April 18, 2016

Safe Landings, from Adam and Eve


Time: 3:05, Director: Kay Brandt, Date: 2015

Screenshots: On our Tumblr

On the web: IAFD

Cast: Brenda James (45yo), Marcus London (47yo), Alison Rey (20yo), Ryan McLane, August Ames (21yo), and Xander Corvus (27yo)

Source: 1920×1080 MP4 downloaded from Gamelink

Pleasure ♀, Passion ♀, Balance


Here's the basic question we had before we sat down to watch Safe Landings: Is it really worth our devoting three hours to watching a single porno? This is not the only one that long. Many of the "blockbusters" that attract attention from the award shows tend to be that long, even longer. But look: Ghandi is three hours long, and it often seems too long. But this movie was nominated for a number of awards, including Best Director, Best Drama, and Best Screenplay at the 2016 AVN Awards, and for Feature Movie of the Year, Director of the Year, Screenplay of the Year, and Best Cinemtography at the XBiz Awards. We figured it had to be worth a look.

Kay Brandt was not a director whose work we knew before we watched this movie. But what a track record it turns out she has. In 2012, her film Cherry was nominated for Best Cinematography, Best Feature Director, and Best Screenplay at the AVN awards, and it won for All Girl-Release of the Year at the XBiz Awards, while Brandt was nominated for Director of the Year. The sequel, Cherry 2, won for Best All-Girl Release at the AVN awards. And in 2013, her films Against Her Will and Against Her Will 2 were both nominated for All-Girl Release of the Year at the XBiz Awards. Several of the performers in these movies were nominated for individual awards, as well.

This, then, is Brandt's first movie to focus on heterosexual relationships. Based upon her novel of the same name, it revolves around two women, Elaine (Brenda James) and Jessica (August Ames). Elaine is a flight attendant and is married to Ryan (Marcus London), whom she much loves, but she also has a penchant for affairs, most recenly with Michael (Ryan McLane), who is a pilot, and Tessa (Alison Rey), another flight attendant. Jessica is a jewelry rep who lives with her boyfriend Steven (Xander Corvus). Elaine and Jessica didn't know each other before, but they are thrown together by a plane crash they both survive but that kills most of the other passengers, including Michael and Tessa. The rest of the story concerns their struggles to come to terms with what has happened, enough at least to resume their lives.

So it is not a story about sex, and yet sex is an important part of the story, because of what it means to the characters.

And it is a very good story. A lot of time is spent developing it: nearly an hour. The anger, sadness, and depression one might expect from Elaine and Jessica after such an event are on full display, as is the anxious concern, frustration, and desperate desire somehow to help experienced by their partners. "We will get through this", Steven tells Jess at a particularly dark moment—and, indeed, they do, but only because of his willingness to let her get through it how she needs to get through it. For Elaine, the crisis sparks a re-evalation of herself, and of her inability truly to commit to her relationship with Ryan. Our only criticism, as far as the story goes, is that the group therapy sessions Elaine and Jessica attend, though they are meant to be presented as a pointless waste of time, are nearly parodic.

What really makes this movie special, though, are the sex scenes. It is difficult to convey how powerful they are. The sex is so natural, and so carefully edited, that one has the sense of just being a fly on the wall. And the performers do an amazingly good job staying in role during the scenes, talking and laughing and crying, just as you would expect their characters to do. As a result, the sex scenes do not just fit the story, they are actually integral to the development of the story.

Almost the whole of the first fifty minutes is devoted to two sex scenes, one between Elaine and her husband, Ryan, and then another with Elaine and her two lovers, Michael and Tessa. In other cases (for example, here and here), we have complained about this sort of thing, as it can seem to delay the beginning of the story, however hot the scenes may be. And these two scenes are smoking hot, but they are more than that. They are character development. They tell us a great deal about who Elaine is and what her life is like. The only exception here is the last scene, which is not bad, but it does have a more pornish feel than the others. On the other hand, since it is meant to be Elaine's fantasy of Ryan having sex with Jessica and Steven, one might expect it to be a bit more out there. But, coming at the very end of the movie, it was a bit of a disappointment.

We'll add that, although this movie is not unique in this respect, we really appreciated how comfortable it is with the sexuality of middle-aged people. Two of the main characters are in their mid- or late-forties, and yet nothing special is made of that fact. Nor are differences in age fetishized when they become relevant.

As for the camera work, it is amazing, as good as we have ever seen. It is not better than that of Erika Lust or Ovidie, or that of Jacky St James at her best, but it is different. For the most part, the scenes tend to be shot from a fairly stationary camera that feels as if it is across the room from where love is being made. That relatively stable shot is augmented by closer shots of faces and bodies and, from time to time, genitals. The overall feel is that of an intimate observer, and it is amazing how involved it is possible to feel when the director does not try to insert you into the scene.

Was it worth spending three hours with this movie, then? Absolultely. It is one of the best pornos we have ever had the pleasure of watching. And in some ways, it is the best. The way sex is handled here is undoubtedly as good as we have ever seen, and the camera work is a revelation.

Scene 1: Brenda James and Marcus London (♀♂)


Time: 24:00

Female Orgasm: Multiple, Cumshot: Stomach

Features: Cunnilingus Orgasm

Pleasure ♀, Passion ♀, Balance

Elaine (Brenda James) wakes her husband Ryan (Marcus London) with a blow job.

We often complain about long scenes, and this is a fairly long scene, but we have no complaints here. The sex is completely natural. It has an almost dance-like flow to it, as they move from position to position, completely atuned to each other.

They do an excellent job portraying a couple who love each other, and who are very comfortable together sexually. She talks to him quite a lot, just expressing her enjoyment and love for him. He talks a bit less to her at first, but he gets more into it later, and his words are equally well chosen.

All in all, it's just very, very hot, and we were dripping wet half way through it. As jaded as we are, that's saying something.

The photography in this scene is fantastic. It is mostly shot from a wider angle, as if we were watching them from across the room. But there are well-placed close-ups, too, both of their faces and, occasionally, of their genitals.

Scene 2: Alison Rey, Brenda James, and Ryan McLane (♀♀♂)


Time: 25:30

Female Orgasm: Multiple, Cumshot: Handjob

Features: 69, Cunnilingus Orgasm, Handjob

Pleasure ✓, Passion ✓, Balance

Wow. Wow! This is without question the best FFM threesome we have ever seen, and it is also one of the hottest scenes we have ever watched, period.

Elaine (Brenda James) has sex with her lover Michael (Ryan McLane), a pilot with whom she is having an affair. She says she has a surprise for him waiting in the guest room, which turns out to be Tessa (Alison Rey), who is a crewmate of Michael's.

It is so amazing how this scene begins: slowly, with them all getting comfortable with each other. The way they talk to each other is totally convincing, too. They are friends having sex, and it all just seems so natural, playful, and fun. It's nine minutes before they start fucking, but once they do, everything heats up very fast. It is obvious that they are all really enjoying each other—and that makes it eminently believable that the characters are having just as much fun.

The camera work is once again outstanding. There seems to be one main camera that stays in about the same position throughout. There are closer shots, too, but they are clearly meant to augment the overall feel we get from the main shot. In a way, the sex is just allowed to speak for itself. There's no attempt to make it seem hotter by showing a lot of closeups and the like. And there's no need, either.

Scene 3: August Ames and Brenda James (♀♀)


Time: 25:00

Female Orgasm: Multiple

Features: 69, Cunnilingus Orgasm

Pleasure ♀, Passion ♀, Balance

Jess (August Ames) and Elaine (Brenda James) have sex after having a particularly intense conversation during which Elaine reveals that it was she who saved Jess's life.

The beginning of this scene is just amazing, once again. There is little but kissing for the first five minutes, and not even a bra comes off for seven minutes. And yet it is all smoking hot. There is an incredible sense of caged passion, heating up as Jess accustoms herself to what is happening. It is hard to express how well Ames, especially, acts her part. Both of them are totally convincing, but we have to think Ames has the more difficult role. Even her body language conveys her uncertainty and nervousness.

The sex that follows is natural, convincing, and hot. They each have several orgasms, and not because that's the point. It just happens.

And could the camera work be better? Maybe, but we don't know how. It has all the virtues of the earlier scenes, but has an intimacy that is truly astonishing.

Scene 4: August Ames and Xander Corvus (♀♂)


Time: 27:00

Female Orgasm: Multiple, Cumshot: Stomach

Features: Analingus, Cunnilingus Orgasm, Multiple Male Orgasms

Pleasure ♀, Passion ♀, Balance

Jess and Steven have a talk in bed together, and she tells him that Elaine is who saved her. He understands what that must mean and holds her tight, which leads to their kissing...and then more. It's the first time they've had sex since the crash.

There is a bittersweetness to this scene that is completely appropriate to the story. They seem almost in tears at the beginning, filled with a sort of joyful release, and we think she may actually start to cry. She definitely cries later. There is also a deep sense of their love for one another, conveyed partly through their words, but also through the way they interact. He told her earlier they would get through it all together, and now it seems that might be true. Besides all that, the sex is very hot, and so intense they pull the sheets off the bed. Unusually, he cums twice. She cums several times with such intensity the last time that she starts crying...with joy, or excitement, or something.

We did think, though, that maybe this scene was a bit longer than it needed to be. We'd actually have been happy enough had it ended when he came the first time. The point had been made, so to speak, and it maybe even seemed as if a quickie would have been right for the story.

The camera work is once again fantastic. When the camera pulled back and re-centered when they started fucking doggy style, we found ourselves asking, "How hard is that?" The answer, of course, is that it isn't hard. You just have to care enough to do it. And Brandt clearly does.

Scene 5: August Ames, Xander Corvus, and Marcus London (♀♂♂)


Time: 22:00

Female Orgasm: Multiple, Cumshot: Tits, Stomach

Features: Analingus

Pleasure ♀, Passion ♀, Balance

Elaine has a fantasy about her husband, Ryan (Marcus London), having sex with Jess (August Ames) and her boyfriend Steven (Xander Corvus).

The sex here is fairly steamy, but it doesn't feel as natural as in the other scenes. Everything seems like it happens at double speed, especially towards the end. It feels a bit pornish, largely because of how Ryan has sex with Jess. We'll admit, though, that FMM threesomes are a tough sell with us. It almost always ends up seeming as if the woman is being called upon to service two men, as opposed to being pleasured by two men.

It's striking, too, what a difference the lack of emotional content makes for us. It would have helped, we think, if there had been cuts during the scene to Elaine masturbating, perhaps with her talking out loud about her own feelings about her fantasy.

But the camera work is once again excellent.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the review! I'm thrilled you loved it this much! Looking forward to you seeing my upcoming film from Adam&Eve "Babysitting the Baumgartners." Oh--and just so you know, I've directed 40+ movies since 2008. Because Girlfriends Films wasn't in the business of giving credits at the end of their films, much of what I directed for them went unrecognized. I've also written 15 movies for Digital Background (2010-2011) that Robby D directed -- all BG films. But, yes, this was my first BG film that I actually got to direct. It was an amazing experience, for sure!


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