1989, Janus Films, 102 min, Spain, Dir: Pedro Almodóvar

Paroled mental patient Antonio Banderas kidnaps former porn star-turned-junkie Victoria Abril to save her from herself, in Almodóvar’s violently sexy take on male-female relations – and his most controversial film in the U.S., where it earned a hotly contested X-rating. “In a country like Spain I don’t have to explain that TIE ME UP! is a love story, or defend myself against accusations that it could turn you into a psychopath!” – Almodóvar.

2002, Warner Bros., 114 min, Dir: Brian de Palma

Jewel thief Laure (Rebecca Romijn) gets more than she bargained for when she tries to double-cross her partners and start a new life in this fast, funny, deliriously sexy thriller. From its classic De Palma opening set piece (an erotically charged heist set against the backdrop of the Cannes Film Festival) to its provocative playfulness with the concept of “reality” and its elegantly constructed network of visual motifs, this is one of the director’s best and most underrated films. Antonio Banderas is terrific as the photographer who alternates between nemesis and love interest over the course of Laure’s adventure.

2001, Dimension Films, 88 min, USA, Dir: Robert Rodriguez

Carmen Cortez (Alexa Vega) and her younger brother, Juni (Daryl Sabara), have no idea that their parents are retired international spies until mom (Carla Gugino) and dad (Antonio Banderas) are kidnapped. It’s up to the two spy kids to rescue them from an island castle - and maybe learn to get along with each other. This delightful family adventure was a worldwide hit, launching several sequels.

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