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  • Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie

    Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie

    ★★★

    The evil Ivan Ooze is released from a 6000-year slumber and manages to gravely injure Zordon, the commander of the Power Rangers. The attack leaves the six teenagers relatively powerless, so they must travel to the distant planet Phaedos to obtain the Great Power, save Zordon, and defeat Ivan Ooze.

    As a kid I owned a VHS with like fifteen of the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers season one episodes, which I watched weekly for years on end. That’s about…

  • Street Fighter

    Street Fighter

    ★★

    Tyrannical dictator (think Nazi, think very Nazi) Bison pursues WoRLd dOMiNaTioN, and it’s up to Colonel Guile and various other martial arts heroes from the Street Fighter game series to stop him. Street Fighter is by all means a bad movie, but so is Commando (another movie written, though not directed, by Steven E. de Souza), and that action flick is an absolute blast from start to finish. The line between good bad movies, bad bad movies, and so-bad-they’re-good movies…

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  • Only Yesterday

    Only Yesterday

    ★★★★

    100-word review: 27-year-old Tokyo resident Taeko goes to visit her countryside family, recalling significant moments from her childhood on her way there, and while working fields. Linklater-esque before that was even a thing, Only Yesterday dwells in the charm of the everyday, judging its viewer competent enough to recognise the quietly devastating drama and implication of its lingering scenes. Despite its simplicity, the film exploits the possibilities of the animated medium to the fullest extent without surpassing the boundaries of…

  • Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade

    Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade

    ★★

    100-word review: Set in an alternate-history 1950s Japan, occupied by a victorious Germany, Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade focuses on Kazuki Fuse, a counter-terrorism unit member who suffers from PTSD after witnessing the suicide bombing of a young girl. Jin-Roh pulls you in with a realism in terms of drama uncharacteristic for animation; Kazuki’s trauma is wholly conceivable, and displayed events should affect even the most apathetic viewer. However, after the climatic initial setup, the film regrettably transitions into a plainly…

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  • Whisper of the Heart

    Whisper of the Heart

    ★★★★

    100-word review: Bookworm Shizuku discovers all the books she loves have previously been checked out by the same person: Seiji, an aspiring violin maker her age. With him leaving for an Italian two-month apprenticeship, Shizuku begins a journey of self-exploration by trying to write a novel. Identifiable as Kiki's cousin, Whisper of the Heart tells a similar, equally important, and only ever so slightly lesser story about finding one’s path in life, delivering quite the emotional blow with its effectively…

  • Ninja Scroll

    Ninja Scroll

    ★★★

    100-word review: Supernatural ninjas murder a whole village to conceal a plot to overthrow the government. Another ninja team, sent to investigate, are annihilated too, except Kagero, a woman infused with toxins that kill whoever makes love to her. Rescued by ninja Jubei, the pair sets out to stop the conspiracists. Ninja Scroll, the film that helped popularising adult-oriented anime outside of Japan, starts off entertaining in its relentless brutality, but has trouble sustaining that remorseless momentum throughout its middle…