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.
IN THEATERS (LIMITED RELEASE):
The Act of Killing: A strange and disturbing documentary in which members of Indonesian death squads unapologetically re-enact their real-life murders for the cameras in the style of the American movies they loved. Werner Herzog and Errol Morris were so impressed with the concept they signed on as executive producers. The Act of Killing official site.
Grabbers: Irish monster movie where potential victims discover they can dissuade alien invaders from snacking on them by raising their blood alcohol levels. This IFC Midnight offering has been getting generally positive reviews. This is already out on DVD in Europe. Grabbers official site.
Only God Forgives: A Bangkok drug-smuggler (Ryan Gosling) becomes involved in a web of vengeance when his brother kills an underage prostitute. Although this seems fairly straightforward, there are reportedly a few bizarre (and ultraviolent) moments in this Nicolas Winding Refn film. Only God Forgives official Facebook page.
SCREENINGS – (Los Angeles, CA, Cinefamily, Fri., Jul. 19, 8:00 PM):
Wonderwall (1968): A professor drills peepholes in his wall to spy on his fashion model neighbor and sees psychedelic visions. This is a rare screening of a seldom-seen psychedelic film, and it’s a “dress up” event (we’re not sure if that means tie-dyes or what, so if you show up in bell-bottoms and everyone’s wearing cocktail dresses, don’t blame us). Wonderwall screening at Cinefamily.
FILM FESTIVALS – Fantasia (Montreal, Canada, Jul. 18-Aug 7):
As the huge menu of offerings below shows, the Fantasia fest has expanded far beyond merely showcasing the cinema fantastique of Asia into covering independent genre films from all over the globe, with a healthy dose of the experimental and weird. Simply put, Fantasia has become the most important event on the North American continent for outre cinema.
- L’Amour Braque [AKA Limpit Love] – Rare screening of the strange 1985 heist film that’s also an adaptation of Dostoevsky’s “The Idiot”; 72-year old director Andrzej Zulawski will attend in person. In French only, July 28.
- Animals – This Catalan cross between Donnie Darko and Ted involves a disturbed teen and his talking teddy bear. July 19 & 27.
- Antisocial – Tale of teens trapped in a house while the apocalypse rages outside sounds somewhat familiar but apparently it has worthwhile hallucination scenes. July 31 & Aug 5.
- Bad Film – Shion Sono shot this early gangster film (featuring a ramen vendor in a weird mask) in 1995, but we gather its only been edited and released recently (this screening will be the Canadian premier). Aug. 7.
- La Belladone de la tristesse [AKA The Tragedy of Belladonna; Belladonna of Sadness] – Another rare screening: a 1973 Japanese psychedelic/erotic animated film about medieval witchcraft in Europe. In French only, July 25.
- The Burning Buddha Man – A high school girl searches for the supernatural thieves of sacred Buddhist statues; done in a traditional Japanese cutout paper technique, the stills make it look a bit like Fantastic Planet. July 22.
- Bushido Man – A martial arts student goes on a quest to defeat the legendary masters of seven different weapons, and provides a detailed report on the meal his opponent ate before each battle. July 27.
- “Death of a Shadow” – The Academy Award nominated short film about a man who captures shadows of the dying with a special camera. Screening July 30 in a program with eight other shorts.
- The Demon’s Rook – The programmers really want to sell us on this demonic homage, calling it “RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD by way of Jodorowsky” and “a wonderfully weird film.” July 27.
- Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo – North American premier of the third of four movies in Hideaki Anno‘s reboot of his apocalyptic giant robot Evangelion series. July 20.
- Fateful Findings – This drama about a paranormal anti-corporate hacker is the headliner for the Festival’s La Nuit Excentrique (loosely translated, “so-bad-it’s-good”), along with shorts and a B-feature of 1958’s Terror from the Year 5000. July 20.
- Go Down Death – Stories of a town full of captive soldiers, blind prostitutes and child gravediggers, adapted from the works of fictional amputee poet Jonathan Mallory Sinus; there’s a definite Guy Maddin influence at work here. Aug 5.
- Les Gouffres – Unsettling magical realism dealing with the discovery of five mysterious chasms in a forest; preceded by a vampire-themed short from the same director (France’s Antoine Barraud). July 24.
- HK/Forbidden Super Hero – Japanese parody about “the Masked Pervert,” a superhero who gains his powers by pulling a pair of panties over his face. Aug 3.
- I Am Divine – A documentary on the world’s favorite 300-pound copraphagiac transvestite, Harris Glenn Milstead, better known as Divine. July 20 & 30.
- Imaginaerum – An adaptation of the Nightwish album of the same name, this symphonic metal musical is about a composer who retreats into a fantasy world as he lies dying. Aug. 4.
- It’s Me, It’s Me – On a whim, a timid Japanese clerk poses as another man and unexpectedly transforms into him; then, a doppelgänger shows up, complicating matters. July 20.
- Magic Magic – A young woman vacationing with friends in Chile loses her mind as insomnia takes over her life. July 22.
- “Ovo” – We scooped the Fest on this sci-fi short, as we’ve had it up since June. You could see it on the big screen as part of a program of shorts on July 26, if you wanted.
- OXV: The Manual – A romance between two youngsters in parallel dimensions, whose differing “frequencies” allow them to spend only one minute per year together. July 24 & 27.
- Plus One – Another doppelgänger comedy—this time, teens find their doubles crashing their wild party. Aug. 2 & 6.
- Return to Nuke ‘Em High Volume 1 – This reboot of Troma‘s campy sex-and-gore mutant series looks exactly the same as it did in its 80s run, except with more frontal nudity. Volume 2 shows up in 2014. Aug. 2.
- Ritual: A Psychomagic Story – An abused woman uses an unusual therapy to heal herself: psychomagic, the mythological-symbolism-based therapy invented by Alejandro Jodorowsky. Jodorowsky himself appears. July 31.
- Sweetwater [AKA Sweet Vengeance] – A reformed prostitute, a crazed preacher and a strange sheriff wage a power struggle in a Western the programmers describe as “eccentric” and “deadpan cartoonish.” July 21.
- Szamanka – This 1996 return to form for Andrzej Zulawski involves sex, drugs, cannibalism, and nuclear apocalypse. The director will be present to receive a lifetime achievement award. July 25.
- Uzumasa Jacopetti – A family man intent on building a levitating house out of magnets is lured into a world of murder in this absurd Japanese black comedy. July 24 & 26.
NEW ON DVD:
Evil Dead (2013): Five friends staying at a cabin accidentally release powerful supernatural forces, etc. This is the second remake of 1981’s Evil Dead, and since we Certified the first remake (Evil Dead 2) as weird, so we may be compelled to cover this. Buy Evil Dead.
Iron Doors (2010): A man wakes up to find himself locked in an iron vault with no apparent means of escape. Despite the minimalist one-character plot, this German-made English language movie was originally filmed in 3D. Buy Iron Doors.
NEW ON BLU-RAY:
Evil Dead (2013): See description in DVD above. Buy Evil Dead [Blu-ray].
Heavy Traffic (1973): An underground cartoonist escapes the madness of Manhattan through his drawings. Ralph Bakshi’s second animated feature after the X-rated Fritz the Cat. Buy Heavy Traffic [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.