Friday, December 23, 2005

9 Songs (2004)-NR

Let’s talk about the sex in 9 Songs, and there is a lot of it! In fact, of the 1 hour and 11 minutes approximately 65% of the movie is lovemaking between the only two actors Lisa (Margo Stilley) and Matt (Kieran O’Brien). The sex is hot and gets more and more graphic as the film progresses. Rarely in a soft-porn film do we get to see a penis. Rarely in an “X” rated film do we get to see a penis (really) ejaculate. I have never seen an uncircumcised penis in a film (maybe I’ve just lived a sheltered life). With this film we are treated to all of this and more.

9 Songs is a story about a brief affair between two young people. The film follows the couples to rock concerts, follows them to bed, follows them back to rock concerts, follows them to bed.., well, you get the idea. The film has an occasional segment where we follow Matt to his work in Antarctica as a Glaciologist.

I found the sex erotic, though the couple seems pressured to always find something new to try. We wonder if the couple has anything else in their relationship. We also wonder if they are growing bored with each other. This has left other film reviewers to describe the sex as boring and monotonous. I think rather the sex is realistic of a relationship that is growing monotonous. However, there are hints at the film’s end that the couple may have some “feelings” for each other. This is a film by Michael Witherbottom who also directed the acclaimed film “In This World.” Michael Winterbottom makes films that feel more like documentaries and are in the style of “A Dinner With André.”

I enjoyed the film especially when I stopped looking for a traditional storyline. The film is sexual outside the tradition of soft porn or “X” rated. The film is about sex and is well worth seeing.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Secretary (2002)-R

Secretary is a movie on many lists for “favorite sex films.” For ‘submission and domination” and “spanking” fans the film is a must see. It has a very erotic spanking scene that comes with high marks and in fact, leaves marks. Even as a person who is not a fan of such menu, I found the scene erotic. The film also has a closing 5-minutes of sex that is well photographed and erotic. The S & M and other scenes therefore qualify for a review on this blog. The film however is otherwise flawed. It has a very slow start despite a good performance by Maggie Gyllenhal. The film struggles between sometimes being a comedy and sometimes a drama, but in the “end” the only “mark” it hits is Ms. Gyllenhal’s ass.

Secretary is about a woman recently released from an institution with a compulsion to cut herself. The woman is hired by a compulsive and overbearing attorney (James Spader). The secretary and attorney are drawn to an erotic S & M and spanking relationship. Despite the erotic spanking scenes, the film struggles with how to portray this lifestyle. Is it a legitimate erotic lifestyle or a form of mental illness? The film is conflicted. For a truly erotic and excellent film on this subject see “Urban Friction” by Libido Films.

RE "Secretary":This is a story about two extremely off beat people who have off beat needs. Maggie Gillenthal plays a young woman who is just out of secretarial school, and apparently, just out of some kind of therapy. She has serious self-image problems and has some self-destructive tendencies. James Spader plays an attorney who has poor interpersonal skills and is having trouble keeping secretaries; he is a bit of a bully. She is driven to succeed at this, her first job, which any one with experience, would quickly abandon. There is much strange conflict, until the attorney calls her into his office to reprimand her for making a typographical error. He gives her a spanking, which she discovers to her liking. The movie goes on from there to become even stranger, as the two characters explore their new relationship and help each other with their problems. There is scene with tasteful nudity.
A warning: If you are disturbed by self-destructive behavior, parts of the first half of this movie may be troubling to you. Just stick it out, and you will find that things begin to look up.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Head in the Clouds (2004)-R

This is a movie that contains two stories. The first is a story about a love triangle. The second is story about a woman who uses sex to advance her wealth and profession.

Have you ever loved two or more people at once and wished that it could workout? I loved Mary from Chicago when I was in high school and early college. I later loved Janet during graduate school at Carbondale, Illinois. I also loved Emily, who I eventually married. During the 1970’s I fantasized that Mary, Janet and Emily would fall in love with each other. This was not a lesbian erotic fantasy (that would come later). This was the only logical formula I could conceive of to solve the problem of loving two (or more) people. Surprise! It never happen. In the first story in “Head in the Clouds” it did happen. Gilda, played by Charilize Theron is the daughter of a wealthy European businessman in the late 1930’s who ends up loving two people. One is a handsome Irish man Guy, played by Stuart Townsend. He is committed to fighting against Franco in the Spanish civil war. The other is Mia, played by Penelope Cruz, a nurse and confidante. Gilda loves, not warm affection loves but erotic sexually loves, both people. Guy and Mia have the warm affection for each other and are happy to share a three-some bed together as long as they can love Gilda. Gilda suggests that Guy and Mia have a baby. Clearly Gilda was reading my playbook of the early 1970’s, for truly this was the solution to turn a love “V” into a love “triangle.” The baby does not happen but the love triangle does.

The second story is about Gilda, her courting of Nazi generals, her double life as an English spy and her tastes for the very finest wines, dresses and parties. We follow her as she achieves wealth and prestige in her “business”, in part, by freely exchanging her sexual skills with her clients. Nowhere do we get a sense that this is a hardship for Gilda. She clearly enjoys erotic pleasure and freely shares it to gain personal wealth and a luxury lifestyle during the darkest days of the Nazi occupation of Paris.

I thoroughly enjoyed this film and so did Emily, my wife. The photography of Paris and Europe, along with the period costumes, is spectacular. The photography and costumes are worth seeing this film even if you hate everything else. The sex scenes were photographed well, but seemed more playful than erotic. The Netflix audience rates this film at almost four stars whereas the professional critics, with the exception of Roger Ebert, disliked the film (rottentomato web site of 14% approval). Emily believes this is because the critics are primarily men. This is a film about a very strong woman, Gilda. She owns her own sexuality despite her freely sharing it with others. She has her own compass and does not melt in the arms of Guy, even though she truly loves him. In fact, she does the most paradoxical action by encouraging Guy to truly fall in love with another women, therefore hoping to “have it all.”