For many of us, it's probably been at least a year and a half, given the entire global health pandemic has shut down cinemas and forced distributors to withhold the kinds of movies they can offer. A Japanese genre mashup revolving around samurai-obsessed high school girls - get ready for more than 90 minutes of non-stop laughter. This movie was recently shown as part of Fantasia Fest, possibly the best genre cinema event in the world. It's a regular festival that can throw the viewer off guard but end up shortlisting the years best works (see The Columnist, from 2020).
In another unusual cinematic year in progress, It's a Summer Film! In fact, it's probably one of the nicest movies we've seen in the last five years starring Bill and Ted 3, Coco, the Highlights for Children documentary, and the zombie Christmas musical. Filmed on (probably) iPhone Enlarge / Poster for Summer Movie. Fantasia Fest Barefoot loves movies, so much so that she'll stick with the movie club even if her daughter-in-law Karin's popular romantic comedy wins the group's vote to be their project. But if things depend on Barefoot, she'll produce her own script, a passionate tribute written to classic samurai movies titled Samurai Spring. It's what gets her out of bed in the morning, and it's something she regularly watches outside of school with her friends Kickstand (a shortened character from Astronomy Club-loving) and Blue Hawaii (a short character from Astronomy Club-loving).
Kickstand and Blue Hawaii know this, which is why they can't let poor Barefoot sit still for 50 spins of "I Can't Hear You / I Love You!!!" They hatch a plan to organize a pirate production, rallying Samurai Spring together using some of the other bad guys in their school as actors and crew (a 30 year old would look like a kid). Kickstand can handle smartphone cameras, Blue Hawaii can choreograph fight scenes, and Barefoot will handle the script and directing. "A movie can say I love you without words, say it too many times and it becomes avant-garde," Barefoot said by exchanging his film for a surprise screening.
There's just one small problem: Samurai Spring needs the right leader, someone who can be vulnerable and strong ("hot as hell," as his Barefoot friends remind him). It took some strenuous effort to convince him, but the girl now reluctantly accepts being the clay for Barefoot's exquisite samurai vision. The script is excellent, filled with key points, so every second and third act is a surprise but not a complete shock. Masumoto's text is perhaps a real analogy to the blood, sweat, and tears that Barefoot put into Samurai Spring in the movie.
The friendship between Barefoot, Kickstand and Blue Hawaii will recall other great adventures of female friendship, like Booksmart or Whip It. Barefoot discusses the themes and motifs of his beloved samurai stories with a depth that proves he's not someone who tries nine inch nails shirts for style points and this preview helps less familiar viewers. With this rule to appreciate how much of a summer movie.
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