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):
Machete: A machete-wielding vigilante chops up his enemies in this grindhouse-styled (expanded from one of the fake trailers in Grindhouse, in fact) action flick featuring some major star power (in mostly minor roles). Starring Danny Trejo, with Robert De Niro, Jessica Alba, Steven Segall and Lindsay Lohan. Weird? We’re betting no, but cult director Robert Rodriguez‘s numerous followers will be checking this out for sure. Machete official site.
TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: SEP 9 – 19
The TIFF is one of the world’s top film festivals; frankly, though, we dropped the ball by not covering the horror-oriented alternative festival, Toronto After Dark, last week. Next year, TAD (though we admit we’re skeptical about any festival that could give The Human Centipede a silver medal). Regardless, here are some of the movies featured at TIFF of interest of that we’ll be keeping an eye out for in the upcoming months:
- 13 Assassins – Takashi Miike’s latest is a bloody but reportedly non-weird period samurai film
- The Adder’s Bite – this 9 minute short film (described as “deliciously surreal” by Twitch) is based on a chapter of Nietzsche’s “Thus Spake Zarathustra” and has been garnering positive buzz for upcoming director Firas Momani; perhaps he’ll get a feature deal out of it
- At Ellen’s Age [Im Alter von Ellen] – an airline hostess falls in with a group of radical animal rights activists in a story that’s described as containing “a pinch of the surreal”
- Black Swan – highly anticipated psychological thriller from Darren Aronofsky about rival ballerinas, starring Natalie Portman
- Bunraku – alternate reality dystopian actioner starring Josh Hartnett, Woody Harrelson (as a samurai bartender), Ron Perlman and Demi Moore
- Deep in the Woods [Au Fond des Bois] – in 19th century France a bourgeois woman is abducted by a magical wild man and taken into the forest for a “nightmare of carnal sex” (?)
- The Four Times [Le Quattro Volte] – the four stage journey of a shepherd’s soul through the afterlife, told according to one of geeky Greek cult leader Pythagoras’ lesser-known theorems
- The Illusionist [L’illusionniste] – Sylvain Chomet’s followup to The Triplets of Belleville is a nearly silent animated feature about an out-of-fashion magician, from an unproduced script by Jacques Tati
- John Carpenter’s The Ward – thriller about a woman in a mental institution; we’ll be watching simply to see if Carpenter has returned to form yet
- The Last Circus [Balada Triste] – from Alex (The Day of the Beast) de la Iglesia comes a parody of the Spanish Civil War with killer clowns battling over a circus dancer
- L.A. Zombie – hardcore gay porn/gore horror/art film from oddball Bruce LaBruce
- Machete Maidens Unleashed! – best-of exploitation compilation in which director Mark Hartley tries to do for the Philippines what he did for Australia with Not Quite Hollywood
- Man with a Movie Camera: The Global Remake – the title explains it: a remake of the groundbreaking Russian classic Man with a Movie Camera recreated by folks who uploaded their recreations of scenes to a website
- Passion Play – fantasy fairy-tale starring Mickey Rourke as a jazz musician and Megan Fox as a “Bird Woman”
- The Sleeping Beauty [La Belle Endormie] – before we’ve even had a chance to catch Bluebeard, Catherine Breillat is back with another postmodern fairy tale
- The Strange Case of Angelica – story of a photographer who sees the dead as the living when he looks through his camera, from 101-year old director Manoel de Oliveira
- Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives – for some reason we didn’t notice this Thai fantasy about the afterlife until after it won the Palme D’Or
- You Are Here – a series of absurdist narrative snippets make up Daniel Cockburn’s feature debut; promoters are bandying about Charlie Kaufman‘s name as a stylistic touchstone
SCREENINGS (NEW YORK CITY: ANTHOLOGY FILM ARCHIVES)
Our Beloved Month of August [Aquele Querido Mês de Agosto, AKA This Dear Month of August] (2008): A narrative experiment: the filmmaker (Miguel Gomes) could not find funding for his movie but starting filming anyway, creating a documentary about vacationers in the Portuguese mountains in August. Then, he introduced a fictional drama without explaining to the audience what was documentary and what was scripted. It’s questionable whether this is truly weird, but it’s definitely experimental and “postmodern.” Aquele Querido Mês de Agosto Official Site (French).
NEW ON DVD:
Lorna the Exorcist (1974): There’s nothing truly weird debuting on DVD this week, but if you’re desperate to rent something off-the-wall you might give this Jess Franco lesbian-heavy occult fairy tale a go-go. Buy Lorna The Exorcist.
NEW ON BLU-RAY:
The Evil Dead (Limited Edition) (1981): Sam Raimi‘s bloody low-budget debut, which was half remade/half sequelized as the Certified Weird Evil Dead II. There are a veritable zombie host of extras, but all of them appeared on one or another of the film’s previous video incarnations with the exception of a new commentary track from Raimi, star Bruce Campbell and producer Robert Talpert. Buy The Evil Dead (Limited Edition) [Blu-ray].
FREE (LEGITIMATE RELEASE) MOVIES ON YOUTUBE:
Boxing Jesus [Il Pugno di Jesu] (2007): An odd title and plot description (Jesus returns to earth as a boxer but is sent to a madhouse where he meets John the Baptist). We couldn’t swear that this unknown Italian film is weird, rather than a lame comedy, but you can try it out and report back to us. Watch Boxing Jesus free on YouTube.
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.