Category Archives: movies

“The Assignment”

Director Walter Hill’s “The Assignment” is not a good movie but, hey, I kind of like it. It has a great premise: a deranged doctor, played by Sigourney Weaver, performs a “forced” sex-change operation as revenge on the hitman, played by Michelle Rodriguez, who killed her brother. It’s a wacky idea. Somehow I missed it back in 2017, but I finally saw it the other night.

The movie has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 21 percent and loads of bad reviews and the inevitable controversy over the subject matter. But I was a little tipsy when I watched it last weekend and, you know, it was perfectly enjoyable for a silly movie night. Of course, I kept thinking if a sex-change operation were forced on me – or on many of you reading this – I suspect we’d all be okay with it if we were going to come out looking like Michelle Rodriguez!

I do understand that it’s no longer called “sex reassignment” or “sex change” surgery but rather gender confirmation surgery. Apparently, an earlier draft of the script was titled, “(Re)Assignment.” And to be honest I think that would have been an even better title since it would suggest more the forced nature of the procedure.

Probably my favorite scene is when the hitman, now a “she,” goes to a doctor to see if the operation can be reversed and is told no – the doctor did too good a job. Later she muses, “So that was it. This was the way it was going to be. I was going to be a chick, except for in my head. So get used to it.” Yeah, I think I could get used to it pretty quickly!

Another favorite moment was a brief shot of the girlfriend of the hitman walking up a staircase. The way she moves and tilts her head at the top of the stairs was so feminine that I was transfixed. It was an otherwise unextraordinary moment, but I probably backed it up five times to watch her walk up those stairs.

I always like to read reviews of movies after seeing them, and the thing I found most annoying, though not surprising, is how much controversy the movie stirred up regarding trans issues, with many critics calling it transphobic and even hateful and dangerous. This one on Indiewire was particularly harsh. To me it seems like a typical overreaction and a misreading of the movie. In no way does the director equate what happens to Frank Kitchen, the hitman, to the transgender experience. It’s simply a crazed act of revenge that he’s forced to endure, and yes, anyone who’s comfortable with their gender and who wouldn’t want to undergo such an ordeal would be horrified to wake up with a forcibly altered body. Regardless of what some critics wrote, the director certainly isn’t saying that trans people are the subject of wacky experimental surgery or that women are inferior to men.

But I also think the objections of these critics are kind of irrelevant. Controversy is good for online clicks and traffic, so it pays to be offended. It is just a silly movie, though, and there’s such a tendency nowadays to demand that entertainment not be offensive and not delve too deeply into problematic territory. But the problematic material is often more interesting. I also like William S. Burroughs quite a bit (“Naked Lunch“), and he’s problematic AF, but you wouldn’t expect him to be otherwise. Who wants to be safe all the time?

I’ll admit part of my reaction to the critics – and I’m not comparing myself to Walter Hill – is due to the controversy I mentioned in the last blog post over the word tranny. (And thanks to everyone who’s emailed me about possible name changes, pro and con!)

Apparently, Walter Hill was somewhat surprised by the reaction he received, especially from people who haven’t even seen the movie. I still don’t fully understand the intensity of the objections. It’s one thing for a movie to be tacky, or just plain bad, but how it’s supposed to be “dangerous” to trans people is beyond me. Then again, someone might argue that my website is dangerous to trans people too. Myself, I don’t get that much pushback on Twitter since I really don’t have that many people following me but there have been a few. Over the years though I’ve heard many comments about the t-word. But I never reply to online attacks – it’s not worth it and only leads to escalation.

So that was my weekend, and this is my little rant. Let me know what you think if you saw the movie. And if you have any other gender-swap movies you enjoyed, or didn’t enjoy, let me know. I’m always looking for interesting stuff in the genre.

A Surprise Christmas Gift to Wrap Up 2022

It’s been a pretty good year for me with its inevitable ups and downs and as always it flew by. There were some really fun photoshoots, including a couple scenes in Vegas with Dani T. Leather and Milf Jeanne. Sybil and Victoria Venery and I also shot some new scenes in a very noisy loft in downtown L.A., with help from Ikaras Jones. And then in October Jeanne and I shot again in Palm Springs, doing a custom noose video, and then spent one day hiking up to the summit of San Jacinto Peak – an epic and memorable day, and a total butt-kicker of a hike. I sweat profusely when I hike so I did it in boy mode but Jeanne looked cute in her girls’ workout wear. She only got a few glances from the passersby, but I think she enjoyed the attention!
(continued below…)

Best Christmas Gift Ever – Then just last weekend I had an experience that blew my mind. I’ve felt some fatigue and pressure in my chest for a while now (that hike was especially brutal, though still epic), and my doctor sent me in for a treadmill stress test. I went in thinking, “I’m in such great shape that I’m going to ace this test! They’ll be so impressed with my stamina and endurance!” After a few minutes it was like, “Okay, that’s enough.” The doctor in charge immediately checked me in to the hospital and the next morning they put a stent in one of the arteries of my heart – the dramatically-named “widowmaker” artery, which had some pretty serious blockage. I have to say I’m SO glad I went in for that test – my jaw dropped when I heard the results – kind of feel like I just dodged a bullet!

So now my heart health is probably better than it’s been for the last ten or more years. It does make you wonder though about everyone walking around with plaque buildup in their arteries. I’m feeling very thankful, and the recovery time was practically nothing thanks to high-tech medicine! I hope I don’t jinx things but tonight as I write this I’m feeling great. So the message is, if you’re feeling wiped out all the time and have any symptoms in your chest, lungs or gut, go get it checked out. I should have done so months ago!

Twenty Years Approaching – The website is also still humming along, and I always want to thank you, the members, who have made it possible! It’s very true that I’m only able to keep the site going because of your support, and I always appreciate it. It’ll be twenty years of Trannies In Trouble in March so I gotta keep going! I basically have more material than that already shot so it’s most likely a done deal barring an internet melt down or me getting hit by a bus, but it will be cool to have kept the site up for so long – probably have to continue a few more years after that! In any case, I do want to give a sincere thank you to all the members!

TEASE – On the other hand, the year wasn’t all good. One of the downer notes was the cancellation of the TEASE Party in July. I can’t go into the details of the whys and hows of its demise since the club that hosted it, Threshold, has a rule against discussing club business. But we had a great run – starting back in 2006 when I inherited the party from the Glamour Boutique store that was out here briefly back in the day. It was always a fun and relaxed party, low key and open to everyone. Maybe we’ll do another one at some point at a new location, like in a gothic castle or an abandoned sawmill, or, well, just at another fetish club. At the moment I’m a bit burned out on party hosting, but we shall see.

I Care A Lot – I never get to see as many movies as I’d like, but I recently really enjoyed Rosamund Pike in “I Care A Lot” on Netflix, which I finally got around to watching. That lady is stone-cold evil and smokin’ hot. I kept thinking she’d make a great bondage Domme! (I’d sign up!) It’s not that kind of movie but her character is a lot of fun to watch if you like dangerous women. The audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes is very low but I suspect it’s probably because the movie is just so dark. The trailer unfortunately pretty much gives away the entire story – I hate how modern trailers do that. But if you like pitch-black comedies it might be for you.
(continued below…)

So another year winds down and we’ll see what 2023 brings. As always, I hope everyone has a nice time over the holidays and can be with friends and family. Keep the faith and as always keep getting tied up tight! It’s worth it. Hugs, Sandra

Kiss Me Deadly

I have an older CD friend, Kelly, whom I try to visit about once a month, one of the first people I met when I moved to L.A., back in the days of the old Queen Mary club (long since closed) – and we only watch old movies when we get together, usually with a glass of wine or two to get in the mood.

Another online CD friend recently sent me a nice DVD of the 1955 Film Noir classic, “Kiss Me Deadly” and my L.A. friend and I really enjoyed it – it’s deeply weird and dark. The dialogue is so hard boiled that it’s nearly a parody of Film Noir and yet it’s also one of the best ever made in that genre. I actually saw it on a little black and white TV back in the late ’90s and it made a big impression then, especially the “What the hell?!” ending, which years later provided inspiration for movies like “Repo Man” and “Pulp Fiction.”

Of course the bondage in the publicity still above is totally lame, and actually very misleading, as there’s no female bondage in the movie at all. The only bondage, and it’s unimpressive, involves the actor who plays Mike Hammer (Ralph Meeker) as he does get spreadeagled face down briefly. And the dames never actually hold a gun up to one another, though the picture down below makes me wish they did.

A few of the many strange things about the movie is that the big mystery is never solved, or ever really explained, there are no heroic characters at all – Mike Hammer is a violent cad and not that bright – and again there’s that weird ending. But Gaby Rogers in her two-tone suit looks really cute with her short hair. (Poignant side note after looking her up on Wikipedia: she was born in Germany, her family fled to escape the Nazis, and apparently she played marbles with Anne Frank when they were both children.)

Apparently the director and writer both used the movie as a way to insert their ideas about the Cold War and the atomic age into an otherwise pedestrian Mickey Spillane novel, the source material for which they both had little regard. From what I’ve read Mickey Spillane was not pleased and the movie was dismissed as trash when it first came out, but the French loved it. All in all I thoroughly enjoyed it and will have to watch it again when I’m a little less tipsy – definitely worth seeing if you get the chance and especially if you like Noir.

Rocky Horror

After that last blog post I did indeed go back and rewatch “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” and absolutely loved it – been quite a few years. For those of us of a certain age who grew up crossdressing there was the inevitable question: “Do I go see that movie or not?” I only saw it one time as a teenager, going with my brother to see it at the midnight movies in our ol’ hometown of Colorado Springs. It was just too threatening to sit there and play it cool and hope that no one would realize that, “OMG, that kid sitting there in the audience is a crossdresser – that’s the reason he’s here!”

It’s ridiculous in retrospect but that was probably close to what I was thinking. The movie just hit way too close to home. The funny thing is that I didn’t find anyone in it particularly attractive, though Susan Sarandon is very cute. But the crossdressing itself was so over the top and everyone had hairy armpits so I can’t say I was the least bit turned on by the spectacle. At the time it was fun enough and pretty silly but having seen it once I never watched it again for years.

Now as a mature tranny I absolutely love it! And it holds up really well as a movie, especially owing to the quality of the brilliant songs, especially that opening track with the big red lips! My brother bought the soundtrack album soon after we went and he went back many times with two lesbian friends from High School. But my brother is certainly not a crossdresser, so the film was no threat to him at all. It was just good fun.

Time sadly has been cruel to Tim Curry, stricken with a stroke about ten years ago – I actually thought he might be dead already, but no, he’s still alive. And of course Meat Loaf’s passing was the whole reason I watched it again. I didn’t realize till just now that the creator and songwriter, Richard O’Brien (Riff-Raff), identifies as non-binary. When I read that it was like, “Of course, now I get it!” Nice to read that he seems happy: “I know I’m loved.” Not a bad place to be.


I don’t get to watch as many movies as I used to, but I am a bit of a movie geek when I get the chance. Recently I saw an interesting German movie called “Victoria” on Amazon Prime (I actually had to sign up for a free intro membership to Shudder to see it, though it’s really not a horror movie). It’s in German, Spanish, Turkish, and actually quite a lot of English too, with subtitles for everything. It’s the kind of movie where it’s best not to know much about it going in, but I can say it’s basically about a cute Spanish club girl in Berlin who decides to hang out with these creepy guys. I had a feeling of dread as it started out and progressed and then it suddenly shifted gears and changed direction quite dramatically.

The one thing that really stands out though is that the movie was shot in one single continuous take, which absolutely blows my mind since it’s about two hours and fifteen minutes long. The first title that pops up on the credits at the end is the camera operator’s name, and rightly so. It’s frankly an awe-inspiring feat to think that they could pull this off, coordinating the camera and the actors and even physical effects that occur during the movie, plus getting into and out of cars and driving. And then keeping it all in focus and mostly framed up correctly. The pressure must have been enormous. The one main criticism is that the movie is probably forty minutes longer than it needs to be since to get to the next location you’re walking along with the actors while they walk and talk to the next spot. So the pace is much slower than it would have been in a normal movie. But hey, it’s European, definitely not a Hollywood movie

I don’t know if it’s a great movie but I certainly found it intriguing, especially for someone like me who shoots videos (though of course I don’t operate on this level of skill and expertise by any stretch). Also, the movie’s not kinky at all and there’s no bondage, but the lead actress who plays the title character is very cute and likeable. If you’re in the mood for something different and know what you’re getting into, something kind of slow and artsy with a slow burn, it might be worth a view. I’m glad I checked it out and especially am glad to have became familiar with the actress, Laia Costa.

Seventies Movies: Klute

First off, let me acknowledge that Jane Fonda is controversial. A lot of people hate her for her politics and past activism. I get it. But regardless of what you may think of her as a person, as an actor she’s always had that indefinable spark of a movie star, someone who’s interesting to watch even in a bad movie, stunningly attractive, and with a unique energy and an immediately recognizable voice.

The other night I watched her and Donald Sutherland in “Klute,” where she plays a semi-high-class call girl who gets involved in a murder plot. One online critic said it’s a thriller without any thrills, which is kind of true as they give away the identity of the killer in the first forty-five minutes.

But for a crossdresser like myself watching Jane Fonda in this movie is hypnotic. The movie itself is really dated now, made in 1971, and the pacing is of the time, that is to say, very slow. There are also the kinds of scenes that were probably edgy at the time and now just seem funny. The party scenes especially are a bit squirm-inducing, as they were probably intended to be wild and shocking but by today’s standards they just seem kind of silly. There’s also that tendency for overacting which is so common in 70s movies. I remember as a kid watching movies back then and a character would get really angry over something that didn’t seem to me like that big a deal, as though the script just demanded, “Be angry now!” Jane Fonda does this a couple times, letting out with a loud “Damn You!” I just had to laugh. It’s like, why is she getting so angry?

At the same time, I did like the movie, as silly as it is in spots. And the real draw is just how beautiful Jane Fonda is and her style and energy, and especially that iconic shag haircut that she made famous – if I could make my own hair look like that as Sandra I could die fulfilled. The metallic dress with the long sleeves that she wears is pretty terrific too. So all in all, an interesting, if flawed, movie that saw Jane Fonda at her peak, and for which she also won the Oscar.

Blue Is the Warmest Color

The other day my friend Kim and I went to the local art house to see the French film, “Blue Is the Warmest Color,” about a love affair between two French girls, one a high school student when they first meet, the other an artist with blue hair who’s a few years older. The movie’s been in the news lately because the sex scenes are very graphic and prolonged and in fact the film got banned in Idaho for being too racy. I think if someone went just for the sex scenes, though, they would be disappointed, as it’s really a very intense love story of how another person can imprint themselves on one’s soul, for better or worse. Some of the scenes near the end are achingly painful and the actresses are amazing, especially Adèle Exarchopoulos, from whose perspective the story is told. She doesn’t seem to be acting but rather channeling her desperate cravings from some inner depths.

The movie’s also gathered a lot of attention because the author of the graphic novel on which it’s based isn’t happy with how the film turned out, calling the sex scenes porn. And also the two young actresses have publicly complained about the difficult and exhausting working methods of the director, one of the actresses saying she would never work with him again. So there’s a lot of drama surrounding the movie, but as they say there’s no such thing as bad publicity. If you enjoy foreign films with a slower non-Hollywood pace you’ll probably be very moved by this one. Definitely worth seeing.

Where’s fall? (Some Random Thoughts)

It’s been a hot summer in the San Fernando Valley, and I keep waiting for those cool fall days. That’s one thing I really miss about Colorado; they do have real seasons there unlike the consistently sunny and sometimes really hot weather of L.A. But hey, I’m only complaining a little. I do have some good shoots coming up soon in October that I’m really looking forward to, including shooting again with Sybil, who’ll be in town, and very likely getting to shoot with Sissy Paige (from the Yahoo Group). Really looking forward to seeing both gurls and some others too!

The Master – So over the weekend my friend Kim and I (in guy mode) went down to the old Hollywood Cinerama Dome theater to see the new movie by Paul Thomas Anderson, “The Master,” which was a little puzzling though I enjoyed it a lot. There’s nothing really kinky in it but there are a couple erotically-charged scenes that caught my eye (Amy Adams, for example, would be a great domme!) I also felt like a bit of a perv watching the scenes with crazy Joaquin Phoenix and his very young penpal / flame, played by Madisen Beaty (who I think is like 17 years old in real life). Not a lot happens but she’s shockingly pretty and fresh in that girl-next-door kind of way and there’s so much sexual tension between them (the picture here isn’t that great but she really stands out in the movie). This one will almost certainly be noticed at the Oscars next year. If you like this kind of “auteur cinema” you’ll love it (or scratch your head).

Some Other Celebrities – So while I’m on the subject here are a few other female celebrities, more on the mature side, whom I also like. Kyra Sedgwick and Mary McDonnell from, respectively, The Closer and Major Crimes definitely have that domme thing going on. And I think Julia Louis-Dreyfus (formerly from Seinfeld) could have it, though in Veep she seems a little too scattered and unsure of herself. Then, of course, there’s always Sarah Palin, who just looks amazing in this black suit. And finally, although Gwyneth doesn’t seem particularly domme-ly, she sure looks great in this black coat and sleek hair (and hey, it’s Joaquin Phoenix again!)

Sucker Punch

I missed Sucker Punch when it came out in March but finally had a chance to see it last night in HD. It makes no sense at all and probably adds nothing to society, but it’s also Pretty Darn Awesome! And it’s something of a crossdresser’s wet dream with all the smokin’ hot babes and their fantastic outfits. Unfortunately there are only two very brief bondage-related scenes, one with the main character, Babydoll, wearing a straitjacket, although we only see her face and upper chest for a moment; the other scene has her and later another actress being strapped into a chair for a medical procedure, but again the scenes are very very brief. If the movie had had some extended bondage scenes my mind would have been thoroughly blown! Still, I liked it a lot. On the surface it comes across as pretty mindless – hot babes with lots of guns and swordplay – but if you like that sort of thing you’ll probably be entertained. It does have a sadness, though, and maybe even some actual depth underneath all the gloss and action, as I did find it rather touching in several scenes, and especially at the end. Definitely worth seeing or at the very least, check out the trailer if you haven’t seen it before.

Bedtime Bondage

Here are a few snapshots from my last night in Southern California during my recent trip, when I had the chance to stay with my friend Kelly who lives just north of L.A. She normally loves to be tied up herself but sometimes she’s in a slightly sadistic mood and one of her favorite things are tight ropes around the chest that make breathing more difficult. It probably doesn’t look like it but her ropes were really tight in these pictures – not painful but certainly very uncomfortable. We were just hanging out watching a really silly old Bruce Willis movie called, “Color of Night,” which does have some sexy scenes with Jane March, who plays two roles, both a mysterious young woman and a teenage boy with buck teeth (and she does the gender thing fairly well).

All this led to my somehow being tied up that evening (yeah, not sure how that happened!) and enduring Kelly’s tight ropes for probably an hour and a half. As it got later we tried out some bedtime bondage, where I was probably tied up in bed for close to four or five hours, some of it being terribly uncomfortable. The crossed wrists were especially tight and much harder to get loose from than it looks in the pictures. And the way they were crossed made it impossible to put my arms parallel to one another, so the tension and soreness from the position just grew as time passed. At one point I did get them loose but Kelly just happened to be checking on me right at that point and of course she re-tied them almost just as tightly as before.

I find it’s almost impossible to sleep when you’re tied up, but I can sometimes drift off a little bit and then snap back awake again as the discomfort returns. This went on for quite a while, with Kelly resting just in the other room and occasionally checking on me until finally around four in the morning I was able to get free completely. I was so exhausted that I just left the ropes in a pile and immediately fell asleep. It was quite a memorable night and not too hard to catch some more sleep the next day on the plane. Oh, the stockings, by the way, were by Cervin Paris and they were fantastic. Definitely going to order some more of them.

Terrific Party at Club Fantasy

We had a wonderful turnout at the Club Fantasy party last night – well over 30 people with a lot of play going on. It was really nice to see so many friends and meet some nice new people too. Then today I went with a good friend to a “corset tea” salon at the Hollywood and Highland Center and met some more nice people, including a charming lady whom I had the pleasure of sitting next to. The great thing about being in Hollywood and walking around crossdressed is that no one bats an eye, except for maybe the tourists, in which case I’m just playing my role in the ongoing freak show. That’s certainly one thing I miss about L.A.

Been listening to: I recently heard “Ghost of Love” again, from David Lynch’s super-bizarre “Inland Empire,” back in 2006. The hypnotic thing’s been going through my mind since. David Lynch even does the singing (what can’t he do?), though his voice is so heavily processed that I wasn’t sure if it was a man or a woman when I first heard it.

The Bieber: Is it wrong that I kind of want to see the upcoming Justin Bieber movie?


I saw this low-budget movie on Amazon pay per view the other night called “Captives.” When I saw the picture below with the dramatic red text I thought, “Hmm, I’ll have to check that out.” Well, as is almost always the case in “regular” movies, if you’re looking for a good bondage scene, you’ll be disappointed. But in some ways I still kind of liked it for the set up and concept, which is quite good. A thrill-seeking couple, Jim and Naomi, have car trouble and stop in front of the house of a boring couple, Neil and Jane. The four of them end up having dinner together and the talk turns to a hypothetical discussion about someone consenting to their own kidnapping. Now that’s one of my favorite fantasies so I had to watch the whole thing!

In some ways it’s almost like a slow art film, with long stretches of dialogue, and it takes forever for anything to happen. They also mix up the timeline, like in “Pulp Fiction,” but without any real payoff for doing it. Everyone is quite attractive, though, especially the two female leads, and in a strange way I did kind of like it, and I thought it was a good effort for the director’s first movie, and definitely better than expected. The best scene, I thought, was in the middle of the movie where Jane calls Naomi and tentatively asks her about that “plot” they were talking about and whether she was serious about it. She wants to go through with it, just for the excitement of something new, and you can see the wheels turning in her head as she agrees to it. The scene works really well and I found it pretty hot, I have to admit. (Notice in the picture below the cuckoo clock behind Jane’s head – symbolism, perhaps?)

When you get to the actual bondage much later it’s a total letdown. Actually the picture below with her gagged is better than the actual scene. Not to give too much away, but Jane ends up tied up with another person, back to back, but their hands are tied in front, they’re not tied to each other, they’re not tied to the chairs, their legs aren’t tied at all (!), and they’re gagged with simple cleave gags. All they’d have to do is stand up and undo each other’s hands, or just look down and untie their own with their teeth. It’s utterly lame. It all ends on a tragic note, though, which is kind of interesting for this kind of movie, although they give it away way too early.

So the payoff doesn’t work too well, but I find in these kinds of movies that I often enjoy the lead up and the sense of danger beforehand anyway, which is pretty good in a couple scenes. The acting is nothing extraordinary, but really the bad girl, Naomi, is quite good. And the boring housewife and kidnap victim, Jane, is good too as a woman who’s kind of shut down and would like to experience some excitement. I really came away thinking, “Wow, I’d love to make something like this with a tranny angle and good bondage,” although making a full length movie with a crew is way out of my budget range. Oh, there’s another movie out there also called “Captives” with Tim Roth – that’s not it. This one has unknown actors and is directed by Randall Chu. I wonder if he knew bondage fetishists would be checking out his movie for sexy scenes. Of course, with a movie poster like that maybe he’s one of us…

Two Weeks

Well, I’ve been in Denver just over two weeks and things have been pretty good, but a little bumpy. I’ve already met and gotten in touch with a few new contacts with an interest in bondage but I haven’t been getting out as much as I’d like, as I’m still having some transportation problems. The car still runs but doesn’t feel that reliable anymore so I’ve been going with a friend and doing one of the funnest things you can ever do – visiting used car showrooms! (Cartwheels!) So I’m hoping to get something like a late-model used Toyota or Hyundai within the next few weeks, and be a bit more mobile. But Denver’s nice and the weather’s been good, but I always forget how dry it is in Colorado.

Movies – I missed this one when it came out but in The Box Cameron Diaz wears what looks like some pretty terrific Seventies fashions, so I’m going to have to see it. The premise sounds a bit silly – If you push the button on this mysterious box you’ll get a million dollars and a stranger somewhere will die; would you do it? But I do like the director, who also did Donnie Darko, and well, Cameron Diaz wears Seventies fashions!

I also saw The Informant! (with an exclamation mark) the other night, which is very clever and funny and Matt Damon is terrific as the whistleblower who’s also a total nutcase. And I was really struck by the actress who plays his wife, Melanie Lynskey, who’s no stunning beauty, but whom I found incredibly attractive in a MILF sort of way. There’s nothing kinky about the movie, but there’s one scene where she has a terrific updo and wears some fabulous dangley earrings.

Winding Down

I hope everyone’s having a nice final week of the decade. I’m having a nice time with the family in Atlanta and had a nice evening yesterday seeing “No Country for Old Men” with my Dad on cable TV. I’d seen it once last year but enjoyed it even more this time. It’s really brilliant and the themes of aging and the randomness of the universe really resonated. (Spoiler alert following). One of my favorite moments is when the young wife refuses to call the killer’s flipped coin, and she basically tells him that the coin doesn’t mean anything, it’s just you. I also love the irony of lawman Tommy Lee Jones (who normally always gets his man) never really figuring out anything in this one. It’s pretty dark and mournful but for the end of the decade it just felt perfect and gave my Dad and I plenty to talk about for the next hour.

Back to L.A. on Friday and back to work for the new year. Have fun tomorrow night!

Paranormal Activity

I love horror movies and Paranormal Activity is one of the better ones I’ve seen, in the “less is more” camp and quite effective. It’s about a young couple who start to hear weird noises at night in their house and reluctantly begin to suspect that they’re being haunted. It’s amazing that it was shot for all of twenty thousand dollars with a video camera and actors who appeared to just be playing themselves. The couple can be a little annoying at times, but you get a real sense of their composure unravelling as things escalate. The comparison to The Blair Witch Project is inevitable, though I enjoyed this one much better than Blair Witch and there’s less shaky-cam in this one (though still quite a bit). If you’re going to see this, it’s best to see it in a crowded theater to get the audience reaction and also best not to watch the trailer beforehand. I watched it and wish I hadn’t, as there were scenes shown that I found myself waiting for. I think going in less prepared would probably heighten the tension. Definitely recommended.

Holiday Weekend

I had a delightful time with my best friend K. down in the Springs. We’ve been having a lot of rain here so we didn’t venture out for fireworks until Sunday, the 5th, where they were putting on a show up in the mountains. It was fabulous. The symphony was there playing music and they had a couple howitzers to fire during the 1812 Overture, which were perfectly synchronized.

Earlier in the weekend we went out to Club Q, Colorado Springs’ only gay bar (I believe) and saw their Friday night drag show. I just went in guy mode myself and the drag queens put on a nice show, with varying degrees of talent. Some of the girls were really attractive and energetic and really belted it out. I’ve heard of Club Q for several years, so it was nice to see it. The gay bar in the Springs used to be the old Hide ‘N Seek Club, and there have been rumors that they were “forced” out of business by overly strict interpretation of building and fire codes. But who knows? It was a nice place and for years that was the only club in town if you wanted to dress and go out, so it’s nice to see that there’s a new one.

Synecdoche – We also saw the movie “Synecdoche, New York” on DVD and it was excellent, though very very sad. It’s another mindfuck movie from Charlie Kaufman, who wrote the screenplays for “Being John Malkovich” and “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.” It’s even more of the same, with a very complicated plot about a theater director who tries to capture all of life’s experience in his massive new production. It twists and turns and folds in on itself, with actors playing real characters, including one who stands in for himself. Anyway, it’s very hard to describe but incredibly imaginative and worth seeing if you like that sort of thing – but not something to see if you’re feeling emotionally fragile. It really is so very sad. There’s more about it and the trailer, which is very good, on this page.


I’m not normally a big fan of superhero movies but I went out the other night and saw Watchmen with my good friend K., and it’s really terrific. It’s dark and funny, and Malin Akerman, who plays Silk Spectre II, is really hot – heck, she’s wearing this latex fetish outfit with heels whenever she’s out fighting crime and in another scene wears this really nice skirt and belted sweater – a real knockout. All the other actors are really good too and some of my favorites were the actors who played the psychopath Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley) and The Comedian (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). The latter’s very funny indeed even though he does some truly horrible things to people, including killing the pregnant Vietnamese girl who’s carrying his own child.

The movie itself is really clever and a lot of fun, set in the 1980s and presenting this alternate history where Nixon is serving his third term in office. One really funny aspect is that all the superheroes are troubled and in varying states of unhappiness, including big blue Dr. Manhattan (Billy Crudup), who has godlike powers over space and time – and also relationship problems. So often I find the self-serious tone of superhero movies kind of tedious but this one was a real hoot, commenting on the genre in a fun way. Did I mention that the actress who plays Silk Spectre II is really hot?

The Wrestler

I recently saw the new Mickey Rourke movie, The Wrestler, and it’s an excellent “feel bad” movie. It is rather shocking to see how bad Mickey Rourke looks, especially since he was, well, beautiful when he was younger (Hell, I would have had sex with him back then, and I’m not even much into guys). The movie is indeed grim – dealing with aging and decay and how life doesn’t turn out how we would have hoped – but it’s so well done and Mickey Rourke’s performance is so good that it wasn’t nearly as depressing as I feared. And there’s also a good song at the end – one of those hopeless-loser ballads by Bruce Springsteen. Definitely a good choice for a nice wallow.

The Wrestler website

Funny Games

Well, it’s been a busy couple weeks and a long time since I’ve done any blogging. But I finally got to see the remake of Funny Games on DVD the other night. It’s a really nasty little movie but has some decent, though ugly and gritty, bondage scenes. I feel like a total perv recommending it – did I mention it’s really nasty? – but if you’d like to see a beautiful woman (Naomi Watts) tied up and treated really really badly, then it might be your thing. It also stars Tim Roth in what has to be one of the most thankless movie roles ever. He basically just gets his kneecap shattered and is helpless to do anything to help his tormented wife and son. But okay, here’s some frame grabs off the TV screen…

Funny Games

I remember seeing the original German-language version of this movie about ten years ago when it first came out. It’s a very nasty little movie about a nice family being held hostage and tormented in their nice home by a couple of young polite psychopaths. I had seen some pictures online of the actress tied up, so of course I had to check it out. Like I say, the movie’s really nasty and dark and it’s supposed to be an indictment of how so many of us like to see nasty and dark movies as entertainment. I got that, but I just wanted to see the bondage and, yes, there were some pretty good, if overly grim, scenes in it.

So now the movie’s been re-shot with Naomi Watts staring in it, and apparently it’s nearly a shot-by-shot duplicate of the original. I’ll have to see it, though most likely when it comes out on DVD. And yes, again I get the director’s indictment of the audience and all that, but I don’t know where to go with it. Am I supposed to feel bad about myself because I like dark stuff? I mean, guilty as charged. And the fact remains that the director did choose to shoot all this dark stuff himself, so maybe it’s not just the audience. I don’t know – it’s probably not worth feeling defensive over. It is just a movie, after all.

As for the bondage, if it’s a shot-by-shot remake, then yes, there will be some – some really mean suffering-and-torment style bondage, but bondage nonetheless. Okay, it’s on my “to see” list.

Review on the NY Times

Movie website from Warner Bros.