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.
The Salt of Life 5:30 and 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday Oklahoma City Museum of Art 415 Couch okcmoa.com 236-3100 $5-$8
What a drag it is getting old. Mick Jagger surely didn’t realize his own prescience when he wrote those words back in his 20s. In The Salt of Life, aging is certainly a drag for Gianni, a 60-year-old Italian forced into early retirement and who now spends his days walking his dog and watching helplessly as his high-living mother fritters away his modest pension.
And everywhere Gianni looks on the streets of Rome are women — young, gloriously beautiful and buxom — all of whom view him as a kindly grandfather. Their dismissals are painful reminders of his waning vitality and self-respect.
Such is the making of an amusing, if slight, Italian-language comedy screening Friday through Sunday at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art.
Gianni Di Gregorio, who directed and co-wrote the picture, stars as the feckless hero, and he is an affecting presence, shuttling between fixing the TV for his ancient mother (Valeria De Franciscis Bendoni) and running errands for a wife with whom he’s no longer intimate. Gianni’s lecherous pal (Alfonso Santagata) advises getting a mistress, but that’s not so easy to secure, even if it seems that every other geezer in Rome is getting laid.
And so it goes. Aside from a resonant premise and eagerness to examine the mature male psyche, not much actually happens. Di Gregorio is content to let things meander along with Gianni. The pushy musical score and its forcible whimsy can’t quite propel the story forward. Like Gianni himself, Salt of Life is pleasant, but passive.