Missing films I can't locate on Letterboxd:
Blonde Ambition (1981)
I Like to Watch / Caballero (1982)
Mona the Virgin…
What would you have done if you had been given absolute power of life and death over everybody else in the whole world?
The perversion behind imperial Rome, the epic story of Rome's mad Emporer. All the details of his cruel, bizarre reign are revealed right here: His unholy sexual passion for his sister, his marriage to Rome's most infamous prostitute, his fiendishly inventive means of disposing those who would oppose him, and more.
It's hard (sorry) to know how to review Caligula, especially in its full length (sorry again) version. I've seen lots of 10/10 reviews on other sites, but you can't help feeling (ahem) that they are actually reviewing the behind-the-scenes story. That of course is incredible, hilarious and tragic - all things that the film should be but isn't. It's swollen (cough), sloppy (cough cough) and gets itself into a proper mess (nurse!). Mark Kermode famously said that there was a great film in here waiting to get out, but surely that disappeared up its own rectum (OK that one's just a single entendre) when Brass started interfering (fnarr) with Gore Vidal's original script. You sense that even before Guccione began…
What happens when three people with their heads in the clouds and their dicks in the Roman bath-houses fight over ideals and accuracy.
A film happens. A film about Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, fondly (or not) known as Caligula; the most depraved and vile Roman Emperor to be made god of the world. So the books tell us.
McDowell, it seems never got out of character after Kubrick drilled his warped ideas into poor Alex. Then Dr. Samuel Loomis injected the same ideas into Myers. In between, he decided to go all artsy and try a hand at bestiality and incest.
The film is bad taste itself (I'm not saying it does not entertain). HOWEVER, however, Peter O'Toole as…
You know Caligula is going to be a special film when "Penthouse International Presents" appears at the beginning of it (Rosellini and Vidal couldn't obtain financing, so they contacted Bob Guccione, founder of Penthouse, to produce their film).
Caligula is a film that went through a lot of problems during its production. Problems with the actors, problems with the script and problems in post-production. Basically, it was a disastrous collaboration between the persons involved, with a project that ultimately became too big for them. And it shows. Because is bad. Pretty bad.
For staters, we have a lot of unnecessary and awkward sex, which was added in order to promote Guccione's magazine. Random naked people will pop-up in every scene…
Wow... Every manner of perversion... You almost need to see it to believe it. Ridiculously over the top. Yet, one could argue it could pass as essentially a Game of Thrones spin-off set in ancient Rome...
Narratively it was a good story - in history class you learned of the perversions of Ancient Rome - so making a Caligula biopic a porno makes complete sense.
Helen Mirren was and still is one of the most beautiful women on the planet.
One almost questions the sanity of Malcolm McDowell. Probably should've saved this one for the scavenger hunt that begins tomorrow.
Peter O'Toole was not sober at all.
Watched the original theatrical version with the Guccione porn inserts, which aren't remotely erotic but do nonetheless occasionally puncture the general tedium. (Reconstructed Brass cut could only be superior in the sense that having the measles is preferable to contracting bubonic plague; there's zero chance that a non-terrible movie could be constructed from this footage. In any case, I wasn't about to sit through it again.) Fascinating to see such a stellar cast flailing so pathetically—only Gielgud escapes with his dignity intact, and you'd never guess that McDowell, Mirren, and O'Toole had a speck of talent among them. Also hard to believe that a film so aggressively lurid could be so stultifyingly dull, rarely even rising (or sinking, I guess) to the level of camp. Just long, unpleasant and cruel—the cinematic equivalent of sitting in the Colosseum as Christians are thrown to the lions.
Malcolm McDowell and Peter O'toole barking help it from being a total disaster.
I don't care what anyone says, I absolutely loved this; long takes of blowjobs and all. It's an erotic look at the mad tyranny of a maniacal man in over his head. I don't quite care for McDowell, but even he can't bring this one down for me. He's competent in the role. Without a doubt some of the most brilliant production design I've seen, and while it's almost 3 hours long, it feels nothing like it. When in Rome...
The decapitation machine gets 5 stars.
Walked out of this – found it eye-wateringly tedious. Not even enjoyably camp, just plain dull.
So bizarre. So extravagant. So sexual. So, ultimately, boring.
This movie deals with fate, corruption, self fulfilling prophecy and sex. Sex, especially, but what do you expect from a movie produced by Penthouse? Caligula is too smutty to be educational, and has too much plot to be porn. Taken one direction or the other, it probably would have done well, but instead it falls into an uncanny valley somewhere between smut and a genuinely well done film.
Sure it's fun to see Academy Award winner Helen Mirren do soft core pornography and it's always a pleasure to watch Malcolm McDowell play crazy and partake in a bit of the old ultra-violence. However, the running time is absurd for a film of this type and once you get past the shock of the gratuity and violence, there's really nothing left in the film, no matter how many erect penises you through into it.
One of the most unwatchable pieces of cinematic excrement even to smeared across the screen.
Roger Ebert's 1979 review of the film summed it up for me: "...This doesn't work as drama, and hell, it's not even good porn..."
Missing films I can't locate on Letterboxd:
Movies in which a cock is destroyed.
In anticipation of my upcoming short film, "Sudden Infant Death Syndrome", I've organized…