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 at the official site links.

SCREENINGS – (Cinefamily, Los Angeles, 9/4-9/7, 9/9-9/13):

“The Quay Brothers in 35mm” – Three short films from the surrealist stop-motion animator twins: “In Absentia,” “The Comb,” and the famous “Street of Crocodiles,” plus a short peek at their magical workshop, hosted by celebrity fan . Nolan will also host the 7:30 Friday evening screening in person. “The Quay Brothers in 35mm” at Cinefamily.

SCREENINGS – (AFI Silver Theater, Silver Springs, MD, 9/4-9/8):

Wild at Heart (1990)/Lost Highway (1997): Two Certified Weird movies from giant  dominate AFI’s “Keepin’ It Real: ’90s Cinema Now” series this month. Wild at Heart, Lynch’s crazed B-movie starring as an Elvis-loving romantic miscreant, plays Friday, Saturday and Wednesday. The even wilder Lost Highway, which features defeating a homicide rap by morphing into a teenage mechanic, takes center screen Monday and Tuesday. Sorry, no Lynch double feature, but Saturday night they’ll be showing Ghost in the Shell on another screen at the same time as Wild at Heart (the dastards!) “Keepin’ It Real: ’90s Cinema Now” at AFI.

FILM FESTIVALS – Venice Film Festival (Venice, Italy, Sep 2-Sep.7):

The world’s oldest film festival, Venice is still one of the most prestigious movie events of the year, although it has been losing ground in late years as many producers who miss the chance to debut at Cannes choose to premiere at the better-attended Toronto Film Festival instead. Still, Venice always lands a few scoops…

  • Anomalisa – This stop-motion feature about “a man crippled by the mundanity of his life,” written and co-directed by the great , was originally supposed to be a Kickstarted short and has ballooned into a full-fledged feature with studio backing. World premiere on Sept. 8.
  • Heart of a Dog – Avant-garde musician Laurie Anderson’s first feature film is an experimental film essay which includes pieces on her dog and the Tibetan Buddhist afterlife. Screening Sept. 9 only.
  • Man Down – A psychological thriller about an Afghan war vet searching for his brother after the apocalypse strikes. Premieres Sept. 6, additional screening Sept. 7.

Venice Film Festival home page (English).


Dr. Strange (pre-production, releases 2016): OK, so skepticism rules when discussing the potential weirdness of a Marvel blockbuster, but people are casually throwing around the word “psychedelic” when describing the project, so it may indeed be marginally strange (by comic book standards). In an interview,  Director of Photography Ben Davis described the project as “Marvel’s Fantasia, in a way, because it’s so sort of out there and different to everything else that they’ve done.” In 1939 we would never have thought a Disney cartoon would make the List of the 366 Weirdest Movies Ever Made, either, so I guess we can’t rule categorically rule a Marvel film out. Ben Davis Dr. Strange interview with Screen Daily.


“Mystery Science Theater 3000: ‘Manos,’ the Hands of Fate” (1966/1993): Read our review of Manos. Many consider ‘Manos’ the high point of “Mystery Science Theater 3000,” the cult TV series featuring a man and his robot companions stranded in space and making fun of bad movies in real time. “Every frame of this film looks like someone’s last known photograph,” complains a distressed Joel Robinson as he waits for something to happen in this bleak, slow, and very strange horror oddity whose cult was founded after it was featured on the show. It’s not hard to find a public domain copy of Manos, but this version with comic commentary may be the least painful way to experience this fever-dream of an El Paso fertilizer salesman. Watch “Mystery Science Theater 3000: ‘Manos,’ the Hands of Fate” free on 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.


3 thoughts on “WEIRD HORIZON FOR THE WEEK OF 9/4/2015”

  1. Pity that someone nabbed the title of one of the great absurdist Soviet novellas for an “experimental film essay which includes pieces on her dog and the Tibetan Buddhist afterlife.”

    Obviously words should be for everyone to share, but this seems akin to pitching a documentary about North African trade routes and dubbing it “Casablanca.”

  2. Having had the good fortune of taking some Russian film classes years ago, I’ve seen bits of it (sans sous-titres).

    It is a real pity that more of Russian / Soviet films haven’t been given a good “cleaning” and competent subtitles. Most of us hereabouts know of the likes of Tarkovsky, but there’s such a massive wealth of cinema (and amazing animation) that just hasn’t been exported.

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