The Break-Up (2006)

If you don't recognize the title, this is the Vaughn-Aniston comedy, finally on a commercial DVD.

Critics had a lot of trouble with this film, perhaps because it is a very difficult film to pigeonhole. Given the stars, one expects either a traditional romantic comedy or an edgy black comedy about a disintegrating romance, ala The War of the Roses. In fact it is neither, and it would disappoint people expecting either.

  • If you expect a zany type of black comedy vehicle for two hours of Vince Vaughn riffs, you'll be disappointed to see that he doesn't actually clown around much. The good news, at least for me, is that it doesn't have an ugly underlying tone like The War of the Roses. Sometimes it is sweet, sometimes mean, sometimes ugly, sometimes funny, sometimes sad. I suppose it's a lot like life itself.
  • If you hope for a rom-com, you'll find that it is neither very funny nor very romantic, and includes neither a fairy-tale atmosphere nor a happy ending. It portrays the way people really behave in these sorts of tense situations when a love once new has grown old and may not survive. It's actually kind of close to this genre, and could have been converted to a traditional romantic comedy with some minor tweaking and a happy ending, but that's not where the creative team wanted to go with the film.

What kind of movie is it then? It is basically a romantic drama which presents a very realistic look at a break-up. The parties do break up but are forced to live together until they can dispose of their condo. The play the same game of pull-me-close, push-me-away that good people play in this sort of difficult situation. Will they get back together? Are they breaking up because they want to break up, or are they using the break-up as a tool to alter the other's behavior? Frustratingly, they never seem to be ready to forgive one another at the same time. She finally makes a conciliatory overture and he misunderstands it. Then he makes one, and she has changed her mind about reconciliation.

It does have some good humor in it, but it occurs naturally within the context of the characters. Vaughn plays a witty Chicago tour guide whose bus and boat tours always have a waiting line because he does some funny schtick while he's describing the sights, and all the tourists have a ball. This profession allows Vaughn to be very funny while his character is working, and since the character is a quick-witted guy, some of that carries over to the rest of his life as well. But most of the time he is engaged in serious, even contemplative discussions about what is going wrong in his life. The intense emotional impact of the break-up is a wake-up call for him to be less jaded and self-centered, and by the end of the film he is actively trying to make himself into a better person. In other words, this is a surprisingly sincere film about people we probably know caught in situations we are uncomfortably familiar with. We identify with them and hope they can work it out but , like the Cub fans portrayed by Vaughn's crowd in this film, we realize that we may be backing a loser.

It's not a mean-spirited film, as some critics suggested, but it does have long stretches without laughs and, if you react as I did, it will leave you feeling ... well ... sad. I was pleasantly surprised to see Aniston and Vaughn give credible performances in roles which were credibly written. It's a very competent film, good in many ways, and the DVD has plenty of extra features and additional footage, but it's all about expectations, isn't it? People just don't expect to leave a Vince Vaughn film with a wistful tear in their eye.

  • Critics were less than lukewarm. It received only 33% positive reviews. (Ebert and Berardinelli awarded two stars apiece.)
  • Audiences were more receptive than critics, and ponied up more than $100 million domestically, bringing the grand total to more than $200 million worldwide.
  • IMDb is between those extremes with a tepid 5.8 rating.
  • It's a nice solid C on our scale

Jennifer Aniston


Third party videos:

  • A little clearer look at Maria Sharapova's slip at Wimbledon in 2004 (Zipped .avi)
  • Two of the stars of the rarely-seen Rapid Fire, the last Brandon Lee movie released in his lifetime. (The Crow was released posthumously.)



Welcome Back:

Hankster is back! Oddly enough, I got two e-mails yesterday asking about him!





"Sin City Comic-to-Screen Comparisons"

A new flim clip from Eastwood's FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS

A high definition French trailer from The Host, a fantasy film which was quite the hit at Cannes.


The trailer, several clips, and the first eight minutes of Sleeping Dogs Lie, a dramedy written and directed by Bobcat Goldthwaite
The English trailer from Goya's Ghosts, a film for those who DO expect the Spanish Inquisition, and in fact look forward to it.

A behind-the-scenes featurette about Resident Evil: Extinction, #3 in the series.

Vince Vaughn threatens to sue tabloids

Colbert interviews Barry Scheck, an attorney who specializes in DNA evidence ... Part 2 of the interview

Colbert discusses the Streisand melt-down

Colbert bids farewell to the CGBG club

The Colbert Nation does the wave

Colbert's Tip/Wag zeroes in on Air America

Colbert's "Word" of the day - Russian Dolls 

The Daily Show looks at the various non-Foley scandals in Washington.

The Daily Show's Dan Bakkedahl investigates some incentive programs to get voters back to the polls.

Stewart catches Colbert watching Oprah.

The Daily Show: Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid proves that obsolete power corrupts obsoletely.


The Daily Show looks at CNN's offbeat earthquake coverage from Hawaii

Jon Stewart threw out the first pitch of Friday's Mets game

President Bush Says He Will Back Up Tough Talk on North Korea With Even Tougher Talk ... Drop Nuke Plans or Face 'Meanest Speech Ever,' President Warns Kim
  • Reminds me of the Robin Williams impersonation of an unarmed British bobbie trying to apprehend a robber: "Halt! Or I'll ... yell 'halt' again louder!"

Actor Wesley Snipes faces 40 years in prison for alleged tax evasion


Jacko's Thriller goes to Bollywood. This is some seriously fucked-up shit.

The good news for most NFL fans: the Bears finally looked beatable. The bad news: they won anyway.

Bruce Willis received a star on the Walk of Fame Monday



Movie Reviews:

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


Black Venus (1983)

Black Venus is a work of typical 80s erotica supposedly based on a Balzac story. It decidedly has the feel of Victorian era erotica. The film begins in a fancy house, where Emiliano Redondo is given a tour of the two way mirrors into the themed bordello rooms, and sees a face he knows. He then relates her tale.

 Exotic Venus (Josephine Jacqueline Jones) meets a starving sculptor, and the two fall instantly in love. She becomes the inspiration he was looking for and he begins work on her statue. Unfortunately, he is broke, and when the landlord tries to rape her in exchange for the rent money, she decides to go to work as a model. Models can earn lots of money, provided that they do more than modeling. The sculptor can't cope with being a kept man, and tosses her out. She ends up kept by a married lesbian (Karin Schubert), until hubby returns with a tart of his own (Florence Guérin) and forces Venus to bed her. This is not a problem, but his returning with several party guests to turn them into an orgy does. Meanwhile, Venus has made a friend for life. The sculptor has now finished his masterpiece, but refuses to sell it, and is losing everything, including his health, brooding. Venus again meets up with Florence Guérin, who convinces her to come to work in a brothel, whose employee list includes a 20 year old Monique Gabrielle, who looks stunning. Finally, Emiliano Redondo buys freedom for the two of them and takes them to Spain.

This film aired in an 80 minute version on cable, and the same version is available on VHS. It is being released on DVD October 31 of this year in an uncut and remastered 95 minute version. It is being released by a new distribution company called Private Screening, a spin-off of Severin (who brought us Gwendoline). They will concentrate on International erotica, and are off to a running start. If they continue with equally worthy material and decent transfers, they will be getting a lot of my money.

IMDb rates this 4.4, but that is based on the 80 minute version. This film is wall-to-wall full frontal and rear nudity, with some suggestion of hetero and lesbian sex among two or more people, has a lovely cast, some exotic locations, and claims literary parentage. What more could you ask for?

This is a C+, top-notch genre fare.

Josephine Jacqueline Jones, who shows everything, was born in the Bahamas, and was Miss Bahamas in 1979. This is one of her best films.
Karin Schubert
Florence Guérin
Monique Gabrielle
and several unknowns







Today the Time Machine takes a 30 year journey back to 1976, for that 70's sex kitten (and long a favorite of mine) Rene Bond in "Fantasm".

Rene is attacked and raped (though she seems to enjoy it) and provides us with some brief full frontal nudity as she is tied to the ropes of a boxing ring by a sex-crazed boxer. She makes a delicious "Damsel in Distress".

Film clips: (Two avis zipped together.)

Collages and individual images:






Natasha Gregson Wagner in Lost Highway

Patricia Arquette in Lost Highway

Patricia Arquette in Good-bye, Lover. (No nudity.)

Mary-Louise Parker in Good-bye, Lover.

Because Lohan stayed dressed yesterday, here's the large-breasted Romane Bohringer caught by various paparazzi over the years

Christine Nguyen in The Mummy's Kiss

Mia Zottoli in The Mummy's Kiss



Pat's comments in yellow...

Tuesday, Wesley Snipes, star of "White Men Can't Jump" and the "Blade" trilogy, was indicted on eight counts of tax fraud for allegedly failing to pay nearly $12 million in income taxes and not filing returns for six years.  The feds say Snipes hired a tax preparer with a history of filing bogus returns.  In 2001, he allegedly filed an amended return for Snipes seeking a $7.3 million refund for taxes paid in 1997, claiming Snipes' adjusted gross income was zero.  If convicted, Snipes could face up to 16 years in prison.  The IRS said he hadn't been arrested yet because they don't know where he is. 

*  Look for his next movie, White men can't jump bail.

Since only one of the seven wonders of the ancient world (the pyramids of Giza) still exists, the non-profit monument preservation group is asking people to vote for a New Seven Wonders of the World.  200 suggestions were narrowed down to 21 candidates.  The choices only had to be built before 2000, so they range from obvious choices such as Stonehenge, the Acropolis and the Great Wall of China to more recent candidates, such as the Eiffel Tower, the Sydney Opera House and the Statue of Liberty.  

*  And, of course, Donald Trump's hair.

Madonna released an open letter, claiming that she adopted her Malawi
baby "according to the law, like anyone else," and tabloids claim she now
wants to adopt a baby African girl

* What, was Malawi having a "Buy one-get one free" sale?


Al Sharpton is launching a fundraising campaign to sue Cracker Barrel on
behalf of Chris Rock's mother, who claims she was seated at one of their
restaurants in South Carolina and not waited on for an hour

* If Chris Rock's mom has to eat at Cracker Barrel, she should sue Chris