DALLAS – On my final full day on my jaunt to Texas, I spent more time at some of the city’s arts attractions as well as at the AFI film festival.
In the last 24 hours, I’ve taken in two disparate movies that packed theaters at the AFI International Film Festival. I spent the final hours of Friday and early hours of Saturday at the late screening at the AMC Northpark 15 of “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Undead.” The fun and unusual horror-comedy drew an enthusiastic audience.
Here’s how producer Mike Landry describes the film at IMDB: “Julian Marsh (Jake Hoffman) is an out-of-work ladies’ man who lands a job directing a bizarre adaptation of ‘Hamlet.’ After casting his best friend (Kris Lemche) and his ex-girlfriend (Devon Aoki) in the show, Julian finds himself in the middle of a 2,000-year-old conspiracy that explains the connection between Shakespeare, the Holy Grail and some seriously sexy vampires.”
Landry, who also plays Guildenstern in the play-within-the-movie; Aoki, who played the silent warrior Miho in “Sin City,” and writer-director Jordan Galland, who makes his feature film debut with the movie, all hung around until the screening was over for a Q&A.
One of the best aspects of film festivals are the opportunity to see such a variety of films. I followed up cinematic Shakespearan vampires with the Saturday night centerpiece screening of “The Hurt Locker.” The film focuses on an Army bomb squad unit trying to stay alive in Iraq.
Before the screening at the Magnolia Theater, “The Hurt Locker” director Kathryn Bigelow (“Point Break”) received one of the 2009 AFI Dallas Star Awards. Bigelow, star Jeremy Renner (“The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford”) and screenwriter Mark Boal (“In the Valley of Elah”) also fielded questions from the audience after the intense war drama.
Per usual, I can’t reveal my reviews of the films until they get their theatrical release, but keep your eye out for more on those two movies.
In addition, I spent part of Saturday revisiting a couple of Dallas arts attractions that I didn’t get enough of on my earlier stop.
The expansive galleries at the Dallas Museum of Art warranted my full attention; on Friday, we limited our visit there to just a tour of the special exhibit “Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs.”
The museum’s impressive galleries feature an incredible array of artwork, including American art from ancient to modern times; decorative arts; African, Asian and Pacific Island works; ancient Greek and Roman items; and more.
I also ventured back over to the Crow Collection of Asian Art, where I got to explore more of the Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Nepalese and other works. The highlights range from tiny, intricate Japanese bottles to large Indian architectural pieces, including a white marble shrine and red sandstone facade from an 18th century residence. The gallery has a special exhibit of contemporary Japanese quilts on display through mid-April, too.
Despite the unseasonably cold and windy weather, Saturday’s activities also included a trip to the Dallas Arboretum, where a range of colorful flowers were unperturbed by the chilly gusts. The 66-acre nature attraction also includes the historic DeGolyer Home and a display of playhouses based on classic children’s stories, which were designed and built by local architects.
I’m heading back to Oklahoma City early Sunday, but I’ll be writing various stories from my trip in the coming weeks.