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):
Night of the Living Dead: Reanimated (2009): An intriguing, though badly underpromoted, idea. Shades of Waking Life, a team of animators animated scenes from the public domain classic Night of the Living Dead in varying styles encompassing “everything from puppet theater to CGI, hand drawn animation to flash, and oil paintings to tattoos.” It will surely come out on DVD someday, but for now it seems to be popping up in sporadic screenings (though the only one I’ve heard of was in Alaska). Night of the Living Dead: Reanimated official site. [UPDATE: per project organizer Mike Schneider (see comment), readers are encouraged to contact their “local independent theater or favorite tv/ web horror host to contact firstname.lastname@example.org” to arrange a screening of the movie. This is a not-for-profit project, which helps explain why they are trying to promote it solely through word of mouth.]
Saint John of Las Vegas: This quirky road trip story about a retired blackjack player turned insurance fraud investigator returning to Las Vegas has some surreal interludes, but even the presence of Steve Buscemi and Sarah Silverman hasn’t stopped critics from savagely beating it and leaving the remains for dead in the desert (a stunningly bad 5% on Rotten Tomatoes tomatometer). Saint John of Las Vegas official site.
Sundance (Park City, Utah, Jan 21-31): Sundance snuck up on us this year! No wonder: the indie fest is not really a friend to innovation and experimentalism so much as it is to environmentalism, leftist politics in general, and insomnia-curing documentaries. Nonetheless, there are some weird and potentially weird films screening this year:
- Armless – comedy about a married suburban man he finally gathers the courage to live out his lifelong dream: having his arms amputated
- Cane Toads: The Conquest – a sequel to Mark Lewis’ 1998 cult documentary about the “invasion” of cane toads in Australia—this go-round, in 3-D!
- Enter the Void – fresh from an unsuccessful run at Cannes and primed for an unsuccessful run at Sundance, this story of an immigrant Tokyo drug dealer/addict who survives a hail of gunfire as a hallucinating ghost is described by director Gaspar (Irréversible) Noé as a “psychedelic melodrama.”
- Memories of Overdevelopment [Memorias del desarrollo] – Collage-style story of a Cuban exile in the United States. The overwritten press release claims it is, among other things, “a surreal foray into memory and the unconscious.”
- ODDSAC – A 53-minute “visual album” matching experimental visuals to the equally experimental music of Animal Collective. Visuals and audio are both definitely trippy.
- Pepperminta – Swiss story of a literally colorful young woman who throws swaths of psychedelic dye and groovy fantasy over the mundane world outside her door. Sundance includes a multimedia installation revealingly titled Lobe of Lung: The Saliva Ooze Away to the Underground that allows the viewer to “lounge inside the film”.
- The Temptation of St. Tony [Püha Tõnu kiusamine] – Black and white, surrealist Estonian film about a mid-level manager who begins to question the value of virtue; the scenario seems to be inspired equally by the story of St. Anthony and Dante’s “Inferno.” For our purposes, the most promising entry at Sundance, and the film we’ll be keeping an eye on.
- Vegetarian – Korean film about a young woman who has dreams that cause her to become disgusted by meat. Hard to get a fix on what it’s going to be like.
- The Violent Kind – a movie about drug-dealing outlaw bikers and their encounter with the supernatural and weird colors in the sky. Self-described “gleeful, insane exploitation”; Twitch called it “the pinnacle of the WTF?! genre.” Another one to watch for.
NEW ON DVD:
Goodbye Gemini (1970): A very obscure British psychothriller about a pair of fraternal twins (with the usual eerie bond) who are introduced into the swinging subculture of mod 1960’s London. Buy Goodbye Gemini.
Paris, Texas (1984): Not necessarily weird, but Wim Wender’s starkly beautiful movie about a man found wandering in the desert who starts to reconnect with the life he left behind has an odd and dreamlike tone that becomes hypnotic at times. Highly recommended; a great add by the Criterion Collection. Buy Paris, Texas (Criterion Collection).
Troma’s War (Tromasterpiece Edition) (1988): Several Tromaville citizens crash land on a Caribbean island and are soon caught up in a third world war. If you’ve seen one Troma movie, you’ve pretty much seen them all. No idea how this “Tromasterpiece” edition differs from the previous release. Buy Troma’s War (Tromasterpiece Edition).
NEW ON BLU-RAY:
Paris, Texas (1984): See description under DVD above. Buy Paris, Texas [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.