Spectrum Fest: Films from the Autism Spectrum [Fantasia International Film Festival 2017]

Spectrum Productions works with a day camp in Montreal which offers filmmaking mentorship and classes for people on the autism spectrum.  Spectrum Fest was a presentation of some of the films made by participants over the years for the first time at Fantasia.  It was a free screening for anyone interested in going and it was hoot.

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Teletubbies: Bubbles (DVD)

Released to coincide with “International Bath Day,” the Teletubbies release yet another edition of their episodes on DVD. Comprised of six episodes total, this new volume features the alien—monster—children things dancing and singing once again with the help of their special Tubby Custard Machine. Said Machine concocts all kinds of scenarios and fun activities including allowing them to play with bubbles, and dance the new “Tubby Phone Dance.”

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Beauty and the Beast (2017)

It’s surprising how well Disney adapts their own version of the shockingly beloved fairy tale “Beauty and the Beast.” While their Oscar winning animated version reigns supreme, Bill Condon manages to deliver his own interpretation that tweaks the tale here and there for new audiences with a great effect. I was quite stunned at how enjoyable “Beauty and the Beast” ended up being. While it has the familiarity of the 1991 movie, it’s also a unique experience that allows for a new angle on songs that are now deemed legendary. Condon approaches the live action remake/adaptation with a well balanced tone of whimsy and dread, allowing for a very subtle romance between Belle and the Beast.

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Seoul Station (2016)

Yeon Sang-ho and the studios were wise to capitalize on the running juggernaut that was the success of “Train to Busan” in 2016. Often times studios or directors wait two to five years for a prequel or a sequel, but “Train to Busan” gets an almost immediate prequel that helps expand the story and mythology of the live action film. One of the best zombie films of the last fifteen years, and perhaps of all time, “Train to Busan” was an action packed blockbuster disaster film set to the tune of the zombie apocalypse. The animated prequel is a bit more downbeat but still maintains the same social relevance and commentary that “Train to Busan” did so well.

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Bambi (1942): Anniversary Edition [Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital]

“Bambi” is less a narrative with a lot of characters and morals and more about the hazards of life and the loss of innocence. “Bambi” somewhat celebrates the tradition of “Dumbo” to where we watch the beginning of a young life and his journey to grow up in a very dangerous and unforgiving world. Despite the time it was made, “Bambi” is still a technically impressive drama that paints the wildlife landscape so vividly with a dream like aura that can be inviting and harrowing. The film itself is based on highs and lows centered on the music and turn of events that unfold for young Bambi.

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Sing (2016)

“Sing” is a lot like many of the other movies from Illumination Studios. It’s basically a moving greeting card. It’s cute for a few minutes, and then you’ll eventually find yourself tucking it away and looking for something more stimulating. As per most of the films from Illumination, “Sing” is just a middle of the road film that barely gets by because of the neat animation. “Sing” is cute. And that’s about it. It’s cute. And it packs a humongous soundtrack filled with pop songs both old and new that are meant to basically distract from the fact that it’s a very barebones animated movie with a paper thin narrative, that does little to convey to its audience something more meaningful.

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DC Superhero Girls: Intergalactic Games (2017) (DVD)

For parents looking to introduce their tween children to lighter superhero fare before giving them heavier doses of superhero drama, “DC Superhero Girls” is a nice animated introduction. Based on the hit toy line, “DC Superhero Girls” is set in the superhero high school, where DC Universe’s most powerful superheroes attend to learn how to fight crime. The movie is mostly centered on the female superheroes from the DC Universe including young Wonder Woman, young Batgirl, Supergirl, Bumblebee, Katana, Poison Ivy, and class clown Harley Quinn.

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