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.
IN THEATERS (LIMITED RELEASE):
K-11 (2012): A record producer wakes up after a night of partying and finds himself imprisoned in Los Angeles Prisons K-11 unit—that’s where they send the homosexuals and transgendered folk. Directed by Kristen Stewart’s mom Jules (a veteran Hollywood script supervisor), it currently scores a 0% positive on Rotten Tomatoes, though on the plus side the Hollywood Reporter called it “like a deranged John Waters remake of The Shawshank Redemption.” K-11 official site.
Reality (2012): A fishmonger becomes so obsessed with appearing on the Italian version of the “Big Brother” reality TV show that he loses touch with reality. This satire appears to have some surreal moments and is earning a lot of comparisons to the works of Fellini. Reality official site.
Spring Breakers (2012): Harmony Korine‘s new movie—which looks like a return to the exploitation roots of his first screenplay, the juvenile delinquency shocker Kids—features ex-Disney starlets Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens and is being pumped by MTV. It looks like it could be Korine’s first ever non-weird directorial effort, but we’re sure he’ll slip something strange in there. Spring Breakers official site.
Upside Down (2013): A Romeo/Juliet romance in a bizarre setting: twin planets with opposing gravity, one sitting on top of the other. Surely there’s nothing weird here besides the high concept and the visuals, but those are strange enough to at least earn this movie a mention. Upside Down official site.
Vanishing Waves (2012): A therapist becomes erotically involved with a patient in a coma when he uses an experimental technique to enter her sleeping consciousness. A Lithuanian movie being distributed in the US by exciting newcomer Artsploitation Films, it will play New York this week with Chicago and LA dates to follow. Vanishing Waves official site.
SCREENINGS – (Portland,OR, Tues. Mar. 19):
Maximum Shame (2010): Read our capsule review! Carlos Atanes‘ “apocalyptic fetish horror musical chess sci-fi weird feature movie” gets a rare US screening for lucky Portlanders. The Hollywood Theater must be a pretty weird venue if this is what they show on a Tuesday. Maximum Shame at Hollywood Theater, Portland, OR.
FILM FESTIVALS – 51st Annual Ann Arbor Film Festival (Ann Arbor, MI, Mar. 19-24):
Let’s face it: with over 200 experimental films (mostly shorts) screening, most of them from directors so obscure even we’ve never heard of them, writing even a short guide to the 2012 AAFF is too daunting a task for us to take on. Two of the highlights we noticed: “Psychedelic Visions and Expanded Consciousness – Los Angeles in the ’60s and ’70s” (March 20) and a Suzan Pitt retrospective (split into two sessions, March 21 & 23, it covers essentially all of Pitt’s surreal animations, and she’ll be on hand to answer questions). Wander into any random screening at Ann Arbor and chances are what you see would qualify as “weird.” This one features the most disturbing Film Festival trailer we’ve yet to see. Ann Arbor Film Festival homepage.
NEW ON DVD:
Alice in Wonderland (1966): This black and white, minimally staged version of the famous story, made for British television, features Peter Sellers as the King of Hearts and Sir John Gielgud as the Mock Turtle. Curious that this should show up now, as the BBC released an elaborate, extras-laden edition of this title in 2010. Buy Alice in Wonderland.
Alice Through the Looking Glass (1973): Luckless (or lucky) Alice finds herself stuck in yet another magical realm of nonsense, where she meets characters like Tweedledee and Tweedledum and Humpty Dumpty. This belated followup to the BBC’s 1966 hit TV movie doesn’t feature the star power of Wonderland, and to our knowledge it has never been released on Region 1 DVD before now. Buy Alice Through the Looking Glass.
Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away (2012): A woman is enticed to enter a strange circus tent and finds herself traveling through multiple carnivalesque dimensions, each of which just happens to be based on a separate Cirque du Soleil production. This “movie” is little more than a sampler/ad for CdS’s semi-surreal live shows, but it is cheaper than dropping a C-note to get into one of their Vegas showrooms. Buy Cirque Du Soleil: Worlds Away.
Free Radicals: A History of Experimental Cinema (2012): The title tells all; this is an 80 minute survey of 20th century experimental film, highlighted by the final recorded interview of pioneer Stan Brakhage. This doc takes its name from a five minute animated short by Len Lye, which is included in its entirety. Buy Free Radicals: A History of Experimental Cinema.
This Must Be the Place (2011): Here’s a truly odd premise for a comedy: a retired goth-rock star hunts the Nazi who persecuted his father at Auschwitz. Starring Sean Penn, of all people, as the laconic, androgynous angel of vengeance. Buy This Must Be the Place.
NEW ON BLU-RAY:
Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away [Limited 3D Edition] (2012): See description in DVD above. This set includes a Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D and DVD copy. Buy Cirque Du Soleil: Worlds Away [Blu-ray].
This Must Be the Place (2011): See description in DVD above. Buy This Must Be the Place [Blu-ray].
Tristana (1970): A respectable old man with one weakness—women—seduces a younger woman put into his charge; she escapes him, but later returns after she loses her leg. From the Cohen Film Collection, this restored version includes an alternate ending to Luis Buñuel‘s psychosexual classic. Buy Tristana [Blu-ray].
FREE (LEGITIMATE RELEASE) MOVIES ON YOUTUBE:
Zontar, the Thing from Venus (1966): Zontar (the three-eyed thing from Venus) comes to Earth and starts enslaving people using his monster bat minions, but one scientist is convinced he’s a good guy who’s just misunderstood. This made-for-TV remake of Roger Corman‘s It Conquered the World was so bad, it embarrassed even director Larry (Mars Needs Women) Buchanan.
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.