WEIRD HORIZON FOR THE WEEK OF 8/26/2011

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):

Tales from the Golden Age [Amintiri de Epoca de Aur] (2009):  A series of five short Romanian films exploring the history of the late Communist state through urban myths which (according to the Cannes press release) were “[c]omic, bizarre and surprising” and “drew on the often surreal events of life under the communist regime.” Apparently Sundance Selects has picked it up for American distribution, although it is not listed on their site.  It’s playing at the IFC Center in Manhattan this week, at least.  Tales from the Golden Age official site.

SCREENINGS (Quad Cinema, New York City, N.Y.):

Stripped Down (2006):  An I.R.S. agent investigates a strip club.  Whoever wrote the press release really knew how to get our attention, calling it “a surrealistic feminist art statement stuffed inside a candy-coated exploitation bubble… a unique hybrid of SHOWGIRLS, an inverted IN THE COMPANY OF MEN and THAT OBSCURE OBJECT OF DESIRE.”  Unimpressed critics and audiences appeared not to agree with that assessment, however.  It was made in 2006, briefly released to theaters in 2009, and now, inexplicably, it’s being re-released (for one week only?), proving you can’t keep a (good?) stripper down.  Stripped Down official site.

NEW ON DVD:

“The Best of Global Lens: Brazil”: The “Global Lens” series packages together four recent films from countries’ whose national cinemas may not get much worldwide exposure.  This release, focusing on Brazilian movies from 2002-2005, contains three of the usual social realist arthouse films: Mango Yellow; Cinema, Aspirins and Vultures; and Almost Brothers.  All of those are probably very good films, but the exciting inclusion is Margarette’s Feast, a surreal modern silent film about a tramp-like character who finds a magic suitcase that dispenses unending money and decides to throw his wife a birthday bash.  Feast is also sold separately (buy single disc) but for an extra $10 you get the other three films in the set. Buy The Best of Global Lens: Brazil.

Cold Fish (2010):  “Based on a true story,” Sion (Suicide Club) Sono’s most recent film is set in the overlapping worlds of serial killers and tropical fish retailers.  Not likely to be tremendously weird, but it is reportedly quite intense and gruesome, and Sono definitely has his followers. Buy Cold Fish.

“Eclipse Series 28: The Warped World of Koreyoshi Kurahara”: A bit of a stretch, as little information is available about most of these five films made by Kurahara between 1960 and 1967 for Nikkatsu studios.  These appear to be the kinds of exploitation films the studio fired for not turning out.  The most well-known of the five, The Warped Ones (1960), is apparently a very wild and risqué juvenile delinquency film that was brought to the U.S. by sexploitation director Radley Metzger; another, Black Sun (1964), is an oddball buddy comedy pairing a homeless Japanese man and an on-the-lam black G.I.  The other titles are the noirish Intimidation (1960), the road/romance comedy I Hate But I Love (1962), and the erotic drama Thirst for Love (1967). Buy Eclipse Series 28: The Warped World of Koreyoshi Kurahara.

Road to Nowhere (2010):  A psychological thriller about a filmmaker making a true crime story who gets sucked into a web where fiction and reality are hard to tell apart: is his lead actress actually the femme fatale from the story?  Reviews are good, but the even better news is that this is “existential” cult director Monte Hellman‘s first feature film in 22 years (we’re thrilled to find out he’s still alive, much less churning out good movies!) Buy Road to Nowhere.

“Steamy Art House Hits”:  Includes Torremolinos 73 (2003), the sadomasochistic Don’t Let Me Die on a Sunday (1998), and ‘s Secret Things (2002).  The weirdest, but perhaps also the worst, title is House of the Sleeping Beauties (2006), a German remake of a Japanese movie about a brothel where men pay to sleep with somnambulist women. These are also available separately Buy “Steamy Art House Hits”.

Sympathy for Delicious (2011): We’re not quite sure what to think of the synopsis for actor Mark Ruffalo‘s directorial debut: it’s about a paralyzed DJ who becomes a faith healer for a rock band.  Is it a satire, or inspirational allegory?  Critics who’ve seen it seem confused, too; Slant magazine calls it “an odd mishmash that leads to some headscratchingly bizarre moments…” That actually sounds kind of promising to us. Buy Sympathy For Delicious.

Trollhunter [Trolljegeren] (2010): Read our capsule review.  This Norwegian horror mockumentary about rampaging trolls may not be too weird, but it’s definitely crowd-pleasing.  Buy Trollhunter.

NEW ON BLU-RAY:

The Big Lebowski (1998): It may not be their weirdest work, but plenty of people will be interested to hear that the cultiest comedy appeared on Blu-ray for the first time ever this week. This “limited edition” includes a 38-page booklet and lots of innovative special features (like an “f-bomb” counter). Buy The Big Lebowski [Limited Edition Blu-ray].

Road to Nowhere (2010): See description in DVD above. Buy Road to Nowhere [Blu-ray].

Sympathy for Delicious (2011):  See description in DVD above. Buy Sympathy for Delicious [Blu-ray].

Trollhunter [Trolljegeren] (2010): See description in DVD above. Buy Trollhunter [Blu-ray].

NEW ON VIDEO ON DEMAND:

FrICTION (2010): An experimental mockumentary about making a scripted film based on the lives of real people, whose daily turmoils get incorporated into the new script so that the line between reality and fiction continually breaks down.  It’s really hard to get a sense what this extremely low-budget independent movie is actually like, or really about, but something about it has intrigued us since we first heard the project described.  Hopefully an actual DVD will be forthcoming, until then it can be downloaded or rented from Amazon, ITunes or similar VOD services. Rent FrICTION On-Demand.

FREE (LEGITIMATE RELEASE) MOVIES ON YOUTUBE:

Revolver (2005): Guy (Snatch) Ritchie’s flop neo-noir contained nods to Kaballah (then wifey Madonna’s obsession) and confused the hell out of nearly everyone who saw it.  It’s languishing deep in the reader-suggested review queue waiting for us to get around to it, but you can get the jump on us and watch it now for free.  Watch Revolver (2005) on YouTube for free.

What are you looking forward to? If you have any weird movie leads we have overlooked, feel free to leave them in the COMMENTS section.

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