Law and Order: Criminal Intent

Director: Frank Prinzi (among others, including many guest stints)

Lead Actors: Kathryne Erbe, Vincent D'Onofrio, Courtney B. Vance, Eric Bogosian, Jeff Goldblum, Julia Ormond, Tony Goldwyn, Kahan James

Producer: Dick Wolf

Plot Synopsis: This show centers on the NYPD's Major Case Squad (and the offbeat, Sherlock Holmes-like Detective Robert Goren) in its efforts to stop the worst criminal offenders in New York. 

It also puts a new twist to the "Law & Order" formula: now, in each episode, we see the crimes as they are planned and committed.               

Who Would Like it and Why

These particular Law and Orders with Vincent D'Onofrio put an intellectual spin on the law and cop genre that I found engaging. Upon watching more than a few episodes, one realizes that Vincent D'Onofrio pushes people to their confessions by taunting them, making them angry and sniffing around in their trash. '

Sometimes the audience wonders whether or not D'Onofrio's character, Detective Robert Green, has the mind of a criminal himself and that's what makes him so good. 

For all of the future B-list beefcakes we have seen in the endless horde of cop and lawyer dramas that have paraded by on USA over the years and put me to sleep, D'Onofrio stands out in a few ways. 

One, most detectives in New York have to really dress up by wearing a nice suit and tie, but they're still cops with guns and they have to be ready to get dirty. Well, Goren just sort of shows up to work a little dirty. He seemingly never shaves, seems to sweat a lot and doesn't seem to be always preening for the camera the way some other light weights do. 

One gets the impression that Goren sleeps on the subway or in an open cell at the police station sometimes instead of going home. 

Forget about money, if there's donuts on the ta able, Goren's gonna take one. 

He also has a somewhat bizarre speech pattern which makes the viewer want to pay attention to him more. 

Goren also believes no one and effortlessly sheds away away fake alibis and excuses. He seems like the guy who eventually will refuse to believe someone who's actually telling the truth, kind of a reverse person who cried wolf. 

I know from my limited viewings of this series that Gorren eventually gets himself in a lot of trouble, as one episode with him picking a dead rat out of his desk, likely put there by his fellow cops.

But the few full episodes I watched show how he picks apart the cases and always manages to get to the bottom of them, playing a great "bad cop" with Kathryne Erbe's nice cop. They are both after the same results, it's just that Gorren, being a somewhat large and slovenly man himself is able to be much bolder than Erbe's Detective Alexandra Earnes. Erbe, by the way, I think is much older but manages to be very lovely on the show and a sort of welcome break to D'Onofrio's reminder that not all men are created equal. 

Some of this team's methods for uncovering people seem a little aggressive, almost to the point of them finding evidence that is inadmissible in court because they lied or pretended to be someone they weren't in order to get it. For example, in one episode Erbe pretends to be a graduate student while interrogating a professor.

Who Might not Like it and Why
I had always had an aversion to Law and Order, not sure why, it all seemed so mundane. Just the Law & Order sound would put me to sleep. I didn't have the time or the interest to wait for another crime to unfold. 

But, I found D'Onoffrio intriguing enough and the crimes interesting enough to stop by and watch a few episodes during Christmas break, and I was not disappointed.

Gorren shares a few similarities and characteristics with the most famous fictional detective of all time: Sherlock Homes. He is a genius forever sort of stuck in his head. He is undaunted by people from any class of society and he also doesn't mind getting his hands dirty. 

Highlights/Top Scenes
I enjoy how they go all over New York to solve one case at a time. They must have some allowance and they seem to have all the time in the world. Aso, D'Onofrio mocking the criminals in never old. 

Gorren knows his place in life as a detective, and is never, ever intimidated by Wall Street Investors, or television producers, or anyone else. Also for someone who is merely a detective, he seems to have a great knowledge of the law.

Three Mike and Ikes.


This will be a unique review in which I review a rising stand-up comedy star in Los Angeles, by the name of Chris D'Elia. People will know him by his show, "Undateable", on NBC, which is directed by Fred Savage from "The Wonder Years".

I first became aware of Chris D'Elia at a "Comedy Juice" at The Improv on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles, CA. I had free tickets that I got online. Other people who were there were paying $15 per ticket. I was lucky to get the free tickets and this was a way for The Improv to fill seats.

So, I went with my friend and what we stumbled into was some sort of open mic for the stars wherein Dane Cook, Chris D'Elia, Joe Rogan, Whitey Cummings and Neal Brennan were performing. I would say that of all these people, Chris D'Elia was the most intriguing. I had never seen him before.

When I first got to the Improv, I was waiting at the bar area, where I guess he was doing an earlier show and I could watch him on the monitor. He made some crack about "You know when you get to work and you're just like eh . . . , well that's how I feel right now . . . "

Turns out that's how he starts every show as if to tell his audience that he's just sort of winging it, I guess. Far be it from me to try to get into a comedian's head, especially if their name is Bill Cosby.

Anyway, back to D'Elia. He wears a t-shirt and jeans mostly and has long hair  and a beard. One who has spent too much time in West Hollywood can tell that D'Elia works out, as does Dane Cook, which sets a weird standards for these younger comics. Comics are usually supposed to destroy their bodies, are they not?!

Anyway, Chris, who I've seen about four times now at the Improv, and I can't remember signing any disclaimers not to talk about him, unlike for some of the other shows that I've been to. 

Anyway, so Chris D'Elia's rant goes along the lines of how soft he is and how many regrets he has about not being hard and then he launches into a bit about being around little kids and how much they open up your heart. I found it intriguing and funny, and D'Elia's caricatures of little kids and Tupac are really good and endearing!

Most notable though about D'Elia is his energy. A few weeks later I saw him follow Rob Scheider of SNL fame, and Schneider, albeit a comedy legend for his movie roles such as Deuce Bigalow, was a little wobbly doing stand up comedy. He had a notebook and was quiet and weird and still funny. Buuut, Chris followed him and brought the energy right back up without insulting Rob.

I happened to be sitting near the row on that show and when D'Elia was going to the stage, his brow was furrowed and he was deep in thought, not the cocky bearded dude you see on stage. This is how I would expect a real writer to look.

Anyway, if you read the LA  Weekly, you will notice that Chris is everywhere, including the Palladium and The Wiltern. Is it possible that he's the new white big thing in comedy. Is it ironic at all that he is doing stand up with Dane Cook?

In fact, when this blogger got up to go the bathroom another night, Cook and D'Elia were both sitting next to each other chatting about stand up comedy when I went into the bathroom. Perhaps they are partners in crime.

How do other comics feel about D'Elia? Will they hate him like they hate Dane Cook?! Not sure, I don't spend that much time around working comics, unfortunately.

Anyway, just know that D'Elia is a comer, not a blower, and that his energy is great and you should take every opportunity you can to watch him for a bargain, otherwise you may end up having to spend about $200 on him!

A Walk Among the Tombstones was a walk to remember

Director: Scott Frank
Lead Actors: Liam Neeson, Dan Stevens, David Harbour

Producer: Tom Armbrust

Plot Synopsis:
We meet Matt Scudder in the early 90s when he is an active police officer in New York city. It seems we first meet him in a car in the middle of a bribe with someone, but this is not clear.

Anyway, once he gets out of the car, we see Liam Neeson with full facial hair, and his hair is grown out bushy.

He walks into a bar and orders two shots and a coffee. We see him walk a bit sloppily to a booth, then drink the shots and coffee and reads the paper and suddenly a robber comes in the bar and shoots the bartender.

Then Neeson chases after the robber and his cronies and takes all three of them out.

On that day though, his life changes forever. Later on we learn exactly why. But, before any secrets are given out, we meet him about 9 years later - clean shave, clean haircut and 9-years sober. Here, he is more clean cut and closer to the character, Ra's Al Ghul he played in Christopher Nolan's first batman.

Scudder also is no longer a police man but a private investigator, still in New York.

While he is eating in yet another great-looking diner (the kind that make a filmmaker want to out there with someone who knows the area and just eat and talk movies all day), one of his acquaintances from the AA meetings approaches him and asks him if he wants to do a job.

Turns out his brother needs an investigator to find out who murdered his girlfriend. Turns out this man's brother is also a drug dealer, turns out this man's girlfriend was chopped up and put into several tiny bags by the nutty criminals Neeson will spend the rest of the movie hunting down.

To make a long story short, our flawed hero Scott Rudder has a bit of a savior complex and once he finds out how the kidnapped woman was treated, and packaged, he decides to take the job, despite the seedy nature of his client and how it conflicts with his present-day sobriety.

One thing is for sure though, as we watch Scudder descend into Hell and lead an underground man hunt: he is as tough as any of the other bastards! Deranged kidnappers, gang bangers and even D.E.A. agents all get their fair share of rough treatment from Neeson's Scudder.

This makes for a great, gritty movie. In fact, we are treated to some of the snarl that Neeson displayed in an earlier movie he made called, "The Grey", wherein he fought wolves with his bare hands.

Although Scudder hits as hard as he is beaten with crow bars and gun handles and tasers and the like, and he never loses his sense of humor or his affinity for those less fortunate than him.

Enter the comic relief and a key plot point at the end of the movie - TJ. - a homeless youth with sickle cell anemia who ends up being Neesam's assistant.
Astro plays TJ in A Walk Among the Tombstones- he is Matt Scudder's assistant.

Who Would Like it and Why
I think this movie had a great feel to it. By that I mean the lighting was right, the cinematography was right, and it gave us a sense what it might be like to live in these older, tight-knit communities that vary in income. For a life-long west coaster, this is all very intriguing, albeit a bit claustrophobic at times.

Liam Nesson fans get to see him growl, beat up criminals, shoot people and confidently set up a rendezvous for exchanging "money for the girl".

Also, everything about this movie gave it the feel of a 1970s cop drama
                                     A typical, gritty, crime drama.

The cinematographer managed to keep everything dark enough so that there was a constant sense of foreboding throughout. Again, though, Scudder's humor and exchanges with TJ dulled the pain.

Who Might not Like it and Why
Well, there are some very tense moments when women are brutalized. Trophy wives of drug dealers receive the most punishment in this movie.

Not because of revenge from rival dealers, but something much more sinister. One can argue that even though these women made their beds when they chose to date or marry drug dealers, they seem to receive a lot of punishment that may be should be reserved for the dealers themselves.

Highlights/Top Scenes
Liam as a poorly shaven, whiskey swilling cop was fun. TJ and Neeson's exchanges were also well-written and fun. Also, there was some fine character work  as Neeson zeroes in on his main suspects, who were perhaps the best actors of all.

Three Mike and Ikes.

Lebron James in Re-established 2014


Lead Actors: Lebron James


Plot Synopsis
The camera takes us into working-class Akron as the piano from Hozier's (new) and earthly spiritual "Take Me to Church" slowly starts growing in the background. 

We see parts of Akron, construction, demolition, working people.

Then we see Demi-God Lebron James humbly walk back into his high school, where, even then, he established himself as a nationally recognized basketball legend.

In a scene ripped almost directly from the Gene Hackman movie "Hoosiers", he looks from the free throw line to the hoop, and most likely realizes that the distance from floor to rim is still 10 feet, the same as it has always been. 

The same 10 feet it has been as James, like a young soldier plucked from a small village  to fight foreign wars for the Roman army, has been slashing and dashing and dunking and blocking for the Miami Heat.

This is a team he himself decided to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers for and leave his home state of Ohio to fend for itself so many years ago. If you are familiar with the story, the piano chords and stark shots of parts of Ohio outsiders never see are that more meaningful.

Hozier chants "Amen, Amen" as James hits the weight room. James, a talented player and one of the best to ever play in the NBA, is possibly best known for his God-like physique and muscle structure. 

A comparison between him and NBA greats from the 80s would show how much stronger he probably is than most of his fellow hall-of-famers.

And of course, in the new NBA, is that much more important as the sport becomes more about contact, grit, fighting skills and brute strength than it is finesse. 

Perhaps a 1980s version of this commercial would show Lebron polishing his three-point shooting skills with a dozen basketballs at his side.

But no, this ad focuses on the immediacy of the approaching season and the need to get back into fighting shape.

Throughout everything James' face remains a humble expression.

James then transitions to flipping a tractor tire, for yet more upper-body strength.

As he does this, we hear a woman's voice, most likely James' mother, saying "don't ever forget where you came from", good advice in any context unless you are a spy in a Quentin Tarantino movie and how you signify you want three drinks could mean the difference between life and death!

Who Would Like it and Why
Basketball fans obviously. Anyone familiar with James' journey. Also, anyone disgusted with free agency and the fact that most players don't even manage to keep the same job with the same professional basketball team for one season, let alone play in a town that is anywhere close to where they live or grew up.

In fact, some basketball players commute half way across the country to attend practice!

What makes James' journey unique though in this author's mind is the fact that he started playing in Akron, Ohio, which is also where he grew up. 

Then, when he was drafted, he was drafted to the Cavaliers, that region's professional team. It was there that he stayed for several years before he requested to be traded to the Miami Heat,famously, or infamously taking his talents to south beach.

This move was met with the ire of all of Ohio. Jerseys were burned, James was cursed by all and by some reports, his life was in danger.

Now, after several seasons in Miami, two of them championship -winning, the last one a bitter loss to the San Antonio Spurs for the title, he is back. Ever the prodigal son.

I felt this commercial, albeit designed to promote headphones and miniature beat "pills", seemed to capture the goodness and hope and humanity in Lebron James' decision to go back to Ohio.

This is important because the United States' three main sports are decaying due to greed and lack of education and refinement in the players who are becoming drafted at younger and younger ages and developed only for their skills and not for character. 

In this author's opinion, by moving back to his hometown while he is still in his prime as a player, showed calculations that possibly came more from Lebron's heart more than they did his Endorsement and Marketing Manager.

That, and Hozier's heartfelt song, make this commercial, albeit a plug for another product, kind of nice.

Who Might not Like it and Why
Straight dudes skittish about shirtlessness.
I felt there was a little too much shirtlessness for a commercial about a sports figure most likely aimed at straight males between the ages of 18 and 34.

Highlights/Top Scenes
There's a lyric about "straighten my knife" that comes up as Lebron is working his triceps in the weight room, it seemed to work well visually, evern though it endorse the showing of way too much adult male skin!

Three Mike and Ikes

Dracula Untold

Director:: Gary Shore

Lead Actors: Luke Evans, Dominic Cooper, Sarah Gordon,

Producer:  Joseph M. Caracciolo  |

Plot Synopsis
In which we meet Vlad the Impaler, played well by a dark and brooding Luke Evans, whom you may recognize as the Dragon Killer from The Hobbit.

Vlad was a child-slave turned warrior for the growing Turkish army in the middle ages. And although he had been taken from the comfort of his own home and sent to foreign lands to fight foreign wars, he excelled. Vlad The Impaler became one of the best soldiers of that time and gained a reputation for himself.

Fast forward to when the Turks gave him his freedom when he was a full adult. He left military service and started a quiet, peaceful kingdom on a mountainside with a monastery as the center of this community.

There, he locked up his uniform and his legendary, murderous sword, and started a life and a wonderfully peaceful kingdom, over which he ruled as Prince. Ironically though, he does not develop a military for his small kingdom. A huge mistake in retrospect - also a good ad for any Republican candidate..

Vlad DOES finds himself an outrageously beautiful local girl to marry, Mirena, played by the illustrious Sarah Gadon.

This makes it that much easier for a Turk General, Mehmed, played by Dominic Cooper, to stop by one day, take his taxes from Vlad, and then ask for 1000 of their boys to train as soldiers, a barbaric tradition Vlad had thought was over.

Most importantly, they ask for Vlad's son. This turns out to be a tough demand. Vlad had promised Mirena that their son would never be forced into becoming soldiers.

This, in essence, requires Vlad to revert to beast mode and kill about six of the Turk's recruiting officers. This, he knows, will provoke a response.

So, logically, he climbs a mountain, goes into a cave, and asks the help of a monster he encountered earlier who seems to have a knack for killing Turks. If it seems as if this plot summary is jumping ahead of itself, this is pretty much how it happens in the movie.

The monster is, of course what we know today as Dracula. He convinces Vlad to drink his blood, and this gives Vlad otherworldly strength and speed. Vlad eagerly accepts and destroys the Turkish Army, but creates bigger problems for himself and most notably in his eternal spiritual life.

Who Would Like it and Why Who Might not Like it and Why
People who enjoy alternative versions of the story of Dracula. Myself, I was asked to play a Vampire Slayer this Halloween, and I researched the legend.

Like most legends, this one has a thousand different interpretations, and the monster Dracula has taken on a thousand different forms. Even in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, a recent Judd-Apatow- produced comedy about breaking up, we see one man's interpretation of Dracula as a flawed romantic protagonist and Van Helsing, the hunter, as the antagonist.

Basically, in the last 150 or so years of cinema Dracula has taken all shapes.

This story had a very human beginning, and we see that sometimes a monster does not start off a monster, sometimes they start off a human-which is interesting in and of itself.

Highlights/Top Scenes
There was a tragically beautiful scene as (SPOILER ALERT) Mirena falls off a cliff and Vlad uses his special powers to try to catch her but is a second and inch to late as she plunges slow motion to her death.

Three Mike and Ikes

This Is Where I Leave You

Director: Shawn Levy

Lead Actors: Tina Fey, Jason Bateman, Timothy Oliphant, Adam Driver, Jane Fonda, Rose Byrne

Producer: Jesse Ehrman

Plot Synopsis
This movie is based on a novel by Jonathon Tropper, who also wrote the screenplay.

It follows the Altman family after the death of its patriarch. The four Altman siblings and their mother, played wonderfully by Jane Fonda, are left to deal with the aftermath, and each other. To complicate things, Fonda's Hilary Altman insists that the Altma's sit through the seven days of Shiva. She says it was her husband's dying wish.

This makes things interesting because the Altmans, who love each other very much, don't sit around and do nothing very well. While they are "sitting" back in their hometown (a generic, small east coast town from all I could tell) old flames are re-united, inter-sibling conflicts are revisited and, of course, secrets are revealed.

There is a lot going on, and focus is not this movie's strong point, but it does manage to follow Jason Bateman's Judd Altman the closest. We meet him as a non-smiling producer of a radio show, "Man Up", and quickly witness him being cuckolded in the worst way (he comes home to his wife having rough sex with his boss as hip hop music blares on the stereo).

When Judd goes back home he is able to reacquaint himself with his own strengths and weaknesses and also try to figure out why things ended up the way they did for him.

Intersecting through all of that are the lives of Wendy Altman (played beautifully by Tina Fey) - who is a loveable, strong presence who was very clearly toughened up at an early age in an all-male family.

Fey, who was the first ever female head writer at Saturday Night Live, seemed to fit very naturally in this scenario as she slaps, kicks, bites and lovingly insults with the best of them. In a touching scene, Adam Driver's Philip Altman credits Wendy for being the glue to their brood, a compliment she gladly accepts.

Philip is admittedly a jack ass and an ass-man all tied up into one who didn't seem to get the focus, discipline or work ethic embodied by his two oldest siblings. He shows up late to his own father's funeral in a Porsche, cussing as he runs up the hill to join the ceremony.

Cory Stoll does a good job of playing the stronger, less interesting Paul Altman who inherited his father's hardware store.

Circling around the loving family circus that is the Altman's is an even bigger cast of characters. They all seem to be attracted to the legendary dysfunction of the Altmans. In one scene Paul Altman has sex with his wife who yearns to be pregnant and it is broadcast into a full living via a baby monitor. Rather than turn it down, Philip turns the sounds of carnal fun UP for the very full living room of visitors to enjoy.

One notable standout in the supporting cast is Rose Byrne, who plays an ice-skating underachiever who never stopped loving Judd Altman. Byrne hides some of her innate beauty in this role, but bubbles with charm, and could easily be a character in a John Hughes movie from the 80s.

Who Would Like it and Why
Fans of Tina Fey.
She is beginning to really turn in some huge performances that are more dramatic than comedic, and she's doing a great job at it.

Fans of Jason Bateman will enjoy another understated and subtle performance. I especially enjoyed a scene where he confronts his cheating wife against a back drop of fall colors. Fans of Timothy Olyphant. Olyphant shines here as a brain damaged friend of the family and former lover of Wendy.

Who Might not Like it and Why
The movie lacks focus and goes all over the place too often. The audience is asked to fall in love with a rabbi whom everyone refers to as "Boner" and was also a contemporary of the family, but his character is underdeveloped. There were enough plots and subplots for twenty movies here.

Highlights/Top Scenes
The acting was so strong for each character that I would gladly watch each character's story play out individually in more focused two-hour vignettes.

Dax Sheppard plays the man who cuckolds Bateman. This scene is probably one of the most intense in the whole movie, as Bateman's hearing goes out once he realizes what's happened.

The ice skating scenes with the beautiful Byrne are magical and hopefully another movie in and of themselves. I also enjoyed a site gag where Hilary Altman's boobs keep popping out of her dress while she makes Judd's bed with him.

Two Mike and Ikes.


Director: Lars Von Trier

Lead Actors: , ,

Producer: Jessica Ask

Plot Synopsis: A man trapped in his own foggy musings, finds a woman injured and catching hypothermia in the streets near his home.

He picks her up and takes her into his home, and nurses her back to health. He asks her what got her into this predicament, and she insists that she's a bad person.

Unimpressed, Skarsgard's Seligman delves further into Gainsbourg's Joe's past for some inkling as to what happened to her, and quite possibly for some company. What he finds is that Joe has a cold cut case of Nymphomania.

Who Would Like it and Why
Those who are attracted to good writing. Never boring, Von Triers starts this escapade off with a rousing number by none other than kinky German metal band Romstein - heavy metal guitars blazing.

This perhaps sets the tone for a bumpy ride, as we go back and revisit Joe's life and attempt to fully comprehend full-fledged nymphomania from a nearly clinical standpoint.

The best writing comes out in the dialogue between the docile but highly intellectual Seligman, and the dauntless and catty Joe. Seligman, during many points of their conversation compares Joe's sexual forays to the breeding rituals of northern American trout.

These segments are quite endearing and funny. Seligman's scientific musings attempt to add pacing, ritual and meaning to Joe's raucous, wild sexual world.

Also, if you are a fan of good, surprising performances, definitely key into this movie. Trouble-making actor Shia LaBeouf  dazzles in his portrayal of a young, moped-fixing English lad who steals the virginity from a younger Joe. Then we meet him later in life when Joe, quite accidentally, stumbles into a company that LaBeouf 's Jerome runs to apply for a job!

Jerome, we find out, turns out to be the only man that Joe ever truly loves throughout all her legendary sexcapades.

The chemistry between LaBeouf and Stacy Martin, who seductively plays the young Joe, is great. During one scene in particular Joe, who is Jerome's assistant and secretary, asks to park a car that Jerome cannot seem to manage to park into a tight spot on the side of a busy street in what I think is London.

Jerome reluctantly lets her, and Joe parks it flawlessly. This infuriates the already prideful Jerome. Joe smiles lightly. This is a typical moment in their budding, innocent relationship and is refreshing amid all of Joe's physical forays that mean nothing emotionally.

Also, in a rousing performance worthy of Oscar nomination is yet another American playing an Englishman. This time it's Christian Slater, who plays Joe's father and a physician who later dies a  painful and tragically early death from dementia.

Slater is a wonderfully calming influence for the very intense and mixed up Joe. One of my favorite scenes is when we first meet Slater as the father and he is walking a young Joe into the woods. Given Joe's disposition, it would be easy to assume that her father molested her.

Not so! Rather what follows is an incredibly tender scene wherein Joe's father teaches her about the trees in the forest, and the shapes of their leaves.

Most notably, he points out the leave of the ash tree and tells the fable behind why the ash tree is shaped and colored the way that it is. This observing of the wonderful trees in English forests becomes the foundation of their relationship up until Joe's father's death. Trees and leaves, and in particular a book that she and her father made, become one of the few sources of solace in Joe's turbulent life.

This entire relationship, again, is played out with Oscar-level precision and softness with Christian Slater and Stacy Martin.

Martin, who is in the bulk of this first movie, does a great job portraying the conflicted Joe. She manages to be incredibly lovely and sultry and pretty during sex and seduction scenes, but she is also incredibly compassionate towards her father and helpless against the love she has for Jerome. Martin gets an A+.

Then comes an amazingly rousing and comedic scene from none other than blonde bombshell Uma Thurman. Yet another American actor stealing a role back from the English who seem to be taking a lot of work from Americans lately in film and television.

Thurman plays a wife who has been cuckolded by the frisky Joe, who in her early 20s sometimes slept with eight different men . . . wait for it . . . in one night! Thurman's Mrs. H follows her husband back to Joe's bachelorette pad (if ever there was one) where Joe slept with Mrs. H's husband.

This is after Mrs. H's husband has announced that he is leaving his family for Joe. Mrs. H. takes her three kids to Joe's apartment to confront the two lovers.

Joe is aloof as she is awaiting another conquest. But Uma makes a huge display out of humiliating her husband and shaming him, and does nothing short of sitting the kids down in the bed where the infidelity happened. She then leaves, with the guilting power of a jewish mother, gasping with grief as she goes down the stairs.

I have seen Uma Thurman in at least fifteen movies, and she has never been outrightly funny to me. But in this ten minute scene, she dominated with comic sensibilities. Kudos to Von Triers for casting this statuesque American beauty as the cuckolded wife and mother of three. It was wildly entertaining.

Who Might not Like it and Why
Some might be afraid of the graphic sex scenes, which there are quite a few. Some of them involve a very naked Shia LaBeouf  who I never have and never will see as a sex symbol! I remember LaBeouf  as a teenager from the movie Holes. I feel like I have seen him grow up, but I never, ever felt the need to see him naked in a love scene, ever! His talents, I always thought, were from his quick wit and grasp of dialogue, not his grasping of the female body . . . yet I digress. . .

Von Triers, the Danish filmmaker who makes movies with the same aggression that the Denmark soccer team played soccer in the World Cup earlier this summer, is not afraid of showing how clumsy and ugly the male genitalia can be in all of it's different forms. He treats us to several interludes of Stacy Martin with her different conquests.

What I found bizarre is that Joe, in her thirst, wasn't very picky.

Many of her men were at best ugly. They all had faults like flabby or jaundiced skin. I was not sure why a woman of her beauty wouldn't have gone for more good-looking young lads. Come to think of it, LaBeouf  . . . in the buff . . .  might have been her best conquest. Now that's sad!

Ultimately, though, I think Von Triers looks at Nymphomania as a clinical condition and not some girl being a "slut" or "greedy". He shows sympathy for Joe throughout the movie.

It should be stated, too, that for Von Triers to direct a movie about this particular condition, without any sex scenes, would be idiotically prude.

Alas, Von Triers makes his points about the sex in Nymphoamina. But where his directorial brush does its best work in this movie (which by the way is the first of two) is by showing how the relationships of the protagonist made her a nymphomaniac and how her nymphomania affected others around her.

Kudos to Von Triers though for finding humor and sadness in the story of Joe and for bringing us these heart warming and tender performances.

Highlights/Top Scenes

Again, LaBeouf s advances towards Martin, and then his punishing her for not putting out, and her falling in love with his character Jerome, are all adorable. Again, Slate is on fire during every moment he is on camera. And Seligman's witticisms and intellectualizations of Joe's sexual appetite and self destructive behavior are all delicious.;

Every Von Triers movie I have seen has found humor and has had great story telling. This is no exception.

Two Mike and Ikes.