body heat

BODY HEAT. (1981) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

body heatBODY HEAT. (1981) WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY LAWRENCE KASDAN. INSPIRED BY THE FILM ‘DOUBLE INDEMNITY’ FROM 1944. MUSIC BY JOHN BARRY.

STARRING KATHLEEN TURNER, WILLIAM HURT, RICHARD CRENNA, TED DANSON, J.A. PRESTON, KIM ZIMMER AND MICKEY ROURKE. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

Mmmm, this is a steamy one. A hot ‘n’ heavy, sweaty, sultry steamy one, and I ain’t just talking about the weather, either. This is a great sexy film inspired by the brilliant film noirs of the 1940s, in particular DOUBLE INDEMNITY, one of the best examples of that genre ever.

Starring Fred MacMurray as the insurance salesman, Edward G. Robinson as the phony claims investigator and Barbara Stanwyck as the sexy housewife who wants her hubby bumped off for the money, DOUBLE INDEMNITY was directed by Billy SOME LIKE IT HOT Wilder and based on the superb novel by James M. Cain. He also wrote MILDRED PIERCE and THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE. That’s quite an impressive back catalogue…!

Anyway, I probably shouldn’t have re-watched BODY HEAT right-slap-bang in the middle of Ireland’s annual heatwave. It happens every July for a couple of weeks and it’s miserable. The sweat would be pouring off you from the moment you get up to the time you crash into bed at night, hot and disgruntled. Tempers flare and people argue and behave all out-of-character until Senor Sol (the fuppin’ baxterd!) packs his bags and fecks off again for another year. A bit like in BODY HEAT.

This super-sexy movie set during a Florida heatwave did nothing to help me cool down. Rather, it got me all hot ‘n’ bothered and sent my temperature soaring upwards as I followed the twists and turns of the plot in my underwear with the sweat dripping off me. Yeah, I know. That’s a sexy image, right guys? Haha. Control yourselves, you horny lot, and let’s gab about the fillum…

This was the magnificent Kathleen Turner’s movie debut. She plays Matty Walker, the sex-bomb of an unhappy housewife who wants to kill her hubby and keep all his money for herself. Although some critics have condemned her performance as being a tad wooden, there’s no denying that she’s the hottest ticket in town as far as sex and sexuality are concerned.

She positively sizzles as she seduces and manipulates poor old lawyer Ned Racine, who can’t be blamed for anything he does because obviously he’s being influenced by his wiener-brain and not his head-brain, haha. Everyone knows that blokes can’t help what they do where sex and wimmin are concerned…!

Anyway, this film launched Kathleen Turner as a sort of sexy siren of an actress who, in 1995, was named by EMPIRE magazine as ‘One Of The 100 Sexiest Stars In Film History,’ which is quite a nice little accolade to have under your belt. THE NEW YORK TIMES wrote of her in 2005 that:

‘Propelled by her jaw-dropping movie debut in BODY HEAT, she built a career on adventurousness and frank sexuality born of robust physicality.’

I agree totally with this assessment. So too, probably, would anyone who’s ever seen her in films like ROMANCING THE STONE (1983), THE JEWEL OF THE NILE (1985) and THE WAR OF THE ROSES (1989), which prove exactly how physically robust she is. There’s something very sexy about a nice well-built healthy woman who can do a few cartwheels in the bedroom.

She and Michael Douglas made a great team, incidentally. My favourite role of hers, though, apart from the Matty Walker one, was as Chandler Bing’s cross-dressing Dad in FRIENDS. Yes, I said ‘Dad…!’ She and the gloriously bitchy and glamorous Morgan Fairchild did a bang-up job as Chandler’s warring parents. God, I loved that show…!(#imissthenineties)

It’s obvious to the viewers that Matty is selfish, self-absorbed and ruthless in her quest to get what she wants. Does she ever really love Ned, the man she convinces to do her dirty work for her, or is he just a pawn in her game? There’s no doubt that she’s genuinely sexually attracted to him, the little hussy. Mind you, William Hurt’s gorgeous in this, as he is in everything. I especially fancied him as investigator Arkady Renko in GORKY PARK (1983). There’s just something so sexy (in an understated way) about him always.

Ted Danson, otherwise known as flirtatious bar-owner Sam Malone from brilliant ‘Eighties sitcom CHEERS, does a brilliant job here as the tap-dancing prosecutor. He knows he has to do his job, which means nailing Ned, but he hates the fact that it’s his best mate he’s persecuting-slash-prosecuting. He desperately doesn’t want Ned to be guilty but, hey, things are what they are.

A ridiculously young-looking Mickey Rourke doesn’t do a whole lot for me as Ned’s former client who’s willing to sort him out with a bomb. Yes, a bomb, believe it or not. I can see why other women would fancy him, though. Me personally, I prefer greasy-haired, sweaty Ned…

The music is sexy and atmospheric, the steam from the intense, life-sapping heat literally hangs over the city like a sticky mist and every performance is a winner. I’ve no complaints about this film. The sex is hot, the dialogue is sharp and the sweat that drips from the brow of every actor is all too real. Watch this film every chance you get, but don’t do what I did and re-watch it in the middle of a bloody heatwave. It doesn’t help…!

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens’ fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

https://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com

http://sexysandieblog.wordpress.com

http://serenaharker.wordpress.com

https://twitter.com/SandraAuthor

sandrasandraharris@gmail.com

tales-from-the-crypt-cushing

TALES FROM THE CRYPT. (1972) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

tales-from-the-crypt-cushingTALES FROM THE CRYPT. (1972) AN AMICUS PRODUCTION.

 DIRECTED BY FREDDIE FRANCIS. SCREENPLAY BY MILTON SUBOTSKY. PRODUCED BY MAX J. ROSENBERG AND MILTON SUBOTSKY. MUSIC BY DOUGLAS GAMLEY.

STARRING PETER CUSHING, JOAN COLLINS, ROY DOTRICE, RICHARD GREENE, IAN HENDRY, PATRICK MAGEE, BARBARA MURRAY, NIGEL PATRICK, ROBIN PHILLIPS AND RALPH RICHARDSON.

REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

Ah, they just don’t make ’em like this anymore, more’s the pity. I’ve owned this DVD since the Halloween of 2014, when I acquired it from my local LASER store. Literally on the 31st October of that year, the store, almost the last place in the area you could buy or rent old HAMMER and AMICUS movies, announced that it was closing its doors forever due to the fact that they could no longer compete with NETFLIX & Co. You know what I mean…!

The few weeks that followed were pandemonium in the store as they sold off everything they had in stock, for high enough prices at first and then more cheaply as the weeks went on and D-DAY approached. I myself purchased a shedload of amazing films including:

PSYCHOS 1-4; THE AMITYVILLE HORROR and AMITYVILLE 2: THE POSSESSION; THE ENTITY; Klaus Kinski in CRAWLSPACE and COBRA VERDE; HAMMER’S THE SCARS OF DRACULA, TASTE THE BLOOD OF DRACULA, THE MUMMY and THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN; Nicole Kidman in THE OTHERS; Peter Cushing in MANIA and, of course, the aforementioned TALES FROM THE CRYPT, among others. What a haul!

I felt a bit ghoulish at times, I must say, picking over the bones of the shop like that but, in my defence, everyone else was doing it too, haha. I even bought a load of their old movie reference guides because I couldn’t bear the thought of them possibly going in the bin.

The guys in the shop gave me a fabulous movie photo of Christopher Lee in THE WICKER MAN for free, which was amazing. They had all sorts of other brilliant movie memorabilia too which they either sold or gave away. I imagine that it all went to good homes as the folks who regularly used the store all tended to be genuine movie lovers. It was the discerning movie-lovers’ store, you might say…!

Remember that episode of THE SIMPSONS when Ned Flanders’s LEFTORIUM was failing due to the curse that Homer Simpson put on Ned? Ned’s so desperate for money that he sells everything he owns to Homer for next to nothing just to raise cash. In the end, he can’t even turn to the Bible for solace because he ‘sold it to you (Homer) for seven cents…!’

It was hard not to feel a bit like Homer as I walked out of LASER with my arms full of movie goodies, but the stuff I bought there during that time is stuff I’ll treasure forever. It even has its own special place in my collection under the heading: MY LASER STUFF…!

Anyway, on to the film, before everyone expecting a review packs up and goes home, haha. It’s a brilliant horror anthology film consisting of five vignettes and it stars such luminaries as HAMMER HORROR‘s Peter Cushing, the glamorous Joan Collins and dear old Ralph Richardson, who plays the Cryptkeeper.

That’s right, the Cryptkeeper here isn’t the crabbed, wizened skeletonized old rascal from the comics or the television series TALES OF THE CRYPT, it’s Ralph Richardson in a monk’s habit. Five random strangers find themselves compelled to take a tour of some mysterious old caves and ruins. They find themselves separated from the group and in a room with the cowled and stern-faced Cryptkeeper.

He then proceeds to tell each of them a gruesome story about how they will die. As you can imagine, they’re not exactly thrilled skinny with what they hear, especially when they find out that there’s a massive stingy twist in the tale. Let’s quickly run through the five vignettes.

Joan Collins is the star of the first one, which is called …AND ALL THROUGH THE HOUSE. She plays a greedy housewife who gets a whole lot more than she bargains for when she decides to bump off her hubby on Christmas Eve for the insurance money. Her acting is a wee bit hammy but God Almighty! She’s drop-dead gorgeous in her bling and her perfect make-up and her bone structure is to die for. She’s never looked so stunning.

The house is Christmassed up beautifully too with tree and decorations and heavenly Christmas carols playing throughout the vignette. This whole section is a glorious burst of colour and sound and it works really well. This is top-notch stuff, this is! A nice bit of seasonal horror for you there.

The second story, called REFLECTION OF DEATH, is about a married man whose attempts to leave his wife and children for his mistress go disastrously wrong. You might say that this fellow also gets a whole hell of a lot more than he’s bargained for as an automobile accident leaves him doubting his very existence, cue evil laugh… Mwah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha…!

The third story is sooooo sad. Peter Cushing plays a lovely auld fella called Arthur Grimsdyke in POETIC JUSTICE, an old man whose posh snobby neighbour does everything in his power to rid the neighbourhood of Grimsdyke’s somewhat untidy presence.

The nasty James Elliott even goes so far as to imply that the gentle, harmless child-and-animal-loving old codger might be a paedophile. A paedophile…! Well! You do not call Peter Cushing’s character a paedophile and get away with it, and the snooty Elliott most certainly does not get away with it. His come-uppance will be grim (sdyke…?) indeed…

WISH YOU WERE HERE is possibly my least favourite of the vignettes. A rich businessman’s wife makes three wishes courtesy of a strange Chinese figurine when she finds out that her hubby is bankrupt. Naturally, it all goes pear-shaped, in the style of that old story THE MONKEY’S PAW. You know, be careful what you wish for and all that?

Probably the thing I don’t like about this one is that the businessman is guilty of no more than poor money management, so why is he getting it in the neck like the others? After all, he’s not the kind of heartless fuppin’ baxterd that would victimise an old man like Peter Cushing or leave his children forever for a bit of short-skirted, big-breasted totty, so what gives? Ah well. Maybe he’s paying the price for his wife’s greed. Men have to do that sometimes…!

The final vignette, BLIND ALLEYS, is my favourite one after the Joan Collins one. A cold-hearted ex-Army Major is given the position of running a residential home for blind men. He and his dog Shane live it up in style on the home’s budget while the poor blind men shiver, starve and even die because of the Major’s drastic financial cutbacks.

Patrick Magee turns in the performance of the whole film as the blind man who’s not going to take the Major’s shit anymore. He’s eerily calm, cold and single-minded as he galvanises his poor neglected blind comrades into decisive action.

I felt so sorry for all of them, but they’re absolutely wonderful too. Watch them giving up a piece of bacon each for the common cause and then building their mechanism of stern justice in unified silence as a team. They’re, in a word, marvellous. They certainly don’t deserve to live the inhumane way the greedy Major has decreed they must. How dare he, the dastardly devil…?

By the way, the dog Shane is a terrific little actor too. The DVD box refers to him as a ‘Belgian Malinois’ but he looks to me to be some sort of German Shepherd or Alsatian. I’m sure some dog-lover will correct my woeful ignorance, haha.

This is a wonderful film. You should watch it first chance you get, if you haven’t already. It’s a bit like that other excellent horror anthology film from the same year, ASYLUM… HOUSE OF CRAZIES, in which Robert HANNAY Powell has to guess which of a number of inmates is actually a doctor from the asylum who recently ran amok.

Horror anthology films totally rock. And so does all MY LASER STUFF. So long, LASER and all who worked in you. I’ll never forget ye.

‘You were mean and cruel right from the start;

Now you REALLY have no heart…’

Happy Valentine’s Day…!

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens’ fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

https://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com

http://sexysandieblog.wordpress.com

http://serenaharker.wordpress.com

https://twitter.com/SandraAuthor

sandrasandraharris@gmail.com

secretary

SECRETARY. (2002) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

secretarySECRETARY. (2002) DIRECTED BY STEVEN SHAINBERG. BASED ON THE SHORT STORY BY MARY GAITSKILL. STARRING MAGGIE GYLLENHAAL, JAMES SPADER, JEREMY DAVIES, LESLEY ANN WARREN, STEPHEN MCHATTIE AND PATRICK BAUCHAU. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

This odd little film caused a bit of a stir when it came out. I didn’t see it in the cinema but I rented it from Xtravision (yeah, just like a regular caveman, haha!) when it came out on video, of all things, about a year or so later. God, how things have changed since then in the movie-watching world!

I used to enjoy going to my local Xtravision (probably the Irish equivalent of the American BLOCKBUSTER) and browsing for hours, first in the ‘new releases’ section and then in the ‘classics,’ where I’d spend ages deciding which Alfred Hitchcock films to borrow.

They had popcorn there and two-litres bottles of Coke and big bags of sweets like Revels and M&Ms and MALTESERS, everything you could ever need for a great evening at home watching movies. God be with the days, as we say here in Ireland.

Anyway, I remembering enjoying SECRETARY way back then and being impressed by how daring it was sexually, tackling the then practically taboo subject of BDSM relationships and getting away with it.

Nowadays, of course, after FIFTY SHADES OF GREY and almost a lifetime of Internet porn, there are very few genuinely taboo subjects any more. Those were obviously more innocent times, haha.

I didn’t watch the film again for thirteen years. No particular reason, the opportunity just never came up. Re-visiting it once more last night, I was surprised to find that I’d completely forgotten how funny it actually is. You could even call it a romantic comedy with spanking and bondage thrown in.

Maggie Gyllenhaal may have been the one who turned up trumps awards-wise and nominations-wise at the time, but James Spader and Jeremy Davies both turned in comic performances worthy of praise also. Their two characters are polar opposites but they manage to make them almost hysterically funny nonetheless, each in their different ways.

Poor little Lee Holloway is a bit of a mess. Her family is somewhat dysfunctional due to a father with a drinking problem. A lifelong ‘cutter’ or self-harmer, she’s thrilled to bits to get a secretarial job with James Spader’s Mr. E. Edward Grey’s small law firm on her release from the sanitarium.

It’s her first real job and she’s determined to make a go of it, especially when she meets the attractive Mr. Grey and is drawn to him immediately.

Speaking of Mr. Grey, I was just wondering. Could EL James, author of the world-famous FIFTY SHADES OF GREY trilogy, possibly have gotten the idea for her lead male character Christian Grey from his forerunner E. Edward Grey, another good-looking and wealthy sexually dominant male who likes to have female submissives in his power? It’s just something to ponder…!

Anyway, Lee’s Mr. Grey is a decidedly odd fish. When he spanks Lee in the office one day for repeated mistakes in her typing, Lee is simultaneously shocked and thrilled. It would appear that Mr. Grey’s actions, which some women would have viewed as an assault, have unlocked a submissive side in her that she never even knew existed. It’s only the beginning of a beautiful, but undoubtedly complicated, relationship between the pair…

This film exploits the businessman’s preoccupation with the secretary as sex-slave to its fullest. As an author of spanking stories myself and a lifelong fan of the genre, I can confidently tell you that the sexy secretary is right up there with the naughty schoolgirl and the disobedient wife when it comes to desirable female stereotypes whom men want to spank.

Think about it. What man wouldn’t want to be able to take an attractive young secretary across his knee for a sound thrashing on her perfect buttocks when she falls down in her dictation? Picture the appealing sight she would make, her tight skirt rucked up around her hips and her ample backside framed by her black stockings, suspenders and garter belt as she lies submissively face-down across his lap? It’s a sexual fantasy, okay? That’s what she’d be wearing…!

The feminists who were up in arms about FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, calling the relationship between business tycoon Christian Grey and shy student Anastasia Steele an abusive one and suchlike, presumably wouldn’t have liked SECRETARY either.

They probably especially wouldn’t have liked the fact that Lee only stops self-harming because Mr. Grey has ordered her to and not because she’s come to that decision by and for herself. Also, this is a relationship in which the man calls all the shots and blows hot and cold continually, leaving the woman feeling miserable and insecure and not knowing where she stands for much of the film.

Is that a good relationship, one with a solid foundation on which to build a stable future? Who knows? Ah well. It’s only a film, and feminists don’t tend to like too much of anything anyway, do they? At the risk of being lynched, I’d like to suggest that perhaps a good spanking might loosen some of them up a bit…!

Best scenes in SECRETARY include a frustrated Lee trying to self-spank in the bathroom (I’ve tried that, it’s really not the same!); the disastrous but hilarious sex scene between Lee and her loser fiancé Peter, brilliantly played by Jeremy Davies; Lee throwing her ‘cutting’ paraphernalia into the river; Mr. Grey doing something very naughty over Lee’s bent-over form; the ‘perfect secretary’ montage at the beginning; and of course the excellent spanking scene itself.

I remember seeing the famous poster for SECRETARY, featuring a woman’s legs and behind in high heels, seamed stockings and short black skirt, hanging in the back room of the Bada Bing lap-dancing club in superb Mafia drama THE SOPRANOS once. Those guys over here, over here…!

That’s how movies wangle their way into the popular culture of the day. This one is a great little film. Moral questions aside, you should definitely watch it if you get the chance.

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens’ fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

https://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com

http://sexysandieblog.wordpress.com

http://serenaharker.wordpress.com

https://twitter.com/SandraAuthor

sandrasandraharris@gmail.com

casablanca

CASABLANCA. (1942) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

casablancaCASABLANCA. (1942) DIRECTED BY MICHAEL CURTIZ. SCREENPLAY BY JULIUS J. AND PHILIP G. EPSTEIN AND HOWARD KOCH. FROM A PLAY BY MURRAY BURNETT AND JOAN ALISON  CALLED ‘EVERBODY COMES TO RICK’S.’ MUSIC BY MAX STEINER.

STARRING HUMPHREY BOGART, INGRID BERGMAN, PAUL HENREID, CLAUDE RAINS, CONRAD VEIDT, SYDNEY GREENSTREET AND PETER LORRE. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

What a marvellous old film! This is the big one, the film that The Motion Picture Guide called ‘America’s most popular and beloved movie- and rightly so!’ It’s always topping those lists of Best Films Ever Made and Best Weepy Moment In A Film Ever kind of thing, and not without reason.

It’s just such a perfect film, perfect to watch over Christmas or on a rainy Saturday afternoon or basically at any time ever. The scripting is sharp, with memorable lines that people have been quoting (and mis-quoting!) for decades, the acting is terrific, the costumes are wonderful and there’s so much mist and fog in Casablanca that the film just oozes atmosphere and character. Let’s check it out.

Humphrey Bogart plays Rick Blaine, the American owner of RICK’S piano-bar and gambling emporium in Casablanca in the north of Africa. Not too far away in Europe, the Second World War is in full swing and the Germans haven’t yet begun to lose. Au contraire, they still think they’re going to conquer the whole world and they’re being pretty bloody cocky about it…!

Casablanca is still a part of unoccupied France, as opposed to the actual France which has been occupied by the Nazis. It’s filled with desperate folks of all nationalities waiting for visas so they can leave North Africa for America, away from Hitler and the war and the Nazis and the concentration camps.

Rick does quite well out of these people, who drink in his bar and lose their money at his roulette tables while they wait for news of their visas, which sometimes they never receive.

Rick himself is cynical, hard-bitten and altogether just too-cool-for-school in his white dinner jacket with a cigarette in one hand and a glass of the hard stuff in the other. He’s the scourge of women everywhere, not allowing himself to be tied down or the impenetrable defences he’s constructed around his emotions to be breeched. That is, until this happens…

‘Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she had to walk into mine…’

That’s right, the hard-as-nails Rick Stein was once hurt badly by a woman, back in gay Paree earlier on in the war. When the woman who devastated him by running out on him turns up unexpectedly in his bar in Casablanca, Rick is knocked for six. She’s not here for him, though…

The beautiful Ilse Lund, played by Ingrid Bergman, didn’t even know that Rick was in Casablanca. He walks into his bar one night to find Sam the pianist (‘Play it, Sam!’) playing Ilse’s favourite song, the iconic AS TIME GOES BY, while Ilse sits by smiling nostalgically.

She’s there with her husband Victor Laszlo, a Czech Resistance leader on the run from the Nazis. Naturally, they’re after exit visas too, just the same as everyone else who rocks up in Casablanca, so that Victor can flee to America and the Nazis can’t return him to the concentration camp where he’s already spent an horrific year.

He looks pretty well on it though, or at least the charmingly handsome actor Paul Henreid does, haha. Check out the scene in which he gets everyone in the bar to start belting out The Marseillaise to drown out those pesky Germans. Talk about rousing…!

We find ourselves in the strange position of sympathising with all three points of this love triangle. There’s Rick, whose agony when Ilse left him was all too real. There’s Victor, who genuinely loves his wife and just wants to continue putting his all into his work for the Czech Resistance. He’s a nice guy, just as we know that Rick, too, is one of the good ones. Despite his constant assertions that he sticks his neck out for nobody, we, the viewers, know differently.

Even the unfathomable Ilse, who blows hot and cold and whose natural Scandinavian reserve is difficult to penetrate, is obviously a woman who’s agonisingly torn between two lovers. The scenes between Ingrid Berman and Humphrey Bogart are positively electrifying. There’s just so much powerful emotion between them of the kind that you don’t often see in films today, sadly.

When it turns out that Rick holds the key to Victor’s and Ilsa’s escape to safety, there are tough decisions to be made. Will Rick and Ilse get back together or will she stay with Victor like a dutiful little wife? Will Rick put his own happiness ahead of the needs of the countless others who are counting on Victor to keep on fighting the Nazis?

There are plenty of tears, lots and lots of swirling mist and an almost unbearable build-up of tension as those olde-timey aeroplane propellers start to, well, propel. It’s an unforgettable ending. No wonder it’s always making it onto those list shows.

Claude Rains is absolutely superb as the smiley-faced, pleasantly-mannered but corrupt-as-f**k French official who’s more than happy to accept sexual favours from desperate women in exchange for his signature on their exit visas. What a scallywag. And Claude Rains always looks so nice and fatherly too! I’m surprised at him, I really am.

Sam the pianist deserves a shout-out for his spirited playing. The two leads are, of course, sublime in every scene and provide the viewers with a masterclass in terrific, emotionally-charged acting. They really were two great Hollywood stars who deserved their status as legends.

Sigh. What a powerhouse of a movie. If you haven’t already seen it, you must watch it as soon as is humanly possible. If you don’t, you’ll regret it. ‘Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and for the rest of your life…’

I’d better sign off now. ‘Here’s looking at you, kid.’

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens’ fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

https://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com

http://sexysandieblog.wordpress.com

http://serenaharker.wordpress.com

https://twitter.com/SandraAuthor

sandrasandraharris@gmail.com

The Fabulous Baker Boys 1

THE FABULOUS BAKER BOYS. (1989) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS.

The Fabulous Baker Boys 1The Fabulous Baker Boys 1THE FABULOUS BAKER BOYS. (1989) WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY STEVE KLOVES. STARRING MICHELLE PFEIFFER, JEFF BRIDGES, BEAU BRIDGES, TERRI TREAS AND JENNIFER TILLY. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

I’ve always loved this film. I’ve watched it many a time late at night over Christmas, a slot into which it fits perfectly. It’s normally billed as a romantic comedy-drama-musical, a label which might put some people off. It’d probably put me off if I didn’t already know the film inside-out.

Yes, there’s singing in it and yes, there are funny bits in it but I wouldn’t dismiss it as an all-singing, all-dancing piece of humorous fluff. I see it more as a clever, witty little relationship drama with a few great songs inserted, smoulderingly sung by one of the sexiest, most beautiful actresses of all time, Michelle Pfeiffer.

(PS, At the time of my writing this, the Ireland-France Euros match is on in the background. I must have been somewhat distracted by that Irish goal in the second minute because I’ve just typed that one of the sexiest, most beautiful actresses of all time is Ireland’s left-back/winger Robbie Brady. A good footy player he may be, but Michelle Pfeiffer he most definitely ain’t…!)

Michelle Pfeiffer’s something of a screen goddess in this film, a sort of latter-day Rita Hayworth in GILDA or Marilyn Monroe in SOME LIKE IT HOT. When she sings ‘Makin’ Whoopee’ in her red dress on top of Jeff Bridges’ piano on New Years’ Eve, I could totally fancy her myself. She’s so hot she’s smoking, something she incidentally spends half the film doing.

Like Rita Hayworth in GILDA, she makes smoking sexy. Cupping Jeff Bridges’ hand when he lights her fancy French cigarette for her, looking up at him suggestively with those marvellous eyes, sucking in her cheekbones as she wraps her lips around the cigarette in a way that couldn’t fail to be reminiscent of oral sex to a poor impressionable male. I’ve never smoked a cigarette in my life but man! Those dames in the olde-timey movies made it sexy…

Michelle Pfeiffer plays Susie Diamond, a former escort who joins the titular Baker Boys as their singer. Susie’s been messed around by many, many guys. More often than not, she ends up getting-what did Marilyn Monroe call it in SOME LIKE IT HOT?- ‘the fuzzy end of the lollipop.’  Or words to that effect.

You know, waking up some morning to find that the guy’s gone and all you’re left with is a pair of old socks under the bed and a squeezed-out tube of toothpaste. Hmmm. Sounds familiar…!

The Baker Boys, Frank and Jack, are two piano-playing brothers whose cabaret act is getting a bit passé after thirty-one years of playing together. This is why they’ve decided to sex up their act with the feisty, mouthy, unconventional but undoubtedly gorgeous Susie Diamond. (‘Catchy name…!)

Check out the hilarious audition scenes at the start of the film. Jennifer Tilly, a name you’ll recognise, does an excellent job as the tone-deaf, baby-voiced Monica ‘Blanche’ Moran.

Susie really puts the cat among the brothers’ pigeons, so to speak. Frank is the family man and the sensible manager and accountant and everything else of the act. Jack is handsome, closed-off emotionally and footloose and fancy-free. He has no ties to anyone.

He also has an empty space inside him the size of the Grand Canyon, which he tries to fill with his dog Eddie, a lonely kid who lives upstairs from him and the jazz piano he favours over the nice safe cabaret music he plays every night with his brother in anonymous Seattle hotels and bars.

The inevitable attraction between Susie and Jack, culminating on that unforgettable New Years’ Eve, worries the hell out of Frank. As the magnificent Tony Soprano once said: ‘You don’t shit where you eat. And you certainly don’t shit where I eat.’

But a standing cock has no conscience, as peoples’ grannies are always saying for some reason. Maybe it’s because peoples’ grannies have mostly been there, done that and bought the T-shirt, haha. In any case, Jack’s clear inability to ‘keep his cock in his pocket’ will have far-reaching repercussions for The Fabulous Baker Boys.

And if he can’t unbend emotionally even a little bit, he’s going to lose the best thing that’s ever happened to him. Women like Susie don’t come around every day. Will he cop on to himself and give her something, anything, to make her feel like she matters to him, even a bit? Only time will tell.

The way that Jack and Susie dance around each other emotionally is all too realistic. Michelle Pfeiffer’s dresses and songs are, quite literally, ‘fabulous.’ They’re worth the price of admission alone. The New Years’ Eve scene will have the hairs standing up on the back of your neck.

The telethon scene is excellent also, as is the showdown between Jack and Susie and then Jack and Frank. Poor old Jack. Everyone wants him to change! Check out ‘hair in a can’ and the scene at the vets’ office as well. This film was nominated for no less than four Oscars, and there are sterling performances from both the leading lady and the two real-life brothers.

It’s my favourite performance of Michelle Pfeiffer’s, along with her work in SCARFACE with Al Pacino (she has a polluted womb in it…!) and in Robert Zemeckis’s excellent horror film, WHAT LIES BENEATH. Now I think of it, she was great in chick-flick WHITE OLEANDER too, in which she poisons Scottish comedian Billy Connolly for cheating on her. Surely a milestone and rite of passage in any actress’s career, haha.

Seriously, THE FABULOUS BAKER BOYS is a marvellous film. Go and watch it. We’ll meet back here later to compare notes. xxx

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens’ fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

https://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com

http://sexysandieblog.wordpress.com

http://serenaharker.wordpress.com

https://twitter.com/SandraAuthor

sandrasandraharris@gmail.com

scorpion king

THE SCORPION KING. (2002) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

scorpion kingTHE SCORPION KING. (2002) DIRECTED BY CHUCK RUSSELL. CO-PRODUCED BY STEPHEN SOMMERS. SCREENPLAY AND STORY CO-WRITTEN BY STEPHEN SOMMERS. STARRING DWAYNE ‘THE ROCK’ JOHNSON, MICHAEL CLARKE DUNCAN, STEVEN BRAND, KELLY HU, BERNARD HILL, BRANSCOMBE RICHMOND AND GRANT HESLOV. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

I first became aware of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson sometime in the late ‘Nineties/early Noughties. He was this giant handsome wrestler and he was the star of those WORLD WRESTLING FEDERATION programmes that people were mad into back then.

I don’t know if wrestling today is as big as it was during The Rock‘s heyday, but I do know that I watched it compulsively fifteen or sixteen years ago just for a glimpse of Dwayne Johnson’s magnificent thigh and arm muscles glistening with a fine sheen of sweat. Man, he was fine!

And did I ‘smell-l-l-l-l what The Rock was cooking…?’ Not as such, no, as I never really knew what his quirky catchphrase actually meant, but if on the off chance it meant did I fancy the arse off him then yes, I did, and what an arse…! Please excuse my unaccustomed lasciviousness. I’m not normally like that. Oh, wait a minute. Yes I am.

My boyfriend at the time thought my crush was hilarious. He even bought me some posters of The Rock in all his near-nekkid muscly glory and then he got huffy when I actually pinned ’em up around the place and ogled them over dinner. Typical guy. Those old posters are still around the house somewhere. I really must dig ’em out.

Anyway, I was thrilled when I heard that Dwayne Johnson was going into acting. THE SCORPION KING was his first leading role, but the year before that he had a fairly sizeable part in Stephen Sommers’s film THE MUMMY RETURNS. The part he played was that of The Scorpion King, and he obviously played it well because the very next year he had his own spin-off film.

The one thing that disappointed me about The Rock’s role in THE MUMMY RETURNS was the fact that the film-makers chose to computerise him for his scenes at the end of the film, probably because that was the only way they could portray him as an actual scorpion, haha. Understandable but devastating for super-fans like me, who’d wanted a second helping of him in the flesh…!

The two Stephen Sommers MUMMY films, THE MUMMY (1999) and THE MUMMY RETURNS (2001), are two of my favourite films of all time. They’re both excellent action-and-adventure films with tons of Egyptology thrown in and the cast is superb each time.

THE SCORPION KING lacks some of the heart, the innate charm and the humour of the two MUMMY films, despite a strong Stephen Sommers presence, but other than that it’s mostly all good. It’s still a terrific action-and-adventure movie with loads and loads of brilliantly-choreographed fight sequences.

The Rock spends most of the film knocking guys down like bowling-pins and frightening the bejeesus out of them with his giant… knife. Why, what did you think I was gonna say? Snigger.

As he’s considered by some folks to be the biggest superstar ever in world wrestling, it’s a given that he was always going to be in his element filming robust fight scene after robust fight scene. He’s like a man-mountain. I pity the guy who has to come up against him in a one-to-one situation!

The story is simple enough. The Rock plays Mathayus, an Akkadian warrior in ancient times. Times that were so ancient they pre-dated the Pyramids. Crikey, that is ancient. Mathayus sets out to kill the evil King Memnon because Memnon killed his brother Jesup. It’s a tale of revenge, innit? Plus Memnon is a nasty piece of work generally and the ancient world will be better off without him.

Mathayus gathers a small entourage around him en route to his final destination. There’s the sexy sorceress-slash-love interest who just can’t seem to keep her clothes on. There’s Balthazar the Nubian King or, as I call him, The Green Mile. There’s also King Theodan of Rohan from THE LORD OF THE RINGS playing Memnon’s court magician-slash- mad scientist. It’s a pretty good group…!

Every hero needs an idiotic or cowardly sidekick or hanger-on. In this film, the scrawny horse-thief Arpid fulfils what is basically the function of the slimy Benny from THE MUMMY and ‘I Got Shot In The Arse’ Izzy from THE MUMMY RETURNS. Benny is probably the sleaziest hanger-on of the three of them and also the most deserving of the inevitable horrible greed-related death…!

I loved the scene where The Rock falls head-first into Memnon’s harem. I’m sure those sex-starved hussies could find a good use for his over-sized… ahem… weapon. Again, what did you think I was gonna say? Do you guys all have naughty minds or something…?

I got jealous every time The Rock snogged the divine Kelly Hu and I loved, loved, loved the thrilling fight scenes and the scene with the fire-ants and the heads in the sand. The Rock is surprisingly good at playing a comedy role. The way he quirks that oh-so-mobile eyebrow…!

No sequel or spin-off could ever top the MUMMY films, but THE SCORPION KING is still a top-notch action-and-adventure film with a terrific leading man. Hands off, though. He’s mine…!

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens’ fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

https://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com

http://sexysandieblog.wordpress.com

http://serenaharker.wordpress.com

https://twitter.com/SandraAuthor

sandrasandraharris@gmail.com

little barry

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND. (1977) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

little barryCLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND. (1977) WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY STEVEN SPIELBERG. MUSIC BY JOHN WILLIAMS. STARRING RICHARD DREYFUSS, TERI GARR, MELINDA DILLON, CARY GUFFEY, BOB BALABAN AND FRANÇOIS TRUFFAUT. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©little barry

I grew up watching this film, this marvellous blend of science fiction and human drama. It was directed by the man who two years earlier gave us possibly the best film of all time, the story of the man-eating shark that stalked Amity Island until a goodly chunk of the islanders ended up as fish-food. What was it called again? THE ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND? SPEED 3? THE MAN FROM LARAMIE? Goddammit, it’s right on the tip of my tongue…!

I’ve always thought of CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND as a Christmas movie because I’ve watched it every Christmas since I was a nipper, sometimes on Christmas afternoon itself, prime-time viewing for folks that’ve eaten too much turkey and mince pies.

I have a funny anecdote about watching CEOTTK at Christmas-time. Well, I think it’s funny, anyway…! It was late at night, one of those lovely nights shortly after Christmas when there’s still plenty of food and drink in the house and you’ve got all the time in the world to stay up late and watch Christmas telly because you don’t have to get up early in the morning. Sheer bliss.

It might have been an accident, but during the ad-breaks my daughter and I noticed that the name of the film had been mis-spelled to read CLOSE ENOCUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND. That’s right, CLOSE ENOCUNTERS…!

We figured that a bored production assistant, all alone in the TV station in the dead of night and twiddling his thumbs after Crimbo, had re-arranged the letters himself for a bit of a laugh. It gave us a laugh anyway and, all these years later, we still haven’t forgotten it.

Richard Dreyfuss, who played the guy from the Oceanographic Institute in that film about the shark (whatever it’s called…!), does a superb job as Roy Neary. Roy is the ordinary Joe Soap from Indiana whose life changes forever when he sees a number of UFOs crossing the sky one fateful night.

Roy’s not the only guy who sees them, either, so it’s not like he’s trying to convince other people of what he’s seen and they don’t believe him and they think he’s crazy and try to lock him up. Well, his poor wife Ronnie (played by Teri Garr, or Sandie from TOOTSIE) thinks he’s crazy and so do his kids. One of the kids is a Dreyfuss in real life, so no prizes for guessing whose sprog he is…!

There are some actually quite distressing scenes as Roy’s obsession with the UFOs and a natural feature he’s never seen in his life begin to destroy his family life. His wife and kids are up the walls with his bizarre behaviour.

The scene where he’s tearing up his own garden in front of the neighbours and chucking the dirt and plants through the kitchen window and in on top of his wife’s dishes in the sink is an indication of exactly how far Roy’s mind has deteriorated, thanks entirely to his close encounters.

Roy’s not the only person obsessed with the lights in the sky and the natural feature that’s shaped like a volcano but it’s not one. Melinda Dillon is terrific as Jillian Guiler, the woman with whom Roy forms a close emotional bond because they’ve got the UFOs in common.

Cary Guffey as Jillian’s toddler son Barry is absolutely adorable. The scene where the UFO’s cause everything in the Guilers’ house to go cuckoo-bananas in the middle of the night is terrifying enough, but when cute little Barry runs from the house towards the lights in the sky, my heart’s always in my mouth. Cary Guffey was only three years old when he was cast. What a sweetheart!

The handsome and gorgeous François Truffaut, movie director extraordinaire and Hitchcock aficionado, does a top job as Claude Lacombe. Lacombe is a French government scientist in charge of UFO-related activities in America. I love his assistant too, David Laughlin, the bespectacled and bearded quiet genius-type guy whose job is map-making but he ends up being an interpreter for Lacombe.

The scene in which the two men meet for the first time in the Sonora Desert is, quite simply, electrifying, or rather the circumstances which have brought them together are. I’m not implying that there was, like, sexual chemistry between ’em or anything…!

The scenes set in India are breath-taking. So too is the impromptu ‘concert’ at the end of the film. Award-winning John Williams wrote the music for CLOSE ENCOUNTERS, just like he did for SHARKY THE SHARK-FACED SHARK or whatever that shark film was called, nudge nudge wink wink. You’ll be humming the five notes he’s come up with for CLOSE ENCOUNTERS long after the credits roll.

What else is there to say? The special effects are startlingly good. The overall film is so superb that, in 2007, it was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the United States Library Of Congress. This means that it’s been deemed ‘culturally, historically or aesthetically significant’ and it’s a huge big deal in movie terms.

So there you have it, fellow film buffs. A film worthy of a close encounter any day of the week.

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens’ fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

https://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com

http://sexysandieblog.wordpress.com

http://serenaharker.wordpress.com

https://twitter.com/SandraAuthor

sandrasandraharris@gmail.com