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 FP: Post-apocalyptic spoof where rival gangs fight in a desolate urban wasteland, dominating the bands of survivors through their mastery of dance video games. Released via the new distribution arm of the fantastic Alamo Drafthouse theater, which we fear may be the coolest thing about the movie. The FP official site.
NEW ON DVD:
@Suicideroom (2011): A bullied teen turns emo after kissing a boy on a dare and flees into a virtual reality world in this Polish movie. It probably only describes what it’s like to be a modern day adolescent in a world of techno-escapism, but who’s to say that everyday reality isn’t weird? Buy @Suicideroom.
“4 Film Favorites: Fantasy Thrillers”: This grab bag of 2005-2006 visionary features includes Constantine, a minor cult film starring Keanu Reeves as a demon hunter; a bigger cult hit in the graphic novel adaptation V For Vendetta; Neil LaButte’s strange and awful anti-feminist remake of The Wicker Man (featuring Nicolas Cage at his manic, overacting worst); and Darren Aronofsky‘s mystical The Fountain (a title that’s in our reader-suggested review queue). You could do a lot worse for under $20. Buy “4 Film Favorites: Fantasy Thrillers”.
Coonskin (1975): Ralph Bakshi’s controversial satire on racism features three animated Song of the South stereotypes (a fox, a bear and a rabbit) rising to lead a Harlem crime syndicate. With live action sequences and the voices of Scatman Crothers and Barry White; Al Sharpton protested the film’s opening, despite the fact that the NAACP approved of it (with reservations). This is currently in our reader-suggested review queue, and will soon climb out of it. Buy Coonskin.
House of Tolerance [AKA House of Pleasures] (2011): The story of a Parisian bordello circa 1899, told in a deliberately anachronistic style (a 1960s soundtrack, split screens, etc.) We only mention it because David Fear of Time Out gave it a positive review while simultaneously calling it “occasionally WTF hilarious”; other sources, however, haven’t noted significant strangeness here. Buy House of Pleasures.
Killer’s Moon (1978): Four criminally insane patients are given an experimental drug and go on a crime spree while believing they’re living in a lucid dream. Redemption (which recently brought us those Jean Rollin remasters) is pitching this minor, seldom-seen British shocker as A Clockwork Orange meets a slasher movie. Buy Killer’s Moon.
Melancholia (2011): Read our capsule review. Lars von Trier‘s followup to the frighteningly deranged Antichrist once again metaphorically explores the harsh reality of clinical depression, this time as a mysterious planet named “Melancholia” threatens to collide with Earth and destroy all life. In our judgment the movies doesn’t go all the way to “weird”; but, it’s equally far away from normal. Buy Melancholia.
My Joy (2010): A Ukrainian truck driver begins his day trying to make a delivery, runs into absurd bureaucracy and corruption, and ends up trapped in a strange timeless village. Critical response was been favorable, while hinting at an uncomfortable strangeness. Buy My Joy.
Neverland (2011): Nick Willing has specialized in creating expressionist alternate versions of imagination classics for TV: Tin Man, an update of The Wizard of Oz); a sci-fi tinged version of Alice; and now this one, which explains the origin of the puckish Peter Pan. Charlie Rowe plays Pan, Rhys Ifans is Hook, Keira Knightley supplies the voice of Tinkerbell, and Bob Hoskins appears in the same role he did in Speilberg’s Hook. Buy Neverland.
“Superjail: Season 2” (2011): This crudely animated series about a fantastic prison housed inside a volcano is transgressive, offensive, and senselessly cruel and violent. It’s also undoubtedly surrealistic and psychedelic. Viewer beware. Buy “Superjail: Season Two”.
NEW ON BLU-RAY:
Killer’s Moon (1978): See description in DVD above. Buy Killer’s Moon [Blu-ray].
The Last Temptation of Christ (1988): Read our capsule review. Martin Scorcese‘s adaptation of Nikos Kazantzakis’ novel about the Passion isn’t at all blasphemous, but it does have cool dream sequences. Part of the Criterion Collection’s ongoing upgrade of their existing catalog to Blu-ray. Buy The Last Temptation of Christ (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray].
Melancholia (2011): See description in DVD above. Buy Melancholia [Blu-ray].
Natural Born Killers (1994)/True Romance (1993): An ultraviolent and well-matched 1990s cult double-feature Blu-ray from Warner Brothers. True Romance is Quentin Tarantino-scripted coke-deal-gone-wrong variant with pulp sensibilities; Natural Born Killers is Oliver Stone’s hallucinogenic violence satire, following two celebrity serial killers slaying their way through a bent TV reality. (NBK is in our reader-suggested review queue). Buy True Romance/Natural Born Killers [Blu-ray].
Neverland (2011): See description in DVD above. Buy Neverland [Blu-ray].
Wizards (1977): An animated mix of sword and sorcery and post-apocalyptic science fiction which features fairies, elves, robots and Nazis. This week’s second release from cult animator Ralph Bakshi, it gets the full special edition treatment, complete with insert booklet and director’s commentary, from 20th Century Fox (who wouldn’t touch the controversial Coonskin). Buy Wizards [Blu-ray].
FREE (LEGITIMATE RELEASE) MOVIES ON YOUTUBE:
Black Sunday (1960): Mario Bava’s black and white masterpiece of Gothic horror recalls Universal Studios in the 1930s. Barbara Steele was so radiant and iconic as the medieval witch and her 20th century descendant that she was typecast playing dual roles in Italian horror movies for years afterwards. Not that weird, but very influential (it’s said to be one of Tim Burton‘s favorite movies).
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.