[dropcap]Each[/dropcap] month Oklahoma Magazine highlights exciting Oklahoma film events and gives some guidance on films coming out on home video and those currently playing in theaters. April looks to be a good one for Oklahoma cinephiles, especially if you know where to look.
This month marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, and several Oklahoma film venues are commemorating his passing by featuring special screenings of Shakespeare-related films. If you live in the Tulsa area, be sure to check out Circle Cinema’s series of filmed stage adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays. All these films come courtesy of the BBC, so the craftsmanship and acting are top notch. Every Wednesday in April (and also April 25, a Monday) Circle Cinema will show a different play – of special note are As You Like It with Vanessa Redgrave and King Lear with Ian Holm as the doomed monarch.
Oklahoma City film lovers have the chance to catch one of the most bizarre, electrifying Shakespeare adaptations ever put on film, Orson Welles’ Chimes at Midnight, playing April 15-17 at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. Shakespeare finds his match in Welles’ crammed adaptation of the plays with Falstaff’s character, as Shakespeare’s classic rogue gets brought to life by Welles’ virtuoso performance.
The biggest DVD/BluRay release of the month is Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Presumably, though, you have already seen it in theaters, where it’s best experienced, so allow us to recommend two smaller films that came out on home video in mid-March. Brooklyn and Carol offer differing, though complementary, visions of New York City in the 1950s. Though Brooklyn presents a more positive spin on the girl-coming-of-age story than does Carol, both offer tender, generous assessments of finding oneself in the midst of an isolating location. It helps that both achieve a simple grandeur through precise camerawork and set design.
Although Pixar has helped raise the quality of children’s movies, it’s still rare to see one as earnest and sincerely optimistic as Disney’s new animated film Zootopia. An extended exploration of racial prejudice and its effects on social harmony, the film takes place in a future where all animals, predator and prey alike, live in peace in the metropolis of Zootopia. When predators begin to lose control and turn savage, it’s up to a rookie rabbit cop and a con man fox to crack the mystery of what threatens Zootopia’s harmony.
The film has a few really great gags in it, but goes light on jokes in favor of its social message. Putting it that way makes it sound like a bit of a chore, but it absolutely is not, both because it delivers that message with subtlety and hope and because the world it builds bristles with energy. It’s a great bet for children and adults alike.