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Basic Sexual Instinct

The Decay of The Great
Let's get this out of the way -- this is, flat-out, a pornographic rip-off of BASIC INSTINCT 2, with Jane Darling in the role that Sharon Stone made notorious. Now, porn filmmakers have been ripping off mainstream film for probably as long as they've been doing anything, so there's nothing new about that. But Antonio Adamo, who used to be a fairly imaginative director and storyteller, doesn't seem willing or able to do anything but do rip-offs these days. His latest project, not yet added to the IMDb, is an equally blatant rip-off of HBO's ROME.

Making matters even worse is that this is filmed with the actors speaking "English", but with other soundtracks and foreign language subtitles available. Basically, the studio seems to be operating under the assumption that nobody in English-speaking countries gives a damn about understanding the plot of the movie, and that all they care about is the sex scenes. Who knows, maybe they're right about most viewers. But I'm not most viewers.

The sex scenes are pretty appealing, and Jane Darling certainly looks better than Sharon Stone. She also has some fairly good acting chops, although she hams it up, too. I just wish that I had some idea of what she was saying when she tries to talk in English ...

Private Black Label 24: D.N.A.

The Corsican Sisters Who Are Actually Greek.
As with a lot of Private's features, I found the ideas behind this video to be a lot better than the execution. But the execution is not that bad, as it stars Michelle Wild, easily one of the most appealing and gorgeous of Private's many sex stars, and uses her in a dual role, employing a hoary camera trick to feature her two characters interacting with one another. (No, not like that. Unfortunately.)

Also unfortunately, while Michelle gives her all in the sex scenes, she's not really a very good actress. (Nor, in an early scene, is she a very good stripper, which is odd since her biography claims that as her career before starting to make adult videos.) In particular, I really think that one of her characters should have shown a bit of shock and awe at how easily the other one -- an assassin named Aphrodite -- dishes out death.

And for that matter, the whole plot of this video doesn't really work. The situation is set in motion by "Aphrodite's" employer to bring her sister to him, but rather than intercepting her, he stands around congratulating himself and allows her to link up with Aphrodite, setting in motion the film's climax. And why did he want her in the first place? She's not an assassin, after all.

Still, for pure erotic entertainment, it's hard to beat a video that features Michelle Wild in nearly every scene. I just wish that it made more sense, particularly the very ambiguous ending ...


Possibly the best adult movie of 2007 ...
... and possibly one of the best *ever* made.

This video is a gigantic poke in the eye to anyone who believes that extremely sexually explicit action and an interesting, compelling plot can't ever exist in the same production. Some of the scenes were almost too explicit for my liking, but they never made me want to stop watching. And while the basic storyline is one that's been done to death by cyberpunk writers and gamers, it remains intriguingly presented here. As the accompanying BTS footage makes clear, the production team worked their fingers to the bone to make this near future video look and feel plausible.

There's only a couple of problems. While Eva Angelina's acting is top-notch, her delivery of her lines isn't quite as clear as it needs to be. (Contrast, for example, the clarity of Hillary Scott's character.) And it's really not clear how and Derrick Pierce's character reaches the conclusion that he reaches in the film's penultimate scene. And the decision to film one of the sequences in black and white is really unfortunate, as it fails to present Kylie Ireland's lovely red hair in all its glory.

Perhaps the most fascinating and novel element of the storyline, in my opinion, is the fact that none of the three leading characters have sex with each other. That's an ironic statement. In a mainstream film, if characters had chemistry with each other, as these ones do, and there wasn't some hint of that chemistry achieving fruition, that would be a case of putting a gun on the mantle in the first act without having it fired by the end of the play. But in a pornographic film, it's *expected* that everyone will do everyone else, and so keeping the characters from doing so, in a way that preserves them, is an intriguing choice.


The Original, But Not the Best
I saw the other films in this series quite some time before I saw the original, and so that might be coloring my judgment, but I just don't agree with the idea that this was the best film in the series. I have a couple of problems.

The biggest, and the reason that it took me so long to watch this one, is that I just don't find Kay Parker to be so very attractive. Now, she's very good looking, but she's not the goddess that some of the comments would claim. That said, having actually seen it, I can maybe see where they're coming from. She was more attractive in this one than any of the others, but a lot of that has to do with the way that she's photographed. The shot of Barbara as she first tries to leave her son's room, then, seeming almost to be dragged back half against her will, was better shot than any scene in the later films.

Another problem was the character of Gina, played by Juliet Anderson. Given how repressed Barbara is, I find it very hard to believe that she'd be such close friends with someone who's so out there, sexually speaking. And Gina is, frankly, not a good friend. Not only does she send Barbara out on a date on some false pretenses, she gets turned on by the thought of her friend being raped! Admittedly, this leads into the moderately amusing scene at the end where Gina gets off almost from the thought of Barbara and Paul doing it, but really.

Really, aside from Barbara, none of the characters in this film are more than ciphers. In the later films, we'd have masks being pulled away to reveal some sometimes unpleasant realities, and the reasons why things like this happen would be explored. In this one, it's obvious from the very start that Paul is sexually attracted to his mother, but it's never explained -- beyond the obvious, "She's hot" -- why he wants what he wants.

Essentially, this film is historically important in the development of the adult genre, and it's far more beautifully photographed than the later ones in the series would be. But it's not as interesting or appealing as they are, at least not to me.


Probably the most ambitious movie Private has ever made
And considering that in previous productions they've gone so far as to film "pop shots" in free fall, that's saying something. With a remarkable nine sex scenes filmed on three continents, the first part of Allesandro del Mar's two part epic weaves a mostly fascinating tale of a quest for lost Nazi treasure.

The sex scenes are predictably hot, and they're also mostly well set-up and proceed logically from the storyline. There's only one that could have used more setting up -- a scene filmed in Spain where Claudia Ferrari's character is expected to "be nice" to the brother of a drug dealer so as to arrange a meeting with the brother. The film skips right from her being informed of this to the sex scene without any explanation as to who the other girl in the scene (played by Sarah Blue) is supposed to be. While this is normal for many videos, it's a step down from other scenes in this video. Contrast the way that Lenny Power's earlier scene is set up, with an extensive flirtation between Horst Baron and Claudia Ferrari that is interrupted.

That scene also provides a nice bit of a meta-commentary as well. George Uhl's character (the ex-husband of Claudia's character, and her partner in the quest) gets trapped in a room while the encounter between Lenny Power, Horst Baron and Kevin Lange is taking place. Far from being aroused by what he's overhearing, Uhl's character is just annoyed that the sex seems to be taking so long and leaving him trapped. Is it possible that this is director del Mar's way of gently mocking the audience for watching this stuff, essentially paying to be in the uncomfortable situation described?

Regardless of such artistic considerations, this was an above average storyline that left me eager to find out what was going to happen to the couple in their quest for gold and glory and lots and lots of sex. Unfortunately, the second part failed to live up to the standard of the first, but maybe nothing could have ...

Where the Boys Aren't 18

Erotic, but disappointing
This is the first entry in this series in nearly four years (though it was filmed two years ago, according to the Date of Production statement) and it is sort of a disappointment. Earlier installments have usually had some plot, albeit usually a pretty threadbare plot, linking the various sexual couplings of the Vivid girls. But this one jettisons all that, turning the video into a series of couplings leading to a large orgy in which the entire cast participates.

Actually, it would be more accurate to say that it leads into a large orgy in which almost all the cast participates, with another scene with the rest of the cast happening off to the side. Interestingly, that additional scene features twin sisters Lyndsey and Lacey Love. The behind the scenes information doesn't go into too much detail about what's going on here (focusing more on how a number of underwater scenes were shot and on Chi Chi LaRue's overuse of the word "gorgeous") but from the expressions on the Love sisters' faces during their scenes, I almost suspect that they really aren't into lesbianism. In sharp contrast is the attitude shown by most of the other women, particularly Lanny Barbie. (Who contrasts with the reluctant Love sisters in another way, he slyly insinuated.) While the nominal star of the feature is Tera Patrick, she doesn't really shine more brightly than the rest of the cast.

Another strike against the video is that it's ostensibly set on the French Riviera, but since the action never leaves the site of the villa (or wherever) where all this stuff is happening, it might as well have been set in California. Still, many of the scenes are quite appealing, if not really very imaginative. For completists only.

No Man's Land 18

A Meditation on Connections
Seven years before Paul Haggis' "Crash", Wes Emerson directed this intriguing anthology of short scenes of lesbian erotica that seem utterly disparate, yet are ultimately revealed to be intimately (pun intended) connected with each other. The video closes with a quote from Jung -- "In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order." Pretty deep stuff for a stroke film.

Perhaps the best performance in the video is that of Stephanie Swift, who portrays a wheel-chair bound woman, paralyzed from the waist down, who has sex with her physical therapist. I'm not completely certain, but I believe that in both of her scenes, she managed to not move her lower body at all -- indicating, to me at least, a more serious devotion to her craft as an actress than a cynical observer might expect of a porn star.

There's also a nice moment in the scene between Jade Diamond and Bridgette Monroe, who play, respectively, a country/rock star and a groupie. Monroe is absolutely, vocally amazed that she's having sex with her idol, while Diamond at one point rolls her eyes in thinly veiled contempt for her fan.

Secret Party

Is This A Sequel?
While watching this adult film, I was struck with a strange sense of familiarity. In its opening scenes, the protagonist (played by John Decker) walks into the surf, ostensibly to commit suicide, only to be rescued by a female lifeguard (played by Julia Ann) whom he immediately asks to marry him. Throughout the film, Decker sees a phantom-like image of a woman, apparently his dream woman, whom he's terrified he'll never meet if he remains in his relationship with his wife, which has become somewhat boring to him.

It's this last element that seems strangely familiar. When I was far, far too young to be watching adult films, I would frequently tune in to the previews of adult movies offered by satellite channel American Exxxtasy. And I half-remember one preview for a video that showed a man interacting with a phantom woman, in much the same way. I wonder if it's possible that this film, directed by Paul Thomas, might have been a sequel to this other one, the title of which I can't even recall. Ah well.

"Secret Party", regardless of its connections, is a rather dramatic and erotic film. While the gorgeous Julia Ann is probably the most beautiful of the performers, the others don't exactly stint either, particularly in the orgy scene. (It's not as large and wild-ranging as the orgies from much earlier films, but on the whole I think that's probably a good thing.) There are even some rather surprising plot twists.

The House on Chasey Lane

Hitchcockian Porn, or An Attempt Therat
Perhaps the most telling thing about Vivid's ambitions for this release is the fact that not only did they make an edited version -- theoretically acceptable for late-night cable programming -- but it's that version that has been released on DVD, which is where I watched it. While I found the omission of hardcore footage annoying, that's not the most unpleasant aspect of the film.

The real problem with the film is that it's an "idiot plot" -- one that requires that people who are involved in it are idiots. In the ante-climax of the film, a character falls to her death. It's obvious to the viewer that's what's happened, yet the plot demands that observers inside the video somehow not realize that she's dead -- they even ask, in a later scene, whether she's all right, and are fed lies. Wouldn't someone have checked her pulse?

Nor is it ever made clear why, exactly, Lauren Walters (played by the incredibly beautiful Chasey Lane) is so disturbed by the sight of people having sex. Admittedly, the fact that no one else seems to notice them doing it, and all the other disturbing things that she sees and hears, certainly contribute to her poor mental state, but it's not really clear why sex, in particular, was chosen as a method of aggravating her condition. (Of course, if there wasn't as much sex as there was, it wouldn't be much of an adult film. But since this particular adult film is trying for more, it should be criticized for failing.)

I do like the film's ultimate plot twist, even though it does come out of nowhere and moves the plot from a Hitchcokian scheme to a full-on supernatural one. So I give it a mediocre rating, but note that Chasey Lain (the usual spelling) is luminous in this as she always was at the start of her career.

Spies & Lovers

An interesting but silly attempt
As the plot outline states -- parenthesis-enclosed statements are mine -- "A weatherman (played by James Bonn) suspects his girlfriend (Randi Rage) is cheating. A lesbian (Alyssa Love) suspects her lover (Janine Lindemulder) is cheating. And in their ensuing adventures, guess who they find: Each other." Except that it's not quite that simple.

For starters, while we see Alyssa Love's character Ruth exchange a few kisses with Janine (playing a character of the same name) we don't actually ever see her have sex with another woman. Both her scenes are with guys -- first a tattoo artist, when she thinks Janine is making eye contact with the girl that said artist is working on, and then James Bonn's character. So a lesbian? Not so much.

Shot very much on the cheap -- while Janine and Randi Rage's character supposedly have three separate encounters over the course of the film's events, the latter two just use the same footage as the first, sometimes at different angles -- this film had the potential to be a genuine "adult romance", but it's squandered. It's possible that the full cut of the film (of which I've only seen the shorter, 71 minute DVD release) manages to have more storyline, explain why we should care that these people are in this situation, but I'm not optimistic.

Janine Loves Jenna

... what the hell? (Quite literally ...)
According to the IMDb, "Lucky You", starring Drew Barrymore, was filmed in mid 2005, and only released last month. Apparently, the studios didn't have a lot of faith in it, and so they sat on it for nearly two years. "Janine Loves Jenna", according to the statement of production date required by law, was filmed in August of 2004. So it's been sitting on the shelf for close to two and a half years. I think we should all know what conclusions to draw from that, don't you?

The story gets off to a really lousy start with an incredibly poorly animated prelude -- which looks like it was drawn by someone who thinks Rob Liefeld is a god among artists -- which then segues into a nearly interminable music-video-esquire prologue that sets up the rest of the story. In the former, we see Jenna and Janine -- or at least we should assume that they're Jenna and Janine though the figures look nothing like them -- get into a horrible car accident that leaves Janine dead. In the latter, Jenna apparently comes home to her boyfriend (played by then-husband Justin Sterling, who also directed and played the Devil) who has no sympathy. Despondent over this, Jenna draws herself a bath and slits her wrists, and -- good Catholic that she is -- goes straight to hell. Which is also where Janine is, conveniently. And the next two hours is devoted to their efforts to get out of hell, efforts that will (and here's the spoiler) ultimately come to naught! They don't get out of hell! So what was the point?

What kills me about this overblown video is how sincere everyone comes across about how they're making great art, doing something that the adult industry has never done before. Say what? I've seen this exact sort of thing in -- well, not dozens, but a quite a few -- European fetish videos. (I'm specifically thinking of 2002's "Faust".) It was annoying in them, and it's annoying here too. And the set-up is stolen from "The Devil and Miss Jones" mixed with the Britney Spears video where she drowns in the bathtub after getting hit in the head! (Heck, the music that plays over that scene even sounds a bit like that song.)

Admittedly, the ultimate scene between Jenna and Janine is probably the best lesbian scene that the latter has done in quite a while, significantly better than her scene in "The Villa". But every other scene that she or Jenna in is poorly lit, saddled with an annoying musical soundtrack, and/or laden with distracting elements like the red-garbed "monks" who circle around them in their first scene waving censers.

The unfortunate truth about trying to make great art is that the harder you try, the worse that it seems when you fail. I'm probably being a bit too hard on this video than I should be, as I've been waiting quite a while to get my hot little hands on it, and it hasn't lived up to my own heightened expectations. But I think that even if I hadn't heard anything about it before now, I'd be nearly as disappointed in it as I am.


Porn-Noir? Pornoir? Who Knows?
This video, starring Mike Horner as a private detective named Bill Harlow -- an obvious reference to Raymond Chandler's classic gumshoe -- was a clear, self-conscious attempt to create a pornographic film noir. While it doesn't succeed in a visual sense, its plot does manage to capture the despair and pointless cruelty that noir films depicted.

We open with Harlow explaining, in narration over the credits, that he's had a real shortage of clients lately, which might explain why he's taken on a case from a dead man. Specifically, from Jonathan Woods (Woody Long) who stumbles into his office, dying of an untraceable poison. (Hence the title.) He suspects that he's been done-in by his recent wife, Veronica, played by Celeste -- a major star of adult videos in the early and mid-90s, famous for her vague resemblance to supermodel Cindy Crawford. (Frankly, I always thought that claim was overdone, though -- as with Teagan Presley's later alleged resemblance to Britney Spears -- makeup and costuming certainly accentuated the similarities on occasion.)

So Harlow descends onto those mean streets, etc. In the end, he'll find out the truth of the poisoning -- which is exactly what you expect -- and get away with his life. Yet the ultimate scene, as I've said, manages to capture the bleak hopelessness of a true noir, and that's why this video is better than it had any right to be.

Introducing Alexis

The first of ... well, not many.
Alexis Christian, the titular Alexis being introduced, was apparently a Penthouse Pet in the early 90s. Later that decade, she made four adult videos for Vivid Video. This was, as one might expect, the first. In it, she more or less plays herself -- a very attractive young woman who's decided to enter the adult entertainment industry on her own terms, those terms including the stipulation that she'll only "work" (have sex) with other women.

There's a certain irony in the screenplay, which has Mark Davis playing the role of the head of "one of the biggest adult video companies in the market". Can there really be any doubt that this fictitious company is supposed to be a stand-in for Vivid? Yet Davis' character is very definitely the antagonist of the film's plot, belittling Alexis' desires to pursue her career in her own manner, trying to manipulate her, even sabotaging one of her scenes.

Still, despite Alexis' unquestionably good looks and enthusiasm, it's not surprising that she didn't last longer than she did at Vivid. The company already had one "girls-only" player under contract to them, in the person of Janine Lindemulder, and in the opinion of many (not me!) that was one too many ...

The First of April

Not Quite the Brat
In my comments on "Jamie Loves Jeff", I noted that video as seeming to be part of the "Brat" series of comedic adult videos from Vivid. Interestingly, this is another film that seems to be in that series, but I should first note that I made a slight error in my original comment. Apparently Jerry Butler portrayed the Brat's husband Mort in the very first installment of the series, and he returns to the role in this one.

Mort has apparently gotten a divorce from "Jamie" (implicitly Jamie Summers, the original Brat) and is now happily married to Jenny (played by April West.) He's *very* happy, and even comments that this whole situation is too good to be true. Jenny is cheerful, frugal, hard-working, dynamite in bed, and -- as she tells him straight out -- secure in her self and in their love that she doesn't mind if he fools around a little with other girls. Mort claims that he doesn't want any such thing, of course, but -- well, this is porn. Of course he's going to, specifically he gets a birthday surprise in the elevator to work from Lynn Le May.

Unusually, Mort is portrayed as being ashamed of this, even though Jenny is too blasé to be believed. So, perhaps to balance equations, he arranges for her to get half-an-hour with a handyman/exotic dancer (played by Philip Campanero, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Brad Garrett.) Jenny is perfectly willing to get down with that ... which sets the whole film towards its conclusion, with her essentially taking on all of the Brat's unpleasant personality traits.

Unfortunately, there weren't any sequels to this new take on the Brat films, which is unfortunate, because April West was both an enthusiastic performer and a talented, if broad, comedienne. ("How would you like a ... massage?" asks her beautician, portrayed by Stephanie Rage, looking at the camera as she delivers the last word. "I'd love a ... massage," April replies, doing the same with a broad grin. Sapphic revelry is just around the corner.) She only made a handful of videos in her two years in the business, and was rather good in all of them.

Private Movies 5: Pleasure Island

We get it, you're depressed, stop telling us about it already ...
As with many of Antonio Adamo's Private oeuvre, this video suffers from a major problem in its translation to English. It was dubbed into the language, and whoever wrote the dub script clearly didn't know the English language as well as one would hope. While some of the dialogue is pretty clear -- ("What are you doing?" asks Mick Blue's character of "Nirvana", played by Julia Taylor as she begins to passionately embrace another man". "What I want to do with you," she replies.) -- much of the rest is just plain incomprehensible.

But hey, it's a sexvid, who cares about the dialogue, right? Wrong. This film has a surprisingly deep amount of dialogue, much related to its plot. Mick Blue plays a sex therapist -- who apparently used to get quite hands on with his clients -- who came home to find his wife (Sandra Russo) having rampant affairs with everybody, even the gardener. He gets depressed by this, so depressed that he doesn't have even the slightest interest in sex anymore.

Okay, that's an exaggeration. But he keeps telling this story to everyone, repeating all the graphic details, and my God, it's boring. And furthermore, he's interested enough in sex (and more importantly showing other people how to have good sex) to demonstrate to a fellow performing oral sex on Rita Faltoyano how to do it so she'll really enjoy it. But then he meets Julia Taylor -- or Nirvana, as her character is apparently dubbed -- who leads him back to arousal. What, exactly, we're supposed to make of her identification with the Buddhist ideal of detachment from all worldly concerns is a subject for a more erudite observer than I.

Four scorching scenes with Julia Taylor, plus a scene with sex-star Rita Faltoyano before she had surgery to make her more conventionally attractive, make this one a keeper, as far as I'm concerned.

Mafia Princess

Julia Taylor sizzles but the movie fizzles. I've always wanted to write something like that.
Okay, let's clear up one thing. This adult video has nothing to do with the Mafia. Its plot focuses on the activities of Italian people associated with a secret "brotherhood", but it's obviously not the Mafia as it includes men and women -- and the Mafia is notoriously a "no girls allowed" club.

What it is, really, is a modern-day version of the legend of Cesar and Lucrecia Borgia. ("Legend" may be too strong a word, but "malicious gossip" is too weak.) Respectively played by David Perry and the gorgeous Julia Taylor, they're out to gain power and influence in the secret society, and employ intimidation, murder and -- surprise! -- lots and lots of sex to that end.

Ironically, given the facts that the legend portrays their originals as incestuous, this updating is actually tamer. Perry and Taylor don't have sex with each other, though Taylor does watch him couple with Bettina (an attractive, dark complected woman from Holland, apparently) during the latter's initiation into the society. She also refuses to have sex with her half-brother, persuading him to do another woman (while she watches). Don't worry -- she more than makes up for it in a pair of scenes with two other guys.

The worst problem with this exquisitely shot film, as with many of the Private films of its era, is that it was shot in Italian (I think) and then dubbed into various other languages, including English. And either the person who wrote the dub script was more concerned with getting a literal translation of the original than with something that actually made sense in English, or English was at best a second language to him or her. While much of the dialogue is understandable, large parts of it are completely incomprehensible.

While it's a good flick, with lots of very hot carnal scenes, I can't really recommend it.

Jamie Loves Jeff

"The Brat's Reunion"
In the late 80s and early 90s, Vivid Video made a series of comedic adult videos (well, they were aiming for comedic; tastes do vary) which could be called the Brat series. There wasn't any real continuity between the films, and indeed the titular character ("the Brat") was played by three different women -- first Jamie Summers, then Nikki Randall, then Julianne James. What linked the films together was the theme song (a rather catchy "do-wop"-styled theme) and the presence of Tom Byron as the Brat's ever-suffering (but not overly-suffering, if you know what I mean) husband, Mort.

Alert readers of the cast list of this film will have already noted that Tom Byron plays a character named Mort, and that it stars Jamie Summers. In other words, this film, while not including the word "Brat" in the title or (if I recall correctly) incorporating the theme song, is really another installment in the series. It could be called "The Brat's Reunion" or "Back to School Brat" or something like that, because it focuses on the Brat and Mort's escapades at her high school reunion. (Hence, even though she's called Jamie in the film as well, I'll refer to her as the Brat is this comment.) The reason that it isn't called that, I suspect, is because of the presence of Summers' titular co-star. Jeff Stryker is a famous name in the gay porn community (or so I'm given to understand; I have about the same interest in gay porn as I do in having an unclean yak sit on my dinner.) This video, and its sequel, represent a foray into straight sex for him, one of his few, apparently.

Frankly, it's not really worth it. He looks stiff (sorry) and almost bored during his scenes with the character's wife and later (inevitably) with the Brat. He's also not a terribly gifted actor; while nobody's going to be giving Tom Byron any awards for his thespianism anytime soon, he still seems more natural in his role as the Brat's husband. While in preparation for getting it on with Jeff's wife and one of her old school-friends (see what I mean about him not being overly-suffering?) who both seem more interested in each other than him, he remarks to the camera, "This is why I hate reunions." There's a moderately sweet moment in the middle of the film, where the Brat and Jeff go and revisit their shared, high-school sweetheart past. We silently watch as they play, managing to seem completely innocent, even though we know that in just a few minutes they're going to be going at each other like weasels in heat. Still, this is at best a mediocre attempt.

The Hacienda

Plot less But Not Characterless
This film has no plot, and relatively little dialogue. It is almost exclusively a collection of sex scenes. The individuals represented by the actors are never named. And yet there is character development.

If the film could be said to have a story, it's that of the woman being portrayed by Simone Diamond (aka Simony Diamond, aka several other aliases) who comes to a villa located somewhere in what I suspect is supposed to be the southwestern United States. She soon discovers that the other residents of the hacienda are oversexed. In one early scene, Eva Angelina begins rubbing and caressing her back; that's as far as it goes, and Simone later walks out after Eva begins to have sex with a guy, looking a bit disgusted.

That's the sole bit of character development in this film -- and yes, it was shot on film, though released direct to the adult video market. We see Simone gradually be drawn into the erotic goings-on in the hacienda. Her ultimate scene involves three men and Dora Venter, who'd earlier taken on five guys in a mini-gang bang. And then Simone walks away from the hacienda, and the film ends.

Okay. Whatever.


Well, Yes, But ...
This was, of course, Ginger Lynn's big comeback to adult videos after more than a decade of legitimate movie-making. And it contains some very erotic scenes, and some rather good humor. (Ginger's character, Clarisse Bijou, is clearly supposed to be a parody of Susan Lucci in the way that she's supposedly a big soap star who has never won a Daytime Emmy.) The fact that she's co-starring with the sexual bundle of energy known as Chloe helps quite a bit. And Ginger has lost very little of her hotness, as she demonstrates in her first scene, where she does three guys at once.

So what's the problem? The problem is the plot. It has no conflict. In the film, Chloe, Ginger and Devin Wolf were apparently involved in a love triangle (each of them loved Ginger and she apparently couldn't or wouldn't choose) and so as they attend a reunion, the old flames start to burn once more. So what happens? Does Ginger make a choice between these two lovers after she's had carnal congress with each of them?

No. She marries them both.

What the hell? What kind of pie in the sky resolution to the storyline is that? If there's no problem with her being with both of them, then why didn't she just do that in the first place? What sort of anything-goes sexual utopia are these people living in?

Private Gold 43: No Sun No Fun

Some Rather Good Scenes, and One Great One
I think (though I'm not sure) that this was Private's first feature to be exclusively set in the Caribbean -- though there were apparently enough "tropical" scenes from their various volumes of stories to put together a compilation of the best of them a year later. In any event, this video -- very short on plot -- follows a group of European girls who've gone to the Carribbean to have fun (read sex) in the sun.

The first scene is the best, and Private apparently knew this as they included it in their "Millenium" collection of their best scenes of 2000. "Nicolette" (who apparently usually goes by Nikki Montana) gives a stunning performance with two men, but the beauty of this scene is its synchronization with the pounding waves of surf that splash as the three of them get jiggy with it. It's stunningly beautiful.

The next to last scene is also of note, as it was one of the first scenes done by current star Rita Faltoyano, well before she had a bit of cosmetic surgery to both make certain things larger and get rid of some warts on her torso. That said, it's easy to see why she's become so popular, as she's quite hot in a scene that was apparently filmed in the danger zone of a volcano.

There aren't many scenes in this film that disappoint, really, though I wonder why Woodman felt obligated to stick in an alpine scene. And one of the scenes in the middle bothers me a bit, featuring a Brazillian girl who goes by the name Paty. This was her only film, and she seems really young ... on the other hand, she is also the only member of the female cast to insist on condoms in her scene, so she also seems really smart. And I wish that there'd been more interactions between the girls, if you know what I mean, but that isn't really what Private's about, I suppose.

The Taste of a Woman

I Had Such High Hopes
I can't really claim to be a fan of adult film actress Nici Sterling. I've only seen a handful of her films, but I certainly enjoyed all of her performances, and her attitude in an interview I read once certainly appealed to me. So I was really looking forward to this video, one of her last. I wanted to see how she made her exit. I wanted to see that genuine acting talent combined with sensuality one last time.

I was screwed. Despite the fact that her name is prominently advertised (albeit misspelled) on the box cover, she features in only one scene, and has no lines. I hadn't been so disappointed since I watched her in "Starbangers 8", where the soundtrack covers up whatever sounds she might make as eighteen men take her in almost every possible way.

The film is, instead, a vehicle for up-and-coming starlet Jenna Haze, who, while enthusiastic and attractive, doesn't hold a candle to Ms. Sterling in her prime. Oh well. She plays a young woman who is spellbound by the erotic poetry of some guy called (if memory serves) De Salle (Evan Stone), who celebrates the beauty of the female orgasm. She is inspired to write her own poetry, and eventually ends up becoming De Salle's squeeze. Ms. Sterling's scene is with Ian Daniels, who plays a puritanical oppressor of De Salle's work. Say, what's a puritanical oppressor doing in France? This is France, right? Oh well. I was screwed. What'cha gonna do?

Where the Boys Aren't 10

A Lesbian West Side Story ... Or Not
The premise is, frankly, ridiculous. Two all-female gangs -- one all-white and the other composed of an African-American, an Asian, and a pair of Hispanics -- are in a constant state of rivalry, yet despite that, two members of the opposing gangs are -- sing it with me now -- secret lovers. We are supposed to seriously accept the Vivid girls as gangsters, despite their obvious surgical enhancements, lack of tattoos (ironically, a liability that Ms. Lindemulder would soon correct) and generally washed appearances. It shouldn't work.

It works. Go fig. It might help that the video's first two sex scenes are the two gangs each having an orgy, but then the film kicks into high gear as Janine and Heather Hunter come together (sorry) in what might just possibly be the most beautifully photographed hardcore lesbian sex scene ever. Filmed in an artificial rainstorm, the chemistry between the two leads is almost palpable.

The next scene is slightly bizarre. Two members of one of the gangs (Jenteal and Lexus) are ambushed by two from the other gang (Kobe Tai and Leslie Glass, I believe) and then the scene abruptly jumps to them having sex. I suspect that there was some bridging material cut because it seemed too much like rape -- which is definitely not the case, everyone is a willing participant.

The conclusion of the film shows the two gangs preparing to make war, but ending up ... I don't think I really need to explain what they end up making (in an eight-girl orgy) instead? Anyway, this is a rather silly video, but it has a very erotic scene in the middle that should not be missed by connoisseurs of lesbian hardcore.

Taboo V

End of The Series, Really
For all intents and purposes, this was the final entry in the Taboo series of films, as directed by Kirdy Stevens. He would direct one more entry, which did feature Jamie Gilis in what I presume was the same role he played in Taboo IV & V, Dr. Jeremy Lodge, but I'm given to understand that the subject matter had begun to shift away from incest to other "taboos". (Which is ironic, given that the whole point of the series was that incest was the last taboo. In a way, the Golden Age of porn was occasionally very naive.)

Picking up a few years after the last one, Dr. Lodge is still trying to help people who suffer from incest issues, even though his relationship with one of his daughters (played by Ginger Lynn in Taboo IV) has apparently ended, as she's nowhere to be found. Instead, he's in a highly dysfunctional relationship with another young woman, played by Amber Lynn. (Just so we're clear on this -- Ginger Lynn and Amber Lynn were not related.) Meanwhile, his other daughter, Naomi (Karen Summers) has just had a bad breakup and comes back to live with him. Since Amber's character is militantly unfaithful and since this is a Taboo movie, I think we all know what's going to happen there. Meanwhile, Naomi also has a fling with a pool cleaner (played by Buck Michaels, Amber Lynn's real life brother) and Dr. Lodge tries to help a woman with a split personality.

Which brings us to Colleen Brennan's character, or rather characters, since she plays both a frigid widower and a raging bisexual nymphomaniac (or rather a typical female porn character, which amounts to the same thing) who are two sides of the same troubled woman. She also provides the other tie to the earlier films in the series when she has a fling with Kevin James' character Junior McBride, who has apparently dumped his mother and is running around with some platinum blonde. Brennan's character also has a son who is embarrassed by her slutty side's behavior, but who eventually decides that the only way to deal with it is to give her what she wants. No points for guessing what that is.

What's interesting here is that there is, if I recall correctly, an acknowledgment in this film that Brennan's character's psychological problems are the result of child molestation, paralleling what was beginning to be discovered in the real world. And yet both incestuous relationships in this film are still portrayed as healing, despite the damage that similar relationships have wreaked in the lives of those involved. (Naomi mentions in passing that she hasn't spoken with her mother or Uncle Billy -- her biological father, with whom she coupled in the previous film -- in years; Dr. Lodge seems helplessly stuck in a relationship with a much younger woman that parallels his relationship with his daughter; and so on.)

Aside from that, there's one really annoying element -- in one scene, Brennan's character is coming on to two of her son's friends, and in a later scene we learn that she did have sex with them. Yet we aren't shown that. Why not? The film later has Amber Lynn's character in a threesome with two black men, so it can't be a reluctance to show group sex. It's just puzzling, I guess.

Taboo IV: The Younger Generation

And Along Came Ginger
While this is definitely a sequel to the original Taboo and its two sequels, and was written and directed by the same husband and wife team, this film isn't another installment in the story of the relationships (in many senses of the word) of Barbara Scott (Kay Parker, who appears in this film only in archive footage.) That said, Honey Wilder and Kevin James are back as Joyce and Junior McBride, from the second installment. (Oddly, James skipped the third film, even though Wilder's character in that one was incestuously involved with a character supposed to be her son.) Joyce is apparently sort of regretful of her relationship with her son, and is in group therapy moderated by Dr. Jeremy Lodge (Jamie Gilis).

And this film becomes Dr. Lodge's story, or to be accurate, it's the story of him and his two daughters -- Naomi (Karen Summers) and Robin (Ginger Lynn, pretty close to the start of her volcanic career in adult entertainment.) Except that it comes out that Naomi isn't his daughter, but the child of an affair that the Doctor's wife has been having with his brother (John Leslie). The Doctor finds this out at the worst possible time, just after his daughters have been expelled from a private school after being caught in a compromising situation. (More on that in a second.) He kicks his wife out, along with "bad girl" Naomi, which leaves him in a strangely vulnerable situation with "good girl" Robin.

Because, and this is the film's strength that it never really exploits to the fullest, Dr. Lodge has a blind spot where Robin is concerned, and we are shown that she's not a "good girl". Where he believes that Robin was tricked or manipulated into a sexual encounter with her sister's boyfriend (and her sister, in the series' first instance of incestuous lesbianism) the audience is allowed to see that she was a willing participant (though she tries to keep that a secret even from Naomi and the guy, letting them think that they're taking advantage of her while she's asleep.) Later, she listens in on the therapy sessions, and seduces Junior McBride away from his mother (who isn't really making a serious effort to change her ways, apparently.) And of course, this ultimately leads to her luring her father into her own bed, as he's become desperately lonely without his wife. Meanwhile, Naomi is engaging in sexual experimentation of her own, including sleeping with Uncle Billy (who's really her father, remember) and other guys. Yet she's open and forthright about her desires, instead of tricking her partners, as Robin does.

What could have made this film excellent, and further exploited this dichotomy between perception and reality, is if it were ultimately revealed that Naomi was Dr. Lodge's biological daughter, and Robin was the brother's child. Instead, what we get is a mildly disturbing conclusion where Dr. Lodge and and Robin murmur a strange parody of wedding vows to each other at the end of their sexual encounter, promising forever ... and as I've pointed out in reviews of other films in this series, adult films can't be about monogamy. And the next film in the series would illustrate that further.

It's Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown

As Far As I'm Concerned, The Bottom of the Barrel
Okay. I'm not all that familiar with American educational traditions, but surely elementary school-kids don't have homecoming dances? From what I understand, it's more of a high school thing ... and the Peanuts gang are always supposed to be kids in elementary school. So right from the start, I'm jolted out of my enjoyment of this special by that.

Then we start adding other sources of incredulity. Charlie Brown has, for some reason, been picked to be the escort for the Homecoming Queen (the Little Red-Haired Girl.) Yahbuhwha? How did that happen? Was he wearing the sack again when the pick was made? And the peanuts gang are playing football -- against much bigger kids, I might add -- while wearing helmets over their usual clothes. Including Lucy in her blue dress.

Ah, yes, Lucy. Everyone knows that Lucy is going to pull the football out of the way when Charlie Brown goes to kick it. Everyone! She's famous for it! So who in their right mind would choose either of them as a place kicker and place kick holder? And then they blame Charlie Brown for screwing up? Doesn't anyone see Lucy holding the ball? Come on! Finally, we have the cheerleaders -- cheerleaders! -- doing a Snoopy cheer. While Snoopy is, in our world, a big time celebrity, in the milieu of Peanuts, he's just Charlie Brown's dog (and to a degree a neighborhood mascot.) While I can suspend disbelief enough to have him driving the kids in "Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown", and being treated as human by most of the kids, the idea that he'd be the subject of cheers from people who probably don't know who he is strain my suspension to its breaking point.

There's one good moment in this special, that being of course the raptures that Charlie Brown flies into after he gives the Little Red-Haired Girl a kiss on the cheek. It's sweet but not cloying, but not enough to save this show, sad to say.

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