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Peter Travers, Rolling Stone’s movie critic, is bemoaning the paucity of cinematic sex these days (“It’s a sexual desert out there.”) Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Travers has posted his nominees for the year’s best movie sex:

ATONEMENT –It’s the scene in the library where Keira Knightley and James McAvoy decide not to hold out anymore. He backs her against the bookshelves, lifts her green evening dress above her knees, unzips the pants of his tux and goes for penetration. No hard-ons. We intuit what’s going on from their facial exprerssions. It’s furtive sex, what with dinner party just outside the door and a twelve year-old girl (Saorise Ronan) interupting them at the point of orgasm. You breathe with these characters. Woody Allen was once asked if sex was dirty. His answer: “It is if you’re doing it right.” Knightley and McAvoy do it right.

LUST, CAUTION — Rated NC-17 by the reliably idiotic ratings board, Ang Lee’s film goes deeper than counting pelvic thrusts. As a Japanese collaborator during World War II. Tony Leung approaches sex with the sadistic relish he’d use to torture a suspect, while Tang Wei acts the role of subservient vessel. When they both drop the masks and yield to grander passions, the effect is devastating.

WE OWN THE NIGHT –You’d have to go some to find hotter than Eva Mendes steaming it up with Joaquin Phoenix, as her nightclub manager lover, in James Gray’s underrated crime thriller.

BLACK BOOK –Remember Carice van Houten as a Jewish spy who dyes her pubic hair blonde to seduce a Nazi officer (Sebastian Koch). See the movie and you’ll remember it for a good long time.

WAITRESS
–Pregnant Keri Russell getting it on with her OB/GYN Dr. Pomatter (Nathan Fillion) in his office. It’s a bout of acrobatic lovemaking that damn near makes up for years of frustration with her deadbeat husband Earl (Jeremy Sisto). You feel the need in it.

ONCE –Sweetness props go to Dublin musician Glen Hansard (of the Irish rock band The Frames) and Markéta Irglová as the young Czech immigrant he loves. They connected off screen as well. Their musical chemistry is palpable, but light on sexual heat.