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"Malena es un nombre de tango"

Malena es un nombre de tango (1996), or Malena is a Tango Name, is the story of a girl (Ariadna Gil) who lives in the shadow of her perfect sister, Reina, so much that she secretly prays to become a boy, because she feels she has no chance to match her sister. At age ten, she gets a confidence boost when her Grandfather, for no apparent reason, gives her the last family heirloom, an uncut emerald, telling her that she must never mention it to anyone, including himself, and that it could save her life.

We follow her through puberty and her first sexual experience, which ends abruptly, through a succession of lovers, and a marriage. After she has a child, her husband leaves her for her sister, and keeps her child. This film also did not have subtitles, and there are many plot details I couldn't decipher. It is based on the novel of the same name by Almudena Grandes, the same woman who write Las Edades de Lulú. The book is described as follows:

"This is the avidly awaited third novel by Almudena Grandes. The significance that Malena es un nombre de tango (Malena is a Tango Name) brings forth within her exceptional literary development does not escape anybody. Perhaps it will amaze many to find out that Almudena Grandes has not eased off in her literary project or forsaken the boldness with which she undertakes each of her books.

"Certainly, it is not easy to overcome either the rapture of such an awesome success like the one obtained with Las edades de Lulú - which has been translated in nineteen countries and of which nearly one million copies have been sold around the world - or the immediate splendid welcome of Te llamaré viernes, her second novel, translated also by several of her now staunch foreign publishers. But all this appears to make no difference to Grandes in that each novel, as is the case with Malena es un nombre de tango, a new literary and personal adventure, a challenge takes place without consequently having to abandon the literary world which is hers, ruled by her personal obsessions and her own style.

"Malena is only twelve when her grandfather hands down to her, without any reason nor right, the last treasure preserved by the family: an old uncut emerald of which she will never be able to speak, because one day it will save her life. From then on, this confused and bewildered girl, who prays in silence to become a boy because she feels that she will never succeed in resembling her twin sister, Reina, the perfect woman, begins to be suspicious that she is not the first Fernández de Alcántara unable to find a suitable place in the world around her. So, she secretly embarks on the difficult task of disentangling the labyrinth of secrets which beats under the gentle skin of her family, an exemplary bourgeois family of Madrid. Under the shadow, protective rather than threatening, of an old malediction, Malena learns to reflect herself, as in a mirror, in the memory of those who thought themselves cursed before her, and finds as she reaches maturity, a reflection of her own fears and love in the succession of imperfect women who preceded her. She finally discovers that there is no other malediction than life, and no other guilt than daring to live it."

As near as I was able to follow, the film was faithful to the book. IMDB readers have it at 6.9 of 10. Gil shows breasts and buns in several dark scenes. She is considered one of the most important Spanish actresses, and for good reason. Not only is she good on the eyes, but her performance was very strong. This is, in many ways, a chick flick, in that many women can relate to the situations Malena faces, and, as in all her work, Grandes builds her story around strong female characters. High C+.

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  • Ariadna Gil (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)


    Airbag (1997) as Félix, my friend from Madrid said, is a low-brow road movie. It features Vicenta N'Dongo, a stunning black Spanish actress who often plays Cubans and Africans. A spoiled mama's boy is about to marry the daughter of a Marquéssa, and two of his friends take him to a fancy brothel for a bachelor party. There, he loses his heirloom wedding wring in N'Dongo's ass. By the time he realizes it, it has been found by a mobster chief who owns a chain of brothels. The three have to go after the ring, and, in doing so, end up in the middle of a war between rival gangs involving cocaine and lots of money.

    This film is a complete farce, but does have some very funny ideas. In one scene, the rival gangs both ordered to avoid a war and get along, meet to solve their differences. When one of them swats a fly on his forehead, the gangs open fire on each other across the table. Both gang heads, and the Marquéssa as well, have been contributing heavily to the campaign of a presidential candidate. Turns out to be a waste when he is jailed for sex with a ten year old. IN the brothels, the girls keep track of time with a taxi meter. N'Dongo shows breasts and buns, and several unknown hookers show breasts in the various brothels.

    IMDB readers have this at 6.2 of 10. IF this sort of over the top farce is your thing, this might be worth renting for you. The transfer is a magnificent ultra-Widescreen anamorphic, and looks crisp and saturated throughout. The film is mainly absurd action, so the subtitles don't really detract much from viewing. C+.

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  • Unknown (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
  • Vincenta N'Dongo (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)

  • Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy)



    Other crap:

    Let's make Hitler
    And Hirohito
    Look as sick as
    Old Benito
    Buy defense bonds



    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.

    Graphic Response

    Be sure to pay Graphic Response a visit at his website.


    Part 2 of Uschi Digard in "Superchick". I just had to go back and do a few more 'caps of her amazing chest.

    • Uschi Digard (1, 2, 3, 4)

    A few more detective magazine covers featuring "Babes in Bondage or Peril".

    • Scantilly clad "Babes in Peril" (1, 2, 3)

    As always, beautiful women and excellent images from the master of fashion scans.
    • Gisele Bundchen (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
    • Natalia Semanova, see-thu nipple sightings in #1 and #7 (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
    • Kelly Brook. Lingerie in all, plus some of the most impressive cleavage ever in links 5 and 6!
      (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

    Great Finds
    Mr. Skin managed to come up with a few wonderful rarities...

  • First up, the lovely and exotic Charlotte Lewis bares a brief nipple in the obscure Italian film " Ragno gelido" aka "Dial Help" (1988).
    (1, 2)

  • Next, from a very hard to find VHS called "The Working Girls" aka "Elvira Naked". It features Elvira topless back in her Cassandra Peterson days (around 1973).

  • Variety
    Jeri Ryan
    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

    Seven of 9 looking even better out of her Borg costume (although personally I do miss the eye piece). Great scans by Big Daddy of Jeri barely dressed in the new Maxim!

    Kathleen Turner
    Janice Renney

    Vidcaps by Dann featuring the nudity of Ken Russell's high camp, comedy/dark drama "Crimes of Passion" (1984). Turner is topless, Renney shows breasts and bum.

    Demi Moore
    (1, 2, 3)

    Partial breast and bum views from "Indecent Proposal" (1993)