Our second Netflix watch party (April and the Extraordinary World) was as well attended as the first. This might just be a quarantine thing, or it may turn into a regular feature of the site, but we’re going to go for number three.
We have had requests to move the time back to accommodate viewers who must put small children to bed, so we’re going to suggest starting next week’s showing at 10:30 PM EST, although we’ll consider different suggestions if mentioned in the comments.
Do note that next week’s April 11 showing will be the night before Easter and plan accordingly. (Maybe we can even find a weird Easter-themed movie to watch?)
And the winner is… not a surprise. Robert Eggers‘ salty historical horror The Lighthouse (2019) blew away the competition, winning each of its head-to-head match-ups handily. The runner-up was Hitoshi Matsumoto‘s kaiju mockumentary Big Man Japan (2007), which was valiant in defeat. The Lighthouse will now be officially added to our Apocryphally Weird list (although you may not see the write-up appear immediately, trust us, it’s lurking out there, waiting to strike…)
The results of the entire tournament can be seen here.
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Our weekly look at what’s weird in theaters, on hot-off-the-presses DVDs and Blu-rays (and hot off the server VODs), and on more distant horizons…
Trailers of new release movies are generally available at the official site links.
NEW RELEASE (STREAMING):
The Other Lamb (2019): A member of an all-female cult (led by a man, of course) begins having visions which lead her to question the only reality she has ever known. With no theaters open, many releases have been pushed back; distributors not overly anxious to debut their movies on VOD may be forced to do so anyway. Times are tough. Rent The Other Lamb.
FILM FESTIVALS – South by Southwest Film Festival (SXSW) (Online, April-May):
After floating the idea, South by Southwest has decided to go through with it: they’re holding their film festival (canceled in March) online. Amazon will host it for ten days. Filmmakers will be invited to participate and given compensation, but we don’t know which films will be available or even the exact dates yet (their aiming for April). The good news: it will be free to view. We weren’t extremely excited about this year’s lineup, with the possible exception of St. Vincent’s Nowhere Inn, but there always could be a surprise or two hiding there, and this format will allow all of us to search for those hidden gems together: no credentials or costly badge needed. More details when available; meanwhile, you can read the announcement on SWSX’s homepage.
In addition, all (we think) of the SWSX shorts have been made separately available free online through a partnership between e-mail marketer Mail Chimp and distributor Oscilloscope. If you spot anything cool in there, let us know in the comments. Watch SWSX shorts here.
IN DEVELOPMENT (pre-release):
She’s Allergic to Cats (2016): Read our festival review and listen to our interview. When G. Smalley’s opening line in his interview with the makers of this weird little video art comedy about an L.A. artist trying to recreate Carrie with cats and his improbable romance were: “please get this movie distribution.” Four years later, they finally heeded his advice. It will release on VOD next week, but we’re so excited we wanted to share the trailer with you now. We’ll pass along the rental link next week.
With everything shut down for the pandemic, a few repertory theaters have opened up “virtual screening rooms.” The Alamo Drafthouse chain, Row House Cinemas, San Francisco’s Roxie, The Frida, The Loft, and AFI Silver are examples. Not ideal, and not that much of a better end-user experience than just watching Netflix or renting something off Amazon, but you will be supporting the theater. Your ticket purchase could—theoretically—be the difference between the venue reopening or declaring bankruptcy when this is all over. We do have one canonically weird online screening to mention:
WHAT’S IN THE PIPELINE: First off, you may notice a new logo, designed by Joe Badon. No offense to our old designer, Ubik Designs, who donated the old graphics at the beginning of his career and has since moved on to better things. We may even break it out again occasionally for nostalgia’s sake, especially if we can figure out how to do one of those “rotating banner” things. Anyway, if you like Joe’s art, more can be found at his Esty shop.
Also, we still have two user polls rolling along. Our poll for the movie to watch for our second Netflix Party closes tonight at midnight; at this time, it looks like April and the Extraordinary World is going to be the pick. The party starts at 9:30 PM EST tomorrow evening; watch this website, Facebook, or Twitter ten minutes before showtime for the link to join. Last time was a lot of fun.
As far as next week’s reviews go, Giles Edwards will recap the sometimes nauseating Spanish capitalism allegory The Platform (the subject of our first Netflix Party). Pete Trbovich will take on the Exorcist rip-off Beyond the Door (1974) (and explains why he prefers it to its model). And G. Smalley is planning a trip into the long-neglected reader-suggested queue for a look at the anthropomorphic marsupial serial killer flick Executive Koala (2005), but reserves the option of substituting something more timely. With everyone stuck at home, we have nothing to do but order takeout, drink whiskey sours, and watch and write about weird movies. Onward and weirdward!
What are you looking forward to? If you have any weird movie leads that we have overlooked, feel free to leave them in the COMMENTS section.
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DIRECTED BY: Juliano Dornelles, Kleber Mendonça Filho
FEATURING: Bárbara Colen, Udo Kier, Sonia Braga, Thomas Aquino
PLOT: A group of killers isolate a small Brazilian village intending to massacre the residents for recreation, but find the peasants are more resourceful than they anticipated.
COMMENTS: Seeing the word “weird” used to describe a movie like Bacurau reminds us just how jaded we here at 366 Weird Movies are. The only unusual features of this Brazilian export are its slightly unconventional blend of art-house drama with ballsy genre filmmaking, along with some mild psychotropic visions and one quirky flying-saucer shaped drone. It may be a weird brew for general American audiences—the ones who would never go see a foreign or independent film anyway—or to professional critics who prefer to stick to the realist side of the art-house scene… but this sociological-study-cum-shoot-em-up isn’t exactlyLet the Corpses Tan.
With it’s magnificent landscapes, including some local cacti that could pass for Saguaro, Bacurau evokes the mythic West of Sergio Leone: it could be Once Upon a Time in Brazil. The opening scene includes a litter of coffins spilled onto the road leading into town, which sure reinforces that connection. By the end, when the resourceful tribe defends their eerily deserted town from the better-equipped invaders, the Bacurau takes on the shape of The Seven Samurai.
The first forty-five minutes paint a portrait of the hamlet of perhaps one hundred souls, planted in the middle of nowhere. A matriarch, the ancestor of a large percentage of the population, has just died, and nursing student Teresa returns, bearing a suitcase of vaccines, to attend her grandmother’s funeral. The town has a teacher, a doctor, a whore, a DJ who serves as the town crier and local news anchor when not pumping out the jams, and so forth; it also has a rather large library and a museum devoted to the town’s history. Things get strange when Bacurau suddenly disappears from Google Maps, a UFO is spotted, and bullet holes are found in the tanker truck that supplies them with fresh water. The nature of the trouble soon becomes apparent; a tour group of American thrill-killers have paid a small fortune to hunt these forgotten people for sport. The killing starts in the final act, but although squibs are not spared and plenty of red stuff splashes around, it’s not the action-packed bloodbath you might expect. Steering away from exploitative spectacle as much as possible (given the scenario), the killings are spread out, as the invaders are picked off one by one. You might guess that Udo Kier, the oldest, evilest, and most famous of the bad guys is the last one to go. I’ll never tell.
Many note that with the sympathetic portrayal of the villagers’ “degeneracy” (casual nudity and free love, acceptance of homosexuality, and liberal use of ethnobotonicals)—and the presence of crooked con-man mayor Tony Jr., representing provincial corruption—the film takes its shots at homophobic, right-wing Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro. Capitalism itself also comes in for quite a thrashing. On the other hand, Bolsonaro might be pleased with the film’s xenophobia aimed at the stereotyped Western interlopers (Kier is not a Nazi, he insists, shooting a companion to prove his point). He might also approve of the derision heaped on the invaders’ big city Brazilian allies, traitorous globalist collaborators shamelessly manipulated by shadowy outsiders. The line between anti-colonialism and populist nationalism is thin indeed.
Pulled from American theaters early due to the Covid-19 crisis, Bacurau is currently streaming via Kino Now. They have thoughtfully set up a system whereby the independent theaters that were supposed to screen the film can share the streaming revenue (check here for the list of participating venues). Kino probably could have kept all the revenue to themselves, as Disney did with the digital release of Onward, so they deserve massive respect for this move. Bacurau is not only a quality film, it’s a good way to support small (and big) businesses in a dry season.
This announcement came as such a surprise, we thought it’s worthy of its own post.
The Criterion Collection just pre-announced that their latest addition to their catalog of “important classic and contemporary cinema from around the world” will be Mark Region‘s 2009 experimental thriller After Last Season, which has been out-of-print and highly sought after since the original DVD run sold out. (We spotted a copy on E-bay recently; the asking price was over $200).
The lone film by the reclusive Region, After Last Season may seem like a strange edition to the Criterion catalog, but the art-house label has recently added the transgressive early works of John Waters to their catalog as they expand their range from stodgy art movies and begin to include more culturally significant cult films with edgy, DIY aesthetics.
These photographs (leaked onto the Internet by an unknown Criterion insider) are early boxcover mockups, not the finished product (which won’t go on sale until July 2020 at the earliest). Thanks to El Rob Hubbard for bringing them to our attention. According to the Criterion Collection website, the final release will have the following special features:
New 4K digital restoration, not approved by Region
After Last Season has been one of the rarest titles on our list of Canonically Weird movies, and we’re thrilled that the general public will finally get the chance to experience this… um… unusual film.
Celebrating the cinematically surreal, bizarre, cult, oddball, fantastique, strange, psychedelic, and the just plain WEIRD!