WEIRD HORIZON FOR THE WEEK OF 1/20/2017

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 at the official site links.

IN THEATERS (LIMITED RELEASE):

Doobious Sources (2017): Two stoner freelance reporters are manipulated into perpetrating a local “fake news” story in this cannabis-themed satire. It appears to be playing in Santa Monica, but you’ll probably need to smoke it out on video-on-demand. Doobious Sources official site.

Staying Vertical (2016): A filmmaker meets a shepherdess, who bears him a child and then abandons both. It sounds like a standard dry French arthouse drama, except that Vanity Fair called it “the most shocking movie at Cannes” (partly for it’s “birth of a baby” footage) and numerous reviewers hint at weird psychological twists no one wants to fully reveal. Staying Vertical distributor site.

SCREENINGS – (IFC Center, New York, New York, Jan. 20-Feb. 2):

“Stanley Kubrick Series”: IFC Center screens all the major highlights from ‘s oeuvre over a two week period. Certified Weird selection 2001: A Space Odyssey plays Friday, Saturday, and Tuesday; droogs can glue their eyeballs to A Clockwork Orange on Friday, Saturday (including midnight screenings) or Sunday. You can also see The Shining on Friday, Saturday, or Monday, and keep an eye out for Eyes Wide Shut on Thursday. I’ve never regretted seeing any Kubrick film, weird or not. See the full schedule at the IFC Center Stanley Kubrick series page.

FILM FESTIVALS – Sundance Film Festival (Park City, UT, Jan 19-29):

The 2017 movie season officially kicks off with Sundance, where a hundred hopeful independent movies, including a few off-the-wall ones, come to vie for a handful of distribution contracts. In recent years Sundance added the “Midnight” screening section to add some weirdness to the otherwise lame, tame lineup of dramas about privileged white people and their problems (alternating with imported dramas about underprivileged brown people and their problems).

This year, the slate looks extremely tame, even for a festival that’s generally no friend to weirdos. Everyone is so serious and Al Gore-y. A harbinger of life in Trump’s America, perhaps? That said, last year we did overlook one of the weirdest movies that played at Sundance, the “Daniel Radcliffe farting corpse movie” (at the time, we thought it sounded like a dumb frat-boy joke; it wasn’t until early reviews started coming out we realized what we had failed to highlight). If we miss one this time, we’re guessing it will be David Lowery’s A Ghost Story (which looks like it stars Casey Affleck in a sheet). But we’re guessing Sundance’s lone weird entry of 2017—and yeah, we’re confident in this one’s strangeness—is Kuso, which looks like a psychedelic cable access variety show set in the aftermath of an L.A. earthquake. It’s the feature debut of Steven Ellison (whose alter ego is the musician “Flying Lotus”). It debuts tomorrow (Jan. 21) and plays again on the 22nd, 25th and 26th.

Sundance Film Festival official site.

FILM FESTIVALS – Slamdance (Park City, UT, Jan 20-26):

Slamdance is Sundance’s punkier, sometimes (usually) weirder little brother, a low-budget alternative to the mid-budget institution. Here’s what may be worth looking out for down the road:

  • Automatic at Sea – A Swedish girl is trapped on a private island, hallucinating while waiting for the owner’s guests to arrive for a party. Screens Jan. 23 & 25.
  • Dave Made a Maze – Dave builds a pillow fort in his living room and then gets lost inside its maze of booby trapped corridors; his girlfriend assembles a team to go in and rescue him. Get lost in it Jan. 21st or 23rd.
  • Weather House – People locked inside a house due to global climate change invent their own rituals and culture to pass the time; looks like a German global warming version of Dogtooth. In the house Jan. 22nd and 26th.

Slamdance Film Festival official site.

IN DEVELOPMENT (Crowdfunding):

The Field Guide to Evil (est. 201?): A new anthology horror film from the makers of The ABCs of Evil, focusing on folktales from around the world. It could be standard horror fare, but the oft-weird directors committed to the project make us take notice, especially (Berberian Sound Studio, The Duke of Burgundy), (The Lure), and (The Oregonian, The Rambler). The other talent isn’t too shabby either: up and comers Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala (Goodnight Mommy), Katrin Gebbe,  (Baskin), Ashim Ahluwalia, and Yannis Veslemes. Each will dramatize a horrific folk story from their homeland (except that Strickland will tackle Hungary). We don’t think funding will be an issue with this one, but their looking to raise at least an additional $190,000 in two months. The Field Guide to Evil at Microventures.

NEW ON DVD:

Death Race 2050 (2017): Straight-to-video (and video-on-demand, and Netflix) reboot of the satirical 1975 drive-in original about celebrity drivers running down civilians in the overpopulated future. It does not seem to be significantly different in tone from the campy original, and  was confident enough to lend his name. Buy Death Race 2050.

Something Wild (1961): Carrol Baker stars in this then-controversial portrait of a rape victim’s psychological trauma, with a score by Aaron Copeland. Some find it weird; it’s the second film called Something Wild in the Criterion Collection’s catalog (the other being ‘s 1986 romantic comedy). Buy Something Wild.

NEW ON BLU-RAY:

Death Race 2050 (2017): See description in DVD above. Buy Death Race 2050 Blu-ray.

Something Wild (1961): See description in DVD above. Buy Something Wild [Blu-ray].

YOU LINK US! YOU REALLY LINK US!:

We got a huge boost in traffic this week, starting with this mention by JHarris on Metafilter which called us “a substantial tribute to celluloid oddities and unconventionals, loaded with interesting essays and outside links.”

That was pretty sweet, but apparently Rob Beschizza at BoingBoing saw it and thought he could drive even more traffic our way with a blurb titled “Guide to Weird Movies” (citing our Blue Velvet review, which shows that he really did read more than the front page).

Not to be outdone, Randall Colburn at The AV Club advised that site’s readers to “Move beyond ‘bad’ movies with this encyclopedia of weird ones” and perceptively surmised that “Budding cinephiles might find it a refreshing alternative to the classics that permeate every other ‘best of’ list. Honestly, you’ll probably get a more well-rounded education; the movies here run the gamut from high-brow to exploitation, with multiple genres, styles, and decades represented.”

Thanks for the kind words everyone! This traffic spike explains why our already over-busy suggestion box is overrun with even more offerings than usual. We hope that some of the new visitors will stick around; you may notice that we’re starting to make that final push towards the last 100 titles, and we’ll need all the help and support we can get to struggle through to the finish line.

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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