November 13, 2017

XConfessions 6, from Erika Lust

★★★★½

Time: 1:44, Director: Erika Lust, Date: 2016

Screenshots: On our Tumblr here and here and here

On the web: Erika Lust's Website

Cast: Anneke Necro, Paulita Pappel, Silvia Rubí, Mickey Mod (37yo), Jay Smooth (30yo), Lina Bembe, Zazel Paradise, Miyuki Son (29yo), Natalia Ferrari, Tiffany Doll (30yo), Manu Falcon, Vex Ashley, Miriam Prado, Jorge Prado, Luna Corazón (27yo), Tyler Nixon (29yo), and Bishop Black

Source: 1920×1080 MP4s downloaded from Lust Cinema

Pleasure ♀, Passion ♀, Balance

Review

The sixth collection of vignettes from Erika Lust's now famous XConfessions series. As all of them have been, this one is excellent.

All of the scenes are really good, but there are three that are absolutely top-notch. The second is one of those rare porn threesomes that works. Paulita Pappel and Silvia Rubí play a long-time couple who've decided to share a man, Mickey Mod. It's fun and playful, and of course beautifully shot. The third scene is a total lark: A woman's friends can't get good cunnilingus, so she tells them to try her boyfriend. It's fun, and just a celebration of oral sex. The sixth scene, with Tiffany Doll and Jay Smooth, is the first on XConfessions to feature anal sex. It's loosely based upon a passage in Toni Bentley's The Surrender: An Erotic Memoir that describes the pleasures thereof.

Other highlights are the fifth scene, with Vex Ashley and Mickey Mod, a pair who always seem to make magic together; the seventh, with Miriam Prado and Jorge Prado, which mostly features a titjob, to completion, which is a pleasant surprise; the ninth scene, with Silvia Rubí and Bishop Black, which nicely gives us some female domination that isn't cartoonish; and the last scene, which has Tyler Nixon performing a strip-show for Lina Bembe before they get down to it.

November 9, 2017

Indiscretions, from Wicked Passions

★★★☆☆

Time: 1:42, Director: Stormy Daniels, Date: 2016

On the web: Wicked B2B, IAFD

Cast: Britney Amber (30yo), Marcus London (48yo), Rachel Starr (33yo), Brad Armstrong (51yo), Asa Akira (30yo), Damon Dice, Ziggy Star (22yo), and Lucas Frost

Source: 1280×720 MP4 downloaded from Wicked Pictures subscription site

Pleasure ✓, Passion ✓, Balance

Review

Indiscretions is a psychological thriller of a sort we've come to expect from Stormy Daniels. Kim (Asa Akira) discovers that her partner David (Brad Armstrong) has been cheating on her, so she moves out for a while. She becomes friends, then lovers, with Shane (Damon Dice), who does maintenance where she is staying. But he turns out to be more complicated than one might have supposed. And things get really complicated when Kim's step-daughter Hannah (Ziggy Star) talks her into going to her 19th birthday dinner and things are re-kindled with David. Will Kim ever be able to forgive him? Or, more importantly, get away from Shane?

Even more time is devoted to the story here than in the typical Wicked Passions movie: about fifty minutes, so almost half the film. Unfortunately, however, the story, though it has some promise, is formulaic, and it just gets way too weird, for no apparent reason. Nor is the acting very good. Asa Akira underplays her emotions, and Britney Amber (who plays Kim's best friend Cheryl) does a terrible job conveying her emotions in the scene where Kim arrives, distraught, at her house. Damon Dice is awful, too, as more or less is Ziggy Star.

The sex scenes also reek of couples porn. Only the first, with Britney Amber and Marcus London, is very good at all, but even here she overplays her arousal quite a bit. The rest, though, really lack passion and feel almost performed. That said, there do at least seem to be more women's orgasms here than in most of the Wicked Passions movies, but, sadly, that only means "some".

The photography is very good, however, as it usually is with these movies, even if it is not particularly creative. But the music, though at least low in volume, is pointless and repetitive. Why bother? It adds nothing.

Read the rest of the review.

October 11, 2017

Spicing It Up, from New Sensations Lesbian Experience

★★★★☆

Time: 1:34, Director: Jacky St James, Date: 2016

Screenshots: On our Tumblr

On the web: IAFD

Cast: Adria Rae (20yo), Marley Brinx (22yo), Melissa Moore (20yo), Riley Reid (25yo), Aidra Fox (21yo), Gina Valentina (19yo), Abby Cross, and Blair Williams (22yo)

Source: 1920×1080 MP4 downloaded from the New Sensations subscription site

Pleasure ♀-, Passion ♀-

Review

Four scenes with lesbian couples who keep their sex life alive in various ways.

We really appreciated how short these scenes are. That may sound weird to say, but we often find sex scenes to be too long. It's difficult to maintain the excitement for 25 or 30 minutes. No such problem here. The sex itself tends to be in the 20 minute range.

There are two really excellent scenes here. The second, with Melissa Moore and Riley Reid, is fantastic. We really appreciated how loving and playful the two of them were, and it's one of the best 'sex in the tub' scenes we've had the pleasure of watching. Often, these do not work, because, let's face it, it's not the easiest place to have sex. But here, it really does work. The first scene, with Adria Rae and Marley Brinx, is also terrific. It's all centered on how Marley has forced Adria not to cum for a whole week, then teases her until she's about to explode.

The last scene, with Abby Cross and Blair Williams, is perfectly fine. It's mild BDSM, and we enjoyed their use of a vibrator, which leads to a whole lot of orgasms. The third scene, though, with Aidra Fox and Gina Valentina, is disappointing, mostly because there is just way too much pornish moaning. Maybe that's just how they are, but it sure didn't seem that way to us.

October 2, 2017

The MILF Pact, from Sweet Sinner

★★★★☆

Time: 1:44, Director: Jacky St James, Date: 2016

Screenshots: On our Tumblr

On the web: IAFD

Cast: Katie Morgan (36yo), Cody Steele, Reena Sky (33yo), Tyler Nixon (29yo), Sheena Ryder (32yo), Damon Dice, Dana Vespoli (44yo), and Lucas Frost

Source: 1280×720 MP4 downloaded from the Sweet Sinner subscription site

Pleasure ♀-, Passion ♀-, Balance

Review

Four women have all decided on a common goal: Fucking their stepsons. The story of how the four get together to recount their experience is funny, and we really enjoyed it. There are some really funny moments, and all four women are very good in their roles. On the other hand, only about 20 minutes are devoted to the story, so, as usual with Sweet Sinner, the story is not really developed very much.

The women are 'older' by porn standards, but except for Dana Vespoli, who is an amazing forty-four, they are in their early thirties, and seem at least that young. So they actually don't seem much older than their stepsons. It would have been a bit more realistic had the women been just a bit older. But that may not be the easiest casting call.

There is one terrific sex scene here, the second, with Reena Sky and Tyler Nixon. There's a lot of talking and giggling and eye contact, and they generally do a great job staying in role while having sex. The third scene, with Sheena Ryder and Damon Dice, is also very good. The sex feels appropriately desperate, and they again carry the story into the sex very well. The other two scenes are fine, but nothing special, though we appreciated how dominant Dana Vespoli was in the last scene.

September 19, 2017

Inter-racial Family Needs, from Sweet Sinner

★★★★☆

Time: 1:46, Director: Jacky St James, Date: 2016

Screenshots: On our Tumblr

On the web: IAFD

Cast: Sara Luvv (23yo), Tyler Nixon (29yo), Cherie DeVille (38yo), Tyler Knight (45yo), Rachel Midori (23yo), and Isiah Maxwell

Source: 1920x1080 MP4 downloaded from Sweet Sinner website

Pleasure ♀-, Passion ✓+, Balance

Review

Mia (Sara Luvv) has always lived with her father, but now he has died, and her step-father Doug (Tyler Knight) has invited her to live with him and her mother Tasha (Cherie DeVille). But Mia and Tasha have been estranged for years, and Tasha is none too happy about the whole arrangement. Doug and Mia form a strong bond—while drinking a bottle of wine, straight out of the bottle, that he gives her to welcome her into their home. He tries to be a father-figure, encouraging a reconciliation between Mia and Tasha. But when that doesn't go well, the temptation becomes too great. Things get worse when Paige (Rachel Midori), the finacé of his son Quinn (Isaiah Maxewell), all but catches them in the act.

It's a pretty good story. Unfortunately, however, as with many of the Sweet Sinner movies, not much time at all is spent on it: less than 20 minutes.

The acting is generally pretty good, but there are places where it's not, usually in scenes involving Cherie DeVille. But Tyler Knight and Sara Luvv are excellent. The sex scenes are also reasonably good, but they often feel too long, largely due to a lack of variety in the sex. And, except in first scene, we didn't really sense much of a genuine connection between the performers.

James Avalon, who has been directing and shooting movies for Sweet Sinner since Nica Noelle left, was in charge of photography for this one. Overall, the photography is pretty good. Avalon's cameras tend to be quiet, i.e., not to move alot, and not to impose themselves onto the scene. For the most part, the shots are wide enough that we can see both of the performers, but the guy is sometimes out of frame, as happens so often. And there aren't a lot of shots here that are particularly striking. So, overall, we'd have to say that the camera work is better than in a lot of porn, but not particularly great.

September 18, 2017

Adventures With the Baumgartners, from Adam and Eve Pictures

★★★★☆

Time: 5:02, Director: Kay Brandt, Date: 2017

Screenshots: On our Tumblr here and here and here and here

On the web: IAFD

Cast: Anikka Albrite (29yo), Edyn Blair (29yo), A.J. Applegate (28yo), Sara Luvv (24yo), Katy Kiss (24yo), Ricky Johnson, Mick Blue (41yo), Xander Corvus (29yo), and Derrick Pierce (43yo)

Source: 1920×1080 MP4 downloaded from Gamelink

Pleasure ✔+, Passion ⚧-, Balance ✔+

Review

A sequel to Babysitting the Baumgartners, which we still regard as one of the best pornos we have ever seen, Adventures With the Baumbartners is also based on a novel by Selena Kitt. This one was released at about the same time as the movie and seems to have been written especially for it. It follows the continuing polyamorous adventures of Doc and Mrs B (Mick Blue and Anikka Albrite) and their young friends Ronnie and Gretchen (Sara Luvv and A.J. Applegate). Gretchen is now working as the the Baumgartners' nanny, and she and Ronnie are sharing an apartment—and a bed. But it is not clear exactly what sort of relationship they really have, and things get complicated when Ronnie starts to have feelings for her trainer at the gym, Vince (Xander Corvus).

That, to us, is the main story here, and it's one that might have made for a really good movie. Unfortunately, it isn't developed as much as it could have been, in large part because there are two other (far less interesting) storylines that are given almost as much attention. One concerns Mrs B's sexual interest in her friend Daphne (Edyn Blair) and Mrs B's introduction of Daphne to Doc, all eventually leading to a foursome with Daphne's husband Ari (Derrick Pierce). The other concerns Daphne's daughter Paige (Katy Kiss), who is all of eighteen and already has a very serious, and very open, relationship with her boyfriend Tyler (Ricky Johnson).

It's really too much to try to do in one movie. There are a lot of missing pieces. For example, Ari has apparently been 'away' for nearly three months, but there's only a very brief, and easy to miss, indication why. There's no discussion of his relationship with Daphne, of what he might think of her fucking Doc while he is away, or of how and why the four of them end up in bed together. It all just happens. But much of what we find erotic about this kind of the story is what's going on inside people's heads. There was tons of that in Babysitting the Baumgartners. There is very little of it here.

The exception is to be found in Gretchen's reaction to Ronnie's newfound interest in Vince. She's clearly worried. And here there was really a missed opportunity. What resolution we get comes when Gretchen arrives home unexpectedly and sees Ronnie and Vince in bed together—much as she and Ronnie had watched Paige and Tyler, from the same hallway, earlier in the movie. That time, she and Ronnie had fucked in the hall, trying to keep quiet. This time, shocked for a moment, Gretchen drops her pants and masturbates. It makes it seem as if we're in pornotopia, where (as Linda Williams puts it in her classic book Hardcore) all sexual problems have sexual solutions. And that's too bad. Kay Brandt's earlier film Safe Landings was in many ways about sexual problems that don't have sexual solutions, and that's a big part of what made it such a great movie.

If you read Kitt's novel, that's not at all how it is. We won't say just how Gretchen and Ronnie's relationship ends, since that's much of the story, and we don't want to ruin it. But, here in the film version, all that nuance is lost. We think, as we said above, that this is the unfortunate effect of trying to follow all three of the plotlines from the novel. It's just too much, and all of the stories suffer. The book does fill in the "missing pieces" we complained about above, and we recommend it highly. But you shouldn't have to read the book (let alone the `prequel' Christmas With the Baumgartners, which introduces Daphne and Ari) for the movie to make sense.

So we thought the story could have been handled a bit better. Or maybe we were just frustrated by the failure to do more with the opportunites the story presents to explore some really interesting questions.*

But this is porn, right? So what about the sex?

Unfortunately, it too is a mixed bag. There are some really wonderful scenes here. If you told us that A.J. Applegate and Sara Luvv were soulmates, we'd absolutely believe it. We have rarely seen any two people so throughly enjoy having sex together, and the way they look at each other, smile at each other, touch each other, is as heart-warming as it is groin-affecting. The second and third scenes, with just the two of them, are outstanding.

Indeed, if you told us Anikka Albrite and Mick Blue were soulmates, we'd probably believe that, too. But that would partly be on the strength of their performances in Babysitting the Baumgartners. They are not quite as good here.

The last scene, the foursome with Doc and Mrs B and Daphne and Ari, is a really pleasant surprise. These sorts of scenes too often end up being totally pornish. But not this one. It's playful and fun, and the way Mrs B sits back much of the time and just enjoys watching, while still staying in verbal and emotional contact with Doc, is very sexy in its own right.

The other seven (yes, seven) scenes are less successful. The main problem with many of them (such as the first and ninth) is just that they are too long. Some of the others (such as the fourth, sixth, and eighth) feature the sort of pornish dialogue and positions that make it difficult for us to suspend disbelief. And the seventh, a foursome with Ronnie, Gretchen, Paige, and Tyler, ended in a way that we found more than a little surprising because so stereotypically pornish.

The photography during the sex scenes is similarly inconsistent. Much of the time, it is fantastic. But it is less so in the scenes involving men. All of a sudden, one starts reguarly to see the sort of shot where the woman's body fills the frame and the man is reduced to a disembodied penis. These aren't nearly as frequent as they are in so much mainstream porn, but there are a lot more of them here than we'd prefer to see—and than we did see in Babysitting the Baumgartners and Safe Landings.

That said, the acting is generally strong. Edyn Blair and Ricky Jackson are very good in supporting roles, as is Katy Kiss, at least most of the time. (Xander Corvus and Derrick Pierce are much less in evidence but are good enough when they are around.) The stars, as we've already said, are Sara Luvv and A.J. Applegate, who are as good in the non-sexual parts of the movie as they are in the sexual parts, i.e., terrific. And we'd say something similar about Anikka Albrite and Mick Blue. They are very convincing as a couple, both sexually and just when talking to each other. We were particularly struck, this time, by Blue's ability to express sexual pleasure, in a believable way, and we don't just mean when he's having an orgasm. It's a strange thing that, in so many ways, men's sexual pleasure, especially non-orgasmic sexual pleasure, often seems to be afterthought in porn. But not with him.

We should also add a word about the sets, which are really great. It's a small thing, but the apartment that Ronnie and Gretchen share actually does look like the kind of apartment they might have: nice, but simple, and small. We really appreciate that sort of attention to detail, but that is sadly rare in porn. (No, amazingly enough, a nanny and a college student do not usually get to share a palatial waterfront condo.)

Overall, then, we have, somewhat reluctantly, to say that we found this movie a bit disappointing, though that may mostly be because it's so hard not to compare it to Babysitting the Baumgartners. Don't get us wrong. We enjoyed watching it. But it's five hours long, and, if we are going to devote that much time to a movie, we expect a lot in return. We didn't feel we got it this time.

If it were up to us, we'd have focused more on the story of Ronnie and Gretchen and dug into its complexities—and left out some of the rest, or saved it for another movie.


* Since we're reviewing the movie, not the book, we'll confine our remarks about the book to a footnote. We enjoyed the book, but we do wish there'd been a bit more exploration of Gretchen's feelings for Ronnie and how Ronnie does or does not reciprocate those feelings. A really glaring question is how each of them is thinking about hetero- and homo-romantic relationships. So often, it seems as if polyamory can be really hetero-normative, despite itself, with woman-woman relationships relegated to non-primary status. (The wonderful Letters to the Baumgartners does address some such issues.)

August 27, 2017

Masseuse 10, from Sweet Sinner

★★★☆☆

Time: 2:36, Director: James Avalon, Date: 2017

Screenshots: On our Tumblr

On the web: IAFD

Cast: Aidra Fox (22yo), Logan Pierce (26yo), Kiera Noir (23yo), James Deen (31yo), Marley Brinx (23yo), and Seth Gamble

Source: 1280×720 MP4 downloaded from the Mile High Media subscription site

Pleasure ✓+, Passion ✓+, Balance

Review

Sydney's massage business is focused on 'traditional' techniques, and now it seems they need to 'step it up'. So she goes to see Drew (James Deen), a friend of her colleague Reed (Seth Gamble), who describes Drew as "a bit weird", which is an understatement. But his techniques prove quite valuable to her business.

It's not much of a story, but it has some promise, and the acting is generally quite good (except when Marley Brinx is involved). A fair bit of time at the outset is spent developing the characters, and the story. We really appreciated the focus, in places, on the gentle sensuality of massage, which is presumably the point of this entire series. And it really is well done, even beautiful in places. Some of the massage sequences may go on a bit long, but, again, we suppose that's meant to be a feature of the series.

Unfortunately, the movie ends up being horribly disappointing. The first scene, with Aidra Fox and Logan Pierce, is excellent. The sex is convincing and hot as Sydney gives her first 'sensual' massage to a long-time client. Sadly, though, the other three scenes range from mediocre to bad. The third scene, with Marley Brinx and Seth Gamble, isn't terrible, but the premise is implausible, and she is a lot more passive than we would prefer. But that's where the decent stuff ends. The other two scenes, both of which 'feature' James Deen, are just bad. He's supposed to be some 'Zen massage guru', but the second scene, with Keira Noir, has nothing to do with massage and feels gratuitous. Moreover, Deen does almost nothing to stay in character and just assumes his usual porn persona. We could say much the same sort of thing about the last scene, with Aidra Fox.

We've watched little with Deen, on purpose, since Stoya's revelations, and, frankly, this movie served to remind us why we haven't missed him. When we first saw him—you could check our reviews—we were impressed by how much he seemed to care for his partner's pleasure. But after watching him more, we can see that he doesn't care about his partner. Not really. Oh, he definitely wants the women to cum, but it seems to have little to do with them. It's more to prove what a great lover he is. So his antics basically ruined the movie for us.

All that said, the first scene really is very good. Watch it and skip the rest.

There are some serious issues with the sound, too. There are times it is difficult to hear the voices. The camera work is generally very good, though, except in the third scene, when there are quite a few 'medical' shots, a lot more than we would have expected from Sweet Sinner.

This film was nominated for several 2017 XBiz awards, including Best Couples-Themed Release and Director of the Year in a Feature, for James Avalon. We'll hazard a guess that it doesn't take much for a movie to be nominated.