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You & Us

Studio: Digital Playground » Review by Don Houston » Review Date: 7/20/09

XCritic's Advice: Watch On Demand

You & Us (SD and Blu-ray)

Digital Playground

Genre: Erotica

Angelina Armani!

Director: Celeste

Cast: Angelina Armani, Scott Nails, Nikki Benz, Katsuni, Danny Mountain, Madison Ivy, Mick Blue, James Deen

Length: 92:13 minutes

Katsuni with Danny Mountain

Date of Production: 2/3/2009

Extras: There were some trailers, a photogallery, a slide show (on the SD version only), and an 8:46 minute long Behind the Scenes feature by Jamal Johnson that was edited by Evul Atheng. While I was looking for the credited director all over the BTS, I had to let Robbie suffice, his working with the talent and crew lending credence to my previous comments about who is in charge on these productions. The ladies seemed to have some fun before their scenes and there was nothing to suggest Angelina was unhappy as a new contract gal.

Condoms: None

Madison Ivy and Mick Blue

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Audio/Video Quality: You & Us was presented in the usual 1.78:1 ratio anamorphic widescreen color as envisioned by director Celeste for Digital Playground in the usual MPEG-2 codec reserved for standard definition releases; the resolution clocking in at 480p. The Blu-ray version was superior with its 1080p resolution and the AVC codec that greatly enhanced portions of the show, the use of lighting and filters marginalizing some of the upgrade again but still proving worth consideration if you are in the market for high definition. The high end equipment and skilled crew of regulars assisted director of photography Robby to make this release look really sharp; dropping some of the artistic meanderings in favor of better visuals. The lighting was generally decent here, editor Kurt Tortcher picking up some of the slack where possible. The SD DVD mastering revealing no compression artifacts; with the bitrate for the visuals hovering around 7.2 Mbps (the Blu-ray clocking in around 22.2 Mbps) this time with few flaws but not as low in resolution as previous efforts in related showcase efforts from prior to last year. The audio was presented in a 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround English using a 384 Kbps bitrate (448 Kbps on the Blu-ray) and 48 kHz sampling rate; twice that of most porn made these days, with a minimalist leaning that seemed unique in most ways to productions outside of the Jack series, but the vocals did not always dominate the audio track as I like it so your mileage may vary. There wasn't much separation between the channels, if any outside of the intermittent music, but the ladies were always clearly heard here.

Nikki Benz and Scott Nails

Body of Review: Celeste has always proven a bit of an enigma for me to understand as a director, her work with Digital Playground forcing her boy toy to handle all the technical matters while she conceptualized what she wanted him to shoot on the sets she shies away from. There are times when her influence is crystal clear and other times when I wonder aloud why the company credits her as director, resulting in some friction earlier this year when I cut back on reviewing her titles. Frankly, whomever is credited with the ending result, many of them are decent fuck flicks made for couples that don't quite follow Robbie's edgier work or Joone's blockbuster's so many of us adore, others falling down a bit with too much reliance on special effects and gimmicks that just don't work for jaded old porn hounds like me. This leads us to last month's You & Us that came in the usual two flavors, standard definition and the upgraded Blu-ray. Before I get too far with this, it should be noted that the production looked geared to the high definition version, lovely Angelina Armani benefitting the most from the treatment. There were five scenes and precious little material trying to connect them, the end result a bit disjointed but still worth checking out during the middle of the week if your local porn store holds specials on slow moving titles. Here's a brief look at the scenes by cast and action, noting that no condoms were used for those still interested:

Katsuni with James Deen

Scene One: Angelina Armani, the primary reason I picked this movie up in the first place (featured on the upper right hand corner of the cover), was in bed with Scott Nails, the gal looking for a commitment from the guy while he was half awake. She wanted to kiss him but he guided her head to his cock instead, Angelina nibbling on it before providing an appealing hummer (with hand assistance). The messy blowjob led to some vaginal penetration but the camera work failed epically to capture it very well, a series of disjointed close up shots weakening the effect of a couple that cared for one another having fun. If Angelina was particularly active most of the time, it was only displayed briefly in the cowgirl variations, some taste testing and ass fingering eventually resulting in the cutie taking his wad of genetic juice to her mouth. While not her best work, it was an upgrade to most of her contract performances, the dialogue portion light enough to merit minimal attention since the closer I looked, the worse it seemed.

Scene Two: Katsuni, the attractive Asian gal featured on the center of the cover, was up next at a bar where she picked up moper Danny Mountain, her satiny black dress hindering his progress to get busy with her until it was tossed aside for the blowjob part of the scene. It took forever for him to get fully erect, Katsuni coming across more as a fluffer than a major contract performer, his own oral efforts somewhat failing to look heated or enthusiastic. Katsuni was well versed in giving a guy pleasure though so even a chump like him was eventually able to get hard, pounding deep into the lass vaginally though rarely in a way that showed them providing any chemistry. He did choke her too but this was not a case of her asking for it as elsewhere, the quiet performance lacking the kind of spark I want to see in my porn. For some reason, the edit went to his sweaty face when his load of population pudding came out to her face, the result again weakening the situation though Katsuni looked like she wanted another partner to truly take her out for a spin.

Scene Three: Madison Ivy, a sexy brunette with great legs and pretty eyes, was up next in the bar wearing a red dress that enhanced her curves, the gal sharing some forced dialogue with Mick Blue. In moments, his hands were all over her body, nestling between her silken thighs and pawing her perky ass as it swallowed her matching thong. They kissed and actually showed a modicum of chemistry, the heat slowly rising past what had been observed in the previous scenes (thankfully at that!). She undid his pants to whip out his pecker, savoring the taste of the rod orally as she teased him a little bit, moving to a more aggressive blowjob as things progressed. He did service her a little too but it was during the vaginal penetration that they shined as a couple, her over the top vocals a bit much but still at least as believable as any of the other performances here. The action ended when he rubbed out his load to her mouth, Madison providing some post coital sucking to liven things up.

Scene Four: Nikki Benz, a long time performer as seen on the upper left hand side of the cover, was up next, misspeaking her intentions to Mick as she looked for a love connection with Scott Nails. The small talk was just as amusing as the philosophical banter between the men (weak!) but she really knew how to milk a nut from a guy. Her wild oral and titty fucking led to him reciprocating ever so slightly, the vaginal hammering she took indicative of a professional in her field of expertise. They really didn't go at it very long before it was time to close things up with a facial, a mixed scene in terms of passion if ever one existed in a "Celeste" movie.

Scene Five: Katsuni, laying in bed wearing her little black dress and shoes, ended the flick with a a bedroom tryst involving James Deen. He was initially tongue tied and wanting to impress her on the phone, the creepy aspects of his call hitting me more the second time I watched the scene (for the Blu-ray review), the piano solo sounding like it came from a Lifetime cable movie. They orally did one another and James seemed less rough than usual as he catered to her needs. He did grab her throat a bit but it was clear she wanted him to do so. The vaginal sex was on the vanilla side here, Katsuni coming across more as a contract performer than ever before (depending on what you like, that could possibly be a "good" thing though), the wad of spew landing on her chest as she moaned ever so slightly.

Summary: You & Us by director Celeste for Digital Playground was another porn-lite offering as far as I was concerned. It was too short to provide value, too couples oriented to get me off in most scenes, and too limited to earn more than a rating of Rent It. If you like Katsuni and Angelina Armani, by all means give it a shot but make no mistake about it, you'll have to bend over backwards to find this one worth more than a look or two. In short, You & Us was the wave of DP's future according to one reviewer pal of mine, I hope he's wrong of course but I can see where it might work for those shy of watching real porn.


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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