15 posts categorized "Sex"

November 18, 2013


Bettie Page Reveals AllBettie Page’s remarkable life and cultural influence is exhaustively explored, commented upon, and celebrated in a documentary that serves as the end all and be all on the subject thanks to the famous pin-up girl’s own retelling of her life-story.

Documentarian Mark Mori leaves no stone unturned in providing a treasure-trove of archive photos and clips from Bettie’s photo-shoots and movies, along with other era-appropriate footage and illustrations, to underscore Bettie’s late-life narration — culled from a series of audio interviews she gave the filmmaker before her death in 2008.


Bettie’s trademark bangs and naughty-but-nice modeling style is illustrated and discussed in the context of America’s repressive sexual mores and violent times of the ‘50s when she started posing for private camera clubs. By the time she posed for Hugh Hefner as a Playboy playmate in 1955, Bettie was already famous as the Queen of the Pinups.


Perhaps the film’s greatest gift is that Mori never shows Bettie Page in her time-ravaged older incarnation, but rather allows her charismatic leathery voice to give candid descriptions of the events before, during, and after her becoming famous as a fetishized bondage model. Bettie Page’s illustrious career and legacy lives on. “Bettie Page Reveals All!” contributes heartily to her rich tradition as a feminist rebel with a cause. Many will continue to copy and emulate her liberated attitude and style, but there will always only ever be one Bettie Page.


Rated R. 101 mins. (A) (Five Stars - out of five/no halves)

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December 14, 2012


CaligulaIf ever there was a cinematic guide to Roman debauchery — real or imagined — “Caligula” is it. That this bizarre and unforgettable film was directed by Italian softcore master Tinto Brass (“Salon Kitty”) and includes performances by some of Britain’s finest actors (Malcolm McDowell, John Gielgud, Peter O’Toole, and Helen Mirren) adds to the salacious aspects of this infamous movie. Penthouse magazine publisher Bob Guccione produced the film with an eye toward generating a new genre for mainstream pornography, though his vision proved to be doomed.

The rise and fall of Emperor Gaius Caesar Germanicus (a.k.a. Caligula – played by Malcolm McDowell) is presented in an epic theatrical manner befitting a modern-day —pornographic — stage performance. Tinto Brass’s enthusiasm for sparsely appointed grand-scale sets lends an airy atmosphere to the sexually charged political environment of the story.


A quote from the Bible introduces the theme. “What shall it profit a man, if he should gain the whole world and lose his own soul.”

McDowell's brief voiceover narration plants his snide retort to the small-minded biblical premise: “I have existed from the morning of the world, and I shall exist until the last star falls from the heavens. Although I have taken the form of Gaius Caligula, I am all men as I am no man and so I am a god.”


Still referred to by his childhood nickname “Little Boots,” McDowell’s Caligula is a spun-off version of the hedonistic sociopathic character he incarnated as his stock-and-trade for such films as “A Clockwork Orange,” and “If…” With easy entre to his cunning historical character, McDowell’s smirking love god defiles all he touches. Not least of which is his sister Drusilla (Teresa Ann Savoy), with whom he maintains an incestuous bond.


Called upon to visit his syphilis-suffering imperial grandfather Tiberius (Peter O’Toole) on the island of Capri, Caligula observes the orgiastic lifestyle to which he will soon aspire. Tiberius tutors Caligula in the art of meting out fatal warrantless punishments. A soldier is made to drink copious amounts of wine before being gutted so his intestines spill out.


The emperor instructs Caligula while a bevy of satyrs and nymphs carry on various sexual acts around them. Tiberius’s “speaking” statues fornicate and masturbate continuously. The filmmakers present a formal interpretation of Grand Guignol sexuality across a three-tiered stage. Giant gold phalluses adorn the area where sexual performers frolic. Some are deformed. Witness the man with four legs, another with two faces and three eyes.

Tiberius explains the distorted logic with which he rules. “Every senator believes himself believes to be a potential Caesar, therefore every senator is guilty of treason — in thought if not in deed.”


The quick-study Caligula soon turns Tiberius’s lessons on his master, enabling the murder of the emperor and usurping his role as leader of Rome.

However distracting the film’s titillating use of nudity, and outrageous set pieces of sexual conflagrations, “Caligula” remains true to the historical nature of its text. It also remains a towering example of erotic cinema.  

Caligula 08

Not Rated. 156 mins.

5 Stars

This website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

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April 10, 2012


American-reunion-posterThis (hopefully) final nail in the coffin of the “American Pie” teen-sex franchise —inspired by “Portnoy’s Complaint” — manages to be just as uncomfortable and boring as a real-life high school reunion.

Gone is the good-natured sense of bubbling teen lust and irreverent curiosity that sent 1999 original over the top. Post economic collapse has taken a toll on characters that once seemed like they’d be horny and happy forever.

American Reunion - Paste

The filmmakers take so long in getting around to the actual reunion of the film’s title that when the third-act event finally rolls around, all of the comic energy is already spent. Although it might be a guilty pleasure to compare how actors like Jason Biggs, Alyson Hannigan, Chris Klein, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Eddie Kaye Thomas, and Seann William Scott have aged over the years, there just isn’t any enough funny business to keep the film afloat.

Alyson Hannigan: I'm preparing to send my children to therapy over  'American Pie's' 'band camp' scene | Fox News

Jim (Biggs) and wifey Michelle (Hannigan) aren’t getting busy since the birth of their baby. Kevin (Nicholas) carries the weight of the world on his shoulders. Finch (Thomas) has turned into a compulsive liar. Only Stifler (Scott) has retained any semblance of honest rebelliousness. Even Stifler’s hot-to-trot mom (Jennifer Coolidge) has slowed her roll to a snail’s pace.

American Reunion Review: Is There Sex After High School? Hell, Yeah |  TIME.com

The “Harold-and-Kumar” writing/directing team of Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg just haven’t got what it takes to make “American Reunion” a party to remember.

Rated R. 110 mins.

1 Star

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

This website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

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