As I did a man crush post on Monday, it seemed only natural to do one for Woman Crushes on Wednesday. So to all the lovely ladies out there, which famous female do you have a crush on? I would love to hear all of your answers.
- David Caruso as David Corelli
- Linda Fiorentino as Trina Gavin
- Chazz Palminteri as Matt Gavin
- Richard Crenna as Lew Edwards
- Michael Biehn as Bob Hargrove
A movie that is often its own worst enemy, Jade becomes a severely mixed bag throughout. There may be a few points of praise to be found, but on the spectrum it slides into a more negative side than positive.
David Corelli is a San Francisco Assistant District Attorney with ambitions to go higher. These ambitions are put on hold for his latest investigation which involves a rather grisly murder. A wealthy art dealer by the name of Kyle Medford has been killed in his home with an antique hatchet. Bob Hargrove, a detective on the case and someone who frequently clashes with Corelli discovers compromising photos in the dead man’s safe. Depicting governor Lew Edwards engaging in sex with a prostitute, these pictures as deduced by Corelli, were the fruits of attempted blackmail. Various wealthy businessman were filmed without their knowledge, with their pants down in a beach house. Medford was trying to blackmail them all with footage and photos and it looks as if he payed the price for his actions.Through questioning of various people who appear to have been involved, the name Jade is referenced frequently, arousing the interest of Corelli . The mysterious Jade is a prostitute who was according to other women the most popular lady of night willing to do just about anything for a client. Then things get a lot more complicated for Corelli as fingerprints on the murder weapon are traced back to someone he knows very well. That someone is Trina Gavin, a demure psychologist and non-fiction writer who he used to romance and is now married to his best friend, ruthless defence attorney Matt Gavin. Could Trina really be the mysterious Jade who appears to link everyone? Is she guilty of murder? As digs deeper, more secrets and an unfurling game of perversion, corruption and scandal that reaches high levels of power puts him to the test and could very well threaten his life.
In the films of William Friedkin, he has always managed to imprint his stamp on them, even when they’ve been less than desirable films. The same can be spoken of here because while Jade is a mess, the direction from Friedkin is supremely stylish. It’s a crying shame then that many other parts of the movie, despite some bright spots, can not really get itself together to craft a compelling story. For every good step the movie takes, the two steps back that follow do a major detriment to it. The main point of contention is the script which attempts to make the film unusual and erotic, but ends up feeling dry. It tries to introduce sex games to tantalize the viewer, adding in kinky acts too, but while Jade is billed as an erotic thriller, it’s not nearly erotic enough to sustain interest. On the thriller front, there is a very cool and well choreographed car chase that is mightily effective and one of the highlights of the picture. In it, Corelli gives chase to an assassin’s car and they speed down steep hills and eventually get caught up in a Chinatown parade that hampers both. The scene is one of the best in the movie, which makes it all the more difficult to sit through the rest of the film because the following parts are just a mess. The pace has a quickness too it, but is out-of-place in a movie that should have more of a slow burn about it instead of jumping ship. The characters are not particularly compelling or intriguing, all seem to have a one note tendency. At least there is an exotic and oriental influenced score provided by James Horner that’s sensually orchestrated and gives Jade some of the erotic flavour that much of the picture lacks. And a honeyed cinematography brings a touch of class to proceedings in which respectability is something lacking.
As the script is lacking in many areas, the acting suffers though the main cast tries their best to make something substantial. Noe of the actors can really be blamed as they what they can, but nothing can save this sort of script. David Caruso has the right toughness for the part, but the character is a damp squib who constantly looks morose. If we had more meaning to his character, it could have been something else entirely. In the part of the mysterious Trina, Linda Fiorentino is alluring enough. Yet like with the characterization of Caruso’s role, her part is not given enough input into the story and this is problematic. Even the robust presence of the reliable Chazz Palminteri is squandered by poor writing. Richard Crenna and Michael Biehn(sporting a suspect moustache) are given scant to do here.
So so while the direction is well-appointed, James Horner’s music is sultry and the car chase stands out as a good set piece, Jade feels too convoluted, rushed and one-note to really be considered a great thriller.
I have always found that it’s interesting when people discuss man and woman crushes. Some people think it’s strange to think someone of the same gender is attractive, but I really don’t see the big deal. If someone is attractive in your eyes and they are the same gender, that’s your prerogative and who really cares what anyone else think? Which got me thinking about the concept of man crushes. The question today is for all the guys out there, which famous guy is your man crush? Don’t feel afraid to say, there’s no shame in it whatsoever. And in case anyone’s wondering, my man crush is Chris Hemsworth.
And I’ll be asking the question of woman crushes for all the ladies out there on Wednesday.
- Sam Neill as Mark
- Isabelle Adjani as Anna/Helen
Possession has to rank as one of the most disturbing and unusual films out there that I’ve ever seen. A blend of drama and horror, that plays out the disintegrating marriage of a couple with monstrous intent and cloaks of ambiguity, it’s a movie that you won’t forget in a hurry because if the sheer strangeness and horrifying vision at play.
A man named Mark returns to his home in Berlin to see his wife Anna and young son Bob, from a secretive job abroad. Yet nothing can prepare him for what greets him. Anna wants to leave him and quickly becomes hysterical when he tries to question her. Their relationship soon descends into screaming attacks, violence and even bouts of self-mutilation. Also adding to frustration and worrying decline of Mark is the fact that Anna disappears for long times and when she returns home is vague about her whereabouts. Mark continues to grow more worryingly obsessed by Anna and she grows more unpredictable, raging and secretive. He also glimpses a Helen, a schoolteacher for his son who bears a striking resemblance to his wife, but because he is so besotted and slowly slipping into mania, he focuses on his unusual wife. Deducing that she has been having an affair with a smarmy and flamboyant man called Heinrich. Mark takes it upon himself to get answers about his estranged wife and confronts the man, who it turns out hasn’t seen Anna for a long time. Yet what Anna is hiding from Mark is much more twisted and horrifying than anyone could have possibly imagined or fathomed: a tentacled creature that she literally kills for, makes love to and hides away in a squalid apartment. It’s safe to say that obsession, murder and violence explode with hysteria for both Mark and Anna as their relationship is laid bare.
Andrzej Żuławski masterfully constructs this horror/drama with intensity, verve and something quite personal. Some will say that the premise sounds ridiculous, but Żuławski sidesteps this by rooting the majority of the film in the shocking and crumbling relationship of the real world. Emotions are ramped up to eleven between the two main characters and madness ensues as the relationship becomes a brutal war of unpredictability and unfurling horror. The symbolism of doubles and divides is very apparent in Possession; from Anna’s doppelgänger to the Berlin Wall as a backdrop frequently seen, these things burrow into the mind with their well-executed traits. Possession succeeds through its use of ambiguity that never give the audience an easy answer, opening it up to endless possibilities and opinions. Is what we see purely Mark’s interpretation of Anna? Is the monster a symbol for Anna’s self-destructiveness or their failing relationship? These questions only give more life and mystery to the film which is anything but traditional or orthodox. One word of advice when viewing Possession, don’t eat while watching it as there are numerous scenes that will make your stomach turn and induce queasiness. Chief among these scenes and one that is particularly difficult to watch is Anna’s breakdown in the subway. Convulsing violently for what seems like an eternity before bleeding profusely, it’s a horrifying scene for what is shown and the fierce commitment of Isabelle Adjani to the part. Possession isn’t a film for every taste out there, but for those blessed with strong stomachs up for a challenge this is a film to watch. An oppressive and grey cinematography is exemplary at backing up the grim nature of the relationship shown and envelops the experience in gloomy colours. A sparse but creepy score helps add tension and animosity to the film, mirroring the destructive union that is torn apart in disturbing fashion.
Sam Neill is marvellously cast as the obsessed Mark, whose mental faculties slowly fall into decline at his wife’s rejection. Neill portrays the descent into madness with shocking assurance and creepiness. Yet for my money, I can’t quite recall seeing a performance in recent memory of such raw power and volcanic emotion as the one from Isabelle Adjani here. She gives her body and soul to the role of Anna and colours it in manic fury and unbridled ferocity. Even when she’s still, Adjani’s eyes are filled with such terrifying intensity that it’s difficult to look away. Many actresses can play frightening and unusual well, but Adjani seems to genuinely live it crafting a performance of self-destructive craziness, terrifying eruptions of rage and an oddly alluring surface. Both actors are fantastic in their difficult roles, but for me Adjani edges it with a thoroughly committed performance.
A surreal and extremely stomach churning movie, Possession won’t provide comfortable cosy viewing, but it will imprint itself on you with its disquieting story and ferocious performances.
Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains
- Diane Lane as Corinne Burns
- Ray Winstone as Billy
- Marin Kanter as Tracy Burns
- Laura Dern as Jessica McNeil
- Steve Jones as Steve
- Paul Cook as Danny
- Paul Simonon as Johnny
- Fee Waybill as Lou Corpse
A film that has developed into something of a cult hit, after being shelved back in the 80’s and gaining exposure later on television, Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains is a gritty, backstage look at the rise of a punk band and the inevitable challenges of angst a d fall that follows. It’s not the best movie ever as passages don’t hold up as well as they might have once done, but it’s worthy of attention for its music and lead performance from Diane Lane.
Corinne Burns is an angry, aggressive and bored teenager, whose mother died of cancer a few months prior. She has no real direction in life and holds disdain for almost everything, which is witnessed we she is interviewed by local radio and accosts them. Yet when she sees up and coming punk band The Looters performing live as opening act for has been rockers The Metal Corpses, she is swept away by their attitude and observes them as a way out of her boring life. You see Corinne already has a band of sorts consisting of her sister Tracy and cousin Jessica(despite the fact that none of them have any real talent or practice in performing). With the two bands always at each other’s throats, The Stains are surprisingly signed to be another opening act and the girls set out on tour. On their first performance, their lack of experience shows and the audience lets them know it. But Corinne, now decked out in sheer red blouse, bikini briefs and hair resembling a skunk, lets her fury be heard to the audience. This could have been a disaster for them, yet Corinne’s tirade is picked up by many people as a rallying cry for young girls, thanks to news reporting and a shocked audience. Soon enough, The Stains are gaining major exposure, with young girls copying the look of the band, adopting a fierce rebellious streak and spouting the phrase ‘We don’t put out’. Yet times can chance very quickly in the business and audiences can become fickle, as well as the price of Corinne’s obnoxious ambition which starts to get the better of her and become very noticeable.
Lou Adler adds airs of authenticity to the film, stemming from his background as a music producer. He shoots scenes, particularly the performance segments with a good eye for the kinetic stage presence of the bands. Where The Fabulous Stains really scores is the depiction of influence on others, mainly fandom and the media’s portrayal of the band. The way it is explored is still as timely as today and shows how pernicious it can be and how you can be built up so high, that it’s a given that you will stumble. As an audience, people latch on to things and then drop them quickly, which is shown very well in this movie. On the flawed side, The Fabulous Stains can often veer from one scene to the next, without giving much thought for what came before it. However once the pace settles, things pick up and really take flight in the performance scenes as well as the media coverage parts that poses a double-edged sword for the band. It must also be noted that character development among the supporting part is a bit stilted, with no one particularly standing out. Then again, Corinne and her band are that memorable it more than makes sense and whenever they’re on screen, The Fabulous Stains is very accomplished and memorable. Those are the only real flaws to be found in this flick as the rest of it is pretty well mounted and deserving of the cult status it has attained.
Bringing ferocious bite and lashings of attitude is young Diane Lane in the lead role of front woman Corinne. Lane never softens the character to be overly sympathetic and this goes a long way to showing us how dissatisfied and angry the character is. Topped off with a memorable look, Diane Lane makes a hell of an impression as a wounded youth with one lacerating glare. A young Ray Winstone has the required mercurial tendencies for his part of the up and coming punk, whose band is overtaken by The Stains. The roles of the other members of The Stains are less well-defined, but still acted with assurance by Marin Kanter and Laura Dern. Adding another dimension to the picture is the casting of members of punk and rock staple bands The Sex Pistols, The Clash and The Tubes. The parts don’t require much acting, but their presence as performers is felt and appreciated when the performances roll around.
Dated though some of it is, The Fabulous Stains is a genuinely intriguing and at times very relevant look at the fickle nature of fame and the dissatisfaction of youth. Bolstered by some killer music and good work from Diane Lane, it’s good to see a movie like this getting more attention again.
- Reese Witherspoon as Elle Woods
- Luke Wilson as Emmett Richmond
- Selma Blair as Vivian Kensington
- Matthew Davis as Warner Huntington
- Victor Garber as Professor Callahan
- Jennifer Coolidge as Paulette
- Ali Larter as Brooke Taylor-Windham
A glossy comedy that like the main character is a lot more than it seems at first glance, Legally Blonde is a splendidly funny and endearing ode to proving people wrong and doing it with some serious style.
Elle Woods is the typical sorority queen; pretty, stylish and absorbed in a world of magazines and parties. She seems to have the ideal boyfriend in Warner Huntington( the rich son of a governor) and as the movie opens, she believes he is going to propose to her. Instead he dumps her because he is going off to Harvard and doesn’t see his future with her because he wants to be with a girl he considers smart and acceptable(as well as one his wealthy family would appreciate). Devastated, Elle is at a loss of what to do before she has an idea to win Warner back. As he’s going off to Harvard, Elle makes it her mission to get in and show him that she’s the one. With a mix of guile and surprising smarts, Elle is accepted to Harvard but it isn’t going to be plain sailing for her. She had to contend with ridicule and scorn aimed at her by her peers, particularly Warner’s snotty new girlfriend Vivian Kensington. Determined to prove everyone wrong, Elle gets her head down and buries herself in study. Surprisingly to everyone else, she begins to display an aptitude for law and begins to shine. When one of the professors is defending a client on a murder trial, he enlists the help of some of his students, one of them being a surprised Elle. With help from good-hearted Emmett Richmond, who sees potential in her and a slowly growing belief from within herself, Elle aims for success. But can Elle finally be taken seriously by those who have written her off?
Director Robert Luketic, in what was his directorial debut, excellently crafts this an amusing and quietly inspiring film. His direction makes the most of the story and adroitly displays Elle’s unexpected journey from Valley Girl to young woman who is taken seriously by the snotty elite. Visually and in story, Legally Blonde is fuzzy and light, yet this belies the funny fish out of water story and the theme of showing everyone you can achieve. Yes there are parts of the film that are routine and we’ve seen some instances of before, but you’ll be having too much fun to pick up on a few minor skirmishes on a frothy and fun movie. As much as Legally Blonde is a comedy, sympathy is generated for Elle because of writing that makes us relate to her and strive with her for acknowledgment from those who feel the need to be doubtful. Though Elle is not as dizzy as everyone makes out even in the beginning. She is a little naive but has smarts, though these mainly consist of fashion and style before giving way to more difficult subjects at Harvard where she slowly proves doubters and haters wrong. I enjoyed the way the script showed that Elle is not unintelligent, just has knowledge of more popular girly topics before rolling up her sleeves and deciding to subvert the stereotype everyone has of her. Another refreshing aspect is as the film goes on, Elle becomes less interested in winning Warner back and instead asserts her smarts in the court case. What could have just been a predictable part of the story turned into something else and I was happy to observe it take a different road for the better.
Reese Witherspoon is utterly delightful and winning as Elle Woods, making the character her own from the very first time we see her. She adeptly gets across the bubbly personality of Elle as well as making us root for her to succeed and prove doubters wrong. Witherspoon’s performance is one of kittenish enthusiasm, sparky quips and a growing intellect, that showcases how Elle may look out-of-place in Harvard at the start, but once settled and determined rises to the top. Reese Witherspoon is the biggest draw of Legally Blonde and it’s impossible to imagine anyone else playing Elle as well as her. I liked Luke Wilson in his role of the supportive Emmett; he plays him a genuinely nice guy who refuses to just see Elle as a Barbie doll like almost everyone else. Selma Blair is impressively snobby and bitchy as Warner’s new girlfriend, who is revealed to be quite insecure beneath the catty facade. As the douche bag boyfriend who because of his blue-blooded background dumps Elle, Matthew Davis is appropriately arrogant, until he sees that Elle is not as dumb as he initially thought. Victor Garber is well cast as a disapproving professor, while there is Jennifer Coolidge who is delightfully funny as an unlucky in love beautician benefiting from Elle’s sassy help. The only person who suffers is Ali Larter as the woman accused of murdering her husband. It’s not Larter’s fault, it’s that the character is introduced too late into the story to really feel anything towards her. Larter in fact does a good enough job, her role just could have used some embellishing.
It may at the start look like a run of the mill exercise, but Legally Blonde greatly distinguishes itself from the crowd with its mix of laughs and lovable heroine that will win you over instantly.
Sexiness has always been a part of my blog from the movies I cover to the saucy photo posts. One thing I do enjoy doing is making playlists, and today I submit my playlist of songs for the bedroom and getting physical. I hope you all enjoy this sexy playlist. And I must thank Human Interest for giving me the idea for this post after a discussion.
- Alicia Silverstone as Jennifer
- Jeremy London as Jack
- Nicky Katt as Mark
- J.T. Walsh as Harry Tucker
What is supposed to be a disturbing thriller about fantasies and the male libido getting the better of three men, The Babysitter never gets going and ends up pointless and unpleasant. The only thing of value The Babysitter has is Alicia Silverstone in the lead to pique interest, otherwise it’s a tawdry and deeply ineffective movie that is one to steer clear of.
Beautiful teenager Jennifer is hired by Harry Tucker and his wife to babysit their three young children while they go to a party. It looks like it’s going to be just like any other night for Jennifer, but she’s wrong. She doesn’t quite realise the way that her beauty captures the attentions of men and how dangerous it could be. The first man to fantasize about her is Harry, who makes a fool of himself at the part he’s going to. The other two are both ex-boyfriends of Jennifer’s, Jack and Mark, though they are entirely different as Jack is the seemingly quieter one and Mark is a troublemaker. Jack was dumped by Jennifer after he kept asking her for sex when she wasn’t ready and Mark who had a brief relationship with her still has erotic longings for her. With nothing for both boys to do, they get drunk, smoke weed and decide to pay the unsuspecting Jennifer a visit. Yet for all three men, the racy fantasies they dream up about the gorgeous beauty Jennifer begin to melt with the real world with dark implications for all.
Forgettable is the order of the day with The Babysitter, which as I’m writing this review is getting harder to remember because of the lack of quality it had. What could have been a cautionary tale of not acting upon desires is turned into a squalid nightmare that can’t be redeemed. Guy Ferland, along with his uninspired and less than stellar direction, don’t take a decent enough stand on the issues it tries to present, ultimately The Babysitter becomes nasty and veers close to being a perverted film. The various fantasy sequences revolving around the somewhat naive Jennifer become increasingly disturbing as the movie goes on but because of how they’re shot, they are overly salacious and only add to the sleazy overtones of the picture. And though this film is supposed to be a thriller about a lack of morality when desire gets out of hand, no suspense can be gleaned from the experience. If the film was aiming to be eye-opening and strange it failed heavily on both counts. A seriously erratic music score veers all over the map, and not in a good way it must be stated.
The one thing that really establishes any redeeming qualities in The Babysitter is Alicia Silverstone. She appears so natural and believable as the teenager who is almost oblivious to her own beauty and the impact it has on men. The acting from Silverstone is the one piece of acting that is remotely interesting to which as she shows the unexpected allure of a girl unprepared for what is to happen. As the three men whose fantasies get way out of hand, Jeremy London, Nicky Katt, and J.T. Walsh add nothing more to the threadbare story. It’s clearly Silverstone who stands out here, then again with the horrible acting surrounding her, that’s not really saying much.
A tired exercise of a film that falls down in almost every department there is, The Babysitter is simply poor film making that is best left on the shelf. It’s little wonder this film went straight to DVD and the only thing I can thank The Babysitter for is being a short film so my boredom would soon be over.
Under the Tuscan Sun
- Diane Lane as Frances Mayes
- Sandra Oh as Patti
- Lindsay Duncan as Katherine
- Raoul Bova as Marcello
- Vincent Riotta as Martini
- Pawel Szajda as Pawel
However formulaic and reliant on a tried and tested formula it is, Under the Tuscan Sun boasts an unexpected poignancy and vibrant Diane Lane that make the movie enjoyably warm and involving for the audience to relate to. No new ground is broken, but Under the Tuscan Sun never promises that and it succeeds as a romantic comedy-drama all the same.
Frances Mayes is a San Francisco writer who appears to have a wonderful life. Yet as the film opens, it is blown apart when she unearths that her husband has been cheating on her. Divorce soon follows for a devastated Frances, who falls into the doldrums and can’t seem to get out of them. Her best friend Patti, a lesbian who has just discovered she is pregnant, worries for her friend yet has a surprise that could help her. She gives her the tickets to a tour of Tuscany hoping her friend will find some comfort there. At first extremely hesitant to take the trip to Tuscany, Frances eventually gives in and decides to go. Once there, she impulsively buys a run down villa after a sign appears to her twice in the same day. She has no idea what made her buy the place, but something about it captures her attention. Realising the place needs a desperate makeover, she employs a band of Polish workers with the help of good-hearted real estate agent Martini, who throughout the film supports Frances with his words of wisdom. Along the way, she develops friendships with the workers, particularly Pawel, as well as the eccentric British actress Katherine who lives in the moment and the hunky Marcello, who provides sexiness and passion for Frances. Little by little, Frances begins to open up to the possibilities of life and adventure as she immerses herself in another culture and sets about making changes to herself. And even though not every experience she has turns out well, she regains a part of herself that she thought had been lost forever.
Audrey Wells direction is not entirely devoid of the touchstones of the genre, but she memorably invests Under the Tuscan Sun with a healthy sensitivity and emotional core that is successful at bringing out the many moving moments to be found. Wells also wrote the screenplay which also displays her talent for finding depth among the laughs and colourful characters. As I said, some of the film definitely belongs in the formulaic camp but there are a wealth of moments that delightfully tweak parts of what we usually expect. Take for example the dalliance between Frances and Marcello that at first looks as if it’s going to lead to love(as we’ve seen in God knows how many movies), yet decides to take another unpredictable path we might not have seen coming. Little touches such as this from Audrey Wells script and direction that don’t play to the usual rules give another sense of curiosity and difference to be discovered in Under the Tuscan Sun. It must be stated that the location work in this flick is sublime, and creates Tuscany as a breathtaking paradise. Clothed in a glowing passion and warmth, the countryside and other locales are dazzling and good enough to eat. I have a fondness for Italian things so that’s probably one reason why Under the Tuscan Sun appealed to me so much, as well as a sprightly score.
By by far one of the best assets in Under the Tuscan Sun is the effervescent Diane Lane. One thing about her that has impressed me since the first time I saw her was Diane Lane’s exemplary gift for getting the audience to feel empathy for the characters she portrays. It’s a wonderful talent that she possesses and it never feels phony or contrived. Charting Frances’ slowly building strength to reclaim excitement and enjoyment in life after being left broken, Lane is splendidly moving, funny and thoroughly on point throughout. Sandra Oh supplies the sly humour as Patti, who comes to visit her friend with her usual witty rapport. A splendid Lindsay Duncan sashays onto the screen as the adventure loving Katherine, who has a taste for danger and younger men. Duncan revels in the wonderful supporting role of snappy dialogue and seductive allure of an old-fashioned movie star. Raoul Bova is on hand for the smoldering love interest and is more than adept at playing the handsome possible lover for Frances. The role isn’t one that shows off a lot of acting talent but it’s layered with charisma nonetheless. A warm turn from Vincent Riotta as the well-mannered estate agent who becomes something of a romantic anchor for Frances is nicely observed, while Pawel Szajda has a youthful enthusiasm in his role.
Engaging and given added depth by Diane Lane’s soulful performance, Under the Tuscan Sun is a delightful film that has the clichés you’d expect but laced with enough different and sometimes unexpected touches to stop it from tipping into an unbearable exercise. And with the stunning locales to look over and laughs( mixed in with sincere emotion), what more can you ask for in a romantic drama?