VideoReport #222

Volume CCXXII- I Am a Gamera

For the Week of 11/17/09

Videoport gives you a free movie every day. Any objections? No- we didn’t think so…

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 that, this weekend, why not have a triple feature of thematically related films to compare and contrast? For sci-fi alienation, try Alien, The Thing (the John Carpenter version), and the 1978 production of The Invasion of the Body Snatchers. All three are chilling portraits of alienation — literal or figurative — and the horror of encroaching forces beyond our understanding. All three can be studied as deep metaphorical narratives of isolation, crumbling faith in institutional and social systems, and a pervasive fear of the treachery of others, but all three can be simply enjoyed as rip-roaring tales, too. Have a fun, frightened weekend — and keep looking over your shoulder.

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

>>> Dennis suggests you join in the fun and send us your movie reviews (essays, best of/worst of lists, etc) to us here at the VideoReport! Yup, Videoport’s weekly newsletter is a place for all of us in the Videoport community to talk about movies, share ideas, and basically just run off at the mouth, so don’t be shy! Send your submissions to us at, our Myspace page, or just drop them off here in the store. (Obviously, Classics or Action reviews would have been most welcome this week…)

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

>>> Elsa S. Customer suggests sticking with the real deal in the Foreign section. Sigh. It drives me crazy that Hollywood feels the need to remake excellent films just to have an English-language version. To be honest, it’s not the remaking itself that makes me so nuts, but that all too often, the geniuses down at the Hollywood studios decide they have to tinker with the story that was so enticing to begin with… and we, the audience, end up with a watered-down, lackluster reworking of something that was once great. Here’s a tiny list of foreign-language films that outshine their English-language remakes: Insomnia, Spoorloos, Shall We Dansu, Solyaris (though Soderbergh’s remake is mighty good, too, it’s not up to the original), Abres Los Ojos, Wings of Desire, Mostly Martha.

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

>>> Dennis suggests engaging in an Al Pacino orgy! Videoport, in its never-ending quest to sustained awesomeness, has just acquired the new boxed set of Pacino rarities…you’re welcome. First, and most excitingly, up, there’s the legendarily lost The Local Stigmatic! Why the exclamation point, you ask, well, here’s what has to say about it: “Al Pacino donated a copy to the Museum of Modern Art with the stipulation that it can only be shown with his

You know you want more of me...

permission. A small number of screenings have taken place since 1990.” And now, thanks to us, any time you want. It’s the story of two nihilistic English sociopaths (Pacino and ‘CSI’‘s Paul Guilfoyle) who decide to beat the crap out of an actor for no apparent reason, and, yes, apparently, Pacino does essay a Cockney accent, which should, if nothing else does, make this one worth watching. Next, check out Chinese Coffee, where Pacino and the late, great Jerry Orbach play a couple of struggling writers arguing about, well, everything, really, for 99 minutes. Another excuse for Al and a talented costar to act the hell out of an obscure theater piece? Yes, please! After that, why not check out Babbleonia, a documentary where Big Al dishes on his long career, acting, and other stuff Pacinophiles will want to check out. Then, to top things off, take home the long-awaited DVD release of Looking for Richard, Pacino’s heartfelt and insightful documentary about his quest to play Shakespeare’s Richard III, as well as to understand what Shakespeare means to him. All in all, it’s a cinematic wet dream for the fans of that actor…what’s his name again? It’s on the tip of my tongue…

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

>>> Adam S. Customer, 4, suggests Cars. He told his auntie, “You should watch it! Watch it! Watch it!” before patting her hand and adding in a gentle tone, “It gets a leeetle sad, but then it gets better… Watch it! Do you want to watch it right now?”

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

>>>For Saturday, Dennis suggests checking out Videoport’s new acquisitions from the smoky, sultry, doom-laden world of film noir! We love to buy cool, old stuff in bulk, so this recent boxed set (“Colombia Picture Film Noir Classics”) of heretofore-mostly-unreleased films noir hit the market, we scooped it up, created some unfortunately-nondescript-looking cover art (boxed sets are a real pain that way), and brought them to you, you lucky bastards. FIrst up, there’s The Big Heat (which we already had, but, hey), a true genre classic, with Glen Ford as a desperate cop out for revenge; great stuff, with Ford, Lee Marvin, and the kittykat Gloria Grahame doing great stuff with guns, bombs, and hot pots of coffee. Five Against the House has the titular five college chums deciding to plot the perfect crime, a complicated heist against the titular casino. Things may not go according to plan, especially when femme fatale Kim Novak is around. The Lineup features a young (not that he ever looked young) Eli Wallach as one of a pair of hitmen forced to kidnap a mother and daughter so they can explain to a big mob boss that they accidentally destroyed the fortune in heroin the hitmen were supposed to be delivering. I’m sure he’ll be understanding. From director Don Siegel (Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Dirty Harry). The Sniper is a 1952 thriller about a depressed, woman-hating jerk who, unsurprisingly, can’t get a girlfriend. Perhaps more surprisingly, he gets a high-powered rifle and starts shooting seemingly-random people as the cops try to chase him down. And Murder by Contract features “Ben Casey” star Vince Edwards as another hitman, this time running into trouble when he finds himself having those pesky qualms when it comes to his next target, a pretty lady.

>>>For Sunday, Dennis suggests Martin (in Horror). Finally coming to us on DVD, this 1977 sort-of vampire film is a forgotten gem from zombie-meister George A. Romero. The title character is a pale, sensitive young man who is lonely, orphaned, and tormented by his religious nutball old relative, constantly tells the boy he’s an evil, bloodthirsty vampire. Well, to be fair, Martin does attack people (mostly women) and drink their blood (after drugging and raping them)- but he doesn’t have fangs, so… The film nimbly dodges the question of what, exactly, Martin is, and concerns itself more with a study of who he is, and why he does what he does. Aided immeasurably by a sensitive, troublingly-sympathetic lead performance by a young guy named John Amplas (he’d show up in small roles in other Romero movies), Martin is a weird, disturbing, and mostly pretty fascinating character study, with a little horror and sleaze thrown in for kicks. Romero here, reveals a particular facility with staging (see especially the virtuoso sequence where Martin plays cat-and-mouse with a couple in their home), and coaxes some decent performances (always a weak spot in most of his films). Martin (along with his weird ‘knights on motorcycles’ drama Knightriders) is one of those oddball non-zombie George Romero movies that have achieved cult status and are well worth a rental.

New Releases this week at Videoport: It’s a huge week for new stuff, gang! Hang on tight… The Limits of Control (it’s the new film from indie god director Jim Jarmusch! An enigmatic mystery starring all his favorite actors, and destined for a cult following, which is why Videoport has twelve copies! It’s great, by the way), Star Trek (the big-budget, youth-injected reboot of the venerable (creaky) sci fi franchise is actually really good, for nerds and non-nerds alike; but mostly nerds…), Thirst (you liked Oldboy, right? Well here’s the director’s new film, a sexy Korean vampire film that all the cool kids are gonna be watching right now), Humpday (2 straight slacker friends double-dog-dare each other to enter an internet contest by making a gay porno with each other; costarring Josh from The Blair Witch Project and mumblecore pioneer Mark Duplass), Is Anybody There? (guaranteed heart-warming stuff starring Michael Caine as a cranky old coot in a retirement home who begrudgingly befriends the requisite little kid), It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: It’s a Very Sunny Christmas (the worst people in the world make the funniest Christmas special of the year), Margaret Cho: Beautiful (she’s saucy [filthy, really] and funny…what more do you want?), Enlighten Up (a yoga devotee/filmmaker decides to film her skeptical friend as she immerses him in the wild world of, well, yoga), ‘Andy Barker, PI’- the complete series (yet another funny, inventive, and immediately-cancelled sitcom starring the ever-welcome Andy Richter; this time, he’s a mild-mannered accountant who starts taking on the clients of the detective who previously inhabited his new office; it also stars Tony Hale, veteran of the similarly-unfairly-cancelled ‘Arrested Development’), Only the Brave (fact-based WWII film about a battalion made up of Japanese American soldiers who, despite having their entire families sent to concentration camps by the American government, earned about a million medals and single-handedly shamed the entire nation), Spread (Ashton Kutcher is a money-grubbing Hollywood prettyboy who makes his living by seducing older women; he also made this movie- zing!), Franklyn (the Incredibly Strange Section welcomes this bizarre thriller which includes: parallel universes, religious dictatorships, masked vigilantes, and all manner of weirdness), How to Be (Twilight heartthrob/prettyboy Robert Pattinson watches this indie drama about a drippy would-be poet/musician who seeks out the guidance of a self-help guru in order to stop being an insufferable hippy poseur; does he succeed? We can only hope and pray…), My Sister’s Keeper (tearjerkery drama about a young girl who seeks emancipation from her parents, just because they only bred her to be a blood bank for her [one presumes] better-loved ill sister; starring the long-missing Cameron Diaz), The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard (certified funny fellas Jeremy Piven, David Koechner, Ving Rhames, Ed Helms, Tony Hale, Ken Jeong, and Rob Riggle star in this ensemble comedy about the desperate times at a used car lot; take it on a double feature Wednesday with the very funny 80s forebear Used Cars, starring Kurt Russell), My One and Only (in the week’s oddest biographical film of the week, this coming of age dramedy starring Rene Zellweger is based on the early life of leathery Hollywood laughingstock George Hamilton), Bruno (if a flamboyantly effeminate Austrian fashionista cornered you in the past year and started making you very uncomfortable by exposing your, and your country’s innate prejudices, you’re probably in this movie), Ballast (acclaimed drama about an embattled single mom trying to keep her family safe in the face on violence and her own past), ‘Primeval’- season 2 (Videoport’s Sci Fi/Fantasy section adds the second season of this series about a team of Brits trying to find out why the hell dinosaurs have started popping up all over the place).

New Arrivals this week at Videoport: The Stepfather (the original horror thriller about a serial-marrying psycho who kills his families when they fail to live up to his exacting standards, starring ‘Lost’‘s Terry O’Quinn; watch it before the crappy remake hits DVD any second now), ‘Tom & Jerry’s Greatest Chases’ (the greatest hits of the popular yet thoroughly-unfunny classic cartoon characters), The Agony and the Ecstasy (DVD release of the Charlton Heston-as-Michelangelo biopic), Martin (see the Sunday review on page 1 for the lowdown on this little-seen George Romero vampire flick!), Babbleonia, The Local Stigmatic, Chinese Coffee, and Looking for Richard (see the Thursday review of all these recently-acquired Al Pacino rarities), Murder by Contract, 5 Against the House, The Lineup, The Sniper, and The Big Heat (see page 1’s Saturday review for the skinny on these new film noir classics joining the Mystery/Thriller section at Videoport!), ‘Race to Dakar’ (Charley Boorman ditches his far more photogenic pal Ewan McGregor and rides his well-worn motorcycle in the titular grueling race), Torso (thank Videoport’s loveable Andy for the addition of this 70s Italian sleaze/horror fest; Videoport’s nearly-as-loveable JackieO watched it and suggests that the title should be changed to “The Upper Part of the Female Torso- The Booby Part”), Pray the Devil Back to Hell (documentary about the brave women who successfully fought to have their home country of Liberia’s government not be such a haven for corrupt jerks), Homeboy (sort of a proto-Wrestler, this 1988 movie saw Mickey Rourke playing an aging [though still sort of pretty] boxer fighting for one last shot).


Former Videoporter/local filmmaker/cool guy Allen Baldwin’s newest film Up Up Down Down will have its first test screening at the Nickelodeon theater (right around the corner) on Thursday, December 3rd at 7pm and 915pm! Come and see the latest film from Allen’s Strongpaw Productions (you can see his great first film Twelve Steps Outside in Videoport’s Feature Drama section)! C’mon!

Videoport regretfully informs you...

That the holiday shopping season is upon us. I know. Well, we here at Videoport want you to know that we feel your pain- here are some easy, affordable gifty solutions for your holiday blues

1. Videoport Gift Certificates! Available in $10, $20, and $30 increments, these make the perfect gift for the movie lover on your list you have no earthly idea what to get.

2. Movies! Duh! Videoport’s got a pile o’ DVDs (both new and previously-viewed), all at low prices. Which is nice and all, but here’s the real good news- for every movie you buy from us (instead of some soulless mega-chain), Videoport gives you, that’s you personally, a free rental for yourself. Yeah! Who says you shouldn’t get something out of this whole greed-filled holiday shopping experience? You deserve it, don’t you? Plus, Videoport can special order any movie, TV series, or boxed set currently in print, and we do it for free (none of that ‘shipping and handling’ nonsense).

3. We now have really, really big boxes of jelly beans. People like those.

Free Money at Videoport! $20 buys you $25 worth of rental credit, while $30 buys you $40! Makes sense.

Published in: on November 16, 2009 at 7:18 pm  Comments (1)  
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  1. Wow, I know what my friends and family are getting this holiday, DVD’s Baby!!!! Also, a few great movies hit the theater soon, Up Up Down Down and the Fantastic Mr. Fox by Mr. Wes Anderson! I love this time of year!

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