"The Crime of Padre Amaro"

The Crime of Padre Amaro (2002), aka The Crime of Father Amaro, and originally El Crimen del padre Amaro is a wonderful Mexican drama focusing on political and sexual practices in the modern Catholic Church. It is based on a novel of the same name written by Portuguese novelist Eça de Queirós in 1875, but adapted to present day Mexico. A young priest, fresh out of the seminary, is a favorite of the bishop, and is assigned to an older, influential priest for seasoning. We learn early on that Padre Amaro is dedicated, sincere, ambitious and thinks the celibacy vow for clerics is a mistake. We also discover that the pastor of the parish has been sleeping with his housekeeper since her husband died, and does money laundering for a local drug lord in exchange for money to build a large Catholic hospital. This is one of the things that endears him to the bishop, who explains to Padre Amaro that they take dirty money, and make it clean and pure.

Spoilers Ahead

The only priest in the diocese that is essentially a straight arrow is in a remote parish which consists of poor farmers. The bishop is down on him for "supporting gorillas and revolutionaries." In actually, it is his poor farmers trying to defend their meager farms from the drug lord. This, of course, strains the church's lucrative arrangement with the drug lord, and the priest is eventually excommunicated. It is these background stories that provide the meat of this drama, but the central conflict involves the young, beautiful and devout daughter of the housekeeper, played by Ana Claudia Talancón. She is a young star, but is very easy on the eyes, and an excellent actress. The relationship with her boyfriend, a young reporter who is not a practicing Catholic is strained. On the other hand, Padre Amaro (Gael García Bernal of Y tu mamá también) is good looking, holy, and interested. The two have an affair, she ends up pregnant, and Padre Amaro behaves like a man, not like a Catholic priest. He suggests adoption, which doesn't interest her, then marrying her old boyfriend, who was no longer interested, and finally arranges an abortion.

When she dies from the illegal abortion, he acts as if it was her ex boyfriend that got her pregnant, and, as the film ends, he is celebrating the requiem mass for her. His real "crime" is not the fornication, or the abortion, but his hypocrisy and ambition. While the story has the straightforwardness of a Mexican soap, there are a lot of themes beneath the surface. As you might imagine, most Catholics see it is blasphemous, but some praise it for exposing the reality of celibacy, the priesthood, finances and politics.

End Spoilers

Talancón shows breasts in a very hot sex scene, and is in bra and panties in another scene.

IMDB readers have it at 7.2 of 10. Ebert and Berardinelli have it at three stars. It won 9 Ariels, was nominated for 4 more, and was nominated for the Best foreign language Oscar. The cinematography and the original score were first rate, and the acting was universally strong. The DVD sports a very nice wide screen transfer, Original Spanish and dubbed English sound tracks, and a full length commentary in Spanish with English subtitles by Bernal, and the director. The best films coming out of Mexico in recent years a very good indeed, and this is a very good film. If the subject interests you at all, you will probably enjoy the entire 118 minutes. If the genre is "foreign drama," this will have a somewhat broader appeal than usual, and is properly scored a B-.

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  • Ana Claudia Talancon (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28)

    "Deadly Species" (2002)

    Deadly Species (2002) -- When I read Scoop's review of this new masterpiece of film making last night, I had to see it for myself. He covered nearly all of the plot points, and I agree with his assessment, with one major exception. He says, " ... most of the cast members were inexperienced amateurs ..." Indeed, performances were absolutely dismal. They were so bad, in fact, that lack of talent and inexperience could not produce this level of acting. It is my personal theory that the two leads are consummate actors adding to the bad movie appeal of the film by portraying terrible acting to such a degree that the performances become ludicrous.

    This film follows all of the genre rules, so it presents a good opportunity for a review of these unpublished laws:

    1) Kill someone and show nipples in the first 5 minutes. This way, audience minimum expectations are met early.

    2) Don't show the monster until near the end. Anything the audience imagines is far more frightening than anything your special effects/make-up people can design.

    3) When two people have sex, the man goes out alone first shortly after, and is killed.

    4) The girlfriend is always killed second. This lets the director get two great screams from her.

    5) Anyone who hides behind a tree is going to die ... soon.

    6) Running characters will trip if they are faster than the monster.

    7) One of the good guys must be injured but survive.

    8) All but one of the bad guys will be killed. You have to leave an antagonist for the sequel.

    Scoop's nudity review is exactly right. "Haans Siver and Samara Ibanez show their breasts and buns. Heather Patrone is stark naked. There is a very brief glimpse of her crotch area, but it was covered with a white patch" in the one blurry frame in which it is visible. There are no reviews available at IMDB, and less than 5 votes. This film is a D, but might make a good group watch, if lots of chemicals or grain beverages are included at the party.

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  • Haans Siver (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
  • Heather Patrone (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)
  • Samara Ibanez (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)

  • Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy)

    Ignition (2002)

    Didn't Lena Olin and Bill Pullman used to be on the a-list, or at least close to it? If they were, they surely have fallen.

    The military is going to assassinate a liberal president because of ten consecutive years of Pentagon budget cuts.

    Yeah, that'll help their cause.


    These screenwriters always seem to forget an essential point of American politics - if you kill a President for being too far left or right, you get a vice-president who is more extreme in that direction. Since Americans are loath to elect ideologues to the big chair, Presidents are almost always centrists who have to choose a more extreme V.P. to please the hard-line ideologues in their parties. If right-wing nuts had killed pragmatic, slightly left of center Bill Clinton, they would have been stuck with ideological, tree-hugging Al Gore. If left-wing nuts killed pragmatic, slightly right of center George W. Bush, they'd be stuck with ideological ultrahawk Bill Cheney.

    Be that as it may, Olin and Pullman are stuck in the middle of the case as a federal judge who needs protection and the federal marshal who is assigned to protect her. Pullman's role was obviously created for a "Bruce Willis type". He's a cocky, squinty-eyed loner who disrespects his superiors when they are corrupt, and is dismissed from the military despite years of heroic service. He's just as quick to battle evil with his fists as with a wisecrack, blah blah yadda yadda yippie ky yay mofo.

    The finale of the film takes place underneath the launching pad for a moon launch.

    This takes place in an indeterminate time when moon launches will again be made, except this time from a run-down air force base instead of from Cape Kennedy.

    Olin is down there handcuffed to something, with a bomb ticking away. Pullman has to rescue her. In doing so, he'll also save the President, because the rocket fire will set off an explosion of nuclear proportions when the flames hit the bomb, and the Prez is standing nearby.  I know what you're thinking. If the rocket ignition is going to set off the bomb, why does the bomb need a timer? I guess it is because all movie bombs are required to have a digital read-out.

    The funniest bit is when Olin and Pullman climb out from beneath the rocket with the countdown at ten seconds, rest to catch their breath while fumes are spewing from the payload, then decide to run away from the launch pad. Their crafty "running away" strategy is flawless. The rocket heads off to the moon safely. Pullman and Olin are safe because - well, because they fall to the ground. This follows another basic movie rule. Irrespective of the size of the explosion, good guys can always escape injury from a nearby explosion by falling to the ground. If Bruce Willis had been in Hiroshima, running toward a camera, with Ground Zero just over his shoulder, he would have simply fallen to the ground and thus lived to get the girl, after casually brushing the nuclear debris from his macho aviator jacket.

    The film is a C-. Some things about it suck, but it is a watchable actioner - basically a low-rent Bruce Willis movie.


    Rip it Off (2002)

    Todd Field must have one of the most eclectic resumes in Hollywood. His feature-length debut as a director, In the Bedroom, was a highly acclaimed prestige picture. He had a fairly large role in Kubrick's "Eyes Wide Shut", as Nick Nightingale, the club and orgy entertainer.

    (How do you get a job as an orgy entertainer? I want to do that.)

    Despite those lofty credentials, he starts off his acting role in this grade-b film by prancing around stark naked for several minutes.

    Rip it Off, aka Beyond the City Limits, is a girl buddy flick in which crime symbolizes liberation and empowerment. It's kind of a no-budget Canadian version of Thelma and Louise.

    "I'm in deep shit; Deep Shit, Alberta, eh?"

    The basic plot is that the buddies get jilted by their abusive criminal boyfriends, so they decide to achieve liberation by committing the very crime the boyfriends had been planning. Since they know when the boyfriends planned the heist, they simply execute the same plan a bit earlier. Needless to say, there are plenty of foul-ups and double crosses.

    The odd buddy pairing consists of Nastassja Kinski and Band Camp Chick. BCC is joined in the film's cast by another member of the Buffy team, Alexis Denisof, who speaks with an accent that is supposed to be Russian, and was obviously learned from countless hours of studying Bullwinkle reruns. Jennifer Esposito joins Nastassja and BCC for a casino robbery, some violence, a high body count, and an improbable finale.

    Based on this description, this film is a D. I can't give you any reason to see this, unless you just have to see Alyson Hannigan play a junkie. It is completely unoriginal, and there are really no fresh or clever details to hold interest. To word it another way, this movie pretty much sucks completely.

    • The only nudity comes from strippers and hookers. (1, 2)


    The Crime of Father Amaro (2002)

    Tuna and I split on this one. I thought it was OK, but nothing special. Had it been a Hollywood film, it would have been dissed as an overly manufactured soap opera. The film looks great, and the stars seem to hold their weight, but I just don't see any real merit in the script. The story is completely predictable, the dialogue is either mundane or melodramatic, the characters didn't impress me with the feeling that the author had any special grasp of humanity, and the whole project is just about totally totally lacking in humor and insight. The one thing that distinguished it from a Hollywood movie was the downbeat ending.

    I believe it attracted as much attention as it did because it is a Mexican movie with such a professional look and feel to it, and because of its controversial attitudes toward the Church. And the latter only matters if you care one way or the other about attacking or defending that particular institution. I have liked and admired many recent films from Mexico, like Amores Perros and Y tu mamá tambien, but I felt that this one was just a slick film manufactured to appeal to the emerging Mexican mass market, ala the soap operas and telenovelas. A film from South Hollywood, but very far South.



    • Updated volumes: Jennifer Ehle, Isabelle Huppert


    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 Lawdog or Junior or C2000 or Realist or ICMS or Mick Locke, or somebody else besides me)
    • If there is no asterisk, I wrote it, but am too ashamed to admit it.

    'Caps and comments by Brainscan:

    Heffer, Pets, pin-ups and pornstars all show up and show off on a DVD by Vivid, entitled Garage Girls. Five women are part of the entitled work, whereas six others I recognized are part of the DVD's extras. Here's the skinny:

    Former Hefmate Carrie Wescott is in a couple of sequences, posing for a calendar (sent caps from those scenes to the Funhouse last Xmas). Here she is in a long topless interview in the deleted scenes section.

    • Carrie Wescott (1, 2)

    Popular web pin-up Cori Nadine is topless (collage 1) and almost full-frontal (collage 2).

    • Cori Nadine (1, 2)

    Former Pet Heidi Lynn Staley does the triple-B tango in a preview scene from a DVD entitled Wet. This is Heidi before she was a Pet, when she still had all the natural equipment any girl could hope for.

    • Heidi Lynn Staley (1, 2)

    Pornstar Jenna Jameson starts with a gyno-cam view (collage 1) and moves on to hooters and bum (#2) and hooters only (#3), all from previews of The Emotions of Jenna Jameson.

    • Jenna Jameson (1, 2, 3)

    B movie actress and frequent Hefmag model Lisa Boyle struts her stuff in previews of Raw Adventures at Bikini Point. Lisa loses hers... bikini, that is.

    Former Pet Mason Marconi (as Amber Herel) poses by herself (collages 1, 2 and 5) and with model, Shawna Anderson (3 and 4). Lots of full frontal poses in 3-5.

    • Mason Marconi (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

    Hefmag model Robin Baskers shows off her bum (1, 3, 6 and 7), poses in lingerie (2) and does the full monty (4 and 5). Really nice lookin' gal.

    • Robin Baskers (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)

    Former Pet Seana Ryan (sometimes billed as Shawna Ryan, but not to be confused with Shayna Ryan) goes triple B in collage 1 and looks mighty fine all topless in collage 2.

    • Seana Ryan (1, 2)

    Model Shawna Anderson strips off her top (collage 1) and then her skivvies (collage 2).

    • Shawna Anderson (1, 2)

    Hefmate turned pornstar, Teri Weigel, appears in previews of another Vivid product. I grabbed a few frames but gotta tell you, Teri is the least interesting former Hefmate to ever get nekkid outside the confines of that magazine.

    Finally, pin-up and B movie babe Traci Dali looks right nice revealing her upper bod (collage 1) and ending up with another triple-nice triple-B (collage 2).

    • Traci Dali (1, 2)

    'Caps and comments by Hankster:

    Today we feature Sarah Michelle Gellar and I wish I could say she is naked, but of course she is not.

    But anyway here she is with some nice cleavage and leg shots from 1997's "I Know What You Did Last Summer".

    Scorpion Skinemax
    A small batch of 'caps today featuring mostly breasts, plus the occasional thong view. Plenty of pseudo-sex and a masturbation scene in the "Bump and Grind" epidsode of the late night series "The Best Sex Ever".
    • Dru Berrymore (1, 2, 3)

    Pat Reeder
    Pat's comments in yellow...

    Chosen By Experts - Some parents of kids at Gulf Shores High School in Alabama were upset that the souvenirs given away at the prom included commemorative beer mugs and shot glasses. A school spokesman said the only rule is that souvenirs must be tasteful, and the glasses were chosen by the prom committee of 11th graders. He denied it encouraged kids to drink, saying it's not a shot glass until you put alcohol in it or a beer mug until you put beer in it.

  • And that didn't happen until five minutes AFTER the prom.
  • How about souvenir syringes? They're only bad if you put drugs in them.
  • Schools shouldn't be handing out free beer mugs and shot glasses until kids are in college.

    A Big, Dumb Freak - Some students at the University of Missouri are angry that the Student Association paid $11,000 for a speech by "Joe Millionaire" star Evan Marriott. The campus paper The Maneater charged that Marriott made homophobic jokes, and provided no intellectual stimulation or entertainment, except at his own expense. For instance, he advised students that life is "freaky," and "I'm a big freak." When asked his opinion of the university, he replied, "It's really cool because it is a college campus. There's dorms. It has a very college campus feel."

  • Give him a break; something tells me he's never seen a college campus before.
  • President Bush would've appeared there for free and given the same speech.
  • Evan insisted that he doesn't even know the meaning of the word "homophobic."
  • Despite this, all the freshman girls still wanted to marry him.

    On The Golf Channel - O.J. Simpson may be the next Anna Nicole Smith. Fort Worth, Texas-based Urban American Television Network had a TV crew follow O.J. around for several months in Miami, and they're editing it into a 13-episode reality show that will debut in June on 75 independent stations. But O.J.'s lawyer says he never gave permission to film him, and if they air it, he'll sue.

  • They'd better hope that's all he does.
  • It's just a lot of footage of O.J. cutting up.
  • O.J.'s already like Anna Nicole Smith: they both spent months in court because of their dead spouses.

    ELVIS FLOPS IN VEGAS - (Almanac)
    Borscht Belt Beats Black Belt - On April 23rd in 1956, Elvis Presley made his Las Vegas debut. He opened for comic Shecky Greene and flopped so badly, they cut his engagement from four weeks to two. He didn't return for 13 years.

  • And then, only for the buffets.
  • Elvis was okay, but nobody could compete with Sheckymania.