What Would Werner Do?
New to home viewing: A feast of Herzog, ‘Zero Charisma’
By Kimberley Jones,
10:30AM, Tue. Apr. 8, 2014
Obsessive, borderline-mad – or, y’know, just batshit-crazy – behavior has long been a hallmark of Werner Herzog's heroes; think Fitzcarraldo pushing a boat up a mountain, or Timothy Treadwell’s misguided Grizzly Man aspirations. Now you, too, can do obsessive, borderline-mad from the comfort of your own couch and cram 16 Herzog films in as many weeks.
Starting April 10, Film on Demand provider Fandor will release a new SVOD title from Herzog’s back catalog every Thursday, starting with 1972’s Aguirre, The Wrath Of God. The first of Herzog’s collaborations with “best fiend” Klaus Kinski, Aguirre tracks a Spanish conquistador leading a doomed expedition down the Amazon in search of El Dorado, the fabled city of gold. Eerie, trippy, epic, and supremely uneasy, Aguirre leans so far over the mouth of madness you’re liable to feel dizzy from the effect.
It’s a testament to just how immense Herzog’s output has been that Fandor could secure the rights to 16 films and still skip over major titles (no Bad Lieutenant, no Cave of Forgotten Dreams, no Rescue Dawn but yes on source documentary Little Dieter Needs to Fly), but there are some interesting, lesser-seen inclusions, like 1970’s Even Dwarfs Started Small and Fata Morgana, the latter of which was shot in the Sahara. Other titles in the series include Battle of the Little Soldier, Cobra Verde, The Enigma of Kasper Hauser, Heart of Glass, Land of Silence and Darkness, Lessons of Darkness, My Best Fiend, Nosferatu, the Vampyre, Stroszek, Where the Green Ants Dream, and Woyzeck.
Homegrown comedy Zero Charisma is already available on VOD, but if you prefer a tangible something to file on the shelf, it’s out on DVD today (New Video Group, $26.95). Dan Solomon spoke with the filmmakers in 2013, on the occasion of the film’s SXSW world premiere:
“The urge to protect nerd culture from interlopers is at the core of the Austin film Zero Charisma. ... The film stars Sam Eidson as the übergoober dungeon master Scott Weidemeyer, whose world is shaken up when a cool, socially acceptable, one-might-even-call-him-a-hipster named Miles joins his gaming table – and subsequently disrupts the most important thing in Scott's life. It's an experience that the film's co-directors, Katie Graham and Andrew Matthews, were surprised to be able to identify with when they moved to Austin in 2010. ‘The nerd culture and hipster culture really kind of blend here,’ Graham explains.”
August: Osage County (Anchor Bay). Read theatrical review.
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (New Line Home Video). Read theatrical review.
Grudge Match (Warner Home Video). Read theatrical review.
Funny Face & Sabrina (Paramount Catalog). Two of Audrey Hepburn sentimental favorites get the Blu-ray treatment.
Bastards (MPI Home Video). Claire Denis’ latest feature never touched down for a theatrical run in Austin; in his 4-star review, the Dissolve’s Scott Tobias called it “a neo-noir that doesn’t behave entirely as expected.”