit stuff that I left out.
|Maria Stella Splendore