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.


The Lords of Salem (2012): This modern-day witchcraft story from notorious goremeister reportedly takes his breed of horror in a new, artier direction. Early reviews are all over the place; it’s either extremely silly or extremely creepy, and more than likely at least a little bit weird. Lords of Salem official site.

SCREENINGS – (Cinefamily, Los Angeles, Date 4/18-4/25):

The Beaver Trilogy (2000): In 1979, Trent Harris filmed a short documentary on an eccentric Olivia Newton-John female impersonator from Beaver, Utah; years later he made two sets of short fictional films about the character, one starring a young Sean Penn and one with . Together, the three films constitute The Beaver Trilogy. It’s rarely screened, but it’s playing all this week at Cinefamily in Los Angeles.

FILM FESTIVALS – Tribeca Film Festival (New York City, April 17-28):

The Tribeca Film Festival, started by Robert De Niro (and others) in 2002, has quickly become one of the most important US film festivals—although it’s still behind Sundance on the indie scene, and South by Southwest generally sangs the best new debuting films that Aspen misses. We don’t see much of interest this year at Tribeca compared to last year, but there are a pair of Central Asian movies here that look like they may be worth Manhattanites’ time:

  • Harmony Lessons – A Kazakh boy seeks revenge on the teen gangsters who tyrannize his school; the Hollywood Reporter called it “stark and surreal, strange and beautiful…” See it on 4/20, 4/22 or 4/25.
  • Taboor – A man in an aluminum suit rides his motorcycle all over Tehran one night keeping a series of absurd appointments; this sounds eerily like an Iranian version of Holy Motors. Playing 4/20, 4/23 and 4/27.


The Synthetic Man (est. May 2013): Indefatigable indie auteur strikes for the third time with a hallucinatory tale about a mentally ill woman who imagines an omnipotent alien figure known as “the Synthetic Man.” It’s shot partly in high definition digital and partly on a VHS camcorder.

The Synthetic Man official site.


Message from Space (1978): A mystical king sends out magic seed to choose eight champions (including Sonny Chiba and Vic Morrow) to defeat an evil invasion. As a ten-tear old I actually walked out on this absurd Star Wars ripoff, a mistake I’ve regretted until this day. Buy Message From Space.

Repo Man (1984): A young punk (Emilio Estevez) learns the dangerous repossession game under the tutelage of an experienced wacko (); things get strange when they acquire a 1964 Chevy Malibu with a mysterious cargo in the trunk. There aren’t any other movies quite like this punk science fiction satire; the Criterion Collection recognizes its importance with a gala edition. Buy Repo Man (Criterion Collection).


Repo Man (1984): See description in DVD above. Buy Repo Man [Criterion Collection Blu-ray].

Small Apartments (2012): A lunatic surrounded by eccentric neighbors (a wannabe stripper, a curmudgeonly artist, a stoner) tries to hide the fact that he’s killed his landlord, while dreaming of escaping to Switzerland. The curious cast is headlined by Matt Lukas (who plays most of the movie in his underwear) and also features Billy Crystal, James Caan, Juno Temple, Johnny Knoxville and Dolph Lundgren. Buy Small Apartments [Blu-ray].

Summer Wars (2009): A nerdy high school student poses as the fake fiancé of his dream girl while simultaneously dealing with a cyberterrorist AI called “the Love Machine” who is threatening the online world of Oz. This is a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack, but the movie is available separately on a 2-disc DVD. Buy Summer Wars [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.

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