VideoReport #471

Volume CDLXXI- Big Trouble In Little Portland

For the Week of 8/26/14

(Click the pics for more reviews!)

Videoport gives you a free movie every single day! Let’s all just kick back and think about how undeniably cool that is.

Middle Aisle Monday! Take a free rental from the Science Fiction, Horror, Incredibly Strange, Popular Music, Mystery/Thriller, Animation, or Staff Picks sections with any other paid rental! OR Get any three non-new releases for seven days for seven bucks!

>>> Videoport customer Abby L. suggests Ladies And Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains! (in Incredibly Strange.) Punk is a barbed knot of contradictions, and anyone who tries to untie that knot is going to get hurt. Like its tough female protagonists, the 1982 cult classic, Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains, tries to untangle it anyway. Stains features a 15 year-old Diane Lane as Corinne “Third-Degree” Burns, the recently-orphaned lead singer of the titular punk group she’s formed with her sister, Tracy, and cousin, Jessica, played by fellow future heavy-hitter Laura Dern. Set against the misty gray backdrop of a fading Pennsylvania steel town, Corinne’s inevitable future in her hometown is laid out clearly before her: be someone’s girlfriend, be someone’s wife, be someone’s mother, and die. Her dreams of marriage and family having been extinguished by the death of her mother, Corinne develops a defensive snarl and cynical attitude. The Stains hit the road as a supporting act for the prophetically-named Metal Corpses, KISS-like glam rock dinosaurs, and the Looters, a sniveling English punk band played by members of the Sex Pistols and the Clash, on a failing tour of the Midwest. The mismatched groups are managed by a long-suffering Rastafarian nicknamed Lawn Boy, who’s a symbol of the political camaraderie between punk and reggae which linked the seemingly disparate musical genres in the 1970’s. The film drifts in and out of a somewhat clumsy mockumentary format as the Stains become a continuing human interest story on the local news, spurred by a sympathetic female newscaster. Looking like a cross between X-Ray Spex and the Misfits from Jem, the group is a near-literal overnight sensation because of a the media attention (a primitive version of going “viral”) and a galvanizing slogan, “We don’t put out.” A few gigs later, they have a devoted following of young girls dressed just like them. But Corinne and her bandmates have clearly given more thought to their clothes and their mission statement than their music, and in punk rock, it’s a very fine, nearly invisible, line between success and “selling out.” The third-act moralizing in the Fabulous Stains is emblematic of punk’s central conflict. If pop music stars are disposable, then punk stars are combustible. Punk fans demand contradicting values from their idols: rawness and purity, steely ideology and strident apathy, toughness and relatability, youth and wisdom. In weeks, the Stains go from heroes to hypocrites. Regardless of its philosophy, the Fabulous Stains is a valuable document of the original punk rock scene and features a fascinating cross-section of music legends and budding stars. Lane channels admirable depths of both perseverance and vulnerability. Mercifully, the musicians aren’t forced to do much acting. Most of all, it’s a loving tribute to American punk music and rust-belt grit. Stains is absolutely mandatory viewing for anyone who dares to call themselves a riot grrl, past, present and future.

Tough and Triassic Tuesday! Give yourself a free rental from the Action or Classics section with any other paid rental! OR Get any three non-new releases for seven days for seven bucks!

>>> Dennis suggests The Big Sleep (in Classics.) With the death of Lauren Bacall, here’s my pick to see her at her best. She and Bogart were a great team, their offscreen chemistry translating in the way that most real couples don’t Here, he’s private dick Philip Marlowe and she’s Vivian Rutledge, wild and wealthy daughter of the wealthy Sternwood clan. There’s a case—a particularly confusing one (author Raymond Chandler admits even he doesn’t know who killed a certain character)—but the real attraction is Bogart and Bacall, their verbal sparring and obvious smoldering making them one of the hottest screen couples in history. (All without much physical contact at all.)

Wacky and Worldly Wednesday! You’ve got a free rental coming from the Comedy or Foreign Language sections with any other paid rental! OR Get any three non-new releases for seven days for seven bucks!                                                        

>>> Dennis suggests getting some serious free money at Videoport! You’re gonna spend your entertainment dollars with us, so why not get some free ones? No reason not to. $20 buys you $25 in store credit and $30 buys you $40. Boom—free money. Do that.

Thrifty Thursday! Rent one, get a free rental from any other section in the store! OR Get any three non-new releases for seven days for seven bucks!                                        

>>> Dennis suggests The Simpsons (in Animation.) You know how you know that this is one of the greatest TV shows of all time? With a cable network no on watches otherwise running the entire run of The Simpsons for 12 straight days, people are still coming in to rent i. Maybe they missed the episodes they really wanted to see because they were on at 4:30 in the morning on a Wednesday. Or maybe they saw some episodes they loved and just had to see them again immediately. Or maybe they realized the horrifying scam cable TV is and have no idea what FXX is. Regardless, Videoport’s got all the best seasons of the show (let’s say, up ‘til season 10) and the diminishing returns thereafter.

Free Kids Friday! One free rental from the Kids section, no other rental necessary!            

>>> You can just come in and get a free movie here, people. No other rental necessary. Who else does that? No one, that’s who.

Having a Wild Weekend! Rent two movies, and get a third one for free from any section!                                                    

>>>For Saturday, Videoport customer Jeremy A. suggests The Sacrament (in Horror). Ti West should make a fast paced film called Slow Burn. Slow burn is the primary description attached to Ti West’s films. It’s a tad lazy and implies most other films are fast burners. I enjoyed West’s last two efforts, The House of the Devil and The Innkeepers. Indeed his films are deliberate in their glacial pace and often retro styled in the vein of late 70’s horror films. Back when studio execs and audiences didn’t demand a jump scare every 8 minutes. You could get to know characters, build upon a situation and create genuine atmosphere. A Ti West film is an investment of time and patience. The payoff being, you earn tension and ultimately care about what transpires. In real life crazy sh*t doesn’t happen every 8 minutes. There’s usually a slow escalation of circumstances and before you know it you’re in too deep. So it’s interesting that The Sacrament draws heavily from the very real and tragic Jonestown Massacre of 1978. Even more fascinating that such a retro-centric filmmaker would use the exhausted and unimaginative found-footage style to tell this story. Presented as a VICE documentary, The Sacrament focuses on documentarians Sam and Jake (AJ Bowen and Joe Swanberg) accompanying fashion photographer Patrick (Kentucker Audley) to a remote commune called Eden Parish. Patrick’s troubled sister Caroline (Amy Seimetz) has invited them to visit her at the spiritual sanctuary. Initially it appears to be a bona fide utopia, where good people have escaped the racism and hassles of modern life to live off the land. Enter the commune’s enigmatic leader, Father (Gene Jones) in easily the best performance and scene of the film. Sitting down for an interview with the outsiders, Father’s disdain for the media quickly becomes apparent. If you scratch at the surface of paradise, things are often not quite what they seem. Due to the found-footage constraint, we never truly know what’s going on behind the scenes at Eden Parish. Nor gain any real insight into the mindset of what drives folks to join such a cult, or follow it to an unholy conclusion. There’s also straight up technical flaws as to who is filming what, when all cameras are accounted for. I honestly thought the movie may go in a Wicker Man direction, revealing far more sinister reasons for Caroline’s invite to the compound. The tension of waiting for a twist or unexpected turn was exciting, but a huge disappointment when it embraced the Jonestown template and staggered toward the obvious ending. In The Sacrament West is basically recreating the Jonestown Massacre on a smaller scale with artistic liscense. The problem is I wish he’d taken more artistic liberties or simply done a film on the 1978 Peoples Temple. See Kevin Smith’s underappreciated Red State for similar themes about religious cults and their silver tongued leaders. Or watch any of the numerous Jonestown documentaries. Terrifying cause they’re true. I can only hope the found-footage genre is in the death rattle phase. Out of options, ready to drink the kool aid, lay down the video camera and film itself crawling off into the sunset. 

>>>For Sunday, Dennis suggests Rectify (in Feature Drama) and Orphan Black (in Mystery/Thriller). Now that the Emmys are over, we can all stop complaining about who/what got nominated/won, right? Hahahahaha…mercy, no! Like all the big awards shows, they get most everything wrong, inevitably erring on the side of bland/safe/pleasant (Modern Family, I’m looking at you…), and this year was no exception. Although Breaking Bad—yes. So I’m going to use my time here for some stumping on behalf of two of the best performances that didn’t even get nominated. In Rectify, Aden Young plays Daniel Holden, a man imprisoned on death row since he was 17 who’s released to his small Georgia hometown and family when DNA evidence voids his conviction. There’s simply nothing like this show, maybe ever, and Young’s performance as the wary, courtly Daniel is truly remarkable. There’s a mystery still at the heart of Rectify (one that the show is in no hurry to clear up), but the real mystery is of what makes Daniel tick. I’ve tried to explain the effect this show and Young’s performance has on me, that I watch both in a sort of rapt, meditative attention unique in all my millions of TV watching hours. Orphan Black’s Tatiana Maslany is a wonder as well, except her gift is for knocking your socks off with versatility. Virtuosity, even. I don’t want to spoil anything if you don’t know the premise of this fun, exciting Canadian thriller series, so I’ll just say that Maslany gives several of the best performances on TV. Like, eight of them. (Think Dollhouse, only with a lead actress who can actually play anyone other than that one character and you’ll get what I’m talking about.) So again—in Smart World, these two would have been there on Emmy night, listening to Breaking Bad win all the drama awards, but at least they’d be there. Plus—if neither gets nominated next year, I may do something drastic. Like…write another snarky blog post! Watch your back, Emmy voters!

New Releases this week at Videoport: The Walking Dead- season 4 (ZOMBIES!!!!! Ahem—I mean here is the fourth season of the AMC drama where a rag-tag group of survivors of an unthinkable apocalypse fight for survival against external dangers and the darkest recesses of the human soul. Plus—ZOMBIES!!!!), Sons Of Anarchy-season 6 (BIKERS!!! Yeah, this one is pretty much just about a bunch of smelly, ignorant, violent bikers. BIKERS!!!!!!!), Elementary- season 2 (Go ahead and swoon over your precious Benedict Camblebooblebobble, but, improbably, this American update on the whole Sherlock Holmes deal is actually pretty interesting. Starring Lucy Liu as Watson and the unfortunately not-ridiculously-named Jonny Lee Miller as Holmes), The Double (Directed by cool British comedian Richard Ayoade and based on the novel by Fyodor Dostoevshy, this thriller sees meek government clerk Jesse Eisenberg finding his humdrum existence turned upside down when his exact physical double comes to work at his office—and seems to be living his life better than he does), Belle (Gugu Mbatha-Raw stars in this period piece about the mixed-race daughter of a British admiral trying to deal with all the awfulness of fitting in with an 18th century British society), Blended (Adam Sandler reunites with pal Drew Barrymore in this typically goofy, sort of lazy comedy about a couple of single parents who have a disastrous blind date and then find themselves on the same vacation tour of Africa! Womp-womp. It does co-star the very funny Terry Crews, so that means something… ), The League- season 5 (Full of funny people who are very, very good at improve, this sitcom is reliably hilarious and rude even if you care 100% nothing about fantasy football), The Love Punch (Pierce Brosnan and Emma Thompson star in this comedy about a divorced couple who reluctantly reunite in order to go after the scammer who stole their retirement fund), The Normal Heart (Acclaimed, award-winning cable movie from AIDS activist and hero Larry Kramer about the struggle of an activist to bring the fact of the early days of the AIDS epidemic to the attention of a public all too happy to ignore it. Starring the likes of Mark Rufalo, Jim Parsons, Julia Roberts, Taylor Kitsch, Matt Bomer, BD Wong, Denis O’Hare, and Alfred Molina), Portlandia- season 4 (Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein’s delightfully odd sketch comedy series about the denizen’s of the other Portland continues), Trust Me (Everybody’s favorite Marvel movie universe also-ran Clark Gregg [aka Agent Coulson] writes, directs, and stars in this dramedy about a former child star turned agent trying to hustle his prepubescent clients into the big time. Co-starring the great Felicity Huffman, who also teamed with Gregg in the last season of the great TV show Sports Night, which you should also really rent.), Legends Of Oz: Dororthy’s Return (Indifferently worthy animated sequel to that movie about that wizard from Oz features the voices of Lea Michelle, Kelsey Grammer, Jim Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Bernadette Peters, Brian Blessed, Martin Short, Oliver Platt, Hugh Dancy, and a whole lot more people than you’d expect in this sort of thing), Age Of Uprising: The Legend Of Michael Kolhaas (The great Mads Mikkelsen—you should really be watching Hannibal—stars in this French/German historical epic about a wronged horse trader who assembles an army to get some justice against the lord who swindled him)

New Arrivals on Blu-Ray This Week At Videoport: The Normal Heart, Belle

VideoReport #470

Volume CDLXX- The Criterioning

For the Week of 8/19/14

(Click the pics for more reviews!)

Videoport gives you a free movie every single day. Just somethin’ to keep in mind…

Middle Aisle Monday! Take a free rental from the Science Fiction, Horror, Incredibly Strange, Popular Music, Mystery/Thriller, Animation, or Staff Picks sections with any other paid rental! OR Get any three non-new releases for seven days for seven bucks!

>>> Dennis suggests checking out the sadly-relevant Robin Williams and Lauren Bacall tribute shelves in the Staff Picks section in the Middle Aisle. We’ve got a lot of movies by these two screen legends [and yes, I’m promoting Williams to legend.] Many you haven’t seen before. So now that the shocked grief-renting has subsided a bit, take home some of their movies and appreciate what’s been lost. Also, Death—we get it, you’re Death, you always win. But why not take it down a notch, just for a little while. No more cool dead actors, whattaya say?

Tough and Triassic Tuesday! Give yourself a free rental from the Action or Classics section with any other paid rental! OR Get any three non-new releases for seven days for seven bucks!

>>> Videoport customer Abby L. suggests Saturday Night Fever (in Musicals). In his 1914 short story collection, Dubliners, James Joyce captured the lives of everyday working-class Irish-Catholics and their struggles to prevail over not only poverty but a spiritual, emotional and mental hurdle known as “paralysis.” In Joyce’s world, paralysis was a combination of fear, self-doubt and self-sabotage that renders one immobile even in the opportunity for escape, a symptom of a hopeless life where endless struggle stunts the growth of one’s imagination and causes them to hesitate in the potential realization of even small, attainable dreams. Cut to 1977. At first glance, Tony Manero, the hero of the disco touchstone Saturday Night Fever, has little in common with the protagonists of Joyce’s English language masterpiece (most notably because he spouts gems like, “It’s a decision a girl’s gotta make early in life, if she’s gonna be a nice girl or a c**t”). Yet, the Catholic Damoclean sword of his blue-collar Italian family swings over his head. His hyena-like pack of goombah friends keep him preserved in childish arrogance and provincial Bay Ridge in-fighting. His followers and groupies, based in a single neighborhood disco, slobber over him with near-religious devotion and foster in the 20-year-old an unearned sense of accomplishment. The cautionary specter-like appearance of his disgraced older brother, who has just left the seminary, fuels Tony’s intense but impotent drive towards escape. The greatest articulation of class tension and anxiety in this film is the relationship between Tony and Stephanie, the upwardly-mobile, name-dropping fellow Brooklynite whom Tony befriends through dance. Stephanie is the only local the prodigy can call a peer, and she continually challenges his immaturity by reminding him of her own pursuit of glamour and betterment on the other side of the bridge. In the name of encouraging Tony to capitalize on his talent, she reminds the reigning king of the dance floor of what he really is: a big fish in a small pond. But her elaborate cosmopolitan act proves to be a smokescreen for her own crippling insecurity, an overcompensation for her naiveté which, as it turns out, presents itself constantly in her own professional life in Manhattan. Saturday Night Fever transcends its reputation as a mere 70’s time capsule in this delicate friendship, where the primary vulnerability shifts ceaselessly between Tony and Stephanie. In many ways, this film is the inversion of a film like Annie Hall, which also came out in 1977. Woody Allen’s depiction of the Manhattan intelligentsia so perfectly personifies the ranks Stephanie hopes to join, you can picture her character desperately trying to fit in at Alvie Singer’s cocktail parties. There are elements of this film that leave it stranded somewhere between class-conscious drama and 70’s camp. The dance sequences feature absorbing-but-dated visuals that today, despite the beauty of the flashing lights and smooth-flowing fabrics, are more at home in a thrift store than a dance club. A hackneyed action sequence between Tony’s friends and a cartoonish Hispanic rival gang only proves how un-tough these characters are. In short, these guys, in their silk shirts, salmon-colored skin-tight polyester pants and dainty gold disco chains, look like they got their laundry mixed up with their sisters.’ Today, John Travolta’s public image is closer to Battlefield Earth alien than Italian-American everyman. But the soundtrack, a record-shattering behemoth laden with the Bee-Gees at their most helium-voiced, is unimpeachable. It was Gene Siskel’s favorite movie, for God’s sake! The film’s shockingly dramatic conclusion reveals a few inevitable sacrificial lambs and reminds us that Saturday Night Fever is not the escapist slab of nostalgic, kitschy gouda the uninitiated viewer may expect. Tony’s future in dance, the ever-present threat of realizing fully his own greatness, fills him with the same internal doubt and dread Joyce’s Dubliners felt, the skepticism that dreams can be real, and the unanswerable question of who enjoys salvation, and why.

Wacky and Worldly Wednesday! You’ve got a free rental coming from the Comedy or Foreign Language sections with any other paid rental! OR Get any three non-new releases for seven days for seven bucks!                                                        

>>> Dennis suggests getting some serious free money at Videoport! You’re gonna spend your entertainment dollars with us, so why not get some free ones? No reason not to. $20 buys you $25 in store credit and $30 buys you $40. Boom—free money. Do that.

Thrifty Thursday! Rent one, get a free rental from any other section in the store! OR Get any three non-new releases for seven days for seven bucks!                                        

>>> Jeff el Customer recommends The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (in Feature Drama). The Secret Life of Walter Mitty was not a movie I wanted to run out and see. All I could think of was some boring short story they made us read in 7th grade. Maybe that’s what most of the reviewers were focused on when they panned this movie, too. But I, and the reviewers, were so wrong. Walter Mitty is brilliantly updated and made into a movie that will keep you pleasantly engaged for the entire 114 minutes. This is a fun time – from the moment Walter launches himself out the window of one skyscraper and crashes through into the burning building next door to save everyone inside (!) That scene is from Walter’s imagination, but soon he starts to take control of his life and his adventures become a reality of skateboarding, sharks, volcanoes, and mountain climbing. Great performances by Ben Stiller in the titular role, Kristen Wiig as his co-worker/love interest and tasty bit parts by Sean Penn as a deep, visionary photographer, Adam Scott as Walter’s annoying boss, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson as a drunken helicopter pilot in Iceland, and Patton Oswalt as the best CSR in online dating. My favorite part: check the look on Walter’s face when a friend is trying to drive him away from the erupting volcano – I see real terror there, the kind that can’t be faked – as he screams, “Holy sh*t! Drive faster!” Have the rewind button at the ready kids, you’ll want to watch some parts of Walter Mitty over and over, or rent it often from your friends at Videoport!

Free Kids Friday! One free rental from the Kids section, no other rental necessary!            

>>> Former Videoporter Stockman suggests Aladdin And The King Of Thieves. So, there have been many conversations both online and in person that have started with, “what’s your favorite Robin Williams film?” That’s always an easy question for me and I reviewed it last Videoreport, The Fisher King. As a person who has long adored making lists I want to immediately have an answer in my own head as to what the runner ups would be. Of course I love Dead Poet’s Society in every over the top inspirational way possible. But in all honesty I think the number two slot goes to Aladdin with a special nod to its underrated cousin Aladdin and the King of Thieves. We shall not speak of the Return of Jafar. It is not worth our time. Aladdin and the King of Thieves however, surprisingly entertaining! It brought back the original cast including Robin Williams who of course shines bringing the same level of humor he brought to the first. I always think it’s a sign of great character when a movie star is willing to participate in something straight to video. Aladdin and the King of Thieves ends up being sort of an Aladdin-Ali Baba hodge podge as Aladdin meets his long lost father. Spoiler alert…he’s a king…of thieves. Voiced by the ridiculously phenomenal John Rhys Davies which you would know from Indiana Jones, Lord of the Rings, and/or equally phenomenal cartoon series Gargoyles. The other cool aspect of this movie you get to see a post happily ever after that legitimately covers what a real couple would struggle and worry about it. Kudos to you Jasmine and Aladdin! I really think those crazy kids are going to make it work!  

Having a Wild Weekend! Rent two movies, and get a third one for free from any section!                                                    

>>>For Saturday, Dennis suggests closing you eyes and picking three movies at random from Videoport’s Criterion Collection section! Seriously—the CC is a company that has the best taste in movies anywhere. They put out deluxe editions of an impeccably chosen roster of classics, foreign films, choice new indies, and the occasional nutball head-scratcher (I’m looking at you, Equinox, Sweet Movie, and House). Basically, if you watched every film in Videoport’s Criterion Collection section, you’d be the most well-rounded movie expert in town. So take any three (you’ll get one for free all weekend) and begin the glorious journey into movie awesomeness. You won’t be bored, that’s for sure.

>>>For Sunday, Videoport customer Kevin H. suggests Adore (in Feature Drama). “Adore” is, apart from anything else, a stunningly beautiful movie. The setting is an isolated, lushly beautiful stretch of Australian coast. Lil (Naomi Watts) and Roz (Robin Wright) have grown up together in this paradise as neighbors and best friends. Now in their 40’s, they each have a son; Lil’s Ian (Xavier Samuel) and Roz’s Tom (James Frecheville), respectively. As with their mothers, the boys are the same age (now 19) and have grown up together. Mothers and sons are rooted to this place, to their lovely beach homes, and to each other. (And let me be clear, they are all exceptionally beautiful people). Other people seem extraneous. There have been husbands, but Lil’s died years ago, while Roz’s spouse Harold (Ben Mendelsohn) is clearly just far too drab of a person to really fit in, and soon it’s just the four of them. The natural beauty of the surroundings functions, I think, like an enchanted forest in a Shakespeare play –  a place where normal rules and conventions cease to exist. The four of them live more or less communally, moving between their neighboring houses, and….each woman takes up with the son of the other. They all decide, rather frankly and openly, that they like this state of affairs, and carry on in this way for at least a couple of years. The mothers, at least, seem to accept that this cannot continue forever. Yet none of them are really willing to stop, so long as they can keep the outside world out (they can’t. Or, maybe they can?). The movie asks us to accept this conduct as a matter of fact; it shows intimacy without dwelling on it, the characters are not spared consequences. Underneath it all there are questions circulating about female desire, the roles women are nominally allowed, how aging affects one’s view of self; the movie’s literary pedigree is from a Doris Lessing story titled “The Grandmothers.” Watch it for that, or watch it for just how beautifully and artfully it’s all put together.

New Releases this week at Videoport: Boardwalk Empire- season 4 (Steve Buscemi is back as Prohibition-era gangster Nucky Thompson in this HBO series set in an Atlantic City even more decrepit than the Atlantic City of today; with a great supporting cast including Michael K. Williams, Geoffrey Wright, Michael Shannon, and Kelly Macdonald), The Quiet Ones (Mad Men’s Jared Harris stars in this horror thriller about an Oxford professor who decides to test his theory about poltergeists on a disturbed young woman in an old, creepy house. I’m sure everything turns out fine…), Only Lovers Left Alive (The cool Videoport pick of the week, this is the latest film from ever-fascinating independent film legend Jim Jarmusch [Down By Law, Ghost Dog, Broken Flowers, Mystery Train]. This time, he brings us his version of a vampire tale, with Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston starring as a pair of artsy immortal bloodusuckers who are more interested in lounging around and listening to music than cruising for victims.), The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (Andrew Garfield returns in this superhero sequel to the superhero reboot. This time, both Paul Giamatti and Jamie Foxx are on hand as the baddies trying to spoil the downtrodden spider-guy’s high school experience by smashing up New York City and occasionally kidnapping his girlfriend.), The Good Wife- season 5 (Julianna Magulies returns as the politician’s wife-turned-lawyer in this series that seemingly everyone loves. Great supporting cast helps, no doubt: Josh Charles, Christine Baranski, Alan Cumming, Chris Noth, and more.), Low Winter Sun- season 1 (Someone who works at Videoport got paid to watch this cop show about a Detroit cop on the edge. He suggests that that’s probably the way to watch this grim ‘n’ gritty series, but you can pay to watch it, too…), Fading Gigolo (John Turturro, in addition to being a hell of a character actor, is also an

Click the pic to read a Videoporter's reviews in the AV Club. If you dare.

Click the pic to read a Videoporter’s reviews in the AV Club. If you dare.

interesting director [Illuminata, Romance & Cigarettes] and here he plays the titular sex-for-hire guy of a certain age, selling his greying wares to the likes of Sharon Stone and Sofia Vergara. Oh, and Woody Allen plays his pimp—wrap your mind around that one.), The Sacrament (Indie horror director Ti West has made two very good horror movies—House Of The Devil and The Innkeepers—so you should probably check out his new one, about an investigative news team whose investigation of a creepy cult goes very, very wrong.)

New Arrivals At Videoport This Week: Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down! (Two, count ‘em two new releases from the kooks at the Criterion Collection this week—first up is this sexy, controversial film from the master of such things, Spanish director Pedro Almodovar. One of the first NC-17 films, it stars Antonio Banderas [never better than in Almodovar], an unstable former mental patient who kidnaps a porn star [the great Victoria Abril] in order to convince her to marry him.), Y Tu Mama Tambien (And speaking of sexy new Criterion releases, here’s the super-deluxe Criterion release of Alfonso Cuaron’s sexy, moving, funny road movie about a pair of Mexican teenagers [Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna] who find themselves taking an unexpected road trip with a mysterious, sensual older woman [Maribel Verdu])

New Arrivals on Blu-Ray This Week At Videoport: The Quiet Ones, Boardwalk Empire- season 4, Only Lovers Left Alive, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Tie Me Up Tie Me Down!, The Sacrament

VideoReport #469

Volume CDLXIX- Wherein We Could All Use A Good Laugh

For the Week of 8/11/14

 

Videoport gives you a free movie every single day. Maybe a free Robin Williams movie will cheer us all up. Maybe…

 (Click the pics for more reviews—and a couple of great articles about Williams.)

Middle Aisle Monday! Take a free rental from the Science Fiction, Horror, Incredibly Strange, Popular Music, Mystery/Thriller, Animation, or Staff Picks sections with any other paid rental! OR Get any three non-new releases for seven days for seven bucks!

>>> Former Videoporter Stockman suggests The Fisher King (in Drama) and The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen (in Sci Fi/Fantasy). In the onslaught of sadness after Robin Williams passing I was exceptionally moved by the words of Terry Gilliam. “Robin Williams, the most astonishingly funny, brilliant, profound and silly miracle of mind and spirit, has left the planet. He was a giant heart, a fireball friend, a wondrous gift from the gods. Now the selfish bastards have taken him back. F*** ‘em!”. There’s something comforting and particularly poignant I’ve always found in the marriage of anger and death so when someone lashes out while still remaining respectful and expressing love it sticks with me. If I were to spend an evening appreciating the career of Robin Williams I think I would choose the two Terry Gilliam films that I’ve seen him in. For one I think Terry Gilliam is a brilliant filmmaker and artist. For two I think he utilized Robin Williams in a way not enough people did. People so often get awards for drama, but rarely for comedy. I think comedy is often considered lesser as though it is easy to do whereas drama is difficult. And yet I see comedic actors time and again wipe the floor with drama and when a dramatic actor does comedy they more often than not fizzle. The ones I fall the most in love with of course are the ones that display a comedic actor making the most of both sides of their abilities. The Fisher King runs Mr. Williams through the gamut of his abilities and I think the result is one of my favorite movies. I can only imagine now as I think of the character he played, someone struggling significantly with reality being too great to bear with any sanity, how much it must have resonated with him as a person. The other film The Adventures of Baron Munchausen Robin Williams played only a small role, but as always he gave it everything he had. Munchausen, like the persona I knew as Robin Williams is light hearted in nature, but as might have been the person that was Robin Williams is also deeply dark.  Both movies have always made me appreciate the marriage of comedy and drama and how well Robin Williams could pull off both. 

Tough and Triassic Tuesday! Give yourself a free rental from the Action or Classics section with any other paid rental! OR Get any three non-new releases for seven days for seven bucks!

>>> Dennis suggests The Best Of Times (in Comedy.) Robin Williams and Kurt Russell make an unlikely successful comedy team in this 1986 comedy about middle aged desperation and what guys will do to redress the humiliations of their past. 20 years before, Russell was the star high school quarterback and Williams was the lowly receiver who dropped the ball in the big game. Now they’re both facing divorce and lives of gradual humiliation, so Williams cooks up the unlikely, movie-friendly plan to replay the big game and set things aright. The burly, laid-back Russell humors his friend until the prospect of recapturing that old teenage mojo and winning wife Pamela Reed’s affection back causes him to give in. This was one of those films where Williams was allowed to goof around, but that actually works here, livening up the predictable premise. Plus, he injects a dose of that Williams sentimentality as his nebbish becomes more and more desperate to give his disappointing life a do-over.

Wacky and Worldly Wednesday! You’ve got a free rental coming from the Comedy or Foreign Language sections with any other paid rental! OR Get any three non-new releases for seven days for seven bucks!                                                        

>>> Videoport customer Abby L. suggests The Birdcage (in Comedy.) One element that made Robin Williams’ career legendary was the element of surprise. The Juilliard-trained actor-comedian could shift effortlessly from comedy to drama, and The Birdcage is an admirable showcase for his many talents. Williams plays Armand, the devoted partner of and director for Albert (Nathan Lane), who moonlights as the marquee drag queen, Starina, in the film’s titular nightclub, which the couple own and live above. The cabaret they stage nightly is an institution in South Beach, and the decadent home they share is maintained by their kooky, effete housekeeper, Agador (Hank Azaria). When Armand and Albert’s son, Val, the product of Armand’s lone experimentation with a woman, announces that he intends to marry the daughter of conservative senator Kevin Keeley (the 20- and 18-year-old lovebirds are played, per usual, by 30-somethings Dan Futterman and Calista Flockhart), a number of screwball accommodations must be made to futilely convince Armand and Albert’s future in-laws (Gene Hackman and Diane Weist) that they’re a wholesome natural family (that’s papa bear, mama bear and baby bear) who just happen to live in the gay epicenter of Florida. Naturally, the meeting dinner is arranged hastily as the Keeleys escape the scandal caused by the death of the senator’s conservative counterpart in the arms of an underage hooker. Ironically, Williams must play the straight-man in this wild Miami setting, which frequently appears to inhabit the same pastel-heaven universe as The Golden Girls. Lane’s performance as the mincing, shrieking grand-dame Albert, hilarious as it is, relies heavily on a sort of caricature, as does Azaria’s role. Williams plays the humane, patriarchal, sensible center of the film, the glue that keeps his family together. Many may remember this film by the clip of Williams hastily performing a brief history of American dance, concluding with frenetic voguing and shouts of, “Madonna, Madonna, Madonna!” In fact, this is one of very few instances in this film where Williams utilizes his signature physicality and feverish celebrity impersonations. At one point, Armand tells his son authoritatively, “Yes, I wear foundation. Yes, I live with a man. Yes, I’m a middle-aged fag. But I know who I am, Val. It took my twenty years to get here, and I’m not gonna let some idiot senator destroy that.” Armand proves to be a tough, fiercely protective, loyal father and partner, even when he’s delivering lectures to his son poolside in a tacky tiger-print robe or wise-cracking the love of his life in the middle of one of her diva tantrums. It’s easy to forget that almost 20 years ago, when The Birdcage was released, it was a bold choice for Williams to take a role like this. For a straight actor to avoid the low-hanging fruit of tired tropes and stereotypes to bring humanity to this character, to make such surprising and delightful choices, it is a testament to his skill and compassion as a performer and one of the many reasons Williams will be sorely missed.

Thrifty Thursday! Rent one, get a free rental from any other section in the store! OR Get any three non-new releases for seven days for seven bucks!                                        

>>> Emily S. Customer suggests The Fisher King (in Feature Drama).  Like all of director Terry Gilliam’s best work, The Fisher King is hilarious, heartbreaking, and often hard to watch. Shock-jock Jack Lucas (Jeff Bridges) is at the crest of his career — his radio show a smash success, a sitcom deal in the works, his glib badgering of minor celebrities feeding an ugly hunger in his audience and himself. Badgering a politician’s mistress, he lectures “we want to hear about the backseats of limos, about the ruined lives of people we want to be,” but it’s not just the glamorous or outrageous that Lucas targets; he’s got a stable of sad-sack listeners who call in for a helping of invective and bile, and Jack delivers it unstintingly, unthinkingly, cloaked in the confidence of certain success. But success is never certain. The only thing certain is loss, and Jack Lucas is about to find that out. And no matter how much you’ve lost, you could always lose more. When he meets Parry (Robin Williams in an Oscar-nominated role), a man whose life he unwittingly destroyed, Jack determines — perhaps for the first time in his selfish life — to atone for his sins. The entire cast delivers tremendous performances. Mercedes Ruehl deservedly won an Oscar for her incandescent, ever-shifting blend of love and rage and pain and tenderness. Amanda Plummer scuttles in suspicion, her entire body as narrows and tight as her eyes. Michael Jeter radiates a fragile flamboyance that touches me every time. But the leads — well, the leads. Both Bridges and Williams reach down into themselves to delve into something that’s lovely and hateful and playful and somber. Like Robin Williams himself, The Fisher King is a mercurial mess of a film, beautiful and chaotic, silly and sentimental and sardonic, overblown and loud. And it uses Robin Williams’ rare talent for mayhem with an unabashed glee that keeps teetering over into terror. 

Free Kids Friday! One free rental from the Kids section, no other rental necessary!            

>>> Aladdin and Ferngully

Having a Wild Weekend! Rent two movies, and get a third one for free from any section!                                                    

>>>For Saturday, Dennis suggests Club Paradise (in Comedy). Robin Williams anchors this shaggy 1986 comedy as a Chicago firefighter who spends his big injury settlement on a rundown Caribbean resort. Directed by the late Harold Ramis (and can we just cool it the f*** out with killing all the best people, 2014? Seriously…), and written by Ramis, Brian Doyle-Murray, and Harry Shearer, the film is a rambling, genial goof-around—everyone in the absurdly talented cast was encouraged to contribute to the dialogue. It’s more a collection of set-pieces with the likes of Eugene Levy, Rick Moranis, Andrea Martin, Peter O’Toole, Mary Gross, Robin Duke, and others playing off each other and seemingly having a great time. Is it the best comedy ever? Well, no—but it’s incredibly likable and silly, and Williams presides over the hijinks as occasional straightman, who still has plenty of room to screw around. Plus, reggae legend Jimmy Cliff is on hand to sing and kick the plot (about the exploitation of the island’s population) into gear from time to time. If you’re looking for a relaxed Williams sleeper you might not have seen, this one’s worth a rental.

>>>For Sunday, Dennis suggests the Robin Williams tribute shelf (in the Middle Aisle). I know it’s ghoulish that everyone rushes to watch someone’s movies right after they die, but with something like this, it’s so unexpected and shocking, I think we can be let off the hook. Look, this sucks. I’m old, but there isn’t a time in my life when I wasn’t aware of Robin Williams as a constant, welcome presence in my life. And sure, I got annoyed—even sort of contemptuous at times, to my shame—at some of his movie choices. But even in movies I genuinely loathed (if I ever meet the real Patch Adams in person, he’s going to have to cheer himself up in the emergency room), there was always something unusual, something weird, or warm, or off-the-wall funny. One example is the drippy, nonsensical What Dreams May Come—in the midst of the shameless schmaltz, Williams is in there acting his heart out and damned if he’s not affecting. So watch the great stuff (Moscow On The Hudson, Good Morning Vietnam, Good Will Hunting, Dead Poets Society, World’s Greatest Dad [a pitch-black comedy featuring his best performance], Insomnia, One Hour Photo, The Fisher King, Popeye), and then watch some of the rest—there’s always something to see. Robin Williams was funny and comforting. Again—this sucks.

New Releases this week at Videoport: Filth (Based on a novel from Irvine Welsh, author of Trainspotting, in this one James McAvoy stars as a, well, filthy Scottish copper whose actions revolve more around drugs, sex, and cash than doing cop things. Costarring a lot of good British actors), The Railway Man (Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman star in this fact-based drama about a former British army officer who sets out to confront the Japanese guard who tormented him as a prisoner of war during WWII), Bears (Disney documentary about bears! They’re bears! They’re adorable and will rip your face off! Bears!), Muppets Most Wanted (Tina Fey, Ty Burrell and Ricky Gervais join in on this, the second reunion Muppets movie where the Muppets find a Kermit The Frog double who may be up to no good), A Haunted House 2 (Marlon Wayans returns as the spazzily beleaguered boyfriend of women who keep getting possessed in this sequel to that horror spoof he did and some people enjoy. Costarring Gabriel Iglesias, Jaime Pressley, and Cedric The Entertainer), The Past Is A Grotesque Animal: A Film About Of Montreal (Another acclaimed documentary about a cool indie band [see last week’s film about The Magnetic Fields for more], this one concerning the band Of Montreal, which all the cool kids are listening to and such), Batman: Assault On Arkham (Priming the ground for the upcoming video game, here’s a DVD film about the Bat infiltrating Gotham City’s most notorious—and poorly-secured—insane asylum), The Blacklist- season 1 (James Spader seems alternately bored and delighted by the responsibility of hamming it up in order to save this middling TV crime series. In it, he’s a criminal mastermind who turns himself in to the authorities in order to bring down a series of criminal masterminds slightly less mastermind-y than he is), Stand Off (From the director of Hotel Rwanda comes this Irish crime caper thriller about a botched heist at a fish market. Starring Brendan Fraser [who plays an American, thankfully], and cool guy Irish actors Colm Meaney and David O’Hara), Breathe In (The first of two Guy Pearce movies out this week, this one starring as the father of a typical American family thrown into confusion upon the arrival of a sexy exchange student. Good cast, including the great Amy Ryan [The Wire, The Office, Gone Baby Gone], and Felicity Jones), Hateship Loveship (And here’s the second, with Pearce starring alongside former SNL-er Kristen Wiig in a drama about a wild teenage girl who conspires to pair up her addict father and Wiig’s family nanny), Locke (Ever-fascinating Tom Hardy [The Dark Knight Rises, Bronson] stars in this intense, unusual thriller about a building executive who spends the evening before the start of the biggest project of his career driving frantically around and fielding a series of mysterious phone calls which threaten the project—and his entire existence)

New Arrivals At Videoport This Week: Fun With Dick And Jane (No, not the Jim Carrey remake, this is the 1977 original, a comedy starring George Segal and Jane Fonda as a professional couple whose sudden poverty causes them to turn to armed robbery to make ends meet), Moon Over Parador (perhaps in response to the recent death of director Paul Mazursky, Videoport brings in the DVD release of his 1988 political comedy about an out of work actor [Richard Dreyfuss] roped into impersonating the deceased dictator of a South American country. Costarring the Sonia Braga and the ever-outstanding Raul Julia. Former Videoporter Jeremy loves this movie—and since he’s the funniest person in the world, you should probably listen to him), Doctor Detroit (Back in 1983 when Dan Aykroyd could open a movie, this comedy still flopped. In it, Aykroyd stars as a timid college professor who reluctantly steps in the alligator shoes of a pimp and finds himself enjoying the pimp life. Pair it up with Night Shift, where Henry Winkler and Michael Keaton discover the same exact thing. Different time, the 80s…)

New Arrivals on Blu-Ray This Week At Videoport: Filth, Locke, Bears, Muppets Most Wanted, A Haunted House 2

VideoReport #468

Volume CDLXVIII—Videoport: The Indie Video Store’s Revenge

For the Week of 8/5/14

Videoport gives you a free movie every, single day. And since we have oh, about a jillion movies, you won’t run out of free movies to watch for approximately half a jillion years. I’m not a math guy, but that sounds about right.

Middle Aisle Monday! Take a free rental from the Science Fiction, Horror, Incredibly Strange, Popular Music, Mystery/Thriller, Animation, or Staff Picks sections with any other paid rental! OR Get any three non-new releases for seven days for seven bucks!

>>> Dennis suggests murder all over the world! Everyone loves murder! Especially when it’s fictional and being solved by a dogged-yet-suspiciously attractive detective, preferably with a cool accent. It’s a universal love, this love of murder, so here are some favorite murder-series from all over the world!

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency (BOTSWANA) sees Jill Scott’s Mma Precious Ramotswe open up the country first female-run detective agency.

Hinterland (WALES) sees rumpled copper Tom Mathias try to solve a brutal crime in the very Welsh-named town of Aberystwyth. Described as “a Welsh The Killing.”

The Fall (NORTHERN IRELAND)’s got the ever-stunning Gillian Anderson tracking down a serial sex murder played by the guy (Jamie Dornan) who’s going to be a sexy sex guy in that 50 Shades Of Grey movie. Man, he’s got the market cornered on sexy creeps…

Spiral (FRANCE) examines some Gallic murders alongside some sexy French cops.

Every British Detective Show Ever. (GREAT BRITAIN). Man, British people love to murder the hell out each other. Seriously, Videoport must have three dozen or more BBC mystery series, but if I had to pick one, I’d say go with Helen Mirren’s Jane Tennison in the Prime Suspect series. (Also: Luther, Cracker).

Top Of The Lake (NEW ZEALAND) brings American actress Elizabeth Moss (Mad Men), doing a passable accent, as a big city copper lured back to her hellishly dangerous and strange home town to investigate a young girl’s disappearance. Directed by Jane Campion and costarring the likes of Peter Mullan and Holly Hunter.

The Bridge (DENMARK/SWEDEN). A body is found on the border and a pair of mismatched international cops have to learn to work together. (The American remake also qualifies for MEXICO, since it transplants the action to the US/Mexico border.)

Wallander (SWEDEN—only Sweden, so The Bridge doesn’t disqualify it.) The most dogged, bummed out detective in all of Scandinavia!

Detective De Luca (ITALY). There is being an honest cop in a corrupt system, and then there’s being an honest cop in Fascist-occupied Rome. —Lilyhammer (NORWAY) has American mobster Steven Van Zandt (The Sopranos) hiding out under an assumed name in Norway.

Haven’t seen it yet, but I’m gonna go ahead and guess there’s some killin’. Did I miss some of your favorite international murder shows? Well write in to the VideoReport at denmn@hotmail.com and yell at me about it!

Tough and Triassic Tuesday! Give yourself a free rental from the Action or Classics section with any other paid rental! OR Get any three non-new releases for seven days for seven bucks!

>>> Dennis suggests Decision At Sundown (in Classics.) Another of the Randolph Scott westerns directed by Budd Boetticher, this one sees Scott’s typical loner cowboy riding into a town. Unlike earlier films we’ve talked about here before (The Tall T, Ride Lonesome, Seven Men From Now), Scott’s Bart is something of a jerk, rudely insulting everyone in the small outpost town of Sundown, especially anyone who mentions town mayor Tate Kimbrough, a glad-handing dandy who’s preparing to marry the daughter of a local cattle baron. It’s interesting to see Scott outside his traditional role of the taciturn but basically decent loner. This time, he’s got a secret that makes him obsessively force a confrontation with the slimy Kimbrough and offend everyone he comes into contact with, even his loyal pal Sam (Noah Beery Jr, who you know as Jim Rockford’s dad). Eventually, Bart and Sam find themselves holed up in he town stable, fending off Kimbrough’s hired guns while Bart’s secret agenda becomes clear, and the townspeople begin to reconsider their allegiance to their sleazeball mayor. It’s an unusual western, even for the already unusual Boetticher/Scott oeuvre, with a unique, oddly sophisticated climax that forces Scott to confront his past in a more complex way than you’d expect. Coming next week in this slot: The Scott/Boetticher Western Buchanan Rides Alone, which is even weirder.

Wacky and Worldly Wednesday! You’ve got a free rental coming from the Comedy or Foreign Language sections with any other paid rental! OR Get any three non-new releases for seven days for seven bucks!                                                        

>>> Dennis suggests Community (in Comedy). Check out the new releases this week for some shameless gushing about this show, since season 5 comes out on DVD this week. And then rent all of Community (except season 4 which never happened). Seriously, this show makes you so damned happy.

Thrifty Thursday! Rent one, get a free rental from any other section in the store! OR Get any three non-new releases for seven days for seven bucks!                                        

>>> Dennis suggests writing for the VideoReport! As you can see from this week’s issue, when no one chips in some reviews for the VideoReport, it’s just me rambling on. Even I’m bored with me. Send in your reviews to denmn@hotmail.com or to our Facebook page Videoport Jones. Do it, you!

Free Kids Friday! One free rental from the Kids section, no other rental necessary!            

>>> It’s free! It’s for kids! Or the very immature!

Having a Wild Weekend! Rent two movies, and get a third one for free from any section!                                                    

>>>For Saturday, Dennis suggests The Simpsons, season 7, episode “Summer Of 4 Ft. 2” (in Animation.) I recently had/got to review this particular episode for one of my other jobs. (It’s the AV Club—I’m a little braggy about it.) I also have to review the new seasons of the show and—man—watching a season 7 episode after a season of season 25 Simpsons is like a cool rain shower in the desert. And if it’s this one—the one where Lisa tries to reinvent herself in order to make friends during a vacation at Flanders’ beach house—then it’s even better than that. I’m a sucker for Lisa episodes anyway—she’s my favorite character, especially when it comes to episodes like this one that finds the sweet spot between huge laughs and, well, sweetness. Yeardley Smith often gets forgotten since she only does Lisa’s voice and no others, but that only allows Smith to truly understand Lisa, and her performance here is alternately hilarious and heartbreaking. Also featuring some great Milhouse, Homer playing Mystery Date, and the dreaded M-320 firecracker. One of the best episodes ever.

>>>For Sunday, Dennis suggests some free money at Videoport! Put $20 on your rental account and we give you $25 worth of rental credit. And $30 gets you $40 in rental credit. No catch—just free, free money.

 

New Releases this week at Videoport: Need For Speed (Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul [aka Jessie Pinkman] gets his first post-Breaking Bad starring role in…a video game movie. In it, he plays a guy who enjoys automobiles and chooses to drive said automobiles at a high, perhaps even illegal, rate of speed.), Oculus (Some good actors for this sort of thing, with Doctor Who’s Karen Gillan, Battlestar Galactica’s Katee Sackhoff, and Mad Men’s Jared Harris starring in a horror flick about a young woman determined to prove that the murder her brother’s accused of is actually the diabolical workings of an evil mirror. That should go over well in court…), Strange Powers: Stephin Merritt And The Magnetic Fields (Documentary profile of the indie rock band headed by the best singer-songwriter you’ve never heard of. Unless you’ve heard of Stephin Merritt, in which case you are one of the cool kids. Free tip: Buy the Magnetic Fields’ 3-album set 69 Love Songs—it’ll do things to you.), Divergent (Since the descriptions of this Hunger Games wannabe action sci-fi flick sound like white noise in my head every time I try to read about it, so here’s what the IMDb says: In a world divided by factions based on virtues, Tris learns she’s Divergent and won’t fit in. When she discovers a plot to destroy Divergents, Tris and the mysterious Four must find out what makes Divergents dangerous before it’s too late. So there you go), God’s Not Dead (Busloads of church types made this right-wing flick something of a hit. In it, evil college professor Kevin Sorbo is a smug, condescending intellectual who makes his poor, impressionable college students acknowledge that God doesn’t exist if they know what’s good for them. Luckily, there’s one courageous kid in the class who stands up to all that book-learnin’ and independent thinking and starts a campaign to keep higher education based on narrow interpretations of the Bible and nothing else. Enjoy!), Adventure Time: Princess Day (Everybody loves this weird-ball, surprisingly grown-up animated series, so you should rent this and then talk about it online with all the other smart kids.), Secret State (British stalwarts Gabriel Byrne and Charles Dance star in this British political thriller series about the shifty, shadowy connection among government, banks, and big business. Who knew?), The French Minister (Acclaimed French comedy about a young political aide who discovers that the titular, respected French dignitary—a renowned politician and ladies man—may not be entirely what he seems), Cuban Fury (Everyone’s favorite comic sidekick Nick Frost [Shaun Of The Dead, Hot Fuzz, The World’s End] gets his first starring vehicle, with Nick playing a sad sack who decided to enter a Salsa Dancing championship to change his fortunes—and win the hand of ever-lovely Rashida Jones. Also starring Chris O’Dowd.), The Last Days (It’s the end of the world—and everyone in Barcelona does not feel fine. A mysterious plague kills you as soon as you go outside, but a desperate guy decides to team up with a stranger to try to make his way across the city through the sewers and subways in order to find his missing girlfriend.), Ping Pong Summer (Period comedy set in 1985, where a family’s Summer vacation becomes a contest of wills—fought out over the family ping pong table. Costarring certified funny people Amy Sedaris and Judah Friedlander.), Californication- season 7 (Another season of this Showtime series about an LA writer punching and sexing his way through the city en route to possibly getting his career back on track. Your enjoyment may depend on how much you enjoy the sight of David Duchovny getting copiously laid), Community- season 5 (After the —unpleasantness—that was season four, when brilliant and hilarious creator Dan Harmon was fired by the suits [always a great freaking idea, guys], Community is back! The real Community! Dan Harmon is back and so’s the show—one of the funniest, most innovative, and downright outstanding sitcoms in TV history. You really need to watch this show—and if you do, please remember, season four never happened.), and 4, count ‘em 4 new episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000 on DVD: The Black Scorpion, The Projected Man, It Lives By Night, and Outlaw Of Gor!

 

New Arrivals at Videoport: White Nights (Finally on DVD, this 1985 dance-y drama finds Mikhail Baryshnikov, a ballet dancer who’d defected to America, forced back into dancing for the Motherland when his plane goes down back in Russia. It’s a semi-beloved melodrama, livened up by a great cast [including Helen Mirren and Isabella Rossellini], and some truly thrilling dancing from Baryshnikov and the late Gregory Hines)

 

New Arrivals on Blu-Ray This Week At Videoport: Divergent, Need For Speed, Oculus

 

Free parking at Videoport! The parking lot behind the building is free for customers after 5PM on weekdays and all days on the weekends. Also, we can get you a free hour of parking at any downtown parking garage (including the courthouse garage which is, like, a one minute walk away). Just ask for one of our magic stickers!

Get your movies duplicated at Videoport!

You guys know we can make copies of your DVDs and VHSes at Videoport, right? No, it can’t be anything copyrighted (that’s sort of what that word means), so you’ll just have to buy another copy of Weekend At Bernie’s to replace that VHS you’ve played so often it finally shredded itself. But home movies or anything not copyrighted? We can do it! $10 bucks a pop and little Susie’s dance recital can be copied and sent to every relative on your Christmas card list!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

VideoReport #467

Volume CDLXII- Videoport: The Videoporting

For the Week of 7/29/14

(Click the pics for more reviews!)

Videoport gives you a free movie every single day. Who’s gonna argue with that? People who hate movies, I guess. But why are they even in the store in the first place? Weird…

Middle Aisle Monday! Take a free rental from the Science Fiction, Horror, Incredibly Strange, Popular Music, Mystery/Thriller, Animation, or Staff Picks sections with any other paid rental! OR Get any three non-new releases for seven days for seven bucks!

>>> Videoport Customer Caleb suggests Bad Biology (in the Incredibly Strange section). This masterpiece of filth and perversity is the work of none other than NYC film auteur Frank Henenlotter, the man responsible for such cult brilliance as the Basket Case trilogy, Frankenhooker, and Brain Damage, and was co-written and produced by sick and twisted Long Island hardcore rapper, R.A. ‘The Rugged Man’ Thornburn. It tells the story of a New York photographer Jennifer (Charlee Danielson) whose extracurricular activities include feeding her insatiable appetite. She was born a sexual mutant, and is on the hunt for fulfillment; possibly even love. Her daily routine involves dirty sex and a fast reproductive metabolism. You have to see it to believe it. And she does a photo shoot called F*** Face! Parallel to this, we follow Batz (Anthony Sneed), who spends all of his time feeding a mixed cocktail of strange chemicals to his “lower self” who has been forever mutated and has made him a slave… to himself. Again, you gotta see it to believe it. The story eventually brings these two kindred (tortured) souls together, but not before a whirlwind intercourse’al adventure that would make John Waters blush. Unfortunately, I can’t explain too much about this picture here in the VideoReport.  I can say I sat through all 4+ hours of Von Trier’s Nymphomaniac Vol. 1-2, and I hated it. The reason I’m bringing this up, is that Bad Biology actually had a few things in common with that waste of time. Jennifer in Bad Biology spends some time justifying her appetite, but she manages to explain herself in a matter of minutes (as opposed to over 4 hours of my life). The HUGE difference is that the depravity in this picture was plot-driving, comedic, entertaining, and I thought more symbolic. I highly recommend this to fans of Henenlotter, sex-comedies, exploitation, sexploitation, gore, horror-comedies, perversity, B-movies, filth, Troma films, stop-motion penis animation, obscene language, gratuitous sex scenes, unapologetic sex, transcendental orgasms, telepathic reproductive organs, photography and blood.

Tough and Triassic Tuesday! Give yourself a free rental from the Action or Classics section with any other paid rental! OR Get any three non-new releases for seven days for seven bucks!            

>>> Dennis presents his monthly update on how a certain internet movie subscription service (which is routinely the subject of class action lawsuits) hates you and doesn’t care about your happiness! Yup, it’s the start of a new month, which means that said huge, heartless conglomerate is taking away a huge list of great movies from those of you foolish enough to rely on it for your entertainment (we forgive you). They do this every month. Videoport does this….never. We never take movies away from you—because that’s evil and stupid. We love you. They hate you. Here’s this month’s list:
“The Addams Family” (1991)

"No one'll miss this piece of crap!"—Netfl*x

“No one’ll miss this piece of crap!”—Netfl*x

“Airplane!” (1980)

“Attack of the Crab Monsters” (1957)

“Braveheart” (1995)

“The City of Lost Children” (1995)

“Clay Pigeons” (1998)

“Clockers” (1995)

“Days of Thunder” (1990)

“Donnie Brasco” (1997)

“Easy Rider” (1968)

“Fido” (2006)

“The Ghost and the Darkness” (1996)

“The Good Son” (1993)

“Heartbreakers” (2001)

“Maximum Overdrive” (1986)

“The Mill and the Cross” (2011)

“Monty Python’s the Meaning of Life” (1983)

“Neil Young: Heart of Gold” (2006)

“Paper Moon” (1973)

“The Pianist” (2002)

“Piranha” (1978)

“The Rainmaker” (1997)

“She Done Him Wrong” (1933)

“Somewhere in Time” (1980)

“Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country” (1991)

“Stephen King’s Thinner” (2996)

“Stripped to Kill” (1987)

“Swimming with Sharks” (1994)

“To Be or Not to Be” (1983)

“Top Secret!” (1984)

”Valkyrie” (2008)

“Waking Ned Divine” (1998)

“Zack and Miri Make a Porno” (2008)

So that sucks, right? The worst loss? I’d say The Meaning Of life, but the whole policy stinks. It’s random, and it reveals that said internet subscription service doesn’t care about movies…or you. Videoport keep its movies at your fingertips. Always. Your choice, I suppose…                                                                                    

 Wacky and Worldly Wednesday! You’ve got a free rental coming from the Comedy or Foreign Language sections with any other paid rental! OR Get any three non-new releases for seven days for seven bucks!                                                          

 >>> How about getting some free money at Videoport! Pre-pay $20, we give you $25 in rental credit. Pre-pay $30 and you get $40 in rental credit. Yes, it’s just that easy, people.

Thrifty Thursday! Rent one, get a free rental from any other section in the store! OR Get any three non-new releases for seven days for seven bucks!                                        

>>> Emily S. Customer suggests Six Feet Under (in Feature Drama.) HBO’s Six Feet Under gets better the more I watch it. Alan Ball’s prestige drama centers on a family-run Los Angeles funeral home, weaving together the sorrows and lessons of each week’s spotlit death and subsequent funeral through the longer arc of the Fisher family’s joys and dramas. Where it could be trading in archetypes or even stereotypes, the show brims with deftly drawn, complex characters. Newly widowed Ruth (Frances Conroy, American Horror Story) mixes life-long repression with unpredictable quirks and bents. As David the younger son who followed his father into the family business and black-sheep older brother Nate, Jr., Michael C. Hall (Dexter) and Peter Krause (Parenthood, Sports Night) immediately radiate a peculiar but utterly plausible affinity that only develops and broadens as the show does. Angsty teenaged daughter with arty aspirations Claire (Lauren Ambrose, Sleepwalk with Me) is perhaps the closest to a caricature, but Ambrose’s weird, wired combination of snark and luminous energy gives Claire inner life. As it expands, the series introduces a wide range of family and friends, bringing in impressive, accomplished actors of every ilk: Rachel Griffiths, Jeremy Sisto, Lili Taylor, Ben Foster, Mathew St. Patrick, Patricia Clarkson, Justina Muchado, Kathy Bates, James Cromwell. On this rewatch, I noticed that the series manages to seed important character developments and plot points through the earliest seasons, sometimes letting them germinate for years before they bloom. What feels like a loose, long series of stories is actually very tightly structured — without ever losing that fresh, raw sense of immediacy.

Free Kids Friday! One free rental from the Kids section, no other rental necessary!                      

>>> It’s a free movie and it’s for kids. Save your grinchy grinching for someone who’s not giving a free movie to a kid.

Having a Wild Weekend! Rent two movies, and get a third one for free from any section!                                                   

 >>>For Saturday, Videoport Customer Kevin H. suggests a pair of movies about art! First up: The Best Offer (in Mystery/Thriller). Every so often a lost masterpiece turns up, found in an attic or maybe even painted over at some later date. World famous art appraiser/auctioneer Virgil Oldman (Geoffrey Rush) is the type who makes such finds, except he’d never deign to dirty himself by poking about in attics. Mainly because he’s an irascible old prig who is never without pair of gloves on, so as to best avoid all actual human contact, I guess. But while he doesn’t care for people, he does love his art (he scams his own auctions in order to obtain desired works). When he is called to catalogue and sell the contents of a crumbling old villa, he becomes intrigued by the promise of what he finds. There may be pieces of a long lost automaton, for instance. Oh, and there’s his mysterious client, a woman who lives in secret behind the walls of the house and refuses to be seen. He’s kind of intrigued by that too. I don’t want to say too much else about it. A lot of things are not what they seem in this movie; watching the story unfold and allowing myself to be surprised at certain points was part of the fun. And it is, above all else, a fun movie. Director Guiseppe Tornatore (Cinema Paradiso) creates a stylish look and a breezy feel that seems like something from an earlier age of movie-making. And watching Geoffrey Rush give a performance that is over the top yet humanizing for a very unlikeable character, that’s a lot of fun too.

>>>For Sunday, Videoport Customer Kevin H. gives you the second half of his art movie double feature with Museum Hours (in Foreign Language). By contrast, Museum Hours is a quiet little film that takes place in large part amongst the works of the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. Johann, an aging guard at the museum, spends his days in near-invisibility, quietly observing and meditating on the museum’s artwork and visitors. One day a visitor, in need of directions, interrupts his routine. Anne, a Canadian, is only in Austria to attend to a comatose relative who has no one else. She speaks very little German, doesn’t have a lot of money, and like Johann appears to be more or less edging through middle age alone. In a more conventional movie this would be headed for a romance, but it isn’t, or at least not in the usual sense.  “What is it about some people that makes you curious, while with others one would be just as happy not to know anything about them?” asks Johann in a voiceover. Their romance is one of companionship. He shows her the city as he knows it and assists her, a foreigner, in navigating it. They talk – about the paintings in the museum, about their lives, about the city around them (and the city of Vienna is, as much as the artworks in the museum are, the background of the movie). They pass their time together, at ease with and respectful of one another. That’s maybe more of a rare thing than we might think.

 

New Releases this week at Videoport: Noah (Russell Crowe stars as the titular Biblical drunk boat builder, gathering a certain number of all the animals in the world because God loved us so much that He decided to drown the bejeezus out of the human race. Big budget, a good director [Darren Arnofsky], and a good supporting cast including Jennifer Connolly, Ray Winstone, Anthony Hopkins [who contractually must appear in all epic movies], Emma Watson, and the voice of Nick Nolte!), The Protector 2 (Ong Bak star and certifiably insane risk-taker and arse-kicker Tony Jaa is back in the sequel to that movie where he knocked out hundreds of goys with his sharp, deadly elbows), Jimmy P. (Great actors Benicio Del Toror and Mathieu Amalric star in this indie drama about a traumatized WWII Native American veteran and the caring French psychiatrist who tries to help him. Directed by Arnaud Desplechin of A Christmas Tale, Kings & Queen, and My Sex Life…Or How I Got Into An Argument), Appleseed Alpha (a gun-toting woman and her cyborg pal try to survive in the rubble of post-WWIII New York City in this continuation of the long-running anime series), Finding Vivian Maier (fascinating documentary about an unassuming nanny whose lifelong obsession of taking stunning photographs of the most rundown people and places of New York only was discovered after her death), Wahlburgers- season 1 (So former novelty music acts turned successful actors Mark and Donnie Wahlberg [and some other non-famous Wahlberg brother] opened a burger restaurant? And people care about that? Enough that the increasingly-inaccurately named Arts & Entertainment network would make a reality show about it? That makes…sense? I guess? Anyway—enjoy!), The Other Woman (Three blonde women discover they’re all being betrayed by the same weaselly guy and set out for comical revenge in this comedy starring Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann, and Kate Upton),Super Duper Alice Cooper (documentary about a particular makeup-wearing shock rocker. Nope, I’m not gonna tell you which one…)

New Arrivals on Blu-Ray This Week At Videoport: The Other Woman, Noah

Free parking at Videoport! The parking lot behind the building is free for customers after 5PM on weekdays and all days on the weekends. Also, we can get you a free hour of parking at any downtown parking garage (including the courthouse garage which is, like, a one minute walk away). Just ask for one of our magic stickers!

Get your movies duplicated at Videoport!

You know that Videoport copies DVDs and VHS tapes, right? Well we do! Now don’t try to get us to copy anything copyrighted—that’s against the law. That’s what “copyrighted” means. But home movies, stuff like that—bring ‘em in and get yourself some copies. They’re ten bucks apiece, we do ‘em fast, and you really should have extra copies of those secret surveillance tapes of that thing that you saw that time. You know—just in case you need to foil someone’s dastardly plot. Soo many movies would have been over that much more quickly of the heroes had made some copies at Videoport. So sad…

 

Buy your movies at Videoport!

(Instead of some stupid chain store or soulless, small-business-crippling website.) Yup, apart from the many previously viewed movies and TV shows on hand at Videoport, we can get you anything that’s currently in print. We don’t charge shipping (or that handling nonsense), and you can have it in your hands in a bout a week. Sure, said corporate behemoths might get it a bit cheaper (because of their concentrated, small-business-crippling evil), but Videoport gives you a free rental with every single movie you buy from us. Call that $3.50 off the price, call that a blow for the little guy—all it really means is you get your movie and make the world a liiiiiitle bit better at the same time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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