WEIRD HORIZON FOR THE WEEK OF 8/21/09

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 (WIDE RELEASE):

Inglourious Basterds:  Led by Brad Pitt, a group of Jewish soldier/vigilantes in World War II hunt and slaughter Nazis in this alternative history lesson from the irrepressible Quentin Tarantino.  Unlike to be more than mildly weird, but QT is always worth a gander.  Inglourious Basterds Official Site.

Shorts:  While Tarantino hogs the opening week spotlight, sometime collaborator and fellow offbeat auteur Robert (Sin City) Rodriguez quietly releases this kiddie fantasy about a rainbow-colored rock that grants wishes.  Critics describe it as hyperactive and unfocused: Toby Young of the Times goes so far as to say that it’s “[S]o structurally complicated that it almost qualifies as an experimental film.”  Shorts Official Site.

IN THEATERS (LIMITED RELEASE):

Confessionsofa Ex-Doofus-ItchyFooted Mutha:  If nothing else, now septuagenarian Melvin Van Peebles has given us the weirdest movie title since his own Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song with this semi-autobiographical, semi-allegorical piece of picaresque performance art adapted for the big screen.  Van Peebles plays a teenager and has a love scene with a gorilla: this one’s going to be weird (and self-indulgent), no doubt about it.  No official site (the work of the Man?)

The Headless Woman [La mujer sin cabeza] (2008): Argentinian film about a woman who experiences a mysterious form of amnesia after striking something—a dog, or a child?—with her car.  Described as head-scratching, slow and oblique.  The Headless Woman Official (?) site (French).

NEW ON DVD:

Absurdistan (2008): The title of this fantastic, magical-realist German about a mythical Muslim country where the women stage a “Lysistrata”-style sex strike until the men fix a broken water pipeline suggests that this movie is right up our alley. Buy from Amazon

Icons of Sci-Fi: The Toho Collection [Mothra (1961), The H-Man (1958), Battle in Outer Space (1959)]:  This three disc letterboxed (well, “Tohoscoped”) collection is big news for kaiju and Japanese sci-fi fans.  Mothra, featuring the giant moth-monster and his miniature princesses, is the chief draw;  The H-Man brings us radioactive slime creatures; and Battle in Outer Space is an “aliens attack the world” movie. All three features were directed by the talented Ishirô (Godzilla, Attack of the Mushroom People) Honda and have either been AWOL on DVD or available only in inferior full-frame versions until now. Buy from Amazon

Surveillance (2008): Jennifer (Boxing Helena, daughter of David) Lynch’s long delayed second feature is a psychological thriller about two FBI agents trying to solve a string of grisly killings with the help of three witnesses who tell conflicting stories. Brutal, perverse and likely (given her heritage) to be highly weird, Surveillance arrives on DVD after token theatrical release. But from Amazon

NEW ON BLU-RAY:

Play Time (1967): This nearly plotless comedy on the absurdity of then-modern life involves clown M. Hulot (director Jacques Tati) lost in a bizarre, futurist re-creation of Paris as he tries to make an appointment. Considered by many to be Tati’s masterpiece. The Criterion Collection issued this on DVD in 2006 and is getting around to upgrading their Blu-Ray versions. Buy from Amazon.

Surveillance (2008): See the DVD section above for description. Buy from Amazon.

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.

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