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Afraid of the Dark (1991)


It is my opinion that you will enjoy this psychological drama far more if you do not read my comments in advance, since it is one of those multi-layered films where the viewer sees everything afresh as each false layer is peeled away. If you know all the secrets in advance, you'll lose the emotional impact created by each of the epiphanies. On the other hand, if you have no taste for intellectualized, slow-based psychological dramas, read on ...

If Hitchcock ever decided to make a movie script out of Freud's "The Interpretation of Dreams," it would be a lot like this. The first 42 minutes of the film and the final 49 minutes are essentially two separate movies, but they are connected in the same sense that Dorothy's Oz is connected to Dorothy's Kansas: one is the sub-conscious interpretation of the other.

Lucas is about ten years old and lives in a world of blind people. His mother is blind and teaches at a nearby institution that provides training and housing for the blind. The people in that institution are currently living in terror of a mad slasher who preys on the sightless. Lucas is aware of the slasher's activities, and is terrified of every unfamiliar face in his neighborhood. Every person's every act seems to be cast in a suspicious light through the boy's eyes. Is the mad slasher actually the local window washer, the locksmith, a local photographer? Finally, Lucas comes face to face with the slasher ...

Except he doesn't.

You see, Lucas imagined (or dreamt) the entire scenario in the first half of the movie. In reality, he is going blind and requires a delicate operation to have any chance to save his sight. He fears going blind. He fears the vulnerability of sightlessness. He fears the surgeon's knife. Lucas also must cope with the fact that his mother (who is not blind) is pregnant, and he fears the loss of her love to the new baby. He has stirred all these fears into a stew of paranoia, using the people and animals in his real life, as well as the toys in his toy box, as the characters in his fantasy life, but re-assigning them to different roles in certain Freudian ways.

I was impressed with the way the film pulled off that ninety degree turn in the center, and I was impressed with the way the director created tension in scene after scene, even though the scenes are not so logically connected, as expected in a dream-world. After the secret is revealed, however, the film has to struggle to stay comprehensible. Lucas continues to experience the delusions, but it is not always apparent which events in the second half are real and which are additional dreams or delusions.

In the film's final surprise, another critical moment switches from dream to reality, we see Lucas on the surgeon's table, and we wonder whether the entire second half has just been another layer to peel from the onion. Are we finally fully grounded in objective reality? If so, how much of what we saw in the second half really happened? Those questions are left for the viewer to puzzle through.

Is the film maddening? A bit. Frustrating? Yes, somewhat, and confusing as well. It is also paced very deliberately, and the scenes don't always follow one from another, but all that is calculated. I think the great successes of the film lie in the fact that the atmosphere is creepy, and the tone consistently menacing. It's an unusual film, not for everyone, but perhaps a little treasure for the connoisseur of variety.

Clare Holman

"Owning Mahowny"
Owning Mahowny (2003) is a Canadian film based on the book "Stung: The Incredible Obsession of Brian Molony." which is a true story of a Toronto bank official who embezzled as much as $18M, and still owed $10.2M at the time of his arrest. Why? Ask the world, and you will hear that he was addicted to gambling. Ask him, and he would say that he just ran into a cash flow problem. The real Molony was sentenced to 6 years in prison, and paid back some restitution after he was released and working. He is now employed as a expert fraud consultant, and is married to his then girlfriend, played in the film by Minnie Driver.

Also, look for John Hurt as a casino manager. Mahowny was played by Philip Seymour Hoffman in an award winning performance. He, like the real Molony, was an "ice man." The nudity is breast exposure from Sherry Hilliard as a prostitute sent to his suite by the casino -- a perk for a "whale" or high roller.

IMDb readers have this at 7.0, but it was a box office disappointment in the US. Ebert awarded a full 4 stars, whereas Berardinelli gave it a more believable 3. There are fine performances, and it delves into the problems of gambling addiction. Were it not absolutely true, the plot would seem far fetched. This is a strong C+. There is little drama or suspense, as we know going in that Mahowny will get caught, and many will not find him a sympathetic character, but it is very well acted.

Sherry Hilliard

"The L Word" Season 2, episodes 5-8

Episode 5, "Labyrinth"
Jenny and Shane gain a roommate, a guy, who decides to make a hot lesbian film of them and their friends, Bette and Tina move a little closer together.
No Nudity

Episode 6, "Lagrimas de Oro"
Tina Leaves Bette and starts becoming involved with Helena, after writing a winning proposal for a Peabody grant. Jenny and Carmen start a thing. Alice and Dana are obviously going to get together.

Leisha Hailey shows breasts in a sex scene with Dana.
Leisha Hailey

Episode 7, "Luminous"
Alice and Dana begin dating. Shane is upset over Jenny and Carmen getting together.

No Nudity

Episode 8, "Loyal"
Bette and Tina decide to forge a new relationship, allowing them both to be in the baby's life, but Tina is seeing Helena, who is trying her best to ruin Bette's life.

Rachel Shelly and Laurel Holliman both show breasts in a swimming pool sex scene.
Rachel Shelly

Laurel Holliman

Today from the Ghost...Adult and Skinemax babe Keri Windsor baring all 3 B's and gettin' it on in several scenes from multiple episodes of the late night series "Passion Cove".

Keri Windsor

'Caps and comments by Dann:

"Land of the Dead"
Night of the Living Dead is a classic zombie movie, and creator George Romero had a lot to live up to with the 2005 sequel. He didn't disappoint, especially if you're into gore, because Land of the Dead is one of the goriest movies I've ever seen, and I mean we're talking graphic and explicit gore here, folks.

The movie is set years after the original. By now, the zombies have pretty much infected everyone worldwide, and the few humans that are left have taken refuge in a walled city. The wealthy live in luxurious sealed skyscrapers while the common folk fend for themselves as best they can on the streets.

The richies have built a huge killer tank called Dead Reckoning to protect themselves from the undead (and the poor people), but when a crewmember revolts and takes over the tank, no one is safe any more.

A gory horror movie with a good plot, at once disgusting and delighting, this is a top-notch zombie movie by the King of zombie movies. Don't miss it, and be sure to get the Unrated Director's Cut, so you don't miss any spilled guts.

Asia Argento Dawne Furey & the Women of "Land of the Dead"

Hello Everyone!

Just a light contribution today...

Marie Trintignant, who has her own entry in the encyclopedia, was an actress full of life who wasn't one little bit afraid of taking her clothes off in films. Sadly I have to put this in the past tense since her boyfriend, rock band singer Bertrand Cantat, beat her to death in their hotel room in Vilnius, Lithuania in 2003. He was convicted for this act by a Lithuanian court to 8 years in jail and is still serving his sentence in a French prison.

Let's forget about this horrible deed however and enjoy these two clips of a totally naked Marie in "Betty", a 1992 movie directed by Claude Chabrol. The film seems another one of those cerebral ones that the French have an exclusive patent on.

Marie Trintignant (1, 2)

Our take off with the Time Machine was delayed a bit until the weather cleared. So we started today's trip by taking a peek at "Knots". Now you would think with a title like that we would have a "Babe in Bondage", but NOT so. In fact it's actually a comedy.

What we do have are 2 topless babes in shapes of Paulina Porizkova and Tone Christensen.

Paulina Porizkova

Tone Christensen

The weather got better so we cranked the Time Machine back to 1975 for a visit to "Wham Bam Thank You Spaceman".

About a week ago when we did "The Godson" we lamented the fact that Maria Aronoff hid the "bushie" with a towel. Well Maria is back and this time she has lost her modesty as she reveals all, in fact you can even play the "Spot the Tool" game in this set from this sex filled comedy.

Maria Aronoff

Back tomorrow with more goodies from the "Spacemen"!

Here is "Desperate Housewives" co-star Felicity Huffman topless while gettin' it on in scenes from the short-lived Showtime series, "Out of Order".

The Skin-man serves up some 'caps of newcomer Megan Lee Ethridge baring breasts and bum in scenes from the Sci0-Fi flick, "Alien Abduction" (2005).

Oops! Texas Tech finds it much harder to play real teams. Two minutes into the second half, the Red Raiders found themselves down 38-10 to a powerful Texas team. And it didn't get better.

Hey - the White Sox actually have a bullpen!

The British people have been asked to take inventory of their frogs "The long-term future of British amphibians is in the balance."

Whatever happened to ... the creator of 'Calvin and Hobbes'

  • This guy makes J.D. Salinger seem like a media whore. In a world of Bill Wattersons, Salinger would be their Paris Hilton

A tribute to the queen of 1970s European soft-core, Edwige Fenech

Letterman's Top Ten Rides At The U.K.'s New Sex Theme Park

Daily Box Office - Friday, October 21, 2005

  • As expected, Doom was the #1 film by a wide margin, taking in as much as the next two films combined.
  • The big surprise was that North Country, a serious new drama which was expected to finish second, performed abysmally, finishing sixth with less than two million dollars in gross, despite being on 2500 screens.
  • Switching places with North Country was the other major new release, Dreamer, a family film which was supposed to finish no higher than fourth, but which muscled its way into second place on Friday.
  • The fourth new release, Stay, with little publicity and weak reviews, was expected to bomb and did, finishing in a tie for tenth.

The Wall of Hair department: Prosecutors Want to Use Phil Spector's Admission (that he shot Lana Clarkson)

Ex-aide to Powell blasts Cheney, Rumsfeld. I wouldn't normally link to this because it has no humor value, but you have to read the uninhibited remarks this guy made. (Colin himself is not happy with the decision to take this public.)

Tom Cruise's popularity has plummeted.

  • He dropped from the 11th most popular celebrity to 197th.
  • He is now on the "five most total douchebags" list with David Spade, Tom Green, Pauly Shore, and Ashton Kutcher. (Actually the "five most controversial," but that's not the kind of company he wants to be in.)


Letterman's "Top Ten Perks Of Getting Into The World Series"

  • "World Series MVP gets to throw switch at Saddam's execution"

And The Latest Sex Tape Scandal Award Goes To - Super Model Carolyn Murphy!

  • It seems to have been stolen from her ex-, and he was none too sympathetic. "Yes, a video was stolen," he told PAGE SIX. "But let it be in the public eye. It doesn't really affect my life; it's Ms. Murphy who has to worry. I'm sick of her bullshit. She barely lets me see our daughter, Dylan. The most I see Dylan these days is in the pages of Vogue something Carolyn promised she'd never do. Carolyn is as fake as her new tits. She's just about the almighty dollar."

The trailer for National Lampoon's Barely Legal

  • "Imagine being a teenage boy with only one thing on your mind, but absolutely no way of getting it. A group of geeky boys band together to make their own high school porn movie, with hilarious results."
  • A National Lampoon film, and Tom Arnold as well! Plus it stars Horatio Sanz as a thinly-disguised Ron Jeremy! It's arranged so that you can get all the suckiness you need in one concentrated burst. If it has a score by Yoko Ono, it may reach total suckitude.
  • The film was made in 2003, never released in the USA, not even on video.

DeLay seeks new judge for conspiracy trial.

  • His attorney said Judge Bob Perkins had made contributions to the Democratic Party and The lawyer said had been selling T-shirts showing DeLay's mug shot, taken on Thursday when he formally presented himself to be charged.
  • Hey, there is something suspicious about that judge. His name is Bob without any Billy before it? Doesn't sound like a real Texan to me.
  • By the way, sorry to disappoint you if you're looking for some schadenfreude at Delay's expense. His pic is the most flattering mug shot ever.


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  • 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 Junior or Brainscan, or somebody else besides me)
  • If there is no asterisk, I wrote it, but am too ashamed to admit it.