Volume CCXCVIII- Love & Other C.H.U.D.s
For the Week of 5/3/11
Videoport invites you to peruse our shelves stocked with the greatest films of all time, to partake of a free rental every single day, and to enjoy our unparalleled movie knowledge and customer service. Also, we invite Netflix to jump up its own butt…
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.)
>>>Regan suggests The Tourist (in Mystery/Thriller.) I just don’t care. I really don’t. But after the 100th person asked how The Tourist was, my response of “well, it’s got fish lips and sleepy eyes in beautiful locales” just seemed mean and unfair, since I haven’t seen it. I did it. I watched it. And I have to add that Angelina Jolie is a shapeless robot with fish lips. And Depp still has sleep eyes. And Venice is pretty.
Tough and Triassic Tuesday. (Get one free rental from the Action or Classics sections with your paid rental.)
>>> Dennis suggests you write for the VideoReport! Yup, you, too, can fill in this space with an actual movie review rather than this shameless filler by sending in your movie reviews to us here at the VideoReport at firstname.lastname@example.org or our Facebook page “Videoport Jones.” And, hey, check out the VideoReport online at http://www.videoportjones.wordpress.com while you’re at it! We in the Videoport community love movies only slightly less than we like to blab about them!
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!)
>>> Regan suggests Police Academy(in Comedy.) “I was a florist. You know- flowers and sh*t.”- Hightower. When I was in elementary school, I wanted to be Michael Winslow. Also known as
Larvell Jones from the Police Academy movies. That would be the greatest skill ever. To make any sound WITH MY MOUTH. But, alas, I am only able to make fart sounds. But I do them often and I do them proud. I tried to watch this 80’s classic this weekend only to be interrupted by my next door neighbor making his own mouth sounds across from my living room windows. He was smokin’ butts and spitting. I really don’t mind the second hand smoke. What I do mind is the constant sound and sight of spitting. Seriously, men- why?! This has bothered me for a while, but lately I’ve noticed that they spit every block or so. And the walk to work after a Saturday night, the sidewalk is loaded with it. Globs of spittle. Jesus, men, what’s so bad in your mouth? Unless is blood, or a bug, or a load of man chowder. Swallow! So, in closing, gentlemen, keep your hock-tooeys to yourself. And rent Police Academy.
Thrifty Thursday. (Get one free movie from any section with your paid rental.)
>>> Elsa S. Customer and Former Videoporter Stockman had the genius idea to watch a movie separately and review it together in an online chat. Our inaugural movie: On The Edge(in Feature
Drama), 2001, director John Carney, starring Cillian Murphy as a suicidal young man whose dark humor doesn’t cut much ice in the treatment center to which he is sent. Here, edited for length and minus some digressions about pajamas, candy, and the unworthiness of Diablo Cody, is our chat. E: Okay, On the Edge. What did you think? S: I didn’t think it was bad per se. But I found for a character-driven movie, the characters were not very endearing. E: Yeeeeeah… he walked into the funeral, rapped on the casket, and I thought “Oh. One of THESE movies.” S: Yes. I thought “okay, I’ll play along, but you gotta work with me here” and then they didn’t work with me here! E: And by “he,” I mean Cillian Whosyface, of course. You’re not kidding that the characters weren’t endearing: half-way through, I realized I didn’t know anyone’s name. S: Cillian Whosyface who I think is still dreamy and still a solid actor. In general I didn’t think the acting was a shortcoming. It felt definitively directing and script related. E: Oh, agreed: the actors all delivered. Not sure what it was that they were tasked with delivering, but they did solidly. S: Nothing is the answer. They were tasked with delivering nothing, so probably just did the best they could. Usually I feel like the fail with movies that try that hard is that they hit me over the head with the concept. This was just like the concept was: dark. And that’s not a concept!! E: I think On The Edge’s concept was “Dark! But funny! OMG THE CONTRAST CAN YOU STAND IT?” And I’m all “Dude… I can totally stand it.” S: But this is not to say that it was a giant ball of flaming suckage E: Not suckage at all! Solid acting, visually interesting at times, and some really effective little vignettes. (The [spoiler redacted!] when they’re lying on her bed? YIKES.) S: TRUE! E: But not memorable. Right now, I’m looking at the wikipedia entry on the movie, reading over the plot summary, and thinking “Oh, that happened?” And Stockman sums it up! S: In a movie about suicidal patients, you do not want the audience to be, in fact, relatively indifferent to whether or not they live or die.
Free Kids Friday. (Get one free rental from the Children’s or Family sections, no other rental necessary).
>>>Andy gives us 5 more reasons to rent ‘Star Trek- the Animated Series.’1. The animated series is not, strictly, Star Trek canon, but it does introduce the holodeck and James T. Kirk’s
middle name- “Tiberious!” 2. The episode “The Magicks of Megas-Tu” has Satan in it! 3. In the episode “The Infinite Vulcan,” Kirk out-philosophizes a plant! It’s very entertaining. 4. The episode “The Slaver Weapon,” which in my opinion is an all-time Star Trek classic, features the Kzinti- an alien race of talking cats in space suits! They’re really great, in a Scooby Doo kind of way. 5. In addition to his role as Scotty, James Doohan voiced many other characters, suck as “Mendant of the Terratins,” “Korax,” “Magnetic Organism,” “Tchar,” “Kulkulkan,” and “Guardian of Forever.” Great band names all.
Having a Wild Weekend. (Rent two, get your third movie for free from any section on Saturday and Sunday.)
>>>For Saturday, Elsa S. Customer celebrates cinema’s greatest single mothers! Mother’s Day often celebrates the iconic, idealized, all-but-fictional nuclear family: a mother who’s all roses and butterfly kisses, who puts Band-Aids on skinned knees and bakes cookies for after school. But motherhood is broader, more complex, and usually more challenging than whipping up a batch of snickerdoodles. Let’s talk for a minute about single moms in movies — maybe not the best moms, maybe not the most traditional moms, but some of our favorite, most compellingly portrayed characters.
The Sixth Sense (in Mystery/Thriller.) I love Toni Collette’s portrayal of Lynn Sear, long-suffering mother of the decidedly odd Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment), precisely because she is so very imperfect… and she knows it. But she loves her kid, loves him ferociously, loves him through every exhausting annoying turn of their daily life, loves him when she’s certain he’s a liar, loves him when he pushes her buttons, loves him when he scares her.
Terminator I & II (in Action/Adventure.) Let’s face it: Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) is (was? will be? Phew, time travel plays havoc with verb tense) a pretty kick-ass mom.
The World According to Garp (in Feature Drama.) Okay… admittedly, Jenny Fields has her… issues*… but she knows all too well how to defend her oddball son against those who would demean or diminish him, and how to encourage him to find the best in himself. *[spoiler alert: including hypocrisy, lack of humor, poor empathy, and — most damning — her sexual assault of a patient. Y’know: issues.]
The Exorcist (in Horror.) Parenting an adolescent is pretty rough. Just ask Chris McNeil (Ellen Burstyn). A popular actress, McNeil always makes time to put her daughter first, shows her love mixed with firm parental authority, and carefully guards their privacy. But when 12-year-old Regan starts to (in our modern parlance) “act out,” Chris is understandably worried. Wouldn’t you be worried if your pre-teen daughter started levitating?
Flightplan and Panic Room(in Mystery/Thriller.) These movies are frankly pretty average-
to-middlin’, but I do love to watch itty-bitty Jodie Foster go all Mama Bear on those who menace her cubs.
Little Man Tate (in Feature Drama.) Jodie Foster gets playful as DeDe, the single mother of a grade-school genius (the endearing Adam Hann-Byrd) in a movie (also Foster’s directorial debut) that’s both touching and just flat-out fun to watch. Given her serious reputation, it’s a hoot to see Foster cut loose as a fun-loving character, a wisecracking dollface — but it also highlights the unthinking classism of the other characters: DeDe’s freewheeling approach and saucy vernacular don’t keep her from being a loving, supportive, fantastic mom.
Lilo & Stitch(in the Kids Section.) Not every mother-figure is an actual parent: 19-year-old Nani
(Tia Carrere) takes custody of her spirited little sister Lilo after their parents’ death, and she does her level best to keep their little family together despite the difficulties along the way — difficulties that (as you can imagine) are compounded when Lilo brings home an extraterrestrial outlaw who destroys everything in his path.
The Day the Earth Stood Still (in Sci Fi/Fantasy.) In the original B&W classic, Patricia Neal stands tall as a working widowed mother — and one of the few sympathetic human characters on the whole darned planet. (Yeah, yeah: it’s her and the Albert Einstein stand-in.) In too many mid-century movies, the mother is just support staff for their menfolk, but Helen Benson is an individual in her own right: intelligent, thoughtful, empathetic, wry — and brave enough to play a pivotal role in the future of humankind.
E.T.(in Sci Fi/Fantasy) … okay, Eliot’s mom is kinda lousy — or, anyway, her kids treat her like she is. Mary (Dee Wallace) is scrambling to keep the household together in the wake of her
husband’s recent departure, and she’s so exhausted and distracted that she can barely get the groceries unpacked, so it’s no surprise she doesn’t have time to see the wondrous events unfolding literally underfoot. The family dynamic in E.T. is a powerful statement about the pressures placed on parents, about children’s tendency to idolize an absent parent, and about early-80s societal anxieties over fractured families and women working outside the home.
About a Boy (in Comedy.) Except for some obvious, uh, lapses, Toni Collette’s Fiona does some pretty good hippy-dippy mothering: teaching her child Marcus the virtues of an individualism and living mindfully, and springing fiercely to his defense once she gets it into her head that he might need defending.
You Can Count on Me (in Feature Drama.) Sammy Prescott (Laura Linney) looks pretty pulled-together from the outside: single mother of a sweet (if day-dreaming) kid, she’s also a lending officer at the local bank, and she keeps their a big beautiful home tidy and organized. She even takes care of her slacker brother (Mark Ruffalo) in times of need. But let’s look a little closer: pull on one thread of Sammy’s life and the whole fabric comes unravelled. But sometimes re-knitting is exactly what a family needs.
The 40-year-old Virgin (in Comedy.) Catherine Keener’s Trish is a rarity in the male-dominated world of smutty comedies: she’s a rounded, interesting, tremendously likeable female character with a life of her own. She’s smart and self-directed; she’s snappy and funny and sharp; she’s kind and tender and tough. Trish isn’t a stereotypical beauty or a mindless sexbot; instead, she’s a real character who crackles with personality and undeniable sexiness.
>>>For Sunday, Dennis suggests You save yourself some money! At Videoport! Here’s the deal: if you put $20 down up front on your Videoport account, we’ll give you an extra $5 in rental credit, and if you plunk down $30, we give you an extra $10 in rental credit. Think of it this way: you love renting movies at Videoport, you’re gonna spend 20 or 30 bucks here eventually, so just pay that right now, and you get free money to spend on renting movies here. There is literally no way that does not make sense…
New Releases this week at Videoport: The Green Hornet (formerly roly-poly stoner Seth Rogen trimmed down to play the titular, minor-league, superhero for this odd, but entertaining, action comedy, with actor/Taiwanese pop star Jay Chou doing most of the heavy lifting, martial arts-wise, like his idol Bruce Lee did in the campy 60s TV series; directed, incongruously enough, by eccentric auteur Michel Gondry [Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind]), ‘Upstairs Downstairs’ (new BBC miniseries remake of the classic aristocrats and servants series), The Dilemma (Vince Vaughn finds out that happy-go-chubby pal Kevin James is blissfully unaware that his wife is cheating on him and he has to decide whether or not to tell him, thus placing him in a… dilemma!! Director Ron Howard assures everyone that this will be funny…), ‘Being Human’- season 3 (surprisingly-entertaining Brit fantasy series with a premise that sounds like the set-up for a bad joke: “A ghost, a vampire, and a werewolf are sharing an apartment together…”), From Prada to Nada (apparently, this comedy with the dreadful title is a modern day Latina spin on Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility; which doesn’t mean it can’t be awful, but is slightly more interesting than it seems at first…), Sniper Reloaded(Billy Zane is back! And he’s still very good
at shooting people from afar! You guys knew there were two previous Sniper movies, right? Hello?…)
New Arrivals this week at Videoport: You know how Videoport is awesome, right? Well, in examples #2,349 of said awesomeness, our brilliantly-devious owner Bill has brought in three intriguing imported Asian films that haven’t even been released in this country yet!!! (Or did I just blow your mind??) Yup, we don’t know how, or maybe just don’t wanna know, but our benevolent leader brings you: I Saw the Devil (shocking, critically-acclaimed Korean serial killer film starring the guy from Oldboy), Kamome Diner (a charming Japanese film about a friendly, middle-aged lady Japanese lady who opens the titular Japanese bistro in Helsinki, and gradually accumulates an eccentric stable of devoted patrons), and South Korean Army (interesting take on the Korean War, with South Korean director Ji-yeong Jeong [White Badge] telling the oft-harrowing story of the conflict from the North Korean side), Cutey Honey (live action version of the beloved anime series about, I think, an impossibly-adorable, sexy, pink-clad ninja lady who kicks butt in her fetish-y underpants; she also may be a robot…I’m hoping Videoport customer Anime Ed might take a crack at reviewing this one for me at some point…), Waiting for Forever (Rachel Bilson and Tom Sturridge star in this charming tale about a pretty young TV star who’s stalked across the country by a lovesick, homeless, obsessed street performer; no, no- it’s not supposed to be creepy and improbable! I understand why you were confused…), Curious George Plays Ball (monkey baseball!!!! That’s just plain hilarious!), Lord of Illusions (Clive Barker wrote and directed this adaptation of one of his stories; someday someone will make a really accurate adaptation of one of Barker’s stories and theaters across the world will be soaked in terror-pee- this one’s just not bad…), Room in Rome (from the director of Sex and Lucia comes this perhaps-even-more-saucy tale of two incredibly hot women who spend an entire night in a gorgeous Italian hotel room baring their souls…and, you know…), Just One of the Guys (you guys asked for this, and now, for your sins, Videoport has brought in a DVD of this 1980’s teen comedy about an enterprising gal [the ‘what the hell happened to her’ Joyce Hyser] who disguises herself as a dude to expose the sexism of the American high school; plus, she’s almost smooched by an embryonic Sherilyn Fenn [of ‘Twin Peaks’] and almost punched out by Johnny Lawrence of the Kobra Kai!), My Name Is Bill W. (the two toughest Jameses in Hollywood, Woods and Garner, starred in this biopic about the guys behind the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous), Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland (this 1989 by-some beloved animated children’s classic finally gets the big DVD release), Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead (documentary about a formerly-fat guy who turned his life around with, shocker!, a sensible diet and exercise.)
New Arrivals on Blu-ray this week at Videoport: The Green Hornet.