VideoReport #230

Volume CCXXX- Revolutionary Rodan

For the Week of 1/12/10

Videoport makes renting fun! Well, maybe not as much fun as watching, but still- pretty darned 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.)

>>>Elsa S. Customer suggests If you’re renting this week’s hot new release, Moon* (masterfully directed by Duncan Jones and starring the inimitable Sam Rockwell), you’ll notice it’s artfully embroidered with references to other classic sci-fi films. And you can grab one of those classics for free! Start on Monday with 2001: A Space Odyssey (in Sci Fi/Fantasy). Kubrick’s hallowed (and hollowed-out) masterpiece, 2001 is a clear influence on Moon. Both films revolve around the relationship between a solitary human cosmonaut and his Turing-test-worthy computer companion. It’s delicate work indeed to tread this ground, so thoroughly and thoughtfully did Kubrick explore the emotional and moral complexities. It’s a compliment to both films to imagine them as companion pieces.

*Editor’s note: the lovely Ms. S. Customer is clearly a huge fan of this week’s Moon, so check out her reviews all this week, where she attempts to lure you to it by reviewing the films she feels influenced it. Sneaky? Sure- but that’s why we love her.

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

>>> Dennis suggests you fill up this space (which, clearly, nobody did this week) with your own reviews for your favorite (or least favorite) reviews from Videoport’s Action or Classics sections (or anywhere else for that matter). Just drop your reviews off in the store or send them to us at denmn@hotmail.com, our myspace page http://www.myspace.com/videoportjones or our movie blog at http://www.videoportjones.wordpress.com. Oh, or our Facebook page “Videoport Jones”. With all those options, I think it’s really just lazy of you if you don’t send in a review or two…

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

>>> Elsa S. Customer suggests Solyaris [in Foreign]. Andrei Tarkovsky’s meditative masterpiece from the novel by Stanislaw Lem, it presents an emotionally rich and deeply intriguing mystery of ontology and identity. In brief: the crew of a space station report strange occurrences and appearances, and a psychologist is dispatched to help determine what the trouble may be. And that brief recap is the last brief thing you’ll get; Solyaris is notorious for its deliciously long takes and slow scenes.

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

>>> Elsa S. Customer suggests Alien (in Sic Fi/Fantasy). Corporations in space! Yikes! Alien (written in part by the late lamented Dan O’Bannon) helped usher in a new era in science fiction films, giving us a taste of a grubby, greedy corporate-run future rather than the sleek, clean space operas of the fifties and sixties. The aesthetic design, the plot complications, and the interweaving of humor and horror influenced a generation of filmmakers, and that influence continues to this day.

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

>>> Videoport customer Meghan C. suggests Return to Oz. For the past several years I’ve been re-visiting the movies that scared the crap out of me as a kid. Mind you Videoport, in its cinematic wisdom, has moved the majority of these into categories other than the kids’ section. (Yes, I see you in the sci-fi/fantasy section, “Labyrinth” and “Dark Crystal”). That said, I remember when “Return to Oz” came out in theaters and I wanted to see it wicked bad and my mom was like, “The trailers look kind of scary…you know how you were after that episode of “Our House” and I was like, “No, Mom, I know, but I can totally handle a psychiatric hospital with some creepily S&M overtones, plus some EXTREMELY SPOOKY disembodied heads, obviously-LSD-inspired henchmen and a badly animated Mountain King,” and she took me to see it. I think I actually said something way lamer like, “Whatever, mom, Wilfred Brimley isn’t in this movie!” but having watched this movie again recently, I’d say something more like the above. Which doesn’t mean “don’t rent it,” On the contrary. As a kids’ movie, this is a failure, being a) Creepy for kids and b) Creepy for adults who didn’t connect with it as a kid. But if you, too, fell asleep in the theater with nightmares of weirdo machines and lunch-box trees and wheelie-dudes, rent it again, now that you’re a grown up. You can totally handle it.

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 Silent Running (in Sci Fi/Fantasy). Bruce Dern stars as Freeman Lowell, the lone botanist in a space-ship biodome, working to preserve the last remaining samples of Earth’s plant life. He cares for his charges with affection and attention, and when the order comes to destroy the samples, Lowell finds himself rebelling against the eradication of his little colony. Directed by Douglass Trumbull (who helped did special effects for 2001: A Space Odyssey) and written by Deric Washburn and Michael Cimino (writers of The Deer Hunter), this is no hot-shot space adventure, but an environmental parable complete with Joan Baez soundtrack.

>>>For Sunday, Dennis suggests Cool Runnings (in Comedy). I don’t, really (although John Candy has a few moments). I just wanted to have a weekend back-to-back all-‘Running’ recommendation-fest. Thank you for indulging me.

New Releases this week at Videoport: Moon (the ever-cool Sam Rockwell stars in this excellent sci-fi thriller about…well, I’m not saying- and I give you permission to smack anyone who’s preparing to reveal any plot details to you; plus April would like to say that: “Moon is awesome, and she will be forcing it on people ’til everyone loves it as much as she does. It’s a threat!”), Big Fan (standup comedy hobbit genius Patton Oswalt reveals some serious acting chops in this great character study of a rabid New York Giants fan who, when his player idol beats him up, gets a little weirder; written by the guy who wrote The Wrestler), The Hurt Locker (Jeremy Renner becomes a big star due to his riveting lead performance in this war drama about an adrenaline-junkie bomb disposal expert), Halloween II (Rob Zombie makes another ill-advised remake, and this time, the original [sequel] wasn’t that good to start with; uh-oh…), Fame (just when you finally got that damned theme song out of your head, here comes a remake of that ‘let’s put on a show’ high school musical), In the Loop (searing, darkly-comic British political thriller stars James Gandolfini and the movie-stealing Peter Capaldi), Departures (melancholy Japanese comedy about an unemployed musician who takes on a job preparing the recently deceased at a funeral home), I Can Do Bad All By Myself (inexplicably-successful movie mogul Tyler Perry is back, both as sassy gramma Medea and as writer-director of this tale of a no-good nightclub singer [the lovely Taraji P. Henson] who learns to be all good and Christian and such), Post Grad (comedy about that girl from ‘The Gilmore Girls’ figuring out what to do after college), Passing Strange (Spike Lee directs this filmed performance of the Broadway musical about a young black artist in Europe), The Burning Plain (Kim Basinger and Charlize Theron play an estranged mother and daughter coping with infidelity and other things in this drama from the writer of Amores Perros and Babel), Amreeka (an immigrant single mom and her teenaged son try to fit in in suburbia in this drama co-starring ‘Arrested Development”s Alia Shawcat), Downloading Nancy (good cast [Jason Patric, Maria Bello, Rufus Sewell] in this drama about a dissatisfied wife who finds escape through the internet and that ‘sexting’ everybody’s talking about), Tru Loved (drama about a typical teenaged girl forced to deal with all manner of American bigot when she and her lesbian moms move to a small town), The Drummer (new from the Film Movement people, this drama sees the son of a Hong Kong crime boss find sanctuary with a gang of Zen drummers in the forests of Thailand).

New Arrivals this week at Videoport: Evil Under the Sun and Death on the Nile (Peter Ustinov hams it up delightfully as Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot in these enjoyable whodunnits), Hardware (legendarily nasty 1990 sci-fi/horror film was originally rated X for its nastiness; luckily, this special edition 2 disc DVD is even nastier…), Nicholas and Alexandra (lavish historical drama about a Czar in love), Troll/Troll 2 (the latter is said to be one of the worst movies of all time [so bad it’s actually the subject of an unpcoming documentary about how bad it is], the former is just plain awful), Cathy Griffin: She’ll Cut a Bitch (has the abrasive comedienne made the trek back from parasitical has been celebrity bottom feeder to D-list celeb? Watch her new standup and find out!), The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band (Buddy Ebsen was the leader of the titular ensemble in this 1968 Disney film; find it in the kids’ section), Eden Log (French sci fi about an amnesiac man who, waking up in a cave next to a dead guy and seemingly tailed by some sort of creature, must try to put it all together), Objectified (another documentary from the guy who made Helvetica, this time about our relationship to manufactured objects; sounds dull? Maybe, but you didn’t think anyone could make an entertaining font documentary either…).

New Arrivals on Blu-Ray this week at Videoport: The General (Buster Keaton), Transporter 3, 10 Things I Hate About You.

Rent-one-get-one-free? That’s for losers- howsabout rent-one-get-five free?

Yeah, sure, Videoport gives you a free rental every day, and that’s, well, that’s actually pretty cool. But, hey, why settle for one of Videoport’s workaday awesome rental specials when you can work the system and get an extra one, two, three, or even more rentals for your hard-earned jack? See, movie companies often throw more than one flick on a DVD, and, since Videoport’s got some of ’em, you can stretch your rental dollar even further; check out the daily specials outlined on page 1 to make your choices. (Sure, most of ’em are packaged in bulk because they suck, but many of them suck in very entertaining ways.) Here’s our list:

In the Incredibly Strange Section:

The Mini-Skirt Mob/Chrome & Hot Leather

Polyester/Desperate Living

Reefer Madness/Cocaine Fiends

Wild in the Streets/Gassss…

Just for the Hell of It/Blast-off Girls

Driver 23/The Atlas Moth

Chained Girls/Daughters of Lesbos

The Acid Eaters/Weed

Bettie Page Varietease/Teaserama

White Slave/Caligula Reincarnated as Hitler

Blood, Boobs, and Beast/Nightbeast

Babette/Monique, My Love

Dementia 13/Carnival of Souls

Twilight of the Ice Nymphs/Archangel

Mondo Bizarro/Mondo Freudo

Mondo Mod/The Hippie Revolt

Night of the Bloody Apes/Feast of Flesh

Psych Out/The Trip

From Dusk ‘Til Dawn/Full Tilt Boogie

In the Foreign Language Section:

Lessons of Darkness/Fata Morgana

Legend of Suram Fortress/Ashik Carib

In the Horror Section:

Parents/Fear

Motel Hell/Deranged

Revenge of the Creature/The Creature Walks Among Us

Troll/Troll2

In the Documentary Section:

Best Boy/Best Man

Death By Design/The Life & Times of Life & Times

In the Criterion Collection:

La Jetee/Sans Soleil

Late Spring/Tokyo-Ga

In the Classics Section:

The Comedy of Terrors/The Raven

The Zombies of Mora Tau/The Werewolf

The Prisoner of Zenda (2 versions)

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (2 versions)

The Giant Claw/The Creature With the Atom Brain

Go West/The Big Store

Room Service/At the Circus

Judge Priest/Doctor Bull

The Night Stalker/The Night Strangler

In the Comedy Section:

Teen Wolf/Teen Wolf 2

In the Action Section:

Tango & Cash/Cobra

Django/The Last Pistolero

El Mariachi/Desperado

In the Sci-Fi/Fantasy Section:

The Day the Earth Stood Still (2 versions)

Rebirth of Mothra/Rebirth of Mothra 2

Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla/Godzilla vs. Destroya

In the Mystery/Thriller Section:

The Truth About Charlie/Charade

Blackmail/Easy Virtue

In the Children’s Section:

Frosty the Snowman/Frosty Returns

And, here are some even bargain-y-er multiple DVDs:

Smokey and the Bandit 1-3 (in Comedy)

Olga’s House of Shame/Olga’s Dance Hall Girls/White Slaves of Chinatown (in Incredibly Strange)

The Wolf Man/Werewolf of London/Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman/She Wolf of London (in Horror)

So, just to play devil’s advocate here- say you were to rent the Frosty the Snowman/Frosty Returns double DVD alongside the Wolf Man (X4) DVD on a Thursday. That’d be six full-length movies all for just one dollar, which works out to about 17 cents a movie. Seriously, we’ll have to just stop paying Andy at this rate…

Extended Rates and Free Money!

Yup. Turn your 1 night rental (new releases) into a 3 night rental for just $1.75 more, and turn a 3 night rental (everything else) into a 7 night rental for just an additional 69 cents! And, buy yourself some free rental credit with Videoport’s pre-payment plans: buy yourself $25 worth of rental credit for only $20 or, if you’re feeling saucy, buy yourself $40 of rental credit for only $30!

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Published in: on January 11, 2010 at 6:30 pm  Leave a Comment  
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