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WEIRD HORIZON FOR THE WEEK OF 1/22/10

A 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 Paranoids [Los Paranoicos]: Argentinian dramedy about a paranoid screenwriter who takes offense when a childhood friend adapts his life into a television show.  Looks quirky/oddball, not necessarily weird.  Not only that, but reviews have been generally negative.  The Paranoids official site.

SCREENINGS (NEW YORK CITY, THE FILM FORUM, THROUGH FEBRUARY 2)

A Room and a Half (2009): This documentary portrait of exiled Jewish Russian poet Josephy Brodsky, who became America’s Poet Laureate and won a Nobel Prize for Literature, is a collage of real-life interviews, dramatic recreations, animation, and stylized staged footage recreating the Soviet constructivist style.  70-year old animator/director Andrey Khrzhanovsky made some surreal shorts in the USSR (i.e. The Glass Harmonica, 1968) that ran into censorship problems.   Reviews are glowing and universally positive; hopefully that will be enough to get this intriguing movie a distribution deal of some sort.  A Room and a Half at the Film Forum.

NEW ON DVD:

Chantal Akerman in the Seventies: A compilation of the title director’s early experimental works from the Criterion Collection’s “Eclipse” series. I’m unfamiliar with this director, but Criterion claims she came out of the New York experimental film scene and is recommended for “adventurous” viewers.   Her most famous work, featured here, is her feature debut Je, Tu, Il, Elle (1976), which included explicit (for the time, at least) scenes of lesbian lovemaking.   3 discs.  Buy Chantal Akerman in the Seventies.

The Invention of Lying (2009):  High-concept romantic comedy set in an alternate reality where no one can tell a lie, until one man spontaneously evolves this ability.  From the creator and star of the Britcom “The Office.”  Unlikely to cross over the weird border, but definitely different, well-reviewed, and worthy of a gamble. Buy The Invention of Lying.

NEW ON BLU-RAY:

The Invention of Lying: See description in DVD above. Buy The Invention of Lying [Blu-ray].

Magnolia (1999): Paul Thomas Anderson’s third feature was a masterful ensemble drama, containing perhaps Tom Cruise’s only truly good performance, with an unexpectedly weird ending that threw audiences for a loop.  A near masterpiece, definitely worth watching at least once and probably deserving multiple viewings. Buy Magnolia.

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

OK, 2009 is over, but we’re still catching up on some of the worthy weird flicks we missed, so check us out next week for reviews of Terry Gilliam‘s Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus (still in theaters) and Lars von Trier’s Antichrist. We’ll also thrown on a review of William (Exorcist) Friedkin’s paranoia piece, Bug (2006).

As far as the weirdest search term used to locate the site this week: we got the usual rash of weird fetish requests (1ooporno pregnant horse”) , but these are getting  a little boring.  When your bombarded with bestiality search terms, they no longer seem that weird.  We like offbeat phrasing, so we’ll select “what’s good with weird movies.”  Our answer: buttered popcorn, slathered in haggis.

We actually made some progress on the reader-suggested review queue last week, knocking out two good ones with Greaser’s Palace and Waking Life.   The remaining list looks like this: Survive Style 5+ (just discovered that this isn’t available on Region 1, which may delay our getting to it), The Dark Backward, The Short Films of David Lynch, Santa Sangre, Dead Man, Inland Empire, Monday (assuming I can find an English language version), The Abominable Dr. Phibes, Barton Fink, What? (Diary of Forbidden Dreams), Meatball Machine, Xtro, Basket Case, Suicide Club, O Lucky Man!, Trash Humpers (when/if released), Gozu, Tales of Ordinary Madness, The Wayward Cloud, Kwaidan, Six-String Samurai, Andy Warhol’s Trash, Altered States, Memento, Nightmare Before Christmas/Vincent/Frankenweenie, The Science of Sleep, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Gothic, The Attic Expeditions, After Last Season, Getting Any?, Performance, Being John Malkovich, The Apple, Southland Tales, Arizona Dream, Spider (2002), Songs From The Second Floor, Singapore Sling, Alice [Neco z Alenky], Necromania (1971, Ed Wood), Hour of the Wolf, MirrorMaskPossession, Suspiria, Mary and Max, Wild Zero, 4, Nothing (2003), The Peanut Butter Solution, and Ninja Scroll.

WEIRD HORIZON FOR THE WEEK OF 1/15/2010

A 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):

44 Inch Chest: Aging London gangster drama about a bad guy who kidnaps an enemy he believes slept with his wife and considers taking revenge while being egged on by his sleazy mates.  Apparently includes fantasy sequences, which is why we mention it.  From the writers of Sexy Beast and the producers of Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.   44 Inch Chest official site.

NEW ON DVD:

The Brothers Bloom (2009): Read our capsule review.  Quirky caper comedy with style to burn.  Buy The Brothers Bloom.

CockHammer (2009): CockHammer, a snuff film producer and dabbler in the occult, kidnaps the girlfriends of two losers in this deliberately juvenile and offensive home video horror-comedy. Judging by the trailer, it appears to be made by folks who believe Troma studios have sold out to the forces of good taste and glossy production values. We do like the tag line: “Sanity is for sissies!” Buy CockHammer.

Ghost in the Shell 2.0 (1995): A cosmetic update of the beloved cyberpunk anime—a few of the scenes have been redone with computer aided animation.  This is a rare case where the Blu-ray came out a few months before the DVD release. Buy Ghost in the Shell 2.0.

À l’aventure (2009): Not much info on this French softcore flick about a woman discovering her sexuality, but it looks like a throwback to the days of Emmanulle, only with mystical overtones (e.g., intense orgasms can apparently cause levitation). Buy À l’aventure.

Moon (2009):  Read our capsule review.  Intelligent sci-fi from David Bowie’s son; Sam Rockwell’s performance should garner an Oscar nom. Not very weird but we liked it anyway. Buy Moon.

Nun of That (2009):  Comedy involving a nun selected to join a secret supernatural religious order dedicated to wiping out the mob (!) Features cameos from Jesus, Moses, and Ghandi (!!)  Why didn’t this play our local mutliplex? Buy Nun of That.

NEW ON BLU-RAY:

8 1/2 (1963): Criterion upgrades this classic weird movie to Blu-ray. A great way to get the taste of Nine out of your mouth. Buy 8 1/2 (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray].

The Brothers Bloom (2009): See DVD entry above. Buy The Brothers Bloom [Blu-ray].

Moon (2009):  See DVD entry above. Buy Moon [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

We’re still trying to determine exactly what we’re going to publish next week, but you can be sure we’ll knock at least one item off the reader-suggested review queue with our treatment of Robert Downey’s absurdist Western hippie Jesus flick, Greaser’s Palace.  We’ll also cover Nine, the musical loosely based around Federico Fellini’s womanizing.

For the weirdest search term used to locate the site last week, we’ll go with “sex in movies in english 30 mint in aboue,” mainly because we’re thrilled to have come up #1 in a Yahoo search for that exact phrase!

The reader-suggested review queue continues to grow, but we’ll be knocking out at least one of these reviews a week.  Here’s how it currently looks: Greaser’s Palace (snext week!), Waking Life, Survive Style 5+, The Dark Backward, The Short Films of David Lynch, Santa Sangre, Dead Man, Inland Empire, Monday (assuming I can find an English language version), The Abominable Dr. Phibes, Barton Fink, What? (Diary of Forbidden Dreams), Meatball Machine, Xtro, Basket Case, Suicide Club, O Lucky Man!, Trash Humpers (when/if released), Gozu, Tales of Ordinary Madness, The Wayward Cloud, Kwaidan, Six-String Samurai, Andy Warhol’s Trash, Altered States, Memento, Nightmare Before Christmas/Vincent/Frankenweenie, The Science of Sleep, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Gothic, The Attic Expeditions, After Last Season, Getting Any?, Performance, Being John Malkovich, The Apple, Southland Tales, Arizona Dream, Spider (2002), Songs From The Second Floor, Singapore Sling, Alice [Neco z Alenky], Necromania (1971, Ed Wood), Hour of the Wolf, MirrorMaskPossession, Suspiria, Mary and Max, Wild Zero, 4, Nothing (2003), and The Peanut Butter Solution.

We’ve been holding back on announcing some of our future projects, but here’s something for you: 366 Distribution will be coming out with it’s second DVD release soon, planned for the end of January!  It’s The Best of Damon Zex, a compilation of some of the best work of public-access TV cult hero Damon Zex.  Here’s the trailer we whipped up for the release:

Weird enough for ya? We’ll let you know in this space when the DVD is officially available.

WEIRD HORIZON FOR THE WEEK OF 1/8/2010

A 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):

Bitch Slap: Three tough women behave badly while fighting over a fortune in diamonds in this “postmodern parody” of busty bad babe flicks like Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! The trailer indicates there are numerous fantasy sequences, and the press release promises a parallel series of Memento-like flashbacks that reveal the backstory.  Critics say they’d like to perform the title act on the producers. Bitch Slap official site.

SCREENINGS (NEW YORK CITY)

Flooding With Love for the Kid (1989): A one-man, shoestring-budget ($96) alternative adaptation of First Blood (yes, the Sly Stallone actioner that introduced the world to John Rambo), shot entirely inside a single apartment.  Remarkably, it’s gotten almost universal praise for its narrative ingenuity, despite every single reviewer comparing it to something you’d find on YouTube.  Playing at Anthology Film Archives in Manhattan.  Actor/director Zachary Oberzan’s official site.

NEW ON DVD:

Hansel and Gretel (2007): Bizarre-sounding Korean variation on the Brothers Grimm fairy tale involves a man lost in a forest who is taken to a mysterious house inhabited by creepy children. Buy Hansel and Gretel.

Loren Cass (2006):  An experimental angry teen drama about the 1996 race riots in St. Petersburg, Florida, with poetry interludes (featuring spoken word contributions by Charles Bukowski and other underground figures) and mondo-style documentary footage of a televised suicide added for shock value.   Well-reviewed by the very few critics who saw it. Buy Loren Cass.

Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures (1987-1988):  This satirical Saturday morning cartoon show, brought to the airwaves by Ralph (Coonskin) Bakshi and John Kricfalusi (who would later create another controversial cult cartoon series, “Ren and Stimpy”), ended after two seasons amidst accusations that Bakshi had snuck a cocaine-sniffing reference into one episode. A gonzo cartoon with a small but devoted fanbase. Buy “Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures – The Complete Series”.

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.

JAMES FELIX MCKENNEY’S TOP 10 WEIRD MOVIES

James Felix McKenney is the director of the campy cannibal fest CanniBallistic! (2002), the ghost story The Off Season (2004), the retro sci-fi robot flick Automatons (1996), and the just-released Satan Hates You (2009), a modern Christian scare movie that plays like a Jack Chick tract brought to life (view the trailer here).  You can read up on his projects at his production company website, monsterpants.net.

A top 10 list! I love making movie lists but narrowing it down my favorite ten weird ones was a real challenge!

Films by David Lynch, Alejandro Jodorowsky, José Mojica Marins, Guy Maddin, Ken Russell and Andrzej Zulawski should be included on EVERY list of this type, but I’m guessing that most visitors to this site already have them as part of their own top ten.  I also should have put a Jean Rollin film somewhere on here, but which one?  Lost in New York, maybe?  After eliminating these directors’ works from my list, I still found myself with over 30 movies to choose from.

Hausu should also be on here, but my colleague Graham Reznick recently included it on his top ten, giving me an excuse to trim my list down further.   Begotten, Phantasm, and The Wicker Man are among of my favorite movies in the world, but have already made this wonderful web site’s master list.  Other films that didn’t make it to my top ten were: The Last Movie (one of my favorite films of all time), Rubber’s Lover, The Flew, Daft Punk’s Electroma, Frankenstein’s Bloody Nightmare, Blood Freak, Arrebato, We Are the Strange, Zardoz, Red to Kill, Jigoku, Dementia (AKA Daughter of Horror), Gusher No Binds Me (AKA Hellevator), Abhay and Goodbye, 20th Century.

Anyway, here’s my (sort of) Top Ten.  I’m sure I’m forgetting at least one of my all-time favorites.  These are the films that make my brain hurt while putting a smile on my face.  Thanks for asking.

Deafula (1974): I used to have friends over to my house every Wednesday for a movie night.  Of all of the oddities I subjected my guests to, none ever went over quite as well as Deafula.

The awkward storytelling and bottom-of-the-barrel production values of this bizarre, so-bad-it’s-good film are almost enough to warrant a spot on any weird movie list. But when you add the fact that this is a vampire movie for the hearing impaired in which Continue reading JAMES FELIX MCKENNEY’S TOP 10 WEIRD MOVIES

WHAT’S IN THE PIPELINE

Happy 2010 to everyone!  We’re still cleaning 2009 movies out of our vaults, so next week you can expect to see reviews of the fantasy noir The Perfect Sleep and Mr. Sadman, the indie comedy/drama about a Saddam Hussein body-double on the loose in Los Angeles.  Also on tap is a capsule review of Sharon Tate’s movie debut, Eye of the Devil (1966).  And, now that the 2009 wrap-up is nearly complete we promise to get to work on that reader-suggested review queue!

Search terms used to locate the site are getting less and less weird every week, but we thought “wierd movie titles three words” was noteworthy.  A couple of weeks ago what was presumably the same searcher was looking for two-word weird movie titles; I guess he’s completed that project and moved on.

The reader suggested review queue looks like this: Greaser’s Palace (substituted for Institute Benjamenta), Waking Life, Survive Style 5+, The Dark Backward, The Short Films of David Lynch, Santa Sangre, Dead Man, Inland Empire, Monday (assuming I can find an English language version), The Abominable Dr. Phibes, Barton Fink, What? (Diary of Forbidden Dreams), Meatball Machine, Xtro, Basket Case, Suicide Club, O Lucky Man!, Trash Humpers (when/if released), Gozu, Tales of Ordinary Madness, The Wayward Cloud, Kwaidan, Six-String Samurai, Andy Warhol’s Trash, Altered States, Memento, Nightmare Before Christmas/Vincent/Frankenweenie, The Science of Sleep, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Gothic, The Attic Expeditions, After Last Season, Getting Any?, Performance, Being John Malkovich, The Apple, Southland Tales, Arizona Dream, Spider (2002), Songs From The Second Floor, Singapore Sling, Alice [Neco z Alenky], Necromania (1971, Ed Wood), Hour of the Wolf, MirrorMaskPossession, Suspiria, Mary and Max, and Wild Zero.  Yes, we really are gearing up to start whittling this list down!

WEIRD HORIZON FOR THE WEEK OF 1/1/2010

A 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 White Ribbon (2009): The 2009 Palme d’Or winner at Cannes.  Mysterious accidents pile up in a sleepy pre-WWI German town.  Described as “haunting,” “creepy,” and “mesmerizing,” but unlikely to be weird; then again, reviewers are keeping the plot details very close to their chest, so who knows?   The White Ribbon official site.

NEW ON DVD:

9 (2009):  Read our capsule review.  Shane Acker’s visually thrilling, plot-lite “stitchpunk” stop-motion kiddie epic hits vidstore shelves. The original (superior, and weirder) short on which the feature is based is included as an extra. Buy from Amazon.

Half-life (2008): Despite being a festival hit, this one never got a theatrical release that we can discover and flew under our radar. The plot is a multithreaded indie drama about the travails of suburban Asian-Americans combined with surreal animated flights of childhood fantasy.  Looks interesting. The IMDB message boards for this film are amusingly overwhelmed by complaints from disappointed teenage fans of the popular, identically titled video game. Buy from Amazon.

NEW ON BLU-RAY:

9: See description under DVD above. Buy Blu-ray from Amazon

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

Greetings weird movie fans!  I hope Santa brought you lots of weird films for Christmas.  (Word has it good little boys and girls got limited edition Blu-rays of Eraserhead, while bad movie fans got “The Complete Uwe Boll” boxed set—I’d be happy either way).

In the final week of 2009, we’ll turn our attention to catching up with a few weird stragglers from the year past with reviews of  Jim Jamursch’s The Limits of Control and the grandiosely titled amateur production Prometheus Triumphant: A Fugue in the Key of Flesh.  For a change of pace we’ll toss in a review of the 1967 H.P. Lovecraft adaptation The Shuttered Room and perhaps a surprise review or two.

The weirdest search term used to locate the site this week was, undoubtedly, “elephant milk movies.”  I shudder to think what the searcher was hoping to find.

We actually made some progress on the reader suggested review queue this week by getting Dark Country off the board (though, as a borderline selection, we reserve the right to revisit it in the future).  Here’s what’s left for us to cover: Greaser’s Palace (substituted for Institute Benjamenta), Waking Life, Survive Style 5+, The Dark Backward, The Short Films of David Lynch, Santa Sangre, Dead Man, Inland Empire, Monday (assuming I can find an English language version), The Abominable Dr. Phibes, Barton Fink, What? (Diary of Forbidden Dreams), Meatball Machine, Xtro, Basket Case, Suicide Club, O Lucky Man!, Trash Humpers (when/if released), Gozu, Tales of Ordinary Madness, The Wayward Cloud, Kwaidan, Six-String Samurai, Andy Warhol’s Trash, Altered States, Memento, Nightmare Before Christmas/Vincent/Frankenweenie, The Science of Sleep, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Gothic, The Attic Expeditions, After Last Season, Getting Any?, Performance, Being John Malkovich, The Apple, Southland Tales, Arizona Dream, Spider (2002), Songs From The Second Floor, Singapore Sling, Alice [Neco z Alenky], Necromania (1971, Ed Wood), Hour of the Wolf, MirrorMaskPossession, Suspiria, Mary and Max, and Wild Zero. We’ll get to them all, we promise!

WEIRD HORIZON FOR THE WEEK OF 12/25/09

IN THEATERS (LIMITED RELEASE):

The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus: The great Terry Gilliam (Time Bandits, Tideland) returns with another tale of high fantasy in this Faustian story about a magical traveling carnival.  Starring Christopher Plummer, the always welcome Tom Waits, Johnny Depp, and the late Heath Ledger (in his final role).  Looks a bit “Hollywood,” but we admit to still being psyched!  The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus official site (site currently incomplete)

NEW ON DVD:

All About Steve (2009): This one is quite the stretch for weird interest, but we’ll mention it for the curious.  The romantic comedy All About Steve, starring Bradley Cooper and the never-weird Sandra Bullock, received absolutely abysmal reviews.  There were a smattering of opinions, however, that indicate that, if you’re in the right mood, this could be a flick of the so-bad-it’s-weird variety.  James Kendrick, for one, suggested that the film could be seen as an unintentional “satire of romantic comedies, or at least some kind of avant-garde experiment in testing the limits of audience identification… If you’re not on board with its scattershot comedy and fundamental weirdness, it could very well be a nightmare.  But, if you let yourself sink into its wild wrong-headedness and just go with the flow, there are sublime pleasures to be had.”  If you give it a try report back to us! Buy All About Steve from Aamzon.

No Right Turn (2009): There’s not much information to be found on this Danish pulp thriller, but it does somehow incorporate fantasy elements into its tale of drug dealers and prostitutes, and it also has a retro-exploitation movie poster in lurid yellow. Buy No Right Turn from Amazon.

NEW ON BLU-RAY:

All About Steve (2009):  See DVD review above. Buy All About Steve (Blu-ray) from Amazon.