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"Butterfield 8" (1961)

Butterfield 8 (1961) was released September 19th on DVD. First, let me say that this widescreen transfer looks very good for a 39 year old film. It stars Elizabeth Taylor in her prime, in a role which won her an Oscar for best actress (her first). Some say it was a sympathy vote, as she underwent a tracheotomy shortly after the ballots went out, but there is no doubt that Elizabeth Taylor at 28 was a beauty, and could act. If I had to sum up the film in one word, it would be anachronism. As the image shows, gas was 29 cents a gallon for regular, and any young woman who lived the way Gloria (Taylor) did was a very bad girl. Gloria modeled dresses by going to nightclubs and being photographed. This suited her perfectly, as she enjoyed this sort of night life, and was able to meet lots of men. She slept with whoever she wanted when ever she wanted.

Although this is considered relatively normal behavior today, it was scandalous in 1961. Perhaps that is why most of the reviews I have read today have mistakenly labeled her as a prostitute. The plot only works assuming 1961 moral standards. In fact, the movie is very clear on the point that she refused to accept money from anyone, and was her own woman. She falls for a wealthy unhappily married man. She also has to keep up a pretense with her mother, whom she lives with. Single women did not live alone in 1961. The film has a suitably moralistic ending. A sub-plot worthy of mentioning is a platonic relationship she had with her childhood friend, played by Eddie Fisher. Butterfield 8 was her "exchange service," another anachronism in these days of answering machines, cell phones, pagers and message center.

There are some good points to the film. Elizabeth was superb. The photography and art direction was also top notch. The score, unfortunately, is so heavy handed it must have been jarring even in 1961. Much of the dialogue is terribly stilted, probably do to censorship by the film rating board. Though I found the reminder of the 1961 moral climate somewhat interesting, the film does not translate well to modern times.

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  • Elizabeth Taylor (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12)

    "Two Deaths" (1995)

    Two Deaths (1995) by Nicolas Roeg takes place in Bucharest in 1989. A full scale revolt is raging outside, and a doctor is hosting a dinner party for old school chums. They enquire about a picture of an attractive young girl, and he explains that it is his housekeeper, whose life he decided to ruin. Most of the film is conversation, and not very interesting conversation at that. The housekeeper, played by Sonia Braga, and by Lisa Orgalini as a young Ana in flashbacks, was stalked by the doctor, but was engaged to the love of her life. The doctor, it seems hit the fiancee on his motorcycle to get him out of the picture, but only succeeded in paralyzing him from the neck down. After less than satisfactory hospital care, Ana agrees that her body will belong to the doctor in exchange for his taking care of the fiancee. The story is supposed to be more interesting than I am making it sound, and we learn some equally juicy tidbits about the guests. That, and frequent interruptions from the soldiers, and injured people, is essentially the film.

    I hate talky films, and this is a very talky film. It was adapted from a play, and that nearly always causes a talky film. Sonia Braga, who was red hot when she was younger, still looks good for her age, and Lisa Orgalini is adorable. Maltin gave it two stars, which is probably about right, by I have no idea what he is trying to say in his review. Berardinelli also gives it two stars, but wrote a review I understand and mostly agree with. Ebert, in giving it one star, points out that the novel it is adapted from takes place in South America. The Rumanian revolution was probably stuck in to provide some action. IMDB readers have it at a surprisingly high 7.2. The DVD is not that good looking either. Most of the scenes are shot inside with poor lighting. All in all, there is not much to recommend here.

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  • Sonia Braga (1, 2, 3, 4)
  • Lisa Orgolini (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
  • Johnny Web
    "Final Destination " (2000)

    No nudity in this new release.

    A pretty decent movie in the teenage fast-cut horror genre. Despite some flaws, it has some thrills, and is many cuts above the typical offering of this type.

    Devon Sawa plays a guy who is on his way to Paris for his senior trip when he has a disaster vision. Because of his erratic behavior, he and six others are kicked out of the plane. Lo and behold, his vision was accurate, and the plane blows up.

    Well, it turns out that death is not happy at being cheated of seven victims, so it decides to claim them back. The challenge - are they all doomed, or is there a way to beat even death itself? It's a slasher movie, except that death has cut out the middle man, and just does his own work.

    It's the usual formula stuff, nothing special, but enlivened by some very good use of the surprise cut techniques and some good performances from the kids.

    General consensus: Again, opinions were strongly divided. Most critics were lukewarm or hated it (Berardinelli gave it one star! Apollo gave it a lackluster 72.) But average moviegoers liked it, Apollo users loved it, and gave it an average of 90, and with a substantial number of votes!

    IMDB summary: 6.9 out of 10. This is an extraordinarily good score for a teen-oriented grisly death film. The original Nightmare on Elm Street is 7.0. The original Halloween is 7.5. The original Scream is 7.3.

    Rotten Tomatoes. Mostly rotten. 30% positives across the board, but only 25% from the top critics. Ebert gave it three stars, but his admiration was rare among critics.

    Box office: a solid hit at $53 million US, 10 million pounds UK, on a $27 million budget.

    DVD info from Amazon. Believe it or not, the DVD contains deleted scenes, an alternate ending, and commentary! If only it contained Ali Larter naked.

    "My Myself I" (2000)

    Guilty of violating one of the most important of the Scoopian Unities, the Kieslowski Rule. (No double lives.)

    Rachel Griffiths plays a lonely single woman who wonders what her life would have been like if she had married a guy named Robert. While crossing the street, she is nearly run over by a woman. When she awakes from brief unconsciousness, she sees that the woman standing over her is her - the alternate version of her who DID marry Robert. They change places briefly, and emerge both the wiser and happier.

    This pause provided so you can retch without missing anything.

    You might consider this the antiMap. I carped that Map of the World did a heavy handed job on some important and gripping themes. This film is the opposite - it does a pretty good job on a really, really trite and cliched premise. I expected to hate every minute of this movie, but I didn't. Oh, mind you, the ending was dumb. The ending is everything promised by the weak premise.

    So think of the film as a trip to Key West - even though the destination might be disappointing, the ride there isn't bad at all.

    Rachel Griffiths is a talented actress. This particular movie is a comedy, but she's done some serious work in the past, notably as the less talented but more loveable sister in "Hilary and Jackie". Here's she's a big rawboned rubbery-faced woman with a broad comic style. She's Carol Burnett with an Aussie accent, and she is able to get some empathy for her character without resorting to any Chaplainesque tricks. She draws it out of reality. Basically, she's a good actress doing comedy rather than a comedienne doing schtick.

    Of course, she had to carry the entire comedy, and that's a lot to ask from one person not named Groucho.

    But I guess the bottom line is that I actually watched the movie, despite the fact that I hated the premise and fully expected to hate the entire film, so give the director and the performers a lot of credit for making it palatable.

    The nudity situation was somewhat confusing to me..Griffiths has a really big chest, but she didn't show it. And I have to admit I was really wanted to see it, because she shows a lot of cleavage in a couple scenes. On the other hand, she doesn't have one of those tight gym-rat butts, and you'd expect her to keep her bottom hidden, but she DID show that. I'm pretty sure that the picture of her standing in the bathtub is a double (Two reasons: I don't think her butt actually looks that good, and her body double is listed in the cast), but the other two butts are obviously really Miss Griffiths (albeit partially covered by the guy's knee).

    Box office: A domestic USA dud, despite decent reviews and good audience reactions. $565 thousand. Never made it to more than 59 screens.

    IMDB summary: 7.1 out of 10.

    General consensus: about three stars. Lots of people loved it. Apollo scored it 82, and Apollo users scored it 86. Ebert gave it three stars. Berardinelli gave it two and a half. Interestingly, Berardinelli disagreed with me 100%. He felt it constituted poor development of a promising idea.

    DVD info from Amazon. No special features worth noting.

  • Griffiths (1, 2, 3)

    "The Dead Zone" (1983)

    Steven King wrote the story, David Cronenberg directed, Christopher Walken and Herbert Lom star.

    So what do you think it might be? A really creepy, off-beat, unsubtle story which bears no resemblance to the world we live in, right?

    Wrong. It's a suprisingly human story about a man with an exaggerated version of the "go blind, sharpen other senses" syndrome.

    Walken is a mild-mannered and compassionate English teacher who has a terrible auto accident which puts him in a coma for five years. He wakes up, his mom is dying, his fiancee is married to someone else, he has no job, no life.

    But he has picked up something else - a sixth sense - a power that allows him to "feel" certain things about people from touching them. Perhaps he sees their future, or their past, or even something happening in their lives elsewhere at that moment.

    Should he ignore the gift? Exploit it? Use it to help others? As time goes on, he learns more about how he may answer these questions in a way that gives him satisfaction.

    And then he finds "The Dead Zone" - a mysterious part of his visions of the future - a gap, if you will that he can't quite see. He eventually deduces that this is the part of the future that is not fixed. It is the part that can be changed. Then he has to determine what he should change, if anything. Should he help the people he loves? Should he help mankind?

    The entire film is marked with a gentleness and humanity that you would never expect, and is marred only by an over-the-top Senate candidate played by Martin Sheen. Sheen must have needed serious dental work after the scenery-chewing he did here, but I don't believe he was to blame. The character is intentionally one-dimensional to focus us in on the clear decision that Walken has to make. (They liken the Senator character to Hitler when they discuss changing history). King wrote this a long time ago, and as time went on, he learned more about constructing real heroes and villains in shades of grey.

    Anyway, this is perhaps one of the best movies ever made from a Stephen King book. Walken is neither menacing nor creepy, just mainly lonely, and Cronenberg directed with surprising restraint. (And some beauty - there is a particularly good shot of Anthony Zerbe inside on a winter's day, watching his son and Walken talking outside. The interior colors are warm and vivid, and the room is filled with healthy live plants, contrasting starkly to the sterility of the outside white-blue hues and lifeless vegetation. Great shot in both concept and execution.)

    My top King flicks would include this film, The Shining, The Running Man, The Shawshank Redemption, Stand by Me, and The Green Mile. Many people like Misery, Delores Claiborne, and Carrie, as well. Among the pure horror fantasy stories, this one is probably the most human, the most accessible.

    My Big Steve wall of shame would include Firestarter, all the Children of the Corn movies, all the Sometimes they Come Back movies, Pet Semetary, Cujo and Christine. And did I mention Firestarter yet?

    Boy , that's quite a range when you think about it. From Shawshank to Sometimes They Come Back ... For More. "Shawshank" is rated 9.0 by IMDb voters, the second highest of any movie ever. "Sometimes .. For More" is rated 3.5 - Ed Wood territory. And in my opinion, Firestarter is even worse - a legit candidate for the worst ever. So how many other guys can you name who have written a candidate for the worst movie ever made as well as the best?

    Here is a really excellent essay on "The Dead Zone"

    The only nudity came from a small role. Roberta Weiss played a victim of a serial killer whom Walken helps to catch.

    IMDB summary: 7.1 out of 10.

    DVD info from Amazon. No special features worth noting. A good rental, but no special reason to own it.

  • Weiss (1, 2)



    The Cat did some captures from Arthur Penn's "Night Moves" (1975), concentrating especially on Melanie Griffith's midnight dive.

    Is it really possible that movie was made 25 years ago? Both Melanie Griffith and James Woods were very young in this movie. Woods was 28, Griffith only 18, at least according to her official birthdate. Even Gene Hackman was a sprightly 98 then, and had only made about seven thousand movies.

    IMDB summary: 6.7 out of 10.

    VHS info from Amazon. The film is not available on DVD.

  • Griffith (1, 2, 3, 4)
  • Warren
  • Clark


    These are Kate Hudson in the new Vanity Fair. She's not only lovely, but already part of a Hollywood family - those wacky cut-ups, The Hudson Brothers. Just kidding. She's actually Goldie Hawn's daughter.

  • (1, 2, 3)
  • Graphic Response
  • Karen Black, topless scenes from "In Praise of Older Women"
  • Susan Strasberg, also from "In Praise of Older Women"
  • Lara Flynn Boyle, topless as well as gettin' it on with Lowell from "Wings". Vidcaps from the movie "Susan's Plan".
  • Oz
    Marianna Hill
    (1, 2)
    Comments by Oz:
    Marianna Hill appeared in the Fun House a while ago but I've expanded on the number and size of images capped. El Condor is set last century when the Mexicans were prominent in the American south-west and it is centered around a Mexican fort. Marianna plays the 'willy warmer' of the camp commander, although her sentiments are elsewhere. The fort is being attacked at night and she performs a public striptease in her bedroom to distract the Mexican defenders. It works, quite understandably.

    Prior to all this, the Mexican soldiers performed a raid on a local village looking for women. The rest of the collages show some of the local women they found before they themselves were killed.

    Evelyn Guerrero
    (1, 2, 3)
    Comments by Oz:
    Evelyn Guerrero is capped in two Cheech and Chong movies. The first is Things Tough All Over and there is some sort of see-through exposure. The last two collages are from Nice Dreams and there is definitely some nipple exposure.
    Soo Garay
    (1, 2)
    Comments by Oz:
    Soo shown in an episode of The Hunger titled Bottle of Smoke.
    Camilla Ball
    (1, 2)
    Comments by Oz:
    Camilla is one of 6 wannabe actors who shared a house in Los Angeles for a British documentary series called Hollywood Fame (Deanna Merryman was another one). The idea was to see how they go about launching an acting career and, hopefully, achieving fame and fortune. In the scene capped Camilla was at her acting class and practicing a love scene. Unfortunately for her, a nipple popped out without her realizing it. You can see her reaction when she told about in the last collage.
    Benise Vergara
    (1, 2)

    Estefania Pigazzi
    (1, 2)

    Jennifer Blanc

    Kari Wuhrer

    Kelly Preston

    Comments by Brainscan:
    A guy walked into the shop the other day with some fashion mages from Argentina; and what do my wondering eyes behold? A couple of fashion models, suitably clothed for the Funhouse. From Denise Vergara we have one pic from the runway and a second B & W pic that is striking enough for me to work on it 'til I got it. Estefania Pigazzi is also a beauty and is also wearing what all of us appreciate in clothes.

    On the domestic front there are some pics found on a Reuters newsphoto site. They include Jennifer Blanc at the premiere of Dark Angel, Kari Wuhrer at the football Titans premiere and Kelly Preston at some outing without John the hubby. I bet all of you are thinking the same thing about that pic: I know Kelly Preston's boobs, Kelly's Preston's boobs are friends of mine and those, senator, are not Kelly Preston's boobs. Either she has put a lot of weight, all in one place, or Ms. Preston has committed a mortal sin and surgically altered her physique. Neither is a particularly attractive possibility, but given the choice I am in favor of natural...and reversible...weight gain.

    Angie Milliken
    (1, 2, 3)
    New 'caps by Scanman. Three collages from the movie "Dead Heart"
    Jane Fonda
    (1, 2)
    More great new 'caps. #1 from the swinging sci-fi classic "Barbarella". #2 from "Coming Home"
    and ...
    Jennifer Connelly Hot new collages by Dann of Jennifer showing the goods from "Waking the Dead"
    Alba Parietti
    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
    A nice variety of topless collages, plus one great thong pic (#4) of the Italian actress.
    InÚs Sastre
    (1, 2, 3)
    3 excellent topless collages from "Par-delÓ les nuages" ("Beyond the Clouds")
    Catherine McCormack
    (1, 2)
    Catherine in "Dangerous Beauty" by pro/rocky
    "Play it to the Bone Babes"
    (1, 2)
    'Caps of girls in the ring showing off more than just what round is next. #1 features Fulvia Sanchez and Faye Mangabang. #2 is Tamara Gibster.
    Meilani Paul I think Meilani was shopping in the "Gravity Defying" aisle at Boobs R Us. Thanks to HBS Grafix for these images from the movie "Corporate Ladder".
    Liane Forestieri Images from the German movie, "Sexy Lissy".
    Kelly Trump Topless at the beach. Also by HBS Grafix, but I'm not sure of the source.
    Jaime Bergman Star of the Baywatch parody show "Son of the Beach". Here she is on the cover of Ego doing the famous Coppertone pose.
    Julie Graham Vidcaps by Watty of Julie going topless in "Dirty Tricks"
    Athena Massey A long time Fun House regular. Here she is looking great topless and just out of the shower. Not too sure of the source, or who to thank.
    Lisa Reeves With titles like "The San Pedro Bums", "The Chicken Chronicles", and "Ski Lift to Death" in her filmography, it's no wonder that her career was so short. These vidcaps by ReCap are from her first movie "The Pom Pom Girls".
    Rainbeaux Smith a.k.a. Cheryl Smith. Also going topless in "The Pom Pom Girls", by ReCap.
    The Funnies
    Top Ten Rejected Slogans For Firestone Tires 10. "Safer than a Russian sub."
    9. "The perfect gift for your mother-in-law."
    8. "Because there's a lot riding on your lawsuit."
    7. "Better than driving around on your axles, right?"
    6. "Pop a set on your car today."
    5. "C'mon, did you really expect good tires on a new Ford?"
    4. "Reinforcing the importance of the speed limit."
    3. "Hey, it's not like we crashed our blimp or something."
    2. "Complete with the no-charge stunt driving test" and the number 1 is. . .
    1. "You can't recall a better tire."
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