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.
Gimme the Loot 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 5:30 and 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday Oklahoma City Museum of Art 415 Couch okcmoa.com 236-3100 $6-$8
Equally affable as they are gruff, Sophie and Malcolm hustle the streets by day. By night, they’re a relentless tag-teaming duo. Literally, they tag the streets of New York, leaving their mark as would-be graffiti masterminds.
When some Mets fans start spray-painting over their turf, Sophie and Malcolm come up with the idea to break into Citi Field and “bomb” — that is, paint over — the Mets’ iconic Home Run Apple to get back at the perpetrators. All they need to pull off the scheme is $500.
A few roadblocks pop up on their way to this particular big apple. Malcolm (Ty Hickson) cleverly swipes some weed after being fired by his supplier, and sells to the rich, artsy stoner Ginnie (Zoë Lescaze), who proves to be more alluring than Malcolm expected. After a few hours at her apartment and a brief make-out session, Malcolm is infatuated, while Ginnie remains unaffected.
Sophie (Tashiana Washington, Ice Age: Continental Drift) takes to the streets to make some quick cash from various places. As a woman in this setting, she has to deal with the sexist backlash from going it alone. She also has to work twice as hard as her male counterpart, but fights back to the best of her abilities.
After being prompted by Sophie, Malcolm decides to go through with their plans to sneak into Ginnie’s apartment to grab some valuables to trade in for their much-needed cash. But plans go awry, and each move they make further separates them from their original goal.
Titled after The Notorious B.I.G.’s 1994 track, Gimme the Loot— running Thursday through Sunday at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art — succeeds in making New York look fresh. The film, shot primarily in the Bronx and Greenwich Village, confronts reality, but not in the gritty style one might expect from a movie about graffiti-inclined hustlers. Sophie and Malcolm are equally developed characters — one is not complete without the other.
In his feature debut, writer-director Adam Leon turns otherwise shady situations into charming dialogue. Sophie councils heartbroken Ronaldo (James Harris Jr.), who actually owes her money, while Malcolm’s clingy drug-dealer associate, Lenny (Sam Soghor), just wants to discuss the absurdity of wearing flip-flops in NYC.
Opportunism is ubiquitous here. The characters take what they can from the other, whether the objective is weed, expensive sneakers, money, attention or friendship, and the characters — nearly all performed by newcomers — are just as uncompromising as their environment. Gimme the Lootis realism re-imagined. It puts humanity into hustling, and at times, the story verges on heartwarming.
At age 31, Leon sets a new standard for coming-of-age films in its honest representation of youth, race, gender and class in NYC. Imitations most likely will follow.