WEIRD HORIZON FOR THE WEEK OF 8/7/2009

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):

Cold Souls: Described as “a surreal comedy in which souls can be extracted and traded as commodities,” starring indie icon Paul Giamatti. Well-reviewed film from first time director Sophie Barthes. Cold Souls official site.

SCREENINGS (LOS ANGELES): JOE DANTE’S “DANTE’S INFERNO”:

Director Joe Dante (Gremlins) won’t return my calls, and probably wouldn’t even if he had my number; to prove I’m not bitter, I’m going to plug a couple of weird titles from his adventurous “Dante’s Inferno” series now screening at the New Beverly Cinema in Hollywood (check here for the complete schedule).

The Movie Orgy (1968/2009): This is a pastiche of clips from a variety of pre-1968 movies, serials, newsreels, and TV shows, prominently featuring many B-movies such as Attack of the 50-Foot Woman, arranged into what Dante characterizes as “a crazy 16mm cinematic farrago.”  Originally over four hours in length, Dante has added footage to carry the film over the 5 hour mark.  This film is rarely screened, for obvious reasons.  Showing August 8 only, admission is free (!)

The President’s Analyst (1967):  A crazy, underseen paranoid satire—one that could only have come out of the 1960s—about the titular character, who finds himself at the center of a dastardly plot masterminded by an unlikely enemy.  On a double bill with the 1971 tobacco company satire Cold Turkey.  August 11 & 12 only.

ON DEMAND FREE MOVIES (SOME U.S. CABLE SYSTEMS):

Army of Darkness (1992):  The third movie in the Evil Dead trilogy.  In this campy horror/comedy entry, Ash (Bruce Campbell), chainsaw in hand,  finds that the vortex he was sucked into at the end of Evil Dead II leads to a medieval land teeming with yet more evil dead.  Available on Fearnet until August 31.

Dracula (1992): Francis Ford Coppola’s take on the Dracula legend was ruined for many by the terrible decision to cast Keanu Reeves and Wynona Ryder as Jonathan and Mina Harker, but there’s no doubt that it contains some great, hallucinatory visual sequences that make it worth catching.  Available on Fearnet until Spetember 2.

Evil Dead II (1987):  With money and experience under his belt, director Sam Raimi remade his own low-budget hit The Evil Dead (1981) as one of the greatest horror-comedies of all time, full of over-the-top weird touches.  Available on Fearnet until August 31.

Oldboy (2003): The middle entry in Chan-wook Park‘s Vengeance Trilogy, about a man who hunts a unknown enemy after he is imprisoned without explanation for years and just as mysteriously freed.  It’s Park’s most popular film, and probably his best, despite (or because of) it’s violent and stylistic excesses.  Available on the Sundance Channel until September 1st.

NEW ON BLU-RAY:

Big Trouble in Little China (1986): John Carpenter’s Americanized version of a zany Hong Kong action-kung fu-fantasy-comedy doesn’t seem quite as weird and wacky as it did when it flopped in theaters in the 1980s. Word of mouth turned it into a video hit.  Carpenter was ahead of the curve; Westerners would discover the delirious delights of Tsui Hark, Jackie Chan and John Woo on their own within a few years. Buy from Amazon.

AMAZON ARTHOUSE AND INTERNATIONAL SALE:

Through the month of August, Amazon is discounting titles in its international, indie and arthouse catagories, with DVD deals as low as $5.99.  Browse the sale items here: we noticed the 2-disc Criterion collection version of Fellini’s 8 1/2 for $16.49, more than half off list price, among other deals.

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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