VideoReport #220

Volume CCXX- November Rain

For the Week of 11/3/09

Videoport gives you a free rental every, single day. You’re welcome…

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 continues his perilous A-Z journey through Videoport’s Incredibly Strange section. Hold on tight:

Alien Prey– A couple of lesbians get attacked by a carnivorous alien. What more needs to be said! Rent now!

The Adventures of Barry Mackenzie– Pretty good especially if you thought Crocodile Dundee needed more comedy and crossdressers.

The Alarmist– Not very impressive but begs the question “who decided the best way to advertise this disc was with a picture of Stanley Tucci tied to a chair with David Arquette leering over him”? Hey, if the phrase “Stanley Tucci in bondage” is your thing, go for it.

The Anarchist’s Cookbook– This could have been much better but fell into the whole “rebelling isn’t really such a good thing” mold- boring.

Andy Warhol’s Trash– Yeah that pretty much sums up all those films for me. I hate Warhol, never understood his appeal, and pretty much hold him responsible for ruining modern art. But if you’re feeling pretentious certainly check these out.

Tough and Triassic Tuesday. (Get one free rental from the Action or Classics sections with your paid rental.)

>>> Dennis suggests you take ACTION, and rent a free CLASSIC today! (Apologies for the shameless pandering, and the bad wordplay, but the deadline looms, and the inches must be filled. If you want to avoid such unpleasantness in the future, send in your own movie reviews, movie lists, or anything else movie related to us at denmn@hotmail.com, our Myspace page http://www.myspace.com/videoportjones, or our Facebook page “Videoport Jones”. SO take ACTION today and…oh, forget it…)

Wacky and Worldly Wednesday. (Get one free rental from the Comedy or Foreign Language sections with your paid rental.)

>>> B.S. Eliot suggests Local Hero (in Comedy). As I waited for the frigid arms of Death to cradle me into the Infinite Slumber, I popped in Local Hero, hoping that the main menu screen would have some peaceful music that I could die to. Guess what? Totally shafted? Turns out it’s one of those old-ass DVDs that not only doesn’t have peaceful main menu music, but also it just starts playing the movie after a couple minutes, whether you like it or you don’t like it. Indignantly, I hurled the empty bottle of Aleve at the television and took a haul off my Bud Light/Clamato beverage. Paralyzed by laziness, I was forced to watch Local Hero. However, 111 minutes later (allegedly, according to the back of the case), this tale of strange and subtle charms had restored my will to live, my hunger for adventure, my sex drive, and, most importantly, my devotion to Gorgon, the disembodied voice that commands me to steal alcoholic Clamato beverages from 7/11. I give this film a B+.

Thrifty Thursday. (Get one free movie from any section with your paid rental.)

>>> Anime Ed suggests these selections from Videoport’s collection of Japanese animation:

Shigurui– This is the best anime I have seen in long time. Very dark samurai drama, concentrating on the madness and violence of the life instead of the whole honor and bushido thing. Highly recommended!! Banzai!

Hell Girl– Man the Japanese sure love revenge. This series is all about that and the price paid for exacting it. A little repetitive at first but pays off towards the end. Hell Girl’s so cute when she dispatches folks to purgatory, I just want to hug her! Banzai!!

Free Kids Friday. (Get one free rental from the Children’s or Family sections, no other rental necessary).

>>> Dennis suggests that you don’t allow your little darlings to handle DVD until they learn that you never, EVER touch the shiny side of the disc with your adorable, jam-smeared fingers. Maybe when they’re ready to head off to college…

Having a Wild Weekend. (Rent two, get your third movie for free from any section on Saturday and Sunday.)

>>>For Saturday, No More Mistress Nice Mommy suggests ‘Leverage’ (in Mystery/Thriller). If you’re anything like me, you have literally stayed awake all night, thrown into adrenalin-fueled insomnia with thoughts of revenge. You don’t want anyone to get hurt and you can’t get caught, but someone needs to get ruined. You’re an average, hard-working, dirt-poor American like me; you’ve had a boss who screams at you no matter how hard you work, an ex- who tries to brainwash your child, or maybe you’ve even been physically hurt by someone. I feel your pain. This is the show for you. Three men and two awesome women (all former “loaners”) form a multimillion dollar, philanthropy-type operation that specializes in getting back at really bad guys who totally victimize really super nice people like you and me (who are totally innocent!!) Suspend your disbelief for 42 delightful, campy minutes an episode with this very satisfying show. A great cast and ‘Mission Impossible’– type action make up for the preposterous storylines. I guarantee this show will entertain you and take your mind off all the bad people for a while.

>>>For Sunday, Elsa S. Customer suggests Twin Falls Idaho. If ever an indie film had all the false hallmarks of being an exploitative mess, Twin Falls Idaho is it. The film opens in a hotel of Lynchian dim seediness where two shy, faltering conjoined twins receive a visit from a zany young prostitute named Penny. The film soon introduces a substory with an ambiguous doctor (played with ironic distance by Patrick Bachau, veteran of many vampy and vampirific Eurotrash roles*), and its turning point is a misunderstanding at a Halloween party. This sounds like a voyeuristic peepshow or a maudlin mockery… but instead Twin Falls Idaho manages to be a tender character study, a solemn, sweet tale about love and interdependence and loneliness. It’s a mournful little story with some gently touching performances. Mark and Michael Polish, writer and writer-director brothers, also star as Blake and Francis Falls, and they convey their closeness with a (quite literally) quiet intimacy: the two murmur confidingly to each other as if they have, indeed, spent a lifetime only inches apart. Michele Hicks is brash and gentle by turns, a convincing portrait of a hard-bitten young hooker struggling between self-interest and compassion. And Lesley Ann Warren** turns in another of her remarkable small supporting roles here, wrestling with a really unlikeable part and giving it her all. The whole film is a very successful oddity. It’s tentative and slow, almost peaceful in its startling way — a meditative and lovely study that pushes the audience to consider an experience completely outside the scope of most daily lives and simultaneously makes us realize how very alike we are in our desires and our limitations.

*Editor’s Note: Such as his suavely villainous turn in one of my all-time favorite movies Choose Me.

**Editor’s Other Note: Also from the cult classic Choose Me!

New Releases this week at Videoport: GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra (for the second week in a row, we get a big budget action flick based on a line of toys! We are clearly being punished for something!), Lemon Tree (metaphorical drama about a Palestinian widow trying to keep her new neighbor, an Israeli defense minister , from having the titular item cut down), The Taking of Pelham 123 (John Travolta and Denzel Washington team up with soulless action-meister Tony Scott to remake the 1974 thriller about the hijacking of the titular New York City subway train; this one is fine, but please ignore the dismissive comments made by the dingbat Scott about the original- that one’s better), Will Ferrell: You’re Welcome America- A Final Night With George W. Bush (filmed version of Ferrell’s one man Broadway show as the former, um, president, I guess you’d have to call him; this is absolutely hilarious, by the way), Food, Inc. (as a vegetarian, I try not to be all self-righteous about eating meat; it’s easier when someone makes as harrowing a documentary about the unspeakably horrifying methods corporate food producers use to get that yummy meat to the table; was that a little snotty? Sorry), Aliens in the Attic (some adorable little moppets have to fight off the aliens invading their beach house; starring former SNL pals Tim Meadows and Kevin Nealon, and at least two tweens named Ashley), I Love You, Beth Cooper (hen the nerdy high school valedictorian proclaims his love for the most popular girl in school, she shows up at his house and gives him the best night of his life in this teen comedy undoubtedly written by a lonely one-time valedictorian), The Answer Man (Jeff Daniels plays a reclusive self-help author who finds out that real life is a little more complicated than he’d thought when he meets troubled single mom Lauren Graham), Command Performance (Dolph Lundgren is back! He punches a bunch o’guys! What else do you need to know!), Sand Serpents (the guy from Iron Eagle fighting, well, serpents, that live in the sand, I guess), Fears of the Dark (check Videoport’s Foreign Language section for this new, animated anthology film where sic of the creepiest dudes in cartooning work together to give you the heebie-jeebs), The Tournament (overqualified actors Ving Rhames and Robert Carlyle lend their seemingly-currently-unvalued talents to this direct-to-DVD action flick about an assassin tournament where assassins try to assassinate each other), ‘Monty Python’s Almost the Truth’ (comprehensive documentary where all the surviving Pythons dish on how they became the funniest human beings in the history of the universe).

New Arrivals this week at Videoport: The Dead (absolutely lovely; John Huston’s final film saw him directing daughter Anjelica and doing justice to James Joyce’s short story, which I maintain is the single most beautiful thing ever written by anyone, ever), The English Surgeon (documentary about the titular doctor, working at an underfunded Ukraine hospital, and the wrenching decisions and compromises he must make on a daily basis), Black Devil Doll (where do you find a willfully-offensive horror comedy about the spirit of a black militant who comes back in the body of a murderous, horny ventriloquist dummy? Why in Videoport’s Incredibly Strange section, of course!), Strip Nude for Your Killer (the all-time worst advice? Perhaps, but see for yourself when you rent this 1975 Italian sleaze- and murder- and boob-fest, starring the queen of same, the sluttily-lovely Edwige Fenech), ‘Private Century’ (filmmaker Jan Sikl spellbindingly edits together forty years of home movies from ordinary people in order to tell the modern history of Czechoslovakia through their eyes), Unmistaken Child (documentary follows a young Buddhist monk who embarks on a years-long journey to find the child who he believes is the reincarnation of his beloved teacher; touching and all, but, since that child’s parents might not believe in spooky ghost nonsense, also kind of creepy, no?), Paraiso Travel (a seductive young woman with dreams of riches in New York City and the puppylovestruck young man who’s devoted to her attempt to travel illegally from their home in Colombia to America in this one), The Hellbenders (this 1967 Spaghetti Western starring Joseph Cotten is beloved of Quentin Tarantino, so you are gonna watch it; also, check out the informative documentary The Spaghetti West to find out what that whole deal was all about), ‘Edge of Darkness’ (when his nuclear activist daughter is killed, a straightlaced British father is forced to confront his country’s nuclear policies in the 80s in this British miniseries), Earth 2100 (speculative [translated: terrifying] documentary posits how our current glutinous habits could mean all human life is doomed in the next century, unless people make some small, manageable personal sacrifices; oh crap…), Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soapbox (documentary about the story behind the liquid soap with all of the utterly bananas and borderline creepy sayings on the bottle), Red Cliff and Red Cliff 2 (how did Videoport get a hold of two precious copies of legendary action director John Woo’s [The Killer, Hard Boiled] massive, epic historical drama? You don’t know…you don’t wanna know…), IP Man (Donnie Yen and Simon Yam star in this martial arts biopic about the first teacher of Wing Chun [and Bruce Lee’s teacher]), Shinjuku Incident (the new Jackie Chan movie! A violent tale of illegal Chinese immigrants, the Yakuza, and, one presumes, a lot of kicking).

BUY THINGS!

All right, we’ve held off until November, but it’s time to kick the holiday shopping frenzy into overdrive for the year. Here, then are the iron-clad reasons why you should shop at Videoport this year, instead of throwing your money to some giant, local-economy crippling, employee-exploiting, crappy customer service-having corporate behemoth:

1. You get something for yourself for buying something for someone else: for every movie you buy from Videoport, you get a free rental on your Videoport account! So, buy one movie for a loved one and you get one free rental for yourself. Buy two, get two. You get the idea…

1a. Of course, Videoport, in addition to all of the movies for sale right here in the store, can order any movie, boxed set, or TV show currently in print. It’ll take about a week.

2. Videoport has gift certificates: yup, for the big movie renter on your list, give the gift of rentals! And, make sure to tell the lucky stiff that Videoport gift certificate rentals are good with Videoport’s daily specials! That means, essentially, that you’re giving twice as many movie rentals as it seems! You’re twice as good a friend/lover/obligated co-worker! (Our ‘three rentals for ten bucks’ gift certificate makes a perfect Secret Santa gift that says “I had to get you something”!

Check out the VideoReport (and more) online!

You can read back issues of the VideoReport, leave comments, read the weekly new release review column by Videoport Jones and Justin Ellis (of the Portland Press Herald), and pretty much any weird movie article, link, or list we can come up with in our spare time. Just type in http://www.videoportjones.wordpress.com to your computer-type device and join in the fun.

Park for free at Videoport!

1. Parking meters are silly and inactive after 6pm Monday-Saturday and all day on Sunday.

2. The parking lot behind the building is open for free one hour parking after 5pm Monday-Friday and all day on weekends.

3. Videoport takes part in the Park & Shop program (because we’re so super), which means you can just pull in to any downtown parking garage (including the courthouse garage, about a minute away) and we’ll get you a free hour of parking. Again, you’re welcome…

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