Sunday, May 13, 2012

DESERT PASSION (1993)

It would be totes instructive to elucidate the differences between softcore and hardcore when genretyping erotica, yes?  So let's do this during this review of DESERT PASSION, one of the very first Skinemax movies teen me ever saw.  Will this be a sad revisit, like HOUSE?


As is standard for academic analyses, I'll be using secondary sources.  Like Amazon reviews: "This movie has lots of nudity and most of the women look good. But unlike most pornographic movies, it actually has a plot." I guess if you want to plot the dividing line between erotica and pornography, plot is a pretty good indicator.  Softcore tends to be far more plot-driven, with actual (albeit shallow) characters and conflicts.  Porn might be plot-esque, like (lady orders a pizza) + (cute pizza boy), but it's far more concerned with penetration than story (FYI, penetration is the badge that pornography wears to identify itself and is never seen in softcore!).  

The plot of this movie is that two girls are friends and one is an actress, but keeps getting asked to take roles that involve nudity and gold foil panties that look like Christmas Hershey's Kiss wrappers.


"I can't do it! It's just not me!" whines the "actress".  Needless to say, this is SO meta.  Thankfully, her stripper friend has an audition in Vegas, so they hit the road, but are captured en route by pseudopolice and taken to the shittiest-looking warehouse brothel ever.  The brothel is staffed by the Beaver Boyz from Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job.


It's not just a standard sex-slave brothel, either, because they use "some hypnotic drug, it makes you do really weird things," as another slavegirl helpfully explains.  Money is gained through the staging of fantasies for male clients.  I'm not entirely sure how this happens inside the pathetically small warehouse, since we see sex occurring in deserts and a full Roman spa, but maybe it has many sublevels or is the TARDIS.  Anyway, this is another element of softcore, the presence of sets.  Most porn happens at pools or in bedrooms or in corridors, NOT in lavishly-decorated landscapes shot from multiple angles.


Soon our two heroines are pressed into service in these fantasies.  We get only four of these scenes (hypno-prostitution is a low-volume, high-margin business) and three of them are fairly hot.  DESERT PASSION is a 90s movie, so many of the girls lack the monster breasts and catlike surgery-faces of nowadays sex cinema.  We can add another defining element here.  Softcore more frequently involves fantasy and atmospheric/ambient desires ("I want to have sex in a Roman spa" viz. "I want to have two dicks in my ass simultaneously").  


I honestly could have lived without the Beaver Boyz sex, though. 


DESERT PASSION is softcore/erotica because it thinks it's a real live movie, so it includes scenes designed to drive the narrative.  Ironically, lots of these scenes involve driving a car and they are BORING.  The sex scenes semi-redeem the time invested, although I'm sure that you could probably reap more satisfaction from other softcore products.  It was more interesting to me as a Platonic ideal for what softcore IS (in terms of material quality, not quality of the film! I srsly hope that people get here by googling "pornography" or whatever and read this entire thing lolol).  

Sunday, May 6, 2012

BIKINI SUMMER II (1992)

IMDB film critic hunkyguys85 opines, "This movie is one of the stupidest things I've ever seen in my life!!!! All it was was tits and music."  My Internet neighbor is not that wrong, but I still didn't hate this as much as some seemed to.  Just like CALL GIRL WIVES, BIKINI SUMMER II doesn't wait for the credits to end to break out the T&A.  It also has a Don Henley-esque theme song about small bikinis and large bikinis and I always wonder about people who do things like the soundtracks for these movies.  Do you think the composer has "Bikini Summer II Theme Song" records framed on his wall?  Is it still part of his setlist?


It also fills the genre archetype/SEX CABIN IN THE WOODS demands of including a shower in the first ten minutes.  This shower comes with classy string quartet music, so it feels more like an erotic shower you'd have at a pricey hotel instead of the roadside death inn from VACANCY.


Okay, so plot now.  Third typical thing this movie does is present its characters as living in wealth.  Softcore movies LOVE to do this for some reason, but most of them aren't that convincing in their presentation of luxury and the mansion here is like a two-story house, so wow.  These two sisters are basically professional rich daughters and spend their time clomping around the manor in hoof-like heels and skimpy bikinis.  Their mom is JESSICA HAHN, you guys, who got to have sex with this gentleman and then be in a Nuclear Assault video.  Her character here is basically Peg Bundy.  Like they didn't change ANYTHING, she basically lies around eating candy all day and watching QVC.  


Dad is a corporate asshole guy, which is pretty yawnsville, UNTIL he gets to his office and we find out that his job is apparently to get brutalized by a blonde dominatrix named Clarice.  Said dom is a little too perky and girl-next-door-ish to be a believable pain mistress, but maybe some of you will be able to overlook the dimples and freckles and all.  On the way to work, Dad hits a bum with his limo!  


The injured bum gets to live in the mansion for two weeks because that is how you avoid lawsuits.  Thankfully, he is a magical Hollywood endearing bum and, once he's thoroughly bathed, is kind of charming. It helps that he is a singing hobo, not a stabbing hobo.


Honestly, very little stabbing happens in this movie.  This is the softest of core, as there are maybe five minutes of actual sex contained herein.  There are, however, lots of bikinis and enough exposed breasts.  I rep director Jeff Conaway (who was in GREASE and apparently this movie is his only directorial effort wtf) because he keeps things moving briskly and includes enough wacky, weird shit to keep this from bogging down too often.


Like the muscle-off between a guy and a guylike girl!  Or the incredibly not-Latina that they got to play the Latina maid ("Buena dias, jo breakfast is serve!") and bend over to dust piano legs.  How can you really hate a movie that has dialogue like "What an exciting day!  First I get my period and now this!"?  A: You can't.   It sputters out A LOT towards the end when some hair metal band gets to take over the movie for what feels like forever, but the first half or so of this is rib-tickling fun.  Not worth buying, but half-worth watching if you can find on cable or whatever.  Just don't expect a real movie or a real sexy movie and focus on the ignorant fun and you'll be fine.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

CALL GIRL WIVES (2005)

Blogspot historians probably don't even know that I started reviewing movies on the Internet six years ago. It's true!  On Livejournal and MySpace and the first batch of stuff that I did was women in prison, Russ Meyer movies, and sundry erotica, all under the heading Summer of Sexploitation.  So for the next few months, I'm going to recycle my past and review a bunch of softcore/erotica or what used to be called "Skinemax movies".  SUMMER OF SKINEMAX.  Maybe it will take off and this blog will become the new 50 Shades of Grey.



CALL GIRL WIVES seems like a sound place to start.  Good Skinemax efforts will have hot scenes, but super ones will make me laugh during the inevitable downtimes.  This kicks off promisingly with actresses' tits helpfully sitting behind their names in the credits.  Would love to see this trend reach mainstream Hollywood movies.  JANE EYRE would have been so much better.


So there are these three wives and their husbands apparently go off on a hunting trip (one of the husbands sounds like Tommy Wiseau because rednecks just love hanging out with Chetniks, right?).  The actresses play characters named after themselves.  Brunette Taimie (TIMEGATE: TALES OF THE SADDLE TRAMPS) Hannum plays Taimie.  Natural beauty Ashley (FILTHY ENGLISH FUCKERS 3) Long plays Ashley.  And ridiculously-breasted Amanda Auclair plays Amanda, but would later go on to become Shyla (ANAL CAVITY SEARCH 4) Stylez.  The girls plan a girls' night out while the hubs are gone and Ashley takes a shower.


Girls Night Out entails drinking 1/15 of a glass of wine, which gets them tipsy enough to go full-on muff diving.  The grossest close-up here is the wine snowball between Ashley and Amanda:


Afterwards, the girls decide that they aren't lesbians, "we're just playful", and Taimie mentions a friend who acts as a pro matchmaker a.k.a. pimp.  The other girls seem uninterested UNTIL CUCUMBER SANDWICHES ARE MENTIONED.  Fucking seriously.  The first part of this thing is too fun because it obviously knows what it is.  Credit director Michael Whiteacre, who (per IMDB) "always directs wearing a large blue sombrero."  The gals travel to the modest sex-business house of Brittany Andrews, who shows them a pretty uninspiring sex vid, then ropes them in by promising that they'll meet fascinating and exclusive male clientele...


...and the first one looks like this:


They also never get any cucumber sandwiches.  Then the movie sends the plot upstairs and devotes the rest of its time to sex.  Ashley Long is the clear medal winner here.  Her scenes with both boys and girls are just blazingly steamy and ridiculously physical.  If you want to spice up your own love life, try incorporating fishhooks:


Fucking your partner while holding her in an arms-behind-the-back straitjacket position:


And attacking her like Dracula before planting a surprise smooch:


I wasn't as impressed with the other starlets' bedroom work.  Taimie Hannum looks great and has the best line delivery, but her scene mostly involves her dancingly sexying a guy who sits there motionless, like a potato.  The Amanda/Shyla scenes are even more tepid.  I don't want to get too hateful because I feel like porn stars probably spend a lot of non-sex time Googling themselves and this blog is not about hurting feelings.  But the little-girl voice and the elephantine boobs and the white-bread sex did not do a lot for me.  


After the sex, CALL GIRL WIVES kind of returns to its comical beginnings by having a foreign whore showdown scored to FISTFUL OF DOLLARS-ish music...


...and, of course, it ends in sex.  I liked the lighting here and use of shadows.  Best Use of Shadows in Lesbian Sex Scenes award is in the mail, Mr. Whiteacre!


This is pretty representative of my kind of softcore/Skinemax.  It knows it's ridiculous and embraces that, but also isn't afraid to flip the switch on the Scandalous-o-tron.  I could have lived with less obvious plastic surgery/enhancements, but complaining about that in modern erotica is like complaining about how the sun rises in the morning.  

And that's the way it goes!  Look for more in this throbbing vein in weeks to come!