jexline

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Reviews

Chameleons
(1992)

Solid shot-on-film endeavor; one of John Leslie's best
John Leslie's Chameleons (full title: Chameleons: Not the Sequel) is an adult film that only a true auteur like Leslie could succeed at (I could see someone like Paul Thomas attempt to do a film like this, but not deliver on the sex). In one of these rare adult films, we have a film with a substantial plot, good production values, quality performances (especially by Ashlyn Gere; although it is a bit hard to understand Rocco Siffredi at times, a wonderful soundtrack and scorching sex. In other words, Chameleons is the kind of film that every adult film should aspire to be. For those familiar with John Leslie's 1989 video Chameleon this film is indirectly related with people who can transform shape, form, and even sex to fulfill their sexual appetites. The plot is also similar to the 1983 Tony Scott film The Hunger. I don't want to reveal too many plot details but the film is basically a love triangle between wealthy couple Claudine (the exquisite Deidre Holland) and Reynaldo (Rocco Siffredi) and the abrasive Casey (Ashlyn Gere), who becomes obsessed with them after meeting them in a sex club. The film eventually becomes a battle of wits of who's fooling who to the point where even the viewer isn't sure. The late John Leslie had a reputation of being the first person to successfully transition over from actor to director and this film is a perfect example of why. Every shot of the film demonstrates that Leslie was a true auteur and in my humble opinion, is only second to Henry Paris (Radley Metzger) in making adult films that can stand on their own without the sex (although that is certainly watchable as well). If pressed for my favorite John Leslie movie this would easily be my choice and if pressed for my favorite adult film ever made it, I think I would have to settle on a tie between this and The Opening of Misty Beethoven.

Celebrity
(1998)

One of Allen's most underrated films
"Celebrity", along with "Melinda and Melinda" are Woody's two underrated gems. This film pays tribute to Fellini's "8 1/2", along with other avant-garde cinema, down to the gorgeous black and white photography.

Kenneth Branaugh plays Lee Simon, a celebrity journalist, who finds himself entangled with different women, using them as stepping stones to get to another one. Judy Davis is Robin, Lee's neurotic ex-wife. Branaugh is essentially playing the Allen role here, but puts his own spin on it making it more than just a caricature, although he does fit the type well. Davis is great as usual, and the all-star ensemble also bring depth and meaning to their portrayals. One of my favorite Allen movies.

Mother and Daughter: The Loving War
(1980)

Clichéd, but involving pro life propaganda with some good Chapin tunes
I got this movie out of the library on VHS of interest mainly because Harry Chapin did the music. It has every cliché you can imagine and the writing/acting are typical at best, but the characters and scenarios still kept me intrigued.

Tuesday Weld as Lillie, who gets pregnant as a teen and spends the rest of her life doing anything she can for her daughter (Kathleen Beller), repeating the same cycle her mother did for her.

As I said before, I got this for the Chapin music and it's the best part of it. It features some new music he did just for the movie, as well as some old classics ("Woman Child", "Tanged Up Puppet" and the Chapin anthem "Circle"). He also makes a cameo appearance in the end.

5/10

Behind the Green Door: The Sequel
(1986)

Good story and great production values, but not as good as the original
The Mitchell Brothers' Behind the Green Door: The Sequel made fourteen years after the original and helmed as the first safe-sex porno tells the story of flight attendant Gloria (played by Missy Manners this time). She is back from a flight to San Francisco and while in her apartment watching the original "Green Door", she is watched by a stalker in a wheelchair (James Martin) whose apartment is full of surveillance equipment. A fantasy takes place and involves the sex club where the original took place. The production values look better this time and the club looks different, although apparently it seems to be the same set (the Mitchell Brothers' O'Farrell Theater). The story is good, but a bit confusing sometimes. The original wasn't a straightforward narrative, either, but this one mostly deals with fantasy, which can be taken in many different directions.

This film has weaknesses, greatest probably being the horrible dubbing of the actors dialogue in accordance to their lips. The opening is shot at San Francisco's airport, which is very impressive for an adult feature. The beginning is completely different from that of the original and the set-up is more in depth. The music and photography are good, but the acting is nothing to write home about. It's great to see Yank Levine, playing the friend role again, however.

The fact that this is an all-condoms movie doesn't bother me and in fact I don't find it takes away from the sexiness of the movie one bit. The production values are first rate and much better from the original I think. The music goes along very well with the scenes and Sharon McNight (who co-wrote and directed along with the Mitchells) does a great song number.

Overall, a well-done classic rendition, but not nearly as good as the original film. 9/10

Invisible Girl
(1989)

Good, fun porno
Scotty Fox' The Invisible Girl is a good movie for people with a foot fetish. While not a foot fetish movie per se, it has many great shots of women's feet, nearly in every scene. In fact, it is the movie that made me a foot fetishist.

Tamara Lee plays Janice, a biology major who after being doused with an acid, becomes invisible. She visits grad student David (Randy West), whom she has a crush on, and wakes him up with an oral surprise. When sexually aroused, however, she becomes visible and the two get together for a hot scene. After telling him of her situation, they go and visit Dean Jones (Peter North), who gives student's good grades in return for sexual favors. As they enter, he's getting it on with Tori Welles as one of his students. It's a good scene between two actors frequently paired together. We get some ferocious oral from Tori and for foot fetishists you get to see her feet up in the air as she tries to "earn the grade". Next is a hot boy/girl between Scott Irish and Lynn LeMay (who plays Randy's girlfriend). Dressed in shorts, socks, and tennis shoes (although those aren't left on too long), they have sex in every position before he picks her up moves her to the other side of the couch and comes on her tits. Her feet are up in the air the whole time and this is the scene that made me a foot fetishist.

Finally, we have two scenes intercut. Tamara goes to Jack's apartment where his assistant Helen (Tara Blake) meets them. She becomes aroused so she appears to her and then the two begin a hot girl/girl. The other (and lesser) scene is a typical boy/girl scene between Randy and Lynn that ends in a typical come shot with no feet shots. Scott soon enters into the g/g scene, however, and makes it a threesome. This scene is especially hot and we get hot shots of both women's feet. Also ends with a hot cum scene.

As a movie, Invisible Girl is fairly lame with your typical porn plot. Sexually speaking, though, this is the epitome of good late 80's porn and as I said earlier is a great movie for foot fetishists. Don't be fooled by the cover, however. The special effects are not great or amazing by any means. See this one strictly for the sex. 8/10

The Enchantress
(1991)

Two part porno
Paul Thomas' The Enchantress tells in two parts the story of enchantress Hyapatia Lee seducing two different men under different circumstances. She doesn't play the same character in each, but pays the same role to each of the men.

The first part is entitled "The Yearbook" and stars Blake Palmer as Philip, an art director. As the film begins he has a very hot session with girlfriend Melissa (Ashley Nicole) before breaking up with her. He goes on a job interview with Miss Alexander (Hyapatia Lee) who "never mixed business with pleasure". Knowing this, he invites her to his house to look over some of his plans, which of course leads to copulation. After a regular boy/girl scene, they spice things up by adding Porsche Lynn as Hyapatia's secretary to the works. This is scene is especially hot as Blake cums on her pussy and then him and Porsche lick it off of her. The film ends with a punchline, although it's not the one that's expected. Good story and production values. 7/10

The second part entitled "Sex and Taxes" opens with a Don Fernando and Kiki (rarely seen) pairing. She is dressed in her typical cowgirl outfit and he does her standing up (a personal fantasy). Although she rarely talks, the scene is undeniably hot. The set up then comes into play. Jake (the Don Fernando character) is being audited and meets "Diane" (Hyapatia Lee)in a bar (which is also a setting in "The Yearbook"). They end up hooking up in a hotel and the punchline of this one is also good, although not as unpredictable as number one. The story and characters are deeper in part one, but I prefer this one in terms of pacing and enjoyability. 9/10

Overall, The Enchantress is a very well-done porno with good production values (perhaps made for the cable market). It is worth purchasing for the Ashley Nicole/Blake Palmer seen alone. 8/10

Ararat
(2002)

Well-made, but uninvolving
Atom Egoyan's "Ararat", my fourth film from the auteur is a very well-written, well-acted film detailing the Armenian Genocide from different perspectives. Raffi (David Alpay) is the son of art historian and expert on Arshille Gorky, Ani, played by Arsinee Khanjian. He is sleeping with his stepsister and is stopped by a Canadian customers officer David(Christopher Plummer) coming back from a trip to Turkey with a film can, although not wanting to show the contacts of the case.

Edward Saroyan (Charles Aznavour) is making a film about the genocide. Plummer's son Martin (Bruce Greenwood) is playing the main role in Aznavour's films, which also features his lover Ali (Elias Koteas). Another man, Rouben (Eric Bognosian) acts as the middle man between Khanjian and Aznavour.

The film features a great many of Egoyan's troupe of actors (wife Khanjian, Bruce Greenwood, Elias Koteas) and has a large number of themes from his other films (customs officers, incestual relationships, heritage), but conveys it poorly in comparison to his earlier films. In his earlier films, he focused on character's motivations and enigmatic plots. Now he seems to focus on religion and heritage, which I suppose is the kind of film he wants to make. I personally prefer his earlier puzzle films myself ("The Adjuster" and "Exotica" being prime examples).

The acting is very good. Khanjian is good in every role she's done and you never think she got the role just because she's married to Egoyan. Bruce Greenwood and Elias Koteas (who played nemesis' in "Exotica") make great lovers. Christopher Plummer carries a strong presence and a contrast to the other characters in his role. Alpay conveys youth and innocence very well, as well as hiscestuous relationship with Celia (Maria-Josee Croze).

Overall, a well-done film, but don't expect anything close to his earlier films. 7/10

Adoration
(2008)

I just couldn't get into it
Atom Egoyan's "Adoration", following in his tradition as of late of religion and culture, stars Devon Bostick as Simon, a student who tells his classmates that his father was a terroristic bomber and that the only reason he's still alive is the bag with the bomb was confiscated by customers officers (which seems to be another theme in Egoyan films). A teacher (Egoyan's wife Arsinee Khanjian)questions the validity of his arguments.

Egoyan is one of my favorite filmmakers, but his recent films have been disappointing in comparison to his earlier gems "The Adjuster, "Exotica", and "The Sweet Hereafter". Like "Ararat" he seems to be more interested in making cultural and religious statement than tell good stories. Another weakness of the film is he doesn't have his usual stable of actors, with the exception of Khanjian and Maury Chaykin in an unbilled cameo.

This is my fifth from Egoyan and my least favorite at this point. I'm very skeptical about his recent films due to my underwhelming responses to this and "Ararat", but he will still remain a great filmmaker to me.

Exotica
(1994)

The essentials of a masterpiece
Atom Egoyan's "Exotica" is perhaps the most perfect and beautifully intricate film I have seen. Filmed on a $2 million Canadian budget with his mostly usual staple of actors it explores territory usually left unchartered in the film world.

Francis Brown (Bruce Greenwood) is a tax auditor for Revenue Canada who makes nightly visits to Exotica, a local gentleman's club, where he also asks for his favorite dancer, Christina (Mia Kirschner). The activity of the club is told to us by Eric, the D.J. (Elias Koteas)who makes suggestive comments about the dancers. The club is owned by the pregnant Zoe (Arsinee Khanjian; Egoyan's wife). The other main character of the story is Thomas Pinto (Don McKellar), a latently gay pet shop owner being audited by Francis.

The film is largely about replacements and rituals. Eric used to be Christina's lover and relives the relationship through MCing suggestive fantasies of her. The club used to be owned by Zoe's mother and she is taking her mother's place since it's easier than creating her own options. Francis has his niece (Sarah Polley) babysit while he's gone, even though there's no baby to sit and pays her $20 a night and pays Christina $5 a dance. Thomas goes to the opera on a regular basis and scalps tickets in order to meet up with other men. The film doesn't truly come together until the conclusion where everything makes sense.

This film features some great performances, especially Bruce Greenwood as the troubled and intense Francis. Elias Koteas is equally good as the jealous DJ. This is a sorely underrated film with the essentials of a masterpiece. The score is also excellent and I highly recommend the soundtrack as well.

Overall, one of my all-time favorite films. A must-see.

Free Willy
(1993)

Free Willy sucks
I'm so sick of the reviews that go around about this being the greatest family film ever made, blah blah blah, it goes on and on. Like the fact that it's a family film is a sign of greatness or something. The Michael Jackson soundtrack is a joke, the whale who plays Willy unimpressive and the main star is horrible. Michael Madsen and Lori Petty are embarrassing in their supporting roles. One of the worst of the 90's. And because of IMDb's ten lines roles, I have to fill this space with useless crap about the movie and how bad it is. It's bad. I'd give it less than a star if I could. And they're making a Free Willy 4 next year. That's how bad it is. Somebody needs to free me from seeing these piece of crap films.

Drop Sex
(1997)

What the hell?
A guy wanders around an industial area, observing meaningless episodes of sex and violence.

John Leslie made some of the greatest videos of the late 80's, early 90's, and then he makes this? I would rate this right down there with "Bad", the worst film not just made by Leslie, but any director of Leslie's stracture.

The only scene of the movie I actually liked is the beginning, before the credits. It has a guy (Tony Tedeschi?) talking to the camera telling a story about a monkey. I can't remember the story per se, but the punchline is great. This is the stuff that John Leslie movies are made of, but after the credits, no more. Or plot for that matter. So I only recommend the beginning and then the rest of the movie's worth fast forward through.

Avoid it. 2/10

Year One
(2009)

Only gave it a one because IMDb doesn't have a zero
"Year One" is the worst movie of the year, quite possibly the worst of all time, but I'm biased right now, as I saw the movie last night. It is simply a terrible movie. There's no pros to counterset the cons, as there are none.

The plot (if you can call it that) revolves around Michael Cera and Jack Black as midevil cavemen in (well I think that's pretty obvious) and something about getting involved with a Princess, some eunics, some orgy where Cera has to rub oil over a hairy eunic, and lots of jokes about castration (none of which are funny). Actually, the only thing that is funny about this movie is that it was made at all (and that apparently they thought it actually was). This is a grave disappointment for me, since it was from a good director (Ramis, who made the great Groundhog Day and Ghostbusters) and includes the talents of Jack Black and Michael Cera. But in here, the entire cast is wasted, even Olivia Wilde, who's great in "House".

"Year One" is worse than "Dance Flick" and "Paul Blart, Mall Cop", if you can believe that, and will probably retain that spot at the end of the year as well. Don't see it if they pay you to.

no stars/****

Bobby Sox
(1996)

One of two best porn movies of the 90's
Paul Thomas' "Bobby Sox", shot on film (like John Leslie's excellent "Dog Walker) stars Jamie Gillis, who won Best Actor for his performance, as a washed up alcoholic actor making a comeback in "My Alien My Love" playing in a small town theater for a week. While there, he comes across a young woman Sheri (Nikki Tyler) having problems with her boyfriend (Steven St. Croix) while Gillis himself becomes involved with Sheri's mother (played by Shanna McCullough, who also won an award) all leading to a satisfying, if predictable ending. By far, the best film Paul Thomas has ever done, followed closely by "The Masseuse" and "Enchantress". Also features the sexy Chloe in her heyday.

Save the Tiger
(1973)

Best film
"Save the Tiger", my all-time favorite film (followed closely by "Network") tells the life of Harry Stoner (Jack Lemmon in an Oscar-winning performance) during one day in Los Angeles, where he contemplates burning down his warehouse for the insurance money due to his "ballet with the books". As he contemplates arson, he regresses to his past and wishes for a simple and more easy time. Jack Gilfrod (also Oscar nominated and also deserving) offers strong support as Harry's partner. All in all, a touching and very emotional movie, unprecedent by any film since or before. Also Oscar nomianted for Steve Shagan's script. Better than director John G. Avildsen's follow up "Rocky" (the movie that "Network" should have won over).

The Chameleon
(1989)

Porn masterpiece
John Leslie's "The Chameleon", along with "The Catwoman" ranks as one of the best of the late 80's, shot on video porn flicks. Shot by longtime cameraman Jack Remy, "Chameleon" looks, sounds, and feels like a low-budget indie film with Tori Welles as Diana, a woman who can turn into anybody she chooses when sexually aroused, much to the chagrin of her lover, Marc (Tom Byron), who views sex as a more "meaningful" experience. When she gets herself involved in a bind, however, Diana realizes the danger that comes with her powers. All in all, a classy, well done adult film that definitely deserves to be part of your collection. 10/10.

Bare Market
(1993)

Far from great
Unlike the last reviewer, I actually thought this was a far from great movie from a great director (John Leslie). I consider myself a big fan of his work, so imagine my disappointment with this title when I can't not only barely hear the audio, but find every sex scene uninspired and the plot so weak it's not even worth mentioning. Not even the great Nicole London could save this movie. As I have to fill four more lines to be able to submit my review, all I'm going to say is don't waste your time on this movie (if you can even find it, since it appears to be discontinued). I only recommend this movie if you're a die-hard Leslie fan and need it to finish your collection. Everybody else, skip it.

Angels
(1992)

Well done adult film
John Leslie's "Angels", one of the auteur's worth watching films for VCA, stars Peter North as a man on the edge, who decides to kill himself. Guardian angel Tom Byron (sound familiar?) comes to show him the error of his ways and in the process shows our hero as well as us many interesting and erotic sexual encounters. Don't watch this movie solely for the sex, though, as it is an example of good early 90's porn at its finest, with a searing combination of story, character development, and sex. Also don't see this movie solely for Savannah, as she doesn't appear until the last fifteen minutes of the film. Still, highly recommended for Leslie fans or fans of adult film in general. 8/10

Brianna Love: Her Fine Sexy Self
(2007)

Leslie in prime form
"Brianna Love: Her Fine Sexy Self", the legendary John Leslie's comeback to feature porn making proves not only that Leslie still has it, but also that Brianna Love is the one of the hottest new stars to come out of the adult film industry. Love basically plays herself, a sexy, but tomboyish girl who hangs out in the bar owned by Frankie Dapp (played by Leslie himself), who she's known since she was a kid. She's constantly getting herself in sexual situations, while being under the constant curious eye of Frankie. One day she meets a charming, but obviously up to no good guy Bernard (Derrick Pearce) who finally convinces her to have a drink with him. After he loosens her up, he takes her back to his place, where he forces her to have sex with him and his friends, prepares to pee on her, and then beats her up. Frankie isn't having any of this, though, and the payoff makes the movie. Sexually speaking, very few features this day can compare to this one. There are six feature length sex scenes with a variety of positions and performers (although Brianna herself is in five of them). The plot is well scripted, with multi dimensional characters, and as always in Leslie movies, the music and photography are top notch. Overall, you can't beat the script, the feel, and the sex of "Brianna Love: Her Fine Sexy Self" 9/10

Dog Walker
(1994)

A porn masterpiece
John Leslie's "Dog Walker", his last after a string of features he made for VCA and his first for his own company, John Leslie Productions at Evil Angel Video, stars Steven St. Croix as Tito, a "man on the edge". After failing to cut a deal with the mob over the dealings of the diamonds he smuggled, he's stopped in a dark alley by a dangerous hit-man (played by Leslie himself), who tells him his life will be turned upside down and he won't even be able to rob a gas station. Up until this point, "Dog Walker" appears to be a straightforward narrative; this is about to change. If I do have issue with "Dog Walker", it is that very little of it makes sense, although that all changes in the end when true motivations are revealed and everything wraps itself up quite neatly. This is a very noirish mood piece, funded by Leslie using his own money, shot on film, and featuring many of the greatest actors of the business, plus the jazzy blues score that became Leslie's trademark. Highly recommended for any fans of the adult film industry, Leslie, or film in general. 10/10

Sin City
(2005)

A masterpiece
"Frank Miller's Sin City", co-directed by Robert Rodriguez and Miller himself is one of my all-time favorite movies for the reason that it contains everything anybody could be looking for in a movie: Action, romance, film noir, great fight scenes, and incredible, intriguing story all the way through. Adapted from the novels "The Hard Goodbye", "The Big Fat Kill", and "That Yellow Bastard" and the yarn "The Customer is Always Right", "Sin City" takes a "Pulp Fiction" approach in having three stories that are all connected in one through characters and location. The first (and last) story of the film, "That Yellow Bastard" has Bruce Willis as a righteous cop trying to avenge the pedophiliac son (Nick Stahl) of a senator (Powers Boothe). The second story "The Hard Goodbye" casts Mickey Rourke as a "psycho killer" out to seek revenge on his "one true love" Goldie (Jaime King), while the third story (which is actually more like the middle story) has Clive Owen as a do-gooder trying to save the night from a raving lunatic (Benicio Del Toro). All stories are bookended by "The Customer is Always Right" with a figurative salesman (Josh Harnett) hired first to kill a mysterious woman (Marley Shelton) and then a major character from one of the other stories. One of the most striking things about this film (or shall I say video, since it was shot in HD)is the black and white look (especially considering how it was shot)that captures Frank Miller's comics with color thrown in for effect (red blood, the Yellow Bastard, Goldie, etc). The performances are all outstanding (maybe with the exception of Brittany Murphy, although it's hard to say bad dialogue good), especially Rourke, Owen, and Rosario Dawson as a dominatrix-hooker who moonlights as Owen's lover. I love Frank Miller's "Sin City" novels with a passion (they're practically the only comics I will read) and this is a great adaptations. All of the characters look and sound as I have imagined them and the entire feeling of the comics are preserved here on celluloid. Can't wait for the sequels!

10/10

Mona Lisa
(1986)

Touching and poignant masterpiece
Neil Jordan's "Mona Lisa", one of the best films of the 1980's is one of those hidden little gems that once you see it, will change your life forever. Some complain about the slow pace; others about the fake happy ending, but the truth is the powerfulness of the movie lies within these boundaries, not despite.

Bob Hoskins gives the performance of his career as George, just released from prison who finds work as a chauffeur for a high class call girl (played by Cathy Tyson). The two start off as enemies with a hate-hate relationship, but soon they find that they are entertained by their arguments, amused by each other. Eventually George gets involved in looking for a girl Simone used to walk the streets with, and is, as she is afraid, the slave of a dangerous pimp.

Michael Caine, giving the third major performance of the movie, shines in a brief, but memorable role as a very creepy, very corrupt mob boss.

Bob Hoskins deserved the Best Actor Oscar for his performance here, and Cathy Tyson and Michael Caine deserved nominations. A scene set to Genesis' "In Too Deep" with George exploring the underbelly of London's porn shops and strip clubs is perhaps one of the most well choreographed in film history.

A masterpiece of mammoth proportions and full of quiet moments that speak wonders, perhaps the only films that came as close to touching me have been Atom Egoyan's "Exotica" and Mike Figgis' "Leaving Las Vegas".

10/10

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