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Always and Forever

Studio: Wicked Pictures » Review by Don Houston » Review Date: 3/11/09

XCritic's Advice: Watch On Demand

Angelina Armani in the BTS (click for trailer)

Always and Forever

Wicked Pictures

Jessica Drake and Barrett Blade

Genre: Feature

Director: Michael Raven

Mikayla Mendez and Randy Spears

Cast: Jessica Drake, Barrett Blade, Mikayla Mendez, Randy Spears, Scarlett Fay, Rocco Reed, Scott Styles, Nicole Ray
Non-sex roles: Angelina Armani/Adrianna Armani; others not credited

Scarlett Fay

Length: 88:10 minutes

Date of Production: 11/22/2008

Jessica Drake and Scott Styles

Extras: Outside of some preliminary trailers (followed by more of them in the extras section), the first true extra was the 13:24 minute long bonus scene from "Seduction" between Jessica Drake and Derrick Pierce, the pair getting each other off on a couch. I prefer extras unique to a particular production so I enjoyed the 13:38 minute long Behind the Scenes feature, largely starring Jessica Drake (but giving the others, including the director, and gals like Angelina). Then came the photogallery, the trailers I wrote about, a promo reel, some spam, and the usual DVD ROM materials. The package included a slipcase for the movie too.

Nicole Ray and Barrett Blade

Condoms: Yes

-- sponsored by --

Audio/Video Quality: Always and Forever was presented in the expected 1.78:1 ratio anamorphic widescreen color as shot by director Michael Raven for Wicked Pictures. The DVD was encoded in the MPEG-2 codec using 480i resolution, the video bitrate hovering around the 4.8 Mbps range, sufficient enough given the thematic exploration of the subject matter. There was some grain and minor video noise at times, just as the lighting seemed to be designed to create a mood more than explicitly display the ladies as most porn does. There did not appear to be much edge enhancement but I never had any doubt that the movie was knocked out in a few days, the foibles of porn production impacting yet another "erotica drama" released by the talented director. That said, some of the scenes looked substantially better than others and the feature portions were clearly given the most time from the looks of it, this being a trait of the director for a long time. The audio was presented in 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround English, the bitrate of 384 Kbps and 48 kHz sampling rate expected of the material. As always, the surround appeared to be generated in post production, mainly involving the music and sound effects, the vocals almost certainly caught on the boom mike used during the shoot. The separation was minimal and the dynamic range fair, about average from what I have heard of other titles by Wicked Pictures.

Body of Review: Michael Raven is currently known as a director at Wicked Pictures, typically focusing his efforts on supernatural, horror, and quirky features, occasionally dabbling in light erotica. While I have not always been his biggest cheerleader, his works are generally better than anyone else at the company short of Brad Armstrong (by a fair margin too), his eye for detail and willingness to embrace riskier projects accepted as his way of doing things. His latest release making it my way was Always and Forever, a love story with several twists that I won't go into, lovely Jessica Drake playing a woman that appears to have been abandoned by her love in her greatest hour of need only to find out things were not as they seemed. This forces a choice with all the usual heartstrings tugged at, making it the kind of couples porn Wicked has devoted itself towards for years now. The back cover said it like this: "Karen (Jessica Drake) had a promising future: A blossoming career as a journalist and the love and support of her photojournalist boyfriend, Ryan (Barrett Blade). But when Karen becomes ill, both seem to vanish into thin air. Now stricken with a terrible case of writers block, her attempts to reach Ryan go unanswered. After recovery, she starts dating, her writing career gets back on track and she eventually gets engaged. Shortly before her wedding, Ryan contacts her. She's stunned to find out that Ryan never abandoned her. Now confused about her future, she's faced with huge decisions that will determine her fate...but fate has a few twists of its own...will forever be long enough?" Here's a brief look at the scenes by cast and action, noting that condoms were used for those still interested:

Scene One: Jessica Drake, the cover cutie and star of Fallen, was up first in a short scene between her and Barrett Blade, as she put away her work to take a moment to enjoy herself with him. The frisky pair moved into the bedroom as they made out, Jessica's breasts pouring out of her top with his help, the gal going down on him after he ate her out. There was a lot of kissing and the vaginal sex established the two as a couple, a few positions and a facial of genetic juice ending it pretty quickly. While they had little chemistry or heat together, Jessica seemed more into the action than he did, the use of shadows helping imply some action but not taken further.

Scene Two: Mikayla Mendez, a curvy Latina contract gal, was up next with Randy Spears after they had a dinner with the previous couple. She rubbed his package and they kissed, an abrupt edit to the couch where she gave him some head as part of the foreplay allowing her to strip effectively for the moment. Mikayla showed some enthusiasm during the hummer but the vaginal sex, including the condom as all Wicked scenes provide these days, was kind of weak. He did most of the work and ended it by jerking off his population pudding to his chest.

Scene Three: Scarlett Fay, a lean redhead wearing jeans and a red tank top, was up next kissing newcomer stud Rocco Reed on the couch. The caressing and kissing were realistic to a point, the pair having watched a movie on the television of dubious quality. She slobbed his knob and he orally reciprocated on her crotch, fingering her as she purred in delight. Some of the moaning did come across as porn styled fake noises but both of them were active during the short session of vaginal pounding so it wasn't a bad scene. The screwing ended with a titty pop as pictured, a touch of chemistry between them noticed.

Scene Four: Jessica Drake, a few years into the future, was now hooked up with Scott Styles, the guy looking a bit too old for her. The scene went right to her blowing him as she stretched out in her black lingerie, actively working the meat pipe, accepting his better qualities even though she was misled about her former lover. Jessica savored the cock in her mouth readily, a few moments of vaginal riding leading to her getting her final facial of the movie.

Scene Five: Nicole Ray, a cute gal with nice tits, was up last on the couch with Barrett Blade. While I wished his partner had been Angelina Armani (a cutie from the wedding reception), she definitely had some sexual potential even if working with the mope. She engaged his cock orally and they boned fairly actively, a couple of positions before the facial took place. There was no chemistry but some energy on her part, making it another scene worth checking out a time or two.

Summary: Always and Forever by director Michael Raven for Wicked Pictures fit the manner in which the director shoots for a specific audience but the sex was mediocre in most cases so I rated it as a Rent It unless you are looking for a light feature with even lighter sex. Jessica gave a credible acting performance but the material was flimsy and her supporting cast all phoned in their delivery so even compared to the mild efforts of the company, this was one you might want to rent first (unlike their bigger budget efforts I like so much). In short, Always and Forever might have been better if the sex scenes, as well as the characters, were not so lightweight, but in terms of couples porn made for those that aren't into lengthy sex scenes, you could do worse than this one.

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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