Tuesday

The Brave One

The Brave One is the "Jodie Foster as Charles Bronson" film.  Jodie plays a victim of urban violence who lives through a brutal mugging which killed her fiancÚ and soul-mate. She has a difficult time re-entering the world, because the beating left her with greater emotional scars than physical. In her job as a roving radio personality whose schtick is "reporter about town" in New York, she had come to love the Big Apple, but the mugging changed all that. In her recovery period she finds herself terrified of things which she used to relish as part of the city's quotidian rhythms. A man comes close to her at high speed; she goes into panic mode, only to discover that the man is just an ordinary commuter rushing for his train. Her paranoia is enhanced by the realization that her assailants could know that she is alive, and that she may be able to identify them. She can no longer live with the paralyzing fear of everyday existence, so she gets herself a gun for protection. Because of the gun control laws in New York, she is forced to acquire her 9mm handgun on the black market.

She doesn't start out with a desire to be Charles Bronson. Her career as a vigilante starts as an unavoidable matter of self-defense. She's in a convenience store during a robbery, hiding successfully until her cell phone goes off and the robber becomes aware of her presence. She knows she's in a life-or-death situation because she's already seen the man gun down the store clerk without provocation, so she hides, waits, and is lucky enough to survive by getting the drop on the bad guy.  She has to fire three shots at close range to score a single hit, but she does get the job done. It is not long before she is taking an increasingly bold and proactive role in vigilante justice, setting herself up as bait to invite thuggery, then exacting stern justice on the would-be thugs. Within a month or so, she has turned into Batman, no longer content to invite criminal behavior, but now actively seeking out the city's lowlifes and whacking them by night. Her increasing confidence brings her closer to a head-to-head confrontation with the thugs who attacked her in the opening scene.

Balanced against Jodie's story is the tale of the cop who is investigating the vigilante murders. In fact, he becomes Jodie's close friend after coming into contact with her in her twin roles as a radio interviewer and a victim of violence. He has no idea at first that she might be committing the crimes she's reporting on, but he's a dedicated and smart cop, and he gradually puts two and two together. Lacking any hard evidence, he arranges a meeting with Jodie and tells her indirectly, through a parable, that (1) he knows the score (2) he will bring her in, even if she is a friend, even if he sympathizes with her aims.

The ending of the film creates dramatic suspense from Jodie's pursuit of the baddies, and the cop's pursuit of Jodie.

SPOILERS AHEAD

I kind of liked the film, but I'm having a hard time articulating why, or even understanding why, because it is a film which betrays its basic premise, and that always bothers me. The audience is invited to wonder how the film's knot can possibly be untangled, given that Jodie has determined to kill her assailants, the cop has determined to bring her to justice, and Jodie has announced that she will accept the consequences.

And then the script cheats.

After the film makes a painstaking effort to establish that the policeman is honest and incorruptible, thus assuring some kind of tragic ending for one or both of the sympathetic characters, it manages to resolve the situation simply by making him turn dishonest and corruptible.

See how easy scriptwriting can be, kids?

So, given this cheap bit of deus ex machina, why am I defending the film? I'll offer two reasons.

(1) The film has a poetic tone and style to it. There are two good people in love with each other and the city. Only one survives. The other lives on in anguish, delivering haunting and highly articulate radio monologues about her feelings.  One good cop sympathizes with the victim, but can't let her use New York City as her personal hunting grounds.

One scene that is particularly memorable involves Jodie's fiancÚ being brought to the emergency room. The film pictorializes what he's thinking of in his dying moments (making love to Jodie), but intercuts his thoughts with the grim reality of what is happening to him on the operating table, thus showing how the real events may be stimulating his subconscious. We see the doctors cut off his underpants in a frenetic rush to save his life, then we look into his mind, where he's removing Jodie's underpants in a tender memory. That scene is absolutely brilliant, as is the scene where Terrence tells Jodie what he knows without actually telling her anything.

(2) Terence Howard and Jodie Foster really make the movie work. Film this same script with Kari Wuhrer as the victim and Stephen Baldwin as the cop, and it could be just formulaic straight-to-vid fare, but Terrence and Jodie raise it to a different level. What's amazing to watch is that Terrence and Jodie are so similar as actors, especially considering that one is a black man and the other a white woman. It's like they are in one of those science fiction movies where the alien presence goes from body to body, because it seems like they are playing the same person in different bodies. Both of them are sensitive, soft-spoken, in control, refined, yet both of them have an intense volcano of emotions just below the surface, as reflected in their eyes. They are two of the very best actors in the "subtle underplaying" category, and that works perfectly in this movie.

Those elements make it a good enough movie, up to a point. Too bad it was not true to itself, because it might have been a classic.

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The critics were split dramatically. The British critics (BBC and Guardian) focused on the film's weaknesses and awarded 2 out of 5. Both Ebert and Berardinelli liked it a lot and focused in the film's strengths, each of them scoring it 3.5 stars out of 4. In general critics were split down the middle: RT estimates that the reviews were 45% positive, and Metacritic assesses the average score at 56/100.

Film clips in yesterday's page. I did no collages because I'm pretty sure it is a body double.

 

It's that Time of Year

Cast your vote for the nude scene of the year, The ballot page is set up for non-members. You don't need to use any of those Rapidshare links because I got all of those film clips out of the back issues in order to put them on Rapidshare in the first place, so you already have access to every one of them.  Just go there and vote.

 

  • * Yellow asterisk: funny (maybe).

  • * White asterisk: expanded format.

  • * Blue asterisk: not mine.

  • No asterisk: it probably sucks.

OTHER CRAP:

Catch the deluxe version of Other Crap in real time, with all the bells and whistles, here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Sexperts: Touched by Temptation

 (1965)

This early East Coast sexploitation effort compares the lives of two lovely young women who share an apartment. We have Lana Lynn, new in town, who is a wannabe actress, and longs for all the good things in life. She moves in with Rusty Allen, who works for a department store as a model but longs to be married with children. Lynn rather quickly finds her sugar daddy, while Allen has troubles with her true love straying.

Producer William Mishkin was no stranger to film when he made this one. His specialty was finding mildly titillating titles to distribute, then over-hyping the sexual content in his promotional campaign. He distributed lots of burlesque titles, for instance. In the mid-50s, the amount of skin and sex in sexploitation films hit his comfort level, and he decided to produce his own. 

The framing mechanism in this particular film is rather awkward, and demonstrates some typical Mishkin approaches. The story is not really about the two girls, but rather about three filmmakers who are writing a script for a movie about the two girls. There is some dialogue, but most of the words are narration. Mishkin must have felt the nudity was not sufficient when the director had finished filming, so they inserted several of his familiar color burlesque loops into the B&W movie. The narrator rationalized this by explaining that the writer wanted to shoot in color, so the color sections pictured his concept of how those scenes would look. This, like the other monologues from the narrator, ranges from quaint through dated and all the way to laughable.

This is a time capsule look at New York in the 60s, and a reminder that, no matter how sophisticated we felt in 1965, it was still an innocent period. Things would change forever over the next two years.

This is part of a two disk special edition due for release January 29, 2008. Again, we have the Retro division of Seduction Cinema to thank for finding an inter-neg of this long lost film, and restoring the B&W segments to a mostly clean DVD. Along with the feature, the first DVD includes the burlesque loops used in the inserts in their entirety. The second DVD is full of striptease loops. This package should be welcomed by those who, like me, are fascinated by the sexploitation era.

Lana Lynn shows breasts in the bath. Rusty Allen shows breasts and buns changing out of a bikini. Several unknowns show breasts and buns in the inserts.

Lana Lynn

 

Rusty Allen

 

Unknowns

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Confessions of a Lap Dancer

Today it's off to soft-core land for a film which may be short on plot but is blessed with an abundance of nudity. All the girls do complete nudity - with the exception of one.

 

Taking the exception first we have the always cute Amy Lindsay showing breasts.

 

Blake Pickett stars and shows off the goods on stage and with a variety of sexual partners.

 

Blake and Lisa Comshaw have the obligatory lesbo encounter.

 

Janine Lindemulder bares all doing her strip routine.

 

 

Julia Kruis both on stage and in the bedroom.

 

 

 

Nikki Nova's strip show winds up our day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notes and collages

Hellraiser

Part 1 of 3

Clare Higgins

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ted Bundy

Boti Bliss

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shopgirl

 

Mirabelle Butterworth (Claire Danes) is a shopgirl who sells things that people no longer buy. She lives a humdrum life of waking, working and preparing for bed. Occasionally she expresses herself artistically through her self-portraits. After a trip to the laundromat, Mirabelle meets Jeremy (Jason Schwartzman), a career roadie with no social skills. Mirabelle and Jeremy date each other out of boredom.

Wealthy man-about-town Ray Porter (Steve Martin) enters Mirabelle's shop one day and purchases some gloves. The two strike up a conversation and Porter invites her to dinner. Despite their 35-year age difference, Mirabelle and Ray hit it off and the romance blossoms.

In the meantime, Jeremy goes on the road and discovers self help audio books.

 

Claire Danes

 

Bridgette Wilson-Sampras

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The Comedy Wire

Comments in yellow...


 Monday night in London, Led Zeppelin played their first concert in nearly 20 years before a packed arena of ecstatic, air guitar-playing fans.  Critics were stunned that the band sounded as good as ever as they ripped through over two hours of heavy rock classics.  But one thing has changed.  In their heyday, they were notorious for trashed hotel rooms and hedonistic backstage behavior.  But the promoter said now that they're older, they've become "very low maintenance."  Robert Plant's demands were a cup of tea and an ironing board so he could press his clothes before the gig. 

*  Jimmy Page still demands a bottle of pills, only now, it's Centrum Silver.





In Australia, size matters...at least, in pizza.  The native chain Eagle Boys accused Domino's of shrinking their large pizzas.  Domino's admitted they had, but said it was necessary to remain competitive, and besides, Pizza Hut shrank theirs first.  Eagle Boys then ran a satirical commercial inspired by an anti-speeding campaign in which two hot girls held up their pinkies as a Domino's delivery man drove past, in a mocking reference to small penis size.  Domino's called on Eagle Boys to drop the ad, saying it unfairly degraded their innocent employees. But Eagle Boys replied that studies prove their pizzas are up to 3 centimeters, or 20 percent, larger in diameter than Domino's.

* A warning, ladies: if you start judging men by size of their pizzas, we may start judging you by the freshness of your tacos.

 




The Jinling Evening Post reports that a Chinese woman, Jiao Meige, has opened a funeral-themed hotel.  She rented the land to farm, but nobody would work on it because there's an old graveyard there.  So she opened "The Mausoleum," a hotel shaped like a Chinese mausoleum with beds shaped like coffins.  She says there are no services at night, and guests can't go out because there's nothing around it but a vast cemetery.   She doesn't accept guests with heart problems or mental patients who aren't accompanied by a healthy person.  She said her hotel gives people a chance to experience what death would be like.

*  Doesn't China have Motel 6?






Blender magazine plans to run a nude photo of Britney Spears that
recreates a famous Marilyn Monroe photo; but the editors decided Britney is too fat now to really pose nude, so they're already advertising for a body double.  An ad in the magazine reads, "We are casting for a Britney Spears body double. You must have shoulder to medium length blonde hair. This person must also be in shape! 5'2" to 5'5...Your face will not be shown in the final photograph/cover." 

*  Here's a thought: call Jessica Alba instead.


*  It's finally happened: Britney has become such a mess, she's beyond the powers of PhotoShop.