HOUSE OF PLEASURES, airs Saturday night at 12:15A (with an encore on Tuesday) and takes us deep into the private life of a French maison close, a turn of the century brothel catering to wealthy and picky clients. It’s a rich, atmospheric, slow film that joins a long list of venerable and illustrious entries in the genre; we have a collective social fascination with sex work and are particularly interested in period pieces that allow us to indulge our voyeurism without the immediacy of looking at the modern sex industry head-on. Like other films of its ouvre, it presents a simultaneously rosy and jaded view of sex work, creating a tension on the screen that may evade some viewers.
Talk about following in your parent’s footsteps.
Earlier, as part of Sundance Channel’s WTF, we celebrated the film industry’s most psychotic mothers – triggered by Mrs. Voorhees’ hack-job through the original FRIDAY THE 13TH. Yet, as most of you know, Jason Voorhees picked up his mother’s torch with FRIDAY THE 13TH, PART 2 … and promptly buried it in some poor teenager’s chest. The sequel screens just after midnight Thursday night (Friday, Nov. 9th at 12:15A, to be specific).
While the topic of women’s rights doesn’t have the box office draw of a bunch of dudes getting wasted at a bachelor party, say, or a bride-to-be getting diarrhea in the middle of the street, there are many excellent movies that cover various aspects of the War on Women (either directly or metaphorically)—workplace discrimination, violence against women, restricted access to abortion, sexual harassment, and all that fun stuff. So when you make a bag of popcorn and tune into the Sundance Channel this month for movies like ROSEMARY’S BABY, I’M NOT THERE and BLUE VELVET, not only will you be entertained, you’ll also be spending some quality time thinking about women’s rights. In other words, you can feel virtuous about that time on the couch. You’re welcome!
Article: 5 kick-ass sports movies
You don’t have to be a sports fan to love a great sports flick; the drama, the passion for the game, the struggle and the victories (and losses) make for irresistible movie material. Here are five of our favorite kick-ass sports movies any film buff will love — no matter how you feel about what happens in the ring…or the field…or the court…
Why don’t most directors want to work with Leonardo DiCaprio more than once?
You can count on two fingers the number of times DiCaprio has collaborated with a filmmaker on multiple films: Martin Scorsese (on numerous projects) and Baz Luhrmann. On the flip side, you’d need an abacus to tally the number of high-profile directors who hired DiCaprio once and never went back for seconds. James Cameron (TITANIC), Woody Allen (CELEBRITY), Steven Spielberg (CATCH ME IF YOU CAN), and Danny Boyle (THE BEACH) are just a few names that come to mind. Boyle’s one-off feature with DiCaprio premieres Saturday, November 3, on Sundance Channel, and was the film that got us contemplating this topic.
You hear a lot these days about Republicans rolling back women’s rights all the way to the ’50s and ’60s: vowing to defund Planned Parenthood; to allow employers to decide whether or not their female employees can have their contraception covered; to put the rights of an embryo above those of a woman via the Personhood Amendment; to outlaw all abortions, even in cases of rape, incest, and threats to not only the health but the life of the mother. They won’t even commit to laws ensuring equal pay for women doing the same work as men!
Just in time for Halloween, the ten most terrifying movies on the Sundance Channel run a gauntlet of horrific styles. For traditional slasher-movie thrills, we’ve got the original FRIDAY THE 13TH (and, inevitably, a slasher sequel with FRIDAY THE 13TH PART II). Others are horror classics too distinctive to be called traditional; David Cronenberg and Roman Polanski rarely seem more at home than when they channel their own personal obsessions into the horror genre with movies like ROSEMARY’S BABY, THE FLY, and SPIDER. Lars Von Trier’s ANTICHRIST fits into this pattern, too; it bears little resemblance to its genre brethren and is unmistakably the work of Von Trier, yet it is a horror picture, of sorts, filtered through the director’s bracing, often lyrical misery. Of course, there are other ways to get scared without even going into horror; Danny Boyle’s THE BEACH offers a scary vision of paradise corrupted, and, come to think of it, so does David Lynch’s BLUE VELVET, in its own way. If you want to freak out, there’s no shortage of options.
It’s a popular trivia question meant to stump horror newbies: Who terrorized the horny counselors at Camp Crystal Lake long before Jason Voorhees donned his trademark hockey mask and wielded his trusty machete? The answer – his mother – is revealed in the original FRIDAY THE 13TH, which airs on Thursday at midnight on Sundance Channel.
Yes, Jason was yet another serial killer born from a long line of deranged and murderous mothers, but he’s hardly alone. The overprotective mum has reared her ugly head in many horror movies through the years, prompting us to pick our five favorite frightening maternal figures. Don’t neglect to send them a card on Mother’s Day.
Are you ready to get spooked? Whether you’re trick or treating for Halloween or staying home with the lights off and a bowl of popcorn, few things are quite as delightful at this time of year as getting scared silly–especially with a friend to grab on to during the freakiest parts. When it comes to films bound to make you flip your wig, we favor the shockumentary, and we mixed up quite an assortment for you; we dare you to sleep with the lights off after watching THE POSSESSION OF DAVID O’REILLY, airing at 2 AM on Halloween morning (set your DVR).
Article: Mitt Romney: THE QUIET AMERICAN?
It’s always the quiet ones. That’s what they say about serial killers, but the same could hold true for foreign-policy hawks. Maybe Mitt Romney’s curiously muted performance in this year’s third and final presidential debate was inspired by Teddy Roosevelt’s famous line, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” More likely, he was channeling the tragically clueless title character in THE QUIET AMERICAN (which airs Sunday at 8:15P on Sundance Channel) the deservedly Oscar-nominated 2002 adaptation of Graham Greene’s prescient anti-Vietnam War novel.
Photo Credit: Cinema Squid
What if gene splicing and genetic manipulation were allowed to be explored in this country, bar none? David Cronenberg’s now classic remake of THE FLY paves way for some big questions regarding human intervention with nature. Whatever position you side with in the great Genetic Manipulation debate, here are ten reasons why you should consider the issues our political system and culture would face if humans and insects shared the same body.
Don’t miss THE FLY airing Tuesday, October 30 at 9p on Sundance Channel.
A couple of weeks ago I talked about Brian De Palma’s infamous tendency to divide his career between “one for me” personal works and “one for them” studio movies. One of his strangest and most beautiful films, PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE, airs tonight at midnight, and it is absolutely not to be missed. In fact, “strange” doesn’t even do it justice.
Two very different takes on a similar dilemma headline our choices this week, followed by a lighthearted coming-of-age comedy as only the Brits know how to make them.
How far are you willing to go for a role? Shia LaBeouf claims he sent a sex tape to notorious director Lars von Trier to secure his role in NYMPHOMANIAC, a film that promises to be so wild that it will come in both a hardcore and a softcore version. He says he’s willing to do whatever it takes to make the film a success… and we started thinking about the long and illustrious history not just of sex tapes, but sex tapes as cinematic devices. Luckily for us (and you), THE ORGASM DIARIES airs Saturday at midnight, and we assembled a little list to, ah, get you in the mood.
Article: Kate Winslet's more risqué roles
QUILLS, which you can watch tomorrow at 8P, got us thinking about Kate Winslet’s boobs. Hear us out. As an actor, Winslet seems impressively un-vain and unself-conscious about her body. Now you might say, “Not too difficult a feat when you’re as beautiful as she is!” True…but then again, it’s not like she measures up to Hollywood’s super skinny, zero-fat, perfectly toned, silicone ideal. In fact, she often calls out the media for trying to cram her into that impossible mold: in 2003 she reprimanded British GQ for the hack job they did on her legs for a cover story, saying “The retouching is excessive… I do not look like that and, more importantly, I don’t desire to look like that.” Similarly, she’s unafraid to take on roles that cast her in fairly unflattering lights, at least by today’s cultural standards: think body hair, aging, questionable morality, and really inappropriate sex. And while she’s often exposed physically, the nudity isn’t gratuitous, it’s part of the story, exposing emotion and tension at the same time — because with Winslet’s characters, nudity is inextricably bound to both the power and vulnerability of complicated sexuality. And that’s why all her sex scenes and on-screen sexual relationships feel so authentic. Just take a look at some of her most sexually provocative roles — you’ll see more than bare skin:
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: A buff, young Congressman with a peninsular hairline unexpectedly earns his party’s nomination for Vice President, but he’s really just a puppet of global corporate forces who want to install him in the White House so he’ll implement their nefarious agenda. No, it’s not THE PAUL RYAN STORY—I’m talking about Jonathan Demme’s eerily prescient 2004 remake of THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE, airing on Sundance Channel tonight at 9P.
Actor. Director. Know-it-all pirate. These are just some of the titles held by Mark Duplass, tonight’s guest and topic of conversation on THE MORTIFIED SESSIONS. One of the founding members of the mumblecore movement, you may recognize Duplass from such films as THE PUFFY CHAIR, CYRUS and JEFF, WHO LIVES AT HOME.
One of the most influential, successful stars in Hollywood is also — luckily for fans of innovative filmmaking — not afraid to take risks. Though he has starred in the kind of huge, slick hits that have established him as a dashing leading man, his tastes have always veered more political, more satirical. In THE PERFECT STORM — airing Sunday at 10P on Sundance Channel — Clooney is the captain of a Massachusetts fishing boat desperately holding onto a dying industry who goes out for one more big catch with a hurricane and two other massive weather events bearing down. But nothing could capsize this megastar's compellingly diverse, endlessly entertaining body of work. It was hard to whittle it down, but here are five of our very favorite Clooney indie roles.
I’m not going to pretend to understand this surrealist animated short, “Mr. Ando of the Woods” by Takashi Taniguchi, because I don’t. Frankly, it’s straight up bizarre, but what I do know is that I like it. I like it A LOT.
One of the most influential, successful stars in Hollywood is also — luckily for fans of innovative filmmaking — not afraid to take risks. Though he has starred in the kind of huge, slick hits that have established him as a dashing leading man, his tastes have always veered more political, more satirical. In THE PERFECT STORM — airing Sunday at 10P on Sundance Channel — Clooney is the captain of a Massachusetts fishing boat desperately holding onto a dying industry who goes out for one more big catch with a hurricane and two other massive weather events bearing down. But nothing could capsize this megastar’s compellingly diverse, endlessly entertaining body of work. It was hard to whittle it down, but here are five of our very favorite Clooney indie roles.
Actor-writer-director-all-around-indie-MVP Mark Duplass recently completed yet another project: recommending a streaming movie on Netflix every day for the past year. Here, then, are Duplass’ top ten selections from his hundreds of suggestions, nabbed from his Twitter handle @MarkDuplass. Long live #Netflix365!
With Halloween right around the corner, there’s a plethora of scary movies to choose from here on Sundance Channel, including JU-ON tonight at midnight. In this chilly offering from Japan (seriously, Japanese filmmakers know how to give you the willies!), the death of a housewife creates a gift that keeps on giving in the form of a curse that won’t let go once it grabs on. It was terrifying enough that it was later remade as THE GRUDGE with Sarah Michelle Gellar in the leading role for U.S. audiences. But those are far from the only films where housewives make enticing victims…
This week, we’re featuring three genre-bending films determined to confound and stupify even as they make you laugh and cry. The one thing they have in common: all turn convention on its head in the name of telling a deeply personal story about human relationships.
From PATHS OF GLORY to PLATOON, the best war movies bring a global conflict down to a personal level. Director-star Robert Redford takes that approach to the War on Terror — and, more specifically, the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan — with his 2007 drama LIONS FOR LAMBS (airing Thursday at 10P and all month long on Sundance Channel). With 68,000 U.S. troops still stationed in Afghanistan and the next president facing a December 2014 deadline to decide how many will stay longer, LIONS FOR LAMBS remains more relevant than ever. Clocking in at a lean 92 minutes, most of it unfolding in real time, the action takes place simultaneously on three fronts.
If you’re thinking of robbing a casino, I’ve got some bad news. The odds are against you. Even the casino heists in movies sometimes end up going awry. But, what about Bob? Bob Montagnet, that is, Nick Nolte’s over-the-hill thief whose got his eyes on a French casino in THE GOOD THIEF, airing on Saturday at 8P, and throughout the month, on Sundance Channel.