A Dirty Shame

B (out of 5) Tracey Ullman is a frigid, angry housewife who cannot satisfy the needs of her wholesome husband (Chris Isaak) and is ashamed of her mega-breasted exotic dancer daughter (Selma Blair). After suffering a hit to the head, however, her libido is awakened and she is inducted into a pro-sex cult by a snake-tongued…

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Pecker

BBB (out of 5) Funny little film from John Waters is one of his most modest films, about a meek amateur photographer (Edward Furlong) who hits the limelight and finds that success alienates him too much from the people he loves most. Christina Ricci is great as his girlfriend, a laundromat employee who takes her job…

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Serial Mom

BBBB (out of 5) Taking on America’s obsession with the ‘American dream’, John Waters makes one of his funniest comedies. Beverly Sutphin (Kathleen Turner in top form) is a June Cleaver-like housewife who bakes cookies, recycles diligently and makes her kids’ breakfasts every morning. Everything about her is completely normal…except that she’s also a serial killer….

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Hairspray (1988)

BBB.5 (out of 5) John Waters’ most popular film is also one of his most thoughtful and entertaining.  Ricki Lake is awkwardly adorable as a music-obsessed teenager whose stout physicality and highly teased hair make her something of an oddball among her teen friends in 1960s Baltimore. Her mother (300 pound cross-dressing Divine) and father (Jerry…

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Polyester

BB (out of 5) Divine is hilarious as a prim 1950s suburban housewife whose world falls apart when her porn-theatre owning husband (fifties heartthrob Tab Hunter) admits to having an affair with his secretary, her daughter gets pregnant, and her son turns out to be a foot fetishist. The locals start to protest the family’s remaining…

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Cecil B. Demented

BB (out of 5) Pompous and tiring film by John Waters that attempts to glorify the independent film scene at the expense of mainstream Hollywood cinema. While some of Waters’ jokes are pretty funny (“Children Of Paradise The English Version!” one billboard proclaims), most of them tend to be too clever for their own good…

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Hairspray (2007)

BBBB (out of 5) A teenager in the 1960s decides to fight racial segregation and is met with serious threats to her future; sounds like an update of Mississippi Burning until you add big hair, rocking tunes and John Travolta in a dress. Newcomer Nikki Blonsky plays the youngster in question, Tracy, in this wonderful…

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Beautiful Darling

BBBB (out of 5) The life and times of Andy Warhol superstar Candy Darling are examined in this highly enjoyable documentary, a great companion piece to Superstar In A Housedress and Little Joe. Darling was the loveliest of the three starlets that Warhol made famous in the late 60s, along with Jackie Curtis and Holly Woodlawn, and…

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Something Wild

BBBB.5 (out of 5) One of Jonathan Demme’s best films is this delightfully mad caper starring Melanie Griffith in a brilliant, endearing performance. Jeff Daniels plays a straight-laced businessman who mistakenly accepts a ride from a sexy wild child (Griffith) that turns out to be an endless adventure. Instead of taking him home, Griffith takes…

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Stealth

0 (out of 5) There are times when I realize that I can be a little too hard on Hollywood action films by expecting them to have deeply realized characters and complex plots. However, it’s not asking too much that they make sense, which Stealth most definitely does not. A huge bomb at the box…

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I Am Divine

BBBB (out of 5) Stylish, heartfelt and witty documentary about the now legendary performer who first burst out in John Waters’ underground cult classics.  A shy teenager who loved food and fashion, Divine (born Harris Glenn Milstead) became the caustic drag performer whose years-long friendship with Waters resulted in his starring in the majority of the quirkmaster’s…

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Breaker Morant

BBBBB (out of 5) Riveting drama based on the play by Kenneth Ross, about three Australian soldiers on trial in a military court for the execution of Boer prisoners. The dead men had been captured in a raid that was committed as revenge for the murder of a superior officer, but now the Australian army…

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