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Studio: Wicked Pictures » Review by Don Houston » Review Date: 9/21/03

XCritic's Advice: Skip It


Wicked Pictures

Genre: Vignette

Director: Mark Stone

Cast: Dru Berrymore, Rafe, Holly Hollywood, Nicole Sheridan, Randy Spears, Voodoo, Jordan Haze, Joel Lawrence, Cynara Fox, Stephanie Swift, Venus, Lee Stone, Lola, August, Nakita Kash

Length: 107 minutes

Date of Production: 10/6/02

Extra's: 19 minute long All Access: The Making of Hook-Ups by Jeff Scott, trailers, various photogalleries, cast listed by scene in the menus, Star Stats, Free Speech Coalition commercial, various extras set for dvd-rom use only, double sided dvd cover, paper dvd catalog

Audio/Video Quality: The picture was presented in 1.33:1 ratio full frame color, the industry standard. My biggest problem with the show was the use of way too much slow motion effect. This really weakened the entire show for me but it wasn't the only problem. The lighting was a bit on the darker side, causing some issues with grain and color saturation but I think the director was going for a slightly artistic effect. I noticed a few motion artifacts from time to time but otherwise it looked okay. The audio was presented with a choice of either 6.1 Dolby Digital Surround or a standard 2.0 track. To be fair, I didn't think the audio was used to full advantage here and the only difference to my ears was that the 5.1 track was louder. The vocals were clear though dubbed.

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Body of Review: Mark Stone is best known to me as a guy who used to make movies for a small company (Moonlight?) and as one of the regular videographers for the Wicked "All Access" Behind the Scenes featurettes. As a fledgling director for the world's best feature porn company, he has a tough job to do. Competing with the talents of Armstrong and Morgan (to name just two), he needs to make his own mark (pun intended) and show a style that fans can like. This being the case, he has to take a chance on forming this style and not just copying what others do. Sadly, in his latest release, Hook-Ups, his attempt pretty much failed. The idea is to get porn performers to select whom they want to work with and a location they are comfortable with to squeeze out a great performance from them. Conceptually speaking, the idea is sound, if not particularly original. The biggest problem the movie has is that Mr. Stone relied too heavily on slow motion photography. A little goes a long way and he used enough for about a hundred movies. The weak lighting introduced grain and other problems too but that was only a secondary issue. Here's a breakdown of the scenes by cast, noting that condoms were used in all scenes involving men:

Scene One: Dru, a brunette that I've never been overly enthusiastic about, , and Rafe, had a scene on a couch. The anal sex was okay but the slow motion effect was over used. I'm hoping the director decided to start with a weak scene in order to build heat.

Scene Two: Nicole, the busty blonde with great skills, Holly, the lean blonde with a memorable name, Randy, and Voodoo, had a scene inside of a strip club. Nicole was the most playful of the bunch (surprise, surprise) as she took anal from Randy but the motion effect made it all look like a web broadcast, limiting the heat for me.

Scene Three: Jordan, a busty blonde with huge implants, and Joel, had an okay scene on a couch. She's not my favorite performer and the picture problems kept me from caring much for this scene. Pass.

Scene Four: Cynara and Stephanie, both ultra lean gals with a taste for clam, had a scene outdoors. It was the shortest scene of the bunch but pretty solid if you like lesbian action. There was a lot of toy usage too (some of you hate that, others like it).

Scene Five: Venus, a curvy little gal wearing a fetish corset, and the massive Lee, had a scene in a home gym. He spanked her a bit and got a touch rough with her but she seemed to enjoy it. There was a lot of oral sex before the straight and even some anal to round it out a bit. Not a bad scene.

Scene Six: Lola, August, Jordan, and Nakita, had a short scene on a couch. I thought it looked like a lot of fun with the gals licking each other and using toys but the limitations of the photography hurt the heat once more.

Summary: I like Wicked Pictures and think they release some of the best feature porn to be found but every once in awhile, they drop the ball. The motion effect alone was more damaging to the heat index than if they had used a bunch of ugly women (and none of the gals here were ugly). I'm rating it as a Skip It simply because when a fan of some of these performers can't get off to it, it's not likely that anyone else will be able to either. I think Mr. Stone has some talent, he just needs to polish it up a bit and not rely on camera tricks so much to display it.

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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