"Eye candy." One of the more common, and woefully inadequate descriptions give to Andrew Blake's work. "Ocular cocaine" is perhaps a slight improvement. Either way, the fact is simple: no other creative artist in the history of adult has been able to express so powerfully a love of the female body, and so prodigiously capture this on film.
The film's themes - nude modeling, body worship, and beautiful long legs - are clearly nothing new for this director; but he makes them as (if not more) titillating now as when he first began directing in the all-girl format. Blake appears to put an equal amount of effort into casting as he does into actual production, and it pays off like a Triple Crown winner. In this case, the prime filly is Dahlia Grey.
A centerpiece of Blake's recent films, Grey seductively narrates and stars in this erotic feature, along with four beautiful supporting actresses Grey's sensuality on camera is breathtaking, giving the viewer the impression that beneath her tranquil manner lies a ferocious sexual animal waiting to burst forth. It's this kind of subtle energy (along with the more obvious kind) which keeps Playthings soaring, from the first image of Grey to the last frame.
In the opening scene, Grey is filmed by artist/girlfriend Karin, lingering in several poses which accentuate her perfect legs (Gene Ross is experiencing shortness of breath right about now), setting the tone for the rest of the picture.
The very next scene, featuring Ashley and Karin, uses some imaginative cinematic and editing techniques. The opening is in black-and-white, as the two girls caress each other; and the subsequent transition from grays to deep blue tones, then to light flesh tones.
A light fetish theme enters into play with Grey and Regina Hall playing Dom and sub, respectively. The scene opens with our slave cowering before her Mistress. Grey crawls forward slowly on all fours, like a preying cat, fiery lust in her eyes, towards the waiting girl. The introduction of a leather crop soon thereafter is a mere extra; the look in Grey's eyes says all that needs to be said.
Additional fetish scenes include Grey's face and body being wrapped in string along the lines of a Japanese bondage art picture, and later being handcuffed to a gate and subjected to a wetness test by Ashley (a slave must always be wet before her Mistress, don'tcha know?). Ashley fingers Dahlia ever-so-sweetly, and then lets the slave taste herself on her Mistress's fingertips.
Blake's approach to shooting an all-girl film is very carefully crafted - disciplined, really. Despite the potential for a five-girl scene, the biggest grouping Blake allows for is three at a time (several times). Good move. The three-girl scenes are so hot that one starts to wonder if humans weren't perhaps meant to have sex in threes after all.
Playthings is but one example of Blake's ability to strike a perfect balance between softcore and hardcore, squeezing the most eroticism out of each scene, and appealing to the broadest audience possible. Pre-noms for Best Cinematography, Best Director - Film, Best Art Direction - Film, Best Musical Score, Best Editing - Film, and Best All-Girl Feature.
Eye candy? Try again. Karin uses a phrase to describe Dahlia Grey early in the film which fits both star and picture like a glove: "Erotic perfection." This is what it's all about.