For movie watchers, few things can be more frustrating than films that begin with a sequence of immense promise, only to show over the remainder that the emperor truly wears no clothes. Two new examples come from the horror realm.
Until now, Ethan Hawke was having a wonderful year. Before Midnight, the third leg of his trilogy with director Richard Linklater and actress Julie Delpy, brought waves of critical acclaim and talk of another Oscar nomination for their collaborative screenplay, while The Purge turned a meager investment into a highly profitable box-office take.
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.
A Cat in Paris 12:30 p.m. Sunday Oklahoma City Museum of Art 415 Couch okcmoa.com 236-3100 $5-$8
Dino, the tabby at the center of “A Cat in Paris,” brings new meaning to the term “cat burglar.” He purrs his way between a petty thief on the job and a little girl at home, befriending both and inadvertently tying their disparate worlds.
That occurs after the two-bit bandit gives Dino a fenced, fish-shaped diamond bracelet, who re-gifts it to Zoe, the girl who’s stayed silent since the murder of her cop father at the hands of Victor Costa, public enemy No. 1. Curious where the curio comes from, Zoe follows the cat and stumbles (literally, painfully) in the middle of Costa and his men plotting their heist of Colossus, a giant statue that bears more than a little resemblance to the gangster and his ego.
The cute, charming and colorful caper is this year’s “The Illusionist”: an animated feature from France that shows up its American peers in terms of creativity, artistry and genuine appeal to all ages. Like that film, “A Cat in Paris” also is a surprise Academy Award nominee for Best Animated Feature. If it loses Sunday to something like “Kung Fu Panda 2,” it’s proof that the Oscars are pure politics.
The hand-drawn characters bear imperfect features that stand as a relief amid today’s curve-perfect CGI creations, putting the craft back in cartoons. If your kids can keep up with the subtitles, take ’em to its single showing in town. Heck, even if they can’t, they’re bound to be enchanted and engaged. My 6-year-old proclaimed it “the best movie I’ve ever seen.” Take that, “Puss in Boots.”