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Studio: Other » Review by Don Houston » Review Date: 5/30/07

XCritic's Advice: Recommended


Studio A

Genre: Erotica

Director: Andrew Blake

Cast: Jacqueline, Dahlia Grey, Monica Mendez, Nika, Jade, Rachel Rotten, Celeste, Rob Rotten

Length: 115:44 minutes

Date of Production: 6/16/2003

Extra's: One of the things some people adore about movies from Studio A is the extensive extras including a great 31:26 minute long Behind the Scenes feature. The ladies were in fine form and Monica Mendez was at the helm of the project, showing them in various states of undress and preparing for their scenes. That it was shot in anamorphic widescreen color was just a bonus, especially considering the rarity of the process when this DVD first came out. The rest of side 2 of the DVD was filled with similar vignettes as the main movie itself, lasting 69:37 minutes and containing a lot of heated stroke material for your viewing pleasure. The vignettes were labeled as: 1) Sex Doll
2) Dahlia's Love Doll
3) Ripped
4) Frosted Glass
5) Girls In Glasses
6) Wet Panties
7) Dahlia & Nika

Condoms: None

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Audio/Video Quality: Dollhouse was presented in anamorphic widescreen in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 as shot by director Andrew Blake for Studio A several years ago. Mr. Blake records his erotic movies on film, generally 16 mm from what I understand, using the grain as texture much like he uses lighting, camera angles, and editing in ways that I don't even begin to understand all that well to weave a tapestry that you simply don't find by most of his peers. He is a one man crew that seems to focus his efforts on a single project at a time, typically making a couple of movies a year that are highly polished and artistic rather than churn them out gonzo style as the vast majority of the industry prefers. The most common criticism he faces is that his movies all look alike followed by the complaint that they have precious little sexual conduct but the best way to answer these misconceptions (which I myself have held in the past) is to tell folks to take a step back and expand their outlook a little. The majority of sex in a Blake movie is lesbian oriented or even solo work meant to tantalize rather than look at sex via the gyno-cam process that is much easier to make. The use of slow motion and all the visual elements is almost cathartic from what I've gathered, allowing Blake to warm you up for some at home pleasure, often with a loved one, rather than focus on the explicit. It doesn't always work but his titles sell well over time instead of for a month and disappear as other's works seem to do most of the time; spawning scores of directors trying to copy his dynamic; largely failing though a few (like Digital Playground's Celeste via Robby D. providing a similar experience often enough to warrant inspection). The picture was composed well and the bitrate hovered around the mid 4 Mbps range in the MPEG-2 format of SD DVD; the hope of fans that he'll start offering high definition versions in the upcoming year to enhance his works even more. The audio was presented in a 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround with the vocals stripped (due to the motion effects like slow motion) and a bit rate of 384 Kbps. The music was largely light jazz oriented or even as sparse as a piano and some drums but as much as I prefer vocals of ladies getting it on; Blake provided a solid aural experience here.

Body of Review: Andrew Blake and his company, Studio A, have been one of the few holdouts in porn that cater to a very narrow audience that prefers erotic sensuality over the current circus act sex craze. Most of his work (that I've seen at least) centers on ladies posing and performing various fetishes instead of parolees penetrating pussies and other body parts these days. The gals wear a variety of outfits with a heavy emphasis on sexy lingerie that could only be accurately described as the modern version of cheese cake compared to the extreme acts others capture. By using film, Blake has a lot more control over the final product, another reason why he started his own company; in order to make porn he likes rather than cater to an overseer as most others have to contend with. Thanks to some farsighted individual, I was sent a copy of one of his classic titles from 2003 called Dollhouse; a series of 27 vignettes of varying length that explored Blake's free flowing ideas of what constitutes heated erotic action, much of it working for me better now that I'm a jaded old porn hound than it did way back in the day.

Rather than outline what each scene is about, I listed them below, allowing you to get an idea of the kind of fantasies Blake addressed; from smoking to foot play to gals simply experiencing each other in lesbian fashion in a variety of lingerie and clothing that worked well for them as individuals. I'll be the first to admit that a steady diet of this kind of porn would not work well for me but as an alternative to the monotonous releases so many others make; it was a great spin around the block. It should be noted that Blake wisely prefers curvy women with a certain look (that varies by movie to a degree) instead of the youngest gals possible or MILFs as others have been pushing over the years.

The sole example of modernistic porn here was Rachel Rotten and then boyfriend Rob Rotten going at it in Rachel's Sex Act but even then, Blake turns some of the action on it's head to give a most interesting look. The rest of the scenes relied on lipstick, lace, and slow, seductive posing by the ladies; some of them deliberately using an ice queen attitude to convey their coldness or style (much like runway models do). There was a fair amount of cunnilingus and clear toys (glass from the looks of it) used to poke and prod but the dynamic here was almost always that of a canvass on the small screen; some of the scenes very short while others were fleshed out a lot more depending on how far Blake wanted to take them. Here's a list of the scenes from the movie to show you what to expect, many couple's finding his work particularly appealing:

1) Jacqueline=Sex Doll
2) Dahlia's Leg Show
3) Tiny Panties
4) Rachel's Sex Act
5) Open Legs
6) Celeste Strips Naked
7) Butt Views
8) Pussy Foot
9) G-String
10) Pretty Flesh
11) Strip For Quarters
12) Sushi
13) Monica & Celeste
14) Penetration
15) Smoking Pussy
16) Penetration II
17) Living Dolls
18) Totally Nude
19) Video Voyeur
20) Finger Play
21) Dahlia's Lips
22) Legs Wide Open
23) Cigars & Pantyhose
24) Perfect Views
25) Video Voyeur II
26) Naked Pussy
27 Dahlia Underwater

Summary: Dollhouse by director Andrew Blake for Studio A is certainly not going to be for everyone's tastes but even years later it showed that a little imagination could go a very long way in terms of stroke value. My own tastes run completely opposite of this kind of erotica fare and I liked it enough to rate it as Recommended but many of you will find this to be overwhelmingly better than most of what is out there on the market due to the beautiful ladies, the conceptualizations by Blake, and the manner in which the tease was the all important factor. In short, if you like Blake's works in general, Dollhouse will be much appreciated and if you haven't seen his work before, this was an excellent entry point for newcomers; both male and female since the light BDSM wasn't as thoroughly explored here as elsewhere in his collection.

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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