"Hell's Kitchen"

Hell's Kitchen (1998) was covered by Scoopy when it was first released, and based on his review, I didn't order it. With breast exposure from Angelina Jolie and Rosanna Arquette as her mother, as well as a stripper, I elected to give it a try. This was a first time directing effort from Tony Cinciripini for $6M, and grossed a whopping $9.12K in its public release. The box office, and the 4.3 IMDB rating should be enough to warn you off. Add the fact that the nude scenes are very dark, and I was right in ignoring it.

Part of the problem is that Cinciripini didn't know what kind of film he was trying to make. He managed a complete young fighter genre with all of the plot elements, including bad boy turns good, has eccentric manager, gets title bout, is asked to throw the fight, and defends justice and the American way, but this is only a minor plot element. The main story is about how the fighter and some friends tried robbery, and one of the friends ended up shot and killed. The fighter went to prison for the crime. The dead kids sister shacked up with another for the friends, who now owned a nightclub, but the owner was also banging her dope addict mother, Arquette. There is also a sub-plot where the fighter rescues a tough street kid.

There were just too many things going on to get into any part of the story, way to many characters, and most of the tale was unpleasant. D.

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  • Angelina Jolie (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11)
  • Rosanna Arquette (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12)
  • Stripper (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16)

    "Herod's Law"

    Herod's Law (2000), you may recall, was given rave reviews from Scoopy last week. Bottom line first - this is the best new comedy I have seen in years. At once a story of the corruption of "everyman," broad farce, scathing political satire, and some of the most entertaining sex scenes I have ever watched, this film was a total delight, even with subtitles. I see maybe ten films each year that I suggest to everyone I know, and this will be one of them.

    A security guard at an essentially unused dump is made mayor of a small town with a history of killing mayors to keep the town quiet until the pending national elections. He is chosen because, it is thought, he is too stupid to cause any trouble. They seriously underestimated the man, who arrives eager and full of hopes for a brilliant future, only to find that the town is dirt poor, and most of the residents are Indian and speak no Spanish. He runs afoul of the local madam by refusing her bribe, the padre for refusing the bribe, and the town doctor for not closing down the cat house. When he discovers that the town treasury is down to 9 Pesos, he heads off to the capital to ask for more cash. What he gets is a gun, and a penal code, and the admonition that, by properly using both, money won't be a problem.

    He proves to be a quick study, and is soon taking graft, making free with the tarts, and taxing everything and everyone. Unfortunately, he has to eliminate a few people along the way. His wife, Leticia Huijara, shows breasts and full rear nudity, and Evangelina Sosa and two other women show breasts and buns in a hilarious 4 way with him. IMDB readers say 8.4 of 10. The film won 16 awards including 9 Ariels, and was nominated for many others.Ebert awarded two stars, finding fault with character development. I felt the characters were nicely developed. Part of the genius of the film was casting Damián Alcázar in the lead. He was so likable that he retains audience sympathy even when he falls to doing really evil things. Even for those who usually find subtitles a chore, this one is worth the watch. B-.

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  • Evangelina Sosa (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8)
  • Group (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22)
  • Letitia Huijara (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14)

  • Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy)

    Wonderland (2003):

    Wonderland is a re-creation of the 1981 Wonderland murders, in which a famous Hollywood mobster named Eddie Nash was alleged to have ordered the murder of some small-time crime figures and their women as retribution for their having robbed him. The grisly case (the victims were bludgeoned to death with large metal objects) attained an extra measure of fame because one of the accomplices to the murder was said to have been John Holmes, the biggest star in the history of porn (in more ways than one). Holmes's bloody handprint was found on the scene.

    The characters were portrayed fictionally in the second half of the notable P. T. Anderson film, Boogie Nights. The Mark Wahlberg character was based on Holmes. The Alfred Molina character was based on Nash. 

    Holmes eventually claimed to have been present and to have participated unwillingly in the murders, supposedly forced by Nash to participate because of Holmes's putative involvement with the earlier robbery. At one point, Holmes was tried and acquitted on the murder counts. Holmes went to his grave in 1988, a victim of AIDS-related illness, without ever admitting to voluntary participation in the events. Since Holmes was generally acknowledged to be a compulsive liar, nobody knows if any of his versions of the story were true.

    Although Nash was never convicted of involvement in the Wonderland murders, he was indicted on federal RICO charges in 2000, and reached a plea bargain in 2001, which the US Attorney announced as follows: "After pleading guilty to federal charges of leading a racketeering enterprise and conspiring to commit the notorious “Wonderland murders,” Eddie Nash was sentenced this afternoon to 37 months in federal prison. A plea agreement between the government and Nash was unsealed today, revealing that the defendant has agreed to fully cooperate with federal, state and local authorities who are continuing to investigate Nash’s racketeering enterprise and other criminal conduct of which Nash has knowledge. John Curtis Holmes, the pornographic film star ... was a member of Nash’s narcotics trafficking enterprise, and ... orchestrated the robbery of Nash that led to the murder conspiracy." Unfortunately, that tantalizing revelation was to be the last public access to Nash's confessions to this date, and the public has still not seen Nash's specific statements about Holmes.

    The film gives two versions of the robbery/murder sequence. The first is told by a member of the Wonderland Gang, the only one who escaped death because he wasn't in the house on the night that Nash's minions arrived. The second version is related by Holmes himself (Val Kilmer). The audience cannot be sure what to believe because both men are notorious for their inability to tell the truth, but the film concludes with a "objective" version of the murders, a scene which must represent the filmmakers' personal conclusions about what really happened.

    Although it's a bit show-offy in terms of technique, the movie is skillfully made. It is also unrelentingly ugly and grim. It is a sordid telling and re-telling of incidents involving people taking vast quantities of drugs, living in squalor, and committing ugly and violent acts upon one another. It's ugly non-stop. The final portrayal of the killings, the "objective" version, is brutally honest and honestly brutal, almost at the level of Irreversible.

    The grotesque drug-addled lives of the participants are enhanced by speed-ups, multiple images, sudden changes in saturation and lighting, a grainy shot-on-video newsreel feel, and other techniques designed to draw the audience deeper into the lives of the people portrayed.

    I never got drawn in, just because those people are uniformly unpleasant and evil. It is not possible to sympathize with Eddie during his humiliation in the robbery, because he's the biggest scumbag in L.A. It's not really possible to sympathize with the murder victims, despite the brutality of their slaughter, because they are not far below Eddie on the scumbaggery scale. In fact, they are probably more evil than Eddie, albeit less successful at turning evil into profit. There are really no major characters who are attractive or likeable in any way, although Holmes's girlfriend and ex-wife are portrayed as innocent victims of his crazed lifestyle, and one does feel for them.

    The truth does justify the ugliness of the portrayal, and I support that in theory, but that doesn't mean I liked watching it. I didn't. I wish I hadn't. I admired a lot of what the director accomplished, but I never got involved in the film at all.

    Wonderland is a 2-disk set. It comes packaged with the Documentary "Wadd", a look back at the life of John Holmes, and an important source of material for Wonderland. It included interviews with his ex-wife, his ex-girlfriend, directors, and co-stars, plus his good friend and manager who helped him "create himself".

    There is almost no female nudity, just the side of Kate Bosworth's hips! (Val Kilmer did show his butt, but who cares?)

    • Kate Bosworth (1, 2)

    • Paris Hilton (she's everywhere!) (1, 2)




    The Heart of Me (2003):

    As you guys know, when it comes to classification, I am the Carolus Linneaus of chick-flicks. Here's the taxonomy:

    category: chick-flick (female rating 1.5 higher than male)

    sub-category: granny type (scores increase as the age of the reviewers increases)

    division: weepfest

    sub-division: long-concealed love

    type: period costumes

    sub-type: wartime England

    I found this flick every bit as tedious as Tuna did (complete summary page), but I appreciate that the beautiful photography was used for good as well as evil. The evil being a period costume weepfest, the good being these two women with their shirts off:

    • Helena Bonham Carter (1, 2)
    • Olivia Williams (1, 2)





    Hi Scoop!
    I tried the online version of the 2-d decoder using a code from the back of my military ID card. Didn't work. Didn't do anything.  Might try again later and see if they make any improvements.






    Other Crap archives. May also include newer material than the ones above, since it's sorta in real time.

    Click here to submit a URL for inclusion in Other Crap




    Here are the latest movie reviews available at

    • The yellow asterisks indicate that I wrote the review, and am deluded into thinking it includes humor.
    • If there is a white asterisk, it means that there isn't any significant humor, but I inexplicably determined there might be something else of interest.
    • A blue asterisk indicates the review is written by Tuna (or Junior or Brainscan, or somebody else besides me)
    • If there is no asterisk, I wrote it, but am too ashamed to admit it.


    Words from Scoop.

    .avi's from Shiloh.

    .wmv files made by Scoop from Shiloh's .avi's.

    1. It's Holly Hunter day in the Shiloh corner. Here she is in The Piano, with the camera shooting right up her rumpus. (.avi version, .wmv version)

    2. And here is Hunter, having really worked out since The Piano and showing off a perfectly exercised butt in Living out Loud. (.avi version, .wmv version)

    3. And here is Hunter's brief love scene with Billy Crudup in Jesus' Son. (.avi version, .wmv version)



    Perhaps these tips will help if you have trouble with the codecs for these movies:

    Shiloh says:

    FYI when I hypercam vids to make the file size smaller I use DivX MPEG-4 Fast-Motion for the video compressor, then I use virtualdub to compress the audio. The properties for the vids says the video codec:  DivX Decoder Filter & audio codec:  Morgan Stream Switcher which I'm not familiar with. When I compress the audio with virtualdub I use MPEG Layer-3.  A friend of mine told me about compressing the audio about (6) mos. ago. Like I said previously, only been capping for a year & a half & I'm no expert. Hopefully this info will help members with the proper codecs for my vids.
    When I cap big brother's I use hypercam mostly & sdp & asfrecorder if the set up allows me. I stopped using camtasia cause the file sizes were always too big, could never figure out the process, over my head lol, plus it cost too much to buy in my opinion.

    A reader says:

    You mentioned that some users were having trouble with the videos on your site. There is a tool designed to determine what codec is needed for a video. Hope this is useful to you or your users.

    Scoop says:

    I made the .wmv versions of each video. The codecs for these: Windows Video V8, Windows Audio 9. The upside of these is that you know the codecs, and they'll play in the Windows Media Player. The downside is that they are slightly larger, and slightly lower quality.

    Graphic Response
    From the 1988 Carl Weathers action flick, "Action Jackson".
    • Sharon Stone, in one of her 'pre-famous' topless scenes.
    • Vanity, from one of her 'wannabe famous' topless scenes.

    Be sure to pay Graphic Response a visit at his website.

    Charisma Carpenter
    (1, 2, 3, 4)

    More great cleavage from the second season DVD set of the WB TV series "Angel". Thanks to DeadLamb.

    Jenny Agutter
    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19)

    Watty delivers some excellent images of the UK actress topless, showing her bum and going full frontal in scenes from the Oscar nominated movie "Equus" (1977).

    Kay Parker
    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)

    Annette Haven
    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)

    Marvin 'caps from the classic era of porn. Both ladies bare all in hardcore 'caps from the 1978 adult film Sex World".

    Christina Ricci
    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8)

    Great 'caps by the Skin-man of Ricci topless and possibly showing just a hint of pubes (links 5-8) in scenes from "Prozac Nation".

    Shameless Plug O' the Day
    Regular readers probably recognize the name Pat Reeder as the guy from The Comedy Wire section of the Fun House. In real life...he's also the guy who writes the jokes that your DJ tells every morning during your drive to work.

    As we've mentioned in the past, back in the day Pat partnered up with another radio man, George Gimarc, and wrote a very funny book called "Hollywood Hi-Fi". For those who have forgotten our previous praise and ramblings..."Hollywood Hi-Fi" a tribute to all the worst albums every recorded by so-called celebrity singers like Bill Shatner and Crispin Glover.

    Here's what the critics have said: The Phoenix Sun named it the "Best Weird Book of the Year," and Cool & Strange Music magazine called it the "Best Hard-To-Find Book of the Year,"

    The book has been out of print for several years and is hard to find, but for fans of actors trying to be singers, we have good news.... George Gimarc has as come into a stash of "Hollywood Hi-Fi", direct from the publisher's warehouse! These are NEW, autographed copies that you can pick up for online for $10 (over 30% off the the original price of $14.95!).

    Click here to check out excerpts from the book, as well as all the info you need to pick up your own copy!

    Pat Reeder
    Pat's comments in yellow...

    He'll Just Spank His Opponent - George Foreman, who already set a boxing record by winning the heavyweight belt at 45, says he's planning another comeback at 55. Foreman said it's time people stopped being afraid of being 50 or 60, worrying about their medical exam results all the time, and he wants to show them what can be done. He started working out on his 55th birthday last month with a goal of getting down to 225 pounds. He said he may have to cut out desserts to drop another 50 pounds.

  • On second thought, maybe he WON'T return to the ring.
  • This could delay the rollout of his new "George Foreman Donut Grill."
  • He'll have an unfair advantage: his belt is now at chest level.
  • He hopes to win the Heavyweight Sans-a-belt.

    Bitches On Wheels - Fox has signed Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie for a second season of "The Simple Life," with a twist. To avoid inflicting them on one town for too long, the girls will take "the ultimate road trip" through America in a Winnebago, "from town to town and from family to family." A Fox executive said the pair have flitted around exotic locales but never traveled much in America, so it'll be interesting to see America through their eyes. He said, "Maybe Paris will visit a Wal-Mart."

  • Paris could load up on clothes from the Kathie Lee Gifford collection.
  • They'll go from town to town, from family to family, and from bachelor to bachelor.

    Pew! - The Church of England decided the Three Wise Men might have been three unwise women, but that's not their only bold new idea. Some bishops claim that people are now "second or third-generation pagan" and see Sunday as a day for family or sports, not worship, so the church should change to reflect that. Their creative suggestions include mid-week "seeker services" for people who aren't sure what religion they are, "cafe churches" which serve coffee and croissants, "cathedral raves" featuring rapping DJs, and "cell churches," or sermons by phone.

  • The cathedral raves will include a two-drink minimum on Communion wine.
  • It's about time churches started accommodating the pagans more!
  • Maybe they should keep church the way it is, and just serve coffee to help people stay awake.
  • In a related story, a group of English bishops were just struck repeatedly by lightning.

    She Likes A Stiff Man - A 35-year-old French woman became a bride and a widow at the same time by marrying a dead man in Nice. Her fiance was killed in 2002, but she wanted to marry him anyway. Under French law, that's allowed if they were already planning to be married and the French president grants permission. She said it might seem shocking to marry someone dead, but it hadn't dimmed her feelings for him.

  • And he's no less communicative about his feelings than before, so...
  • He still makes her laugh.
  • Usually, grooms are just dead drunk.
  • The only good Frenchman she knew was a dead Frenchman, a sentiment many Americans share.

    Blame Canada! - Richard Albert lives across the border from St. Pamphile, Quebec, and for 40 years, he's been going there for shopping, doctors and church. But then, the Homeland Security Department set up a crossing station to restrict entry. It's closed on Sundays, so Albert just drove around it to go to church. A security camera photographed him, and he's facing a $10,000 fine for violating anti-terrorist laws by driving to church. Albert complained that the authorities want people to just sit there and not move when there's nothing on the American side.

  • See?! I KNEW he was anti-American!
  • Well, he fits the profile of a terrorist: lives in the woods, angry at the U.S. government, religious fanatic...
  • Let me get this straight: If you enter America illegally, the Bush administration will forgive you...But if you leave to go to church, you're fined $10,000?