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Secrets of the Velvet Ring

Studio: Wicked Pictures » Review by Don Houston » Review Date: 5/27/05

XCritic's Advice: Recommended

Secrets of the Velvet Ring

Wicked Pictures

Genre: Vignette

Director: Brad Armstrong

Cast: Alexis Amore, Stormy Daniels, Tommy Gunn, Lezley Zen, Brad Armstrong, Roxanne Hall, Talon, Chris Evans, Gianna, Felecia, Teanna Kai, Dani Woodward, Michelle Lay, Trevor Zen, Steven St. Croix, Cheyne Collins

Length: 118.5 minutes

Date of Production: 11/29/2004

Extra's: Wicked Pictures is known far and wide as one of the best, if not THE best feature producer in porn as well as one of the companies to truly embrace the DVD format by offering solid extras in most cases. The extras this time started with two bonus scenes as described below, from Cargo and Neighbors. Both movies had their appeal and the scenes will be nice additions to your collection if you don't already own them. Personally, I liked Mark Stone's The Making of Secrets of the Velvet Ring the best. It lasted over 30 minutes and had a lot of commentary and sex so it was a winner in my book. There were numerous short featurettes too like a couple minutes spent on the Box cover shoot, a minute long Blooper reel, a 6.5 minute confession by Michelle Lay regarding her past secrets with a hooker, and a bit over three minutes with Michelle Lay and Dani Woodward giving tips on shaving pubic hair. There were also trailers, various photogalleries, star stats, promotional materials a DVD catalog, a double sided DVD cover, and a friend swore he found a couple of Easter Eggs but I didn't see them so maybe y'all could email me about them in your spare time.

Condoms: Yes

Audio/Video Quality: Secrets of the Velvet Ring was presented in non-anamorphic widescreen color with an approximate aspect ratio of 1.85:1 as originally shot by director Brad Armstrong for Wicked Pictures. Brad used various lighting effects as well as smoke and a soft focus at times to achieve a decent, if muted picture. The colors were accurate, the grain varied a bit more than usual, and the composition of the shots tended to be quite favorable to the cast. There were no compression artifacts or video noise that I saw and the visuals seemed just fine overall. The audio was presented with a choice of either a 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround English or a 2.0 German track. I listened to the English track and while I didn't hear any appreciable separation on the audio, it was nicely put together otherwise. I got the impression that it was actually recorded in 2.0 but later remastered with a 5.1 signal given the lack of separation but I could be mistaken.

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Body of Review: Over the last year or two, it seems to me that Wicked Pictures has gone from making lots of upper end releases to a very select handful as well as numerous compilations. Other than their Jenna Jameson compilations, I haven't seen any of their cheap line but my real concern is that they are making fewer of the kind of movies I've grown to really appreciate from them. It seems that all of their movies now are either high end or really low budget so I was kind of surprised to watch a semi-return to the mid range material I used to enjoy from the company with the release of Secrets of the Velvet Ring, director Brad Armstrong's latest movie. The movie was a series of vignettes loosely tied together in feature porn format that had a group of women enjoying making their fantasies come true as led by contract hotty Stormy Daniels. I liked the movie but read the following scene descriptions to see if it might work for you too:

Scene One: Alexis Amore, a curvy brunette with a dominatrix fantasy, joined the lovely Stormy Daniels, the lead of the movie and hotty known throughout porn, to dominate muscular Tommy Gunn in the opening scene. The gals whipped him first (technically, I believe they flogged him) before he served their needs with his penis. Alexis got some anal loving from him but it was slower than average and included a technical DP for kicks. There was also some taste testing before the facial on the gals in a warmish, if limited, scene.

Scene Two: Lezley Zen, an attractive brunette with a sultry look about her was up next as she seduced lucky Brad Armstrong in a bed (playing the "other" woman so to speak). She was the sexually aggressive one this time and while the sex was oral and straight only, it was still a lot of fun to watch. Fans of hers will immediately recognize her moves as she teased him orally before riding him as hard as he could take but the slightly edgy (for Wicked Pictures at least) method in which they enjoyed one another was full of replay value.

Scene Three: Roxanne Hall, a gal that has been in porn for a long time but has never let me down with her heated action, played a business woman in need of some fun so she joined with Talon and Chris Evans on some leather furniture to get off. She aggressively blew Talon while Chris mined her pussy for gold nuggets and the men got to sample her pussy and ass before blowing their wads onto her lovely face. Those who think a gal should leave porn once turning 21 might want to take a look at this scene to see why experience is not always a bad thing.

Scene Four: Gianna, a very attractive brunette that reminded me a lot of contract star Sydnee Steele as she teased the camera dressed like a vixen in need of a protein shake. Her scene was visually interesting in that it showed her in a brightly lit room full of white curtains that she torn slightly open in order to get a hold of three guys; (one was Talon, one was Chris Evans and the other was someone I couldn't identify by his penis) and blow them anonymously. I liked the concept but the execution was somewhat flawed here yet her oral skills and jack off action made it kind of fun too.

Scene Five: Stormy Daniels, Felecia, and Teanna Kai, had a lesbian scene together on a couch. I've long been a fan of Felecia but this scene showed me that as much as I know she likes doing gals, her action has worn thin and it's time to find a new line of work. Stormy looked great and Teanna has never looked better but the vibrator use and licking action (even the finger stuff) got kind of old after a short while. Fans may like the anal action here but it seemed too much like a filler or obligatory scene included for fans of lipstick lesbian sex.

Scene Six: Dani Woodward and Michelle Lay, both recognized for their sexual talents in porn, were up next as they were serviced by massage therapists Trevor Zen and Steven St. Croix at a spa. The gals gave great and energetic head to the guys and the screwing managed to seem better than most of the other scenes in the movie with some PTM (pussy to mouth) action to give it a little spice. There appeared to be some chemistry between the group and there was a lot of replay value in my book for this one. It ended with the guys jerking off to the gal's faces and them rubbing the loads around a bit.

Scene Seven: Stormy Daniels, looking extremely fine, was dressed in a green dress that hugged her every curve as she slummed it up with aging lothario Cheyne Collins, in an auto repair garage. They engaged in some heated foreplay before slowly disrobing one another, with each spending some time going down on the other to get hard or wet. It was far too short for my tastes and the action was limited but I'd be lying if I said I'd tire of seeing her in action any time soon. It ended with the usual pop shot to her mouth and chest but it wasn't her best work.

Bonus Scene One: Neighbors: "Stormy Daniels, this time looking more frantic, goes to new boy toy Barrett Blade, after dumping her old boyfriend as he tried to make up with her. There had been a very short scene between Exotica and Voodoo, then a catfight between her (Exotica) and Nicole Sheridan, which in most porn would've led to a great scene but that was but one of the missed opportunities here. Regardless, Stormy and Barrett went to the kitchen and had some very sweet oral before boning (again at night). When I see a performer only doing night scenes, I tend to think she's hiding something (just as camera angles can do so, light is used similarly) but the cinematography was well done and my general suspicions allayed for the most part as the couple energetically did their work. With an almost erotic quality, the fine scene ended a decent, if couples oriented, movie."

Bonus Scene Two: Cargo: "Stormy, in a more erotically shot scene, had some lesbian fun with Felecia. I've been a fan of Felecia for years but time is starting to wear on her (hence the need for the soft lighting and focus) and as much as I like her, I have to admit this wasn't her best scene. They each did some oral and rubbing without any toys used. It was okay to watch once but seemed to be devoid of the heat I'd expect of them and was only worth watching once."

Summary: Secrets of the Velvet Ring was much like Neighbors in terms of the scope of what was provided. I rated this one as Recommended for couples although even single guys like me will find a lot to enjoy if you don't need circus act sex to get off on. I thought the technical values were decent, the cast well chosen (with one exception), and the amount of fuck for the buck pretty solid for this type of show. In short, Secrets of the Velvet Ring has a lot to offer couples that enjoy nicely made porn that is light on abuse and high on the erotica scale.

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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