Extras: The best extra was a 25:28 minute long Behind the Scenes feature by Shelley Bartolini. For the most part, it consisted of interviews with the cast and crew, though Bree was short changed here compared to the other gals, the lack of balance making me wonder if there was a monetary reason (while the movie is distributed by her contract owner, their terms for her use tend to be kind of harsh from what I'm told). There was additional footage of Teagan doing her anal solo scene fans will appreciate and it did hint at who was most in charge of the shoot but it was far from the most involving BTS I've seen of late. There was also a single trailer and a photogallery but that was all.
Sasha Grey (click for BTS 1-3)
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Audio/Video Quality: Sun Goddess Malibu was presented in the same 1.78:1 ratio anamorphic widescreen color it was shot in by Director of Photography B. Skow for Skinworxxx using the standard definition MPEG-2 codec (with 480i resolution); the corresponding Blu-ray version in 1080i using the VC-1 codec. The SD version of the movie had a video bitrate hovering around the 6.4 Mbps mark but it varied more than usual for an adult production, dipping down into the 4+ area and elevating as high as the low 8's. The Blu-ray version showed a similar variable bitrate approach with the bitrate hovering around the 26.3 Mbps mark and going well above that on occasion, providing a markedly superior look that will be far more noticeable on a big screen television than anything else (as I've said before, the BEST way to evaluate high definition is to watch it on a 50" or more screen, anything smaller downplaying the problems too much). There were few compression artifacts to speak of, no video noise interfering with the production, and the edge enhancement was sparingly used. The editing was a bit aggressive, the music video style of the solo portions fused with the slower pace of the action when the droning music died down so while I doubt it will win any awards for this aspect of the production, it seemed to be in line with similar flicks offered up by other companies. The two camera aspect of the production was a nice surprise though, Skow's works long recognized by this fan and Jake Jacobs on shotgun certainly didn't hurt. The use of a jib/crane assembly allowed for some of those arty farty sweeps one might recognize from higher end works at Wicked Pictures or Digital Playground, which caught the lovely Malibu landscape well enough but seemed overkill in such a modest production. Still, while the movie might not have maximized the totality of the sum of the parts here, it was a good first effort from a small company on the way up. The audio was presented in a 2.0 Dolby Digital English (in 192 Kbps with a 48 kHz sampling rate) offering with the vocals sounding flat and the music pretty decent. Each scene would start with some generic music that droned but thankfully died out before giving me a headache, the lesbian orgy mixing it up with a light jazz flavored ditty balanced against the moans & groans. There was some evidence of dubbing (like when the asses were being slapped but half of them had no corresponding audio) but otherwise, it struck me as an average aural experience. The high definition version was apparently a direct port from the SD one too, not surprising since this is common in the industry.
Body of Review: B. Skow is one of my favorite directors these days, his eye for shooting the ladies far more advanced than many of his lesser trained peers. There are few that can shoot a brand new girl (pun intended for those that "get it") half as well as he can too, making his skills a valuable commodity for a declining market so dedicated to fresh young hotties, but his biggest challenges have always been providing a refreshing view of ladies some would claim are "shot out." In a surprise move, the director took a slightly back seat role with a project for new company Skinworxxx, working as the technical genius allowing credited director Joshua to offer up a specific vision, much like the dynamic some of you may understand between Celeste and Robby D; the movie called Sun Goddess Malibu. Having dined with Joshua earlier this year I got the impression he wanted more from his main squeeze, Teagan Presley, than just a free ride; eschewing the title "suitcase pimp" for "working partner" in a way that may well prove interesting over time. This project was something of a curiosity in that it was billed as a contest sponsored by Xbiz and Genesis Magazine to find a "sun goddess", a webcast or television show about the troubles encountered already previewed on the company website. To be frank, as much as I adore Teagan and found Joshua to be devoted to her, I had some serious misgivings about the premise. The movie itself is a series of four solo masturbation scenes with an all female orgy at the end, the tease and action by the ladies markedly similar compared to most porn on the market. Under anyone else but Skow, I'd have my doubts about the replay value but as he wasn't completely in charge of the project, I had the nagging feeling I'd be splitting hairs on some of my comments below. Here's a brief look at the scenes by cast and action, noting that no condoms or genetic juice were used for those still interested:
The all gal orgy
Scene One: Teagan Presley, the sexy little blond on the front cover wearing a pink bikini, was up first as she set the pace for the others. On a rock deck overlooking a lush landscape, the babe was wearing a metallic blue bikini, coyly teasing the camera as the young lady caressed herself. I know that I'm a fan of hers so take my comments with a grain of salt but the elegance of simplicity worked for her here, though I admit on the second look I turned off the sound (it was music-only for the longest time). Teagan dropped the clothing and diddled herself, using a glass dildo with red stripes in her pussy and ass, taste testing along the way, with no dirty talk.
Scene Two: Gianna Lynn, the curvy brunette sported on the far right side of the cast picture on the cover, was up next. She was wearing a metallic copper bikini out by a fancy pool, the skyline providing an interesting cloud pattern. While she has never breached my personal top hundred porn performer list, she looked fetching here, the jumpy editing diminishing her act a bit. I love tease but not a woman standing about tossing her hair while looking at the camera, a repeated exercise attributed to the credited director. Gianna did not do anal during her vibrator penetration and she looked less like she got off than Teagan did, but as eye candy, it wasn't half bad.
Scene Three: Sasha Grey, the ice princess seen on the far left side of the cover, was up next in a wooded area while wearing a basic black bikini. Sasha is the media darling at the moment for her role as a hooker in a mainstream movie by a famous director, my curiosity tweaked as to how she could translate her niche into such a scene. Frankly, it occurred to me that as pretentious as she can come across, this scene invoked memories of soft core erotica from my youth (before explicit hardcore was legal). In that sense, she was initially more appealing to me than usual even if I didn't find the scene particularly strokable, the black bejeweled vibrator as turned off as she was. Whether she was going through the motions as is often the case or just unable to project that sensibility, I wanted more from the scene than I ultimately received.
Scene Four: Bree Olson, the blond standing to the right of Teagan on the cover, was up next and as the last of the solo scenes, she provided a comfort level I found quite intoxicating. The scene was shot at night in front of a pool, the seductive lady losing her white bikini quickly as she teased the camera so openly. By this point in time, I figured out the difference between the scenes and the type of erotica they emulated from other productions, Bree able to make it work as well as Teagan did given the manner in which she took her time to get familiar with herself. Her flesh colored dildo seemed to suit her too, the sucking leading to some modest vaginal penetration under the fountain.
Scene Five: Teagan Presley, Gianna Lynn, Sasha Grey, and Bree Olson were up last in the all gal bikini orgy at night by the pool. There was ass slapping (and grabbing), kissing, and lots of tongue use as the ladies pleasured each other. Some of the time, I had the impression that the ladies were truly enjoying themselves while at other times, their porn moans overwhelmed me with a sense of "why are they doing that?" There was some neck grabbing for the squeamish, rimming, carpet munching, and toy use to speak of. Teagan was the most enthusiastic and her energy levels were the highlight of the scene, Bree a close second and the two brunettes playing more subdued roles. Gianna did some anal with a toy as did Teagan but most of the scene was full of the ladies performing rather than just having fun, the action captured well enough but not enough to stand apart from the rest of the market.
Summary: Sun Goddess Malibu by director Joshua for Skinworxxx was not a bad effort, the SD version of the title earning a rating of Rent It while the Blu-ray version's extra visual elements edging it up slightly to garner a limited Recommended from me. The box cover quote by contest sponsor Genesis Magazine as to how hot the movie was did not help matters by raising my expectations going into viewing it, nor did the relative weakness of the extras or skimpy running time (half or less what many companies provide these days) yet Teagan and Bree's scenes were definitely appealing to me on a level that reminds me why I'm a fan of theirs. For some light, breezy fun with modest replay value, check out Sun Goddess Malibu despite the hype and you may find yourself liking it more than I did when I watched it a few times this week.
Post Review Notes For the record, I have not written another version of this review elsewhere (to answer the multiple inquiries I've received so far).
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