Volume CCL- 250 Straight Weeks of Pure, Unadulterated Movie-Geek Awesomeness
For the Week of 6/1/10
Videoport gives you a free movie every, single day. How do we do it? Volume!
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.)
>>>Videoport customer Justin suggests Boondock Saints 2: All Saints Day (in the Incredibly Strange section). So this long time Videoport customer found himself looking through the shelves and thinking, “I’ve seen every mainstream movie I can stand.” So lately I’ve found myself ending up in the Incredibly Strange section of our beloved second home we call Videoport and I’ve found many things that I would’ve never have found anywhere else. This week I came across Boondock Saints 2. Ok, ok, so I did actually go see this movie when it came out opening night and, at the time, I wasn’t blown away, not like I expected to be, but there I stood staring at this movie and I realized it could never measure up, no matter how great it was, the first one was too mind blowing. Now you may think I’m telling you not to rent this movie when thats not the case at all. As a matter of fact, I rented it and it was pretty good, and bottom line is that we (the die hard Saints fans) begged for this movie for about ten years and then something that almost never happens happened. Thats right, we got it. Who cares if it’s not as good as the first, it’s a good movie worth watching and, like I said, you asked for it. Now rent it. At very least it’s a nice time to catch up with some good old characters, not to mention local boy Bob Marley makes real good in this, so trust me. Rent this movie. You won’t be disappointed. Well, you might be- but it was still better than Butterfly Effect 2 and it gives me a little hope that if we beg long and hard enough maybe someday they might make a sequel to Serenity*, and who could ask for more than that.
*Editor’s note: Amen to that at least, brother…
Tough and Triassic Tuesday. (Get one free rental from the Action or Classics sections with your paid rental.)
>>> Dennis suggests you take ACTION and write us a CLASSIC review! (Yeah, nobody sent in a Tuesday review this week…) But seriously, the VideoReport is the weekly newsletter of new releases, daily specials, money-saving tips, sure. But it’s also a place for the staff and customers of Videoport to share their views on movies and TV shows, get into geek-heavy arguments (say, about ‘Firefly’ vs. ‘Battlestar Galactica’, which ‘Firefly’ wins hands-down, but still), and basiclly rant and rave and throw their movie opinions around. So send us your reviews, lists, articles, crazy, illiterate screeds at email@example.com or our Facebook page “Videoport Jones”. Bring it on…
Wacky and Worldly Wednesday. (Get one free rental from the Comedy or Foreign Language sections with your paid rental.)
>>> April suggests Art School Confidential (in Comedy). Okay, so most people I know really dislike this movie. It’s pretentious, the characters are unlikeable, and it’s a total waste of John Malkovich and Anjelica Huston. I mean, these actors are brilliant! They totally should have more screen time in this film. Anjelica Huston was barely there. That being said I totally loved the movie. I guess it was my low expectations and the fact that Jim Broadbent is f-ing awesome as the drunken bum former art student who lives in a rent controlled apartment. Not director Terry Zwigoff’s best film (that’d be Bad Santa) but he did his best. If only writer Daniel Clowes hadn’t made all the characters so unlikeable it would’ve been a fine film. Max Minghella’s swollen lips were very distracting and that helped too. After a while I just kept staring at them. Creepy. Guys should not have Angelina Jolie lips. And he’s the lead in this art crap fest! I suggest it for a day when you are sick. That’s the best way to view Art School Confidential. (I had a sore throat when I watched it!)
Thrifty Thursday. (Get one free movie from any section with your paid rental.)
>>>Elsa S. Customer suggests The Little Prince (in Musicals). If you know the novella by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, you know the story: a creative little boy’s imagination is stifled by all the boring stilted grown-ups around him, ensuring that he, too, grows up to be a boring stilted grown-up… until the day he crash-lands his plane in the Sahara. There he encounters The Little Prince, a tiny visitor to our planet whose quest to save his favorite flower reminds The Pilot why we all need a bit of whimsy in our lives. It’s a sweet little book, but the movie is a bit of a puzzle: its slow pace, bittersweet ending, and drippy sentimentality make it better suited to adults than to children. It’s schmaltzy as only a Stanley Donen film could be. It’s padded out with swooping,
forgettable Lerner & Loewe musical numbers; particularly galling is The Rose’s guilt-trippy little number “Be Happy.” But The Little Prince does have its charms. Tiny Steven Warner is perfectly cast as The Little Prince: sweet but not saccharine, peaceful and curious, casting his innocent but level gaze askance at the grown-ups he meets. Gene Wilder is marvelous as The Fox, and he flings out ponderous, over-philosophical lines with with deceptive lightness, making them simultaneously airier and weightier. The desert-set musical number “Snake in the Grass” shows Bob Fosse at his sneaky, snaky best. Watch him pop a hip, crook an arm, even moonwalk, and you’ll see that Michael Jackson lifted his best moves straight from Fosse; turn down the sound and hum “Billie Jean” as Fosse dances and your jaw will drop. The settings wander between colorful stagy sets and vivid outdoors locations, and Donen makes the most of the contrasts between them, keeping the film fresh and fun despite the sentimentality that tries to drag it down. Overall, its parts feel greater than its whole, but it has a sweet heart at the center.
Free Kids Friday. (Get one free rental from the Children’s or Family sections, no other rental necessary).
>>> Dennis suggests that one day you will think back to the times you let your child play unattended with our DVDs and connect that behavior to his/her wrecking of your new car. You’ll realize the connection, but by then it’ll be too late…
Having a Wild Weekend. (Rent two, get your third movie for free from any section on Saturday and Sunday.)
>>>For Saturday, Videoport customer Spencer emphatically does not recommend Botched (in Horror). Dear fellow Videoport regular- This is the worst movie I have ever seen. And I’ve seen Transformers 2. Your friend- Spencer.
>>>For Sunday, Elsa S. Customer suggests In the Bedroom (in Feature Drama). Though it could be touted as a thriller, In the Bedroom is intelligently crafted drama at its best. At first, it seems like a slice-of-life family drama: an educated, sensible, comfortably upper-middle-class couple (Tom Wilkinson and Sissy Spacek) worry about their grad-school-bound son (Nick Stahl)
and his summer dalliance with a single mother… and they worry about the single mother’s ex-husband, a rough fellow with a short temper. At the end of the first act, the tale twisted horribly and becomes something quite different: a story of hungry revenge, of rage unslaked, of how tragedy upsets routine and how routine protects us from our worst impulses. (Because it was filmed in Rockland, this little tale of domestic suspense may ring disturbingly familiar notes for Mainers.) It’s a story that turns our expectations upside-down and makes us imagine what horrors we might commit if we could convince ourselves they were just. In the Bedroom displays the the essence of good storytelling: the plot is compelling and gripping on its own, but the story also builds on (and reveals more and more about) the characters and relationships as it ticks along. Spacek and Wilkinson display an easy mastery here, talking and moving and living together like a long-established older couple, conveying more in a glance than most movies give you in a minute of dialogue. When their deeply ingrained, carefully refined politeness wears off, they start to spiral alarmingly fast — and both actors make the ensuing events seem perfectly, effortlessly, horribly believable.
New Releases this week at Videoport: Alice in Wonderland (Tim Burton continues his streak of overrated, Johnny Depp-philic not-as-good-as-Terry-Gilliam fantasy films yet another version of the Lewis Carroll classic [which people should really stop messing with any time now]), The Wolfman (Certified always-watchable-guys Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, and Hugo Weaving try [and largely, alas, fail] to make this CGI-infested horror remake relevant, scary, or in any way exciting; you guys have fun, though), ‘Life’ (yet another stunningly-photographed British nature series; you can choose to have the actual David Attenborough narration or the USA-approved Oprah narration!), ‘Foyle’s War’: ‘The Russian House’, Killing Time’, and ‘The Hide’ (the sixth season of the enduringly-popular British mystery series), ‘Burn Notice’-
season 3 (well-above-average spy/comedy series starring Jeffrey Donovan and the ever-awesome Bruce Campbell), ‘Rescue Me’- season 5 (Denis Leary returns with his patented combination of charisma and a-holery in the last season of this fireman dramedy), ‘Aqua Teen Hunger Force’- season 7 (are there still fans of this Adult Swim animated, surrealist spazz-show? Well, I still remember the early seasons fondly…), The Red Baron (legendary WWI Snoopy-killer Baron von Richtofen gets the big screen, biplane-happy treatment), ‘Royal Pains’- season 1 (Mark Feuerstein stars as a conflicted doctor torn between the cushy life of treating the rich and helping the poor in this sitcom), Tony Manero (Chilean creepfest about a serial killer obsessed with impersonating the titular character [John Travolta’s lead in Saturday Night Fever]), For My Father (Israeli film about three loners connecting, reluctantly, in Tel Aviv), Undisputed 3 (more prison-punching action!), Easter Bunny Kill Kill (from the director of the recent, and equally-bananas/disgusting Someone’s Knocking at the Door [see last week’s VideoReport!] comes this super-sick horror film about, among other unpleasant things, a serial killer in an Easter Bunny costume), ‘Drop Dead Diva’- season 1 (high concept comedy about a meany-mean skinny model brought back to life as a zaftig lawyer; will she learn life lessons? You bet she will!), Bitch Slap (a trio of sexy ladies try to steal some diamonds from the Mob; you’re only gonna rent it for the title, anyway…).
New Arrivals this week at Videoport: Once Around (Holly Hunter and Richard Dreyfus star in this 1991 romantic comedy in which Hunter’s love for her obnoxiously enthusiastic new fiancee is not shared by her family), Harry and the Hendersons (perhaps spurred by its inclusion in the utterly hilarious ’30 Rock’ episode ‘Goodbye, My Friend’, Videoport has replaced this Sasquatch-centric family film on the DVD), Quigley Down Under (remember that Tom Selleck Australian Western from 1990? Anyone? Well, here it is anyway), Ice Cream Man (remember that professional creepy guy Clint Howard horror movie about the titular, murderous ice cream man? Anyone? It’s from 1995? Well, here it is anyway), Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970 sci fi about a scientist who builds an all-powerful computer capable of independent thought and hardwired into all the computers on earth and then is surprised when things go awry; way to go, Braniac), Shenandoah (Jimmy Stewart stars in this 1965 Civil War Western), Waste of Shame (Rupert Graves stars as the Bard in this Shakespeare in Love- style attempt to relate the man and his work; this time [as an underemployed former English major can attest from the title] it’s the Sonnets that get the autobiographical speculation [specifically Sonnet 129- see, that expensive education finally paid off!]), David Cross: Bigger and Blackerer (new standup from the ever-hilarious Cross!), The Devils (Ken Russell’s brilliant, shocking classic about the Inquisition stars Oliver Reed and Vanessa Redgrave), 9 to 5: Days in Porn (documentary about porn stars and their unique workplace challenges).
New Arrivals on Blu-Ray this week at Videoport: Hang ’em High, Alice in Wonderland (2009), ‘True Blood’- season 2, Wall-E, Memento, Across the Universe, The Man from Earth, 30 Days of Night, Spartacus, The Wolfman (2009).
Get some free money at Videoport! Videoport’s payment plans give you more than you pay for! Yup, it’s just this simple: If you put $20 on your Videoport rental account, we’ll give you $25 in rental credit! And $30 buys you $40 in rental credit! You can use that credit for rentals or any pesky extra day fees- that’s free money from where I’m sitting, baby…
(From Videoport customer Jason)
I could mention how well stocked Videoport is with all sorts of rare, foreign, and cult films. I could tell countless stories of rare finds, from videocassettes of Return of the Living Dead, back when its release on DVD was held up due to legal troubles, to Johnny Guitar. I could say that it is because I know no matter what film I hear about, from silent films from the Soviet era to Norwegian Zombie films, I can count on it being there. I could also mention how it sometimes has things that have not even been released yet, like the copy of Che I watched last winter, testifying to some localized rupture in the space-time continuum.
However, these are not the real reasons that I continue to eschew Netf**x, and get my videos from Videoport. The real reason is the Videoport has personality. Its column in The Phoenix is consistently the funniest thing in that paper. (Yes, I am aware that it is actually an advertisement). I keep a stack of Videoreports next to my TV for future recommendations. These publications make me feel that Videoport is made up of people, people who love movies. I am not one to ask for recommendations from the people at the store, generally I know what I want when I go to Videoport. Or sometimes I just want to wander around the store, waiting to stumble across a movie that looks interesting (something that seems impossible to do online). Despite the fact that I never take advantage of it, I like knowing that there people there who could answer any question I might have.
In the future we might all get our movies through direct on demand streaming video, and our recommendations will come from computer programs that scrupulously monitor our choices, emails, and facebook profiles to predict our tastes. Until that day comes, however, I will continue to get movies from Videoport. (But seriously guys, you could do something about this nightmare scenario: if you can get movies months before they are released, couldn’t you go back in time and destroy Netf**x or something? There are countless movies about this sort of thing, middle aisle.)
Coming next week: something about movies, I’m almost certain of it…