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.
There’s nothing of weird interest coming to the big screen this week. The desperate might try Pandorum, whose synopsis makes it sound like an uncredited Alien remake… but beware, the producers decided not to allow critics to screen this one in advance, which is usually (although not inevitably) a sign of a stinker.
SCREENINGS (NEW YORK CITY, MUSEUM OF MODERN ART):
Paradise (2008): Michael (Happy Here and Now) Almereyda’s latest documentary stitches together fragments of film captured on his world travels into a film the director calls a celebration of “the idea that life is made up of brief paradisiacal moments—moments routinely taken for granted, and always slipping away.” Such a documentary seems like a stretch to be considered weird, but those few critics who have seen it report that the disconnected images have a beautiful, magical strangeness to them.
The “B”-Movie Celebration (Sep. 25 – 27): There’s nothing outstandingly weird on this year’s slate, but there are a number of interesting, offbeat and fun B-movies to see on the big screen, including the campy Blacula; George Romero’s The Crazies and Night of the Living Dead; John Carpenter’s Dark Star; the 1950’s sci-fi classics Forbidden Planet and Invasion of the Body Snatchers; Sergio Leone’s epic The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly; the notorious Ilsa, She Wolf of the S.S.; and 1980s cult hits Night of the Comet and The Toxic Avenger. Also featuring a 2009 B-movie awards ceremony (the Golden Cob) and numerous local bands. As an added incentive, attend screenings of The Birds and Qartermass and the Pit and have fun trying to guess which of the audience members is 366weirdmovies! (Hint: it’s quite possible he will be eating popcorn). The “B” Movie Celebration Homepage.
Branchage: Jersey International Film Festival (Oct. 1-4): Anyone who can make it to Jersey (an English-speaking British Crown Dependency off the coast of Normandy, France) on short notice may want to check out this intriguing festival. According to a promoter, “We’re showing The Secret of Kells in Mont Orgueil Castle with 3D-scapes flashing alongside the animation’s illuminations; a screening of Isolation (about ex-paratroopers in the UK) is going to be shown in the Jersey War Tunnels, built by prisoners of war during WWII, while bands are also playing live soundtracks to films – British Sea Power to Man of Aran, and Icelandic quartet Amiina will string and harp along to Lotte Reiniger silhouette animations.” Notable films being screened include the Werner Herzog documentaries Grizzly Man and Encounters at the End of the World, Duane Jones’ Moon, The Wizard of Oz, Lindsay Anderson’s very, very weird 1960s counterculture hit If… (starring Malcolm McDowell), and “numerous experimental shorts.” Sounds like our kind of happening. Branchage Festival Homepage.
NEW ON DVD:
The Haunted World of El Superbeasto (2009): Rob Zombie‘s X-rated cartoon about a Mexican wrestler fighting a Satanic conspiracy and a band of zombie Nazi bikers is too strong for cinemas and gets released directly to DVD. Buy from Amazon.
Wallace and Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death (2008): A new thirty minute short featuring the cult Claymation man and dog duo starting a baking company and encountering a serial killer (!) Warning: for some incomprehensible reason, the DVD release is full-frame. Buy from Amazon.
NEW ON BLU-RAY:
The Haunted World of El Superbeasto (2009): See DVD listing above. Buy from Amazon.
Pierre le Fou (1965): The Criterion Collection continues upgrading their old DVD releases to Blu-ray with this typically experimental and stylish tale of lovers on the run from Jean-Luc Goddard. Buy from Amazon
Shaun of the Dead (2004): The cult hit about a British slacker fighting the undead that sparked the recent fad for “zom-coms.” Not weird, but in a weak weird week Blu-ray owners may want to give this a rental or add it to their collection. Buy from Amazon.
Wallace & Gromit: The Complete Collection: Nick Park’s four short films featuring Wallace & Gromit, including the most recent A Matter of Loaf and Death (see DVD listing above—word is, the version on Blu-ray is widescreen). It’s hardly the complete collection, since it doesn’t contain the full-length feature The Curse of the Wererabbit, but nomenclature aside, it’s a welcome addition to the Blu-ray ranks. Buy 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.