Indie Snapshot: Shame and Coriolanus

by Ethan Alter December 2, 2011 6:00 am
Indie Snapshot: <i>Shame</i> and <I>Coriolanus</i>

Don't let the NC-17 rating scare you off -- Shame is one of 2011's very best movies.

From Showgirls to Shame: The Most Unerotic Erotic Movies

by Ethan Alter December 1, 2011 12:52 pm
From <I>Showgirls</i> to <i>Shame</i>: The Most Unerotic Erotic Movies

The new indie drama Shame, which opens in limited release on Friday, certainly earns its NC-17 rating, what with the full-frontal nude shots of its leading man and lady (Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan), as well as several prolonged and ultra-revealing sex scenes and its frank depiction of sex addiction. Despite all of this erotically-charged content, the movie itself isn't particularly... well, sexy. That's largely intentional of course, as director Steve McQueen is clearly more interested in stroking moviegoers' intellect than their libidos. The same can't be said of the following movies from the past two decades, all of which were designed for maximum titillation value, but turned out to be about as erotically-challenged as Zooey Deschanel's latest Manic Pixie Dream Girl on New Girl. And we're not talking about soft-core Skinemax titles, which are un-sexy in their own distinct way. These were all studio releases with big (or semi-big) name actors and actresses pretending to get it on for our benefit. Really guys, you shouldn't have. No, seriously... you shouldn't have.

I Want My DVD: Tuesday, April 17, 2012

by Ethan Alter April 17, 2012 6:00 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, April 17, 2012

This DVD will fortunately not destruct in five seconds.

The Top Ten Movies of 2011

by Ethan Alter December 28, 2011 5:50 pm
The Top Ten Movies of 2011

For me at least, the year in film started with a bang in the form of Gregg Araki's crazysexycool apocalyptic collegiate comedy Kaboom and ended with the whimper that was Stephen Daldry's flat, feeble 9/11 drama Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. In between those two bookends, 2011 proved a pretty great year for movies, particularly if you thought outside the Hollywood box. After lumbering through a mostly fallow winter, spring and summer, the big movie studios rebounded with a strong fall slate of releases that included the bold new works from veteran filmmakers (Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Steven Soderbergh among them), star vehicles that actually emphasized brains over brawn (Moneyball, The Descendants) and even a few above-average franchise entries (Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol, Paranormal Activity 3). And when Hollywood faltered, the independent and international film industries picked up the slack. If you lived nearby an art house or had access to a video-on-demand service, every month brought a steady stream of terrific titles that ran the gamut of genres, from ultraviolent samurai tales (Takeshi Miike's 13 Assassins) to moody Westerns (Kelly Reichardt's Meek's Cutoff) to stories of young love in bloom (Andrew Haigh's Weekend). Some years, I struggle to decide which films absolutely deserve a place on my Top Ten list. This year, I struggled to decide which ones I could leave off without too much regret. (That explains, by the way, why my list of Honorable Mentions includes another twenty-odd movies I couldn't bear not to single out.) So without further ado, in one of the best years for movies in some time, here are the best of the best.

Zach and Mimi Make an (R-rated) Porno

by Odie Henderson August 6, 2008 9:46 am
Zach and Mimi Make an (R-rated) Porno Since its inception in 1990, the MPAA has slapped the NC-17 on several undeserving movies. It has also withheld said application on more deserving films, either due to public fear or corporate pressure. Both cases yield ridiculous results. For example, Martin Lawrence's comedy concert film, You So Crazy, is rated NC-17, yet Mel Gibson's The Passion is rated R. One film spends 90 minutes talking about crap, Prince and getting a piece, the other spends over two hours beating the crap out of the Prince of Peace. Actions speak louder than words, and should be rated as such. If I go on a date, and we spend the evening talking, that's R (for profanity and sex-related begging). If I'm invited upstairs "for coffee" at the end of the date, that's NC-17 (for graphic sexu--oh, who am I kidding--for brief sexuality and extreme charity). Kevin Smith probably used a similar example when the MPAA rated his actionless film Clerks NC-17. He had more 'splainin' to do than Lucy Ricardo, however, when they slapped the dreaded rating on his latest, Zach and Mimi Make A Porno.

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