WEIRD HORIZON FOR THE WEEK OF 1/22/10

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):

The Paranoids [Los Paranoicos]: Argentinian dramedy about a paranoid screenwriter who takes offense when a childhood friend adapts his life into a television show.  Looks quirky/oddball, not necessarily weird.  Not only that, but reviews have been generally negative.  The Paranoids official site.

SCREENINGS (NEW YORK CITY, THE FILM FORUM, THROUGH FEBRUARY 2)

A Room and a Half (2009): This documentary portrait of exiled Jewish Russian poet Josephy Brodsky, who became America’s Poet Laureate and won a Nobel Prize for Literature, is a collage of real-life interviews, dramatic recreations, animation, and stylized staged footage recreating the Soviet constructivist style.  70-year old animator/director Andrey Khrzhanovsky made some surreal shorts in the USSR (i.e. The Glass Harmonica, 1968) that ran into censorship problems.   Reviews are glowing and universally positive; hopefully that will be enough to get this intriguing movie a distribution deal of some sort.  A Room and a Half at the Film Forum.

NEW ON DVD:

Chantal Akerman in the Seventies: A compilation of the title director’s early experimental works from the Criterion Collection’s “Eclipse” series. I’m unfamiliar with this director, but Criterion claims she came out of the New York experimental film scene and is recommended for “adventurous” viewers.   Her most famous work, featured here, is her feature debut Je, Tu, Il, Elle (1976), which included explicit (for the time, at least) scenes of lesbian lovemaking.   3 discs.  Buy Chantal Akerman in the Seventies.

The Invention of Lying (2009):  High-concept romantic comedy set in an alternate reality where no one can tell a lie, until one man spontaneously evolves this ability.  From the creator and star of the Britcom “The Office.”  Unlikely to cross over the weird border, but definitely different, well-reviewed, and worthy of a gamble. Buy The Invention of Lying.

NEW ON BLU-RAY:

The Invention of Lying: See description in DVD above. Buy The Invention of Lying [Blu-ray].

Magnolia (1999): Paul Thomas Anderson’s third feature was a masterful ensemble drama, containing perhaps Tom Cruise’s only truly good performance, with an unexpectedly weird ending that threw audiences for a loop.  A near masterpiece, definitely worth watching at least once and probably deserving multiple viewings. Buy Magnolia.

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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