Volume CCLXVI- Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call- Narnia
For the Week of 9/21/10
Videoport has the best selection of movies anywhere. We’ve got great prices. We’re knowledgeable, friendly, and competent. We’re locally-owned, independent, and proud of what we do. So, if you want to rent your movies from some faceless corporation that might as well be selling underpants for all they know or care about movies, well…that’s between you and your god…
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.)
>>>April suggests ‘The Hunger’- season 1 (in Horror.) First, I should tell you that there are no vampires in this series. I know. The cover has a vampire lady on it, but I’ve watched most of the episodes and, so far, only a few vampires. This isn’t a bad thing. If it were all vampires, I’d have shut it off. Not that I don’t like the vamps, but we’ve been overloaded with them lately. ‘The Hunger’ series is a supernatural horror sexy show. Lots of sexy, lots of supernatural stuff, and lots of fun. If you want to be scared, you might want to pass it by, but if you want some good fun, adult spookiness, then give it a try. Just don’t expect to be terrified.
Tough and Triassic Tuesday. (Get one free rental from the Action or Classics sections with your paid rental.)
>>> Videoport customer Josh suggests Die Hard (in Action/Adventure.) Um. Die Hard is awesome. The other three movies are okay, but the original is the best. Come on, Professor Snape is the bad guy. That’s just awesome. One of Willis’ best, a performance that showed he had a lot more range than previously surmised. You can tell he is having fun breaking out of his regular roles. And who doesn’t love the Dad from ‘Family Matters’ as the paper-pushing cop? Their man-hug at the film’s climax is epic. (And foot injuries, amen.)
Wacky and Worldly Wednesday. (Get one free rental from the Comedy or Foreign Language sections with your paid rental.)
>>>You know there’s a new Wednesday special nowadays at Videoport, right? Yup, in addition to the regular old Wednesday rental special (it’s right up there, three lines above us, where it says ‘Wacky and Worldly Wednesday’), Videoport’s got a new one to save you even more money and give you more movies. Here’s the deal: Rent four movies on Wednesday (no new releases), and you get them for seven days for seven bucks. Boom. Simple, elegant, and so, so excitingly thrifty. Videoport! We’re always looking for ways to charge you less money!
Thrifty Thursday. (Get one free movie from any section with your paid rental.)
>>> Videoport customer Mark Magee suggests The Siege (in Mystery/Thriller.) I saw this film 10 years after its release and 6 years after 9/11. It’s an interesting film to see now given all we now know about anti-American terrorism. The Siege was very prophetic on many levels; Muslim extremists would be the first to commit terrorist acts in the US; the CIA was aware it would most certainly happen; the question
of using torture to obtain information would become a much debated issue. The latter point is basically the focus of this film — after the terrorist bombings begin, NYC is put under martial law and anyone even closely resembling Middle Easterners are rounded up and put in ‘camps’. It is impossible for first time viewers to watch this the same way 1998 audiences did. Did the plot seem too farfetched? Did people think the ‘profiling’ in the film too unbelievable? Were people convinced the acts depicted would never happen in this country? Most likely yes…but we now know that even more tragic and violent acts could occur. There are a few scenes in the film that come eerily close to images from 9/11 and there are several haunting background shots of the Twin Towers. The cast is very good, especially Washington as the FBI agent in charge and Bening as the CIA agent who had prior knowledge of a possible attack. Willis is good as the General in charge of martial law, though his part is almost a caricature. Tony Shalhoub is excellent as the Arab/American FBI agent who gets caught in the anti-Arab paranoia. The terrorist acts are for the most part not shown; the aftermath is only depicted. An interesting technique that seems to work. Maybe the filmmakers thought it would be too disturbing for US audiences to see. The ending message of the film is an important and idealistic one. One that sadly, we have not lived up to in 2010. A well-made and well acted film that has become an interesting curio.
Free Kids Friday. (Get one free rental from the Children’s or Family sections, no other rental necessary).
>>> Dennis suggests that teaching your kids proper, respectful DVD handling will keep them from becoming Hitler. Yup…children not taught how to handle DVDs without putting their grubby fingers on them, leaving them out of their cases, or in any way mistreating them will grow up to become Hitlers. It’s science…
Having a Wild Weekend. (Rent two, get your third movie for free from any section on Saturday and Sunday.)
>>>For Saturday, Dennis suggests Closely Watched Trains (in Foreign Language/The Criterion Collection.) How do you make a comedy about Nazis? You can go super-broad, with a cartoon duck hitting Hitler with a shovel, sure…who doesn’t like that? But, as both versions of To Be or Not To Be showed, the whole ‘buffoonish Nazi’ thing is pretty difficult to pull off for an entire movie; the tonal shift when, inevitably, they’ve got to swing into Nazi menace mode derails both movies. And as for Life is Beautiful and The Great Dictator, which both attempt to ride their star/director’s physical comedy talents (along with a generous helping of sentimentality), well, I think they’re both pretty overrated. Nope, I think the wisest course is followed by Closely Watched Trains, a 1966 tragicomedy about the sometimes-comic shenanigans going on at an out-of-the-way train station in Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia. The Nazi menace is largely a matter of rumor, and we see their influence mostly in the silly attempts of the plump, pathetic station master to curry their favor (even growing a Hitlerian mustache at one point), the patronizing lectures of a occasionally, and reluctantly, visiting German official, and, as the film progresses, growing hints of a darker conflict to come. For the most part, the film follows the increasingly-desperate attempts of the mopey, simple junior conductor to consummate his affair with a cheerfully-willing little conductress. The slack-jawed little guy is an almost total nonentity, a passive observer and apolitical blank who, through the machinations of his womanizing co-conductor and a visiting Resistance fighter (and hot babe) finds himself at the center of a plot to
destroy a passing Nazi ammunition shipment. Sex, politics, and the comic mischief engendered by workplace boredom all combine with an undercurrent of sadness and desperation to create an unexpectedly-moving and funny solution to the Nazi comedy conundrum. (Oh, and Closely Watched Trains contains one of the most playfully sexy scenes I have ever seen in any movie anywhere. I’m just sayin’…)
>>>For Sunday, Dennis suggests you check out the films of the recently deceased Claude Chabrol at Videoport in his ‘DEAD DIRECTOR WE JUST REMEMBERED WE LIKE’ CHECKLIST!! (Claude Chabrol. Born 1930, died last week. One of the founders of the French New Wave, Chabrol was a master of psychological suspense and stylish mystery. (Videoport wishes him bon voyage.)
–The Unfaithful Wife 1969
–The Cry of the Owl 1987
–Story of Women 1988
–Madame Bovary 1991
–La Ceremonie 1995
–The Swindle 1997
–Merci Pour le Chocolate 2000
–The Flower of Evil 2003
–The Bridesmaid 2004
–Comedy of Power 2006
–The Girl Cut in Two 2007
New Releases this week at Videoport: Robin Hood (Russell Crowe reunites with Gladiator director Ridley Scott for some more sword-y, arrow-esque fun with this gritty update of the (too?)-oft-
filmed legend), Untitled (interesting, smart little indie comedy about the New York art scene starring Adam Goldberg, Vinnie Jones, and Marley Shelton; it’s make a good double feature with last week’s release Boogie Woogie…I’m just sayin’), ‘Modern Family’- season 1 (everybody wants a piece of this newly-Emmy-winning sitcom; reserve your copy today at 773-1999!), ‘Community’- season 1 (And everyone also wants this genuinely funny sitcom, starring Joel McHale as a snarky lawyer forced to re-attend the titular local college when his law degree is found to be a touch fraudulent; seriously, Videoport loves to put things on reserve for you!), The Secret of Moonacre (good cast [Tim Curry, Juliet Stevenson, Ioan Gruffudd] star in this British fantasy film about a young girl sent to live with an eccentric uncle who finds herself up to her frilly bonnet in unicorns, gremlins, and assorted witchery), The Secret in Their Eyes (winner of the Best Foreign Film Oscar this year, this Argentinian thriller about a retired lawyer being drawn back into a past unsolved murder case when he writes a novel about it is also sure to be flying off of the Videoport shelves; I mentioned we reserve stuff, right?), Ondine (fable about a hunky Irish fisherman [Colin Farrell at his Irish-est, and therefore hunk-iest] who pulls a woman in in his fishing net and, perhaps understandably, starts to think she’s a mermaid), The Experiment (based on the real life Stanford Prison Experiment, where volunteers, assigned to portray prisoners and guards, took the whole thing a liiiitle too seriously; direct-to-DVD, sure, but it’s got Forest Whitaker, Adrien Brody, Clifton Collins, Jr. and others [also check out the German film of the same title in the Foreign section]), Leonard Cohen: Songs from the Road (is Leonard Cohen the greatest living songwriter in the world? Maybe…check out this document of his recent tour and flip that Tom Waits/Leonard Cohen coin), ’30 Rock’- season 4 (this show is hilarious, Tina Fey is a genius, Alec Baldwin is money…there’s really no reason not to watch ’30 Rock’; [773-1999 to reserve]), ‘The Mentalist’- season 2 (Simon Baker returns as the body-language-reading-est detective in town in this popular series), ‘How I Met Your Mother’- season 5 (Neil Patrick Harris, Jason Segel, and Allyson Hannigan make this sitcom enduringly watchable; the two actual leads of the show remain above-average as well…), ‘Desperate Housewives’- season 6 (I love Felicity Huffman; there- I said something positive about a show I will never watch in a trillion years), ‘Spartacus: Blood and Sand’- season 1 (they should call this Gladiator-esque series ‘Spartacus: Blood and Sand and Boobs and Bondage and Abs and Butts and More Blood and a Couple More Boobs’), ‘Castle’- season 2 (complete cool guy Nathan Fillion [you should really be watching ‘Firefly’ instead, but still…] brings his effortless comic charm to the second season of this lightweight detective show), Broken Lizard Stands Up (the Broken Lizard comedy troupe has made one classic comedy [Super Troopers, duh] and a bunch of underachieving ones; will their beery camaraderie come across on stage? God, I hope so…), ‘Bored to Death’- season 1 (Jason Schwartzman stars in this oddball comedy detective series about a would-be writer who places ads on Craigslist offering his services as an unlicensed private detective, basically out of writers block and boredom; stellar supporting work from Zach Galifianakis and Ted Danson), Necromentia (kinky, gory horror story of the misadventures, shenanigans, and monkeyshines that result when you get an Ouija board tattooed on your body’ word to the wise…).
New Arrivals this week at Videoport: Tinkerbell and the Great Fairy Rescue (the Walt Disney Corporation continues it’s lucrative mission of plundering its classic animated films for disposable direct-to-DVD product; I mention that fact at this point for no particular reason…), Brain Dead (this cult horror whack-job about unnecessary brain surgery, evil corporations, and general
weirdness features the only team-up to date of the interchangeable Bills, Pullman and Paxton!), with the upcoming Steven Spielberg big-screen film in the offing, Videoport jumps on the imminent Tintin bandwagon with the following adventures of the weird, screw-haired little Belgian child adventurer (Tintin: Destination Moon, Tintin: Land of the Black Gold, Tintin: The Black Island, Tintin: The Seven Crystal Balls, Tintin: The Shoting Star), and riding the non-existent Charles Bukowski bandwagon, Videoport brings in two live readings from the legendary cult author (Bukowski: The Last Straw and Bukowski: There’s Gonna Be a God Damned Riot), National Geographic: Collapse (documentary about the world going to hell in the proverbial handcart because of how we despoil the environment and stuff, from the author of the perennially-well-renting doc Guns, Germs, and Steel), OSS 117: Lost in Rio (hilarious sequel to the, surprise!, hilarious French James Bond spoof OSS 117: Cairo- Nest of Spies continues the chauvinistic, blithely-racist adventures of the 60’s swingingest, dimmest secret agent, played by the brilliantly-funny Jean Dujardin), Dad’s in Heaven With Nixon (touching documentary by Tom Murray about his autistic brother Chris, janitor, supermarket stockboy, and outsider artist), White Sands (long-forgotten, but actually not bad at all, 90s thriller with a great cast: Willem Dafoe, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Mickey Rourke, Samuel L. Jackson, M. Emmett Walsh, Maura Tierney), and Videoport, as ever, brings you the best in world cinema with the 2-part ‘based on a true story’ crime epic about the infamous titular French criminal: Mesrine-Killer Instinct and Mesrine-Public Enemy #1.
New Arrivals on Blu-Ray this week at Videoport: 3:10 to Yuma, Robin Hood.
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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