OKGazette.com Blogs - Rod & Reel http://www.okgazette.com/oklahoma/blogs-1-1-1-8.html <![CDATA[Still dino-mite?]]>

To celebrate 20 years, Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park returns to theaters starting today, this time with a conversion to 3-D.

Does the 3-D add anything? No. Does the movie still work? Yes.

So ubiquitous in our current pop culture is the 1993 blockbuster that there’s no need for me to rehash its plot beyond “man clones dinosaurs.” (For kids, all one has to say is “dinosaurs,” and they’re onboard.) It’s been ages — 19 years, I’m guessing — since I last saw it before this week, and it was a pleasure to revisit its big set pieces, which have stood the test of time.

What hasn’t aged well is the film’s opening — basically, everything before chaos reigns on the theme-park island. It takes too long to get to the goods, and this chunk of time stands as Park’s weakest portion. The 3-D is not only an unnecessary addition, but actually proves problematic by spatially disorienting viewers during scenes of action. Spielberg’s frames wow enough because of how realistic the dinosaurs look (and still do); they’re not in need of the View-Master treatment.

It didn’t bother my 8-year-old, however, and I suspect he’s the real reason Universal Pictures has reopened Jurassic Park’s gates: Now, a whole generation exists that wasn’t around to see the movie when it first broke ground ... or to see 2001’s Jurassic Park III, for that matter. Certainly the studio wishes to prime this batch of youngsters so they’ll be in line for Jurassic Park IV (reportedly with Safety Not Guaranteed director Colin Trevorrow at the helm), and just judging from my son’s case, it’s safe to say they’ve wildly succeeded. —Rod Lott

Hey! Read This:
Safety Not Guaranteed Blu-ray review     



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<![CDATA[Oscar, Oscar!]]>

I’ll start with the obvious: The 85th annual Academy Awards air Sunday night on ABC.

Now for the not-so-obvious: A hell of a lot of Oklahomans have won or been nominated for the Oscars in years past, and three such statuettes are on display in the Oklahoma History Center’s ongoing Oklahoma @ the Movies exhibit.

To celebrate Sunday’s big event, the OHC has passed along this list of Okie-centric films, actors, actresses and behind-the-camera talent who’ve been blessed by Oscar’s gaze. —Rod Lott

Oklahoma Movies with Best Picture Oscar/Nominations:
Cimarron (1931) Best Picture Oscar
The Awful Truth (1937) Best Picture Nomination
The Grapes of Wrath (1940) Best Picture Nomination
Picnic (1956) Best Picture Nomination
How the West Was Won (1962) Best Picture Nomination
Bonnie and Clyde (1967) Best Picture Nomination
The Last Picture Show (1971) Best Picture Nomination
Bound for Glory (1976) Best Picture Nomination
Rain Man (1988) Best Picture Oscar

Oscar-Winning Oklahomans:

Joan Crawford
Mildred Pierce (1945) Best Actress Oscar
Possessed (1947) Best Actress Nomination
Sudden Fear (1952) Best Actress Nomination

Blake Edwards
Victor/Victoria (1982) Best Adapted Screenplay Nomination
• Honorary Oscar for Career Achievement (2004)

Gray Frederickson
The Godfather, Part II (1974) Best Picture Oscar
Apocalypse Now (1979) Best Picture Nomination

Gene Havlick
Lost Horizon (1937) Best Film Editing Oscar
You Can't Take It with You (1938) Best Film Editing Nomination
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) Best Film Editing Nomination

Van Heflin
Johnny Eager (1942) Best Supporting Actor Oscar

Ron Howard
A Beautiful Mind (2001) Best Picture Oscar
A Beautiful Mind (2001) Best Director Oscar
Frost/Nixon (2008) Best Picture Nomination
Frost/Nixon (2008) Best Director Nomination

Ben Johnson
The Last Picture Show (1971) Best Supporting Actor Oscar

Jennifer Jones
The Song of Bernadette (1943) Best Actress Oscar
Since You Went Away (1944) Best Actress Nomination
Love Letters (1945) Best Actress Nomination
Duel in the Sun (1946) Best Actress Nomination
Love Is a Many Splendored Thing (1955) Best Actress Nomination

Steve LaPorte
Beetlejuice (1988) Best Makeup Oscar

Matthew Mungle
Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) Best Makeup Oscar
Schindler's List (1993) Best Makeup Nomination
Ghosts of Mississippi (1996) Best Makeup Nomination
Albert Nobbs (2011) Best Makeup Nomination

Elmo Williams
High Noon (1952) Best Film Editing Oscar
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954) Best Film Editing Nomination

Michael Wilson
A Place in the Sun (1951) Best Screenplay Oscar
5 Fingers (1952) Best Screenplay Nomination
Friendly Persuasion (1956) Best Adapted Screenplay Nomination
The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar
Lawrence of Arabia (1962) Best Adapted Screenplay Nomination


Oscar-Nominated Oklahomans:

Margaret Avery
The Color Purple (1985) Best Supporting Actress Nomination

Lucien Ballard
The Caretakers (1963) Best Black-and-White Cinematography Nomination

Ralph Bane
Meet Me in St. Louis (1944) "The Trolley Song" Best Original Song Nomination
Good News (1947) "Pass that Peace Pipe" Best Original Song Nomination

Gary Busey
The Buddy Holly Story (1978) Best Actor Nomination

James Garner
Murphy's Romance (1985) Best Actor Nomination

Ed Harris
Apollo 13 (1995) Best Supporting Actor Nomination
The Truman Show (1998) Best Supporting Actor Nomination
Pollock (2000) Best Actor Nomination
The Hours (2002) Best Supporting Actor Nomination

Carol Littleton
E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) Best Film Editing Nomination

Terrence Malick
The Thin Red Line (1998) Best Director Nomination
The Thin Red Line (1998) Best Adapted Screenplay Nomination
The Tree of Life (2011) Best Director Nomination

Jack Oakie
The Great Dictator (1940) Best Supporting Actor Nomination

Brad Pitt
Twelve Monkeys (1995) Best Supporting Actor Nomination
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) Best Actor Nomination
Moneyball (2011) Best Picture Nomination
Moneyball (2011) Best Actor Nomination

Alfre Woodard
Cross Creek (1983) Best Supporting Actress Nomination

Hey! Read This:
Beetlejuice: 20th Anniversary Edition DVD review     
Oklahoma @ the Movies exhibit feature     
• The Tree of Life film review    

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<![CDATA[For the ‘Fun’ of it]]>

Played Fun Run yet? Or perhaps, like me, just watched over your kid’s shoulder as he did?

Hell, even if you haven’t heard of the game, this clip’s themes are universal enough that you’ll get it. Local filmmaker/animator Kyle Roberts’ latest project is “Fun Run in Real Life,” a three-minute video that sees some wicked parkour unleashed throughout downtown Oklahoma City — especially Stage Center, which seems made for dat sh!t — as fast-paced participants use their feet and try not to lose their heads:



You may have recognized OKC rapper Jabee lending his voice. (If not, you weren’t paying attention; like all good hip-hoppers, he directly references himself in the lyrics.)

God help us all if Hollywood decides to turn Fun Run into a movie, but if it does, Roberts deserves the directing gig. —Rod Lott

Hey! Read This:
Hipper than now? Local rap and hip-hop artists realize working together will strengthen their scene    
Man in motion: With stop-motion shorts parodying Iron Man and Michael Jackson, local filmmaker Kyle Roberts now takes on James Bond   
Parkour hits the ground running in Oklahoma     


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<![CDATA[‘Hazzard’ warning]]>

Fresh from his “hey, isn’t that Tom Wopat?” appearance in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, actor Tom Wopat will perform two concerts Saturday at the UCO Jazz Lab, 100 E. Fifth in Edmond.

Although he’s promoting his brand-new CD, I’ve Got Your Number, and is a two-time Tony nominee for his Broadway pursuits, Wopat is perhaps best-known for playing Luke Duke on the early ’80s TV hit The Dukes of Hazzard.

But don’t just take my word for it.

“Audiences will definitely remember Tom Wopat as one of the rowdy Dukes of Hazzard boys, but he is so much more than that,” said Greg White, director and producer of UCO’s Broadway Tonight series.

The shows are scheduled for 6:30 and 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $40. For more information, call 974-3375 or visit uco.edu/cfad/events. —Rod Lott

Hey! Read This:
Django Unchained film review       
The Dukes: The Complete Series DVD review     

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<![CDATA[Grohl on ]]>

Dave Grohl’s not just a Foo Fighter. Now he’s a film director.

Sound City, his documentary on the historic L.A. recording studio of the same name, is set to screen locally once and once only: at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Harkins Bricktown Cinemas 16, 150 E. Reno. It’s scheduled for nowhere else in the state.

Fresh from its Jan. 18 premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, the film includes such music heavyweights as Nirvana’s Krist Novoselic, Tom Petty, Fleetwood Mac’s Stevie Nicks, Rick Springfield, Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor, Barry Manilow, Pixies’ Frank Black, producer Rick Rubin, Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo, John Fogerty, Metallica’s Lars Ulrich and many, many more.

For tickets, visit harkinstheatres.com. —Rod Lott

Hey! Read This:
5 WTF Facts About Rick Springfield     
Barry Manilow interview   
Pixies interview    



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<![CDATA[‘Plan’ on it]]>

Plan one: Any self-respecting fan of Mystery Science Theater 3000 should go see the RiffTrax gang do its thing tomorrow night to Ed Wood’s Plan 9 from Outer Space. Not for nothing has the 1959 sci-fi turkey starring Bela Lugosi and Bela Lugosi’s chiropractor been dubbed the “worst movie ever made.”

The 7:30 p.m. Thursday showing isn’t live, but it was four years ago, and if you didn’t see it then, trust me: It was hilarious.

Or don’t trust me and see it yourself. That’s what I’m urging you to do, anyway, and you may do so at either AMC Quail Springs Mall 24, 2501 W. Memorial, or Tinseltown USA, 6001 N. Martin Luther King.

For tickets or more information, visit fathomevents.com. —Rod Lott

Hey! Read This:
Mystery Science Theater 3000: Volume XXV DVD review      
RiffTrax’s Mike Nelson interview     



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<![CDATA[‘The Devils’ made me do it]]> When I’m not watching movies, there are few things I like doing more than reading about them. Luckily, the weeks leading up to the holidays brought three brand-spanking-new ones to my desk for my reading and reviewing pleasure.


Should you forgo a few matinees and time from your Netflix Instant Queue to consume the words they hold within? You’ll know in a matter of minutes ...

Raising Hell: Ken Russell and the Unmaking of The Devils
Richard Crouse
ECW Press


The sign of a good “making of” book is if it’s compelling even if you’ve never seen the film whose production it documents. Such is the case with Richard Crouse’s Raising Hell, covering the shooting and subsequent public skewering of 1971’s The Devils.

While director Ken Russell (Altered States, Tommy, Lisztomania, Trapped Ashes) had his troubles with oft-blitzed leading man Oliver Reed, the real storm rolled in after the film was released. After all, would you expect a historical horror epic that combines Christianity with sexuality to be controversial? Of course!

With a mix of his own reporting and other sources, Canada-based film critic Crouse paints an intriguing portrait of the events both on-set and off. One actress quips, “Have you ever tried writhing sexually for 10 hours at a time? Try it one day. It’s not easy.” The real tumult arrived once word of its content — particularly a “rape of Christ” sequence — leaked; while branded with the X rating in England, it somehow scored an R in good ol’ America, yet that hardly resulted in big box office.

Today, Warner Bros. still hasn’t released The Devils in any post-VHS format, at least not uncensored. Other than locating a *cough* torrent *cough*, reading Crouse’s book may be the next best thing. While it’s not on the masterful level of Julie Salamon’s The Devil’s Candy, it is a fascinating read that peels back the veil on the Hollywood studio system and those mavericks who, God bless ’em, attempt to shake it up every once in a while.  

Queue Tips: Discovering Your Next Great Movie
Rob Christopher
Huron Street Press


With tens of thousands of titles available at your fingertips at home, it’s easy to forget that your local libraries are a viable outlet for renting movies. (Hell, these days, they may boast a better selection than dying dog Blockbuster Video.) I think I’ve only rented one there, because back in 2004, my wife and I needed some instructional video to teach our kids about how that bump got in Mommy’s belly. Therefore, one free VHS rental later, animation narrated by Howie Mandel taught our kids about the birds and the bees, but all I remember is him referring to the orgasm as a “really big tickle.”

That’s a roundabout way of getting to Queue Tips, a fun paperback published by an imprint of the American Library Association and edited by Chicago critic Rob Christopher.

Sticking to no particular number, he and his guests tick off recommendations for unusual romances, disaster flicks, Nicolas Cage vehicles, Westerns that aren’t Westerns, unconventional Christmas films, half-good flops and more. Novelist Barry Gifford (Wild at Heart) offers his choices for “late-night spooky films,” while Saturday Night Live vet Julia Sweeney simply discusses random titles that were on her mind.

You can build up quite a “to see” list of your own, but even if you’ve seen a majority of the works referenced, the presentation is lively enough for rediscovery. I have one big complaint: It’s too damn short! Lists about movies can be a blast, and the 24 here are just that ... but 24 is not quite enough to satiate my addiction.

Contemporary Erotic Cinema
Douglas Keesey
Kamera Books


SEX! And now that I have your attention, you might want to read an entire book about it, or at least movies that deal directly with "it," and rather frankly at that.

California film/lit professor Douglas Keesey digs through decades upon decades of blue movies and smutty skinema for flick-by-flick examinations of more than 100 examples. Divided into specific fetishes themes like incest, gay, anal or Nazis, he discusses the acts and themes present — often in all their glory — in The Reader, Porky’s, Boogie Nights and even Team America: World Police.

It's certainly not for the prude, and the full-color photo section in the middle should be kept from young, prying eyes. Speaking of eyes, I sure got some strange looks as I read the book while waiting in line to vote in the presidential election. USA! USA!

While his mini-essays can verge on the pretentious, I cannot deny reading every page. I’m just not sure I learned anything beyond what movies I can go without seeing for life, as many entries end with having raised more questions than providing any answers. Often, he literally closes with a question, i.e. “We see them in their all, but do we really know them?” or “Is the man insufficient just because the woman enjoys her own sex?”

You be the judge, I guess. It’s certainly not taxing study. —Rod Lott

Hey! Read This:
Horror Films book review     
Lisztomania DVD review   
Phallic Frenzy: Ken Russell and His Films book review    
Samurai Films book review   
Trapped Ashes DVD review   

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<![CDATA[2013: a classics odyssey]]>

Dammit, I missed my likely one and only opportunity to see one of my favorite movies, 2001: A Space Odyssey, on the big screen! It was Wednesday at Cinemark Tinseltown, 6001 Martin Luther King. I’ll just be in the corner sobbing, singing “Bicycle Built for Two” to myself.

Anyway, the Cinemark Classics Series continues for the winter with more digitally restored prints of half a dozen classic films, Oscar nominees all. Each will play for one Wednesday only, with showings at 2 and 7 p.m. Here’s the HAL 9000-less schedule:

Rocky (1976), Jan. 9
The Sound of Music (1965), Jan. 16
To Catch a Thief (1955), Jan. 23
• Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), Jan. 30
 Saturday Night Fever (1977), Feb. 6

Tickets are just $4-$6. For more information, call 424-0461 or visit cinemark.com. —Rod Lott

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<![CDATA[Unite for ‘Separation’]]>

Oklahoma City University Film Institute’s series continues Jan. 27 with A Separation, the Iranian drama that won last year’s Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. As with all titles scheduled for this season, themed “Escape from Freedom,” admission is free.

When Oklahoma Gazette reviewed A Separation in its original area release last March, my colleague Phil Bacharach called it “a tense and absorbing domestic drama packed with the suspense of a Hitchcock flick.” He has pretty good taste; isn’t that recommendation enough?

The remainder of the lineup includes:
Treeless Mountain (2008, Korea), Feb. 10
The Kid with a Bike (2011, France), Feb. 24
Breaker Morant (1980, Australia), March 10

Screenings take place in the Kerr McGee Auditorium of Meinders School of Business on the OCU campus, 2501 N. Blackwelder. For more information, call 208-5472 or visit okcu.edu/film-lit. —Rod Lott

Hey! Read This:
A Separation film review   



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<![CDATA[‘Skate’ or die]]>

Not that you’d notice, but here’s what’s been eating up my free time of late: As founder of The Movie Clubbed, I’ll be part of Saturday’s live skewering of Skatetown, U.S.A., an abomination of pop celluloid that was 1979’s both best and worst “rock and roller disco movie of the year!”

The details, from today’s Gazette:

"Turns out there’s a reason 1979’s Skatetown, U.S.A. has never hit VHS or DVD: It really sucks. The alleged comedy starring Scott Baio and Patrick Swayze will get a live, Mystery Science Theater 3000-style beating from The Movie Clubbed, whose members include a few Oklahoma Gazetteers, at 8 p.m. Saturday at Oklahoma City Museum of Art, 415 Couch. Also to be skewered: a 1972 short by the OKC Urban Renewal Authority. Tickets are $5-$8. Call 236-3100 or visit okcmoa.com."

This marks The Movie Clubbed’s second time at bat. The first was back in March, when we (me, Richard York, Brian Winkeler, Greg Elwell and Spencer Hicks) zapped Zardoz, the 1974 science-fiction slice of nonsense starring Sean Connery. We didn’t think we find a more painful follow-up, but we were wrong.

What’s “special” about this Skatetown screening is that the Oklahoma City Museum of Art has procured a 35mm print. That’s right: They weren’t all burned in anger. With any luck, this one will spontaneously combust as soon as we’re done with it, so buy your tickets now before they skate away. There's even an unofficial after-party at The Paramount on Film Row, for which Brian bought the Skatetown soundtrack LP off eBay. You've been warned, but see you there anyway? —Rod Lott



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<![CDATA[You’re going to need a bigger boat ... again!]]>

One of my 10 favorite movies of all time, space and dimension, Jaws, is not only debuting on Blu-ray on Tuesday, but soon will re-surface on the big screen at Cinemark Tinseltown, 6001 Martin Luther King.

The supreme shark flick to end all shark flicks kicks off the Cinemark Fall Classic Series, which features digitally restored prints of half a dozen classic films, Oscar winners all. Each will play for one Thursday only, with showings at 2 and 7 p.m. Here’s the schedule:

Jaws (1975), Aug. 23
High Noon (1952), Aug. 30
Doctor Zhivago (1965), Sept. 6
Chinatown (1974), Sept. 13
The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), Sept. 20
• The African Queen (1951), Sept. 27

Tickets are just $4-$6, and on sale now at cinemark.com. —Rod Lott





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<![CDATA[Look who's striking]]> Presented almost without comment, it’s the trailer to Kevin Durant’s first film, Kazaam Thunderstruck. The family film starring Oklahoma City’s new favorite son was shot primarily in, um, Baton Rouge, La.?!?

At least the trailer does explain why we didn’t win the national title. Who knew?

To borrow an old joke from SNL’s “Weekend Update” segment, Thunderstruck hits theaters Aug. 24, and home video on Aug. 25. —Rod Lott



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<![CDATA[Greetin’ Keaton]]>

Well, la-di-dah, la-di-dah: Oscar-winning actress Diane Keaton — star of such classics as Annie Hall, The Godfather trilogy and Reds — is coming to Oklahoma City. Next month, she’ll serve as the keynote speaker at Integris Health’s 26th annual Women’s Health Forum.

According to a press release, Keaton “will reveal how to be fearless.” (My educated-guess answer: Have millions of dollars to fall back on.)

The event is free, but reservations are required, at 951-2277, and you know this will fill up fast. Her speech is slated for 5 p.m. Sept. 9 at Civic Center Music Hall, 201 N. Walker. —Rod Lott

Hey! Read This:
Annie Hall Blu-ray review    

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<![CDATA[‘Rule’d out?]]>

A few years ago, L.A.-based writer/director/actor Blayne Weaver had a big win with his rom-com Weather Girl at Oklahoma City’s deadCENTER Film Festival. The reception was so warm that he wants to bring his newest movie, 6 Month Rule, to our fine town.

Specifically, at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 13 to AMC Quail Springs Mall 24, 2501 W. Memorial. Here’s the hitch: At the time of this writing, 28 more tickets need to be sold before that one-time screening — complete with a Q-and-A with Weaver — can be concrete. You can reserve your tickets now at tugg.com — despite the name, I swear it’s not a porn site.

So what’s 6 Month Rule about? Here’s the official synopsis:

“6 Month Rule is a romantic, charming, and poignant look at relationships, seen from the eyes of Tyler (Weaver), who lives by a philosophy that allows him to avoid making any significant connections with women. He frequently boasts that he can get over any woman in 6 months or less, but this is mostly due to his fear of emotional attachment. His best friend (Martin Starr) has just become Tyler’s main project, as he tries to teach his buddy all about the joys of cold-hearted bachelorhood. However, when he keeps bumping into a fascinating woman (Natalie Morales), he discovers that no philosophy is set in stone.  Julian (Patrick J. Adams) is the hipster rock star that Tyler’s character must defeat in order to win the girl.”

Readers may know Morales from her recent stint on Parks and Recreation as Tom Haverford’s girlfriend. Starr was on two hilarious TV series: Party Down and Freaks and Greeks. Also in the cast are Jaime Pressly (My Name Is Earl), Dave Foley (The Kids in the Hall), John Michael Higgins (Bad Teacher) and Vanessa Branch (the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise).

In other words, a lotta talent for a little movie, so Tugg it. Wait, that didn’t sound right. —Rod Lott



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<![CDATA[Dead alive]]>

Attention, Grateful Dead fans! Yes, you, with the VW van and the closet full of bootleg tapes!

Just a few hours from now — 7 p.m. to be exact — Jerry Garcia’s would-be 70th birthday will be recognized at two local theaters with a rare screening of the 1977 concert film The Grateful Dead Movie. This one-night-only event will be shown at Cinemark Tinseltown, 6001 N. Martin Luther King, and the Hollywood Spotlight 14, 1100 N. Interstate Drive in Norman.

Being a presentation of Fathom Events, there’s more to it than just the flick of the classic rock band at work. Bob Weir and other surprise guests join for a “special birthday commemoration” for Garcia, who died in 1995.

For more information, visit fathomevents.com. —Rod Lott





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<![CDATA[It’s a mystery ...]]>

One of summer’s most-anticipated films yet to be released is screening early for charity, and you’re invited! Just don’t expect what to know for sure what you’re seeing until the lights go down.

At 6 p.m. Aug. 7 at Harkins Bricktown Cinemas, 150 E. Reno, Citizens Caring for Children hosts “A Night at the Movies.” For a $50 ticket, not only do you gain admission, but get treated to hors d’oevures (or “snacks,” if you don’t speak fancy), drinks, popcorn, swag bags and the opportunity to take part in a silent auction featuring movie memorabilia.

It’s all for a good cause, as CCC is a nonprofit organization that provides shoes, clothes, books, school supplies and more to Oklahoma foster children. All proceeds from the event directly benefit the organization, so call 753-4099 or visit citizenscaringforchildren.org to secure your ticket.

But to play detective, if the “pre-screening of one of this summer's blockbuster hits” claim is legit, my money’s on The Bourne Legacy, for three reasons:
1. The movie opens three days later.
2. There's a press screening of Legacy scheduled at Harkins that night.
3. One of its producers, Frank Marshall, is no stranger to doing good deeds for Oklahoma charities. Remember when he brought Matt Damon to town for the premiere of the last Bourne movie?

Hey, that’s just my guess. I possess no insider knowledge. If I’m wrong, then my alternate pick is ParaNorman, because I can’t picture a charity going gung-ho for The Expendables 2. As cool as that would be. —Rod Lott

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<![CDATA[Myriad of movies]]> Recently reopened after Project 180 renovations, downtown’s Myriad Botanical Gardens at 301 W. Reno has ushered in its new digs with “Movies Under the Stars.” The weekly Wednesday series began last week with Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and Shrek played last night, but several more screenings are scheduled, all free, all beginning at 9 p.m.

For the rest of the summer, expect:
• July 25, Grease
• Aug. 1, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (pictured, duh)
• Aug. 8, West Side Story
• Aug. 15, Never Cry Wolf
• Aug. 22, U2: Rattle and Hum
• Aug. 29, Sherlock Holmes

That’s quite a lineup compared to the usual suspects of such free film series, with U2: Rattle and Hum striking me as a particularly inspired choice. I have fond memories of seeing that music doc three times to a largely empty theater at the long-ago-closed AMC Northwest 8. (Yes, kids, this thing we call “you too” was the Justin Bieber and Katy Perry of my day: They were so big, they had their own picture show!) Suddenly, I have an itch to dig out the soundtrack.

Please note that coolers are permitted, but not open containers of *hic!* alcohol. For more information,  call 297-3995 or visit myriadgardens.org. —Rod Lott

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<![CDATA[A good ‘Dark Knight’ never sleeps]]>

Sleep? Who needs it?

Certainly not debonair billionaire Bruce Wayne. Because if he took time to catch some Zs, who would keep Gotham City in check? That dude dons cowl and cape every night, busting his ass to keep it clean of jokers.

I speak of Batman, of course. I’ve been a huge Batman fan since Adam West and Burt Ward camped it up in reruns of their Pop Art-inspired series. The caped crusader was the first Halloween costume I remember having — and homemade by my loving mother, even!

Therefore, more than any other movie this year, I look forward to The Dark Knight Rises, the final chapter in director Christopher Nolan’s defining trilogy that began in 2005 with Batman Begins and hit unexpected creative heights three years later with the double Oscar-winning, billion-buck grosser, The Dark Knight, putting the misdeeds of Joel Schumacher and his nipple suits far in the past.

Which goes back to the issue of nocturnal slumber: Beginning at 6 p.m. Thursday, Harkins Bricktown Cinemas, 150 E. Reno, hosts The Ultimate Dark Knight Marathon, screening Nolan’s first two Batman films before Rises, well, rises at midnight.

For $20, you can catch all three movies, plus get a commemorative lanyard and some refreshments. Better make the drink something with a serious dose of caffeine. For more information, call 231-4747 or visit harkinstheatres.com. —Rod Lott



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<![CDATA[Gander at Guthrie]]>

With all the Woody Guthrie coverage in today’s Gazette to commemorate the Okie folkie’s centennial, you may wish to take a peek at the mini-documentary The Making of Woody at 100.

It details Smithsonian Folkways’ efforts at compiling the new, three-disc box set, Woody at 100, which:
• came out yesterday;
• features 57 songs in total, 21 of them previously unreleased performances and six never-before-heard; and
• includes a 154-page book with essays and art galore.

Take a gander at the label’s restoration process and behind-the-scenes work:



Hey! Read This:
Know your Woody!  
Woody Guthrie's legacy  

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<![CDATA[R&R with Jesse Thomas Cook]]> No apologies necessary if you don’t recognize the name of Jesse Thomas Cook. Just know that the Canadian filmmaker is to the new film Monster Brawl what Vince McMahon is to the WWE: its supreme leader. The wrestling analogy is apropos, given that the writer/director’s movie is, as the title promises, all about creatures battling it out in the ring.

R&R:
From watching the movie, it's obvious you love wrestling and monsters, but what about comic books? Because I got a definite comic-book vibe from it.

Cook:
Yeah, I mean there is that feel to it. I wasn't a huge comic book fan, but a lot of the people involved in the movie were, especially Jason Brown, who designed all of the monsters and the sets.

R&R:
Being structured as a wrestling match, Monster Brawl is not traditional storytelling. And you’re catching flak for that from some reviewers. Did you expect that going in?

Cook:
It exists outside of a traditional movie structure, for sure. It's more of a pay-per-view event and tournament-style movie. That's why we put in the backstories, that let us cut away here and there to get a glimpse of each monster.

R&R:
Was DVD your ultimate goal from the start, or did you have visions of a huge theatrical release?

Cook:
We knew going in this would be probably more of a VOD and DVD and Blu-ray. It's really hard to do theatrical nowadays as an indie film. No, we didn't have huge ambitions for that. We had a limited theatrical release in Canada and thought it would play well at midnight screenings, and it has.

R&R: I was surprised at how kid-friendly it actually is. Other than the character being named Witch Bitch and some minor gore, I could let my 7-year-old watch this. And believe me, he really wanted to, but since I hadn’t yet seen it, I couldn’t find any info online at how appropriate it was.

Cook:
We wanted to make it accessible to everyone, even people who weren't huge fans of wrestling and monsters. We just wanted to make a fun movie.

R&R:
And you may be too close to it to answer this, but are you pleased with it?

Cook:
Absolutely, looking back a year or two after, we could've done things here and there, but with the money with had and such a small crew, I think we pulled off something really special. The budget wasn't much more than a documentary film would have. If there were ever a sequel, it'd be nice to have a bigger budget, but that's something down the road.

R&R:
How possible is that?

Cook:
I think it's very possible. There's been talks of a remake. We've had discussions about that with a few companies. If that weren't to happen, we'd definitely explore trying to do a sequel or turning it into some kind of franchise.

R&R:
If you do have a sequel, what monsters might be in it? Or were they any you had to cut that you’d want to bring into another one?

Cook:
We definitely wanted to do a yeti and a sasquatch as a tag team. We wanted to do a Royal Rumble with some zombies against some trolls. We had a list, but logistically and practically, some we could not afford to do with our special-effects budget, so the monsters we did select, we wanted to appease fans of the classic monsters and toss in a couple of ones that would kind of mimic wrestling archetypes.

Like, Swamp Gut is the essential obese wrestler, like King Kong Bundy. Witch Bitch, we wanted to have a couple of female wrestlers in there. We had a list of several mythological monsters, but Cyclops is the only one off that list we chose. But yeah, there's a long list of possibilities. And obviously, in a sequel, you could bring monsters back to life. —Rod Lott

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