May 10, 2017

Win a Date With Sofia Blake, from Wicked Passions

★★★★☆

Time: 1:33, Director: Stormy Daniels, Date: 2016

Screenshots: On our Tumblr

On the web: Wicked B2B, IAFD

Cast: Olivia Austin (30yo), Marcus London (48yo), Charlotte O'Ryan (22yo), Mia Li (26yo), Derrick Pierce (42yo), Bianca Breeze (34yo), Jake Taylor, and Ryan McLane

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

Review

The story revolves around Sofia (Olivia Austin), who is engaged to Brett (Marcus London). But he turns up on the covers of the tabloids fucking his mistress, which leads her to go out and get drunk, then get busted for DUI on the way home. So her publicist (Mia Li) cooks up a scheme to raffle off a date with her. The winner is a small-town guy Justin (Ryan McLane), who is as cynical as he can be...and rightly so, really. But, well, you figure it out.. though remember this is a Stormy Daniels movie, so there are twists along the way.

There have been a lot of really excellent movies from Wicked Passions, such as the last one, Off Limits. Unfortunately, however, this is not one of them. It's a pretty good story, and a good bit of time—thirty minutes, about a third of the movie—is devoted to the story. But the first two sex scenes happen right at the beginning, before we really have any idea who these people are. Once the story actually starts, the movie gets much better. But the third and fourth sex scenes do not really feel well integrated into the movie, and the music is, if not typical pornzak, annoyingly repetitive. The acting is mediocre, too, for the most part, though Ryan McLane is, as usual, terrific.

The photography is about as is typical for the Wicked Passions movies: well balanced, and fairly intimate. There are a lot of nice shots of the women's faces, especially, but also of the men's, and Daniels does a good job of editing the scenes so they are not too long without making them seem fragmented.

May 5, 2017

The Darker Side of Desire, from Sweet Sinner and Jacky St James

★★★★☆

Time: 2:37, Director: Jacky St James, Date: 2017

Screenshots: On our Tumblr

On the web: IAFD

Cast: Cassidy Klein (26yo), Mickey Mod, Cherie DeVille (39yo), Tommy Pistol (41yo), Gia Paige (27yo), James Deen (31yo), Riley Cruise, and Michael Vegas

Source: 1920×1080 MP4 downloaded from the Mile High Media subscription site

Review

Is it fair to compare this movie to The Submission of Emma Marx? No, of course not. Emma Marx is one of the best pornos ever made and a great movie period. Still, the comparison is inevitable. Jacky St James has made other BDSM-themed movies beside those in the Emma Marx series, such as Restraint. But this is the first (allegedly) story-based movie about BDSM since the stunning conclusion to the Emma Marx trilogy, and in many ways the plot is similar. Natalie (Cassidy Klein) has long had dreams and fantasies about being dominated, but she has for just as long struggled with them. And now, at the beginning of what looks like a promising relationship with Bryce (Mickey Mod), she is wondering whether to share her fantasies with him and risk rejection, or just to keep quiet. It's hard to imagine a more promising story.

So, how is Darker Side? Not great, we're afraid. The first problem is that far too little time is actually devoted to the story: fifteen minutes in a movie that is over two and a half hours long. OK, so, again, it's not really fair to compare. But, just for some context, there's more time than that between the first two sex scenes in Emma Marx (which, overall, spends over fifty minutes just on the story, out of just over two hours). But, even without making comparisons, it seems pretty obvious that fifteen minutes isn't nearly enough time to develop the characters and allow us to get into their heads. It's really too bad, because, as we said, there's a lot of promise in the story.

The second problem, which isn't unrelated to the first, is that, by and large, the sex scenes are way too long. The second, with Cherie DeVille and Tommy Pistol, is a good example. The scene (a dream Natalie is having) begins with some BDSM. The way Cherie and Tommy talk to each other is really terrific, and the play, while hardly heavy, is hot and convincing. But after 22 minutes of that, they move into genital sex, and that lasts almost another 17 minutes. Why? We'd have been all for some quick fucking or whatever, but the scene would have been much more effective had the focus been kept on the BDSM, which is what is actually relevant to the story.

Maybe most disappointing, to us, though, was the fourth scene, featuring Natalie's friend Robin (Riley Cruise), who thinks BDSM is anti-feminist. Her boyfriend (Michael Vegas) expresses some shock that she harbors such thoughts and volunteers to be tied up and dominated. Now, it hardly needs saying that female domination that isn't cartoonish is hard to find in the world of porn, so we were thrilled that St James was now going to include some of it. But the opportunity is squandered. There's hardly any BDSM here at all. Rather, what we get is relatively conventional sex, but with Vegas's legs---just his legs, not his arms—loosely tied to the bed. And then, at the end, he unties himself so he can "take the power back". It's as if the idea of female domination can't quite be tolerated.

We know we're being very critical. By no means is this a bad movie, and there are aspects of it that are quite good. The first sex scene, with Cassidy Klein and Mickey Mod, is terrific, though, ironically, it's the only one of the five scenes that doesn't involve BDSM. The sex is passionate and convincing, and both Cassidy and Mickey do a great job staying in role. Indeed, we thought they were both excellent, overall, in the lead roles, and the supporting cast do a fine job, too. Another plus is that the BDSM parts of the three BDSM-themed scenes are very good. And the camera work, for the most part, is very strong, especially in the last scene. But, even with all those positives, the lack of attention to the story and the overly long sex scenes—not to mention the presence of James Deen, whom we normally just do not watch—left us a bit cold.

Jacky St James has proven several times she can make really fantastic movies. Is it greedy to want more of them? It's not that we haven't appreciated many of the collections of vignettes she has made. But what makes her a special director is her ability to weave hot sex into engaging, even thought-provoking, stories. We do hope that Sweet Sinner, and their parent company Mile High Media, will actually give St James the freedom to do what she does so well. We understand that this means being willing to commit the time and therefore the money that is required to tell stories, rather than to settle for a mere gesture in that direction. But if you want a product that people will actually pay for—if you want to offer people something that isn't available on the tube sites—then it seems to me that you need to give them something that isn't just better but something that is qualitatively different. Like, oh, The Submission of Emma Marx.

March 16, 2017

Angie Rowntree on Ovidie's "Pornocracy"

Pornocracy makes one shocking point clear: early innovators knew tube sites would decimate the adult industry. And according to the founder of YouPorn, one of the first tube sites to hit the web, they went ahead and did it anyway — all as a way to make big money from advertising using other people’s stolen content.
At Huffington Post.

March 13, 2017

Lesbian Romance 3, from New Sensations Tales From the Heart

★★★★☆

Time: 1:42, Director: Jacky St James, Date: 2016

Screenshots: On our Tumblr

On the web: New Sensations Catalog, IAFD

Cast: Blair Williams (22yo), Lyra Louvel (24yo), Kasey Warner (21yo), Melissa Moore (20yo), Blake Eden (20yo), Yhivi, Charlotte O'Ryan (22yo), and Rachel Midori (23yo)

Source: 1920×1080 MP4s downloaded from the New Sensations subscription site

Review

This, obviously, is the third movie in Jacky St James's "Lesbian Romance" series. Lke the others, it features lesbian sex in a romantic context. The second of these was terrific; the first was only all right. Unfortunately, this one is more like the first than the second.

There is one really terrific scene here, the first, with Blair Williams and Lyra Louvel. The story is sweet, and the sex is natural and passionate. They're really convincing as a couple, and we were dripping wet by the time it was over. The third scene, with Blake Eden and Yhivi, is also very good. It's first-time sex between roommates, and it is again passionate and convincing.

The second scene, though, with Kasey Warner and Melissa Moore, is merely all right. It's a sweet story, revolving around Melissa's desire to have children, but the sex isn't as passionate as it ought to be, and it feels a bit predicatable. And the last scene, with Charlotte O'Ryan and Rachel Midori, didn't do it for us at all. The sex just isn't very convincing.

As one might expect, though, the photography overall is excellent.

February 8, 2017

Female Fantasy, from Lust Cinema

★★★★½

Time: 12:33, Director: Zara Kjellner, Alicia Hansen, Date: 2015

Screenshots: On our Tumblr

On the web: Official Site

Cast: Jaana Alakoski and Marcel Engdahl

Source: 1920×1080 MP4 downloaded from Lust Cinema

Review

A short film by a pair of female Swedish directors.

She sits next to him, close, waiting for the bus, then squeezes his leg just before she gets on it. She starts to masturbate, looking around to see if anyone is watching, then falls into her bed at home and launches into a fantasy of what she might have done at the bus stop. She slowly removes her clothes and continues masturbating as her fantasy progresses.

We really enjoyed this film. Juxtaposing someone masturbating with the fantasy they are having always seems like a good idea to us, but both parts have to be done right. And here they are. The fantasy certainly is one a woman might actually have, and not just a man's idea of a woman's fantasy. And it is every bit fantastic enough, as they have sex right at the bus stop. As she approaches orgasm, the fantasy becomes non-linear, as she passes from one image to the next.

The ending is thoughtful, but we would have preferred that they made some attempt to portray her orgasm. Nonetheless, there is something striking about the ending, as fantasy and reality merge in the afterglow.

3 By Amarna, from Lust Cinema

★★★★½

Time: 24:39, Director: Amarna Miller, Date: 2015

Screenshots: On our Tumblr

On the web: Official Site

Cast: Amarna Miller (25yo), Mickey Mod, and Eris Maximo

Source: 1920×1080 MP4 downloaded from Lust Cinema

Review

A collection of three short vignettes directed by Amarna Miller, who first made a name for herself in the movies of Erika Lust and has since become a very popular performer. This is her directorial debut.

The first video, which is by far the longest of the three, is a 'POV-style' blowjob scene. What makes it at least somewhat different from run-of-the-mill porn of this kind is that Miller, who also stars in this scene, is the one in control of the action. Her partner does grip her head at one time, briefly, but that is the only hint of dominance in the scene. And she does seem genuinely to enjoy herself, as she always does. Of course, this is not really the kind of thing for which we look to feminist porn. But if POV-style porn can be "done right", perhaps this is the way to do it.

The second video is very short and somewhat artsy, with the sex presented in a non-linear way. The last is a kinky masturbation scene, artsy in presentation, but sexy, too.

Overall, then, we very much enjoyed this collection. It's an interesting look at a very different side of Amarna Miller.

January 9, 2017

Erika Lust Lauches Major Initiative to Get More Women Into Porn

Erika Lust wants to get more women in porn—in every possible position. Writer. Director. Producer. Star. She broke into the biz herself once and knows what it takes. And, like the growing number of advocates calling for more women behind the camera in Hollywood, she knows that the more inclusive the adult industry becomes, the better—and, OK, sexier—the results.
On Wired.