Spotlight: Spokane-made ‘Big Bang’ apparently a big bust

Here we go again: another Spokane-made movie, direct to DVD, complete with atrocious reviews.

“The Big Bang,” the Antonio Banderas movie shot here in fall 2009, came out on DVD on May 24 and the critics have been cheerfully brutalizing it.

Andrew Barker of Variety called it “unintelligible,” “scattershot” and “a Lynchian neo-noir that takes intellectual and aesthetic risks it has no reasonable attempt at pulling off.”

Stephen Holden of the New York Times called it “a low point for Mr. Banderas, who is painfully miscast as a tough guy and whose Spanish accent has never been more of an impediment.”

Other top critics called it “trash,” “budget-bin” and “bleary.”

Leave it to Rex Reed of the New York Observer to muster the most vituperation, calling it “brain-damaged, inept, unsupervised and moronic.”

And all this, for a film that had a bigger budget, a bigger star and more promise than the average Spokane movie.

Oh, well. It must have gone over their heads. It’s apparently a thriller about particle physics.

I would see this movie for myself, except I still haven’t recovered from watching three other Spokane-filmed features: “Give ’em Hell, Malone” with Thomas Jane, “Wrong Turn at Tahoe” with Cuba Gooding Jr., and “Lies & Illusions” with Christian Slater.

Checking in with Leonardo

After 500 years, I guess you can’t call it “a fad.”

Yet Leonardo da Vinci is definitely the most popular Renaissance Man in town after the opening this weekend of “Leonardo da Vinci: Man-Inventor-Genius” at the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture (MAC), 2316 W. First. It runs through Sept. 5.

We ran a major preview on Thursday, but here are some further details:

• If you’re not a museum member, you can get tickets at the door, but at a certain risk. If the exhibit happens to be sold out for that particular hour of the day, you’ll have to wait until something opens up later. And there will be sold-out times, especially on weekends.

You can avoid this problem by buying advance tickets through TicketsWest outlets (800-325-SEAT or www.ticketswest.com), which are tied to a particular date and hour. (Members can get their tickets anytime at the museum’s admissions desk.)

• A slate of Leonardo-related concerts, lectures and activities are scheduled on many Sundays this summer at 3 p.m. at the museum. Here are the first two: June 26, “Man and Music In a Distant Mirror: Instrumental Music in the Age of da Vinci,” a concert and talk featuring organizer and host Donivan Johnson’s new piece, “The da Vinci Coda,” and Renaissance works; and July 17, “How Renaissance Genius Invented the Modern World,” a lecture by Mark Alfino of Gonzaga University.

The cash bar, featuring Italian wines, opens at 2:15 p.m.

A new Smithsonian exhibit

The MAC is celebrating its 10th anniversary as a Smithsonian Affiliate. So that makes it a good time to announce that the museum has acquired a Smithsonian traveling exhibit for 2012: “Dig It! – The Secrets of the Soil.”

This exhibit will explore the hidden ecosystems in soil and its uses in medicines, food, wine, cosmetics, textiles and pottery.

Steve Martin sold out

Here are two words that don’t often go together: banjo and sellout.

However, Steve Martin’s banjo show with the Steep Canyon Rangers on July 22 has, in fact, sold out the Martin Woldson Theater at The Fox.

The show also includes large doses of Martin-esque comedy along with the bluegrass.

Breaking in the NQ

The Northern Quest Resort and Casino’s big-name outdoor schedule doesn’t begin until June 25 with The Judds. But on Saturday, the resort has scheduled a “break-in” concert at its new outdoor arena.

Two local bands, Soul Proprietor and The Ryan Larsen Band, will play a show there starting at 7 p.m. Tickets are only $5, available through the Northern Quest box office, (509) 481-6700, or TicketsWest outlets.

Soul Proprietor plays funk and R&B and The Ryan Larsen Band plays country.

A great and powerful ‘Oz’

This year’s first show at the Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre, “The Wizard of Oz,” which opens Thursday, has had a robust presale – just 300 tickets behind the theater’s all-time biggest seller, last year’s “Cinderella,” at a comparable date.

That’s a good harbinger going into the season. Executive Director Laura Little said “The Sound of Music” (Aug. 11-21) is also selling well, because – well, because it’s “The Sound of Music.”

The other two shows – Stephen Sondheim’s “A Little Night Music” (June 30-July 10), and “Once Upon This Island” (July 21-31) – may not be quite as well-known but are just as promising, at least from a theater critic’s viewpoint.

Be warned: The CdA Summer Theatre has reduced the run of each show this year from nine performances to eight, which increases the risk that procrastinators will have trouble finding good tickets.

The show continues through June 19. Call (208) 769-7780 for tickets.

‘Spelling’ for dollars

The Spokane Civic Theatre has raised $32,000 to send the cast and crew of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” to Rochester, N.Y., later this month for the national community theater competition.

But they still need $6,000 more. You can help by attending the final benefit performance of the show, Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. on the Civic’s Main Stage, 1020 N. Howard St.

No tickets are necessary – just bring some cash or your checkbook to make a donation and to bid on some auction items.

One last ‘Laughing Stock’

A reminder: One last performance of the backstage comedy “Laughing Stock” will take place today, 2 p.m. at Spokane Falls Community College’s Spartan Theatre, Building 5, 3410 Ft. George Wright Drive.

No tickets are necessary, but an $8 donation is suggested. This is a production of the SFCC Revelers, directed by drama instructor William Marlowe.

Let the Rockin’ B roll

Are you ready for Sheriff Dusty Bicuspid? A bad guy named Batum Schragg?

The Cowboy Supper Shows return to the Rockin’ B Ranch on Friday and will continue every Friday and Saturday through Oct. 1 (and every Thursday from June 23 through Aug. 5).

The Rockin’ B Ranch is just off I-90’s State Line exit (exit 299), only 75 yards south of the freeway. It has been dishing up beef, ribs, chicken, fixin’s and a variety show for 17 seasons.

The program includes a shootout/melodrama and a stage show with a theme, “How the West Was Swung,” featuring the Riders of Rockin’ B.

Tickets are $39 for adults, $10 for kids 10 and under, available at (509) 891-9016 or through www.rockinbranch.com.

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