Volume CDXCVII- The Abominable Snowman Says “Screw It” And Hops A Plane To Hawaii: The Movie
For the Week of 2/24/15
Videoport gives you a free movie every single day. Who else can see that? Not you, Netfl*x—sit right the hell down. You give the world exactly nothing. We’ll take care of the free movies, thanks.
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 Raw Meat (in Horror.) Sometimes, you should really watch something gross and weird. This 1973 British horror flick has a lot going for it—genre icons Donald Pleasance and Christopher Lee, a grubby, distinctly British setting (the London underground), and some seriously 1970s visceral horror. People have been disappearing from the London subway. When the lovely girlfriend of a guy is taken on her way home, her fella delves into the tunnels under London and discovers a horrifying truth that has a lot to do with some long-forgotten corporate malfeasance and the will of the proletariat to survive, no matter what. So, you know, there’s some social commentary in there, but it’s still full of grisly shocks, strange dark humor (or humour, I guess), and that specifically 70s brand of upsetting, visceral horror where blood and guts look unsettlingly real. See, here’s the thing, Videoport is the place where such things live. Weirdness. Strangeness. Cult movies. Forgotten movies. Things that make you think. Things that make you squirm. Videoport is the sort of place where such things live, where you can explore and find something odd you’d never see otherwise.
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 Black Death (in Action/Adventure). I’m watching the Oscars as I write this, and since Eddie Redmayne just won Best Actor for The Theory Of Everything (also available at Videoport, of course), here’s my pick for your Eddie Redmayne catchup. A medieval action thriller about some knights sent to examine a remote English village where the ravages of the bubonic plague have seemingly been held at bay. Sean Bean (The Lord Of The Rings, Game Of Thrones) is the knight in charge of the investigation, while fellow Game Of Thrones star Carice van Houten (the witch-woman Melisandre) as the bright-clad priestess of the suspiciously healthy town. Redmayne is the arguable main character, an unworldly monk sent along to assess the purported miraculous nature of the town’s immunity. It’s a solid, realistically grubby sword-and-armor drama, with a good performances and a decent twist ending. Redmayne’s affect in the film, as you’ll see as you catch up on the newly-minted Oscar winner’s filmography (see list), is decidedly odd and slightly offputting. He has a waxy, bug-eyed face, and seems ideally suited to be a creepy supporting player. (Or equally creepy villain, as seen in the recent sci-fi spectacular Jupiter Ascending—coming soon!) He’s a good actor, but a strange presence. It’s going to be interesting to see how his career pans out from this—it’s like if Steve Buscemi won a Best Actor Oscar when he was in his early 30s and Hollywood had to figure out what to do with him now. If you want some sweet, sweet Redmayne, here’s the list: The Good Shepherd (2006) Savage Grace (2007: alongside fellow 2015 Oscar winner Julianne Moore) Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007) The Yellow Handkerchief (2008) The Other Boleyn Girl (2008) Powder Blue (2009) Glorious 39 (2009) The Pillars Of The Earth (2010) Black Death (2010) Hick (2011) My Week With Marilyn (2011) Birdsong (2012) Les Miserables (2012) The Theory Of Everything (2014)
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 Party Down (in Comedy.) Sure, there are lots of movies and TV shows starring character actor all-star J.K. Simmons (Oz, the original Spider Man movies, Burn After Reading, Juno, I Love You Man), but I’ll suggest checking out his two guest performances in this all-time great (oft overlooked) sitcom about the disaffected employees of a Hollywood catering company. An all-star cast (Adam Scott, Martin Starr, Lizzy Caplan, Jane Lynch, Ryan Hansen, Megan Mullally , Ken Marino, Ken Jeong) finds the right mix of comedy and wry desperation as the wannabe actors and writers schlepping drinks and hors d’oeuvres to the people they want to be, but none of their clients is more representative of the ugly, philistine heart of the movie biz than Simmons’ hilariously and creatively profane movie producer Leonard Stiltskin. In both his appearances at his kids’ ridiculously tony preschool’s auction, or his spoiled daughter’s insanely lavish sweet sixteen party (on a yacht), Simmons is never less than filthily genius, berating the caterers, his family, and literally anyone else in shouting range with some of the most inventively insulting profanity since R. Lee Ermey’s drill sergeant in Full Metal Jacket. The world is a better place when someone like Simmons wins an Oscar.
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 Justice League: Throne Of Atlantis (in Animation.) Okay, let’s just settle a few things here. 1. This animated movie, another in DC Comics’ ongoing roster of middling superhero cartoons, is—fine. Some good voice talent (Nathan Fillion’s in there as Green Lantern, always a good thing), some above-average animation, and some slightly more adult storytelling—it’s fine. (Although it takes place in the cynical “New 52” universe, which means I don’t care about it since DC decided to sh*tcan everything I cared about in 40 years of comics reading in pursuit of a younger demographic.) 2. While I do not care for director Zack Snyder (Watchmen, 300, Man Of Steel), who’s been entrusted with DC’s cinematic presence for some inexplicable reason, the prospect of a huge Justice League live action movie fills me with joy—the comic nerd in me just can’t help it. 3. The recently released promo photo of Game Of Thrones’ Khal Drogo Jason Momoa as a kickass Aquaman has engendered a lot of derision online, so I’ll just say, quit it. Aquaman’s cool. 4. I had an Aquaman birthday cake when I was six. 5. Aquaman jokes are lame and hacky, and you should, again, quit it. 6. Aquaman has way less dumber powers than some of your more popular superheroes. (I mean, spider powers? C’mon.) 7. Do you know how freaking terrifying the ocean is? If you’re gonna rule that mess, you’d better belive you’re badass. 8. Aquaman’s cool, you guys.
Free 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 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 The People Under The Stairs (in Horror). Well, sort of. This 1991 horror flick from director Wes Craven (A Nightmare On Elm St.) is pretty silly, admittedly. But, for what it is and when it was made, it’s also uniquely political. Set in an unnamed city’s ghetto, it’s about a desperately poor African American family facing eviction from their slum apartment. The rapscallion young son (Brandon Quintin Adams—The Mighty Ducks, The Sandlot) goes along with his sister’s boyfriend’s scheme to rob the reclusive rich couple who are gentrifying their neighborhood and evicting everyone and finds himself trapped in their insidiously booby-trapped murder mansion and menaced by the titular people under the stairs, the zombielike husks of others who’ve crossed the evil due in the past. As part of this year’s Valentine’s Day horror movie marathon for Ms. Emily S. Customer and myself (other, better choices: VHS2, Enemy, Under The Skin, You’re Next), it brought up the rear, but wasn’t without its charms. The boyfriend is a pre-Pulp Fiction Ving Rhames, who stands above the silliness with some serious presence. The kid is energetic and solid as far as child actors go. There’s an interracial love story between the kid and the couple’s captive, abused teen daughter, which is sort of sweet (and bold as far as things go for the time). The economic, Reaganomics satire is not something that mainstream movies were doing a lot at the time. (Or, you know, since.) But for cult film freaks, the main attraction is that the cartoonishly evil, incestuous couple is played by Everett McGill and Wendy Robie, who every lover of bananas television knows as married weirdoes Big Ed and Nadine on the still-insane and awesome TV show Twin Peaks. Neither actor ever needed much encouragement to go big, and they’re doing their thing here, their characters playing 1%-er evil to the hilt, decades before the 1% had a name.
>>>For Sunday, Dennis suggests making up for all the Selma snubbing with a rental of Boycott (in Feature Drama.) Selma hasn’t come out on DVD yet, but, hey, howsabout the fact that this biopic of Martin Luther King, Jr. was nominated for Best Picture (it lost), but that lead actor David Oyelowo wasn’t nominated for Best Actor. (I mean, it’s not like MLK was central to the narrative or anything.) Well, in the absence of one awards-show-ignored MLK performance (it did win an AFI award, but, still…) in this TV movie about King’s leadership of the Montgomery bus boycott the great Jeffrey Wright (Basquiat, Angels In America, Syriana) plays King with his signature chameleonic virtuosity. Restrained and convincing, Wright makes King’s internal struggle to determine the best course in this pivotal moment in the civil rights movement a bracingly human manner. Directed by the great character actor and director Clark Johnson (The Wire), Boycott should tide you over until the great Selma comes out at some point later this Spring.
New Releases this week at Videoport: Big Hero 6 (Hey, the “Marvel movie about
superheroes nobody’s ever heard about” thing worked to undeniably entertaining effect in Guardians Of The Galaxy, so why not check out this animated Marvel movie about a team of science-based heroes led by a teen and his inflatable robot Baymax [voiced by 30 Rock’s Pete, Scott Adsit]? And, by the way, I think the world is a better place for having Pete be the subject of the Disney PR machine. Plus, I’m watching the Oscars right now and it just won Best Animated Film! You should rent it twice! ), Sons Of Anarchy- season 7 (Videoport’s good friend Zack Handlen spent seven long years reviewing every episode of this second-tier cable drama about a scruffy band of outlaw biker antiheroes, so the least you can do is rent all of the final season. Seriously—this man gave his life to this show, people.), Whiplash (I’m watching the Oscars as I type this, and the great character actor J.K. Simmons just won for Best Supporting Actor for this intense drama about an even more intense drumming teacher who browbeats and otherwise terrifies his gifted young student [Miles Teller]), Addicted (A talented African American cast [Boris Kodjoe, Sharon Leal] tell you what a bummer it is to have a sex addiction while having lots of hot, naked sex in this drama that seriously wants it both ways), Horrible Bosses 2 (Jason Bateman, Charlie Day [It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia], and Jason Sudekis are back [alongside the likes of Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Aniston, Christof Waltz, and Chris Pine] in this comedy sequel where some downtrodden employees look to get even, and possibly rich, by getting revenge against their, well, you read the title. Sequels are the enemy of joy, but those are some seriously funny people, so give it a chance? I guess?), Beyond The Lights (A young superstar singer [the ever-talented and awesomely named Gugu Mbatha-Raw] is cracking under the pressures of that sort of thing, but a hunky young cop teaches her about life…beyond the lights! From the director of the still-cool Love & Basketball), The Game (Cool-looking BBC miniseries about the Cold War-era spies in the MI-5, trying to keep one step ahead of those pesky Russkies. Costarring the great Brian Cox), The Whale (British made-for-TV high seas adventure sees a young sailor aboard a whaling ship run seriously afoul of some seemingly vengeful whales. Martin Sheen costars in this true tale said to be an inspiration for Moby Dick), Vanish (Gritty thriller sees some thugs make a seriously boneheaded move when they kidnap the daughter of a drug lord Genre cool guys Danny Trejo and Tony Todd [Candyman] costar), Traitors (The leader of an all-woman punk band in Morocco finds herself in over her head when she agrees to smuggle some drugs to raise the cash necessary to save her family and her band) New Releases on Blu Ray this week at Videoport: Whiplash