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.

FILM FESTIVALS – SUNDANCE (Park City, Utah, Jan 17-27):

We haven’t even wrapped up our review of 2012 yet, and the first notable films of 2013 are already rolling out as film festival season officially gets underway at Sundance, the American indie film institution. Although there are a couple of interesting sophomore films playing, we can’t say we’re bowled over by anything on the menu here; still, we’ll be following the notices and listening to the buzz for some of the potentially odd films listed below:

  • Emanuel and the Truth About Fishes – A teenager finds that her next-door neighbor uncannily resembles pictures of her dead mother in what’s described as a “hyperstylized and often darkly humorous film that vacillates between surrealism and realism.” Screening Jan. 18-21, 23, 25.
  • Escape from Tomorrow – A middle aged man follows two jailbait teen girls through an increasingly fantastic Disney-styled theme park. Jan 18-20, 24, 26.
  • Fat Shaker – A sick, fat father tyrannizes his deaf-mute son until a mysterious woman arrives to break the cycle in this Farsi-language fable. Jan. 18-19, 21, 24.
  • Halley – A security guard withdraws from the world as his body starts to waste away; advertised as “the first Mexican narrative film to shoot at the North Pole.” Jan. 18-19, 21, 26.
  • Magic Magic – A young woman vacationing with friends in Chile loses her mind as insomnia takes over her life. Jan. 22-24, 36.
  • The Rambler ‘s followup to his utterly surreal The Oregonian sounds like more of the same, with a male wandering protagonist (Dermot Mulroney) instead of a female one. Jan. 21-22, 24-25.
  • Stoker‘s highly anticipated American debut stars as a girl who becomes obsessed with her uncle after the death of her father; Nicole Kidman plays the crazy, sadistic mother.
  • Upstream Color – The long-delayed second feature from Primer writer/director sounds even more obscure than his puzzling time travel debut, with a plot synopsis hinting at microscopic alien presences that possess two human hosts. Jan 21 – 26.
  • Virtually Heroes – Characters in a first-person shooter video game question the meaning of their existence; notable as the first produced film to ever screen at Sundance (in the “Midnight” category, natch). Jan 18-19, 22, 24, 26.


Branded (2012): A man discovers an advertising conspiracy in what the press release describes as “a dark and mind-bending journey into a surreal, dystopian society.” Neither audiences nor critics responded well to this barely-released dystopian satire, but we promise to keep an open mind. Buy Branded.

The Tin Drum (1979): The surreal and allegorical story of a boy in German who decides not to grow up to protest the Nazis. This Criterion release is the first appearance on video of Volker Schlöndorff’s 2010 extended cut of the film, with an additional 20 minutes restored to match the director’s original vision. Buy The Tin Drum (Criterion Collection).


Branded (2012): See description in DVD above. Buy Branded [Blu-ray].

The Tin Drum (1979): See description in DVD above. Buy The Tin Drum (Criterion Collection) [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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