Last Tango in Paris

Today People Magazine unveiled their annual “Sexiest Man Alive” winner, crushing the hopes and dreams of thousands of starving beautiful men who thought, maybe just this once, they could have been a contender (better luck next year boys). While Bradley Cooper is a tasty, if not boring, morsel of man, as far as I know he has yet to perform in a movie sex scene. Making him completely of no interest to me in regards to this column. Please correct me if I’m wrong in the comments, as I will for sure need to brush up on my Bradley Cooper sexy-time if it does exist. But enough about my personal disappointment in People Magazine’s cornering of the Sexiest Man Alive market, for today is also the day before the night before the opening of the fourth movie in the Twilight Saga, Breaking Dawn: Part I. Now this little tween fantasy is definitely of interest to me for more than its loose definition of what constitutes child pornography. I have (like almost all women in need of a good train wreck) annually paid good money to the Summit gods for the Twilight experience, and this Friday will be no different. Fans of the sparkly vampire series have (im)patiently waited through the first three films for two Breaking Dawn scenes, one completely contingent on the other. If the press tour mumblings of the film’s stars are anything to believe, Twi-hards should already prepare themselves for some hot and heavy action during Bella […]

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Culture Warrior

Ideology is inescapable from cinema. I’ve yet to encounter the situation in which Paul Narboni and Jean-Luc Comolli’s thesis from their essay “Cinema/Ideology/Criticism,” in which they assert “all cinema is political,” isn’t true. Movies are products of various industries, are situated within a  culture, and emerge with assumptions intact surrounding the values intrinsic to that culture, and thus movies are inevitably, in some way or another, products of ideology. How this ideology functions in cinema can be explicit or implicit, didactically deliberate or simply a rarely acknowledged and often expected trope, but ideology persists in cinema nonetheless. Whether it’s an argument made by an advocate documentarian in an independent production or the story of a superhero whose heroism venerates individual accomplishment in big studio tentpole filmmaking, ideology is articulated through movies. But while ideology is always present in cinema, individual films should never be reduced to ideology. I’m certainly not saying that cinema and ideology should be evaluated separately, or should not examined as mutually determining of one another, but we should acknowledge that when we examine cinema and ideology, we are in many ways examining two things which are not separate, but are different in many ways. The reason this particular topic has come of interest to me this week is, not surprisingly, because of the release and subsequent reactions to Paul Johansson’s adaptation of Ayn Rand’s controversial magnum opus Atlas Shrugged. I’m not interested in talking about the film nor necessarily the reaction to it specifically (in full […]

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Thanks to Netflix, it has become easier to watch controversial movies at home, but it’s also harder to find the quality. Often times a movie’s description is more misleading than helpful and may lead a person to feel duped once the credits have rolled. Following the website-generated suggestions only takes you so far—or right into the awaiting arms of something too line-crossing for a newbie – and a quick Google search turns up pages and pages of porn. I think it’s time someone makes this search a little less difficult. Yes, there are tons of lists out there compiled by reputable sites detailing which sex-centric movies are the quintessential, the most titillating, and even the most disgusting, but what if you just want to put your toe into the sex movie pool? You can have a movie that’s all about sex but doesn’t have one hot sex scene or a drop of chemistry in it…hello Last Tango in Paris!

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Culture Warrior

A few months back, a fight for free expression was exercised by the Weinstein Company for the Sundance-indie favorite Blue Valentine to be theatrically released with an R-rating instead of the dreaded NC-17. Many things about this pseudo-fight are nothing special: there’s hardly anything surprising about fights with the MPAA or about the Weinsteins making a fuss – it’s how they’ve succeeded in the business for decades. But this fuss, and the anti-MPAA lobbying contained within it, seemed significantly more justified because it was exercised in the name of potentially getting an exceptional indie into more theaters across the country (and while the film does star two recognizable names, it is, economically speaking, very much a truly modest indie of the classic Sundance variety). In the end, the Weinsteins got their way, and justifiably so. The NC-17 rating has become an economic form of censorship: nothing associated with the label, or the institution that bestows that label, has the power to actively stop distribution of NC-17 films, but because of the rating’s associations with sexually-explicit content, and because of the liability and extra measures required of theaters in preventing young people from sneaking their way into such films, many theaters (and some entire theater chains) will not exhibit films with such a rating. This would have relegated Blue Valentine, at best, to arthouse theaters in big cities. Such theaters are no doubt where Blue Valentine will play best regardless, but the key word here is opportunity – an R-rating provides […]

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So Lars Von Trier isn’t forcing Martin Scorsese to remake Taxi Driver. Who cares? Here are ten directors that the madman should punish for being geniuses.

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turnedon-sexscenes

What is turning Bethany on this week, you ask? How about sex. Not just sex though, sex that’s not really sex, but is still sexy… Ah, just come on in and read the article. Satisfaction is guaranteed.

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