VideoReport #515

Volume DXV— Videoport: Fury Road—The Last Video Store On Earth

             For the Week of 6/30/15

 

Videoport will give you a free movie every day, whether you like it or not. Although we can’t think way you wouldn’t like it, we’re not here to judge. All your call.

 

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 $7.99!

>>> Dennis suggests As Above, So Below (in Horror.) As a horror movie fanatic, I’m both more and less demanding than the average movie fan. On the one hand, I think that a great horror movie is a rare and amazing thing to be held to as high, or higher, standard than any other kind of movie. Because making a great horror movie is harder. Horror movies generally don’t attract the best talent—and when they do, it’s often a case of the best slumming it for the paycheck or cashing in for the bucks before heading back to Oscar-town. So a real horror fan sets his or her sights low, and looks for little gems on the fringes. Which brings us to this decidedly above-average found-footage horror flick about a group of explorers unadvisedly heading into the depths of the Paris catacombs that boasts a unique setting, some decent shocks, a clever twist or two, and a compellingly charismatic lead performance. Honestly, those are more gems than you generally get, making this an unexceptional but more-than-acceptable horror movie. Actually filmed on location in the endless catacombs [read: spooky, ancient tunnels full of actual bones that stretch in mostly unexplored creepiness underneath all of Paris], the movie follows a driven/irresponsible scholar/explorer type (a solid Perdita Weeks) determined to uncover some National Treasure-esque prehistoric secrets. Enlisting some cool, hip French urban explorer thrill-seekers, she also seeks out her ex-sort-of-boyfriend and fellow explorer to help her out, and he’s the chief attraction, played as he is by Mad Men’s Ben Feldman. Sometimes a good performance in a horror movie is overvalued because it’s so unexpected, but Feldman’s just plain good here, the nervous energy he exhibited as Mad Man’s Ginsberg intact but layered with a leading man’s handsome charisma. The movie—solid all around really—offers Feldman the chance to show that he can carry a movie. It’s finding performances like this that makes being a horror fan so rewarding.

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 $7.99!                                                            >>> Dennis suggests Grand Hotel (in Classics). There’s a lot to like in this star-studded 1932 Best Picture winner about a group of disparate people gathered in the titular Berlin hotel, but the best thing by far is the startlingly mature—and modern—performance from a young, fresh-faced Joan Crawford. As the secretary of boorish executive Wallace Beery, Crawford’s Flaemmchen looks her fate as this jerk’s eventual mistress in the face and doesn’t blink—there’s a moment when she, confessing her troubles to worldly cat burglar John Barrymore, lays out her seemingly inevitable future with a knowing weariness that’s easily the best acting she ever did. And it’s all one with one word.

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 $7.99!  

>>> April suggests Vicious (in British comedy) It was amazing to see all the lovely photos of elderly LGBT couples who married after the Supreme Court ruling allowed same-sex marriage in all states on June 26th. Among those who were celebrating were Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi and I was reminded of just how adorable they are as a bickering couple who’ve been together for almost 50 years in Vicious. The show primarily revolves around their home and the friends and neighbors who stop by to interrupt their squabbles. A younger man moves in which prompts a great deal of flirting and awkward situations. The jokes are often too obvious, but Vicious is a delightful little sitcom if you’re looking for something light.

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 $7.99!                                         >>> Dennis suggests picking a movie you’d never find anywhere else. (You know, except Videoport, of course.) Here are some suggestions.

Heavy (in Feature Drama). Always nice when a great character actor gets a lead, this low-key drama about a hefty, terminally-shy cook who starts to come into himself gives Pruitt Taylor Vince a chance to show what he can do. Touching and deeply human.

One False Move (in Mystery/Thriller). Early-90s crime drama is more about performances and the dsins of the past than action. Great work from Cynda Williams, Bill Paxton, Michael Beach, and an unknown Billy Bob Thornton.

Hell Cab (in Incredibly Strange). Forget the deceptive, horror movie-looking cover art, this is an affecting, episodic night in the life of a typical Chicago cab driver (and understated, resolutely human Paul Dillon) as he makes it through a typically eventful night behind the wheel. Packed with interesting actors (John C. Reilly, Laurie Metcalf, John Cusack, Michael Shannon, Gillian Anderson, Julianne Moore), this indie is an overlooked 90s sleeper.

Killer Of Sheep (in Feature Drama). A legendary underground American indie, this low-key, black-and-white family drama about a poor black family from director Charles Burnett was only rediscovered for the groundbreaking indie it was decades later. (Look for the homage in David Gordon Green’s similarly great low-budget film George Washington.)

>>> Emily S. Customers suggests our favorite TV nurses! Doctors get a lot of acclaim, but we all know the medical system couldn’t run without the smarts and hard work of nurses. Here are a few of our favorites: Scrubs‘ Carla Espinosa (Judy Reyes). Scrubs starts when the newest crop of interns enter the work force, and J.D., Turk, Elliot, and Carla quickly form a unit of four, but the show never lets us forget: By the time the three newly minted doctors arrive at Sacred Heart, Carla’s been working there for years, snapping orders at green interns and ferociously defending the patients’ care and nurses’ rights. Parks & Recs Ann Perkins (Rashida Jones). [points] ANN PERKINS! It takes an unflappable character to be Leslie Knope’s best friends, and who’s more unflappable than a nurse? She can’t be flapped! Downton Abbey‘s Isobel Crawley (Penelope Wilton). When Matthew Crawley and his mother Isobel arrive in Downton, their aristocratic relatives at the manor turn up their noses ever so slightly at the idea of a new heir who (GASP!) practices a profession. It’s bad enough that Matthew is a lawyer, that his late father was a doctor; it’s downright shocking that Mrs. Crawley made it her business to keep abreast of the ever-changing medical techniques of her era, and whether her nursing experience formed her character or her character made her a fine nurse, the result is the same: There’s no character on Downton Abbey more sympathetic, practical, and demanding than Isobel Crawley. Don’t see your favorite TV nurse here? Peruse the shelves of Videoport and write us your own review for next week’s newsletter!

Kids Friday! One free rental from the Kids section, no other rental necessary! OR get any three non-new releases for a week for $7.99!          

>>> It’s a free movie from the kids section every Friday, with no other rental necessary. Where else are you gonna get something for free for absolutely nothing? Nowhere, that’s where.

Having a Wild Weekend! Rent two movies, and get a third one for free from any section! OR get any three non-new releases for a week for $7.99!                                             >>> For Saturday, Emily S. Customer suggests About Time (in Feature Drama). It’s about as sweet as time-travel stories get. In this light romantic dramedy from screenwriter Richard Curtis (Notting Hill, Love, Actually, S1 of Blackadder), on his 21st birthday, Tim (Domhnall Gleeson) learns from his father (Bil Nighy) that the men in their family are able to travel back in time — nothing momentous, just the ability to nip back and correct errors in their own timelines. Irresistibly, young Tim uses this special gift to meet Mary (Rachel McAdams), and to nudge their courtship along, before more serious demands draw his attention. It’s bittersweet and even a bit tame, but that tameness is comforting, like the toast you have with a cheerful cup of tea.

>>>For Sunday, It’s the monthly list of movies and TV shows that Netfl*x is taking away from their customers this month. Again—there is literally no reason for this massive corporation to do this, and, of course, Videoport has them all for you. Because we are local and independent and not evil and faceless and awful!

Big Fish (2003)

Big Top Pee­wee (1988)

Bowling for Columbine (2002)

Cast Away (2000)

Cheech & Chong’s Next Movie (1980)

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)

Descent (2007)

Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead (2010)

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)

The Fly 2 (1989)

Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)

Fried Green Tomatoes (1991)

Jack Frost (1997)

The Langoliers (1995)

The Last Samurai (2003)

Louis C.K.: Hilarious (2009)

The Manchurian Candidate (2004)

Moonstruck (1987)

The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984)

Natural Born Killers: Director’s Cut (1994)

Patton (1970)

Racing Stripes (2005)

Seven Years in Tibet (1997)

She’s All That (1999)

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004)

Space Cowboys (2000)

Stephen King’s The Stand (1994)

Super Troopers (2001)

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

Three Kings (1999)

Trailer Park Boys: The Movie (2006)

Wahlburgers—season 1 (2014)

61AHNqzdcHL._SY445_New Releases this week at Videoport: Zero Motivation (Acclaimed Israeli film, nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, looks in on a group of disaffectedif-you-build-it-poster female soldiers at an isolated army base in the desert as they count down the days until they can get the hell out of there), If You Build It (Inspirational, award-winning documentary about a pair of educator-activists in the poorest country in North Carolina who teach underserved kids how to help their community and themselves by teaching them how to make stuff), Folsom Forever (Documentary about the neighborhood fair in San Francisco that sprung up after the destructiveness of the AIDS crisis and redevelopment savaged the scene, where gay activists and members of the city’s leather community banded together), Get Hard (Sure-fire box office winners Will Ferrell and ff-posterKevin Hart team up in this rude, crude comedy about a white collar executive facing a prison sentence who enlists the help of a family man [who Ferrell thinks is a gang banger, because racism] to 16089588504_b9d1e68edf_otoughen him up for the slammer. Two undeniably funny guys—so what if the reviews weren’t all that, right?), Last Knights (Hey, did you all remember when Clive Owen and Morgan Freeman starred together in a medieval action flick about guys with swords and so forth? Well, it happened—here’s proof), Danny Collins (Al Pacino decides to try for a change, playing the titular aging pop star, a 70-ish has-been cruising along on past glories who decides to sober up and start, well, trying again. Pacino got some of the best reviews in years for this one—here’s hoping it inspires him to continue giving a 147999_aacrap!), While We’re Young (The new comedy-drama from indie director extraordinaire Noah Baumbach [The Squid And The Whale, Frances Ha, Greenberg, Margot At The Wedding] sees middle-aged marrieds Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts find their lives reinvigorated while-were-young-poster1when they are befriended by a pair of younger oddballs [Amanda Seyfried and Adam Driver]), The Gunman (Professionally unlikable yet undeniably untalented star Sean Penn tries his hand at a Liam Neeson-esque action movie career resurgence in this thriller about a professional assassin who finds himself back in the Congo years after he assassinated a Congolese government minister. Strangely, the people in Congo are planning on The-Gunman-posterkilling him)

Get some free money at Videoport! Yup, free money. Put $20 on your Videoport account, and we give you $25 in store credit. And a pre-pay of $30 gets you $40 in danny_collins-620x918store credit! That…is free money, people. It’s money you’d spend at Videoport anyway, since we’re so super and you love us so much. But we give it to you for free. Why? Um, not sure really—come take advantage before we come to our senses!

Write for The VideoReport! This whole weekly blog/newsletter/thingy was started some 509 weeks ago as a place for people who work at/love Videoport to share their reviews, opinions, and occasional furious screeds about their favorite/least favorite movies. So do that! Send ‘em to denmn@hotmail.com or our Facebook page “Videoport Jones”! Do it!

Published in: on June 30, 2015 at 1:07 am  Leave a Comment  

VideoReport #514

Volume DXIV— The Independent Video Store On Haunted Hill

             For the Week of 6/23/15

Videoport gives you a free movie every single day. It’s the sort of thing you don’t notice, but you’d miss if it were gone.

 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 $7.99!

>>> Emily S. Customer suggests some Ray Bradbury! (in Sci-Fi/Fantasy). Phew! Elsewhere, I just finished reviewing a show (which shall remain nameless) loosely based on a Ray Bradbury short story — and I mean loosely. Like, so loosely as to be unrecognizable. It left me with nothing but a hankering to revisit the uncanny poetry and sweet sorrow of Bradbury’s stories. Let’s start with Something Wicked This Way Comes, the 1983 adaptation of the novel of childhood nostalgia and the bittersweet fumblings toward adulthood. Then move on to Ray Bradbury Theater, with weird little anthology stories like Jeff Goldblum as Cogswell, the city slicker looking for a little rural peace who alights from his train in “The Town Where No One Ever Got Off.” Finish up with Illustrated Man , a feature-length anthology collecting Bradbury’s The VeldtThe Other Foot, and The Long Rain. Soak in the small oddities and lavish poetry of his worlds.

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 $7.99!

>>> The Videoport’s classic section is your friend. It’s sort of the soul of an independent video store—lost, forgotten stuff that you won’t find anywhere else. Take a chance—take two, in fact. One’s free today.

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 $7.99!  

>>> Emily S. Customer suggests Best In Show (in Comedy.) I’ve extolled the virtues of Christopher Guest’s oeuvre — and this very movie — here before. So this time, I’ll just say that while revisiting Best In Show once again on an idle evening, and despite my many viewings over the years, a forgotten throwaway line caught me so by surprise that I laughed long and hard for minutes. “Minutes” might not sound like much, but it’s an eternity in comedy, and that’s a huge compliment to the film, the ensemble, and to Larry Miller, the secondary character who drops the line with such offhand precision.

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 $7.99!                                        

>>> Dennis suggests Friday Night Lights (in Feature Drama). This series about a Texas high school football team and its coach is a tough sell for some people. Not that those interested in quality television drama can’t love football, too, but there’s just something about the insularity of the sports genre that turns some people off. Not to worry, though—this is genuinely one of the best American television series in decades (I’ll go ahead and say ever, really), and one whose attraction has very little to do with good, ol’ American football. The show, one of the most sensitive and insightful about the high school experience ever, is more a layered, thoughtful (and, yes, also exciting and funny) examination of growing up, and how the adults in high schoolers’ lives can affect that experience, for good or, more frequently, ill. It’s also home to perhaps a dozen truly exceptional performances, none more indelibly impressive than those of Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton, who, as head coach Erik Taylor of the Dillon Panthers and Tami Taylor, high school guidance counselor (and later principal), who create on of the most realistic and emotionally truthful married couples I’ve ever seen, on TV or anywhere else. The most resonant aspect of Friday Night Lights is its depiction of how life is a continuum, and that kids will grow up according to the influences of the adults in their lives, and Erik and Tami Taylor are, simply put, two of the most hearteningly decent people these often troubled kids could hope for. My dad was a football coach (my coach, as it happens, for my high school years), and so perhaps my affection, bordering on awe, at Chandler’s Erik Taylor colors how thoroughly the coach gets to me. On the other hand—no, no it doesn’t. Erik Taylor—a resolutely honorable man teaching young men a violent game in a town where that game is the all and the everything—comes as close to mentor perfection as you can get, all without ever coming across as preachy or melodramatic. As a coach, he wants and expects to win—especially in the hotheaded football hotbed of Dillon, Texas—and he’s often faced with some serious contradictions and tough moral choices. That he always (eventually) does the right thing, doesn’t make Taylor predictable—it makes him extraordinary, one of the most complete and heartening examples of American male virtue I can think of. In Chandler’s watchful, forceful-yet-eminently decent performance, Coach Erik Taylor navigates the coach’s perpetual navigation of the pitfalls of his role in Dillon with a stalwart goodness that’s enough to reduce me to tears—of something like awe—about once an episode. And Tami Taylor—hardly the “coach’s wife”—matches, often exceeds him, her position in Dillon less prestigious, but all the more admirable in how she supports her husband completely while never giving an inch when she thinks she’s right and he’s wrong (about his job, their marriage, or their teenage daughter.) Honestly, the Taylors are probably the healthiest, yet most realistic, married TV couple around—you can see, in their shared humor and sense of morality (not to mention their playful sexiness) what drew them together. And that’s all not even taking the show’s football aspect (and the uniformly remarkable young cast playing the players) into account—you don’t have to care a whit about the game to care, deeply, about these kids as they try to find their place on their team and in their town—and beyond. There are the expected teen dramas and traumas, both on and off the field—but Friday Night Lights (except for a network-mandated silly plotline in season two we will never discuss again) never succumbs to obviousness. Far, far from it. Honestly, if a show is so good that I start tearing up while writing about it—which I unashamedly am—then you should give it a shot. Oh, and—“Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.” (You’ll understand when you watch it.)

Kids Friday! One free rental from the Kids section, no other rental necessary! OR get any three non-new releases for a week for $7.99!          

>>> Videoport customer and all-‘round cool dude Kevin H. suggests The Moon Spinners (in the Kids Section). Teenaged Hayley Mills, having survived summer camp, is off to Greece for adventures! Not unchaperoned, of course, it’s 1964 and a Disney film – she’s travelling with her folk musicologist aunt (Joan Greenwood). The intrepid pair visit a remote seaside village, where there are strange doings afoot, most of which involve Eli Wallach being menacing and belligerent. A mysterious but charming young English fellow is also hanging about, and naturally he and Hayley pair up to investigate matters (and make eyes at one another). Lots of beautiful Greek scenery, mildly thrilling but not too scary adventures, chase scenes, humor….sort of like a junior Hitchcock thriller, scaled down for the younger set. Disney’s live action films don’t have the acclaim of the animated films, but I’ve always had a soft spot for them: they treated their adolescent audience as actual people who deserve serious, age-appropriate stories and quality entertainment. While dated in some respects (this one is from 1964, after all) the Disney live action films consistently provided a good story, well told, that adults could watch  – and enjoy – with the kids. I don’t know if people still watch these, but they  – you! – should.

Having a Wild Weekend! Rent two movies, and get a third one for free from any section! OR get any three non-new releases for a week for $7.99!                                            

>>> For Saturday, Dennis suggests Workaholics (in Comedy.) Here’s a review of a good episode from season 5, out now at Videoport! (Originally published at The AV Club.) There’s a moment at the end of “Menergy Crisis” where the guys are standing on stage in the TelAmeriCorp parking lot, singing their friendship anthem “Best Friends,” where I actually got a little choked up. Yeah, I said it. And that in an episode filled with: poop-filled homemade stink-bombs, throwing stars, Everclear references, a police shooting, teriyaki pancakes, and more bare butts than Adam sees in any 20 minute window on his Brazzers account. And it’s not that the song itself is great—it actually sounds a lot like Dirk Diggler singing “You Got The Touch”— but the moment worked on me nonetheless, coming at the end of one of my favorite Workaholics episodes in years. Written by Blake Anderson, “Menergy Crisis” is Blake-centric. Like last week’s “Speedo Racer” (written by Anders Holm), the writer gives his character the spotlight to good effect, but “Menergy Crisis” integrates Blake’s journey into the group’s even better, with Blake being excluded from this week’s diversion and turning his rejection into some Blake-style supervillainy. The episode begins with the guys getting typically overenthusiastic about something—this time, an epic musical encapsulation of their unbreakable friendship bond. Sadly, Blake can’t sing. (I mean, Adam and Ders’ crooning isn’t especially noteworthy, but, as Ders puts it, Blake’s singing sounds “like life leaving something—like a child’s nightmare.”) So, with customary, hairtrigger speed, Ders and Adam kick Blake out of the band (“Menergy”) inspired by a song about how MV5BMTk4NjY0OTg5Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODU0MjYyNTE@._V1_UY1200_CR110,0,630,1200_AL_they’re best friends ‘til the end of time. As the engine of an episode, it’s right on. It’s not that the three don’t believe in their friendship—it’s that they lose sight of the fact that the three of them need each other more than whatever shiny thing is calling to them at that moment. Workaholics falters most often in comic tone. The guys’ irresponsibility and crudity can curdle with the wrong tone, their happy juvenility shading into braying boorishness, something that happened too often last season. Here, however, the guys’ schism provides the impetus for an episode that turns conflict into perfectly-pitched laughs, especially once the guys start trying to sabotage each other as musical guest at the TelAmeriCorp picnic. The return to TelAmeriCorp is a big part of why this episode works as well, something last season lost sight of. The guys’ slacker shenanigans are easier to root for when they partake of rebellion, and there’s no workplace more conducive to rebellion that this ridiculous, soulless telemarketing firm. Plus, the workplace setting allows the show to weave supporting characters Montez, Bill, Alice, and Jillian back into the show, which is always a good thing. The stars of the show are funny guys and all, but a steady diet of concentrated them gets a bit much. So when Maribeth Monroe’s boss Alice (in a plot device cribbed liberally from The Office) has to spend a surplus or lose it, her plan for a company party (including a velcro wall, pancake station, carnival games, and batting cage) sets the guys against each other to show off their musical skills. (Blake wants to co-opt their wizard rap act with the help of Karl and a pair of rod puppets in place of Adam and Ders.) Thus begins an epically silly prank war, with Ders and Adam getting Blake suspended from work with a phone call to the cops (who, assuming Karl’s filthy van is being used to kidnap Blake, shoot one of the puppets in a genuinely unsettling scene). This causes Blake to ingeniously sabotage every aspect of the company party while taunting the other two with stereotypical evil mastermind phone calls and some light mayhem. Naturally, Blake’s plan is only “ingenious” as far as Blake goes, involving throwing stars deflating the velcro wall just as Jillian is about to make her velcro wall dream come true, Karl’s patented stink bomb perched on the “ring-the-bell” strongman game Montez is about to try, and squishable fruit loading Bill’s pitching machine. Too often, the guys’ conflicts result in too-mean revenges (last year’s rotting skunk burrito sticks in the mind), but, here, the alternating petty vengeance is silly and goofy, and punctuated with copious mooning. (Having seen the screener, I can’t be sure how Comedy Central will come down on the nudity, but if you were longing to finish your anatomically correct Workaholics butt portraits, this episode’s for you.) So when the guys finally put their differences aside and their butts away and take to the stage to perform, it all comes together quiet nicely, with Blake’s newly-introduced sign-language skills (he doesn’t really know sign language) giving him a natural spot in the band that doesn’t involve having to subject the world to his voice. Their triumphant performance (only clouded when Alice suspends them from work, which they don’t care about anyway) is the culmination of a truly well-constructed episode of Workaholics, one that balances plot, character, and inventive silliness just right. As does “Friends Forever,” really—it’s a ridiculous song about three guys who don’t realize how ridiculous they are riding a musical wave of unwarranted confidence in their own awesomeness until it becomes something both ridiculous and, yes, awesome:

We’ve got respect for each other

We will protect one another

Don’t waste your breath on the haters

They’re jealous of our friendship

Friends til the end ride or die

Best friends I’ll trust you with my life

Excuse me—I think there’s something in my eye…

>>>For Sunday, Write for The VideoReport! This whole weekly blog/newsletter/thingy was started some 509 weeks ago as a place for people who work at/love Videoport to share their reviews, opinions, and occasional furious screeds about their favorite/least favorite movies. So do that! Send ‘em to denmn@hotmail.com or our Facebook page “Videoport Jones”! Do it!

survivor-brosnan-656New Releases this week at Videoport: Survivor (MIlla Jovovich is a spy tasked with preventing a terrorist attack on the US, but then is framed for setting up a terrorist attack on the US! What?! Then Pierce Brosnan starts chasing her with a gun, and Dylan McDermott is involved? Man, it’s tough being Milla Jovovich), The Forger (John poster212x312Travolta straps on his action hero wig in this thriller about an art forger , also suspiciously good at ass-kicking for an art forger, who gets embroiled in some big art forging shenanigans and has to save a cute kid and Christopher Plummer), Timbuktu (A cattle herder and his family find their apolitical timbuktu-posterexistence swept up in the rising tide of religious extremism in the titular African city in this drama that was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film), Workaholics—season five (It’s looking like this might be the last season for the three [mostly] endearing layabouts and their silly but enjoyable sitcom about a trio of the worst telemarketers in the history of the world. If so, it’s a good way to go out, as this fifth season can boast some of the best episodes of the whole run. Check out Saturday’s review, where a Videoporter who’s been reviewing the show on the AV Club for a few years runs down a particularly good one), Marfa Girl (Hey, did you like Kids? How about marfa-girl-posterKen Park? Or Bully? Or any other of Larry Clark’s movies where an increasingly aged movie director keeps making films where he gets to shoot barely-legal teens having lots of barely legal sex? Well, here’s another one for ya’!)

Get some free money at Videoport! Yup, free money. Put $20 on your Videoport account, and we give you $25 in store credit. And a pre-pay of $30 gets you $40 in store credit! That…is free money, people. It’s money you’d spend at Videoport anyway, since we’re so super and you love us so much. But we give it to you for free. Why? Um, not sure really—come take advantage before we come to our senses!

Published in: on June 23, 2015 at 7:44 pm  Leave a Comment  

VideoReport #513

Volume DXIII— The Independent Video Store That Kept Punching The Soulless Internet Movie Streaming Service Until It Wet Itself And Died

             For the Week of 6/16/15

 

Videoport gives you a free movie every single day. How many problems are there with that? None. None problems.

 

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 $7.99!

>>> Dennis suggests The Silent Partner (in Mystery/Thriller). This smart, nasty Canadian thriller is one of those forgotten 1970’s movies that remain viewers’ pleasant little discoveries. Written by Curtis Hanson (who went on to do L.A. Confidential), it stars Elliott Gould at the peak of his movie-stardom, as a quiet, unassuming bank teller who comes to realize that the Mall Santa who’s been coming into the bank is planning to rob it. So Gould rigs his drawer so that the robbery, when it comes, only nets Santa (an icily evil Christopher Plummer) a small amount of cash, while Gould keeps the real money for himself. Unfortunately for Gould, Plummer doesn’t take kindly to the trickery, and sets about stalking Gould for revenge. It’s solid all around, with Gould’s cagey clerk revealing hidden depths of ruthlessness himself as he tries to outwit the brutally intelligent Plummer for a second time. Sometimes you’re in the mood for a good little movie you’ve never heard of—try this one.

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 $7.99!

>>> Dennis suggests The In-Laws (in Classics). Peter Falk and Alan Arkin make one of the all-time great movie comedy teams in this 1979 movie about a mild-mannered dentist (Arkin) sucked into the ludicrously dangerous life of his pending in-law Falk, who may be a CIA agent, or insane, or both. The film is a masterpiece of comic timing, with Falk and Arkin playing off of each other like the comic geniuses they are, their signature vocal styles complimenting each other to produce the cinematic equivalent of a giggle fit. Arkin should be considered the straight man, with his Dr. Sheldon Kornpett, DDS being dragged into Falk’s nutty scheme to retrieve some stolen engravings from the US mint. The thing is, that Arkin’s in the guise of a sensible guy, is still Alan Arkin, fairly bursting with prickly intelligence and repressed mania. And Falk—well, you know Peter Falk. He’s the twinkly, wry, digressive crackpot here that he always was, here adding in the very real possibility that his typical silliness is hiding an irresponsible lunacy. And simply watching these two spar through all the shenanigans (eventually ending up the guests of an insanely silly South American dictator played by great character comedian Richard Libertini) is, again, the equivalent of a 90 minute giggle fit. Just delightful.

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 $7.99!  

>>> Emily S. Customer suggests O Brother, Where Art Thou? (in Comedy). Some viewers complain that the Coen Brothers show contempt for The Common Folk. I can understand people who feel stung by the portrayals of everyday folks in their films, because protagonists and antagonists alike are almost invariably figures of fun. But the Coens show what too many auteurs overlook: We are funny creatures. We are laughable, with our foibles large and small, with our absurd tics and tendencies. We are figures of fun, every one of us, and that is just a facet of our humanity. The Coen Brothers tell larger than life tales about little people. In the prison escapees of O Brother Where Art Thou, I see Ulysses Everett McGill’s (George Clooney) foppish preoccupation with his hair pomade, or Delmar O’Donnell’s (Tim Blake Nelson) gawp-mouthed yearning for salvation, or Pete Hogwallop’s (John Turturro) squinty-eyed skepticism as incisively humanizing characteristics, not as insults to their characters. But it’s not just the protagonists who are humanized. Whether it’s Junior (Del Pentacost), the “soft-headed sumbitch” nephew leading Pappy O’Daniel’s (Charles Durning) gubernatorial campaign, Pappy O’Daniel, or the pencil-necked bonafide suitor of Penny (Holly Hunter), Ulysses’ wife, they’re both risible and sympathetic in their small ways. They’re silly. They’re fallible. They’re weak and strong by turns, self-obsessed or defensive. They’re human. In this film, true villainy is reserved for the faceless incarnations of perverse authority, for Sheriff Cooley (Daniel Von Bargen), who cruelly pursues the trio, flames of righteous fury reflecting off his mirrored sunglasses even at night, and for the white supremacists who lurk in the landscape, literal and political, reminding us that bigotry is insidious. And here, the pervasive humor of the Coens serves a greater purpose: The Klan rally first seems epic, a terrible spectacle of grandeur and horror, but they’re rapidly stripped of that fearsome power. They’re denied the grandness their costumes and pageantry strives for without ever denying the horrors they practice and incite others to. They can’t be called figures of fun. There’s nothing fun about them. They have no humor themselves; self-important zealots rarely do. Instead, they’re ridiculed and reduced, made less fearsome and stripped of the power of their atrocities, by being made the butt of the film’s jokes. And the Coens aren’t afraid to poke fun at their own studies of human behavior. “I like to think I’m a pretty astute observer of the human scene,” McGill—our entry point into the film, and as close to an auteurs’ avatar as O Brother contains—blithely tells Big Dan (John Goodman), failing to take in the danger unfurling around him, though Delmar’s wary eyes show his shrewd assessment of the shift in tone. The Coens are as human, and as aware of the frailty of their humanity, as any of their characters.

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 $7.99!                                        

>>> Redfern Mini Reviews suggests The Immigrant (in Feature Drama). Marion Cotillard is magical in every movie I’ve seen her in and it’s true of this role too. I loved the amber-golden sepia tone of this whole movie–the ethos of it–set in the 1920’s in New York City, where the lead character and her sister come to Ellis Island to start a new life. Joaquin Phoenix is (yet again) playing a dark, creepy character. Jeremy Renner is engaging as Orlando the Magician. The characters could have rested at one-dimensional, but director James Gray delves a bit deeper and we get invested in their lives. I recommend.

Kids Friday! One free rental from the Kids section, no other rental necessary! OR get any three non-new releases for a week for $7.99!          

>>> Dennis says, It’s a free kids movie! There are a lot to choose from! For free!

Having a Wild Weekend! Rent two movies, and get a third one for free from any section! OR get any three non-new releases for a week for $7.99!                                            

>>> For Saturday, Videoport customer Debra T. suggests Supermensch: The Legend Of Shep Gordon (in Documentary). Supermensch is a documentary about a manager named Shep Gordon who is apparently extremely nice to the people he works for and their friends. Here are three reasons why you should rent it. 1) You get a good story about the beginning of Alice Cooper and decisions made in his career, 2) You learn some great publicity stunts such as how to fill up a concert hall by staging a traffic jam, and 3) You get some really useful tips on how to host a great diner. Really, I wish I wrote them down as I watched. I have to say my husband and I had very different opinions of Shep Gordon after this movie. He thought Shep was a nice guy and did a lot of great things. I thought Shep was really good at working angles for his clients. There are a lot of famous people talking about how nice Shep is (Michael Douglas, Sylvester Stallone, Alice Cooper, Mike Myers, Emeril Lagasse), but then when they go to actual stories of his life, very little of it actually seems “nice” but more like successful, efficient, manipulative, ambitious, sometimes funny. Outside of his helping the grandchildren of his ex-girlfriend and hosting dinner parties in his Hawaiian house, there isn’t a whole lot of backup to the oft-repeated statement that he’s the nicest guy ever. He may be, but those stories aren’t in this movie. As a woman, I also found the movie more of a “good old boys” club praising Shep as a great guy despite his (hilarious according to the talking heads) womanizing and the fact that he married a woman 30 years younger than him and then divorced her after they found out she couldn’t have children. Yeah, such a mensch. I found it telling that the only women who were on screen talking nicely about him were women he pays (and his ex-girlfriend’s granddaughter who he supports financially). Those issues could be just mine. It was definitely fun to see the world of famous people through the lens of a manager whom they all seemed to love.  My husband liked the movie and I didn’t mind it. I just didn’t come out thinking this guy was as nice as the packaging promised.

>>>For Sunday, Videoport’s Andy suggests DOCUMENTARIES! Recently a Videoport returned four movies: Tibet: Cry of the Snow Lion, Stupidity, and Somm from the Documentary section, and Wish You Were Here, from Drama. He said, “These three were all very good; this one was very bad. G’night.” Guess which one was “very bad.” Well, lesson learned. Stick with documentaries. I haven’t seen any of the documentaries that this customer returned, but recently I enjoyed Corman’s World (in Documentary Arts), a documentary about the legendary (and still active, though very old) producer/director Roger Corman. Here is an impressive list of people who attest to Corman’s importance, kindness, loyalty, and greatness (as well as his more frustrating qualities): Jack Nicholson, Jonathan Demme, Robert De Niro, Peter Bogdanovich, Ron Howard, Martin Scorsese, David Carradine, Eli Roth, Joe Dante, Bruce Dern, Polly Platt, Mary Woronov, newsroom-season-3Dick Miller (of course), Pam Grier, John Sayles, and William Shatner. These people all love Roger Corman, so you should watch a documentary about him! Corman’s World is an inspiring story about a maverick filmmaker, businessman, and occasional artist. Or, hey, just KxSNBLWhave fun browsing Videoport’s documentary section! It’s that forgotten section next to Action and behind the Incredibly Strange Films section.

New Releases this week at Videoport: The Newsroom- season 3 (Aaron Sorkin’s behind-the-scenes drama series about the big, bad world of television network news 8203_poster_iphoneconcludes, as Jeff Daniels’ right-about-everything Will McEvoy speechifies and tells us all what we should have done. Sorkin’s done this sort of thing so much better in The West Wing and Sports Night—you should rent those, too. Or, you know, instead), Chappie (From Neill Blomkamp [director of District 9 and Elysium] comes another sci-fi, high-concept flick, this one about a robot with an unappealing name who develops self-awareness and starts petting puppies and the like. Sadly, meanie government guy Hugh Jackman’s after Chappie to turn him back into the killing machine he was designed to wrecking_crew_ver2_xlgbe. Leave Chappie alone, Hugh Jackman!), Run All Night (Liam Neeson’s mid-sixties action hero career steamrollers on in this crime drama about an aging hitman [nicknamed “The Gravedigger”!] who swings back into action when his mob boss best bud Ed Harris puts a hit out on Unfinished-Business-posterNeeson’s estranged son [Joel Kinnaman]. As we all know by now, even looking cross-eyed at a relative of Liam Neeson’s is a sure ticket to knuckle sandwich town), The Wrecking Crew (Like last year’s Muscle Shoals, this musical documentary sheds some light on a group of unsung backing musicians, this time the session men behind Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, The Monkees, The Beach Boys, and more), Unfinished Business (Vince Vaughn does his signature motor-mouthed thing in this buddy comedy about a trio of businessmen desperate to land a big deal at a foreign conference. Costarring James Franco’s more likeable little brother Dave as the dump, the-lazarus-effect-postersweet one, and great British stalwart Tom Wilkinson as the British one), The Lazarus Effect (A much more interesting cast than is usual in this sort of thing [Mark Duplass, Donald Glover, Olivia Wilde] bring some heft to this horror flick about a group of perhaps less-than-cautious scientists trying to resurrect the dead. I’m sure it goes juuuust fine), Wild Tales (Acclaimed Argentinian film from director Damian Szifrom tells six short stories of various people being driven to madness through life’s injustices, big and small), Beyond The Reach (Michael Douglass plays—wait for it—a rich a-hole! This time, he’s a mysterious, BMW-driving businessman who shows up in a tiny desert town looking for a hunting guide. The poor young guy who takes the gig [Jeremy Irvine] soon begins to suspect that Douglas isn’t on the up-and-up), Welcome To Me (When Krstin Wiig’s unbalanced loner wins the lottery, she stops taking her medication and buys herself a talk show in this dark comedy costarring James Marsden, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Joan Cusack, Tim Robbins, and Linda Cardellini),

Get some free money at Videoport! Yup, free money. Put $20 on your Videoport account, and we give you $25 in store credit. And a pre-pay of $30 gets you $40 in store credit! That…is free money, people. It’s money you’d spend at Videoport anyway, since we’re so super and you love us so much. But we give it to you for free. Why? Um, not sure really—come take advantage before we come to our senses!

Write for The VideoReport! This whole weekly blog/newsletter/thingy was started some 509 weeks ago as a place for people who work at/love Videoport to share their reviews, opinions, and occasional furious screeds about their favorite/least favorite movies. So do that! Send ‘em to denmn@hotmail.com or our Facebook page “Videoport Jones”! Do it!

VideoReport #512

Volume DXII—The Creaky Old House On The Edge Of Town With The Terrifying History That Nonetheless Is The Number One Destination For Horny Teens Looking For A Place To Make Out

             For the Week of 6/9/15

Videoport gives you a free movie every single day. We have done for 27 years. You’re-freaking-welcome.

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 $7.99!

>>> Former Videoporter (and director of Nyarlathotep and An Imperfect Solution in Videoport’s horror section) Christian suggests Predator 2 (in Sci-Fi/Fantasy). When Arnie’s not available who is next on speed dial? Danny Glover of course! My god, just imagine if every Arnie film had a Danny sequel. Twins Too with Danny and Danny! But back to Predator 2: this film is a monumental failure on so many levels, and yet it is quite possibly the most creative action sequel of that era. It changes damn near everything that made the original so iconic. But one thing it didn’t change was the pairing of FX wizard Stan Winston with gone-too-soon character actor Kevin Peter Hall. There have been a few attempts at Predators since, but they all lack these two vital ingredients. Now what these guys were given with this script was a real gift: a fresh take on the character where instead of bigger and badder than the original (the standard approach) instead this hunter is less experienced and more reliant on his gadgets than the first. This subtle difference is the highlight of the film as Kevin really brings the character to life as he panics. Bill Paxton hams it up, we get some insanely bad Rastafarian caricatures, and a nifty nod in the Predator’s trophy case to Fox’s other big alien franchise. Give it a try!

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 $7.99!

>>> Dennis suggests Bigger Than Life (in the Criterion Collection section). From Nicholas Ray (Rebel Without A Cause), this intense drama is one of James Mason’s most unsung performances. In it, he’s a dad, husband, and professional who goes to a shrink to deal with his anxiety and, prescribed the new wonder drug cortisone, goes quietly psycho. For 1956, it’s shockingly dark and complex, with Mason never better, portraying his character’s descent into menacing craziness with genuinely upsetting depth. Look, not everything can be all nice and sweet and full of Helen Mirrens.

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 $7.99!  

>>> Dennis suggests Wet Hot American Summer (in Comedy). I keep running into people who haven’t seen this movie, which just proves how much I think everyone has the same taste I do. But since I keep hearing evidence that some of you are depriving yourselves of joy, here’s a recommendation—watch this movie. From some of the people behind the cult, insanely-influential sketch comedy series The State (available and recommended in the Incredibly Strange Section), this movie—marginally a satire of 80’s summer camp movies (so, Meatballs, essentially)—is just an excuse for people like Michael Showalter, Amy Poehler, Paul Rudd, Bradley Cooper, Michael Ian Black, Molly Shannon, David Hyde Pierce, Janeane Garofalo, Ken Marino, Joe Lo Truglio, and Chris Meloni to do their thing. And their thing is gloriously weird and hilarious riffing on the teen/summer camp movie clichés and/or just screwing around, using the whole plot as a clothesline for relentless comedy greatness. Seriously, this os one of the funniest movies in the last decade (I can’t imagine hanging out with someone who watched it and said, “I don’t get it”). There’s a prequel TV series coming out this summer on an internet concern whose name we do not say at Videoport, but I guarantee it’ll be worth watching too—when it comes to DVD.

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 $7.99!                                        

>>> Videoport customer Kevin H. suggests Like Sunday, Like Rain (in Feature Drama). “Like Sunday, Like Rain” is the kind of quiet little movie that, for me, is always such a joy to discover at Videoport. Eleanor, played by Leighton Meester (Gossip Girl), is a young 20-ish woman trying to make a go of life in New York, and largely failing at it. She is out of a relationship, out of an apartment, and out of a job. Meester conveys the sense of someone who, in the face of one indignity or setback too many, is ready to fold. She is given a chance, however, on a slim lead obtaining work as a nanny. That chance leads to a temporary placement tending to precocious 12 year old Reggie, who seems to mostly care to himself with minimal assistance from the household staff, and very little from his mostly absent wealthy parents. His typical 12 year old hobbies include composing for the cello, becoming widely read, and vegetarian cooking. In some ways, he’s worldly and self-assured, whereas Eleanor is aimless and timid. Both are lonely in their own way, of course. These characters are familiar from other movies: a friendship develops between two oddballs who have no reason whatsoever to ever cross paths. Director Frank Whaley treats them as genuine people, though. There are no great adventures or zany plots here: the two of them talk and wander New York and slowly draw the other out. There is a bit of drama resulting in an unexpected road trip, but most of what happens is that they start to see and accept the other person as a friend, someone who has value simply for who they are and who isn’t just around because they are an employee or ward. The best moments of the movie are very gentle and sweet-natured and fundamentally hopeful about people, and I unabashedly sometimes want to see a movie like that. (Also co-starring Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong.)

Kids Friday! One free rental from the Kids section, no other rental necessary! OR get any three non-new releases for a week for $7.99!          

>>> Dennis says, It’s a free kids movie! There are a lot to choose from! For free!

Having a Wild Weekend! Rent two movies, and get a third one for free from any section! OR get any three non-new releases for a week for $7.99!                                            

>>> For Saturday, Dennis suggests Victory (in Feature Drama.) Because, with the Women’s World Cup going on, this movie is ridiculous and wonderful! And ridiculous! Directed by the legendary John Huston (The Maltese Falcon, Under The Volcano, about 25 more great movies), this one must have been the result of a lost bet, or a drinking binge, or both. Sylvester Stallone’s an American WWII POW who becomes the goalie of an all POW soccer team roped into playing the Nazi all stars! Michael Caine is the coach/player! Pele is in there! They’re all trying to engineer a massive prisoner escape in the midst of the big game! There some great soccer action (Pele has an amazing bicycle kick I rewound about 20 times when I was a kid), and some ludicrously rousing heroics It’s silly and amazing!

MV5BMTkxMjgwMDM4Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMTk3NTIwNDE@._V1_SX640_SY720_>>>For Sunday, Dennis suggests North Dallas Forty (in Feature Drama). With all of the heightened awareness of the hideous brain trauma suffered by professional footballers, this 1979 football movie seems especially prescient (also funny, exciting, and dramatic.) The-Duff-iPhone-6Written by former NFL-er Peter Gent, the most wrenching scene comes from then-current NFL-er John Matuszak, who, confronted with yet another instance of the coaches telling him to do what’s best for the team (at the expense of his health), explodes, “Every time I say it’s a game, you tell me it’s a business. Every time I say it’s a business, you tell me it’s a game.” Knowing that the formidable Matuszak (also Sloth in The Goonies, and a funny caveman in Ringo Starr’s Caveman) would end up addicted to painkillers and eventually die of a drug overdose makes the moment that much more powerful. Plus, you know, this is a really good football movie.

7750_poster_iphoneNew Releases this week at Videoport: Kingsman: Secret Service (Colin Firth stars as perhaps the least likely action hero ever in this over-the-top action extravaganza about the titular super-secret British government agency as they Red-Army-onesheetrecruit a young street tough into their ranks. Based on the comics series by Mark Millar, this one is all about giving you non-stop, silly mega violence! You’re welcome!), The Duff (The undeniably cool Mae Whitman [Arrested Development—her?)] stars as a normal-looking high school senior who discovers that she’s been designated her more popular, boringly pretty friends perpetual sidekick), Serena (Jennifer Lawrence and Silver Linings Playbook co-star Bradley Cooper reteam for this Depression-era drama/romance about a lumber baron’s love for a poor gal), Red Army (Remember Miracle? And that US Olympic hockey team that inspired Miracle? Well, there was another Project-Almanac-posterteam involved, and this documentary examines the game and its outcome from the perspective of the defeated-for-all-eternity Russian team), Project Almanac (In this sci-fi thriller, a bunch of pretty teens discover the secret of time travel. What could possibly go wrong? [A lot. A lot goes really, really wrong.]), Amy 600full-li'l-quinquin-posterSchumer: Mostly Sex Stuff (Standup special from naughty-eyed and very funny comic Schumer. Keep pestering us and we’ll get her very good sketch comedy show Inside Amy Schumer, too), Li’l Quinquin (In this French, Twin Peaks-style miniseries, human remains are found stuffed inside a cow in MV5BODQ3Mzc3NzUwNl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDMxNDQyNDE@._V1_SY317_CR4,0,214,317_AL_a small village. From Bruno Dumont, director of the genuinely unnerving and offputting movies Flanders, Humanite, and Camille Claudel 1915), Alive Inside (In this documentary, researchers present the case that music is the key to reaching people otherwise completely cut off by the total dick of a disease called Alzheimer’s), Appropriate Behavior (From writer/director/star Desiree Akhavan comes this great-looking indie about a young woman trying to make her way as a hip, bisexual, Persian woman in Brooklyn), Cinema Holdup (In this acclaimed appropriate-behavior-posterdebut film from director Iria Gomez Concheiro, a group of Mexico City teens knock over the local movie house, only to discover that their crime leads to unexpected consequences), These Final Hours (The world is ending, and a shiftless dude who wants nothing more than to get hammered at a “the world is ending” rager finds lg_cinemaholdupjpghimself reluctantly taking care of a young woman he rescues from a gang of “the world is ending” rapists in this indie “the world is ending” drama), Spring (Really great-lookin’ indie horror romance stars Lou Taylor Pucci [Thumbsucker] as an American backpacker in Italy who falls for a mysterious young woman [Nadia Hilker], who harbors a truly unexpected and terrifying secret. From the directors of the very interesting indie horror movie Resolution), 5 Centimeters Per Second (A young man’s life is the subject of the three vignettes in this gorgeous anime from the director of Garden Of Words. Someone on the DVD box compares him to Miyazaki, which 6Q8Zlj3is a bold claim…), Willow Creek (Look, you might not take someone named Bobcat seriously, but standup comic-turned-director Bobcat Goldthwait is the real deal. [See his Sleeping Dogs Lie, God Bless America, Shakes The Clown, and World’s Greatest Dad Spring-movie-horrorfilmfor proof.] In his newest movie, he goes scary, with a very Blair Witch-y first-person horror flick about a couple heading off into the woods in search of Bigfoot. It’s another good one from the Bobcat), Da Sweet Blood Of Jesus (I don’t know why Spike Lee thought it was a good idea to remake the cult 70s horror movie Ganja And Hess [available in Videoport’s horror section, of course], but I wholeheartedly approve. In this one, a buttoned-down professor finds himself hungering for human blood after coming into contact with an African artifact), Magician: The Astonishing Life And Work Of Orson Welles (Orson Welles had a life that was insanely adventurous enough5-centimeters-per-second-5216194f89e64 to fill up seven documentaries, but we’ll have to make due with this one, as it traces the Citizen Kane creator from his life as a child prodigy to he decades of post-Kane frustration where his cinematic genius willow-creek-dvd-cover-96was thwarted again and again by the people with the money and no taste), My Life Directed By Nicholas Winding Refn (Fascinating behind-the-scenes documentary examines the directing style and life of Drive and Pusher director Refn as he works to complete his indifferently-received Only God Forgives), The Taking Of Tiger Mountain (From legendary Chinese director Tsui Hark [Once Upon A Time In China] comes this bonkers historical action flick about a group of soldiers during the Chinese revolution battling a bandit gang on a mountain full of freaking tigers! Tigers!)

 

New Arrivals At Videoport: White Psalms (We don’t know what this is! A MECA student asked us to stock his Welles-Magician-purple-poster-LORESmy-life-directed-poster-460x680movie and we did! It has a very disturbing and striking booklet of photographs that come with it!), State Of Siege (From legendary political director Costa-Gavras [Z, Missing] comes this typically scathing thriller about an American official kidnapped by rebels in Uruguay. Oh, and the official is secretly working for the CIA trying to undermine the legally elected Uruguayan government, which is something that the US government totally did and Costa-Gavras was having none of. Look for it in Videoport’s Criterion Collection section)

 

Get some free money at Videoport! Yup, free money. Put $20 on your Videoport account, and we give you $25 in store credit. And a pre-pay of $30 gets you $40 in store credit! That…is free money, people. It’s money you’d spend at Videoport anyway, since we’re so super and you love us so much. But we give it to you for free. Why? Um, not sure the-taking-of-tiger-mountain-posterreally—come take advantage before we come to our senses!

 

Write for The VideoReport! This whole weekly blog/newsletter/thingy was started some 509 weeks ago as a place for people who work at/love Videoport to share their reviews, opinions, and occasional furious screeds about their favorite/least favorite movies. So do that! Send ‘em to denmn@hotmail.com or our Facebook page “Videoport Jones”! Do it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published in: on June 9, 2015 at 1:37 am  Leave a Comment  
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VideoReport #511

Volume DXI— Not Just Whistling DXI

             For the Week of 6/2/15

Videoport will give you a free movie every single day if you’re not careful. Hey, look over there! See, we just gave you a free movie while you were distracted by that clever ruse.

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 $7.99!

>>> It’s the start of a new month, and you know what that means—the monthly list of all the movies that faceless, evil corporation Netfl*x is taking away from its overcharged customers for no reason whatsoever! Yup, they do that—just decide to wipe a long list of movies off of its buggy, computer service just because they think you don’t deserve to see them any more! Why do they do this? Well, it’s just a theory, but we’re going back to that whole “evil” thing. So here’s the list of stuff Netfl*x thinks you don’t deserve any more (all of which are—and always will be—available at Videoport, of course.)

Amadeus (1984)

Biutiful (2010)

Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)

City of Ghosts (2003)

Collateral Damage (2002)

Crash (2004)

Dance with Me (1998)

Deep Blue Sea (1999)

Donnie Brasco (1997)

Dummy (2002)

Ever After: A Cinderella Story (1998)

Frankie and Johnny (1991)

G.I. Jane (1997)

Godzilla (1998)

The Guilt Trip (2012)

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013)

Hatchet II (2010)

Jack Reacher (2012)

Last Action Hero (1993)

Lonesome Dove (1989)

The Perfect Husband: The Laci Peterson Story (2004)

Picture Perfect (1997)

Practical Magic (1998)

Rain Man (1988)

Reign Over Me (2007)

The Rocketeer (1991)

Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Snatch (2000)

Soul Survivors (2001)

Stand Up Guys (2012)

Steel Magnolias (1989)

Swept Away (2002)

Syriana (2005)

"Eh, the peasants don't need this piece of crap."—Netfl*x

“Eh, the peasants don’t need this piece of crap.”—Netfl*x

Tank Girl (1995)

Taxi Driver (1976)

Texas Chainsaw (2013)

The Triplets of Belleville (2003)

Waking Life (2001)

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 $7.99!

>>> Mad Videoport: Fury Basement 

Rent Eternal, Shiny and Chrome

Emily S. Customer is a little excited about Mad Max: Fury Road, (still in theaters and therefore not yet on home video, folks). If you need more post-apocalypse, more road-tripping madness, more Australians in your life — and who doesn’t? — Videoport has what you need.

Gladhandling Lad Max: “Mustn’t be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling.” Inception. Check out Tom Hardy, whose resumé doubles as a treatise on performative masculinity, as supporting player Eames, the forger who can present himself as anyone, real or imagined, when he enters another person’s dream. He’s cagey, playful, flippant, magnificently confident in his own abilities, and deliciously comfortable in his camp drollery.

Tuesday is action day, and action day is a great day to revisit George Miller’s original Mad Max trilogyMad Max (1979), Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981), and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985) . Rent ’em all at once (rent three non-new releases for seven days for $7.99!) or one at a time (one non-new rental FREE with any paid rental!). Either way, prepare your body for the Thunderdome. I can’t really be more specific, but you’re definitely gonna need to prepare your body.

Sad Dad Max: The Road. “We carry the fire.”  After an unspecified disaster, a grim, quiet man (Viggo Mortensen) hangs onto a punishingly empty existence only for the sake of his young son. Adapted from Cormac McCarthy’s searing, spare novel of the same name, it’s a grim contrast to the extravagant explosions and conspicuous consumption of Mad Max: Fury Road, and together they give us a balanced picture of possible ends: the whimper and the bang.

Glad Max: Crocodile Dundee. “That’s not a knife. THIS is a knife!” Aw, crikey, it ain’t the post-apocalypse (pro-tip: “post-apocalypse” is super fun to say in a terrible Australian accent; so is “terrible Australian accent,” go ahead and try it), it’s just a good-natured bush hunter (Paul Hogan) from Australia roving Manhattan and astonishing jaded urbanites with his unflappable bon homie.

Rad Max: “History is made at night.” The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai_Across the 8th Dimension. Physicist, medical doctor, daring test pilot, inventor, and rock idol — is there anything Dr. Buckaroo Banzai (Peter Weller) can’t do? You’ll find out as he and his band (literally) of adventurers, The Hong Kong Cavaliers, wrangle with danger from beyond our world in an aggressively stylized romp.

Fab Max: “I hereby christen this: Budget Barbie Camper!” Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. A great silver machine roars across the Australian sand, a plume of dust rising behind it like a flame. Is it Furiosa’s war rig tumbling toward redemption? No, it’s an RV ferrying a pair of drag artists (Hugo Weaving, Guy Pearce) and their newly bereaved friend Bernadette (Terrence Stamp) for a four-week trek across the outback.

Fraggle Max: “Prophets don’t know everything!” The Dark Crystal. Centuries after cracking of the great crystal, Jen is sent to restore a lost shard to the whole and thereby restore balance to his world and prevent the enemy from taking rule forever. With effects from Henson’s

Samizdat Max: “The Zone wants to be respected. Otherwise it will punish.” Stalker. Andrei Tarkovsky’s haunting Soviet-era film of a scout who sneaks pilgrims through a wasteland and a heavily patrolled cordon into a forbidden zone that bestows on lucky seekers the things they most desire. Unsurprisingly to fans of Tarkovsky, Stalker is meditative, mysterious, and weirdly, patiently astonishing.

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 $7.99!  

>>> Dennis suggests following up on Ms. S. Customer’s Mad Max-centric recommendations with a tour of our post-apocalyptic movie shelf (in the Staff Picks section). Yes, Mad Max: Fury Road is that good. So go see that, and then come whet your appetite for violent, sandy spectacle! We’ve got the three original Mad Max movies, of course, alongside blatant knockoffs like 2019: After The Fall Of New York. We’ve got post-apocalyptic movies from Germany (Hell), France (Le Dernier Combat, The Time Of The Wolf), Spain (The Last Days), and right here in ‘Murica! There’s apocalypse from nuclear war, lack of water, lack of oil, and just plain lack. How does humanity cope with the end of law and human society? Not well—not well at all!

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 $7.99!                                        

>>> Dennis suggests Hannibal (in Mystery/Thriller). I’m calling it—Mads Mikkelsen is a better Hannibal Lecter than Anthony Hopkins. And it’s really not that close. While Hopkins clearly started cashing paychecks as everyone’s favorite cannibal serial killer, Danish actor Mikkelson only deepens his characterization on this stunningly good tv series based on the books by Thomas Harris. The whole show is that good as well—under showrunner Bryan Fuller (Pushing Daisies, Dead Like Me), Hannibal is also number one on the “TV series that sound like a truly terrible idea but are actually great” list (see also: Fargo). Hannibal comes back for its third season this week, so I suggest binge watching the first two seasons from Videoport. Seriously—you’ll thank me.

Kids Friday! One free rental from the Kids section, no other rental necessary! OR get any three non-new releases for a week for $7.99!          

>>> Dennis says, It’s a free kids movie! There are a lot to choose from! For free!

Having a Wild Weekend! Rent two movies, and get a third one for free from any section! OR get any three non-new releases for a week for $7.99!                                            

>>> For Saturday, Dennis suggests dropping by the Staff Picks section again to check out April’s Woman Directors shelf! Portland’s own Bluestocking Films series has done an admirable job at highlighting films by woman directors (check out their site at http://www.bluestockingfilms.com/ and see their fifth anniversary film series at SPACE Gallery in July), so April’s put together a selection of some of the best female-directed movies at Videoport for you. She’s got the crazy, provocative films of Italian director Lina Wertmuller, the cozy, smart American indies of Nicole Holofcener and Lynne Shelton, and the blockbuster, Oscar bait of Kathryn Bigelow. She’s got obscure cult movies from Barbara Loder and Lizzie Borden. She’s got the Maine-made feminist thriller Black Rock from Katie Aselton, and the up-and-coming goodness of Selma’s Ana DuVernay (Middle Of Nowhere). The ratio of female to male directors is still shamefully lopsided, but comes see the collection that shows how the small but growing number of woman directors have turned out some stunning, eclectic movies.

>>>For Sunday, Dennis suggests Bronson (in Action/Adventure). Since we’re all into Mad Max, check out this early starring role from the new (non-bigoted and sexist) Max, Tom Hardy about one of the most notorious prisoners in British history. rectify-53b26d57d9574(He’s still in jail, probably for the best.) In the movie, Hardy transformed himself into a monster, doing an ungodly number of pushups to turn himself into the title character’s burly 1900 strongman physique. Incarcerated fro most of his life, the guy is both Justified-Season-4-Promo-Poster-2horrifyingly brutal and strangely courtly, in Hardy’s hands, a truly unnerving combination.

New Releases this week at Videoport: Rectify- season 2 (This little-seen Sundance Channel series about a recently released death row prisoner [a quietly stunning Aden Young] returning to his home town is one of the best TV shows no one knows about. Well, now you know about it, so you should rent it and be as stunned as I am even thinking about it. Yes, it’s that good. Like, Breaking Bad-level good), Justified- The Final Season (That’s season 1861206, to you and me. Timothy Olyphant’s questionably violent marshal kills baddies for theJupiter Ascending 2015 very last time—will those kilings be…justified? Rent it and see!), The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out Of Water (For all of you who have kids—Videoport would like to offer our most sincere and heartfelt apologies), McFarland, USA (Kevin Costner stars in this inspirational, real-life sports tale of a nice, white teacher who turns a rag-tag track team made up of underprivileged Latino kids into champions), Jupiter Ascending (The Wachowskis [The Matrix trilogy, Speed Racer, Bound] turn their Focus-poster-Will-Smith1undeniably excellent visual eyes to this loopy sci-fi epic about—well, I’ve read the description three times and can’t make sense of it. Mila fallingskies_season4_posterKunis is special somehow, and burly Channing Tatum is the super-soldier protecting her specialness from evil overlord type Eddie Redmayne [Best Actor Winner for The Theory Of Everything]. Sean Bean’s in there, and there are spaceships and whatnot), Focus (Will Smith is a slick master conman who lets his deceptive cool get distracted by sexy novice con-lady

'bye, Leslie. We miss you already.

‘bye, Leslie. We miss you already.

Margot Robbie in the midst of his latest big score), Falling Skies- season 4 (Aliens still trying to take over the Earth? Stupid alines—don’t you know that ineffectually charming Noah Wylie is our protector?), Parks & Recreation- season 7 (It’s the end for one of the greatest sitcoms monsters-dark-continent-2014-movie-posterever, with the great Amy Poehler’s aspiring small town politician Leslie Knope and her stellar supporting cast [Nick Offerman, Adam Scott, Aubrey Plaza, Chris Pratt, Retta, and more] still trying to save the loopy municipality of Pawnee, Indiana from itself), Monsters: Dark Continent (Remember the unassuming, low-affiche-enbudget, but still impressive alien invasion movie Monsters? Well, you should watch that one and then decide if you want to follow it up with this much-less-heralded sequel about a bunch o’soldiers fighting the giant monsters), Camp X-Ray (Kristen Stewart [those Twilight movies] stars in this well-reviewed drama about Spring-movie-horrorfilma young woman who tries to escape her awful home life by enrolling in the military, only to find herself stationed as a guard at Guantanamo Bay, where things aren’t much better at all), Spring (From the makers of the very cool indie horror film Cut Bank Poster (1)Resolution comes—a very cool indie horror movie! What are the odds? Heartbroken American slacker Lou Taylor Pucci [Thumbsucker] escapes to Italy for a vacation, only to fall in love with a mysterious, beautiful young woman with a serious secret), Cut Bank (A hunky small town guy [played by Liam, the Hemsworth brother who’s not Thor] finds his life in danger after he inadvertently films a murder in this thriller with an absurdly overqualified cast, including Billy Bob Thornton, John Malkovich, Bruce Dern, Oliver Platt, Michael Stuhlbarg), Kidnapping Mr. Heineken (Anthony Hopkins stars in this fact-based thriller about the Kidnapping-Mr.-heineken2time the heir to the titular beer empire got kidnapped by some ne’er-do-wells, including Sam Worthington and Jim Sturgess. And since you’re in a take a beer heir hostage mood, why not pair this up with the Dutch film The Heineken Kidnapping starring Rutger Hauer? It’s a kidnap that old, rich guy double feature!)

New Releases on Blu Ray this week at Videoport: Jupiter Ascending

Get some free money at Videoport! Yup, free money. Put $20 on your Videoport account, and we give you $25 in store credit. And a pre-pay of $30 gets you $40 in store credit! That…is free money, people. It’s money you’d spend at Videoport anyway, since we’re so super and you love us so much. But we give it to you for free. Why? Um, not sure really—come take advantage before we come to our senses!

Write for The VideoReport! This whole weekly blog/newsletter/thingy was started some 509 weeks ago as a place for people who work at/love Videoport to share their reviews, opinions, and occasional furious screeds about their favorite/least favorite movies. So do that! Send ‘em to denmn@hotmail.com or our Facebook page “Videoport Jones”! Do it!

Published in: on June 2, 2015 at 12:21 am  Leave a Comment  
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