Silence Becomes You (2005)
Silence Becomes you is a straight to vid filmed in Vilnius,
Let me shout out a "Stop!" before you run
out to Blockbuster to get it. I know it sounds terrific so far, but
there are some other things you should know.
Alicia Silverstone and Sienna Guillory
co-star in what is essentially a three person play about a couple of
strange sisters who bring home a drifter for ... well, I guess that
purpose is kind of the point of the movie. You're supposed to figure
out exactly why they have brought him back to their mansion and why
they are so odd and reclusive to begin with. All of that is
basically revealed in flashbacks.
In the present time, the drifter falls in
love with one of the sisters, she seems to reciprocate, and this
causes the other sister to become crazy with jealousy. It's not what
you think. She doesn't want the guy for herself. You see, they
brought the guy home for a specific purpose, and if sis falls in
love with him, it will spoil the grand design. Moreover, the two
girls have lives which are so intertwined with one another and their
old house that the jealous sister cannot bear the thought that she
might lose her only companion to the outside world.
It functions somewhere between a ghost story
and a psychological drama. Although the audience sees ghosts, for
example, they turn out not to be real, but memories as seen in the
eyes of one character or another. Sometimes they just seem to be
metaphorical ghosts. For the most part it stays on our side of the
great beyond, but I have to admit that the couple of times when it
strayed into the paranormal were very irritating. After all, this is
the kind of film where the audience is kept interested by trying to
guess the secrets.
"Are the sisters ghosts? Are they crazy?
Were they originally planning to murder their guest? Will the
jealous sister murder the guest to retain her special relationship
with her sister? Just why do they behave the way they do?"
In order to keep the audience guessing about
these matters, the script introduces a few elements that seem
paranormal. What annoyed me is that the explanation turned out to be
psychological, not paranormal, and the previous paranormal incidents
were never explained. In other words, they were just in there as red
herrings to keep us guessing. I have nothing against that in
principle. No good sleight-of-hand can exist without some
misdirection, and even the best directors use some red herrings, but
it is essential that the false clues must fit into the final
explanation, and that was not the case here. To give one example,
when Silverstone tried to run away with the drifter, the other
sister (Guillory) started to burn Silverstone's picture. As the
picture burned, the camera switched to Silverstone, who was reacting
in pain as if the picture had been a voodoo doll. When Guillory had
a change of heart and doused the flames, Silverstone's pains stopped
immediately. So my question is this - if the final explanation for
the girl's behavior is scientific and exists entirely in the real
universe, as we are led to believe, then how do you explain the
voodoo doll effect? My take on it is that it was just there to allow
the scriptwriter to deepen the mystery by suggesting that the
sisters had some kind of unearthly connection. Yet that did not
conform to the ultimate explanation. That's cheating.
I found some other details quite annoying as
well. (1) Alicia Silverstone must have done ten sex scenes in this
film, and never showed any kind of flesh at all - not even a good
look down a nightgown. I suppose there are those who would be
entertained by a profusion of fully-dressed sex scenes, but I do not
count myself among them. (2) The film has one of those ambiguous,
under-explained endings that just leave you thinking, "whaaaa?"
Having made those points, I'll add that
there is some talent on display in this film. Rural Lithuanian
estates are pretty damned atmospheric in the wintertime, all three
of the actors are competent, and the tone of the film is both
consistent and effective.
The most memorable element of this
production occurred off-camera. Silence Becomes You was filmed
entirely with a high-definition (1920x1080) video camera with a true
16x9 aspect ratio. The film's dailies were projected each night onto
a custom-designed ten foot screen with a special HD projector
developed especially for this job, thus allowing a director in
Vilnius to have even better "rushes" than he would have back in a
Hollywood studio. The publicity material called this movie, "The
world's first 100% digital cinematography feature film."
Read the detailed technical specs here.
Welcome to Arrow Beach (1974)
Here's a good tip for you drifters. If a stranger offers you his
hospitality by saying he'd like to have you for dinner, make sure you
clear up the inherent ambiguity of his invitation. Especially if he
looks like Laurence Harvey.
That is precisely
the lesson learned by a hippie drifter named Robin (Meg Foster), who
accepts a dinner invitation from ol' Larry before she discovers that
when he says he eats chicks, he doesn't mean small chickens, and he's
not making a reference to oral sex. It turns out that Larry served in
Korea and he was forced into a situation where he had to eat human
flesh to survive, and he just really developed a craving for "long
pork," especially of the female variety, and particularly with a light
mustard/tarragon sauce and a bottle of beaujolais. Chicks - the other
white meat! Larry really gets into gourmet cannibalism, and even
entices his spooky sister to become a big fan of of his favorite
entree, "Drifter Dijon."
Poor Meg Foster never sees the warning signs
in advance, although some of them seemed kind of obvious, like Larry's
sister telling her to lock her door, and mainly the human heads on the wall in the trophy room.
Hey, c'mon, I keed. Larry was actually a nice
guy. In fact, he lived to serve women.
Meg finally figures things out when she
wanders around the house at night and sees ol' Larry chopping up a
human corpse with a meat cleaver. She barely manages to runs away and
share her story with the local gendarmerie, who simply won't take the
word of a homeless hippie chick when she's pitted up against the
solemn authority and gravitas exuded by a local war hero. So she has
to ... (is your guess locked in?) ... take the law into her own hands.
By acting in and directing the film, Laurence
Harvey became the Orson Welles of cannibal films! Unfortunately for
Larry's memory, he passed away from this world in between the time
that the film was "completed" (I use that word hesitantly) and the
release date, thus assuring that Arrow Beach would be remembered as
his final contribution to the dominant art-form of the 20th century.
It also comprises half of his career directorial output. He directed
only one other film, an equally obscure 1963 offering called The
Harvey's acting in the film is predictably
intense and haunted and joyless, as you might expect from a man
playing a tragic cannibal while he himself was dying of cancer, but that was
just typical grade-B stuff, and would not serve to make the film
especially memorable. His direction is what makes the film really
shine with incompetence. The musical score, for example, is non-stop
elevator music, capped off by a Lou Rawls love ballad which is crooned in
the performer's characteristically mellow style over the opening credits. If that weren't
enough to destroy the tone of a cannibal film, there's also the
standard comic relief that only an incompetent deputy can provide! (Where was David Arquette when the
seventies needed him?)
The film also has a lot of problems that
were probably derived directly from Harvey's terminal illness. The second
half of the movie focuses on a detective who is trying to bring the
cannibal to justice, and that story is just dropped and forgotten, as
if Harvey had been too sick to keep shooting. In fact, that probably
is the explanation, because Harvey was even too sick to play the
climactic confrontational scene with the avenging hippie. That scene
was performed by a double, despite the fact that the double's face
is in the shots, confusingly enough! Harvey was also too sick to work with the editor on the
final cut, and he made his suggestions telephonically from his
actually seeing the results.
The film's greatest problem, however, had
nothing to do with the lack of continuity and the inconsistent tone.
You may ask, "What could be worse than that?" Well, I'll tell you.
Except for a couple of gory scenes, this film is all talk, and it's not
just the usually expository dialogue which low-budget movies have to
substitute for pictorialization. It's endless philosophizing and debate about
such topics as why youths
were so aimless in that time, why we need to treat our war veterans
better, and other such completely sincere and utterly boring matters
which would be more appropriately discussed on Meet the Press than in
a movie in which the characters press the meat.
The incompetence of the film makes it
unappealing to mainstream audiences, and the inexplicitness makes it
too tame for aficionados of the Italian Cannibal Movie genre. That means that the
only possible audience for the film consists of bad movie lovers.
does have some tasty moments which will bring a smile to that cynical crowd,
but in general it's too verbose and just too damned boring
to provide the proper bad movie vibe. On the other hand, if MST3K
ever comes back with an R-rated cable show, Arrow Beach should be one
of their first endeavors, because this would be a great one to watch
with Mike and the bots.
Doonesbury introduces Skippy McScapegoat
Leave it to The Sun to take the high road on any story.
"ANGELINA JOLIE'S lesbian lover has given a warning to Brad Pitt"
If you are always looking for obscure old movies on DVD, you'll love
- You can really find some offbeat crap there. I found the
legendary Lawrence Harvey crapfest
Welcome to Arrow Beach, which I thought to be lost forever.
Dalai Lama launches personal website
- unga-galunga.com ... so he's got that goin' for him.
- Man, he has some hot babes on his web cams.
- ... and, of course, the site is filled with excellent
long-driving tips. I've already added twenty yards off the tee.
Big hitter, the Lama.
Bubba the Love Sponge will be relaunched by Howard Stern
- Stern has complete control of two 24-hour stations, and Mr
Sponge will be the PM drive guy for one of them.
- Sirius is making tha big gamble that Stern will be able to
bring his twelve million listeners over to satellite. As of this
moment, they have only a few hundred thousand subscribers, and
they estimates that they need a million new subscribers to break
even on Howard.
- I have to admit that I will make the move myself, as soon as
Howard is in place.
"Brokeback," "Crash" lead Critics Choice nominees
- Best actor nominees include Heath Ledger for "Brokeback
Mountain," Philip Seymour Hoffman for "Capote," Joaquin Phoenix in
"Walk the Line," David Strathairn in "Good Night," Russell Crowe
for "Cinderella Man" and Terrence Howard in "Hustle & Flow."
- Best actress nominees were Reese Witherspoon for "Walk the
Line," Dame Judi Dench in "Mrs. Henderson Presents," Joan Allen
with "The Upside of Anger," Felicity Huffman for "Transamerica,"
Keira Knightley in "Pride & Prejudice" and Charlize Theron for
NFL 2005 - Scoreboard
- San Diego and KC lost, while the Steelers won, leaving those
three teams all 8-5, running a dead heat for the sixth and final
- Same deal in the NFC. Dallas and the Viking both won, the
Falcons play Monday night. If the Falcons win, all three teams
will be 8-5, fighting for that sixth slot.
The Colts make it 13-0
Some nice video clips of exposure from fashion models.
- Don't be put off by the bizarre look of the site, because he
has some good material. The only downside is that the clips are
hosted by rapidshare, so there is a download limit.
Film Jerk's Early Report for December 11
- "This week's Early Report covers the 39 known new movies
opening in theatres or expanding their runs between Tuesday
December 13 and Friday January 13"
The Filthy Critic reviews The Chronicles of Narnia
- "It's a shame, really, when adults suck all the life out of a
kid's story. They pretend to revere it, but what they really do is
worship the profit potential at the expense of the story and the
kids. This movie is like a grown up who never opens the action
figures he loved as a kid. Yeah, they're worth a lot now, but you
sure miss out on all the fun that way."
Headline of the day:
"Banana Boy Arrested After Faux Fight"
A rural town divided -- over election of goat as mayor
- What really makes it complicated is that the goat's opponent
in the election was also his lover!
"WHITE HOUSE ACCIDENTALLY SCREENS BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN" ...
Cheney, Rove Injured in Stampede for Exit
Weekend Box Office Results, December 9-11, 2005
- Narnia dazzled, with an opening 25% above expectations. It was
the second best December opening of all time. The other three
movies in the Top Four are the three installments of Lord of the
Rings. Excluding those, the highest December weekend is $46
million, and Narnia did $67!!!
- The extra Narnia business appears to have been genuine
incremental business, not cannibalization from other films.
Syriana was not affected by the big Narnia numbers, and the
holdovers all performed about as expected. Given the fact that the
past two weekends have been within a percent of last year's
comparable performances, expectations for this week are defined as
"about the same as last year's performance on the same weekend."
By that definition, the weekend was about $17 million above
expectations. That $17 million came just about directly from the
incremental portion of the Narnia business. The ability to bring
in new theatergoers without affecting the habitual movie crowd is
something we haven't really seen since Passion of the Christ and
- That's kind of interesting since much has been made about the
religious allegory in Narnia, and its parallels to Passion of the
Christ. I wonder if it has been talked up and promoted by church
groups, like Passion.
- The weekend was 17% above last year. Record-breaking
performances from Potter and Narnia have made some real progress
in salvaging a disappointing year, and one can't help but think
that the widely-hyped King Kong will do even better.
FallonFey.com has a vid of Tina Fey on Conan
Riding Sun Separated at Birth, part II: George Clooney and Khaled
Churches to close Christmas Day because of anticipated low
Santa sacked for being nice to children
New Rules - A Brief Excerpt from the Book by Bill Maher
Officer Dies Interrupting Burglary Near Bronx Home; "Sopranos" Actor
Yellow asterisk: funny (maybe). White asterisk: expanded format.
Blue asterisk: not mine. No asterisk: it probably sucks.
Mother (1970) is the Don Joslyn film Scoppy wrote expensively about. It was made with no budget in friends apartments, houses and garages and filmed on weekends. I can only assume he got Wally Cox, Julie Newmar and Victor Buono to appear out of freindship. According to an included interview, we know Newmar was not paid.
It looks and feels more like a silent film than a talkie, with most of the gags being physical. Newmar is the ruthless owner of a toy factory. She sees Wallie Cox, a toy salesman and amateur puppet maker, charm children in a toy store, and decides she needs him to make commercials for her, so she assigns Buono to get him under contract. They soon learn that his hobby is following attractive women, and try several to get him to sign. What they don't realize is that Newmar's photo on the contract reminds him of his own abusive mother, and he runs every time. Buono, now in trouble with his own mother, tries to kill Cox.
An anonymous nude model shows her buns, and Angelique Pettyjohn shows both breasts and buns. Graded as a normal film, it is deserving of negative stars, but as a bad movie, it is a real hoot. C.
"The Lust Connection"
The Lust Connection (2005 Video) The whodunnit staring Glori-Anne Gilbert, uses the Internet hot-line cheating gambit to show the male lead, Frank Harper, having sex with Glori-Anne Gilbert, Monigue Parent, Julie K. Smith, Holly Hollywood, Avy Scott, Chasey Laine and Jodey Moore. These are all three B performances.
IMDb readers have this at 3.6. That score, clearly, reflects the plot, and not the exposure. By our system, this is a C-. Plenty of nudity and simulated sex in good light, but not enough story to rate a C.