Donnie Darko, released in 2001 on the heels of The Blair Witch Projects runaway success, was intentionally released on a small scale (58 screens on opening weekend) with a cast that featured a pre-Broke Back Mountain Jake Gyllenhaal, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Drew Barrymore and former Houstonian Patrick Swayze. Donnie included many of the norms of cult films. A troubled teenage protagonist? Check. An icon-like weird image? Yes: A man in a rabbit suit delivers prophecies to the hero in a dream sequence. A non-linear plot? The thing revolves around loose theories of how to affect the course of time. Strange motifs? Look out for repetitions of the number eight. Unsettling use of a vintage song? Mad World will never sound the same again. Suburban America portrayed as dark and two-faced? Well, of course.
So its a little formulaic (like a comic book rendition of a David Lynch film, says Web site SLICEDWire), but for those on the hunt for startling weirdness at the theater or video store, Donnie Darko delivers. 11:55 p.m. today and tomorrow. 2009 West Gray. For tickets and information, call 713-866-8881 or visit www.landmarktheatres.com. $8.25.
Fri., Jan. 4, 11:55 p.m.; Sat., Jan. 5, 11:55 p.m., 2008