Frida (2002) is one of the hardest films for me to review of the ones I have seen, as I am of two minds about it.

On the one hand ...

It is the Cliff Notes of biopics about Frida Kahlo, showing us the key events of her adult life at a dizzying pace and with lack of detail. Her affair with Josephine Baker is basically a photo montage, her dalliance with Leon Trotsky is little more, and there is no mention of her affairs with Dolores del Rio, Paulette Goddard, Georgia O'Keefe, Emmy Lou Packard, Nickolas Muray, Isamu Noguchi, Maria Felix or any of the numerous others. We see nothing of her life before the day she met future husband Diego Rivera for the first time at 18, a period which includes her bout with Polio that left her with a withered leg at an early age, and hence miss the chance to see how she became what she was. While they did hit the high points of her life from 18 to her death, we feel no closer to understanding the person at the end than at the beginning, and this complex women is one I would like to understand.

The film is not without positives. It is colorful, with interesting camera angles and lighting, but not so much so that it distracts from the performances, which were very good. Makeup was also exceptional, and I was not alone in enjoying the sound track, So it had a lot of right ingredients, but did not have a good biopic script, and no amount of talent or dedication could have made up for that.

On the other hand ...

When director Julie Taymor was first given the script, it was very much a biopic, and she was immediately taken with the subject. She quickly realized, however, that this was way too much life for one film, and a low budget film at that. After several read-throughs, it was the love affair between Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera that stood out in her mind as the most singular aspect of the story. Despite infidelity and jealousy on both their sides, a mutual penchant for self promotion, and competition for the attention of the art world, they stayed together, and their divorce lasted only a year. This was clearly not your typical love story, and so is the story she decided to tell. What remained was finding an approach to the project, and that was an easier problem. She noticed that Kahlo's body of work was largely self portraits, and she could see her life events reflected in them, and so created a visual approach to the story tying in her life with her art, even to the extent of morphing people into paintings and paintings into people.

When viewed in this light, what is criticized as a weak biopic is really a visual autobiography of Frida's relationship with Diego Rivera, and what was achieved was nothing short of brilliant, especially given the budget constraints. There is no way they could have told even this limited story without Paris and New York, as events in those cities were pivotal in the relationship, but they had to shoot the entire film in Mexico. Composites were made using After-Effects, which fit in well with the visual style of the film. Much of the animation was painstakingly done using stop motion animation as a cost cutting measure. The entire cast worked for scale.

Ad so ...

I agree completely that this is not a good biopic of Frida Kahlo. Then again a taco is a terrible bowling ball. Perhaps a title that would have created more accurate expectations would have lessoned the criticism, but as it is, the film was award winning and a box office success. Someone will eventually make a good biopic or two about this fascinating woman that will be what everyone was expecting, but that doesn't lesson this achievement. Using a star system, I have to agree with Ebert's 3 1/2 stars, but this art film visual love story will not have wide cross-over appeal, and is therefore a C+. See Scoop's review for the nudity summary from Salma Hayek, Mia Maestro, Lucia Bravo, Ivana Sejenovich and Karine Plantadit-Bageot.

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  • Ivana Sejenovich (1, 2, 3, 4)
  • Karine lantadit (1, 2, 3, 4)
  • Lucia Bravo (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
  • Mia Maestro (1, 2)
  • Salma Hayek (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14)

  • Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy)


    • Charlie's French Cinema Nudity Site is updated, including new collages of Juliette Binoche and Romy Schneider. Binoche flashes a quick nipple and does full rear nudity in 2002's Jet-Lag.
    • Naked Encyclopedia Updates: The Elizabeth McGovern volume has been updated.




    I'm not familiar with Yahoo's ratings system, but their conversion of Roger Ebert's 1-star review of "Old School" into a D was fair. In fact, it should be very easy to convert Ebert's newspaper reviews into letter grades:

    4 stars     = A
    3 1/2 stars = A-/B+
    3 stars     = B
    2 1/2 stars = B-/C+
    2 stars     = C
    1 1/2 stars = C-/D+
    1 star      = D
    1/2 star    = D-
    0 stars     = F

    A 2-star newspaper review always translates into a thumbs-down on the TV show. 2 1/2 stars can go either way, though more of them seem to be thumb-slightly-down than thumb-slightly-up.

    Ebert is very selective with his zero-star reviews, usually only handing out 1-2 per year. According to a quick search at, he's only blessed 28 films with that honor since 1985, although I'm sure his book, "I Really, Really, Really Hated That Movie" would list some more.

    Yes, you are right. Yahoo's D is a reasonable conversion of Ebert's one star. My error. I blanked out and forgot that his scale goes below one, so I was thinking that one star was his lowest possible score, even though I can now remember that he has lower scores!

    On the other hand, Yahoo's conversion is not consistent. Ebert also assigned one star to Swept Away, and Yahoo called that a C-.

    A better illustration of Yahoo's softball system would be this: The average critical review for Swept Away, last year's Razzie winner as the worst picture of the year, is estimated as a C- by Yahoo. The Metacritic site tries to make the exact same estimation (the average critical review), and that site summarizes Swept Away as 16/100! I assume most of you would have done pretty well in a school where 16/100 was a C-. Actually, that would be cool. If they made 16/100 a C- and gave all multiple choice tests, you'd never have to go to class at all. Just answer the same letter to every question, pick up your C average, and party. Now that I think about it, I think President Bush actually did that.


    Dear Scoop:

    Here's the first FAUX JAPANESE LESBIAN DUO links:

    It's a T.a.T.u world...we're only living in it.  I couldn't get any photos from the my illiteracy, I couldn't advance past the menu page. Perhaps your expertise will yield better some suggestive sapphic songstress images. Thought I'd pass it along to continue the thread.

    Celebrity Sleuth


    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 Hankster:

    Today we return to "Crime Scene" for 3 caps that I forgot to include the other day. Those caps give us a topless Amber Smith and an equally topless Billy Jean Kirkland getting it on in the pool.

    • Amber Smith and Billy Jean Kirkland (1, 2, 3)

    Then we move on to "Kingpin" a comedy which starred Woody Harrelson, Randy Quaid and the gorgeous Vanessa Angel. Vanessa did not get naked, but did give us cleavage, great legs and some pretty nice pokies.

    Erinn Bartlett Brief, but beautiful breast exposure in scenes from "100 Women" (2002).

    Maryam d'Abo
    (1, 2, 3)

    The former Bond babe topless and showing brief frontal nudity in scenes from her very first movie "Xtro" (1983).

    Halle Berry
    (1, 2)

    Gettin' it on with Billy Bob and taking home and Oscar for it. Vidcaps from "Monster's Ball".

    Regina Russell
    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)

    Señor Skin 'caps of the Skinemax regular topless and full frontal (link #5) in scenes from "Mummy's Kiss".

    Alexandra Paul

    Angelica Bridges

    Carmen Electra
    (1, 2, 3)

    Gena Lee Nolin

    Nicole Eggert
    (1, 2)

    Pam Anderson
    (1, 2)

    Stacy Kamano

    Yasmine Bleeth

    "Baywatch: Hawaiian Wedding" on DVD! Excellent bikini 'caps by DeadLamb. Pam #2 is my favorite.