WEIRD HORIZON FOR THE WEEK OF 2/19/2010

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 (WIDE RELEASE):

Shutter Island:  Psychological thriller about tough cops (Leonardo di Caprio and the ubiquitous Mark Ruffalo) who investigate a (possibly supernatural) disappearance in a spooky asylum for the criminally insane. Unlikely to be truly weird (although there are reports of some “small-s” surrealism), but the trailer is intriguing and a new Scorcese genre movie is always notable.  Shutter Island official site.

IN THEATERS (LIMITED RELEASE):

2009 Oscar Nominated Shorts:  Showing in select cities across the US, UK, Mexico and Canada.  Usually something mildly weird (or at least mildly experimental) will make its way into the shorts field, usually in the animated category.  The big draw should be Nick Park’s latest 30 minute installment of the popular Wallace & Gromit series, “A Matter of Loaf and Death.”  The official site is still listing the lineup from last year’s offering.  2009 Oscar Nominated Shorts Official Site.

Happy Tears (2010): Parker Posie and Demi Moore star as two adult women returning home to confront their dad (Rip Torn) and search for his buried treasure, in a film that features “surrealistic” dream sequences (apparently de-emphasized in the trailer).  Kirk Honeycutt of the Hollywood Reporter called it “simply weird” (comparing it unfavorably to director Michael Lichenstein’s previous feature, Teeth, which he found “weird-funny”).  Happy Tears official site.

NEW ON DVD:

Black Dynamite (2009): Not weird, but notably offbeat.  A blaxploitation parody/spoof that authentically mimics the look and feel of the 1970s genre film, even including a visible boom mic. Buy Black Dynamite.

Georges Melies Encore: 26 new, recently unearthed short films (and some fragments) from Melies (A Trip to the Moon, 1902) the French cinema pioneer trickster who was the first to recognize cinema’s natural affinity for the fantastic.  Contains some intriguing titles, like “L’hallucination de l’alchimiste” (translated into English as “An Hallucinated Alchemist,” for some reason). Historical film fanatics will be delighted by this offering. Buy Georges Melies Encore.

NEW ON BLU-RAY:

Black Dynamite (2009): See review in DVD above. Buy Black Dynamite [Blu-ray].

OUT-OF-PRINT HEADS UP:

The Criterion Collection has lost the rights to more than a dozen StudioCanal films, and the Criterion editions (usually the industry standard for technical quality and extras) will be going out of print.  The most notable losses for our purposes are the entire Orphic trilogy and Jen-Luc Goddard’s Alphaville.  The rights are going to Lionsgate, so the DVDs may be reissued.  You can see the complete list of lost titles in Criterion’s official public announcement of the deal.  Criterion is offering $5 off if you purchase from their website.

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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