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Mood Ring

Studio: Wicked Pictures » Review by Don Houston » Review Date: 1/25/05

XCritic's Advice: Watch On Demand

Mood Ring

Wicked Pictures

Genre: Feature

Director: Michael Raven

Cast: Kelly Kline, Jean Val Jean, Jessica Drake, Chris Cannon, Violet, Silky Thumper, Evan Stone, Kaylani Lei, Steven St. Croix, Barrett Blade
Non-sex roles by Mark Nicholson and many uncredited extras

Length: 85 minutes

Date of Production: 6/17/2004

Extra's: Wicked Pictures is known for the extras they include on their DVD releases so it came as no surprise to me that Mood Ring had some swell value-added features to check out. The best for most fans will be the nearly five minute long bonus scene from the movie, The Collector, starring Jessica Drake, Voodoo, Cheyne Collins, and Chris Cannon. I thought the movie itself was better than the sum of its parts so you might do better to buy that one rather than watch the scene here but it will give you a taste of what to expect. My favorite extra though was the All Access: The Making of Mood Ring (a Behind the Scenes feature) by Mark Stone. Lasting 20.5 minutes, it gave the cast a chance to shine as well as outline where director Michael Raven was trying to go with the various scenes. There was a lot of humor and nudity so give it a chance if you get the movie (or even if you just rent it). There was also a 2.5 minute long box cover shoot, some trailers, photogalleries, star stats, all the usual Wicked Picture extras (Casino game, desktop backgrounds, Awards and nominations feature, company profile, promotional reels, DVD catalog, double sided DVD cover, etc.).

Condoms: Yes

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Audio/Video Quality: Mood Ring was presented in non-anamorphic widescreen color with an aspect ratio of 1.77:1 as originally shot by director Michael Raven. While I enjoy widescreen porn as much as the next guy, I'd have liked it more if the scenes were sharper with less of the dreamy quality that Mr. Raven is known for this time. While he admittedly made some of the cast look better than they have in a long time, the erotic nature of his style didn't play as well as it might have and smoke, visual effects, and other slights of hand weakened the overall heat for me more often than not (and I'm a big supporter of his work at Wicked Pictures most of the time). The composition of the shots, the detail he put into each scene and the lighting were all pleasant enough but something along the lines of a spark was missing half the time, relegating this one to the couples pile for me. On a brighter note, there were no compression artifacts or video noise so those of you wanting a movie best termed as "Wicked-lite" will be exceptionally happy with this one. The audio was presented in the usual 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround English or a 2.0 German track for those of you wanting to practice your foreign language skills. The English track was well done but the music was a tad too loud in most scenes, at least part of the time, but the dynamic range was decent even if the separation was heavily weighed in favor of the front channels, particularly the center channel.

Body of Review: Wicked Pictures is still known as one of the preeminent producers of feature porn in the United States (or elsewhere for that matter) even if their focus has been increasingly on the highly profitable compilations so many consumers want to buy. When it comes to big budget porn though, Wicked beats out most of the competition hands down although many of their smaller efforts have been pretty good too. The latest of the lower end features by the company is Mood Ring, a movie directed by Michael Raven that looks at a gal, Jessica Drake, trying to ignite the passion of her life before falling into the endless sea of mediocrity. She uses her mood ring, a popular device in the 1970's that changed color according to body temperature, to figure out who's the right guy for her rather than trust her heart and that starts the premise of the movie. While certainly not the best Wicked Pictures or Michael Raven has to offer, Mood Ring was worth a look for fans and here's a breakdown of the scenes by cast if you're one of them:

Scene One: Kelly, one of the cuter Southern Belles I've ever met was up first in a scene on a staircase with Jean. For those who haven't seen her in action, she's a very attractive gal with long brown hair and pretty eyes with all natural curves but her sexual heat on screen has been limited most of the time (partly because she only made scenes with husband and super nice guy, Richard, and partly for the lack of passion). Her scene here was pretty good but limited to oral and vaginal only. She did most of the work in the boning part of the scene and I'm sure it felt fine but there didn't appear to be any chemistry between them.

Scene Two: Jessica, the cutey on the front DVD cover, had a flashback scene with Chris that started in the kitchen of a nearly abandoned house but soon took the action to the bedroom where they went hard at work pleasing one another. Admittedly, I think she's a class act all the way with a lovely body, face and personality but even though I got the sense that they had fun together, I didn't get the same vibe I saw when she used to be really turned on (particularly when working with then-boyfriend Evan Stone). It was pleasant enough to watch a few times but it was more like a buddy fuck than anything else and the oral with vaginal action kind of tame compared to what she has done in the past.

Scene Three: Violet and Silky, both younger gals with a lot of potential, had a scene in a smoky club, complete with droning music and candles to light their way as Evan played with them a bit. Jessica watched (I wish she had joined in) and the trio managed to show a bit of passion that had been missing in the earlier scenes. The oral was great and the gals knew how to work their hips as they ground into him during the ride with the ending pop shot about what I expected. There was more chemistry this time and the warmth from the group managed to keep me interested during multiple viewings. Yum!

Scene Four: Kaylani, playing a sarcastic employee, had a tryst with her boss, Steven, in the office at night after they practically dared one another to make the first move. This scene had an air of believability to it due to their respective ages and roles, making it fairly interesting to enjoy on that level alone. The other good thing about the scene was how each performer managed to showcase their respective talents; displaying a measure of heat and passion most of the other scenes simply couldn't muster this time. I'm not Kaylani's biggest fan but she managed to surpass herself here in a way that made me consider revisiting her previous work. It was oral and vaginal only but still worth checking out, fan or not, of Kaylani.

Scene Five: Jessica, still looking hot, managed to have a bit better time in a scene with studly Barrett in a crappy apartment after hooking up at the club. While Barrett is not Evan, at least he managed to bring forth something inside her that was lacking earlier. The spanking didn't really do much for me, nor did the oral but the energetic screw was pretty well done. It was too short but a taste of paradise is better than nothing at all so as limited as it was, it was fun to see.

Summary: Mood Ring is only truly worth a rating of Rent It, based primarily on the tame nature of the sex, the overall production values, and the limited exclusive extras on the DVD. I'm a fan of Jessica Drake and if it didn't work for me on a level higher than checking it out once or twice, I'm doubtful those of you not as easily impressed with her will find this all that great. Sometimes, the sum of the parts doesn't equal the potential of the package and this was one of those times so while it wasn't a bad movie, it wasn't worth more than a glancing look on a slow day either.

For better choices in porn, check out: 2004's Top Porn List and 2003's Top Porn List.

Note: You can see recent candid shots of several of these performers by visiting: My Photo's and read about their antics at 2004 AEE Show.

You can email me with questions at Houstondon @ hotmail.com if you have any constructive criticism of the review too. :) Also you can follow me on twitter @HoustonDon

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