VideoReport #203

Volume CCIII- I Married A Mothra From Outer Space
For the week of 7/07/09
Videoport pledges to give you a free movie every day, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health.
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 ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ season six, episode 16: Hell’s Bells (in Horror). As their wedding approaches, Xander and Anya find their already fraying tempers tested further by frictions between the factions: Xander’s boisterous, dipsomaniac family doesn’t mix well with Anya’s, um, “circus folk.” When an avuncular guest promises Xander a vision of his future life, the tension spirals higher. Wedding lesson learned: proper vows avoid the phrase “sex poodle.”
>>> While you’re in the Middle Aisle, also pick up ‘Angel’ season one, episode 7, “Bachelor Party.” Angel’s hard-drinking demon cohort Doyle (Glenn Quinn) gets a surprise visit from his long-lost wife; she wants a no-fault divorce and his blessing to marry a new fella. The new fiancé (Whedon triple-threat Carlos Jacott) seems genial enough, a big harmless goof, but in the world of Whedon, nothing is ever quite that simple. Uh, is it? Watch and see!
Tough and Triassic Tuesday. (Get one free rental from the Action or Classics sections with your paid rental.)
>>>Elsa S. Customer suggests The Philadelphia Story (in Classics). On the eve of socialite Tracy Samantha Lord’s (Katherine Hepburn’s) wedding, a tabloid sends a reluctant reporter (James Stewart) and photographer (Ruth Hussey) to stay at the Lords’ estate, passing themselves off as family friends. Tracy’s ex-husband, C.K. Dexter Haven (Cary Grant), is unwillingly pressed into serv ice, helping them infiltrate the upper-class shindig. What follows, of course, is a romantic roundelay of hesitant flirtations, frustrations, and misunderstandings, all punctuated with unwieldy pronouncements about the meaning of love and the role of a wife. Aptly described and decried by your editor as “a feminist spanking machine” and loaded with classist presumptions to boot, The Philadelphia Story manages to retain a luster of glamour and intelligence despite its obvious flaws, and remains one of the classic products of Old Hollywood. It brought Stewart a well-deserved Oscar, and redeemed Hepburn from her recently won label of Box Office Poison.
Wacky and Worldly Wednesday. (Get one free rental from the Comedy or Foreign Language sections with your paid rental.)
>>> Elsa S. Customer suggests My Best Friend’s Wedding (in Comedy). In this neo-screwball comedy, Julia Roberts plays Julianne, a seemingly sane person who nonetheless realizes just days before the wedding of her best friend (Dermot Mulrooney) that she is truly, madly, deeply in love with him. Well, madly, anyhow. She determines to ruin his apparently very happy relationship with his utterly delightful bride-to-be (played with giddy good spirits by Cameron Diaz, perhaps the most winning she’s ever been onscreen), and engages in machinations both embarrassing and venal, scheming with unnerving zeal to destroy the future of two blissfully happy people. It’s hard to turn a film about a legitimately terrifying series of psychotic behaviors into an endearing comedy, but somehow writer-director P.J. Hogan (Muriel’s Wedding) pulls it off. The performances are note-perfect, and the Burt Bacharach soundtrack (often sung by characters within the film) brings a lovely, hazy sense of pop through the whole affair.
Thrifty Thursday. (Get one free movie from any section with your paid rental.)

>>> Elsa S. Customer suggests Muriel’s Wedding (in Drama). It’s a coming-of-age story mixed with the tale of the ugly duckling: garish, ungainly Muriel (Toni Collette) takes off from her provincial home town, makes friends with a zany, saucy party girl (Rachel Griffiths), and spends her free time daydreaming about getting married. All this action takes place against a peppy background of ABBA songs. Sounds larky and light, eh? Think again: Muriel’s Wedding is a dark story spiked with bursts of hilarious high spirits, mixing sharp mockery with real empathy for the very characters it skewers.
Free Kids Friday. (Get one free rental from the Children’s or Family sections, no other rental necessary).
>>> Elsa S. customer suggests The Looney Tunes Golden Collection. Videoport has a whole lotta Disney films in which pretty pretty princesses and blandly handsome princes get hitched, but for sheer exuberance and joy, I’m suggesting Rabbit of Seville from the Looney Toons Golden Collection. Bugs Bunny’s usual antics get amped up by Rossini’s overture to Barber of Seville, as Bugs outpaces, outwits, and outlasts Elmer Fudd in a quasi-operatic charade. this short features several of the great moments in Looney Toons history, including Bugs’ masquerade as a barber (The Barber of Seville, natch!), the quick-step arms-race gag where Elmer and Bugs chase each other with a rapidly escalating arsenal, and finally the Marriage of Figaro sequence, with the balding blushing bride all gussied up.
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 “The Office,’ season three, episode 15: Phyllis’s Wedding. In a daring bid to get an extended honeymoon vacation, Phyllis offers Michael a place in her wedding party, with predictably cringe-worthy results. Pam, attending solo, finds the details of Phyllis and Bob’s wedding eerily familiar, right down to the floral arrangements and the ribbons emblazoned with the initials P & R. While his girlfriend Karen enjoys the reception (and the soothing tunes of Scrantonicity), Jim hypothesizes to the camera about a purely hypothetical romance with Pam, but just hypothetical, you understand. What part of hypothetical don’t you understand?
>>>For Sunday, Elsa S. Customer recommends Last Chance Harvey (in Drama). Harvey (Dustin Hoffman) is in London for his daughter’s wedding*, hosted by his ex-wife and her husband (Kathy Baker and James Brolin). Daunted by the prospect of attending stag, he picks up a reluctant stranger (Emma Thompson) and persuades her to attend with him. I’ll admit it at the outset: this little comedy does not showcase the greatness of Hoffman and Thompson. On reflection, that may be exactly what I like about it: it’s a small piece, a trifle, a playground where they gently exercise their great talents and explore their on-screen chemistry (seen briefly in Stranger than Fiction) without delving beyond poignancy to pathos. It’s a treat to see fully grown adults on a movie screen: their faces lined, cloaked, and hesitant. These people know that they’ve hemmed in their lives with their own fears and hesitations, and seeing these emotions play out in restraint and propriety is a real reward. Despite the script’s deficiencies and retreats into convention, the characters feel real. There are no bad guys, no good guys, no fundamental struggle between The Good and The Bad, just decent, flawed people straining to behave well and keep their chins up. It’s a perfect Sunday movie.
*The daughter is actually a clever little piece of casting: check out her adorable nose, and reflect how unlikely it is that a young actress would both A) have Hoffman’s nose and B) be just as cute as a button.

This week’s New Releases: ‘Reno 911- Season 6’ (The worst, and funniest cops in the world are back, and they’ve brought in a couple of ringers, with ‘The State’ alum Joe Lo Truglio and Upright Citizens Brigade’s Ian Roberts joining the cast), Knowing (Nicholas Cage discovers that every one of the creepy predictions in a recently dug-up time capsule have come true; up next…the end of the world?!?! DUM-DUM-DUMMMMM! Is big Nick up to the task of saving us all, or should we have called Will Smith?), Tokyo! (cool, oddball anthology film consists of three takes on life in the titular city from directors Michel Gondry [Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind], Leos Carax [Lovers on the Bridge], and Joon-ho Bong [The Host]; Gondry’s entry, about a young woman finding a lovely, loopy place to fit in in teeming, crowded Tokyo, is adorable…), Push (sort of an X-Men without the copyright issues, this is a sci fi actioner about some appropriately-hot young people with superpowers; costarring the undeniably-cool Djimon Honsou), The Unborn (a young woman gets all possessed and stuff in this horror thriller that got ungodly bad reviews; watch it [maybe] for the completely overqualified cast in supporting roles including Gary Oldman, Jane Alexander, and Stringer Bell himself, ‘The Wire’’s Idris Elba).

New Arrivals at Videoport: Four, count ‘em four new episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000 hit the shelves of the Incredibly Strange section! Check out the yuks in The Girl in Lovers Lane, Robot vs. the Aztec Mummy, Zombie Nightmare, and Racket Girls!, Private Parts (this super sleazy black comedy gem from cult director Paul Bartel [Eating Raoul] about a naive young woman staying at perhaps the least AAA approved rooming house ever can be found, unsurprisingly, in the Incredibly Strange section as well), Demon Seed (this creepy sci fi thriller about a possessive super computer that tries to impregnate the lady of the house is classed up by the eternally-lovely Julie Christie; it was also the basis for a ‘Treehouse of Horror’ tale on ‘The Simpsons’ where a Pierce Brosnan-voiced home security system has the hots for Marge), To Be Or Not to Be (Jack Benny and Carole Lombard star in this 40s comedy about a group of actors trying to outwit the Nazis; later remade by Mel Brooks, to middling effect), Shoot the Moon (excellent, long out-of-print divorce drama from director Alan Rudolph stars Albert Finney and Diane Keaton, each at the top of their game, as a fifteen-years married couple whose marriage disintegrates), ‘Man vs. Wild’- season 2 (a dude named Bear eats bugs, buries himself in the snow, rassles snakes…and he doesn’t even have the common decency to do it for cash and prizes; he’s doing it for science…like a big egghead…), Annie (the 1980s movie version of the beloved[?] Broadway show about the spunky orphan, and the bald dude, and whatnot; also starring Albert Finney, who had a really interesting decade in the 80s…), Nursery University (documentary about the utterly bananas phenomenon of psychotically competitive parents trying to enroll their children into the most prestigious nursery schools, while the kids are still trying to decide which of dad’s shoes to pee in today), The Gray Man (Videoport’s April should be happy with our acquisition of this low budget thriller [starring ‘Choose Me’’s Patrick Bachau] about 1930s serial child killer Albert Fish; he is April’s favorite psychopath), The Cool School (documentary about the 1950s-1960s modern art scene in Los Angeles; you can find it in the Documentary Arts section at Videoport, o’course), The Pied Piper of Hutzovina (Videoport’s Sam swears that this documentary about Eugene Hutz, the lead of the bad Golgol Bordello, made by a former girlfriend who’s clearly pissed that they aren’t together anymore, is a fascinating portrait of a stalker as much as it is a study of the musician’s journey to his native Ukraine).

Premise! Jean-Claude van Damme is a bridegroom pushed too far in…
Deaded Bliss
The Best Manhandling
Made of Honor
Martial Bliss
‘Til Death Do Us Part
Notary Pubkick
Nuptial Impact
Vow of Vengeance
Four Weddings and a Kick in the Nuts
Marital Law
Extreme Justice of the Peace
Deading Bells
Even My Wedding Video Goes Direct-to-DVD?
Action Scenes from a Marriage
Wedding Smashers
My Big 0% Body Fat Belgian Wedding
Walloon Wedding
Pride and Extreme Prejudice
Bouquet of Blood
Corpse Bride
The Bride of Kickenstein
Bride of Sucky
Wedded to Failure
Punted Honeymoon
Rules of Engagement
Shoot, Kick, and Punch the Moon
Kramer vs. Kicker
Wife vs. Secretary vs. Kickboxer
The Cook, the Thief, His Wife, and Her Kickboxer
Husbands & Knives
How to Murder Your Wife
Shotgun Wedding
Barefoot Combat in the Park
Pachelbel’s Loose Cannon
Something Black & Blue

Videoport vows:
1. We have two payment plans to save you money. $20 gets you $25 in rental credit on your Videoport account, while $30 nets you a cool $40.
2. We can order any movie currently in print on DVD for you. We’ll even give you a free rental with each purchase.
3. We’ll validate your parking at any of the downtown parking garages. Just ask. And the parking lot behind the building is open weeknights and all day on the weekends for free one hour parking.
4. Our employees will assist you with their unparalleled movie knowledge and people skills; they will not wet themselves if you ask them about a foreign language film.
5. We’ll continue to maintain, and expand, the best, damned selection of movies in the world.

Write for the Videoport! Yup, it’s true- you, too, can write movie reviews for your local movie store’s hastily-mimeographed weekly newsletter! Pinch yourself! But seriously, The VideoReport is the, well, weekly newsletter of Videoport, the best movie store in Maine, nay, the world. Just send your movie reviews, movie lists, movie essays, movie poetry, movie recipes, and, obviously, anything even remotely connected to movies to us at, our Myspace page or, hey, just drop them off here at the store. You love movies, we love movies, we all clearly love to force our movie opinions on others…howsabout we all chime in together?

Check us out on the intra-nets! (Did you know they have the internet on computers now?…Weird.) Well, Videoport is jumping on this whole computer thing with both feet, so you can read our favorite movie reviews online at our WordPress blog Plus, you can read each week’s VideoReport there, too. Of course, if you’re reading this on paper now, then, well, that’s not too exciting a prospect, but still… (Oh, and since we’re all happy about the information superhighway, don’t forget to check in with former Videoporter Jeremy [he’s also the guy who writes the insightful, hilarious Videoport ad/article in each week’s Portland Phoenix] on his WordPress blog This week, he’s posted an essay about his favorite supporting performances that’ll make you laugh until you barf. So look us up on the compootie and bump up our stats; our self-esteem is ridiculously tied up with that sort of thing…

Next week: Videoport’s Andy is in charge! I’m off getting hitched to the lovely Ms. Elsa S. Customer! And you’re not! Later, suckers!

Published in: on July 6, 2009 at 2:51 am  Leave a Comment  
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