• Squishy phantoms terrorize Moscow; Leelee Sobieski takes note

Until Aleksandr Zeldovich’s magisterial Target returns to Chicago (assuming it ever does), Branded will have to tide over those viewers hungry for a Russian-set sci-fi epic with ambitious wide-screen cinematography, literary allusions, and anticapitalist themes. An imaginative, overreaching pulp saga that jumps unpredictably from the brilliant to the awful (sometimes within the same scene), it’s likely the strangest movie playing in town. Had a friend not asked me yesterday, on a whim, if I’d like to see it (“I hear it’s the most ‘what the fuck’ movie of 2012!” he wrote in an e-mail), I’d still belong to the majority that hasn’t given the film a moment’s thought. Given Branded‘s poor attendance, I’m surprised that River East has held it over for a second week, albeit for one screening a day at 7:15 PM. But if you want to see something different, it won’t disappoint.