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.
Again, lotsa local film and TV happenings are on the immediate horizon, so let’s run through them on the record so I can say, “I told you about that!”’’
• Count Gregore is returning to TV! Count Gregore is returning to TV! OK, so it’s only for one night, but still. The local horror host legend (and last year’s grand marshal of Gazette’s Halloween Parade) will grace the airwaves of KSBI TV 52 (Cox channel 7) at 11 p.m. on Halloween. The flick he’ll host? 1962’s sci-fi schlock classic “The Brain That Wouldn’t Die.” TiVo, set.
• Ken Loach’s work doesn’t often play the Sooner State. Depending on your tastes, that may be a good thing. If you fall on the +1 side, you’ll want to catch “Kes” at Oklahoma City University’s free screening, 2 p.m. Nov. 6. The 1969 film about a boy and his falcon yielded praise from none other than Roger Ebert. Then again, Ebert gave “Garfield” three stars.
• On topic, City Arts Center screens the documentary “OT: Our Town” at 6 p.m. Nov. 3, followed by an open discussion on arts in education. The film follows high school students as they produce Thornton Wilder’s classic play on no budget and no stage. Not only is admission free, but so are popcorn and refreshments. Win win. To RSVP, call 951-0000 or email email@example.com.
• As Semisonic once sang, “It’s all about chemistry, oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh.” It’s the International Year of Chemistry, and University of Central Oklahoma will celebrate your least favorite high school science class with screenings of two films: 1943’s “Madame Curie” at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 2 at Oklahoma City Museum of Art, and 2010’s “The Illusionist” at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 1 in Pegasus Theater inside UCO’s Liberal Arts Building. The former is $6, the latter is free (not to mention just a damn fine animated film). For more information, call 974-5476 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Remember the documentary about Wayman Tisdale we told you about? Before “The Wayman Tisdale Story” hits DVD, you can see it on the big screen, scheduled for Nov. 6 at Moorehouse Church in Oklahoma City, Nov. 9 at Oklahoma Hall of Fame in Muskogee, and Nov. 12 at Booker T. Washington High School in Tulsa. No, I have no idea where Moorehouse Church is, either, but all the screenings are — recurring theme detected — free!
• Prepare to yell “Krup you!” to Officer Krupke all over again, as the Oscar-winning musical “West Side Story” hits theaters for one night only in a 50th-anniversary event. With 7 p.m. Nov. 9 screenings set at AMC Quail Springs Mall 24 and Cinemark Tinseltown USA, the film also includes a special discussion with producer Walter Mirisch and actor George Chakiris, moderated by Turner Classic Movies host Robert Osborne.
• And finally, if you’re one of those people who’d rather make movies than just watch them, make plans to attend “12x5,” a presentation by the Cinematic Artists of Norman. Beginning at 7 p.m. Nov. 9 at Mainsite Contemporary Art, 122 E. Main in Norman, the event gives a dozen film professionals five minutes apiece to share their knowledge. That’s a lot of shared knowledge for not a lot of money — in fact, it’s free! For more information, call 355-3226 or visit cinematicartistsofnorman.org. —Rod Lott