Category Archives: Miscellanea

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.

WEIRD HORIZON FOR THE WEEK OF 12/4/2009

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.

Looking over this week’s big-screen offerings, it occurs to me that once 366 Enterprises becomes a multi-million dollar corporation, we’re going to have to relocate our offices to New York City; that’s the only place in America you can see  two exclusive, unavailable-anywhere-else weird films in one week.  Right now, we can’t afford the cost of Manhattan popcorn, much less rent.

IN THEATERS (LIMITED RELEASE):

Big River Man:  Documentary about Martin Strel, a hard-drinking, overweight, eccentric Slovenian, and his unprecedented attempt to swim the length of the Amazon river.  By their very nature, documentaries start behind the eight ball in terms of weirdness, but Strel is such a character that this doc is being labeled “strange,” “insane,” and “surreal” and “bizarre.”  Appears to be playing NYC only.  Big River Man official site.

Film ist: A Girl and a Gun:  A montage of silent-film footage arranged into a “a highly suggestive, quasi-narrative, but essentially enigmatic mosaic.”  Playing this week at the Anthology Film Archives in New York City only.  No official site, but see Anthology Film Archives for more information.

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.  Mark your calendars, and expect one weird crowd.

NEW ON DVD:

The Brooklyn Heist [AKA Capers] (2008):  Three teams of criminals each plan to rip off the same Brooklyn pawnbroker on the same night in this caper spoof; the twist is that each team is living in a different cinematic reality, including a gang apparently based on the French New Wave whose scenes are shot in black and white.  This comedy slipped under our radar, but reviews and film festival audience reactions were both positive.  Looks worth a shot. Buy Brooklyn Heist from Amazon.

WEB EXCLUSIVES:

Creepy Christmas Film Fest: 25 short films, one for every day from Dec. 1st to Dec. 25th, each built around a different creepy Christmas toy selected by artist Beck Underwood from her grandmother’s collection.  The subtly disturbing films come from Larry Fessenden, Voltaire, Graham Reznick, and Ti West, among others.  A couple of these shorts will be featured on these pages in the coming month; for the other 23, you’ll have to go to creepychristmas.net.  It’s a recommended visit.

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

Next week we will review two unrelated vampire movies with the same name: Thirst (1979) and Thirst (2009).  There’s also a good chance we may get up a review of Richard Kelly‘s latest, The Box (2009): there’s sure to be a difference of opinion among our writers on this one!  Also, on Thursday Alfred gives us 10 weird Yuletide choices, so start trying to work up some holiday spirit, won’t you?

Though you can probably see it in the post above this one, I’d like to point out that we have another top 10 list, this one by Graham Reznick, director of the certified weird movie I Can See You.  We love to see what others think is weird and why, so we’re thrilled to have this new contribution!

In terms of the weirdest search term used to locate the site last week: we fall into a little trap with this one.  Talk just once about rape movies or pony riding cults when you’re picking up on unusual search terms, and the search engines pick it up and the next week you’re hit with 100 requests along the same line.  So, we had plenty of pretty pony fans stumbling onto the site last week, and probably leaving disappointed.   This week we’re going with a non-fetish choice: “”hours of productivity independent movie explode.”  You could make a true statement by rearranging those words slightly: “independent movies explode hours of productivity.”  At least, I’ve found that to be true.

The ever-growing, sadly neglected 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], and Dark CountryAfter Last Season and Dark Country are most likely to jump ahead in the review queue as we continue to focus on covering 2009 releases before 2010 rolls around.

WEIRD HORIZON FOR THE WEEK OF 11/27/09

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):

Home (2008):  When a busy highway opens next to a rural Swiss homestead, the insular family takes increasingly desperate and bizarre measures to block out the intrusion of the outside world.  Starring Isabelle Huppert, this Swiss entry for the 2009 foreign language Academy Award is receiving fantastic reviews.  No official site located. The trailer below makes it look like a wacky comedy, but reviewers make it sound like a disturbing parable.

NEW ON DVD:

Shorts (2009): Robert Rodriguez directed kiddie fantasy about a rainbow-colored rock that grants wishes.  Critics describe it as hyperactive and unfocused: Toby Young of the Times goes so far as to say that it’s “[S]o structurally complicated that it almost qualifies as an experimental film.” Buy from Amazon.

NEW ON BLU-RAY:

Shorts (2009): See DVD review 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

Next week you can expect to see reviews of the “sick” film Feed (2005) and two opinions on the metaphysical Paul Giamatti comedy Cold Souls (2009).  Other films that may get tackled include Chan-wook Park‘s Thirst (2009), the Coen brothers’ A Serious Man (2009), or Richard Kelly‘s The Box (2009).  2009 is rushing to a close, and we have yet to discover a truly bizarre film released theatrically this year.

We go back to he fetish well for the weirdest search term used to locate the site this week: “riding pony sex napoleon riding cult.”

And the reader-suggested review queue is once again growing faster than we can knock titles off it.  Here’s how it stands now: 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, and Southland Tales.

WEIRD HORIZON FOR THE WEEK OF 11/20/2009

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):

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans: I don’t know how weird it will be, but if you know your movies you’ll immediately see that the concept is totally crazy: the great Werner Herzog remakes Abel Ferrara’s singular, bleak Bad Lieutenant, but as a self-aware action parody, with Nicolas Cage going wild (maybe channeling Klaus Hinski?) as the titular drug-crazed cop.  Even if it wasn’t getting excellent reviews, it would be worth seeing just for the talent mashup involved.   Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans official site.

Mr. Sadman: The interesting premise is that one of Saddam Hussein’s body doubles loses his job and moves to Los Angeles immediately before Iraq invades Kuwait in 1990.  The press release describes the impersonator’s journey as a “surreal quest to rediscover the love, adoration and fame he once knew;” we suspect that’s a “small s” surreal, but it sounds offbeat at the very least. Playing Los Angeles this week before heading off to DVD land.   Mr. Sadman official site.

SCREENINGS  (NEW YORK CITY):

I Can See You (2008):  Read our review of this “psychedelic campfire tale.”  Here’s your chance to see one of the weirdest movies of 2008 on a big screen in high definition, along with the 3-D short The Viewer.   Playing at NYU’s Cantor Film Center at 36 East 8th Street tonight only!

The Sun [Solzne] (2005):  It contains at least one crazy dream sequence, but this minimalist biopic about Emperor Horohito’s defeat from Russian director Alexander Sokurov is only a borderline weird pick; it’s still a noteworthy off-the-beaten-path choice for New Yorkers.  Playing at the Film Forum.

NEW ON DVD:

Franklyn (2008):  This weird-sounding film tells two converging stories, one set in modern London and the other in a fantastical Meanwhile City, which is ruled by religious fanatics.  The films fans compare the visual look to a low-budget City of Lost Children.  Another one we’ll need to take a look at down the road. Buy from Amazon.

The Limits of Control (2009): From Jim Jamursch, who brought us the anti-western Dead Man, comes this anti-thriller about a mysterious nameless, assassin in Spain meeting with enigmatic strangers in pursuit of an unknown mission. Buy from Amazon.

Thirst [Bakwji] (2009):  Korean ultra-stylist Chan-wook Park + vampirism; sounds like a match made in heaven (or hell) to us.  Buy from Amazon.

NEW ON BLU-RAY:

Fight Club (1999): David Fincher’s anarchic, very nearly surreal satire features brilliant performances by both Edward Norton and Brad Pitt.  It’s a weird movie favorite that’s long overdue on Blu-ray. 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.

WHAT’S IN THE PIPELINE

Not sure exactly what we’ll be reviewing next week, but for once, the problem is having too many options on what to publish, rather than too few. I think we’ll continue our “2009 in review” series with Growing Out, an indie horror about a musician who finds a head growing out of a cellar floor. We may also sneak in a review of Cold Souls, the Paul Giamatti expose about the black market soul trade. You can also expect to see a review of the offbeat 1979 vampire film Thirst. What else? Well, some possibilities include Johnny Got His Gun (1971), Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988), Housekeeping (1987), and Feed (2005)—you’ll just have to check out this space to find out for sure.

As for the weirdest search term used to locate the site this week, we may as well pick “sex movie in which fairies come near water,” which sounds like pretty weird request but could actually refer to an actual movie we’ve reviewed here. On the other hand, our favorite search term used to locate the site was “why are weird movies always the best”?

Here’s how the reader-suggested review queue looks: 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 (if it’s released), GozuTales of Ordinary Madness, The Wayward Cloud, Kwaidan, Six-String Samurai, Andy Warhol’s Trash, Altered States, Memento, Nightmare Before Christmas/Vincent/Frankenweenie, Johnny Got His Gun, The Science of Sleep, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.