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 (LIMITED RELEASE):
We Need to Talk About Kevin: After her son commits an atrocity, a mom looks back on their troubled relationship and wonders if she was to blame, or if Kevin was evil from the womb. Not thoroughly weird, but it is heavily stylized and impressionistic, and it does inexplicably begin with the protagonist being hoisted over a vat of tomatoes. Expect an Oscar nom for Tilda Swinton. Opening in New York, then L.A., then the rest of us. We Need to Talk About Kevin official site.
SCREENINGS (NEW YORK CITY, Jan 12-16, 18):
Toll Booth [Gise Memuru] (2010): A psychological drama from Turkey about an unbalanced tollbooth operator who hallucinates on the job. Few reviewers have seen it but their notices have all been positive. No English language trailer exists for this interesting film. Playing at the Museum of Modern Art as part of the “Global Lens” series. Toll Booth at the Global Film Initiative.
NEW ON DVD:
Film Socialisme (2010): Jean-Luc Goddard’s latest film is enigmatically described as “a symphony in three movements,” titled “Things Such As,” “Quo Vadis Europe,” and “Humanities.” No one has been able to satisfactorily synopsize the plot. It’s split critics right down the middle, and it looks very weird. Buy Film Socialisme.
The Hellstrom Chronicle (1972): Today the fake documentary is considered a vehicle for comedy, but this 1972 mockumentary presents itself as a horror/sci-fi outing. A fictional scientist explains the threat insects pose to humanity, illustrated with then state-of-the-art microphotography of the sick and perverse world of bugs. A minor cult item that played college campuses in its heyday. Buy The Hellstrom Chronicle.
Jesus Christ Superstar (1973): The film adaptation of the seminal Andrew Lloyd Weber/Tim Rice rock opera takes some weirdish liberties with the setting, putting tanks and machine guns in ancient Judea (as if the rock music wasn’t anachronistic enough). It’s an interesting staging of a surprisingly thoughtful play about the paradoxes of predestination, but a big downside is that the vocal performances suffer in comparison to the mesmerizing 1970 concept album. We’re not aware of any special features (other than a digital copy) on this Universal re-release. Buy Jesus Christ Superstar.
Touch of Evil (1958): Orson Welles’ overheated noir about a Mexican lawman (Charlton Heston!) who uncovers border town corruption, embodied in the massive, commanding personality of bad cop Hank Quinlan (Welles). Maybe it’s not completely weird, but if you’ve never seen it you’ll likely be amazed at the ornate camerawork, frighteningly quirky characters, Code-challenging evocations of drugs and rape, and general ahead-of-its-time style. Again, there are no known extras other than a digital copy but this classic crime film has historically been underrepresented on home video, so any release counts as a good one. Buy Touch of Evil.
NEW ON BLU-RAY:
Film Socialisme (2010): See description in DVD above. Buy Film Socialisme [Blu-ray].
The Hellstrom Chronicle (1972): See description in DVD above. Buy The Hellstrom Chronicle [Blu-ray].
FREE (LEGITIMATE RELEASE) MOVIES ON YOUTUBE:
Maniac (1934): Read the certified weird entry! Here it is: all the orangutang men, eyeball-eating, cat-skinning, and syringe catfights one person can stand! It’s widely considered one of the worst movies ever made, yet holds an 89% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes. Can your sanity handle the unsettling madness that is Maniac? It is not unlike a grape, or an oyster… Watch Maniac 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.