"Polvo enamorado"

Polvo enamorado (2003) is a Peruvian film set in a small town. Natalia (Gianella Neyra) was in a convent, and wanted to stay there, but her parents forced her into marrying the town mayor, many years her senior. He agreed that she could remain chaste, but, of course, was hoping she would outgrow that nonsense. She remained deeply religious, to the point that he had to drug her just to see her body. The town is in an uproar as a commercial fishing conglomerate is catching all of their fish. A new priest comes to town, Paul Vega, and he and Natalia find each other irresistible.

That is the setup, and, as is my practice, I won't write spoiler for a film I am going to recommend. Neyra, who, with 13 film and TV credits is obviously an "A" list star in Peru, shows breasts and buns. A handful of IMDb voters have this at 7.1. Up to the point when the two find themselves completely in love, and in a physical relationship, the movie worked well for me. An understanding of South American Catholic culture makes that part of the story very believable. I was less enchanted with act three, but it is certainly not dull. IMDb calls this a crime drama, but I would be more inclined to call it a romance tragedy. If the subject and setting appeal to you and you don't mind subtitles, this is well worth the watch. It is well filmed and believably acted. C+.

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  • Gionella Neyra (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15)

  • Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy)

    Bank Robber (1993):

    I'm not sure of the reason or reasons why Lisa Bonet, former Cosby kid,  had such a minimal career.

    • I don't think it could have been concern about her acting range, because from what I've seen of her over the years, she was reasonably competent and seemed to have enough raw talent and intensity so that she could have been molded into a good actress.

    • I think we can all agree that there was nothing wrong with her looks. She was an exceptionally beautiful and sexy woman.

    • She certainly wasn't shy about sex and nudity as she proved in this film and in Angel Heart.

    So what was the deal?

    There were rumors that she was difficult to work with. And I mean exceedingly difficult, such a diva that she made Madonna, Naomi Campbell, Faye Dunaway, and Streisand seem as amenable and laid-back as Tom Selleck. I suppose that probably was the case, or something like that, because no matter how beautiful and talented a woman is, that phone is going to stop ringing eventually if three conditions are present: (1) she makes everyone's life miserable (2) she has no inherent powerful box office appeal (3) she is not involved in the production side of the film, either personally or through her significant other.

    Some of those other divas mentioned above have been able to skate through for years on the basis of their own show biz power or the clout of their husbands, but eventually what goes around comes around, and they will not need to ask for whom the telephone bell tolls. It will toll for others. At any rate, Lisa started to have problems after her divorce from Lenny Kravitz in 1993. Her emotional state was stressed-out and she wasn't showing up for work on time, if at all. Within about two years, she sank from high profile movies and TV shows to B-movies, and then, in one stretch from 1994-1998, wasn't working at all. She's trying to work her way back into the business, but she's nearly 40 now, and she's like a woman who has been in a coma since 1994. She can't go back to what she used to do - play the hot young minx -  so her success depends on whether she can find a suitable 40 year old screen persona.

    This particular movie was made at the beginning of her decline, right about at the same time as her divorce.

    Bank Robber is a dark and surreal comedy. Patrick Dempsey plays a second or third generation bank robber who screws up one day and allows himself to appear unmasked on a surveillance camera during a robbery. This forces him to go underground by holing up in an a flop house hotel. In fact, it is the Heartbreak Hotel, and it is down on the end of Lonely Street. Word. This strategy keeps the police from finding him but, unfortunately for him, pretty much everyone else in town knows who he is and where he is. The hotel employees figure it out, and then others get in on the poorly kept secret. These people are certainly not going to go to the police, at least not until Dempsey is out of money, because he is their cash cow. He needs various services: food and light bulbs, and what have you, and he finds that people will not respond to his needs unless he pays them exorbitant amounts to guarantee their silence after they do the assigned tasks. After a while, people even start demanding outrageous amounts for things he does not want. The pizza guy delivers a $500 pizza that Dempsey did not order. The local drug dealer brings by some overpriced drugs, even though our hero does not even use drugs. Even a local TV broadcaster comes by for an interview. Dempsey is even the cash cow for the bank he robbed and its corrupt officials, who claim that he stole many times the actual amount.

    Dempsey tolerates all this abuse because of his dream that he'll eventually sneak out and take his faithful girlfriend (Olivia D'Abo) to the Caribbean on the yacht he plans to buy. Needless to say, she is across town loving long time with various and assorted friends, neighbors, and passers-by.

    The only person who treats him fair and square is an honest hooker (Lisa Bonet) who falls in love with him.

    The film is rated a bottom-dwelling 3.8 at IMDb. That might be a bit low, in my opinion, but I can understand why people have problems with the film. There is nothing at all exceptional about the script. The writer did have some very funny ideas, but just didn't know when the jokes were over, so the script drags out some of its premises too long and too repetitiously. Because of that, describing the film makes it sound better than it actually is. Frankly, I was getting sick of people knocking on the hotel room door to extort money from Dempsey, and I was really bored with the overuse of the device where he fantasized one thing about his pure girlfriend, and we then saw her impure reality. The film does have one great unquestioned strength. The cinematography of this film is surprisingly good. It was done by Andrej Sekula, the talented Polish cinematographer who was Tarantino's main man at the time, having done Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs and the Tarantino portion of Four Rooms. Sekula also did a variety of other eye-catching films, like the stylized and modern American Psycho, and a colorful costumer called Cousin Bette.

    The only noteworthy aspect of Bank Robber when it came out was the fact that it was rated NC-17. Unfortunately, as far as I know, it is now impossible to find the original NC-17 cut of this film in any medium, and even the R-rated video is now out of print. Sekula's photography, combined with some offbeat set design and the rarity of the original NC-17 cut, would make it a nice DVD issue, but no such animal exists in any region, at least to my knowledge. 


    Mojave Moon (1995):

    While Lisa Bonet was losing her career from 1992-2000, Angelina Jolie was gaining one at about the same rate.

    In 1992-1994 Jolie was in the struggling actress stage, attracting little attention except the occasional note that she was Jon Voight's daughter.  1995 and 1996 were her transition years, during which she was not a star, but was starting to be noticed with major roles in interesting little films. In 1997-1999, she shot through the roof, climbing through the levels of stardom as easily as a game geek climbing through the levels in The Legend of Zelda: beat one level, go to the next, beat that.

    1997: a Cable Ace award winning role in Wallace.

    1998: an Emmy winning role in Gia

    1999: an Oscar winning role in Girl, Interrupted.

    That put her on the A-list, where she has stayed, as you well know.

    Along with Hackers and Foxfire, Mojave Moon was from her "major role in quirky little movie" period when people were starting to notice her. All three of those films are rated in the mid fives at IMDb, all are watchable for one reason or another. To me, Mojave Moon is the worst of that trilogy, not because of Angelina, but because her character is oddly scripted and the movie in general is cheesy.

    Danny Aiello plays a car salesman who is picked up by Jolie one morning in a breakfast restaurant. Danny is aware that he is not as young or as attractive or as buff as Brad Pitt, so he is understandably suspicious of her motivations, but she keeps coming on to him to get him interested, so he sort of lets himself be tugged along, although she always pulls away when he gets too interested. She asks him for a ride out to her trailer in the desert, and he figures "why not?", so he drags her out there in his "old guy" sedan. Upon their arrival, she promptly abandons him with her mother (Anne Archer) and mom's psycho boyfriend, while Jolie herself leaves to elope with her boyfriend. All sorts of bizarre behavior ensues. It seems that Jolie was really luring Aiello out to the desert as a "gift" for her mom, but Aiello is totally and understandably uncomfortable with that situation, especially given that mom is currently attached to a violent nutbag.

    That first act was strange, but not exceedingly strange. The rest of the film more than took up the slack. The film stops being an offbeat domestic romance, and shifts gears completely to become a crime comedy. The boyfriend turns up dead in Aiello's trunk. Aiello's car is stolen, corpse and all. Then the corpse disappears. Then the corpse isn't even dead. Mom's psycho boyfriend wants to kill Aiello. Through a friend of a friend, Aiello needs the help of some mob guys to help him out, and it turns out that there are bars in L.A. where various specialty mobsters hang out waiting for people to come to them. Various black market corpse traders argue over the business when they think Aiello wants a corpse. The quibbling mobsters prove to be little help, so Aiello hires his actor friend (Alfred Molina, the funniest thing in the film) to dress up in Soldier of Fortune garb to scare the psycho boyfriend.

    The good guys keep failing miserably. Mom, daughter, Aiello and Molina eventually end up inside a car balanced precariously on the edge of a cliff, where ...

    Well, now you know what the film is about and you have enough info to determine whether you'd like it. You can watch the movie if you care to know what happens. I don't think you'll find any edgy, electrifying surprises in the resolution.

    It's a surreal comedy, or maybe a dark comedy without much darkness. Jolie is lively and sexy and offbeat, but does not dominate the film at all. It's really Danny Aiello's movie, and it's just so-so.

     The good news is that Jolie takes off her clothes to shower in Aiello's apartment, and we see her from the waist up.

    • Angelina Jolie (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

    • Anne Archer - (??) can't tell if her nipple is visible. Maybe.


    Spellbinder (1988):

    Spellbinder is one of those films where one must stop short of giving too much detail, because the film includes several unexpected surprise twists at the end, and those twists are the only real pleasures in what is otherwise a clumsily directed movie which seems to be an episode of a TV show. In fact, even the revelation of the twists is clumsy. In my opinion, the script might have produced an interesting if "over the top" guilty pleasure film with a better sense of pacing and suspense. Somebody with the right sensibility, like Roman Polanski for example, might have turned this script into a terrific little film. As it is, it isn't too bad as a light watch when you're grading papers or something.

    By the way, that script was written by Tracy Torme, whose father was Mel, the Velvet Fog himself. At about the same time as Spellbinder, Tracy also wrote several episodes of Star Trek: TNG, and has continued to script thoughtful sci-fi to this day, as a writer on Odyssey 5 and other projects.

    The basic premise of Spellbinder is that a young lawyer saves a beautiful woman from a coven of witches, and lets her take refuge in his house. The witches find out what's going on, and they want her back. As part of their plan, he is haunted by nightmares and spooky noses on his answering machine, and the witches place a curse on his favorite basketball team, The L.A. Clippers, so that they embark on several losing seasons. 

    If I tell you much more, I'll spoil the film completely. Suffice it to say that the Clippers do not win the NBA finals.

    I don't know if there are real witches and devils and hell, but I do know that Kelly Preston, the future Mrs Vinny Barbarino, then in her mid twenties, showed off one hellaciously good figure.


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    • 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.

    Jr's Polls
    This week's poll...
    Best Nude Performance by a former Heffmate or Pet

    Email Scoopy Jr. your nominees, comments or suggestions.

    Here are the final results and comments for last week's poll Who has the best bum in Hollywood?

    Here are the results of our other recent polls...
    The Top 20 Nude Scenes of 2004

    The Best Nude Film Debuts of the 80s

    The Best Nude Film Debuts of the 90s

    Which actress has been the most convincing playing a stripper.

    Shanna Moakler
    Nicole Marie Lenz

    Two former Heffers going topless in scenes from the comedy, "Seeing Other People" (2004), starring Jay Mohr, Lauren Graham and Andy Richter.

    Emily Blunt
    (1, 2)

    Topless in scenes from the UK movie "My Summer of Love". So far this movie has played at a few film festivals and in limited Euro-release. Currently there is no home video info at the IMDb.

    Mr. Nude Celeb
    Mr. Nude Celeb takes a look at two recent Hollywood adaptations of "The Illiad"...

    First up, the mega-budget Brad Pitt movie "Troy".

    • Diane Kruger bares a very nice bum

    • Rose Byrne doesn't really show much. (1, 2)

    • Unknowns, looks like one shows off most of a breast.

    Next up is "Helen of Troy". A made for TV mini-series that had probably 1/20th of the budget yet featured more skin!

    • Sienna Guillory baring her bum a few times and showing some see-thru breast views in links 2 and 5. (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

    'Caps and comments by Dann:

    "Hittin' It!"
    Very predictable, often-done 2004 direct-to-video comedy about two college guys who get to use Uncle Fredo's house in Miami Beach for spring break. Unc is off to Hollywood, and his only orders are to take good care of the house and keep Cousin E away, because Cousin E is the black sheep of the family, and trouble will surely follow.

    Naturally, Cousin E shows up, accompanied by lots of friends and some serious partying. The house gets trashed, of course.

    There's only one reason to do this tired old plot again, and that's to show some beautiful women in various stages of undress. That they did, and there's some funny bits as well, so it's not a total loss.

    Flautista takes a look at the 1998 indie flick "The Misadventures of Margaret", starring Parker Posey.

    I think Film summed it best....

    Based on the poorly-reviewed novel Rameau's Niece, The Misadventures of Margaret is the rather perplexing and pointless tale of a clueless writer (Parker Posey) and her abortive attempts at love. Posey and her fantasy creations are cute, but little more. She's too indecisive to be a Meg Ryan, too stupid to be a Carrie Bradshaw. Whatever.
    • Brooke Shields, showing some serious pokies.

    • Charlie Waterman playing the role of "Waitress/18th Century Lesbian". Here she is topless, hairless and in the tub with another woman. (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)

    • Parkey Posey showing off her itty bitties in two scenes. (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12)

    Christina Milian

    Both ladies showing a bit of cleavage at the Grammys.

    Angelina Jolie
    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

    Señ Skin 'caps of the mega-babe showing a bit of nipple in scenes from the 1998 indie, "Hell's Kitchen".

    Pat Reeder
    Pat's comments in yellow...

    Why Am I So Nauseous? - Britney Spears seems to be trying to start a feud with Paris Hilton over their Chihuahuas. Britney's dog Bit Bit wore a diamond collar to the Billboard Music Awards, while Paris and her dog Tinkerbell wore matching outfits on "The Simple Life." Now, on her website, Britney has declared that her three dogs - Bit Bit, Lacy Loo and Lucky - are "stylin' and profilin'. Von Dutch just sent them the coolest little clothes. My dogs are so much cuter than Tinkerbell."

  • Cuter still, she bought a matching outfit for Kevin.
  • Tinkerbell retaliated by icing Bit Bit in a drive-by.
  • Yes, but Paris and Tinkerbell's matching outfits are the same size.
  • Britney and Paris could end up co-starring in a reality show called "The Simple Minds."
  • Cut Britney some slack, this is all she's got.

    They Were Crunching Chee-tos - Cheech and Chong are writing two new reunion films, "Grumpy Old Stoners" and "Lord of the Smoke," but Tommy Chong claims that they were never really stoned when they shot their old pot-head comedies. Chong said, "We tried one time" (while shooting "Up In Smoke"), "and we wasted so much film. We were in the car waiting for the cue, you know. And the camera's rolling and we're sitting there, you know, and neither one of us heard the cue."

  • They were laughing too loudly at the fuzzy dice hanging from the mirror.
  • Until they stopped toking on the set, everyone was losing money except the caterer.
  • This is like finding out that when Pauly Shore made his movies, he wasn't really brain-damaged.

    No "Brian's Song"?! - The finale of "E.T." where E.T. says goodbye to Elliot was voted #1 on a list of the 100 biggest tearjerkers in entertainment history. #2 was the wrongful execution in "The Green Mile," and #3 was Leo DiCaprio's death in "Titanic," followed by the end of "It's A Wonderful Life," Patrick Swayze going to Heaven in "Ghost" and Bambi's mother being shot. The poll was commissioned by Britain's Channel 4 TV and the makers of Kleenex For Men.

  • Real men cry only when they have manly tissues.
  • One thing's certain: men did NOT cry when Leo DiCaprio died in "Titanic."
  • I cried when Patrick Swayze went to Heaven because after sitting through that movie, I wanted him to go to Hell.
  • The saddest scene in movie history was the end of "Thelma & Louise," when they destroy a '66 T-Bird convertible!