Thursday

Down to the Bone (2004):

 

Sundance hasn't yet achieved the nearly-infallible status of Cannes where the prize winners are almost guaranteed to be total crap, but by God they are trying. The guiding principle of independent film seems to be that one achieves perfection as the depression level of a film approaches 100 and the slickness approaches 0. Thus, if you have the most depressing film ever made, and it seems to have been made on a home video cam, you can almost be assured that it will come home from Park City with some honors, irrespective of its merits.

So it went with Down to the Bone, which combines two of my least-favorite cinema conceits: "drugs suck," and "life sucks so bad it forces you to take drugs." Vera Farmiga plays a lower middle class housewife in upstate New York who goes through the motions of suburban motherhood but is actually a serious closet druggie. As time goes on, she becomes less closeted. Then she falls in love with her drug counselor. Then he falls back on his own rehab and stars shooting the big "H." Then she figures, "Oh, what the hell," and follows. Then she gets arrested ...

Do I need to give any more details? If you watch any independent films, you've seen this all a zillion times before. About the only new wrinkle this film has to offer is that the doomed drug addict is a heterosexual and doesn't like pudding. Or you can learn that she is actually a better cashier when coked-out than when sober.

Oh, did I mention that the film doesn't have an ending? Critics, of course, viewed that as a positive. You know the drill: "offers no easy solutions," "no neat and tidy resolution." It's realistic. Get it? One critic wrote: "The film is so pitch perfect and realistic, it seems you are there with these people, watching their lives unfold before you as it happens." That is the film's main strength. If offers a completely realistic portrayal of everyday life and how it relates to her drug cravings. Needless to say, that is also its main weakness. How much of everyday blue collar winter life in upstate New York do you want to watch unfold as it happens, as portrayed in documentary style, photographed by a hand-held video camera in natural light, and never brought to a conclusion? If your answer is "a lot," this is your dream film.

Predictably, 93% of critics gave it a positive review, one of the highest scores of the year.

I have mentioned before that Vera Farmiga won the L.A. Film Critics award for the best performance of the year last year. In this film. Honest. A film that nobody ever saw. That award sometimes acts as an Oscar harbinger, but in this case it was a harbinger of nothing. Farmiga received no other awards or nominations during hardware season. The L.A. Film Critics were out there by themselves, presumably standing in left field at Dodger Stadium when they made the announcement. Farmiga does seem like a good actress, and perhaps she will get a chance to demonstrate that some day in front of an actual audience, something not possible here. It only grossed $19,000 in the entire United States, and never played outside of New York and L.A.

Oh, sure, a gross of $19,000 indicates a complete lack of interest in the film, but there is a happy ending to the story. Even though they returned the camera to Rent-a-Center  a few days late and incurred a penalty fee, they still made a profit.

IMDb voters don't quite see it the same way as critics, and rate it 5.7 out of 10.  Women rated it far lower (4.2), and women in all age groups liked it far less than the men in the corresponding group.

Here's the zipped .wmv of her two topless scenes. Captures are below.

Vera Farmiga

 

 

Third party videos:

Multiple zipped .avis of Melanie Grffith in Joyride, and even more multiple zipped .avis of Anne Lockhart in the same film. (Movie House Review). Strange movie, just all over the place. Neither of us liked it, but I had a sort of jaw-dropped respect for its mysterious ability to keep my hand from the remote.

Multiple zipped .avis of Toni Collette in Lilian's Story, the semi-true story of a legendary street busker. (Movie House Review). The ever-so-arty-and-profounder-than-thou movie won my respect, but no affection. On the other hand, the quantity and quality of Toni's nudity is quite impressive.

 

 

 

OTHER CRAP:

Hollywood Hi-Fi is simply one hilarious book about the weirdest celebrity record albums ever made.

 

Tim Nieukirk, candidate for governor of Illinois

  • Pat Reeder of the Comedy Wire radio prep service summed up the case: "With no budget, he's running a series of wild, homemade ads on MySpace and YouTube. The ads show him knocking a firefighter aside to rescue a cat, showing he's tough on crime by arresting the Hamburglar, and lying in bed with a woman. "Some politicians are in bed with big business, casinos or even organized crime. But Tim Nieukirk? He's in bed with your sister!" (We haven't had a good, serious candidate who would sleep with your sister since Bill Clinton.) In another, he's in a mullet wig at a trailer park, and before he states his platform, he gets distracted and yells, "Ricky! Get off my Trans Am!" (He's in the wrong state. He could be elected governor of Alabama just for his Trans Am protectionist policies.) Nieukirk claims he's a real alternative candidate using humor to get attention for his serious points, he just hasn't gotten around to putting them in his ads yet. (He'll get around to that by sometime in mid-November.)

 

Phillippe's Making Out With A Co-Star In A Restaurant May Have Been Warning Sign of Marriage In Trouble

 

At last, the wonderbra for men - the wondercup! "designer's underpants promise digital enhancement"

 

Amazon's product reviews are some of the best comedy writing on the planet. Check out the public's thoughts on K-Fed's masterful new album:

 

 

Still in the mood for Halloween? How about some free horror movies for (legal) download

 

Colbert sings a duet with his arch-nemesis, Emmy-stealing Barry Manilow

 

The Colbert Report for Tuesday, October 31st. Part 1 ... Part 2 ... Part 3 ... Part 4

 

The Daily Show, Tuesday, October 31: Part 1 ... Part 2 ... Part 3

 

Microsoft Windows Media Version 11.0 of Media Player is now available free.

  • The technical nerds are saying that this download is a waste of time. I passed on it.

 

"Madonna was accused of snatching away Malawian baby David Banda from another foreign woman who had been about to adopt him herself." OK, this story is old and tired. Leave the woman alone.

 

A Seven-Year-Old Designated Driver

 

 

 

 

Movie Reviews:

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rising Sun (1993)

Rising Sun (1993) is a crime drama based on a Michael Crichton novel. The novel was controversial, and was considered Japan-bashing in some circles, because it was critical of the way Japan was buying corporate America. The film is generally considered to be more respectful of Japan, but launched a new round of Japan-bashing debate.

As the film opens, a Japanese company is negotiating to purchase an important US semiconductor company. There is congressional opposition, claiming that it put the US munitions industry at the mercy of the Japanese. At a party in the Japanese company headquarters in LA, we see a man go into a darkened conference room, and have strangulation sex with a professional mistress. Later, she is found dead on the conference room table. Forensic evidence points to a Japanese perpetrator. Wesley Snipes is called in to investigate, and is ordered to pick up Sean Connery, an expert on Japan. What Snipes thinks is a simple case, especially after receiving a doctored security recording, is a much more complicated issue, , as Connery knew all along.

Note that they were using mini-LASER disks to record the output of their security cameras, which was very advanced for 1993!

The critics pretty uniformly gave the film lukewarm reviews. Ebert awarded 2 stars, saying that all the passion of the novel in attacking Japanese business was diluted. Berardinelli awarded 2.5 stars, and said that the film was true to the novel.  I found it a perfectly good entry in the whodunit genre, and enjoyed the cultural insights, as well as the interplay between Snipes and Connery. IMDb scores this 6.0, which certainly places it in the watchable range.

It earned a very respectable $63.1M at the box office, and received an ASCAP award for its box office performance. So we have a critical failure that everyone flocked to see.

I will call this one a C+.

 

 

Tatjana Patitz shows buns and breasts as the murder victim.

 

 

 

 

Shelley Michelle shows breasts as a sushi platter

 

 

Tylyn John shows breasts and buns at the same erotic dinner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


This is a "Hankster Light" day.

From a "Bad Movie" which is not so bad, we have two topless babes in Frankenfish.

 

 

Caps and a clip (zipped .wmv) of Noelle Evans showing off the titties while sunbathing.

And an unknown letting the hooters fly. She had nothing to do with the movie's plot, just there for eye candy.

 

 

 

 

 

Notes and collages

Laura Linney in Maze

 

I first saw this gorgeous redhead in the TV show "Frasier;" wow... she is amazing...

 

 

 

Caren Kaye in My Tutor

 

At her prime, dropping her robe for a late night skinny dip in her employer's pool....

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cashback (2004) is first, with Irene Bagach ...

... and Hayley-Marie Coppin

Here's ever-popular Diane Lane in "Must Love Dogs"

 

 


Pat's comments in yellow...

 
Police in Batesville, Arkansas, arrested a man for trying to buy cigarettes at a gas station with a counterfeit $100 bill.  A sheriff's spokeswoman said that of all the phony money cases they'd handled, this was the "sorriest bill I've ever seen."  The ink was running on it, the president's face was missing, and the name of the president on it was "Bill Clinton."

*  It might've worked if he'd bought cigars with it.



Madonna's adoption of a Malawi baby just keeps creating controversy.  This week, she went shopping with him in front of crowds of paparazzi, who photographed him wearing a red Kabbalah string bracelet.  The church sells them for $26 and claims they work in "the same way as the vaccines of modern medicine."  Pressed on this, Madonna told Meredith Viera that she will educate the boy in her controversial Kabbalah faith, but "if he wants to be a Christian, then so be it." 

*  What's important is that she got him out of the land of witch doctors and
superstition and into the enlightened world of magical Kabbalah strings.



On this day in 1604, William Shakespeare's play "Othello" debuted in London.

*  Starring Joan Collins as Desdemona.



Sharing a birthday: Jenny McCarthy (34) and Larry Flynt (64).

*  So Jenny's not the MOST vulgar person born today, but she's trying.