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Eclectic DVD presents
"He is so gentle, but I need something more."
DVD ReviewPink Cinema, the rather arty name given to the Japanese pornography industry, comes to Region One on this DVD; it's hard to know if it's representative of what's happening in the adult film business over there, but it sure is an explicit little peek through the keyhole.
Here's the setup: For no apparent reason Tomomi gets her walking papers from her boyfriend of six years. We meet her on the train home from work, shortly after the breakup; her stop is toward the end of the line, and as she stews about her collapsed romance, a young man nods off next to her, his head on her shoulder. Before getting off the train, she gives the sleeping beauty a kiss, and soon he's off the train, too—he's Takao, an art student, and at age 20, eight years her junior. It's just a matter of minutes of screen time before they're having sex, and the great majority of this movie is sex scenes of these two, with only brief respites for their lives outside of the bedroom. Every now and again she compares notes with her best pal, who is dating an older man; she even gets together with the old boyfriend. Takao likes taking snapshots of her, but mostly their relationship is all about getting busy, early and often.
If you've read this far, you'll be wanting a report on just how explicit this movie is. The answer: in comparison to some of the porn readily available on the web (if the spam I receive is any indication), not very. Strategically thrown shadows keep the nudity at a minimum - there's no full frontal—but it's pretty clear what's going down in the sex scenes, and the actors certainly get a workout. And so if their anatomy isn't entirely on display, there can be no doubt as to just what they're up to. The sex isn't even especially racy or inventive, compared to such landmark explicit Japanese films as In The Realm of the Senses. (But then, the supplemental material indicates that a movie like this one is usually shot in four or five days, so you take what you can get.)
Now, I don't want to get all moralistic, goodness knows; nor do I want to be hypocritical, like one of those guys who insists that he reads Playboy for the articles. But a few words about the story are in order. Basically, there isn't one—I'm sure that Japanese audiences aren't looking to the adult section for finely crafted screenplays, but a couple of the obvious possibilities aren't exploited. Does Tomomi, unceremoniously dumped by her boyfriend of six years, enjoy playing out some power game with a younger man, the pleasures of woman on top? Is this torrid affair a necessary diversion from her apparently stultifying job? Does Takao have a thing for older women, or does he learn something from Tomomi that he hasn't from women his own age? The premise is reminiscent of a movie like White Palace, but that comparison almost gives it too much credit, and even a dopey sexually explicit Hollywood picture like 9 1/2 Weeks has at least a modicum of story propelling it along. I know it's stupid to hope for better, but given that a certain amount of screen time is devoted to Tomomi in front of the computer at work, or far too much footage of characters talking on cellular phones, just a little bit of setup and story payoff might have gone a long way.
Rating for Style: C+
Rating for Substance: B-
Image Transfer Review: The movie was made on the fly, and it shows—lots of specks, grains and scratches on the image, and the exterior night scenes are especially muddy and difficult to make out. The transfer does nothing to correct these issues.
Image Transfer Grade: C-
Audio Transfer Review: Lots of the dialogue seems to have been looped in, and in the sex scenes especially, it sounds like a sound editor went a little overboard with the slurping sounds. Otherwise, the audio track sounds pretty clean. (So to speak.)
Audio Transfer Grade: C+
Disc ExtrasStatic menu
Scene Access with 6 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English
Cast and Crew Biographies
Cast and Crew Filmographies
5 Other Trailer(s) featuring The Bedroom, The Dream of Garuda, Tandem, Pervirella, Sex Friend
Extras Grade: D
Final CommentsNo Love Juice is probably most interesting as an introduction to the world of Japanese Pink Cinema, and I don't doubt that there's a cultural context that those of us unfamiliar with the genre are missing. Obviously you don't want to wake Grandma and the kids for this one, but it does have a certain fascination, and it's sure to be one of the more unusual hours you spend in front of the television.
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