Third party videos:

  • More of The L Word in Hi-Def. Here's Erin Daniels wondering what she will look like after her surgery.  WARNING: poignant, not sexy. (Zipped .avi)

  • Gabrielle Anwar in Invasion of the Body Snatchers (zipped .avi).


The Groomsmen (2006):

Ed Burns doesn't attract a lot of fanfare as a writer/director/producer, but he has slowly and steadily carved out a solid career as one of America's distinctive independent voices.  If Woody Allen was the voice of Manhattan's droopy-shouldered neurotics, Burns is the voice of the outer boroughs: plain-spoken , barbed, ball-busting, coarse and masculine. You can't imagine a Woody Allen character saying "don't bullshit me, man," but  that classic New Yorkism symbolizes what goes in in Burns's films: a got of guys trying to strip away their own and each other's facades and just trying to talk to one another about what's really on their minds.

He has written and directed seven films in the past eleven years,  fitting his career in the interstices of a respectable career as an actor in other people's movies. He doesn't have a major triumph in his filmography, but he doesn't have any crap in there either, and his production is as consistent and reliable as his IMDb scores.

  1. (6.49) - Sidewalks of New York (2001)
  2. (6.39) - The Brothers McMullen (1995)
  3. (6.08) - The Groomsmen (2006)
  4. (6.00) - She's the One (1996)
  5. (5.81) - Ash Wednesday (2002)
  6. (5.76) - Looking for Kitty (2004)
  7. (5.72) - No Looking Back (1998


I haven't always liked his movies or found them entertaining, but I always like what he tries to accomplish. He creates real people and gets them interacting over real matters. His characters may or may not draw me into their lives, but I always get the feeling that I'm watching real life. That's the sort of thing that independent film is quite good at, and maybe it's something that studio films should do better instead of cranking out formulaic and adolescent fantasies.

The Groomsman has a rather familiar premise. A guy's wedding is about a week away, and his best friends are re-uniting in preparation for their roles as the groomsmen. They each have issues to deal with, and to share with the others. The groom (Burns) is experiencing some pre-wedding doubts and jitters.  His older brother has been acting like a complete prick recently, and nobody can figure out why.  He has a dark secret. One friend hasn't been seen in eight years, after having left down without saying good-bye to anyone. He had an even darker secret. One guy has never grown up at all. One guy is living a sensible life as a husband and father. Some of them need to work out issues with their significant others, while others have to reconcile with parents. About the only thing that makes this different from any other treatment you have seen of these themes is that it is seen through the eyes of regular, everyday "don't bullshit me" guys.

In other words, it's a soap opera for men.

It's a solid effort, as Burns's films generally are, but the key question for discussion is why a pretty good flick like this ended up in no more than 73 theaters, and grossed only $125,000. I guess the answer to that lies in understanding the answer to this one, "How many people actually want to watch a soap opera for men?" Some indy filmmakers find an arthouse audience, but those audiences don't generally go for Burn's kind of rugged, down-to-earth masculine camaraderie. Women who enjoy emotional dramas are probably going to gravitate to the kind of soap operas they like, ones told from a woman's point of view. Men generally go to movies for escapist entertainment rather than to watch people express mature emotions.  Net audience for this film: very small.

I mentioned earlier that I don't always get involved in Burns's films, but I got hooked into this one. Jay Mohr (as the "emotional retard") and John Leguizamo (as the guy who disappeared for eight years) are talented comics, and their gift for street-savvy repartee brought a bit of needed light to a film that might have gotten too dark without them. The rest of the cast is solid, the characters are drawn with a great deal of care, and I felt that actual events were transpiring before my eyes. What the script lacks in pizzazz it makes up in heart.

Frankly, I don't know how Burns continues to finance these films, or whether he makes a profit on them,  but I'm glad somebody does, and I hope he keeps at it.

I do wish he'd get some nudity into these flicks. In this one, the only nudity is a brief bit of background stripping, Sopranos style.



Dr King had his dream, and I have mine - vibrating soap


Toys for Tots rejects talking Jesus dolls


Headline of the day: "Giant penis sculpture stirs up controversy at Taipei airport"


The HD trailer for Smokin’ Aces

  • "In these interlocking tales of high stakes and low lifes, Mob boss Primo Sparazza has taken out a hefty contract on Buddy “Aces” Israel (Piven) - a sleazy magician who has agreed to turn state’s evidence against the Vegas mob. The FBI, sensing a chance to use this small-time con to bring down big-target Sparazza, places Aces into protective custody."


Bush's Dad Asks For Keys to White House Back ... Air Force One, President Grounded For Life



  • Casino Royale, 3000+ theaters, 91% positive reviews.
  • Happy Feet. 3000+ theaters, 82% positive reviews
  • Let's Go to Prison, about 1400 theaters, not pre-screened
  • For Your Consideration, arthouse, 68% positive reviews
  • Fast Food Nation, 300 theaters, 47% positive reviews


The Weekend Warrior's predictions for the box office upcoming weekend

  • An animated film and James Bond will go toe-to-toe, and are expected to gross about forty million each.


The international trailer for Ghost Rider


Heath Ledger as The Joker? (Well, not really, but a cool hoax.)


In honor of Louise Brooks's 100th birthday, here's a brief clip of an interview with her as an older woman

  • This is what she looked like when I knew her. I was a regular at the film shows at the Eastman House in Rochester. The curator of that collection, Dr James Card, was LuLu's significant other. She occasionally hung out at screenings. I was 17 at the time, I think, she about 60. She went on to live another 20 years in Rochester. I was impressed that the two of them always referred to one another in the third person, as well as in direct address, as "Miss Brooks" and "Doctor Card." If I remember correctly, she spent all of her time thinking and writing about the films of G.W. Pabst. I certainly didn't impress her since I didn't really know who she was, and the only Pabst I cared about was the Blue Ribbon Beer guy.


New Ed McMahon Autobiography Reveals He Slept With 7 Women


The Top 10 Moments in "Sweeps Week" Lesbianism



Quiz ... test your Bond knowledge


"No one likes to remind others of their greatest failures. Well, except us. That's why Blender has uncovered the stories behind the most career-crippling albums of all time."


The 2006 Weblog Awards are now open for nominations


The Colbert Report, Tuesday, November 14th


The Daily Show for Tuesday, November 14th:

The webmaster at bumpshack sent this one over - a pictorial he is especially proud of. "Mia Troche is a Puerto Rican Firecracker!"


Entertainment Weekly's 10 Worst Bond Girls


KFC brings back the word "fried"


From our "cojones" department: "Regan Books is publishing a book O.J. Simpson wrote with the working title 'If I Did It, Here's How It Happened.'"


Britney Spears Sex Tape is Going to Be Sold for 50 million dollars!

  • Britney's fortune is now estimated at $35 million, so if this is true Fed-Ex will actually end up as the richer of the two!


Gallup: Lining up the semi-finals for 2008, it looks like the Final Four will be Obama vs Clinton and McCain vs Guilani, although Clinton and Obama are both in the same bracket as Edwards.


An interesting look at the real face of a beautiful star in the course of life: "Jennifer Lopez extreme candid megapost"


International pictographs and toilet instructions from around the world.


Fascinating idea: Now and Then - "Ghost" Photographs

  • "The idea is to revisit the location of old photographs and take identical photographs, as if the camera never moved and the world changed around it."
  • Don't forget to use the "slider" to fade the top photo.


Hollywood's new fun couple: Michelle Rodriguez and Kristanna Loken (Rodriguez has come out. Loken is still being coy.)


Here is a scientist's reponse to the Christopher Monckton article debunking Global Warming

  • "There is scarcely a line in Lord Monckton's paper which is not wildly wrong."
  • Here is a spirited discussion of the matter at Slashdot.


Babylon 5 franchise to continue with straight-to-DVD movies.



Movie Reviews:

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





Chikan Waisetsu Nozoki (1992)

Kazuhiro Sana and his girlfriend Kanako Kishi decide to steal a car and go to visit her relatives at a country resort. The two are the epitome of westernized Japanese youth. They visit a hot tub resort in the off season. Kishi's sister and her husband live there with their son, who has never matured past the day when he fell off the roof, where he now spends all of his time waiving a carp banner. The brother-in-law is impotent, and has decided that he is a water spirit, and speaks only in a made up language. His wife devotedly has learned this language. Our two heroes decide to show Tokyo to the carp boy, which proves to be a big mistake.

"Under the Carp Banner" is a Pinku, or Japanese Pink film made specifically for the porno houses. It was written, directed by, and starred Kazuhiro Sano, one of four prominent Pinku directors for Kokuei Company Ltd. These films were shot in three days with a minuscule budget, and were made in two weeks. They were typically around an hour long, and had a sex scene every ten minutes. Don't confuse these with the Pinky Violence films, which were more elaborate productions and part of the earlier "Roman Porn" movement.

A certain type of critic invariably finds some deep meaning in these, and this was no exception. From the back of the case:

"Under the Carp Banner interweaves stories, comic, bizarre and tragic, concerning the sexual alienation, violence and social disintegration, whose relevance has never been greater than it is today."

I agree completely with the above statement -- in other words, I didn't understand it either. Expert Jasper Sharp in his commentary cautions against people who find deep meaning in these, pointing out that they are porn films, not profound art films. He goes on to explain that this one does does have many homages to Japanese literature and culture, and does compare modern, urban, westernized Japanese youth to the more traditional people who live in the country.

Had I understood more of the literary allusions, and not been struggling with subtitles, I might have liked it better. As it was, I admired some of the visuals, but admit to being glad when it was over. Still, it gets credit for being the first of the Pinku films to be released in the US.  Now that this film is enjoying a US DVD release, we may start seeing more of them. 

The genre is obscure Japanese erotica, and this is a C-.

IMDb barely lists this one. It has no votes, no reviews and no comments.



Kanako Kishi, who was a favorite of Sano, shows breasts and buns in sex scenes and a pretty imaginative fellatio scene.



 The unidentified actress playing her sister shows breasts in her two sex scenes. You should see what she does with a cucumber.












Clara Choveaux

The Hills Have Eyes

Emilie de Ravin

Vinessa Shaw





Today it's back to a little "Hankster Light" with one of my favorites, Barbara Alyn Woods, playing an undercover stripper in "Dance With Death". Sample caps and four .wmv movie clips zipped together.

More caps back in this years archives on July 11 & 12 .





Notes and collages

The Celebrity Stripper series continues

Jennifer Tilly in Dancing at the Blue Iguana



....if anyone is wondering why she appears to be screaming: that is her stage act...

Her sister Meg is actually the better actress but Jennifer has the bazooms in the family and as she is happy to show them off ... Hollywood casts her in a lot more parts ...




Demi Moore in Striptease


...the sexiest scene is when she is dancing with a towel in her apartment; she had a seriously buff caboose...








Dann reports on Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde:

Modern day versions of the Robert Lewis Stevenson classic Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde have been done before, so if you're going to do another, you sure better bring something new to the party. Unfortunately, the producers of this 2005 version left everything at home.

A brilliant medical student decides to create a new illicit drug derived from ecstasy, but better. It will enhance and change the personality of the person taking it.

Well, it certainly does, and young Jekyll gets very addicted to his new creation, but in his video diary, he does note one nasty little side effect: it turns it's users into sex-crazed killers.

The cast earns an "E" for effort, but with nothing more to work with, what we wind up with is a predictable and mediocre horror flick. It's better than watching reruns, but only slightly.

Robyn Palmer Katrina Matthews







On_Line: Vanessa Ferlito

Tyra Banks strips down on her show.



Pat's comments in yellow...

Last night, former Dallas Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith was voted the winner of ABC's "Dancing with the Stars."  With his nimble footwork and sunny personality, he became a surprise phenomenon, inspiring screams from women and show-watching parties nationwide.  Pre-show online polls showed him leading the more experienced Mario Lopez by 2 to 1.  One judge summed up Smith's appeal by saying he was "the everyday man who became a dancer" in ten weeks.

*  In retrospect, the producers are very glad they picked him over William
"Refrigerator" Perry.

Wednesday, Nevada's Democratic Sen. Harry Reid and Republican Sen. John Ensign were both elected to party leadership posts.  But Reid said they like each other and wish other people had the same non-aggressive relationship the two Westerners have, although "it's not a 'Brokeback Mountain' situation."

* Senators just screw us, not each other.

In Wichita, Kansas, a 23-year-old male with two younger accomplices allegedly tried to kidnap a teenager at gunpoint, but it didn't go according to plan.  The ringleader had just stuck his gun back into his pants waistband when it went off and shot him in the left testicle.  He flinched sharply, which caused it to go off again and shoot him in the left calf.  He somehow managed to walk to a hospital.  Police arrested all three.  They say the teen was targeted due to a dispute over some stereo speakers.

*  Some people would give their left nut for a good pair of stereo speakers.