"¿De qué se ríen las mujeres?"

¿De qué se ríen las mujeres? (1997) is a Spanish musical comedy with roughly the same style of humor as I Love Lucy. The English title is What Makes Women Laugh. The tale is narrated by a 17 year old boy. He father is a writer, his mother and three aunts comediennes, and his grandfather has just married a girl of 20. His father is run over by a car trying to pick up a chick a the wedding. His mother is crestfallen and carries his ashes everywhere, speaking to his ghost. The ghost is encouraging her to find someone else, but she will have none of it until she finds his little black book, and realizes what he had been up to. Se resolves not only to find someone new, but to learn how to have sex without love.

One of her sisters is having a long term affair with a married man, and the other is a man hater and wants to be a stage actress. Verónica Forqué, as the mother, shows a breast trying to seduce a man. Yolanda Ventura, as the 20 year old grandmother, shows breasts at the beach. IMDb readers have it at 6.0. It is well photographed, and has pace, but I didn't much like the style of comedy, and the plot was not all that interesting either. It is in Spanish with optional English subtitles. The letterboxed transfer was well done, but there are no special features. It seems to have had a theatrical release in Spain, but I could find no reviews, and there are only 31 votes at IMDb. This is a C-. If you enjoy this style of comedy, it is technically sound.

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  • Verónica Forqué
  • Yolanda Ventura (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)

  • Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy)
    Suspect Zero (2004):

    The basic premise of the film is not too difficult to describe for those who know films. Imagine a re-make of SE7EN in which John Doe kills people not because of the imagined "sins" they have committed, but because they have committed crimes of unimaginable magnitude, like the serial killing of lost children. As in SE7EN, we have two cops chasing after a criminal who is deranged but also much smarter than they are. As in SE7EN, the criminal leaves behind convoluted or cryptic clues that lead the cops on a chase to other victims or to the master criminal.  As in SE7EN, the cops discover grisly details by using flashlights in dark rooms. As in SE7EN, the psychotic criminal mastermind is played by a distinguished actor (in this case Sir Ben "Gandhi" Kingsley).

    Simple enough. Our master criminal seems to be the garden-variety movie psycho when we see him assembling long lists of seemingly random numbers and bizarre sketches of brutal crimes, but he differs from the guy in SE7EN in two critical ways.

    First, he is not merely smart, but also has some super-human powers. He is one of five people who were recruited by the FBI in a top secret program to harness the power of ESP in apprehending serial killers. You never heard of it? Hey, I told you it was top secret. In fact, Gandhi has more than simple psychic abilities. We see that he seems to be able to place some thoughts into the mind of a receptive FBI guy, and in a few instances we see that his charcoal sketches predict the future. This makes the premise much harder to buy into than SE7EN's. In the Fincher movie, we only had to believe in a crazy guy who was very smart. Not that much of a stretch. In this movie, we had to believe in all sorts of pseudo-science and supernatural humbug which took Suspect Zero out of the plane of grotesque crime thrillers and into horror film territory.

    Second, our killer may be crazy, but he is a genuine do-gooder who is demonstrably helping humanity. After all, he is a serial killer of serial killers. If you think about it, we probably could use more guys like this. One of the FBI guys doesn't even want to bring him in, and the baddie, in turn, leads that agent to the all-time career plum - a single-handed collar of the ultimate serial killer, a guy who has kidnapped, tortured, and killed hundreds of innocent children.

    Frankly, the film gets a bit convoluted around the middle of the film. There are regular serial killers, then the master serial killer called Suspect Zero, then the serial killer who only kills other serial killers. Even with a straightforward narrative style this film could have been confusing, but as told here, with all sorts of gimmicky shifts in POV represented by different types of non-traditional visuals (certain scenes are in red and white, other scenes are deliberately grainy), it could get irritating. The camera lingers on demented drawings, or on visions inside Gandhi's head, or maybe the FBI agent's head. There are gothic camera angles, purposefully underlit scenes, fast cuts, surreal visions, and just a whole lot of stylized stuff which didn't advance the film forward. There were a lot of times when my mind was wandering and I was just plain uninterested in the static way the story was being revealed. I didn't really snap in and start to get involved until the film was down to its last ten minutes. In other words, the story offers none of the traditional pleasure of a crime mystery, of solving the crime along with the detectives, because everything is deliberately obfuscated by a baffling use of a technique so hip and aloof that it simply forces the audience to wait until everything is explained. I guess they call this "over-directing" in film school. I'm now pretty sure that I understand who was killing whom and why, but I was confused as the story unfolded. That is to say I was confused when I wasn't just plain bored.

    I'm still confused on some details.

    • Suspect Zero's bodies. I thought for some reason that his deliberately random method meant that the bodies were scattered through the USA in random places, but at the end of the movie they all seemed to be buried on his farm in offbeat graves marked like Indian burial mounds.
    • Suspect Zero's apprehension. I'm not completely sure why Ben Kingsley wanted the FBI to bring in the master serial killer. With all the other serial killers, Kingsley was perfectly content to do the work himself. I guess that he was giving a career back to the disgraced FBI agent in the hope that the agent would, in turn, kill him and release him from the suffering of a life which took place inside the heads of serial murderers. I guess. Frankly, I'm not clear on this.
    • The agent's future. It seems that the disgraced FBI agent (Aaron Eckhart) is the same kind of super-psychic as Gandhi, although his ability is not yet full developed. Is this good or bad? Will that, in turn, make him just as crazy as Gandhi in time, or will he now become an FBI super-stud.
    • What the hell was Carrie-Anne Moss doing in this film? There was an unconvincing explanation for her presence in the film in the first place. The film starts with the disgraced agent demoted from Dallas to Albuquerque because he failed to follow procedure. Back at the time of that failed collar, he had been teamed with a female agent who was also his lover. All of a sudden, the female agent turns up in Albuquerque to join him on his latest case. Why would the agency do that? They had a sour romantic history and had botched their last job together! So I didn't believe the justification for Carrie-Anne's presence in New Mexico, but then once she arrived she served absolutely no purpose. She did comment once in a while that the other agent was acting illogically, but the bureau chief was already tending to that responsibility, so Carrie was redundant. The love story was never developed, which was just as well, since there was no good way to fit it into the film. If the script had completely cut the female agent from the picture, it would have lost absolutely nothing except one more unnecessary sub-plot in an already muddled script.

    You may not know that this film is an important contributor to film history, at least in an indirect way. The original script by Zak Penn (X2) was really the talk of the town back in the mid nineties when it was the object of a studio bidding war. Universal bought it for some serious cash and Tom Cruise wanted to star in it. In fact, this is the very film Cruise was going to do when Kubrick talked him into donating the next two years of his life to Eyes Wide Shut. Cruise still liked the script well enough to agree to produce the film, although it languished in production limbo for years. At various times, the Hollywood rumor mill reported that some real heavyweights like Richard Friedenberg (A River Runs Through It) and Paul Schrader (Taxi Driver, Raging Bull) did rewrites. Ain't It Cool News reported that Ben Affleck was asked to do a re-write (remember that in the late nineties Affleck was a struggling actor with a screenwriting Oscar). AICN's version of the story was that Affleck looked at the project and said he would agree to star and co-produce, but that there was no need to do a re-write if Penn's original script was used! AICN's Moriarty also read Penn's script and agreed with Affleck, so two more guys seemed to jump on the bandwagon which should have departed four years earlier when Penn's original version had been one of the hottest scripts in town.

    Frankly, I'm fuzzy on the details of the story after that. Tom Cruise is still listed as the executive producer, and the only screenwriting credits go to Zak Penn and Billy Ray. If Penn's original script was so good, it did not manage to emerge unscathed from the effects of Ray's rewrites and the highly stylized direction. The final film is mediocre at best, despite the $27 million production budget. The producers were obviously well aware of the film problems, because after waiting for seven years to film the movie, they waited another two years before releasing it. The script was sold in May of 1995, the re-written film was shot in mid-2002, and the final product finally appeared on 1,500 movie screens in August of 2004, at which time it debuted with a three million dollar weekend, and disappeared soon thereafter.

    This film had me stopping the DVD constantly to eat or to work on something else. It was just boring and meandering. Many talented people tried but could not make a good film from this material.

    And yet I can't help thinking that there was a good film buried somewhere deep inside of it ...

     ... perhaps in that neglected original script?

    'Tis a mystery to me because if Penn's script was so good in the first place, why did so many people keep insisting on rewrites before it could get produced? Subsumed within that major issue was the question of why anyone was willing to commit $27 million to the script in its current condition, because it had so many obvious problems (the completely unnecessary Carrie-Anne Moss character, for example).


    Bound by Lies (2004):

    This is a routine by-the-numbers STV "erotic thriller" with Kristy Swanson as a potential murder victim and Stephen Baldwin as the cop assigned to protect her. Baldwin has a beautiful wife at home, but you know how it is. He ends up having sex with Kristy anyway.

    The actual murder mystery is solved about five minutes in! The main suspect is in custody, breaks free and proves that he is the psycho killer. End of mystery. The only real suspense, if I may use that word generously, involves whether the psycho can get to Kristy while she has a 24 hour police guard. There are a few half-hearted red herrings, but they seem totally irrelevant given that the murderer is already identified. Frankly, I don't know why Baldwin was getting suspicious of other people. What the hell was he suspecting them of?

    I know what it must have been. It reminds me of one time in Utica, New York when a police officer was threatening to arrest me and my friend because he received a complaint that two suspicious looking men were walking through town (we were looking for a good place to hitchhike). We didn't look all that suspicious. We were wearing suitcoats and ties! We asked him what our crime was, and he said he would arrest us "on suspicion". "Suspicion of being specious characters?", we asked. Boy, did that guy get mad when we started making fun of him. Anyway, I think that officer has now retired and is acting as the consultant to Stephen Baldwin.

    Since Kristy Swanson stays fully dressed in her big sex scene with Baldwin (she has gained a lot of weight), this film would be a complete waste of time except that someone had the foresight to get Gladise (Gladys) Jimenez to do her first nudity since 1999 in the thankless part of the wife at home. The beautiful Puertoriquena has been working on soap operas and "Tremors" since then, so she's had everything covered up for years. She's ba-a-ack!

    • Gladise Jimenez (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
    • Kristy Swanson (1, 2)
    • unknowns in the closing credits (1, 2, 3, 4)



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    • The yellow asterisks indicate that I wrote the review, and am deluded into thinking it includes humor.
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    Crimson Ghost
    NOTE: We currently have to do all of our movie files in zip format. Instead of viewing them online, save the zip files to your hard drive in the directory of your choice, un-zip and play from there.

    Today the Ghost takes a look at the teen sex-comedy, "The Girl Next Door". The nudity comes from Amanda Swisten and Sung Hi Lee. Former "24" star Elisha Cuthbert looks very sexy in several revealing outfits, including some thong views and parital side/rear breast views.

    'Caps and comments by Dann:

    "Malibu Spring Break"
    If you're a producer about to make a cheapie direct-to-video spring break chicks-everywhere-in-various-stages-of-undress flick, I have just one request: PLEASE find someone to shoot it who knows how to focus a camera. These flicks are dumb, lame, and brainless fun, but it's so frustrating that they can never come up with a sharp product. With modern digital video equipment, it's pretty much a no-brainer, which speaks volumes for the guys shooting this stuff.

    2003's Malibu Spring Break is typical of this genre (including, unfortunately, not a sharp frame in the whole film): Two friends from Arizona come to Malibu for spring break, stay at Uncle's place, and raise hell and party as Uncle goes out of town.

    Tons of scantily clad good looking young women, some nudity, no brains, very little script, just plenty of fun except for the crappy movie quality, even on DVD. I hate to think what the VHS print might look like. It's a shame, because cheap doesn't automatically mean a crappy picture, but in this does.

    Paz Vega
    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8)

    Natalia Verbeke
    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)

    Johnny Moronic takes a look at the Spanish movie "El Otro lado de la cama" aka "The Other Side of the Bed" (2002). "Spanglish" co-star Paz Vega is topless and Verbeke strips down to her black undies, shows plenty of cleavage, plus a bit of breast exposure as well as brief views of her bum and pubes.

    Kelly Preston
    (1, 2, 3, 4)

    Kitt 'caps of the young and busty Preston showing plenty of cleavage and going topless in scenes from "Secret Admirer" (1985).

    Leanna Scott Bird 'caps of the Vietnamese fitness babe showing off her big ol' robo-hooters. She has co-starred in an adult film or two using the name 'Christina'. Most notably, 1998's "Public Perversions".

    Radha Mitchell Vejiita 'caps of the Aussie actress and co-star of "Man on Fire", "Finding Neverland" and "Pitch Black". Here she is baring just a bit of nipple duing a lesbian love scene with Ally Sheedy in scenes from "High Art" (1998).

    Kristi Russell
    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14)

    Ariadne Shaffer
    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)

    Señor Skin takes a look at the Sci-Fi/Horror/Comedy flick "Frog-g-g!" (2004). Commercial and Infomercial babe Russell gets topless and also shows a hint of pubes (#7) and a bit of bum (#9). Russell and Shaffer also spend some time topless in bed together.

    Pat Reeder
    Pat's comments in yellow...

    That Explains The 100-Pound Weight Gain - After weeks of denying rumors and dodging questions, Britney Spears confirmed on her website last night that she is pregnant. She wrote that "the time has finally come to share our wonderful news" that she and Kevin Federline are expecting their first child.

  • Well...HER first child.
  • This proves that at least some small part of Kevin Federline actually does work.
  • The baby is expected to be born drooling and incoherent, but still smarter than both its parents.

    Saying Goodbye Longer Than Cher - 43 years after playing their first gig, the Rolling Stones announced plans for a tour that will start in Boston in August and run for at least a year. The London Sun said despite all the jokes about their wrinkles, they're still a great live band, but this will probably be their final tour. The combined age of the four regular band members is 242 years.

  • That's 3,000 in rock star years.
  • That's also the combined age of the last dozen women Mick Jagger's slept with.
  • These days, when Mick says, "Start me up," the roadies pull out the defibrillator.
  • Why should age stop Mick Jagger from touring? Death didn't stop Keith Richards from touring for the past 25 years.

    Ho Ho Ho! - Two female executives of the #1 hip-hop magazine The Source filed sexual harassment charges with the EEOC, claiming they could no longer endure the culture of sexism in the office. Among their charges: that female employees were touched and sexually propositioned; males were allowed to put up posters of women in G-strings, smoke pot and do inferior work and not get fired; and a male subordinate once saw one of the women eating a lollipop and offered to give her "something to suck on." CEO/rapper Raymond "Benzino" Scott called the charges "crazy" and said he would countersue.

  • Yeah, those bitches are just crazy ho's!
  • Hip-hop, sexist? Absurd! Next, they'll be claiming that bagpipe music is annoying!
  • There was also the office dress code that required all women to dress like 'Li'l Kim.
  • That guy must've thought the lollipop looked much too big to fit in her mouth.

    Conan The Disciplinarian - Maria Shriver revealed to Oprah Winfrey that her husband Arnold Schwarzenegger has a strict method of dealing with their four kids when they don't do their laundry and leave their dirty clothes on the floor. She said he goes around, picks their clothes up, and either hides them or throws them in the fire. Either way, she said, "They don't get them back."

  • And if they value their feet, they'd better not EVER put them on the coffee table!
  • Likewise, cars left in "No parking zones" in California are now blown up.
  • Michael Jackson also burns clothes kids leave on the floor, but just to destroy the DNA evidence.

    He Was No Ross - Jennifer Aniston finally talked about the breakup of her marriage, taking most of the responsibility. She said Brad Pitt is a kind, sweet goofball who "accepted me with all of my crap and dysfunction," but she always felt inferior to him, and being married to him made her feel insecure.

  • Next time, she'll marry someone who's less pretty than she is.
  • So her next husband will be mean and overcontrolling.
  • It takes a strong ego to be with Brad Pitt, which explains Angelina Jolie.

    One Crazy Mother - Tuesday, Mike Tyson announced that he would return to the ring for the first time in nearly a year, to fight journeyman boxer Kevin McBride on June 11. Tyson promised, "It's going to be a train wreck." He said he expects to be fighting for "a long time" to pay off his $30 million debt and take care of his children, three of whom sat with him at the press conference. He added, "I feel like Mr. Mom."

  • He looked more like "Mr. Dad-GummitThisGuy'sCrazy!"
  • Aren't ALL of Mike Tyson's fights these days train wrecks?
  • He doesn't want to get into the ring anymore, but hey, a man's gotta eat.

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