Volume CCCVIII- From Russia with C.H.U.D.
For the Week of 7/12/11
Videoport. As you walk its aisles, you
walk through movie history. The best, the worst, and the weirdest. The favorites from your childhood and what’ll be the favorites of your old age. All right here, just waiting for you…
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 The House of Yes (in Incredibly Strange.) Marty Pascal is coming home from college for Thanksgiving, and his twin sister Jacqueline (Parker Posey) is so excited to see him! So very excited. Unnervingly and weirdly excited, even. This is the edgiest of dramatic comedies, or the most unnerving of comedic dramas, and it’s Parker Posey’s extraordinary performance that balances House of Yeson that knife’s edge. Brittle, witty, all-too-excitable Jacqueline (known to her family as Jackie-O* for reasons that become excruciatingly clear) is hemmed in and guarded by her deep-in-denial mother (Genevieve Bujold, all unravelling
glamour and shrugging fatalism) and adoring younger brother Anthony (Freddy Prinze, Jr, perfectly puppyish in his desire to please), but that’s not enough to keep her from delivering some sardonic jabs to Lesly, Marty’s new girlfriend. No matter how uncomfortable Jacqueline makes them, they can’t refuse to spend the night: an attack of politeness hems them in just as effectively as the sudden storm that springs up. Anyway, as Jackie-O reprovingly reminds Marty: “Anthony went out and bought a jacket and I went to a lot of trouble to get sane, so you can’t just leave.”
*Editor’s note: Videoport’s own JackieO is significantly less crazy than Parkey Posey’s Jackie-O. 16-17% less crazy…
Tough and Triassic Tuesday. (Get one free rental from the Action or Classics sections with your paid rental.)
>>> Dennis suggests Take the Money and Run (in Classics.) Here are Woody Allen’s favorite Woody Allen movies (from a recent interview): The Purple Rose of Cairo, Match Point, Bullets Over Broadway, Husbands and Wives, and Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Yeah, read that list again. Sigh. Look, I’m a Woody fan from my childhood as a tiny, nerdy movie/comedy geek. Once I discovered Woody’s early movies, like Annie Hall, Sleeper, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex But Were Afraid to Ask,
Manhattan, Love & Death, Bananas, and What’s Up Tiger Lily?, my tiny little geeky mind was blown with comedic possibilities heretofore unimagined. And once the Woodman started to branch out, I followed him, all the way from Hannah and Her Sisters, Another Woman, September…hell, I even sort of liked Interiors. And I like some of the movies on Woody’s recent list, but seriously- this is the list of the five favorite Woody Allen movies of a guy I would never want to talk about Woody Allen movies with. Or hang out with. Sigh. I mean, Purple Rose– fine. A little maudlin, but fine. And Bullets-pretty funny stuff, with good work from John Cusack, Mary Louise Parker, and Chazz Palminteiri. Match Point– possibly his most overrated film, revealing his increasing inability to write dialogue that sounds like humans talk. Husbands and Wives–
sure, pretty solid drama, and sadly resonant, all things considered. Vicky– it’s fine (thanks to Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz.) But, as a Woody consumer, and a fan of things that are, you know, fun- this list just pisses me off; it’s like he’s completely disowning everything he ever did that meant something to me. So I’m going back almost to the beginning, with this, Woody’s 1969 goofball second directorial effort. It’s the faux-documentary about Virgil Starkwell (Woody), a runty little misfit who drifts into a life of crime as the world’s most inept bank robber. It’s a string of completely silly and absurd gags (Virgil playing the cello in a marching band [think about it], Virgil attempting an escape while chained to an entire chain gang, Virgil getting caught while arguing with a teller about the handwriting on his stickup note, Virgil being fed hard boiled eggs minced through the prison screen by his long-suffering girlfriend, and on and on…) It’s just a delightful, wacky, completely-inventive delight that can still give me the giggles. And make me happy. I’d take a ramshackle, gleefully-silly flick like this over any of the five movies grumpy old Woody cites as his most representative films any day.
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!)
>>> Anime Ed suggests Cutie Honey (in Made in Japan.) Hmmm..how is this movie? Only FREAKIN’ AWESOME! Seriously, one of the most entertaining, fun flicks I’ve seen in a long while. Imagine Hausu/House (in the Criterion Collection), Big Trouble in Little China (in Action/Adventure), Ultraman, and Big Man Japan (also in Made in Japan) thrown into a blender and mixed with a bunch of psychedelics, and out comes this movie. Rent it, watch it, and bask in the sheer genius insanity of it all. BANZAI!!
Thrifty Thursday. (Get one free movie from any section with your paid rental.)
>>>Andy suggests Double Take (in the Incredibly Strange section). This fun movie is a must-see for any fan of Alfred Hitchcock who has devoured all of his features, TV episodes, biographies, and interviews. Double Takeis a documentary, and it’s a work of fiction… well, it’s a fictional documentary that definitely
belongs in Videoport’s Incredibly Strange section (in fact, Mondo Hitchcock would be a good title for this one). This is a compilation of Sir Alfred’s television appearances and movie trailers (Hitchcock was deeply, and hilariously, involved in his own promotion) blended together with unrelated late ’50s/early ’60s news clips, stock footage, and commercials. At first it seems randomly assembled, but then themes emerge, and a continuing story, seemingly narrated by Hitchcock himself, is told. There are intriguing juxtapositions: cold war propaganda and 9/11 imagery, space race news updates and coffee commercials, and banal scenes of America’s domestic life set to dramatic Bernard Herrman music. Double Take is a Hitchcockian story about the great director himself meeting his own doppelganger in the year 1963, and a documentary about a real-life lookalike. I think the real Hitchcock would have enjoyed this movie, since it’s so playful in it’s storytelling; it’s telling a pretty cool story while revealing, as it’s being told, exactly how the story is being faked! Also, Double Take is a time capsule, edited afterwards by a clever artist to make the point that a lot has changed over the last fifty years, namely… nothing (keep watching through the end credits if you want this point hammered over your head). There’s a lot of fun to be had here, and there’s a great bonus feature, too: an 18-minute audio interview of Karen Black (star of Family Plot) by director Johan Grimonprez. And remember, “they say that if you meet your double, you should kill him, or that he will kill you.”
Free Kids Friday. (Get one free rental from the Children’s or Family sections, no other rental necessary).
>>>Elsa S. Customer suggests Cinderella. Remember, girls: just wait around and be pretty, and a boy will come along to save you from your dreary life! Okay, enough snark. Disney’s Cinderella is a great childhood favorite, so let’s try something constructive: use the film’s less-than-fantastic messages as a jumping-off point for a teachable moment. Waiting around passively [spoiler alert!] worked out okay for Cinderella, but see if your child can brainstorm some other, more active strategies that good ole ‘Ella could have used to escape her oppressive home life, some sort of coping skills that don’t rely on a magical mentor and a handsome prince. Or you can flip the idea on its head and look at Cinderella as a karmic fable: good, kind people who persevere in adversity will be rewarded with a wonderful life. Either way, you’re helping your child learn to engage actively and thoughtfully with the ideas disseminated in popular culture, not to swallow them whole.
Having a Wild Weekend. (Rent two, get your third movie for free from any section on Saturday and Sunday.)
>>>For Saturday, Regan suggests Wah Do Dem (in Feature Drama.) (Temp: 86 degrees outside. 83 degrees inside.) This is about this kid Max who goes on a cruise to Jamaica and a buncha schitz happens to him. I treat hot weather like Storm Center told me. Bad things would happen if I try to leave the house. But I do so enjoy a hot weather movie. As Max is underwater looking at fishy, rocky things, I think about how I would need goggles on account of the contact lenses. That would be too much of a hassle. So I’d better stay in. Shades drawn. Fans a-blowin’. And movies a-plenty. I like this one. Johnny Depp should watch it and remember when he used to make movies that don’t suck taint.
>>>For Sunday, April suggests Lucky (in Documentary.) My mind know the odds of me winning the lottery are terrible, but I just keep ignoring it. I usually stick to easy picks since more people win that way, at least that’s what I learned while watching Lucky. I kinda hope I’ll win just so I can rub it in Andy’s face and then take him to the Grand Canyon like I promised I’d do if I won. (He didn’t want to go to the Harry Potter theme park like I thought he would.)
>>> Elsa S. Customer suggests Devil (in Mystery/Thriller.) It’s a simple premise, and by “simple,” I guess I mean “dumb”: five strangers get stuck in an elevator and one of them is — duh duh DUH — THE DEVIL. Or, I dunno, a devil. Whatevs. While the very silly movie unreeled its nonsense, we amused ourselves by hollering out alternate titles. (“Devil-vator!” “Elevator of Doom!” “Twistevator!” “Elevator Pitch!”) But I’ll admit: I was partly won over, almost entirely thanks to the marvelous Chris Messina’s performance as an embittered detective watching the captive victims over CCTV; Messina takes his part more seriously than this film deserves and comes close to redeeming the film, tipping it over from not-very-bad to reasonably-entertaining-and-gripping.
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,
The Girl Who Played with Fire,
& The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest…
…and now the next installment in Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy is…
-The Girl Who Ran the Yellow Light
-The Girl Who Filed Her Taxes Late
-The Girl Who Cut the Tag Off the Mattress
-The Girl Who Didn’t Fully Cook Her Chicken
-The Girl Who Stuck a Fork in the Toaster
-The Girl Who Ran with Scissors
-The Girl Who Let the Right One In
-The Girl Who Didn’t Signal When She Turns
-The Girl Who Drank Beer before Liquor
-The Girl Who Hung Out at Phil Spector’s House
-The Girl Who Mixed Pop Rocks and Coke
-The Girl Who Went Swimming 49 Minutes after Eating
-The Girl Who Didn’t Use Sunscreen
-The Girl Who Ordered the Fish on Sunday
-The Girl Who Tugged on Superman’s Cape
-The Girl Who Smacked a Wolf in the Face
-The Girl Who Punched a Scorpion
-The Girl Who Tickled a Tarantula
-The Girl Who Tap-Danced on the Bear Den
-The Girl Who Poked a Puma
-The Girl Who Played “Got Your Nose” with a Wombat
-The Girl Who Mentioned Netflix to Regan
New Releases this week at Videoport: Rango (Johnny Depp lends his lucrative voice to this animated Western adventure comedy about a meek city lizard forced to become a desert town’s gunslinging hero; costarring the slightly-less box-office, and yet perhaps more talented, pipes of the likes of Timothy Olyphant, Ray Winstone, Bill Nighy, Alfred Molina, Ned Beatty, and Harry Dean Stanton), The Lincoln Lawyer (Matthew McConaughey, presumably keeping his shirt on for a change, got some decent reviews as the titular slicky-boy defense attorney [who operates out of his car for some reason] who gets a case that suggests that the legal system may not be entirely fair…), ‘Entourage’- season 7 (the further adventures of a quartet of Hollywood hangers-on…), ‘Damages’- season 3 (Glenn Close and ‘Bridesmaids” Rose Byre are back as a pair of warring lawyers in this deliciously-deviant series; look for great additions to the cast this year- Lily Tomlin, Campbell Scott, and Martin Short), Insidious (hey, Rose Byrne is back! This time, she’s a mom of three whose move to her new dream house results in some seriously-creepy stuff; this low-budget horror thriller actually got some good reviews- a serious rarity in the horror genre), Arthur(I don’t suppose we really needed a remake of the already-quite-funny-
thank-you Dudley Moore comedy about an alcoholic millionaire manchild, but Russell Brand seems born to take the role on, and casting Helen Mirren in the John Gielgud role of Arthur’s long-suffering, snarky butler is a genius move), ‘MI-5’- volume 9 (fans of gritty British spy shenanigans rejoice, as this series Bonds on…), Robot Chicken- Star Wars III (Seth Green and his toybox just can’t leave George Lucas alone, thankfully), Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (because Videoport customers are so cool, this Thai film, about a man visited by his dead wife [in the form of a ghost] and his dead son [seemingly in the form of a sasquatch] and which won the big prizes at this year’s Cannes film festival, has been one of the most requested movies of late; we love you guys…), Miral (painter-turned-director Julian Schnabel has made three movies previously [Basquiat, Before Night Falls, and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly], and they’re all brilliant; this one, a controversial, Palenstinian take on the birth of Israel told through the eyes of a teenage girl [Slumdog Millionaire‘s Freida Pinto] has divided people- which probably means it’s challenging, smart, and avoids easy answers…), Brother’s Justice (Dax Shepard directs and stars in this mockumentary about the usually-goofy comic actor deciding to pitch his semi-successful comedy career [see Baby Mama, Without a Paddle, Idiocracy] in order to pursue his dream of being a martial
arts action star…despite the fact that he has no idea how to fight; it’s semi-improvised, with cameos from Bradley Cooper, David Koechner, Tom Arnold, Jon Favreau and others- it’s actually pretty funny.)
New Arrivals this week at Videoport: WWE Summerslam: Hogan vs. Michaels (Videoport brings in this 2005 rasslin’ spectacular with one of the greatest physical wrestlers of all time taking on the most overhyped, one-note megastar in wrestling history.)
New Arrivals on Blu-Ray: Rango, The Lincoln Lawyer, Arthur, Insidious.
Here’s how you save some money at Videoport:
Videoport’s pre-payment plans get you free money just for renting here. If you pre-pay $20 on your account, we give you $25 worth of rental credit. And $30 buys you $40 worth. It’s the smart thing to do…