The ideal sensual movie is intelligent, titillating, lush. It's a very fine line between cheesy and hot, because you do want a little bit of that orange-light soft-focus over-acting-pleasure, but if you get just an ounce too much it crosses into cheese and doesn't work. The ideal movies tease
There are a lot of classic Hollywood movies from the studio age that sort of qualify, but I'm not going to include any of them because they never quite cross the line from alluring to arousing. Something like "To Have and Have Not" may in fact be more appealing to women, or pretty much any early Brando, Bogart or Cary Grant movie.
I'm also not going to list movies that have like 5 sensual minutes that are sort of out of place in the movie and don't fit in with the general mood.
Not Sexy :
- Last Tango in Paris : this is on almost every list and it immediately shows the lister is retarded. Lots of sex but it's gross unromantic sex with a nasty old man. Pretty horrible pointless movie all around.
- The Lover : again this is on just about on every list and is just awful. Lots of sex and the people are at least physically attractive, but the acting is just awful, the characters are not at all mentally attractive, and it's still in the disgusting rich old man with really young girl territory that so many of these shitty perverted movies seem to dwell in.
- Dead Ringers : WTF again, on many people's lists. Gynecological torture is not sexy! (decent movie though, just not arousing)
- Irreversible, Romance, The Piano, Bad Lieutenant, Lilya 4 Ever, etc. : my god you people are sick dumb fucks. Rape/violence/degradation is not sexy.
- Kathleen Turner, Michael Douglas, Mickey Rourke, 9.5 weeks, Basic Instinct, etc. : all this stuff from the 80's is just not watchable any more. I'm not sure it ever was actually decent, the people in these movies tend to be really gross hollywood types. Also Kathleen Turner looks like a football player and sounds like Tom Waits. Not sexy.
- Secretary : again this is on a lot of lists and I just find very little to like in it. The idea of it sounds good, I like Maggie Gyllenhaal, but it's just more goofy than hot, and even the goofiness doesn't really make it interesting, and it just winds up being really boring and pointless.
- Center of the World : filthy pointless and completely unappealing.
- In the Realm of the Senses : very mannered Japanese movie with explicit sex. I just found it really boring and not even the sex held my attention. Too much sex all the time and not enough plot and character development to make us want the characters.
- The Pillow Book : a typically slow and bizarre Greenaway movie. The elaborate bizarre construction of the movie prevents us from ever really feeling too much of anything for the characters and keeps the movie rather cerebral.
- The Cook The Thief His Wife & Their Lover : by far the most watchable and dynamic and narrative of Greenaway's movies, this is a brilliant movie, one of my favorites, it's surreal and energetic and beautiful and sexy. I do consider it a bit too strange for this list, and it doesn't quite play into the arousal/sensual mode, but if you want to put this on your list I won't complain.
- Wild Things : kind of a decent fun little thriller/soft-core movie ; I don't find the actors/actresses very attractive and there's only like 5 minutes of sexy part in the swimming pool, but it's not an awful movie so it gets an honorable mention.
- Blue Velvet : this shows up on a lot of "sexy movie" lists. It's an absolute masterpiece of a movie, but I don't really think it belongs in the "sexy" category. Lynch's later soft core lesbian Mulholland Drive is sort of borderline too, but it's just mediocre and too weird to really be hot.
- Eyes Wide Shut : I don't actually find the characters or what happens with them to be particularly arousing, this one gets an honorable entry simply for Kubrick's direction. The colors are so rich, the lighting so beautiful, that the film is really sexy.
- The Dreamers : mildly hot, but just way too retarded to be arousing. Horrible acting, script, self indulgent, pointless.
- Y Tu Mama Tambien : this is a pretty decent movie, I enoyed it, but I didn't really find it to be arousing at all. I consider it more a "coming of age" movie.
- Red (Kieslowski) : the relationship of the main characters is not sexual, and unlike many retarded reviewers I don't think red = passion (it's fraternity , from liberte-egalite-fraternite). This movie is sexy just for the lighting, the constant rich color red, the camera work, the slow pace, the good acting, and the beauty of Irene Jacob, along with the mild titillation of voyeurism. BTW "La Double vie de Veronique" is more overtly sexual and also good.
- Betty Blue :
- Bound : meh, this movie is just trying way too hard. Tilly is a horrifically bad actress and Gershon only manages to be moderately sexy.
- Romeo is Bleeding : such a bizarre awesomely broken movie, it's one of my favorites; not really sexy in general, but Lena Olin as the over the top sexual/twisted femme fatale has a few scenes that melt my pants. Not for couples.
The truly sensual movies are as much about the director and the look and feel of the movie as what happens to the characters. They also have to be good enough to be watchable just as movies.
Sexy (in no particular order) :
- The Swimming Pool : perfect execution of the sexy neurotic thriller. Soaked in the heat and slowness of the sun, it gradually builds up sexual tension and dramatic tension. Smart enough to stay interesting.
- Belle de Jour : a classic that's on every list. I don't really think it's an extremely erotic movie, since it is rather sad, and prostitution and unfaithfulness are never really hot, but Catherine Deneuve is so sad and sweet and slow and sophisticated that it still works.
- Malena : we had to have some boochy-loochy movie on here, and this is the obvious choice. It's definitely cheesy and shallow, but Monica is gorgeous, it teases us nicely and builds arousal, it's well shot and not unwatchable.
- La Belle Noiseuse : this is a very weird movie. The film is very bright and open and full of empty spaces. It's very repetetive and builds up a theme through variations kind of like a Bach composition. It's definitely not a sexy movie in the normal sense, but it does feature a lot of gorgeous naked Emanuelle Beart. The first hour I thought I was going to be totally bored despite all the nudity, but if you stick with it you actually get into the characters and it becomes quite a rich movie.
- Sex and Lucia : gorgeous lush sexy movie. I think if you try to follow it too closely you might find it retarded and hate it, but if you just treat it like a dream and dive in and let each scene wash over you, it's irresistible.
- Tie Me Up! Tie me Down! : pretty much every Almodovar movie is extremely sexy, just for the colors and the energy and the beautiful people. I picked this one kind of randomly; maybe "Live Flesh" would be a better choice.
- In the Mood for Love : like many on the list, this is basically here for the director Kar Wai Wong; I could've gone with something from the Fallen Angels series, but I think this is most purely sensual of his movies. The camerawork is so gorgeous, the period setting, the costumes, everything is perfect.
- Like Water for Chocolate : pretty cheesy, but gorgeous, and for me surrealism and fairy tales and cooking all enhance the sensuality.
- The Hunger : this sort of breaks my rule about cheesy 80's movies. You have to kind of enjoy cheesy old horror movies for this to be watchable, but if you do you will be rewarded with the incredible Deneuve-Sarandon lesbian vampire scene. The whole movie is slow and weird and dreamy enough to put you in the right mood.
- Damage : making a straightforward movie about sexual attraction is very difficult; lust is hard to capture without being phoney or just boring. Damage is probably the best movie ever made that's a straightforward narrative depiction of lust.
- The Last Seduction : Fiorentino is the best modern femme fatale. Perhaps too aggressive for some female viewers.