Tag Archives: HBO

Let’s take a look at some great Femme Fatale flix—you know the attractive, seductive woman who will ultimately bring disaster to a man (or men) that becomes involved with her. Our first look: The Last Seduction (1994) staring Linda Fiorentino, Peter Berg, and Bill Pullman.

When the discussion of Femme Fatale films came up the first movie we here at JPFmovies immediately thought of was The Last Seduction.  Many of you probably never heard of it because even though Fiorentino’s performance generated talk of an Oscar nomination, she was deemed ineligible because the film was shown on HBO before it was released into the theaters.  October Films and ITC Entertainment sued the Academy, but were unable to make Fiorentino eligible for a nomination.  So, the film went right from HBO to DVD—what a waste.

To say The Last Seduction is a neo-noir erotic thriller doesn’t do the film justice.  It is an outstanding example modernizing the traditional stereotype of the deadly women of classic fim noir that were generally disliked, detested, and sometimes hated by patriarchal society.  Here the Director and Fiorentino bring some of the enduring cultural images of the femme fatale while bestowing her with modern, distinguishing characteristics.


The film opens with, Bridget Gregory (Fiorentino) pressuring and scolding the salesmen in some boiler-room telemarketing office in New York City selling worthless coins.  She knows how to use the hard sell, close deals, and manage men with fear and degradation.  She runs a tight and ruthless ship.  After work, she races to her apartment to see if an important deal her medical school husband made selling $700,000 worth of pharmaceutical grade cocaine to some street thugs paid off.  It did, the husband (Bill Pullman) had to stuff the 700K in his jacket on the way home, After Bridget makes some rude remark to her husband, he gives her a pretty good smack across the face which seems to set the wheels of this tale of deceit in motion.

While her husband is taking a shower, Bridge to use a phrase from the Steve Miller Band “go on take the money and run.”  Naturally her husband is upset but does not seemed too surprised.

 On her way to Chicago, Bridget stops in a small town called Beston to gas up. It’s in a nearby bar that we – and Bridget – meet the film’s third principal character, Mike Swale (played to naive, lustful perfection by Peter Berg). In the bar, Bridget’s order is ignored by the bartender, and, instantly attracted to her dark good looks, Mike Swale gallantly steps in to help. Bridget, however, is not interested. “Could you leave?  Please?” she asks. “Well, I haven’t finished charming you yet,” Mike responds, to which Bridget retorts: “You haven’t started.” Still endeavoring to win Bridget’s heart – or some part of her – Mike informs her that he’s “hung like a horse.”  Perhaps wishing only to amuse herself, perhaps with other, more far-reaching plans in mind, Bridget asks to see for herself, unzips his pants right in the bar, and then fires off a series of questions: how many lovers has he had? Have any been prostitutes? Does he have his own place? Does it have indoor plumbing? Before long, the two are in Mike’s apartment.  He is now under her spell.

As the movie progresses, an evil disorder dwells deep within Bridget. She seems to scorn men. She uses men to her advantage, catching them, conquering them, and bending them to her will. She values money, power, and independence over relationships. She enjoys humiliating men, deriding them as ‘eunuchs,’ ‘Neanderthals,’ ‘maggots,’ and ‘sex objects.’ A trace of revenge lurks in Bridget’s behavior towards the opposite sex.

Bridget continues to exhibit her psychopathic behavior, cunning and naked ambition.  As the film progresses we see that Bridget Gregory, is total bitch. Hot, genius smart, kinky and slinky. Feline and ruthless. Politically incorrect chain smoker. New York City telemarketer/con artist. Catty call floor conniver. Rough Rider floor boss. And I mean all of that as a compliment.

Interesting enough we try to find a linkable character in the film but no one comes to this dance with clean hands.

We could go on for pages but there will be no spoilers here.  You need to make the time watch The Last Seduction, you are getting the JPFmovie seal of approval that it is worth watching.


Posted by on July 14, 2017 in Movie Reviews


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Our third and final salute to Rip Torn: HBO’s Flashpoint (1984)

Flashpoint (1984) is a film starring Rip Torn, Kris Kristofferson, Treat Williams and was William Tannen’s directorial debut.  Flashpoint was also the first film produced by Home Box Office (HBO)—on a side note, it was thought-provoking to see the original HBO introduction again when the revolving HBO letters came at you against the outer space background.

Williams and Kristofferson are jaded, yet prankish border patrol officers fighting a pointless battle against the steady flow of illegal immigrants into Texas.  Kristofferson is a gentle cynic, highly decorated veteran with quiet personality that hides his resentment for “the system.”  Williams is a younger idealist and bit of a hothead who foolishly speaks out against injustice and corruption.  Their friendship and camaraderie is profound and real in a way few movies from Hollywood are ever able to depict.  For whatever reason Treat Williams and Kris Kristofferson are a pair of actors whose talents haven’t always been well utilized by the Hollywood machine though they should have been after their performance in Flashpoint.

On the dark side of the force, Flashpoint has characters like “Department of Public Safety” (i.e. Texas Ranger) Rip Torn and other malevolent government agents that show us how true villains are simply focused career men who ruthlessly believe in the perverted values they’ve espoused.  However Torn, at the end of the day, changes and is willing to sacrifice his life for it.  In the last scene Torn, looking back on his own life and anticipating Kristofferson’s edgy future, shouts “Do it!  Be the one who got away!  Whatever happens, should’ve happened years ago.”  Taking responsibility for his past and seeking redemption by staying behind to hold off the government killers to “buy time” for Kristofferson’s get away.

Now back to the story.  Kristofferson and Williams discover a Jeep buried in the desert with a skeleton, a fishing box containing a high-powered rifle and $800,000 in cash.  The bills and the skeleton’s driver’s license are dated circa 1963.  Soon, the two guards find themselves running for their lives from Federal agents who are determined to kill anyone in connection to the discovery.

The two reason that since the cash has been ignored for that long, they have as much right as anyone else.  Kristofferson wants to split the cash with Williams and immediately head for Mexico.  Williams is tempted but it doesn’t pass his smell test or his nagging personal code of honor.

To appease Williams, Kristofferson does some detective work to see whether or not the cash is clean.  They come to the shocking realization that they are against forces much bigger than they ever imagined—and Williams pays the ultimate price of it: that the driver of the Jeep was the true assassin of John F. Kennedy, not Lee Harvey Oswald, and that the Government, with help from the Dallas Police Department, were involved with the assassination.  VHS viewers (for you younger people out there those were large cassettes which, when placed into a machine called a VCR, would play movies) who rented the movie in the 80’s, the mystery was revealed on the back cover of the cassette box.
Sneer all you want that Flashpoint is “just another JFK conspiracy movie,” and has been virtually ignored by critics and audiences since Reagan was President, but the film is one of the best movies of its time.  Rip Torn’s sagely advice for a shell-shocked Kristofferson at the end will stick with you.  “Don’t be a martyr.  We already got enough of those.  Be different.  Be the one that got away.”

My advice to you—don’t let this one get away.

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Posted by on April 9, 2011 in Movie Reviews


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The Pentagon Wars—A Dark Comedy Worthy of Watching and Worthy of Two Clips.

“The Pentagon Wars” is an HBO produced comedy based on an adaptation of Lt. Col. James G. Burton’s 1993 book of the same name.  The story follows the development of the Bradley fighting vehicle, a troop carrier that was not only produced at great cost (in excess of 13 billion of our tax dollars) but was a totally unsafe deathtrap for the soldiers riding in it.

Kelsey Grammar plays General Partridge, the officer in charge of the Bradley’s development.  One refreshing angle of this movie is that you never confused him with his long running character Frasier for a second.  As guest columnist Charles (previous reviewer of “Avatar”) says of Grammar’s performance in this movie “he [Grammar] makes the totally indefensible not only seem plausible and but also comical.”  Richard Schiff also gives a fine performance as the original career officer trying to maintain his sanity while he watched his straightforward, common sense defense department project spiral out of control over nearly two decades into one of the most publicized and offensive examples of the military industrial complex in recent history.

One of the more theatrical moments in the Pentagon wars is Burton’s idea to use sheep to test what would happen to soldiers if the vehicle was hit by an RPG.  Burton’s test is obstructed by the General’s creation of a new (classified) department designated as “Ruminant Procurement,” requiring sheep specifications to be examined i.e. type of sheep, length of coat, gender et cetera and almost another years to actually implement the sheep specs.  Meanwhile, the army is forcing the vehicle into production despite its obvious failings.

The problems with the project were so obvious that Israel bought some, but seeing right off the bat that the vehicle as designed was a death trap, required modifications creating two production lines: one for the Israeli version and one for the flawed U.S. version: produced by its own country with the knowing enthusiasm and approval of the military!

There was only one way to play this movie, and that was as a comedy—a comedy that still carried its message.  Any other attempt would have been sorely depressing film that few would have wanted to see.

A great rose one you should see when you get the chance.


Posted by on April 14, 2010 in Movie Reviews


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