Saturday, 2 July 2011

Review: London Sex Project - Experimentation

As you may remember, Joybear caused my external CD-ROM drive to die by requesting that I reviewed their film Man Trap two months ago. And I did. Sadly, I didn't find it very impressive, so they asked me to review another of their films - this one's called London Sex Project: Experimentation. (That's a bit long, so hereafter, I'll call it LSP. Things are better when abbreviated by three initials.)

Before I start the review, however, I'd like to make one thing clear: I do not hate hardcore porn. I genuinely don't. I think vaginas are pretty, and I love sex. But, given the choice, I'll watch softcore, because I prefer a lot of the elements of the genre, which I'm sure you'll know about by now. I do like some specific hardcore scenes, due to the actions involved, the music, cinematography, performance - whatever. It's just not that common an occurrence, and the incidences of me preferring a hard scene are few. Anyway, bearing that in mind, here's the review.

Hey, that almost rhymed.

LSP, like Man Trap, is filmed in a pseudo-documentary style, and is again presented by Oliver McDowell (the name of the director and also the fictional presenter - it saved them having to think up a John Smith, I guess). The setup serves as a wraparound for five sex scened between five different couples. They are all boy/girl.
The crux of the while film is that McDowell is presenting a filmed version of sex featuring people who are unfaithful. According to him, six out of ten people in London have sex outside of their relationships (really?), and he will show how this happens by filming cheating partners with their lovers using hidden cameras - the differenct being that the partners' lovers don't know they're being filmed. The cameras are set up (with some necessary technojargon which makes no sense whatsoever, with McDowell mentioning "microwaves" more than once!), a short intro is given, and sex takes place. Yes, it's all obviously actors. But this is hardcore porn, so its aim is to show sex, and that's what it does. You can't fault it there.

The set-ups are all fairly routine, but at least there are a couple of interesting situations:-
- scene one is between a fitness trainer who really likes sex, and a party guy who likes S&M, while her husband is away on a business trip. The scene contains light S&M, and takes place mostly on her sofa.
- scene two is between an African student with a wife who is still in Nigeria - "I have urges," he justifies himself by saying - and a girl in his drama class. He seduces her at the start of the scene.
- scene three is between a housewife (cliché much?) who likes shopping (cliché much?) and, like scene one, has a husband who is away on business trips (cliché much?) and her gardener (cliché much?). The difference here is that her husband knows she does this, and that she films herself having sex and sends the tapes to him. "It's quite a turn-on," she says. The gardener doesn't know he's being filmed for these tapes, nor does he know for LSP either.
- scene four is between a self-broadcasting adrenaline junkie (who is shown to have his own YouTube channel) and the female manager of his local gym. He has a girlfriend, but is in an open relationship with her. Like in scene four, he often films himself, and is using LSP to get more footage. The scene takes place in the gym which she owns.
- scene five is the most interesting. The guy in question has a second home, and he never explains what he does; it's implied at various points that he is a businessman, politician, or pop star (it's not clear). He also doesn't appear to know the woman who arrives, and the manner of sex that happens suggests that she has been paid for sex.

With a few slight exceptions, the sex scenes are quite formulaic, reminding me strongly of Man Trap (which is not surprising) and even using some of the same actors (also not surprising). The sequence - kissing, undressing, fellatio, cunnilingus, sex, cumshot - is so rigid that it doesn't leave much to the imagination.
A few bits did get me vaguely aroused - namely a shot in scene two where she is on top and we're viewing that from above. You can't see any explicit penetration and for a while it looks like a shot from soft porn. The expressions on their faces and movement of their bodies did work for me. But that's one shot in one scene. Scene five has a bit of a quicker introductory sequence as well - she comes in and immediately starts with the blowjob, sex coming soon afterwards (although not soon enough!), further leading me to think that she is a paid-up sex worker. It didn't turn me on so much, but it did break the formula, which was pretty good, in a way.
But every other scene was the same old thing, and scene one had a very distracting moment wherein it was evident that the man in the scene nad a huge and incongruous lump on his penis! He really ought to get that checked out; it's not sexy at all!

While there has been some effort made with the plot, the 'individual scenarios' bit doesn't really help much, as there's no actual overarching plot to attempt to follow. The scenes are too long to give the feel of an authentic fly-on-the-wall documentary, and therefore, it's difficult to keep your interest if the genre isn't your thing. And for me, it isn't. The characters all had a brief introduction to who they are, but the acting's of mixed quality and it doesn't really add much - in fact, I imagine it could get quite frustrating for the viewer waiting for sex.

The main problem I have with hardcore of this length is that it takes a while for things to get going. I like scenes that are shorter and have more punch. They also need to get to the actual penetrative sex bit quicker, or it loses momentum easily. Softcore pulls off this with aplomb, with the average soft porn sex scene having less than a minute of foreplay and lasting less than three minutes overall. The few hardcore scenes that I do like also do that to a degree - mixing between foreplay and sex swiftly and ending it at a good point. Or they have a defining factor, like an intense female orgasm or a certain shot (or a joke at the end!). But these don't.

And music! Would it be too difficult to add music?! Soft porn isn't the only sort of porn that benefits from music! Jesus Christ, overlay some Nirvana if it makes you feel better!

In my opinion, long, drawn-out sex with lots of foreplay, masses of oral sex, undressing, careful insertion, multiple positions and large orgasms should happen in real life. That's the place for this sort of sex. Sex I like to have uses these factors. It even sometimes follows the formula laid out above (although I'd like to hope my sex life is a bit more interesting than that!). I don't think it really works in entertainment. And the question I like to ask myself - "If this were a mainstream film, would it be considered interesting?" - was a resounding no.

Still, in placed this film has its merits. The production value is great. The cinematography's fine, and there are some nice little touches to the whole thing - the watermark in the lower corner of the screen during the scenes, for example - remembering that the idea is that it's all being filmed on hidden cameras - but the thing could be shot by Spielberg and I'd still not find it particularly stimulating.

So, another review that's not great. It's clear that this is a good example of the genre, sure. But it's really not my genre. If you like ridiculous storylines with characters doing very little, foreplay that doesn't involve you and waiting for ages to see any actual sex happening, then sure, watch LSP. But I just think it's boring, and although it's done with a great deal of care, the length of the scenes, lack of music, and incredibly obvious penetration just made it fall flat for me so many times that it was difficult to stay engaged in any real way.

8 comments:

barenakedlady said...

When you mentioned this on Twitter, I wondered how this movie might pan out for you... I'm not that big on hardcore either.

Are you by any chance a fan of the Emanuelle movies?

Innocent Loverboy said...

Which ones? The original ones with Sylvia Kristel, the 1990s ones set in space with Krista Allen, or the more recent ones with Natajsa Vermeer or Marcela Waterstein?

The Emmanuelle series is huge and expansive and changed rapidly according to whoever's licensed the character to whom. Even the character changes rapidly, from hair colour to skin colour (there's a black version) to nationality - Emmanuelle has changed from French to American at varying points.

In any case, I am a bit of a fan. At least, I liked the first one. It was very sexually charged. The slew of sequels - such as Emmanuelle II and Goodbye Emmanuelle - were not as good, especially when they just consisted of Sylvia Kristel disrobing in exotic locations with very little sex (although, to its credit, Goodbye had a fantastic theme song!).

I do, however, have to admit that I love the Krista Allen ones. The 3D gimmick doesn't work - it's best to watch the movies without 3D glasses, although I've tried with - but the scripts, although pretty silly, are halfway decent, the acting's actually good for what it is, and it's got some of the steamiest sex scenes I've ever seen. So yes, I'm a fan of those.

Not so much the more recent ones. They're just... well, lame.

barenakedlady said...

Weirdly enough, I haven't seen any of the Sylvia Kristel ones. I remember watching Laura Gemser play the role and being impressed by her sexuality.

Weirdly enough, the last one I remember was dubbed in Italian...

I vaguely remember Krista Allen.. It was a long time ago though. They don't air any erotic movies on late night tv anymore over here. I have loads of great memories of the series, as it was my first experience with sexual arousal...

Innocent Loverboy said...

Laura Gemser starred in the Black Emanuelle series (note the lack of a double M in the title character's name). I don't think I've actually seen any of those. But I've seen one scene from Emanuelle in America with Laura Gemser in it and remember liking it.

I'd watch it now and rediscover it if I had a working CD drive. Maybe I'll do a little Googling later on and see if I can discover any more or her.

The Krista Allen films were the first time I'd really heard of Emmanuelle. In fact, I didn't see the original until just after the millennium, as it was shown on Channel 5 on July 31, 1999 (and I recorded it); the fact that I saw the Krista series in the late 90s made me want to see it. It was so different I was surprised. But then again, it was made a lot earlier, too.

barenakedlady said...

I don't remember any specific one, but I do remember that she was a journalist in the Laura Gemser movies. Like I said, long time ago.

The Gemser ones had a tendancy to get quite nasty in places, I think. I seem to remember a massive gang rape, where she ended up enjoying it in the end.

I need to see the Sylvia Kristel ones and the Krista Allen ones, because I'm just that curious. They are really hard to come by here in Belgium I think.

Just out of interest, can you recommand any good soft core movies?

My favorite one, one that I saw only once, years ago, was a movie called Windows of the Heart. Don't know if you know it...

Innocent Loverboy said...

I've seen Windows of the Heart. It was a long, long time ago though.

I can talk about softcore for hours. I can recommend many. It all depends on what you're looking for. You can be looking for arty ones, ones with good acting, ones with high production values, ridiculous ones, well-shot ones, funny ones, ones with pretty people in, ones for a cheap thrill... it all depends on what you're looking for.

My favourites are The Virgins of Sherwood Forest (for the sex), the Emmanuelle In Space series (for the acting and cinematography), Fast Lane to Vegas (for the good script), Sex Court: The Movie (for the humour and pure cheekiness), and Pirates (for the high production value). But, as I've said, it all depends on what you're looking for.

A lot of the best sex scenes come from half-hour late-night television shows, however, such as Passion Cove, Compromising Situations and Love Street. Seek some of those out if you can.

Innocent Loverboy said...

Postscript:

I got a lot of scenes and stuff from various sources, although one of the best was erotic4u.com. You do have to pay for it, but I subscribed, downloaded all the scenes I wanted that couldn't find elsewhere (and, for good measure, all seven Emmanuelle in Space films in full - they're the Krista Allen ones) and then just unsubscribed. I ended up not paying much at all, considering.

[Word verification was a real word: "kings"]

barenakedlady said...

I've heard about the Pirates movies. Might have to look into that on my next naughty shopping trip.

You have inspired me to go on a search for some soft core movies. Maybe I can find some for cheap. I'll let you know how it turns out.