"The Sweet Hereafter"
The Sweet Hereafter (1997) was an early project, one of my first detailed reviews, and remains one of my favorite films. My images were in need of a rework, and I dusted off and touched up the old review as well.
Director Atom Egoyan adapted Russell Banks' novel, The Sweet Hereafter, for the screen. He believes directing begins with writing the screen play, and only directs films that he writes. This is not the only unusual thing about his work. While he doesn't mind people who use a linear time sequence in films, he prefers to think of a film as an on-screen dream, where people slip effortlessly from past to future to present. Partially because of this, and because he avoids narrative voice-over (he sees that as the easy way out to convey the plot) you have to think to interpret his cinematic dreams. This has caused some to criticize him for being "too cerebral." Based on this film, and Exotica, he is one of my favorite directors.
A common theme in Egoyan's recent films is dealing with loss of a loved one. He says he is fascinated by the grieving process, and is hoping to understand it by making films about it. He also believes that the image is everything, and sees dialogue as much less important, so creates visually moving films, and employs actors who have the ability to covey information with body language and facial expressions. Anyone can shout "I hate you," but it takes talent to do this without speaking. Since he delivers his message in these ways, he provides time to think with a slower pace than those who employ linear time line, a standard curve of excitement, and plenty of dialogue. Egoyan added an element not in the book. To the twin stories of the layer and his daughter, and the town and its loss, he added a recitation of the Pied Piper of Hamlin. This was a perfect allegory of what happened in both of the other stories. Author Banks remarked that, if he had thought of it, he would have put it in the novel.
The Sweet Hereafter was critically acclaimed, was nominated for numerous awards, and won many of them. This particular film also won public acceptance, and is ranked #233 in the top 250 films of all time by IMDB, with a rating of 7.9 of 10. It is the story of an attorney who goes to a small town that has suffered a nearly unimaginable tragedy hoping to recruit enough residents to win a huge award in a class action suit. The school bus for this rural town crashed, and nearly all of the town's children were killed. Only two survived -- the bus driver, and a teenager who had babysat for most of the kids who were killed. As the attorney attempts to get the grieving parents to retain him, we learn of many skeletons in the closets of the town people. The attorney is also dealing with a similar loss in his own life -- his daughter is a drug addict and essentially lost to him. He believes he can find a guilty person or entity to punish for the bus crash, much as he would like to find out why he lost his own daughter. Sure, he is an "ambulance chaser," but he is a dedicated one who honestly thinks he can help the parents channel their anger and grief.
Any more would be a spoiler, and I hope you will see this film. The nudity is provided by the talented Alberta Watson, who is probably best known as Madeline in the TV series La Femme Nikita. She is seen in a sex scene, first undressing, and then dressing at the end, and leaves no part of her body unseen. While this film could be called a little cerebral, and may be too depressing for some, it has very wide appeal for what is really an art house film. The proper score is B+.
Maximum Risk (1996) was directed by Ringo Lam in his US debut. Unfortunately, it didn't live up to his reputation or his previous work in Hong Kong. It is, rather, a typical Jean-Claude Van Damme actioner. To make matters worse, it starts with an auto chase in the South of France, then the introduction and death of the unknown evil twin. It was Van Damme's unknown brother, who was mixed up in the Russian Mafia in New York, and policeman Van Damme goes to Fun City to impersonate his brother and investigate the death.
Once there, he deals with badass Russian Mafia types, evil FBI agents, and his brother's girlfriend, Nastasha Henstridge. She shows breasts twice, first in a mirror while she is changing clothes, and then in a bathroom sex scene with Van Damme. IMDB readers have it at 4.9 of 10, which might be a little harsh. Van Damme and Henstridge have no chemistry, the plot can be a little hard to follow, and Van Damme is not exactly a great actor, but he chases and fights good. Rotten Tomatoes awards 22%, and Berardinelli says 1 1/2 stars. If you are a Van Damme fan, this isn't much worse than his other films, and some of the photography is rather nice. The proper score is C-. It is only for genre addicts.
|Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy)
leftovers from yesterday's two-day projects:
I regret to say that Frida is a
big, superficial Hollywood biopic, one of those films which tries to cram every
important detail of a hectic life chronologically into a short running time. In essence, it's a
really good-looking, sexy, episode of Biography. Of course, I still enjoyed it, because
(a) it looks and sounds magnificent (2) Salma is naked. I suppose it's headed for sudden
death. Here in Austin it is only playing on three screens, and only in
neighborhoods with a majority concentration of Spanish speakers or college
students. The nearest
theater is about 15 miles away from me in the UT campus area. The other two are
south of the river, where I have been about twice in my life. Picture yourself
living in St Paul while the film is only playing in Minneapolis, and you'll get
- Salma. Find the rest of them in yesterday's edition.
Femme Fatale is the new Brian de
Palma pic. This is the film I mentioned last week. Ebert gave it four stars
(highest score), Gleiberman gave it an F (lowest score). It is filled with razzle-dazzle, but
includes one of the oldest (and corniest) writing gimmicks in the world. Don't read my review
page if you object to spoilers, because I spoil everything. Quite a bit of
nudity. Find it in yesterday's edition.
Punch-Drunk Love is the new
PTA film with Adam Sandler. It isn't just "with" Adam. The script was actually
inspired by him, as was the script for Rosemary's Baby. (Oh, sorry Sandler, just
kidding about the antichrist thing, dude! I know you can't be the antichrist,
because Ethan Hawke obviously is). Punch-Drunk was generally liked by critics. I reacted to this film as I
did to Femme Fatale - I saw immeasurable filmmaking talent on display, but I
my time to watch it. At least Femme Fatale had naked chicks, while this film
does not. On the other hand, Hollywood is filled with pablum and cookie-cutter
movies, while Punch-Drunk is truly a strange and imaginative film, and is more
than half "loco", the kind of film you will love or hate deeply. Sandler was extremely good at
playing the darker aspects of the infantile douchebag character that he usually plays. I
didn't like this film, but maybe I'll like his next one, so I applaud PTA for
his eccentric and personal filmmaking.
Manchester University pulls naked student calendar from student newsshop.
They claimed it would offend the majority of the student body, and stop
applicants from enrolling. Two thoughts (1) the existing student body sure is
sensitive (2) the applicants sure are stupid. It seems to me that the
university would be better off if those applicants chose another school. If
you ran a university, would you be looking for students who object to the
right of other students to pose naked for fun and profit? Let those mofo's apply to
the University of Riyad.
- Kylie Minogue criticizes kids who want to be famous.
article, but great picture.
- "Pop music magazine
purchased a stinging ad in yesterday's New York Times, in which it
sarcastically congratulated record labels for what the magazine sees as
anti-consumer behavior." (Bottom story on the page)
- The hottest site on the web?
- Is Joe Camel a front
- Keep snowmobiles in the national parks? No problem! Why did the
proposed ban get reversed?
administration ordered a new review as part of a settlement with
snowmobile makers who challenged the
proposed ban. The all-powerful snowmobile
manufacturer lobby versus the preservation of the vanishing wilderness. Those
guys must wield power second only to the penis-enlargement
lobby. For the record, snowmobiles are made by four manufacturers, two of
whose parent companies are foreign - Bombardier (from Quebec) and Yamaha. The
number of people who snowmobile in Yellowstone annually is 65,000. That's
right, our environmental policy is based on foreign companies and 65,000
people! All I know is Harry Truman would have told those mofo's to stick
their little snowmobiles where the sun don't shine. But, unlike our current
leaders, Harry didn't need the services of the penis enlargement lobby. But anyway, we're finally coiming to my point.
Our government is so incompetent that at the
same time they are announcing the removal of the ban,
also left on line their own official governmental study which says
snowmobiles are more evil than Saddam and al-Qaida added together (check out
the chart!). Oh, and by the way, they just updated that page on June 28
of this year. Wouldn't you love to be able to trace the outgoing funds of the
snowmobile manufacturers and the incoming funds of some of our fine government
Independent wrestling promotion trying to challenge WWE monopoly. Good
- Other legal application of the Winona Defense.
Famous people committing
crimes while rehearsing for a role.
- thinking about
a trip to Maui?
Why wait to see the naked chicks?
- Hollywood celebs -
some of their nastiest tantrums
The New York Times tells us how to view the election.
- Good news on that pesky global warming -
England to become the new Bali. And you Brits can figure on a massive
reduction in those heating bills. When I lived in Scandinavia, I always told
the people in Oslo they were in the perfect place for the globally warmer future, since (a)
Oslo is colder than deep space (b) the city rises immediately into high elevations.
It is thus prepared for both higher temperatures and higher sea levels.
England and its gardeners might enjoy the warmth, but a significant rise in
ocean levels might be a bit troublesome for the coastal areas at
low elevations (a big chunk of the country). It'll actually be better for the
- J Edgar
ordered g-men to go undercover as women, even helping with their make up.
Hey, it must be true. It's in Weekly World News.
- Also from WWN - editor
Ed Anger demands that the US Government pay reparations to the descendants of
thought illegal - at least when posted on the internet.
Here are the latest movie reviews available at scoopy.com.
- 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 Lawdog or
Junior or C2000 or Realist or ICMS or Mick Locke, or somebody else besides me)
- If there is no asterisk, I wrote it, but am too ashamed to admit it.
- Karen Young, topless in "Criminal Law", starring Gary Oldman, Kevin Bacon and Fun House hero...Joe Don Baker.
Be sure to pay Graphic Response a visit at his website. www.graphic-barry.com.
'Caps and comments by Brainscan:
'Caps from two movies today.
Continuing with the Model Solution babes, today there is a brunette beauty who called herself Sascha Rochelle in this movie but went by the name of Sascha Peralto when she posed for one of the bunnymag's college girls' specials. She is the first nekkid babe of the movie and right away you know this not a hooters-only flic.
- Sascha Rochelle. Gynocam in 1, full-frontal in 2 and 7, boobs and bum in 8, 3-6 boobs only.
Our second babe is a one-shot wonder, Rachel Dyer, who appeared topless and showed a right nice bum in Almost Hollywood (1994). This a movie within a movie that knows not whether it should be a dark comedy or a whodunit.
Rachel plays a young actress who plays a murdering villainess who plays a murder victim who plays... Oops, one too many who plays. A mixture of boobs and bum; collage is an amalgam of the best frames.
'Caps and comments by Hankster:
Today a look back to 1993 and Pamela Anderson in "Snapdragon", Pamela was probably in her prime at that time and shows some boob in lovemaking scenes with Stephen Bauer.
||Brief breast exposure in scenes from the French movie "Femmes de personne" aka "Nobody's Women" (1984).
||Single breast sighting in "L'Amour en herbe" (1976).
|Very nice toplessness and far off rear nudity in "Madamoiselle Else" (2002).
||Wearing nothing but undies in scenes from "L'Amour" (1990).
||Full frontal and rear nudity in "À mort la mort (1999).
|The young actress in undies, bikini, several tight shirts, and almost revealing a breast as she removes her bra. Vidcaps by C2000 from the mediocre thriller, "True Blue".
||The B-movie regular bares breasts and bum in some sport humpin' scenes from the late night cable series "Love Street".
|Wearing some kind of snake-like top that barely covers her breasts at the LA premiere of "Femme Fatale".
|Dann takes a look at the uncut DVD version of "Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday" (1993). All three ladies bare their breasts, Michaels shows a bit of bum.
|Pat Reeder www.comedy-wire.com
Pat's comments in yellow...
EMINEM THE "NEW ELVIS?"
Except Elvis Could Sing - Eminem's screen debut "8 Mile" made a whopping
$54.4 million over the weekend. By comparison, Britney Spears'
"Crossroads" had a $14.5 million debut, and fellow white rapper Vanilla
Ice's "Cool As Ice" made just $1,193,000 in its entire run. Eminem's movie
scored mostly positive reviews, with critics comparing it to "Rocky" with
rappers instead of boxers. Industry analysts said Eminem has turned from a
scary, foul-mouthed parental nightmare into the new Elvis.
A scary, foul-mouthed Elvis...
He can't be the new Elvis, his movie got GOOD reviews.
It's like "Rocky," only with rappers instead of boxers, so it's much
Now that Eminem has been embraced by mainstream Hollywood and accepted
by parents, his career is over.
VIN DIESEL, MUSICAL STAR?
Fugue For Tin-Ears - Vin Diesel says he's talking to Nicole Kidman about
starring with him in a remake of "Guys & Dolls," which would be "the
antithesis of 'Triple-X,' to say the least." He said he grew up loving
musicals, and he thinks he can carry a tune, but he added, "I don't want to
torture my fans by attempting a singing career. I think one musical would
be just enough."
Just enough NOT to make his fans think he's gay.
It's too much to expect that such a brilliant actor would be able to
As a singer, I don't know if he's good enough to replace Marlon Brando.
J-LO AND AFFLECK ENGAGED
This Year's Model - In an interview with ABC's Diane Sawyer, Jennifer Lopez
finally confirmed that she is engaged to Ben Affleck, but they can't be
married until after January because her last divorce won't be finalized
To save time, couldn't she just marry him now and do BOTH divorces in
J-Lo spends more time waiting for her divorces to be finalized than she
does being married.
LIZA AND HUBBY SNAP BACK AT VH1
Gest Was A Terrible Host - Liza Minnelli's husband David Gest issued an
angry statement blasting VH1 for killing their planned reality show. He
accused the VH1 crews of mistreating them and wrecking their apartment and
scoffed, "Obviously, VH1's idea of reality is not ours."
That's because he and Liza have NO idea what reality is.
Nice to hear that he can still pay them a compliment.
Giving David and Liza a reality show is like giving Marcel Marceau a
Other music stuff
Best songs of the past 50 years? They include both "Hey Jude" and Kylie Minogue's "Can't Get You Out Of My Head," so somebody must REALLY like the musical phrase, "Na-na-na, na-na-na-na"...
'Bohemian Rhapsody' Voted Best Song Of Past 50 Years Beatles Claim 14 Of Top 100 Slots
LONDON -- The Brits love their Queen.
The group's "Bohemian Rhapsody" topped a British poll of the greatest songs
of the last 50 years. John Lennon's "Imagine," and the Beatles' "Hey Jude," took second and third
places respectively. The Beatles claimed 14 of the top 100 slots, far ahead of any other act. Simon and Garfunkel's "Bridge over Troubled Water" took fourth place. George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord" claimed the fifth spot. The poll was conducted by the Official U.K. Charts Co. Meantime, only four tracks from the past decade made it into the top 100 -- Kylie Minogue's "Can't Get You Out Of My Head," Elvis Presley's revamped "A Little Less Conversation," Oasis' "Don't Look Back In Anger" and U2's "Beautiful Day."