Tag Archives: Richie Calhoun

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.

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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.

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

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The Resolution of Emma Marx, Part Three: One Precious Moment

by Rich Moreland, April 2016

In this final installment of The Submission of Emma Marx: Exposed, we take a look at the sex scenes and how they play into the story.

There is much more within this film than I have room to cover in three brief posts so watch the movie for yourself. It is an rewarding experience.

Watermarked photos are courtesy of New Sensations/Digital Sin, the others are appropriately credited.

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Sex scenes are the bait that keeps the porn fan fishing.

Often presented formulaically, they drive a film’s reason to be. However, when and where the sexual interludes occur and what meaning is attached to them is not always clear.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESA Jacky St. James feature is the exception. Her scripts dictate where the titillation is placed and why the characters are having sex.

Keeping this in mind, Exposed, the final drama of the Emma Marx trilogy, is textbook Jacky. There are five scenes (a deviation from porn’s usual four) and each is effectively worked into the plotline. The result presents sex that operates on more than one level.

Of interest, are the following.

Call the Babysitter?

The Nadia and Ray scene repeats the set up Jacky presented in the initial Emma Marx. Not yet married at the time, they have sex at the film’s beginning. In the next Emma installment, Boundaries, they go at each other once again as the story opens. In Exposed Jacky’s stays with the pattern and Nadia and Ray complete their own personal trilogy.

The couple has progressed to role-playing to keep their marriage interesting, or at least modestly so since their carnality is mired in the middle-class conventionality Nadia holds over Ray. They hinted at a bondage fantasy in Boundaries, now they’re interested in the illicit pickup.

Nadia and Ray have their fantasy while the wedding plays on

Nadia and Ray have their fantasy while the wedding plays on

Nadia is on a balcony with drink in hand. Background music suggests a social gathering. Ray comes up to her and they chat about the ongoing wedding celebration. Ray tries to put the moves on Nadia and she, insulted, splatters his face with her drink.

The scene quickly shifts to a bedroom all done up appropriately in vanilla white with a touch of gray. Only this time, the shades of their fetish sex seen in Boundaries are tossed aside like so many pillows.

The sex is top-of-the-line Riley Reid and her acting chops kick in when she says, “Wait, do you think we’d better call the babysitter?”

What’s this? A baby?

Ray assures her the sitter is “good all day” and that she, Nadia, is “ruining the fantasy.”

Mom reverts to character, telling her pick-up lover “this is just a one-time thing.” Later Nadia has to remind Ray to stay with the program when baby concerns come up again.

Their sex scene is the perfect transition into the third Emma Marx. Nadia and Ray are suburban bourgeoisie, of course, but deserve some credit for their mutual fantasy . . . though laughing about Ray’s getting off on the “horny girl at the wedding” remains stilted. Unlike Emma, their imaginations are play acting and unconnected to their reality.

Barely a Trace Left

Later Nadia phones Emma to share her sexual escapade as if it were purchased online. “It’s our new thing, just like you guys are playing with your whips and chains,” Nadia says.

Her affectation is cheesiness extraordinaire. Their role-playing romps are little more than larks, here today, something new tomorrow. This latest version plays within the bounds of what is passable as illicit sex. Sadly, throughout the Emma series Nadia never quite grasps that Emma and Frederick have a lifestyle, not “new thing.”

Incidentally, Nadia, dressed in a postcard version of a French maid’s outfit, later skypes Emma. She’s ready for role play night, she announces, but she’s not happy. Nadia doesn’t like the getup, too sleazy. It’s not her, she declares, because she spends all day being his maid anyway. It’s a mask that doesn’t do much for her sexually.

Nadia skypes Emma to decry her maid fantasy

Nadia uses skype to decry her pre-planned maid fantasy

The real difficulty with Nadia is that her fantasies are scripted, not spontaneous. She comments that the outfit is “supposed to be me pretending to be someone else.” But her remark induces Emma to reflect on her relationship with Frederick.

“The truth was I felt more myself as his sub than I ever did as Emma. There was barely a trace of her left anymore.”

Emma’s revelation leads Jacky St. James to reveal the potential shortcoming of fantasy. Sometimes, it only goes one way. Emma admits that at least Ray shares his with Nadia. Mr. Frederick, on the other hand, is another story.

Rebecca to Joelle

Emma broaches the subject with her Dom and learns about Audrina, an uncomfortable episode that damaged his relationship with his former sub.

Two comments on this sex scene. First is Samantha Hayes who plays Rebecca. She is gorgeous with a smutty vigor that is as good as it gets. Second is the disastrous tone of this dalliance which proves sex in porn can carry a message.

Tugging on the collar keeps Rebecca excied Photo by Eddie Powell

Tugging on the collar keeps Rebecca excited
Photo by Eddie Powell

Among other BDSM elements, there is light flogging and a collar and leash. Rebecca is taken to erotic heights while a hogtied Audrina, who set up this scenario, looks on unable to participate.

Frederick has to command Audrina’s attention when she lowers her gaze, telling her to keep watching. She obeys, but sadness overwhelms her as the sex gets heavier. This “gift” she’s given him, which ironically began as her fantasy, has changed their relationship.

Audrina looks on Photo courtesy of Jacky St. James

Audrina looks on
Photo courtesy of Jacky St. James

In an effort to deter Emma from a similar mistake, Frederick lets her in on why his fantasies are not important to their relationship. As described in Part Two of this analysis, the scene opens up the remarkable talents of cinematographer Eddie Powell. Almost drowned in shadows, it’s shot in their bathroom, Emma submerged in soapy bubbles with Frederick sitting on the edge of the tub.

As the camera pulls away, Frederick, steeped in regret, drops his eyes, explaining that Audrina wanted to return to “a more traditional relationship.” Emma’s face is blanketed with alternating layers of determination and doubt. It’s a lesson in trust, problematic self-esteem, and implied jealousy. Though reality, illustrated by the looming darkness on both sides of the screen, is squeezing them, Emma moves forward with her plan.

The camera looks in from the doorway. Photo courtesy of Jacky St. James

Reality and a plan that is risky
Photo courtesy of Jacky St. James

Ignoring Audrina’s ill-fated mistake, Emma orchestrates the sex scene that she perceives to be her Dom’s fantasy. Joelle is introduced to Frederick and unlike Audrina, Emma will participate in their fun. Within the narrative, the threesome sex carries a transition message as illustrated by the doorway into the rec room that offers up the new play partner.

Joelle waits in the background as Emma's gift for Frederick

Joelle waits in the background as Emma’s gift for Frederick

Aidra Fox is Joelle. Like Samantha Hayes, this brunette hottie has superstar written all over her. The show is fantastic with the twenty-year-old sporting a bondage outfit that shouts out the sassy eroticism that is Aidra’s trademark. In this reviewer’s opinion, her energy makes this scene the best of the film.

The scene with Joelle. From L to R, Richie Calhoun, Penny Pax, and Aidra Fox.

Michael

As Exposed winds down, Emma needs to reconnect with her real love, her fetish. Finding a new mentor whose compassion guides her reawakening, Emma explores a relationship with him she identifies as “therapeutic.”

“I paid him to dominate me a few hours every week, easing me back into that familiar world”

Among dark shadows, Emma enters a new doorway, the open gate of a bondage cage. Michael, in suit and tie, closes it behind her and binds her arms. Emma is now secure in the world she loves. Various shots of her yielding to his intense BDSM play follow.  Emma faces her greatest challenge, conflating a partner she is just getting to know with her lust for the fetish.

“I was determined to overcome the fear of the pain of trusting someone new, no matter how intense the situation or the pain.”

Michael's tenderness nurtures Emma's transition at film's end

Michael’s tenderness nurtures Emma’s transition at film’s end

Ryan Driller’s warmth and compassion demonstrates why he is the perfect choice for Michael’s role. Pay close attention to their eye contact moment, a deftly placed mechanism to rebuild trust. In fact, psychologists say that holding a gaze with another person releases emotion and becomes a precursor to love.

The pendant and its memory Photo courtesy of Penny Pax

The pendant and its memory
Photo courtesy of Penny Pax

The film’s defining moment centers on its denouement. Emma removes the pendant with its W and the metaphorical mask it represents. She is now prepared to give herself to Michael, a significant step that moves her from the past into the present. In so many words, Emma’s world is now turned upside down, just as the W now is free to bec0me an M, in all ways that are good.

An older, wiser Emma tells us she is now “the strong courageous woman who is no longer living the socially acceptable existence, but one who has found her truth, [becoming] the person she was always meant to be.”

Using Exposed as her dramatic vehicle, Jacky St. James illustrates that playing roles is part of being human no matter our lifestyle (humorous scenes of Nadia and Ray enjoying their own ephemeral fantasy moments are shown at the end of the film).  But when the masks that define our personas are stripped away, the heart is unfettered, no longer a prisoner of its past or shackled in the present. The real self is bared for all to see in its delicious liberation.

As Emma says, “your only thought is of this one precious moment and you’re left beautifully, perfectly, comfortably exposed.”

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A special congrats is due to the pair of actresses whose performances place the Emma Marx series in adult film’s library of legendary cinema.

Riely Reid and Penny Pax own all the bragging rights they can muster!

Riely Reid and Penny Pax own all the bragging rights they can muster!

Also, kudos are in order for two alluring porn princesses, Aidra Fox and Samantha Hayes. Their erotic shows heighten the impact of Exposed.

Aidra Photo courtesy of Eddie Powell

Aidra
Photo by Eddie Powell

 

Samantha Hayes Photo by Eddie Powell

Samantha
Photo by Eddie Powell

 

Of course, the hardworking crew that forged the Emma Marx trilogy into a porn classic deserves accolades!

Jacky, Paul, and Eddie Photo by Jeff Koga

Jacky, Paul, and Eddie
Photo by Jeff Koga

 

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Some of the crew and cast associated with this film can be followed on twitter.

Here are their accounts: @jackystjames@mreddiepowell,  @pennypax@OfficialAidraF, @RileyReidx3@SamanthaHayesxo, @ryandriller

 

 

 

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The Resolution of Emma Marx, Part Two: Transitions

by Rich Moreland, March 2016

This is Part Two of my review/analysis of The Submission of Emma Marx: Exposed. Here we take a look at the film’s imagery.

Photos courtesy of New Sensations/Digital Sin are watermarked, all others are appropriately credited.


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“In life we sometimes play roles to mask who we really are, to hide our fears, protect our hearts.”

The above voice over opens the third installment of the Emma Marx series and defines what this movie is all about: love, devastation, and spiritual rebirth.

Throughout the Emma Marx saga, Jacky St. James shapes a meek college student with a mere flicker of sexual awareness into a fully-formed independent woman. With Exposed the feminist director completes Emma’s emotional resurrection and closes the door on a film trilogy worthy of academic study.

Emma’s Mask

Jacky St. James spins this final chapter around images–masks, books, shadows, and doorways–that are used strategically to move the narrative forward. They represent Emma’s transition and rebirth.

Emma and her dominant, the wealthy Mr. Frederick, have moved across the country into a house built of stone immersed in a luscious garden: the perfect Eden for the perfect BDSM relationship.

Setting up for a garden scene

Setting up for a garden scene

The times are bright and sunny until the day Emma quietly walks away. At that moment, clouds hang over the house and the foliage is lifeless, dry, and brown.

As mentioned earlier, Emma’s mask is the focal point of the opening credits. She sits before a large mirror illuminated by a row of lights similar to those in a backstage dressing room. Displayed are a collection of make-up brushes. Her auburn hair is hidden beneath jet black, saddened eyes heavy with mascara are paired with scarlet red lips. She has the mien of a hooker, war painted and headed out to tough streets where services are fast and cheap.

What is happening here?  Is Emma brushing over her pain to conceal her real self, metaphorically beaten into submission by forces she can’t control? Why does she remove the necklace and pendant, another sort of mask, that Frederick gives her in Boundaries, the second film? Has Emma changed?

Indeed. She is confronting redefinition in a search for the mature Emma who can holster her misery and open up to a new relationship.

Without a reawakening, Emma Marx remains as dead as the plants and shrubs she now leaves behind.

Books

Emma and Frederick love their books. Reading hers in the kitchen while he cooks, Emma says, “Frederick and I had fallen into such a beautiful pattern. Not the kind that couples dread, but the kind that really works.”

As she does over the entire series, Jacky St. James contrasts Emma’s fetish-driven romance with her sister’s marriage that seems, at times, annoying to both Nadia and Ray.

Jacky setting up the kitchen scene Photo by Jeff Koga

Jacky discussing up the kitchen scene with Penny and Richie Calhoun
Photo by Jeff Koga

Books are markers of acceptability, acting as props or facades to help Emma and Frederick adjust to the ordinary when their fetish is put away.

“Downshifting to conventional living at times proved challenging,” Emma tells us when she and Frederick play at being suburbanites. Not surprising, no BDSM couple lives the life twenty-four seven. Notice the scene where Emma tries to entice Frederick into some BDSM fun on one of their “days off.” He sits in the den reading, totally ignoring her. Frustrated, she storms out.

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After leaving Atlanta, Emma returns to live with Nadia and Ray where books show up again to serve another purpose.

In the scene where Nadia brings Emma a plate of brownies in an attempt to console her, the setting is morose. With book in hand, Emma sits in a window well on a rainy day. Reading is her retreat, her effort to suppress or mask her pain while comforting the memory of what she once had.

Shadows and Windows

To touch upon all the shadowing employed in this film is a study in itself. Eddie Powell and his cohort, Paul Woodcrest, use light and dark in ways that are complex, sometimes despondent, and often foreboding. They rely on doorways and windows to complement their message, adding a vital element to Emma’s story. Here are a couple of artistic moments.

The camera looks in from the doorway. Photo courtesy of Jacky St. James

The camera looks in from the doorway.
Photo courtesy of Jacky St. James

In a scene referred to earlier, Frederick tells Emma about Rebecca and Audrina. Emma is in her bath, relaxing in soapy water while he massages her leg. The bathroom is shot from outside its doorway with the shadows creating the effect of a time portal.

Later when Emma gets the phone call, she is lying in bed positioned to the right side of the screen with a heavy shadow subduing the left. The light that penetrates the scene comes from the left framing Emma’s metaphorical death while offering the hope of resurrection.

Shadows dominate the rest of the movie. In a dramatic shot that screams of isolation, Emma sits alone in front of a window. Hazy illumination filters in, holding back the darkness that is pressing in on her. Though the scene is melancholic, the light is a beacon, reminding the viewer of the celestial sublimity and promise that graced the films of Hollywood’s Golden Era.

Finally, shadows define the bondage scenes when Emma encounters her new dominant, Michael Sullivan. There is no airiness in these shots, only chains and cages. The shadows of the bars on Emma’s body as she is being offered the terrifying light of liberation speaks volumes.

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Emma’s darkest fantasies of real pain are now upfront and personal. By the way, for seasoned BDSMers, this portion of the film will carry high appeal.

The wig and lipstick, in the cage. Photo courtesy of Jacky St. James

Photo courtesy of Jacky St. James

Eventually, when Emma must face her truth, Jacky St. James positions Michael and Emma in front of a window. Like the bathroom scene mentioned above, Eddie Powell’s camera is outside a doorway looking in. The submissive and her Dom are sitting, she facing forward, he in profile gazing at her. Both are silhouetted by the stark contrast of light and dark. As Emma gently turns toward him, a tear slowly makes its way down her cheek. The camera moves in, illuminating Michael as he wipes away the sadness from a now visible Emma.

The shadows are retreat. Emma is exposed.

As I went through the film, I thought about its effect on the viewer had it been shot in black and white. Emma is squeezed, or crushed, by circumstances around her until her breakaway moment occurs. The heavy shadowing used by Eddie Powell and Paul Woodcrest illustrates this theme and carries a message of sharp contrasts. Perhaps the use of low-key lighting may have been more dramatic in black and white. Just a thought.

Doorways

Finally, what of the doorways? They are everywhere: the arch in the garden, the bathroom doorway we peek through each time Emma takes down the clothes Frederick has picked out for her, the one that lets us see into her bedroom when she removes her final outfit, and the doorway Emma is tied to when Nadia calls her early in the film. It is closed because at this point there is no need for a transition into renewal.

The closed doorways in a behind the scenes shot. Photo courtesy of New Sensations/Digital Sind

The closed doorways in a behind the scenes shot.

Incidentally, Nadia’s scenes lack meaningful thresholds. They are present, but never visibly used, never hinting of transition.

When her call to Emma puts her off, Nadia walks away to the right leaving the viewer looking straight into two exits she did not take. When Ray brings home the bouquet and argues with his wife, the double doors of their home are in the background. We know he probably used them, but we do not see it. On the other hand, when Emma arrives at their house, we actually witness her open and walk through those same doors.

In Nadia’s part of the story, physical entrances are ignored. The only portals she uses are electronic and impersonal like her phone and laptop. Jacky St. James reminds us that Nadia represents the limitations many women in our modern times feel. A young suburban mom ageing in her marriage, Nadia experiences little, if any, significant personal growth or transition, only grudging accommodation.

By contrast, physical passages are Emma’s gateways, placed artfully throughout the film to highlight each new “exposure.”

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SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESA reflective comment on Penny Pax is due.

The demands made of this self-identified bondage enthusiast to go from girl to woman and endure the pain of her rebirth is certainly not the kind of acting common in adult entertainment. Her range of emotion alone is extraordinary. Don’t forget, of course, that Jacky St. James’ talent brings Emma to the screen, but it is Penny who brings her to life.

And, as I’ve said before, it is hard to believe Exposed is a porn film unless we consider how the sex scenes define the narrative, the subject of our concluding look at this enduring trilogy.

 

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The Resolution of Emma Marx, Part One: The Black Wig

by Rich Moreland, March 2016

This is the first installment of  a three-part analysis of The Submission of Emma Marx: Exposed. With this film, writer/director Jacky St. James finishes the trilogy that follows a BDSM submissive through her rite of passage into womanhood.

My thanks to New Sensations/Digital Sin for providing the watermarked photos. All other photos are credited where possible.

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Mythologists believe all stories contain archetypes, symbolic imagery that explains how we interpret the world around us. In other words, an archetype is something we inherently understand, the stuff of great literature, religious belief, and legend.

In the Emma Marx saga, storyteller and director Jacky St. James taps into a powerful archetype, the number three, the cornerstone of  an age-old concept known as birth, death, and rebirth. The final chapter, Exposed, is about Emma’s renewal and the conflicting emotions that bear witness to it.

Even the structure of the Emma series, the trilogy, embraces the triad concept.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSo what does this mean? Simply this. The myth and its power over the human psyche is why Emma Marx stands alone in adult film. Compliment the narrative with superb acting captured by a haunting, brooding cinematography and Emma’s story takes its place among adult entertainment’s hall of fame offerings.

Let’s be honest. Emma Marx is already porn’s best in the “art” cinema genre (Cinekink are you listening?). Mute the hardcore into a smidgen of nudity and indie film accolades are but a screening away.

Fearless

The ancient Greeks honored the trilogy because it reinforced their idea of the hero who rises above the masses. Is Emma Marx a heroine? She is, but it is not of her own making, or so she believes. In the first two films, Mr. Frederick takes the formative clay that begins as a naïve girl, sees within it, and molds the Emma the viewer gets to know. He orchestrates the kinks that become her identity.

But she is not reprogrammed because BDSM is a product of her DNA. Frederick tells Emma, “This was in you before you met me. I could tell that the second I met you. It’ll still be a part of who you are forever.”

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Early in Exposed, Emma reflects on Mr. Frederick’s tutelage that guides her enlightenment.

“I was fearless. In fact, putting limits on my experiences had become more terrifying than taking risks.”

However, her journey is tumultuous and laced with misery and despair. Faced with “a profound sense of unhappiness,” Emma eventually engages another conductor to play her symphony. Her fetishized self must be rediscovered and retooled under a new BDSM guru.

Emma awaits transition before doorways in the film

Emma awaits her symbolic transitions to open before her

In the final episode, Emma suffers the pain of an emotional loss that inevitably precedes the mystical rebirth the ancients knew well. Mr. Frederick brought forth the original awakening that transformed a shy, introverted girl into an independent-minded adult. But a lingering childlike dependency remains, necessitating in a further renewal that will release Emma’s authentic, transcendental self.

The BDSM submissive tries to subdue, almost mute, her final reawakening, as the opening shots of the third film suggest with makeup brushes, heavy red lipstick, and an awful black wig. But the disguise is doomed to failure because Emma cannot be fully individuated (developed into a whole person, as psychologist Carl Jung puts it) while hiding behind a mask. The archetype of rebirth will not abide it.

Theme of Three

How does a director turn the transcendental elements of the human psyche into an adult film? Jacky St. James pulls it off with grace, power, and tough emotion. I might add that the cast is brilliant. Each performer is the embodiment of their character. The viewer is familiar with Nadia (Riley Reid), Ray (Van Wilde), William Frederick (Ritchie Calhoun), and, of course, Emma (Penny Pax).

Maturing into their roles, they grow together throughout the series. By the way, before you see the third episode, please watch the first two otherwise you’ll be walking in for the denouement of a well-crafted story you may not fully comprehend.

To complement the familiar faces, Exposed offers more characters to enrich the narrative. Ryan Diller who steps in as Michael Sullivan is a sensitive fit for the role. He shows up in the final hour of the film EMMA_MARX_03_HARD.02_02_49_21.Still118and becomes Emma’s guiding light, not an easy task for any performer because our heroine is drawn taut in her feelings. The reawakening that will push her forward must come from her own soul.

Even the sexual encounters carry the triad theme. Jacky St. James has grouped her characters accordingly. New to this version of Emma Marx are Samantha Hayes (Rebecca) and Aidra Fox (Joelle), two emerging industry stars. They are the additional play partners that entertain Mr. Frederick’s fantasies. His first romp with Rebecca is watched by his former submissive, Audrina (Sara Luvv). His final dip into carnality features a threesome with Emma and Joelle.

More on the literary implications of these episodes later.

As she has done throughout this adult classic, Jacky St. James has the opening sex scene feature Nadia and Ray to establish the story’s contrasting “normality.” But this time there is an unseen third person, their little one, Isabelle. Nadia is never totally comfortable with this fantasy set-up because she’s distracted by thoughts of the baby. It’s hard to let go sometimes, even for an hour of fun, when you are very suburban and middle-class.

Duality

Nadia and Emma remain a duality throughout the series; each is defined by the other. But does this duality include a mask for Nadia?

Contrasting sisters. Photo courtesy of Eddie Powell

Contrasting sisters.
Photo courtesy of Eddie Powell

We discover early in the series that Emma’s sister is consumed by her conventionality and its play-by-the-numbers expectations. It certainly fits her shallow self-absorption. In fact, one gets the feeling that her baby is just the next event programmed into a well-scripted socially acceptable life Nadia never challenges. It is evident, however, that she has learned some lessons from Emma about sexual fantasy. Nadia does agree to fool around with Ray’s sexual imagination, though her commitment to these make-believe dalliances is debatable.

On the other hand, Emma, emerging from her cocoon in the first film, faces another transition in Exposed.  Her mask, defined by the wig she wears in the opening shots of the third film, is ready to accompany her back into what she loves. But wigs and lipstick shout of denial and can never be satisfying. Just as she did when releasing her kinks in the first film, Emma now faces another hurdle in her growth, she must break through the pain that lies beneath the persona everyone sees.

Rebirth, in all its forms, is the story of the human condition because exposure is the final step to liberating the real self.

A moment of sisterly love between Nadia and Emma

A moment of sisterly love between Nadia and Emma

*          *          *

The next post will explore the imagery that sets The Submission of Emma Marx: Exposed apart from the run-of-the-mill porn fare.

Aidra Fox promotes Emma Three Photo by Jeff Koga

Aidra Fox promotes the trilogy with the first two films in hand.
Photo by Jeff Koga

 

 

 

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Why Can’t We Have It All? Part Three

by Rich Moreland, March 2015

The popularity of “Behind the Scenes” is growing in adult DVDs. The BTS humanizes the people in front of the camera, allowing the fan an inside peek at the playfulness of performers as well as their serious side.

A fun off screen moment of dueling subs. Photo courtesy of Jeff Koga

A fun off-screen moment of dueling subs, small in size but huge in sexiness.
Photo courtesy of Jeff Koga

In her BTS interviews, Jacky St. James often explores how performers relate to the roles they play in her films. Here are some comments from The Submission of Emma Marx: Boundaries.

I Couldn’t Handle Any More Sex

Penny Pax and Richie Calhoun chat about alternative relationships like the one they have in the film. Though each admits they’ve experienced similar situations in their private lives, they have different takes on what it means for them personally.

Richie and Penny at work. Photo courtesy of Jacky St. James

Richie and Penny at work.
Photo courtesy of Jacky St. James

Richie has seen these types of relationships “explode” because someone cheats. “[The people] have an open relationship and somebody jumps out and does something the other person can’t handle,” he explains. The relationship can get “lopsided” because one person is doing everything for the other person. Consequently it’s “easy for resentment to build up,” Richie points out.

Penny is more conventional in her attitudes, much like Emma’s sister, Nadia.

“I’m actually not ok with [alternative arrangements]” she says. Confessing that she’s “a sucker for happy endings,” Penny finds expanding sexual exploration in real life couplings somewhat uncomfortable. Her view is a reality check, cautioning film fans against the notion that porn stars act out their private dramas on-screen.

What advice would Richie and Penny offer anyone watching Boundaries and thinking about having an open or flexible relationship?

“Respect you partner,” Richie offers. “Try to hear what they feel, what they want.”

He concedes, however, that his opinions must be taken in context. The only relationships he’s ever had have been open ones. “I’m more of the Richie show,” he muses, because anything long-term is a “tall order” and not on his agenda right now. Then, as if to clarify what he means concerning flexible arrangements, Richie points out that performing in adult film is not considered to be an open relationship in his mind.

In truth, it’s a job.

Riche and Sara Luvv look on as Jacky and Eddie set up their scene. Photo courtesy of Jeff Koga

Richie and Sara Luvv look on as Jacky and Eddie set up their scene.
Photo courtesy of Jeff Koga

Penny agrees that the “gray areas” presented in open relationships must be discussed among everyone involved. For her, communication is not a problem because she is a talker. But like Emma, she also has a vivid imagination and tends to fall into the trap of thinking “something crazy is happening, but it’s usually not.” Penny’s caution and her awareness of how emotional reasoning can play tricks 0n her perceptions authenticates her role as Emma.

Obviously, as a porn performer Penny is in a different sexual environment than the average fan who watches her scenes. True, she has a private life, but working in adult entertainment also means having sex for a living. The native Miamian admits she is sharing her body with other people and though the sex may not be emotional, it is still physical which in her mind is just as important.

“Between porn and my personal life I couldn’t handle any more sex!’ she says.

Sexually Exploratory Cloth

Later Penny talks specifically about her role as Emma.

Boundaries was easier for her than the original film because Emma revisited is more what she, Penny, is like in her personal moments.

Remembering the first Emma. Photo courtesy of Jeff Koga

Remembering the first Emma.
Photo courtesy of Jeff Koga

Shifting the discussion away from Emma’s character, where does Penny see Nadia’s journey going? Will she move down the road to BDSM or has she reached her limit?

As a positive thinker, Penny wants Nadia to progress and get to that final destination. But the diminutive superstar is pragmatic. “There are two types of people in the world,” she says, “those that will do different things and those who won’t.” In other words, there are risk takers and people who hold back.

“I’m hoping she [Nadia] blossoms and there will The Submission of Nadia Marx movie,” Penny says with a smile.

For those who don’t know, Penny Pax is a popular submissive for bondage-oriented studios and websites. Her profile for the highly respected Spiegler Girls agency lists fetish modeling as one of her specialties. Needless to say, Penny’s non-vanilla porn resume is solid, having shot over seventy-five times for Kink.com, the internet powerhouse of BDSM.

Asked if she has personally encountered criticism about her sexual choices similar to what Emma faces in Boundaries, Penny is honest. She has.

However, the sexy five footer counters disparaging remarks with “you guys don’t know what you’re talking about.” When people don’t understand something they “tend to shy away from it [because they have a] fear of the unknown,” she adds.

Penny claims she likes to “be the guinea pig,” the first to try something out. Commenting that she hears from old high school acquaintances who want to know if what she does is “real,” her answer is, “absolutely.” The twenty-five year old enjoys all the sensations she experiences in her shoots and hopes that she can encourage people to think about doing some of them in their lives.

Jacky St. James poses the question of what brought her into porn. Was she sexually open prior to coming into the industry?

“That’s hard to say because my definition of sexually open has changed so much.”

Penny has always maintained an open attitude toward sex, though she never had a chance to explore her desires and fetishes before porn. When she was growing up, she fooled around with her girlfriends to find out what felt good and what was “weird.” An early boyfriend did his part by introducing her to anal.

“I’m cut from that sexually exploratory cloth,” she says with that Penny Pax trademark, an upbeat demeanor.

A girl who enjoys her job! Photo courtesy of Jacky St. James

A girl who enjoys her job!
Photo courtesy of Jacky St. James

The discussion turns for a moment to what Penny has yet to experience in her adult entertainment career. Double vag and double anal are on the list, she says, hinting she’s open to booking those scenes.

Also, she’s not done any “large groups of people gang bangs.” Her professional history is limited to a six-person affair, which she did for Kink.com.

Gang bangs are exciting on two levels, Penny says. First is the “actual experience.” It’s “adrenaline pumping” and “really exhilarating,” an “extreme sexual act” that she likens to skydiving.

“Having five guys trying to use you at the same time was really fun for me.” Because of the “chaos” it creates, however, the act is not an everyday thing!

As for the second part, Penny enjoys reviewing her shoots. Unlike some girls who never look at their own movies, Penny comments that being “able to watch [herself having sex] on camera is deeply satisfying” because she can relive the thrill anytime she wants.

In a later BTS segment with Richie and Logan Pierce, Penny remarks about the threesome at the end of the film. “I loved it,” she glows, adding that to “get off on somebody telling me what to do” is what makes the scene good porn.

Complimenting his co-workers, Richie chimes in that on-screen sex is at its best when performers get their energy from each other. A true illustration of  what it means to be a professional.

Interviewing Sara Luvv. Photo courtesy of Jeff Koga

Interviewing Sara Luvv.
Photo courtesy of Jeff Koga

Put Them Ahead of You

To wrap up the BTS, Jacky St. James finds a moment to sit down with Sara Luvv.

In BDSM shoots, Sara’s is a convenient fit for submissive roles. “I usually sub because I’m so small,” she laughs.

At 4’11” she can be thrown around, the native Californian admits, which makes her a perfect submissive.

But acting and personal preferences don’t always jibe with some adult film stars. St. James asks if she (Sara) likes submissive roles on-screen.

“I do. I love being a sub, actually,” the porn newcomer says. Part of the pleasure of shooting BDSM is “doing everything they [her dominants] enjoy.” In the fashion of an authentic bottom who wants to please, Sara confesses “they’re getting everything that they want out of it [the scene]. I’m there to make them happy.”

What is her number one tip on being a good sub?

“You have to feel like you genuinely want that person to get off really bad. [You] have to put them ahead of you. That’s how you find enjoyment out of it.” Concerning safe words, Sara admits she’s never had to use one because she’s not appeared in any “super hardcore stuff.”

“I haven’t done anything too rough,” she says, and that is likely by design. This rising Latina star represents the newly emerging submission porn or bondage chic genre that avoids sex acts hovering around faux abuse. Other than an all-girl gang bang, for example, her shooting history at Kink.com is practically nil.

Nevertheless, Sara Luvv’s attitude and approach to bondage scenes. . . and porn in general . . . is one of giving. “I love being used for someone else’s pleasure.”

That is the best news possible for her fans.

 

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Why Can’t We Have It All? Part One

by Rich Moreland, March 2015

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The Submission of Emma Marx: Boundaries is Jacky St. James’ sequel to her award-winning masterpiece, The Submission of Emma Marx which I had the pleasure to review in three parts here in August 2013. With cinematic partner Eddie Powell, St. James now boldly continues Emma’s odyssey.

Before moving into the film, it’s worth mentioning that sequels are financial risks. Though supportive of her project, New Sensations President Scott Taylor was cautious. “Sequels often flop.” St. James remembers him telling her. “They don’t sell as well. They seldom find that magic of the original.”

Perhaps, but in the case of Boundaries it is every bit as good as it’s older sister and I encourage watching the first film before enjoying the second. If not, the viewer will feel like a late arriving movie goer who takes a seat half way through a story with no understanding of its origin.

Boundaries‘ success is complemented by the reassembled cast. Penny Pax reprises her role as Emma, as does Richie Calhoun as Mr. Frederick. Though porn flirts with the edges of mainstream Hollywood, both players remind us its acting can be every bit as good. Pax is learning her trade, building a resume that separates her from adult’s usual “just give me the sex and don’t ask if I can act.” No doubt St. James’ directing is a crucial factor in the diminutive model’s professional evolution.

Jacky, Penny and Richie.  Photo courtesy of Jacky St. James

Jacky, Penny and Richie.
Photo courtesy of Jacky St. James

Riley Reid is perfect as Nadia and Van Wylde likewise as Ray. Their roles are not an easy sell because Reid and Wylde must come across as a vanilla “cookie cutter suburban couple” snug and homey in their conventionality.

In making the film, St. James confesses that “staying true to Emma and her sexual journey” could not be compromised. The result is Emma as a complexity that intrigues the viewer on various levels. I can imagine that her shadow seductively passes through the corridors of St. James’ mind just as she does in the film’s opening credits and its denouement.

Conceding that her “screenplays hold very deeply personal connections to experiences I’ve had or people I’ve known,” Jacky St. James faces a near impossible task with Boundaries, write a flawless script that moves Emma along bit by bit while confronting the viewer with unsettling issues. The question that captures the film’s raison d’être and St. James’ good storytelling is simple: Does sexual and emotional turbulence reach a satisfactory resolution that spells the end of the story?

Or, is there room for Emma redux, part three?

One thing is evident, Boundaries’ tightly written script is worthy of industry accolades. Indeed, it is as close to impeccable as an adult film can be.

Part of News Sensation’s Erotic Stories line, this second Emma Marx falls into the couples porn genre, yet it is sexually groundbreaking for a date night film. The carnal scenes are integral to the story; nothing is thrown together or gratuitous. Some of the action, however, directly challenges the formula for what the industry touts as comfortable for lovers. But more on that later.

Just Drawing Lines

Emma Marx and Nadia are sisters whose relationship is close considering their sexualities are anything but. In the first Emma Marx, Nadia and Ray “silently judged” Emma’s fetishes. Now they are outspoken, letting her know of “their aversion” to BDSM.

Is this progress?

Over a bland vegan dinner she believes is suitable for everyone (one size fits all, if you will), Nadia announces she doesn’t understand why being tied up and spanked is not abuse. Deprecating BDSM kinkiness with her sappy smile and haughty attitude, Nadia tacitly reinforces her normalized sexuality in a way only modern moralists can appreciate. When Emma mentions consensuality, she is ignored. In an amusing moment, Ray condemns suspension and cattle prods while disgustingly holding a fork with two pieces of the vegan mystery food hanging from it. The real torture in this scene is inflicted on Ray.

But, apparently the happily married duo is not opposed to a little experimentation.

With the superficiality of a Valley Girl who thinks a sip of wine makes her a connoisseur, Nadia announces to Emma the next morning, “Ray and I totally tried BDSM last night and I’m totally a sub.” Kudos to Emma for respecting her sister’s asinine interpretation of sexual enlightenment.

Jacky setting up the scene for Riley and Van Photo courtesy of Jeff Koga

Jacky setting up the scene for Riley and Van. Blurred flowers framed on the wall.
Photo courtesy of Jeff Koga

Here’s the story. In the film’s first sex scene with Nadia and Ray, a blindfold is about as deviant as they get. (She does ask him if she can call him “master” in a laughable attempt to identify with what Emma authenticates.) Having now seen the light while not being able to see, Nadia tells Emma she “completely” understands what a BDSM relationship is all about.

Incidentally, the sex is classic Riley Reid, who is an industry gem. Considering it’s a script-driven vanilla encounter–necessary to set up Emma’s future sexual experimentation–Riley’s smile, spirit, and energy carry the show. On the wall bedside the bed is a black and white photo of two flowers that lord over the sex in front of it. The flowers are blurred, an important image for this film.

Blindfold in place, ready to shoot. Photo courtesy of Jeff Koga

Blindfold in place, ready to shoot.
Photo courtesy of Jeff Koga

Later when the sisters are in the gym, understanding suddenly vanishes. As she gives the elliptical machine a workout, Nadia is clearly irritated. “Trying BDSM was the biggest mistake of my life.” Now Ray wants a three-some, but Nadia slammed the door on that idea, proclaiming that men put women in “sexual situations solely for their benefit.”

Emma’s hint that Ray might want to expand Nadia’s horizons falls flat. “Men do that,” a fired up Nadia says. “They pretend it’s all about you and it’s really about them. They wait for the moment you say, ‘yes,’ and they push your limits.” Annoyed with Emma’s suggestion that Ray wouldn’t cheat, Nadia digs in. “I’m just drawing lines.”

But doesn’t everybody?

Open to New Experiences

Nadia’s indignation spurs Emma to confront her own crisis. Mr. Frederick has presented her with a new contract which she reads line by line in an earlier scene. It is a quest for “Why can’t we have it all?”

Preparing for an office shot. Photo courtesy of Jeff Koga

Preparing for an office shot.
Photo courtesy of Jeff Koga

When she reviews the contract, equality and symmetry are visually emphasized to reflect the supposed state of their relationship. Emma is sitting on a long desk with her legs extended to a Mr. Frederick who massages her feet. The shot has perfect balance regarding the desk: two half full glasses of red wine on each end and a pair of tall plants in floor urns on either side of it. In the background, French doors halve the scene like the entrance into a Georgian manor.

As this segment progresses, brief glimpses of Emma and Mr. Frederick’s encounters are revealed as she goes through the contract.

In one, symmetry is repeated when she talks about training. It is a shot of interior French doors at the end of a hall. Framed prints are on opposite walls to balance the scene. Mr. Frederick leads Emma from left to right across the screen, moving her symbolically from an old definition of her sexuality to a new experience.

“I will not just play the role,” Emma says in reference to being a submissive, “I will become the role.”

When she is bound to pillars in the kitchen a la Fay Wray in King Kong, Emma says, “my body is his to do with as he pleases.”

The Kitchen Pillars. Photo courtesy of Jacky St. James

The Kitchen Pillars with Eddie Powell in the background.
Photo courtesy of Jacky St. James

Incidentally, in the provision having to do with enjoying her orgasms, there is a quick flash of them having sex in a hallway that doglegs to the right, an image that is revisited later.

When Emma gets to the item that involves having sex with other people, she balks. Tense and unsure, she asks if he is bored with her, that fatal relationship blow everyone fears.

This moment sets up the rest of the film. Mr. Frederick orders her to stand up, face him, and masturbate while thinking about someone who sexually arouses her. With eyes closed, she confesses it is Shane (Logan Pierce), the new guy in the office. Emma loses her bearings in a rush of endorphins and says, “I wonder if he’d like me.” Projecting her sexual preferences into Shane, Emma says he’d be down and dirty and insist on violating her with anal.

Logan Pierce Photo courtesy of 101Modeling.

Logan Pierce
Photo courtesy of 101Modeling.

It’s the opening Frederick wants and sex scene number two begins with anal its focal point, a clear break from the couples’ porn formula. To emphasize this shift, Eddie Powell moves his camera over Richie Calhoun’s shoulder to get the standard male masturbatory gonzo shot of a kneeling Penny Pax, mouth at work and adoring eyes looking upward.

St. James and Powell have a dual purpose with this scene. For story purposes, Emma’s exploration is picking up steam, but on another level, they are forging a new path in romance porn. The bondage remains light, adhering to the submission pornography genre popular in today’s market, but the sex is edgier.

Several questions in the film are present here. Mr. Frederick claims he is turned on by Emma’s self discovery, but is he engaging in his own fantasy of whoring out Emma and role playing Shane? In her mind, is Emma mocking her sister, knowing Nadia would never be this unconventional? Or does this exercise add to the unpredictability of Emma relationship that keeps it from getting stale?

There is a deeper question. Is Mr. Frederick gently and firmly nudging Emma forward or is he applying subtle pressure with the bet that Emma’s devotion will give him carte blanche to ratchet up his demands?

Or perhaps what Frederick tells her is straightforward and eerily true. “You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. I just want you to be open to new experiences.”

Mr. Frederick and Emma exploring. Photo courtesy of Jacky St. James

Mr. Frederick and Emma exploring.
Photo courtesy of Jacky St. James

At any rate, as Mr. Frederick anally penetrates his submissive, Emma sees and feels the new guy in her imagination. Before the pop, she begs, “Cum on me please, Shane.” Is Emma transitioning to a new experience or enjoying a healthy fantasy?

Whatever St. James’ intention, the scene explores the emotional complexities of BDSM characteristic of submission pornography, or what might be called in today’s culture, bondage chic. For raw sexuality, it steps beyond the inanity of Fifty Shades while pulling up way short of the hardcore fetish elements found on many extreme internet tube sites.

Dumbbells

Back in the gym the options posed for both Nadia and Emma are carefully defined. As the camera moves in on Emma’s treadmill next to Nadia’s elliptical, it floats past a rack of dumbbells that illustrate the choices available to each woman.

The top row contains two smaller dumbbells, both round and equal in size, with a exercise baton nestled in the juncture between them. This is Emma’s next possibility. Both weights are side by side and sexually open with the option of welcoming in a third person. In the same row, but to the far right, are two larger six-sided dumbbells of equal size representing Nadia’s view of her marriage, closed off and solid, or so she hopes.

Should either woman choose an unequal relationship, open or closed, in which her stature is diminished , the options are on the bottom row. Two round dumbbells and two six-sided ones, with the larger dominant one snuggled next to the smaller. Curiously, off to the right of the closed dumbbells is a single and smaller six-sided one, perhaps it is Ray’s suggestion that so infuriated Nadia and her no nonsense answer.

Where will all this drama leave Emma?

 

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Thirty Hours

by Rich Moreland, February 2014

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Southern Hospitality is a B. Skow film about accommodatin’ love and marriage hillbilly style, Appalachian sociability fueled by homemade liquor and outfoxin’ the law. Jon Jo (Evan Stone) is a landowner of little note who collects female property he passes off as wives. As the movie opens, he’s marrying mate number three, “Small” (Alex Chance). After the informal ceremony, JJ gives his newest wife over to his other honeys, a somewhat disenchanted “Large” (Ash Hollywood) and a bored “Medium” (Dillion Harper). They’ll warm her up in a classic Girlfriends Films all-girl scene before Jon Jo collects his husbandly due, her virginity. At least, that’s the plan. It’s the second part that gets mucked up.

Unbeknownst to this happy group is the arrival of the Fuggs, a lawless family of Mama (Darla Crane) and her three sons: Tiny (Richie Calhoun), Teeny (Billy Glide), and Mighty (Tommy Pistol).

Jon Jo consumes too much moonshine to keep his thinking cap on so Mama and the boys squat on his land, set up a still, and percolate trouble.

In the meantime, Tiny and Medium fall in love (after she sneaks peeks of him in the shower) and hide out to avoid family entanglements. Suddenly, lightning strikes. Ash and Small go searching for Medium and Small falls victim to sexual assault from the leftover Fuggs.

The rest of the story is about revenge and final reconciliation with all the Hillbilly grace one film can muster. Bodies are buried and plans changed in an entertaining tale that is carried to its success by two performers, Ash Hollywood and Alex Chance.

A throuoghly enjoyable film, Southern Hospitality is brimming with B. Skow ingredients: good acting, humor, a dark side typical of Skow, and a heavy dose of social satire.

The Voiceover

Let’s take a further look at the film through a discussion with B. Skow, one of Porn Valley’s directing elite.

B. Skow Photo courtesy of Bill Knight

B. Skow
Photo courtesy of Bill Knight

Southern Hospitality survives and moves forward through the voiceover narrative. Ash Hollywood is the chronicler and as an actress faces formidable tasks. She must convince the audience her character, Large, is coming into her own as the story progresses and do it with a southern drawl that sells the tale.

In talking about Ash, Skow reminds everyone that his films are “just like Hollywood” where good actors (he mentions Meryl Streep and George Clooney) are going to create winning roles.

“There are certain people that perform,” the director says. “Ash is just a great performer [and] she has an interesting look.”

Commenting that Ash had “so much dialogue” along with the voiceover, Skow describes hours of one-on-one directing that were “relaxing” rather than tedious and, from a director’s standpoint, creatively challenging. “You can really work with an actor to give you what you need,” he says, adding in this case it was the dialogue that made the story convincing. “We were in the room for hours with her [Ash] trying to get that stuff down. It was so hard to keep the accent [going].”

Ash Hollywood Photo courtesy of Rick Garcia and AVN

Ash Hollywood
Photo courtesy of Rick Garcia and AVN

B. Skow affirms that despite the demands and hard work, the film was completed on time. “You know, I had thirty hours to do that movie,” he says.

Ash Hollywood also plays the one character that develops during the film. She is the movie’s central focus. In the end she stands up to Jon Jo and leads the final getaway, completing her empowerment image.

Loved the Part

Asked about Alex Chance, Skow says, she “has a specific look in her.” She’s “young, cheery, great girl” and a good actress.

Alex is perfectly cast as the innocent third wife whose future, according the rules of Hillbilly Haven, is shattered when she’s molested and penetrated in a modified gang bang with Teeny and Mighty. Her sadness and hopelessness at the loss of her virginity is powerfully portrayed as the film moves toward its climax. If Ash Holloway is the narrative’s driving force, Alex Chance is the emotional glue that holds the story together.

B. Skow describes what he loves about the native Virginian.

“In the movie she really held the accent, really loved the part,” he says. Alex appreciates being in a feature, he notes, a circumstance not always true of other performers.

Alex Chance Photo courtesy of Rick Garcia and AVN

Alex Chance
Photo courtesy of Rick Garcia and AVN

“Some girls come on the set and make their money, got their underwear in a zip lock bag,” Skow begins. “Then you have an Alex Chance who comes in. She’s printed out the script not only for herself, but in case someone else needs it. She highlights her lines.”

He remembers Alex telling him she watched a media presentation to get the accent down.

For her efforts, the buxom lass gets the highest of compliments. “She appreciates the business,” Skow explains. “There are certain people who accept what we do and appreciate it and enjoy it.”

Pausing in a reflective moment, B. Skow compliments Girlfriends for giving him “full freedom” to explore his creative mind. In this case, Alex Chance accommodated his fantasy.

“The way she took the cum shot on her face,” he says, was important. “Instead of [the typical] porno where you’re doing a scene like that [and] all of a sudden the girl jumps up and rubs the cum on her face and smiles,” he declares, Alex made the shoot “more realistic.”

Working with Alex Chance was rewarding because Skow wanted to film the scene as it would happen naturally, or as he suggests, unimpeded. Many directors look for chemistry first among performers, but that’s not always what motivates B. Skow. It’s the scene as it is embedded in the feature that counts. In the case of Southern Hospitality, “everyone understood it and did it,” he says.

In fact, sexual connections among performers may not always be good for a feature, he insists. “During the fucking, chemistry should be there, they need it,” Skow admits, but “they also need to remember what they’re doing. You need to be able to get them into a character.”

He returns to Alex Chance, describing what she faced as an actress. “You’re in a situation [the molestation] with two dirty hillbillies who haven’t bathed, you’re not swallowing their cum and enjoying it. You’re letting it hit your face because you’re scared of being slapped.”

“In my head I want to see how that girl’s going to react in that moment,” Skow says. He wanted a realistic response from Alex. He was not disappointed. “She was awesome!” he says.

Our Way

Southern Hospitality has good sex. For the viewer who wants to sit back and enjoy a scene, Richie Calhoun and Dillion Harper are a “can’t miss.” For fans of older woman/younger woman, the predator theme that Girlfriends values so highly, Darla Crane and Ash Hollywood fill the bill.

But it’s the satire and social commentary that makes this version of Hillbilly Haven a winner.

When Large tries to explain to Mama Fugg how the wives of Jon Jo are arranged in a familial way, Mama responds, “No offense girly, but ain’t you a little too far from Utah to have such an arrangement?”

Large defends the Hillbilly ethos. “We ain’t Mormons or nothin’. We have our way of livin’.” The implication that “our way” is somewhere in Kentucky makes this Appalachian social zinger too good to miss.

B. Skow does not deny part of his work is satire. “I wouldn’t want to generalize,” he begins, but “I definitely have that in me, I’ve always had that weird way of looking at what I like. I’m very observant and my mind goes into very unusual places.”

Is he politically correct? Perhaps not and he doesn’t see that as an issue.

“I think it’s fun to be comfortable and do things where people are going to be like, ‘Oh my God,’” he says. Then in a  moment of social commentary, Skow observes, “We’re in a time when people are putting everything about themselves everywhere.”

Personally, it’s not something he can do. “I’m not comfortable with it,” he says, “it would take me a half hour to write a sentence on twitter. I have nothing to say about myself.”

Geniuses often don’t, their art is their expression.

But the implication is clear. When putting yourself out there for all to see, political correctness is difficult to maintain.

Perhaps that is B. Skow’s message in Southern Hospitality, a hilariously dark and funny film that is a satirical gem.

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