VideoReport #201

Volume CC- Kiki’s Godzillary Service
For the Week of 6/23/09

Videoport loves you. Here is a free movie every, single day to prove it. (And remember: movies=love).
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.)
>>>Elsa S. Customer suggests Lone Star (in Mystery/Thriller). John Sayles, noted independent American filmmaker, brings gravitas and grace to this story of romance and cultural collisions in the borderland of Texas. Chris Cooper (American Beauty, Adaptation.) gets a rare romantic lead opposite the too rarely seen and utterly winning Elizabeth Peña; the two play erstwhile starcrossed teenaged lovers, now grown up, wary, and weary of the confining lives they’ve built. Also notable: Matthew McConaughey in his finest performance; Kris Kristofferson as a good ole boy gone bad.
Tough and Triassic Tuesday. (Get one free rental from the Action or Classics sections with your paid rental.)
>>>Elsa S. Customer suggests Attack of the Giant Leeches (in Sci Fi/Fantasy, but it’s way old, and, if any movie deserves the title ‘classic’, it’s this one). Do I really need to say more than that? Does I really need to say more than Attack of the Giant Leeches? Giant leeches which, I suppose predictably, attack! If you need more than that, these excerpts from the back of the case should convince you: “the seductive Yvette Vickers” … “”taken hostage by giant leeches” (I know, go figure) … “subterranean lair.” To sum up: seductive, giant leeches, lair. Enjoy!
Wacky and Worldly Wednesday. (Get one free rental from the Comedy or Foreign Language sections with your paid rental.)
>>>April suggests Bolt (in Comedy). An animated road trip movie with a dog who thinks he’s a superhero, a cat who hates humans, and a hamster who’s fully awesome. It’s kinda like Homeward Bound or The Adventures of Milo and Otis only it’s got more crazy effects and NYC pigeons. On a personal note, I adopted a cat a few months ago who is exactly like the cat in this movie. It’s eerie.
Thrifty Thursday. (Get one free movie from any section with your paid rental.)
>>> Elsa S. Customer suggests Wallace and Gromit: The Wrong Trousers (in Animation). You cannot go wrong with Wallace and Gromit. Film geeks like it, your grandma likes it, my mom likes it, your toddler likes it, and your tween likes it even if they pretend to roll their eyes at it. (Wuh? You don’t like Wallace and Gromit? I’m so sorry — you might be dead inside.)
>>>Anonymous Videoport customer #1 suggests Lars and the Real Girl (in Feature Drama). What a great little movie. This should be on Staff Picks sometime*.
*For those of you not in the know, the Staff Picks section is the first shelf on the right in the middle aisle at Videoport. It’s a rotating parade of theme shelves (currently check out the ‘Film Movement’, ‘Blaxplotation Nation’, ‘Dinosaurs’, and ‘Girls Rock!’ selections), the ‘new to Videoport on DVD’ shelf (full of all the new acquisitions to our catalog), and one , lonely actual ‘Staff Picks’ section (Sam’s, in this case). Let us decide your taste for you!
Free Kids Friday. (Get one free rental from the Children’s or Family sections, no other rental necessary).
>>>Dennis suggests that there are plenty of stuff in the kids section you can take for free on a Friday, even if you have no kids (or if you feel that your kids don’t deserve a movie today). A partial list of ‘recommended for all ages’ things in the kids section: The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), The Thief of Bagdad (1940), Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (Gene Wilder version), A Bug’s Life, The Incredibles, Finding Nemo, Toy Story 1 & 2, Cars, Monsters Inc., ‘Justice League Unlimited’, My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Superman, Superman 2, ‘Samurai Jack’, The Black Stallion, My Friend Flicka, Old Yeller, ‘The Electric Company’, all things Muppetty. I have genuinely watched these and enjoyed them, and I’m sort of an adult…
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 Twin Peaks’ -the Complete Series (in Mystery/Thriller). Creeping us out for darn near twenty years now, David Lynch’s eerie series is one of my favorites. Watch unlikely characters navigate ambiguous situations and utter complete non sequiturs! What could be better? Uh, not the second season, that’s what. An almost certainly apocryphal industry rumor: during the first season, David Lynch called his production office in a panic. “What’s wrong?” the staffer asked, “Did we get canceled?” “No, worse,” Lynch replied, “we got renewed.”
>>>Anonymous Videoport customer #2 suggests (via a note on a way cool Edward Gorey postcard) The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (in Feature Drama). “Dear Videoport- This movie was pretty good. Out of a thirty star rating system, I give it a 21. The lightning bit is great. Just to let you know! Word.”
>>>For Sunday, Dennis suggests ‘I Can’t Believe I’m Still Single’ (in Documentary). I genuinely have no idea to whom I’m recommending this. I mean, I already like Eric Schaeffer, and Videoport’s Mathew, the only other person I currently know who shares my enthusiasm for the guy’s work, probably doesn’t need any encouragement either. (Regan’s watching this now, but I think mostly in a rubbernecking capacity). We both think that Schaeffer, the writer/director/most of the time star of such indie films as My Life’s In Turnaround (hilarious and sadly out of print), If Lucy Fell, Fall (his best film- wipes me out every time), Never Again (an affecting late-middle -age love story in which he doesn’t appear, but Jeffrey Tambor and Jill Clayburgh thankfully do), Wirey Spindell, and Mind the Gap, and the short-lived TV series ‘Starved’ is a funny, engagingly romantic, if

You still like me, right...?

You still like me, right...?

undeniably-odd presence on the DIY, indie film scene. We both occasionally recommend his intensely-personal, kinky, unashamedly-self-obsessed, autobiographical movies to unsuspecting customers, some of whom even come back again. Some don’t. What I’m saying is the Schaeffer’s films are an acquired taste, and sometimes not even then. So when I heard that he was starring in a Showtime reality series about his cross-country tour to promote his erotic memoir of the same name, and look for his soulmate (or at least some indie-auteur groupie sex), I was, well, frankly afraid for him. Eric’s always been something (well, everything) of an exhibitionist, both metaphorical and literal (you see his wiener), and, to me, this series seemed like he was finally tired of revealing aspects of himself through his (lightly) fictionalized characters and has decided to just thrust himself upon a largely-unsuspecting viewing world, psyche, sexual proclivities (and wiener) dangling. And it is that; he deliberately stages the first scene with his second-favorite dominatrix, debating whether engaging in their usual behavior on camera will hamper his ability to get cast in a ‘Ross and Rachel’ style sitcom or disqualify him from appearing on Oprah as part of her book club- I don’t think he has to worry about big O’s call. Schaeffer gets a lot (and I mean a LOT) of bad press, especially from some feminists, for being so forward, demanding, and open about his hunt for an idealized ‘one’ all the while prowling Myspace, bedding fans, and generally saying exactly what’s on his mind, no matter how explicit, embarrassing, or offputting it may (ok, does) seem to his viewers. The dude seriously does not have a filter of any kind. And, watching the show from the beginning, you will probably dislike Schaeffer intensely; for some of you, that feeling will not go away- trust me, even I, an admitted fan, found myself turning away from his blend of shock, kink, and sentimentality. But, and here’s a surprise, I found myself getting drawn in; he’s clearly decided that a strategy of sharing literally every thought, desire, and utterly upsetting personal detail immediately with every woman he’s interested in is the only way to cut through the crap and meet the woman he’s meant to truly be with. Traveling from Portland, Oregon to good old Portland, here* with his cameraman and his trusty, levelheaded young female assistant, meeting old lovers, new prospects, outright loonies, and depressingly-small audiences, Schaeffer’s quest starts to seem, somehow, less of a shameless publicity grab (although I loathe reality shows on general principal), and more like something almost noble. The man loves a grand, romantic gesture, and I can respect that.
*Editor’s confession: I actually corresponded with Schaeffer for a while when the show was filming and even got into a preliminary discussion about him doing a reading at Videoport. It didn’t pan out, but he was a generous and friendly emailer.

New Releases this week at Videoport:
Waltz With Bashir (stunning, powerful animated film about a former soldier remembering his part in the Israel/Jordan 1982 war), Inkheart (fantasy film about a dad who, he discovers, can bring characters out of their books thus cause no end of shenanigans; sadly, Brendan Fraser’s titular character does not opt for Lady Chatterly’s Lover at any point), Confessions of a Shopaholic (I genuinely cannot think of a title less likely to cause me to watch a movie…oh wait…How to Make an American Quilt!; at least this one does star the undeniably-peppy and adorable Isla Fisher), Pink Panther 2 (oh man…this was necessary? Starring Steve Martin and John Cleese- I would pay full admission price to watch an hour-and-a-half of those two just chatting with each other, yet I can guarantee I’ll never watch this film…), Dragon Hunters (CGI French animated film about, well, dragon hunters I guess, boasts an English language-version voice from Forest Whitaker), Phoebe In Wonderland (a precocious little girl and her eccentric drama teacher; with a stellar cast: Campbell Scott, Felicity Huffman, Patricia Clarkson), Bob Funk (romantic comedy about a drunk who gets fired [by his mom, no less] and decides to wise up, get a new job, and start dating Rachel Leigh Cook).

New Arrivals this week at Videoport: La Sombra del Caminante (Colombian film about an oddly-symbiotic pair- one’s missing a leg, the other likes to carry people around on his back for money), Last Year at Marienbad (the Criterion Collection gets 12% more perplexing with its release of this 1961 Alain Resnais film about two languid, gorgeous people who met last year at Marienbad…or was it last year…and was it Marienbad…), Retrospecs: 1955 (from the product description: “This fun video yearbook captures all of the sights and sounds of 1955, including news footage, songs, commercials, lifestyle commentary, and sports reels, each woven together into a charming, nostalgia-inducing collage”; okey dokey…), Bergman Island (Criterion again, this is a collection of three documentaries about legendary director Ingmar Bergman all shot on the tiny island of Faro, where he lived), Under the Bombs (Videoport brings in another addition to the Film Movement DVD series with this drama about a determined woman who convinces a sympathetic cab driver to take her on a search for her family in the war zone after Israel’s 2006 bombardment of Lebanon), The African Queen (this classic Humphrey Bogart/Katherine Hepburn adventure/romance/awesomeness has never been released on DVD; how did Videoport get a copy, you ask? You don’t wanna know…).

Videoport has daily specials where you can get a free movie every day! Let us make up for that! Yup, we, no doubt cause no end of stress with the fact that we’re so generous and nice and stuff and give you all these free movies. Well, have no fear, your trained, dedicated, and averse-to-real-work Videoport professionals love to foist their suspect personal taste on you! If you’re faced with the daunting, bewildering, pants-wetting pressure of choosing a free movie to take advantage of our unprecedented, unremitting generosity, just approach your favorite Videoport clerk (slowly, please…they’re a little skittish) and ask them for their expert-ish advice. Seriously, we love to do it. And we don’t just recommend things willy-nilly either; give us a few hints (what kind of mood you’re in, the last movie you really liked, your astrological sign), and we’ll hone in, with laser-like accuracy , on the perfect movie for you. And hey, if you’re not interested in what we’ve selected, just indicate that we’re on the wrong track (with a gentle admonishment, a blast on an air horn, or a sharp, backhand slap), and we’ll go back to the drawing board. Videoport: we do nothing but watch movies!

Get some free money at Videoport! Our prices are low. Like, clerk-starvingly low. So how could we possibly offer money-saving deals which would make renting at Videoport even cheaper? Just nutty, I suppose. Here’s the deal: if you pay $20 on your Videoport rental account, we’ll apply $25 in rental credit. That’s five free bucks, or a 20% discount on your rentals, if my math is right. And, big spender, you: if you put $30 on your rental account, we’ll actually apply $40! That’s ten free dollars, or a 25% discount on our already lovely prices. Videoport: we starve our employees, and pass the savings on to you!

Unintentionally funny questions at Videoport
“Do you have Heroes?”
“Do you have Role Models?”
“Do you have Doubt?”
“Do you have Milk?”, or better, “Got Milk?”
“Do you have a Phone Booth?”
“Do you have To Kill a Mockingbord?” (We don’t have to, but…).
“Do you have To Sleep With Anger?”
“Do you have To Catch a Thief?” (It’s good business to, yeah).
“Do you have To Live?” (Wow, that’s harsh…)
“Do you have To Play the King?” (Sorry, I didn’t realize I was…)
“Do you have To Have and have Not?” (I’m confused…)
What the Bleep is on hold for me.” (I’m not sure, but thanks for not swearing at me…)
“Have you seen My Left Foot?”
“Do you have Tremors?” (No, I’m okay…)
“I’m Looking for How to Draw a Bunny.” (Start with the ears…)
“What have you heard about Uranus?” (Um, it stinks?)
“Where do you keep Out of Sight?”
“You’re holding a Pecker for me.” (Ummm…)
“What is your deal today?” (Man, what is our deal today?)

Write for us! Send your reviews to us at denmn@hotmail.com or our myspace page http://www.myspace.com/videoportjones. And check out our blog videoportjones.wordpress.com!

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