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.
Another month, another flood of special-engagement films coming to a theater near you, but not necessarily the ones you expect. You'll be pleased if you're into shorts, documentaries and/or things that are free. Let’s get to ’em!
In chronological order, we have ...
The Dome of Heaven 6 p.m. April 5 University of Central Oklahoma’s Center for Transformative Learning 100 University Drive, Edmond free
UCO alum Diane Glancy returns to campus tonight to show her new film, The Dome of Heaven, a chronicle of a dysfunctional family’s struggle for stability. The free screening concludes with a Q-and-A with the director, who’s also a well-known, award-winning novelist, poet and playwright.
Red Carpet Film Festival 7 p.m. April 7 Sam Noble Museum of Natural History 2401 Chautauqua, Norman $5
Six short films will be screened at the fourth annual Red Carpet Film Festival on Saturday. What makes them special is that they are produced by students of the Moore Norman Technology Center’s digital video production and graphic design classes, with scores provided by music students at ACM@UCO. Clocking in at 10 minutes each, the shorts are “Restless,” “My Eyes Are Bigger Than Yours,” “Vengeance,” “The Chill,” “The Guardian” and “Bring Me to Life.” Get tickets — only $5 — and more info at redcarpetfilmfest.webs.com.
Introduction to Documentary Film 2:30-4:30 p.m. April 12 Oklahoma City Museum of Art 415 Couch $35
Here’s a nifty idea: Take a class for the fun of it, especially when said sessions explore documentaries. That’s the intent behind a two-hour class for six Thursdays, beginning April 12, as part of the University of Oklahoma’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. Kathryn Jenson White, an Oklahoma Gazette film critic and associate professor at OU, will lead the classes at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. On the syllabus are such acclaimed, accessible, influential and even revolutionary works as Nanook of the North, The Thin Blue Line, Roger & Me, Grizzly Man, Shut Up and Sing and Taxi to the Dark Side. To register, call 325-3488 or visit olliatou.org.
Blue Like Jazz April 13 AMC Quail Springs Mall 24, Cinemark Tinseltown, Moore Warren
Having earned $345,000 in 30 days, Blue Like Jazz is the most-funded film in Kickstarter history, and it opens in three metro theaters on April 13. With a cast of unknowns and based on Donald Miller’s best-selling 2003 nonfiction book, the comedy is about a young man who flees his Bible Belt upbringing to attend college at “the most godless campus in America,” and struggles with keeping his faith. I suppose this is counterprogramming to Cabin in the Woods?
Children of War April 15 Fambul Tok April 22 Oklahoma City University’s Meinders School of Business 2501 N. Blackwelder free
OCU’s ongoing, free documentary series continues with Children of War, about former child soldiers in Uganda, on April 15 and Fambul Tok, about forgiveness following Sierra Leone’s brutal war, on April 22. Both are free. For more information, call 208-5472 or visit okcu.edu/film-lit.
Grateful Dead Second Annual Meet-Up at the Movies 2012 7 p.m. April 19 AMC Quail Springs Mall 24, Cinemark Tinseltown, Hollywood Spotlight 14 in Norman
You know how Deadheads follow the Grateful Dead from concert to concert? I wonder if that holds true when the concert is a film. I guess you could find out April 19, when three area theaters host a never-before-seen summer 1989 gig from the Alpine Valley Music Theatre. A slideshow of band photos will precede the feature, as will a previously unreleased live track from 1974. Grab info and tickets at fathomevents.com, man!
Switch 6 p.m. April 24 Oklahoma City University’s Meinders School of Business 2501 N. Blackwelder free
Screening on the OCU campus for free is the documentary Switch, about trends and the future of the energy industry, with an aim to encourage a balanced national understanding on the topic and its utter importance. Interested? Reserve your complimentary tickets at switchenergyproject.com. —Rod Lott