Volume CCLXXI: Children Shouldn’t Play With Bad Lieutenants
For the week of 10/26/10
All work and no play makes Videoport a dull boy. All work and no play makes Videoport a dull boy. All work and no play makes Videoport a dull boy. All work and no play…
Middle Aisle Monday. (Get one free rental from the Sci-Fi, Horror, Incredibly Strange, Mystery/Thriller, Animation, Staff Picks sections with your paid rental.)
>>>Meredith Q. Customer suggests May (in Horror). A modern-day Frankenstein that’s original, demented and fun. Tormented since childhood by her lazy eye, May (Angela Bettis) has never had a real friend other than her special doll Suzie. As a painfully awkward adult, her attempts at dating and having friends fall short when her obsessions with their certain body parts get in the way of enjoying a real relationship: “So many pretty parts and no pretty wholes.” When she finally hits rock bottom, she decides that “If you can’t find a friend, make one.” The climax occurs on Halloween when May revisits her attempted friends to get what she always wanted: a real friend. May will leave a lasting impression that is both disturbing and delightful.
Tough and Triassic Tuesday. (Get one free rental from the Action or Classics section with your paid rental.)
>>>Andy suggests Bell, Book, And Candle (in Classics). Made the same year as Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo, this charming little romantic comedy reunited that movie’s stars, James Stewart and Kim Novak. Bell, Book, And Candle is nowhere near the classic that Vertigo is, but it’s delightful in its own “Bewitched” kind of way. A likeable regular guy (Stewart) falls in love with a gorgeous girl (Novak) who turns out to be a witch. Does he fall for her because of a love spell, or were they actually meant to be together? While the lovers ponder the love question, the supporting cast steals the movie. Elsa Lanchester, the Monster’s Bride herself, and Jack Lemmon play Novak’s eccentric relatives with such quirkiness that the movie’s romantic leads seem dull in comparison. If you’re looking for a fun Halloween movie rental, but don’t want anything too spooky, give Bell, Book, And Candle a try.
Wacky and Worldly Wednesday. (Get one free rental from the Comedy or Foreign Language sections with your paid rental.)
>>>Meredith Q. Customer suggests Death Becomes Her (in Comedy). So it’s Halloween week, but you’re in the mood for a comedy. What to do, what to do. I know! Take home Death Becomes Her, the wacky creation of Robert Zemeckis (of Back to the Future fame). Its photography and score is reminiscent of Hitchcock or Tim Burton (you know, from his good ‘ol Batman days). It’s worth it just to hear Meryl Streep exclaim “My ass! I can see my ass!,” or Bruce Willis invoking the manic comedy style of Gene Wilder, or Isabella Rossellini walking around in nothing but a wrap skirt and bejeweled necklace precariously draped over her breasts.
Thrifty Thursday. (Get one free movie from any section with your paid rental.)
>>> Andy suggests The Dentist (in Horror). From the creators of Re-Animator comes The Dentist,
starring Corbin Bernsen (Sean’s dad on Psych). There’s something about it that seems a little desperate. Like, “It’s the ’80s and we need a gimmick for our horror movie… all the holidays are taken… what freaks people out nowadays?… how about… dentists!” But it’s better than you might think, or at least different than you might expect. Bernsen’s dentist is just a normal guy, except that he’s a well-respected, successful dentist married to a blonde bimbo who’s cheating on him with the gross unclean dirty pool boy and doesn’t realize how… how… unclean she is becoming by dallying with that greasy freak and… and so on. Over the course of the movie, Bersen’s dentist slowly loses his grasp on sanity, going from an aggravating but harmless neat freak with an idyllic personal and professional life to vendetta-settling, homicidal madman, willing to slaughter those closest to him rather than let them succumb to rot and decay… debase themselves by allowing grease and filth to seep into their skin and… and so on. Instead of being a routine slasher movie, The Dentist aims a bit higher. Brian Yuzna’s (Society, Return of the Living Dead III) film aims for a horror character study, shifting between the insane dentist’s perspective and
something more objective, so that the audience understands where he’s coming from, while also sympathizing with his victims. His poor victims. I appreciate ambition and new ideas in a horror movie, but in the case of The Dentist, the concept is enough of a guarantee for terror. Is there a more unsettling scenario than of settling back in that big dentist’s chair, under the care of a man with sharp tools who might be becoming unhinged?
Free Kids Friday. (Get one free rental from the Children’s or Family sections, no other rental necessary.)
>>>Peggy (age 9) says, “Watch Bedknobs and Broomsticks for Halloween! No, it’s not a Halloween movie but it has Angela Lansbury as an apprentice witch. I love Angela Lansbury! She takes these kids on a magical adventure by twisting the knob on a bed. You wish you were on this cool ride. But you’re not! Wow. And it’s got animated parts! Naboombu. Cosmic Creepers. Astoroth. Don’t know what I’m on about? Watch this movie. ‘Kay.”
Having a Wild Weekend. (Rent two, get your third movie for free from any section on Saturday and Sunday.)
>>>For Saturday, Regan presents the “Dr. Poopenschitz In My Pants Award For Excellence” to Runaway (in the Science Fiction/Fantasy Section). The first movie to really scare the Dr. Poopenschitz out of me? There’s a few contenders… Fourth grade, Halloween sleepover, Mrs. Donnelly rented us A Nightmare On Elm Street, and I was dressed as Elvira: Mistress of the Dark. Maybe I was more sad than scared because my mom wouldn’t get me the blow-up boobs from Spencer’s Gifts to complete my outfit. I had to use balloons. Not so scary. And then there was the two weeks following The Blair Witch Project. I had an eerie sense of dread every time I glimpsed the corner of the room. But that eventually passed. Not like the years after the movie Runaway, with Tom Selleck and Gene Simmons. This is in science fiction, but when I saw this back in 1986 I couldn’t get through the night without feeling little tingles on my skin that I was sure were the mechanical spiders that inject you with poison then explode! Or maybe it was just Selleck’s moustache. So yeah. Gene Simmons and his ‘splodin’ spiders from Runaway wins the Dr. Poopenschitz In My Pants Award.
(And don’t forget to come out and support local horror film Damnationland this week! CReated by and starring some Videoporters, past and future, and Videoport customers! http://www.damnationland.com/)
>>>For Sunday, April suggests The Wolf Man Drinking Game! Not the new Wolfman! This game won’t work with that one. Sorry. You’ve got to rent the Lon Chaney, Jr. version (in the Horror Section) to get the full drunk on. Ready?! Okay. Take one drink when—someone says “werewolf,” when the “Even a man who is pure in heart…” poem is said, when Lon Chaney, Jr. calls Claude Rains “Father,” and whenever you see the silver wolf cane. Take two drinks when— Maleva says “The way you walked was thorny,” when you see the pentagram, and whenever someone says “Wolf.” You should be good and drunky by the halfway mark. You’re gonna need it to finish this movie. Enjoy!
This week’s New Releases: The Girl Who Played With Fire (rule of thumb: when a new movie comes out of Sweden, just rent it, or else popular culture will pass you right by), Mega Piranha (guilty pleasure time from the producer of Mega Shark Vs. Giant Octopus), Sex And The City 2 (It’s no Mega Piranha, but here it is, for your enjoyment), Holy Rollers (how many great performances does Jesse Eisenberg have to give before he’s regarded as more than “the poor man’s Michael Cera?” In this one, he plays a drug-dealing Orthodox Jew), You Don’t Know Jack (the TV movie about Jack Kevorkian that won an Emmy for Al Pacino’s performance and another for its script), Kisses (romantic and gritty, this Irish drama got excellent reviews but no distribution), Winter’s Bone (comparable to 2008’s Frozen River, this is another bleak, well-acted thriller about family and crime), Make-Out With Violence (a supercool mumblecore coming-of-age zombie movie boasting the best movie title since Mega Piranha), Passenger Side (Videoport’s Dennis calls this movie “low-key, funny, and affecting,” and Dennis knows this stuff), Against The Current (Joseph Fiennes swims the Hudson River in this well-acted comedy-drama), Attack On Darfur (a graphic documentary about recent war atrocities? I know it’s Halloween, but this is a tough sell), Chronic Town (an indie drama about insanity and drugs, I can sell that, for sure), Freaknik: The Musical (an animated hip-hop musical featuring the voices of T-Pain, Lil’ Jon, Cee-Lo, Big Boi, Snoop Dogg, and Andy Samberg), Smash His Camera (a documentary portrait of Ron Galella, famous paparazzi and Brando’s punching bag), Nice Guy Johnny (predictable but satisfying indie comedy-romance co-starring and directed by Edward “Mr. Independent Cinema” Burns), Surviving The Holidays with Lewis Black (it’s never too early to start being cynical about the holiday season!), Wild Grass (when Alain Resnais makes a movie, you pay attention!), The Misfortunates (it may be in Dutch, but it was made in Belgium, so Videoport’s Dennis2 officially doesn’t care, despite the excellent reviews), Clapham Junction (the imdb keywords for this British drama include “Seduction,” “Masturbation,” “First Time Sex,” and “Violin Student,” so there’s something for everybody!), The Infidel (a British comedy about Jewish-Muslim relations… I have a feeling this will be topical for a long, long, long-ass time), Law & Order UK: Season One (what’s this? A British remake of an American show? Is it backwards day already?), Star Wars Clone Wars: Season Two (bring it on, Mr. Lucas), and Venture Bros.: Season Four (another season of Adult Swim’s third weirdest cartoon series).
New Arrivals at Videoport: Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin’ About Him)? (Because he’s friggin’ awesome, that’s why! Besides that, this is the best music documentary since 30 Century Man), Wah Do Dem (an adorable little indie comedy, co-starring Ravi Shankar’s daughter), 8 Diagram Pole Fighter (a 1984 martial arts classic released by Dragon Dynasty, the Criterion Collection of Kung Fu!), Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things (the classic horror comedy from the director of A Christmas Story… no, really!), House (the notoriously insane 1977 Nobuhiko Obayashi horror flick gets the Criterion treatment), Paths Of Glory (Kirk Douglas + Stanley Kubrick = Criterion bait), The Barghest (this intriguing local film is about two sisters fighting over their dead father’s estate and paying “the consequences for their dark desires.” Intrigued?).
New Arrivals on Blu-Ray this week at Videoport: Apocalypse Now (Original and Redux), The Girl Who Played With Fire, Winter’s Bone, Predators.