Volume CCCXVII- Cloverfield of Dreams
For the Week of 9/13/11
Videoport’s got all the movies. Like movies? Come to Videoport. ‘Cause we have all the movies. It’s pretty simple, really…
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.)
>>> Videoport customer Tyler* suggests They Live (in Sci Fi/Fantasy.) Anyone who has seen History
Channel’s Ancient Aliens, already knows that aliens are running amok, creating things in the dark of, well, whenever really. I guess John Carpenter had the same thought back in the 80’s. Except back then the aliens weren’t building great societies, they were firm believers in Reaganomics. He also believed that there was one solution… Rowdy Roddy Piper wearing Ray Bans(I think he was on board the Alliteration Express as well.) Rowdy is playing a guy named Nada, who drifts his way into a job, and into a hobo camp. At said camp he comes across strange transmissions about how “they” rule the world around us. He stumbles upon the Ray Bans, and unleashes a reign of vengeance, and clever word play never seen before or since. Pick it up if you like, well, anything really. It’s got comedy, drama, violence, social commentary, and would probably go really well with Repo Man.
*Editor’s note: Sitting, staring blankly at my computer screen after having called out sick on Sunday night, I sent out a desperate, exhausted call for help on our Facebook page “Videoport Jones,” and the Videoport faithful came running, movie reviews in hand. So to Tyler, Katie, Ross, as well as regular contributor/life-savers Stockman, Andy, and the lovely Ms. Elsa S. Customer (who apparently wrote hers after I collapsed into bed): you guys are the greatest. It was like little movie review elves cobbled together this week’s VideoReport while I slept. And hey, you don’t have to wait for the editor’s crippling illnesses to contribute to the VideoReport! We put out one of these every week, you know, so send in your reviews to email@example.com or that Facebook thingy; the VideoReport is where fans of the best, damned video store in the world (Videoport, duh) gather to cram our opinions down other people’s throats! Now on with the cramming!
Tough and Triassic Tuesday. (Get one free rental from the Action or Classics sections with your paid rental.)
>>> Videoport customer Katie suggests Truck Turner(in Action.) Simply put, this movie is amazing. It stars Isaac Hayes, who plays Mack “Truck” Turner, a former football star who was forced to retire due to an injury. Now he works as a bounty hunter with his partner Jerry (Alan Weeks). When he
kills his most recent target, a pimp named Gator, he’s in trouble with Gator’s woman Dorinda, played by Nichelle Nichols. Dorinda puts a hit out on Truck and fellow pimp Harvard Blue, played by the amazing Yaphet Kotto, takes it upon himself to carry out the hit. That bare bones description doesn’t tell the reader how spectacular this movie is. God is in the ridiculous details. Truck Turner is constantly drunk on Coors. Wherever he goes, women cat call him. His girl is in jail, and upon her release, Truck buys her some fried chicken before they get makin’ with the love. Dorinda is a terrifying madam and
her fits of rage are hilarious (“I haven’t had to sell my p***y since I was 15 and learned I could sell others!”) Her stable of hos is less than sexy in that gross, sloppy ’70’s way, and when she parades them around, the viewer is more likely to gag than be excited. The pimp funeral is one of my favorite parts. All the pimps are escorted to Gator’s coffin by their respective stables, to sprinkle a little cocaine on the body. Have you ever seen a stable in mourning? Elegant and understated are not the words that come to mind. Throw in the requisite jive talk, plenty of fight scenes, and a soundtrack scored by Isaac Hayes himself, and you have the perfect movie to watch, preferably with lots of friends who are looking to laugh.
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!)
>>> Elsa S. Customer suggests After Hours(in Comedy.) Scorsese is best known for his gritty thrillers, showcases for tales of crime and redemption, but he doesn’t need mob violence or vicious
anti-heroes to create an artful portrait of anxiety and tension. In 1985’s After Hours, a working schlub named Paul (Griffin Dunne) meets a giddy, flirtatious gal (Rosanna Arquette), and a few hours later, he tries to meet up with her at her SoHo apartment. It should be simple, but it ain’t. During his cab ride (and remember, this is in the days before an ATM on every corner), Paul’s pocket money blows out the window: poof, that’s 20 bucks gone with the wind. By this stunning simple device, our Everyman enters a fantastical and unpredictable odyssey. It plays out with a grinding exhaustion worthy of Kafka, if Kafka wrote bohemian slapstick. Paul wends his way through chaotic midnight streets where every new adventure leads him deeper and deeper into trouble. It should be a light and silly plot, but in the master’s hands, this little excursion becomes an exercise in the crushing accumulation of small pressures, where anxiety becomes paranoia and paranoia becomes just plain good sense. It’s a nightmare, but in the most hellishly watchable way. In addition to Dunne’s impish perfection and Arquette, who plays a crazy piece of fluff like nobody else can, After Hours features a crazy-good supporting cast, including Teri Garr, Cheech & Chong, Linda Fiorentino, Catherine O’Hara, John Heard, and Bronson Pinchot, as well as a pretty nutty soundtrack ranging from Bach to Bad Brains to Joni Mitchell to Peggy goddamned Lee.
Thrifty Thursday. (Get one free movie from any section with your paid rental.)
>>>Former Videoporter Stockman suggests Accepted(in Comedy.) This is a tricky recommendation, because thus far I’ve only known people who have either loved or truly despised this movie. I don’t want to have you watch something and walk away condemning me for the waste of precious minutes of your life. I guess fingers crossed if you hate it you’ll turn it off and go along your merry way mollified by the knowledge that you rented it at Videoport, so either rented it for free or at least spent money
supporting local business. But what if, maybe, just maybe you are one of my fellow Accepted– loving comrades? This could be life changing! In which case thank goodness I took a chance on life! I might have a tiny nerd crush on Justin Long, which makes this movie extra spectacular because while Justin maintains his nerd status as always, it’s spiced up here with some actual handsome charisma. Usually he tows that line of just uber-nerdy enough to be as nerdy as humanly possible while still being adorable as a stuffed animal. Tweak it ever so slightly, and you get sad and uncomfortable. You’ll also recognize Jonah Hill and his standard snark as well as Blake Lively at her blandest best! Don’t worry; Blake Lively isn’t really required to do much in this movie. One of the main things I love most is the commentary on colleges and universities! Not that I don’t encourage and appreciate higher education, but I certainly remember the frustration of bureaucracy, complacency and monotony. It helps that they recruited Lewis Black at his rantingest to really maximize the communication of frustration! Thank you Lewis Black, nothing sedates my rage like my concern that you are so worked up you may actually have an aneurism right in front of me! Have an open mind and an eye for shenanigans, you might also want to prepare for intense suspension of disbelief, if you can find that zen state you are in for a treat and a made up college called S.H.I.T.
Free Kids Friday. (Get one free rental from the Children’s or Family sections, no other rental necessary).
>>> Dennis’ angel-genius niece Penelope (age 6) suggests Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, summing it up succinctly with, “I like the Gene Wilder one the best.” She also would like to add, however, after seeing Dennis’ copy of Gene Wilder’s autobiography entitled “Kiss Me Like a Stranger,” “He does not look like a kissy man…”
Having a Wild Weekend. (Rent two, get your third movie for free from any section on Saturday and Sunday.)
>>>For Saturday, Andy suggests Alexander the Great (in Classics). Has there been a truly good movie yet made about Alexander the Great? Oliver Stone tried really hard to make a good one. I mean, he made his movie (Alexander, 2004), which was pretty awful, then he released two different re-edits of the movie over the next couple years. That was half a century after Robert Rossen (The Hustler, Lilith) made his version, which I guess has the distinction of being the best movie made about the legendary conqueror, though that’s not much of a boast. Rossen’s Alexander the Great (1956) is not a dumb movie at all. There are some intelligently written scenes, good characters, and worthy performances by Richard Burton, Claire Bloom, and Peter Cushing. But it’s seriously hampered by some of the most inept battle staging I’ve ever seen in a so-called epic. No excitement, no strategy, no energy, just sweaty men in silly costumes swinging swords at each other. I realize that this isn’t a glowing recommendation, but my angle is this: if you must watch a movie about Alexander the Great, it should probably be this one.
>>>For Sunday, Videoport customer Ross suggests Repo Men (in Action.) So after owning Repo Menfor a couple of years I finally sat down to watch it this weekend. I was not expecting much other then just a simple mind numbing sci-fi action film. What I got was actually an enjoyable experience. The cast was wonderful, with Liev Schreiber at top form as a sleazy salesman a-hole. But this was something to be expected since they are such strong actors.( Jude Law, Forrest Whitaker). But
sometimes these great actors phone in a cheesy sci fi action film (The Star Wars Prequels are a great example) So to see these actors put there all and effort was great to see, because that can really pull a film out of MST3K territory. There really is a difference from a crappy film where the actors realize it and don’t put the effort in, and one where they do, it really speaks to the professionalism of these three actors. The plot for the most part is pretty standard fare, two friends are Repo Men who repossess the overpriced organs for a company called The Union, one ends up with one of these organs and can’t make the payments so his best friend has to repo him, nothing too complex for a sci fi film, but like Equilibrium it at least has fun with it and tries to make it different, so it feels like it is influenced by other stories as opposed to just blatantly ripping it off. Visually the film is strong, sets, vehicles, and clothing all look realistic and believable. Here they took a page out of Children of Men, and instead of doing an obvious “this is the future” look they went for more of a “what will things look like considering current trends”. Jude Law’s clothes attributed the best look I though, the blue work shirt buttoned all the way up, makes him look bad ass but also just a working class representation. There are also great scenes that visually call back to films such as Total Recall as well as Old Boy. In fact there is one scene that is so influenced by Old Boy you feel as if they should have just ripped off the scene completely because there is no other way to really reference it and still make it look good. Overall Repo Men is not a fantastic film, or a great film. But it was one that was enjoyable to watch and was a lot of fun. Films like this have so many opportunities to go bad and this one was strong and solid at what it was, even though what it was is nothing groundbreaking or overly original. A recommend for anyone who enjoys just a good sci fi film and action.
New Releases this week at Videoport: Meek’s Cutoff (from the director of acclaimed indies Wendy and Lucy, River of Grass, and Old Joy comes this similarly-critically-beloved tale of the struggles of 1845 settlers in Oregon), Thor (the summer of superhoroics began with this middling Marvel comics tale of the hot, blonds Norse god with the really big…hammer), The Big Bang Theory’- season 4 (America’s favorite comic nerds with the hot neighbor return!), ‘Modern Family’- season 2 (the country [and, more importantly, Videoport customers] love this sitcom about three different couples coping with family stuff in a pleasantly-humorous manner), ‘Grey’s Anatomy’- season 7 (handsome/pretty doctors svain’ lives and kissin’ each other all over the place!), ‘Spartacus: Gods of the Arena’- season 1 (it’s the prequel to the very popular [and bloody, and sexy] Roman swordplay series), Bill Cunningham New York (check Videoport’s Documentary Arts section for this film about the life of the titular legendary fashion photographer), Brand New Day (Geoffrey Rush costars in this raucous Australian musical about a young Aboriginal guy escaping from a Catholic boarding school, taking up with hippies, and finding his way back home), Hesher (oddball indie drama about a strange homeless pyromaniac rocker [Joseph Gordon Leavitt] who may or may not be the guardian angel of a troubled family [including Natalie Portman and Rainn Wilson]), Le Quattro Volte (in this magical film about a medieval Italian village, an old shepherd faces his imminent death with eccentric rituals), Lourdes (a wheelchair-bound girl makes a pilgrimage to the legendary Catholic shrine in a completely-rational response to her problems), Wishful Drinking (Carrie Fisher’s one-woman show about her epically-messed-up life is both funny and a huge bummer in equal portions), Incendies (Oscar-nominated film about twins setting out on a journey to the Middle East in order to fulfill their mother’s last wishes and discover some deep dark family secrets), The Arbor (biopic about the short-lived British playwright Andrea Dunbar), ‘Glee’- season 2, volume 2 (who’s ready to SING!!!!?!?!?? A lot of you, apparently…), ‘Rescue Me’- season 6 (Denis Leary returns as the the most heroic/dickish firefighter in NYC), ‘Blue Bloods’- season 1 (Tom Selleck brings his middle-aged authority and mustache to this cop show about a family of cops…who are cops!), ‘Supernatural’- season 6 (two hot brothers road-tripping to fight evil; what’s not to like?), ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’- season 6 (the continuing comic adventures of a quintet of the worst human beings in the world!), Love, Wedding, Marriage(Mandy Moore stars in this romantic comedy about a marriage counselor who gets
adorably freaked out when her parents announce they’re getting divorced), Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop (fascinating [and hilarious, duh] documentary about O’Brien’s “Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television” tour.)
New Arrivals this week at Videoport: Melvin and Howard (this 1980 comedy by director Jonathan Demme [Something Wild, Silence of the Lambs, Caged Heat, Married to the Mob] pretty much defines ‘sleeper cult film’; based on the possibly true story of an unemployed milkman who claims he gave Howard Hughes a lift in the desert, and that Hughes then left him $156 million in his will.)
New Arrivals on Blu Ray this week at Videoport: Thor, X Men: First Class, O Brother Where Art Thou?, Incendies.
On Halloween, Videoport and the State Theatre are sponsoring a zombie double feature, at the State, of the original Dawn of the Dead followed by Shaun of the Dead! Plus, local filmmakers Christian and Sarah Matzke will be showing their local zombie short Last Call in between! Plus, there’s a zombie walk leading up to the doors of the State! Plus, Videoport’s got discounted tickets ($6 here. $8 at the door)! For more details, check out www.statetheatreportland.com!