Written and Directed by: C. Batts Fly
Run time 78 minutes
Starring: April Flores, Courtney Trouble, Damali Dares, Drew Deveaux, Kelly Shibari, Hoodman
Music by: Hustle PUNCH, Jung Hollywood, Trouble Mind, Ryan Kinetic
Artcore is an homage to Carlos Batts’ muse, April Flores, the powerhouse BBW performer so stunning she's landed her own art-rotica movie. She's one big, bad, mind-blowingly sexual woman, and she doesn’t get much hotter than this. Exploring many areas of her impressive sexual repertoire, from queer sex to lesbian sex to group sex to subbing to dominating, April is at her hot and heavy best here. The music is fanastic, the visuals are beautiful, and the exploration of so many themes in one relatively short movie makes me ask myself a lot of questions. As such, I think Artcore's label as an ‘art film’ isn’t far off the mark. I've never been a big fan of art films myself, so I'm a bit out of my element when trying to wrap my brain around the combination of visual, musical, and sexual elements that this one presents, but then, I think trying to wrap one's brain around a film in the first place can designate it, subjectively, as art. Right?
Of course, the visuals are mostly stunning. From an aesthetic point of view, this is definitely artsy. April is indeed a muse--she slides in and out of personas and outfits and situations with a chameleon-like effortlessness, yet maintains an intense, malleable, undeniable beauty throughout. Her eyes convey everything from the vacuous expression of a true fuck-doll in some scenes to the predatory glare of a huntress in others, while her curvy body lets the viewer experience and really appreciate the voluptuousness sensuality of a larger woman. Her co-stars are all eye-candy of the highest order, too. In the first scene, with Courtney Trouble and Kelly Shibari, glamour is everywhere, from the beautiful jewelry layered across generous and ginormous breasts to the sparkles on their eyelashes to the giggling the three share as they fuck each other. A luscious hotel suite later provides a grandiose setting for a queer fuck-fest with Drew Deveaux, whose androgynous frame and in-your-face tease confuse traditional gender roles just enough to bring on a raging hard-on.
And yet not all the scenes are so easy on the eyes. The movie's last scene, featuring ebony beauty Damali Dares and April in a mutual masturbation after-hours romp, is partially filmed in red light, a surefire way to sexify any scene, but then switches to early-morning glare, destroying the mood of fantasy a red light can cast over almost anything. Earlier, in her dom scene with the super-subordinate Hoodman, April's surroundings are devoid of decoration or really any eye-candy at all. In the harsh light of mid-day, the kinky scene plays out in a bare-bones white-walled room, a garage of some sort (maybe?), and a fluorescent-lit bathtub, giving a hard-to-handle realism to the events as they unfold. Men being anally probed on hands and knees in ski masks, and the like, are usually filmed in dark, dimly lit basements. Bringing this kind of activity into daylight seems all wrong by contrast. And thus, I suppose, an art film makes us think: I don’t know if it was the hood (one of which was a blow-up doll mask--very thinky!) or the taboo play that was going on in front of me that brought up my deeply-buried conservative reactions. I kept finding myself with my hand raised to my mouth in fear that her stiletto would puncture his cock, or gasping as April delivered a spit-spewing blowjob for the ages, then reminding myself that these acts were representative of what people do in their bedrooms. They are part of our sexual culture and there is absolutely no room for judging them; but the starkness with which they are presented here, in the harsh light of midday in unadorned rooms, seems to go against expectations. I kept thinking, although it was only about 8:30 when I was watching this scene, that it must be around 3:00 am. These are things, I was appalled to find myself thinking, that should only happen late at night. But why? Because they’re taboo? Fuck taboo, I thought, while allowing the shock I felt at watching April transform into a muse-cum-dominatrix. And when April smeared her lipstick with Hoodman’s cock, making herself look just like a blow-up doll, I found myself saying, “Woah. Yes. That had to be done.”
But why? Because it made me think about subordination and domination in sex? Because it made me rethink my view of April Flores as almost untouchably beautiful? Or because... well... Wait. This is art. But it's not always beautiful. Or is this art? Or is this shock? Or is shock necessary now, to make us think and appreciate art? My god. What a mindfuck. And as such, I'm giving Carlos Batts an A+ for making a porn reviewer get, stay, and think, hard. (Metaphorically speaking, of course. I'm a girl.)
Get your daily eyeful of April Flores here.
Enjoy more "Padded Kink" via Kelly Shibari's excellent site here.
Let Courtney Trouble rock your world here.