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 at the official site links.
IN THEATERS (LIMITED RELEASE):
Alleluia (2014): A serial murderer meets a lonely woman through a personal ad, and she immediately falls in love and becomes his devoted accomplice. This is at least the fourth retelling of the story of real-life “Lonely Hearts Killers” Martha Beck and Raymond Fernandez, but this one is from New French Extremist Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani‘s cameraman, so hopefully this will be the weirdest version of all. Alleluia official site.and is shot by
SCREENINGS – (Cinfeamily, Los Angeles, CA, Jul 17 & 18):
Alleluia (2014): Speaking of Alleluia (see above), director du Welz will be on hand for screenings at Cinefamily’s Silent Movie Theater on Friday night at 10:30 and Saturday at 9:30 PM. After Saturday’s screening stick around for the midnight showing of…
The Reflecting Skin (1990): Read the Certified Weird entry! Exploding frogs, petrified babies, gasoline drinking and could-be vampires highlight ‘s magnificently surreal first feature film. Shown in a crisp 35mm print.
FILM FESTIVALS – Fantasia (Montreal, CAN., July 14 – Aug 4):
As its name implies, Montreal’s Fantasia Festival originally began as a showcase for fantastic films from Asia; it has since morphed into a major event on the genre cinema calendar, a venue so big that geek event movies like Marvel’s Ant-Man hold special pre-release screenings there. Not that they’ve let mainstream success get to their heads; there’s still more rare weirdness to be found at Fantasia than at just about any film festival on the globe. We make watchlists from Fantasia’s programming, and we’re always saddened when less than half of the most daring films find meaningful distribution in the U.S. Because of the large number of entries, we’re highlighting only films here that are debuting or are totally new to us: we’re not writing up older festival circuit features like The Editor, Full Strike, H., or Kahlil Gibran’s the Prophet again.
- Anima State – A killer with a bandaged face goes on a spree in a Pakistani city, and no one seems to notice. Screening Aug. 2.
- Assassination Classroom – High school students train to kill a smiley-faced octopus alien. July 17 (tonight, and it’s sold out).
- Buddha’s Palm (1982) – A crazy mix of kung fu with a huge dose of Star Wars (including light sabers) from late in the Shaw Brothers cycle; the killer harpists would later show up in Kung Fu Hustle. July 28 & 21.
- Cosmodrama – French existential farce about seven scientists who wake up on a spaceship out of a 70s TV show bound for who knows where. Aug 3 & 4.
- Crumbs – Ethiopian (yes, Ethiopian) post-apocalyptic black comedy about a deformed man who must defeat Santa Claus (yes, Santa Claus) to find a UFO…. Catch it July 31 or Aug 3.
- Deadman Inferno – Aging yakuza seek revenge for generational wrongs on an island that is struck by a zombie plague; just everyday Japanese weirdness. July 25.
- Director’s Commentary: Terror of Frankenstein – A movie that supplies fake director’s commentary—that hints at a murder—for the forgotten 1977 horror flick Terror of Frankenstein. July 19.
- German Angst – A trio of surreal and transgressive stories about death from Jorg Buttgereit, Andreas Marschall, and Michal Kosakowski. Screens July 18 (that’s tomorrow!) only.
- Haruko’s Paranormal Laboratory – Haruoku’s TV comes to life—well, a man with a TV for a head, at least—and she, and the rest of Japan, fall in love with him. July 21 and 25.
- Love & Peace – Shion Sono‘s latest (OK, one of the prolific auteur’s three latest), about a giant talking turtle, plays July 26 only.
- “Manos”: The Hands of Fate (1966) – The debut of the restored version of the bizarre low-budget anti-classic; we suspect that this plays better with a dirty, scratchy print with missing frames, however. You can judge for yourself tomorrow (July 18).
- Meathead Goes Hog Wild – A recently sacked butcher steals meat and tries to hand it out to random people in Chicago. July 20.
- Nina Forever – The bloody corpse of his deceased girlfriend appears in his bed whenever Rob tries to have sex with his new gal. August 1.
- The Nutcracker 3D – The 1979 Japanese version of “the Nutcraker,” animated by Rankin/Bass, is revamped into 3D to celebrate the 40th anniversary of “Hello Kitty” (??) August 2.
- Observance – Australian horror about a grieving man who goes insane when he is hired to stake out a beautiful blonde’s apartment. Observe the world premiere July 19 or catch the encore July 22.
- On the White Planet – A boy born with pigmentation is treated as an outcast on his black-and-white planet in this animation from Korea. July 24.
- The Reflecting Skin (1990) – Also playing in Los Angeles (see “screenings” above). July 21 in Montreal.
- Remake, Remix, Rip-Off: About Copy Culture & Turkish Pop Cinema – Documentary describing the Turkish film industry’s habit of creating goofy knockoffs of Western hits like Star Wars, “Star Trek,” and even a Captain America-Santo crossover. Screens Aug. 4.
- Roar (1981) – A gang of lions, leopards and tigers attack African homesteaders in a nonstop barrage of fangs and claws (the danger is very real; over 70 members of the cast and crew were injured making this insane feature). July 17 (that’s today!)
- Tag – An unseen force is killing schoolgirls in another Shion Sono provocation. Aug 3.
- Teana: 10000 Years Later – Cultural differences may add to the appeal of this Chinese all-CGI 3D action/fantasy spectacle set more than 10,000 years from now. July 18.
Trailers for most of these films can be found by sifting through the Fantasia 2015 Official Festival Website.
NEW ON DVD:
Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959): A French woman and a Japanese architect part, sharing what may be unreliable memories in this flashback-riddled nonlinear narrative. Alain Resnais’ debut is considered a monumental classic of world cinema by most, but we consider it a warm-up for Last Year in Marienbad. Buy Hiroshima Mon Amour (Criterion Collection).
Some Call It Loving [AKA Sleeping Beauty] (1973): See description in Blu-ray below. Buy Some Call it Loving [Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack].
“Your Pretty Face Is Going to Hell: Season 1” (2013): Gary, a low-level devil, tries to corrupt enough human souls to earn a diabolical promotion, while being undermined by his intern Claude. We thought this mini-sitcom (15-minute episodes) from the Cartoon Networ’s “Adult Swim” was worth a mention; comes with 2 hours of “uncensored” extras. Buy “Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell: Season 1”.
NEW ON BLU-RAY:
Giuseppe Makes a Movie (2014): Documentary about Giuseppe Andrews’ vulgar, boozy, super-low budget movies, cast with trailer-park residents and the homeless.The Blu-ray (there’s no DVD?) contains the complete Andrews feature film Garbanzo Gas on the second disc. Buy Giuseppe Makes A Movie [Blu-ray].
Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959): See description in DVD above. Buy Hiroshima Mon Amour [Criterion Collection Blu-ray].
Some Call It Loving [AKA Sleeping Beauty] (1973): A jazz musician/prince purchases a sleeping beauty from a carnival sideshow. This is the first release from the new Etiquette label, which promises to unearth forgotten gems of the underground. Buy Some Call It Loving [Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack].
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.