For movie watchers, few things can be more frustrating than films that begin with a sequence of immense promise, only to show over the remainder that the emperor truly wears no clothes. Two new examples come from the horror realm.
Until now, Ethan Hawke was having a wonderful year. Before Midnight, the third leg of his trilogy with director Richard Linklater and actress Julie Delpy, brought waves of critical acclaim and talk of another Oscar nomination for their collaborative screenplay, while The Purge turned a meager investment into a highly profitable box-office take.
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.
City Arts Center reports there are only a few seats left for next Friday’s screening of the 2009 Academy Award-nominated “The Garden” at Chesapeake Energy, 6100 N. Western.
The urban farming doc’s director, Scott Hamilton Kennedy, will be on hand for a post-film Q-and-A. The 5:30 p.m. July 22 screening is free, but space is limited, and reservations are required by calling 951-0000 or emailing brooke@cityartscenterorg.
There’s plenty of room remaining, however, for the following day’s master class in independent documentary production, taught by Kennedy. When else are you going to have the chance to get schooled by an Oscar-nominated filmmaker? That takes place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. July 23 at City Arts Center, 3000 General Pershing. The cost is $50; to register, call 951-0000 or visit cityartscenter.org. —Rod Lott