VideoReport #355

Volume CCCLV- Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Thor

For the Week of 6/5/12

Videoport gives you a free movie every day. Just because we’ve got a little thing for you…

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!

The Shat and “cult leader” (according to Andy) Avery Brooks.

>>>Andy suggests The Captains (in Sci-Fi/Fantasy). I chuckled to myself a few days ago when I saw The Captains in Videoport’s Top 60 Rentals section. William Shatner’s documentary about the actors who have played captains on Star Trek TV shows and movies (including, of course, himself) is not exactly a great movie. But it is, like the DVD cover says, “a film by William Shatner,” and you can sense his presence in every frame. For Trek fans, or even casual Shatner admirers, it’s never boring. Basically, the man travels around in a jet and has long conversations with his fellow “captains,” one at a time. They’re an interesting bunch, especially Avery Brooks (from Deep Space Nine), who is talented and very passionate singer and pianist… and a total space case. He has a cult leader kind of charisma that even seems to freak out William Shatner. Most of the others (Patrick Stewart, Kate Mulgrew, Scott Bakula, and Chris Pine) are relatively normal folks, but don’t worry – Shatner brings the weird. But he’s weird in a comforting and familiar way that made me smile when I watched The Captains, and chuckle when I saw the DVD on the shelf, waiting for the next Videoport customer to discover 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 Casablanca (in Classics.) I know you’ve all seen it (although there was a couple in the store this week who claimed to have never seen it before; I think they grew up in a cave in Indonesia), but do yourself a favor and rent it again. It’s the little touches that really surprise you. My favorite- when the deliciously evil Major Strasser is trying to intimidate Bogart’s Rick by showing him the “complete dossier” the Nazis have compiled on him, Rick’s response, “Are my eyes really brown?” still kills me.

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!

>>>Former Videoporter Stockman suggests ‘Chuck’(in Comedy.) There’s something very satisfying about successfully conquering the full series of a TV show. Especially when it’s something that you’ve been at least somewhat invested in for several years. Chuck’s fate has been on my must watch list since its

Stockman and Chuck, sittin’ in a tree…

inception (five seasons total, though not all full 20+ episode seasons). While it’s always been a personal investment, it’s not something I ever readily had at my recommending fingertips. I’ve decided, now that’s it completed, if I’m ever going to recommend it now is the golden opportunity. Chuck can get boring sometimes. Bogged down often by its “mission of the week” type of format, I would unfortunately say that no season is free from at least a few snoozers. Those types of shows have that tendency for me, especially when they are the type of shows that won’t move/change the basic premise along. I get it TV, you’ve deemed two characters have chemistry and to get them together would ruin everything, well guess what I don’t care! Shut up and put out TV! I need to see romantic smoochies to survive! I might have just gotten sidetracked slightly, but my point still remains true. While Chuck is trapped by that “mission of the week stick to our premise” rollercoaster, they deviated and pushed just enough times and in just the right places to keep you engaged. And while I got annoyed at times I never wanted to throw things (slippers, utensils, cats, that kind of thing) at the TV out of exasperation. Ultimately, as with a gratuitous number of my recommendations, the overwhelmingly endearing characters make it all worth it. I just love Chuck, he’s wonderful and handsome and funny and like dreamy Zachary Levi the perfect combination of nerdy, bashful, and socially competent. I want to snuggle him and marry him and have his babies (did I write that last part out loud?). If you don’t fall madly in love with Chuck, there is a waterfall of appropriately kooky and gimmicky side characters to give you extra entertainment value. Ultra handsome Matt Bomer provides a bitchin’ parkour entrance. PARKOUR! You have to yell that after every use of the word parkour. PARKOUR! Adam Baldwin, plays a burly gun toting emotionless killing machine, an excellent resource if you’re going through Firefly Jayne withdrawals (characters similar in description, but different in execution). The setting of the “Buy More” has a cornucopia of amusing awkward nerd sleaze. Plus, my personal favorite, Captain Awesome. I won’t even describe him I’ll just leave that to whet your appetite.

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 ‘The West Wing’ seasons 1 & 2, especially episodes In Excelsis Deo (S1, ep10), 18th and Potomac (S2, ep21) and Two Cathedrals (S2, ep22)- all in Feature Drama.) Hats off to the late lamented Kathryn Joosten. It’s kinda breaking my heart that the 72-year-old character actress’ obituaries and homages describe her as “Desperate Housewives neighbor”; in our home, the great Kathryn Joosten will always, but always, be regarded as the no-nonsense Missus Landingham, President Bartlet’s chief secretary and longtime unofficial advisor. Exactly how longtime, well, you’ll find out in the second-season episodes. Delores Landingham (always addressed as “Mrs. Landingham,” even by those who outrank her, including her boss and Chief Executive of the United States, President Josiah Bartlet) is the heart of the Presidential front office, sometimes warm and comforting, sometimes stern and severe, and always quietly, uncomplainingly ready to perform her service to her country.

>>>Videoport customer Tonia M. recommends Bread and Tulips (in the Foreign Language section) via a note stating simply, “Excellent recommend!” Which either means someone at Videoport recommended to her, excellently, or that she is actually the Hulk. “Hulk say Excellent! Recommend!!!”

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

>>> It’s a free movie for the little kiddies. You want the little kiddies to have a free movie, don’t you?

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

>>>For Saturday, Elsa S. Customer suggests “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” Where the Wild Things Are (S4, ep18), with guest Kathryn Joosten. There’s a great inspirational story in Kathryn Joosten’s life: after a first career as a psychiatric nurse, Joosten joined her community theater at age 42, took acting lessons at Chicago’s legendary Steppenwolf Theater, then moved to L.A. at age 56 to pursue her childhood dream of being an actress. She went on to appear in more than one hundred shows and movies, most of them prominent, popular titles. I kinda wonder whether she saw her guest spot on Buffy as slumming: after all, it was nominally a teenage monster-hunt show on second-tier network, and to be frank, this episode is pretty silly and (by Buffy standards) even a little bit seedy… but Kathryn Joosten gives her role every bit of gravitas and sincerity she has at her command (and that is saying something, people). She brings depth and grace to a role that could have been schlocky and predictable. Follow your dreams, folks, with all your heart, even if the road looks rocky. Kathryn Joosten, you are an example to us all.

>>>For Sunday, Elsa S. Customer suggests “Scrubs,” “My Old Lady” (S1, ep4, winner of the Humanitas Award) and “My First Kill” (S4, ep4- in Comedy). If Kathryn Joosten’s appearances as J.D.’s recurring patient Mrs. Tanner don’t make you laugh and then tear up a bit, you might need to get checked out by a doctor yourself, folks.

New Releases this week at Videoport: John Carter (one of the benefits of this Edgar Rice Burroughs sci fi Martian swashbuckler being perhaps the biggest financial flop in cinema history is that, hoping to squeeze some money out of it somehow, the studio is rushing it onto DVD super-quick, so we all get to see it sooner; see? always a silver lining…),‘Breaking Bad- season 4 (high school science teacher-turned drug kingpin Walter White is back, dealing with his double life, family troubles, and, oh yeah, the fact that everyone wants to kill him now in this rabidly-acclaimed series; here’s a tip- call 773-1999 to reserve it…), ‘Doc Martin’ -season 5 (speaking of rabidly-worshipped, Videoport’s got the new season of this whimsical British comedy series about the grumpiest doctor in the British Isles; check the British Comedy section and, again, 773-1999…), ‘Falling Skies’- season 1 (former ER cutie Noah Wylie gets all down and dirty in this sci fi series about scruffy humans attempting to survive, and rebel against, an alien invasion), Hit So Hard (sure everybody knows about Hole frontwoman Courtney Love’s ongoing struggles with addiction/being a nutbar, but this documentary focuses on the less-publicized but similar ordeal of Hole’s erstwhile drummer Patty Schemel), Koch Brothers Exposed (righteously pissed-off expose about the dirty dealings of the titular brothers whose conservative political shenanigans include a lot of shady dealings), Machine Gun Preacher (Gerard Butler brings his burliness to bear on this true story of a druggie biker jerk who finds God, heads to Africa, and starts machine-gunning the warlords responsible for turning orphans into child soldiers), Safe House (Denzel Washington once again lends his undeniable gravitas to action films that are slightly beneath him with this thriller about a legendary CIA agent arrested and forced to go on the run with the baby-faced rookie [Ryan Reynolds] assigned to guard him), ‘White Collar’- season 3 (Matt Bomer [aka: Joe Handsome] returns as a white collar criminal helping the FBI catch other white collar criminals), ‘Workaholics’- season 2 (three slackers attempt to do as little work as humanly possibly in this comedy series whose title may be intended ironically), Act of Valor (audiences turned out in throngs to watch this action flick starring real, live on-duty soldiers playing soldier, hunting down terrorists and blowing the bejeezus out of them; anyone else a little creeped out that the military is selling its own propaganda to the masses as popular entertainment? No one? Just me?), Act of Vengeance (Gina Gershon, Danny Glover, and Robert Patrick bring their B-list star power to this action thriller about the hunt for a notorious terrorist in NYC), American Animal (check Videoport’s Incredibly Strange Section for this anarchic artsy comedy about a terminally-ill young man pursuing all of life’s most disreputable pleasures while he’s still got time), ‘Burn Notice’- season 5 (with a pleasing mix of action and comedy, this spy series about a former super spy trying to find out why he’s been disavowed, is back; I’m in it primarily for comic relief second banana Bruce Campbell, of course…), ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’- season 8 (everyone’s favorite irascible comic grumpus Larry David is back; I’ll just say it one more time- 773-1999 to reserve your copy), Declaration of War (a young couple decides to gather their friends and family together to literally declare war on the fact that their newborn son has a brain tumor in this life-affirming, based on a true story, French film), Desire (a young woman’s alluring presence causes some serious upheaval in the lives of some ordinary folks in this steamy French drama), Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (Mr. The Rock himself, Dwayne Johnson takes over from Brendan Fraser in this family-friendly adventure sequel with possibly the worst, most-confusing title of the year)

New Arrivals at Videoport this week: Crazy on the Outside (real-life felon-turned-family entertainer Tim Allen stars as a paroled felon returning home to his family and trying to cope with normal life, and his dangerous ex-partner; decent cast for this sort of thing: Sigourney Weaver, JK Simmons, Ray Liotta, Kelsey Grammer]), The Child’s Eye (those kooky Pang Brothers, Danny and Oxide [Bangkok Dangerous, The Messengers, The Eye] bring us another spazzy spook show, this time about a haunted hotel), My Mom’s New Boyfriend (a young, by-the-book FBI guy [Colin Hanks] gets the awkward assignment of spying on his own mom [Meg Ryan] when she starts dating a suspected art thief [Antonio Banderas]), The Take (a decent cast [John Leguizamo, Rosie Perez, Bobby Cannavale] star in this thriller about an armored car driver who decides to track down the guy that shot him during a robbery.)

New Arrivals on Blu Ray this week at Videoport: Machine Gun Preacher, Safe House, John Carter, ‘Breaking Bad’- season 4.

How to get free rentals at Videoport- the complete list:

1. Rent a movie. Seriously, every day you come in to Videoport, there’s a free rental to be had. Check out the daily specials on the front page of this here newsletter for the juicy details.

2. Buy a movie. Yup, every time you buy a movie from Videoport, no matter if it’s a cheapo used VHS from the bargain bin or the entire 23-disc set of ‘The Wire’ (which, seriously, you should own), we give you a free rental for every movie you buy from us (and not from some soulless corporate chain which gives you nothing for free and charges you extra for the privilege of shipping it to you.) And hey- if you look at the free rental we give you as chipping $3.50 off of the purchase price, then whatever discounts said soulless chains can give you by driving smaller businesses out of business, then it all evens out. And is better for your soul.

3. Rent a hundred movies. At every century mark in your rental history, you’ll find a couple of free rentals on your account, just to say thank you.

4. Give us money up front. Videoport’s got these payment deals where you get free rental credit for paying ahead. Drop $20 on your account, and we’ll give you 5 free dollars in credit. And $30 buys you $40 in credit. Call it free money, call it a discount on our already low prices, or call it free rentals. Still a good deal no matter how you look at it.

5. Trade in your DVDs for free rentals. Got some movies or TV shows on DVD (in good condition, duh) that you’ve outgrown? Let Videoport’s owner Bill take a look at ‘em- if they’re stuff we can use, he’ll trade you free rentals for ‘em.

Write for the VideoReport! Send in your movie/TV reviews to us at denmn@hotmail.com or our Facebook page “Videoport Jones.” Or drop ‘em off in the store. You know you have the best taste- force others to listen to you!

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