Michael Ninn's latest Artcore has a dream-like, other-worldly ambience, unlike anything he's done before. Some are going to find it merely artsy; others, like this reviewer, will find it artsy, hot and almost hypnotically watchable.
It overflows with camera tricks, bravura editing, haunting imagery and above all, beautiful women. At its center is sensational newcomer, Anais. She's like a supermodel with heat, and she's on screen almost constantly – three full sex scenes and lots of masturbation moments. Even when she's not fucking, she's usually right there, watching those who are.
She plays a young girl who finds an old diary, dated April, 1861. It's the ghostly book of a fallen angel ("I have walked through the ages, across cosmic boundaries"). She herself becomes the angel, who was "cast out of heaven" for "loving another of my kind. " That means a boy angel, Billy Glide, makes her scream with celestial ecstasy when he hammers her on high.
The diary reads, "Time has no meaning for me. …" and time has no meaning for Ninn, either, who mixes past and future into a fluid, magic present. Anais finds herself in Edenlost, a place "where all indulgences are welcome." A grotesquely masked man draws her along in a carriage. She discovers the juicy Justine indulging herself, and they both indulge together.
Violet Blue and Talon, both in period costume, go at it anally as Anais watches and preens from her carriage in the foreground of the frame (a striking image).
Gorgeous Rayveness, whose natural breasts are still perfection, does a d.p. - "Double dick inside me!" - with bizarrely costumed Brett Rockman and Tyce Bune.
Nick Manning, in black wings, is the dark angel, Anais' shadow. They have a passionate, explosive sex scene, featuring some fine no-hands fellatio.
There's no explanation for any of this besides the purple-prose voice-overs (read by a velvet-toned actress), Ninn can get away with his arty Artcore because he respects its sexual components. When the fucking begins in earnest, he slows down the editing, shuts off the music and lets the performers do their thing.
High marks for director of photography Chris Hall, who is not afraid to shoot into the light. Equally worthy is Loren Alexander's evocative, synthesizer-driven score.
The 40-minute long second disc in this "2 Disc Collector's Set" contains a long behind the scenes, shot in a kind of informal version of Ninn's jumpy Artcore style. Most of it focuses on Anais, who is revealed as a flirty charmer off-screen as well as on.
Lots of pre-noms: Best Video Feature, Best Director - Video, Best Sex Scene Coupling - Video (Anais and Nick Manning), Best Videography, Best Editing - Video, Best Art Direction - Video, Best Music.