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Genres: Sexual Fantasy, Drama
Directors: Craven Moorehead & Bree Mills
Writer/Producer: Bree Mills Editors: Michael Hughes, Woody All-In
Cast: Jill Kassidy, Gina Valentina, Casey Calvert, Mick Blue, Tommy Pistol
Length: 1 hour 59 minutes
Date of Release: April 17, 2018
Extras: Photo Galleries, Menu-Selectable Trailers
Audio/Video Quality: Good visual capture and presentation in an anamorphic widescreen format with a very film noir style. The audio is better in the opening scene than in the second.
Overview: Pure Taboo is back with two more twisted tales that were originally shot as webisodes. Each one is about an hour long with long setups in order to either develop a character backstory or build tension. The first story is a tale of a young girl, Jill Kassidy, who is about to be subjected to a life-changing criminal trial and must rely on her psychiatrist, Tommy Pistol, to get her off the hook. The second tale is about a deranged couple, Mick Blue and Casey Calvert, that abduct Gina Valentina to be their sexual pet.
Scene 1: Jill Kassidy & Tommy Pistol "The Psychiatrist"
This will be a polarizing scene for many viewers, which is ultimately the point Pure Taboo is striving for, I'm sure. It centers around an initial interview between Jill and Tommy. Jill's about to be on trial for a life-changing crime and Tommy is the court-assigned psychiatrist that is to evaluate her overall mental state. He's a thorough doctor and gets into the mind of his patients by getting into their pants. In this case, those are sweatpants worn by the lovely Kassidy that end up on the floor of his office during their session.
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The subdued, almost sepia visuals and the subtle yet very effective audio cues help to build tension if you are critically evaluating this like I am right now - with headphones on. That's part of the craftsmanship that Pure Taboo is known for, the other side of the coin relies entirely on the acting chops of the performers in the scene. Without giving away too much, I'll tell you that both characters are well portrayed by Kassidy and Pistol. He's a manipulative bastard and she's a pretty girl who knows he is but has to appease him to get what she ultimately needs. She's reluctant to do that and the disdain is apparent on her face and voice throughout the entirety of the scene while she services him and his freakish desires.
The sex is on point. It would be odd if it wasn't between two performers of this caliber but once again I have to ask myself the recurring questions that come up during Pure Taboo movies that I watch: "Is it porn? Is it a turn-on to most viewers?" The begrudged hate-fuck session that goes down has obviously played out time and again over the millennia for many people but is watching it a turn on? Some of you will answer "yes" and others "no", that's part of the allure of Pure Taboo and it is also what makes it polarizing.
The cinematic aspects of Pure Taboo flicks are undeniable. Those things resulted in the studio garnering some awards last year and I suspect that will be repeated in the future. There are other categories for things like the most outrageous sex scene or best sex scene in one genre or another. Pure Taboo hasn't yet ventured into those arenas and I don't think they have any intention to...they're here to raise some eyebrows amongst "porn fans" that are first and foremost "film fans". Like pretty much everyone at XCritic, I fall right into the middle of that Venn Diagram and I praise this scene and everyone involved for the expert filmcraft it is but it just doesn't work for me on an arousal level.
Scene 2: Gina Valentina, Casey Calvert, Mick Blue "Don't Talk To Strangers"
In this scene, we have Gina Valentina playing a schoolgirl on her way home who offers to help a stranger (Casey Calvert) and her husband (Mick Blue) with directions to an event they are trying to get to. Against her better judgment, she gets in the car with them to show them the way, only to find herself days later being held captive by the deranged couple. Slowly she starts to break down mentally and agrees to do anything they want, which, of course, is to have sex with the hot little spinner.
This isn't the first time I've seen Gina play this type of role for a division of Gamma Entertainment, she also played a "wild child" in 'The Feral Woman' from Pretty Dirty and did it very well, as she does here. Casey Calvert is an excellent "evil captor", being just demanding enough that it is believable and also manipulative enough to get what she ultimately wants. Mick Blue does an admirable job with the extended sex session but honestly, the part could have been played by just about anyone with stick stamina, there's just not a lot of dialog from him.
Now, the dialog brings me to my gripe with this scene. Casey talks in a calm demeanor, which ultimately means it's fairly low in volume and often directed away from the viewer which means if you want to hear it, you'll have to turn it way up, which just means you'll have to dial it way the fuck back when the moaning and ball slapping starts. As I've mentioned before when I have encountered audio issues like this, it is a solvable problem if you happen to have the capability to compress and limit the audio and you know how to use those capabilities but ultimately it should be done during the mastering/sweetening phase by the studio so that the consumer doesn't have to fumble around with it.
The video itself has a very film noir feeling to it but the sex scenes actually happen on a well-lit mattress, so they are more visible than the setup to the scene which happens in a hostage's room. The sexual positions are captured in good detail during certain parts but not at optimal angles for every position, the camera moving purposefully to create a sense of unease in the viewer.
Final Thoughts: I've watched quite a few Pure Taboo offerings at this point and I'm still not really sure how I feel about them. On the one hand, the casting, the acting, the cinematography are all absolutely fabulous from a filmcraft standpoint. On the other hand, very few of them are ever a turn on to me because the fantasy scenarios they are depicting are always just fucked up from the start. Abduction, coercion, murder, whatever it may be - those things just put my brain into a gear that appreciates the film stylings of the flick rather than being able to focus on what is usually really good sex and chemistry between the performers. Maybe it's just me, I don't know.
I applaud what Pure Taboo is doing from a cinematic and storytelling standpoint but I wonder why they are focusing on making adult films for a narrow audience when they could probably be making great content for Netflix or Showtime, or WhateverNetwork that reached a much larger audience and could have some sex involved, just not quite XXX content. Ultimately, they are making content that appeals to their member audience and actively engage in conversations about what they are doing, what people like and what they want to see in the future. From what I can tell, people seem to really love the acting-driven stuff they are doing and seem to be viewing it (or at least commenting on it) from a film fan perspective rather than a porn fan perspective.
So what does that all mean to a reader of this review? That's up to you. Honestly, I watch this studio's titles from a film fan's viewpoint. I'm here for the story. If that's how you want to approach this title then it's Recommended. If you are just looking for hot and steamy sex then drop that recommendation down a notch and watch it on demand, the steamy sex is present but it's not easily jumped to using chapter stops.
~cyber5 Tweet me.