"La Ciudad de los prodigios"

La Ciudad de los prodigios (1999) is a joint Spanish/French/Portuguese production based on a novel of the same name. It is set in Barcelona, the city of prodigies, in the late 1880s. The city is preparing for a world fair, which those in power hope will bring a lot of money to the city. Onofre Bouvila (Olivier Martinez), who was raised in poverty, comes to town hoping to find work, and, instead, finds disease, unemployment, poverty and corruption. The daughter of the owner of the pension where he has a room, Emma Suárez, introduces him to her anarchist companeros, and he starts working with them, but soon sees that money and guns will win over idealism every time.

He joins the dark side, working for the hoods who keep the rich, the military, the church, and the politicians on top. It is about this time that he figures the way to win Suárez' affection is to rape her. For some odd reason, she stops talking to him. Most of the film shows his ruthless rise to riches and power. He is eventually reunited with Suárez in Paris. Seems she has always loved him, despite the rape, but just didn't feel like talking to him.

He married the daughter of a powerful man on his way to the top, played by Marián Aguilera. She shows us full frontal as she undresses for him. IMDB readers have this at 4.6 of 10. The only on line review calls it a poor adaptation of the novel, and complains that the love story is simply not believable. Remove that, and it is just another gangster movie, but moved from Chicago to Barcelona. It is overly long, a little hard to follow, and the characters have little depth. The photography is good, and the Region 2 PAL DVD is a decent transfer. This is a D+.

  • Thumbnails

  • Marian Aguilera (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11)

  • Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy)

    Two romantic "fairy-tale" comedies. One an entertaining quirky little movie that nobody will ever see, the other a big budget Hollywood formula picture that rings nary a single original note.

    The "little picture" is Fast Food Fast Women, a romantic comedy for the arthouse crowd, which exists in a dream world far from our universe, but populates that world with recognizable and likeable characters.

    • Anna Thom(p)son (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)


    The "big picture" is the latest J-Lo film, Maid in Manhattan, which opens today, a romantic comedy for the young teenage girl market (I guess). If you've seen Working Girl and Pretty Woman, you've already seen this. 

    This has to be one of the biggest wastes of top talent in history. J-Lo I can understand, but what are Ralph Fiennes, Bob Hoskins and Natasha Richardson doing in crap like this? The intense Fiennes brought nothing to this part at all, other than a certain sinister Goeth/Dolarhyde quality that was totally inappropriate. He played a politician who was supposed to be a charismatic, naturally aristocratic guy like JFK a guy with sprezzatura. But his smiles had roughly that same natural, easy sincerity which characterized Nixon's smiles. No nudity.


    • Charlie's French Cinema Nudity site is updated

    Shameless Propaganda, Part 10:

    If you like weird news and dumb criminal stories, or if you've ever been forced to suffer through a boring business/self-help book like "Who Moved My Cheese?", you'll love "Nine Hallmarks of Highly Incompetent Losers."  It earned four stars from Wireless Flash News, and will be in bookstores nationwide next spring, but you can get the jump on the rest of America and get it now through Pat Reeder's website.  Cheaper than Amazon and every copy is personally autographed! 

    Click here ( for a book excerpt, Real Audio updates on "Losers In The News," samples of the Comedy Wire and more. 


    Excerpt from Chapter 10:  Pop Quiz

    Having slogged this far through the book, you have been exposed to a staggering array of chuzzlewits, lamebrains and nimrods, and you have had their simple, basic mistakes identified, analyzed and cataloged for you. It is now time to find out whether this close exposure to so much incompetence has eroded your own intelligence, or whether I have attained my goal of helping you to sharpen your thinking skills and avoid abject humiliation by learning from the mistakes of others.  That's right: it's pop quiz time!...

    You are a member of any one of several university  research teams, and your latest discoveries include one of the following:  Teenage boys who are sexually active are less likely to be depressed than boys who are virgins; most Americans would rather win the lottery than catch herpes; elderly drivers make slower left turns than younger drivers; people who get lots of sex are generally happier than people on Death Row; and ice cream is far more popular than broccoli.  What do you do with this information?

    A.  Bury it and try to think of a new survey topic that won't subject you to global ridicule.

    B.  Send out a press release.

    You are a fugitive wanted in Kansas on two counts of molesting young girls.  What should you do?

    A.  Change your name, move someplace where nobody will recognize you, and lay low.

    B.  Become a contestant on "Wheel of Fortune. "

    (KEY: Of course, the correct answers are A. and the things that actually happened were B.)


    • The finalists in the Page Three newcomer competition. If you click on the head shots you see the good stuff.

    • The Saddam Hussein song. Sung to the tune of "People are Strange" (The Doors)

    • Al Gore takes up a new career: movie reviews. Here are his thoughts on Frida.

    • Saddam denies having a moustache, but President Bush cites "solid evidence of facial hair"

    • Nine things not as old as Strom Thurmond. Including human flight, the state of Arizona, and the Panama Canal

    • Need an Xmas present for that hard-to-please person on your list? I recommend the talking George Bush doll, which actually repeats 17 of the president's most quotable quotes - in his actual voice. Ya gotta love the entrepreneurial spirit.

    • The first pre-Oscar award, the National Board of Review's best film of the year, went to The Hours, a sensitive multi-era film about how three women's lives were affected by feminist author Virginia Woolf. It stars Streep and Kidman. I'll bet the fanboy lines are already forming for that one, eh?

      • They also chose a top 10, which did not include My Big Fat Greek Wedding or The Lord of the Rings: The TwoTowers. One expert opined, "We can expect Chicago, Gangs of New York and The Hours to be nominated for (Oscar) best picture." Chicago is the all-Z musical (stars Zeta and Zellweger). Gangs of New York is Martin Scorcese's serious 1850s historical drama about the conflicts between the Americans who had been established here for generations (basically English) and the first large wave of immigrants (Irish).

      •  Julianne Moore won the best actress award for her role in Far From Heaven. The shocker on the list was Roger Dodger's Campbell Scott (son of George C. Scott) as best actor. Other winners: Chris Cooper (supporting actor, Adaptation), Kathy Bates (supporting actress, About Schmidt), and directors Phillip Noyce (Quiet American, Rabbit-Proof Fence) and Rob Marshall (Chicago).

    Quote of the day - from Kevin Smith (Silent Bob)

    Kevin has been enlisted to pen the next installment of the Scary Movie franchise - according to the American entertainment bible, Variety. Airplane helmer David Zucker will direct the film, although the Wayans brothers, who were involved with both other outings, are not on board. Smith says,

    "It is an honor to be involved with David, one of the creators of Airplane!, which is arguably the funniest movie of all time. Our aim is to make this third in the franchise as funny as that other hysterical third in the franchise flick, The Godfather, Part III"

    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 ICMS:

    As promised, I capped all the nudity from the Brazilian DVD's of Death Wish (1974) and Death Wish II (1982).

    Both films are directed by Michael Winner and are very similar, so this review can refer to both films. All actors except Vincent Gardenia put in wooden performances and the editing is somewhat sloppy. Furthermore the second movie is much more violent than the first one, some say for commercial reasons but let's not forget that crime was rising rapidly in real life too between those two dates. Others say that these films have no message or purpose. First of all I think that a film doens't necessarily need a message or purpose, but in this case I find the message or purpose to be very clear: the movies show us what will happen if we let violence and criminals take things over. Perfectly decent people will start taking the law into their own hands when or because they feel that the police, the justice system and the politicians are letting them down by not taking the appropriate measures to tackle crime and violence. In fact I see it happening here in my own country right now. What you can indeed reproach these films is that they are too simplistic. Not all criminals are beyond salvation and longer jail sentences aren't always the right answer as well. I think it is equally, if not more, important that the chance that a criminal is going to get caught is high enough. What's the use of tough sentences if you have the impression that impunity reigns? In fact the films deal with the same theme as the Dirty Harry films, but the Death Wish series chose the cheap and trashy approach with a vigilante instead of a cop who stayed within the mainframe of the system.

    What seems to upset most meople, besides the violence, is of course the infamous rape scene starring Silvana Gallardo as Charles Bronson's maid at the beginning of Death Wish II. Quite a number of reviewers on the IMDb complain that the scene is brutal, violent and disgusting. Excuse me, since when is rape, and murder too for that matter, something gentle, peaceful and attractive? It is definitely not, it IS brutal and disgusting and murders in films like these don't even come close to what you feel when you have to deal with the real thing, which is much more scary and leaves you sleepless at night when it happens in your own surroundings. I really can't make a fuss anymore about some enacted, simulated graphic scene played by consenting actors on a piece of film. Nevertheless it was extremely courageous of Silvana Gallardo, then 29, to agree to do this scene, certainly for a mainstream actress. She never became a big star but her credits in the IMDb show that she never was out of business in Hollywood ever since. May the pictures I made of her be regarded as a tribute to a brave actress who behaved like real trooper. Should this scene have been cut like happens so often? No, or like Walter Matthau as a liberal Supreme Court judge said to Jill Clayburgh as a conservative Supreme Court judge in "First Monday in October" where he was against cutting or forbidding a trashy film: "It is trash, but I defend it because in this country trash has the right to be trash". All the other female victims in the 2 movies didn't have much of a career. As for the muggers, there's a strange coincidence too. In Death Wish, one of them was Jeff Goldblum and in Death Wish II we had Laurence Fishburn. It sure seems that playing a vicious mugger can help further your career in Hollywood.

    My rating for both films is D+ because of the bad acting, the arbitrary cuts and the lack of depth of the script.

    Nudity report:

    * Death Wish:
    -female: Kathleen Tolan shows breasts and buns.
    -male: Jeff Goldblum shows the upper half of his butt crack while forcing Kathleen Tolan into oral sex with him.

    * Death Wish II:
    -female: Silvana Gallardo shows all 3 B's being raped and afterwards being murdered by the 5 muggers, Robin Sherwood shows breasts during her rape scene, Melody Santangello shows her breasts when one of the muggers holds her hostage and Leslie Graves can be seen topless shortly near the end of the film.
    -male: Laurence Fishburn shows BBP (Butt, Balls&Penis), most of the other muggers show their butts.

    Elisabeth Shue
    (1, 2, 3, 4)

    Kim Dickens
    (1, 2)

    Rhona Mitra
    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

    Mr. Nude Celeb takes a look at the Paul Verhoeven movie "Hollow Man" (2000).

    Shue shows pokies, a little bit of bum in link #3.
    Dickens gets felt up by and invisible Kevin Bacon.
    Mitra shows off her robo-boobs.

    Corinne Clery The French actress in a triple B performance.

    Collage and additional comments by Dann:

    From the movie "Hitch-Hike". Sometimes called a "Lost Classic", and "one of the greatest exploitation films no one has ever seen", this 1978 Italian film is sleazy, sexy, and funny without meaning to be. I enjoyed it because it was so bad.

    Cassie Lane
    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)

    A gorgeous spread from Max magazine. Very sexy see-thru's, bum and partial breast poses.

    (1, 2)

    Unlike her recent concert appearance, the pop star is not falling out of her clothes in these scans from Maxim magazine. But they way she's packed into these's easy to see why she had trouble keeping the goodies hidden. Great scans by f2k.

    Gretchen Palmer
    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

    Showing off her implants, and a pretty nice bum in scenes from two cable series. Links 1-3 are from the series "Perversions of Science", episode: "Dream of Doom". Links 4-5 are from "Tales from the Crypt", episode: "Ear Today... Gone Tomorrow". Thanks to Señor Skin.

    Glori Gold Showing off her jumbo jacks in a sex scene from one of my favorite Skinemax shows.."Hot Springs Hotel".

    LeeAnn Tweeden
    (1, 2, 3)

    Jana Ina
    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

    Sexy non-nude scans of two goreous brunettes, by Arthur Figgis.

    Tweeden looks amazing in lingerie and Ina sports a variety of bikinis.

    Pat Reeder
    Pat's comments in yellow...

    Buy One And Pretend You're An Oil Company! - Just in time for Christmas, is selling a talking George W. Bush action figure. Press a button on his back and he says things recorded in Bush's own voice, from the serious ("Terrorism will not stand") to the fumblemouthed ("Putting food on your family"). The maker is also planning talking dolls of the first President Bush, JFK, Nixon and Bill Clinton.

  • But it's not Clinton's STRING that you pull...
  • Your kids can have Dick Nixon to kick around!
  • When the Bush doll talks about foreign policy, his voice sounds like Dick Cheney's.

    Magne, I'm Amazed - Norway's national rail company gave singer Magne Furuholmen of the pop group A-Ha 14,000 kroner ($1700 US) to decorate a Christmas tree for the Oslo station. To protest Christmas commercialism, he just hung the cash all over the tree. It lasted less than three days before someone climbed a ladder and stole all the money off it.

  • To protest anti-commercialism.
  • Magne replied, "A-Ha! I should've thought of that."
  • Considering they haven't had a hit since "Take On Me" in 1985, maybe Magne took it.

    Jr adds..I know, your all thinking "Ah-Ha? They're still around?" Well as fate would have it, I have proof that they are. Check out this picture I took on my recent trip to Europe. Not only are they still alive...but they are still touring!

    Give Him Sexiest Toupee - MSNBC columnist Jeannette Walls reports that People magazine has been "deluged with complaints" since naming Ben Affleck the "Sexiest Man Alive." An inside source says readers are angry over Jennifer Lopez dumping her husband for Ben and all the PR over their engagement. The source said from the reaction, you'd think they'd chosen Saddam Hussein. An online poll found 81 percent disagreement with the choice of Affleck, while one bulletin board poster ranted, "Are they on crack?"

  • Short answer: Yes.
  • That post was written by Leonardo DiCaprio.
  • The only people who agree with People's choice are J-Lo and Matt Damon.
  • 47 percent agree that the Aflack duck is sexier than him.
  • Actually, compared to Ben Affleck, Saddam Hussein is rather dashing.

    Better Dump Ben For P. Diddy - The Jen-and-Ben backlash is also hitting record stores, where their PR blitz failed to push J-Lo's critically-drubbed new album higher than #5. Experts doubt it will go higher. Her sales are far below those of Shania Twain, Tim McGraw, Eminem, and even a dead man: Tupac Shakur.

  • But that particular dead man is sexier than Ben Affleck.
  • A dead man's voice conveys more emotion than hers.
  • The problem is, you can't fit a picture of her ass on a CD cover...You need a gatefold LP for that.
  • J-Lo knows what she needs to boost her music career: A new fiance!

  • Mail Bag

    Hey Scoop,

    A quick ID for you. The unknown from "Esther Kahn" in Wednesday's issue of the Fun House is Frances Barber.


    Hey Scoop,

    Many years ago "Carnal Knowledge" was released on VHS with a copyguard protection (not Macrovision). I had to go out and buy the equipment so I could record the nude scenes. The first such scene is dark but I've never seen it capped. Ann-Margret and Jack are laying on their backs in bed after sex and her boobs are pointing up like perfect cones. Jack says: "Wow, I almost came that time!". A hard line to forget. Any idea why nobody captures this scene?