Volume CCLV: Bad Lieutenant In Wonderland
For the week of 7/06/10
Videoport is full of nerds and brainiacs. Call us anytime! We’ll try to answer your questions without looking it up on Google or Wikipedia. We swear!
Middle Aisle Monday. (Get one free rental from the Sci-Fi, Horror, Incredibly Strange, Mystery/Thriller, Animation, Staff Picks sections with your paid rental.)
>>>April suggests Bleeders (in Horror). Because the cover is just so fun! Bloody goo you can push around. Look at it and you’ll see what I mean. And the creatures! Yuck! Then you look on the back and it talks about “incest and hedonism” and “hideous, deformed creatures” and you’re all, “oh man, I gotta watch this!” Then you remember you turned your VHS player into a toaster. But that’s okay because you know a guy who still has one and so you rent it and take it to his place and he’s like, “No way, man! I’m not watching this!” But then you suck him in by showing him the awesome bloody cover and he’s like, “Okay, sure.” And it’s okay since it’s not the worst movie you’ve ever seen. I mean, it’s no Troll 2 but its got Rutger Hauer, so…
Tough and Triassic Tuesday. (Get one free rental from the Action or Classics section with your paid rental.)
>>>Andy suggests On The Beach (in Classics). End-of-civilization-as-we-know-it dramas are ridiculously popular nowadays. Or maybe it’s not so ridiculous. After all, North Korea is this close to constructing a functioning missile! But with movies like The Road and The Book of Eli coming out recently, you know the apocalypse is on someone’s mind. Well, that’s nothing new, as evidenced by Stanley Kramer’s 1959 film On The Beach. Maybe it’s not the first apocalyptic drama to be filmed, but it’s the earliest one I’ve seen. It’s about a community of people in Australia (mostly Americans, natch) waiting for certain death. A nuclear holocaust has wiped out humanity in the rest of the world and a cloud of radiation is creeping across the Indian Ocean, eager to contaminate and kill the survivors down under. Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, Fred Astaire, and Anthony Perkins are all excellent in tricky roles as
complicated people who would probably be interesting enough to sustain a feature film even if they weren’t dealing with the knowledge of their imminent deaths. It’s much like Don McKellar’s 1998 drama Last Night (a smart, well-acted indie that you can find in Videoport’s Feature Drama section), but with more starpower and a broader scope. The movie goes to great lengths to give the characters hope of survival, before snatching it away from them. Suffice it to say that the characters come to terms with their deaths before we, the audience, do. I don’t feel that I’m giving any plot points away because, if anything is clear in this movie, it’s that death is so inevitable it’s almost beside the point.
Wacky and Worldly Wednesday. (Get one free rental from the Comedy or Foreign Language sections with your paid rental.)
>>>April suggests Maria Bamford: Plan B (in Comedy under ‘B’ for Bamford). This chick is so smart and funny. She’s so cool I really don’t have much of a review. You should just rent it. Plan B is not comedy stand-up as you know it but a one-woman “sitcom” starring Maria as her mom, dad, sister, high school nemesis, and other crazy characters (including her pug Blossom). Filmed live in her home state of Minnesota. Also it’s got some neat extras. Watch it!
Thrifty Thursday. (Get one free movie from any section with your paid rental.)
>>>Andy suggests Born On The Fourth Of July (in Feature/Drama). I’ve realized that the nuttier Tom Cruise gets in real life, the more I like him in the movies. Go figure. Not everyone can do what he does, you know. Some actors with leading-man looks flounder in starring roles. Orlando Bloom in
Kingdom Of Heaven? Puh-leeze. Edward Norton in The Incredible Hulk? What a yawn-a-thon. But Tom Cruise exudes charm and charisma while blowing sh*t up, and he makes it look easy. I just saw him in Knight and Day, and I left the theater one satisfied customer. He’s also been known to turn in impressive performances now and again. Say what you will about Oliver Stone and his 1989 film Born On The Fourth Of July (and I admit, there are criticisms to be made), but I was with Tom Cruise the whole time. Cruise plays a patriotic young man (author Ron Kovic) who joins the Marines straight out of high school, is paralyzed in Vietnam, suffers the indignity of an underfunded Veteran’s hospital, and eventually becomes an anti-war activist. For the entire two and a half hour running time, I felt like the young man onscreen embodied my own youthful idealism and naïveté, and yet I could also identify with his eventual cynicism and disillusionment. I was just with him, you know? So what if he’s a nutty Scientologist, I’m still going to see his movies.
Free Kids Friday. (Get one free rental from the Children’s or Family sections, no other rental necessary.)
>>>Andy suggests The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret Of The Unicorn. Or, as it’s known in France, where the Tintin cartoon series was produced back in the early ‘90s, “Le secret de la licorne.” Just a bit of trivia I thought I’d throw out there. Why not class your kids up with some purebred European cartoons? The Tintin series was, and continues to be, one of the most popular comics ever. The Belgian writer/artist Herge produced Tintin stories from 1929 until 1983, when he died. For most of his career, his comics were insanely popular, even after he was accused of being a Nazi sympathizer (probably not true, but who am I to dismiss a nasty rumor?). This story, The Secret Of The Unicorn, was first published in 1942, first translated into English in 1959, first animated in Belgium in 1958, and soon to be a Steven Spielberg motion-capture-animated film in 2011. As always, Videoport is way ahead, since we’ve had this episode of the 1991 French cartoon (don’t worry, it’s been competently dubbed into English) on VHS for a decade and a half. You’re welcome. As for the story, what can I say besides that it’s charming, kinda violent, extremely entertaining, and very mysterious? How about that it made me excited about a motion-capture-animated movie for the first time since Robert Zemeckis threw his career away with that crap?
Having a Wild Weekend. (Rent two, get your third movie for free from any section on Saturday and Sunday.)
>>>For Saturday, Videoport welcomes you to Baby Jane Snodgrass’ Porno Corner. Baby Jane Snodgrass recommends The Big Lebowski: A XXX Parody. Of all the porn parodies out there, and there are many, The Big Lebowski may be the bestest ever. This Ain’t Star Trek, Porn Wars: Episodes I and II, Pirates, Pirates 2: Stagnetti’s Revenge, Not The Bradys, Not Three’s Company, Bi-Back Mountain, The Ozporns… Egads! Jizzum crowbars! There is even a Golden Girls porn! I will never watch that only because I fear they will have Porno Dorothy doing it with her Porno Ma, and that sh*t ain’t right. What separates the Big Lebowski porn from the rest is some f***ing integrity. I feel like the director, Lee Roy Myers, was all like, “I wish I could combine my love of porn with my favorite movie, The Big Lebowski.” And kabanga! Here it is! One problem I have with porn parodies, and porn in general, is that everyone looks like porn stars. Big fake t*ts, lips, hair, and a bald peeper. Which I can totally dig if that’s your fantasy. But if your fantasy is a Big Lebowski poke-a-thon, then too many blow-up doll blondes and muscled out ball slappers would just be absurd, right? This is a thoughtful and well shot porno. How many times can you say that? This is a thoughtful and well shot porno. In an industry where they turn out hundreds of crap movies a month it’s refreshing to come across a real bonerable treat. Enjoy.
>>>For Sunday, April suggests The Interview (in Mystery/Thriller). I am recommending the one with Hugo Weaving. Yeah, that one. I don’t know why no one ever rents it when I recommend it. Maybe because it’s mostly set in a single room in a police station where two cops are grilling a guy about a crime he may or may not have committed. It’s like a play. Why don’t people like plays? Or films shot like plays? It drives me crazy. This is an awesome film. Hugo Weaving is brilliant.
This week’s New Releases: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (it’s the hottest Swedish export since Pippi Longstocking, but with way more misogyny), Brooklyn’s Finest (Videoport’s Dennis2 says: “It’s good in a Harsh Times kind of way.” That means it’s pretty good), A Single Man (Colin Firth is stunningly good in this deeply affecting drama), Doc Martin – Series 4 (This latest series brings us up-to-date in the Doc Martin saga. Good luck getting more, since series star Martin Clunes announced a break from acting after this season. Now you’ll have to start watching House like the rest of us), Squidbillies – Season 3 (By this point, you know what you’re in for).
New Arrivals at Videoport: The Wind Journeys (new from Film Movement, this Columbian drama makes the argument that the accordion is a cursed instrument. Now run with it). And, for your sordid enjoyment, Videoport has aquired a new film noir collection: Pushover (1954; directed by Richard Quine; starring Fred MacMurray and Kim Novak), Human Desire (1954; directed by Fritz Lang; starring Glenn Ford), The Brothers Rico (1957; directed by Phil Karlson; starring Richard Conte), Nightfall (1957; directed by Jacques Tourneur; starring Aldo Ray and Anne Bancroft), and City Of Fear (directed by Irving Lerner; starring Lyle Talbot).
New Arrivals on Blu-Ray this week at Videoport: 8 Mile, The Warriors, Mean Girls, The Strangers, An American Werewolf In London, Do The Right Thing, The Duchess, Hustle & Flow, Ghost Town, Inside Man, The Spiderwick Chronicles, Four Brothers, and The Truman Show.