WEIRD HORIZON FOR THE WEEK OF 4/22/2011

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.

Nothing of interest coming to theaters this week.

FILM FESTIVALS: TRIBECA (New York City, April 20-May 1):

The eighth annual running of the Manhattan-based festival co-founded by Robert De Niro.  Tribeca Film, the distribution arm of Tribeca Enterprises, released 2009’s Certified Weird The Immaculate Conception of Little Dizzle, so you know these guys aren’t afraid to go weird.  We list the features we think hold at least a little bizarre promise below:

  • Beyond the Black Rainbow: Surrealist sci-fi supposedly in the 2001 vein about a mute woman trying to escape from a mysterious enclave.
  • Bombay Beach: Footage of three residents of the decaying Salton Sea region—a bipolar boy, a high school athlete fleeing gang violence, and a retired oil-rig worker—is mixed with musical montages from Beirut and Bob Dylan to create what the makers describe as a “slightly surreal documentary experience.”
  • Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame: A mystery/action epic set in a fantastical steampunk China; some say this is a return to form for director Tsui Hark (Once Upon a Time in China, Zu Warriors)
  • Grey Matter [Matière Grise]: An African filmmaker is advised to make an upbeat film instead of his war atrocity opus, “Cycle of the Cockroach;” when he goes ahead with his original plan, he finds scenes from his script manifesting themselves in reality.  This is the first movie we’ve ever heard of from a Rwandan director; it’s nice to imagine they’re starting their national film industry off weird.
  • Hideaways: Fantasy/fable about a teen who flees to the woods in an attempt to escape an inherited curse: he seems to be something of an accidental angel of death.
  • The Miner’s Hymns: 52-minute experimental film mixing old black-and-white footage of British coal miners with contemporary color footage, scored to a new avant-garde composition by Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson.
  • The Troll Hunter [Trolljegeren] – We mentioned this one in our Sundance column: it’s a Norwegian “found footage” film about a man who literally hunts trolls for the government. It’s weirdness is questionable, but it appears to be a crowd-pleaser.
  • Underwater Love – a “pink musical” (!) about a woman who falls in love with a water spirit; lensed by big-time cinematographer Christopher Doyle, with “outrageous” sex scenes

Tribeca Film Festival Home page.

NEW ON DVD:

HeartlessPhilip Ridley (writer/director of the Certified Weird The Reflecting Skin) is back after a fourteen year hiatus from filmmaking with this arthouse horror starring Jim (Across the Universe) Sturgess as a photographer with a disfiguring birthmark who makes a Faustian bargain in a hellish modern London. Ridley’s return would be notable even if the film wasn’t being well-reviewed; as it is, it won “Best Independent Feature” at the Toronto After Dark festival. Buy Heartless.

The Worst Horror Movie Ever Made (2005):  An axe-wielding maniac interrupts a card game, and the survivors are thrown into a stream-of-consciousness nightmare of horror movie cliches.  This frequently blasphemous amateur film (featuring Jesus pleasuring himself in a way only He could) from Bill Zebub (shouldn’t that be Bill Z. Bub?) was previously released in 2005; Zebub also remade the movie in 2008, but this is presumably an upgraded version of the original. Buy The Worst Horror Movie Ever Made.

NEW ON BLU-RAY:

Tokyo Gore Police (2008):  The notorious, crazed gore-fest set in a future Tokyo where self-mutilation is a fad and private police hunt “engineers” who modify human bodies to turn genitalia into deadly bio-weapons.  One Blu-ray disc, although reports say that the back cover claims the package contains two discs (because they recycled the art from the DVD version).   Buy Tokyo Gore Police [Blu-ray].

FREE (LEGITIMATE RELEASE) MOVIES ON YOUTUBE:

Bad Taste (1987): Peter Jackson’s aptly named first movie is a gory comedy about aliens using the Earth as a fast food franchise. This is sitting deep in the reader-suggested review queue at the moment. Watch Bad Taste free 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.

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