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"Vanilla Sky"

Vanilla Sky (2001) is a remake of the Spanish film Abre Los Ojos, staring Tom Cruise. I enjoyed the Spanish version very much, and questioned the need for a remake, but the film grossed $101m against a budget of $68m, is at 7.0 of 10 at IMDB, and received roughly three stars from major critics. I didn't enjoy this version as much as the original, but part of the reason is that there were few surprises for me this time, and it is a film that should be discovered as you watch. For me, Cruise in the lead was the weakest element in the film. PenÚlope Cruz reprised her role from the original, and showed her breasts in a fairly long sex scene with Cruise.

If you haven't see the original, and are allergic to subtitles, by all means see this respectable remake. C+.

  • Thumbnails

  • PenÚlope Cruz (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)


    Lantana (2001) won every major Australian award, is universally praised by the critics (Ebert 3 1/2, Berardinelli 3) and rated 8.2 at IMDB. It is what looks a lot like a mystery -- one girl is dead, and a woman is missing -- but is really a character driven drama about a group of people who end up interacting in many ways and on many levels. The story centers around Anthony LaPaglia, who is a police detective, married to Kerry Armstrong with two kids, and cheating with Rachael Blake, whom he met at a salsa dance class he was taking with his wife. Blake is newly separated, and is neighbors with Russell Dykstra and Daniella Farinacci, the happily married couple of the bunch. Armstrong is seeing a shrink, Barbara Hershey, trying to solve her worries about her relationship. Hershey's daughter is the murdered girl, and she has written a book to cope with the grief.

    All of these characters, and more, are fully fleshed out, and when Hershey goes missing, the interactions become even more complex. This film could have been a complete bore, and it has enough characters that it could have been impossible to follow, but was crafted such that it is an easy watch, and i found myself caring about many of the characters. Rachael Blake has a brief nipple slip early in the film in bed with LaPaglia. The film might well appeal to you even if character driven drama is not your favorite entertainment, and the film is technically top-notch. B-.

  • Thumbnails

  • Rachael Blake (1, 2, 3, 4)

  • Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy)


    My First Mister - is an offbeat love story about the relationship between a 17 year old goth (Leelee Sobieski) and a fussy clothing store manager (Albert Brooks). Sound like Ghost World without Birch and Buscemi? Sorta, except without the irony. It opened the festival at Sundance. The first half of this movie is brilliant. The second half is not only atrocious (a Richard Gere weepy-ass dyin' person film), but a complete cop-out. What a shame. Actress Christine Lahti directed. She'll be back.

    Happenstance is a very charming French movie starring the now-famous Audrey Tautou. Don't be fooled by the box which states that there is extensive nudity. Oh, it's there all right, but it is of the wiener persuasion. It is a good movie, but just a little too precious - just so cute and clever and so proud of being cute and clever.

    Corky Romano is supposed to be a comedy. I can't top James Berardinelli's summary in which he noted that this film has fewer laughs than Schindler's List.

    From Hell is that "Johnny Depp chasing Jack the Ripper" thing that got pretty good reviews in the USA, but was soundly trashed in the U.K. I never did figure out the reactions differed so widely. I thought it was a well-crafted movie, but I didn't get into it at all.

    Abre los Ojos is the first, Spanish-language version of Vanilla Sky, directed by the same guy who did The Others.

    • Penelope Cruz (caps by The Realist. They are old, but they illustrate the similarities to the new version.) (1, 2)

    Vanilla Sky is the second, English-language version of Abre Los Ojos, directed by the same guy who did Almost Famous.

    • Penelope Cruz (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

    I don't remember anything about Second Time Lucky, except that Diane Franklin looks great naked. Caps by Mr Skin

    • Diane Franklin (1, 2, 3, 4)



    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 I inexplicably determined there might be something of interest.
    • A blue asterisk indicates the review is written by Tuna (or Lawdog or Junior or C2000 or Realist or ICMS or somebody else besides me)
    • If there is no asterisk, I wrote it, but am too ashamed to admit it.

    Today's cliché-fest is "Cruel and Unusual". This 2001 straight-to-video flick starring Tom Berenger has pacing that rivals that of a thoroughbred snail. Let's not forget the plot that is clearly spelled out for you in first 5 minutes...Literally! I'm not talking easy to guess the twists and turns. I'm talking in the first 10 minutes they flat out tell you exactly what will happen for the rest of the movie!

    Berenger plays a drifter serial killer wandering the Pacific Northwest. His thing...getting to know lonely women then "helping them to be happy". He makes 'em feel loved, kills them, then is on his way. Oh, he also kills men and takes on their identities.

    The "plot":
    Tom meets girl, girl falls for Tom. Tom tries to kill girl but girl is too strong and shoots Tom. Tom presumed dead (for about 1 second) then they show Tom has taken on the id of girl's younger brother (Tom killed him). The end.

    The "nudity":
    Much of the movie takes place outside, and the outdoor photography is quite nice. Of course it was filmed in Vancouver B.C., which means if you want a nice outdoor shot, just turn on the camera. However, this movie is an shining example of how not to light interiors. What little nudity there is is either very dark, or shot in an extremely steamy shower.

    The 'caps:
    Toplessness, and not that great.

    • Rachel Hayward (1, 2, 3)
    • Elizabeth Carol Savenkoff (1, 2, 3)


    More of Daneen Boone without her clothes. This time from "Justine: Crazy Love" (1995).

    • Daneen Boone, topless (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)

    Another excellent batch from the master of Fashion Scans.

    Britney News
    An open letter from MSNBC to Britney Spears

    Dear Britney:

    I am writing this open letter to you because I fear for your future. As someone who makes a living poking fun at people's foibles, I'm officially letting you know that you're becoming a very easy target. In fact, you're in danger of becoming this generation's Spice Girls. It is time for an image re-haul.

    Now Britney, you may rightfully ask who the heck is Jeannette Walls to be giving me advice? Does anyone envy Jeannette Walls' abs? Do either adolescent girls or dirty old men swoon when Jeannette Walls lip syncs? OK, maybe not. But consider this: A few months ago, I wrote an open letter to Chelsea Clinton, and not long afterwards, Vanity Fair wrote a nifty feature article calling her the next John F. Kennedy Jr.! Coincidence? I think not! Thus, some humble suggestions:

    1. Pick either slut or innocent. You can't have both. The underage sex pot thing is getting creepy. You're becoming a little bit too much what JonBenet Ramsey might have turned into.

    2. The rumor is that you and Justin have patched things up, but you should dump him. And don't date any more former Mouseketeers. Or any guys from boy bands. It's just too darned cute. Date someone with a little substance. Don't go overboard in the other direction, either. (Jack Nicholson, for instance, would conjure images of a daddy complex. Russell Crowe would also be a bad choice, but that advice applies to all women.) Think more along the lines of Matt Damon, Heath Ledger. But don't aim too high. Your aggressive pursuit of Prince William was a tad unseemly.

    3. Lose the mom. It's all getting a little too Brooke Shields-ish.

    4. Tape a photograph of Pamela Anderson on your makeup mirror with a sign underneath: "MOVE AWAY FROM THIS LOOK."

    5. Avoid Madonna. The "I'm learning from the ancient master" shtick doesn't work when Madonna is still trying to figure out who she is.

    6. Reconsider the Pepsi endorsement. And if the cash is just too much to pass up, then at the very least, stop swilling competing soft drinks. It would be nice to see you being sincere about something.

    7. A mind is a terrible thing to waste. Take a cue from Natalie Portman and Jodie Foster and get your overexposed bod off to college. It wasn't amusing that you didn't know who the Beatles were. We know that when John Lennon was shot you weren't born yet, but a LOT of things happened before you were born.

    8. Drop the movie career. Immediately. This is non-negotiable. Despite the obsessive film ambitions of so many rock stars, appearing in movies will not help your career, even if you're a good actor (Diana Ross, Debbie Harry) but especially if you're not (Elvis, Madonna).

    9. Consider rage. Rock stars with staying power have to be at least a teeny bit angry. Don't go overboard, however. (Cautionary tale: Alanis Morissette made an entire career out of rage. It got old quickly.) Potential targets of rage: your mother, the Mousketeers, Justin Timberlake, and the kid who won during your last Star Search appearance.

    10. Finally, and most painfully, publicly declare that you're no longer a virgin. I know this is majorly ick-making, but I'm afraid you made it an issue when you publicly declared your virginity. So it's going to be an issue until you undeclare it. You don't need to go into the details. In fact, please spare us.

    So, Britney, heed my advice. I can't guarantee a Vanity Fair profile, but perhaps you'll restore 13-year-old Brooke's faith in you. You don't need to thank me -- but any dirt that you hear backstage at future Diva Live concerts would be greatly appreciated. Because I am, as always,

    Your Faithful Scooper,

    Jeannette Walls

    Britney Gossip

    Oops, she did it again - and again - and again!

    In an attempt to make her ex-boyfriend jealous, Britney Spears has been brazenly flirting up a storm in nightclubs - and she's using her celebrity status to sidestep underage drinking laws, charge sources.

  • Here's Britney dancin' n drinkin' (1, 2)

    Click here to read the full story courtesy of the National Enquirer

  • Pat Reeder
    >From The NY Post...

    May 16, 2002 -- Penthouse publisher Bob Guccione doesn't just have an eye for porn - he's got X-rated X-ray vision, he claimed yesterday.

    Guccione made the odd assertion while testifying in Manhattan federal court about his mag's topless photos of a woman wrongly touted as tennis tart Anna Kournikova.

    Former model Judith Soltesz-Benetton is suing Guccione and Penthouse, saying she, not Kournikova, is the unwilling star of the June issue's pervy pictorial.

    Guccione has admitted he got it wrong, but spent hours on the witness stand over the past two days trying to explain how he matched up various parts of the topless woman's body to photos of Kournikova.

    "I can look at a woman fully dressed and give you a very good idea of her breasts without the trappings of [clothes]," the 71-year-old Guccione said. "This is another thing, I'm sorry to say, I'm an expert on."

    The bizarre boast of super-powered boob vision piercing every woman's blouse left many in court exchanging nervous glances as Guccione defended himself.

    The septuagenarian porn purveyor said he was an expert on female body parts after viewing "thousands and thousands and thousands" of pictures of women every month for Penthouse.

    Guccione said another factor that convinced him the woman in the video was Kournikova was she appeared "very lean and her ribs are very prominent."

    The woman caught up in the "Porn-ikova" case then took the stand to say Penthouse had humiliated her.

    Soltesz-Benetton, the wife of a Benetton heir, said she was "very embarrassed, very offended" to see photos of her bare breasts in the magazine.

    The pregnant former model spoke softly as she explained to Judge Denny Chin why she filed the $10 million lawsuit.

    "I would hope that this issue never reached the hands of my son or future child," she said. "I also believe it's very wrong because I never gave consent for the pictures."

    Her lawyer, Judd Burstein, charged Penthouse knew the photos weren't Kournikova.

    "Mr. Guccione made this up," railed Burstein. "They were looking for an excuse. You have a magazine in serious financial trouble. They're looking to boost sales."