Volume CCCLIV- Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Batman
For the Week of 5/29/12
Videoport is local, independent, knowledgeable, helpful, inexpensive, and has all the movies you could possibly want. We’re not trying to be braggy. Just stating facts.
Middle Aisle Monday! Take a free rental from the Science Fiction, Horror, Incredibly Strange, 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 taking advantage of Videoport! We love it! Here’s how- there are a couple of ways to get yourself free money at Videoport, thus knocking our already-low prices down to the “clerk starvation zone!” Yeah! When you pre-pay money on your Videoport account, we’ll give you some extra money for free. $20 buys you $25 in rental credit, and $30 buys you $40 in rental credit. (Plus it’s good for any pesky extra day charges as well.) Look, you’re going to spend your entertainment dollar here at Videoport anyway, so why not pre-pay, get some extra money for free and just have it sitting there waiting for you? Or, if you’re a math person, why not look at it as either a 20% or 25% discount on what you were going to spend anyway? Either way, you’re taking advantage of us…and we love 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!
>>>Elsa S. Customer suggests Gypsy (in Musicals- new on DVD at Videoport!) Man, parents can really screw you up, huh? In 1962’s Gypsy, hectoring stage mother (and frustrated would-be performer) Rose Horvick won’t let anything stop her in the climb to vicarious fame — not her daughter’s reluctance, not the lackluster shows June puts on in shabby theaters, not the rough life of the road or the toll it takes on her children and her love life, not even June’s elopement when she gets fed up with the whole biz. No, Rose just turns her attentions to her shy second-banana daughter, Louise (Natalie Wood)… and I guess we all know how that works out, since Louise goes on to become world-famous burlesque artist Gypsy Rose Lee. It’s a bittersweet story of unsought success and family friction, suitable for the wry talents of legendary songwriter Stephen Sondheim, and many of the songs he wrote for Gypsy went on to become familiar standards, including “Some People,” “Let Me Entertain You” (see below), and “Everything’s Comin’ Up Roses.” The great Rosalind Russell (His Girl Friday, Auntie Mame, Picnic) plays the complex role of Rose to the hilt, sometimes giving us glimpses of vulnerability and fear under the dogged determination that protects it. For all this complexity and bittersweetness, the movie has plenty of brassy fun, too. For my money, “You Gotta Get a Gimmick,” where the brazen workaday strippers showcase their, um, talents in an off-key bump ‘n’ grind number, is the best five minutes in the flick.
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 a Paul Schneider marathon! Yeah! Who’s with me? Wait- you don’t know who Paul Schneider is? Well, pull up a chair. Schneider started out an actor pal of indie director David Gordon Green (in the days when Green seemed to want to be the next Terrence Malick instead of hanging out with the Apatow crowd in movies like Pineapple Express, The Sitter, ‘Eastbound and Down’ and the regrettable Your Highness.) Schneider had a small character role in Green’s excellent George Washington, but Green built his next movie All the Real Girls around Schneider, and introduced us all to a uniquely-compelling indie leading man. Although not part of the mumblecore empire, All the Real Girls is definitely a good fit for Duplass Brothers fans. In it, Schneider plays a small town lothario, a scruffily-handsome, soft-spoken charmer whose aimless life of drinking and bedding seemingly every woman in his narrow little world perks up with the arrival of his best friend’s little sister, a college girl played by Zooey Deschanel. As the two warily circle each other, Schneider’s carelessly-promiscuous character starts to feel things for the new girl, and about himself. That’s it, really- in the tradition of indie coming-of-age dramas everywhere, there’s not a lot of plot in All the
Real Girls; it’s all about the characters, and while there’s some fine, low-key, fully-inhabited work by the likes of Danny McBride, Shea Whigham, and, as Schneider’s sad-eyed mother who loves her son but knows him all too well, the ever-perfect Patricia Clarkson, the movie belongs to Deschanel and Schneider. She’s much more rumpled and appealingly, yes, real than her current persona might suggest, and Schneider is simply brilliant. Just look at the scene where he responds to Zooey’s declaration of love with surprising anger- that’s a leading man right there. Sadly, the world didn’t exactly catch Schneider fever, but he’s got two excellent supporting roles in the excellent indies Away We Go and Lars and the Real Girl. In each, he plays a harried,sensible brother dealing with hard times, and in each, he’s magnetic, in a very sensible, ordinary way, if that makes any sense. Away We Go, especially, has a picaresque structure that encourages scene-stealing, and Schneider sure runs off with his, a monologue where he worries about being a father to his daughter, now that his unreliable wife has run off. Schneider’s career took an unexpected turn when he was cast alongside Amy Poehler in her (again, excellent) sitcom ‘Parks and Recreation.’ It was a little jarring seeing such an indie fixture, and someone whose onscreen persona was so refreshingly-un-actorly get such a high profile gig. On the show (about the inner workings of the titular government body of tiny Pawnee, Indiana), Schneider played city planner Mark Brendanowicz, a laid-back, relaxedly-womanizing bureaucrat who more often than not served as the laconic voice of reason to Poehler’s daffily-enthusiastic Leslie Knope. Unfortunately again, Schneider was written out of the show at the end of the second season, under mysterious circumstances. Actually, they’re not mysterious so much as I don’t know what they were, but I suspect that, as the show became a bit broader (in a good way), Mark’s level-headedness sort of made him the odd man out. And while his replacements, Rob Lowe and Adam Scott, are stellar additions to Pawnee’s increasingly-weird little world, I miss the guy. So for now, Schneider’s just back out there making the indie world a little more interesting…
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!
>>>Elsa S. Customer suggests Capturing the Friedmans (in Documentary.) Man, parents can really screw you up, huh? If Gypsy (see above) gives that message in brassy musical numbers, 2003 documentary Capturing the Friedmans imbues it with a slow sense of creeping dread and sorrow. Director Andrew Jarecki initially planned to make a documentary about New York area’s birthday clowns, including popular performer David Friedman, when he stumbled upon something much more painful. Friedman’s father and younger brother were prosecuted for several unsavory acts, including dozens of counts of molestation and possession of child pornography… and home movies taken by the Friedmans during that period captured their most private moments on tape. It’s an examination of the slippery nature of truth and the crumbling, contradictory arguments that any legal case rests upon, as well as a glimpse into the painful world of an unhappy family. (Gypsy and Capturing the Friedmans make a weird double-feature. Of course, both are testaments to the damage wrought on children by their parents… but, oddly enough, they share a song. Seeing David Friedman as a birthday clown singing “Let Me Entertain You” is eerie enough under the circumstances presented in the film — but when you know that the song he’s banging out was originally written by Stephen Sondheim for terrified tomboy Louise to belt out uneasily in the scene where she reluctantly strip for the first time before a packed burlesque house, it becomes positively bizarre.)
Free Kids Friday! One free rental from the Kids section, no other rental necessary!
>>> It’s a free movie, no other rental necessary. Find that deal somewhere else…
Having a Wild Weekend! Rent two movies, and get a third one for free from any section!
>>>For Saturday, Dennis suggests a ‘manly men vs. the outdoors’ double feature with The Grey (in Action/Adventure) and The Edge (in Mystery/Thriller.)Sure, you might call these both “manly, late-middle-aged British men vs. nature” flicks as well, but I’m not gonna be the one to say that to Messers Liam Neeson and Anthony Hopkins. In the recent The Grey, Neeson plays a depressed but manly oil pipeline wolf sniper (what? that’s a job) whose flight home crashes in the unforgiving Alaskan wilderness forcing him to face off against a pack of ravenous wolves. And in The Edge, Anthony Hopkins plays a bookish billionaire whose flight goes down (alongside Alec Baldwin and a guy who might as well have ‘bear chow’ stenciled on his sweater) forcing him to face off against one seriously determined bear. In each, everyone looks to the Brit to save the day, since they’re the only ones who know how to start a fire, navigate the wilderness, or seemingly tie their own shoes. Along the way, there’s some fun roughing it, McGuyver-style survival tips, a fair amount of trudging, the occasional fur and fangs attack to liven things up and, also in each, some Hemingway-style macho pronouncements from our heroes. I kid the slumming, overqualified thespians trudging through the tundra, however- both movies are actually a lot of fun. If I had to pick one, I guess it’d be The Edge, as it throws a few more twists into the formula (and Baldwin’s a lot more fun to watch than the interchangeable roughnecks Neeson’s got to work with), plus the legendary (and real) Bart the bear is a lot more formidable than the oft-cgi-looking wolves in The Grey. However, if it came right down to a “respected, almost-elderly British dude vs. a ravenous beast” showdown, my money’s on Liam; seriously, is that guy seven feet tall or what? Yup, if you need a guy to punch a wolf in the face, Liam’s your man.
>>>For Sunday,Elsa S. Customer suggests a Christopher Lee movie marathon!Happy
Birthday, Christopher Lee! That’s Sir Christopher Lee, or Christopher Frank Carandini Lee, Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, Member of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem, and holder of the Guinness record for most film roles EVER. That’s Christopher ****ing LEE: Francisco Scaramanga of the Bond flick Man with the Golden Gun, Count Dooku of Star Wars II & III, Saruman of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the great monster (opposite Peter Cushing as Dr. Frankenstein) in Curse of Frankenstein, The Jabberwock in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, Lord Summerisle of Summerisle in the original The Wicker Man* —- and, y’know, HE’S DRACULA. Happy birthday, Mister Sir Commander Lee, sir. And many happy returns.
*Plus, check out the even-more-bananas recent sequel to The Wicker Man, The Wicker Tree in the Incredibly Strange section! (Is Christopher Lee in it? Watch it and see…)
New Releases this week at Videoport: ‘True Blood’- season 4 (Anna Paquin and all thos shirtless guys keep on sucking! Blood. You know, because of being vampires and everything. You get it…), Man on a Ledge (Sam Worthington plays the titular dude on a thing in this thriller about a guy [on a ledge] whose request for a certain negotiator [the ever-watchable Elizabeth Banks] may mask an ulterior motive or two), Coriolanus (Ralph Fiennes directs and stars in this adaptation of one of Shakespeare’s lesser-known tragedies, a bloody drama about a professional soldier whose overweening pride and inability to play politics brings about some serious carnage; costarring Gerard Butler, Jessica Chastain, and legendary Vanessa Redgrave as his terrifying mom), Goon (surprisingly decent reviews for this raucous hockey comedy about a mild-mannered dude with a real talent for ice-fighting; costarring Liev Schreiber and Jay Baruchel), We Need to Talk About Kevin (from director Lynn Ramsey [Ratcatcher, Morvern Callar] comes this gripping drama about a long-suffering mother [the always-riveting Tilda Swinton] as she attempts to come to grips with the fact that her increasingly-troublesome son might just be a psycho; costarring John C. Reilly), Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies (in the long and storied tradition of rushing a cheapie knockoff into production to cash in on an upcoming Hollywood blockbuster comes this historical horror mashup that is in no way similar to the upcoming Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter; I’m shocked that you’d even suspect such a thing…), The Aggression Scale (some hitmen and some teenagers fight over five hundred grand in this nasty-looking thriller that features a mini Twin Peaks reunion with costars Dana Ashbrook [Bobby Briggs] and the ever-awesome Ray Wise [Leland Palmer] ), Harry Belafonte: Sing Your Song (if you don’t love Harry Belafonte, I’m pretty sure you might actually be Hitler; for all you non-Hitlers, this is a documentary about the man’s life), ‘Monroe’- season 1 (excellent British character actor James Nesbitt [Jekyll, Murphy's Law] tries to pull a Hugh Laurie, starring as a brilliant, egotistical surgeon in this BBC medical comedy/drama), Michael (super-creepy stuff from Germany; a mild-mannered accountant secretly holds a ten year old boy captive in his basement for several months), ‘Wallander’ (after checking out the quite good British detective series starring Kenneth Branagh, why not rent the original Swedish version, now available at Videoport! We rock!)
New Arrivals on Blu Ray this week at Videoport: True Blood- season 4, We Need to Talk About Kevin, The Aggression Scale, Velvet Goldmine, Blue Velvet, Coriolanus.
You know you get a free rental every time you buy a movie from Videoport, right? Just another reason to choose Videoport over some crappy corporate chain nonsense…
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