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WEIRD HORIZON FOR THE WEEK OF 12/21/2012

Our weekly look at what’s weird in theaters, on hot-off-the-presses DVDs, and on more distant horizons…

Trailers of new release movies are generally available on the official site links.

IN THEATERS (WIDE RELEASE):

Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away 3D:A woman is enticed to enter a strange circus tent and finds herself traveling through multiple carnivalesque dimensions, each of which just happens to be based on a separate Cirque du Soleil production. This “movie” is little more than a sampler/ad for CdS’s semi-surreal live shows, but it is cheaper than dropping a C-note to get into one of their Vegas showrooms. Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away 3D official site.

NEW ON DVD:

Gandu (2010): The life of a young man who lives with his mother—a kept woman—becomes increasingly hallucinatory as he experiments with drugs, pornography and rap music in an attempt to find meaning in life. A rare slice of surrealism from the Indian subcontinent, decidedly un-Bollywood (the boxcover proudly proclaims, “Banned in India”). This is the first DVD release from a distributor with an interesting name—Artsploitation Films. Buy Gandu.

Sokurov: Early Masterworks (Whispering Pages/Stone/Save and Protect): Three literary avant-garde movies made by Russian Aleksandr Sokurov (Russian Ark) in the early 90s: Whispering Pages is based on “Crime and Punishment,” Stone involves the ghost of Chekov, and Save and Protect is an adaptation of Madame Bovary. According to the product description all of the movies are on DVD, but there is a bonus Whispering Pages Blu-ray disc. This surprising Cinema Guild set also contains 6 short Sokurov films. Buy “Sokurov: Early Masterworks” [Blu-ray and DVD].

NEW ON BLU-RAY:

Sokurov: Early Masterworks (Whispering Pages): See description in DVD above. Buy “Sokurov: Early Masterworks” [Blu-ray and DVD],

What are you looking forward to? If you have any weird movie leads that I have overlooked, feel free to leave them in the COMMENTS section.

WHAT’S IN THE PIPELINE

Happy holidays, weirdophiles! Next week we’ll be stuffing your review-reading stocking with various cinematic presents, along with lumps of film coal (you can decide which is which). We’ll start off with the genre-bending Italian thriller (?) The Double Hour (2009); take a look at Gus van Sant’s oddly conceived teen death romance Restless (2011); and revisit Hush Puppy in the bathtub in Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012). Alfred will provide us with alterno Xmas choices from deep in the archives of cinema to top off the pre-holiday week.

People must be taking a break from typing insane queries into search engines to go out shopping; how else to explain the dearth of truly strange search terms in this week’s “Weirdest Search Term of the Week” contest? Odd entries were so light that we even considered relatively normal searches like “every 2000 movies about teens partying with a midget” as contenders. Also on our radar were “bizarre flicks stock advisory” (“in today’s market, Eraserhead rose 6 points on news that  has officially retired from filmmaking”) and “gummo eats gumbo” (why search for a Marx brother who never appeared on film eating a spicy Louisiana stew?) For our weirdest search term of the week, however, we’ll go with “film- two friends in prison-one friend escaped by toilet-librarian-tree-sea.” What’s a toilet-librarian-tree-sea, and how can you use one to escape from prison?

Here’s how the ridiculously-long-and-ever-growing reader-suggested review queue stands: The Hour-glass Sanatorium [Saanatorium pod klepsidra]; Liquid Sky (re-review); Society; Final Programme; “Foutaises”; Bloodsucking Freaks; Lost Highway; Valerie and Her Week of Wonders (official Continue reading WHAT’S IN THE PIPELINE

WEIRD HORIZON FOR THE WEEK OF 12/14/2012

Our weekly look at what’s weird in theaters, on hot-off-the-presses DVDs, and on more distant horizons…

Trailers of new release movies are generally available on the official site links.

IN THEATERS (LIMITED RELEASE):

Consuming Spirits (2012): Experimental animation with a story involving three rust belt newspapermen with weird names: Gentian Violet 42, Victor Blue 38, and Earl Gray 64. Playing this week at Film Forum in New York—writer/director/animator Christopher Sullivan will be there in person this Friday and Saturday. No official site: here is the link to the Film Forum screening.

IN DEVELOPMENT:

The Frame (est. 2014): , director of the Certified Weird Ink, has recently announced a new feature film project. The Frame team is being tight-lipped about the plot and the production, but I have been personally assured by an anonymous source that we can expect to see some “serious weird” in the finished product. We’ll keep an eye on it. The Frame Facebook page.

NEW ON DVD:

“Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi” (2002): Two kids find themselves thrown into various dimensions (parodies of video games or TV shows) in this anime TV series. We don’t normally pay that much attention to anime, because it plays by its own set of rules that make the word “weird” obsolete, but YouTube clips of this one suggest it may be up some of our readers’ alleys. Buy “Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi” Complete Collection.

Miami Connection (1987): A rock band fights drug-dealing ninjas in Miami. This newly resurrected 80s camp has been championed by the Alamo Drafthouse and  as “so-bad-it’s-good,” but is it “so-bad-it’s-weird”? Buy Miami Connection.

“The Qatsi Trilogy”: Koyaanisqatsi (1982)/ Powaqqatsi (1988)/ Naqoyqatsi (2002): Koyaanisqatsi (the Hopi Indian term means “life out of balance”) was a highly innovative, wordless documentary with an influential Philip Glass score and an environmental theme. Director Godfrey Reggio followed up the surprise cult hit with two similar sequels; the Criterion Collection has assembled the trio together in one set with the usual abundance of supplemental material. Buy “The Qatsi Trilogy” (Criterion Collection).

The Toxic Avenger – Japanese Cut (1984): Read our capsule review. Okay, we’re not Toxie’s biggest boosters, but fans may be interested in seeing the 11 extra minutes of footage in this never-before-released Japanese cut of the proudly obnoxious cult hit. Buy The Toxic Avenger – Japanese Cut.

NEW ON BLU-RAY:

Miami Connection (1987): See description in DVD above. If you really need to see Miami Connection in hi-def, here’s your chance. Buy Miami Connection [Blu-ray].

“The Qatsi Trilogy”: Koyaanisqatsi (1982)/ Powaqqatsi (1988)/ Naqoyqatsi (2002): See description in DVD above. Buy “The Qatsi Trilogy” (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray].

“The Ultimate Buster Keaton Collection”: This 14-disc (!) set contains all of Kino’s Keaton Kollection. You can buy it for Sherlock Jr. and throw out the rest of the discs. Buy “The Ultimate Buster Keaton Collection”.

What are you looking forward to? If you have any weird movie leads that I have overlooked, feel free to leave them in the COMMENTS section.

WHAT’S IN THE PIPELINE

Here’s what we’ll be hitting you with next week: the strange drama The Day He Arrives (2011), sort of a boozy Korean version of Last Year in Marienbad by way of Groundhog Day; the violent and nearly surreal 1967 Spaghetti Western Django Kill! (If You Live, Shoot), just released on Blu-ray to capitalize on Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming Django Unchained (curiously, neither movie has anything to do with the Django character from the long-running Italian series); Alfred will return to his series on the quiet horrors of  to wrap up some loose ends; and we’ll throw in a surprise review of a very weird 2012 movie to be named later.

If you’re obsessive about the site, then you’ll have noticed something new: the Spambot of the Day!, a little feature where we honor the weirdest random comments made by the legions of automated software bots who submit literally thousands of worthless disguised advertisements to blogs around the world. We can’t promise we’ll highlight one of these every day, but from now on whenever we catch them saying something as ridiculous as this, we’ll be sure to approve their comment (after stripping out any advertising links, of course) for your amusement.

Of course, any discussion of bizarre random comments provides us with the perfect segue to launch into the current edition of our Weirdest Search Term of the Week contest. First, we note the search for “toplessmartians,” not because we think its so very weird, but just because it gives us the opportunity to brag about the fact that Google ranks us #1 for this highly coveted search term (sadly, we’re only #4 for “topless martians” spelled as two words, but what can you do?) From the “stump the experts” category comes the search for “flying naked babies and a fat man drinking rainbow wine…. name that disney movie.” After cataloging weird search terms for years, we’ve learned that the human libido is a very stupid thing that can get turned on by almost anything, but even so, this “sick” request was a first for us: “porn pictures of boat wakes.” Still, in the minds of our judges nothing this week topped “effective meditation for transvestites.” Why do transvestites need different meditation techniques than everyone else? (Does it have something to do with the underwear?) And, are there lots of ineffective meditation techniques for transvestites being peddled out there, requiring the searcher to specifically look for ones that work? It’s unanswered questions like these that make “effective meditation for transvestites” our Weirdest Search Term of the Week.

Here’s the ridiculously-long-and-ever-growing reader-suggested review queue: Django, Kill! (next week!); The Hour-glass Sanatorium [Saanatorium pod klepsidra]; Liquid Sky (re-review); Society; Final Programme; “Foutaises”; Bloodsucking Freaks; Lost Highway; Valerie and Her Week of Continue reading WHAT’S IN THE PIPELINE

WEIRD HORIZON FOR THE WEEK OF 12/7/2012

Our weekly look at what’s weird in theaters, on hot-off-the-presses DVDs, and on more distant horizons…

Trailers of new release movies are generally available on the official site links.

IN THEATERS (LIMITED RELEASE):

The Rabbi’s Cat [Le Chat du Rabbin] (2011): In this animated fantasy set in Algeria in the early 20th century, a rabbi’s cat find he’s able to speak after he swallows a parrot; he makes sarcastic comments, lusts after his master’s daughter, and tries to secure a bar mitzvah for himself. Director/artist Joann Sfar was last seen directing live actors (and giant-headed puppets) in Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life. The Rabbi’s Cat official site (French).

SCREENINGS (Multiple locations, Dec. 7-22):

Everything is Terrible! Holiday Special 2012: More terribleness, this time themed around the terriblest season of the year, the holidays. Playing one night only at multiple venues across the country: check the EiT website for details. Everything is Terrible! Holiday Special dates and venues.

NEW ON DVD:

The Adventures of Mark Twain (1985): Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn and Becky Thatcher join Mark Twain aboard his airship as he flies off to see Haley’s Comet. this claymation feature sounds cute and kid-friendly, but it’s actually based on Twain’s cynical adult works like “The Mysterious Stranger,” and what everyone seems to remember is the surreal scene where the kids come face-to-face with Satan. Buy The Adventures of Mark Twain.

Alps (2011): Giorgos Lanthimos’ followup to Dogtooth involves a service that sends impersonators out to pretend to be the deceased loved ones of mourning families. It appears to be another weird one, but in a more subtle and quiet mode than the Greek’s provocative debut. Buy Alps.

Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012): Read our capsule review. With this home video release, Beasts becomes officially eligible to be placed on the List—just saying. Buy Beasts of the Southern Wild.

Blood Beat (1983): An early 80s, Christmastime shot-on-video horror; as near as I can tell, the plot involves a samurai who appears and kills people whenever the lead actress masturbates (?) The publicity materials describe it as “quite possible the most bizarre Christmas themed horror film ever made!” [sic], and state that it’s also a limited edition (?) Buy Blood Beat.

Ninja Scroll (1993): Read our capsule review. This re-release of the 1993 fantasy/adventure anime classic is remastered, but has no special features. Buy Ninja Scroll.

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964): Santa does what the title says he does in this ridiculous holiday misfire. This is the remastered version of the public domain “classic,” and it includes additional public domain shorts (some from Max Fleischer) as filler bonuses. Buy Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (Remastered Edition).

NEW ON BLU-RAY:

The Adventures of Mark Twain (1985): See description in DVD above. Buy The Adventures of Mark Twain [Blu-ray].

Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012): See description in DVD above. This release includes a DVD and digital copy. Buy Beasts of the Southern Wild [Blu-ray].

Brazil (1985): Read the Certified Weird entry! Just a year after Universal releases a Brazil Blu, Criterion tops them with this deluxe re-issue. Buy Brazil (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray].

eXistenZ (1999): David Cronenberg‘s turn at making a mindbending virtual reality movie; parts do for video games what Videodrome did for television. A long-awaited Blu-ray release. Buy eXistenZ [Blu-ray].

“Francis Ford Coppola: 5 Film Collection”: We took notice of this set because of the angry and dreamy Vietnam War classic Apocalypse Now (1979) and its 3.5 hour director’s cut, Apocalypse Now Redux. This box also includes Coppola’s latest drama, Tetro (2009), along with his romantic musical One from the Heart (1982) and the paranoid classic The Conversation (1974). Buy “Francis Ford Coppola: 5-Film Collection” [Blu-ray].

Ninja Scroll (1993): See description in DVD above. Buy Ninja Scroll [Blu-ray].

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964): See description in DVD above. Buy Santa Claus Conquers the Martians [Blu-ray].

Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over (2003)/Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl (2005): Read our Sharkboy review. A pair of bizarrish kiddie movies from cult director together on a single Blu-ray. Buy Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over/Adventures of Sharkboy [Blu-ray].

What are you looking forward to? If you have any weird movie leads that I have overlooked, feel free to leave them in the COMMENTS section.

WHAT’S IN THE PIPELINE

As we move into the chill of December, here’s what we’ve got for you: we’ll take a look at the overlooked mindbending sci-fi anime King of Thorn (2009); pay a visit to the surreally sad courtesans inhabiting The House of Pleasures (2011); and take a trip with  through the bizarrely ravaged French countryside of 1967’s Weekend. In bonus coverage, Alfred will finish off his behind-the-scenes coverage of the “Creeporia” series.

As we begin our survey of bizarre search terms in our quest to find the Weirdest Search Term of the Week, we have to admit we were extremely disappointed by the person who was looking for “something more than weird film.” I guess weird film isn’t good enough for some people. Fortunately, we have the horny pervert ESL search contingent to supply us with some strange search terms to cheer us up; for example, the guy who wonders “weres to finde real sex and porn with relativs not forbidn bat free.” I wouldn’t know firsthand, but from the description I’m guessing that infestations of bats are a constant problem plaguing incest porn videos. By comparison, the fellow looking for “weird,strange big-triple breasted naked cheerleaders galleries” seems like a pretty normal guy. As weird as the festishists were this week, however, we’re giving our Weirdest Search Term of the Week award to the person looking for “the teen movie were the white kids were like google looking glasses on three heads.” At least, we think that wasn’t a fetish search: we admit we can’t visualize “google looking glasses on three heads,” and confess that it might be sexually exciting to someone out there.

Based on comments received last week, I started a forum post regarding the next 10 movies in the ridiculously-long reader-suggested review queue. Speaking of that review queue, here’s how it now stands: Weekend (next week!); The Hour-glass Sanatorium [Saanatorium pod klepsidra]; Liquid Sky (re-review); Society; Final Programme; “Foutaises”; Bloodsucking Freaks; Lost Highway; Valerie and Her Week of Wonders (official Continue reading WHAT’S IN THE PIPELINE

WEIRD HORIZON FOR THE WEEK OF 11/30/2012

Our weekly look at what’s weird in theaters, on hot-off-the-presses DVDs, and on more distant horizons…

Trailers of new release movies are generally available on the official site links.

IN THEATERS (LIMITED RELEASE):

Walk Away Renee (2011): Filmmaker Jonathan Caouette takes a cross-country trip with his bipolar/borderline schizophrenic mother Renee; along the way she loses her medication and her behavior becomes erratic. After the trip, Caouette illustrates some of his mom’s delusions with trippy paranoid fantasy sequences in this indie documentary/fiction hybrid. Playing IFC Center in Manhattan this week, future venues uncertain. Walk Away Renee at IFC Center.

NEW ON DVD:

The Experiment: Who’s Watching You? (2012): A financially desperate stripper agrees to serve as a pharmaceutical company guinea pig and falls into what the press materials call a world of  “drug induced madness and surreal sensuality.” It looks like Ken Russell‘s grandson decided to shoot a Skinemax movie on a webcam, or something like that. Buy The Experiment: Who’s Watching You?

“Serial Experiments Lain: Complete Series”: An introverted girl follows a suicide classmate into a virtual reality world where anything can happen in this mind-blowing 13-episode cult anime series. This one is currently in our reader-suggested review queue. Only available in a DVD/Blu-ray combo pack. Buy “Serial Experiments Lain: Complete Series”.

Visions of Ecstasy: The Films of Nigel Wingrove”: Visions of Ecstasy (1989) was an 18-minute film interpretation of the visions of St. Teresa of Avila that brings the notorious erotic subtext of the mystics visions of the nun to unsubtle life (i.e. she has sex with Jesus). It’s mainly notable for being the only film ever to be banned in Britain solely on the grounds of blasphemy. Also included on this disc are Wingrove’s full-length softcore nunsploitation feature Sacred Flesh (2000) and the short Axel (1988) (about which we could find no information).  Wingrove later went on to direct the Satanic Sluts series, and, more importantly, to found Redemption Films (which restored and re-released the movies of and other Eurotrash auteurs). Buy Visions of Ecstasy: The Films of Nigel Wingrove.

NEW ON BLU-RAY:

“Serial Experiments Lain: Complete Series”: See description in DVD above. Buy “Serial Experiments Lain: Complete Series”.

FREE (LEGITIMATE RELEASE) MOVIES ON YOUTUBE:

Black Biscuit (2012): Experimental punk documentary focusing on… well… the director’s manifesto suggests he strives to make films that are “bewildering, vague, self-indulgent, plotless, risky, egotistical, limpid, raw, ugly, and imperfect.” If that aesthetic appeals to you, then by all means give this a chance. Watch Black Biscuit free on YouTube.

What are you looking forward to? If you have any weird movie leads that I have overlooked, feel free to leave them in the COMMENTS section.