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.
No matter how audiences receive “Another Earth” when the Sundance drama tinged with sci-fi elements opens Friday here in the 405, one thing is certain: Its stellar soundtrack is heavenly.
Eighteen of its 19 tracks are original compositions from new duo Fall on Your Sword, a new project of composer Will Bates and LCD Soundsystem’s Philip Mossman. Here, they’ve crafted an ethereally threaded, warm blanket of trippy, downtempo instrumentals, delivered atop a bed of understated electronics and orchestral instruments. Think a toned-down Tangerine Dream as remixed by Two Lone Swordsmen.
The album opens and closes with variations on its stark, sonic theme, “The First Time I Saw Jupiter,” whose simple melodics and stick percussion result in instant accessibility and addiction. “Rhoda’s Theme” seems beamed from space, accompanied by a ghostly wisp of an angelic voice, while “Making Contact” breaks out of the box to offer some ominous vibes via strings. I don’t know what pep meds “Rhoda’s Theme/Returning to John” are on, but I want some.
The disc is peppered with a number of short, piano-driven bits like “Bob the Robot” and “House Theme,” serving as transitional bridges to the showier numbers. Another track doing the same is Phaedon Papadopoulos “Sonatina in D Minor,” a straightforward piano piece that’s not out of character, given the tone Fall on Your Sword establishes.
If the movie proves even half this good, yum. —Rod Lott