The Little Details
Running Time: 69 min.
Production Date: 7 / 10 / 2006
Director: Venus Hottentot and Candida Royalle
Cast: India, Liliana Velasquez, ReVay, Sativa Verte, Simone Valentino, Jay Junker, Justin Long, and Mr. Marcus with Trina Asiedu and a few others in non-sex roles
The Short Story
Initial Expectations: Candida Royalle has often been sleep-inducing for me. I'm not really expecting this one to be much different.
Initial Reaction: Now black people can nod off during porn too!
Who Should Watch It : Anybody who doesn't care about the sex in an adult movie
Who Should Avoid It: Anybody wanting a porno that doesn't feel like it's afraid of sex
The Technical Stuff
Audio /Video Quality: The technical aspects are pretty good. The audio is clear and well balanced, and I don't think I noticed a single background noise. The video is presented in anamorphic widescreen, and has a few problems. To start with, the opening looks like it was shot in the full frame format and then stretched to the widescreen format. It's pretty well lit, but there's some very noticeable pixelation, a few focus problems, and a lot of camera motion.
Music: The music has a hip hop feel that works well for the movie. It's also nicely balanced with the rest of the audio.
Menus: The main menu blends a bit of the movie with a bit of the boxcover and a little animation for an okay first impression. The chapter menu is very generic and lets you choose a scene based on a small clip of each scene and a scene number.
The FeatureAfrodite Jones (Simone Valentino) was to make it on her own rather than due to her music studio father. She thinks she's finally caught a break when rap mogul CEO (Mr. Marcus) spots her and her best friend Isis (India) singing rap in a karaoke club, and before she knows it she's whisked in front of the camera with a new gangsta image. She soon learns that she's going to have to choose whether to become her new image or be true to herself.
|Scene 1 – Simone Valentino|
After watching herself on TV, black hottie Simone decides to dig into a basket of Candida Royalle's sex toys. She runs one and her hand around herself while stripping down so the camera can't really see anything. The camera wanders around to give a few glimpses as Simone adds in a little natural pussy play. Finally she looks like she might have a little orgasm.
This is an okay scene. As usual with Femme's movies it barely gets above the level of late night cable TV and the scene is quite short. Simone is definitely cute, and she does seem to get into it with a natural feel that helps to raise it above the level of most Femme scenes. This is an okay scene, but a better mix of camera angles and toys which didn't feel like a commercial shoved into the movie would have helped it out a bit.
|Scene 2A – India and Liliana Velasquez|
After reading her a little poetry, hot black babe India gets it on with heavily tattooed and average looking Latina Liliana. They dance around a bit and starts to kiss each other softly before laying back and letting their hands roam around each other. They grind against each other while kissing, with India moving on to kiss her way over Liliana's tits and down to her pussy.
This scene might make it to the average level. The camera work is horrible, and tries its best to avoid any shots that might not be able to be shown on late night cable TV while wobbling around like Femme was trying to help the handicapped by putting blind people behind the camera. There's some nice chemistry between the girls that starts to save the scene, but the scene is very short with very short segments that never let the heat build up too much cut together with Justin and ReVay's scene. India and Liliana had the chemistry to make a very hot scene, but as usual, Femme shows itself to not be concerned with hot sex.
|Scene 2B – ReVay and Justin Long|
After he raps around a bit, Justin heads to the bed to get busy with dark black chick ReVay. He kisses her while stripping her down and makes sure to give her pierced nipples some nice attention on his way down to lick her pussy. She returns the favor sucking his cock before Justin fucks her from behind. Finally the scene ends with Justin kicking ReVay out without any sign of either of them being done or even satisfied sexually.
I'm not sure what's really to be sexy about this scene. ReVay and Justin aren't bad looking, but the camera work is horrible. It moves around the action like somebody downed a case of Mad Dog before coming to work and seems like it tries its best to avoid any shots of the penetration. Combine that with very short segments cutting the action here in with India and Liliana, the lack of any kind of conclusion to the scene, and you have a scene that comes off as a long list of what not to do.
|Scene 3 – Sativa Verte and Jay Junker|
Black wannabe Jay gets it on with hot brunette babe Sativa in the front of Afrodite's hummer. He kisses his way around her tits as well as trying to munch her through her pants. They magically disappear so the camera can actually show a pussy getting licked and fingered, and keep it up as she lies back on the hood of the Hummer. Sativa has him stop so she can energetically suck his cock from limp to hard before he stops to pick up a sealed condom off the floor. They magically move to fucking standing up, and moments later the scene ends with them kissing but no sign of them actually being satisfied with the sex.
There was plenty of potential to have a great scene here, but once again Femme made sure to kill it. Sativa is one heck of a hottie and there's plenty of chemistry between her and Jay. For a new guy, Jay actually manages to get some good wood, and looks to deliver it nicely. The condom aspect holds the scene back by forcing it in like a public service announcement or a commercial rather than letting it feel like a real part of the scene, and once again there's nothing close to a satisfying end to the scene with the camera work leaving plenty to be desired. Jay and Sativa do a very nice job with the sex here, and I couldn't help but wonder what this scene could have been like with somebody competent behind the camera.
|Scene 4 – Simone Valentino and Mr. Marcus|
After stripping away all the showbiz, Simone takes Marcus up on his invite to his room and arrives in a little white and black lingerie. She lets him kiss her neck while his hands rub her tits and pussy, and Marcus continues to explore her with his hands and mouth while stripping her down. She sucks his cock in return and mixes in a little sixty-nining before letting Marcus fuck her missionary style. Simone rolls to the top to ride Marcus before letting him fuck her doggie style. He acts like he pops before fucking her a little more with the scene once again ending like it could have kept going.
This is a pretty good scene. As usual the camera work shies away from a fair amount of the sex, but there's very good chemistry between Simone and Marcus. For the climactic sex scene of the movie it actually feels like it's something rather than just being another scene. Sadly the Femme formula holds it back from making it much past the average level.
Afrodite Superstar should be a killer adult movie with all it has going for it. There's very nice acting, a good idea to the story, good chemistry to the sex, and a nice looking cast with a fresh feel. Best of all, I think it does a great job portraying the the choice a lot of black people have about whether to work hard and be legit at something or to just go down the gangsta - hood road and how it's hurting a lot of black people (and yes, I'm an old white guy). Unfortunately, Candida Royalle and Venus Hottentot do everything they can to put it down like a rabid dog. Although there's nice acting and a good idea to the story, the movie clocking in at just over an hour shines a light on all the plot holes and leaves the feeling that one could have done plenty to expand the story rather than leaving it feeling like a porno plot. It's also hurt by spouting feminist quotes throughout the movie and an editing style with Afrodite's video diaries that only interrupt the movie and rarely add to it. Yes there's chemistry and a fresh feeling cast, but the sex scenes are normally so short that they make the movie seem like watching Kieslowski's Decalogue in one sitting. Add in flashes of condoms in the wrapper that feel like preachy botched safe sex commercials, camera work that feels like it's trying to avoid the penetration as much as possible, and a fear of orgasms and there isn't much left to like about the sex. Since Candida Royalle directed the sex in the movie, this shouldn't come as a surprise to anybody. Then there's the editing and camera work, which holds back both the sex and non-sex portions of the movie. There is some nice editing to the non-sex portions of the movie, but during the sex scenes it often comes off as extremely choppy with the camera work waving around like the cameraman was drunk more often than not. In the end, the only thing that really survives is a nice bit of story about the lifestyle choice that seems to be hitting a lot of black people.
All this is supposedly justified by Femme being about 'erotica' rather than 'pornography'. The problem is that just like with most everything else about Femme, it isn't that erotic. Erotica comes off to me as being a lot about tease and the enjoyment of sexuality. There's not just a desire to show more, but almost a promise to show more that's done in a very classy way. Erotica also normally has a feeling that it's excited about sex and sexuality. Candida's movies, on the other hand, come off like they don't want to show you more. It also often comes off with a feeling like although sex is good between two people, you're bad if you want to watch those two people having sex and especially if you think that cum belongs anywhere but in a condom where nobody can see it. I'm not sure how that's “sex positive” like she claims all her movies are while nearly breaking her arm patting herself on the back. Afrodite Superstar could have been a great movie if it would have left most everybody behind the camera flipping burgers.
The Extra StuffTrailers are included for The Gift, Eyes of Desire, One Size Fits All, Under Covers, Christine’s Secret, and Eyes of Desire 2. The feature gallery lasts just over six minutes with the behind the scenes gallery lasting just over four minutes. In each case you get about six seconds per okay looking snapshot or full screen photo. There's also commercials, a bio for Candida Royalle, and a behind the scenes featurette.
The behind the scenes featurette lasts just over twenty minutes with about seventeen minutes of interviews with the cast and crew and a few shots behind the scenes and about four minutes of clips that feels like a trailer for the movie. It quickly points out that this is supposed to be erotica rather than porn before India chats with Trina about the sex. Venus Hottentot and the cast talk some about the positive sexual aspect of the movie as well as other things that drew them to it. There's also a bit of talk from the cast about the “exploitation of women” in porn as well as sexuality and pornography in general. This is an okay behind the scenes featurette. It often feels unorganized and at times comes off a bit preachy. Like the movie, the behind the scenes featurette felt like it had some good potential but didn't know how to put it together right.
The Down -n- Dirty Sex Stuff
Themes: Straight, black, masturbation, toys, and lesbian
Raincoat Factor: Low
Condom Usage: 100%
The Bottom Line:Currently, most DVD from Femme Productions can be found online for between $14 and $25 with several stores offering them near the low end. Unless you're a fan of the Femme style, rent this one first. The movie has some nice ideas, but often shows a fear of sex that tries to be covered up by calling it “erotica”. The technical aspects are pretty average and show some nice effort by including an anamorphic transfer. There's also a bit of effort put into the extras. That said, this is still a very bland movie that barely lasts an hour with a long behind the scenes featurette.
Note to Femme: Seeing how short you can make your movies only make them seem all the weaker.
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