Felicity Huffman plays Bree, a pre-op transsexual
who receives some shocking news a week before his ... er .. her
surgery: he fathered a son nearly two decades earlier. The son is in
a New York jail for male hustling, and his mother is dead. Something
about the situation brings out the parental instincts in Bree. She
bails the boy out of jail and takes him on a road trip across
America, stopping to visit the boy's step-father and then the boy's
The major comic complication is that Bree never
tells his/her son about their biological relationship. The charade
goes on for the first 2/3 of the film or more, and it works fairly
well until the boy makes a pass at him/her.
Talk about a dysfunctional family!
It's a real oddball of a movie. It's essentially
a warm-hearted sitcom at its core, except that the family's problems
are XXX rated. And you know what? It works pretty well. It pulls in
a few laughs without forcing it too much, and it generates a few
tender moments along the way. It succeeds because it doesn't violate
its own premise. Although the set-up is quite wild, as I described
above, the execution sticks to a reasonable portrayal of how real
people would deal with that somewhat surreal situation. And they are
not only real people, but decent human beings. The boy may be a male
hustler who has a screwed-up life, but that doesn't keep him from
having the same feelings that you or I would have in the situations
he has to face.
The plot description makes Transamerica sound
like a depraved black comedy, but its really not. The film has a
genuine Midwestern Christian sweetness to it. But I don't recommend
taking grandma. It may be rated R, but it's NC-17 at heart: full
frontal nudity from two males and a female, and a constant stream of
male hustling and gay porno acts performed barely off camera.
I suppose it will never find an audience, but it
isn't a bad watch at all.
Felicity Huffman (the frontal nudity is in yesterday's page)
The Constant Gardener (2005)
As much as this film irritated me with its
naive politics, it impressed me with its skillful manipulation of
characters and moods. It is not possible to watch this film without
feeling emotionally drawn into the problems and rhythms of Africa -
the disease, the overcrowding in the cities, the lack of arable land
in the vast unpopulated interior, the poverty, the lack of progress,
the corruption, the music, the faces of the children. The director
doesn't really editorialize about the conditions. He just shows them.
Accurately. That is enough.
Even more important than the effective use of
Africa as a character in the film is the simple love story. In
essence, The Constant Gardener is about a man who falls in love with a
dead woman, one who was already his hastily-wed wife. I'm
oversimplifying to avoid spoiling the denouement of the film, but that
is the essence of it. Yes, I'm aware that this film has not been
marketed as a love story, but that is what it does best. As The San
Francisco Chronicle pointed out so eloquently, "It's a love
story only in passing. And yet the love story is what lingers in the
mind and gives energy and meaning to everything that happens
on-screen." The conspiracy-based thriller has
some great moments, but is generally boring, uses too many hackneyed
devices (supernatural feats of hacking skill, and the presence of so
many convenient incriminating letters that they must grow free in the
salt flats), and involves too many minor characters to hold one's
complete interest. Two things did stick in my mind: the film's
compassion for the poor of Africa, and its limning of a rich and
involving love story. Ralph Fiennes plays an apolitical,
mild-mannered, junior British diplomat in Africa; Rachel Weisz plays
his strident activist wife, a loose cannon who dies a few minutes into
the story. He is obsessed by her death and haunted by her memory. As
he starts to dig into the circumstances surrounding her murder, he
suspects at first that he was her pawn, a convenient lover used as a
free ticket to Africa. He seems to uncover painful evidence of her
infidelities and a secret life she lived behind his back. He can't
believe that he brought this secretive and totally undiplomatic woman
into his life as a diplomat, thus hurting his career as well as his
psyche. Yet he cannot turn away from the investigation and, as he is
drawn deeper into his wife's web of intrigue, he finds that things are
not what they seemed at first or even second glance.
This script was an excellent vehicle for Ralph
Fiennes to show the power that a good actor can generate from a
fundamentally undramatic part. This is no Richard Harris role. Fiennes
spends no time making quiet speeches to his unborn child or waving his
sword at the heavens while cursing God. Fiennes plays an inoffensive
man who's really into plants. Despite a smaller-than-life role, he manages to create a lot of
emotional power from that shaky old generator. As the script
progresses, the Fiennes character acquires an important legacy from
his departed wife - the conscience and backbone he had lacked - and
this development enables the actor to show the character's growth, not
in big broad showy strokes, but in subtle nuances. The best thing an
actor can do is to bring the audience right into the heart of the
character, and that's exactly what Fiennes did here. He even smiled a
couple of times! (Although, it must be admitted, those smiles
instantly transformed his handsome face into the visage of a deranged
mass murderer. I can see why he hasn't tried it very often in the
This is a good movie but, in my opinion, the critics were unduly impressed.
Yahoo voters (B) and IMDb voters (7.6) seem to have
it pegged more accurately.
It is not a masterpiece worthy of Best Picture honors, as some have
suggested. Those sentiments must have resulted from the drought of
good films in the first half of 2005, like an awe-filled reaction to ordinary
tepid water from a man dying of thirst. It is, however, a memorable film
which leaves behind some indelible images.
Best nude scene nominees
It's that time again. We're on the nominating process. Balloting
begins the day after Christmas
Here is my list of the scenes which I believe to be valid
contenders for best scene. In essence this is my hypothetical list of
anything that could possibly be considered the best nude scene of the
year. It should include anything which people could possibly pick with
their one and only vote. I assembled this list from
list. If I have forgotten anything, or if some of the ones on the
linked secondary list should make the short list, please let me know
by mailing me
- Carla Gallo in Carnivale
- Kerry Condon in Rome
- Polly Walker in Rome
- Kelly Brook in Three
- Kelly Reilly in Mrs Henderson Presents
- Monique Parent in Lust Connection
- Mia Kirshner in The L-Word
- Juliet Marquis in This Girl's Life
- Stormy Daniels in The 40-Year-Old Virgin
- Emily Blunt in My Summer of Love
- Embeth Davitz in Junebug (??)
- Alison Eastwood in The Lost Angel
- Margo Stilley in 9 Songs
- Olga Kurylenko in L'Annulaire
- Hélène de St-Père in Peindre ou Faire
- Bryce Dallas Howard in Manderlay
- Alexis Dziena in Broken Flowers
- Jamie King in Sin City
- Carla Gugino in Sin City
- Alison Lohman in Where the Truth Lies
- Lori Heuring in 8mm2
- Zita Gorog in 8mm2
- Bijou Phillips in Havoc
- Anne Hathaway in Havoc
- Anne Hathaway in Brokeback Mountain
- Jacyln DeSantis in Carlito's Way: The Rise to Power
- Michelle Krusiec in Saving Face
- Lynn Chen in Saving Face
- Joan Allen in Off the Map
- Jenny McCarthy in Dirty Love
- Emma de Caunes in Ma Mere
- Joana Preis in Ma Mere
- Vera Farmiga in Down to the Bone
- Felicity Hufmann in Transamerica
- Maria Bello in A History of Violence
- Michelle Monaghan in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
- Kate Norby in The Devil's Rejects
- Taryn Manning in Hustle and Flow
- Cameron Richardson in The Good Humor Man
- Keira Knightley in The Jacket
- Jennifer Esposito in Crash
- Rachel Weisz in The Constant Gardener
- Alison Pill in Dear Wendy
Again, don't write me to tell me I missed a stray
nipple somewhere, but
write if my list does not include the one film you would vote for
as the best nude scene of the year.
Bush Family 2005 Christmas Letter (WHITEHOUSE.ORG)
"SANTA'S REINDEER ON STRIKE ... 'WORK CONDITIONS GOT
TO BE UNBEARABLE,' SAYS COMET
Pennsylvania Community Officially Celebrates Festivus
Letterman's "Top Ten Signs You're At A Bad Mall" Good
- "You toss a penny in the fountain and it hits a
- "Lenscrafters promises glasses 'In about a month'"
- "The sales person keeps offering to measure your
inseam - and you're at a bookstore
What does "Alice in Wonderland" have to do with
- I took a similar psychological test 30 years ago -
maybe even the same one mentioned in the article - and the
personnel manager told me that I scored "low in
masculinity." I asked him for specific examples, and he
said "This question: Would you rather be a florist or a
coal miner? Women say florist, gay men say florist, hetero
men say coal miner. You said florist." I responded, "I
still feel the same. I don't really have any special love
of flowers, but I never heard of any fuckin' florist dying
of pink lung."
- Despite this exchange, or maybe because of it, I got
This Christmas Week in God
A new pic of Milla as Ultraviolet, aka Resident Evil
meets Aeon Flux
Where are the Oscar nominations for this film?
Combien tu m'aimes? (How much do you love me?)
- "The film offers endless shots of an unclad Monica
Bellucci being beautiful from all sorts of angles"
- "a particularly low-brow sex comedy set in a faux
high-brow, very stylised version of the Parisian night.
Anyone who thinks that sounds appealing (and/or anyone
willing to shell out some dough to drool over Bellucci’s
assets) has found his or her match."
Suicide Girls Steal X-Mas - Topless
- "Nothing but coal in suicide girls stockings. Ouch!
Chloe Suicide is totally hot. Even with Santa down for
the count, his groans still sound like 'Ho,Ho,Ho.'"
"Step aside, Frosty, make way for Snowzilla ...
16-foot-tall snowman attains celebrity status in
Sienna Miller finds her boobs in 'Casanova'
The British trailer for Seven Swords.
- In the early 1600‘s, the Manchurians have assumed
sovereignty and established the Ching Dynasty. A highly
oppressive reign thus began. To fight against the
brutality of the new government and save the innocent,
seven unlikely heroes gathered together and became the
Seven Swords. Each sword carries its own character – The
Transience Sword, The Dragon Sword, The Heaven‘s Fall
Sword, The Unlearn Sword, The Deity Sword, The Celestial
Beam Sword and The Star Chasers Sword.
- Nuff said. I think you already know whether you
might like it
Here's the trailer for Bubble, Soderbergh's latest.
- "Residents of a small town in Ohio puzzle out the
details of a murder which took place at the local toy
Nine clips and five TV spots from Hostel, Eli Roth's
follow-up to Cabin Fever.
Osama's Niece Poses in Racy Photo Shoot
- That reminds me. Don't miss our next pictorial, The
Girls of al-Qaida. Our photo editor wore out 23
airbruses for your entertainment.
Autopsy results: Tony Dungy's 18-year-old son committed
Britain's Prince Chuck wants to be King George
- I'll tell you what would be cooler than that. His
name is Charles Phillip Arthur George Windsor. How does
King Arthur sound?
Americans Inventory Their Gadgets
- Most gadget ownership (DVD players, for example) is
fairly constant across all age groups until 65, when it
- The exception is gaming systems, where the big drop
occurs at age 50. Surprisingly, people aged 30-49 are
just as likely to own game systems as people 18-29 (For
their kids or for themselves? It doesn't specify.)
Dr. Evil gets divorced, custody of Scotty undetermined.
Dick Cheney in Afghanistan: Vice President's Holiday
Remarks to Troops in That Other Arabiac Wasteland Which
Nobody Cares About Even Though It Actually Harbored the
9/11 Terrorists (WHITEHOUSE.ORG)
The trailer for the remake of The Hills Have Eyes
- "A new take on Wes Craven's 1977 film of the same
name, 'The Hills Have Eyes' is the story of a family
road trip that goes terrifyingly awry when the travelers
become stranded in a government atomic zone. Miles from
nowhere, the Carters soon realize the seemingly
uninhabited wasteland is actually the breeding ground of
a blood-thirsty mutant family...and they are the prey."
The trailer for RV, a comedy with Robin Williams.
Robin is basically playing the Chevy Chase role from those
Should Microsoft buy Opera?
"French Parliament Votes to Legalize File Sharing "
because nobody cares to share French movies or music.
"From 2006 Britain will be the first country where every
journey by every car will be monitored "
Yellow asterisk: funny (maybe). White asterisk: expanded format.
Blue asterisk: not mine. No asterisk: it probably sucks.
"The True Story of Eskimo Nell"
The True Story of Eskimo Nell (1975) is an Australian sexploitation film based on a dirty poem called the Ballad of Eskimo Nell. Obviosly, this poem was way to obscene to bring to the silver screen in the mid 70s in Australia, but they retained the character names, and something of the spirit of the poem. The unlikely duo of Mexican Pete the cocksman, and Deadeye Dick the inept become mates, and adventure their way to see Eskimo Nell, whom Deadeye Dick is sure is the best lay and the most beautiful woman ever.
The intent was to create a cowboy film in the tradition of Blazing Saddles based on the poem, taking advantage of the new R rating in Australia, which finally allowed nudity in cinema. It is uneven at best, but does feature nudity from four women. Abigail does full frontal, as do Paddy Madden and Elli Maclure. Kris McQuaid and Victoria Anoux show breasts.
Eight people have this at 3.8 at IMDb. It did not age well. At the time, it was risque enough, and the source material was well enough known, that it would have been worth the admission price. By today's standards, it is rather silly, with more fart jokes than nudity or sex. It is currently only available on Reqion 4 DVD. This is a D+.
Pat's comments in yellow...
DEAD PRESIDENT DOLLAR COINS
Bush's Favorite: Benjamin Franklin - Thursday, President Bush signed a law
to create dollar coins featuring all 37 of America's dead presidents. The
Treasury hopes to make a lot of money from coin collectors, and they also
hope it boosts the popularity of the Sacagawea dollar, which hardly anyone
* I didn't even know Sacagawea had been president!
* The only people who'd take that are the poor saps trying to get rid of
their Susan B. Anthony dollars.
* The Garfield dollar will be snapped up by confused comic strip fans.
CHRISTMAS TREE MORE IMPORTANT THAN FAMILY
I Say "Egg Nog," To Survive The Relatives - In Germany, birthplace of many
Christmas traditions, a Focus magazine poll asked what is the most
essential ingredient for a good Christmas. More people chose their tree
than their relatives. 75 percent said they couldn't imagine Christmas
without their tree, but only 65 percent said spending time with relatives
was essential. 57 percent said they couldn't do without carols, 42 percent
said Christmas requires gifts, and 3 percent of Germans said they'd just
like to skip the whole thing.
* Their Christmas tree is more important than their family tree, and far
* 35 percent said NOT spending time with their relatives was essential to
having a good Christmas.
* For Al Gore, being with his tree and being with his relatives are the
HANGING DEAD CARIBOU NOT SANTA'S REINDEER
I Blame Drunken Frat Boys - A businessman in Moravia, New York, went
hunting with some buddies in Quebec and bagged 10 caribou. Before
processing them for meat, he hung them up outside his business. But
children at a nearby elementary school had to be reassured after they
became terrified by a rumor that the dead caribou were Santa's reindeer
who'd been shot by hunters. The rumor is believed to have been started by
* That sounds like a safe bet.
* They better watch out.
* One was an easy target, thanks to his glowing red nose.
* They haven't shot Santa's reindeer...Not yet, anyway. But they are
building deer blinds on their roofs.