After a month of intense movie watching (January is always that crazy catching up with all the award nominees time of the year), along came a relaxed February whose only events were the Fifty Shades of Grey premiere and the Parks and Recreation series finale. So I read a couple of books, watched a dozen movies, kept up to date with a few tv shows, and that was pretty much it – absolute bliss.
starring KIM BASINGER and MICKEY ROURKE
One of the most misunderstood movies of the 80s, Nine and a Half Weeks (from the director of Foxes, Unfaithful, Lolita, Indecent Proposal, and Fatal Attraction – so the man clearly knows his stuff) is the story of a woman (Elizabeth) who begins an affair with a man she barely knows: his name is John, he seems to be comfortably wealthy, and that’s all we get.
At first it’s all very sweet and fun, but soon John starts showing his dominant personality, gradually infusing their affair with elements of BDSM that eventually become too much for Elizabeth to handle – but they never become too much for us, for in fact, we barely see any of it. Unlike its novel counterpart, the movie only ever hints and what they did or intended to do, and often by adding humor to the mix, thus easing the audience into the topic.
For instance, in one scene John and Elizabeth go out to buy a riding crop (in a store that sells actual hunting supplies). She’s sitting in front of the counter, while he tries on a few different crops, whipping them in the air over and over again. At one point he walks towards her and smacks her on the thigh with it, turns to the store owner, and says: I’ll take this one. We never see him using it again, but we sure all know he did.
Other scenes aren’t as tame as that one (often to prove a point, such as demonstrating Elizabeth’s enjoyment or discomfort, proving dramatic weight), and some we could even go without (like that rainy sex sequence that has 80s written all over it), but overall, with a sensible directing, beautiful shots, and a crazy chemistry between Rourke and Basinger, Nine and a Half Weeks is clever, fun, surprisingly deep, and deliciously sexy.
starring DAN STEVENS, SHEILA KELLY and MAIKA MONROE
The one movie from last year that truly embodies the meaning the cool is the black comedy of a mysterious young man who goes to great lengths to better the lives of his dead friend’s family. He has an air of soothing menace about him that screams he’s hiding something and yet we can’t help wanting to keep him close, nor can we disguise our undeniable attraction – in yet another reminder that threats come in all shapes and sizes.