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Rob Roy

unintelligible sound track
This might have been a good story. We picked it on Netflix because the cast was good and it had five stars. The landscapes are beautiful, and the settings and costumes are rich and detailed. They went to the trouble of casting heirloom cows for the cattle drive. Unfortunately the sound is recorded in a style that makes the dialog nearly impossible to hear. Everyone mumbles in an accent, and the voices are mixed much lower than the music or the sound effects. We gave up straining to hear what was going on after 20 minutes or so. Too bad, could have been a good movie. Four stars for Liam Neeson, zero stars for bad sound mixing.

Evil Ambitions

What happened to Lucy?
The beautiful blonde on the video box cover is Lucy Frashure playing "Julie Swanson." She registers a credible character: innocent, shocked, terrified. I wonder if she tried acting again under some other name, or gave it up. Ms. Newmann is serious about her role, too. She plays it on two levels, as the scheming evil Satan's agent, but with a hint of playfulness. And I sort-of believed Ms. Rochon's "Madame Natalie." The rest of the cast is just blandly going through the motions.

This picture suffered from a really bad sound track. The music is kind of interesting, but the dialog recording has so much background noise of every kind (fans, blowers, and people walking around on the set, and hum and hiss in the recording) that the dialog is barely intelligible. It began to remind me of a Dr. Who episode, or a daytime soap before they got big budgets. A little ADR would have done a lot for this show. Editing is really loose, too. There's a lot of wasted time between one character's line and the next, which would have been edited out in a more thorough production.

Ten points for Lucy, eight for Amber, five for the script, and none for production.

Married People, Single Sex II: For Better or Worse

dreary people, dull sex: miserable
This movie is about people so self-absorbed and inconsiderate that their marriages fail. It's about desperation and misery and angst. But you can't even feel sorry for the characters because they're all such jerks they deserve their agony. SPOILER: in the last three minutes they all suddenly realize they've been jerks and magically become loving couples, which is the most unbelievable ending I have seen in a movie in years.

There are two ways this movie might be enjoyable: 1. You're in a really boring marriage, but it's reliable, and you want to feel superior to someone. 2. They re-shot it with an alternate ending where a maniac bursts in and blasts all of them to bloody pulp with a big machine gun.

There are no sympathetic characters here. There aren't even any good soft-core scenes. It's a total waste of a great cast by filmmakers who have done much better.

Galactic Gigolo

Ruth Collins is cute. See her in some other movie.

I expected a bad movie but it was worse. Looks like it was shot with a hand-held 8-mm camera and ambient lighting. Most of the dialog is unintelligible. Much of the action consists of running back and forth in the woods, Benny Hill style. The "actors" spend a lot of time sitting on sofas reading cue cards. This may have been an attempt at the kind of "indie" or "underground" look that "Troma" sometimes achieves, but it failed. And it's not bad in an interesting way (e.g. _Plan 9 from Outer Space_), it's just amateurish and dull. Don't waste your time. You have been warned.


This is one of those "big production" pornos that tries to be a "serious" movie as well. There's a location setting and a sort of a plot, and a big sound track. But the characters, to the extent they're developed at all, are all either pathetic or hateful, and nobody's having any fun. They're all just kind of desperate.

On Trial Part 2: Oral Arguments

part of a serial
This is the second installment of a four-part serial. The first 15 minutes are a synopsis of part 1. Savannah plays the starlet, "Scarlett," and has a couple of nice scenes that weren't in part 1. She looks particularly fresh, and does a little courtroom comedy.

The Price of Desire

formulaic drama
Same formula as the more intense _Killer Looks_ (1994) also by Paul Thomas. Couple plays with pickups until they pick up a man who's more than they can handle. "Janine" is in both pictures.

This is a drama first and a soft-porn second. Everybody plays real, believable characters.

Kira Reed is a capable actress but doesn't have quite the sex appeal of the other women in this movie. I think both supporting players Kim Yates (Monica's employee) and Delphine Pacific (Sinclair's old flame?) are much cuter, but they're underused here.


Bring back the theatrical cut
-----Possible SPOILER-----

When it played the movie theaters, the best scene in this picture was Scrooge in Hell. After the famous "Thank you very much" parade with his former tenants dancing on his coffin, The Ghost of Christmas Future shows Scrooge his own open grave, and he falls into it. It's a long long fall, and he lands in a cave that looks like the room in his counting house. It's lit in blue and there are icicles and fog and it's so cold it makes you shiver to look at it. And he has this huge, heavy chain to drag around, the one he forged in life. That cave should have won an Oscar[tm] for lighting and set design.

IBM ran this movie on television every year in the '80s, with the Hell scene cut out. Probably offended some fundamentalist sect that doesn't like to see Hell depicted in movies. If you see it on video and the frozen Hell scene is missing, complain to the distributor.


I rented this one to see Vanesa Talor one more time. She can act, but doesn't get a chance in this clunker. The opening sequence is an elaborate crane shot of mountain landscapes. Must have come from a stock archive, because the movie is shot direct to videotape. The production values make _Blair Witch_ look professional. There's a really cheesy animated statue, but no other effects worth noting. This movie is bad, but not amusingly so. The players would do well not to mention it on their resumes.


dramatic, worthwhile
This is a tense, tragic crime story about prostitutes caught in a territorial struggle between pimps. One pimp is psychotic and the other is just a thug. The characters are believable enough that the tension works, you can feel the danger the women are in, and feel sorry for them when their friends are hurt.

There are a few shots of strippers in a nightclub and prostitutes at work, but no more than are needed to advance the plot. This isn't a soft-porn, it's a drama.

My Stepmother Is an Alien

charming little story
This movie was fun. I don't know why everyone is ragging on it. Deserving, nerdy guy gets the girl and saves the world. Nice salutes to movies of the '40s. If the plot's weak, it's because there's not much conflict, no diabolical scheming bad guy. The characters are all sweet and real enough that you care about them. Ms. Basinger is pretty, but if you want to see her do sexy, see _Cool World_.


Savannah deserved better
All the characters in this picture seem bored and annoyed at being there, except Kim. Savannah's character is impishly amused at tantalizing the unfaithful Delbert, and joyous having sex with Bud and (later) Loretta. She's cute in black lace and the French maid's costume, and as sexy as a woman can be (on video tape under unfiltered quartz floods, that is) in her birthday suit. She totally outclasses everyone else on the reel.

8/10 for Savannah, 3/10 for everybody else. Her fans will be disappointed she only has two scenes and the video box cover.

Secret Games II (The Escort)

Awful except for Sara Suzanne Brown
Kyle is a bum who imagines himself a "performance artist." He mistreats everyone in his life, and whines into his camera about how horrible his life is, in long, tedious monologues.

This picture would have been much more satisfying if a maniac in a clown mask had burst in and hacked Kyle to death with a huge knife. Or if the hooker turned into a werewolf and mauled him. But this isn't a Hitchcock picture so everybody doesn't get what they deserve.

Amy Rochelle didn't do much for me, but Sara Suzanne Brown pulled off a great combination of innocence and sexuality as the housewife Irene trapped in a marriage to a guy even duller than Kyle. She's hot, hot, hot here, and it's the only sympathetic character. However, I found it hard to believe a babe like Irene would fall for an obnoxious loser like Kyle.

See this picture if you like Sara, and for a great three-way scene where Amy's hooker brings Kyle another hooker for his birthday. (Of course this might be missing from the "R" version.) Fast forward the rest, unless you like to watch jerks feeling sorry for themselves and whining about how badly the world treats jerks. If only it *did*!

Note to the writers: Asides (characters addressing the audience) work as jokes in _Rocky and Bullwinkle_. Shakespeare was able to make them work in serious drama. You're not that good.

Sinful Intrigue

Eye-candy classic
Sure, the plot's kind of weak. But the cast is gorgeous and everyone is having a good time. Production values are higher than average for this kind of picture: good lighting, careful photography, and clear sound.

Bravo for casting, we have half the B-queens of the mid '90s in one picture. As usual, Lorissa McComas doesn't get enough screen time. Griffen Drew is at her best. And we even get the seldom-seen Chona Jason and Becky Mullen, and Playboy model Casey Gray.

If you prefer your "erotic thriller" with a lot of pretty girls, this is a good pick.


Neriah was robbed
A "news" item on Neriah Davis' Web site suggested she had been told her role in this picture would be a recurring fantasy or dream girl.

There may be other editions. The version I rented gives the beautiful and talented Ms. Davis about one second of screen time, one time.

It's the high point of this otherwise stupid, offensive, annoying, insulting picture. Had Ms. Davis actually appeared several times, it might have made this dog bearable. She looks even better here than she did in _Bikini Car Wash Company_ seven years earlier.

If I were a cynic, I might suggest the producers included Ms. Davis in the cast so their picture would show up on lists of movies featuring Playboy models, thereby increasing its exposure. Porno Web sites do something like that, loading their meta tags with names of famous models (whose images don't appear on their pages) in an attempt to fool the search engines.

Ms. Davis deserves better.

Dish Dogs

unbelievable, annoying dudes
Don't be misled by the display box or the cast listing: there is no surfing and almost no sex in this picture.

The lead character fancies himself a philosopher, and pontificates continuously. But his philosophy is just surfer dude prattle, there's no thought or sense in it anywhere. And real philosophers don't babble on pretentiously about themselves. Drama works when the characters are believable. This character is utterly unbelievable, so there is no drama.

The lead dude's sidekick is supposed to be intelligent and sensitive. It is not plausible that such a person would hang around with a self-absorbed, pretentious, babbling surfer dude who can't surf for even a day, much less for an endless summer. No drama here, either.

I have known unambitious intellectuals who do janitorial work for the Zen of it. They're fascinating people. Had these characters shown even a hint of that depth, it might have made this picture interesting.

Brian Dennehy is one of my favorite actors. He can be convincing as a guru-mentor or an evil villain, with powerful charisma. But he doesn't have anything to work with here. Kimber West and Lorissa McComas light up the screen for a few seconds each, just enough to raise hopes this picture just got better, and then they're gone. If you rent this picture to see them, you're wasting your time. (Won't someone *please* give Lorissa a decent role in a real movie?)

There are great buddy pictures about likeable dudes from southern California. _Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure_ and _Fast Times at Ridgemont High_ were brilliant. Even _Wayne's World_ and _Dumb and Dumber_ have their moments. But _Dish Dogs_ isn't one of them.

Sexual Roulette

yet another "erotic thriller"
Gabriella Hall and Tracey Warfel (Playboy's _Blondes, Brunettes, Redheads_ 1997) are both beautiful. Hall can act, Warfel doesn't really get a chance. Unfortunately, Tane McClure has the female lead in this picture.

There's nobody to like or feel sorry for in this picture. Everybody's mean to everybody else. Warfel has one good scene.

If you don't try to guess it, the ending might surprise you. I guess that makes it a mystery. There are some sex scenes, but they're short and not particularly thrilling.

Big Sister 2000

This picture has no redeeming qualities at all. Its mediocrity isn't even interesting.

It appears to have been shot with a hand held camcorder. The sound is so bad you can barely make out the dialog, and it isn't worth the effort. The music track is mid '60s "electronic," someone noodling around randomly with an old synthesizer. The setting is a small dam or flood control facility, probably in the LA hills.

The cast might have been attractive in some other setting, but there is no emotional or sex appeal here.

A prison guard appears, wearing football pads, a top hat, dark sunglasses, and black handmedowns you'd find in a Goodwill store. He was supposed to be menacing but just looked silly. This was the highlight of the picture.

If you want to be amazed and astounded by how intensely bad a bad movie can be, rent _Plan 9 from Outer Space_. This picture isn't amazing or astounding, it's just bad.

Almost Hollywood

This is a clever murder mystery. It's funny and suspenseful and the characters are believable enough that the tension works. If you're getting annoyed at the trite "erotic thriller" formula you'll enjoy this picture. If it didn't make money it might be because it was sold *as* an erotic thriller, what a shame.

I have not been disappointed yet with an India Allen production. Nice work.

Women in & Out of Uniform

It's about the best work I've seen in this sub-genre. The women are beautiful, the production values are motion picture quality, the situations are ingenious and don't repeat, and the pace is fast but not too fast. Titillating as hell but light hearted fun. They don't make 'em like this any more and that's too bad.

Wild Malibu Weekend!

cute cast, not so wild
More pretty women than a typical bikini movie. Barbara Moore was a doll as the innocent country girl. It's a shame Kathy Pasmore hasn't gotten more work, she's got a lot of what makes Lisa Comshaw so hot.

The MPAA item is misleading. The nudity is almost all topless women, and it's mostly dressing room scenes, no sexuality to it. The one short sex scene is so demure it hardly counts. Had the women worn pasties and a couple of words been bleeped out this picture might have qualified for an MPAA PG rating. But then it would have had no commercial value. Folks who were hoping for a Bikini Carwash Company 3 will be disappointed.

The "It's only plastic" show within a show makes a valid social comment, but clumsily. I don't mind movies that preach (and "bikini" comedies usually do) but they should try to be more subtle about it.

Ambitious Desires

Early Julie Strain
Lightweight softcore. Silicone-implanted women go to Hollywood, where they wash cars and have sex with men with rock-star hair in showers, beds by candle-light, and hot-tubs. The women are not bad looking, and there's no violence. This was before Julie Strain became a B-movie queen and adopted her bad-ass persona. She plays a happy bimbo in this one.

In a Moment of Passion

Chase shines, deserves better
This mediocre crime drama is made bearable by the beautiful and talented Chase Masterson. She took a confused role and developed a believable character despite the weak script. See it if you haven't seen enough of her.


Beware the edited version.
There's a version of this movie ("Dark Passion") in the video stores with the sex scenes cut down to a few seconds each. Basically, they fade out as soon as they get started. The picture is rather pointless without them.

Do or Die

silly, fun movie
These Sidaris pictures are silly. If you expected anything more serious than James Bond, you'll be disappointed. But if 007 pictures don't have enough sex for you, try one of Sidaris' shows.

Cynthia Brimhall looks bored and distracted in this one. (She was perkier in _Hard Ticket to Hawai'i_.) "Stephanie Schick" has a hot sex scene in a waterfall. Dona Speir and Erik Estrada do it in a steaming, night-lit swimming pool. Nice boat/plane chases, plenty of explosions. Carolyn Liu is sizzling hot as the bad guy's computer-savvy moll, and there's more to her character than you'd expect.

Six stars for the underappreciated Andy Sidaris and ten for the hypnotic Ms. Liu.

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