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.
FILM FESTIVALS – Cannes Film Festival (Cannes, France, May 15-26):
Sneer all you want about the Cannes Film Festival being a place where snooty brie-nibbling European directors go to premier their latest movie about brie-nibbling transgendered cabaret singers whining about their bad relationship with their dying fathers. While that’s certainly true, many great weird films have also seen their debut at the venerable snooty festival, including such Certified Weird selections as The Tree of Life, Antichrist (whose genital mutilations and talking foxes created a certified Cannes scandal), and Dogtooth. In fact, every year since we began 366 Weird Movies something that played Cannes has ended up making the List. 2013, however, looks like the year that streak may come to an end, as an unusually conventional slate leaves us with only a couple of weird Cannes contenders this year. Fortunately, the “Director’s Fortnight,” a more independent-minded satellite festival that runs concurrently with the main competition, features some very interesting selections this year.
- Borgman – Strange things happen when a rich woman harbors a mysterious fugitive. From the intriguing Dutchman Alex van Warmerdam, who says it is his darkest movie yet. Screening at Cannes in competition.
- The Congress – Ari (Waltz with Bashir) Folman’s animated adaptation of the Stanislaw Lem novel about a dystopian future where hallucinogenic drugs are used to control the populace arrives a year or two later than expected. At Director’s Fortnight.
- The Dance of Reality – Alejandro Jodorowsky‘s first movie in 23 years is an autobiography, of unknown hallucinatoriness. Director’s Fortnight.
- Jodorowsky’s Dune – Speaking of Jodorowsky, this documentary covers his failed attempt to adapt Frank Hebert’s cult sci-fi novel to the big screen (a task later completed less than admirably by David Lynch). Hopefully it features lots of surviving footage. At the Director’s Fortnight.
- Only Lovers Are Left Alive – Jim Jarmusch‘s latest tackles vampires in love; we suspect it will resemble Twilight about as much as Dead Man did Young Guns. With Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton (as vampires “Adam” and “Eve”) and Mia Wasikowska in a rare villainous role. In competition at Cannes.
Though the surreal slate is fairly bare, there are a lot of less-weird films debuting from some of our fave auteurs: Coen Brothers (the folksinger portrait Inside Llewellyn Davis), Nicolas Winding Refn (Only God Forgives, a Drive-style arthouse thriller), Roman Polanski (an adaptation of the masochism play Venus in Fur), and Takashi Miike (the actioner Shield of Straw).
NEW ON DVD:
The Book of Life (1998)/The Girl from Monday (2005): A double feature from curious auteur Hal Hartley. In The Book of Life Jesus and the Devil debate on the eve of the Apocalypse; The Girl from Monday involves aliens and a stock exchange that trades in human beings. Buy The Book of Life/The Girl from Monday.
Cloud Atlas (2012): Six separate stories, set between 1849 and the distant future and spanning the gamut from mystery-thriller to mystical sci-fi, with the main cast playing different roles in each story. In one of the tales Tom Hanks is bedeviled by an evil leprechaun from the future, which is the main reason we’re mentioning this ambitious, polarizing box office flop here on a weird movie site. Buy Cloud Atlas.
Crimewave (1985): A pair of exterminators cum hit men go on a crime spree in this campy slapstick spoof. This movie has a legendary reputation due to the talent involved: it was co-written by the Coen Brothers and directed by Sam Raimi (immediately after Evil Dead) and backed by a major studio (Columbia) who thought it too quirky for 1985. Columbia pulled it from theaters almost immediately and it has never been seen on DVD—until this Blu-ray/DVD combo pack. Buy Crimewave [BluRay/DVD Combo].
A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III (2013): In a casting stretch, Charlie Sheen plays an obnoxious, hedonistic lout who has misogynistic Walter Mitty-like fantasies that have him fleeing a tribe of busty Native Americans in buckskin bikinis and female assassins from the “Secret Society of Ball Busters.” Directed by Roman Coppola, who co-wrote The Darjeeling Limited and Moonrise Kingdom, this was an embarrassing flop; Salon’s Andrew O’Hehir claimed Swan is “one of the strangest and most painful films in recent memory.” Buy A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III.
“The Marx Brothers Silver Screen Collection”: This 5-disc collection compiles the Brothers’ first five films for Paramount, including the arguably surreal Duck Soup. The other classics are The Coconauts, Animal Crackers, Monkey Business, and Horse Feathers. Buy “The Marx Brothers Silver Screen Collection”.
Transmigration (2011): Every now and then some low-budget movie no one’s ever seen or heard of sets off our weird radar just because of the plot synopsis. This one reads, in part, “While hiking, Curtis is bitten by a snake. As he enters a venom induced hallucinogenic dream the two brothers are captured as slaves by a fantasy tribe of Amazonian women, and given to the tribal queen…” Buy Transmigration.
The Unbelievable Truth (1989): A gloomy high-school girl falls for a convicted murderer in this offbeat (to say the least) romantic comedy. Hal Hartley’s first (and most popular) film isn’t as strange as some of his others, but it’s at least high quirk. Buy The Unbelievable Truth.
NEW ON BLU-RAY:
Cloud Atlas (2012): See description in DVD above. It’s a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack, naturally. Buy Cloud Atlas [Blu-ray/DVD].
Crimewave (1985): See description in DVD above. Buy Crimewave [BluRay/DVD Combo].
A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III (2013): See description in DVD above. Buy A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III [Blu-ray].
What are you looking forward to? If you have any weird movie leads that we have overlooked, feel free to leave them in the COMMENTS section.