April 27, 2007 |
Next to Stone Cold Steve Austin, your average bull has a pencil neck. Austin, the World Wrestling Entertainment personality, has a neck so overdeveloped that it makes what's above look positively pinhead. Imagine a Schwarzenegger sundae with a cherry on top. On the page, The Condemned undoubtedly reads like Survivor on steroids. On the screen, this vehicle customized to Austin's unexcitable persona is survivalist dreck, equal parts The Most Dangerous Game and Battle Royale.
September 20, 1996 |
Haiti in the throes of Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier's surreal and deadly despotism is the setting for Raoul Peck's The Man by the Shore, a haunting tale of a girl's traumatic childhood, where memories of sun-splashed stucco houses and sparkling Caribbean seas collide with wrenching remembrances of brutality and loss. One of the high points of 1994's Philadelphia Festival of World Cinema, The Man by the Shore, set in a fictional Haitian town in the 1960s, unfolds as one long flashback.
August 14, 1998 |
It's not that dress. It's a summer frock patterned with brick-red leaves on a cobalt-blue ground, so intensely colored that it suggests hot chili peppers floating on the surface of a cool, cool lake. The life of said garment, from conception of its pattern to design, from initial sale at a fancy Amsterdam boutique to last rites as the shroud of a homeless woman, is the subject of Alex van Warmerdam's film, The Dress. Try it on at your own peril. Unlike the similar journey of a man's formal coat in Tales of Manhattan, which connected men from disconnected social classes, and unlike La Ronde, which tracked how venereal disease circulated through polite and impolite Austrian society, van Warmerdam's film is not a social study.
December 3, 1992 |
WASHINGTON GROUPS PREYED ON KIN OF MIAS Unethical groups have played on emotions to raise millions of dollars for fruitless POW rescue operations into Southeast Asia, a Senate panel charged yesterday. Several fund-raising groups came under fire in a hearing of the Select Committee on POW-MIA Affairs for using false or unsupported claims about live POWs to raise money and then keep most of it as an "administrative expense. " "It's fraudulent. It's disingenuous. It's grotesque on its face," said Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.
November 12, 1999 |
The pressures of celebrity, the alienating powers of the Internet, twisted star stalkers, cyber-mind games and, just maybe, madness. . . . These are a few of the themes brought to life (kind of) in Perfect Blue, a piece of Japanese anime that comes equipped with the genre's usual servings of sex, violence and trippy weirdness. A feature-length cartoon from Satoshi Kon, adapted from a popular Japanese novel of the same name, Perfect Blue is about a pop idol named Mima who decides to leave her Spice Girls-like singing group, Cham, to embark on a career as a serious actress.
March 10, 2001 |
A Cape May County man pleaded guilty yesterday to using his Internet site to offer a reward to anyone who killed an abortion provider. He also pleaded guilty to owning child pornography. Nicholas Morency, 30, of Villas, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Joseph E. Irenas to threatening abortion providers and to downloading numerous sexually explicit and sexually violent images of children. Authorities discovered the child pornography while investigating Morency for offering a $1.5 million bounty in 1999 to anyone who killed an abortion provider.
November 23, 2001 |
Unsparing and sad in a kind of chilling, blank way, Fat Girl (A Ma Soeur, "For My Sister" is the original title) examines the world of budding female sexuality with a psychological precision that cuts to the core. French filmmaker Catherine Breillat, whose 1976 debut, A Real Young Lady, likewise presented a girl's coming-of-age in graphic detail and whose 1999 pic, Romance, stirred up controversy for its explicit sex, is at it again. It's tough stuff. Fat Girl is set in an oddly prisonlike beach estate where Ana?s (Ana?s Reboux)
May 17, 1986 |
Connoisseurs of splatter cinema will find Torment a prime cut. Set in San Francisco, Torment returns to the psychological scene of many a Hitchcock crime - most notably those committed in Vertigo and Psycho. Its Tormentor (Stephen King look-alike William Witt), a doughy, middle-aged mass of inhumanity, is on the rampage because the pretty yuppies in singles bars would rather go home with their male counterparts than with him. How dare these girls - "I suppose we're supposed to call 'em women now," admits the Tormentor - think they have a right to date who they want?
December 1, 1989 |
A German filmmaker I once interviewed said Americans had insufficient understanding of fetishism. "One should only wear leather if one really means it," she declared. I didn't understand her until I saw the German movie Seduction: The Cruel Woman. It wears leather. And it really means it. We're talking serious calfskin and kid. Inspired by Venus in Furs, the 1869 work of Leopold Sacher-Masoch (who gave us the word masochist), Seduction is the feature equivalent of a Helmut Newton fashion spread.
August 30, 1986 |
Surely you've heard of the dog days, that period around now when the Dog Star rises and sets with the sun, making life astrally intolerable? Welcome to the dog-meat days, that period around now when Kal Kan movies sink filmgoers, with so-called pictures that are cinematically intolerable. You can get rabies from this crud. Really. At Bullies I saw the man next to me foaming at the mouth. He didn't bite, but the movie did. And drew blood. So before I start frothing and barking, let me tell you that Bullies, a vicious little picture about the cut-throat Cullens, scourge of the Canadian Rockies, takes place in an Alberta logging town called Granton.