17 items from 2017
Based on the international best seller of the same name, The Dinner, a dark pyshological thiller about how far parents will go to protect their children, arrives on Blu-ray (plus Digital HD) and DVD on August 8from Lionsgate. Boasting powerful performances from an all-star cast, including Golden Globe winner Richard Gere (2003, Best Actor – Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, Chicago), Oscar nominee Laura Linney (2007, Best Actress, The Savages), Oscar nominee Steve Coogan (2013, Best Picture,Philomena), Oscar nominee Chloë Sevigny (1999, Best Supporting Actress, Boys Don’t Cry), and Golden Globe nominee Rebecca Hall (2009, Best Actress – Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, Vicky Christina Barcelona), the film was nominated for Best Film at the 2017 Berlin International Film Festival. Written and directed by Oscar nominee Oren Moverman (2009, Best Writing, Original Screenplay, The Messenger), The Dinner Blu-ray and DVD include audio commentary with Moverman and Linney and a photo gallery and will be available for the »
- Tom Stockman
Penélope Cruz knows how to work her gorgeous figure. The Spanish actress has made a name for herself in Hollywood with roles in films like Blow, Nine, and Vicky Cristina Barcelona (for which she won an Oscar in 2010), and she never fails to heat up the screen with her steamy brand of dark, moody sex appeal. She was even named as Esquire's Sexiest Woman Alive in 2014. Of course, Penélope's most beloved roles at the moment are as a mother to Leo and Luna and wife to husband Javier Bardem. See some of her hottest moments on the beach, the red carpet, and beyond. »
- Brittney Stephens
It’s no secret that sex sells, and movies are no exception. But while plenty of films like to show gratuitous sex, they’re not always very good. That’s a problem, since movies have the power to shape not only the cultural norms, but personal ones. And what could be more personal than sex? Sexuality is an integral part of the human experience, not some sensational or shameful ploy to sell tickets (though it doesn’t hurt).
That’s why we think it’s important to single out the very best films that also happen to be incredibly sexy, titillating, and provocative. These are not only some of our favorite films in general, but they’re films that celebrate the broad spectrum of human sexuality while telling stories as cinematic as they are personal. Some don’t have any sex scenes at all, while some are notoriously near-pornographic. When these movies do show sex it is always in service of the story, and always in order to challenge, subvert, or celebrate contemporary beliefs about sexuality.
Turn on (and get turned on) by our list of the 25 best sexy movies of the 21st century (well, so far). You know you want to.
25. “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” (2008)
Undeniably sexy and amusing at once, Woody Allen’s 2008 Spain-set dramedy delights in pushing its various players into all sorts of romantic permutations and configurations. Anchored by Scarlett Johansson in a sneaky performance as the eponymous Cristina (pre-breakout Rebecca Hall is her best pal Vicky), the film follows a pair of friends as they meet and make lots of love with the beguiling Juan Antonio (Javier Bardem), who isn’t at all thrown off by the possibility of having two lovely ladies in his bed. In fact, he’s got another one to think about too, his free-spirited ex-wife (Penelope Cruz), who he just can’t get out of his head (or heart). On the surface, “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” is a dead sexy romp about free-wheeling love-makers (complete with plenty of naughty bits), but it’s also a film that boldly explores issues of fluidity and fidelity with an uncharacteristically easy touch. -Ke
24. “Shortbus” (2006)
With its three-person blowjob circle, non-simulated sex scenes including ejaculation, and close-up of a pee stream unleashing into a bathtub, “Shortbus” is not for everyone. It’s an ambitious film, one that attempts to have fun, be sexy, and tell a good story. If anyone could pull it off, it would be the man behind “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” John Cameron Mitchell. “Shortbus” feels as much like an ensemble comedy as a playful experiment, though the two main characters are a sex therapist who’s never had an orgasm and a retired gay sex worker experimenting with opening up his relationship. With their partners, they both begin attending a weekly artist and sex salon, each hoping inspiration will strike. Mitchell wanted to use sex in new cinematic ways, “because it’s too interesting to be left to porn.” If it’s interesting sex you want, “Shortbus” has got it. -Jd
23. “Brokeback Mountain” (2005)
The end of this film is so movingly profound that your memory of it might not be that it was all that sexy. The love between these two men, buried under their rugged cowboy exteriors, ends with what can only be described as a sense of life-defining tragedy. Yet it is those brief moments where they let themselves go and unleash their animalistic passion, which “Crouching Tiger” director Ang Lee captures in his normal visceral fashion, that add a level of eroticism and physically affection that nearly makes all the pain worth it. Ennis and Jack rotate from almost fighting, as they pull at each others’ denim-clad exterior, to moments of being naked and incredibly tender. It’s virtually every cowboy fantasy rolled up into one. That they can only be themselves in the privacy of the great outdoors makes everything that much more liberating. Watching this film in 2005 felt taboo and rebellious, which resulted in a charged atmosphere in packed mainstream cineplexes around the country. -Co
22. “In the Cut” (2003)
Jane Campion’s handle on female desire has always been one of her best attributes as a director (and she’s got a lot of them), but nothing in her filmography is as overtly sexy and emotionally challenging as her 2003 Meg Ryan-starrer “In the Cut” (and that includes “The Piano,” which has a sexiness and eroticism all its own). Our first introduction to Ryan’s character is rooted in her coming to heady terms with her own sexuality, a theme that carries over throughout the often grisly drama. Increasingly drawn to Mark Ruffalo as a moody detective looking to solve a local murder that Frannie is tangentially involved in, Ryan’s character pushes the boundaries of “acceptable” desire. It’s a theme that Campion giddily plays into with some of modern cinema’s most satisfying and profound sex scenes, many of which center on — gasp — Frannie’s own pleasure over that of Ruffalo’s character. -Ke
21. “Hustle & Flow” (2005)
Craig Brewer’s crowdpleaser about a pimp dreaming of music fame is anchored by strong performances from Terrence Howard, Taraji P. Henson, and Taryn Manning. Howard plays Djay, while Henson and Manning are Shug and Nola, two of his girls. Hot-tempered and passionate, Djay begins making tracks with his friend Key (Anthony Anderson), and discovers he has a gift for lyrics. The catchy original soundtrack helps sell the story, as Djay’s songs seem to actually have a chance at getting radio play. While the strip club setting provides ample shots of semi-nude women, Djay and Shug’s sweet romance gives the film its emotional core and shows a softer side to Djay (and his temper). Their undeniable chemistry leads the previously timid Shug to throw down a sexy hook, her raspy croon on “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” making Henson’s star power glaringly obvious. -Jd
20. “Beyond the Lights” (2014)
Chemistry is the name of the game in Gina Prince-Bythewood’s freight-train fast music industry romance, which pairs up rising starlet Gugu Mbatha-Raw (pure charm) alongside pre-“Birth of a Nation” Nate Parker. The pair exhibit major fireworks from the start, imagining Mbatha-Raw as hot new pop star Noni Jean, a big talent who is dangerously close to burning out and fading away, before she falls into the protective arms Parker’s do-gooder cop, Kaz Nicol. Prince-Bythewood’s film cannily sneaks in big questions about fame and the entertainment industry, along with issues regarding what’s actually sexy (Noni Jean is frequently kitted out in teensy costumes that make record execs happy, while diminishing her own humanity with every stitch), deep issues that are lovingly cradled by full-scale love story. When the pair finally give into their obvious attraction, “Beyond the Lights” pulls out the big guns, all gauzy love scenes and one particularly hot trip to Mexico, but the film maintains its sensuality by remembering that nothing is so sexy as mutual respect and admiration. -Ke
19. “In the Mood for Love” (2000)
Every Wong Kar-wai movie contains a kind of visual sensuality in every frame, but “In the Mood for Love” goes one step further — its slow-burning romance between a pair of would-be lovers who live across the hall from each other in sixties-era Hong Kong is rich with unobtainable desire. Much is left unsaid and unachieved about the fantasy of an extramarital affair shared by Chow Mo-wan (Tony Leung) and Su Li-zhen (Maggie Cheung), but the hints of attraction between them, unfolding in small gestures and passing glances, imbues each scene with the intensity of emotions specific to a period of repression. It’s a grand tragedy of issed opportunities framed by erotic implications. —Eric Kohn
18. “Ex Machina” (2014)
If you like high-tech voyeurism and intellectual sparring, you might find Alex Garland’s cerebral sci-fi thriller unearthing some hidden desires. An affable young programmer, Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson), is invited to the secluded jungle home of the CEO of his company, Nathan (Oscar Isaac) to participate in a top-secret experiment. Nathan wants to know if the cyborg he has been developing, Ava (Alicia Vikander) can convince Caleb that she has real consciousness. The tension is ripe between Nathan and Caleb as each attempts to alternately impress and control the other, but it is Caleb’s obsession with saving Ava that raises questions about the hero myth. Ava is the embodiment of male fantasy, trapped within a body invented to please and serve. As the two men fight over who best understands her mind, it turns out Ava was pulling the strings all along. There’s nothing sexier than a woman in charge. -Jd
17. “Quills” (2000)
It’s easy enough to get sucked into “Quills” based on the promise of Joaquin Phoenix playing an earnest (and incredibly sexy) young priest tempted by his attraction to a chambermaid. But somehow, much like Kate Winslet’s Madeline, we fall under the spell of the charismatic Geoffrey Rush, who plays his role as the Marquis de Sade with a deliciously dirty panache befitting the notorious French writer. The Marquis’ libertine ways run counter to the no-nonsense Royer-Collard (Michael Caine), who takes over the asylum with the intention of stifling the writer’s creative output. But even his own wife is no match for the words of the Marquis, which ooze both sensuality and liberty. Before long, any initial apprehension to the Marquis de Sade (he is a dirty old man, after all) is fully given over to the hope that his debauchery will win out, and that his desire, as well as that of Madeline and Coulmier (Phoenix) will be fully fulfilled — even though we know this is impossible. -Jr
16. “A Bigger Splash” (2015)
Watching “A Bigger Splash” feels like observing a sizzling chess game of attraction. Luca Guadagnino sticks Ralph Fiennes, Tilda Swinton, Matthias Schoenaerts, and Dakota Johnson on the world’s most gorgeous island and lets the sparks fly. Swinton plays a world-famous rock singer vacationing with her lover, a chiseled Schoenaerts who is practically a walking and talking sculpture of male beauty. Their time together is disrupted by the arrival of the rocker’s former lover and his daughter, a promiscuous young 22-year-old. Each character is so ready to succumb to sexual desire and so pent up with sexual attraction that Guadagnino creates the ultimate emotional orgy. The fun is in seeing how each person uses their sexuality to outsmart the next. You’ll be seduced from the first frame to the last. It feels like you’re watching each actor for the very first time. -Zs
On the next page: wild adventures in Florida, some of the century’s most jaw-dropping pairings, and at least one murder.
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- Kate Erbland, Jude Dry, Eric Kohn, Zack Sharf and Jamie Righetti
In a clip shared exclusively with People, the Rough Night actress tells Inside the Actors Studio host James Lipton that the 81-year-old director didn’t have “much interest” in talking to her about her roles while they worked together on projects, yet “he talks a lot.”
“About food? Dinner?” Lipton asks, to which Johansson quips: “Oh, any old thing — loves to talk about sex, people’s relationships, neurotic behaviors, wonton soup. All kinds of stuff.”
Johansson, 29, has starred in »
- Brianne Tracy
“Permission,” which world premiered at Tribeca to warm reviews, has drawn such high-profile distributors as Universal International Entertainment, which nabbed rights to the movie for the U.K., Australia, Scandinavia, Italy, Latin America, Eastern Europe, and select Southeast Asian territories; TF1 Studio for France; SYcomad for South Korea; Falcon Films for the Middle East; Red Appolo for China; Outsider for Portugal; Bir Films for Turkey; A Contra Corriente for Spain; Cai Chang in Taiwan; Captive Entertainment for airlines; and Pacific North West for Canada.
Film Constellation, which presented the film at Tribeca and hosted a screening at the Cannes Film Market, is now in negotiations to close deals in Germany and Japan.
- Elsa Keslassy
Allen hasn’t had a movie premiere in the thick of awards season since DreamWorks opened “Match Point” in December 2005. Allen’s four previous films all opened in July, including the Oscar-winning “Blue Jasmine.” Award-winners “Midnight in Paris” and “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” opened in May and August, respectively.
Read More: Woody Allen Rips His Distributors That ‘Failed Miserably’ (But He Loves Amazon)
“Wonder Wheel” stars Kate Winlset, Justin Timberlake, Juno Temple and Jim Belushi. Amazon has not released an official synopsis, but the movie is set around Cony Island in the 1950s. Kate Winslet was previously attached to star in “Match Point” but dropped out because of family issues, which makes “Wonder Wheel” her first collaboration with Allen. The movie is Allen »
- Zack Sharf
Woody Allen finished his period drama for Amazon Studios, “Wonder Wheel,” on Tuesday. And on Wednesday, he decided to sit for his first-ever Facebook Live video interview, conducted by filmmaker Robert Weide, director of 2012’s “Woody Allen: A Documentary.” Allen discussed his latest movie, which stars Kate Winslet and Justin Timberlake, and also shared his thoughts on many of his previous films, most of which he believes were mishandled by distributors.
‘Manhattan’ Exclusive Trailer: Woody Allen’s Classic Rom-Com Gets a 4K Digital Facelift — Watch
“It’s always, ‘We’ll put this out in the summer because it will be counter-programming to all the big movies’ or ‘We’ll put this out in Easter,’” Allen said, adding that when his movies underperform, distributors always have an excuse at the ready. “There is always a story as to why their plan to really squeeze the last dollar out of the box »
- Graham Winfrey
The 10-episode third season of Murphy’s Emmy-winning anthology will be titled Versace: American Crime Story and will center on the July 1997 assassination of iconic fashion designer Gianni Versace on the steps of his Miami Beach mansion by serial killer Andrew Cunanan. The season will be based on the book »
Penélope Cruz is Donatella Versace. E! News has confirmed the Oscar winner will play the key role in Versace: American Crime Story, the third installment of Ryan Murphy's American Crime Story anthology series on FX. Production on the third season is set to begin in April and air in 2018. Katrina: American Crime Story will be the second season following the hit first season The People v. O.J. Simpson. Murphy, Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson are executive producers on Versace: American Crime Story. Cruz won the Oscar for Vicky Cristina Barcelona in 2009. Escobar and Murder of the Orient Express are her latest film projects. Her TV work has been limited. She appeared in Série rose and Framed in the 1990s »
A version of this story originally appeared on EW.com.
The Pirates of the Carribean and Vanilla Sky actress will play the sister of murdered fashion designer Gianni Versace in Versace: American Crime Story. In 2009, the Spanish actress won Best Supporting Actress for her role in Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona.
- James Hibberd
“Versace: American Crime Story” will explore the murder of Gianni Versace, who was killed on the steps of his home in Miami Beach by serial murderer Andrew Cunanan, who killed five people that year and then killed himself on a house boat, eight days after killing Versace.
“American Crime Story” marks Cruz’s regular television debut, following a huge movie career. The Oscar-winning Spanish actress is known for films such as “Vanilla Sky,” “Blow,” “Volver,” “Vicky Cristina Barcelona.” She was the first Spanish actress to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and also the first to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress.
- Elizabeth Wagmeister
Weinstein will oversee theatrical publicity efforts for the entire Focus Features slate, including all awards campaigns. She will be based in New York and report to Jason Cassidy, Focus Features’ president of marketing.
“Dani is a consummate professional who has an incredible track record for spearheading breakthrough publicity campaigns for specialty titles,” said Cassidy. “Her breadth of experience working with world class filmmakers and talent, and collaborative style of leadership, makes her uniquely qualified. We’re thrilled that she is joining the Focus team.”
Weinstein has spent two decades in the entertainment industry. She has spent most of the last 17 years with TWC and Miramax, culminating as the studio’s president of publicity.
Her tenure included the campaign for “The King’s Speech,” which won »
- Dave McNary
Shaping up to be the kind of sweeping romantic war epic Hollywood doesn’t seem all that interested in making today, The Promise follows an Armenian medical student (Oscar Isaac), an artist (Charlotte Le Bon), and a worldly American journalist (Christian Bale) who form a love triangle amid the chaos of the First World War. Directed by Terry George (Hotel Rwanda), following a Tiff premiere, it’ll arrive next month, and the new theatrical trailer has arrived.
We said in our review, “Terry George, whose Hotel Rwanda also dealt with a historical genocide, shoots the film with visual care. With the help of cinematographer Javier Aguirresarobe (Vicky Cristina Barcelona, The Road), he sets the scene capturing a vast, alluring Middle Eastern landscape, filled with deserts and mountains. The battle scenes are also immaculately shot by George, giving the film a grit that might be hiding under Aguirresarobe’s romantic photography. »
- Leonard Pearce
Featuring a terrific lead cast, lensing by Javier Aguirresarobe (“The Road,” “The Others,” “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”), and direction by Terry George (“Hotel Rwanda“), it’s a shame that “The Promise” was such a crushing disappointment when we saw it at Tiff this fall. However, there are few films that have been set against the backdrop of the Armenian genocide, which is perhaps one small credit one can give to the film.
- Kevin Jagernauth
All five backed Sorogoyen’s latest 2016 release, “May God Save Us,” a harrowing serial killer thriller which, consolidating Sorogoyen’s reparation as a director to track, was distributed by Warner Bros. in Spain, won best screenplay at September’s San Sebastian Festival last year and was still racking up international sales for Latido at this week’s Berlin European Film Market.
The lead producer on “May God Save Us,” Gerardo Herrero and Mariela Besuievsky’s Tornasol Films, an arthouse institution in Spain, produced Juan Jose Campanella’s “The Secret in Their Eyes,” which won an Academy Award for best foreign-language film in 2009.
- John Hopewell
Fabien Westerhoff’s Film Constellation has acquired international rights to New York-set romantic comedy “Permission,” starring Rebecca Hall and Dan Stevens, and written and directed by Brian Crano. Film Constellation will show first footage from the movie (exclusive image, above) to buyers at next month’s European Film Market in Berlin.
The film focuses on Anna (Hall) and Will (Stevens), who are each other’s first everything: first kiss, first love, first and only relationship. As Will is about to propose, their best friend suggests they should date other people before spending the rest of their life with each other, leading the duo on an unexpected romantic journey.
Speaking to Variety, Hall said that she and Crano have been friends since she was 19. “He has always been a very precocious talent,” Hall recalled. “I met him when he was doing a rehearsed reading of his play in a West End »
- Leo Barraclough
“Lion” received nods for best picture along with supporting actor for Dev Patel, supporting actress for Nicole Kidman, adapted screenplay for Luke Davies, cinematography for Greig Fraser, and score for Dustin O’Halloran and Hauschka.
The movie is based on the book “A Long Way Home” by Saroo Brierley with Larry Buttrose, telling the story of Brierly’s life from his losing contact with his family in India at the age of five, being adopted by an Australian family, and reuniting with his Indian family more than two decades later.
Oscar Nominations: Complete List
- Dave McNary
17 items from 2017
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