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Silk Stockings

Studio: Sin City » Review by Disco Dirge » Review Date: 1/22/05

XCritic's Advice: Watch On Demand

GENRE: Straight Feature
DIRECTORS: James Avalon
STARS: Hannah Harper, Dasha, Gia Jordan, Dani Woodward, Keri Sable, Reno, Eric Masterson, Billy Glide, Dale DaBone, Talon, Damien
LENGTH: 122 mins without bonus material

Have you ever had one of those experiences where everything seemed to be in place for a thoroughly enjoyable evening? You know, what the Dirge means - a situation where you had the proper date; the right wine; the best food you could make (or purchase take-out and doctor up as your own); the totally appropriate CD or mix tape; Heck, even your clothes and your grooming turned out right for once. So, you've got all these issues in place, perfectly aligned and ready to rumble. As the rendezvous begins, everything falls into place. The cuisine is exquisite, the beverage fruity and flavorful. The music has your potential paramour slowly rocking in his or her chair and the mood lighting makes you both appear like Olympians down from the mountain to mess with the mortals for a while. And after the plates are put away and the last of the vintage has been drained from the bottle, when the small talk is over and the heavy petting is proceeding, you know you're in for something sensational. Indeed, the sex seems great, full of emotional and erotic connections. You wish this moment would never end, and for a while, it seems like it never will.

Then, a couple of days later, when you think about it in one of those long, languid personal moments, you realize something. As exceptional as everything was, as faultless and fiery, the lasting impression is kind of...dull. All that buildup, all the pretty preparations and preparedness resulted in a carnal alignment, but there was no juice left in the experience once it was all over. And then it starts, the faults start to show themselves. Your socks were mismatched. The tuna was a little overdone. The wine left a bitter taste in your mouth and the fucking was fun, but a little uneventful. In fact, it now all seems rather routine in retrospect. This is exactly how you will feel after watching the latest Sin City release directed by James Avalon, entitled Silk Stockings. This is a title that has everything going for it, meaning it should be a mesmerizing, memorable piece of porn. But the results are inert, not interesting, and the underwhelming aspects become even more apparent after the final frame has disappeared.

The DVD:
Before any of you fans get over or ultra excited out there, Silk Stockings has nothing to do with the cult classic TV show Silk Stalkings that used to show up late nights on CBS (as part of their 'crime time after prime time' lineup) and then ran over to rerun heaven at the cable enclave of the USA Network. About the only possible connection, and it is a very tenuous one at that, is the murder mystery at the center of this hardcore skin flick. Conceived by director James Avalon as a combination of psychic friendliness and XXX treats, Silk Stockings features a couple of cops, a clan of angry lingerie models, and the self-proclaimed sexiest psychic in the world. They are all trying to figure out who killed the shrewish, strident Sara, a boorish bitch who made everyone's life a living Hell. Proving that few porn stars possess the chops to actually sell a pseudo-serious whodunit, this movie is a mess, an example of the law of diminishing returns in the plot, performance and pussy departments.

Cops Dale DaBone and Damian (who, oddly, has a non-sex role here) are investigating the death of top model Sara (Dasha). Her lifeless body is discovered at a photo shoot. Naturally, the suspects are many and highly motivated. There is Sara's boyfriend and manager (Eric Masterson) who only sees his lady as a commercial cash cow, the beefy Slavic photographer (Reno) who specializes in casting couch conditions while on set, and the ladies competing for her high paying contract (Gia Jordan and Dani Woodward) a couple of tarts determined to undermine Sara's situation. Enter Carmen (Hannah Harper) a leading psychic famous for helping the police solve their most mysterious cases. The minute she steps in, she starts "sensing" the varying personalities, problems and possibilities of who was behind the killing.

Our story begins back at a photo shoot. Reno is taking photos of Gia and Dani, and his mind starts to wander into fantasy fuck land:

Scene 1: Gia Jordan, Dani Woodward, Reno
Starting things off with some credit sequence carnality between our two fetching femmes and their Croatian cockmaster, Silk Stockings looks like it might be pretty good. Then a kind of erotic ennui sets in. Instead of smoking or sizzling, the sex is very robotic and rote, with Reno working his wang in just a few formulaic positions before popping his cork. Dani gets most of the dicking, which means Gia is left to act as a sort of corporeal cheerleader, supplementing the situation with a little oral and lesbo leanings. This is standard three-way stuff, with lots of kissing and fondling, dueling head and drool producing deep throating. When crotch meets cunt, we only get doggy and mish. Reno rewards his companions in copulation with a nice juice load of love liquid, spreading the spunk all over Dani's chest. Gia then licks up the jizz with her tantalized tongue.

As is the case with the rest of the scenes in this set, the reason behind the less than ecstatic response to the sex is pretty obvious. Avalon has a bad case of camera jitters, basically unable to leave the lens focused on anything interesting for more than a couple of seconds. While it is not quite the harried handheld facets that fouled such films as The Blair Witch Project or The Bourne Supremacy, there is just way too much movement here. We can't quite get a handle on the passion or dynamic between the performers, and the lack of a singular focus becomes all the more obvious the few times the frame actually sits still. There is an extreme close-up sequence of penetration (just shaft in snatch) and as the image lingers for longer than we anticipate, the oddness of staying still hits us like a ton of twat. Avalon will do this several times during this shoot, and it undermines every XXX sequence in Silk Stockings. Score: 5 out of 10.

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After being grilled by the fuzz, Hannah steps in and "reads" the type of sexual relationship Dasha and Eric have:

Scene 2: Dasha, Eric Masterson
Of the two Dasha scenes on this disc, her pairing with Eric Masterson is the lesser. While they give the sequence their all, and never once appear apathetic or disagreeable, there is just very little chemistry between the couple. When Dasha takes on the far more freeform Billy Glide in Scene 4, she fucks like a juiced jackrabbit, squirting and squirming to beat the band. Here, she is merely going through the Masterson motions, resulting in another merely average scene. At the beginning of this bit of bathroom balling, Eric and Dasha are very aggressive, kissing and fondling each other with a zeal bordering on forced. After the mutual oral is over (Eric adding some fingers, while Dasha complements her suck with some tit fuck) it's doggy, reverse cowgirl, V to M and scissors. Eric finally lets his ball brine flow and covers Dasha's chest with his shaft spew.

Yet, after it is all over, the scene feels mechanical instead of moving. We needed to see these characters screw in order to set up the plot. But there is very little that is hot or horny about this emotionless coupling. Avalon's camera is again in constant motion, making it difficult to get a handle on the sequence. Score: 5 out of 10.

Following Reno to his place of business, Hannah discovers that the photographer likes to take advantage of new, untried models:

Scene 3: Keri Sable, Reno
Oral scenes, especially when there is no reciprocation by the man (this is blowjob only action) really relies on the performers to put them across. Unfortunately, Keri is a newbie to the adult business, and her lack of peter puffing skills is pretty obvious from dick lick moment one. About the only interesting element here is that Reno makes Keri countdown from 10 as he is readying his rod for blast-off. She does her digit duty with her tongue hanging out of her mouth, making her mumbling even more comical as she descends down the number list. Otherwise, the head is average, the pop is obvious and the overall excitement level is pretty poor. You need a great performer to put over a single scene of mouth to member. Ms. Sable, sadly, is not up to the challenge. Score: 3 out of 10.

Doing some more exploring around Reno's studio, Hannah comes across some clothes, and learns that Dasha has not been as "faithful" to Eric as everyone thought:

Scene 4: Dasha, Billy Glide
Finally, the fuck scene we have all been waiting for. Dasha meets the dick of one Billy Glide and for nearly twenty enticing minutes, this duo does the nasty in a way that the rest of the film can only wish it could match. As if responding to some internal trigger, Dasha goes insane during this sequence, fucking the Holy humanness out of Glide and spraying her snatch sauce all over the place. She must squirt four or five times during the course of this scene and Billy can't get enough of it. They start with some aggressive and anxious foreplay, Dasha treated Billy's club to a nice tongue bath (and added ball action). Mr. Glide then gets his groove on with a little doggy and cowgirl before getting down to his own bit of mouth to mons. After eating Dasha out, rimming her ass, tossing her salad, fucking both her pussy and her butt with his tongue and generally fingering the Bejesus out of his partner, Dasha turns into a fountain, leaking and shrieking in sexual ecstasy. Once Billy broaches the bunghole, Dasha is delirious. The money moment arrives and Billy shoots all over Dasha's feet, as she brings herself to another liquid launching.

Even with Avalon's crazy compositions and tendency to wander all over the scenic elements, this is a fantastic fuck fest, a really ribald offering between two performers who can't get enough of each other. Meshing perfectly, and looking good doing it, Dasha and Billy should do more films together. Their sizzle and scorch erase any other faults the sequence has, and gets us all worked up and aroused with their bang and zooming. Hands down, the best scene on the entire DVD. Score: 9.5 out of 10.

Naturally, Eric's truthfulness is also called into question when the cops interrogation him about the crime:

Scene 5: Dani Woodward, Eric Masterson
Doing their best to match Dasha and Billy's ballistic ball-a-thon, but only achieving about 75% of the heat, Dani and Eric deliver the second best scene in Silk Stockings, a nice run through of the prerequisites for palpable pussy particularities. It begins with a blowjob, one supposedly accented by the pouring of Vodka on Mr. Masterson's member (Dani's character, C.C., has a little bit of a drinking problem, you see). As she licks and deep throats the dong, Eric grits his teeth and prepares for penetration. The couple moves quickly through doggy, reverse cowgirl, spooning and cowgirl before it's load bearing time. All slick with sweat and overheated, Eric drops dick dime directly into Dani's mouth, and she slurps up the spew with glee. Ms. Woodward actually makes a much better partner for Eric than Dasha did previously. She seems to enjoy being with him, not just doing the deed to forward the narrative. While the chemistry is still pretty cool between the couple (he seems more into her than visa versa) and the overall atmosphere is chaotic (damn Avalon's roving, roaming eye) we actually get some sexual sizzle, which is unusual in this flick. Score: 7 out of 10.

The perp is exposed. Naturally, when the case is resolved, Officer DaBone wonders if he and Hannah will hit it off. Another fantasy sequence commences:

Scene 6: Hannah Harper, Dale DaBone, Talon
This is one screwed up scene. The fiery finale featuring Dale and Talon DP-ing the propriety out of Hannah comes out of nowhere, lasts only a couple of confusing minutes, and then meanders offscreen, followed by a jump cut leap to the pop. Before the double dicking, Hannah and Dale have generated some heat, yet their sex is so basic as to be more soft than hardcore. We get foreplay, a blowjob (Hannah does give good head) and then some mish and dog before the unexpected pause. That's right, Dale removes his rod and spends a few moments discussing the DP with Officer Talon (looking especially bedraggled in appearance and awareness) before we get to the insert shot fury. Hannah looks less than happy with the results, as if this particular pork pairing didn't personally payoff the way she wanted. The money moment is also a typical face/chest combo platter, nothing unique or unusual.

As the featured face on the DVD case cover, you'd think Hannah would hump a little more often than just this single, rather insignificant scene in Silk Stockings. Dani, Dasha Heck, even Reno gets more action than this British babe and it's a major disappointment for fans and frequenters of porn. Dale is his typical Narcissistic self, his tats starting to fade and dull as he ages, and the result is a scene that feels haphazardly tossed in toward the end, to give the Harper hankerers a bonk bone. If the DP hadn't been so badly handled (if you look closely, you'll swear the cocks are just inserted in cracks and, after the yell of action, the pretense of motion is mocked) and the editing not quite so erratic, this may have been an enjoyable sequence. As it stands, it's as average as everything else here. Score: 5 out of 10.

Unless you care about the conclusion, the identity of the killer is pretty obvious and the resolution rather routine. The comedic elements are also a little labored and the entire murder mystery is just a premise to get people plooking. As actors, only Hannah Harper and Dani Woodward seem comfortable delivering dialogue, while Dasha gives it the old Czech chick try. Avalon is a decent filmmaker, able to craft interest elements together to give some of his non-sex scenes a real click and cleverness, but the sum never equals up to the pros and problems of the parts.

Obviously, the best thing about Silk Stockings is the genuine beauty of Hannah Harper. Possessed with a personality that comes across as genial and approachable, her special spark really saves a great deal of this movie. While Reno nails the over-muscled asshole routine rather well, there just isn't a great deal of meat on these boner bones. Silk Stockings is a piffle, a lightweight lark that tries to give hardcore a fun, fresh sheen. But instead of exciting, the fucking is formulaic (Dasha's scene with Billy aside) and shows a lack of invention on the side of the performers and their flesh peddler. While the cast appears more than capable, there needed to be a little more adventure in the aardvarking. Had it turned up the hump heat, this would have been an enjoyable bit of erotic. As it stands, Silk Stockings is just derivative and decent, that's all.

The Video:
Offered in a radiant 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen transfer, Silk Stockings looks very good on DVD. The colors are crisp and correct, the fleshtones are fabulous without being too graphic, and the contrasts give us the proper balance between details and deception. With Avalon's desire to use moody, atmospheric lighting and setting that highlight the hardcore, this is a nice looking XXX title.

The Audio:
The Dolby Digital Stereo 2.0 sound mix is excellent, crystal clear and full of richness. The music Avalon uses is also very nice, capturing a contemporary feel without resorting to fad freak-outs or irrational aural attributes. While the sex is kind of subdued sonically (when the performers scream, they tend to sound muffled), the overall ambience is well maintained and managed. From a purely technical position, Silk Stockings is a very good looking and sounding film.

The Extras:
Sin City really loads up this DVD with added content, which is kind of a mixed blessing. Most of it has nothing to do with the movie (the web content, sex talk ads, trailers and company profile), while others are rather rote and add nothing to the title (the pop shots compilation, the ever present gallery). On the plus side, the bloopers are kind of fun, especially to see how serious some of the actors take their performances - both on their back and while delivering dialogue. The Behind the Scene featurette is also kind of basic, giving us just a glimpse of how the film was made, but not going into any great depth or detail. The biographies are rather funny (especially since Reno's is wrong, referring instead to some female porn star) and the interviews give us a 2 to 7 minute chance to meet the honeys behind the hardcore.

The best bonus by far is the scene specific (meaning that they never talk over the XXX content) commentary provided by director Avalon and cinematographer Richard Banks. Running down the last minute issues involving the production (from the numerous title changes to the casting of Hannah Harper) we get gossip on the sorry state of the seemingly opulent location, how perverted the actors all were when it came to the sex, how everyone displayed exceptional acting talent and, most interestingly, why he (Avalon) believes most straight features fail. Oddly enough, he says it's because they don't take the sex seriously enough, trying to make it too light and soft. While the hardcore in Silk Stockings is far from yielding, there does seem to be a desire to reduce the randiness involved to serve up something superficial, not sizzling. How ironic that Avalon would bemoan the very aspect he seems to embrace here.

Final Thoughts:
Though some may see the sizzle behind all the shallowness, Silk Stockings is still some pretty paltry porn. It contains none of the invention of current fuck filmmakers, nor does it try to incorporate some of the standards that make mainstream cinema so acceptable. Instead, it's caught in kind of a tired time warp, wearing a throwback mentality to the earlier days of dong and douche dioramas where the storyline was simplistic and so was the sex. On the Disco Dirge Peter Meter, this title earns an impressive 7 out of 10, but this doesn't really tell the entire tale. This is really more of a rental than a recommendation, with couples getting their mutual money's worth out of every scene. Therefore, a Cohabitation Certification is warranted and awarded. Yes, the picture looks great. Indeed, the music is measured and very enjoyable. The disc is crammed with extras and, if push comes to shove, the XXX content is above average. But as a whole, Silk Stockings fails to gel into something special. Just like that evening that seemed so ideal in its ingredients, this adult film fails to offer any lingering lewdness.

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