Our weekly 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.
SCREENINGS – (Los Angeles, CA, Sep. 11-12):
The Keep (1983): Nazis reluctantly seek the help of a Jewish historian to re-imprison a demon they have accidentally released from his fortress prison. This strange synopsis, combined with the fact that this seldom-screened Michael Mann movie has never been released on DVD, makes this a major curiosity for Los Angelinos to check out. Details on The Keep screening at Cinefamily.
FILM FESTIVALS – TOROTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL (Toronto, Ont., Can., Sep. 5 -15):
As you can see from the list below, TIFF has become the North American destination for sub-blockbuster films, including weird ones. We found a ton of intriguingly bizarre nuggets hidden in TIFF’s massive film buffet, and that’s excluding shorts (with one important exception) and movies that already debuted at other festivals, such as Alex van Warmerdam‘s Borgman, the Jodorowsky’s Dune documentary, Jim Jarmusch‘s Only Lovers Left Alive, and Shion Sono‘s Why Don’t You Play in Hell? If we’re lucky, half of the potential gems listed below will emerge from this festival with reasonable distribution deals:
- Airships – The first new Kenneth Anger short film in three years is nine minutes of footage of dirigibles in anaglyphic 3D. Screening tonight, Sep 6., only, at 6:30 PM.
- Asphalt Watches – Two vagabonds take a road-trip across Canada, meeting eccentric characters like an ex-con who wants to put them through “intensive Santa training,” in this surreal and satirical Flash-animated feature. Sep 10, 12 & 13.
- Attila Marcel – Triplets of Belleville animator Sylvain Chomet‘s first live-action feature evokes Jacques Tati and slapstick comedy; the protagonist is mute, but it’s a musical nonetheless. Sep 6, 12 & 15.
- Bastardo – Tunisian film, described as a combination of film noir and magical realism, about a (literal) bastard who tries to wrest control of his neighborhood from gangs. Sep. 8, 10, 14.
- Celestial Wives of the Meadow Mari – This vignette film which explores the pagan feminism of the reclusive Russo-Finnish Mari ethnic group is currently in our reader-suggested review queue. Sep. 11, 12, 14.
- The Double – Jesse Eisenberg stars in this comic adaptation of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s novella about a man whose exact double suddenly appears and usurps his life. Sep 7, 9, 15.
- Enemy – Another doppelganger flick, this one starring Jake Gyllenhaal, who tracks down a man he sees in a movie who looks just like him, with reality-bending results. Sep. 8-9.
- A Field in England – Ben Wheatley‘s latest movie sounds like it may be his weirdest yet: the story of soldiers during the English Civil War who accidentally eat psychedelic mushrooms while searching for buried treasure. Sep. 13-14.
- Horns – An accused killer (Daniel Radcliffe) awakes one day to find horns growing from his head and people suddenly anxious to confess their secrets to him. Sep. 6 & 8.
- Metallica: Through the Never – You may have seen the trailer for this 3-D mix of a Metallica concert film with some sort of post-apocalyptic roadie road trip; it looks pretty headscratching, and, sadly, Kontroll‘s Nimród Antal directs.
- Moebius – A tale of incest, castration and sadomasochism from Ki-duk Kim; not sure if it’s weird per se, but not something grandma’s going to be interested in. Sep. 12, 13 & 15.
- People In Places – A series of absurd, “Buñuelian” sketches made by a Spaniard working on a microbudget. Sep. 6, 7 & 13.
- R100 – A sadomasochistic sex comedy from Hitoshi Matsumoto about a businessman who joins a secret club that arranges for dominatrices to attack its members in public places. Sep. 12-14.
- Real – Another post-Inception psychological thriller about a man entering the subconscious of another; this time it’s the mind of a comatose lover and the direction comes courtesy of Kiyoshi Kurosawa.
- Rhymes for Young Ghouls – Set on a reservation, the story concerns a teenage girl drug dealer getting revenge on a corrupt Indian Agent with the help of her dead ancestors. Sep. 9-10.
- Soul – Described as a psychological thriller, the plot synopsis suggests this Taiwanese film is about two souls inhabiting the same body. Sep. 9-10, 14.
- Story of My Death – The scenario is simply stated: it’s Casanova meets Count Dracula (literally). Sep. 5-6, 15.
- The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears – Hélène Cattet & Bruno Forzani return with another modern giallo. Sep. 11-12, 14.
- Thou Gild’st the Even – A sick love story set in a Turkish village inhabited by a giant, an invisible woman, a man who can stop time, and other magical creatures. Sep. 8, 10, 13.
- La última película – A remake of Dennis Hopper’s drugged-out disaster The Last Movie, about a filmmaker trying to make a psychedelic Western in Mexico. Sep. 10 & 12.
- Witching & Bitching – Alex de la Iglesia‘s latest sounds like From Dusk Till Dawn with witches; bank robbers fleeing a heist run into a coven in the woods. Sep 14-15.
- The Wonders – A bartender/cartoonist is drawn into Jerusalem’s criminal underbelly when he discovers a kidnapped rabbi; the director describes it as “Lewis Carroll meets Carol Reed.” Sep. 8, 10, 15.
Curiously, there are exactly 366 new films screening at this year’s festival. We see what you did there, TIFF. You can expect to hear from our lawyers. Toronto International Film Festival official site.
NEW ON DVD:
Blancanieves (2012): This modern silent film retells the story of Snow White, set in the world of Spanish bullfighting in the 1920s. It looks a bit closer to The Artist than to Guy Maddin, but we’d be thrilled if the powers that be release just one silent film per year. Buy Blancanieves.
“Elfen Lied” (2004): A beautiful mutant bred to be a military weapon escapes from her research facility and is hunted by the military. This 13-episode anime features nudity, gore and perversion and was described by some Internet sources as “weird” and “WTF.” Better be. Buy “Elfen Lied: Complete Collection”.
Extracted (2012): A heroin addict accused of murdering his girlfriend serves as the test case for a scientist who has invented a technique to enter people’s minds and observe their memories. It sounds like a budget version of Inception. Buy Extracted.
The Lords of Salem (2012): Read our capsule review. Rob Zombie’s attempt to do Rosemary’s Baby by way of Ken Russell is extremely uneven but may be worth a look for the curious. Buy The Lords of Salem.
“Movies 4 You: More Sci-Fi Classics”: The “classics” are Edgar G.Ulmer‘s work-for-hire The Amazing Transparent Man (1960), the creature-features Reptilicus (1961) and The Neanderthal Man (1953), and the severed-head hit (and List Candidate) The Brain That Wouldn’t Die (1962). The Brain disc actually includes a deleted scene (reportedly topless) as a bonus feature! Buy “Movies 4 You: More Sci-Fi Classics”. Buy “4-Film Collection: Dusk Till Dawn”.
Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie (1996): See description in Blu-ray below.
Sharknado (2013): A tornado full of sharks; as the box cover proclaims, “enough said!” We’ve known about this film for some time, but, suffering from SFOMFS (Sy Fy Original Movie Fatigue Syndrome), we didn’t mention it. We never dreamed it would become a sensation. We will never again underestimate the popular appeal of mixing aquatic predators with natural disasters. Sharknado 2 has already been announced. Buy Sharknado.
Slacker (1991): Read our capsule review. We’re not sure if there are any differences between this two-disc Criterion Collection release and their 2004 two-disc edition, but copies of the previous version were getting harder to find, so a re-release (ahead of the Sep. 17th Blu-ray) is warranted. Buy Slacker (Criterion Collection).
NEW ON BLU-RAY:
“4 Film Collection: Dusk Till Dawn”: The original From Dusk Till Dawn was a bold mashup of nihilistic gangster film and b-horror movie from writer/actor Quentin Tarentino and director Robert Rodriguez (teaming up together for the first time) that doesn’t really start working until the vampires show up. Like the rest of the world, we have not seen the two straight-to-video sequels, or heard of the documentary Full-Tilt Boogie that constitutes the fourth film in this set. This set spans two Blu-rays, but is special-feature free.
Blancanieves (2012): See description in DVD above. Buy Blancanieves [Blu-ray].
“Elfen Lied” (2004): See description in DVD above. Buy “Elfen Lied: Complete Collection” [Blu-ray].
“Horror Classics Double Feature: Re-Animator (1985)/ The Hills Have Eyes (1977): 1977’s The Hills Have Eyes, about a family terrorized by a clan of mutant inbred cannibals, was a drive-in hit for Wes Craven. Stuart Gordon‘s transgressive 1985 black comedy Re-Animator is the gem here, however. Both features come with commentaries and special features (probably ported over from their respective DVD releases, though we didn’t verify that). Buy “Horror Classics Double Feature” (Re-Animator/The Hills Have Eyes) [Blu-ray].
The Lords of Salem (2012): See description in DVD above. This combo pack includes a DVD and an Ultraviolet copy. Buy The Lords of Salem [Blu-ray].
Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie (1996): Read our review. This Blu-ray/DVD combo pack replaces Universal’s insulting bare-bones release, and includes deleted scenes that were senselessly cut by original distributor Gramercy. DVD not sold separately. Buy Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie [BluRay/DVD Combo].
Sharknado (2013): See description in DVD above. Buy Sharknado [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.