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Basic Instinct

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By David J. Fox and David J. Fox,Los Angeles Times | March 24, 1992
Hollywood -- The controversial movie "Basic Instinct," a sexual murder thriller about ice-pick slayings, jumped to the top of the national box-office standings in its debut weekend despite -- or perhaps aided by -- well-publicized protests.The film's financially troubled producer, Carolco Pictures, and its distributor, TriStar Pictures, boasted a sizzling box-office tally of $15 million in tickets sold for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. That estimated figure from industry sources put it well ahead of second-place "Wayne's World," which drew an estimated $7.8 million.
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By Chris Kaltenbach and Chris Kaltenbach,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | May 11, 2007
For much of his career, Paul Verhoeven has specialized in films about people who will do anything to get ahead (Showgirls), the upper hand (Basic Instinct) or the bad guy (RoboCop). His movies have been relentlessly over-the-top, cinematic train wrecks from which audiences couldn't avert their eyes, even if they felt guilty afterward for reveling in such unapologetic exploitation. Black Book (Sony Pictures Classics) Starring Carice van Houten, Sebastian Koch. Directed and co-written by Paul Verhoeven.
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By Stephen Hunter and Stephen Hunter,Film Critic | March 20, 1992
About halfway through "Basic Instinct" I was seized with a primordial urge, a spasm of undeniable wanting that arose from deep within my being. I fought it, but what can a man do in the grip of such a demon? And so I gave in and . . . ZZZZZZ-ZZZZZZZZZ-ZZZZZZZZ!Overpublicized and underbrained,"Basic Instinct" is a bitter disappointment, worth maybe a 10th of the hype that the media have so obligingly ladled out for its benefit. It makes you feel dirty in the morning. A thin and unconvincing mystery story, it is really driven forward not by plot or character but by the two or three quasi-hot scenes in which highly paid movie stars cavort like Erica and Long Dong in any of a half-million craftless tapes since porn moved to video.
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By Chris Kaltenbach and Chris Kaltenbach,Sun Movie Critic | February 26, 2007
HOLLYWOOD -- The world waited 14 years for a sequel to Basic Instinct. Perhaps it could have waited a bit longer. Basic Instinct 2, with Sharon Stone reprising the role that made her famous - that of a bisexual, ice-pick-wielding murderess - was the big winner ... er, loser, at the 27th annual Razzie Awards. The ceremony, traditionally held on the day before the Oscars, highlights the worst of Hollywood each year. A $70-million mess that earned less than $6 million at the U.S. box office, the film - rechristened Basically, It Stinks, Too by the Razzie folks - was a four-time loser at the awards ceremony, held Saturday night at Hollywood's Ivar Theatre.
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By Los Angeles Times | August 10, 1992
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- No one could say that the strict Calvinist folks of South Africa weren't warned about their latest American import, "Basic Instinct."Long before the film arrived, the newspapers said that it was sexually explicit, violent, probably sexist.But, then again, maybe that's why the thriller, starring Michael Douglas and Sharon Stone, already has cracked nearly every box-office record in South Africa."Basic Instinct" set a record for its opening weekend and its first week, in South Africa, collecting about $660,000 on 48 screens nationwide.
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By David J. Fox and David J. Fox,Los Angeles Times | March 24, 1992
Hollywood -- The controversial movie "Basic Instinct," a sexual murder thriller about ice-pick slayings, jumped to the top of the national box-office standings in its debut weekend despite -- or perhaps aided by -- well-publicized protests.The film's financially troubled producer, Carolco Pictures, and its distributor, TriStar Pictures, boasted a sizzling box-office tally of $15 million in tickets sold for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. That estimated figure from industry sources put it well ahead of second-place "Wayne's World," which drew an estimated $7.8 million.
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By Los Angeles Daily News | March 19, 1992
LOS ANGELES -- The efforts by gay rights advocates to disrupt tomorrow's premiere of "Basic Instinct" are unlikely to damage the movie's box office results, industry watchers said."
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By Stephen Hunter and Stephen Hunter,Film Critic | March 20, 1992
About halfway through "Basic Instinct" I was seized with a primordial urge,a spasm of undeniable wanting that arose from deep within my being. I fought it, but what can a man do in the grip of such a demon? And so I gave in and . . . ZZZZZZ-ZZZZZZZZZ!Overpublicized and underbrained,"Basic Instinct" is a bitter disappointment, worth maybe a 10th of the hype that the media have so obligingly ladled out for its benefit. It makes you feel dirty in the morning. A thin and unconvincing mystery story, it is really driven forward not by plot or character but by the two or three quasi-hot scenes in which highly paid movie stars cavort like Erica and Long Dong in any of a half-million craftless tapes since porn moved to video.
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By Jean Marbella and Jean Marbella,Staff Writer | March 18, 1992
How can a small group of protesters, working on their own time and money, take on a major Hollywood movie that is storming into theaters Friday on the star power of Michael Douglas, a heavy advertising blitz and prerelease publicity about sex scenes so hot they nearly rated an X?They can reveal the ending.Gay activists are trying to publicize the who of the whodunit "Basic Instinct" as a way of taking some of the steam out of the hotly anticipated movie and its plot about several bisexual or lesbian women suspected in a series of ice-pick murders.
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By Jean Marbella and Jean Marbella,Staff Writer | March 18, 1992
How can a small group of protesters, working on their own time and money, take on a major Hollywood movie that is storming into theaters this Friday on the star power of Michael Douglas, a heavy advertising blitz and prerelease publicity about sex scenes so hot they nearly rated an X?They can reveal the ending.Gay activists are trying to publicize the who of the whodunit "Basic Instinct" as a way of taking some of the steam out of the hotly anticipated movie and its plot about several bisexual or lesbian women suspected in a series of ice-pick murders.
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By CHRIS KALTENBACH and CHRIS KALTENBACH,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | March 31, 2006
Plenty of dead bodies. Lots of people using really naughty words and having rough sex. Multiple shots of Sharon Stone, naked. Even an ice pick. Must be another Basic Instinct. Oh, joy. Basic Instinct 2 (MGM) Starring Sharon Stone, Paul Morrissey. Directed by Michael Caton-Jones. Rated R. Time 114 minutes.
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By BOB IVRY and BOB IVRY,THE (HACKENSACK, N.J.) RECORD | March 31, 2006
Sharon Stone built her entire career on a fraction of a second of screen time. You have to admire that. So why does Stone insist, to this day, that it was her superior acting in Basic Instinct that opened the door to fortune and fame, and not the most famous peekaboo in cinematic history? There's no doubt Stone was good, very good, as suspected killer Catherine Tramell. So good, and so friendly, in fact, that a sequel, the imaginatively titled Basic Instinct 2, blows into theaters today.
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By Jamie Stiehm and Jamie Stiehm,SUN STAFF | July 25, 2000
Spend enough time behind bars - at the Baltimore Zoo - and your natural instincts are likely to be dulled. There are few opportunities for truly wild play. Food doesn't have to be caught or killed. So zoo officials, with the help of some kids ages 11 to 14, created something that sounds like it came out of a yuppie child-raising guide: "enrichment toys." The children made them out of colored wood, leather strings and paper mache, and filled and adorned them with dried fruit and other foods.
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By Douglas Birch and Douglas Birch,SUN STAFF | December 19, 1995
It's an ancient instinct. Dictators and schoolteachers have tried to control it, fearing its contagious power to undermine authority. When it erupts at the wrong moment, it can signal severe illness.Still, most people can't talk about it without cracking a smile.It's laughter. And for Professor Robert E. Provine, who has spent the past six years studying chortles, titters, brays, giggles and guffaws, it's a very serious subject."We spend a lot of time looking at the vocalization of other animals, such as bird sounds and animal calls," says Dr. Provine, 52, a psychologist at the University of Maryland at Baltimore County.
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By David Kronke and David Kronke,Special to The Sun | February 5, 1995
Los Angeles -- Sharon Stone spent years in the trenches, surviving awful movies like "King Solomon's Mines," "Action Jackson" and "Scissors," and bit parts in "He Said, She Said" and "Irreconcilable Differences." An ice pick and a silk scarf -- tools of her character's trade in "Basic Instinct" -- put an end to that.Now one of the most popular and most handsomely paid actresses in Hollywood, Ms. Stone writes her own ticket. She's co-producing her latest effort, "The Quick and the Dead," which opens Friday.
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By John D. Cox and John D. Cox,McClatchy News Service | January 2, 1994
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Any day now, certainly by spring, the inexorable northward march of the honeybee with the reputation of a killer will reach California.The advance guard probably will cross the Colorado River near Yuma, Ariz., where they were spotted in September, and enter the agriculturally rich Imperial Valley.As they move up through the state during the next few years, they are going to change the way millions of Californians think about bees.No reason for panic, experts say, but make no mistake: This is one mean little buzzer.
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By Stephen Hunter and Stephen Hunter,Film Critic | March 22, 1992
It's an irony far too exquisite and far too subtle for the makers of "Basic Instinct" to have managed on their own, since they manage no other ironies: The homosexual community is outraged at the film for its negative portrayals of lesbian women as ice-pick wielding murderers.What is so odd about this is the movie's distance from anything remotely authentic about homosexual life or culture and the filmmakers' basic lack of interest in it. They can't begin to imagine such a thing and have no clue how to represent it. Their "assault" on homosexuals is clearly a smoke screen; it only disguises the true agenda of the film.
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By Scott Hettrick | October 16, 1992
BASIC INSTINCT(Live Home Video, 1992).If this film appeals to our basic instincts, or if the impersonal and rough sexual encounters depicted are representative of our instinctive behavior, then it is a powerful and disturbing commentary on humanity. But, of course, it is none of those things. It is not even a very satisfying piece of entertainment.The film stirred a lot of interest when it was learned that a star of the caliber of Michael Douglas would co-star in the sex-charged mystery that was so sexually explicit that it was rated NC-17 before 47 seconds were cut.The public's interest was not difficult to fathom, given the level of graphic violence and brutality that has become acceptable in cinema.
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By Stephen Hunter and Stephen Hunter,Film Critic | October 29, 1993
"Fatal Instinct" has a basic attraction: lots of handsome and beautiful people making horses' asses of themselves. It's really stupid. I like that in a movie.The film is one of those joke-dense parodies inspired by (but not as inspired as) "Airplane" and the "Naked Gun" movies of the fabled Zucker-Zucker-Abrahams team, with an original impetus provided by the old Mad magazine in its "Scenes We'd Like to See" department.The subject at hand is film noir, those dank and swozzled tales of lust and betrayal that emerged after World War II with their night city photography and their existential hubris, and that persist to this day in sunnier but smuttier suburbs.
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By Jean Marbella and Jean Marbella,Staff Writer | July 28, 1993
Round up the usual suspects!"That might have worked in "Casablanca" 51 years ago, but when today's movie makers are casting the role of the villain, the usual suspects increasingly are off-limits.Cast a homosexual or bisexual ("Basic Instinct," "Silence of the Lambs," "JFK"), and the gay groups will protest. Cast a woman ("Fatal Attraction," "The Hand That Rocks the Cradle"), and the feminists will cry foul. Cast Arabs or Jews, Italians or Japanese, just to name a few groups who have been offended by their Hollywood portrayals over the years, and risk a squawk from an organization that likely has "anti-defamation" in its name."
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