Sunday, March 25, 2012

Another 9 1/2 Weeks, The First 9 1/2 Weeks, Wild Orchid

572 weeks after 9 ½ Weeks somebody somewhere needed money so they squeezed this sonuvabitch out. 

Mickey Rourke is back as John but Kim Basinger just did the smash hit L.A. Confidential so she sure as shit wasn’t gonna appear in this thing.  Instead we have Angie Everhart (The Substitute: Failure Is Not an Option, Jade) as an all new character called Lea. 

John is depressed and all he can think about is Elizabeth so he finally decides to get up off his ass and go look for her in Paris.  When he gets there he meets Lea who works with (for?) Elizabeth and asks to see her.  Lea doesn’t comply and gives him the runaround leading to some precarious situations and boring events.

It seems that the idea was to reverse the roles this time and have Lea be the one in control and John the fish out of water.  But that’s not really how it goes.  Lea pathetically tries to seduce John and come up with some wacky shit to expand his horizons and make him feel vulnerable.  The problem is John has been doing this shit for over a decade.  This motherfucker is the master of twisted dumb sex games so to try and get the drop on him would be like me thinking I could defeat The Rock in a wrestling match.  What’s cool is that the filmmakers actually realized this and had John act like the unshakable sage that he is.  And it’s great how at the end Lea gets the comeuppance that she deserves for trying to play in the majors.

There are a few callbacks to the first film like Lea swipes her hand across John’s suits hanging in the closet, honey gets poured on Lea, she does a striptease (except backwards, she starts half naked and then puts clothes on), blindfolds, sex in a back alley and others. 

In terms of story instead of a straight rehash they actually tried to continue the narrative which is a good idea.  It’s just too bad that they made it so dull.  If you found the original unexciting then you definitely won’t care for this.  The way they tried to recapture the feeling of the first picture is very contrived and the loose premise is pretty aimless.  Once you find out what happened to Elizabeth (which is fucking hilarious and seems completely out of character) the movie should end.  That was John’s ultimate goal and he achieved it.  But it goes on for another half hour with John and Lea shaking up in a hotel in the countryside having sex.  And I didn’t get the subplot with Lea’s assistant and her physically abusive boyfriend.  Not only was it superfluous but I don’t think it was resolved either.

This one wasn’t very good but it did make me think about something that I can’t believe I never noticed before.  All of these sexy thrillers are directed by men, particularly white men.  This movie was directed by a woman, Anne Goursaud (Embrace of the Vampire, editor: The Outsiders, Dracula (1992)), and when I saw that during the opening credits I consciously tried to find anything that may have been handled differently from most other sexy thrillers.  I came up with a big ol’ goose egg.  Nothing stood out to me with how the relationship was handled, how the sex was shot, how men and women are portrayed, etc.  But it is a curious thing that generally men helm these sexy thrillers, especially if you think about the intended audience (but I’ll get into that at the end of this piece).

The first thing I noticed when I saw this was Mickey’s face.  It was clear that this picture was shot after his rebooted boxing career because he looks like he had a ton of work done.  His face may be shot to shit but at least he developed a low scratchy kinda hoarse voice that sounds really badass.  So should you see it?  Mickey did Double Team the same year as this using his new face and voice to much greater effect so I would recommend that instead.

Sex Scenes: One and a half.  The half is for a scene between John and Lea that gets as close as you possibly can to a sex scene without the two of them actually having sex.

After Sex Scenes: Two.

Strange Cameos: Steven Berkoff, who’s been in lots of great stuff like A Clockwork Orange, Barry Lyndon and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011), plays Lea’s business partner.  

Dougray Scott (Mission: Impossible II) plays Lea’s assistant’s asshole boyfriend (I think).

Moving on to The First 9 ½ Weeks, this one has nothing to do with the previous two films.  It’s about a stock broker, Matt (Paul Mercurio (Exit to Eden, Dancing with the Stars)), that needs to travel to New Orleans to close the “big deal” with a millionaire (Malcolm fucking McDowell, yes A Clockwork Orange, Caligula Malcolm McDowell).  The rich guy’s wife (Clara Bellar (A.I. Artificial Intelligence, Dominion: Prequel to the Exorsist)) seduces Matt and she opens his mind to a world of fucked up…games, that don’t have much to do with sex actually.

It’s bad and pointless and (I’m gonna spoil it right here folks) the ending is just a rip off of The Game that came out the year before (which makes it totally fucking stupid in my opinion).  Obviously these people were only cashing in on the 9 ½ Weeks name recognition.  The title actually makes more sense than I would like to admit however it’s not a prequel telling how John got the way he is which is what everyone’s gonna think.  What a bunch of sneaky assholes.  Maybe at one point that’s what this film was because that’s basically what they were going for.  The problem is that it’s set in modern day 1998 and our male lead is Australian.  It may be nine and a half weeks long (which seems like a longer period of time than takes place in the movie) but it’s some other random guy’s first nine and a half weeks.

Ironically this one is the most thrilling (in terms of traditional thrills) out of the three.  Our lead gets drugged, thrown in jail and a gun gets shoved in his face.  No shootouts or car chases but it’s more than what happened in the first two movies.

Verdict?  It’s crap, don’t see it.

Sex Scenes: Three.

After Sex Scenes: One.

Strange Cameos: Frederic Forrest plays Matt’s boss and he was fucking awesome as the Army surplus store owner/Nazi in Falling Down.

James Black (The Substitute 3: Winner Takes All) is the millionaire’s valet.     

And, what the hell, I’m gonna throw Wild Orchid in here because it’s more or less 9 ½ Weeks set in Rio.  It’s the same people who wrote 9 ½ Weeks (Zalman King, Patricia Louisianna Knop) and King even directs this time.

Carre Otis (uhh…she’s only acted in three other things and I haven’t seen any of them) gets hired as a lawyer for some company that immediately ships her down to Rio to make sure that the “big deal” goes through on a new construction project.  Like her first day on the job is the flight to Rio.  Her boss down there is Jacqueline Bisset (Bullitt, The Deep) and she’s 100% brassy dame.  However, there’s a problem which requires her to go to Argentina so she asks if Carre can go on a date with millionaire Mickey Rourke in her place.  Carre and Mickey play some sex games, they fall in love, etc.

This one is like if 9 ½ Weeks had a plot or at least a plot with stakes.  Not that I really cared if the typical “big deal” was going to go through or not but at least there was something there that drove the characters to make decisions and cause a tiny amount of tension.

The relationship between Carre and Mickey doesn’t work that well in my opinion (kinda odd considering they were dating in real life at the time).  He seems too old for her (Mickey was 37, Carre was 21) and there’s this thing where Mickey doesn’t like to be touched or something.  Although, that could be part of the sex games.  Even though Mickey feels like he’s not in this movie a whole lot I think he really is, which is not a testament to his performance.  His character is basically the same as John from 9 ½ Weeks but blander and totally forgettable.  And Carre is too innocent, too new to the world of dating and men that she comes across as being in way over her head.  Elizabeth from 9 ½ Weeks knew what was going on, that their relationship was strange and fucked up, but she made the decision to continue down that path.  Here Carre seems like she has no idea what she’s doing or what’s being done to her and that makes Mickey look like a creepy sexual predator.

While I was watching Wild Orchid this question occurred to me: who’s the target audience for these sex games movies?  I guess it would have to be women right?  They’re certainly not made for guys.  Is this what women fantasize about, being swept away by some rich man that pushes their affectionate and sexual limits?  I would think specifically the group the filmmakers are going for are women in their 20’s and up which is a huge demographic.  So I guess that’s why there are so many of these types of pictures.  And I want to make clear that I’m not talking about sexy thrillers because I think noir type films like Basic Instinct and Jade are for both women and men.  Those usually have fist fights, shootouts, car chases, police work, interrogation, and the like.  I wouldn’t consider sex gamers (a new phrase I’m coining) a subgenre of sexy thrillers but more of a lateral offshoot.  As it is sexy thriller is a subgenre itself of action and a direct descendent of film noir in my opinion.  But what do you guys think?  Are these sex gamers meant for twenty something and up women?  And are these the kinds of relationships that most women wish they could have in real life?      

This picture tries to balance the “big deal” story with the sex games story and it feels like neither gets enough attention.  I don’t think it worked and felt like a poor 9 ½ Weeks rehash.  Plus I don’t get the title.  Who or what is the wild orchid?  I dunno.  This is another skipper. 

Sex Scenes: Four.  The last one with Carre and Mickey is graphic and sweaty.  I’m surprised they got an R rating ‘cause with this scene this sucker could’ve been NC-17.

After Sex Scenes: None.

Strange Cameos: Bruce Greenwood (Passenger 57, Exotica, Star Trek (2009)) plays a dude that Carre Otis has sex with.

Friday, March 23, 2012

9 1/2 Weeks

So 9 ½ Weeks (or Nine ½ Weeks as it’s written in the credits) is about a steamy relationship between Kim Basinger (Blind Date, Cool World) and Mickey Rourke (Angel Heart, Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man).  But it’s not some regular kind of courtship that’s all sweet and romantic.  It’s totally fucked up.

Mickey Rourke is a major league asshole in this.  I don’t know if it’s supposed to be charming and/or intriguing but he keeps doing shit that’s stupid, creepy or both.  Like during their second encounter Mickey takes Kim to some remote house where he points out to her that she’s in some stranger’s house all alone where no one can hear her scream.  Naturally Kim doesn’t like it and tells him that she wants to go home.  But all throughout the movie Mickey does weird shit like that: when they go to ride the Ferris wheel Mickey puts Kim on by herself and has the operator stop it at the top which freaks her out and pisses her off, Mickey leaves her alone in his apartment so Kim looks through some of his stuff and then he calls her up asking if she rummaged which she admits to but when Mickey gets home he wants to discipline her by issuing a spanking, during one scene Mickey wants Kim to crawl across the floor picking up money because he says that it’s the only way he can get excited, and on and on. 

Their whole relationship is about dominance.  Mickey’s in the driver’s seat.  He says what to do, when to do it and for how long.  Kim kinda likes it and finds it exciting because it’s totally new territory for her.  She never knows what crazy shit Mickey is gonna cook up next.  Is he gonna put a blind fold on her and have some other chick rub her body?  Or is he gonna have her dress like a man (mustache ‘n all) and go out to dinner in public?  It all bucks the idea of how a traditional boyfriend girlfriend fling should go.  In fact the tag line for this sucker is “they broke every rule”.  I don’t know if that’s entirely accurate though.  First of all it’s not like there’s really a set of written rules laying out how a loving sexual relationship should go (oh shit, wait, is there?!).  Secondly, like in the film not every relationship is equal with each partner giving 50/50.  Often times one is more dominant than the other and when I say that I mean one will suggest Chinese food for dinner or what to do on weekends most of the time while the other just goes along with it.  Third, I think a lot of couples do variations on some of the stuff that these two did like a striptease, feeding each other food or role playing to keep their sex lives fresh.  So I don’t think it’s totally off the charts crazy what these two are doing.

But Mickey just can’t stop being an idiot.  Let’s talk about the infamous food scene for a minute because it’s a great example.  Mickey sits Kim down in front of the open fridge, tells her to close her eyes and open her mouth.  He then proceeds to feed her all sorts of shit.  Well not actual shit but you know what I mean.  Mickey starts it off easy with a black olive and then onto some cherry pie filling (don’t think they’re maraschino cherries).  He continues to give her some other items but then out of left field he feeds her a spoonful of cough syrup.  Ok, it’s weird but I’ll admit it’s a little funny.  So after he wins her trust back with some regular food he feeds her a jalapeno (even though he picked up what looks like an Anaheim chili, I’m not totally up on my chili’s so I could be wrong).  That’s so fucking mean.  Mickey even sticks the leftover bit with the stem in her mouth while she’s screaming from the burn.  That’s not cool man.  You’re just acting like a fucking jerk now.  Stop doing that kinda shit.  It gets a little out of control after that with Kim chugging a glass of milk spilling it all over herself and Mickey squeezing honey on Kim’s legs and hands and he rubs it in and ulgh!  I understand different people are into different things but goddamn this scene is not what gets my motor running.  I think what they did was gross and they made such a fucking mess.  It’s gonna be a pain in the ass to clean all that up.  Plus it looked like Kim just got washed up beforehand so now she’s all dirty again.  If you find the whole making a sloppy fucking mess with food and rubbing it on your body thing a turn on that’s cool.  I’m glad you’re into it.  It makes me feel icky though.  And fuck that Newbeats song that’s playing during the scene.  If you want to hear some good Newbeats check out “Run Baby Run”, it’s way better than “Bread and Butter”.

The food scene is all in good fun but this fling that Mickey and Kim have is pretty terrible.  Bottom line is Mickey’s abusive.  There’s a scene where he buys Kim a new suit and as he’s paying for it Kim asks, “aren’t you going to ask me how I like this?” to which Mickey replies with a smug ass grin “no”.  He wants a doll to take care of and pamper but at the same time he wants a slave to attend to all of his needs and to not question any of his actions or motives.  At times Kim seems totally on board but at others she looks scared like she can’t believe what she got herself into.  Either way she remains infatuated with him.  And this brings me to the ending which I want to make a couple of points on.

Spoilers.  Check the next bold print to see when it’s good to read again.

Even though I think these two do love each other it’s clear that Mickey’s the problem.  If he would tone his shit the fuck down then Kim probably wouldn’t have left him in the end.  He was just too domineering and distant.  We know a bunch about Kim’s character, Elizabeth, but hardly anything about Mickey’s, John.  We find out that he’s a stock broker and has a bunch of money but that’s it.  Kim’s totally right in saying that it’s too late when Mickey starts to tell her about his family right as she’s about to walk out on him.  He seriously thought that they could sustain a lasting loving relationship with him revealing almost nothing about himself, that Kim would be satisfied serving his every need on command and that she would love to be dependent on Mickey looking to him to provide overbearing parental-like affection.  Fuck that guy.  He deserves to be left. 

Like the rest of the picture I’m not sure if it was supposed to be sad that they were breaking up or relieving.  I don’t quite get John.  Are we supposed to be on his side?  I understand that we’re meant to be attracted to his mystique and that he’s gonna lead us down a road we never could’ve imagined or some bullshit like that.  But I think it’s evident from the very beginning that he’s just some fuckin’ guy who gets off on telling other people what to do.  He can’t stand not being in control and never does anything that makes me think “yeah, that John’s a good guy.  Elizabeth deserves a fine man like that”.  Instead he fucks up time and again and Kim just rolls with it for way too long.

Ok I’m through, it’s cool to read now.

That's a cool looking poster.
I don’t know if I recommend this one.  It’s kind of an interesting take on abusive relationships because this film blurs the line.  Kim was willing to put up with it even though she felt ambivalent about her situation sometimes.  She brings up a good point too when she inquires if Mickey was as good to the “others” as he is with her.  He just smiles and brushes her hair like an idiot and doesn’t give an answer.  Most likely Mickey would have used these techniques with other women before but we never find out.  The man’s a mystery, sort of.  His idea of love is just a little too twisted.  Some of the events by themselves can be considered loving or resemble a traditional relationship but when you put it all together and see it as a whole it’s disgusting what Mickey’s trying to do.  I don’t think I liked it that much.  It’s thrill-less so that doesn’t help at all.  But I can’t deny that I was a little interested in seeing what Mickey was gonna do next, i.e. how far he was gonna push Kim’s boundaries.  Sorry I’m not definitive on this one.  If you liked Adrian Lyne’s other work (Flashdance, Fatal Attraction, Unfaithful) then it’s not a given that you’ll be into this so even that’s not reliable.  I dunno.  Flip a coin?

Sex Scenes: Three.

After Sex Scenes: Two.

Strange Cameos: Margaret Whitton plays one of Kim’s friends/colleagues.  She was the evil team owner in Major League and the mom in Little Monsters.

David Margulies also plays one of Kim’s colleagues and he was the mayor of New York City in Ghostbusters I & II.     

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Color of Night

This fucking movie makes no fucking sense whatsoever.

Psychologist Bruce Willis goes to visit best friend Scott Bakula (does anyone else find his last name funny? (Lord of Illusions, Quantum Leap)) in L.A. because Willis needs some time off after one of his patients threw herself out of a window right in front of him.  Bakula is also a psychologist and thinks that someone from his group therapy sessions wants to kill him.  His suspicion is confirmed when he gets stabbed 38 fucking times.  Willis decides to hang around, take over the group therapy and possibly find out who the killer is.

This film is notoriously bad.  If you’ve heard of it then you’ve probably also been told that it’s fucking atrocious.  And sure, it’s bad-ish.  But the main reason is the plot and not really the other obvious components like acting, dialogue, cinematography, editing, soundtrack, etc.  However before we get into the nonsensical bits let’s look at those other pieces. 

Bruce is Bruce.  What can I say?  He doesn’t give a fuck most of the movie acting all cool and suave and then every half hour or so he’ll show some anger, shock, pain, passion, what have you.  It’s hard to tell if he’s just not that into it or if he’s trying to be dramatic.  Whatever, I love him.  Bruce is the fuckin’ man.  Few people can pull off such an unenthusiastic performance and still be engaging and fun to watch.

Jane March (Tarzan and the Lost City, Clash of the Titans (2010)) is the female lead and she actually does a pretty good job especially considering this was only her second feature.  She has to go through different emotions and states and handles it well.  Sometimes she can be a little too perky or cutesy though.  And I was surprised to find out afterwards that she’s English.  A pet peeve of mine is when an actor puts on an accent and can’t go more than one line before breaking it.  If the guy or gal can’t do the accent then they shouldn’t put it on.  It’s really distracting and brings me out of the film.  So I give kudos to March because at no time did I hear her accent slip.  And you know, it’s one of those funny things that after it’s been pointed out to you it seems so obvious.  So now that I know I bet if I saw the picture again I would be able to hear the accent.  Anyway March isn’t the reason why this movie doesn’t make sense.

Everyone else in this piece is fine acting wise too.  The people in the therapy group are all really good in their roles and cast well (check the cameos section to see who they are).  Ruben Blades (Predator 2, Once Upon a Time in Mexico) is a standout as the cop assigned to the case.  He usually plays it pretty down and somewhat laid back but here he’s wild eyed, aggressive and as Bruce says in the film a “sinister piece of work”.  Blades seems to really enjoy letting loose in this role and that enjoyment transfers.

The picture is shot and edited fine for the most part.  There are a couple of times when the editing gets a little choppy but it’s not too often.  And there are a whole bunch of shots of reflections either in mirrors or glass windows and the first couple are cool but after a while it starts to look stupid and gimmicky.  The soundtrack is standard and fine except for the sex scene where it kicks into 90’s sexy thriller bliss with soaring strings and heavy drums.

Spoilers.  However, if you’re planning on seeing this picture only for the sex scene then keep reading.

Ok, so none of that stuff is really a problem.  It’s not outstanding but passable.  Here’s what totally doesn’t make sense.  There’s this character in the group therapy named Ritchie who’s really obviously Jane March dressed to look like a teenage boy.  We find out towards the end of the film that Ritchie actually committed suicide four years ago.  Ritchie is March’s brother and they also have an older brother who is now forcing March to dress and act like Ritchie and suppress her real personality.  The reason why this brother did this is because he blamed himself for Ritchie’s death so now he’s…creating a fake Ritchie…so he can hang out with him and stuff?  I don’t get it.  I guess it would make the guy feel better if he saw this doppelganger walking around like he wasn’t dead?

Now that’s one thing, but there’s a bigger problem here.  The reason why the fake Ritchie is in this group therapy is because he got busted for something so it’s part of his sentencing.  But the real Ritchie is dead so how the fuck are the cops and the judge gonna miss that?  Also, the real Ritchie’s psychologist (and his wife) knew that this kid killed himself so other people must’ve known too.  It’s not like Ritchie died and nobody knew about it.  Or that Rose and her brother moved to a different state or part of the country.  So I completely don’t buy the whole March pretending to be her dead brother and nobody noticing thing.

The title is fucked too.  Bruce’s thing in this is that when he witnessed his patient’s suicide in the beginning of the movie he suddenly lost his ability to see the color red.  But it doesn’t play into the plot at all.  It’s brought up a few times but I thought there was going to be a situation at the end where Bruce needed to see the color red for some reason in order to stop the bad guy.  Nope, doesn’t happen.  And what the fuck does the color of the night have to do with red?  I would guess that would be black.

Oh and check out Bruce’s outfit in this one part.  It’s totally the same thing he wore in Pulp Fiction.  I thought at first that he must’ve been filming it at the same time but then I realized that he has a different haircut in each picture.  Still, Bruce is wearing the same fucking thing.

It’s just a lazy fuckin’ film man.  Bruce doesn’t seem upset about his friend’s murder or very concerned with trying to find the killer.  I forgot that’s what was supposed to be happening most of the time.  It’s not devoid of thrills though like there’s a car chase that’s just ok and the ending has the villain shoot a nail gun with un-fucking-believable accuracy.  And the house that Bruce stays in (actually Bakula’s house but since he’s dead he won’t mind) is straight 90’s sexy thriller with a very cold and modern (for the 90’s) feel. 

The movie is fairly enjoyably bad but could’ve possibly been a masterpiece if it wasn’t so long.  The running time on this motherfucker is two hours and fifteen minutes.  This thing should’ve been tightened up as the story unfolds at a snail’s pace.

I don’t think this one’s bad enough that you’re in awe and it’s certainly not good enough that you can sit back and enjoy it as a regular murder mystery.  It’s in a weird gray area that’s not gonna please very many people.  I guess that means it’s only good for one viewing but that’s what you’re gonna do anyway, right?  So see it.  Whatever.

Sex Scenes: One.  Ok, I know this is what you were all waiting for.  I bet you thought I forgot or wasn’t going to mention it.  Well here’s the deal.  There may be only one sex scene but it’s a doozie.  Bruce and Jane go at it in the pool, in the bedroom and then in the shower over the course of four fucking minutes.  That’s incredibly long for a sex scene.  Some may argue that it’s really more like three scenes compiled together but there’s virtually no interruption.  Even in the short break that’s there we see March naked.  The whole thing is pretty graphic too so it’s kind of amazing that this only got an R rating.  I mean you see Bruce’s penis for a second and we even hear him orgasm.  This scene is what propelled Color of Night into the top twenty most rented movies in 1995.  Is it worth watching the movie for?  It depends on how much something like that means to you.  Maxim called it the best sex scene in film history.  With that kind of claim I personally wouldn’t be able to contain my curiosity.

After Sex Scene: Half.  After that ridiculous sex scene there’s a brief part where Bruce wakes up with the sheets barely covering his wang.  It’s real short (the scene that is) so that’s why I made it a half.

Strange Cameos: The cast for the group therapy is great and it includes Lance Henriksen (The Terminator, Aliens), Brad Dourif (Alien: Resurrection, Child’s Plays), Lesley Ann Warren (The Limey, Victor Victoria) and Kevin J. O’Connor (Virtuosity, Deep Rising).  They all give very good performances especially Lance.  He totally fuckin’ nails the tortured and disheartened character.
Eriq “smooth as a motherfucker” La Salle (ER, Coming to America) plays one of the investigating officers.  Unfortunately he has very little screen time.

Andrew Lowery is Rose’s evil brother and he was in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and played the boyfriend in My Boyfriend’s Back.   

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Jagged Edge

What a bummer guys.  I had high hopes for this one and it let me down.  I initially thought that the combination of Joe Eszterhas and Return of the Jedi director Richard Marquand would be a great combo but it was not to be.

The problem with Jagged Edge is that it’s boring.  It’s more of a courtroom drama than a sexy thriller but I don’t want you to get me wrong ‘cause I dig courtroom dramas.  It’s just that this one plays out in a pretty uninteresting way.  It’s very formulaic, flat and uneventful.  And most of the ending you can see coming a mile away like who the killer is and how a bunch of the events are going to unfold.

The only thing that I really liked about this movie was Robert Loggia (Scarface, and he was fucking fantastic in Lost Highway:
).  He plays Glenn Close’s (I think this is the least man-ish I’ve seen her by the way) assistant and he curses a lot, lives in a shitty filthy apartment, is crass and belligerent but goddamnit he’s the best damn investigative assistant in the business.  He’s also the wise old sage that tries to steer Close in making the right decisions and reminding her to not let her emotions for Jeff Bridges (who’s on trial) get in the way of the case.  He has all the best lines like when Glen Close asks if his mother ever washed his mouth out with soap he replies, “yeah, but it didn’t do any fuckin’ good”.  Loggia’s good but I don’t think it’s worth seeing the movie just for him.

Alright I’ll also admit that Peter Coyote (Sphere, Prohibition) gives a good performance as the jerkoff prosecutor that’s trying to nail Bridges.  He seems to enjoy being such an asshole and I like that.  He also has a good but weird line: “The guy had a rap sheet as long as my dick.”  Now I’m a little confused by this.  Does he mean that the guy had a really long rap sheet like Coyote’s trying to say that he has a huge rod?  Or did the guy have a very short rap sheet and Coyote’s being humble about the size of his meat stick?  Whatever.

Now don’t get upset with me but I thought Return of the Jedi was kinda boring so it makes sense that this would be also.  These films do have a similar feel in the pacing like you want them to speed up and get shit rolling.  Marquand seems to take care with the beginning of his pictures but then loses interest quickly, has very little happen in the middle of the movie and then regains a small jolt of energy for the end.  This was Eszterhas’ first attempt at a sexy thriller/murder mystery type script and also just his third screenplay so I guess he hadn’t quite figured out how to do this type of plot yet.  Jagged Edge feels more like an exercise than anything else.  It’s the most standard whodunit/courtroom drama you could come up with.  Plus it’s light on the sex and light on the thrills.  So double whammy on this one.  I’d say skip it.

Sex Scenes: One.

After Sex Scenes: One, I think.

Strange Cameos: Lance Henriksen (Hard Target, Survival Quest) plays a cop and is in this for maybe two minutes.

James Karen plays Bridges’ main lawyer.  He’s been in a ton of shit but I think I’ll always remember him from The Return of the Living Dead I & II.  

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Alright enough dickin’ around let’s talk about Jade

This is what writer Joe Eszterhas followed up Showgirls with and what William Friedkin did after Blue Chips.  So in my eyes they were both coming off of some of their best work.  The only thing is Friedkin rewrote a lot of the script but I still think you can see a bunch of Eszterhas in this.  I mean the plot does deal with sex and murder which is his specialty. 

This very rich art dealer/collector guy gets bumped off and assistant D.A. David Corelli (David Caruso (King of New York, CSI’s)) gets called in to solve the case.  He checks out some of the clues at the crime scene including small silver jewelry boxes filled with pubic hair (see what I mean about Eszterhas leaving a very clear fingerprint behind?).  One of the boxes has a Chinese character on it that Corelli eventually finds out means Jade.  Upon further investigation at this art guy’s other house on the ocean they find out that it’s a “fuck house”.  There are sex toys, drugs and cameras set up to catch the action.  So Corelli and his team spend the movie piecing shit together and trying to figure out the killer’s identity.  The clues seem to point to Corelli’s ex lover Trina (Linda Fiorentino (The Last Seduction)) who’s now married to Chazz Palminteri (A Bronx Tale (you know, I think I saw him one time in Atlantic City a bunch of years ago but didn’t get a good look, he might have been with a Baldwin too, not sure which one though)).

I would describe this one as a Basic Instinct lite.  There’s a possible lady killer that’s on the loose ‘cause the cops can’t get anything solid on her to bring her in, the head investigator has feelings for the suspected murderer, the killer and/or their henchmen keep fucking with our lead, there’s a car chase, it takes place in San Francisco (an Eszterhas trademark) and there are others.  So the one big thing missing is that Trina isn’t Catherine Tramell.  She’s not this dominating woman that fucks with everyone because she likes to play games.  She’s not a lightweight either and can hold her own but she’s certainly not this criminal mastermind.

But enough comparing it to reigning champ. There’s a lot of good stuff in Jade and it can stand on its own.  For starters David Caruso.  Sure he may be lacking on the physical side with his scrawny build but man does he make up for it with his take-no-bullshit attitude and fierce drive.  He has command in his scenes and never doubts himself.  This isn’t to say that he doesn’t get into trouble or that shit always goes his way.  Caruso is great at acting pissed off and scared shitless at the same time.  A prime example would be when someone cuts the break line on his car and he’s careening down the San Francisco hills barely being able to steer clear of other vehicles.  It ends spectacularly too with the car flipping over violently making it one of the best car crashes I’ve ever seen. 

Everyone else in this does a pretty good job as well.  Fiorentino does her brassy dame act but way more understated and held back than in The Last Seduction which works well here.  Based on the only three movies I’ve seen her in I guess she has sort of a deadpan personality.  She doesn’t show a lot emotion or range of emotions.  It’s fine in this one because Fiorentino’s supposed to be distant and a mystery but in Men in Black (which is supposed to be a comedy as far as I can tell and not a sexy thriller) she plays it the same way.  So I guess it’s just who she is.

The film’s shot really well and the pacing is great but this is Billy Friedkin so I’ve come to expect that.  He’s a master at blending real world type police work and outrageous hard hitting action.  Like there’s a scene where Caruso is meeting this woman that’s a witness in the case and he’s waiting for her in a restaurant.  He can see her out the window crossing the street but then out of nowhere a car runs her over.  And this has to be the nastiest hit by a car ever filmed.  This woman goes flying and even hits another car that’s parked.  Then they show her getting run over for a second time!  It’s fucking horrific to watch.  This is the setup for a damn good car chase with Caruso in pursuit.  The only problem with it is that the bad guy turns down this street straight into a Chinese parade slowing the chase down too much for too long because it’s totally packed and they can only crawl along.  That section really needed to be much shorter.  But other than that it’s a well executed car chase.

So yeah, Friedkin does a bang up job with this piece.  The mystery itself is handled great too because even though the evidence is stacked against Trina there’s still room for doubt.  Things seem to progress pretty organically and there isn’t this bullshit moment that they have in a lot of whodunits where our hero thinks the case is over until he talks to someone or thinks of something suddenly at the very end that sends him into a panic realizing who the real killer is.  I can’t stand that shit most of the time.  It comes off as desperation like in case they didn’t fool you all during the movie they’ll throw in this one last thing to make sure that they get you.  They kinda want you to feel like an asshole and catch you off guard by taking a cheap shot.  It’s just as bad as the ol’ it-was-all-just-a-dream gimmick. 

Anyway the bottom line is I think this picture is good.  I was expecting it to be pretty bad because it totally tanked at the box office and I haven’t read one good thing about it.  I remember when I saw the trailer years ago it looked like one of those sexy-as-shit trailers like Original Sin.  And there is a good amount of sexy type stuff in this but it’s not a terribly sexy movie.  There are plenty of thrills though and they’re well done.  I was pleasantly surprised and found myself getting really into it.  Friedkin called this his favorite film at one point and while I think that honor goes to To Live and Die in L.A. it’s still a solid and really fun sexy thriller.  I recommend it.

Sex Scenes: Two.  There are also some steamy photos and security camera style sex as well.

After Sex Scenes: One.  It’s brief but I counted it.

Strange Cameos: A mustachioed Michael Biehn (Grindehouse: Planet Terror, The Terminator) plays one of the investigating officers. 

Richard Crenna (Body Heat, Rambo: First Blood Part II) plays the governor of California.  He’s really great because he’s such an asshole in this and he also has the line, “I do the fucking, I never get fucked”.

Angie Everhart is one of the hookers that frequented the fuck house and she played the head vampire in Bordello of Blood.

My man Victor “Egg Shen” Wong (Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Emperor) is the guy that Caruso takes the small silver box to, to get some info.    

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Fatal Instinct (1992)

Here’s what a friend said to me about this one: “I only watched the first half hour and then had to turn it off because it was terrible.  Here, you watch it.”  I think that was over a year ago but I finally got around to it.

There’s not a whole lot to say about this one.  It’s clearly a Basic Instinct rip off but it seems like the two were possibly filmed at the same time.  The Basic Instinct script had been around since the 80’s so obviously someone read it and just wrote their own version.

The similarities are pretty ridiculous like the Catherine Tramell character is named Catherine (Laura Johnson (Opening Night)).  She’s a blonde that’s icy cold, independent, sometimes she likes to push men around and her parents died when she was young in a plane crash instead of a boating accident.  Michael Madsen (Species, Free Willy) plays the Nick Curran character who’s investigating the homicide that Catherine may or may not have had something to do with.  He’s divorced, falls for Catherine and gets in hot water with his superiors for screwing around with the murder suspect.

There are differences too, especially when it comes to the ending, but do you really fuckin’ care?

Everything about this movie is so lazy, the acting, the cinematography, the music (stock sexy thriller sax and fretless bass), the pacing, the dialogue, the title, everything.  No one gave a shit about this thing and neither should you.  I mean it’s not the worst film I’ve ever seen but it’s kinda pointless.  Just watch Basic fucking Instinct.

There was one really good line that came out of this though.  There’s this guy that has a mental hold over Catherine and he’s a real asshole that treats her like shit.  At one point he says to her, “you find some guy who’s got more to offer than I have and I’ll fuck him”.  He delivers it so angrily too while he’s taking his shirt off so the whole package on that one is perfect.  It’s too bad the entire picture couldn’t have been filled with that kind of shit.

Sex Scenes: One.

After Sex Scenes: One but it’s not from the one sex scene.

Strange Cameos: I got nothin’ for this one.  

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Just look at this fucking cast.  Nicolas Cage and Judge Reinhold (Beverly Hills Cop, Ruthless People) made a movie together?  And it’s like all sexy ‘n shit?  You know what, I think Judge Reinhold and anyone is an odd combination.  I get a kick out of the guy ‘cause he’s just such a goofy actor.  His delivery and mellow attitude have sprung forth some comedy gold.  But this ain’t no comedy.  This here is a poignant tale of love, life and soul searching or something like that.

Judge plays Thierry Martin, an ex poet/professor turned business executive.  He’s married to Zandalee, a dress shop owner.  Cage is Johnny Collins, a painter/free spirit.  Thierry and Zandalee’s marriage is on the rocks because Thierry decided to take over his dad’s communications business leaving him dead inside.  Johnny is an old friend and he and Zandalee have an affair.
First of all the way everyone looks and acts in this movie is a little off.  Judge sports a mustache and a bad New Orleans accent that drifts in and out.  Every once in a while he recites some poetry which gets really annoying because it seems like the filmmakers thought that if they had a guy say something that sounded meaningful then it would in turn make the film itself meaningful.  Well they certainly got that one wrong. 

Cage has a pretty wild look with nasty long hair and a weird goatee mustache thing happening.  He doesn’t have an accent even though he and Judge were supposed to have grown up in Baton Rouge together.  Part of Johnny’s shtick is that he represents the creativity that Thierry abandoned so there’s some jealousy there.  The other part of Johnny’s act is that he plays it cool and has an all knowing attitude that may hold the secret to true happiness or true freeness or some shit.

Zandalee (played by Erika Anderson (Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child)) is uhh…a character…in this movie.  It’s weird that this picture was named after the least developed and least interesting person of the whole cast.  I guess what I can say about her is that she wants the old passionate and inspired Thierry back.  She says that they used to have sex all day long and now they don’t have sex at all.  So to satisfy her needs she hooks up with Johnny but I should make it clear that Johnny is the one that initiates the affair.  He could sense that Zandalee wasn’t happy and that she needed some good fuckin’ to let her spirit soar.

And this is the beef that I have with this movie.  I think it has a pretty shallow message and tries to add these other things in to make it seem deeper.  It’s saying that you can only be truly happy if you’re having sex even if it’s an affair with some other dude.  Just fuck somebody, anybody.  I understand that Thierry’s lost his fervor for writing poetry and has a job that he’s not that into and this leads to less sex.  But don’t he and Zandalee have other interests besides each other’s bodies?  Instead of trying to work their problems out rationally they’re confrontational and Zandalee tries to force sex upon Thierry.  And this is the same relationship that Zandalee has with Johnny except the roles are reversed.  Sure Johnny and Zandalee both want to have sex with each other but when Zandalee tries to pull away Johnny forces the issue and wants to keep the affair going.  They have zero interest in each other besides making whoopee.  Johnny tells her some mystical shit like “when I’m inside you I feel us at the edge of the universe travelling, exploring”.  This is what I imagine Nicolas Cage says to women in real life when he’s fucking them.  Anyway, there’s talk like that of setting the mind and body free but it’s just about having sex.  You’ll feel better, complete, content, etc if you just have sex.  Intellectuality doesn’t play a part in these relationships.

I’m not saying that you can’t have a relationship purely based on fucking but it’s gonna be pretty thin and unsustainable.  A marriage isn’t going to last because as soon as one person rescinds on the sex there’s going to be problems.  This might sound like an old fashioned romantic notion but I think being totally in love is more than the physical.  Of course that’s part of it but two people (or more, hey what you do is what you do) need to be connected emotionally and mentally.  It’s gonna get boring if sex is all there is.  So to me it makes these characters seem kinda stupid for wondering why they can’t just fuck forever without any troubles.

What’s really interesting though is that Reinhold produced this.  He’s only produced one other thing and that was a documentary that his wife directed about praying called Be Still.  But I wonder how much of a hand he had in this picture.  I guess he felt strongly that this fairly typical love affair movie needed to be made.  I like to think of this film as a peak into Judge Reinhold’s mind.  Maybe he just wanted to have onscreen sex with some chick or come pretty damn close to flashing his wiener.  Whatever it was he played a creative and decision making role. 

The last thing I want to mention is that there’s a great scene where Cage goes berserk and destroys his paintings.  He stabs the canvas with a putty knife and yells, “fucking die, die!”  He also dumps and rubs a whole can of paint on his body and face like he’s washing in it.  The scene is some classic Nic Cage.  He’s a little weird the whole movie (read: standard Cage when he’s calm) but only towards the end does he kick it into high gear.

This one is similar to Crimes of Passion where you have a couple that doesn’t know how to communicate and work things out and that the only solution to any emotional problem is to have sex, with anyone.  It’s pretty thrill-less also.  Cage and Reinhold being friends in this piece is a really tough sell.  I can’t imagine that the two spoke much during production and they probably have talked to each other since filming wrapped.  Cage is this super cool guy and Reinhold is this super dorky guy that go pretty funny together on screen.  So unless you can’t pass up the opportunity to see these two share an entire film together this one’s not worth your time.

Sex Scenes: Five.  It’s a light five though because all except one are very brief.  The one fully fleshed out scene is aggressive with Cage going at it hard.  Also, I should mention that Zandalee is naked for a lot of the movie, like totally naked.  When we’re first introduced to her almost immediately there’s a full frontal.  I think this is part of the shallowness of the film as if showing a lot of boobies would automatically make things sexy and edgy and therefore interesting.  But we all know that you need more than that for a picture to be thought provoking and exciting.  With this amount of nudity it did cross my mind that this could’ve been NC-17 and on IMDB it does list it as such.  But on Netdicks they have it as R.  So I’m not sure if there are two versions.   

After Sex Scenes: One and a half.  The half is more of a break in sex.  Johnny and Zandalee stop for a moment while he pours oil mixed with cocaine on her body and says that universe line.  It’s not shown that they go back to having sex after that but I think it’s implied.

Strange Cameos: Jesus are there are a lot in this one.  Singer Aaron Neville plays a tough looking bartender.

Steve Buscemi (Fargo, Armageddon) plays a thief that pops up three times and talks to Zandalee.  I have no idea what his purpose was in this film.  The only thing I can think of is that he’s one of those characters that’s rough and guff but he’s also unexpectedly wise and perceptive.  I’m really only basing that off of the third conversation he has with Zandalee where he says something like you should be careful what you wish for ‘cause it might come true.  I forgot to mention that there are some really cheesy lines like that in this one.

Marisa Tomei (The Wrestler) is a woman Johnny brings to Thierry’s for dinner one night.  Johnny ends up having sex with Zandalee in the laundry room right before dessert though.

Joe Pantoliano (The Fugitive, The Matrix) is Zandalee’s gay friend.  This is another character that seems superfluous.  Zandalee doesn’t share any new information with him that we should know about so I don’t get it.

Zach Galligan (Gremlins 1 and 2) plays an art dealer that looks over some of Johnny’s work.  He actually does have a purpose and it’s to point out that Johnny’s paintings were much better and full of passion when he was fucking Zandalee indicating that he was in love with her and now he’s an emotional mess.    

This is a pretty damn good trailer by the way:    

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Crimes of Passion

Well I certainly started off with a weird one.  We have a prostitute named China Blue (Kathleen Turner (Serial Mom, Undercover Blues)), an electronics store owner named Bobby (John Laughlin (Footloose, The Lawnmower Man)), his wife (Annie Potts (Ghostbusters, Pretty in Pink)) and a street preacher named Peter (Anthony Perkins (Psycho, Psycho IV)).  How does this all fit together?  Rather strangely.

China Blue is really this fashion designer during the day but at night she puts on a wig, a blue dress and hooks.  Her daytime boss thinks she’s up to something so he has her tailed by Bobby (who needs the extra cash).  Bobby’s having trouble at home with his wife who seems rather cold and distant.  We learn in the opening scene that their sex life is dead so Bobby decides to get his jollies off with China Blue.  They have a connection and more or less fall in love.  Now while all of this is going on Reverend Peter pops up every so often to tell China Blue that he wants to save her soul.

If that plot summery sounded confusing well it’s not that much clearer to actually watch it unfold.  The first twenty or thirty minutes are especially puzzling because there’s this one scene where China Blue is giving a guy a blowjob and he looks a lot like Bobby.  So for a long while I thought it was him and had the impression that he was a scumbag cheating on his wife.  But then when the real Bobby encounters China Blue they act like they never met before which made me go back and realize that the blowjob guy was someone else.  I mean Bobby still cheats on his wife but it’s sorta justified because he falls for China Blue.

Whatever, these characters aren’t likeable (except for one but give me a minute).  Bobby is pretty self absorbed and basically a teen in a man’s body.  He knows he has problems with his marriage but doesn’t talk to his wife about it until after he has sex with another woman.  Then when his wife tells him that she doesn’t get a lot pleasure out of sex Bobby is crushed and doesn’t want to be with her anymore.  He’d rather be with someone that he has nothing in common with except that they love fucking each other.  Since the wife didn’t come forward with all of this she also comes off as kind of an asshole.  She can see that things aren’t great between her and Bobby but doesn’t try to work it out either until it’s too late.  She’s also a little mean like she tells her five year old daughter not to eat so much because no one likes a fat girl.

China Blue actually isn’t a terrible character but we don’t learn that much about her.  Once we find out her double identity (which is fairly early on) there’s no mystery.  The question you ask yourself is why.  She’s a successful person with a good job so why does she feel the need to moonlight as a prostitute?  She tosses off quickly at one point that it’s an escape.  She feels that she has the license to do anything when she puts on her alternate identity.  That is interesting but like I said, it’s just thrown out there without delving into the issue further.  China Blue mentions to one of her John’s that she was raped by her father (very casually too) but it’s unclear if she said that as part of her act or if she really meant it.  Either way it’s fucked up because either it really happened or her client gets off on knowing that this woman was incestuously raped.

The only character that I really got into was Peter.  I guess China Blue is supposed to be kina crazy but Peter is literally insane.  Here’s how we’re introduced to him: he’s watching a naked chick dance through a peep hole with this terrified look on his face while he keeps sniffing this object in his hand (don’t think it’s drugs).  Then suddenly he runs outside, stands on his soapbox and starts preaching from the Bible to the strangers on the street.  So the setup is that he’s a total hypocrite.  Peter wishes the world was rid of prostitutes and all things sexy but at the same time he can’t help but be entranced by all of it.  He carries around a black doctor’s bag full of sex toys including a large silver dildo that I guess has blades all around it ‘cause it’s used to cut shit later.  China Blue asks him if he’s going to fuck someone to death with it and he tells her that he will if he can find the right woman.  So yeah, he’s great and Perkins plays him so well.  I never thought about it but I guess Anthony Perkins is a good actor or at least good at playing rat shit crazy lunatics.  He’s the shining spot in this movie.

The art direction, cinematography and editing is really good when it comes to China Blue’s sex apartment and the sex scenes.  The apartment’s very vibrant with hot pinks and blues but it’s also grimy as shit.  China Blue herself wears a white wig and a bright blue dress.  There are several scenes where the apartment glows from color to total darkness because there’s a neon sign right outside.  All of this is in stark contrast to the rest of the film that either takes place in bright daytime or in other muted and somewhat bland interiors.  I know you’re gonna think this sounds like bullshit but two or three times I thought to myself, “the way this thing looks and was shot reminds me of Kubrick”.  It was that good sometimes. 

So the crimes of passion that occur in this movie are both real and emotional.  The real ones are prostitution and…well…other crimes happen at the end.  The emotional ones are Bobby cheating on his wife and the two of them not working shit out and coming clean about their feelings.  Peter thinks it’s a crime to have the thoughts and feelings that he does.  Of course it isn’t and I guess it’s supposed to be ironic that the only way he sees to correct his problem is to commit an actual crime.

It’s hard to make heads or tails of this one.  Some scenes are beautifully done, especially the sex scenes, and Perkins gives a great performance.  On the other hand the story is told in such a roundabout way that it takes a while to figure things out.  And sometimes that’s good but in this case I think the film would’ve benefited if it had rolled out the plot in a simpler way.  There’s a nod to Psycho which makes things even stranger.  I wonder if that was in the script originally or if it was added once Perkins got on board.  Anyway this one’s certainly light on thrills as not much happens until the very end but there’s some sex and a ton of dirty talk.  If you’re a fan of Ken Russell (Altered States, Tommy) then you’ll probably find this interesting.  I’m not personally so it was a mixed bag for me.   

Sex Scenes: Three.  There’s a scene where we think China Blue is getting raped but it turns out that it’s just this one guy’s fantasy (that’s the same rape guy I mentioned earlier).  I didn’t count it because we don’t know that it’s not rape until afterwards.  There’s also a pretty funny scene where this rich couple hires China Blue for a threesome in a limo but as they feel her up and kiss her they constantly talk about business ‘n shit.  China Blue can’t take it and runs out of the limo.  This scene doesn’t fit with the rest of the movie because it’s a total comedy sketch.  And lastly I want to mention that the sex scene with the cop is really awesome.  It’s done very well and edited perfectly to the Rick Wakeman (of Yes fame) soundtrack.

After Sex Scenes: One.  If you want to count the one after the fake out rape then there are two.

Strange Cameos: Stephen Lee has maybe one line in this and he’s done a ton of TV work but I know him from Robocop 2.  He played a dirty cop working for Cain that eventually gets his chest sliced open while Cain forces Hob (the little gangster kid) to watch.  Does anyone else here fucking love Robocop 2?  I think it’s almost as good as the first.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

We're Bringin' Sexy Back: Sexy Thrillers Round 2

A year ago today this here blob site was put together and shot out into the oblivion that is the webbernets.  It was not planned out or thought about meticulously.  It was done on a whim.  And the reason for that whim was because I had to let the world know how brilliant The Specialist is.  140 posts later here we are.  Still talkin’ about shit.  Happy 1 year anniversary everybody.

If you’ve been following this thing for a while or if this is your first visit thanks for reading and commenting.  I appreciate it immensely guys.  It lets me know that there are others out there that value and understand fine cinema.

Which brings me to my present for all of you:

We’re Bringin’ Sexy Back: Sexy Thrillers Round 2

Same deal as last time.  Ten-ish movies, number of sex scenes, after sex scenes, etc.  See you guys on the other side.  Hit it:  

One last thing, here are a couple of quick facts that a team of experts worked up for me over the year:

Top 5 most viewed posts
4. Oz
5. The Sexy Thrillers Project Wrap Up (I actually wasn’t going to do that initially, good thing I did)

Top 3 countries that check this place out besides the US
1. Canada
2. Germany (fascinating)
3. United Kingdom

I thought that might be interesting to throw out there, let you guys know what I’m looking at on my end.