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lazarillo

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Buried Alive 1990, 20 April 2014

This movie is supposedly based on Edgar Allen Poe, but aside from a cat and some people being entombed behind a wall, I'm not so sure. (And it also seems to involve ants, lots and lots of ants). It takes place at some kind of institute for sexy, delinquent, orphaned female mental patients. (I would gladly work as the unpaid janitor at one of these places, but they only seem to exist in the movies). The name actors in this movie are Robert Vaughn, Donald Pleasance, and John Carradine (in what would be his final film). You may question the judgment of these actors in appearing in this film, but when did any of these guys ever show any judgment? I would question the judgment of the producers in their choice of the female cast. The lead is Karen Witter, a former Playboy Playmate. Very few Playmates are known for their acting abilities and Witter is definitely NOT doing what she does best here. You could probably say the same thing about Ginger Lynn Allen, at that time in a hiatus period of her XXX porn career. But at least she has brief nude scenes (well, sort of) and is not very convincing, but still somewhat entertaining as the tough "queen bee" of the institution.

The French director of this, Gerard Kinkoine, is also an interesting choice. He WAS technically a porn director, but he was one of the more talented "softcore" directors like Just Jaeckin, Jean Rollin, Walerian Borozyx, and Max Pecas rather than simply a hardcore hack. Almost all these European directors ended up working in off-Hollywood American co-productions like this at the end of their careers, but it was actually a step down for them (whereas for Ginger Allen it was a definite step-up from "servicing" the likes of Ron Jeremy and Jerry Butler).

This is OK I guess overall. I probably won't sue to get the 90 minutes of my life back. . .

Cookies (1975)
A step down for director Joel Seria, but a take-off point for French Actor Jean-Pierre Marielle, 19 April 2014

This is a very strange French comedy(?) about a salesman and aspiring painter (Jean-Pierre Marielle). His wife kicks him out, partly for his infidelity and partly because he tries to paint her ass--I mean, paint a PICTURE of her ass. He then proceeds to have a lot of (mostly sexual) misadventures, like staying with one friend but getting kicked out for messing around with the guy's wife. He finds out his wife is cuckolding him and becomes depressed, even though he has been cuckolding her left and right by this time. He confides in his best friend, a priest (who might share his fascination for asses, just probably not female ones). Finally, he meets a young maid (Jean Goupil) whose nubile, young ass seems to re-inspire his art and his life.

The girl in this may look a little familiar to Euro-cult movie fans. That's because she was one of the two evil nymphets in "Don't Deliver Us from Evil", and this movie is actually the follow-up film by Joel Seria, the director of that jaw-dropping cult horror film. Obviously, this a completely different film. It's nowhere near as good actually, but it sure is WEIRD.

Actor Jean-Pierre Melville may also look familiar from his frequent roles in many French movies as a "dirty old man". Some wags (not me, of course) might say ALL French actors play dirty old men, but Marielle really specialized in it. He ends up with a teenage paramour in this one. Five years later he appeared in "In a Wild Moment" (later re-made in America a "Blame It On Rio") as a father who has an affair with his best friend's daughter and his daughter's best friend. Then years later he was in the French movie "La Sourire" (which translates to the "The Smile", but might more aptly translate to "The Vertical Smile") with a young Emmanuelle Seigner (Mrs. Roman Polanski), and every time he did a sex scene with her I thought for sure she would kill him (both the character and now elderly-looking actor). I think he has passed on now, but I still expect to see him pop-up again in A French film as a demented nonagenarian pinching the ass of his 40-year-old nurse (and still somehow getting lucky with her. . .).

Obviously, the main character here is not particularly sympathetic and the film is fueled primarily by female nudity (particularly of the dorsal variety), but it does have its quirky charms I guess. . .

"Erotic thriller" throwback with Mayra (the naked chick in "Machete") Leal, 17 April 2014

A genre from the 1990's that no one misses very much is the "erotic thriller" inspired by the likes of "Fatal Attraction" and "Basic Instinct". A recurring story in these films is a step-daughter/sister-in-law/ex-wife/secretary/temp/ maid/babysitter/ad infinitum seducing or trying to seduce the husband of a married couple and when that doesn't work out, turning into a complete psycho nutcase and murdering several people--and usually a beloved family pet. Well, this is a new one only in that the psycho is the girlfriend of the husband's friend, who is himself staying with the newly married couple as a houseguest. Thus, the movie starts out as already highly implausible.

Of course, the girl (Mayra Leal) quickly loses interest in the friend and turns her wanton attentions to the doctor husband. In real-life she could have easily done a lot better than either of these two douchebags, but of course she also happens to be a psycho who has already killed a former boyfriend. So it is left mostly up to the wife to defend her home from this evil seductress.

Mayra Leal is mostly known for a small role in "Machete", a role which she performs entirely in the nude, which gives a good indication of where her true talents lie. But she's not TERRIBLE as far as actresses in this genre go (the 90's genre eventually just turned into plot less softcore porn). And Leal does more nude scenes here, making this movie less worthless at least than the bigger-budgeted "Obsessed", which gave us an interracial twist, Ali Lartner NOT getting naked, and just to add insult to injury frickin' Beyonce trying to act. This movie at least works as a tame version of 90's "erotic thriller". But does that mean it's worth watching? Uh, not really

My, what big boobs your son has!, 15 April 2014

The softcore sex film basically began in 1974 with Just Jaeckin's "Emmanuelle" and was intended to be a "classier" alternative to the hardcore XXX porn initiated by "Deep Throat" and its ilk (as opposed to the "sexploitation" film which are sex films that existed BEFORE hardcore porn was really legal). The original, mostly European softcore films of the 70's are often quite interesting, although it's questionable how "classy" some of them are (that's definitely not a word that applies to Joe D'Amato's appalling "Emanuelle in America" or even the big-budget but tasteless film "Caligula"). Like the sexploitation films before them, a number of softcore sex films were loosely based on erotic novels (some call them "one-handed novels") from the Victorian Era, a famously sexually repressive era that not surprisingly produced a whole lot of smut, but also ironically provided a veneer of "respectability" for a whole lot of later sex films.

This gender-bender softcore effort is based on the Victorian novel "Frank and I" about a nobleman who meets an orphaned schoolboy on the road and, for some reason, decides to "adopt" him and bring him up properly. But while administering a bare-ass whipping, he discovers a secret, which pretty much any viewer of this movie would have figured out a half hour earlier (trust me, this is NOT a spoiler). "Frank" is actually "Frances" and is played by Jennifer Inch, an elfin but relatively busty Canadian actress. After this discovery the movie is just a typical sex romp involving the nobleman, "Frances", and his alluring mistress (played by French actress Sophie Favier).

This movie came out in the early 80's era along with such films as "Joy", "Christina", and "Fanny Hill". Like a couple of those films it was written and produced by the notorious Harry Alan Towers. The 80's softcore films are generally less interesting than the 70's ones (but far, far more interesting than the worthless masturbation fodder they make today). I'd give this one points just for being warped, but really it plays things pretty safe, truth be told. The Italian film "The Seduction of Angela" used this same plot, but had the nobleman find out the secret when he tries to bugger the good-looking "boy" (although the actress in that looked a lot more like Sophia Loren than any "boy"). Intentionally or not, this movie retains some Victorian-era hypocrisy by making a potential gay pederast into a typical hetero stud. There are definitely some mixed messages here. . .

A film with no real "raison d'etre", 15 April 2014

This is the sequel to the unlikely 1971 hit "Friends", a movie about rich British boy living in Paris who meets a poor, orphaned French girl and runs off with her to "play house" in the countryside, only to end up with a child. It's three years later and Paul has just graduated as head boy from a tony private school and is planning to attend the Sorbonne in the fall. He decides to spend the summer seeking out Michelle and his illegitimate child (apparently they'd never heard of legally obligated child support in France at the time). He finds her living with another man (Keir Dullea), who is an accomplished judo master. Just when you think Paul is finally going to get his teeth kicked down his throat (after he takes Michelle to a cheap hotel for sex on their first get-reacquainted date), Dullea's character does something quite unbelievable instead which clears the way for the movie to needlessly cover the EXACT same ground it had already trod in the first film.

The best reason to see this film is no doubt beautiful French actress Anicee Alvina, who is obviously no less appealing here at 20 than she was at 17 in the earlier film. Once again, she has plenty of nude scenes (including a flashback) that are each, of course, completely essential to the plot. Far be it from me to complain about THAT, but by this time Alvina had begun to appear in deranged Alain Robbe-Grillet art/porn films and the above-par Italian giallo "Anima Persae", which make just as good of use her, but are also much more worthwhile viewing than this rather saccharine film. And Alvina also didn't have to speak English in those films. Usually, cute French girls with accents are even more sexy, but Alvina seems to speak English only phonetically in both of these movies, and it gets more than a little irritating.

I also can't rave about Elton John, who provided the surprising hit song for the first film, but the music in this sequel is much, much worse than even the worst dreck in the Elton John oeuvre. This film is not really a bad film, but it simply has no reason to really exist, no real "raison d'etre" (hey, I think my French is better than Alvina's English). They should probably have just quit while they were ahead. . .

Sade (2000)
No doubt highly fictionalized, but excellent movie, 14 April 2014

This semi-biographical/semi-fictional account of the Marquis of de Sade (the great Daniel Autiel) is set during the "reign of terror" period of the French Revolution. The Jacobin revolutionaries had no idea what to do with Sade, who had been freed from the Bastile in 1789, but was also a symbol of the decadence of the noble class with his undisguised atheism, his sex crimes that had scandalized even the other decadent nobles, and above all his scandalous, decadent, and blasphemous plays and novels. So they put him into a "asylum"/prison on the estate of a hypocritical/opportunistic nobleman-doctor, along with a lot of other noble families hiding out from the terror (and paying financially for the privilege). There they reassert the old order, for instance, with wealthier noblemen taking liberty with the pretty young wives of poorer nobleman. Sade meanwhile tries to put on his scandalous plays under the aegis of the new regime and supposedly to preach AGAINST atheism. This movie covers roughly the same territory as "Marat/Sade" and "Quills", but drops any idea of Sade actually being insane. Here he is portrayed as quite sane--and even heroic--in comparison to the hypocrites surrounding him.

This particular movie focuses less on his work though and more on two fictionalized (if not entirely fictional) subplots. One involves Sade's manipulation of the mother of his child, who is now the mistress of a high-ranking Jacobin, "Fournier", who she in turn manipulates to save Sade from the guillotine. "Fournier" is a sympathetic character, a child of the revolution who is doomed to be eaten by it, and Sade indirectly but skillfully manipulates him like a character in his one of his plays.

The perhaps more interesting and certainly more sexy story involves Sade befriending the young daughter of a rich nobleman (Isild LeBesco), who he seems to simultaneously be sexually debauching for his own amusement while also saving her from the guillotine by getting her pregnant by other men (of lowlier social stations, of course). 17-year-old LeBesco is absolutely incredibly here. First off, is her truly unique looks--she is pale and blue-eyed, but actually part Asian, and is capable of looking both "ugly" and very beautiful. Second, is her voluptuous body which is just unambiguously beautiful (and not surprisingly, she shows it off a lot in her movies). Most significantly though is her ACTING. She goes toe-toe with Auteil as a precocious young girl who is intellectually Sade's equal, but still a virgin naïf in sexual matters. Her "deflowering" scene is absolutely incredible as once again Sade conducts a near-orgy like it's one of his plays.

This probably isn't the most historically accurate account of the Marquis De Sade (having read of the truly appalling "120 Days of Sodom", I have trouble believing the real guy was this moral and NOT in some sense insane). But it's a very enjoyable movie.

Flawed but interesting German kidnapping film, 13 April 2014

This flawed but interesting movie is about two teenage German boys who attend the same private school, but are from very different social classes. They embark on a decidedly homoerotic friendship with the wealthier but less bisexual of the two becoming the dominant partner. When the rich boy is insulted by a female liquor store clerk (Elizabetta Rochetti) after she catches him shop-lifting, the pair impulsively decide to abduct her and hold her captive in an abandoned warehouse owned by the rich kid's father. But their seemingly helpless victim finds a way to drive a wedge between her two volatile adolescent captors. . .

This story is quite believable in the bi-curious relationship between the two adolescents (even if both actors look a little long in the tooth for these roles). The class dynamic is also very interesting. I didn't quite buy the psychological resourcefulness of the woman, however, but I would blame in on the character on the page rather than the actress. Elizabetta Rochetti was memorable as the sexy blonde in Dario Argento's "Do You Like Hitchcock?", but she's done other things like this and "The Embalmer. She goes through a lot of acting paces in this film (even if it's not very believable a single character WOULD go through all these paces). She gets kidnapped after some unsatisfying sex with her boyfriend sends her down to the laundry room to, uh, finish the job in a sexy masturbation scene. Then she's a believable victim who suffers a great deal of humiliation from her sexually confused captors. And finally she's a sexy femme fatale who turns the table.

This movie kind of reminded me of the recent British film "The Disappearance of Alice Creed" (with Gemma Aterton in the Rochetti role). This movie makes the bisexual/gay male captors confused adolescents, and functions better as a "coming-of-age" film, but that film was more generally believable. Both are certainly worth seeing though

Flat-out, unapologetic exploitation, 1 April 2014

This one of only three Brazilian "pornochachadas" (basically delirious combinations of wild telenovela soap opera and softcore porn) to be legitimately released in the English language. I don't know that it's the most outrageous, but it's definitely the least socially redeeming. There are no social messages here, just flat-out, unapologetic exploitation.

The plot involves a trio of criminals who run across a porno movie set and inflict abuse and humiliation, mostly of the sexual kind, on the cast and crew. It sounds like "Last House on the Left", but the victims in "Last House on the Left" were sympathetic. These characters are completely un-rapeable because they're sexual caricatures, who are having non-stop hot sex before the criminals show up and are only going to incorporate the three miscreants into the general hedonism. You simply CANNOT rape and humiliate these people because they obviously enjoy every minute of it. That may sound sexist or misogynist, but one of the willing (and enthusiastic) rape victims is actually a young pretty-boy male who gets forcibly sodomized by one of the bi-curious criminals. This strange bit of homoeroticism gives this a distinctly Brazilian flavor, which sets it apart from an Italian film or a Japanese "pink" film, both of which delve into similar very un-PC territory, but are much too homophobic to indulge in something like this.

One reason to seek this out (besides enjoying the sensation of your lower jaw regularly hitting the floor) is Helena Ramos, the hottest woman and by far the best actor in this thing. She would go on to star in a number of other "chadas" like "The Chick's Ability" and "Mulher, Mulher" and (although she was much less prolific) I consider her the Edwige Fenech of Brazil. This isn't the best "chada", or even the best Helena Ramos "chada", but it's definitely worth a look

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Truly an erotic symphony, 30 March 2014

If you're a fan of the late Spanish horror/porn director Jesus Franco, you could certainly do worse than this 1980 outing, which is--like much of the director's more interesting sex films--based on a story by the Marquis De Sade. A young noblewoman (Lina Romay) is released from an asylum and returns to her isolated castle where she finds her sexually depraved husband has taken up with both a pretty-boy male gigolo and a libertine, runaway novice nun (Susan Hemingway). What follows is a slowly developing murder plot interrupted by no small amount of sex.

I enjoy Franco most when he's indulging in polymorphous perversion like he does here--you have bondage, nunsploitation, gay sex, a "Devil's three-way" (two guys and a girl), and a couple impaled while having sex. This is truly an "erotic symphony" as Franco plays the bodies of his assorted cast like instruments (and scores the whole thing with classical music) making the actual plot more of secondary consideration.

Of course, Franco can't keep his camera off the vaginas of his two actresses, but at least he doesn't try to zoom his way back into the womb like he tends to in some movies. He gets a lot of mileage out of his wife/leading lady's bounteous breasts, but he tragically neglects the beautiful post-adolescent posterior of Susan Hemingway, which COULD have finally been enjoyed without guilt here as she had reached the age of majority by this time. (Pervert that he was though, Franco would trade her for the even younger Katja Beinert in his subsequent early 80's films). The gay sex scene is not particularly graphic, but unusual for Franco. Whether you like it or not, you have to admire the sheer variety of sex on display, particularly given how complete compartmentalized and commodified sex films are TODAY. There will never be another one like Jess Franco. . .

Check it out for yourself, 21 March 2014

This is one of three films I know of about this particular subject-- brothels that cater to older men, allowing them to sleep next to, but not actually penetrate, beautiful young girls who have been willingly drugged to sleep. These movies are not so much based on any real-life perversion (although I wouldn't want to bet that SOMEBODY out there doesn't have this particular fetish), but they rather have much more literary origins in the form of a Japanese novel. There was an earlier Japanese version of this novel called "The Room" made by the notorious "pink" director of colorfully titled movies like "Lolita Vibrator Torture". I haven't seen "The Room", but it's rather notorious because the director chose to give a cameo role to a REAL-LIFE murderer/cannibal (a Japanese guy who killed and partially ate a Dutch co-ed in Paris, but was unaccountably released from a French asylum to become a ghoulish, half-assed celebrity in Japan). Obviously, THAT really overshadowed the movie, which has never really received an international release.

More recently there was a 2011 English-language movie called "Sleeping Beauty" with Emily Browning, which is perhaps more accessible than this German movie since it is told from the point of a view of a beautiful young girl who works at this kind of brothel (it was also directed by a woman if that matters). This earlier movie lacks the nicest ass, I mean, nicest asset of the later movie in the form of Emily Browning, but it is generally more successful. As beautiful as Browning is and as much as I admire for being in such a movie, Maxmillian Schell is obviously a more experienced actor and really carries this German movie as a lonely morose widower who has lost his wife and daughter in an accident, but finds a strange solipsistic solace in a "house of sleeping beauties" and develops an interesting relationship with the house madame (Angela Winkler).

It's not a perfect movie by any means. Even though it's German, it seems to be rather badly dubbed into German and it is given to strange voice-overs by minor characters (like the old man's maid). It has a lot of female nudity, but no real sex, so I can see why many would find it boring. But at times it achieves a kind of sweet, morose poetry, and it certainly achieves an aura of general weirdness. It's worth checking out, as is the slightly inferior, but much more accessible "Sleeping Beauty".


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