Neither a chain of spice stores nor a Food Network program, The Seasoning House is a bleak-as-nuclear-winter thriller set during the Balkan conflict of the 1990s. A deaf girl named Angel (Brit teen Rosie Day) is taken from her home by soldiers who shoot her mother dead.
Paul Schrader’s The Canyons opens and closes with a montage of abandoned movie theaters. For this film in particular, that choice strikes one as symbolic in several ways: not only as a comment on the state of the industry, but on the state of The Canyons itself. You’re unlikely to find many 2013 films this empty.
What's a director of classic musicals doing in science fiction? Making Saturn 3, one of the worst of the genre Hollywood made in the immediate post-Star Wars / Alien era. Stanley Donen (Singin' in the Rain) takes to it about as well as you'd expect; he's in over his head.
Military marksman Col. Jim McQuade (Gregory Hines, Running Scared) is called into top-secret duty to neutralize a surveillance robot gone haywire in San Francisco. It won't be easy, because for one thing, the android is undetectable from a human. For another, it has a built-in nuclear bomb that will detonate upon imminent threat.
I plead guilty: My friends and I have goofed around with a camcorder before and made stupid movies, but we were smart enough to know that no one outside ourselves would think they were funny. If only the makers of Caesar and Otto's Deadly Xmas realized the same.
“In the Land of Blood and Honey” doesn’t skimp on wartime atrocities.
Set in the mid-1990s against the backdrop of genocide in Bosnia- Herzegovina, it details random killing, rapes, the tossing of a baby from a balcony and the use of women as literal human shields. This is not for the faint of heart.
Showing Friday through Sunday at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, the film marks the feature directorial debut of “Salt” superstar Angelina Jolie. It certainly bears the stamp of her well-known humanitarian convictions, vividly painting the horrors of “ethnic cleansing.”
The movie can be mortifying with its rough, documentary-style visual sense and ubiquitous sounds of gunfire. Far less successful is the melodrama at its core. Ajla (Zana Marjanovic), a young Muslim woman, catches the amorous attention of a Serbian man, Danijel (Goran Kostic, “Of Gods and Men”), at a nightclub.
But these star-crossed lovers don’t get much of a chance. The club is firebombed, and Ajla and Danijel find themselves on opposite sides of the ensuing civil war.
Four months later, Serbian forces are executing Bosnian men and imprisoning Muslim women for slave labor and worse. Among the captives is Ajla, but her captor turns out to be Danijel, now a captain in the Serbian Army thanks to his domineering father, a Serb general (Rade Serbedzija, “X-Men: First Class”).
It’s a strange bird of a setup that flutters between wartime drama and would-be erotica, with a few side trips for clunky dialogue to explain the dynamics of the conflict. At its best, “Blood and Honey” is powerful; at its worst, eye-rolling camp.