Tag Archives: Jacky St. James

Love in the Digital Age, Part Two: Humanized Sexuality

by Rich Moreland, September 2018

In Part Two of “Love in the Digital Age,” we’ll take a look at the production side of filmmaking that makes the award-winning Jacky St. James/Eddie Powell style one of the finest in the business.

[My thanks to Jeff Koga, Jacky St. James, and New Sensations for the photos in this post.]

*           *          *

“Love in the Digital Age” is another Jacky St. James feature film that reveals just how precise and demanding the writer/director can be.

Jacky is fond of saying that she’s not concerned with how popular her performers are in the fan world of adult film. Fame built on gonzo scenes and horny bodies is not what drives her casting. In fact, standards of hotness aren’t even in the equation when it comes to the on-screen expectations Jacky has for her hires.

To make a feature film come alive as an artistic statement, Jacky looks for performers who can take direction, deliver lines, and get into their characters. Some adult directors settle for line readings as benchmarks to create their characters; Jacky insists on acting ability. In this romantic comedy, she gets what she demands in spades.

Gia and Logan

Take Gia Paige. Her performance is superb.

Here’s an example. After an unsavory discovery, Sara confronts Griff (Logan Pierce) as she is walking out on him. She wants to know what category of undesirable females she falls under in his mind. “Dumb sorority girl, bad chick, crazy chick,” she growls. It’s Gia’s finest acting moment in the film. She expresses her frustration, anger, and feelings of deception.

For his part, Logan’s performance is also top-of-the-line. When Griff talks to his radio audience about screwing up “the best thing he had in his life,” he admits to being a jerk and doesn’t want his audience to be like him. The pain on Logan’s face illustrates the contrition and deep sense of loss Griff feels.

Bottom line? Expect good acting and character development in this film. The script is lively, but the actors’ energy moves the production into the fast lane.

Fit the Narrative

Eddie Powell and his filming cohort Paul Woodcrest frame the sex scenes to fit Jacky’s directing philosophy. She focuses on female pleasure and wants it evident on-screen. That requires a special commitment because extracting intimate performances from actors who are often limited to all-sex shoots is not easy. Too often spitting, deep throating, and facials limit the artistic boundaries, such as they are, in those types of scenes. On the other hand, romance scripts demand a different approach.

Jacky wants her cast to be engaged in the story but they must go a step further with the sex scenes because they must fit the narrative.

In this production, the women initiate the sex, moving the female characters from the object of sex to its subject in the eyes of the viewer. There’s lots of kissing, loving gazes, and passion.

As always, Eddie’s camera work reflects Jacky’s story telling mission. When framing the performers during their sex scenes, he focuses on both bodies equally. He and Paul build the intimacy with facial closeups as opposed to relying on genital action. In other words, the pure up-close piston shot is absent. In its place is a humanized sexuality, a Jacky St. James/Eddie Powell trait that has forged their legendary talent.

To put it another way, Jacky and Eddie step away from the traditional male gaze and rough sex that present women as merely bodies with no larger reality. It’s a departure from run-of-the-mill porn.

There is one more ingredient in the mix. Eddie’s camera is always in motion, swirling and floating in an expression of what happens in the minds of lovers who are absorbed in each other. His shooting mimics what lovers experience when passions are high, a trait that elevates his work above the best cinematographers in the business.

A Cowgirl Sexcapade

There are four sex scenes, as mentioned previously. The first is Gia and Tyler Nixon. It’s a sample of Sara’s previous relationship that is ultimately doomed because of a social media post that inflames her.

The second is Kenna James and Small Hands. Lizzie meets Jeremy at the bar. He takes her home and the sex heats up.

The third is Gia Paige again, this time with Logan Pierce in a triumph of their new-found romance.

The fourth involves Mona Wales and Marcus London. Janine is at first turned off by her coffee date with Mark, but he gets a do over and love ensues.

The favorite sex position to begin each scene is cowgirl. The female controls her pleasure and relishes the expressions of her lover as she rides to ecstasy. This is not to minimize mish (missionary), spoon, and doggie. They are there, of course, as is oral sex. Incidentally, there is a lot of that for her enjoyment, something not found in abundance in adult film unless the scene is girl/girl.

In the final analysis, porn is often in a hurry. Chuck clothes, get to the blow job, then run through the standard positions with the pop shot that is most often a facial. Jacky will have none of that. Her performers warm up to each other, a necessity in a true romantic comedy.

Once again, Jacky St. James and Eddie Powell have made a Hollywood-worthy adult film. Because of their exceptional talent, “Love in the Digital Age” belongs in every porn library in a prominent place on the feature film shelf.

*         *          *

Here’s the YouTube trailer for “Love in the Digital Age.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Love in the Digital Age, Part One: The Old-Fashioned Way

by Rich Moreland, September 2018

Once again New Sensations teams up award-winning filmmakers Jacky St. James and Eddie Powell and the result is another Hollywood-worthy motion picture. Produced by Scott Taylor, “Love in the Digital Age” is a romantic comedy starring Gia Page, Kenna James, Mona Wales, Tyler Nixon, Logan Pierce, Small Hands, and Marcus London.

The DVD also offers a BTS, photo gallery, and trailers highlighting other New Sensations productions. It can be ordered here.

[Photos in this review are credited to photographer Jeff Koga and director Jacky St. James]

*          *          *

Jacky St. James’ latest romantic comedy is all about our tech driven age and the sexual hookups it offers us. Take notice of the montage of social media images that begin the film as we hear in voice over,

“Social media is how we connect now. Everything is at our fingertips. Why should we ever feel like we need something else?”

That question sets in motion a porn film that is as much social commentary as it is “doggie” and “cowgirl.” Be prepared for a thoughtful look at today’s online dating scene and the love, authentic or otherwise, that emerges out of it.

Four superbly shot sex scenes explore the realities of modern romance Jacky St. James presents in her script. Kenna James, Gia Paige, and Mona Wales fire up the screen with female pleasure that is a far cry from gonzo’s “rough her up” sex. But more on that in the next post.

First, let’s take a look at what the film is all about.

Testing a Theory

Lizzie (Kenna James) lives with her mom Janine (Mona Wales). The household welcomes a newcomer, Lizzie’s cousin Sara (Gia Paige). Sara has just dumped her boyfriend whose insensitivity trashed her on social media.

From there the story develops around a “theory,” as Janine proposes it, that the girls can’t survive without their cell phones. In return, Lizzie and Sara insist that Janine get a smart phone and go to dating apps to find a love life. She has, after all, been a “weird single lady” since “dad left,” Lizzie says, and celibate far too long.

The adventures from there are humorous and filled with carnal desire. But there is a deeper message in Jacky’s film. As the narrative progresses, she touches on subtle examples of how modern life is consumed by social media.

Here are some highlights.

After they agree to give up their phones, Lizzie and Sara drive to a bar, not an easy task because Lizzie doesn’t know how to get there without her phone’s GPS.

Sitting at the bar, the girls are listless. Boredom quickly sets in. No phones; no fun. They’ll have to create their own.

The bartender is mixing drinks and checking out his phone at the same time, something that fascinates Lizzie. She never noticed him before, of course, because she was always engrossed in her own phone. From her perspective, Sara observes that the people in the bar remind her of zombies attached to their phones and she feels out-of-place.

To occupy her time, Lizzie wanders outside to the bar’s patio and lights up a cigarette. She meets Jeremy (Small Hands) who muses that two friends in the bar are arguing and texting at the same time. It’s a comment on multitasking with a downside.

Jeremy, who doesn’t have a mobile phone, tells Lizzie, “We have our heads down so much we miss what is right in front of us.” In other words, too often social interactions are cell phone dependent at the cost of real human expression.

Never More Connected

“Love in the Digital Age” also addresses other issues technology has brought into our lives. One is the internet’s impact on our privacy. Another is somewhat more egregious: when we worship at the altar of technology, we sacrifice our imagination.

But all is not lost. Without a cell phone, Sara must learn to negotiate a landline setup to talk with her new-found love interest, Griff.

They’ve already communicated through letter writing (the earliest form of texting, by the way) and have moved to the next step. She doesn’t know what he looks like, of course, he’s just a voice on the other end of the wire. But she draws on her imagination to picture Griff and admits she’s never felt more connected to someone than she does to him.

Sara later confesses to Janine, “You can’t get to the heart of who a person really is online.”

The older woman is on board with that conclusion, but must explore dating apps as part of their deal. She’s now learning what technology offers.

When her weekend with Griff heats up (it’s Easter, by the way, the season of renewal and rebirth), Sara is immensely happy. “I was just living my life in real-time with someone I was getting to know the old-fashioned way.” Despite her upbeat revelation, Sara’s remark is a scalding comment on what we’re losing in this modern digital age.

The Sum of the Entire Picture

There is much more to this story. We see an older couple, Janine and Mark (Marcus London) navigate their more traditional relationship and witness how Lizzie’s face-to-face meeting with Jeremy generates an immediate connection. And not surprisingly, the Sara/Griff romance takes a rocky turn that delves into how technology fosters deception and embarrassment.

The voice over that ends the film simultaneously warns and reassures the viewer about our digital world. They are Sara’s words.

“We should remember that the things we hear or read online aren’t always the sum of the entire picture. If you want to know someone, really know someone, I suggest you do it the old-fashioned way.”

Jacky St. James wants us to understand that human interaction does not differ from generation to generation regardless of the platforms we use. Technology may move us forward, but the basics remain in place. For better or worse, social media, whatever its form, reflects our maturity, compassion, and values.

Mobile phones are designed to co-exist with traditional living, not redefine or overtake it. They can enrich personal connections and, on the flip side, be used in emotionally destructive ways. But whatever our conclusions about that handheld device, it can’t and doesn’t replace real human contact and the feelings that go with it.

This is the wisdom of “Love in the Digital Age.”

*          *          *

In Part Two, we’ll look at the sex scenes (this is a porn film don’t forget!) and Eddie Powell’s cinematography.

Watch the trailer compliments of New Sensations.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Interview with Scott Taylor: Part Two

by Rich Moreland, December 2017

This is the second part of my interview with New Sensations/Digital Sin owner Scott Taylor.

*          *          *

After a quick break to adjust the digital recorder, Scott and I get back to our conversation. I’m interested in how Eddie Powell and Jacky St. James hooked up with New Sensations. Scott is more than happy to tell the story.

Incredibly Creative

Eddie Powell was with the company before Jacky came on board, Scott begins.

He is effusive in his praise of the director/videographer.

“Eddie embraces any new technology or challenge,” Scott exclaims.  “He’s self-taught, an incredibly creative and a brilliant individual. It’s been amazing what he has contributed to this company in the several years he’s been here.”

Furthermore, Scott believes Eddie’s talent at special effects, editing, lighting, and videography makes him “second to none in the industry.” High praise indeed!

Scott explains it this way:

“When I was shooting I could express myself artistically from the angles to the lighting to the emotions I’m trying to capture in the frame. There’s a huge difference between someone who knows how to do that and someone who doesn’t. It can be a slight tilt of the camera, it can be framing in a different way that feels and tells a different story. Trying to teach that to somebody is kinda difficult. You understand what that looks like or you don’t.

“I’m lucky in Eddie. He’s so creative. We leave him completely alone on whatever he turns in. It’s so good on a regular basis.”

What about Jacky?

Scott next fills in the blanks about Jacky St. James.

It started with scripts.

“When I read a script I look at it from more of a mainstream point of view. I don’t want it to be the pizza man shows up. I want the entire story to make sense. There should be real integrity for what we put out here, not just words on a page.”

By the way, the delivery man scenario Scott references is an old stag film formula involving a knock on the door and a bored housewife that goes back almost a hundred years. No story, really, just sex.

A paucity of good writers encourages New Sensations to run a contest to find new talent.

Scott continues:

“Jacky wins this contest. She’ll come in, write for us, and that’s all she’ll do.”

That, of course, was only the beginning. Like the old delivery man scenario, Jacky got her foot in the door. She took over the studio’s PR work and continued to do scripts. Of course, she meets Eddie.

“Jacky’s an excellent writer and I can see that she’s working with one of the best videographers at the time.’” Scott explains, then continues as if speaking directly to Jacky.

“You’ve got this. You need to start directing. You see the script in your head when you’re writing it. You already know in your mind what this looks like. You need to get out there and Eddie can shoot it for you. You can’t run a camera, that’s fine. He can do it and you guys can work together.”

It’s a blueprint for how Jacky’s collaboration with Scott and Eddie changed the porn feature by leading it in a more artistic direction.

Scott sums it up this way:

“She slowly took the reins at the very beginning, to trying out this new field to ultimately becoming a very confident director. She still is the best writer I’ve ever seen. She floats between different genres very well and she’s been a real joy to have along for the ride. That’s how we got Jacky.”

Working Together

I know from my research on Jacky’s relationship with Scott that they have bonded professionally. I wanted to get his point of view on this.

He mentions the Emma Marx series (which I’ve reviewed on this blog) and Torn as memorable moments. Emma Marx came along at the time Fifty Shades of Grey was the rage. New Sensations had a parody in mind, but it was abandoned in favor of a more serious approach.

“We wanted to tell our own story. Jacky knew the characters and we agreed on the direction of where it would go.”

Torn was also a serious film that the company is” every proud of.” He says. “She did an excellent job (writing and directing it).”

The film is about an older man and the young lover who comes into his life as his marriage is crumbling.

Scott quickly follows with what everyone in the adult biz knows about Jacky as director.

“Jacky can get acting performances out of people that are really inspirational.”

 

Do they have a give and take professional relationship?

“Absolutely!” he replies and explains that a concept for a film might be his or hers, “but we generally work together. If I see the script and I like it, then we do it, but if I want some changes, then we change some things.”

That was early on, however.

Once we began working together for a number of years,” Scott says, “I didn’t have any changes to her work. She’d hand it in and I was floored by it every time.”

It bears mentioning that Scott does not smother his talent to do things his way. In fact, he’s hands off, but he’s always available for advice.

“If they need it, I’ll be there. I generally embrace talented people and let them go do their work and critique it afterwards.”

For Eddie, it was learning process that sparked “a lot of conversations along the way,” Scott says, before coming full circle today.

As for Jacky, he exclaims, “I wouldn’t say that Jacky’s writing ability is any less than it is today,” though early on he established the parameters he wanted.

Considering she was working in a genre new to her, that’s understandable.

“When she started writing the romance movies that we were doing at the time, we needed to follow a certain formula. She adopted to that relatively quickly. We’re not talking about multiple rewrites. It was ‘let’s do this’ and she has an idea and she puts it together,” Scott says.

The Company Secret

I mention that when I review a Jacky film, the story and the cinematography are my focus, but I know these things are less important to the average fan who is just waiting for the next sex scene.

“I’m afraid that is true,” Scott admits. He wishes there was a greater appreciation of what New Sensations puts out there and uses Eddie as an example.

“Eddie is so deserving of best director for so many years from what he does. His creativity is well thought out. It is not by accident. That’s how he tells his story.

“Eddie edits his own movies and writes his own music because he’s really trying to create a feeling. He’s a secret if anybody wants to know the secret to the company. It’s this guy who’s been such a rock in so many ways. His cinematography most people don’t even notice, but I notice and gasp!”

Crossing Over

Finally, I want Scott’s opinion on crossing over, the idea that adult performers and directors can move between Porn Valley and Hollywood.

He mentions that the Emma Marx series has made an appearance on Showtime. “When I see those movies on there I think they hold up very well. It makes me feel very proud to see that movie on a mainstream channel and it looks as good as it does.”

That being said, Scott assesses Jacky’s attempts to make a splash in mainstream film.

“Jacky has actually stepped into that world and it’s proven to be pretty difficult. She is able to work with more veteran actors. I wouldn’t say they’re big Hollywood stars, but they are honing the craft of acting more than the craft of having sex. It helps to tell your story with people that can bring the emotion to the characters that’s necessary.

“For crossing over the only success we’ve had is Showtime embracing ‘after hours’ programming even though it’s not. They’ll show it at eight o’clock in the evening. But you’re still working with primarily adult actors and actresses.”

Scott is not sold on the idea that crossing over is realistic.

“I don’t think you take anything X-rated and go with it no matter what the budget is. I don’t see it really catching on.”

Interestingly, Scott sees an additional issue with the jump to Hollywood: a true lack of performing talent.

Remy LaCroix

“You need really good actors and there are some . . .I think Penny (Pax) is an excellent actress, Remy LaCroix is an excellent actress. There are guys who are excellent actors compared to other people in this business.”

But they are the few.

On the other hand, Scott has a more positive view of directors.

“Could a director cross over and make a mainstream movie? Yes, I think it’s very possible.”

 

Where does this place Jacky and Eddie?

Scott is honest but with reservations.

“What Jacky is trying to do now is bridge that gap. She’s doing it with an R-rated series, but I would love to see her transition into something that is fully mainstream if it is beneficial to her. Mainstream work is very, very difficult from what I’ve seen. It’s very difficult to break into.”

Scott offers a final thought.

“I think Eddie can get out there and run that camera on a mainstream set in a second. I think Jacky can write mainstream all day long. But to carry the X-rated market into a mainstream market, even if it is a little bit softer, is limited.

“It’s just the way most of the country views it. It’s still porn and is classified as the dirtiest thing you’ve ever seen or heard of. Porn falls into the porn bucket, that’s what it is.”

Perhaps, but a New Sensation/Digital Sin product is the cream at the top of that bucket, so who knows?

*          *          *

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

A Gonzo Afternoon: Part One

by Rich Moreland, December 2017

During my recent trip to Los Angeles, I had the privilege of visiting an Eddie Powell set.

Eddie’s work is praised throughout the industry and for good reason. I’ll let New Sensations/Digital Sin boss Scott Taylor sum it up.

“Eddie is so deserving of best director for what he does. His creativity is well thought out. It is not by accident.”

Is he Hollywood ready?

Scott responds, “Eddie can get out there and run that camera on a mainstream set in a second.”

Yes, film fans, that’s how good Eddie Powell is.

*          *          *

Mandy

Today’s shoot is a gonzo adventure for New Sensations/Digital Sin that features Mandy Muse, a girl who has made her reputation in these kinds of scenes.

Shortly after my photographer and I arrive, Eddie Powell, with camera in hand, begins chatting with Mandy in what will become the BTS (Behind the Scenes) segment of the shoot.

The sexy brunette tells the viewer she is twenty-three and a local girl from Orange County. Eddie encourages her to talk about her mom who is fifty-six, we discover, and knows what her daughter does and supports her one hundred percent.

Today’s action is anal and Mandy is elated. She loves to “switch it up,” she says, and is blessed with a “snap back butthole” which, we assume, keeps her flexible for the long and large!

She loves to watch porn, Mandy continues, and knows that “people get excited about what they haven’t done before.” So for the viewers who want to enjoy backdoor sex, her performance should be a winner.

There’s one more element that will make today super fun. Mandy likes it rough, to be “handled aggressively,” she declares, which carries over to her private life.

Steve

Mandy’s co-star is porn legend Steve Holmes. In his mid-fifties, Steve is a stellar performer who has been in the business for over twenty years, quieting the ageism argument when it comes to older men and younger women.

While everyone getting ready, my photographer passes time with the affable actor who also directs and produces.

Their conversation turns to southern culture and Steve mentions an eighteen-year-old newbie with whom he recently worked who does everything but IR (interracial) porn. Some of the old attitudes still prevail.

To entertain anyone who wants to watch, Steve has one of his shoots with porn superstar Angela White on his laptop. With this European all-star, there is never a dull moment.

Focus on Her Butt

Eddie shoots the box cover in front of the French doors that open into a space enclosed by an imposing privacy wall. Steve pours oil over Mandy’s rear while the lights are being set up. To past the time, Steve spanks Mandy a bit. She smiles.

Next come the stills (the “pretty girls” are first) shot using a living room setting. Eddie mentions everything will “focus on her butt” so that rules the next few minutes of activity.

I take a minute to speak with the boom operator/PA. His name is A.J. Westwood and he tells me he’s worked with Eddie, Jacky St. James, and Paul Woodcrest for over a year. He’s a Southern California lad in his twenties, amiably pleasant and knows his job.

Steve has joined Mandy for the next round of stills. They’re going at it (to be polite, “warming up”) for the shoot to come.

Eddie lets them know what he wants. “All positions that increase shots of her butt are great,” he says, and later asks for a “standing doggie.”

Speaking of frisky critters, the house has a couple of pet dogs running around but they are more fascinated by the squirrels in the yard.

Porn doesn’t do much for them, I’m thinking, though the squirrels appear to have each other scoped out for whatever rodents do for amusement.

For now, the stills are finished. This is gonzo, of course, and it’s time-honored selling point, the facial, will comprise the final pics later.

Peanut Butter and the Squirrels

All the while, Steve and Mandy are continuing to get to know each other with enough penetration to shoot a whole other movie. When they take a break, Steve and my photog chat again.

Eddie and AJ are setting up a tripod on a dolly constructed of two long pipes so the camera can glide through the opening sequence.

Steve’s brings up a director in Japan who didn’t want any “hankie-pankie” on set, much different from other countries (twenty-one in all) in which he has worked. There are few limits here to speak of and he and Mandy are delighted.

Steve Holmes is urbane and cosmopolitan, a stark contrast to Mandy who is every bit as local as he is international. Nevertheless, they blend together artfully when the filming begins.

It strikes me the whole setting this afternoon is a bit bizarre in the most pleasant of ways.

While Steve and Mandy fall into “warming up” again, Eddie sets up the equipment. He’ll use a handheld camera throughout the filming to get the best angles.

Meanwhile, in the yard the squirrels are sated with gobs of peanut butter to keep them occupied.

A Well-Schooled Gonzo Girl

Mandy stands in front of the French doors (the squirrels are munching away outside) and “sees” Steve approaching.

“Don’t acknowledge him, don’t even say ‘Hi,’” Eddie says.

The camera moves toward Mandy as Steve walks in and begins to caress her. There is no dialogue and this part of the scene wraps up quickly. The dolly is taken apart. Steven and Mandy don’t miss a beat and continue “warming up.”

The main event is next.

More oil and spanking for Mandy’s butt. She’s good to go with lots of oral (or should we say choking and gagging), there’s another standing doggie, and then a break. AJ gets Mandy a glass of water.

When we resume, there’s more oil, more spanking, more oral (Steve does his part). Mandy sighs a lot. She’ll break into an ongoing chorus of “oh, my gods” and “oh, shits” that are standard dialogue for a well-schooled gonzo girl.

Next is a transition to a sheet-covered table and Mandy has to re-position herself as part of the scene. It’s awkward at first, so there’s a retake. No problem. Everyone is a professional.

Of note is whispering. Steve and Mandy work together well and communicate. More on this later.

Another break and it’s time for a reminder.

Eddie explains once again it’s all about Mandy’s backside which means the cowgirl position is vital to give Eddie what he wants.

Steve encourages Mandy to “shake that booty.” She offers to spin around while holding the penetration; Eddie responses with, “what works best for you.”

So, the porn starlet turns smoothly to a reverse cowgirl, the mark of a true pro. Eddie moves closer with the handheld to get the full benefit of the penetration.

To conclude the day’s work, Mandy gets off the table and sits on her heels to prepare for the facial. A slip causes a retake but all ends well when Steve does his duty.

Finally, Mandy poses for the camera, face properly splattered, to get just the right shots to complete the stills and it’s a wrap.

Our stars head for the shower while Eddie takes a break before he and AJ pack up the equipment.

*          *          *

In Part Two, we’ll take a few moments to talk with Mandy and Steve on the veranda.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Evolved, A Commentary: Part Two

by Rich Moreland, September 2017

This is the second installment of my review/analysis of The Submission Of Emma Marx: Evolved, a New Sensations film written and directed by Jacky St. James.

*          *          *

The Message

When Mariah pleads with Emma to teach her about BDSM because she is “in dire need of discipline,” Emma explains that the fetish is all about “practice and training” and asks Mariah why she wants this so badly.

Her response is a nod to all BDSMers.

It’s who she is, Mariah says.

So Emma agrees to take Mariah on her journey. The film moves through brief scenes of Mariah’s education. The best are those surrounding “slave training” when Emma teaches the neophyte to arch her back and open her legs for inspection.

There is a collar for Mariah to wear and shots of spanking and caning with tasks that come with the instruction, “please you dominant.” Emma tells Mariah, “Most important, find joy in what you are doing. When it stops being enjoyable, it’s probably not for you anymore.”

Later after her first real BDSM encounter with a Dom named Nicholas (Jay Smooth), Mariah asks Emma how can she ever return to normal sex?

What Mariah is experiencing now is normal for her, Emma says.

Emma informs Mariah that she belongs in this world. It’s just not the way she came to know it when she realized she was a submissive.

In other words, Emma implies that her pupil’s early experiences were limited to physical sensation. Now she is progressing beyond those restrictions and  becoming more spiritual in a sexual way.

Mariah’s character poses the question Jacky as writer and director addresses in her BDSM films; that is, how do we define normal? Part of this conundrum is to accept that different does not mean not normal.

In other words, if a fetish is legal and doesn’t harm anyone, then it passes the normal test. Of course, this is not something people who are vanilla oriented necessarily believe, or even want to consider. To put it another way, according to Jacky St. James, the definition of normal sexuality is broad and expanding and someday may not exist at all.

It’s the battle feminism has fought for decades in its effort to escape female sexual circumscription.

How we express ourselves

Normal is what we make of how we express ourselves. Emma has cleared this hurdle under Mr. Frederick’s guidance. She’ll do the same now for Mariah.

To best understand this idea, contrast Mariah’s first sex scene which served no deeper purpose than to have some fun. As mentioned above, when Emma as tutor and trainer sets up Mariah’s experience with Nicholas, she is satisfying Mariah’s needs beyond fleeting physical sensation.

In other words, Mariah is enriching her sexuality with psychological meaning, becoming sexually aware and mature: a reflection of the journey Emma has already taken.

By the way, notice how Emma persuades Mariah to select a dominant for the scene. Once again, Jacky St James reinforces the hegemony of female choice, reminding the viewer that choice also defines normal and normal, within the bounds of what is legal, is individually oriented.

In other words, it’s okay for a girl to want to be tied up!

Who We Were Before

In the final analysis, two themes connect Evolved with the original trilogy to reveal that Jacky St. James is always progressing as a filmmaker.

Her script points out that often a woman can best teach another woman the psychological aspects of sexuality, regardless of her preferences be they fetish or vanilla. Evolved is female-oriented and we see this with the extended conversations between Emma and Mariah and the emphasis on eye contact during the sex scenes mentioned previously.

Overall, Evolved is a further exploration of Emma’s closure on her past. The pain of losing Mr. Frederick haunts Emma when she tells Mariah it’s time to move on to a male dominant. Mariah reacts with an outburst that reflects what she believes happened to Emma.

“Are you going to pawn me off on someone else? Is this how this works?”

Confronting her personal sense of abandonment and loss of trust, Mariah disappears from the story without explanation.

Of course, irony grips the narrative at this point. This is the second time Emma feels forsaken, the first being the result of Mr. Frederick’s death. Her saving grace is that she is an evolving Emma, so to speak, who is well schooled in how to cope with the unexpected.

And then, the letter arrives.

It reveals that the chemistry between Emma and Mariah referenced in the first installment of this analysis has transcended misunderstandings and hurt feelings.

Mr. Frederick as narrator helps us understand this major theme of Evolved when he says, “To survive we have to let go, acknowledging what no longer works for us, acknowledging that who we were before may not be the person we are today.”

William Frederick is the omnipresent voice inside our soul that urges, prods, and disciplines us at every turn while reminding us of our capacity to love.

So it comes as no surprise that with the narrative’s fade out, we hear “Mr. Frederick” whispered almost inaudibly.

Will he continue to dwell in Emma’s spirit for the next film?

*          *          *

Final Thought

Adult fans who appreciate the feature film sub-genre realize there are few writer/directors who develop original ideas. Relying on parodies where plot and characters are already in place or adopting an established story line from existing sources, such as superhero comics or popular mainstream films, is convenient. Just add the sex.

But with Jacky St. James the landscape is more provocative. She writes her own narratives and uses sex as dialogue so the viewer can better understand her characters in such a way that the sex scenes emerge as characters in and of themselves.

Next, Jacky coaches and guides performers through the acting experience looking for just the right take for every scene. Being trained in drama and having once sought roles in mainstream Hollywood, Jacky understands the details and rigor of directing and acting.

Lastly, of course, she is part of a talented team of creative cinematographers that gives every adult feature she directs the Hollywood touch.

This combination of factors makes a New Sensations/Jacky St. James film unique to the business and we should appreciate that while we can.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Evolved, A Commentary: Part One

by Rich Moreland, September 2017

Jacky St. James has ventured into a another film in her Emma Marx series.

Here is my review/analysis of The Submission of Emma Marx: Evolved, a New Sensations release under its Erotic Stories collection.

*          *          *

The ancient Greeks believed the trilogy, a tale told in three parts, represented completeness. Academics interpret the trilogy’s interconnected dramas as a story arc which moves the main character through a change of some sort.

Jacky St. James refines this approach with her brilliantly crafted original Emma Marx series which follows Emma’s sexual and emotional development. In the end, she must overcome the tragic loss of her lover.

So what to make of The Submission of Emma Marx: Evolved, essentially a fourth installment that broadens the narrative and, as it stands now, presents a myriad of possibilities going forward?

Simply put, Jacky is continuing Emma’s sexual growth, or what is best described as her maturity. The process is not dissimilar to the basic human experience developmental psychologists divide into stages, in this case, thirds: young, middle age, and old age. Emma’s progress, emotionally and sexually, has moved out of its adolescence and young adulthood into the earliest beginnings of a sexual middle age.

Is this fourth film the beginning of another trilogy? Possibly. Consider this: at first glance, Evolved is not better or worse than the original series; it is just different, a fresh story that in effect carries on the old story with all the ingredients to initiate a new trilogy of its own.

We already see the wheels beginning to turn as Emma moves her own desires away from submission into experiencing BDSM from the other side of the spectrum. Assuming the dominant role, Emma reaches out as teacher, mentor, and guru to a submissive whose understanding of the fetish is in its infancy, just as Mr. Frederick did for her.

The youthful BDSM neophyte Mariah is the beneficiary now and the future is filled with adventure.

But Jacky leaves us with a difficult question. Does a submissive pass through that state and wish to become a dominant? Is that a natural progression, or does a submissive play an elaborate game of becoming a “switch?”

 

This we do know. The reason Evolved is not an extension of the original series is the absence of Mr. Frederick materially, though he remains with Emma spiritually. Sadly, the on-screen dynamics created by Penny Pax as Emma and Richie Calhoun as Mr. Frederick cannot find a space in this film. However, Jacky astutely maintains their connection with an occasional flashback.

She also pursues their relationship in a unique way that shapes the story: Richie, as William Frederick, narrates the film from the grave, we assume.

Chemistry

Despite the missing Emma/William physical component to hold the story together, there are other chemistries that quickly fill the void.

First, Riley Reid as Nadia and Van Wylde as her husband Ray once again open the film’s sex scenes with a romp of their own. If their pairing continues into the future, Riley/Van scenes will become the stuff of porn legend. Going back to each of the previous films: the original, Boundaries, and Exposed, we see them sexually evolve as they deal with the demands of their marriage and the changes that brings.

Second, there’s the acting chemistry between Riley and Penny that is a mainstay in the trilogy. Their collaboration continues in this film and, it can be noted with assurance, Riley is a deft handler of dialogue and emotional expression. She has pace in her lines and in-character attitudes that move the narrative forward. Nadia retains her snarkiness, but also demonstrates a compassion that is underdeveloped in the first three films primarily due to her superficial interpretation of her suburban way of life.

Finally, there is the chemistry between Emma and Mariah (Violet Starr). Though not as pronounced as Nadia/Emma, it is still evident and predictably will grow should they be paired in another Emma film.

As Domme and sub, they are on the doorstep of becoming lovers, but for fans who want to relish that girl/girl action they’ll have to wait for another Emma installment. Always on her screenwriting toes, Jacky has cleverly laid the groundwork for that possibility.

The Sex Scenes

Working our way backwards through the sex scenes, the last one is beyond noteworthy. Penny is paired in a threesome with adult male superstars, Mickey Blue and John Strong.

The action includes anal, a DP, and light bondage. The adorable redhead is a solid veteran and can pull off any BDSM scene, no matter its intensity. What is more important to the story, however, is the reason for the sex. It sets the stage for Emma’s further development as a dominatrix because Evolved pronounces this scene as the final episode of her life as a submissive.

The opening sex scene featuring Nadia and Ray alluded to above, continues the tradition of the rocking hardcore action Riley Reid has cultivated to trademark her brand. Of note is how different their sex scenes are in the series. In the first film, the sex is premarital. In the second and third we see them married with fantasy/fetish play, and now they’re separated and into “hate sex,” as Nadia calls it.

Hilariously, she explains to Emma that it’s the best she’s ever had with more orgasms than ever before.

The result?

Director of Photography Eddie Powell and his compadre Paul Woodcrest capture gonzo elements within feature film sex that offers the best of both porn sub-genres. With a series of “fuck mes” and “oh my gods,” Riley calls on her all-sex roots to steam up the stage. Lots of liquid everywhere (we’re talking spit here) and facial close-ups (an Eddie Powell tradition) mark the dynamics of the every scene.

In fact, all the sex scenes have an important gonzo element that is not always considered appealing to porn viewers of the fairer sex. After the pop shot, each performer runs her fingers through the cum deposited on her body and licks it off with her lips.

This is a departure from the earlier Emma films, but reinforces Jacky St. James’ personal love of gonzo.

Incidentally, other than being finger-licking good, the pop shots are tame compared to what other filmmakers are doing. Facials are avoided to keep the female-friendly and feminist component of Evolved in tact.

Newcomer Violet Starr presents her all-sex talents with Damon Dice and Jay Smooth in two scenes that show why she was cast as Mariah. However, looking beyond her physical talents, the viewer should pay close attention to Violet’s acting. She reveals that once again Jacky St. James can uncover the best performers for her films.

 

Mariah is aloof with Emma early on before becoming angry later when she feels abandoned. Throw in some fawning that Emma sorts through easily and Violet’s performance is good stuff for anyone who appreciates a well-paced and entertaining story.

Truth be told, this twenty-year-old’s acting is fresh and perky and, as the narrator tells us in describing Mariah, “unabashed and unapologetic.”

Cinematic Touches

As usual, a Jacky St. James film is flavored with references and motifs that enliven the drama. Take, for example, the scene with Emma washing Mariah’s back as she sits in the tub. Mariah has just experienced her first real BDSM sex after an education in the psychological perspective of bondage.

The episode is an emotional replay of the bath tub scenes in the original trilogy where the submissive Emma is bathed and caressed by her dominant, Mr. Frederick.

An important motif in Evolved is Emma’s trunk. It contains her bondage paraphernalia and toys. In the opening scene, it is toted up the steps when she moves in with Nadia and down again at story’s end as she moves out. That’s symbolic because Emma’s time as a sub has reached its height and she passing that baton off to Mariah. Emma has metaphorically reestablished her submission before putting it away as she occupies, then leaves, Nadia’s house.

When Mariah rummages through the gear, Emma takes the opportunity to mention that there is a strong psychological component to BDSM.

“It’s not about the pain,” she says, “It’s about exercise and control and anticipation.”

Up until that moment, Mariah’s fetish sex is plastic handcuffs and some spanking that lights up the physical senses as illustrated in her first sex scene with a guy (Damon Dice) she’s picked up. She directs him to please her in her favorite role as a submissive. There is a feminist component on display here, of course, but the BDSM message is underdeveloped, as Emma will reveal to Mariah.

When Emma takes control of Mariah’s BDSM training, new feminist avenues are opened up and we see Jacky’s version of feminism upfront and personal. The feminist touch in porn is as cerebral as it is physical.

Eddie Powell and Paul Woodcrest contribute to this female-centric motif by focusing on whole body shots during the sex so as to not minimize the men. Also, they celebrate female satisfaction with facial close-ups of the women. What’s more, eye contact is vital in this film, recalling the emotionally gripping scene when Emma meets her new Dom in the last installment of the original trilogy.

As for symbolism, notice the St. Andrew’s Cross print on the wall of Mariah’s bedroom. That traditional BDSM symbol is revisited at the end of the film where eye contact once again solidifies relationships.

*          *          *

In Part Two of this commentary, we’ll briefly consider Jacky St. James’ message presented in Evolved.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Darker Side of Desire: Part Two

by Rich Moreland, March 2017

Here is Part Two of my review/analysis of Jacky St. James’ Darker Side of Desire, a production of Mile High Media.

To get a flavor of the images mentioned in this analysis, watch the “not safe for work” trailer here.

All photos and images are courtesy of Mile High Media.

*          *          *

A Balanced Message

The sex scenes in Darker Side of Desire are Jacky St. James at her artistic best and reflect the mission of Sweet Sinner video. The scenes are woman-friendly and romance-oriented with female consent the focal point of every shot.

Passionate kissing abounds with everyone receiving oral pleasures, but the gagging, choking, and deep throating of today’s run-of-the-mill porn are conspicuously minimized; not surprisingly, the same applies to porn as an anatomy lesson.

Facial expressions communicate desire while the camera focuses on both bodies equally when the sex heats up. Cinematographer Hank Hoffman often shoots a symmetrical view of the lovers to highlight carnal expression as a two-way street.

Speaking of visual clues, Jacky St. James concentrates on phallic symbols like candles and vases paired with flowers (very Freudian) to underscore the psychology of sex. Since vases offer a canal to be filled, so to speak. . . Well, I think you get the idea.

As mentioned above, communication is the heartbeat of each sex scene. Darker Side is solid feminist porn with male performers who express their feelings through conversation and touch. Take note, for example, of how Mickey Mod gently cradles Cassidy Klein’s head during their intimate moments.

To shoot a female-centered film requires men who are comfortable with their sexuality and are willing to yield their masculine focus in favor of pleasuring their partners.

Jacky St. James casts the best of them.

Sexual Maturity

With Darker Side Jacky is as true to the BDSM community as she has ever been. Take for instance, the performers in the dream sequence. They’re older, a reflection of real-life bondage aficionados. The renowned MILF, Cherie Deville, is the perfect choice to perform with Tommy Pistol, a veteran of Kink.com who is in his forties.

Mickey Mod and James Deen are also Kink veterans who have been in the industry for ten and thirteen years respectively. Michael Vegas didn’t enter adult until he was twenty-six and is in his seventh porn year. Experience also characterizes the women. Cassidy Klein and Gia Paige are well into their twenties, hardly newbs by porn standards.

Only Riley Nixon is a youngster among this crowd, but she is mature by fetish standards. And make no mistake, this girl is a charmer with an adorable, disarming smile.

In the BTS segment of the DVD, Riley tells us she’s “very submissive” and BDSM gives her an exciting sexual space to be free of worry and responsibility.

Submission is “who I am deep inside, a natural state for me,” she declares. Can you feel the love?

Experience teaches BDSMers to be comfortable with their fetish. Sex is as much mental as it is physical and any bondage lover will tell you that understanding your sexuality and being open to talk about it is what the kink is all about.

The Game

Darker Side has two themes. The first, as we’ve seen, is the appreciation of authentically presented BDSM.

The second is feminism’s relationship to kinky sex brought out in the film’s pivotal scene, the drinking game. A tequila bottle (another phallic symbol) is positioned in the middle of a divan around which four players (Bryce and the girls) sit.

It’s a bit of truth or dare fun that unexpectedly wrings a bondage confession out of Sydney. Her words touch a nerve with Robyn (Riley Nixon) who challenges her roomie’s feminism by asserting that BDSM is anti-woman.

Sydney replies she did not give up her power when she played in the dungeon. A chill rises quickly around the group.

Robyn is indignant. “You bent over and let some dude spank you and you think you‘re in control?”

Sydney leaves abruptly. How do you spell tension?

Raising the Bar

Darker Side of Desire is an artistic commentary that raises the bar of the average porn film. Make no mistake, Darker can survive on its terrific sex scenes alone, but, as we’ve mentioned, Jacky St. James has a special talent for shooting sex that fits perfectly into the narrative.

Later, when Natalie persuades Sydney to tell her story, she learns that her friend researched BDSM websites which led to her adventure with Alex, an accurate comment on how kinksters find each other in today’s cyberspace.

He was “much older,” Sydney says (reinforcing the age factor). Their fetish sex was immediate.

“It didn’t evolve, it started there,” Sydney says.

They talked about everything.

“What I wanted, what turned me on. He was completely respectful of my boundaries.”

Negotiation and trust are the most important parts of the BDSM experience.

The rewards were enormous. The sex unleashed something inside her, she explains.

Unfortunately, Sydney was a college freshman at the time and sexual self-understanding was in short supply. Though she was happy with the arrangement, she broke it off because she felt “weird” and different from other girls.

Youth led her to judge herself negatively. Fear stepped in and now years later she regrets everything, Sydney tells Natalie.

You’re Next

Emboldened, Natalie is now ready to begin her emotional/sexual journey.

To prepare the viewer, Jacky St. James breaks the fourth wall in Natalie’s final dream episode. During the fantasy sex, Cherie Deville looks directly into the camera expressing her satisfaction before Tommy Pistol turns to the lens and confronts Natalie’s reticence with, “You’re next!” It’s her inner challenge to act on her desires.

She’s watched for too long, now it’s time to play.

When the final sex scene shows up, Natalie and Bryce come full circle. By the way, Cassidy Klein’s oral performance is stylish, more art than gonzo, a kind of sensual caressing.

In the bondage sequence, the lovers are reflected in a mirror to the left of the screen. The shot is laden with shadows and represents their transition, stepping through the looking-glass if you will.

Natalie, who submits to a blindfold, lives out her fantasy in her imagination. Bryce’s voice nurtures her internal visions, much like the radio dramas long ago when listeners created the visual scene for themselves.

The dream has come to life, a reminder that BDSMers always have their favorite scenarios in their heads.

Inside the Self

Finally, Darker Side of Desire is impressive for two reasons.

First, Jacky St. James has all the right performers. Each one brings a special talent to the screen.

Second, Jacky has grown in her understanding of BDSM. With Emma Marx, she successfully normalized the fetish. Now she has moved kink to a more personal level with the women of Darker Side. Words and caresses excite them while the sex is hot and heavy without gonzo-style sex for sex’s sake.

Simply put, the fetish is nurtured inside the self. Her desires inflamed, Natalie’s here and now contrasts with Sydney’s fond remembrances of a past experience that offers hope for the future.

There is a course correction needed in this story and it appears in the closing scene. Her wrists and ankles shackled, Robyn extracts a promise from her lover to say nothing of this to anyone . . . Appearances always matter, of course, even to feminists who decry that bondage objectifies women while wrestling with their own ideas about its erotic allure.

Just as Natalie’s over voice opens the film, another with real honesty steps in before the final credits roll . . .

“Robyn eventually acknowledges that sexual fetishes are deeply personal and not to be judged until fully experienced.”

For Natalie, Sydney, and Robyn, this is not the end, of course, but a beginning, or more precisely an electrifying rebirth . . .

Will there be a Darker Side of Desire, Part Two? If so, this reviewer is on board!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized