Showing posts with label Erotic. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Erotic. Show all posts

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Spring Breakers

Spring Break is to me what Taco Bell, 401K and Glee Club are. They are words and ‘things’ which exist in America but mean nothing on this side of the pond. Everything I know about the items, events and shops above, I’ve learned from the movies. I have literally no idea what a 401K is though. So the concept of the Spring Break is something that is not entirely alien to me but my only contact with it has come through the likes of Piranha 3D and Friends. Spring Breakers makes it out to be pretty much what I expected; an alcohol fuelled holiday for slags and nob heads to gyrate through while getting mashed off their tits to terrible music.

Spring Breakers is about four college girls, played by Vanessa Hudgens, Selena Gomez, Ashley Benson and Rachel Korine who desperately want to go to Florida for Spring Break but can’t afford to. While Faith (Gomez) is at Church one night, the other three decide to mask up and rob a takeaway. With money to burn the foursome head down to sunnier climes where the bikinis are small and the booze keeps flowing. They soon find they get into trouble with the law though and get bailed out by a suspiciously friendly drug dealer turn rapper called Alien (James Franco).

Monday, 7 January 2013

Eyes Wide Shut

Completed mere days before his death in 1999, Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut is an erotically charged thriller starring the then married Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. Based on the 1926 novella Dream Story by Austrian writer Arthur Schnitzler the plot revolves around a rich New York City doctor Dr. William ‘Bill’ Harford (Cruise) and his wife Alice (Kidman) during a tumultuous few days in their marriage. The sexually charged Bill is accused of flirting and wanting to make love to women at a party and to his patients by his jealous and paranoid wife who then gets upset when her husband tells her that he isn’t the jealous type and trusts her implicitly. She drops a bombshell on Bill who then receives a call to attend to a patient. During the night Bill ventures into the city on a journey of sexual discovery and mystery which leaves him worried for his safety.

Eyes Wide Shut is split into two distinct halves, the first of which is an often explicit tale of sex, debauchery and passion. The second half mostly drops the erotic nature of the story in favour of all out thriller. Both halves were massively tense but equally enjoyable. I thought the film was fantastic and although it could be argued that in the hands of a lesser director and without the A List cast this would end up as a straight to video release, in the capable hands of Kubrick it is a taut and creeping film which I couldn’t take my eyes off.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Mulholland Drive

Ooookaayyyy…. So. On Mulholland Dr. L.A. a woman (Laura Harring) is in the back of a car. In the front seat is a man with a gun to her head. Before he is able to fire at her another car hits theirs killing everyone but the woman. She escapes through scrub land and finds herself in a small apartment complex where she is able to sneak into the apartment of an old woman who is leaving town for a while. Meanwhile Betty (Naomi Watts), a young woman with acting aspirations arrives in L.A. and arrives at the same apartment which belongs to her Aunt. She goes inside but finds the escaped woman in the shower. The woman is unable to remember her name and after telling Betty all she remembers is an accident, the two of them set about trying to discover her identity. For some reason the woman’s bag is full of $100 bills and a single blue key. After much searching and seemingly unlinked sub plots a blue box is discovered and opened with the key. After that my internal monologue went a bit like this; “Wait... No So… That means… No… But… He was… Hang on… Ay?... Huh?... Who’s that?... Oh of course… Nope.

This is a completely mental film but I thought it was great. For two thirds it is a mystery with the odd surrealist moment thrown in. I found this part of the film really interesting and complex and had no idea what was happening or where it was going. Despite this I was enjoying the ride. Then it goes crazy. Suddenly people aren’t who they were and characters appear in strands of the story that they had no connection with. One character goes from an amnesiac to a lesbian to the partner of a film director in a couple of scenes while another goes from a vibrant and talented young woman to down and out prostitute. I don’t know how or why and on further reading it turns out that the cast didn’t either.

Saturday, 24 March 2012


WARNING - Adult themes. Do not read if you are under 18 or read the Daily Mail.

David Cronenberg’s 1996 thriller Crash is a film that looks at the phenomenon of Paraphilia, the sexual arousal of people in response to objects, situations or individuals that are not part of the normative stimulation and can cause danger or harm to those involved. These can include arousal, fantasies and behaviours involving non-human objects, children, non-consenting persons and shamefully up until 1973, homosexuality. Crash looks at the idea of people who are sexually aroused by car crashes.

James Ballard (James Spader) is a film producer living in Toronto with his wife Catherine (Deborah Kara Unger). While driving home one night, James is involved in a head on collision with another car which kills the driver of the car he hit. While trapped in the wreckage, James looks across to the passenger of the other car, Dr. Helen Remington (Holly Hunter) who suddenly exposes her breast to him. While in hospital recovering James meets Helen again and she introduces him to Vaughn (Elias Koteas), a man who likes taking pictures of scars and people in accidents. Helen and James begin an affair and visit a performance put on by Vaughn in which he fetishises the car crash which ended the life of James Dean. James becomes a man who is aroused by car accidents and meets more people like himself through Vaughn. The rest of the film follows the group as they search out car crashes and enjoy themselves in various car related scenarios, often becoming involved in crashes themselves and sometimes purposely.  

Given what is in the previous paragraph it shouldn’t be too difficult to see why this film generated such considerable controversy upon its release. It is one of the strangest film’s I’ve watched and I actually thought I was sitting down to watch the 2004 Oscar winner of the same name at first. I can’t say that I liked it as the film’s focus was primarily on what the characters were doing rather than the reasons behind it. I’d loved to have seen the film delve into the psychoanalytical reasons behind the fetish but it generally stays away from that side of the story. This is a shame as psychoanalysis is a subject which Cronenberg dealt with marvellously in A Dangerous Method. Having said that, it did piss of the Daily Mail a lot which is a good thing in my book!

One of the reasons the film attracted so much controversy, aside from the fact that it is about people trying to crash cars for a sexual thrill, is the amount of sex contained within it. Just looking at the cast list which includes Holly Hunter, James Spader and Rosanna Arquette should give you some level of understanding as to the graphic sexual nature of the film but it is much more graphic than you are thinking. I’m a bit surprised that it got through the censors to be quite honest. The film begins with a woman rubbing a nipple on a car bonnet and the first three scenes all contain sex. In fact about half of the scenes in the entire film do. One in particular is shocking and involves a large scar (you can figure it out for yourself).

I think that this is a bold film which tries to look at a controversial subject but it fails to live up to the interestingness of its subject by skirting around the psyche behind it. What the film does make evident is the desire the protagonists have towards their fetish. This is not more so than when the group are watching a video of car crash safety tests. The whole group become visibly excited and their excitement swells until it is about to reach bursting point when the tape freezes. Holly Hunter’s character jumps off the sofa in a fit of rage and nearly pulls her hair out at missing out on the videos climax (as well as her own).

The film has many more negative than positive points unfortunately. The most glaring hole in the plot is that there is no police investigation after a man kills another by driving on the wrong side of the road. What is also very strange is that seconds after seeing her husband die, Holly Hunter’s character is exposing her breasts to the man who caused his death. While this can be explained by her fetish, it is still quite bizarre. During the group’s trip to visit and photograph a car crash that has just taken place, not one policeman or paramedic asks why they are there or tries to stop them. The acting is for the most part wooden and the script is clunky and robotic.

I wasn’t bored by this film but I think that is more down to me trying to understand what was going on and why than because it is a great film. I’ve read that Martin Scorsese ranked it the 8th best film of the 1990s and while I don’t want to argue with my favourite living film maker, I found it confusing and while it showed plenty of the taking part, it lacked the explanation of why.


Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Room in Rome

WARNING : Adult Content

Room in Rome is a Spanish (albeit with English dialogue) erotic/romantic drama starring Elena Anaya and Natasha Yarovenko. Anaya plays Alba who meets and seduces Natasha (Yarovenko) in a club in Rome and persuades her to accompany her back to her hotel room. Despite protesting that she is not gay, Natasha agrees. What follows is a whirlwind affair which takes place over the course of a single night, within the walls of Alba’s hotel room.

While at its heart the film has a very good romantic story, this takes a back seat because of the characters sex and the amount of sex within the film. Although loosely based on a Chilean film about a mixed sex couple, Room in Rome’s protagonists are both female and that brings a whole new audience to the film. I think people who wanted porn would feel disappointed and people who wanted a good romantic drama would feel equally as disappointed. The film unfortunately falls between the two. Both actresses spend almost the entire film naked. While I didn’t mind this on an aesthetic level (they are both incredibly beautiful) it is slightly off-putting. There are whole swathes of the film in which the characters have sex but while this is titillating to watch, the story itself suffers. The last third of the film deals with what will happen in the morning; will they go back to their separate lives? Could they be together? Do they want to? By the time it gets interesting you have already sat through 90 minutes of soft core lesbian porn interspersed with poignant romance by which time you have forgotten about the plot.

It isn't easy to find suitable photos of this film!

Much of the dialogue feels fake and forced. Both the actresses and the director are working in their second or third language and I think that being a Spanish film, it may have worked better in Spanish with the Russian character speaking Spanish. This wouldn’t be a stretch. As it is she speaks Russian, English and Italian during the film. Why not try Russian, Italian and Spanish? Both actresses are fine in their roles. They play the emotional scenes well and the sex scenes ‘convincingly’. If I had to pick then I’d say Anaya comes out on top (if you excuse the pun). Elena Anaya is an actress who I shall always be interested to see after she gave a wonderful performance in The Skin I Live In.

Although their relationship became interesting towards the end of the film, for the first two thirds the two women tell each other lie after lie in order to hide their true identities from one another and I found this very tiresome after a while. The film keeps the audience waiting too long to discover who the women really are, by which time they have lost interest.

An example of the beautiful cinematography

I really feel that the film would have been improved had it not contained so much explicit sex. While these scenes are great for showing the passion and heat between the two women, they detract from the story as a whole. The most intense scenes in the film aren’t those which are overtly sexual in tone. The film is at its best when the two are talking quietly, maybe stroking a thigh or back or looking into each others souls.

The ending is fairly ambiguous and for once I actually wished for a ‘Hollywood Ending’. I suppose this shows how invested in the love story I was and how well the film showed the passion and love between the characters.  It also has to be said that as well as the beautiful naked women, the film also has some beautiful cinematography but in the end the sex got in the way of the story.


Thursday, 16 February 2012

Sleeping Beauty

Billed as an erotic drama and far removed from the fairytail which bares the same name, 2011s Sleeping Beauty is more like a confusing first draft of an interesting if not a little seedy idea. Emily Browning plays college student Lucy who in search of extra cash is drawn into the sordid world of erotic entertainment. At first she is required to act as a lingerie clad, silver service waitress but as things progress they take a more squalid turn and she ends up being drugged to fall asleep and have men spend time with her, under one provision – no penetration.

The film is slow, quiet and bare and features little music or dialogue. The story is played out at a deliberate pace in purposeful scenes that are full of subtle emotion. Despite the large amount of nudity and sexual language, I wouldn’t class the film as erotic. It is actually quite depressing. Browning’s character has few friends and spends her evenings craving attention and affection from strangers. She also takes part in humiliating acts of medical experimentation and partakes in drug abuse, possibly to escape ‘herself’.

The film is a brave choice for Emily Browning who was last seen in Sucker Punch,(reviewed here) a film with a very dodgy attitude towards women. In this she is rarely clothed on screen and has to deal with some quite degrading scenes. She is much better here than in the aforementioned crime against narrative cinema however and lets her face and body do the acting. Her face is often expressionless and she appears to be floating through it and life, even when she is not drugged. Despite a better performance here, and a more natural one too, I think the jury is still out as to whether she can successfully move into less grubby cinema.  

My main problem with the film is that it is just really lackluster. The idea is fairly interesting and it has a pleasing minimalist and blank look to it which compliments Browning’s own looks but it wasn’t in the least bit exciting or interesting to watch. The emotional scenes are not and one scene in particular in which an old man tells a very long story had me reaching for my phone to check twitter, this despite also having a nude Emily Browning in shot. The ending is unsatisfying and confusing and by that point I’d completely lost interest. To be kind to the film, it is shot very beautifully and has an interesting concept but it is disappointing in its execution.


Thursday, 26 January 2012


I found Shame to be a bleak, intriguing and tense film which stuck with me for a long time after watching it. It follows Michael Fassbender as Brandon Sullivan, a successful thirty-something in New York who has an addiction – to sex. Brandon is forced to juggle his addiction with his job and this is made even more difficult with the arrival of his emotionally damaged sister Silly, played by Carey Mulligan.

One of the first things that me struck about the film was how beautiful both New York and the internal sets looke. Steve McQueen is obviously a man with a great eye for beauty in simplicity, a trend that has continued from his earlier career as an artist. Another thing that struck me was Michael Fassbender’s penis. My girlfriend’s three word review of the film “it’s so big!” sums it up well. The film doesn’t shy away from sex or nudity which is refreshing in a world where 18 Certificate films are becoming much rarer. Many film makers see the 18 as something to avoid for financial reasons but Searchlight, the films distributor has called it a “badge of honour”.

Although the film focuses on sex addiction, it could be about any type of addiction. You are increasingly drawn in to Fassbender’s quest to scratch his itch as his life spirals deeper into depravity. You realise that he will do almost anything to get his fix and the parallels with other addictions are evident.

While sex addiction is at the forefront of this film I believe that its motif is the relationship between Fassbender and Mulligan. You are left wanting to know more about what lead them to become the people they are. They don’t seem like brother and sister and find it hard to act as though they are. This mystery is at the heart of the film.
Shame is a powerful and uncompromising film that delves deep into the subject of addiction and its impacts on us.