I‘ve always been a fan of surreal artistic endeavors. There’s a fertile creative space just left of center I try to visit whenever possible. In this current quarantine landscape, I find myself venturing even further afield for films and shows that push envelopes like a mailman on crystal meth. Last week I sought out new entertainment experiences that wade through some wonderfully weird waters.
PG-13 | Available on Amazon Prime
There seems to be something timely about this modern retelling of J.M. Barrie’s classic tale of escapism and adventure, “Peter Pan.” Based on the sobering state of the world right now, who wouldn’t want to leave for a magical place where you never grow old and reality is a distant memory?
Wendy (Devin France) lives in a rural Southern town where life is ordinary and opportunities are slim. She creates fantastical stories from her imagination about magical realms and adventures. Wendy begins to notice children on a passing train, and one day is encouraged by a boy named Peter (Yashua Mack) to jump on. They go for a ride to somenplace unexpected and amazing.
After ditching the train for a boat, she is taken to a volcanic island inhabited by a number of children who have abandoned the real world for the kind of magical adventures Wendy only dreamed of. Soon she discovers inhabitants of the island are protected by “Mother,” who provides for the children as long as they believe.
Writer/director Benh Zeitlin (“Beasts of the Southern Wild”) once again creates something endearing by carving out his own unique vision of Neverland. I was pleasantly surprised by “Wendy,” which manages to be both surreal and stirring.
RATED NA | Available May 8 on iTunes and Amazon Prime
Don’t freak out. I am not, in fact, going to be reviewing pornography. Though, I think the end result could end up being fairly entertaining. The movie “Porno” is a horror film from the good folks at Fangoria. It follows a group of cinema employees that accidentally unleash a demon by watching an old adult film they unearth in the bowels of their Christian, family-friendly movie theater.
Chaz (Jillian Mueller) and her co-workers are partaking in their usual weekly ritual of staying after work to watch a movie in the uptight conservative town where they reside. The town is guided by the good book, and everyone and every decision is made through the filter of being a good, God-fearing young man or woman. During the lead-up to their weekly movie night, they discover an old section of the theater covered in lewd artwork and an old film canister. They decide to watch the film, and wouldn’t you know it! It’s a sexy movie with all sorts of insane imagery. Being good Christian kids, their first instinct is to stop watching, but their throbbing teenage urges compel them to continue. Soon, they realize the movie is cursed, and a beautiful sex demon has now been released and has them running for not only their lives but their immortal souls.
“Porno” satisfies as horror movie. Thankfully, it doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s inventive, low-budget horror.
When it comes to the surreal, there are few artists who do it as well as Tim and Eric. Their brand of oddball humor has been a cornerstone of Cartoon Network’s “Adult Swim” lineup for nearly two decades.
Their latest endeavor, “Beef House,” is an attempt at cramming their trademark gross-out style of comedy into the mold of the 1990s sitcom. Think “Full House,” but instead of Uncle Jesse and Joey, we get an ensemble of sex and food-obsessed weirdos in any number of crazy scenarios.
The basic setups come from the family sitcom playbook but go weirdly askew real quick. For example, Tim (Tim Heidecker) is invited over to his sexy neighbor’s house for a hot tub date. There’s one problem: Tim’s constipated and the warm water will cause him to, and I quote, “blow his ass out.” Instead of canceling the date, Tim and his “Beef Boys” rig up a system of tubes to redirect his inevitable discharge.
“Beef Boys” continues Tim and Eric’s obsession with weirdness in a show that is obsessed with going to unconventional places with traditional television tropes. The mercifully brief 15-minute episodes serve the premise well as Tim and Eric continue their comedic anarchy in this newest iteration.