Category Archives: Miscellanea

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.

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.

WHAT’S IN THE PIPELINE

First off, merry Christmas to all our readers, and we hope that you have all been very weird this past year so that Santa will stuff your stocking full of the collected works of Stan Brackhage.

We won’t be taking Christmas off; you can expect to see our normal “Weird Horizon” column on Christmas Day, along with another unsettling holiday-themed short. The rest of the week, you can expect to see reviews of Dans Ma Peau [In My Skin] and Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women, and an introduction to the weird words of John M. Bennet, among other features.

In looking for the weirdest search term used to locate the site this week, we’ll stick with the holiday theme and nominate “singing santa and reindeer- I am a weirdo.”

The ever-growing 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], Dark Country, Necromania (1971, Ed Wood), Hour of the WolfMirrorMask, Possession, Suspiria, and Mary and Max.  Honestly, that list should take us all the way through 2010!

WEIRD HORIZON FOR THE WEEK OF 12/18/09

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 (WIDE RELEASE):

Nine: Here’s a curiosity for sure: a musical based around the putative romantic adventures of Federico Fellini while filming the classic weird movie 8 1/2.  Too bad the critics mostly hate it.  Also, we have to point out that fractional numbers are weirder than integers (though not as weird as irrational numbers).  Nine official site.

IN THEATERS (LIMITED RELEASE):

A Town Called Panic: A stop-motion animated children’s film from Belgium; according to the press release, it “follows the wacky, hilarious and often surreal adventures of three plastic toys named Cowboy, Indian and Horse who share a rambling house in a rural town which never fails to attract the weirdest events.”  We’re going to keep an eager eye out for the DVD release!  A Town Called Panic official site.


Ricky: Reviewers are being tightlipped about the plot of this one, but it concerns a French couple who have a remarkable, miraculous baby.  There are strong hints that many are upset by the fact that the movie begins in the realm of pure realism, and slips into magical realism for the second half, something that always makes weird-hating audiences feel cheated.  From François Ozon, the director who brought us the enigmatic Swimming Pool (2003), among other intriguing movies I haven’t seen.  Ricky official site.

IN PRODUCTION:

Alice in Wonderland (2010): Tim Burton‘s eagerly awaited adaptation of Alice in Wonderland is now in post-production, scheduled for a March 5th, 2010 release.  Burton and company released a new trailer two days ago. In a chintzy move, embedding the video is disabled so that Disney can sell exclusive embedding rights to other sites (Rotten Tomatoes will allow you to embed the video from their site—but the code hijacks the user’s browser and redirects him to Rotten Tomatoes when it finishes playing!) Access the trailer from the following link, then come back and tell us what you think:

Alice in Wonderland official Trailer 2.

We’re cautiously optimistic… but a little more cautious than optimistic after seeing this second trailer.

NEW ON DVD:

The Headless Woman [La mujer sin cabeza] (2008): Argentinian film about a woman who experiences a mysterious form of amnesia after striking something—a dog, or a child?—with her car.  Described as head-scratching, slow and oblique.  Buy The Headless Woman from Amazon.

Year of the Fish (2007): Here’s a movie idea you don’t see everyday: a rotoscoped animated adult retelling of “Cinderella,” with the lead role taken by a Chinese immigrant woman forced to work in a “happy-ending” massage parlor and befriended by a magical goldfish.  Critically acclaimed. Buy Year of the Fish 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

Check in next week to finally see our report on the eagerly anticipated dark fairy tale Ink, which is burning up the torrent sites and already has “cult movie” written all over it.  We’ll also be taking a look at the 2006 Frankenstein variation Subject Two.  Other reviews that could pop up to fill out the week include Absurdistan (2008) and The Box (2009).

As far as the weirdest search term used to locate the site last week, we’ll go with “weird two worded movies.”  Still wondering whether searcher is only interested in weird movies which have two word titles, or in which only two words are spoken.

The reader suggested review queue now 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], Dark Country, Necromania (1971, Ed Wood), Hour of the Wolf, and MirrorMask.  We know this thing has been languishing, but we promise to start whittling it down once January comes around.

We’re working behind the scenes on a few surprises for the end of the year. Sorry we can’t be less cryptic, but we have some ambitious plans—look for an announcement in the coming weeks.

WEIRD HORIZON FOR THE WEEK OF 12/11/09

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 Lovely Bones:  Visionary, and sentimental looking, tale about a little murdered girl who watches over her family from the afterlife.  Once weird Peter (Meet the Feebles) Jackson’s fantasy/drama opens to mixed reviews, and given the talent involved and Jackson’s Hollywood cred, it’s a bit surprising that it’s only getting a limited release.  Starring young Saoirse Ronan, Stanley Tucci, Marky Mark, Rachel (The Brothers Bloom) Weisz, and Susan Sarandon.  The Lovely Bones official site.

My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done?:  An actor who’s killed his mother holds a family hostage while a detective investigates his bizarre personal history. Sounds like it could be a mundane tale of descent into madness, except that it comes from a weird dream team: directed by Werner (Even Dwarfs Started Small) Herzog, and executive produced by David Lynch! With that pedigree, coupled with mystified early reviews, My Son sounds like a good candidate for weirdest film of 2009—although it’s likely too late to the party to get a mention here until 2010. Debuting in NYC Dec. 11, in LA Dec. 18, and hopefully following soon to the rest of the country.  My Son, My Son What Have Ye Done? official site.

SCREENINGS (DEC. 11 & 12, NEW YORK CITY):

Coming Soon (2006/2008):  See our review.  The controversial bestiality mockumentary makes its U.S. debut at The Living Theater.  This is your second and final notice; if you attend, feel free to report back to us on the experience.  Expect one weird crowd.

NEW ON DVD:

AK 100: 25 Films by Akira Kurosawa: The Criterion Collection busts out this massive film geek’s wet dream just in time for the holidays.  Contains the intermittently weird Rashomon (1950) along with non-weird, but essential, Kurosawa classics like Stray Dog (1949), Seven Samurai (1954), Throne of Blood (1957), The Hidden Fortress (1958), Yojimbo (1961), and nineteen others.  We wish the Master’s most unabashedly surreal work, Dreams (1990), was included in the set, but how can anyone really complain that a treasure trove is missing a pearl? Buy AK 100: 25 Films of Akira Kurosawa from Amazon.

Beautiful Losers (2008): A documentary examining the DIY skatepunk art movement in New York City in the early 1990s. Among those profiled is weird director Harmony Korine. Buy Beautiful Losers from Amazon.

Coraline (2009) Widescreen Limited Edition Gift Set: Read our capsule review of Coraline. The box set includes the movie with director’s commentary, a second disc of extra features, a digital copy, 4 pairs of 3-D glasses, postcards, and a hardbound “making of” mini-book. Buy Coraline (Widescreen Limited Edition Gift Set) from Amazon The film is also available in a single disc edition.

World’s Greatest Dad (2009): Robin Williams stars in this dark comedy about a failed writer turned high school poetry teacher who gets a shot at fame late in life.  Plot descriptions are circumspect, but we can tell that there is a twist in there, and it’s described as a very black one.  Directed by the always outrageous Bobcat (Shakes the Clown) Goldwaith.  It had a token theatrical release after a film festival run, but is essentially straight-to-DVD. Buy World’s Greatest Dad from Amazon

NEW ON BLU-RAY:

The Alphabet Killer (2007): A schizophrenic female detective freaks out while investigating a brutal series of murders. Hallucinations ensue. Buy The Alphabet Killer from Amazon.

Coraline Widescreen Limited Edition Gift Set: See description in DVD above. Buy Coraline Gift Set [Blu-ray] from Amazon.

World’s Greatest Dad (2009): See description in DVD above. Buy World’s Greatest Dad [Blu-ray] from Amazon.

FREE (LEGITIMATE RELEASE) MOVIES ON YOUTUBE

Rebirth of Mothra II (1997):  With his miniature princess guardians, Mothra was always one of the weirdest of the kaiju (giant Japanese monsters).   Here, Mothra fights a monster genetically engineered to eat garbage.  It’s a modernized Mothra, but it features old school ridiculous dubbing.  Watch Rebirth of Mothra II 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.

WHAT’S IN THE PIPELINE

What’s up with Netflix?  They tell me the #1 movie in my queue, Ink, which I desperately wanted to review for next week, is available NOW.  Then, they send me the #2 movie in my queue instead.  So, you won’t get that Ink review this week.   Instead, you’ll get a review of Powder, as well as that great double-feature that gets to the heart of Havana soul, Cuban Story and Cuban Rebel Girls.  Throw in some mix of reviews of Uwe Boll’s House of the Dead, Absurdistan, Richard Kelly’s The Box, and the undead baby flick Grace, and you’ve got yourself a week.

As for the weirdest search term used to locate the site this week, we’ll go with “www.doctor.assess.movies.com.”   I can only guess that the searcher was looking for a very specific website of film reviews by a M.D.; sadly, it doesn’t seem to exist.  Hope you liked our site instead.

In related news, we’re proud to say that last week we came up #1 on Google for the popular search term, “weirdest sex movies.”  Surely people searching for that phrase are hoping to find descriptions of Lucia y el Sexo and Girl Slaves of Morgana le Fay.  It marks a refreshing change from all the people who accidentally stumble on the site looking for porn.

Here’s the depressingly long reader review queue: 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], Dark Country, Necromania (1971, Ed Wood, unless the original requester gets back to me to clarify what he or she meant), and Hour of the Wolf.