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.
Cartoons are today’s gift suggestion. I’ve got three sets to recommend — one for kids, one for tweens, one for adults.
For kids, it’s “Spongebob Squarepants: The Complete Seventh Season.” If your house is anything like mine, your mind has absorbed this Nick character’s underwater adventures just by being within earshot. “7th Season,” available now for $26.99, contains all 50 episodes on a four-disc set, with bonus animated shorts.
For tweens, it’s “Conan the Adventurer: Season Two, Part 1.” Did you happen to catch our review for “Season One”? Well, this is a lot like that, right down to being 13 episodes on two DVDs. Sporting funny names in episode titles like “Curse of Axh’oon” and “The Vengeance of Jhebbel Sag,” it’s available now for the odd price of $19.93.
For adults, it’s “The Life & Times of Tim: The Complete Second Season,” the quite-funny chronicles of the 20-something Tim (creator Steve Dildarian). Concerned with the discomfort comedy that characterizes such shows as “The Office,” fellow HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and virtually everything Ricky Gervais ever has touched, Tim is often as solid as the show’s MVP guests, which, in these 10 episodes, include Aziz Ansari (TV’s “Parks and Recreation”), James Urbaniak (of Adult Swim’s genius “The Venture Bros.”) and alt-stand-up fave Paul F. Tompkins. The two-disc set is out now for $29.98.