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Strange "movie" weekend ahead

Posted at 3:52 PM on January 6, 2006 by Euan Kerr

It's not a huge movie weekend this week, although we do have bookends openings, with the family friendly "Duma" boy-and-his-cheetah film at one end and the sex-and-slicing horror flick "Hostel" at the other.

(It was only this morning in reading one of the reviews that I realize my pronounciation of "hostile" with a hard "i" was cutting me out of the irony in the title. "Hostel" was one of the films not offered in a press preview which always makes one wonder about its artistic merits.)

I will be getting my cinematic jollies elsewhere Saturday, by going to the Walker Art Center's presentation of "Don't Trust Anyone Over Thirty." It's a rock-opera puppetshow with live band and videos, based on a 1968 cult movie "Wild in the Streets." (Keep up with me here!) The film, which satirized the hippy and psychedelic eras, has been reworked for today, and will be presented by, amongst others, Phil Huber who did the puppets in "Being John Malkovich. The Walker describes it as "the Cinema transformed."

I am going with Malcolm the 15 year old. As I am now 45, we will both be exactly 15 years from the "Don't Trust Anyone Over Thirty" threshold. I'm intrigued as to what his reaction might be.

Now our pal Dominic Papatola, the theater critic with the St Paul Pioneer Press, and always an elegant wordsmith, described the show as "slop" in his review this morning, but maybe he was just having a bad day.

Intriguingly, St Paul is also having a film to stage experience this weekend as a group called The Mechanical Division" is presenting "Cannibal: the Musical" at the 4th Street Theater. It's based on a movie "South Park" creator Trey Parker made during his college days, which has also become a cult favorite in the video stories. It tells the story of Alferd Packer, the only American convicted of cannibalism. It takes all kinds I suppose.

What with re-makes, re-versions, re-plays and transformations (such as "The Producers" going from a film about a musical to a stage musical to a film musical) puppet shows about the psychadelic era are to be expected.

It reminds me of something author Gregory Maguire told me when he came though town to talk about his book "Son of a Witch" which is the sequel to his extremely successful book "Wicked." He had hoped to see it as a movie, but after the folks trying to do that failed to find the money, someone suggested it might be more cost effective just to do it as a Broadway show. It's an interesting piece of budgetary thinking, and successful too. The touring show of "Wicked" comes to the Twin Cities quite soon, and it can only be a matter of time before we see the movie.

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