August 30th, 2008

DADDY, DARLING (1970) **

Well they always said that incest is best and Daddy, Darling sets out to prove the old adage through and through, albeit with mixed results. 


Katja (Helli Louise) is a young art student who has been sexually obsessed with her handsome father ever since the death of her mother.  While she tries in vain to win her father’s affections (like wearing flimsy negligees and begging to sleep in her father’s bed), he secretly begins a romance with another woman.  When they get married, it makes Katja really steamed so she goes out and loses her cherry to some dude who likes to wear turtlenecks a lot.  BUT… the only way she can get off is to pretend the guy she’s with is her dear old dad!  Still disheartened, she runs to find solace in the arms of her lesbian art teacher who teaches her the art of eating box.  Armed with her new knowledge, Katja sets out to seduce her stepmother and break up her father’s marriage.


My man, Joe (Butterflies) Sarno handles the taboo subject of incest with a lot more tenderness than you’d expect.  I was kinda hoping this was going to be a grungy and exploitative little softcore number, but I was simultaneously intrigued and disappointed by Sarno’s direction.  Intrigued because he actually managed to make parts of this flick “dramatic” and disappointed because the compassionate direction left little room for the massive erections you’re usually used to getting while watching one of Sarno’s flicks.  There is one good lesbo scene, but it’s just a shame that Sarno handles it so damned TASTEFULLY. 


Louise is a heck of an actress and has a blouse full of goodies as well.  Too bad Sarno couldn’t make more screen time for her to keep that fine figure of hers on display.  Despite her great performance, the other actors in the film fail to make much of an impression, even though they do deliver the soap opera level theatrics admirably. 


So if you’re one of those people who watch 70’s softcore flicks for the acting, direction and screenwriting, you’re going to love this movie.  For everyone else this will probably be a waste of time. 


Three stars for the story.  One star for the sex.  Two stars. 


Katja’s stepmother gets the best line of the film when she says, “Make love to me!  Stupid kinds of love!”


I liked the first two Pirates of the Caribbean movies but I have to admit that they would have been pretty lifeless if it wasn’t for Johnny Depp’s nutzo performance as Captain Jack Sparrow.  He admittedly swiped a lot of Jack’s mannerisms from Keith Richards, so it’s fitting that the haggard looking Stones guitarist shows up here.  Unfortunately, that’s about the only good thing that At World’s End has going for it. 


The preceding Pirates movies were enjoyable for what they were:  dumb, summer entertainment; but I’ll be damned if I can remember a whole lot of what happened in either of them.  Luckily, I at least remember the end of the second movie in which Captain Jack got swallowed up by a gigantic octopus’ asshole.  That’s all the exposition you really need to get you prepared to watch this turd. 


The plot of this sucker is that the good pirates, led by Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) have to rescue Jack from the clutches of the bad pirates, led by the squid-faced Davy Jones (Bill Nigh).  Once Jack is freed, the double and triple and quadruple crossings usually found in these movies ensues until we get to the end where everyone boards a pirate ship and shoots the shit out of each other with cannonballs while circling around in a giant whirlpool. 


Likewise, the movie is constantly circling the drain. 


Coming from someone who loved the original attraction down in Disney World as a kid, I can’t see what all this has to do with the original ride.  Apparently Disney thought so too so they (unnecessarily) added a bunch of animatronics Jack Sparrows to the original attraction in a meager attempt to connect these flicks to beloved ride.  I haven’t seen the Haunted Mansion or The Country Bears Movie yet, but they can’t be much worse than this flick. 


Depp’s performance is the only thing that keeps this movie afloat, but even he seems subdued in this overlong mess.  Seriously, this flick clocks in at just under three hours and believe me, you feel every second of it.  The filmmakers made a woeful miscalculation by keeping Depp off screen up until about the half hour mark.  Nothing in the opening scenes is of much interest because Depp isn’t apart of the action.  This is unfortunate because these scenes more or less set up the whole damn movie.  The film also opens bizarrely enough with a murder of a child; something quite unorthodox for a Disney flick to say the least. 


The thing that really shipwrecks this flick is the plot.  It’s so damn convoluted that you could really give two shits by the end.  Not that you really need a plot for this sort of thing but all of the characters’ incessant backstabbing and bickering takes it’s toll after awhile.  Although the art direction and special effects are impressive, they aren’t much help.  Yeah the flick is cool to look at, but it’s empty, lifeless, dull and headache inducing. 


Depp does what he can to save a sinking ship and is aided nicely by Richards’ all-too-brief cameo.  Chow Yun Fat is also in the flick as a Chinese pirate, though he gets killed off way too early to make much of an impact.  Even though there is a gratuitous set-up for another sequel, let’s hope the franchise is finally lost at sea for good.