Writer/director Kevin Smith's self-financed Red State 13-town, movie tour hits Ohio on Monday with a stop a Clark State Performing Arts Center, which is about a 90-minute drive north of Cincinnati in Springfield. Described as “a horror/comedy/satire about a Westboro Baptist Church-esque fundamentalist community that murders those it finds abominations in God's eyes (aka gay people),” the film premiered to mixed reviews and a small group of protesters at the Sundance Film Festival Jan. 22. (Smith addresses the premiere and much more in tt stern-enzi's interview with the director here).
Smith had been saying prior to Sundance that he intended to “auction” off Red State to the highest-bidding distributor. Instead he surprised everyone at the premiere by “selling” the film to himself for $20 and announcing that he would distribute Red State through his new company, Smodcast Pictures (presumably inspired by his popular Smodcast podcast), which he will run with his producing partner, Jon Gordon.
Yet now word is that Red State will also have a more traditional theatrical release in October. And, in another curious movie, Smith says he will be retiring following the release of his next film, Hit Somebody, a hockey movie based on a Warren Zevon song. Again, check stern-enzi's interview for background on Smith's decision to call it quits, as well as the director's surprisingly benign take on the political content of a film based on Fred Phelps and his controversial church.
Tickets for Red State, which includes a post-screening Q&A with Smith, are $67. To purchase tickets, go to pac.clarkstate.edu.
On the conventional movie-house release front, we have sci-fi thriller in which aliens want to pillage the Earth's water; a family-friendly animated 3-D adventure that also involves aliens (or martians, to be precise); a lavish, big-screen update of a classic fairy tale; and an Oscar-nominated documentary about people who pick through trash at the largest dump in the world.
BATTLE: LOS ANGELES — For those looking for a grittier take on Independence Day, director Jonathan Liebesman (Darkness Falls, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning) extends himself beyond his horror roots and into the boots of soldiers in the biggest fight of their lives. This Battle is nothing short of an all-out war as an alien army descends to lay waste to human life and steal one of our most precious resources (water). (Read full review here.) (Opens wide today.) — tt stern-enzi (Rated PG-13.) Grade: B
MARS NEEDS MOMS — Simon Wells — the guy behind a number of recent family-friendly films (Balto, The Prince of Egypt) as well as the great-grandson of H.G. Wells — directs the latest film to use Avatar-style 3-D motion-capture technology. The animated story centers on a boy (Seth Green) who grows to respect and miss his mom (Joan Cusack) when she is kidnapped by martians who want to learn how to be a parent kids, but it's Mars Needs Moms' fancy technical elements that are likely to the main attraction. (Read full review here.) (Opens wide today.) — tts (Rated PG.) Review coming soon.
RED RIDING HOOD — The classic fairy tale gets a lavish Hollywood makeover in Catherine Hardwicke's big-screen adaptation, which features an impressive cast headlined by Amanda Seyfried as a young girl who falls for an orphaned woodcutter (Shiloh Fernandez) in a medieval town menaced by a werewolf. Supporting players include Gary Oldman, Billy Burke, Julie Christie, Lukas Haas and Virginia Madsen. (Opens wide today.) — JG (Rated PG-13.) Review coming soon.
WASTE LAND — Brooklyn-based artist Vik Muniz traveled to his native Brazil to film this Oscar-nominated documentary from filmmaker Lucy Walker about the world's largest garbage dump and the people who pick through the trash — dubbed “catadores” — for “recyclable” materials. Muniz originally intended to paint the catadores while they were perusing the garbage, but the project grew more expansive and interactive the more he got to know his unique subjects. (Opens today at Mariemont Theatre.) — JG (Not Rated.) Review coming soon.