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.
IN THEATERS (LIMITED RELEASE):
Molly’s Theory of Relativity: A female astrophysicist agonizes about losing her job and seeks counsel from relatives, ghosts and trick-or-treaters. No one seemed to like it much except for the New York Times‘ Stephen Holden, who praised it as a “surreal, post-Freudian gabfest.” Molly’s Theory of Relativity official site.
Stoker: Chan-wook Park‘s highly anticipated American debut stars Mia Wasikowska as a girl who becomes obsessed with her uncle after the death of her father; Nicole Kidman plays the crazy, sadistic mother. This psycho-thriller looks mildly weird, at best, but Park’s fans would be justifiably furious with us if we didn’t mention this one. Opening this week in New York, L.A., Toronto and Boston. Stoker official site.
War Witch [Rebelle]: A 14-year old girl is conscripted as to become a child soldier in a nameless African war, then is revered as a “War Witch” when the rebels decide she can speak to spirits. We’re not sure just how much magic is mixed in with the realism here, but there is an unavoidable Beasts of the Southern Wild vibe to the trailer. War Witch official site.
FILM FESTIVALS – Fantasporto (Porto, Portugal, March 1-9):
We love the taste of the programmers at genre showcase Fantasporto, as testified to by the fact that three of the festival’s “Grande Prémio” winners—Toto the Hero, Pan’s Labyrinth and Idiots and Angels—have made it onto our List of the 366 Weirdest Movies of all time, with more to come. This year’s slate of films, however, strikes us as less impressive than usual, maybe because so many of the movies comprising the program are older entries (one of the competitors has been out on DVD for five months already). Only two of the films below, Delirium and Vanishing Waves, are new to us. Still, we wish we were there.
- Ace Attorney – Takashi Miike’s futuristic courtroom comedy is based on a video game and involves improbable hairstyles and ghost co-counsel.
- Berberian Sound Studio – A neurotic British sound engineer used to working on quiet nature documentaries goes mad when he takes an assignment designing the audio for a 1970s Italian horror film.
- Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same – We hate to stereotype, but cool weird b-movie title usually equals lame predictable parody.
- Delirium – Surreal Ukrainian film about a psychiatrist treating a man who is obsessed with knots.
- Iron Sky – Nazis from the moon invade Earth.
- Vanishing Waves – A therapist becomes erotically involved with a patient in a coma when he uses an experimental technique to enter her sleeping consciousness.
NEW ON DVD:
Beyond the Clouds (1995): Four misty, dreamlike love stories connected by the linking device of a movie director (John Malkovich) considering his next project. Michelangelo Antonini began filming this, his last movie, at 83 years of age, but suffered a stroke during the middle of the production; the remainder of the work was completed by Wim Wenders. Buy Beyond the Clouds.
Chicken with Plums [Poulet aux Prunes] (2011): Read our capsule review. This visually spectacular romantic fantasy about the deathbed hallucinations of an Iranian concert violinist was overlooked by almost everyone else, but it was a favorite of ours. Buy Chicken with Plums.
Freaky Deaky (2012): The plot, adapted from an Elmore Leonard novel, involves two hedonistic brothers (Crispin Glover and Andy Dick), the detective who’s investigating a rape charge against one of them, two bomb-making radicals trying to extort money from the siblings, and other crazy characters. Despite bankable talent (Christian Slater also appears), this thriller with the tagline “crime is such a trippy thing” was apparently too eccentric for a distributor to pick up, and makes its debut on DVD. Buy Freaky Deaky.
Holy Motors (2012): Read our capsule review. 366 readers gave Holy Motors three Weirdcademy Awards (Weirdest Picture, Weirdest Actor, and Weirdest Scene); now that it’s on video it’s officially eligible for the List. You may want to see it. Buy Holy Motors.
The Master (2012): Read our capsule review. Joaquin Phoenix plays a rocket-fuel drinking postwar horndog who falls into the hands of a cult leader in this ambiguous existential exercise from Paul Thomas Anderson. Buy The Master.
“Midnight Horror Show: The Master Collection”: A bargain collection of contemporary microbudget fringe-horror, including Bane:An Experiment in Human Suffering, Crowbar: The Killings of Wendell Graves, The Defiled, Fast Zombies with Guns, Nina: Crazy Suicide Girl, One Hour to Die: You Have All Been Poisoned, and most importantly Lady of the Dark: Genesis of the Serpent Vampire. Going by the titles alone we are sure this collection is going to meet somebody‘s definition of “weird.” Buy “Midnight Horror Show: Master Collection”.
“Midnight Movies Vol 11: Mondo Triple Feature”: The shockumentary that started it all, the cynical and bizarre Mondo Cane, is paired with the even more exploitative sequel Mondo Cane 2 [AKA Mondo Pazzo] and Women of the World, which investigates such important women’s issues as hookers and live childbirth. All three movies were churned out by filmmakers Jacopetti and Prosperi in 1962 and 1963. Buy “Midnight Movies Vol 11: Mondo Triple Feature”.
“Midnight Movies Vol 12: Shockumentary Triple Feature”: More mondo madness from Italian muckrakers Jacopetti and Prosperi. Africa Blood & Guts exploits an entire continent while capturing stomach-turning massacres of both animals and humans; Goodbye Uncle Tom (in our reader-suggested review queue) is their only fictional work, a “documentary” about the slave trade in the American south; and 2003’s Godfathers of Mondo wraps things up with a retrospective look at the pair’s crazy career. Buy “Midnight Movies Vol 12: Shockumentary Triple Feature”.
Red Tears [AKA Monster Killer] (2011): Two detectives hunt a decapitating serial killer who turns out to have supernatural powers. More Japanese B-movie madness with a mashup plot mixing horror, martial arts, comedic violence, and police procedural. Buy Red Tears.
Suzune Genesis [AKA The Parasite Doctor Suzune: Genesis] (2011): Per distributor Tokyo Shock: “When your body is bursting with all kinds of erotic parasites, the only person that can save you is Dr. Suzune!” There’s no info on this one anywhere, but we suggest a blind buy based on that tagline. This is part one of a series continued in Parasite Doctor Suzune: Evolution. Buy Suzune Genesis.
Zombie Lake (1981): Nazi zombies rise from their aquatic graves to terrorize nude female volleyball players! Widely considered to be Jean Rollin‘s worst horror effort, this was co-scripted by the notoriously inept Jess Franco. Do not confuse with the even more hated Oasis of the Zombies, another zombie-nudie released in 1982 by (you guessed it) Jess Franco, which is also being released by Redemption this week. Buy Zombie Lake.
NEW ON BLU-RAY:
Holy Motors (2012): See description in DVD above. Buy Holy Motors [Blu-ray].
The Master (2012): See description in DVD above. Buy The Master [Blu-ray].
Zombie Lake (1981): See description in DVD above. Buy Zombie Lake [Blu-ray].
FREE (LEGITIMATE RELEASE) MOVIES ON YOUTUBE:
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.