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Date DVD: The Blue Edition

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In Japan, sex films are called “pink movies” to stress the feminine flesh, but here, we call them “blue movies.” Why? There are various theories — ranging from the history of the Puritans’ strict “blue laws” to the contention that imprisoned prostitutes were once required to wear blue gowns to the fact that strippers throughout history have lit themselves with blue lights. Whatever the reason, it’s clear there’s something especially sexy about blue when it flickers on a screen, whether in the dappled moonlight of a studio set or in the bright water of some backlot’s cerulean sea. Maybe that’s why so many sexy films took “blue” names. — Logan Hill

Devil in a Blue Dress
Denzel Washington has never smoldered like he does in Carl Franklin’s noir — capped with a fedora and clothed in a smooth suit in the hot heat of 1940s Los Angeles. He plays Walter Mosley’s manly WWII vet-turned-private-eye Easy Rawlins, and he takes his time, twirling his toothpick, smoothing his mustache, and delivering every hard-boiled line easily, as if it’s the come-on you’re dying to hear. On the trail of a political corruption case and a naughty femme fatale (Jennifer Beals), Washington settles into this film like it’s a hot sauna and he’s he’s got all day — all night, too.
Trois Coleurs: Blue
The breathtaking Juliette Binoche stars in the first film of Polish director Krzystof Kieslowski’s celebrated Blue, Red, White trilogy about the French tryptych of “liberty, equality and fraternity.” She is brutally liberated when her husband and daughter are killed — then she sets out to rediscover herself and test the bounds of her new life. She begins by calling one of her husband’s lecherous friends: “You have always wanted me,” she purrs. “Here I am.” But the sex doesn’t cut it, so she runs off again, until she randomly meets her husband’s mistress, and the two develop one of the strangest friendships in cinema. It’s a brilliant film about surviving failed relationships, and it’s infused with a perverse sense of determined hope. Watch it with your ex.
Forty Shades of Blue
You can’t talk about blue without talking about the blues: In Ira Sachs’s Sundance hit, the grizzled, growling Rip Torn chews his way though two hours as a Memphis music producer at the end of his career. Torn lays out a full-throated, intense performance that catches the egotism and appetite of a southern soul king, but it’s the producer’s sexy young girlfriend (the Russian actress Dina Korzun) who steals the film. At first she suffers under Torn’s neglect, then she falls into bed with Torn’s straightlaced son, sparking an affair that’s absolutely wrong in all the right ways. Watch this one with your hot steparent.
Blue Lagoon
Director Randal Kleiser did a stint with Starsky & Hutch, camped up Grease and Big-Top Pee Wee, and even made that Boy in the Plastic Bubble TV movie that somehow everyone saw, but when he dies, he will only be remembered for one thing: showing a fifteen-year-old Brooke Shields in nothing but what comes between her and her Calvins. One of the more ridiculous sex films of all time, it won Shields the first-ever Razzie award for worst actress. Still, it’s a hilarious classic of bad movies, best watched bleary-eyed and soused in a lagoon of liquor.
Blue Velvet
What is it about blue fabric? From blue suede shoes to the devilish blue dress, it stands as a symbol for all sorts of devious kinkiness. The blue velvet robe of David Lynch’s deranged arthouse classic makes Isabella Rossellini — the greatest actress nobody can quite figure out how to use — into a Twilight Zone femme fatale: mysterious as a siren, hungry like a witch. Then she’s ravaged. Dennis Hopper is titanically evil, the king of a secretly evil world hidden just below the surface. Watch it with your favorite freak.

©2006 Nerve.com.