VideoReport #263

Volume CCLXIII- The Bad French Lieutenant’s Woman

For the Week of 8/31/10

Videoport gives you a free movie every day. And now there’s yet another way to get free movies (check out Wednesday’s review for the shockingly frugal details!)

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 Joshua B. suggests Tron (in Sci Fi/Fantasy.) What with the upcoming

Bruce Boxleitner!

sequel, if you’ve seen this one a while back, you might consider refreshing yourself, and if you’ve never seen Tron, well, geez, I don’t know what to say about you. That’s just not right. Although it didn’t do a…ll that well when it first came out, it has slowly gained a reputation and appreciation for what it has to offer. And for what it’s got, it’s good. Although I thought the film could have been structured a little better, the thing about Tron is the visual effects. And oh wow, visual effects. And Wendy Carlos. Yeah. So, here’s a movie with lots of pretty colors and neat patterns and such, and these bouncing electronic part rotoscope part early CG things, they make the coolest sounds. Nothing wrong with that. Jeff Bridges (The Dude) is sucked into a computer world where a tyrannical overseer program is basically poised to take control of the Pentagon and other major world military centers, but all The Dude wants is the money he’s owed for creating some popular video games. Inside the digital

...and the cyber-Dude!

landscape, he has to assist a security program called Tron which is intended to check and balance the Master Control. Basically, it’s a precocious band of rebels against the all-powerful mind-controlled armies of a despot. It’s pretty basic, but it serves the purpose of pulling you along to the next cool CG design effect. There’s also some old school Roman Coliseum allusions, and a lot of heavy religious allegory, but you can probably ignore that if you want. An enjoyable visual spectacular with likable characters and killer music. Oh, and hey, it’s got the scientist from the second Ninja Turtles movie.

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

>>> Videoport customer Mark Magee suggests Little Big Man (in Action/Adventure.) This entertaining, sprawling anti-western is as much a reflection of America in the late 60s as it is a story about the American West. It is the first film to honestly deal with the plight of the Native American and shows the many injustices put upon them. It is shown through the fictional narrative of a 121 yr old survivor of the battle of Little Bighorn, played by Dustin Hoffman. He tells of his life living with the Indians and an array of quirky and endearing characters. Hoffman at first seems miscast in the role, but ends up giving one of his finest performances. The film has many comic moments but turns out to be more of a tragic drama than comedy. Beautifully filmed, directed and written, Little Big Man stays with you long after you’ve watched it. It is definitley a film of it’s time and the story contains some pointed similarities to the war with Vietnam. The climax of the film is the very accurate depiction of Custer’s Last Stand. Richard Mulligan gives a standout performance as Custer and Chief Dan George is excellent as Hoffman’s ‘Grandfather’. A great film that gets better with age; a very entertaining history lesson.

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

>>> AND…There’s a NEW WEDNESDAY RENTAL SPECIAL AT VIDEOPORT…and it’s a doozy. Here’s the deal…(better switch to all caps again for this…) RENT 4 NON-NEW-RELEASES FOR 7 DAYS FOR 7 BUCKS!!! Whew. Lot o’ caps there, but you’ve gotta admit, it’s worth it. Just

This is money. Save some.

to reiterate, on any Wednesday, you can pick up any four movies (that aren’t new releases) and you can have them for seven days for seven dollars. Seriously. Plus, the regular Wednesday special (rent one, get a free Comedy or Foreign film for free) is still, as ever, in effect…BUT you can’t combine it with this new special. Got it? Two, separate, perhaps equally awesome Wednesday rental specials now at Videoport! We love you!

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

>>> Dennis suggests Mountains of the Moon (in Feature Drama.) Now that Videoport’s got this one on the DVD, I’m gonna redouble my efforts to get people to watch the damned thing! Seriously- an old-style epic adventure, with explorers, historical intrigue, some swashbuckling, a judicious amount of rumpy-pumpy, and some excellent performances. It would make a good double feature with the similarly-rousing The Man Who Would Be King (in the Action/Adventure section.) The true story of explorers Richard Burton and John Hanning Speke who set out on an expedition into, as they say, uncharted Africa in search of the as-yet-discovered source of the Nile river, Mountains of the Moon itself explores the relationship between two completely-dissimilar men, the legendary Burton (a world-hopping, womanizing, encyclopedic, utterly disreputable half-scoundrel) and Speke (a more respectable and acceptable-to-the-Royal Geographical Society academic.) United, despite their differences, in their innate desire to discover, the two men forge a friendship born of hardship and mutual respect…before the ‘civilized’ world gets their hooks into it. A sprawling, exciting, and

Manly explorer hug.

often moving real-life adventure, featuring memorable performances from Patrick Bergin (as the ultimate explorer Burton), Iain Glen (touching as the secretly-closeted, conflicted Speke), and Fiona Shaw (as the liberated society lady determined to match Burton’s quest for knowledge and pleasure.) Directed, in a total departure from the once-sure-fire Bob Rafelson (Five Easy Pieces, Stay Hungry.) Just rent it. You’ll be happy.

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

>>> Dennis suggests that teaching your kids about proper, respectful DVD handling now will keep your kids from dedicating their lives to a pseudo religion invented on a bet by a truly awful science fiction writer in order to bilk gullible celebrities out of their money. It’s exactly where Mrs. Cruise, Travolta, Ribisi, Lewis, Alley, Beck, and Hayes went wrong…early DVD mishandling gone unchecked.

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

>>>For Saturday, Dennis suggests a Muhammad Ali movie festival! Sure, there’s the pumped up Will Smith Ali (which is okay), but for a real taste of the greatness that was Ali, I recommend seeing the man himself in the following documentaries: 1. When We Were Kings: brilliant, emotionally-thrilling account of Ali’s ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ fight against the then-unstoppable George Foreman. Holy cats, is this a great movie- I watched it when it first came out in the late, lamented Movies on Exchange St. and, at the end, the crowd spontaneously bust into applause. I’ve

He should probably just stay down.

never seen that before, or since. 2. Ali Rap: unique, intriguing documentary focusing on Ali’s singular verbal stylings and how his transformation of macho braggadocio into something like poetry influenced modern rap. 3. Ali’s ’65: New to Videoport, this documentary (narrated by the ever-excellent Jeffrey Wright) was produced by ESPN to celebrate the champ’s 65th birthday and to examine his life and his enormous impact on sports and, well, everything else. Also includes two complete Ali fights as special features! 4. Ali in Action: Also new to Videoport this week. The title says it all in this one, with the DVD just laying out four complete Ali fights, so you can watch the thing of improbable beauty that is Ali beating some guy up. 5. Facing Ali. Speaking of guys Ali beat up, this documentary rounds up ten of the champs former opponents and lets them tell the tale of how Ali whomped on them (or, near then end, was whomped by them). Some are full of admiration for their long-ago vanquisher, while others remain bitter at perceived bias against them, or the way Ali taunted them prior to their fights (he could be kind of a d**k sometimes), and a shocking number of them have to be subtitled due to the toll boxing has taken on their minds. A sobering, insightful examination of the man’s career.

>>>For Sunday, Videoport customer Mark Magee suggests Beyond the Sea (in Feature Drama.) I was so puzzled why this film didn’t get the attention it deserved. An obvious labor of love for Kevin Spacey, this is a very unique turn on the film bio genre. Spacey directs and stars and sings and dances as Bobby Darin and I think it’s one of his best performances. He really does sound like Darin and with the help of very little makeup, looks like him too. I did not know much about Darin before this film; he defnitely had his amount of joy and tragedy and the film does a great job of showing us both. Besides Spacey’s excellent portrayal, the supporting cast is also great. The kid that plays a young Darin is amazing. The film is part concert film, part Gene Kelly musical and has some great show-stopping moments. I’m really sorry this was so overlooked; it’s great entertainment.

New Releases this week at Videoport: ‘Sons of Anarchy’- season 2 (It’s ‘The Sopranos’ on motorbikes, with Ron Perlman, Katy Segal, and lots of really greasy guys with no mufflers), ‘House M.D.- season 6’ (If you want to see what US-megastar Hugh Laurie is really great at, check out his peerlessly-twitty Bertie Wooster in the ‘Jeeves and Wooster’ series in the British Comedy section; he doesn’t cure any flesh-eating bacteria or anything, but he’s very funny), Marmaduke (here’s a list of the talented people involved in this talking doggy movie who now must earn back our respect: Owen Wilson, Steve Coogan, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Sam Elliott, Judy Greer, William H. Macy; the Wayans Brothers are just where they belong, however…), Why Did I Get Married Too? (The new sequel from Tyler Perry brings you his signature blend of melodrama, stereotypical gags, and churchiness), Harry Brown (Michael Caine decides he’s had enough of the punks, layabouts, and ne’er-do-wells in his London housing project and decides to get his Charles Bronson on in this British vengeance thriller), ‘Parenthood’- season 1 (a good cast [Peter Krause, Lauren Graham, Craig T. Nelson] star in this well-above-average TV series adaptation of the Steve Martin movie), The Red Riding Trilogy (massive, and massively-acclaimed, British crime trilogy follows the 1974-1983 pursuit of the child-killing Yorkshire Ripper; it’s the prestige release of the week at Videoport!), ‘The Vampire Diaries’- season 1 (hey look! It’s another show about sultry, hair-gelled vampires in love with wan, mortal girls! People seem to like this sort of thing! I wanna know when other classic monsters are gonna get their own sexy tween series? Couldn’t you just see Kristin Stewart snuggling up with a Creature from the Black Lagoon? [Please just watch ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’, in the Horror section, for a far superior example of this…]), ‘Flashforward’- season 1 (this show comes highly recommended for people who like ‘Fringe’, or ‘The X Files’, or ‘Lost’, or all of the other shows they’d like you to think of; starring Shakespeare, Kumar’s Harold, and a hobbit!).

New Arrivals this week at Videoport: Ali in Action and Ali’s ’65 (two new documentaries about Muhammed Ali, perhaps the world’s prettiest ass-kicker; see Saturday’s review for more…), ‘The Andromeda Strain’ (pretty good cast [Benjamin Bratt, Andre Braugher, Daniel Dae Kim, Rick Schroeder, Viola Davis] star in this updated miniseries version of the Michael Crichton epidemic thriller about a top secret lab full o’ scientists trying to egghead out a solution for a new, deadly virus that’s wiped out an entire town), Godkiller (gritty motion comic about a post-nuke world and a teenaged boy trying to find/save his sister from the badness; featuring voice work from genre icons Lance Henriksen and Bill Moseley, and punk goddess Lydia Lunch, among others), Mountains of the Moon (after watching the VHS of this great adventure movie about the search for the source of the Nile moulder on the shelf all unrented for a decade or so, I couldn’t be more thrilled that we’ve got it on shiny DVD where, presumably, it will moulder unrented for another ten years; see Thursday’s review for more reasons why you should rent this excellent epic.)

New Arrivals on Blu-Ray this week at Videoport: Harry Brown, The One, Warriors of Heaven and Earth, Gangs of New York.

Linkstorm! Or how to find stuff about Videoport on the inter-webs.

1. There’s the ‘Videoport Jones’ blog, where you can find each week’s VideoReport, movie and TV reviews from Videoport staff and customers, and random movie articles and assorted weirdness. (

2. Also on the ‘Videoport Jones’ site, you can find an alphabetized list of all of Videoport’s ever-expanding Blu-Ray collection. (It’s on the front page.)

3. You can send your submissions to the VideoReport to us at

4. You can find us on that newfangled Facebook under ‘Videoport Jones.’

5. And you can follow us on that even more newfangled Twitter at

Park for free at Videoport!

1. Parking meters are inert after 6pm Monday-Saturday and all day on Sunday. Go nuts!

2. Pull into any downtown parking garage and Videoport will get you an hour of parking for free. Just ask!

3. The parking lot behind the building is free for one hour parking after 5pm Monday-Friday and all day on Weekends. The same goes for the smaller lot directly across from the entrance to the parking lot. (But not the one with all of the rude, threatening signs saying you’re going to get towed and your car set on fire right next to that one. Word to the wise!)

Videoport gives you a free movie every day!

Just look at the first page, with all the daily rental specials all laid out for you! That means any day you come in, you can get what you came in for, plus one other movie completely for free, so we say- why not take a chance? It’s free. There’s no risk. So why not pick out something you’ve never seen before, or never even heard of before? Take a chance on a weird title, or that one with the sexy cover (you know the one.) Take another movie starring that guy/gal in the one you came in for. Or by the

You might like this. You don't know...

same director. (That’s how you become a film smarty-pants, of course.) Or ask one of the absurdly, to the exclusion of all else, knowledgeable Videoport staff for a recommendation; seriously, that’s what they like to do more than, you know, actual work. Head to a section of the store you never go to and pick out something you wouldn’t ordinarily rent, not in a million years. You might find out you like hyperviolent Japanese cartoons, 1970s biker sleaze, or stately French period pieces. Or, hey, just rent another thing exactly like the thing you came in for- we’re not here to judge. It’s just that there’s a whole big, weird world of movie wonders out there, Videoport’s got ’em, and we want to share them with you.

Published in: on August 30, 2010 at 12:57 pm  Leave a Comment  
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