If you can’t get enough of Oklahoma City’s DeadCenter Film Festival and eagerly await its return in June, festival organizers have a little something to help you scratch that itch – a series of free screenings of documentaries that have played at previous festivals.
This month’s screening is especially intriguing, the 2016 documentary Tower, which chronicles the 1966 shooting spree at the University of Texas at Austin. Far from a typical historical documentary, the film tells its story through the memories of several survivors and reenacts these scenes through animation. This process is done with rotoscoping, where animators trace over live-action footage and give the whole film an otherworldly feel appropriate to its chilling story. Tower screens at 2:30 p.m. April 24 at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art.
It seems like every time Wes Anderson releases a film, critics hold a referendum on whether he is an incredible director or a shallow stylist with no emotional depth. This writer falls firmly into the first camp, and one of his best films, The Grand Budapest Hotel, receives a deluxe re-issue from the Criterion Collection this month. The film blends Anderson’s whimsical fussiness with a bittersweet undercurrent, featuring heartbreak and comedy in equal measure.
Aside from the usual Criterion goodies (a digital transfer for sharper images; new commentary by Anderson and co-star Jeff Goldblum; a making-of documentary), the special features shine with critical works. Video talks by film scholar David Bordwell and critic Matt Zoller Seitz – who literally wrote the book on Anderson – are accompanied by two essays by The New Yorker’s Richard Brody, who understands Anderson as a director on a primal level. Make sure to splurge for the Blu-ray version, which includes a two-sided poster that (likely) features drawings done in Anderson’s signature dollhouse style.
Though I’m far from a big fan of horror films, I find myself intrigued by a trio of entries in the genre this month, all with a different feel. First up, The New Mutants, an X-Men spin-off that seems to lean into the surveillance and body horror aspects that franchise has always dabbled in. With superhero films feeling increasingly by-the-book, the creeping terror vibe of the film is promising – as is the cast, which includes Maisie Williams and Anya Taylor-Joy.
Antlers features a similarly strong pair of leads in Keri Russell and Jesse Plemons, and the presence of solid director Scott Cooper should elevate its classic sci-fi/horror premise, where a supernatural creature terrorizes a small town.
Finally, Antebellum looks to be another entry in the recent spate of horror films about racial issues (its producer also produced Jordan Peele’s films Get Out and Us). Singer Janelle Monae stars as an author transported back to a time before the Civil War – with both scares and social commentary emerging along the way.