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.


The Nutcracker in 3D:  This is a bit curious: a version of the Nutcracker re-imagined as a sci-fi-styled quest to restore the deposed Nutcracker to his throne usurped by the Rat King.  This looks to dumb down Tchaikovsky for kids the way Tim Burton’s latest did for Lewis Carrol, except this one looks even dumber.  Still, out of the nearly universally negative reviews, the one that caught our attention was the following: “Imagine watching Tchaikovsky’s ballet after taking a handful of peyote…” (Peter Hartlaub, San Francisco Chronicle).  From the extremely uneven Andrei Konchalovsky (who wrote Andrei Rublev and nearly erased that accomplishment by directing Tango & Cash), starring Elle Fanning, Nathan Lane and John Turturro.  The Nutcracker in 3D official site.

Undertow [Contracorriente]:  We’re going to let The Guardian‘s Steve Rose sum this one up for us: “...if you only see one gay Peruvian fisherman ghost story this year… It’s south-of-the-equator magical realism, natch, and Peru’s official selection for foreign film Oscar consideration.  Undertow [Contracorriente] official site (in Spanish).


Melancholia (upcoming 2011):  Lars von Trier’s post-Antichrist feature is also inspired by depression.  It’s described as a “psychological disaster film” about the end of the world, and the tagline promises “no more happy endings.”  Shooting is complete and they are in the process of editing.  Lars von Trier’s Melancholia Facebook page.

The Theater Bizarre (upcoming 2011): Upcoming omnibus horror film, with directors granted “total creative freedom” so long as their segments are “inspired by the term Grand Guignol.” The six directors are Douglas Buck, Buddy Giovinazzo (Combat Shock), David Gregory, Karim Hussain , Tom Savini, and (most notably to us) South Africa’s Richard Stanley (Hardware).  The Theater Bizarre press release.


America Lost and Found: The BBS Story: A Criterion Collection box set of the six revolutionary movies made between 1968 and 1972 by BBS Productions (the letters stood for Bob Rafelson, Bert Schneider, and Steve Blauner).  The titles include the widely acknowledged American classics Easy Rider (with its influentially weird cemetery acid trip scene), Five Easy Pieces, and The Last Picture Show, along with the slightly less heralded gems Drive She Said, A Safe Place, and The King of Marvin Gardens.  Most important for our purposes is the Monkee’s pop-surreal trip Head (1968), the weirdest (if not the best) of the lot and the movie that kicked off BBS.  Head and Easy Rider (at least) include new supplemental material from Criterion. A Christmas idea for the cinephile in your life. Buy America Lost and Found: The BBS Story (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray].

Angel Heart (1987) / Johnny Handsome (1989): Read our capsule review of Angel Heart.  Mixing Alan Parker’s weirdish/noirish metaphysical thriller with a relatively ordinary crime/revenge tale strikes us as thoughtless, callow marketing, but casual Mickey Rourke fans may be interested, and it offers a discount alternative to purchasing Angel Heart on a single Blu-ray (at the time of this writing, buying the two-pack was actually cheaper than buying the single disc version—we can’t guarantee any extras have been ported over from the single disc, though). Buy Angel Heart / Johnny Handsome (Two-Pack) [Blu-ray].

Terminator II: Judgment Day (1991) / Total Recall (1990): Stretch your definition of weird far enough and you may be able to fit in Total Recall, the blockbuster psychological thriller starring Arnold Schwarzenegger as a construction worker who takes a virtual reality trip to Mars (bizarre bonus points granted for being an adaptation of a Phillip K. Dick story). It’s paired with the ordinary but crowd-pleasing sci-fi actioner Terminator II from doubtable James Cameron for another bargain stocking stuffer. Buy Terminator 2: Judgment Day / Total Recall (Two-Pack) [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.

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