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Advice: XCritic Pick
Sex Z Pictures/Porn Faktory
Director: Eli Cross
Cast: Hillary Scott, Chris Cannon, Alana Evans, Sophia, Kelly "Fuckin" Wells, Franko Del Torro, Johnny Castle, Herschel Savage, Tyler Knight, Kylie Ireland, Steve Holmes, Jenner, Alex Sanders, James Deen, Stacy Thorn, Mark Davis, Sandra Romain, Arianna Jollee, Lexi Bardot, Annie Cruz, Vixen, Jordan Styles, Jerry, Derrick Pierce, Rick Masters, Seth Dickens
Non-sex roles: Bryn Pryor, Dutch midland, John Strong, Nic Danger, Anthony Starkweather, Andrew Ebmas, Michael Bloodlord, Van Cooney, Cadillac Joel, Tom Elliot, others uncredited
Length: 244 minutes
Dates of Production: 5/30/2006 to 6/28/2006
Extra's: The best extra for me would've been the inclusion of a WMV-HD version of the movie (playable on Windows Media 9 and above). To date, the only other porno offering such an extra was Pirates; one of the most successful releases in the history of the genre. While not as completely high quality as one of the upcoming HD-DVD or Blu-Ray DVD titles, it would've added more detail and the graphic excellence of a computer monitor so while I think the powerful message of the movie is best viewed on a larger screen, preferably with a group of friends, this could've added something special to the three disc release. Sadly, the compression rate required for such an extra would've lowered the quality too much to make it worthwhile (though it could still happen when the 4 disc special director's set is released in January). Otherwise, there were plenty of more traditional extras that set this one apart from the crowded field of the estimated 14,000 releases of the last year. The audio commentary by director Eli Cross, Kylie Ireland, Hillary Scott, cameraman Ren Savant, and producer Belial added even more depth to the already deep movie. I'm not going to spoil the plot twists and interesting anecdotes of the movie for you but unlike most porn commentaries, this one should be listened to as it helped explain some of the background events leading up to the movie, the politics behind some of the material, and how much attention was paid to the smaller details (with the group all having a good time with the discussion). Eli and Kylie dominated the commentary but considering their role(s) in the movie and its production, that makes a lot of sense (and they have both long struck me as a couple of the most intelligent people in porn-go read their respective blogs for some examples). There was a 41 minute long Behind the Scenes feature by Kylie Ireland Amber Rayne, and Fraulein Fist that was pretty cool too. A lot went on that seemed worthy of being documented with the additional sex and interview material easily worth inclusion on the set. On top of that was a pre-production Behind the Scenes feature lasting 15 minutes and providing more material from the point of view of the crew before the shooting ever started (it's always interesting to see how some ideas and situations change from the drawing board to the final copy; especially in porn. That was followed by about 12 minutes of Bloopers; the cast typically breaking up or flubbing lines in response to something a bit out of the ordinary. For fans of more sex footage, there was an 8.5 minute uncut version of the Hillary Scott blowjob on Chris Cannon worth checking out. Aside from being an anal princess for a long time (recently elevated to anal queen), her oral skills are such that if she doesn't win some major awards this coming season, it'll be because of who she DIDN'T blow rather than any lack of quality of her body of work. There was a well cut trailer for the movie, 4 really lengthy photogalleries, an I-Pod download, and some trailers for other projects by Sex Z Pictures. My copy also had a paper booklet outlining some of the salient facts about the movie and it was a truly double sided DVD cover for those who care. Lastly, at some time in the future, a downloadable director's cut of the movie with a longer fisting scene and other minor issues resolved (typically slight edits and technical touch ups) should be available from the company website.
Audio/Video Quality: Corruption was presented in the still relatively rare 16:9 anamorphic widescreen color as shot by director Eli Cross for Porn Faktory to be distributed by Sex Z Pictures. The movie reportedly cost over $160,000 to make and was shot in HD to enhance the look of the movie. While I can only imagine how cool a true HD presentation (in HD DVD or Blu-Ray) of the movie may be in the future, or even the reported HD-WMV made for the original planned release, it looked very well shot with the sexual footage as appealing as the plot elements; blending in both aspects nicely. The lighting was not the kind needed in a gonzo shoot (flat, harsh, and as if it were shot in the aisles of Walmart) but with numerous touches used to propel the story. The sex was shot in such a way that you could see what went on and with a nod to making the characters look exactly right for their parts, enhancing the stroke factor more than a little bit. Eli has the eye for capturing hot sex but typically finds himself at the mercy of time limits and budgets indicative of modern porn, thankfully not factors in this movie, so each scene seemed to convey what it was meant to convey with minor issues arising that really weren't a problem. The plotted elements were shot with similar care, looking like a cable movie made for a much higher budget with far better sex as a result. It should be noted that the editing was sublime, showing a lot of great work by Eli, Mark Logan, and Robin Dyer and as worthy of consideration for awards as other key aspects of the movie. There were no observed compression artifacts and I have to hand it to all involved for doing such a fine job at capturing the essence of the characters in such a way that they came to life more than you'd imagine could happen in a porno. The audio was presented in 2.0 Dolby Digital and this was one of those rare occasions when there was some separation between the channels (not just the music either). The dialogue was crisp and clear (the commentary made Eli sound like he was trapped in a deep well though) with a decent dynamic range. The music was not continuous but used to punctuate the sex and plot elements instead. It wasn't bad music but it could have used a bit more polishing up considering how nicely the visual elements were handled.
Body of Review: Eli Cross is one of those guys that has been in porn for a very long time in one capacity or another, now shooting as a director (and cameraman for his lovely partner Kylie Ireland) for a variety of companies under one name or another. His latest release is a title released by Sex Z Pictures (made by Eli's Porn Faktory) called Corruption. The movie is a feature porno designed to show the rise and fall of a demagogue seeking to move into higher political office reminiscent of many mainstream offerings of the past. Before I go too far into the review, it should be noted that the acting was greatly superior to any of the other movies I've watched this year (and you can go see for yourself how many titles I've reviewed, let alone watched). Starring Bryn Pryor as Senator David Walker Helms and Hillary Scott as Nastasha, his mistress and concubine; the movie was a detailed look at the ins and outs (and more ins and outs) of the shady world of politics. Aside from some great acting by the other performers, these two MADE the movie in terms of the plot, Hillary making significant contributions in the sexual areas of the movie as well. If you were hoping for a lot of fast forward fodder between the sex scenes, you'll be disappointed because the movie served to merge the feature and sex elements so completely that you'll miss out if you don't watch the whole thing as a whole rather than the sum of its parts. Conversely, if you were just looking for a feature full of couples sex, you've come to the wrong place as this one had stuff in it (described below) that you simply won't find from ANY of the gonzo companies, pushing the limits of porn back to where they were thirty years ago (but with a more attractive cast then the classics tended to have). Here goes:
The back cover put it like this: "David Walker Helms is California's first Republican senator in more than a decade. A rising star in his party, a powerful public figure, a sociopath with boundless ambition and a greed matched only by his own dark perversions. When the power struggle between Natasha, his naive young sex slave, and Carolyn, his deviant, power- hungry wife, threaten Helms' bid for the oval office, one of them will have to go...
Sex. Murder. Power. Deceit. Hunger. Perversion Corruption."
Starting off with a quote, "Would that all of Rome had only one neck" by Caligula Caesar, the movie detailed the rise to power of a dangerous politician whose name was clearly an amalgamation of real life politicians (Walker for the President, Helms from Jesse). His ultra conservative politics show distain for the ideals the country was founded on and as he gives speeches, his mind shows the audience what he's really thinking of them. In many ways, his despotic character is established in subtle ways too; a tribute to the screenplay and director's ability to coax out award winning performances from a cast in an industry that is not typically known for caring about trivial matters such as this.
The Senator is powerful and ambitious, willing to go to any length to get what he wants and supported by followers willing to assist him in any way possible, trying to look to the future for a run at the big seat in 2008 (as President). The numerous self interests that deal with him also see his potential for dragging them along with him, with some minimal plot holes that didn't amount to much considering the scope of the project. Helms' only weakness is his mistress Natasha (Hillary Scott) and while she'll do anything he asks of her, he still treats her like shit, but HIS shit so when his supporters decide to get her out of the picture, he reacts in a single-minded manner to get her back at all costs. Getting in the way of this is an investigative rookie journalist who follows a lead that uncovers the relationship between the Senator and his mistress, making him a target for a whole lot of people that would rather he fail at uncovering their involvement in the matter. I'm not going to say anything else about the story aspect as it really does seem to stand on its own but this is the kind of rare porno that the sex and story are intertwined on far more levels than usual; both important to the story being told. That said, here's a quick look at the sex scenes, partial and otherwise, to give you an idea of what took place on that level too, noting that no condoms were used:
Scene One: Hillary Scott, the award winning hotty on the upper half of the front DVD cover, was up first as she blew the candidate (stunt cock played by Chris Cannon) while he prepared for a speech to his constituents. This was one of those pre-credit hummers that was short and sweet, ending with her taking his load in her mouth for swallowing. It helped set the stage for the rest of the movie without resorting to a typical porn opener.
Scene Two: Hillary Scott, still playing Natasha the candidate's mistress, was up next in the hallway with hotty Alana Evans as the seasoned performer shoved an anal plug up the ass of the young cutie to keep her occupied and distracted during a speech. It was almost too limited to be considered a scene but the erotic content was high.
Scene Three: Hillary Scott, sitting on the lap of Senator Helms (played by the director under his stage name Bryn Pryor), was fingered (pussy and ass) and fed the juices as he showed total control over her.
Scene Four: Sophia, the busty cutie with brilliant eyes, extreme queen Kelly "Fuckin" Wells, Franko Del Torro, and Johnny Castle, were up next as the quartet (is that whore-tet?) made each other happy with the gals playing party favors used to satiate the political associates of the Senator. It was edited into the following scene a bit but still well handled sexually as the gals orally worked over the men like they were getting bonuses for doing so, their hooker outfits enhancing their looks a lot. The men snacked on crack too, with some moody lighting, camera work, and sound to add to the almost surreal effect of the scene. It was a hardcore scene that you'd expect to find in more often in a gonzo release rather than a high end feature but it had a lot of spark and chemistry giving it replay value. Both gals did anal and vaginal, riding cock actively in each hole, ending with a cumswapped finish that was a notch or two above what one would expect given the circumstances of the feature. Sophia was also notable for the amount of dirty talk she provided, making it a good scene for the raincoater crowd.
Scene Five: Hillary Scott, playing a special party favor, was handed over to a power broker reverend played by Herschel Savage. The scene was being recorded by Helms as a bargaining chip for later use, but those of you who have been fed up with religious types preaching one thing and practicing another will find this one particularly heated. Hillary was once again on fire as she blew the man, later taking his spotted penis deep inside of her rectum on the bed. The imagery of her saying her prayers as he boned her was a bit much for me but I couldn't deny the skill of the two performers (and the later chant music to convey the duplicity of the man's sins). She was as active as ever and impaled herself on his cock really well before the ending facial (that he continually called her "boy" might've been cut but the ending dialogue was most fitting between them).
Scene Six: Alana Evans, a very appealing hotty that reminds me of a youthful version of retired performer Jill Kelly, was up next as she took advantage of Tyler Knight (he "didn't mind"). She was the Senator's chief of staff that took care of problems and he was a body guard devoted to the man so it was kind of ironic that they'd show such a lot of chemistry in this interracial scene together in the dark bedroom. She went wild on his cock and he reciprocated with some fingering and oral of his own, giving in to her demands for his cock by pummeling her pussy hard. Another active cock rider, she bounced on his lap as her pussy with filled by the large black cock, the two looking great together as they bumped uglies. It also ended with a mouth pop that she swallowed down.
Scene Seven: Kylie Ireland, the hotty redhead star that has been something of an icon for years in the industry, was up next playing the wife of the Senator who disapproved of mistress Hillary Scott as a potential liability. This led to a bondage scene between the two ladies in an industrial boiler room of sorts as Carolyn (Kylie's character) sought to figure out the youth's power over her husband. There was choking, slapping, all sorts of verbal abuse and toy use as the senior performer worked her over. Hillary did ATM and Kylie also enjoyed the girl's unique talents as booth gals gave as well as they received. It was very powerful in terms of showing the grudgefuck aspects of two women completely at odds with one another over a man and I don't think there could be a better choice of women to showcase the dynamic better then they did here.
Scene Eight: Hillary Scott, finished with by Kylie, was handed over to Steve Holmes and Jenner as reward for their meritorious services as goons. There was some controversy over the use of the handgun by Jenner as a dildo shoved into Hillary's pussy but it was a very rough scene with the men dominating the gal completely, even shoving much of his hand inside of her pussy (the camera angle didn't show if the thumb went inside). She played the good little whore; remaining defiant but servicing them as yet another way to remain a helping hand to her lover, the senator. There was foot fetish, salad tossing (on Steve's "monkey butt"), anal, ATM and even DP before the two facials took place. It was a dark scene but showed her skills very well.
Scene Nine: Alana Evans, put in a bad spot by the senator who was looking for his play toy Natasha (Hillary), was made to strip and masturbate in front of him. He was very angry and her feelings for him came out as a result of the harsh treatment he gave her (never laying a finger on her, in a further display of his ability to control those around him). She fingered herself and tasted the juices at his bequest, crying the entire time as he handed her a dildo to diddle herself. A lot was learned about the depths of his depravity to abuse those who cared about him as she used the anal plug and dildo in a technical DP.
Scene Ten: Kylie Ireland, looking just as hot as before, celebrated the elimination of Natasha (Hillary) with a gonzo-esque scene in bed assisted by Alex Sanders and Jenner. She was less in control her, at least overtly, and they gave her exactly the kind of abuse sex she sought from them as they made her deepthroat them, as they slapped her ample titties, and porked her hard as she orally served the other. The ATM was a minor bump on the road compared to the rare DPP (double pussy penetration) and DAP (double anal) before she took their facials. This is a long way from the VCA contract starlet I used to know and while she has done a lot of hardcore stuff in the recent past, it served to remind the world that she's all grown up now. Whew!
Scene Eleven: Hillary Scott, having been saved from oblivion by a snoopy reporter played by James Deen, rewarded him in his loft (that looked a lot like Eli and Kylie's place downtown). The sex was a different style in that the two showed a deeper connection with one another, her developing emotional ties thanks to her hero worship complex displayed earlier. Rather than the kind of romantic sex you'd expect of such a scene if shot for most of the leading companies, the two went at it really hard with some powerful oral and vaginal sex going on. From her point of view, her character was established as using her physical attributes to seek approval from those who touch her life and he seemed to be the opportunistic type that wouldn't turn down a lay if she was dripping ooze (the commentary was especially informative this time too and no Eli, the biggest piles of porn are not in the homes of ministers but in the homes of reviewers like me lol). He choked her until she turned color and while he seemed less the bookworm type the loft would portray him as, there was something going on between them. I was surprised that he dropped his load onto the small of her back and that the anal was missing but it was also well done.
Scene Twelve: Stacy Thorn, Hillary Scott, and Mark Davis, were up next as Natasha was handed over to the wealthy supporters as a means of keeping Helms safe from the potential danger she possesses towards him and to keep her safe from his well meaning supporters (as well as a certain reporter). Stacy wore fetish gear on the boat as she flogged Hillary and made the youthful hotty go down on her. Mark was also dominating as he had Hillary suck him off without her hands. Stacy remained the lead character of the scene in terms of staying in charge, with Hillary giving new meaning to the term "slobbing his knob". The sex included anal and ATM, with the bondage elements played up a bit with an emphasis on the verbal abuse. For the record, Stacy also got some cock and seemed very able to handle anal sex with an active manner, with an anal creampie ending the scene (being shot out and fed to Hillary).
Scene Thirteen: Kylie Ireland, Sandra Romain, Arianna Jollee, Lexi Bardot, Annie Cruz, Vixen, Jordan Styles, Alana Evans, Jerry, Derrick Pierce, Rick Masters, Seth Dickens, and Tyler Knight, were up last in the massive orgy that will probably raise a lot of controversy. The sheer variety of sex acts and pairings going on were a lot to keep track of and most of the action was standard (oral, vaginal and anal; only Bardot and Styles skipped the anal). There was also squirting by Annie and Arianna with Arianna fisting her own ass. Yes, FISTING (one of the most taboo of sex acts according to those who keep track of legal actions against consensual sex partners) which was then topped by Sandra who not only fisted Kylie's pretty pussy but also DOUBLE FISTED it before going at her ass. There were no camera tricks involved (some slow motion but that's it) and this might make the scene become infamous in the near future by itself but in terms of general sexual conduct, there was some slapping, dirty talk, and other kinks explored too. As far as orgies go, it was not only the most extreme orgy I've seen on a domestically produced title, but it was very lengthy and had a lot of stroke and replay value (some of the best for both of those qualities in the twenty five years I've been watching porn). The scene ended with scores of facials and swapped loads, with Alana taking the only chest shot. Whew!
Summary: Corruption was final proof of my belief that director Eli Cross could make great porn that managed to be controversial, cutting (some would say bleeding) edge, and combine both feature and hardcore elements in such a way that Sex Z Pictures can now say that they have a title worthy of their stated goals. If you'd rather have fluffy feature porn with wooden acting, ditzy girls, and writing you could fit on the back of a matchbook cover, you'll see lots of that up for awards too but Corruption is the kind of movie you can get into as a MOVIE as well as a stroke flick of undeniable appeal. If it doesn't win scores of awards from AVN, FOXE, XRCO, X-Biz, and other industry sources, you can bet that it wasn't due to the quality of the sex, acting, direction, and writing that went into the movie. I like all kinds of porn and as a thriller, the bar has been raised well above the norm here, marking Corruption as clearly superior to anything on the market for the market it shoots for. As such, I couldn't rate it as anything less than a DVD Talk Collector Series, thanks in large part to hotty Hillary Scott's onscreen performance combined with Eli's role on both sides of the camera. For all intents and purposes, Corruption brings Sex Z Pictures into the big leagues. There is a director's cut planned for release next year (and for the company website) but if you want something that transcends the genre in more ways than I can count, Corruption is worth every penny in terms of replay and strokability. Whew!
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