Heartland: A Woman’s POV

Heartland: A woman’s POV provided for review by Good Releasing

Mimi

Heartland: A Woman’s POV is a lot like it sounds — it takes place in the midwest, there are women in it who are framed by a camera operated by a woman, and occasionally some scenes with Madison Young talking about airplanes making her hot or porn conferences or coyotes or whatever.

The beginning doesn’t start out very strong. Madison sounds like she’s high, looks like she’s very sleepy, and offers her viewers a gratuitous nipple because… why not? I would have preferred for her to dribble on slowly for 20 more minutes than show me a blurry ass close-up of her nipple. It’s like she got self-conscious and flipped on a default response. “EVERYONE LIKES TITS”. Ugh.

All of the couples are introduced via text, documentary-style, with a bit of information about them. The first couple, Nicole and Peter are a real couple in Chicago that met at a sex toy store. This was their first experience being filmed during sex. I enjoyed this couple perhaps the most because of the obvious connection and pleasure they experience in each other. They were also the least overtly performative, I felt. The second couple, Cherry and Alea, met at a kink conference and were having sex together for the first time on Heartland. The third couple, Rita Seagraves and Red Hot Megan, are regular play partners but have never been filmed. Rita Seagraves is a sex educator. Last but not least, Madison Young has sex with Billie Sweet, a former RA in the dorm Madison lived in during her college years and subject of girl crushdom.

There’s also more small scenes that involve Madison updating the viewer on her whereabouts, including a masturbation scene on a plane that more closely resembles a first year undergrad art film than porn, as well as Madison getting tattooed by a fan and “hiking” with her family. These scenes appear to function as glue for the sex scenes, similar to how a thin plot would in most porn, while also providing some insight into Madison’s personality. They struck me as being fairly pointless unless you’re a hardcore Madison Young fan.

Aside from these really self-indulgent scenes, my main complaint about Heartland is Madison Young’s style of filming, which is apparently centered around poor quality. I understand that the free hand, one shot style of filming means there’s going to be some less visually interesting moments, but there are some moments when it takes Madison (or whoever is filming) several seconds to actually put the damn camera on the people fucking. It’s like she forgot she was filming or something. There are other scenes where the camera is bouncing so much it feels like you’re inside a hamster ball. Not appealing.

I just wish she would care a little bit more about the quality of the films she produces. Just because it’s porn doesn’t mean it should exist without standards.

This isn't the kind of wood I wanted to see. Buh-dum Ching!

Favourite couple:
Nicole and Peter

Nicole and Peter’s session starts off with finger sucking, kissing, slapping, and choking where you can see little other than Nicole’s pleasure and pain as it is expressed in her face. Where else Peter’s hands and mouth wander, that’s for the viewer to imagine. Occasionally Nicole makes eye contact with the camera, and her steady, unapologetic, fired-up-and-fucking-ready gaze is titillating in itself.

They move onto anal penetration, and I really appreciate that their communication wasn’t edited out, because women (well, everyone, actually) need to feel like they can say, “Can you use the smaller dildo first, then move onto the larger one?” This shit never happens in mainstream porn, and this is one of the few instances where I feel like Young’s “POV” piece actually nails it, because sometimes you’re just not ready for a giant dildo in your ass, but that doesn’t mean you’re not down to party. Nicole wasn’t worried about being a good “porn star” then, she was taking care of her own needs and fucking the way she fucks. Perfect.

The blow job scene (or strap-on sucking scene, whichever you prefer) is one of the better ones I have ever watched, mostly because both of them seem really into it and it’s very physical. I actually forget that Peter is wearing a strap-on and that Nicole is sucking and stroking a chunk of silicone. The fantasy becomes real for me in their moans, whimpers, heavy breathing, hair pulling, writhing, and occasional moments of delighted laughter.

Other Highlights:

- Moments where Young is clearly more interested in genuine facial expressions and the intimacy of an action than generic ass and titties shots.
- Beautiful women in lingerie (oh, and the Batman boxer briefs Peter wears)
- When Cherry stuffs Alea’s panties into her mouth, and later watching Alea’s pierced nipples bouncing back and forth while Cherry holds a Hitachi Magic Wand (with a condom on it, might I add) and her high heeled foot onto Alea’s clitorous.
- When Cherry is visibly overwhelmed in every way during and post-orgasm, cheeks flushed, with a somewhat dazed expression on her face when she embraces Alea. I know that feeling. I like seeing it in other people.
- Megan’s fantastic curls and naughty girlish-ness
- Nice angle when Megan is performing oral sex on Rita so you can see what Megan is doing while also seeing Rita’s face
- When Madison and Billie were makin’ out: awesome sauce
- When Billie was worried about coming “too much” while Madison fingers her, followed by Madison laughing and encouraging her, saying something like “you can’t come too much”, was pretty endearing and sexy

Joseph

I wanted Heartland to be good. In between when we reviewed Bride of Sin and when we received this to review, I had seen that Madison Young had actually won a few awards for her work. As you may recall, I hated Bride of Sin. Fiercely. So I thought (hoped) that maybe Young had improved significantly or that Bride of Sin was a terrible fluke.

If only.

Heartland was another example of Madison Young’s complete lack of regard for any of the aspects of filmmaking that require even the smallest effort. She is obviously interested in kink and fucking and sexuality but only in terms of how it relates to her and enables her to have a good time. Heartland seems more like an excuse to fly across the country and get paid to watch people have sex than it does a serious endeavor. It is almost like the documentation and presentation quality are afterthoughts.

This porn is also known as "poorly framing shots 101."

I feel like I am being generous when assuming that the reason the quality of her films is so low is that she doesn’t care. If she really does care then it means that she is hopelessly incompetent.

I won’t go into horrible snarky detail about all of the things wrong because I feel like Mimi has covered that well and it would echo very closely what I said about Bride of Sin, but I will say that I have seen many, many self-made YouTube videos with more care and consideration taken in their production.

Her aforementioned accolades are the main issue that I have with her work. Tons of people make terrible porn all the time. That’s no big deal. But Young’s terrible porn is being congratulated. I have to believe that the reason for this is because Young is one of the few female pornographers making female-friendly work, particularly with an emphasis on bondage or rough sex. Giving Madison Young awards for the terrible, half-hearted shit that she is making actually hurts the progress made by amazing pornographic filmmakers like Shine Louise Houston, Courtney Trouble, and the unique, passionate porn stars they employ.

At the end of the credits there is a quote from Madison Young: “If I can’t fuck, it’s not my revolution.” This paraphrases Emma Goldman’s famous stance that feminism cannot be something that restricts the life-loving, fun-having, radiant aspects of women’s personalities. That if she had to be well behaved and straight-laced to be a feminist, she wanted no part of it.

I think that she made a worthwhile point when she said that because there is a real debate going on about feminist porn. Violet Blue address the issue very well here. The problem I see is that either Madison Young made a flippant statement about fucking that was well received (it was part of her acceptance speech for Hottest Kink Film at the feminist porn awards) or she really thinks that she is a front runner in the feminist movement. I’m inclined to think the latter because people keep giving her awards.

Stop it.

The Naked Truth

Aesthetics: ★★½☆☆

Sound Quality: ★★★½☆

Creativity: ★★½☆☆

Overall: ★★★☆☆

Champion

Can you tell it is a porn

Champion provided by Blowfish

Mimi

When we first received Shine Louise Houston’s Champion in the mail, we debated on whether or not it was actually porn because there is not one single finger going into anyone’s vagina anywhere on the cover. We hadn’t seen any of Houston’s films yet and joked in our ignorance, “Perhaps she’s trying to make a real movie and it will be the most painful display of acting ever seen.” Such movies are watched only with whiskey.

Naturally, we put it off for the right time and meanwhile we watched Houston’s older film, Superfreak, which made it crystal clear to us that Houston is someone to take seriously. Serious in the respectable sense, not in the sit in the dark alone and listen to Sarah McLachlan sense. There is an excellent balance of playfulness and hardcore eroticism in Houston’s work. It’s refreshing, really.

Champion is full of talented, sexy, charming performers such as Syd Blakovich (she has a great website), Jiz Lee, Javier, Dallas, Madison Young and Dylan Ryan. Syd Blakovich plays Jessie Eaton, a cold son of a bitch making her way into women’s professional Mixed Martial Arts, as well into the pants of various individuals. It backfires when her old nemesis, Bobby Malone (Javier), punishes Jessie for having sex with Bobby’s girl through blackmail. While Jessie is trying to decide what to do about it, she is also dealing with her sexual attraction to Violet Vahn (Dallas), her opponent in and out of the ring. Of course, this being porn, they end up fucking.  One can’t let hairy pussy go to waste.

There was not one single scene in Champion that I didn’t like, and any complaint I could muster up would be really minor. Not even worth mentioning. Houston has a great deal of talent to begin with, but it’s obvious comparing Champion to her older work that a lot of the awkwardness has been refined. In between loving Jiz Lee’s beautiful face in ecstasy and watching Dylan Ryan squirt, I spent a fair amount of time during the film admiring the camera angles or the naturalness of the lighting.

It’s true that this film is more like a “real” movie than your standard fair porno, but it didn’t ever leave me feeling bored or miserably hoping that the acting scene would end soon so the sex can commence. While Jessie is at the gym or watching a recorded fight in preparation for her match, there’s another sex scene going on simultaneously.  A working visual balance is created that carries through a sophisticated level of eroticism.

Champion is sophisticated because it acknowledges complexity within gender and sex, yet maintains a sense of humor and humanity. It’s not glamorized bullshit, it’s just fucking hot. Period.

Joseph

Mimi already covered almost everything that I had in mind to say about this film. It was well made, the stars were hot and the chemistry was real. As if that wasn’t enough, there was enough of a plot to give you some investment with the characters that you are watching have hardcore sex.

For me personally, the connection is what made every scene (except for Madison Young’s) go from hot to stellar. Even though the connection with the characters is somewhat cursory, it is very real and I think  Houston understands that giving that sort of depth will make us hot in our minds as well as our dirty bits.

The superb camera work and lighting choices even prevented Young from ruining the scene that she was in. While all of the other actors seemed to have real chemistry with one another and looked like they were genuinely enjoying themselves, Young is not convincing. It is almost like she watched some mainstream porn and then decided to take those traits into the queer porn world. Fake noises and all. I apologize, I know my problem with Young must be getting old by now. Maybe if I hadn’t watched Bride of Sin first, I wouldn’t loathe seeing her so much. She is hot, I’ll give her that.

I’m glad that Houston makes cameos in her films. I liked seeing her as the ghost of Rick James in Superfreak and she appears in Champion as the world’s most meek reporter. It is always nice to put a face with a piece of work and her perpetual small roles almost strike me as a signature. I look forward to watching The Crash Pad and seeing how she will put herself in that series.

I am really happy with the gender role blurring, power dynamic swapping, queer porn we have been watching. Because of the expert way that Houston handles these films,  I would be very interested to see what  Houston  would do with a hetero-oriented film. She does such masterful work playing with and setting up masculine dynamics within her queer films, I would love to see how she handles directing biological males. Perhaps one day…

Mimi says please with her fists

She said “chocolate?” -I said “No.”- She said POW!

The Naked Truth:

Aesthetics: ★★★★★

Level of Arousal: ★★★★★

Educational Value: N/A

Storyline: ★★★★½

Overall: ★★★★★

Shine Louise Houston’s “Superfreak”

Superfreak front cover

Shine Louise Houston’s Superfreak provided by Blowfish

Joseph

In non-porn movies there are several levels; good, okay, bad, and so-bad-it-is-good. Although I think that almost all porn is bad, I thought that Superfreak would be a so-bad-it-is-good porn.

It starts off with our pal Madison Young pretending to masturbate (badly) at home. Then the main and only plot device comes into the room: The ghost of Rick James. Said ghost dives into Young and, possessed by the funky spirit of James, she pulls out her trusty Hitachi Wand and masturbates for real. Watching Young please herself is much more enjoyable than watching her pretend to please herself or watching her speak.

Once Young has vibed and shaken herself silly, she puts on some clothes and goes to a party. At said party, Young immediately approaches Dylan Rion and says a wonderful pickup line, “It’s a good thing I brought my library card cause I’m checking you out.” Based on Rion’s reaction, I am glad I’ve never used this line. Rion proceeds to fuck Young in a room full of people. How rude.

This scene has some very hot moments but it also has some very awkward camera angles. The awkward camera angles are in every scene of Superfreak and never stop being perplexing. After the two are done fucking in the corner, James exits Young in search of a less spent host which he finds in Guy Handful who is arguing in the bathroom with Rozen.

However, because the film is anachronistic, we see James enter Shawn in the kitchen before we see Handful and Rozen. Shawn finds Vasa right after she is done pissing in the kitchen sink because the bathroom was taken (we see why later, yowza) but this does not deter Shawn in the least. She takes a mouthful of water, sprays it into Vasa’s pussy and then immediately goes to town. What follows is in my opinion the hottest scene in the movie. I say this not only because Vasa is super cute, but because the chemistry between Vasa and Shawn seems very natural (we learn in the behind the scenes that they are a couple in real life) and the sexuality portrayed is very raw and powerful.

After that hotness is over, we get to see what was going on in the bathroom with Handful and Rozen. They were arguing. But then James came in and with his supernatural superfreak supercharm ended the argument with one sentence. “Less talking, more fucking.” And there was. Rozen’s intense pleasure convulsions and wails really make this scene. Though, it makes her look like the one that is possessed.

Next we see Dana DeArmond and Princess Donna being bored on a couch. They discuss going home but before they can get up to leave, Lorelei Lee plops down between them and asks if she has missed the party. They respond the way any reasonable young women would, by throwing Lee down on the coffee table and tag-teaming her. This scene has some hot moments in it as well, but the noises that Lee makes (kinda like a goat) are so obnoxious to us that we had to mute it in order to enjoy the hot parts. The ghost of Rick James has nothing to do with this impromptu party sex, but walks in and sees it. And approves.

After the credits rolled, we watched the extras and I’m very glad that we did. There are interviews of every cast member and it is revieled that everyone but Rion and Young knew each other before shooting. I have a lot of respect for Houston for casting that way. It greatly reduced most of what I hate about porn which is its fakeness and it exploitative nature.

I was wrong about Superfreak. It falls into the good porn category instead of the so-bad-it-is-good category. Awkward camera angles aside, this was a great example of what porn could be. Granted it was silly and didn’t even try to have a real plot, but the sex was real and engaging and it was well lit and recorded. I look forward to seeing more of Houston’s work.

funkher

We were hoping to summon the ghost of Rick James.

Mimi

This is the first film of Shine Louise Houston’s that I’ve had the pleasure of watching. The DVD packaging looks very professional and sets the tone – freaky, funny, and hot. Reading “real people having real sex” in the synopsis led to a brief glimmer of lustful hope; however, I was still really skeptical about enjoying it because, well… Madison Young is on the cover and while I am a fan of her ass, I am not a fan of her work. Another porn with her as the leading star simply did not sound appealing.

Despite the film opening with a scene that had Madison masturbating, it is immediately clear that Houston’s films is different – colourful, stylish, good quality, good sound, wild, and intentionally funny. Intentionally is the key word there. Even the music that accompanies each scene fits in line with the humorous, casual atmosphere. It’s not over the top, but definitely lingering close enough to make you sweat.

The ghost of a funk singer inhabiting people and getting them to do “freaky” shit is a very simple plot, but it allows the viewer to know what he or she’s getting into from the beginning and provides a basis for the humor. And like any good film plot, it holds the scenes and characters together, making the scenes fluid and (I’m using this word loosely) believable. Who has sex in a crowded room? Young does if she’s got Rick James’ ghost inside her! She also, apparently, learns how to stop masturbating like she’s having a damn self-induced seizure and really gets down to business with her Hitachi Wand, rope, and glass dildo.

When Young gets to the party, Dylan Rion wastes no time to make her move, which Young intercepts with a bold (and wicked cheesy) pick-up line. They start kissing and fucking with a strap-on against a wall, which at some points was really hot on account of Young’s juicy ass being gripped by Rion’s hands. Rion’s animated playfulness is also really entertaining after the sex part of their scene is over and they’re kneeling behind a couch, recovering and acknowledging their actions. I still can’t stand the noises Young makes or her facial expressions, but it’s not enough to completely ruin the scene.

My favourite scene was the one with Shawn and Vasa because it was the most intense, energetic, fun, and those two are just flat out sexy. They both seemed completely comfortable and happy to be playing their respective parts. I love the inclusion of the water! Obviously, for practical reasons, some “cleaning” was necessary since Vasa just took a piss in the kitchen sink, but watching Shawn spit water onto Vasa’s pussy and then Vasa’s surprised/excited facial reaction was enough to make my hips stir and sexual appetite grow. (Note to self: We need a kitchen sink hose. Oh, and a bigger kitchen.) Nothing about their interaction feels fake, forced, or exaggerated. How fucking hot is that? When Vasa wiped some of Shawn’s nether juices on her face and in her mouth, I almost squealed. Seriously. This is one sexy scene.

In second place, regarding my favourite scenes, would be the one between newcomer real life couple Rozen and Guy Handful. The acting was about what you’d expect in porn (not very good), but their sex scene was much better than what you’d expect. (The second option is more important, if you ask me.) No obnoxious noises, no fake expressions, and Rozen has amazing, natural looking breasts. She appears to completely forget the cameras, bucking her hips hard and screaming.

The last scene was difficult for me to enjoy because I took such a disliking of the half-laughing, half-goat noises Lorelei Lee was making constantly. It would have been fine, really, but when I say constantly, I mean she stopped to inhale. We muted it so that I’d stop yelling at the television and startling the cats. I also took issue with there being ass to vag finger insertion because even though I know they stopped and cleaned/lubed up periodically, I think that porn should be held to a practical, safe standard. Like when Rion and Handful had condoms on their strap-ons – that made sense, that felt appropriate. However, if you’re not paying attention like I was at the time (hawk eyes!), then you probably wouldn’t even notice and, all of that said, it was still a hot “stone femme” on femme scene.

Having seen Bride of Sin already and knowing Young is a huge rope slut, it’s encouraging to know that Houston obviously let Young use the rope for her masturbation scene. Positive female sexuality? Houston’s not all talk. Frequently throughout this simple, fun film we are introduced to notions of gender identity, roles, and how people are challenging them everyday just by leading honest, authentic lives. You can see this fully articulated in the Behind Kink interview where a rather soft spoken, joking, encouraging Houston directs her crew and talks about challenging pre-determined roles, whether it’s directly related to porn or life itself. All of this is worthy of respect, if not titillation. Probably both.

The Naked Truth

Aesthetics: ★★★★★

Level of Arousal: ★★★★☆

Educational Value: N/A

Storyline: ★★★☆☆

Overall: ★★★★½