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):
Contractor’s Routine: Indie about a contractor named Jacob who has lucid daydreams about killing people, and an imaginary friend named Esau who tries to keep him in line. Sounds weird. We’re not sure what to make of the fact that the official website reprints the film’s Sundance rejection letter as if it were an endorsement. Only playing in San Francisco, where it was shot; we’ll look for it on DVD. Contractor’s Routine official site.
Film Socialisme (2010): Jean-Luc Goddard’s latest film is enigmatically described as “a symphony in three movements,” titled “Things Such As,” “Quo Vadis Europe,” and “Humanities.” It’s split critics right down the middle, and it looks very weird. Opening at the IFC Center in Manhattan, with very sparse screenings at specialty venues across the US to follow through the summer. Film Socialisme at Lorber Films.
Yellowbrickroad: Years ago, an entire New England hamlet disappeared when the entire population marched up a mysterious trail; now, the original trailhead has been found and some researchers plan to follow it. The low-budget project sounds like it has a real Blair Witch Project vibe, but most interesting (to us) is the fact that this movie is being distributed by a blog (bloody-disgusting.com). Yellowbrickroad official site.
NEW ON DVD:
Never Apologize (2007): A recording of a one man show in which Malcolm McDowell reflects on his association with Lindsay Anderson on the “Mick Travis” trilogy (If…, the Certified Weird O Lucky Man!, and Britannia Hospital). Fans of McDowell or of the fascinatingly weird series may want to check this out. Buy Never Apologize.
Passion Play (2010): Fantasy fairy-tale starring Mickey Rourke as a jazz musician and Megan Fox as a “Bird Woman,” also with Bill Murray and a grown-up midnight movie teen idol Bud Cort. It flopped at the Toronto International Film Festival and currently holds a remarkable 4% at Rotten Tomatoes (at one point it was 0%, until a favorable review rolled in from the New York Post). If there’s something really wrong with it, we’d like to see for ourselves. Buy Passion Play.
Undertow [Contracorriente] (2009): We’re going to let The Guardian‘s Steve Rose sum this one up for us: “...if you only see one gay Peruvian fisherman ghost story this year…“ It’s south-of-the-equator magical realism, natch, and was Peru’s official selection for foreign film Oscar consideration. Buy Undertow.
NEW ON BLU-RAY:
The Cat O’Nine Tails (1971): Blue Underground continues releasing their Dario Argento catalog on Blu-ray with this early giallo (the director’s second film), starring Karl Malden investigating murders at a genetics laboratory. Reportedly not his best movie (apparently, the director himself thought it was his worst), but Argento completists will want to take note. Buy The Cat O’ Nine Tails [Blu-ray].
A Clockwork Orange (Anniversary Edition) (1971): Stanley Kubrick‘s classic weird and disturbing morality fable, featuring an iconic, star-making performance from Malcolm McDowell, about an experiment to rehabilitate a young criminal by chemically castrating his free will. The new special features are Malcolm-centric, including a DVD commentary by the actor and two new featurettes. Buy A Clockwork Orange (Anniversary Edition) [Blu-ray].
Passion Play (2010): See description in DVD above. Buy Passion Play [Blu-ray].
Stanley Kubrick: Limited Edition Collection: Includes Spartacus (1960), Lolita (1962), Dr. Strangelove (1964), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), the Certified Weird A Clockwork Orange (1971), Barry Lyndon (1975), The Shining (1980), Full Metal Jacket (1987), and Eyes Wide Shut (1999). It also includes a short hardback book with essays on the movies. If we’re not wrong, all of these have previously been released on Blu-ray except Lolita and Barry Lyndon, which are simultaneously being released in single disc versions, and which also happen to be the only two that arrive without any special features. It’s still a great introduction to the master director who was unafraid to go weird up until the very end. Buy Stanley Kubrick: Limited Edition Collection [Blu-ray].
FREE (LEGITIMATE RELEASE) MOVIES ON YOUTUBE:
The Brother from Another Planet (1984): A mute alien, who looks like an African-American human, crashes his spaceship in Harlem as he hides out from (white) alien bounty hunters. This offbeat comedy/immigration allegory from John Sayles made some waves when it was released, but never quite became a cult classic. Watch The Brother from Another Planet 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.