Volume CCLXXVII- The Holiday Credit Card Massacre
For the Week of 12/7/10
Videoport Gift Certificates make great gifts. I’m just saying…
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.)
>>>Dennis suggests making Videoport your one-stop shop for holiday, well, shopping… Yup, it’s shameless advertising for ourselves time again! Yeah, I feel dirty, but lets get right to it, shall we? Here’s some great holiday gift ideas from Videoport!
1. Gift certificates! Did I mention we have gift certificates? Perfect for the film lover, impossible-to-shop-for pain in the butt, or that person you don’t really have any personal feelings for but are obligated to give something to through the social contract, Videoport gift certificates come in ten, twenty, or thirty dollar denominations, each providing the lucky so-and-so with a heap o’ free rentals. Plus, those rentals work in conjunction with our daily specials, so you can tell said so-and-so that, if he/she plays his/her cards right, that’s actually double the number of rentals. Take credit for that!
2. Movies! Duh, right? Well, sure, Videoport’s got a great selection of new and previously-viewed
DVDs [and some VHS] for you to choose from, but I’m gonna let you in on a little secret...for every movie you buy for them, Videoport gives you a free rental for you. Yup, you get a free rental with every single movie you buy. Think of it as $3.50 off your purchase price, think of it as our way of saying ‘thank you’, or think of it as a little reward for yourself for buying presents for those ungrateful little bastards!
2a. Movies! Videoport can order anything you need. But don’t wait too long- the big day is fast approaching, like a tinsel-ly fright train.
2b. Movies! Check out the cheap movies! There are hundreds of previously-viewed DVDs on sale at $4.89 each or 3 for $9.89! Plus, remember, you get a free rental [for yourself] with every movie you buy! Stuff their stockings and make off with a little something for you!
3. Candy. People like candy.
We now return you to the real newsletter…
>>>Videoport customer Brendan F. suggests Trash Humpers (in Incredibly Strange), saying “Trash Humpers is great if you’re drunk on wine.”
>>>Videoport customer Jenny A. suggests an Adrien Brody double feature with Splice and Predators (both in Sci Fi/Fantasy.) My Adrien Brody crush blossoms: Splice: juicy monster fun; Predators: laughable popcorn action; decent genre pic …’Making-of’ bonuses both interesting, plus more Adrien. Yo, Adrien, you’re HOT! (In other news, Eclipse was insipid.)
Tough and Triassic Tuesday. (Get one free rental from the Action or Classics sections with your paid rental.)
>>> Andy suggests In a Lonely Place (in Classics.) I’ve been watching a lot of old films lately, and I’ve possibly been taking a few things for granted. For example, knowing Humphrey Bogart’s screen persona, which he rarely deviated from, I’ve taken for granted that Bogie never lost his sh*t. Not him, he’s too damn cool. But then I saw In a Lonely Place, in which Bogart plays the darkest, angriest, scariest character I’ve ever seen him play. He plays Dixon Steele, an over-the-hill Hollywood
screenwriter just hired to adapt an awful book into a faithful script. He is unhappy with his career, possibly an alcoholic, often cynical and sardonic, but a decent guy…with a bad temper. Bogart has played dangerous men before: villains and gangsters as well as good guys who happen to know their way around a firearm, but Dixon Steele is different. We like him and hope that things turn out well for him (he is accused of murder early in the film.) And that’s why Dixon’s anger is so scary- when things finally start looking up for him, you know that there’s only one thing that can mess everything up.
Wacky and Worldly Wednesday. (Get one free rental from the Comedy or Foreign Language sections with your paid rental.)
>>>Elsa S. Customer suggests the Wednesday special! Four discs for seven days for seven bucks? What a deal! You could take out an entire season of a great series and enjoy it all week long! Let’s see, I think I’ll start with Twin Peaks. This is a also great way to watch long-arc shows with big casts (like The Wire or The Sopranos or Battlestar Galactica) because it lets you keep up to speed without the danger of getting muddled in between episodes. Or it’s a good way to take home that the entire run of that great-but-cancelled show [your friend/your partner/your sibling/ Regan] keeps badgering you to watch, but you just never got around to. Where will you start? Firefly? Freaks & Geeks? Party Down? Or maybe you just want to take home as many Monty Python episodes as you can carry and watch them all week long! So many choices, and a whole week to watch ’em in!
>>>Videoport customer Brendan F. suggests ‘Bored to Death’ (in Comedy), saying “‘Bored to Death’ : disc 1 got me drunk on said wine. Ted Danson is underrated and I wish I could watch ‘Becker’ right now.”
Thrifty Thursday. (Get one free movie from any section with your paid rental.)
>>> Videoport customer suggests North By Northwest (in Mystery/Thriller.) One of the perfect movies. All elements (script, director, actors, story and music) come together so flawlessly and it doesn’t seem to age much at all. It’s still as exciting and enjoyable that I imagine it was when it was first released. The less you know about the plot the better, but that may be hard since most scenes have become film icons. This is definitely my favorite Hitchcock film and most likely my favorite Cary Grant film (hard to choose just one for both men). He was a perfect choice for the role and gives a lightly comedic performance — perfect for an adventure film. It is hard to categorize NXNW though; it is an adventure but only one that the great Alfred could make. The camera angles and set-ups for some shots are incredible and show the great originality that is lacking in today’s filmmakers. The Lehman script is also amazing. It’s a complicated tale of mistaken identity basically but it’s written so intelligently with very clever twists and turns and great wit. Take time to notice the dialogue in the dining car scene especially; it seems very adult for the late 50s but it’s the type of intelligent and suggestive banter that there is also so little of in today’s films. Herrmann’s score fits the film perfectly and I think it’s his best (tied with Psycho). I could go on and on but stop reading this and just watch it…right now.
Free Kids Friday. (Get one free rental from the Children’s or Family sections, no other rental necessary).
>>>Elsa S. Customer suggests The Little Mermaid. Because kids love extreme body modification in the name of romance!
Having a Wild Weekend. (Rent two, get your third movie for free from any section on Saturday and Sunday.)
>>>For Saturday, Dennis suggests Red Rock West (in Mystery/Thriller.) There’s this internet thing that’s making the rounds. It’s called “Nicholas Cage loses his sh*t” (see link: Not Safe For Work, Or Sanity) and it’s astounding. Culled from the length and breadth of Mr. Cage’s chequered career, this five minute montage of him conveying, shall we say, heated emotion will make your eyes bug out further than Cage’s in Vampire’s Kiss. Well, no it won’t, but you’ll get pretty close. Anyway, my point is that this not-untalented guy has done some serious overacting in his time, turning him into a self-parody and internet joke. Which isn’t especially fair (although he’s not doing himself any favors recently). For evidence, I present this early 90’s neo-film noir where Cage gives a compelling, understated performance as the sort of decent, vulnerable loner that femmes fatale seem to latch onto in such movies. Costarring Dennis Hopper, Lara Flynn Boyle, and the great J.T. Walsh (all of whom could give Nicky some competition in scenery-chomping), all of whom match Cage’s measured, thoughtful performance. Throw in a good script with some clever twists and solid direction from John Dahl (The Last Seduction, Rounders), and you’ve got a very good indie thriller and a timeless refutation to that mean-spirited internet snarkiness. Which you should watch. Seriously, it’s hilarious…
>>>For Sunday, Elsa S. Customer suggests Brazil (in Feature Drama/the Criterion Collection.) Everywhere you look, it’s chaotic, noisy, and filled with bureaucratic bluster, and the lower-echelon enforcers have embraced the paranoid mandate of their bosses with alarming glee, assuming everyone’s a terrorist until proven otherwise. No, it’s not the airport on Christmas Eve (rimshot: ba-dum-TSSSSH!); it’s Terry Gilliam’s early masterpiece, Brazil. If you’re feeling stressed and cynical about the forced cheer of Christmas consumerism, look no further for some company. Brazil is many things: a love story, a dark fairy tale, a Christmas fable, a dystopian satire, a near-future sci-fi classic. But this jaunty little poison pill also shows how the mindless pleasures of mass-market shopping (and the constant societal pressure to buy-buy-BUY newer, shinier, disposable gewgaws*) can distract a nation from the creeping crush of government control and the breakdown of independent agency. Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce at his most winning) burrows away at his anonymous low-level civil service job, declaring himself happy despite invasive surveillance, unreliable servos, and the concern of his old friend (Michael Palin); Sam wants to keep his nose down, keep his profile low, and keep his modest little life on track. But one day, he spots a strange woman — quite literally, the woman of his dreams — in his bureau, and his efforts to find her again and to right a wrong embroil Sam in a web of bureaucratic disasters and suspicions. This is Terry Gilliam at his best, and that is very good indeed! (Be certain to watch the original, Gilliam-endorsed ending; the studios notoriously slapped on a different ending for theatrical screenings, which is an historically interesting special feature but absolutely rotten cinematically.)
*Editor’s note: of course, buying (say, a gift certificate) from Videoport is exempt from this criticism.
New Releases this week at Videoport: Inception(a mega-budgeted blockbuster that’s smart, challenging, and ambiguous? And it’s really good and made a trillion dollars? I think Christopher Nolan should get a medal for doing the impossible), Shrek Forever After (Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy and the gang lend their obviously-for-hire vocal talents to this third animated sequel; I choose to remember when they were funny), Restrepo (manly nonfiction author Sebastian Junger [The Perfect Storm] made this documentary about the American soldiers patrolling Afghanistan’s most dangerous valley), Twlight: Eclipse (a surprising number of people have been apologetic and sheepish while renting this; please, friends- Videoport doesn’t judge…), Destination Forks: The Real World of Twilight (now, if you rent this documentary about where Twilight was filmed, well, yeah- we might judge you for that…), Donkey’s Christmas Shrektacular (Eddie and Mike used to be funny…Eddie and Mike used to be funny…), Reformat the Planet (documentary about the ChipTunes musical movement which repurposes outdated technology to create new music; I bet Portland’s own music legend Galen Richmond [of Computer at Sea] could teach us all about it- seriously, you should see what the man can do with a Speak ‘n’ Spell…), Patrik 1.5 (Swedish film about a gay couple who find that their eagerly-anticipated 15 month old adopted infant is, instead, a 15 year old delinquent, homophobic little jerk; acclaimed or not, it still sounds like the premise for a Swedish sitcom…), Barry Munday (Patrick Wison [Watchmen, Little Children] and Judy Greer [‘Arrested Development’, The Specials] star in this indie comedy about an unappealing guy who finds out that a mugging has cost him his testicles and that ‘s been named in a paternity suit; yeah, you heard that right…), The Milk of Sorrow (Peruvian allegorical film about a young pregnant woman going to
extreme lengths to try and ward off the curse she imagines she’s inherited from the long history of pregnant women being raped by jerks; and how about some props for Videoport for stocking a “Peruvian allegorical film”…), ‘Apparitions’- season 1 (BBC series about a crusty old exorcist, telling demons to get off his lawn), Hunter Prey (from the director of the acclaimed internet Batman fanfilm Batman: Dead End comes this even more acclaimed feature film about the crew of a space prison ship in a cat-and-mouse situation with an escaped alien.)
New Arrivals this week at Videoport: The Tuskegee Airmen (Laurence Fishburne and Cuba Gooding, Jr. star in this fact-based drama about the first all-African American flier regiment in WWII), Miss Evers’ Boys (Alfre Woodard and, hey!, Laurence Fishburne star in this fact-based tale of the time the UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT!!?!? deliberately left a group of syphilis-afflicted African American soldiers untreated so they could study the disease’s effects?!?!? That’s seems mildly unethical, right?…), Twelfth Night (this 1996 adaptation of my favorite Shakespeare play is sort of underwhelming, but it’s got Richard E. Grant as Sir Andrew and Ben Kingsley as Feste, so it’s well worth all the rentals Videoport will reap from dumb kids who don’t want to read it), Beverly Hills Cop 3 (Videoport now owns Beverly Hills Cop 2 & 3, but not #1; it doesn’t make sense to me, but I’m sure Videoport’s owner Bill has some reasonable explanation for this. Bill?), This Boy’s Life (before this week’s Inception, li’l Leo DiCaprio started impressing people in this wrenching drama about a young lad trying to cope with his mom marrying a total a-hole [Robert DeNiro]), Curious George- Sweet Dreams (he’s a monkey, he gets into monkey mischief, your kids will love it), Disciples of the 36th Chamber (looking for classic martial arts action, check out this classic 1985 chop-socky masterpiece), Only When I Dance (from the Film Movement people comes this inspirational documentary about two impoverished youngsters from Rio who want to…wait for it…dance!!), Mademoiselle Chambon (delicate, tantalizing French drama about a happily-married dad who finds himself falling for his son’s teacher), The Nine Lives of Marion Barry (documentary about the former Washington D.C. mayor’s post scandal[s] life as a social activist, political leader, and cautionary tale), Exhibit A (indie thriller about a teenage girl whose obsession with her new video camera starts uncovering some deep, dark secrets about her family.)
New Arrivals on Blu-Ray this week at Videoport: The Taking of Pelham 123, Twilight: Eclipse, Inception.
Did You Know?
-You get a free movie every day at Videoport?
-Videoport can get you free parking?
-Videoport has special sections in the store for the following: Bollywood movies, the Criterion Collection, Hong Kong action movies, Japanese weirdness movies, and movies “new to Videoport”?
-Videoport is awesome?
-We love you?