Category Archives: Miscellanea

WEIRD HORIZON FOR THE WEEK OF 4/24/09

Every Friday, we take 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.

NEW ON DVD:

Dante 01 (2008):  This sci-fi penal colony film with messianic overtones slipped well under the radar, which is somewhat surprising since it’s directed by Marc Caro, who together with Jean-Pierre Jeunet was one half of the directing team behind the classic weirdfilms Delicatessen (1991) and City of Lost Children (1995). Poorly reviewed. Buy from Amazon.   

The House of the Sleeping Beauties (2006): Allegorical German adult fairy tale about a brothel where men pay to spend the night with beautiful women who are trapped in a permanent slumber.  From the Japanese story “Nemureru bijo” by novelist Yasunari Kawabata, which has been adapted on film three times in Japan (1968, 1995, 2007).  Buy from Amazon.

NEW ON BLU-RAY:

Sin City (2005):  The Robert Rodriguez-directed, Frank Miller-penned, noirish comic-book-come-to-life receives a 2-disc Blu-ray special edition, with the original theatrical release on disc 1 and a “recut” version (actually, it sounds like it’s four new versions, since each of four separate storylines is edited into it’s own mini-movies).  Contains 20 minutes of extra footage and abundant extras.  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.

WEIRD HORIZON FOR THE WEEK OF 4/16/09

Every Friday, we take 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.

FILM FESTIVALS:

The San Francisco International Film Festival opens April 23 and runs through May 7.  Francis Ford Coppola (Apocalypse Now) will be honored and do an in-person Q&A session on May 1.  Intriguing revivals include Fellini’s (non-weird) Nights of Cabiria (1957) on May 3rd, Sergio Leone’s (non-weird) Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) on May 3rd, and the silent stop motion dinosaur adventure film The Lost World (1925), with a new score composed and performed by Dengue Fever on May 5th.  New films of potential weird appeal include:

  • Everything Strange and New, a minimalist story of suburban angst with a twist (Apr. 26, 28 & May 2)
  • Grace, the tale of a baby who is born undead (May 1 &4)
  • Handle with Care, a compilation of seven short visually experimental pieces (Apr. 26, May 1)
  • Korean director Pil-sung Yim’s dark take on the Hansel & Gretel fairy tale (Apr,. 24, 27 & 30)
  • The Immaculate Conception of Little Dizzle, an absurdist comedy about janitors undergoing male pregnancy (May 2 & 6)
  • Parting Shots, another collection of experimental shorts (Apr. 25 & 28)
  • Rembrandt’s J’accuse, an essay/documentary on the Rembrandt painting by weird director and artist Peter Greenaway (Apr. 26, 27 & 28)
  • The Tiger’s Tail, a doppelgänger fable set in modern Ireland (Apr 24 & 26)
  • Wild Field, a Russian film about a doctor relocated to rural Kazakhstan, described as coming out of the “tradition of dark, existential Russian tragicomedy” (Apr. 25 & 28).

NEW ON DVD:

The Spirit (2008):  Frank Miller’s followup to the cult hit Sin City (2005), with Samuel L. Jackson, is another visually inventive comic book adaptation, but this one was critically panned as incoherent (not necessarily an indictment, if you’re into weird).  Buy from Amazon

NEW ON BLU-RAY:

The Thirteenth Floor (1999):  A scientist must enter a computer-simulation of 1930s Los Angeles to discover the truth about a murder in this recursive virtual reality thriller that was overshadowed by The Matrix on release .  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.

WEIRD HORIZON FOR THE WEEK OF 4/10/09

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.

Slim pickings again this week… it’s feast or famine in the weird world.

NEW ON DVD:

No Country for Old Men (3-Disc Collector’s Edition + Digital Copy) (2007):  This 2007 Academy Award winner for Best Picture doesn’t seem too weird, but the Coen Brothers (Barton Fink) are always of interest.  This Collector’s Edition includes a digital copy for downloading onto your computer’s hard drive or Ipod.  Buy from Amazon

NEW ON BLU-RAY:

2010: The Year We Make Contact (1984):  This sequel to Kubrick’s classically weird 2001: A Space Odyssey is a straightforward sci-fi tale that values over-explanation instead of cosmic mystery, but it has its defenders and it’s something that fans of the original will be interested in checking out. 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.

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WEIRD HORIZON FOR THE WEEK OF 4/2/09

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):

Alien Trespass:  A stylized spoof of 1950s drive-in sci-fi fare.  Reviewers have been unkind (only 27% positive at Rotten Tomatoes).  Alien Trespass official site.

C Me Dance:  Story of a teenage dancer who develops the ability to convert people to Christianity, which cheeses off the Devil and brings him to suburbia.  It seems sincere, which is the necessary substrate for camp.  It’s highly unlikely anyone will ever release a good movie that contains textspeak within the title.  C Me Dance official site.

Gigantic:  Self-described “funny, surreal love story” about a mattress salesman who dreams of adopting a Chinese baby and finds true love when a customer falls asleep on one of the mattresses.  This indie comedy looks more “quirky” than “weird,” but no one can know for sure without watching it.   With Zooey Deschanel and John Goodman.  Gigantic official site.

NEW ON DVD:

A Cat in the Brain (1990):  Everyday life is causing an Italian grindhouse director (director Lucio Fulci, playing himself) to flashback to scenes of cannibal orgies from his own movies.  He sees a psychiatrist who may be even nuttier and more depraved than the director.  Unapologetically ultraviolent. 

Cthulu (2007):  If you always wondered, “what eons-forgotten actress has the eerie, alien look which best evokes the Old Ones of H.P. Lovecraft’s mythos?” and came up with the answer “Tori Spelling,” then this just might be the movie for you.  Based on the Lovecraft story “The Shadow over Innsmouth.”    

Tehilim (2007):  Allegorical tale told in documentary style about an Israeli family who use various methods of coping when the father inexplicably disappears.  Nominated for the Golden Palm at Cannes in 2007.

Tokyo Zombie (2005):  It’s been called a Japanese Shaun of the Dead, which suggests something gorier and more extreme in the violence department, and wackier and more unhinged in the comedy department.  Directed by Sakicho Sato, who scripted Ichi the Killer, so it has a weird pedigree. 

NEW ON BLU-RAY:

Ghosts of Mars (2001):  From borderline weird cult director John Carpenter (Big Trouble in Little China) comes this unofficial remake of his earlier action classic Assault on Precinct 13, this time with the action happening on Mars.  This movie had few defenders even among Carpenter fans, and almost none elsewhere.  With Ice Cube.

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

A full review of the classic 1962 microbudget horror, Carnival of Souls, should post tomorrow.

Next in the review queue is Terry Gilliam’s 2005 offering, Tideland.

Alfred Eaker has agreed to provide writing for the site on a weekly basis.  We’re looking forward to his critical re-evaluation of Tod Browning’s Dracula on Thursday.

In addition, we are working on moving the entire site to new hosting as soon as possible.  WordPress free hosting has been truly wonderful and we recommend it wholeheartedly to anyone looking to start a free blog.  We can offer more content and hopefully deliver some improvements to the site by moving it to our own domain, however.  This website will remain here indefinitely, but new content will be posted at the new domain once it’s up and running.

WEIRD HORIZON FOR THE WEEK OF 3/27/09

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 (WIDE RELEASE):

Monsters vs. Aliens (2009):  A DreamWorks 3-D adventure for children about a group of mutated monsters fighting an alien invasion.  The trailer begin with the phrase “The weird will save the world.”  Moderately interesting possibility to introduce kids to old b-movie tropes. Also screening in IMAX.  Featuring the voice of Reese Witherspoon.    Monsters vs. Aliens Official Site

That’s it this week!  Remarkably slim pickings for fans of the offbeat…

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.

WEIRD HORIZON FOR THE WEEK OF 3/20/09

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)

Knowing (2009):  Alex Proyas (Dark City) brings us this “Twilight Zone” style tale with Nicolas Cage about a time capsule that contains coded prophecies for the future.  Generally panned, but curiosity rises with descriptions of a conclusion described as “ridiculous” and “ludicrous” that dropped critics jaws.  It may be unintentional comedy in the vein of Cage’s recent The Wicker Man remake flop.  Knowing Official Site.

FILM FESTIVALS:

The New York International Film and Video Festival begins tonight in Manhattan and runs through Thursday, March 27th, showcasing underground and experimental shorts along with documentaries and feature films.  Movies of potential weird interest include the Indian comedy I Am a Love Addict,  W the MovieThe Gingerbread House (an Italian retelling of Hansel and Gretel), Let Me Out, Heaven Earth (an “experimental documentary” about hallucinogenic South American plants),  Sacred Game, and the violent Malaysian comedy The Dogs.

NEW ON DVD:

The Murnau Collection:  From the archivists at Kino comes this essential set of restored classics, containing Nosferatu (1922), the weirdest and scariest Dracula adaptation, and the expressionist masterpiece The Last Laugh (1924), along with the essential historical films The Haunted Castle (1921), The Finances of the Grand Duke (1924), Tartuffe (1925), and Faust (1926).  Each disc comes with extensive extras, and The Haunted Castle,  The Finances of the Grand Duke and Faust also receive separate special edition releases.  A nice catch for lovers of early cinema, although four of these six films were already available, along with the documentary Tabu (1931), on Kino’s earlier box set, “The F.W. Murnau Collection”.

NEW ON BLU-RAY:

Sleepy Hollow (1999)/Sweeny Todd (2007):  A double feature release of two Gothic Tim Burton/Johhny Depp collaborations is always worth a mention.

WEIRD HORIZON FOR THE WEEK OF 3/13/09

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):

Race to Witch Mountain (2009):  This remake of Disney’s popular 1975 fantasy Escape to Witch Mountain, about two orphan kids with supernatural powers and unknown origins, has been getting hammered by critics who think it’s shallow but action-packed.  With The Rock (Dwayne Johnson), whose presence provides another reason to be skeptical.   Escape to Witch Mountain Official Site.

IN THEATERS (LIMITED RELEASE):

The Perfect Sleep (2009):  An existential film noir tribute about a retired assassin who returns to a nameless city to protect the only woman he has ever loved.  Sounds intriguing.  The Perfect Sleep Official Site.

Severed Ways: The Norse Discovery of America (2009):  This micro-budget, DIY film about two Vikings stranded in North America in 1007 AD has been savaged by critics who are unimpressed by its “independent spirit.”  With a black metal soundtrack, amateur production values, dialogue in Old Norse, rape and defecation, this appears to be a genuine el cheapo oddity of the sort that in years past might have played at the bottom third of a drive-in triple bill.   Severed Ways Official Site 

UPCOMING NEXT WEEK:

W the Movie (2008):  Politically charged, psychedelic assault on the presidency of George W. Bush.  From the trailer, it seems to have that NYC underground film spirit that has gone AWOL of late.  Premiering at the New York International Film Festival on March 20th, 10:00 PM, at the Village East Cinema.  Future dates to be decided.   W the Movie Official Site.

NEW ON DVD:

Ben X (2007): Under-the-radar Belgian fest-favorite about a mildly autistic boy who blurs the line between video game reality and high school reality.  Variety says it’s “a potential crowd-pleaser that could appeal to auds predisposed toward the likes of ‘Donnie Darko.'”

Escape to Witch Mountain (1975) (Special Edition): Disney is re-releasing the 70s children’s fantasy to coincide with the remake (see above).  Also receiving special edition treatment this week is the 1978  sequel, Return from Witch Mountain.

Groom Lake (2002):  All you need to know is that it’s a cheap “UFOs are out there!” movie written by, directed by, and starring the inimitable William Shatner. 

Howard the Duck (1986) (Special Edition):  This notorious George Lucas produced 80s kiddie fantasy bomb about a cigar-smoking duck from an alternate universe who winds up saving the universe from evil aliens in Cleveland is finally getting a long-awaited video release.  It’s your chance to judge for yourself whether it deserves its reputation as one of the worst big-budget pictures ever, or if its an underacknowleged masterpiece.

Let the Right One In (2008): Innovative Swedish movie about a 12 year old boy who falls in love with a neighbor girl who is a vampire.  A presumedly inferior Hollywood remake is already in the works for those too lazy to read subtitles.

Synecdoche, New York (2008):  The directorial debut by weird scriptwriter Charles Kaufman (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) is a typically twisty tale of a director who seeks to recreate a miniature New York City inside a giant warehouse. 

NEW ON BLU-RAY:

Se7en (1995):  The visually innovative debut film from David (Fight Club) Fincher about a serial killer who models his crimes on the seven deadly sins became both a box-office and cult success despite its morbid and depressing nature.  The presence of Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman certainly helped. 

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.

WEIRD HORIZON FOR THE WEEK OF 3/6/09

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):

Watchmen (2009):  The big-budget adaptation of the cult comic book series set in the late Cold War era, in an America where comic book superheroes are part of the normal fabric of society.  Visually impressive and violent, it looks headed to be a small blockbuster.  Watchmen Official Site

IN THEATERS (LIMITED RELEASE):

Tokyo! (2008):  A suite of three fantastic, surreal short stories directed by three different international directors (Michel Gondry, Leos Carax and Joon-Ho Bong), all set in Tokyo.  Not surprisingly, the stories appear to focus on the theme of urban alienation.  Tokyo! Official Site (in Japanese)

NEW ON DVD:

Ashes of Time Redux [Dung che sai duk redux] (2008):  Wong Kar Wai’s re-edit of his 1994 martial arts epic finally gets a proper DVD release, after a very limited (in the US, at least) theatrical run.  May not be strictly weird, but it’s a classic entry from an oft-weird genre (the wuxia film) by an occasionally weird director, and it’s something of a milestone in recent world cinema.

Treasures IV: American Avant-Garde Film, 1947-1986:  This 2 disc, 5 hour collection of avant-garde shorts (live action, documentary and animated) is a must for serious students of the subject.   Includes a film from the prolific and provocative George Kuchar (I, an Actress) and Andy Warhol (Mario Banana (No. 1)) alongside the work of many more obscure experimental filmmakers.

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.