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PLAYBOY HOME VIDEO

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Scott Allen
Cast:
Various
Writing Credits:
- Unknown -

Synopsis:
Playboy makes 2005 a year to look forward to as Playboy's hottest Playmates reveal everything in the annual collection that's sexy, sensational and twelve times the fun.

MPAA:
Rated NR

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Fullscreen 1.33:1
Audio:
English Stereo
Subtitles:
None
Not Closed-captioned

Runtime: 80 min.
Price: $19.98
Release Date: 10/19/2004

Bonus:
• ďPlaymate Calendar Retrospective Volume 4Ē
• Photo Gallery
• Playmate Videographies
• Playmate Datasheets
• Trailers


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS

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Playboy: 2005 Video Playmate Calendar (2004)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (October 21, 2004)

A staple of the Playboy home video releases, their Video Playmate Calendars offer a simple but satisfying presentation. Here we get the latest iteration, the 2005 Video Playmate Calendar. As the title implies, we get 12 different vignettes, one per Playmate. Hereís how they break down:

Stephanie Glasson (Miss July 2004): Stephanie appears in two segments. For the first, she romps around a beach setting, while the second show her as she stomps through various dark urban abodes. Neither shows much creativity, as she does little more than pose for the camera.

At 28, Stephanie is a little older than the average Playmate, and she seems a bit tougher-looking as well with her angular face and moderately muscular body. Unfortunately, these factors make her breast implants stand out in a rather obvious way that detracts from her other charms. Still, sheís a sexy woman, and this segment is acceptably entertaining.

Sandra Hubby (Miss March 2004): Sandraís first segment alternates between shots of her as she plays in fall foliage and some interiors where she tries on lingerie and toys with a bowl of water. The second maintains a storyline, as she reads from a letter to an absent and desired lover and strips while she fantasizes about him. The first works fine, as its playfulness makes it enjoyable, but the forced storyline - and stilted line readings - of the second create a silly feature.

In some ways, Sandra looks like Stephanie, but sheís a softer version of Glasson. Her implants blend more naturally with her softer body, and she also smiles more, which allows her to seem more natural. Sheís not a great Playmate, but sheís lovely.

Divini Rae (Miss November 2003): For her first piece, Divini wanders through an outback setting. After that, she heads into a sauna, where we examine her body as the DVDís producers oddly choose to flash the names of body parts as we see them. The outback partís decent, but the sauna sceneís too goofy to work, as it focuses too heavily on short close-ups of body parts.

Unquestionably the least interesting of Playmate yet seen in this program, Divini displays the worst-looking implants of the three. These sit so far apart on her chest that they distract from her other charms. Actually, she doesnít do a ton for me otherwise, as sheís attractive but not exemplary.

Krista Kelly (Miss April 2004): The Canadian Krista starts with poses in outfits and situations that highlight her heritage. The second segment shows Krista as a Peeping Tom watches her strut nude in a mansion. Neither scenario goes much of anywhere, but Kristaís provocative posing in the second one makes it pretty good.

Are we ever going to get a Playmate without implants? At least Kristaís succeed better than Diviniís; theyíre modest and fit her body fairly well. Kristaís also sexier, as her face displays something of a wicked look that makes her less ďcookie-cutterĒ than many.

Luci Victoria (Miss September 2003): In her first scenario, the British Luci goes for a sexy picnic. The second shows her as she tries on outfits prior to a date. These are pretty standard set-ups, but Luciís easy sensuality makes them feel fresh.

Yeah, Luciís another Playmate with implants, but her bodyís soft enough to allow them to mesh well. Sheís also got a slight quirkiness to her face that makes her memorable and not just another standard blonde. Sheís a winner.

Colleen Marie (Miss August 2003): An odd scenario, the first piece shows Colleen as she poses amidst all sorts of grapefruit, many of which have been cut open. I guess thereís some sexual metaphor there, but itís still weird. More straightforward, the second clip lets us watch Colleen strip in bed in the usual provocative manner. The first is too strange to succeed, but the second better shows off Colleenís beauty and works pretty well.

Miracle of miracles - an unenhanced Playmate! Actually, weíll do well in that regard as the program continues, as all the rest of the women lack the dreaded implants. Itís a relief to finally get a natural model, and Colleenís a good one. Playmates were always touted as the ďGirl Next DoorĒ, but Colleenís one of the few who actually looks like a fairly real woman. (Though most regular women donít have pierced vaginas, I suppose.)

Tailor James (Miss June 2003): Another weird choice, the first clip displays Tailor as she models nude in front of a painted sunflower backdrop; we then see it moved multiple times to reveal the real setting. I guess itís supposed to fool us, but it doesnít, and itís an ineffective scenario. The second one puts a disheveled Tailor in a telephone booth. She gets a call that apparently turns her on, for she strips and fondles herself. Itís a little too artsy for its own good but it manages some sexy moments.

I know Tailorís a fan favorite, but I canít claim to like her a lot. Of course, sheís very pretty, but she smacks me as too much of a generic blonde. Sheís generally lovely but not a standout Playmate.

Hiroshi Oshima (Miss June 2004): Hiroshi poses with a Popsicle, a big inflatable ball, and other wacky items in the colorful opening segment. The second inevitably puts her in a vaguely Asian setting. She lightly touches herself amidst falling cherry blossoms. Hiroshi looks great but both scenarios seem dull.

The first Japanese Playmate, Hiroshi makes us hope for more. Of course, I donít think too many of her country mates are quite so stacked. She has a stunning, virtually flawless body and a very cute face; her smile lights up her segment.

Audra Lynn (Miss October 2003): Midwestern Audra poses on a farm for the first clip, which shows her in and out of chaps among other outfits. The second puts her in a funky photographerís studio setting where she showers. The farm piece is dull, but the shower clip offers some sexy imagery.

Probably the least attractive of the Calendarís models - at least in terms of face - I donít care much for Audra. However, her body helps compensate to some degree. She pales in comparison with the audacious Hiroshi, though, and sheís a pretty ordinary Playmate. Even with the natural breasts, sheís likely my least favorite of this DVDís bunch.

Pilar Lastra (Miss August 2004): From the Lone Star state, Pilarís first clip shows her on a street and also in a bathroom as she brushes her teeth. The second one places her in a bedroom that sits on a beach, as she fantasizes about the lover with whom she spent the prior evening. Neither piece offers much imagination, but the naturally sexy Pilar makes them winning anyway.

I love Latin women, and Pilar is an absolutely amazing example of one. A true natural beauty, she has a wonderful smile and bracing sensuality. Sheís unquestionably the best Playmate in this collection.

Nicole Whitehead (Miss May 2004): In the first clip, Nicole spins around a purple backdrop with a vaguely science-fiction feel to it. The subsequent clip casts her as a commuter plane pilot of all things; apparently she misses some dude, as she strips in her office while she thinks of him. The first segmentís ineffective, while the second works a bit better.

Think of Tara Reid and youíll have an idea of Nicoleís look. I donít normally go for models with that image, but Iíve always liked Nicole. Unfortunately, she sports too much makeup in her videos. Sheís got a nice casual loveliness that the makeup slightly negates.

Carmella DeCesare (Miss April 2003/Playmate of the Year 2004): For the opening piece, a couple college-aged guys spy Carmella as she does laundry by hand and watch her take an open-air bath. In the second one, Carmella catches a cab ride with a hunky stranger. We then see two separate fantasies that result from this encounter. The bath sceneís very good, but the bits with the cab rider donít go much of anywhere.

For Playboy fans, itís an annual sport to decry the choice of Playmate of the Year. However, very few complaints greeted to selection of popular Carmella. Personally, Iíd have preferred Marketa Janska, but the day I complain about an unenhanced Latin woman as PMOY will be a cold day in hell. Iíve always thought I should like Carmella more than I do, but she remains quite gorgeous and sexy. (I never noticed how much she looks like Posh Spice, however.)

Historical gaffe: at the start of her piece, Carmella states that itís an honor to be named PMOY because ďthereís only been 50 of themĒ. Actually, sheís the 45th PMOY; the magazine didnít start that concept until 1960 with December 1959ís Ellen Stratton.

Inevitably, the Video Playmate Calendars are hit or miss affairs. They lack a unifying theme like many Playboy collections and act mainly as a catch-all for video centerfold clips. The Calendars can be good or mediocre.

This oneís not extraordinary, but itís better than most. Part of that stems from the high quality of most of its Playmates. Only a few minor disappointments appear. The set lacks too many real standouts, but the caliber of model is generally very good. Ultimately, I think this is a solid release.


The DVD Grades: Picture B/ Audio C/ Bonus C

2005 Playboy Video Playmate Calendar appears in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; due to those dimensions, the image has not been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Despite some minor concerns, I liked the image of Calendar, as itís possibly the best-looking Playboy product Iíve seen.

Granted, thatís relative praise, as many Playboy videos offer weak visuals. Nonetheless, I felt pretty impressed with the Calendar. Sharpness seemed much improved over the usual fare. A little softness crept into some wider shots, but those concerns stayed modest. Instead, the majority of the vignettes came across as nicely detailed and tight. Some light examples of jagged edges and shimmering also occurred, but those remained minor, as did edge enhancement.

Source flaws popped up occasionally, which made me believe some - if not all - of these clips were shot on film instead of video. Otherwise, I couldnít come up with an explanation for the smattering of specks and spots; we even got a small hair at the bottom of the screen during one vignette. Artifacting was much reduced compared to most messy Playboy releases. They usually suffer from a really grainy look, but that wasnít a problem here.

Colors also improved significantly over the average Playboy release. The tones consistently looked natural and vibrant. Due to the styles of photography, some gauziness occurred, but that wasnít much of a problem, as the hues mainly were lively and dynamic. Blacks seemed good and not too muddy, and shadows were reasonably smooth and distinctive. Much of the Calendar was good enough to veer into ďAĒ territory. The smattering of flaws took it down to a ďBĒ, but long-time Playboy video fans will still feel very pleased with the programís visuals.

On the other hand, the stereo soundtrack of the Video Calendar seemed more ordinary. For one, the soundfield never seemed to stretch beyond the bounds of monaural imaging. Music heavily dominated the program. Dialogue usually popped up only during opening and closing remarks from the Playmates for their segments, as the vignettes otherwise came solely with music. If the audio ever blossomed to use the stereo capabilities, I didnít hear it; the mix sounded decidedly centered to me.

Within those constraints, audio quality appeared fine. The minor examples of speech were warm and natural. Effects played absolutely no role in the proceedings; other than the occasional snatches of speech, all we heard was music. Those elements sounded somewhat lackluster but they displayed acceptable breadth and range. Granted, no one buys a Playboy video for the audio, but itíd be nice to someday get a mix with more ambition than this bland track.

As we head to the supplements, we find a few materials. First we get a Playmate Calendar Retrospective Volume 4. This 26-minute and 55-second program presents excerpts from the 1993 Video Calendar. We see segments with Corinna Harney, Angela Melini, Vickie Smith (who later became known as Anna Nicole), Tylyn John, Cheryl Bachman, and Samantha Dorman. None of the clips stand out as particularly great, but this is still a decent extra.

A useful database comes to us with the Playmate Videographies. In this domain youíll find listings for all the Playmates who showed up in Playboy videos. Itís an easy and effective way to find out where to locate your favorites. Less helpful is the collection of Playmate Datasheets. These present the texts written for the 12 Playmates who appear in the Calendar.

Next we get a Photo Gallery that presents 60 nude stills of the Playmates from the program. We can watch these via the usual stillframe access or a running filmed gallery that lasts six minutes, 56 seconds. Itís a quality collection of photos.

The set also offers some trailers. This includes promos for 50 Years of Playmates, No Boys Allowed 2, Video Centerfold: 2004 Playmate of the Year Carmella DeCesare, Women of Wal-Mart, and Inside the Sexy Girls Next Door House.

Somewhat hit or miss, the 2005 Video Playmate Calendar usually succeeds. The format gets a bit tedious at times, as each two-segment piece per Playmate follow the same rules and start to look a lot alike. Nonetheless, they exhibit good production values in general, and the program features a high caliber roster of Playmates. Picture quality is better than ever; though not without some concerns, the image looked stronger than expected. Audio was mediocre, and some decent extras finish off the set. The Calendar isnít the best Playboy program Iíve seen, but it offers good entertainment for its price and merits my recommendation.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4 Stars Number of Votes: 42
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