- Charlie's French Cinema Nudity Site
X-Men: The Last Stand (2006):
The Last Stand concludes the X-Man trilogy, or perhaps I should say
the FIRST X-Men trilogy, in spectacular fashion. Humans have found a
"cure" for the mutant gene. They offer it to the mutant community.
Magneto and his minions are offended, and declare war against
humanity. The X-Men end up siding with the humans. It all comes to a
head in a spectacular battle sequence on Alcatraz Island, which has
been made easily accessible by Magneto's having relocated the Golden
The wild card is that Jean is no longer presumed dead, and has
morphed into a stronger incarnation of herself called Dark Phoenix,
the most powerful mutant ever, possessing powers which Professor X had
previously hidden in her subconscious, but which her near-death
experience has brought to the surface. Both Professor X and Magneto
are interested in her, each for his own set of reasons.
The film really has only one major weakness. It allows the usually
brilliant and calculating Magneto to become less than what he has
been. No longer is he the leader of an oppressed minority. Now he's a
genocidal maniac, the same thing that he once accused humans of. He's
not even rational. At no time in this film do the normal humans ever
suggest that the mutants are required to take the magic potion. They
are simply offered a choice. If the screenplay had been developed
properly, Magneto would have first become paranoid that humans would
eventually make it mandatory, and would then have been set into action
by some foolish human actions which confirmed his fears. Instead of
following that course, the film has Magneto become offended that
science would even create such a concoction in the first place.
Frankly, that's bullshit. The concoction offered mutants the choice to
stay mutants or to become human. Many of the mutants (Rogue and Jean,
to name two) were unhappy as mutants and considered their powers a
curse. Others considered their mutated genes to be an intrinsic part
of their nature, and a step in human evolution, and were happy with
their status. In theory, the magic potion left them all free to pursue
their own destiny, their own happiness. The only mistake made by the
humans was to call the elixir a "cure," thus implying that mutants
were merely sick humans rather than coexisting equals. That was
certainly offensive to the mutants, but they over-reacted
dramatically. After all, if some mutants would rather be human, well,
why should the other mutants prevent that? In fact, if they liked the
power involved in being mutant, they should encourage as many mutants
as possible to turn human, because that would leave the remaining ones
with more power, relatively speaking, since there would be fewer
powerful beings to oppose them.
If the film had been concocted from a recipe a
bit more to my liking, it would have had fewer characters and more
screen time for the important, eloquent and amusing main characters.
Wolverine could have been sassier, for example, and Magneto more
thoughtful. But I think it's fine as it is, just not exactly as I
would have preferred it. It actually out-performed the previous two at
the box office, so movie audiences obviously took to it.
For some bizarre reason which I don't really understand, but obviously
unrelated to the quality of the movie itself, there is a dedicated
cadre of X3 haters out there. Check out these IMDb scores:
|% of voters awarding tens
|% of voters awarding ones
4.3% of the voters, nearly 2000 people,
have decided that the proper score for X-Men 3 is 1/10. What is that
all about? Are they people who have never seen any other
movies? Are they Bryan Singer's relatives? Are they people who just
have to hate? Are they hard-core comic fans disappointed that the film
didn't follow the same storyline as the source material? Who the hell
can say. The one thing you can conclude is that they are simply not
rational thinkers. They have allowed some emotional issue, whatever it
might be, to cloud their reason.
The final chapter in the X-Men saga is more or
less indistinguishable from the previous two. As you can see from the
"percentage of tens" in the table above, it inspires about the same
amount of true love as the second one, and much more than the first.
The complete summary chart for the series is
|% of tens at IMDb
|% of positive reviews (RT)
|Per 100, average review (Metacritic)
|Domestic box office ($M)
|Foreign box office ($M)
I guess I'm about in the same boat as Ebert. I don't see any
dramatic decline from #2 to #3, and I like both of them better than
the first one. All three are more than simply genre pictures, but are
good entertainment pictures in general.
Is this really "the last stand"? Of course not.
- First of all, look at the box office results. Studios do not
abandon blockbuster franchises which are grossing more with every
film. You think they can just afford to leave all that money on the
- Second, watch the ending credits of this film and see if you
think Magneto and Professor X have met for the last time.
Look for a Wolverine solo film, and as many
other X-Men films as the cast will agree to.
Rebecca Romijn. Oh, sure I like Wolverine, But here's
my favorite mutant right here.
V For Vendetta (2006):
Mr T's contribution yesterday got me to drive to
Blockbuster and look at this DVD. Here are some more captures from
As for the movie ....
All of these groups are rating the same movie:
- British critics 33/100
- Metacritic 62/100
- IMDb top 1000 voters: 7.2/10
- IMDb overall: 8.3/10 (top 150 of all time)
So it's either a laughably bad movie, or a mediocre movie, or a
solid performer, or one of the greatest movies ever made. Take your
It has been my observation that there are
certain types of movies which are invariably overrated:
- 1. Mediocre movies which
passionately present a point of
view that the reviewer passionately agrees with. (The Life of David
Gale Syndrome). Scoop's First Law states that there is no harder
film to evaluate than a heavy-handed one which has a viewpoint you
wholeheartedly support. Every fiber of your being wants to praise
- 2. Mediocre movies which are created by
people customarily acknowledged to be geniuses. (Eyes Wide Shut
- 3. Mediocre movies which are remembered
fondly from childhood. (The Return of the Jedi Syndrome)
V for Vendetta qualifies, to some extent or
another, on multiple criteria, thus causing it to be wildly overrated
by certain audiences. Let us take, for example, the ratings given to
this film by voters who are either of high school age (9.0) or college
age (8.4). The film is a thinly-disguised attack on the various
follies of the Bush
administration, and it was produced by the Wachowski brothers,
creators of the Matrix films, and directed by their hand-picked
assistant. In addition, it has the trappings of an
intelligent movie, or at least one for intellectuals: faux-poetic dialogue, romanticized ideology,
imaginative settings, a larger-than-life hero, literary allusions,
vague historical references, quotes from Shakespeare, and so forth.
Mining the rich vein of Bush hatred with flowery speeches and
half-baked idealism, it is just about the perfect movie to be
overrated by the young.
Does that mean
that the British critics were right and it's a bad movie? Not at
all. The British critics were, in my opinion, far too harsh. It has some
irritating elements which really got under their skin.
For one thing, its viewpoint reflects the typical American stereotyping of U.K. denizens who,
truth be told, sometimes do other things besides watching Benny Hill
and quoting Shakespeare. For another, it features Americans and
Australians portraying England and Englishmen, often with
inauthentic perceptions and bad accents. It is not difficult to read between the lines of these
There is a
sub-genre of kitschy, dystopian science fiction that's been with
us at least since Logan's Run 30 years ago and might well be
called dystope-opera (or just dystopera). The latest example is V
for Vendetta, adapted by the Wachowski Brothers from David Lloyd
and Alan Moore's British cartoon strip and directed by an
Australian, James McTeigue, who cut (or blunted) his teeth as an
assistant on the Matrix series and on Star Wars II. An eclectic
affair, it brings together Nineteen Eighty-Four and The Phantom of
the Opera and garnishes them with references to 9/11, avian flu,
'collateral' and 'rendition' in a totalitarian future Britain.
The British people are living in a state of resentful
oppression and dental disrepair: and they are represented in
various scenes by about a dozen or so Equity members, quaintly
shown at the pub or in their prole front rooms, glumly watching
the state television network on which propaganda is pumped out.
V has a friend, ally and, who knows,
perhaps even a beauty-and-the-beast-style love interest in a young
woman called Evey - geddit? - a television researcher played by the
reliably terrible Natalie Portman. Portman for some reason has a thin,
wittering South African accent as Evey, which may have been superior
to other thin, wittering accents she tried out in rehearsal.
V For Vendetta is such an odd mixture: partly
naive post-punk posturing, betraying the original's 1981
origins, and partly well-meant (but very American) condescension
towards London and Britain. Like tourists with a phrasebook, the
Wachowskis get people to say "bollocks" a fair bit, and there is
a pastiche of The Benny Hill Show. On the higher end of the
cultural scale, V declaims Shakespeare, and in honour of Guy
Fawkes's subversion in the age of James I, reels off lots of
Macbeth. But he fails to quote the only appropriate lines: the
ones about it being a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and
fury, signifying nothing.
Not all the criticism of the film was unjustified. V does indulge in the
very demagoguery it condemns, painting the representatives of
authority as either corrupt cynics or drooling idiots, casting
everything in the world into black and white corners, oversimplifying
every issue, and blatantly ripping off 1984. Moreover, it makes no
effort to create a symbolic world which also makes sense in the real one.
How does one man create so much havoc in a city of ten million people?
Don't bother to try to figure out the practical details.
Here's a fact that tells you a lot about the avowed anarchist who
wrote the story:
"Alan Moore is a practicing magician and worships a Roman snake deity
named Glycon." And that guy didn't cooperate with the film
because, in his words:
One of the things I objected to in the recent
film ... sort of recasting it as current American
neo-conservatism vs. current American liberalism. I didn't want
to stick to just moral blacks and whites. I wanted a number of
the fascists I portrayed to be real rounded characters. They've
got reasons for what they do. They're not necessarily cartoon
Nazis. Some of them believe in what they do, some don't believe
in it but are doing it any way for practical reasons. As for the
central character of the anarchist, V himself, he is for the
first two or three episodes cheerfully going around murdering
people, and the audience is loving it. They are really keyed
into this traditional drama of a romantic anarchist who is going
around murdering all the Nazi bad guys. At which point I decided
that that wasn't what I wanted to say. I actually don't think
it's right to kill people. So I made it very, very morally
ambiguous. And the central question is, is this guy right? Or is
In other words, an anarchist who
worships a snake deity thought the script based upon his story was
lacking in subtlety. Are you surprised that teenagers think it's a
To be honest, the film is neither a great film nor a bad one. My
thoughts upon leaving the theater were these: "Well, that wasn't
subtle or sophisticated, but it was completely different from any
other movie I've seen in the past five years. Just the fact that it is
not run-of-the-mill made it kind of a special experience."
THIRD PARTY VIDEOS:
Club Dread (Movie House Commentary).
Terrific HDTV clip of Jordan Ladd. (Zipped .avi). You picked this
as the fifth best nude scene of 2004. (2004
The Gift (Movie House Commentary).
Terrific HDTV clip of Katie Holmes. (Zipped .avi)
You picked this as the very best nude scene of 2000. (2000
Sex, gambling and computer
game sites being abused by government employees
with internet access.
"Lucasfilm is getting out
of the movie biz."
How the HELL did this guy
manage to stay on his surfboard?
Top 15 Movie Mistakes
"Canada's Worst Driver"
Harvard to Stop Awarding
Degrees to Advantaged Students
Trey Parker And Matt Stone
Tipped To Be Target For North Korea Nuclear Test
6'2" Tamara Dobson, star of
the Cleopatra Jones movies, has died
Candidate says, "Vote for
anyone but me."
The reluctant candidate continued, "Well, maybe
not ANYone. Not Nader, for example, but anyone
who isn't a douchebag."
From our "yeah, right"
Bust-Up chewing gum can
ANGELINA JOLIE SUES MADONNA
FOR TRYING TO ADOPT AFRICAN BABY
The trailer for The
(I think you know what this is about.)
The trailer for Blood
Diamond - HD
- Set against the
backdrop of the chaos and civil war that
enveloped 1990s Sierra Leone, "Blood Diamond"
is the story of Danny Archer (Leonardo
DiCaprio), a South African mercenary, and
Solomon Vandy (Djimon Hounsou), a Mende
fisherman. Both men are African, but their
histories and their circumstances are as
different as any can be—until their fates
become joined in a common quest to recover a
rare pink diamond that can transform their
lives. While in prison for smuggling, Archer
learns that Solomon—who was taken from his
family and forced to work in the diamond
fields—has found and hidden the extraordinary
rough stone. With the help of Maddy Bowen
(Jennifer Connelly), an American journalist
whose idealism is tempered by a deepening
connection with Archer, the two men embark on
a trek through rebel territory. More than a
search for a valuable diamond, the journey
could save Solomon's family and give Archer
the second chance he thought he would never
The trailer for 300
... (Haven't seen the movie, and don't know if I
could handle 100 minutes of this, but this is a
VERY cool trailer.)
- Based on the epic
graphic novel by Frank Miller, "300" is a
ferocious retelling of the ancient Battle of
Thermopylae in which King Leonidas (Gerard
Butler) and 300 Spartans fought to the death
against Xerxes and his massive Persian army.
Facing insurmountable odds, their valor and
sacrifice inspire all of Greece to unite
against the Persian enemy, drawing a line in
the sand for democracy. The film brings
Miller's (Sin City) acclaimed graphic novel to
life by combining live action with virtual
backgrounds that capture his distinct vision
of this ancient historic tale.
"An embarrassed Keith
Richards says he was merely sitting on a tree
stump rather than climbing up a lofty palm tree
when he fell and hit his head."
"Foley Now Blames Behavior
on Postpartum Depression"
- "Like millions of
Americans, I suffered from postpartum
depression," said the embattled congressman,
choking back tears. "Instead of seeking
professional help, I self-medicated by sending
instant messages to hot congressional pages."
Jacko wants to fill Foley's
- As well as the seats
of many of Foley's former acquaintances.
- Jacko sees this as a
chance to close one chapter of his life and
turn over a new leaf. As soon as he gets to
the bottom of the page.
Warriors in the Wind--cast
paper sculpture by Allen Eckman
Yellow asterisk: funny (maybe). White asterisk: expanded format.
Blue asterisk: not mine. No asterisk: it probably sucks.
Bliss - Season Two
Medium Cool (1968) is a docudrama filmed in 1968 with the backdrop of the
Democratic National Convention. I must have missed this when it was released,
probably because I was on a merchant ship. I certainly remember the events
depicted in the film. 1968 was not a stellar year for the USA. It started with
the Tet Offensive, then Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King were
assassinated. Lyndon Johnson, who couldn't make a personal appearance anywhere
in the US without being drowned out by protestors, decided not to seek
reelection. Of all the memorable occurrences of that year, my most vivid
memory was democracy in action Richard Daley style. The counter-culture had
decided to attempt influencing the Democratic convention, which had a strong
peace candidate in McCarthy, with non-violent demonstrations. The National
Guard went into intensive training to cope with the expected disruptions, and
Daley turned the Guard and the local police loose on the demonstrators. The
police and guardsmen went berserk, and brutalized everyone in sight.
Filmmaker Haskell Wexler chose to tell the story as a pseudo-documentary,
incorporating some real footage of the time, and seen through the eyes of a
fictional TV photojournalist (Robert Forster). The fictional overlay adds a
minor theme about journalistic integrity, since the journalist is a totally
dispassionate observer of what he is filming. The photographer also had a love
interest, played by Verna Bloom, whom he chose over former girlfriend Marianna
Hill, a nurse. Bloom plays a single mother of a young boy from Appalachia. As
the love story develops, Forster is fired for turning over some outtakes to
kids doing light shows, and filming material uncomplimentary to the FBI, which
has been reviewing 100% of the film shot by newsmen. Finding out that the
blacks he had interviewed were correct about him being a "fink" began to
involve him in what he was seeing, as did Verna Bloom and her son. The ending
is chillingly real.
The cast was superb, and there was a great deal of bravery involved in
shooting this film in the middle of what was going on. Wexler had some insight into what was going to happen in Chicago, and
elected to send his actors right into the thick of ground zero, achieving a remarkable
blend of fiction and reality. The MPAA was told not to like it. They gave an X rating for language and
nudity, but when Wexler offered to take out the language and nudity, they said
that wouldn't help. The administration and Hoover's FBI were not about to let
young people watch this film in 1969.
For me, this was an amazing piece of celluloid, bringing back all of the
outrage and disbelief I experienced watching these events unfold over national
television, even though the news was heavily censored. There is no way for me
to rate this film impartially. Certainly my reaction speaks to its
effectiveness. For those who, like me, lived through this, so many of the plot
points will bring back memories. For those who don't know what I am talking
about, this would be an excellent film to learn what happened there.
The entire idea was avant garde, and the film is an excellent example of what
cinema can accomplish. The DVD includes a feature length commentary. I will
call this a B-.
IMDb readers say 7.3. Ebert awarded 4 stars,
which was typical of the critical reaction.
For anyone interested in further reading on the 1968 Democratic Convention
and its Republican counterpart, there is a great coffee table
book of photography from David Douglas Duncan called Self-Portrait USA that is
available used and reasonably priced at Amazon.
This is a brilliant photo essay contrasting the Democratic Convention in
Chicago, and the Republican Convention on Miami Beach. If you are the sort of
person who visits used book stores, you might watch for it there as well.
Since it is oversized, it may well be affordable.
The Heist (1989)
The Heist is a made-for-HBO caper film staring Pierce Brosnan, Tom
Skerrit and Wendy Hughes. Brosnan has just been released from prison after
four years, and returns to the San Diego racetrack where he ran the security
company with a partner (Tom Skeritt) who framed him for emerald smuggling.
Not only did the partner frame him, but he stole his girl (Wendy Hughes) in
the bargain. Brosnan swears revenge. At that point, everyone knows that he
is going to rob the racetrack, and everyone, including a nosey cop, knows
when. Can Brosnan stay a few steps ahead of them?
I am a complete sucker for heist films, especially the clever caper
variety, and I think Skerrit is a natural villain, so I loved this film.
Let's call it a C- as a caper film. Genre
lovers will enjoy it, others ... not so much.
IMDb says 5.9.
How long has PAL been gone? Long enough that I don't have a cute little
logo for his column. It's great to have him back.
Here are his comments:
"Well Scoop, it's been a very, very long time. I needed a break and it
lasted more than a year. But sometimes I felt I had to do something
and so I tried some new caps and I hope they are at least as good as my
earlier ones. I can not contribute in a regular manner any longer (did I
ever??), but from time to time I'll try to send in some stuff and I'd be
happy to see it on your site. This bunch of pics is ...... well a real
bunch. Just see for yourself. A very mixed bag.
Carol Alt in The Protector
Alison Egan in Spider
Linda Finzi in My Man Adam
Pam Grier in Fort Apache, The Bronx
Linda Kozlowski in Backstreet Justice
Helen Mirren in Pascali's Island
Mandy Moore in How to Deal
Jennifer Nitsch in Shock
Shauna O'Brien in The Protector
Madeleine Potter in Slaves of New York
Patricia Skeriotis in Backstreet Justice
Rachel Ticotin in Fort Apache, the Bronx
Jenya Lano in Stealing