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Cindy (1998) (V)
Very well-done shot-on-video porn romance, 4 March 2015

With Cinderella in mind, Luca Damiano concocted a very entertaining modern variation with CINDY, starring Selen in perhaps her most flattering screen role. It certainly won't draw anyone (except me) away from the new Disney live-action blockbuster but is a pleasant surprise in a sea of video dross.

First surprise is that U.S. DVD distributor of this type of material, Tip Top Entertainment, issued it with the original Italian soundtrack and English subtitles, rather than no subtitles or crudely English-dubbed as is the norm. This automatically retains the original mood and flavor of the piece.

Cindy is an orphan who inherits a lavish mansion (or castle, since the narrator styles this all as a 20th Century fairy tale). Video opens with a beautifully shot sex sequence of her making love by (and in) her pool with boyfriend Tony (Ramon Nomar, he of the palindrome names). He does a terrific job in the stud department, and as I watched the video I couldn't place him -then realized that he's fairly ubiquitous now in U.S. porn, having relocated here about 10 years after CINDY was shot in Hungary.

Some people are peeping at the couple from behind the bushes, muttering rude remarks, and we soon discover that it is Cindy's mean aunt Magda ()Eva Falk, who almost steals the movie - again a parallel XXX to Disney's world of villainesses) and her two daughters. They go to a magistrate and through Eva's sexual wiles convince him to twist the law and assign custodianship of the mansion to Magda, with Cindy as her ward. The beautiful daughters Karen Lancaume and Betty Anderson masturbate watching Eva service the judge -in a surprising scene because I assumed the old guy would be doing a non-sex role for exposition.

Cindy is so good-natured that she takes the turn of events happily, moving into a crummy room (and redecorating it joyfully) and glad for all the female companionship. But in any Saden tale like this, matters pile on our heroine, beginning with her humping Ramon in her room, when the cousins storm in and take him for themselves, ending Cindy's relationship and ending Ramon's participation in this video.

Odd wrinkle (not for Damiano who has handled many screwball subjects including his classic XXX live-action film of SNOW WHITE AND THE 7 DWARFS), the two sisters have active lesbian incest during their troilism scene with Tony -not emphasized for the plot but strong nonetheless.

Magda is now intent on marrying off her daughters (and herself) well, so two wealthy suitors visit the castle: Zenza Raggi and Davide Gladio. Then Magda lines up a baron, well-played by Reinhardt for herself.

A very interesting if outlandish plot twist is introduced at a get-together where Magda has the baron and herself take special eye-drops which I thought would produce an LSD sort of effect but instead merely t4emporarily blinded them, and as they fumble around Magda ends up in the arms of her horny Birtish butler Remigio Zampa while Adam wanders into sleeping Cindy's room and makes love to her.

This is when the Cinderella gimmick finally kicks in but without shoe action: once sight is restored the baron knows by scent and touch that it wasn't Magda he made love to and searches for the mystery girl. He finds out it's Cindy and the rest is history.

But not before the butler puts aphrodisiac drops in everybody's champagne to instigate an orgy. Happy ending has clerks (incoding a cameo by director Luca) from the law court arriving to impound all the furniture cast has just humped upon, due to Magda's failure to pay for most things she's been buying since arriving at the castle. Cindy gets to go off and start a new life with the baron.

If all videos were as well-done as this one I would cease my somewhat nostalgic campaign of railing against the new medium & wishing that 35mm film would make a comeback. But unfortunately CINDY is an anomaly, one of the few storyline porn videos I've seen of late that can make any pretense at being called quality.

What did you expect from the nation that made "Mondo Cane"?, 4 March 2015

Director Mario Bianchi, who directed several of my all-time favorite Sarah Young movies, tackles a hot topic in KKK, a very Italian take on mixed combo action. Trust the Italians to come up with their own angle on a tried and true interracial theme.

Film starts promisingly with stock footage of an actual Klan march in the U.S. with violence between the marchers and protesters. But the story is not about the Klan but rather mingling of the races, no longer a controversial issue but still anathema to white-supremacist loonies.

So KKK is closer to the trashy Richard Burton/O.J. camp classic of the '70s than to BIRTH OF A NATION. Franco Roccaforte (credited as Teo) plays Teo, a black man introduced making love to the lovely blonde Guilia, a rousing scene up to the highest standard of 1990s Italian XXX. After his money shot on her behind, hooded Klan members grab them and merely shoo Teo away rather than killing him.

Leader of the Klan mob goes home and removes his hood and white sheet, revealing a clerical collar beneath (this being an Italian movie I assume he's a Catholic priest, though that's merely conjecture), played stoically by Christoph Clark with hair dyed white to make him look a bit older than his studly self.

The beautiful Laura Angel (Bianchi has a fine femme cast on display) is mean to Clark, but humps him anyway and like the first scene we are treated to anal sex, an automatic in European porn of this (and subsequent) era(s).

Teo is conferring with a militant pal played by Zenza Raggi (whose swarthy looks permit him to stand in for many different ethnicities). Cute Maria seduces them for some mixed combo troilism on the dining room table, leading to an impressive series of d.p.'s. I identified her as Maria Bellucci.

Meanwhile back at the clergyman's home, Giulia visits for guidance, and lecherous Clark guides her to his cock, after taking the young girl across his knee and spanking her. Trying to get her to confess her sins, Clark keeps turning heavenward to proclaim "Perdone Me!" as he humps the girl, a campy enough scene to recommend this movie for Midnight showings, which I would book opposite Frank Perry's classically bad MONSIGNOR with Christopher Reeve.

Film profitably turns really melodramatic for the final reel as Teo rapes Angel in her bed, while a Klansman watches through the window. Of course, this being porn, she loves it, and after more anal action and a copious money shot, cut to Teo being locked away in a dungeon by the Klan, chained up in his cell. Picture just ends at this point, presumably saving its plot development for a sequel.

Perhaps not as outright goofy as its soft-core ancestors, this Italian delving into gutter cinema proves there's still some life in the Boot, though the glory days of that nation's mastery of sleaze are as Gone with the Wind as its once domination of American art houses. If the question is: where are today's Fellinis, Antonionis, VIscontis, D'Amatos, and even Monteros (Bianchi's dad) coming from? - it sure ain't Italy.

Jewels shines in May/December romance, 4 March 2015

With her well-developed and muscular thighs and biceps, the distinctive looking Jewels Jade highlights this otherwise conventional Sweet Sinner saga of the ever-popular young guy/older woman theme. I've been watching more of her work since and she has both acting ability and personality beyond the expected XXX talents.

Young protagonists are surfer Tyler Nixon and his girlfriend Teal Conrad, who plan to visit her mom for the holidays -mom is Jade. Teal is thankfully devoid of tattoos, and a natural looking young woman adept at deep throating. She is rewarded with two of the feature's requisite four sex scenes.

Mom's house turns out to be the mansion from Sweet Sinner's IMMORAL PROPOSAL, probably the only porn location distinctive enough for me to recall time after time. Jade is the perfect hostess and is immediately attracted to Tyler. His fellow surfing dude Xander Corvus phones to bug him about all the glorious waves he's missing, and then we see Xander servicing bronze and pretty-nippled Latina girlfriend Adrianna Luna. Not a bad sex scene but strictly filler in context.

With the rest of the cast away Teal is sleeping on the couch when the inevitable James Deen rings the doorbell as Jade's ex-boyfriend. He hooks up with Teal at a hotel for her second hump session after a fairly pointless altercation with Tyler, returning home with Jewels after running an errand together.

It's time for the finale and Jade delivers enthusiastic and arousing sex footage with the young actor, after giving him life advice based on her experiences running through six husbands so far. She brought back fond memories of the similarly shiny mammaries of Pandora Peaks during her Stephanie Schick period working for Andy Sidaris in the early '90s, before she pumped up and became Russ Meyer's final main squeeze. I knew both these pioneering soft-core geniuses and lament their passing.

Film literally climaxes with Tyler's long-distance money shot on Jade's breasts -like all good Sweet Sinner males he was aiming at her belly (and below) but either a sudden gust of wind or amazing testicular power extended his bandwidth.

Okay porn but too much Product Placement, 4 March 2015
5/10

Angling for a footnote in film (or video) history this riff on the popular TV series has an unusual genesis. Just as Johnny Depp & co. hit pay-dirt with the unlikely filmization of an amusement park ride, Veteran pornographer Jim Enright hooked up with a sex toys outfit Momentum to share funding, and in return features their vibrating cock ring product the Screaming O endlessly throughout the feature.

Casting is a bit uneven: Sunny Lane, she of the underage girl next door looks, is oddly cast in the Kim Cattrall slot - a bit nutty given the age, sexual aura & physique differences. More successful is Jewels Jade as Charlotte, the ultra-busty, muscular star basically stealing the picture portraying the fictional inventor of the real sex toy celebrated here.

Format is clumsy, with the four heroines in a restaurant celebrating the launch of their hopefully wealth-producing toy. Enright does not bother much with continuity, as a flashback of Miranda hooking up with the restaurant's bartender Danny Mountain is shown "out-of-time" - it makes no sense at all in the film's chronology. As Miranda, Audrey Lords was a poor choice -unattractive and uninteresting (looking her up in IMDb I see she barely made it out of the starting gate in porn).

Fourth gal is Monique Alexander in the lead as Carrie, an unwise decision as well. Apparently she was cast for star power, but she exudes none of the sensuality of Sarah Jessica Parker, who in an R-rated context comes off far more slutty and desirable than Monique generates with hardcore leeway. I presume that in order to keep things light (and this parody makes the real series seem like JUDGMENT AT NUREMBERG by comparison) Enright opted for a wimpy approach to sexual content.

The sex footage is all about spotlighting the stupid cock rings, a completely pointless exercise. O for orgasms should have translated into Joe Sarno style acting by the femmes, not some nearly invisible little toy.

Oddest touch here is Jade's trying on various costumes for her big scene in what looks like a wardrobe department or walk-in closet, and the first blue zippered top she tries on is the same garment she memorably wore starring in the Canadian feature MY GIRLFRIEND'S MOTHER 5 for Sweet Sinner. I guess all roads lead to Chatsworth as all the porn companies seem to share the same, talent, locations, and now wardrobe.

Guys are miscellaneously cast, especially Dale Dabone popping up in the final reel as Mr. Big -they are not given any personalities and go beyond the usual modern porn objectification of the male as mere dick, here they're merely "ring bearers" (cock ring that is). Perhaps Momentum will be backing the next round of Bilbo Baggins movies with a cock ring of invisibility.

Byond all the mindless yapping among the girls, painfully unfunny when they aren't redundantly plugging the toy, Enright employs an idiotic green screen technique for the girls pretending to cheerfully walk down the street (looks like crummy back projection instead). There is no city to speak of, the film being set in L.A. but the script referring to them as girls from New York. And it's not a parody, merely a ripoff.

Kiss me Kate, 4 March 2015

Newcomer from France is the most beautiful performer on screen today, and not just in the adult video sphere.

EXCHANGE STUDENT 5 is an American video with storyline and though routine per the specifications of Sweet Sinner label it does showcase her for an hour of arousing sex. U.S. networks and pay-cable outfits are missing an opportunity by not casting her in non-explicit TV roles.

Top billing goes to Jennifer Best, an unlikely looking actress for porn who certainly has big breasts (and stubby nipples) but is so matronly I thought she would be more appropriate for family audience casting. She's the cheating housewife married to pharmaceutical rep Marcus London, introduced as a guy who's too tired and bored to get intimate when they go to bed at night.

She's carrying on with college administrator James Deen, truly cast against type wearing a suit in a desk jockey job, not the XXX stud's usual habitat. Best humps him on his office desk & couch, and the May/December angle of their relationship is not played up. Though often cast as a young guy, Deen is so ubiquitous on screen in XXX (I suspect he is more recognizable to today's audiences than the real James Dean 60 years after his tragic death) that it is hard to take him seriously as an innocent kid with cougar.

From Deen, Best gets the name of a prospective Exchange Student, Anisssa Kate, a 22-year- old Urban Planning major, and schemes to convince irascible hubby Marcus to welcome her into their home. Extremely far-fetched premise of the screenplay by Jet Michaels and James Avalon is that hubby London will be distracted from the Deen-Best affair by the presence of the nubile import. Seth Gamble as their son whiles away his time in bed with girlfriend Jessa Rhodes, but when he meets Anissa at their home romance ensues.

Director James Avalon provides a nice interlude of the two youngsters walking around on a lovely day, getting hamburgers, etc., but soon they hop in the sack. Anissa's huge natural breasts flop all around during sex and she is quite a sight, though Gamble is pretty much a blank as her U.S. costar.

It's no surprise that the video concludes with Marcus quickly succumbing to Cate's Gallic charms, making for back-to-back XXX showpieces for her. Being a Sweet Sinner video she doesn't go gonzo -for that fans will be advised to watch her in various Marc Dorcel homegrown porn extravaganzas, several U.S. junkers and a slew of bondage (tie me up!) adventures. Simply a waste of talent..

Interesting French porn, with misleading credits, 3 March 2015

It was worth a bit of hunting around, but after watching MY FIRSt ORGY I searched to discover its leading lady's identity: Morgan Moon. She gets terrible billing though gives a fine performance, as video-maker Marc Dorcel pushed his hot starlet of the time (appearing here in a minor role) Jade Laroche in star billing and cover art.

Moon stars as Jane, who narrates the video in Skype fashion on her blog, giving her intentions and reactions as her story unfolds. She's still in school, and bullied by Dorcel superstar Tarra White (unconvincing age-wise as a bobbysoxer), who blackmails her every time they meet at their lockers.

Jane is prisoner to her boyfriend Tony who keeps asking her to do things (sexually) that she's reluctant to try, culminating inevitably in the title event. Scandal erupts when Jane videotapes members of Tony's boss's family in compromising situations (including daughter Tarra), killing the boss's campaign to become elected President of France.

As usual with Dorcel productions the girls are beautiful, the guys have big dicks, condoms are everywhere, and the settings are lush. The actual orgy staging is quite elaborate and unlike the lion's share of contemporary porn the story and Jane's travails are interesting enough to arouse sympathy for her. Moon is fresh in the role, something of a plain Jane, but hot underneath.

Besides not listing who played what (an irritating Dorcel tradition), the behind the camera credits are also garbled, as Max Candy gets big upfront billing but end credits reveal that writer Alex Conte directed the feature, Max only serving as executive producer.

Zero effort porn video, 2 March 2015
2/10

I have to add nearly all the core data to IMDb (only title & a couple actors listed) for this obscure video, likely because of its poor quality. More effort was spent on the dumb title pun than in actual production, evidently.

The link with the classic Gene Wilder film is merely a funny looking hat worn by no-show title character's nephew Wally for the final scene. Other than that nod, the video is merely 5 tedious porn scenes preceded by cast talking about a party tonight that in fact never happens. Like the highly influential Warhol (inventor of modern minimalist porn) and Louis Malle's classic MY DINNER WITH ANDRE, this is Porn Basics and nothing else.

Jordan Lee stars in the first two vignettes, featuring Vince Vouyer and the tall Frank Towers. Each talks about the upcoming company party thrown by magnate Willie W., and the only difference between the scenes is Vince shoots on her posterior while Frank delivers a facial.

Sanders chats at the title sushi bar with toothy Ms. Amado, who has a nice smile but talks like an airhead Valley Girl. When sex inevitable ensues we hear the anonymous "Bosley Delongprez": director whisper direction for Alex: "Kiss her", quite quaint. And this is 20 years before the femme director of Charlie Rose, Gayle and Norah audibly on purpose enunciates directions every weekday morning for the CBS News program.

Amado encores in a lesbian scene with ultra-busty Nikki Sinn. WIthout a money shot as signal, the director doesn't know when to end this feminine uprising, so we proceed directly to an overacting Jake Williams as aforementioned Wally the nephew, reading his lines with the sincerity of a Chuck Barris on TV.

He reads a letter from uncle: he's sold the factory, getting rid of all the workers, hence no party (but still a terrible video documenting these timeless events, watched by yours truly and hopefully no one else, ever). Dallas D'Amour puts on Wally's top hat and services him. His climax is not really a money shot, more a spare change dribble and the fiasco ends abruptly. End credits do not agree with the opening credits, where top billing goes to an actress named Kahni and lovable Bunny Bleu, neither of whom show up on screen.

Notable plot twist, 2 March 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Binging just now, five years later, on CAPRICA I found this episode notable in relying on an excellent plot twist (in the Adamas' back story) which worked well and has been repeated in other series, notably a key element of the current TYRANT show.

It turns out that violent Sam was a weakling when they were kids, and it was brother Joe who pulled the trigger during the deadly interrogation of their father in a key flashback sequence. Similarly, the tyrant brother in TYRANT was not the one who mercilessly executed a guy in flashback but rather his L.A.-transplant brother, the star of that show who got up the gumption to pull the trigger, at daddy's behest.

The similarity (beyond obvious differences) of these two series' flashback reveals is striking - anyone who has watched both shows will note it. In the case of this CAPRICA episode, the realism and hard-to-watch horror of the kids' traumatic flashback is perhaps my favorite segment in the series, especially as these 1.5 season episodes went downhill fast en route to the extremely disappointing "wrap it up" final 5 minutes of "future" exposition scenes that conclude the canceled show.

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Fine Hopkins turn in mediocre crime film, 2 March 2015
4/10

Anthony Hopkins lends his name and histrionic talents to uplift an otherwise pedestrian real- life crime thriller KIDNAPPING MR. HEINEKEN. Without his presence this would be just another direct-to-video feature of European origin.

Don't get me wrong -I've been a huge fan of European-made caper and action movies since childhood, growing up watching innumerable dubbed -into-English low-budget imports on TV via syndication packages back in the '60s. At the high end, Jules Dassin's RIFIFI remains the unbeatable greatest caper movie of all time, and the various big-budget, in-joke titles like the original and update series of OCEAN'S ELEVEN are watchable. But give ma a silly Brad Harris-Tony Kendall intl. co-production and I'm in heaven.

With a weak script by William Brookfield, based on Peter de Vries' reportage and book about the beer company magnate's 1982 kidnapping, this film turns out to be lacking in entertainment value. The criminals, a rag-tag group of businessmen/slackers who turn to crime when their unreasonable application for a business loan is turned down, are simply an uninteresting bunch and their reluctance to resort to violence (lethal or otherwise) is morally laudable but leads to dullness - the picture has no sex and no real violence, hardly suitable for today's audiences. And it lacks humor, not even of the Disney or OVER-THE-HILL GANG puerile variety.

Only interesting structural note (which ultimately backfires) is the script's purist approach whereby every scene is presented from the criminals' point-of-view. In a kidnapping story the viewer is used to time-honored clichés regarding the police (or FBI or Interpol) and the victim's family and associates -what they are doing to get Heineken back alive and catch the baddies. But here we have none of this, only scenes about the kidnappers and their apprehension at getting caught. This novel structure (cops only appear sans dialog to pursue or make arrests) violates Hitchcock's famous dictum about suspense -all we get are surprises because we (like the kidnappers) are narratively left in the dark. We never see the net closing in on them, apart from a few red herrings based solely on the criminals' own paranoia.

Jim Sturgess as head kidnapper Cor, a family man with pregnant wife who inexplicably throws all that away to become a fugitive merely longing to return home from his Paris hideout, is empathetic and acts well enough, but can hardly carry a film. The role called for an A-list name, perhaps his supporting co-star Sam Worthington, miscast as Cor's brother-in-law, written as a hothead but unconvincingly played by Sam who the viewer is used to seeing (after AVATAR) as a leading man.

Hopkins in as brief a screen time as won Judi Dench an Oscar for Shakespeare IN LOVE, easily dominates the film with his brief but pungent & idiosyncratic monologues -he gets to speak unanswered because the hooded kidnappers don't want to respond to him verbally at all. You can see the wheels turning in Hopkins' head as he cleverly tries to get into the heads of his adversaries and casting him was a bold stroke (probably the reason Worthington signed on to an unpromising project at this stage in his career).

I did not like the camera-work and editing of the movie, especially during action & chase scenes such as a boat vs. cars sequence on Amsterdam's canals after the boys had robbed a bank delivery van to raise capital for their big Heineken snatch score. And the musical score is horrendous, sounding like a distant copy of those classic 1970s British action movie scores, notably echo-chamber brilliance for Roy Budd's GET CARTER (a movie by Mike Hodges that was among my very favorite films when I saw it several times in 1971 in first-run).

Regarding film's factual basis, that issue is irrelevant to me - I love both LAWRENCE OF ARABIA and BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI regardless of either's allegiance to the original text. HEINEKEN merely proves that a purely fictional movie has more leeway to be entertaining and fanciful - the details here are pretty mundane, the degree of jeopardy for Heineken and his also-kidnapped chauffeur being minimal. The actual bank heist and people snatching are over in seconds, robbing the viewer of the fun which crime caper movies (TOPKAPI, RIFIFI) can provide, even in a silly one like Connery/Zeta-Jones' ENTRAPMENT. And the decision to make HEINEKEN the usual faux-British movie with all principal roles given British accents and speaking English (why not Dutch accents, as Holland with Derek De Lint, Rutger Hauer and endless beautiful actresses has the best English-speaking talent in all of Continental Europe) hurts its real-life credibility. I half expected a certain class of characters here to speak Cockney like Hollywood movies used to do in the 1930s for working-class characters in German or Russian set stories.

Nice title, okay porn., 27 February 2015

With nearly non-stop, cynical (and sexist) narration, this Frisco-made porn saga is typical of low-budget MOS production methods, It's interesting enough and delivers the explicit goods audiences required in them good old days.

Wearing glasses, Sharon Thorpe appears as a client at Jerry Wade's employment agency, and finds she has to hump him first in order to be considered for work assignments (a time- honored theme -I just saw repeated soft-core style in 1968's THE PROCUERR). Jerry has a nympho secretary named Jeanie, who masturbates as she peeps at Sharon giving the boss a blow job.

They're interrupted by parking attendant Long John (we know why he's named thusly), who Jerry wants to join the agency. Sharon masturbates in the waiting room using Color Climax dirty magazines as a stimulus, Then Jeanie joins her for lesbian sex using a dildo and hardcore fingering.

Next client to arrive is Joyce, a widow seeking work, who seduces Jerry. Back in the waiting room troilism ensues when Jeanie & Sharon are joined by Long John, exposing his big dick. Finale is an orgy in the waiting room including anal sex.

Absence of a dialog track makes this film hard to take seriously but Thorpe proves once again why she was one of the great XXX actresses of this era.


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