I actually got to
watch two respectably good movies this time!
Lonely Hearts is a loosely historical treatment of Raymond Martinez and
Martha Beck, serial killers who preyed on lonely women back in the late 1940s.
They were eventually caught, convicted after a 44-day trial, and executed in
New York's electric chair. Lonely Hearts is the fourth film to portray
the killers fictionally. The first was The Honeymoon Killers (1970), a
pseudo-docudrama which identified the killers by their real names. The second
was also called Lonely Hearts, a 1991 roman a clef starring Eric
Roberts and Beverly D'Angelo. The third was Deep Crimson, a Spanish-language
roman a clef from Mexico, which was nominated for 15 Ariel awards in
1997, winning eight.
Of the four films, the new version of Lonely Hearts is the only one to
incorporate the perspective of the detectives who worked on the case. In fact
the writer/director of the film, Todd Robinson, is the grandson of the lead
detective from New York, and used his own grandmother's scrapbook for
research, and to form the montage behind the opening credits. Given his
special relationship to the subject matter, especially from the perspective of
the investigating officers, one would assume that his version of the story
would be the least romanticized, and the most loyal to the facts of the case.
One would be wrong.
One example should be sufficient to illustrate the casual relationship
between this script and reality. The real Martha Beck was a 233-pound woman so
physically repulsive that the first man who got her pregnant tried to commit
suicide rather than to contemplate a life with her. So who did Robinson
recruit to play that role? Kathy Bates? Rosie O'Donnell? Nah. He picked the
notoriously disgusting Salma Hayek. Mind you, Ray Martinez was a bunco
artist who originally met Martha and all of his potential marks through personal ads. Does Salma
seem like a woman who would need to advertise in the paper to get worthwhile dates? The rest of
Ray's known real-life victims were also physically unappealing, as you might
expect, all of them desperate enough to be ripe for seduction by a young,
handsome con artist. Their fictional equivalents were filled by attractive
women. The woman who was bludgeoned to death by Martha in a fit of jealousy
when she saw her naked with Ray was actually a 66-year-old spinster, the
type with sensible shoes and thick glasses. That role was assigned to elegant Alice Krige,
who was a classy 52 and damned attractive, sexy enough to fan the flames of
much younger men.
In addition to the glamorized casting choices, the script skirted reality
in other ways. It assigned murders to the couple which they did not commit. It
changed the details of some they did commit. But it stayed close to the facts on
some other murders. It completely changed the circumstances of the couple's arrest.
It omitted some of the juiciest details, like the fact that Ray believed that
his power over women was attributable to his expertise in voodoo, or that fact
that Ray was a normal guy with a nice family in Spain and a great record of
service to the allies in WW2 until a freak accident nearly crushed his skull
and caused some pathological personality changes. One of the most interesting
details of the real story is that the obese Martha Beck was a highly competent nurse who
finished first in her nursing class and was consistently promoted in record times.
After her conviction, Martha was aghast at her treatment in the New York
tabloids, which ridiculed her unsightly appearance just as her classmates once
had, so she wrote sensitive, literate letters of protest to the editors from
death row! Underneath her corpulent exterior, she was
an extremely capable and competent woman who desperately longed to be loved,
and achieved that longing by latching on to a crazy fraud, whereupon the two
brought out the worst in each other.
If you don't care about historical accuracy, and just treat this as a
fictional noir with a vague historical backdrop, ala Brian De Palma's The
Black Dahlia, you may enjoy some of the eccentric characters and the lurid
details of casual sex and cold-blooded murder. Unfortunately, the interesting
(if sometimes imaginary) details about the lives of the killers are only half
of the story. The rest of it is about some cops in New York eating donuts,
arguing among themselves, and adapting to problems with their families and
girlfriends. The film plods slowly when the cops are on screen, perhaps
because it concentrates on their irrelevant personal interactions rather than their
Here's a tip for you youngsters. If you're going to write a script about
famous people who were involved in violent incidents, like the Lonely Hearts
Killers or George "Superman" Reeves, your audience is going to go to your
movie to see those famous people. Don't devote half of your running time to
some detectives who are working out their soap opera problems and talking to
their kids about getting paper routes. It doesn't matter whether the
detectives are real or fictional. Nobody cares about them. It doesn't even
matter if the lead detective was your grandfather. The only difference that
makes is that one person cares about them instead of none. And that does no
good because I assume you are not going to pay for a ticket.
The film has plenty of star power. In addition to the beautiful Hayek,
Barbarino and Tony Soprano are hanging around as the homicide detectives. Despite those famous
names, and an obviously substantial budget, the studio virtually gave up on
the film. It was in a mere 24 theaters exactly a year ago, and it grossed a
The least famous of the four stars, Jared Leto, turned out to be the one
guy in the production who seemed to care about historical accuracy, and he
created a Ray Martinez who seemed to be a perfect evocation of the killer I
have read about. There are other positives besides Leto's performance: nice
production values; interesting period details; good cinematography. The film
looks impressively good, to the point where I
could have forgiven the inaccuracies in the killer half of the story if there
hadn't been so much boredom in the cop half. Unfortunately, the combination of
those two factors means that Lonely Hearts is just an OK flick that seems like
it should have been much better.
IMDb 6.6, Metacritic 60, Positive Reviews: 50%. I think those scores give
the right general idea about the film, that it's a very professional effort
which just doesn't have that much appeal.
Teeth is a horror/comedy film about the ancient myth of vagina dentata, a
coochie with razor-sharp teeth that destroy anything which attempts to pass
through. The story is not related with the tone of either a comedy or a horror
film, but rather with the charm of a sensitive, offbeat coming-of-age film.
What would a girl's life be like if the worst thing about puberty were not her
first period, but rather how to control the teeth within her genitals? That
may be a far-fetched premise, but the writer/director followed it through its
natural course to its logical conclusion.
Dawn is a sweet, sincere girl, an honor student and one of those "vow of
abstinence" types. She forms her first crush on a nice boy, they go for a
swim, things progress nicely and they make out quite modestly - until she
wants to stop and he doesn't. Soon his dick is being eaten by the crabs. Not
much later, so is he.
Dawn can't quite figure out what's going on, so she goes to a gynecologist.
He's kind of a sleazebag, and it's not long before he's missing several
fingers. At that point Dawn figures that any penetration into her genitalia
will result in disaster, but it turns out that the teeth only appear during
unwelcome penetration. She warms to another boy, and when the mood turns to
romance, she warns him that he may not survive, or at least his dick may not.
Teenage boys being what they are, he's willing to take that risk, and Dawn is
surprised when they have tooth-free sex. She concludes that the teeth only
come out when she's not co-operating fully. Her theory is confirmed when she
goes another round with the same guy. During the second copulation he
takes a phone call which shows that he bet his best friend he could get into
Dawn's drawers. This news is not received well by Dawn nor by her shark-like
coochie, which instantly claims another victim.
Dawn finally comes to the conclusion that she can use her mutation as a
gift rather than a curse. Maybe "gift" isn't exactly the right word here.
"Weapon" might be more like it. At that point the tone shifts. The film stops
being a sensitive coming-of-age film about a naive girl and jumps directly
into genre territory, but we don't really object when Dawn gets nasty because
the nastiness is brief and the victims get what they deserve.
I like this odd, sometimes almost surreal little film. Good production
design and a truly odd sense of humor make this a very watchable, albeit
eccentric movie. Imagine a cross between Napoleon Dynamite and The Texas
Chainsaw Massacre. Except weirder.
|Jess Weixler is unbelievably, heartbreakingly cute. She's Heather
Graham minus 15 years, with smaller breasts. (Weixler actually turns 27
next month, but looks younger.) Film
clip here. Samples right.
Catch the deluxe
version of Other Crap in real time, with all the bells and whistles,
A non-czechploitation horror produced but not directed by Lloyd Simandl. UK actress Amy Perfect shows her perfect ta-ta's while Fiona Glasscott shows some cleavage. DVD is only available in Spain and Brazil.
'Dead by Monday'
Canadian comedy but DVD is only available in the Netherlands. Guylaine St-Onge wearing very skimpy panties.
'Her Fatal Flaw'
This aired on Lifetime but the DVD is only available in Portugal. For a Lifetime movie it has quite a randy opening with Holly Eglington,
who is nude but not showing much
Victoria Pratt wins a contest against Keegan Connor Tracy on who can show the most bare midriff.
'American Pie Presents: Beta House'
Some scenes were reshot for an R-rating.
'Degrassi The Next Generation'
Episode: 'Hungry Eyes'
Miriam McDonald goes completely nude while flashing but is shown from behind.
'Jon Dore Show'
Episode: Manly Man
Before you start drooling, the sexy Nina Arseneault is a trannie still packing heat downstairs.
Episode: "What A Way To Go"
This episode includes a friend-of-a-friend story about a lapdancer who smothered a patron to death with her large breasts.
'Ed and Red's Night Party'
A couple of semi-topless photos of Liana Kerzner with the dirty sock.
Notes and collages
The Skeleton Key
Sarah Alexander in The Armstrong and Miller show
One more of Daisy Fuentes. (Same as an earlier one, except
Career review: Maruschka Detmers
Carmen, 1983, age 20
with Jane Birkin, 1984, age 21
La Vengeance du serpent a plumes, 1984, age 21
Via Mala, 1985, age
in the Flesh, 1986, age 23
The Mambo Kings,
1992, age 29
1995, age 32
1995, age 32
Te quiero, 2001,
fille mode d'emploi, 2002, age 39
Hari, 2003, age 40