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.
SCREENINGS – (Spectacle, Brooklyn, NY, July 6):
The Day of the Beast (1995): Hatchet to the Head: an Unholy Trinity byover-the-top, gory black comedy about a Basque priest, a heavy metal fan and an occult TV host who team up on Christmas Eve to try to find the location where the Antichrist will soon be born. This film is highly regarded but is little known on these shores because there is no English-subtitled version in circulation on home video. More is on tap at Spectacle throughout July, including Accion Mutante, about a terrorist organization of the handicapped waging war on beautiful people, and Perdita Durango, with Rosie Perez and Javier Bardem.
FILM FESTIVALS –New York Asian Film Festival 2015, New York City, June 26-July 8):
We’re a little late in noticing this Lincoln Center-sponsored festival featuring movies from China, Hong Kong, Japan, and Korea, which actually began a week ago. The fest’s weirder offerings are still upcoming, however, so we don’t feel too bad.
- Full Strike – An absurd comedy that aims to do for badminton what Shaolin Soccer did for its sport, from Stephen Chow protégé Derek Kwok. The U.S. premiere is tomorrow, July 4.
- Tokyo Tribe – Shion Sono‘s latest is described as a “yakuza-street gang-hip hop-musical epic” (!) Also playing July 4.
IN DEVELOPMENT (POST-PRODUCTION):
Evolution: As Innocence was about young girls in a world without men, ‘s long-delayed second film is about young boys—in a world without men. All we know is that the setting is an isolated island where boys are raised by the mothers and subjected to scientific experiments. Evolution announcement at distributor Wild Bunch.
NEW ON DVD:
Hard to Be a God (2013): Future Earth scientists land on a planet stuck in its own version of the Middle Ages, and are treated like gods. Director Aleksei German, who died in 2013, worked on this adaptation of a novel by the Strugatsky brothers (who also wrote the source material for Stalker) for the last 13 years of his life. Buy Hard to Be a God.
Valerie and Her Week of Wonders (1970): Read the Certified Weird entry! Among the cool extras on Criterion’s deluxe edition of this surreal coming-of-age tale from the Czech New Wave are three Jaromil Jires shorts and the “psych-folk” soundtrack by The Valerie Project. Buy Valerie and Her Week of Wonders [Criterion Collection].
NEW ON BLU-RAY:
Hard to Be a God (2013): See description in DVD above. Buy Hard to Be a God [Blu-ray].
Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter (2014): Character study about a backwards Japanese woman who mistakenly concludes that the movie Fargo is a documentary, and sets out for Minnesota to discover the lost ransom money Buy Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter [Blu-ray].‘s character buried. No DVD yet, but presumably one will follow in about seven months?
Valerie and Her Week of Wonders (1970): See description in DVD above. Buy Valerie and Her Week of Wonders [Criterion Collection Blu-ray]
Vanilla Sky (2001): A remake of the Spanish mindbender Open Your Eyes with Tom Cruise (Penelope Cruz plays the same role in both films). A publishing magnate’s life is turned upside down after an accident which kills the other driver and leaves his face scarred. This Blu was supposed to come out last year, but the release date kept being pushed back over and over by months at a time; they must have had trouble syncing Cruise and director Cameron Crowe’s schedules to record the commentary track, or something. Buy Vanilla Sky [Blu-ray].
FREE MOVIES ON YOUTUBE:
Fata Morgana (1971): Eccentric early Werner Herzog “documentary” composed of footage he shot in the Sahara desert, set to Leonard Cohen music and Lotte Eisner reciting an ancient creation myth. Watch Fata Morgana free at Shout TV.
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.