Rosamunde Pilcher's Coming Home (1998)
Coming Home is a multi-part British TV miniseries
(about three and a half hours of running time) based on a book by
the queen of British romance novels, Rosamunde Pilcher. She's a
little old octogenarian from Cornwall who has written approximately
a gazillion of these stories under her real name as well as under
the pseudonym of Jane Fraser. She started churning them out in 1949.
More than fifty years later, she was still on top of the game,
receiving acclaim of the "romance novel of the year" variety as
recently as 2002.
Coming Home portrays several
generations of an extended family during the periods immediately
before, during, and immediately after WW2. Handsome men go off to
war, where they promptly lose vital bodily functions, or turn up
missing in action, or die. Beautiful women stay behind, tend to the
home front, and mourn the loss of their men. Some of the love
stories lead to tragedy, some to happiness, some to bittersweet
conclusions. (Usual stuff. Guy is missing in action, but does
finally make it home. Good news? Not entirely, because his girl
thought he was dead and married another man. That sort of thing. ) I
don't know much about Ms. Pilcher's life, but I reckon that this
particular story has some very close parallels to her own
experiences. The lead character spends the later war years serving
with the Women's Royal Naval Service, as Ms Pilcher did herself.
I popped this in the DVD player assuming it would feature typically
melodramatic romances in the stuffy framework of an Aunt Biddy
drama. (The Royal and Ancient Broadcast Code requires all
multi-generational family sagas to include a dotty Aunt Biddy.) My
expectations were not entirely unfounded, but I have to say that the
British certainly know how to mount a TV show. The story features
Peter O'Toole as the paterfamilias, some fine young actors in
support, some handsome production values, and some interesting
period detail. A passing point of interest is that the main
character was played by both Emily Mortimer (as an adult) and future
superstar Keira Knightley (as a teenager.)
The presentation also includes some revealing and
frequent nudity from Emily Mortimer and Katie Ryder Richardson, most
of it filmed in excellent light with skilled professionals behind
the camera. Sweet! I would not suggest that you guys run out and
rent this, but if you somehow get stuck watching it, it's not so bad
at all. I actually watched the entire program, which is on two
I know what you're thinking. It's all right. I
had some testosterone shots after watching it, and then I watched
some old tapes of the Ditka-era Bears. I'm almost back to normal
now, although I still can't stop saying the word "frappe," which is
amazing because I have no idea what it is, whether to spell it with
an accent mark over the "e," or even how to pronounce it.
|Katie Ryder Richardson
Just for a handy reference, it just happens that
Johnny Moronic captured another great Emily Mortimer nude scene
yesterday, this one from The Sleeping Dictionary:
Best Nude Scene Balloting:
Vladimir Putin Emoticons
Five clips from The Matador
- In writer/director Richard Shepard's dark comedy
"The Matador," Julian Noble (Pierce Brosnan) is a hit
man who's very good at what he does, but is losing his
taste for the business. Danny is a salesman whose
marriage and finances are in trouble. One night, at the
hotel bar, these two men meet. Before long, they find
themselves having an extremely unique Mexico City
experience, one that will change them both forever.
Julian the hit man and Danny the ordinary American
businessman find that, while they have nothing in
common, they both need each other in ways they never
knew they would.
2005 Foot-in-Mouth Awards
Recording Industry Association of America sets its sights
on protecting intellectual property in Russia.
- Good luck with that one, lads.
"I want people to have what I have. A whole range of guns
made from office supplies."
J.K.Rowling is ready to write the final Potter book
SADDAM CALLS HIS TORTURERS "RANK AMATEURS" ... Fears
For the Future of Torture in Post-Saddam Iraq
Judge Tosses Restraining Order Against Letterman
Audiences packed Broadway theaters in 2005
Researchers find Hummer purchaser with average-sized penis,
suspect error in the database.
The trailer for Glory Road
- "'Glory Road' tells the inspiring true story of the
underdog Texas Western basketball team, with history's
first all African American starting lineup of players,
who took the country by storm, surprisingly winning the
1966 NCAA tournament title. Josh Lucas stars as Hall of
Famer Don Haskins, the passionately dedicated college
basketball coach who changed the history of basketball
with his team's victory in this time of innocence."
Larry King's show on the Claus Break-Up
Brad Pitt as Jesse James!
Yellow asterisk: funny (maybe). White asterisk: expanded format.
Blue asterisk: not mine. No asterisk: it probably sucks.
The Elective Affinities (1996)
The Elective Affinities is an Italian art piece based on the Goethe novel
Die Wahlverwandtschaften. While this is considered one of the genuine
masterpieces of the 19th century, the film was clearly something less than
that. I am unsure whom to blame for the following plot.
A statue is rescued from the bottom of the sea during the opening credits.
At a subsequent exhibition of the statue, a woman named Carlotta (Isabelle
Huppert) sees former love Edoardo (Jean-Hugues Anglade) for the first time in
twenty years . He proposes that very day, and they live happily at his Tuscany
estate for a year. Then he decides to invite former school chum and unemployed
architect Ottone (Fabrizio Bentivoglio) to live with them. Ottone and Carlotta
are immediately attracted to one another, and that biological phenomenon is
explained to the others and the audience using a chalk board as a visual aid,
as if John Madden were outlining a tricky football play. Carlotta decides to
invite her goddaughter Ottilia (Marie Gillain) to live there as well, thus
balancing the equation. Everyone performs according to the play book outlined
on the chalk board. Carlotta spends most of her time with Ottone, while her
hubby devotes his time to Ottilia.
So far, nothing too strange. Carlotta and Edoardo reunite for a night of
love, and she gets pregnant. Shortly thereafter, Ottone leaves, and Edoardo
leaves for the army, wishing to die, since he can't have Ottilia. When the
baby is born, it has Ottone's bright red hair, and a face like Ottilia, so
much so that it even has a facial mole like hers. So, people were obviously
playing musical beds, right? No. The script specifically emphasizes that
Ottilia is still a virgin when Carlotta gives birth. The reason that the baby
looks like Ottone and Ottilia is that Carlotta and Edoardo were fantasizing
about them when the baby was conceived.
Edoardo is wounded in the military, but recovers with the help of Ottone,
and they both return to the villa to see if they can again find happiness.
Meanwhile, for some reason, everybody's fate is in the hands of Carlotta, who
must agree to a divorce in order for everyone to be properly paired with their
true love. She, of course, must refuse, else the film would end there. As the
men return, Ottilia accidently drops the baby into a lake for only two
seconds, but the baby drowns. This somehow releases Carlotta to consent to the
divorce, but now Ottilia doesn't want to play. Carlotta and Edoardo do not
Ottilia then proposes to return to school, but when it is clear that the
others won't let her go, agrees to stay if she can never speak and take all of
her meals alone in her room. This is a subterfuge while allows her to commit
suicide by starvation. Meanwhile, Edoardo has a heart attack and dies, so
Edoardo and Ottilia are buried together.
If I hadn't watched this, I would not believe it. I wasn't alone in my
bewilderment. I was unable to find a positive critical review. There's nothing
wrong with the acting, and the dubbing is good enough. My problem here is with
the story, especially in the last third of the film. Goethe apparently
believed that, much like the currently popular theory of Elective Affinities
in physics, people have no choice whom they are attracted to. Applied in the
context of this storyline, Goethe postulated that although we can't help being
attracted to others, we can honor the commitment of marriage, and that failure
to do so results in tragedy.
The only conclusion I drew from the film was that 19th century nobles were
One reviewer claims that Goethe does not translate well into English, and
that explains why the film doesn't work. I have not read the novel, and was
not able to find a detailed plot outline of it on the net, but I must assume
the film's storyline to be close to the novel. It is hard for me to believe
that the English language is the problem here, because the film was made in
Italy by mostly French actors and dubbed into Italian. I would sooner believe
that either the film makers were not capable of making lucid and entertaining
cinema out of the Goethe tale, or that the source material is considered great
because of the writing, not the story.
This is a D+, a failure, but I don't know how much of that failure is the
fault of the original source material.
151 IMDb readers have this at a respectable 6.1. (??)
We see Huppert's breasts from the side in a very dark blue scene, and
Gillain's right nipple in the instant baby drowning scene. (What do you do
with a dead baby? Flash him, obviously.)
Youngblood is a by-the-numbers sports story, of the "underdog youth
makes good" variety. Within this framework, the actual sports change from film to film, and
sometimes the stories are about a team rather than one individual, but
the basic curve of excitement never changes. The newcomer needs to
excel because sports are his ticket out of a life of drudgery. The
budding star has talent, but is missing some key ingredient which
holds him back. After a few initial successes, he is thwarted by an
evil entity. Sometimes the obstacle is a player on another team, other
times an injury, sometimes the problem lies within himself. In the
course of the film he overcomes the problem, defeats the nemesis, gets
the girl, and wins the big game in time for the credits to roll over
In this case, Youngblood is a young American hockey player who sees
the sport he loves as his only way out of a lifetime of farming or
mill work. His older brother had the same dream, but an injury
permanently took him out of the sport, and now the younger brother has
been given a chance. He must
overcome two obstacles: a thug on the other championship contender,
and his own dislike of fighting. To make his challenge even tougher,
he meets a girl (Cynthia Gibb) right after joining his first
professional team, and she turns out to be the coach's only daughter,
which doesn't please the coach.
all know the formula, so the rest of the film is predictable, but I
really enjoyed this film. I basically like this formula to begin with,
and it helps when the film is about a sport you enjoy and/or know
something about. In the end, however, it is not the familiar story, but
the unique execution that makes this kind of picture succeed or fail. In
this case, the characters are all likeable, the hockey action is
believable, and the film even managed a couple of serious themes. Best
of all, the film is liberally sprinkled with humor. An easy watch.
Dann reports on Xtro:
1983's British Sci-Fi/horror flick Xtro is
a weird one, but it's fun for Sci-Fi and horror fans.
Sam disappears suddenly leaving his wife and son Tony. Tony actually
saw his dad being sucked up into the sky during a fierce storm, but of
course, no one believes him, and it's assumed that Sam has simply
abandoned his family.
Three years later, Sam's wife is now living with Joe, but Tony still
misses his dad terribly. When what appears to be Sam shows up, Tony
welcomes him with open arms, but the wife senses something very different
about Sam. Soon, Tony begins to be affected by his Dad in very strange and
This film doesn't try to be good; it tries to be scary, gory, and fun
to watch. It succeeds pretty well. Fans of this type of flick will love
Today we'll take a look at what is going on in episode 8 "Caesarion" of Rome
Caesar too has finally arrived in Egypt and is not at all pleased when he sees
in what way they disposed of Pompey Magnus. He also senses that a civil war in
Egypt is imminent between young boy King Ptolemy and his older wife-sister
Cleopatra. Since Egypt is Rome's main supplier of grain this has to be avoided
at all cost.
Cleopatra (Lyndsey Marshal
) is being held in
captivity in the south and about to meet her maker when she is rescued by
Caesar's envoys Vorenus and Pullo. The initially absent-minded and pot-smoking
Cleo turns out to be a shrude and well-informed woman who knows how to get
what she wants. And she guesses what Jules wants too, namely a son, something
his wife was never able to give him. To be on the safe side she invites Pullo
in her tent to...produce
Back in Alexandria she swiftly disposes her brother-husband and hits the sack
with Caesar to produce Caesarion, as you can see in the other clips (2
Interwoven are images of what is meanwhile going on in Rome in the lesbian
relationship between Caesar's ex-mistress Servilia (Lindsay Duncan) and his
niece's daughter Octavia (Kerry Condon).
Episode 8 turned out to be one of the better episodes where a lot is happening
and without long expositions that slow some episodes down too much. I did find
though that casting doubt on who the father is of Caesarion stretching
credibility and historical accuracy a bit much. And I wonder if the real
Cleopatra had such an unnerving and squeaky voice as pictured here.