Volume CCXC- Tuesdays With Mothra
For the Week of 3/8/11
Videoport would like to point out the following facts: 1. Videoport gives you a free
rental every single day. 2. Videoport payment plans will give you free money just for renting at Videoport. 3. Videoport has the best selection of movies anywhere. 4. Videoport only employs people who know what they’re talking about. 5. Videoport is locally-owned and fiercely-independent. and 6. Netflix is the actual, biblical Devil, sent to Earth to bring about the end of days.
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.)
>>> Elsa S. Customer suggests Dracula (in Horror.) Bela Lugosi’s iconic turn in Tod Browning’s 1931 classic can look a bit mannered and absurd to modern eyes, but as you watch, try putting it in
context. Try to see Lugosi as contemporary audiences might have: polished Continental, titled gentry, exotic visitor. He’s a like a matinee idol, a vampire Valentino here to steal away our vimmen women. This view transforms the film from stilted old setpiece to captivating thriller. (It does nothing, however, to diffuse a modern audience’s laughter at the exclamation “Dracula is in the house!” Really? Are you sure he’s not “in the hizzouse”?)
Tough and Triassic Tuesday. (Get one free rental from the Action or Classics sections with your paid rental.)
>>> April suggest Red Dawn (in Action/Adventure.)
Now that Charlie Sheen has gone mental, it is time to revisit some of his wacky movies. Red Dawn is a Cold War “let’s kill some Commies*” laugh fest. I’m sure when it was made, it was a total serious action drama**, but watching it today, it’s just ridiculous. Eight teenagers taking on an army of Russians and Cubans? Seriously!? The best thing is the cast: Patrick Swayze, C. Thomas Howell, Lea Thompson, Jennifer Grey, and our madman Charlie Sheen. If that doesn’t make you want to watch it, then you are not hanging out with me any time soon.
*Editor’s note: And there’s a huge Hollywood remake coming out this year! Let’s see what political/ethnic group gets portrayed as two-dimensional racist stereotypes this time around!!
**Editor’s note: Nope. I’m totally old enough to remember when this came out, and we laughed and laughed and laughed…
Wacky and Worldly Wednesday. (Get one free rental from the Comedy or Foreign Language sections with your paid rental…OR…get 4 movies for 7 days for 7 bucks!)
>>> Dennis suggests taking advantage of that there new Wednesday special (4 movies, 7 days, 7 bucks) to become Portland’s premiere Russ Meyer expert. Meyer (born 1922, presumably to the Devil and a huge-breasted demon lady) was, as filth aficionados know full well, was a delightfully-filthy pioneer in the exploitation film era, his predilection for leering, sleazy,
outrageous potboilers stuffed full of sweaty, breasty dames and creepy, redneck-y cads. Meyer was an unrepentant perv, and an even more unrepentant breast fetishist with a surprisingly adept camera sense, able to imbue his undeniably-disreputable, utterly-sleazy flicks with a visual flair that sets them apart from most of the genre. Plus, you know, boobs! (There was a time when Videoport was the only place to get Meyer’s films in the region, and Videoport’s owner Bill would routinely correspond and chat with the irascible Mr. M on the phone in order to obtain his self-distributed films. Good times.) Our selection follows: (we never judge…)
-The Immoral Mr. Teas (1959)
-Eve and the Handyman (1961)
-Wild Gals of the Naked West (1962)
-Fanny Hill: Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (1964)
-Faster Pussycat, Kill Kill! ( 1965)
-Motor Psycho (1965)
-Mondo Topless (1966)
-Common Law Cabin (1967)
-Good Morning…and Goodbye (1967)
-Finder Keepers, Lovers Weepers (1968)
-Cherry, Harry and Raquel (1970)
-Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1970)
-The Seven Minutes (1971)
-Black Snake (1973)
-Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens (1979)
Thrifty Thursday. (Get one free movie from any section with your paid rental.)
>>>Dennis suggests Dogtooth (in Foreign Language.) Sure, the Oscars play it absurdly safe and get absolutely everything wrong (The King’s Speech? Seriously?), but occasionally they do like to try
and seem cool by nominating a few utterly-doomed risky movies/performances that can be sacrificed to the gods of comfortable prestige, and this decidedly-weird, shockingly, suddenly-violent, and very, very dark Greek comedy was one of this year’s lambs. WARNING: it gets sorta SPOLIER-y from now on (but within reason; as ever, anyone who willingly or heedlessly spoils important details of a movie is the worst person in the world and should be sentenced to never watch a movie again.) The story: a family (father, mother, and three grown children) live in complete seclusion at a remote compound, where the parents have constructed a complex, utterly-isolated world in which their rigid, and creepily-eccentric, rules and morality are the only law. Again, people who destroy the incomparable joys of discovering the secret depths of a film for themselves should be exiled to an icy island whose only form of recreation is snow puppetry, so I’ll tail off there, except to say that as far as weird, mysterious, intriguing, shocking, darkly-sexy Greek films go, Dogtooth is the way to go.
Free Kids Friday. (Get one free rental from the Children’s or Family sections, no other rental necessary).
>>> Elsa S. Customer suggests Sleeping Beauty. Oh, hurray! Yet another Disney film about a passive beauty wooed by a prince who has a thing for comatose ladies. (Cf. Snow White.) Super-adorable, not-at-all creepy!
Having a Wild Weekend. (Rent two, get your third movie for free from any section on Saturday and Sunday.)
>>>For Saturday, Dennis2/The Rage suggests The Misfortunates (in Foreign Language.) I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it one more time: if anyone ever asks, Belgium is my favorite country in the world. For many reasons, and not in the least because they have been making some of the
world’s awesomest movies for some time now. The Misfortunates is based on a novel of a few years old in which the now-grown narrator tells about his time growing up in a small town in Belgium. Straightforward enough you’d think, except that the boy and his father live with all of his father’s brothers in one house, totaling about five men (depending on how many are in jail) that all have a tendency to not shy away from a six-pack or five. Again, in one house, that belongs to their mom, a small woman who also lives there and still takes care of the boys. Now, it sounds like something that has been done a million times before, but what makes The Misfortunates truly special is that, despite the completely ludicrous acts by the fully-grown boozefests, the movie still manages to feel authentic; you can tell the narrator’s memories sometimes get the best of him. Memories that, for instance, include his uncle and dad all participating in the annual naked bike race, learning all the booze songs when he could hardly crawl, and the midget twins working at the local pub. Good memories. Great movie. Go Belgium.
>>>For Sunday, Dennis suggests the MST3k episode Master Ninja 1 (in the Incredibly Strange section.) The very first ‘Mystery Science Theater 3000’ episode I ever saw. Living in a crowded, dude-filled house after college, my decidedly-underemployed and under-(read:completely)-sexed existence was changed forever when my friend Tom came home and popped in a tape of this episode of the now-legendary movie-mocking comedy series into the VCR, saying, “my friend in San Francisco just sent me this. It will change your life…” He was not kidding. For those of you not in the know,(as we MiSTies call it) was a show created by some enterprising knuckleknobs in Minnesota who used the backlog of terrible public domain movies owned by the cable access station they toiled at to craft a narrative about a hapless, genial janitor shot into space by his mad scientist bosses and forced to watch all those horrible movies in order to, well, they’re a little sketchy about the how, but it had something to do with world domination. The janitor/inventor foils their plans by inventing a couple of wisecracking robot pals out of junk and, with their help, fighting off the inevitable madness that comes from watching ‘MST3k’ horrible movies by making fun of them. Basically it’s just a big, hilarious excuse for them to crack wise at the expense of everything from
Godzilla movies to ultra low budget sci fi, to essentially any crappy flick they could afford the rights to and, in ten glorious years, it was the source of unending merriment for film geeks everywhere. As for this film geek, my initial viewing of Master Ninja 1 was the beginning of a lifelong love affair with this show. A fraudulently-packaged-as-a-real-movie cobble-together of two episodes of a completely and justifiably-forgotten 70’s TV series, MN1 stars a paunchy and decrepit Lee Van Cleef as…a ninja. Nope, not kidding. He’s teamed up with ‘The White Shadow’‘s Timothy Van Patten as a roving do-gooder (complete with super-cool 70s Chevy Van) as they travel all over the country (which all, surprisingly, looks a lot like Southern California) in search of the Master’s missing daughter and, along the way, getting in dutch with the evil masterminds who seem to run every small town in the USA with an iron fist and a stable of dull henchmen. Oh, and Van Patten has a pet gerbil whose wheel is mounted in the dashboard. It’s perfect fodder for the MST3k gang (lots of jokes about Van Cleef’s decidedly un-ninja-like carriage and army of stunt doubles and Van Patten’s constantly garbled-out dialogue), and a perfect entree into the world of their patented brand of movie mockery. Again, I can’t overstress how much better this show has made my life; it’s just plain comfort food for movie freaks with a sense of humor.
New Releases this week at Videoport: Inside Job (this Oscar winner for Best Documentary about the financial crisis and the absolutely immoral, utterly-American corporate swine who stole
all your retirement money will make you want to find the first guy you see in a suit and flush his head in the nearest toilet), ‘The Walking Dead’- season 1 (ZOMBIES!!! To reiterate: ZOMBIES!!!!!), The Next Three Days (when Russell Crowe’s wife [Elizabeth Banks] is accused of murder, he goes on a big, burly rampage for justice in this thriller), Morning Glory (Rachel McAdams, Harrison Ford and Diane Keaton star in this comedy about the harried producer of an inane morning show who brings in a washed-up former talk show legend to try and turn things around), Jackass 3 (obnoxious guys get hurt and covered in poop; made a gajillion dollars), Tales from Earthsea (this Japanese animated film based on Ursula K. LeGuin’s beloved fantasy novel comes with the added promise of being directed by one Goro Miyazaki, son of legendary director Hiyao Miyazaki [Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, etc])), Four Lions (is the world ready for this British black comedy about a quartet of would-be suicide bombers getting sidetracked by mixed feelings and their own incompetence? Well, I know I am…), A Film Unfinished (fascinating documentary about the unearthed, unfinished Nazi propaganda film intended to show the world that life in the infamous Warsaw ghetto wasn’t so bad after all.)
New Arrivals this week at Videoport: 22 Bullets (the ever-impressive Jean Reno stars as a retired mobster who goes on one of those roaring rampages of revenge you read about when a former childhood friend leaves him for dead with the titular slugs in his body; bad movie, childhood friend…), The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec (director Luc Besson [The Professional, The Fifth Element] helmed this oddball French adventure film about the titular, turn-of-the-century reporter/adventuress/mummy-fighter), The Lost Stallions (little kids and horses are all over this family film you can find in the Kids Section), The Mechanic (if you liked that Jason Statham action flick about the hitman and his reckless protegee, Videoport’s got the original version starring the ever-formidable Charles Bronson; is is better? As good? I dunno, but I’m almost sure that he and Statham would have gotten along just fine…), Women Without Men (acclaimed Iranian film about four women coming together during the 1953 CIA-backed coup there; great thinking ahead, by the way, CIA…just
brilliant…), Besouro (cool-looking martial arts biopic about the titular legendary Afro-Brazilian master of capoeira), Letters to Father Jacob (Finnish drama about a paroled female convict sent to assist a blind priest in answering the letters of the needy ), The Field (the late Richard Harris was nominated for best actor for his King Lear-ean [in the sense of “hammy, roaring, and copiously-bearded”] portrayal of an Irish patriarch in this one), and Videoport adds to our already-overwhelmingly-hilarious “Mystery Science Theater 3000” collection with four new DVDs: Project Moonbase, The Magic Voyage of Sinbad, Master Ninja 1 and Master Ninja 2! (see Sunday’s review for details)!!
New Arrivals on Blu-Ray this week at Videoport: The Next Three Days, ‘The Walking Dead’- season 1, Chaos, The Scorpion King, Punisher: War Zone, Big Trouble in Little China*, Immortal, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.
*Editor’s note: If you haven’t seen Kurt Russel’s Jack Burton in Blu-Ray high-definition, you haven’t lived. Possibly the greatest film in the history of humankind. I am totally not kidding.
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