The Cell (2000)

Thecellposter

Genre: Sci-Fi, Thriller

Cast: Jennifer Lopez, Vince Vaughn

Synopsis: J’Lo plays a pot-smoking child psychologist who enters the mind of a serial killer through an experimental mind-swapping coma machine in order to find a missing girl.

Who would have thought that a movie starring J-Lo could be artistic. I mean, Anaconda was artistic in its own way….sort of. Many of the scenes in The Cell, however, are actually inspired by the works of Damien Hirst, Nerdrum, H R Giger, and the Brothers Quay. That makes for some fucked up imagery. If I’m being 100 per cent honest, though, I actually quite like this movie. There’s something visceral and powerful about it.

A lot of the emotions I felt when watching this movie were negative: disgust, revulsion, terror. However, it’s rare that you see a movie with such force and with such a clear artistic vision. When one comes along I can’t help but like it. The visual beauty should be expected as the director, Tarsem Singh, also directed The Fall which is largely considered to be one of the most visually arresting movies out there. However, The Fall’s narrative was decidedly ‘meh’ and left much to be desired. In contrast, The Cell manages to strike an appropriate balance between visual mastery and engrossing story. Neither element overshadows the other and I found both my eyes and my mind engaged.

At times, this movie had a serious Silence of the Lambs feel and you would think it would be impossible to mesh extreme horror with beauty but Singh manages to do it with panache. However, the horror in this movie can be quite difficult to bare at times. The way the serial killer, who for some reason I thought was Philip Seymour Hoffman (may he rest in peace), kills his victims is traumatic. What he does to them afterwards is even more distressing. It takes a strong will to get through some of the scenes and even I found myself tested….and I’ve seen all sorts of crazy shit thanks to /r/WTF.

Now, let’s talk about the Hispanic elephant in the room: Jennifer Lopez. She’s not a great actress (“I can catch a snake too”). However, she’s not exactly terrible either. In The Cell there’s something fresh-faced and oddly endearing about her. Also, she tokes up in her underwear and has a pet cat so that’s great. She is still Jenny from da block, after all. Seriously though, she pulls the weirdest face when she’s high. However, she never manages to quite convince the audience that she’s actually a child psychologist. Maybe it’s because I know what she’s like outside of the film. Still, she tries and I can respect that. When she rocks up as Jesus to save the day, though, that is maybe a bit too much.

High-lights:

  • Beautiful use of colour and terrific art direction.
  • Toke up J-Lo. Oooooh a kitty!
  • Oh hai doggy.
  • Engrossing plot that keeps you on the edge of your seat

Downers:

  • Can be very disturbing and distressing at times.
  • Vince Vaughn being serious and J-Lo as Jesus.
  • Is that Philip Seymour Hoffman!?………Nah. Damn, now I’m sad.

Summary:

While Paprika is still my favourite dream-entering mind-bending thriller, The Cell is not a bad alternative. Even if you don’t like Jennifer Lopez or even the plot, you can still appreciate the art direction, make up, and costumes. If you smoke something that heightens your senses, then both the colours and artistry will become so much more vivid and will have more of an impact. The downside is that you’ll also be tweaked while watching some really distressing scenes. Either way, this film will illicit some kind of gut reaction from you.

6.5/10

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Filed under Good, Sci-Fi, Thriller

Mortal Kombat (1995)

Mortal Kombat

Genre: Action/Adventure

Cast: Robin Shou, Bridgette Wilson, Christopher Lambert

Synopsis: Warriors from earth do battle against a soul-stealing sorcerer in a martial arts tournament in order to save the Earth.

Hello everyone! I have returned from a hectic three weeks of travel and I hope you have missed me. First, I was in Japan for two weeks or so for a vacation. I then returned to London for about three days before flying off to Miami for work. In Miami I worked 15 hour days so, needless to say, I am freaking exhausted. Upon my return, all I wanted to do was sleep and watch movies to relax. Unfortunately, I landed at 7am on Thursday and had a deadline so it was straight into the office. The crazy life of an international business journalist! Last night I was finally able to get some time to myself and I decided to put on a childhood favourite.

I was six when this movie came out and, at the time, I thought Mortal Kombat was the best thing ever. My brother and I used to spend hours on the Sega Megadrive ripping off each other’s heads, tearing out each others’ spines, and generally being all around cunts. Our fanaticism reached new heights one Halloween when my brother, a friend, and I went trick-or-treating as the ninjas from Mortal Kombat. In short, I was dedicated.

Ageing is a sad process not only because your bladder gets weaker and because your risk of a stroke sky rockets but also because the veil of childhood excitement and simplicity gets lifted. Mortal Kombat the movie is really a steaming pile of shit. I mean, it is Paul W. S. Anderson film after all. After attending a recent screening of Event Horizon at the Prince Charles Cinema in London, I have become convinced that he has not done a good movie. Ever. Clunky, overwrought, and overacted, Mortal Kombat was a fail of the biggest sort from start to finish. But, if Scarlet Takes a Tumble and Beyonce Clown Fail have taught me anything about life, it’s that failing isn’t so bad. In fact, it can be pretty fucking funny.

Whether it’s the 90s-electro-glow-stick-coke-binge soundtrack, the clumsy fight scenes, or Bridgette Wilson’s taibo dance routine in which she breaks some Aussie dude’s neck with her thighs of steel (the very epitome of feminism), there’s a lot to take the piss out of and therefore enjoy. To enjoy Mortal Kombat though, you need to a totally suspend your good taste and judgment. Much like sneaking to the fridge in the middle of the night to finish off the other 75 per cent of that chocolate cake, watching Mortal Kombat is oh so satisfying but somewhat dirty and nobody who thinks straight would do it. Fortunately, exhaustion and jet leg wears down your barriers. Although I’m not proud to say that I watched this film (and even less proud to admit that I enjoyed it), I must admit that at the time it felt like the right thing to do.

High-lights:

  • FINISH HIM! FLAWLESS VICTORY! TEST YOUR MIGHT! All my favourite catch phrases from childhood.
  • Sexy revenge in a tank-top.
  • Hilariously bad fight scenes.

Downers:

  • Reptile was the best character in the game and it’s sad to see that his role in the movie is so shit. He used to vomit acid and all hat call stuff.
  • Where’s Mileena? Where’s Sindel? Where’s that half-horse-half-cow-half-human fucker? Oh wait…..they’re in the sequel….which is even more shocking than this film, if you can believe that.
  • God damn it Kitana, you suck.

Summary:

You can do better. You really can. But, then again, do you always want to? For those moments when you’re out of your mind and just want something ridiculous on the TV, Mortal Kombat is a safe bet. I hadn’t seen this movie in about 15 years and, although I could remember most of the dialogue and the scenes, it was like watching it for the first time all over again. A movie that affects you differently over time is always a special thing so I can’t grade this film too harshly.

7/10

As a final point, I thought I would share some photos from Japan with you. Before I went I bought a very nice vintage camera so as to complete the hipster look. I was very happy with how the photos came out so I thought I would post the best ones here to allow you to see what I got up to. I hope you enjoy them.

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Filed under Action/Adventure, Good

Perfect Blue (1997)

Perfect Blue

Genre: Thriller, Animation

Cast: Junko Iwao, Rica Matsumoto, Shinpachi Tsuji

Synopsis: Mima is a super kawaii pop star who goes through a psychotic episode when she tries to become an actress. As fantasy and reality spiral out of control, a series of murders take place and Mima doesn’t know if she committed them or not.

This is one of the films which ignited my love for anime. I remember first watching Perfect Blue around a friend’s house when I was about 13 or 14 and being completely blown away by its trippy-ness and complex storyline. When people think of anime, they tend to associate it with cutesy little characters with giant eyes making weird mewing noises and fighting the forces of evil while wearing inappropriately slutty costumes. If you do that then watch Perfect Blue and prepare to have your mind blown and your stomach turned. This film is straight up Hitchcock on crack and is probably the most gripping and psychologically tense movie I have ever seen.

The film follows a former pop idol, Mima, who decides to change career and become an actress. She wins a role on a TV series which is essentially a rip off of Silence of the Lambs but with added rape scenes…..yeah, this movie is THAT fucked. Anyway, the pressure of the job and the horrible scenes she is made to act out force Mima to go all Amanda Bynes. Things become all the more complicated when a crazy stalker rears his head and when a series of murders appear implicate Mima. Throw in some trippy scenes involving a glowing internet Mima who skips around Tokyo in the rain and you’ve got yourself a total mind-fuck of a film. Satoshi Kon delivers yet another classic.

I have seen Perfect Blue at least 10 times and every time I see it the film takes on a different dimension and I notice something new. This time I watched the film with my doctor brother who informed me that the film accurately captures a visual representation of a psychotic episode. There is something terrifying in that fact. What’s more, the realism takes a very disturbing edge when coupled with the eerie soundtrack which sounds like a horrific mix between moaning and chanting. Indeed, there are parts of this movie that become very difficult to watch and it’s not just because there are graphic scenes of murder or simulated sexual violence. It’s partly because you are witnessing a woman’s psyche break in a chillingly real way and it becomes impossible to predict what will happen next. Virtually every scene is injected with a sense of foreboding which is heightened by the realisation that absolutely anything could happen because the movie is animated. It can go in any direction.

I will level with you. You will find it difficult to follow Perfect Blue the first time you watch it. The film is roughly 85 minutes long and most of the middle 65 minutes will probably go over your head. The reason for this is that Perfect Blue utilises the ‘film within a film’ device and it does so to great effect. It’s hard for me to give you the facts without spoiling the film but I can tell you that, as Mima’s mind begins to crack, the audience begins to lose track of what is real and what is not. Fantasy and reality begin to blur together in a confusing fashion and it perfectly captures Mima’s own psychosis. Because of that fact, the confusion never feels out of place or annoying. The audience can instead identify with Mima which is an impressive feat considering she’s animated. Whereas the confusion in Mulholland Drive was the result of the fact that movie was bat shit insane and stupid, the confusion in Perfect Blue has a meaning to it.

As a final point, I will say that the pay-off at the end of the movie is worth all the confusion. The movie has such a crazy-brilliant twist at the end and you will not see it coming. It will leave you with your mouth hanging open. I would love to give you more details but I don’t want to ruin the ending because it’s one of cinema’s greatest twists. It’s definitely up there with The Sixth Sense, Psycho, or Vertigo. Plus, the twist will clear up all the confusion. When that happens and when the penny drops, I advise you to watch the film again just so you can see how intricate and well-constructed it actually is.

High-lights:

  • Perhaps the most Hitchcockian movie ever made that was not in fact made by Hitchcock.
  • The twist ending. God damn it’s so good!
  • There are two chase scenes in this movie which are absolutely mind-blowing. You will be at the edge of your seat throughout both of them.
  • It’s the sort of film that gets better with repeat viewings. Also, watching other people watch it for the first time is a lot of fun.

Downers:

  • Confusing as hell (but the ending clears it all up and if you watch it a second time it becomes a lot easier to understand).
  • The English dub can be sketchy in places but at the best moments it rivals the original Japanese version.
  • Some very disturbing scenes.

Summary:

This is without question one of my favourite films. If you love thrillers or brain-scratchers or surreal Hitchcockian films then this will be right up your street. I really can’t sing Perfect Blue’s praises enough and I hope I have managed to convey its strengths without giving too much away. On reflection, it was probably a bad idea for me to watch this a few days before I leave for Japan but I simply couldn’t resist. On that note, I will say that I leave for Japan tomorrow and probably won’t be able to post reviews in the next three weeks or so. Fear not, however, as I will return and when I do my reviews will be just as baked as ever.

10/10

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Filed under Animation, Mind Blowingly Awesome, Thriller

The Craft (1996)

The_craft_movie_poster

Genre: Horror, Drama

Cast: Robin Tunney, Fairuza Balk, Neve Campbell

Synopsis: Four misfits wearing slutty Catholic school uniforms develop magical powers but shit goes awry when they use their powers for personal gain

Now this is a blast from the past! I remember when I was a teenager, channel 4 used to screen this movie at least twice a year and every time it was on I would watch it. As such, this film is my ultimate guilty favourite and, when I saw it was on Netflix, I just had to watch it for the blog. The plot is simple enough: a beautiful girl moves to LA and falls in with a group of creepy misfits who turn out to be witches. They do all sorts of crazy spells to improve their lives but one goes crazy and shit gets out of hand and then all notions of sisterhood fly out the fucking window. As you can see, it’s not a particularly complex or challenging plot. What makes this film enjoyable to watch though is that perfectly sums up everything that was both good and bad about the 90s while also throwing in some trippy visuals.

So, what about this film is so 90s? Well, for starters, Neve Campbell. Is there anyone who defines the 90s teenage experience better than Neve Campbell? When I was living in LA I had lunch with her once….and by ‘with’ I very much mean we were in the same cafe and she was sat at a different table while I was eating sesame seed bagel because I was broke and that’s all I could afford. At the time I was struck by how beautiful and 90s she was! It was as if I had stepped into some sort of time warp. If I had ventured outside I am sure I would have seen people dressed like Clarissa from Clarissa Explains it All. Anyway, my point is that Neve Campbell exudes 90s teen glamour and any film with her in gets the 90s seal of approval.

This film will force you to reminisce about a simpler time, a better time; a time when people used to wear neon spandex cycling shorts as every day wear, fantasize about Skeet Ulrich and say things like “damn girl, you a phat bitch!” That 90s teen slang right? Who cares! Anything can be 90s teen slang if you say it while wearing an ensemble that can only be described as catholic schoolgirl meets heroin addict.

In fact, I think this is actually what The Craft is about: addiction to drugs. Magic becomes a metaphor for heroin in this movie and everyone knows that heroin was to the 90s what coke was to the 80s. All these girls do is lock themselves away in their rooms and then do crazy shit like drive through red lights and talk about how Mannon is inside their veins! I assume Mannon is a code word for smack. Watch this film again and see for yourself how easily ‘magic’ can be replaced with ‘heroin.’ A lot of their so called ‘spells’ might not even be the result of magic but coincidence. For instance, the guy who got hit by a car in this movie got hit by a car because he ran into the road holding a snake, not because of magic. Neve’s scars went away because her treatment worked, not because of magic. The bitch’s hair fell out because she had alopecia, not because of magic. This movie just goes to show you that smack addicts will believe anything that they want.

High-lights:

  • My 90s childhood came rushing back to me.
  • Some trippy scenes like when Nancy walks on water and talks about how dead sharks are her gifts. To be honest, I’d be a little pissed off if someone gave me a dead shark as a gift.
  • “Who’s your daughter now?!” What?
  • Awesome 90s soundtrack. Whoever decided to use ‘Glorybox’ by Portishead was a genius.

Downers:

  • Total chick flick.
  • It actually becomes quite depressing when you realise that they are all on drugs.
  • Occasional bad 90s special effects…although the scene where Nancy walks on water was pretty good.
  • Corny ending.

Summary:

At its core, this movie does have a good message: don’t get addicted to heroin. Sure, use it recreationally but don’t become obsessed in the way Fairuza Balk does with her great white shark-like mouth. Seriously, this girl has a huge mouth. All jokes aside, this is a fun movie and one that’s very easy to get into and one which will keep you entertained. Sure, it’s never going to be included in IMDB’s top 250 (and nor should it) but it’s one of those movies which will allow you to turn off your brain. Just don’t turn it off so much that you begin to think that a needle full of sweet Georgia brown will make all of your problems disappear. Repeat after me people: drugs are bad! Now excuse me while I take a rip from my bong.

7/10

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Filed under Drama, Good, Horror

13 Ghosts (2001)

Thir13en_Ghosts_poster

Genre: Horror

Cast: Mr Monk, that one girl from American Pie, Shaggy, and a sassy black lady

Synopsis: A down-and-out family inherits a mansion from their strange and eccentric Oscar winning uncle. Problem is that the mansion is full of ghosts. Guess how many ghosts there are.

I think that it’s a rite of passage for every actor to do a bad horror movie. It doesn’t matter how good they are or how many awards they have, a cheesy horror movie should feature on every actor’s filmography. By ‘cheesy horror movie’ I mean ones like 13 Ghosts i.e. ones that have stupid plots, boobs, and characters who are nothing more than thinly veiled stereotypes. There’s just something so satisfying about these kinds of horror movies. You’re not required to think. You can simply sit back and enjoy the sheer crapiness of the film. I applaud any actor who has the balls to appear in this sort of film….I assume it’s out of choice, of course, and not just desperation for a pay cheque.

So, objectively speaking, what is good about this movie? To be honest, not a lot. F Murray Abraham (yes, THAT F Murray Abraham….the one with an Oscar who starred in Blood Monkey) plays a ghost hunter who catches ghosts and traps them in this weirdly beautiful clock-work house. OK, that’s one good thing about this movie: the set design and production. I would love to live in this house….assuming it was ghost free of course. Anyway, Tony Shalhoub (aka Mr Monk) and his family inherit the house and shit goes down with the ghosts. Matthew Lilard also appears as a psychic ghost hunter. Based on that summary alone, you should be able to tell that this is not a great movie.

Having said that, this film is a lot of fun because of all its flaws. It’s the sort of film you can watch with friends, take the piss out of and quote along to (“Is that half the lawyer?”). I’m sure there’s a drinking game you could play while watching this film. I don’t know what it would include but probably something along the lines of “drink every time the family’s black maid does something vaguely stereotypical” or “drink every time there is a sickly-sweet and mawkish family love-in.” Either way, 13 Ghosts feels like a communal film so pop it on if you’re with friends who love horror films too.

The trouble with this film, if I were to name just one thing, is that it rushes a very good premise. I love these sort of haunted house stories but it’s hard to do something like 13 Ghosts justice in a 90 minute time frame. I wish someone would come along and turn this film into a TV series. It would be a great idea. That way, each of the ghosts could be developed in full and the tension could be drawn out over the course of about 12 episodes or so. I noticed on Netflix that a TV series of From Dusk Till Dawn just started. It was pretty dull. A TV series based on this film would have been a much better idea. Anyone at Netflix want to commission me to write a TV series? I need money and writing credits!

High-lights:

  • Excellent set design. It’s stylish and claustrophobic at the same time. I kind of want to live in the house what with all its beautiful antiques.
  • “Fetch the book!” It just got all Hocus Pocus up in here!
  • Sassy, if somewhat inappropriate, black maid.
  • Award-winning cast…..lol

Downers:

  • Too rushed. Not all the ghosts get an adequate amount of screen time.
  • Appalling dialogue.

Summary:

On the whole, 13 Ghosts is a pretty mediocre horror film but, under the right conditions, it can be a lot of fun. When I watched it I was in the mood for a trashy ghost story and it definitely satisfied my craving. It’s in no way as deeply terrifying as Rosmary’s Baby or The Exorcist are but it provides some laughs and some cheap thrills. Fortunately, it’s on Netflix so you don’t even need to spend any money to watch it. What’s to lose?

6/10

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Filed under Good, Horror

Mulholland Drive (1996)

Mulholland

Genre: Drama? Thriller? Bad acid trip? Who the fuck knows!?

Cast: Naomi Watts, Justin Theroux, Laura Harring

Synopsis: An aspiring actress arrives in Los Angeles and meets and befriends an amnesiac who is hiding in an apartment which belongs to the actress’ aunt…shit then gets cray cray.

I have watched my fair share of ‘WTF’ films for this blog. I’ve reviewed a film about a sentient blow up love doll and one which featured a little psychotic troll-child in a red raincoat. Hell, I’ve even watched one movie about a murderous psychic helper monkey. However, David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive really takes the cake of crazy. I watched this film expecting something tense and engrossing with elements of surrealism. What I got instead was an overall feeling of confusion and despair…like that time a homeless guy cupped my ass while I was on my way to the gym.

I wish I could tell you more about what this film is about but, to be honest, I doubt you’ll find anyone who knows what this film is about. Even Lynch himself refuses to offer an explanation on what this film about. I assume it’s not because he wants us to figure it out for ourselves but because he has no fucking clue himself. The basic plot is simple enough: woman comes to Hollywood, meets crazy lady, tries to solve mystery, takes part in a really creepy audition before eventually taking her top of and lezzing out. However, that’s only like 50 per cent of the movie. The rest of the movie is an assortment of crazy scenes with creepy old people, a mysterious (and pant-shittingly terrifying) homeless guy who lives behind a diner, a blue box that opens into a different dimension (possibly), and Penny/Hope from Showgirls who plays some junky ho. These scenes don’t really progress the plot or anything. They’re there just to confuse you.

Now, I’m all for artistic and thought-provoking movies if they’re well shot and coherent but I can’t even hand out those compliments to this film because it has the cinematography of a bad 90s soap opera and all the clarity of Lindsay Lohan behind the wheel of a moving vehicle. I imagine that watching this movie when sober is confusing enough but, when you’re high, it feels like you’re watching the acid trip of a very disturbed individual living in Los Angeles. I haven’t seen enough of David Lynch’s work to know if he is, in fact, disturbed but as his filmography includes well-known WTF pieces such as Eraserhead, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, and a short film called The Amputee, it would not be a stretch to imagine.

I feel like this film was made so that smug “intellectuals” could talk about how brilliant and avant garde it is at dinner parties. In a way, I’m glad that I can now participate in these conversations rather than staying silent while nursing a soggy crème brûlée which has clearly been done under an oven grill as opposed to a blow torch (the true test of British middle-classdom). However, in these conversations, I will be the voice of reason. Is Naomi Watts taking part in a sad-wank and lezzing out really that avant garde? No. What is the point of the blue box? No point. Is this film really just a random assortment of fucked-up scenes that don’t mean anything? Yes, yes it is.

High-lights:

  • Naomi Watts does have some good moments when she’s not playing her character like she’s Nancy Drew.
  • Penny/Hope from Showgirls! And the greasy looking guy from Anaconda!
  • Some beautiful shots of LA….but not Hollywood. Hollywood is junkie central!

Downers:

  • I have no clue what the fuck happened in this movie. In my notes, I wrote “What the fuck is going on?” four different times.
  • Naomi Watts engaging in a sad wank is just depressing.
  • Scary homeless man scared the shit out of me.
  • Is that Sarah Jessica Parker? No? Why do I think she’s in everything nowadays? Why am I disappointed about that?

Summary:

This movie is like that person everyone knows, the one who likes to think that they’re Zooey Deschanel. The one that tries so hard to be odd and quirky but doesn’t manage to pull it off. Imagine that person lying on a heap on the floor after OD-ing on some sort of hack-drug cooked up in some guy’s garage. That’s Mulholland Drive right there.

3.5/10

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Filed under Crap, Drama, Thriller

Cardcaptor Sakura: The Movie (1999)

Cardcaptor-Sakura-84b37452

Genre: Animation, Kids

Cast: Voices of people I don’t know

Synopsis:  In the movie extension of the anime series, a magical Japanese school girl travels to Hong Kong with her friends and comes face-to-face with a pissed off evil sorceress.

As I mentioned before, in less than three weeks I will be off to Japan for a vacation, In order to get myself in the Japanese spirit, I decided to revisit some of my favourite Japanese TV shows, including Cardcaptor Sakura. If there was an award for the most LGBT friendly kids show, Cardcaptor Sakura would probably win it hands down. As far as I know, it is the only kids show which has both a gay love-triangle story arc AND an unrequited lesbian-love storyline. There’s even an episode where two male characters do a power transfer through a “special hug.” Well, the Japanese version was very gay. The English dub was more nonsensical. Anyway, I usually stay away from the movie adaptations of animes. However, I vaguely remembered watching this a long time ago and, if I remember correctly, I actually quite enjoyed it.

The reason why I usually stay from anime movie adaptations is because there is a tendency to take the story too away from the ones featured in the show. For instance, the Naruto movies always introduce crazy new characters and situations which require the main characters to do things that they can’t do in the series i.e. one-off gimmick moves. Moreover, the movie plots are placed in a time-frame which doesn’t align very well with the episodes. Fortunately, there isn’t any of that nonsense here and one of the strengths of this movie is that it feels much more like an extended episode. All of the great things about the series are featured in the movie.

What are some of those things? Well, for starters, gay sexual tension! It’s not quite as pronounced in the movie as it is in the series but it’s still there. Secondly, great magic battle scenes. The main character, Sakura, is essentially the master of these magical cards which contain spirits which can do her bidding. She must collect all the spirits and transform them into cards all while battling the forces of evil and dealing with the advances of her voyeuristic friend/lesbian lover. To collect these spirits, she must use the cards already in her possession to fight, trick or coerce them. While she does it she wears the most kawaii costumes imaginable. That’s a third great thing about this movie: fashion. It’s probably one of the few animes which takes costume quite seriously. The detail put into these outfits is amazing and I’m sure they can provide some interesting pointers for female viewers. Unfortunately, as a guy, I wouldn’t look great in Lolita dresses and hats with a cherry blossom pendant pinned on but if I have a daughter I’ll model her style on the characters in this show.

Another thing that is beautifully rendered is the city of Hong Kong. Unfortunately, it is an insanely idealised version of city steeped in magic and mystery and I’m sure it bears little resemblance to what Hong Kong is like in reality. You know how there’s that mental illness Japanese people get when they visit Paris and it’s nothing like what they imagined (largely because the city reeks of piss and everyone is super rude)? Well, I’m worried I’ll get that if I visit Hong King now because of this movie. Still, it would be nice to imagine Hong Kong as a place that still has mystical shrines and bird markets.

As a word of warning, if you watch this movie without watching any of the TV series, you will be confused as fuck. You need to have a core understanding of who these characters are and what it is they are doing. If you watch it without having seen the show, you will have all sorts of questions like: “who be dis bitch with the bow and arrow?” and “why is the main character acquiescing to her creepy friend’s requests to film her.” Fortunately, all of the episodes are on Youtube! I’m just going to conveniently leave a link right here and hope some of you take the bait.

High-lights:

  • This girl’s fashion sense is on point!
  • Epic battle scenes. The one with the water was boss.
  • Great animation and sound editing.
  • LGBT friendly.
  • Screaming catchphrases like “RELEEEAAASSSEE!!!!” and “WINDY!!!”

Downers:

  • An unrealistically beautiful version of Hong Kong which I will never get to see.
  • Difficult to grasp if you’re not a fan of the show.
  • There is one scene that borders on racial insensitivity when portraying horny Chinese girls: “ME ROVE YOU RONG TIME!”

Summary:

A surprisingly good movie which manages to capture all that is enjoyable about the TV show without distorting its plot or timeline. Cardcaptor Sakura truly is a wonderful anime and I would encourage you all to give it a go. When I’m in Japan I will no doubt visit Akihabara (Tokyo’s video game and manga district) and while I’m there I will try to hunt down some Cardcaptor Sakura memorabilia….maybe a fierce battle outfit like this saucy cat number….I’ll be the most kawaii journalist in London.

7/10

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Filed under Good, Kids