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Fantasia Film Festival 2022’s 15 Top Picks to Feast Upon

5 Jul

Fantasia Film Festival

Fantasia Film Festival is back as an in-person event in 2022! There’s over 80 films being offered during the course of the two week event in Montreal, Quebec, and if I was to average two a day, that’s barely scratching the surface. There’s also all the special events, panels, and  shorts to consider and they will be held at the Concordia Hall,  J.A. de Sève cinemas, the Cinémathèque Québécoise, Cinéma du Musée and McCord Museum.

Ticket pre-sales will open at the end of this week, on July 9, 1:00 EST, and people travelling this event might want to consider booking their hotels now. Anyone still concerned about the pandemic are advised to still wear face masks and use personal descretion until the Health Authority declares otherwise.

Polaris-movie-film-action-revenge-2022-Viva-Lee-Fantasia-posterThe film to begin the festivities is Polaris, a Canadian sci-fi eco-adventure and I get the feeling its a work that’ll rival the cult film, Turbo-Kid (2015). I’m glad to say that I got the early bird ticket on a few flicks.  One work I admire is The Witch 2: The Other Side (review link), which received limited screenings across North America courtesy of Well GO USA. Another is The Girl From The Other Side which first screened at Fantasia 2019 as a short, and this year, it’s been expanded to a feature length movie! It’s a parable that I throughly enjoyed (review link) when it played at the Los Angeles Asian Film Festival a few months ago. All the detailing in this work really must be seen on the big screen!

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It’s Delightful Disney’s Lilo and Stitch is Celebrating 20 Years! So Where Are They Now?

15 Jun

Lilo and Stitch

Lilo and Stitch are celebrating their 20th anniversary! Disney’s commitment to this odd couple is ongoing, including have a few pieces of exclusive merchandise (a pin and stuffed doll), and their plan for a live-action remake is late. There’s been no word on when or if it has begun filming. All fans can hope for is a release this year at least if it’s supposed to be for this celebration. 

Ever since this film’s release June 16, 2002, I’ve been obsessed with the blue fuzzy alien. The television series was about the duo collecting accidentally released experiments at the height of Pokémon’s popularity. Thus, I can’t say it was an appropriate continuation. I tuned in because Stitch’s silly antics never grew old.

But time would take its toll on this franchise. This extra-terrestrial phoned home. As a result, Disney Japan delivered two original animation videos, Planet of Sand and Perfect Memory to continue the alien’s adventures. More often than not, he found himself back on Earth, setting the course for further adventures on Disney Asia’s network. It’s sad Lilo grew up, but it had to happen. 

The releases to the Asian market aren’t in order, and it’s easy to get confused if the two new series (Lilo and Ai, and Stitch! The Series) are supposed to exist in the same universe, or chronology. According to the Wiki, the Chinese production is standalone and I enjoyed this alternate take of the classical formula. My look at this series can be read here.

The Japanese series has a better developed content, and follows after the events of the home video release, Leroy and Stitch. 

This program is more mature and shows Yuna (Stitch’s new companion) facing the same hurdles as Lilo did. One good thing about this show is that she’s not always a country bumpkin. This girl becomes has other problems to face. Also, she’ll have to learn how to live in the city with the blue alien in tow. Thankfully, an episode (“Reunion with Lilo”) in Stitch! suggests that the story is ongoing. It resolves any problems the two had. Lilo looks more like Nani and to see them back together brought tears to my eyes. 

But we got more stories than that. The manga series, Stitch, and the Samurai, was released last year.

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Fans can purchase each individual volume here (along with volumes two and three), or by clicking at each individual image through these Amazon USA links

While fleeing the Galactic Federation, Stitch’s spaceship malfunctions, and he makes an emergency landing not in Hawaii, but in Sengoku-era Japan! Lord Yamato and his clan find Stitch, and his cuteness is no match for the battle-weary samurai who brings the “blue tanuki” home and tries to make a pet.

Jumba and Pleakley aren’t too far behind, since the rodent is their responsibility. With no surprise, they help make Japan technologically advanced, and that’s not good for the rest of the world. It’s best not to spoil the three volume work, but it made for a fun weekend read. Plus, this graphic novel is also a flip-page animation book.

I hope there’ll be more manga featuring Stitch in these standalone works. Although he’s no longer a huge star like he was during his debut, his presence can still be found at Disney’s parks, and elsewhere. But for those who haven’t been keeping track of where he can be found in print, there’s also:

Comic Zone Volume 1: Disney’s Lilo and Stitch 

This trade paperback is a compilation of the comics that were printed in Disney Adventure magazine. These shorts are non-canonical.

Disney Manga: Stitch! Volume One

Stitch Volume One and Two

These stories by Yumi Tsukirino take place in the Japanese series continuity and are side-stories. The content is more for the K9 crowd than long time fans, but for completists, it’s something to have on the shelf just to show how much of a fan one is of the series.

Stitch! Best Friends Forever!

This particular volume has more substance to it when compared to the latter two. To note, the tales presented in this books are standalone works rather than a continuation of the series.

But for completists, viewers shouldn’t forget that these direct to video releases still hasn’t made the transition to Blu-ray just yet, and are available to purchase as DVDs:

Lilo and Stitch Direct to Video Releases (also available to Stream)

Leory & Stitch Stitch! The Movie

(Disclaimer: Otakunoculture.com is a member of Amazon Associate’s program, and any sales made help supports this site).

 

 

WARPS Up HERO_sei with This New Single and Music Video Debut

11 Jun

HERO_seiJapanese-Chinese boys’ collective WARPs UP‘s new single HERO_sei is now out. It’s a mid-tempo ballad about living life your own way and is performed by a group who refuse to be confined by their own boundaries. The bold use of colours–of red, white and blue–contrasted against varied backdrops shows how they’re breaking free. Each tone is meaning, as red represents anger, white with sadness and blue with freedom. The progression is very telling.

This second original single released by the group’s two Chinese members LANGYI and MINGJUN, follows January’s single POWER_Shin. Previous songs by WARPs UP feature lyrics in English, Chinese and Japanese. This approach to reach a global market is an impressive achievement and helps make this group stand out.

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Highlights from Last Weekend’s UFO Full Disclosure Symposium 2022

1 Jun

UFO Full Disclosure SymposiumAnyone following the US Congress open briefing on Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon may well have booked a flight to attend the UFO Full Disclosure Symposium to keep the momentum going. This event took place at Vernal, Utah on May 27-29th, and it offers breakdowns on the recent videos disclosed to the public.

People are less sceptical these days. Instead, it’s about why more witness accounts are happening. If observers can gather enough concrete data before the craft disappears into the Aether, then they can see if the information is proof positive of alien visitation. The best pop culture comparison in how we want to handle first contact is with how the crew of the USS Enterprise handles it. From the bridge, the team can scan other spaceships with its vast array of sensors. And if the crew has a Betazoid, even better! They can recognise the intent of the “Encounter at Farpoint.”

During the weekend, the speakers were offering more than an examination of four newly released close encounters of the second kind. Three are given the label “Apache,” “Rubber Duck” and “A10 Warthog.” Unofficially, the speakers identified another piece as La Llorona, named after the Hispanic spectre!

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This New Rescue Rangers Dares To Be More Than Meta

24 May

Chip n Dale Rescue Rangers Teaser posterStreaming on Disney Plus
Spoiler Alert

The Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers film can be called a reboot, but I think it’s a continuation. It establishes a broader universe, where many animated characters (from the past 35 years‌) live alongside humans, and they’re mostly movie and television performers rather than real life versions of the cartoon persona.

This ‌meta work knows there’ll be hard critics, and those who grew up watching the classic 90s series will wonder if this release means an all new beginning for the titular pair. To truly hate it is tough. The writing team of Dan Gregor and Doug Mand knew they’d be facing a lot of flak if it did not honour why these rodents are best friends.

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