Our first newsletter here on the WordPress. We’ll do one of these every Tuesday. Try to contain yourself…
Volume CXCIX- 199% Awesome
For the Week of 6/9/09
Videoport gives you a free movie every, single day with our daily specials. Does that mean you should come in every, single day to take advantage of them? That’s between you and your god…
Middle Aisle Monday. (Get one free rental from the Sci-Fi, Horror, Incredibly Strange, Mystery/Thriller, Animation or Staff Picks sections with your paid rental.)
>>>Mrs. Videoport Jones suggests Bender’s Game (in Animation). Twisting around on itself, this third Futurama movie manages to combine the landscape and language of Dungeons and Dragons with a space-age warning against energy consumption, and all this geeky goodness comes wrapped up in lots of laughs. (And lots and lots and lots and lots. I cannot get enough of Leela’s boot-violence humor. What? Tastes differ).
Tough and Triassic Tuesday. (Get one free rental from the Action or Classics sections with your paid rental.)
>>> Dennis suggests checking out the many denizens of the Action section currently, if temporarily residing in the ‘Staff Picks’ section as part of the ‘Blaxploitation Nation’. See Pam Grier, Thalmus Rasulala, William Marshall, Antonio Fargas, Issac Hayes, Fred Williamson, Carol Speed, Yaphet Kotto, Melvin Van Peebles, and, of course, Rudy Ray Moore do their thing. Unsung talents, energy, sleaze, thrills, violence and plenty of wackajiwaka guitar. Wackajikawakajikawacka…
Wacky and Worldly Wednesday. (Get one free rental from the Comedy or Foreign Language sections with your paid rental.)
>>> Dennis suggests OSS 117: Cairo- Nest of Spies (in Foreign Language). It’s a rare thing when a foreign language film can make me laugh out loud; I mean, I love foreign films, but humor is such a verbal thing and subtitles usually rob it of its timing and rhythm (plus those Swedes can be a dour bunch). Comedy works better cross-culturally when its less verbal and more physical [see: Hulot, Monsieur] and this recent spy spoof is a perfect example of why. Based on a deadly serious series of Cold War pulp novels and films, this is a goofy, satirical take on the whole early Bond era super suave secret agent formula and it’s really one of the best of its kind. There’s a little Austin Powers in there, but with less schtick and mugging, and there’s some Pink Panther running around too, mostly thanks to the film’s lead, a tall French dude named Jean Dujardin. The guy looks a lot like Dr. No-era Sean Connery (and the film takes pains to dress him a lot like him too), with just the right element of caricature in his face, especially in his smarmy, toothy goofball smile which he flashes throughout, usually after saying something he thinks is particularly witty, and his physical movements are exaggerated to just the right amount to take the starch out of the Connery tux without lapsing into outright buffoonery. Oh, he’s a buffoon all right, though- just good enough at everything secret agent-y to make himself look credible, all the while almost completely misunderstanding what he’s supposed to be doing; I found myself watching his every move with a big, goofy grin on my face. It’s a brilliant comic balancing act of a performance; I genuinely look forward to seeing him in the OSS 117 sequel (which sadly hasn’t made it here yet). Throw in some satire of the paternalistic Western approach to the Muslim world (I love how OSS 117’s requisite beautiful ‘native’ gal Friday [the funny and stunning Berenice Bejo] keeps trying to fulfill her role as willing secret agent arm candy only to find herself, against her will almost, repelled by yet another stupidly offensive remark from our hero) and you’ve got a true delight. And I laughed out loud.
Thrifty Thursday. (Get one free movie from any section with your paid rental.)
>>> Mrs. Videoport Jones suggests K-Pax (in Feature Drama). I know, I know — for months after its release, K-Pax was a joke, an easy punchline, a perfect example of a silly move that shouldn’t have been made. That’s why I was so astonished when I finally saw the darned thing: it’s an intelligent little film, a little meandering and unfocused but undeniably fun to watch. The plot in a nutshell: weary psychotherapist (Jeff Bridges) is assigned a new patient, an even-tempered, well-mannered, intelligent fellow (Kevin Spacey) who calls himself Prot and claims to be a visitor from another planet. It’s a little preachy and coy, but redeemed by its stars: Bridges and Spacey, two of the best actors working today, make this soft allegory into their toy, batting around the possibilities with a twinkle, a glance, a thoughtful gaze.
Free Kids Friday. (Get one free rental from the Children’s or Family sections, no other rental necessary).
>>>Dennis suggests Kiki’s Delivery Service. Hiyao Miyazaki. Best animator in the world. Charming. Intelligent. Strong young female character. Phil Hartman even does a voice in the English language version. And it’s free every Friday. Nothing remotely wrong with any of this.
Having a Wild Weekend. (Rent two, get your third movie for free from any section on Saturday and Sunday.)
>>>For Saturday, Andy suggests Religulous (in Comedy). I’ve recommended this movie to many people here at Videoport. As often as not, someone sees Bill Maher’s shrugging mug on the cover and declines my recommendation. “I can’t stand that guy. He’s obnoxious”, they might say. But he’s what makes Religulous so great. Director Larry Charles films Maher essentially being a dick to people. It takes balls to confront people about their religious beliefs, but more than that, it takes a willingness to be a real dick. Bill Maher is good at being a real dick. He’s funny, too, which is also important. I found Religulous to be e refreshing, liberating movie as well. Too often in the media, the attitude towards mainstream religion is excessively tolerant and respectful. Religulous, on the other hand, is confrontational, intolerant, and disrespectful. Watching it felt good.
>>>For Sunday, A Videoport customer* suggests Synecdoche, NY (in Incredibly Strange). Upon my second viewing of Synecdoche, NY, I noticed a strange coincidence, or maybe it was intentional. In the 1986 film Manhunter, Tom Noonan (who, in Synecdoche, NY plays the character Sammy Barnathan) plays the villain Francis Dollarhyde, who has a love interest in the character Reba played by Joan Allen. Manhunter was based on the novel Red Dragon, which later was again adapted for film under the title Red Dragon. In the film Red Dragon, the character played by Joan Allen in Manhunter was played by emily Watson who, in Synecdoche, NY, plays a character named Tammy. Caden Cotard is a character (played by Philips Seymour Hoffman) in Synecdoche, NY, who is staging a theater piece in which the characters are based on real people. He has a box office clerk/assistant/lover named Hazel, who is played by Samantha Morton. Caden casts Sammy to play himself and Tammy to play Hazel. Now, at various points in the film, Caden and Tammy are lovers, Sammy and Hazel are lovers, and Caden and Hazel are lovers. However, Sammy and Tammy are never lovers, although the characters they play are. Given the subject matter of the film, I wonder if all this was a coincidence, or if this is all extraordinarily convoluted stunt casting. P.S.: it is 4:58am as I am writing this, I need to be at work at 9:30. Also, the film is a goddamn masterpiece.
*Editor’s note: no one seems to know who dropped this off at the store. It just sort of…appeared. So, if anyone’d like to take their rightful credit for this theory, just let us know. And, hey, let this be a lesson to all you VideoReport readers out there: we love your reviews, feedback, essays, or essentially anything even remotely movie related. So send your stuff to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, out Myspace page http://www.myspace.com/videoportjones, or here at the store. Include your name…you know, if you feel like it.
New Releases this week at Videoport: Gran Torino (yikes! We here at Videoport haven’t seen such a wildly-anticipated movie in quite a while; literally every other person through the door has been asking when this Clint Eastwood film about a grouchy old racist who learns to be slightly less racist towards his Asian neighbors is coming out, so we’ve got lot of ‘em; still, it couldn’t hurt to reserve your copy: just call us [773-1999!] on the day you know you want it and we’ll put one aside and/or call you when one comes in…it’s that simple!), ‘This American Life’- season 2 (Ira Glass is back, hosting the TV version of his universally-acclaimed and invariably-entertaining human interest NPR series), ‘The Shield’- season 7 (Vic Mackey wraps things up in this, the final series of the brutally-beloved cop series; will the bald, burly, bullying Mackey get his comeuppance for his years of being a jerk? Ain’t tellin’…), The International (Videoport’s own Sam says this thriller from director Tom Tykwer [Run Lola Run, Heaven] and starring the ever-manly Clive Owen as a manly man trying to uncover an evil cabal of rich jerks is really good; never doubt Sam, people…), Crossing Over (Harrison Ford, Ray Liotta, and Ashley Judd discover that immigration is an issue in this Crash-like L.A.-set multi-character drama), Fired Up (two d-bags decide to go to their high school’s cheerleader camp in order to ‘score with chicks’ and ‘make me physically ill’.
New Arrivals this week at Videoport: ‘The Cleaner’- season 1 (tough guy ex-addict Benjamin Bratt takes that difficult 13th step- kidnapping, intimidating, and bullying other addicts into getting clean in this series), Nicotina (Y Tu Mama Tambien’s Diego Luna stars as a science geek who runs afoul of some of those pesky Russian gangsters in this real-time thriller), ‘Mistresses’- season 1‘ (British drama about the quartet of titular unmarried, yet saucy, ladies), Texas Ranch House’ (from the PBS makers of ‘Colonial House’, ‘Manor House’, ‘Frontier House’ and all the other houses where people willingly subject themselves to the deprivations of the titular time periods in order to teach us stuff and don’t even have the common decency to debase themselves in order to win some dough), Love and Death on Long Island (finally on the DVD, this is a great, overlooked indie dramedy about a crotchety British writer [the ever-outstanding John Hurt] who develops an incurable and inexplicable obsession with a dim prettyboy American actor [a shockingly acceptable Jason Priestly]), ‘Saturday Morning Cartoons of the 1970s’ (a collection of nigh-forgotten cartoons hits the kids section; some ‘Jetsons’, some ‘Speed Buggy’, even some ‘Hong Kong Phooey’!), ‘The Hunger’- season 1 (people love vampire sex again, so someone had the bright idea of bringing out this 1997 fangs ‘n’ boobs series based on the similarly saucy Catherene Deneuve/Susan Sarandon/David Bowie film; Bowie’s in there, along wit Terrence Stamp, so it can’t be all bad, I suppose), MC5: A True Testimonial (this documentary about the seminal Detroit proto-punkers can be found in the Popular Music section where it will, presumably, be kicking out some jams), Wild River: The Colorado (water, moving very fast, in a proscribed path! ), Raising Cain: Exploring the Inner Life of America’s Boys (well, let’s just take a little look see in there…ewwww), ‘Reaper’- season 2 (Ray Wise continues to rock the house as the coolest Satan in history as this comedy series marches on).
‘Premise’! (Where Videoport clerks and customers come up with titles for the fictional film described thusly): “Jean Claude Van Damme is a defense attorney pushed too far in:
Move to Strike
The Defense Rests…In Peace
Go Directly to DVD; Do Not Pass Go
I Object…To You Kicking Me in the Face
The Pelkickin’ Brief
A New Career Was In Order
The Verdict was ‘Ow’
Johnny Headkick: Attorney at Law
Anatomy of a Buttkick
A Few Substandard Men
Martial Arts Law
Your Honor, I Can’t See Over Your Bench…
Hardbody of Evidence
Life, With No Chance of Theatrical Release
Contempt of Audience
Really Hostile Witness
Witness for the Kicksecution
Kickness for the Prosecution
…And Jumpkicks for All
A Civil Action Film
The Devil’s Advokick
Speaking of ‘Premise’, Videoport customer John S. sent us these very specific Premises:
>Uplifting biopic of Colonel Sanders: A Wing and A Prayer
>Heart wrenching tale of genius illegal immigrant who can only get work as a janitor: Jesus Swept
>Mickey Spillane’s detective battles Chinese gangs: Hammer and Tongs
>John Waters’ scatological comedy (or “scatocom”): Void Where Prohibited
We’d watch those.
Who likes free money? Okay, you, and you, and…let’s see, everybody, good. Well here’s how you get some. Videoport has two absurdly generous savings plans where we give you significantly more than you pay for. To wit: $20 buys you $25 of store credit on your Videoport account, while $30 buys you $40. And that credit’s good for both rentals and any pesky extra day charges you might ring up. That’s either 5 free bucks (a 20% discount on our already-low prices) or 10 free bucks (a 25% discount). However you look at it, that’s some of that free money I was talking about.