Context is one of the keys to understanding. In that spirit then, I offer some context for my reviews by describing what I like/don't like in an adult video. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and I may add to it or subtract from it as I see fit.
I'll start with the positive, "like" side. This is also the 'what I want' list.
1. Real passion
2. Real lovemaking
3. Real orgasms
Oh, wait, that's Nica Noelle's positioning statement. Well, I liked those things before I even knew who she was. The difference is now I have at least one studio that tries to provide those things. Lucky me :).
4. Chemistry -- the performers need to make me believe that they are into each other, and I don't mean that in the pentrative sense.
5. Real bodies. I don't care about imperfections. I want to watch real people having real sex. There are limits though. I don't want to see someone who looks like me on the screen.
6. Focus. The performers should be focused on each other. I need to believe that they have forgotten about the fact that there are cameras/crew on the set with them.
7. Good camera work. This should go without saying.
8. Minimal editing. I want to see scenes that grow naturally, without a lot of obvious manipulation by the director. The best thing the director can do is find performers who are hot for each other and let them go at it in whatever way feels good to them. I'm not positive that this is always practical, but I like to see it.
9. Decent lighting and sound.
10. Don't show me everything. Sometimes showing less is better than showing more. Almost is sometimes more erotic than completely.
11. Kissing. Lots of it. With tongue. This applies to both M/F and F/F scenes.
12. Men paying attention to a woman's pleasure; women paying attention to each others pleasure.
13. Show me the 2 shot -- don't just focus on one person.
14. Cum shots that make sense -- i.e. make sense within the context of the scene. (I know that this isn't always possible, but I like when it happens)
15. If it's anal, I want to see the lube.
16. Tall red haired women (God bless Darla Crane!)
17. A woman's legs. I'm a legs/ass man. Don't get me wrong, I love a woman's breasts, but a good pair of legs gets my attention every time.
18. Eye contact between performers.
19. Single camera angles with continuous action. A great example of this is Girl Crush 2, particularly the Georgia Jones-Kristina Rose scene. Mason gives us about a 10 minute take with one camera before a nice dissolve to more action.
20. Tribbing in a lesbian scene. I don't know why, but this really gets me every time if it's done well.
1. Fake anything. Fake breasts, fake cum, fake passion, fake sex.
2. Excessive tattoos. I know a lot of pornstars are into ink culture and body art. I just don't like to look at it.
3. Excessive piercings (exception: fetish videos) especially on the face.
4. Except in POV videos I don't want to see ANYONE looking into the camera, and in particular, I don't want a woman to look into the camera and ask me if I'm watching, or if I'm jerking off -- DUH! Of course I'm watching and jerking off. What other purpose is there for porn?
5. Directors who talk DURING a scene. Pre scene conversations are OK, but once the action starts the person behind the camera needs to shut the hell up.
6. Awkward or overly gymnastic positions.
7. Spitting, particularly spitting in the face
8. Disrespect of any kind in a non D/s scene.
9. Face slapping. See #8 above.
10. False advertising -- box covers that promise more than the movie inside can deliver.
11. So-called "amateur" porn that is anything but.
12. Wide shots showing all the cameras, equipment, and workers on a scene. Total wood killer. Porn is about the fantasy. When you break the third wall and show me the sausage being made it totally kills the mood.
13. Performers, especially female, who are not into it. The last thing I want is for some pornstarlet to give me her interpretation of Jane Fonda in "Klute" or some housewife thinking "Beige. I think I'll pain the ceiling beige."
14. Excessive, and obviously artificial grunting, groaning, screaming, or excessive verbalizing.
15. Smoking. I've kissed women who smoked, but not more than once. It's an ugly habit.
16. Guys in a D/s scene trying to dominate a woman when they don't have a clue how to go about it. There's a difference between dominance and just being an asshole. D/s done properly is about mutual trust and respect -- even love. It's not just about being brutal.
17. Too many shots of some guy's hairy bottom. Not attractive.
18. Shots of a guy's face showing him grimacing before ejaculating -- these often appear to be men passing kidney stones.
19. Parodies. Enough said.
20. Position changes for no apparent reason.
Now, these may not match your likes/dislikes, and I think that's fine. It takes all kinds to make a world. There are lots of adult video production houses -- not as many as there used to be but still quite a few -- and the good news is that there's porn for pretty much every taste and sexual predilection. Now you know mine, or at least as much of it as I'm going to put down here. So, your mileage may vary. Feel free to leave a comment if you disagree with something I've said in a review or other post. Or if you agree -- that's OK too.