Sex sells, or so they say. I suppose they are right as sexy things seem to abound in advertisements and the media. Lord knows I am not immune. This week’s new releases are filled with sex in a variety of forms, but not my pick of the week. Well not as far as I can tell anyways. I haven't seen any of it so maybe it's filled with sex and I'm just not aware.
The Sinner stars Jessica Biel (who also executive produced) as a young mother who, in an inexplicable fit of rage, commits a great act of very public violence. She cannot explain why and there seems to be no external motive. Bill Pullman stars as the police detective who tries to find out why she did it. Unlike a lot of cop shows, this one seems to focus on the why rather than the who or how.
The reviews have been universally good and it sounds interesting so I’m picking it this week as it debuts on Blu-ray after having been released on DVD in February.
Now onto the sex:
Fifty Shades Freed: The final film in this sex-and-bondage trilogy. Reviews have been universally bad and nothing about it looks either interesting or all that sexy. But for those who are into now's your chance to own in on Blu-ray.
La Belle Noiseuse: Jaques Rivette’s drama centers on a once famous painter who has spent years trying to complete his last work. When a beautiful, intelligent young woman visits, he talks her into becoming his model. Naked model, of course.
Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals / Violence in a Women’s Prison: In 1974, Sylvia Kristel starred in Emmanuelle, a softcore pornographic film that became the highest grossing film in France at the time. This was right in the midst of the pornographic-chic era when dirty movies were suddenly going mainstream. Roger Ebert even gave the first Emmanuelle a good review. Kristel starred in two sequels. Soon after, Italian director Bitto Albertini started his own Emanuelle series (intentionally leaving off one “M” from the name to avoid copyright lawsuits) starring Laura Gemser. Eventually, schlockmeister Joe D’Amato got involved, making five films in the (now very, very loosely based on anything resembling the first film, or the book it was based on) series. In the early '80s, exploitation director Bruno Mattei tried his hand at directing a couple of Emanuelle films. That’s way more than anybody really needs to know about this series (which includes dozens of more films and at least three television series). I also realize I've now written more about these films than I did about my actual Pick of the Week. I had a slight obsession with Emanuelle as a teenager, but there is no way I'm making some soft-core pornographic films my Pick of the Week.
Severin Films is now putting out these two films in nicer packages than they really deserve. These two films (and I have seen them, more or less) are a long ways from the "soft-focus-shot, erotic adventures of a classy girl about town" film that started it all. They are both pretty nasty and exploitative if truth be told, but I kind of dig that even exploitative, poorly executed, derivitive sex films from the '70s are getting high-end, high-definition releases.
Moonrise (Criterion Collection): This film from 1948 is about a man so traumatized by his criminal father that he is constantly bullied and tormented. One night, he kills one of the bullies and makes a desperate bid to escape from the police.
Batman Ninja: Some times, all you need to know is the title. Other times we have a full review.