VideoReport #200

Volume CC- H Pounder
For the Week of 6/16/09

Videoport makes renting fun! (We’ll also help you choose the right movie to make watching fun…)
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.)
>>>Ed the Renter suggests The Adult Version of Jekyll and Hyde/Alice in Wonderland (Adult Version) (in Incredibly Strange). This actually makes a good double feature-if you like soft core porn. Not really my thing, but Jekyll gets props for its horror undertones and because its on Something Weird Video*. Alice is just plain bizarre. Spent lots of time fast forwarding these. Boobs boobs more boobs-oh there’s an ass. You get the picture.
*Editor’s note: for more delicious, sleazy Something Weird Video goodness, check out the Incredibly Strange Section’s Extra Weird Sampler, featuring literally more than a hundred trailers (most featuring buckets of nudity, violence, nude violence, and really bad gore makeup…and nudity), each of which are no doubt more fun than actually having to sit through the films in their entirety.
Tough and Triassic Tuesday. (Get one free rental from the Action or Classics sections with your paid rental.)
>>> Dennis suggests Seven Chances (in Classics). The in-store Videoport TV is broken. Or the DVD player. Or the thingamawhatsit. Whatever, I’m not that handy. But the point is that there’s no sound on the damned thing, thus plunging the rear of the store into eerie silence; seriously, I’ve seen people trembling in the foreign section. Anyhoo, there ain’t no sound is what I’m sayin’. And while it’s sort of a surreal, zenlike experience to watch Captain Ron do his thing sans that clever, pithy dialogue, I’ve been ushering in a Videoport silent film festival for the last couple of days and, in the flickering, fast-cranked images, this movie keeps stealing my attention as I trundle busily from hither to yon. Can we just give it up for Buster Keaton? (It’s a little late, but still…) Every time I see him, I’m reminded of how he’s better than Charlie Chaplin in just about every way. I like the Little Tramp just fine, but Keaton had a (I know I’m overusing a term I clearly only half understand) zenlike purity of movement and gesture that wasn’t as desperate to please as Chaplin’s gags were. Wooing, running, taking falls, dodging speeding cars, trains, dogs, sweeping backhand slaps, etc, Keaton, with that immobile hangdog face, just was. This film, reportedly Buster’s least favorite for some reason, has a plot, sure (he’s gotta get married by 7pm today in order to inherit a fortune), but it’s all just an excuse for Keaton to do his thing and, as ever, his gags are tight and his every move weirdly exciting to watch. Plus, there’s this huge set-piece where he’s running down a steep hill, dislodges a small stone, and watches in terror as an endlessly growing cascade of fast-moving boulders careens down after him; it’s all done in a series of long shots, with Keaton performing flips, falls, and stunts that’d make 1980s-era Jackie Chan break out in a sweat. Dude had mad skills. Oh, and the TV should be fixed soon…
(Sadly, there is some tossed-off bigotry in Seven Chances [sorry blacks, apologies Jews], but I’m gonna chalk that up to the original play, just because I like my hero objects uncomplicated).
(And perhaps even more sadly, this film was also remade as the Chris O’Donnell vehicle The Bachelor. Yup…ten, fifteen percent sadder).
Wacky and Worldly Wednesday. (Get one free rental from the Comedy or Foreign Language sections with your paid rental.)
>>> Dennis suggests Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday (in Foreign/the Criterion Collection). Following on the heels of my Buster Keaton worship (and the broken TV-necessitated silent film fest), here comes some more wordless yuks, courtesy of France’s favorite comic legend (narrowly beating out Jerry Lewis, of course). Jacques Tati was a strapping, gangly ex-rugby player who invented his famous alter ego, Monsieur Hulot, a ceaselessly polite, bumbling gentleman of great dignity and questionable motor skills who invariable wreaked havoc on anything and anyone he touched. While not truly silent, Tati’s films treated the dialogue of others as chattering background noise (this qualifying it for silent film fest ‘09), with Hulot himself uttering only the barest of whimpers, usually as he nimbly slunk away from yet another accidental disaster. And while he’s no Keaton (his movies tend to run out of steam as they run on a bit too long), Tati’s physical gifts and directoral inventiveness make his movies (like this one set at a summer retreat) a pleasant, warm delight.
Thrifty Thursday. (Get one free movie from any section with your paid rental.)
>>> Dennis suggests you get caught up on all your ‘Futurama’ (in the Animation section) because it’s just been announced that Matt Groening’s sci fi comedy series is comin’ back, baby! Whooo-hooo! Do the Bender! It’s a testament to the power of the people (read: nerds) who bought the bejeezus out of the DVDs of the series and then continued to obsessively acquire the four direct-to-DVD ‘Futurama’ movies (all available at Videoport, o’course) that some network (much more enlightened than its original corporate overlords at FOX) bowed to the inevitability and let Fry, Bender, Dr. Zoidberg, Leela, and Zapp Brannigan out to play some more. Hilarious, clever, inventive, and did I mention hilarious- the world just got a little bit funnier. “It’s gonna be fun on a bun!”– Bender
Free Kids Friday. (Get one free rental from the Children’s or Family sections, no other rental necessary).
>>>Elsa S. Customer suggests Old Yeller. In ye olde days before those newfangled VCRs, my parents would buy us Disney movie LPs: records with the complete audio tracks of classic kids’ films like The Jungle Book, The Aristocats, and
— oh, my — Old Yeller. We played these records over and over and over and over and over and over, driving our parents to distraction; we learned the songs and all the dialogue, and amused ourselves by reciting it along with the film characters. A notable exception to these feats of memory: Old Yeller. My older sister particularly loved this story, and so I probably heard Old Yeller word for word a thousand times in my childhood… but I have absolutely no memory of it. I only remember my sister clamoring to hear it, begging to hear it, swearing that this time she would like it… and then bursting into heartbreaking wails of sorrow as the end approached. To sum up: Scar your kids! Rent Old Yeller!
Having a Wild Weekend. (Rent two, get your third movie for free from any section on Saturday and Sunday.)
>>>For Saturday, Elsa S. Customer suggests Labyrinth (in Sci Fi/Fantasy). Jim Henson! Jennifer Connelly! Cool special effects! A heartwarming but dramatic storyline suitable for adults and older children alike! David Bowie sporting a wig and a codpiece! What more do you want from a movie, anyhow? Codpiece, people. Codpiece.
>>>For Sunday, Dennis suggests Monster In a Box (in Documentary). Spalding Gray killed himself a few years ago. It wasn’t really surprised. I’m not being glib; it’s just that, well, Gray talked about suicide a lot. His mother killed herself, and Gray talked about that fact, and the effect it had on him, through his entire career as a monologist and author, including in this filmed version of his performance piece about his endless struggle to finish his autobiographical novel Impossible Vacation , which deals with his mom’s death, among other subjects, and which, at the time of filming, had swelled to over a thousand pages, with no end in sight. Sounds like a downer, I know, but anyone who’s ever seen one of Gray’s monologues (like Gray’s Anatomy and the stunning Swimming to Cambodia, directed by Jonathan Demme), knows how Gray could spin a tale that twined together pain, humor, and neuroses into a spellbinding feat of storytelling. Monster in a Box is Gray’s examination of the creative process, wrapped up as it is (in his case more than most) with his unique mountain of personal issues, and embroidered with digressions, both humorous and exquisitely painful. Gray is a great storyteller who obviously loves to talk and his ever-expanding book is a testament to how endlessly fascinating he finds himself and his life; you’ll find him nearly as interesting. Oh, and Impossible Vacation was eventually published a few years before he died, having, through the heroic efforts of a team of editors no doubt, been shrunk down to a crisp 200 pages or so. It’s good, too.

New Releases this week at Videoport: Friday the 13th (the world needs this! All the people of the world were desperately crying out for it! Our lives would be incomplete without this remake! Irony doesn’t exist!), ‘Family Guy’- season 7 (yup, this still exists, probably because of those great, rich characters and compelling storylines… hahahaha..I’m kidding of course- I hate this show with all of my eternal being; you have fun, though), Madea Goes to Jail (Tyler Perry brings his signature blend of churchy self-righteousness and toilet humor to this tale of his cross-dressing alter-ego’s prison adventures; just a question- as a Christian, is Perry tolerant of people who feel the need to cross dress when they’re not being paid by a movie studio? Just a question), Morning Light (Disneyfied documentary about some bratty teens Shanghaied into entering a famous, and famously-dangerous, cross-Pacific yacht race), Scott Walker: 30th Century Man (documentary portrait of Walker, the most influential, enigmatic musical figure you’ve never heard of unless you’re way hipper than I), What Goes Up (the always-funny Steve Coogan[see I’m Alan Partridge, Saxondale, Tristram Shandy, Knowing Me Knowing You all in the British Comedy section at Videoport] stars in this heretofore-unreleased muddled drama about a sleazy reporter getting involved with some high school students as he comes to their town to do a story about teacher Christa McAuliffe’s pending ride on the space shuttle), Were the World Mine (romantic fantasy about a gay teen who, while starring in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, discovers a real love potion in his copy of the script and proceeds to wreak some gender-bending havoc around town), Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus (look at the title. Look at it again. If you need more incentive to watch this movie after reading the title, then you and I are very, very different people…).

New Arrivals this week at Videoport: ‘Burn Notice’- season 2 (the second season of this funny spy thriller series about a former secret agent trying to find out why he was disowned by ‘the company’; costarring cult favorite and all-around cool dude Bruce Campbell), Jesse Stone: Thin Ice (Tom Selleck is back as the titular sheriff of a small town inexplicably beset by murders and mayhem and the like),’Saving Grace’- season 2 (the incomparable Holly Hunter brings back her hard-drinkin’, hard-boinkin’ tortured detective haunted by her own inner demons and a pesky guardian angel in this series that’s, frankly, a little beneath her), ‘I Can’t Believe I’m Still Single’- season 1 (cult indie director [Mathew and I may actually comprise his entire cult] writer/director/actor Eric Schaeffer’s {Fall, If Lucy Fell, Mind the Gap} reality series about his ongoing search for a life partner, hampered, no doubt, in part by his willingness to share the most unappealing, embarrassing personal and sexual details about himself), The Seventh Seal (Videoport replaces it’s original one disc Criterion edition of the Bergman classic with the spanking new 2-disc ‘special edition’; and no, we don’t feel like suckers, thank you very much), ‘Murdoch Mysteries’- season 1 (Canadian mystery series about a turn of the century Toronto detective; look for it in Videoport’s Mystery/Thriller section), ‘Taggart’ (Videoport delivers more mystery with some six volumes of this BBC series about the titular Glaswegian detective), Cherry Blossoms (German film about a dying man who, when his wife unexpectedly dies, travels to Japan as she had intended to do after his death), ‘Murder Most English’ (Man, England must just be littered with dead bodies; this is yet another British mystery series, with a pair of small-town detectives snooping around whimsically after the surprisingly high per capita murder rate in their village), ‘Cat City’ (politically-satirical 80s- era Hungarian animation series [Hungarianamation? Hungame?] about a world where cats and mice are plotting against one another; sort of like here I guess, except both sides are packing heat), Baby Einstein: Baby Noah (turn your infant into an uberinfant today!), Whirlwind (a handsome, mysterious gay man disrupts the lives of a tight-knit group of handsome gay men in this NYC-set drama; find it in the Pride section at Videoport!), Man Hunt (Fritz Lang’s 1941 WWII thriller about a British hunter who, just for giggles, stalks Hitler at his country home with an unloaded rifle; when the Gestapo are unsatisfied with his ‘just for giggles’ explanation of his behavior, they beat the bejeezus out of him, causing him to put some bullets in the thing and go back for realsies…), Spring Breakdown (this comedy went right to DVD, but with its three leads being the hilarious and adorable trio of Amy Poehler, Rachel Dratch, and Parker Posey, I know I’m gonna give it a chance, at least), Chowder- Volume 2 (you know…for kids!).

Videoport on the Inter-Webs! (An Update)
Hey tech-savvy campers, there’s a new way to check out what we’re up to on the ‘net. (That’s what the kids are callin’ it, right?) In addition to our long-standing Myspace page (www.myspace.com/videoportjones), you can now find us at our new blog http://www.videoportjones.wordpress.com! Yup, now there are two places for you to catch up with each week’s VideoReport, read and leave comments from Videoport customers, staff, and enthusiasts/crazy, incoherent loonbars, and basically immerse yourself in all things Videoport. (I’m told we’re on Facebook, too, but I guess my computer’s not hip enough to access that site). Oh, and you can also send us email at denmn@hotmail.com. Really, at this point, there’s no escape from us, so just give in and let Videoport into your home!

Park for free at Videoport!
We’ll validate you for a free hour of parking at any of the downtown parking garages! Just ask!

Get free money at Videoport! Videoport’s payment plans will give you either five or ten free bucks worth of rental credit. Pay $20 on your Videoport account, and we’ll give you $25 worth of rental credit, while a payment of $30 gets you a whopping $40 in credit. Good for all rentals and any pesky extra day charges, that’s free money, baby!

Hey, it’s Issue #200…weird. Yup, for those of you up on the utterly necessary skill of reading Roman numerals, you’ve no doubt noticed that this makes the 200th issue of the VideoReport, Videoport’s weekly newsletter of reviews, new releases, money-saving tips and scams, vicious, unprovoked attacks on famous people who’ve offended us in some way, the occasional filthy haiku, in-jokes, and, about every tenth issue or so, some actual, useful information. So, from the VideoReport staff, we just want to give a big thankyouverymuch to Bill (for paying the bills and allowing us to write disreputable things on his dime), all of the many, many VideoReport contributors, columnists, and readers, and, basically everyone in the Videoport community continues to support our goal of being the best damned movie store in the world. We love you, you crazy bastards… Now here’s to the next thousand issues (we should really get to work on those…)

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