VideoReport #360

Volume CCCLX- Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Florist

For the Week of 7/10/12

Videoport is one of the last remaining video stores in the country. But even when there were a million of them, we were still the best. Since we’re still standing, there’s probably a lesson in there somewhere…

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!

This is only the 43rd weirdest thing you’ll see in this movie.

>>> Elsa S. Customer suggests movies sooooo incredibly strange that they will MELT YOUR FACE OFF*. So, the Incredibly Strange Films section isn’t Incredibly Strange enough for ya? You want the movies so strange that they will MELT YOUR FACE OFF*? Here’s a start: Hausu [in Criterion]. In this 1977 Japanese flick (fiiiiiinally released in the U.S. in 2010), a seven schoolgirls (named Gorgeous, Mac, Kung Fu, Melody, Fantasy, Sweetie, and Prof) spend their vacation in a haunted house… or a ghostly house… or a demonic house… or some kind of jacked-up house, okay? The A.V. Club describes Hausu as veering “from crazy to batsh*t, piling up horror-comic setpieces that marry the wacky and surreal with a manic style that’s perpetually reinventing itself.”

*As promised this weekend by Videoport Jones him-/her-/them-selves on Facebook. Friend us on Facebook!

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 you stop complaining about the Incredibly Strange section or it will melt your face off! I hear you out there. You wander past the Incredibly Strange section and, invariably, someone in your party (always the dumbest one- why do you hang out with that guy/girl?) zeroes in on a particular movie and says, with typical dumb guy/gal disdain, “Huh- this movie ain’t even weird?” before lumbering off to look at something starring Kate Hudson or, I dunno, Steven Seagal or someone. Seriously, what do you see in this person. Anyway, I know what happened- when confronted with the mind-twisting awesomeness of the ISS, the average (or in this case, below-average) mind recoils, freaks out, and hones in on the first movie it can actually comprehend. Sure, we may have stuck a few odd (meaning not especially odd) choices into the ISS over the years, but we had our reasons, and they are the exceptions to the face-melting rule. (To answer the most frequently cited objection: The Mexican is in the Incredibly Strange section, maybe due to the complete lack of chemistry between the megastar leads, maybe because of some sudden bursts of Tarantino-esque violence in its otherwise lightweight comedy, and maybe because we felt like it.) So, for all the naysayers out there, here are some of my picks you can rent to silence those who would doubt the integrity of Videoport’s Incredibly Strange Section. And warning: these movies will melt your face…clean off. The Holy Mountain, Santa Sangre, Fando and Lis, and El Topo: director Alejandro Jodorowski thinks he’s making surrealist, symbolist masterpieces. Most viewers think he’s both pretentious and bats*t insane. Whichever ‘s true, his movies are full of some of the weirdest, most extreme stuff you’ll ever see. El Topowas reportedly John Lennon’s favorite movie-

At midnight, I’ll totally put a spider on your boobs…

make of that what you will. At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul: director/star/banana nut muffin Jose Mojica Marins portrayed his monstrous movie alter ego Coffin Joe a number of times, none more effectively than in this supernatural freakshow where CJ, sort of a Svengali/Dracula/stage magician figure lives in a castle, murders people with spiders and fire, and rapes his way through the townsfolk trying to sire an heir. Nothing I say can accurately describe how this movie will get inside your head. The Family That Eats Soil:from one-named Filipino psycho Khavn comes…this. Shot in ultra-grimy no budget grub-o-vision, this one gives you: a midget in a diaper breast feeding blood from a grown woman, claymation rape, cockfighting, invisible rape, sloppy satanic sex parties, and, yup, a family that eats dirt. Extra Weird Sampler: sure, Videoport’s got more than a few films released by Something Weird Video, guardians of the grimiest cinematic sleaze of all time (The Adult Version of Jekyll and Hyde, Night of the Bloody Apes, Two Thousand Maniacs, Satan’s Children, Christian Scare Films, and more!), but most SWV releases are so awful that this sampler, containing trailers for over 100(!) of the greatest/worst they have will give you more than enough. The sheer volume of gore, boobs, and gory boobs in this compilation will leave you numb. You know, in a good way. Possession: This twisted, disturbing flick features a love triangle including Sam Neill, Isabelle Adjani, and…something. That’s really all I should say, except to add that the performances by two respected actors here are the most over-the-top, insanely-indulgent examples I’ve ever seen. This one’s…well, this movie exists, that’s for sure. Street Trash: how does your garden variety horror movie about a crate full of mysterious hooch that causes derelicts who drink it to melt into screaming puddles of fluorescent blue goo qualify for Incredibly Strange status? Well, that could probably do it right there, but throw in some highly un-PC, and frequently funny, black comedy (especially from a guy named James Lorinz from Frankenhooker), and the fact that that cover drawing is not just artistic license and we’ve got a deal. Tromeo and Juliet: of course we could include all of the freakazoid films from the infamous Troma company (the Toxic Avenger movies, Sgt. Kabukiman: NYPD) here, but I’ll give the face-melt nod to this completely-insane version of Shakespeare’s immortal tale of young love, seen as it includes: onscreen nipple piercing, a toothy penis monster, mutants, incest, amputations, and a woman giving birth to…things. Plus, the Chorus is played by Motorhead’s Lemmy! Written by James Gunn (Super, Slither.)

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!

>>>Elsa S. Customer suggests Big (in Comedy.) You know the basic plot line. Twelve-year-old Josh Baskin is tired of being treated like a kid, of homework and bedtimes and chores. He makes what seems like a simple wish: “I wish I were big.” When his wish is granted, he sees how not-simple it is. There are so many classic comedy bits in this perennial favorite —- the tiny corn! the trampoline! the in-floor piano! the sleepover, which is actually pretty creepy in retrospect… where was I? the silly string gag! the garnish! — that it’s easy to remember it as just a slapstick comedy with some decent set pieces. But the pitch-perfect casting makes Big a classic. Who else but big, sweet, dopey Tom Hanks could so clearly portray a child in a man’s body? He brings Josh’s vulnerability, goofiness, and exuberance into full blossom without making him infantile or inane. Elizabeth Perkins plays the quintessential 1980s power-dressing businesswoman with plenty of toughness and spark, but also with an underlying tenderness that many ‘80s flicks eschewed in their paint-by-numbers approach to female execs. Robert Loggia balances his grizzly-bear tycoon with juuuuust enough boyish twinkle to be winning. [I was already reminiscing over “Big” when Regan and I started rhapsodizing over the many great roles of Mercedes Ruhl, and Regan chipped in, “And she played the mom in ‘Big’!” I waved that off with a casual “Naaaaaah.” Later that night, I noticed Mercedes Ruhl’s IMDb page pulled up on my laptop. In fairness, I’ll point out that A) Regan was right, that TOTALLY WAS Mercedes Ruhl, and B) she was too kind to say even the tiniest “I TOLD YOU SO, that TOTALLY WAS Mercedes Ruhl.”]

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 Inland Empire (in Mystery/Thriller), which will also MELT YOUR FACE OFF. David Lynch is arguably America’s premier weirdo director, letting his films’ stories rise (or sink) into the ether of fantasy and surrealism, barely tethered to reality by a tenuous thread of narrative consistency. In Inland Empire, he lets go of even that thin skein of reality and lets the film float off unfettered into the clouds of the unconscious. Lynch himself describes it as the tale of “a woman in trouble” — but which woman, and which trouble? Is it the story of an aging star (Laura Dern) desperate for a comeback, of an unfaithful wife (also played by Dern — or maybe played by Dern’s actress character, Nikki Grace) terrified of a husband’s retribution, of a nameless Polish woman locked in the limbo of a hotel room watching a film of her own sorrows, of Doris (Julia Ormond) who commits a crude and brutal murder at her husband’s command, of a little girl who gets lost in a marketplace and finds a palace, or of the several girls and women we see who live along the margins of Hollywood, eking out their dismal days as party girls, hookers, junkies, or street people? The film is deeply unsettling, by turns ominous, beautiful, hilarious, squalid, and dreamy. Even the glitchy digital artifacts and uneven emotional tone, which would detract and distract from most stories, enhance the blanketing sense of chaos and confusion that make Inland Empire an enigmatic masterpiece.

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

>>> You know- for kids!

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

>>>For Saturday, Former Videoporter Stockman suggests 13 Going on 30 (in Comedy.) This movie made me cry like a baby. I don’t particularly care for Jennifer Garner who I think has a face like a Persian cat, but I love this movie. It’s exactly what you think it is, except surprisingly okay.

>>>For Sunday, Dennis suggests ‘Louie’ (in Comedy.) The best show on TV right now? The best show on TV right now. I’m gonna go ahead and second the lovely Ms. S. Customer’s recommendation of this show from last week’s VideoReport, not because I think I can say anything more eloquent than she did, but because I want to make sure more people check out this series from comedian Louis C.K. And when I say “from,” I mean “from” in every sense of the word. When FX offered CK a higher budget if they could give him notes, he made a deal for less money as long as he could have complete creative control. He writes, directs, and edits (on his computer) every single episode and the network doesn’t get their mitts on it until he delivers them the finished product. And what that product is is damn-near unclassifiable. On one hand, it’s very Seinfeldian, with a standup comedian’s life and act interspersed, one commenting on the other. It’s a sitcom, I suppose, although I genuinely think Videoport would have to come up with a new category for it; simply put, Louie is unlike any show I’ve ever seen. Of course, CK is probably the best standup comedian in the world at the moment (and has been for a few years), but what he’s doing here transcends standup, transcends sitcoms, maybe even transcends existing definitions what a show could be. Intensely personal and insightful about its subject (recently divorced comedian coping with single parenthood, romantic misadventures, and that thing called life), Louie is also prone to philosophical musings on what it means to be a decent person, a modern man, a father- all the while delivering some of the hugest, most satisfying laughs ever. And then there’s CK’s elastic approach to reality, sometimes manifesting itself in weird flights of magical realism (an excruciatingly bad date abruptly ending when the woman dashes into a waiting helicopter), sometimes in an utter disregard of continuity for the sake of it (he has a brother! No wait, two sisters! His white kids have an inexplicably African American mother!) It’s disorienting, then completely exhilarating; CK is throwing conventions out the door if they get in the way of what he wants to do dramatically from episode to episode. Of course, all of this wouldn’t mean anything if the man and his show weren’t funny, and it is funny. As hell. And not in a particularly comfortable, Seinfeld-y way, either; CK’s takes on men and women, on being a parent, and especially, terrifyingly-honestly about himself, are often as shocking and uncomfortable as they are hilarious. But there are some episodes (like the one where he examines his non-relation to God, the one where he finds unexpected goodwill from a neighbor, the one where he confronts the father of a high school bully who humiliated him in front of a date, the one where an estranged comedian friend tells him he’s planning to kill himself) where the show just is…itself. How many “sitcoms” have reduced you to tears lately? Or wonder? Something completely different, unexpected, and awe-inspiringly brilliant. Wow. Just…wow. You should rent this.

At least there’s Aly…

New Releases this week at Videoport: American Reunion (time and comedy may have moved on, but the entire gang from this once-relevant raunchy comedy series is back for a fourth helping; some [Sean William Scott, the lovely and talented Allyson Hannigan] coming back clearly as a favor, while others [Tara Reid, Chris Klein, Natasha Lyonne, those two guys no one cared about in the first place] just grateful for the paycheck; plus, we can almost be certain that Jason Biggs’ penis will be inserted into something inappropriate), ‘Warehouse 13’- season 3 (the quirky sci fi series about a trio of government agents tasked with tracking down the dangerous artifacts housed in the titular warehouse marches on its weird little way), Margaret (remember how great the indie film You Can Count on Me was? Well, after sitting in studio hell for a few years, director Kenneth Lonergan’s followup movie, about young woman’s troubled reaction to witnessing a fatal bus crash finally gets a release; starring Anna Paquin, Mark Ruffalo, Matt Damon, Allison Janney, Jean Reno, and more of the cool kids), The Flowers of War (Christina Bale takes off the batsuit to star this historical drama about the Rape of Nanking from director Zhang Yimou [Raise the Red Lantern, House of Flying Daggers]; costarring Xinyi Zhang and Paul Schneider), Being Flynn (Robert DeNiro seems to be trying for a change in this indie drama about a young writer [Paul Dano] whose accidental encounter with his estranged, homeless father [DeNiro] causes all manner of juicy drama), Zoom In: Sex Apartments (After being raped by a masked man, a woman begins to investigate why the residents of her apartment building are being murdered…and their genitals set on fire; it’s a Japanese version of an Italian Argento-style giallo- you’re welcome!), A Tale of Two Cities: The Circuit City Story (documentary about the improbable rise of one guys tv repair shop into an electronics super-chain, and the shockingly sudden death spiral that cost thousands of people their jobs.)

New Arrivals on Blu Ray this week at Videoport: Mac & Devin Go to High School (Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa star in this comedy about an overachieving high school senior’s friendship with a guy in his 15th go-round at senior year,) The Hunter, God Bless America, American Reunion, Being Flynn, The Flowers of War.

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