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):
Where the Wild Things Are: Weird director Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation) takes a crack at adopting the titular classic 1963 children’s book, with the blessing of author Maurice Sendack. Unlikely to be weird, but the previews show Jonze has done a remarkable job of bringing Sendack’s fanciful illustrations to life, and it’s always interesting to see what Spike’s up to. Is this a one-off moneymaking detour for Jonze, or will a big hit here make him renounce his weird proclivities? His followup project, an adaptation of Shane Jones’ weird novel “Light Boxes” about a town that battles eternal February (projected for a 2011 release) suggests we haven’t lost him yet. Where the Wild Things Are official site.
NEW ON DVD:
Drag Me To Hell (2009): Read our capsule review. Sam Raimi‘s multiplex-friendly classic horror film isn’t weird, but it is an effective and well-made thrillride that has lots of in-jokes for Evil Dead II fans. Buy from Amazon.
Hardware (1990): Fangoria calls this long-unavailable post-apocalyptic sci-fi horror film about a man who finds a robot head in the desert “gritty, trippy and frightening.. one of the best horror movies you’ve never seen!” Sounds intriguing to us, particularly since director Richard Staley followed this up with Dust Devil (1992), another horror film with a reputation for surrealistic tendencies that’s been on our radar for a while. Buy from Amazon
Natural Born Killers (1994): This week sees a new 2-disc “director’s cut” version Oliver Stone’s controversial, violent, hallucinogenic satire on America’s fascination with violence, which on release was way too weird for mainstream critics to swallow. The movie’s not perfect, but it is quite trippy, well-intentioned, and much better than received critical opinion would lead you to believe. Look to these pages for a full review in the future. Buy from Amazon
NEW ON BLU-RAY:
Drag Me To Hell (2009): See DVD review above. Buy Blu-ray from Amazon.
Land of the Lost (2009): See DVD review above. Buy Blu-ray from Amazon
Natural Born Killers (1994): See DVD review above. Buy Blu-ray from Amazon
South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (1999): After four cardboard cutout children see a Canadian R-rated movie, America declares war on their neighbors to the north; Saddam Hussein and Satan get worked into the plot as well. We haven’t seen it, but we can guess what you’ll get from watching the TV show: the usual blend of clever plotting, bits of pop-absurdity, spotty satire and crude, cruel humor, with the R-rating giving the creators an excuse to focus on the last element. This popular title is finally available on Blu-Ray. Buy Blu-ray from Amazon.
NEW FREE (LEGITIMATE) MOVIES ON YOUTUBE:
Carnival of Souls (1998): NOT the creepy 1968 Herk Harvey/Candice Hilligoss classic (which can be seen for free here, among other places), but a remake-in-name-only with a horrible reputation, about a pedophile clown. Interesting mainly because it’s almost universally reviled; watch only if you want to see how low filmmakers can sink in their quest for a buck. Watch Carnival of Souls (1998) free on YouTube.
Salome’s Last Dance (1988): One of Ken Russell‘s rarer films is now available for streaming. By all accounts, the director plays this period piece about a staging of Oscar Wilde’s infamous banned play “Salome” in a brothel relatively straight, but it’s still Ken Russell, so expect ample baroque perversity. Watch Salome’s Last Dance free on YouTube.
Taxi Driver (1979): No, we’re not kidding: you can now watch the Martin Scorcese/Robert DeNiro urban alienation classic for free on YouTube, courtesy of Crackle. Not very weird, at least up until the ambiguous ending, but a consistently fascinating character study of a decaying mind and a classic of 1970s filmmaking. Watch Taxi Driver 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.