VideoReport #330

Volume CCCXXX- Exit Through the Little Gift Shop of Horrors

For the Week of 12/15/11

Videoport’s not trying to panic anybody, but you see the date up there, right? Yeah. So we’re just gonna throw the idea out there that Videoport gift certificates make good presents, and leave it at that…

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 loves John!

>>> Elsa S. Customer suggests This Filthy World (in Incredibly Strange.) Did you miss John Waters’ Sunday night appearance at the State Theatre in “A John Waters Christmas”*? Why not enjoy the next-best thing: This Filthy World showcases Waters at his best, as an irresistible storyteller wedding high culture, low culture, art, and memoir into a rambling series of delicious digressions.

*We didn’t! See Wednesday’s review for more…

Tough and Triassic Tuesday. (Get one free rental from the Action or Classics sections with your paid rental.)

>>> Dennis suggests a double feature, side-by-side comparison of A Fistful of Dollars (in Action) and Yojimbo(in the Criterion Collection.) I bet you already know that Clint Eastwood’s first

Cool.

spaghetti Western was a remake of Akira Kurosawa’s samurai classic Yojimbo, right? Of course you did- you’re a Videoport customer after all, and therefore awesome. But did you know that Yojimbo was itself adapted from the American novel Red Harvest by none other that Dashiell Hammet (author of The Maltese Falcon and The Thin Man)? What? You knew that, too, huh? Well, Mr./Ms. Smartypants, then why not take both of these great action classics home and do some filmgeek compare and contrastin.’ For example, whose ‘man with no name’ is a bigger badass as he pits two evil warring families against each other and makes off with it all in the end? (I say Toshiro

The coolest.

Mifune.) And who’s the better director of action sequences, Kurosawa or Sergio Leone? (It’s Kurosawa.) And which film is better overall? (I think you can guess where I’m going with this one…) Well, I will say that Fistful‘s got the cooler theme music (courtesy of the legendary Ennio Morricone), so that’s something. Oh, and of course you could substitute the 1996 Bruce Willis double remake Last Man Standing for either of these; you know, if you don’t want to watch a good movie…

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 diving, chest-deep, into the cinematic world of John Waters!Thanks to Videoport’s eternally-benevolent owner Bill, we Video-drones went to see the legendary cult director and all-around Videoport god (someone called him “the patron saint of Videoport”) at the State Theatre on Sunday and we could not have been more happy about it. Ever-natty in a pink velvet suit, Waters presented his version of a Christmas show, mixing holiday reminiscences, gift ideas, his lust for Justin Bieber and

Rosa, John and Sam.

Alvin the chipmunk, anecdotes about his movies (and longtime muse Divine), and holiday-specific new sexual practices (we’re not going to explain “the snowman,” so don’t ask.) Even better was the second part of the show, when Waters fielded questions from the packed house (led off, with characteristic intrepidity, by our own Piehead), allowing him some more freedom to show off the genial Baltimore gentleman he remains, all the while saying the most fearlessly, gleefully-filthy things. Afterwards (again thanks to Bill), we got to meet the man himself as he graciously signed autographs, took pictures, and even blessed the baby bump of former Videoporter Dennis2′s lovely wife Alex. He said nice things about Videoport, too, and was duly impressed by a picture of our doors, which sport wrought-iron likenesses of Faster Pussycat Kill! Kill! (his favorite movie) and, of course, Divine. It was pretty much how you want a meeting with one of your heroes to go. So why not bask in the warm, hilarious, filthy, outrageous world of Waters with these Videoport-recommended rentals:

-Mondo Trasho (in Incredibly Strange)

-Multiple Maniacs (in Incredibly Strange)

-Pink Flamingos (in Incredibly Strange-in fact, Pink Flamingosis pretty much why the Incredibly Strange

Haven't seen it? Not a Videoporter.

section was invented)

-Female Trouble (in Incredibly Strange)

-Desperate Living (in Incredibly Strange)

-Polyester (in Incredibly Strange)

-Hairspray (the original, not the musical, in Comedy)

-Cry-Baby (in Comedy)

-Serial Mom (in Comedy)

-Pecker (in Incredibly Strange, back where he belongs!)

-Cecil B. Demented (in Incredibly Strange)

-A Dirty Shame (in Incredibly Strange)

And also check out John Waters appearing in things like

-”Til Death Do Us Part’ (where Waters introduces reenactments of true tales of spousal murder, in Incredibly Strange)

-William S Burroughs: A Man Within (as a talking head in this documentary about Burroughs, in the Documentary Arts section)

-‘The Simpsons’ episode ‘Homer’s Phobia’- season 8, episode 15 (one of the best Simpsons eps ever, in Animation)

-Seed of Chucky (the only reason to watch Seed of Chucky, in Horror)

-The Junior Defenders (the narrator in this oddball movie about would-be superheroes, in Incredibly Strange)

-Sweet and Lowdown (in Drama- I would love to know what he and Woody Allen talked about; dammit, I forgot to ask him…)

Thrifty Thursday. (Get one free movie from any section with your paid rental.)

>>> Elsa S. Customer suggests some shows featuring the funniest actor you’ve probably never heard of. Andrew Daly is a master improv artist, an anchor performer for the legendary Upright Citizens Brigade, and a frequent guest on Scott Aukerman’s Comedy Bang Bang podcast. Check out Andy Daly’s side-splitting guest roles in more mainstream shows: as Terence Cutler in Season One of “Eastbound and Down,” as the Ben Franklin impersonator in “The Office” (Season Three, episode 14), and as Brad the Friendly Homeowner in “Reno 911.” Of course, you can also see Mr. Daly in the live-improv DVD “Upright Citizens Brigade: Asssscat,” where his brilliance rivals that of more famous UCB alums Amy Poehler, Matt Besser, Matt Walsh, and Ian Roberts.

Free Kids Friday. (Get one free rental from the Children’s or Family sections, no other rental necessary).

>>> Dennis suggests that it’s never to early to introduce your kids to the films of John Waters! Wait, what’s that? You’ll be sent to jail, you say? Huh. Not a bad point. Well, maybe when they’re a little older. In the meantime, why not take a free movie from the kids section.

Having a Wild Weekend. (Rent two, get your third movie for free from any section on Saturday and Sunday.)

>>>For Saturday, Elsa S. Customer suggests an actor cross-over double-feature: “Dexter” (in Mystery/Thriller) and “Six Feet Under” (in Feature Drama.) OMG, you guys: David Fisher is KILLING PEOPLE to drum up business. (Kinda defeats the purpose that he deep-sixes the bodies, huh?)

>>>Dennis suggests Tucker and Dale vs. Evil (in Incredibly Strange.) Anyone who knows me (and for that I’m sorry) knows that I love Alan Tudyk. You might know him stealing scenes in stuff like Dodgeball, 28 Days, I Robot, Knocked Up, Death at a Funeral, ‘Dollhouse’ or ‘Arrested Development.’ You should know him from ‘Firefly’, Joss Whedon’s legendarily-brilliant (and even more legendarily-cancelled) sci fi TV series (and its big screen follow-up Serenity, which was just as good…and equally-ignored.) Regardless, I love the guy, so I was super-excited to see this horror comedy starring A.T. alongside ‘Reaper’‘s Tyler Labine as a pair of scrungy-but-harmless hillbillies who get mistaken for Texas Chainsaw Masscre-esque serial killers by some of the douchiest college kids around. It’s a funny idea for a genre switcheroo and, while the movie ain’t a horror/comedy classic (reviewers comparing it to the near-perfect Shaun of the Dead should really ask their mommy’s permission before using the computer), it’s got some big, gory laughs and a pair of very funny lead performances. (Female damsel-in-distress is played by the woman who plays Cerie on ’30 Rock,’ which explains why Cerie doesn’t get a lot of screen time.) Tudyk’s Tucker is the more confident and theoretically-capable of the two, and he takes most of the physical punishment, but it’s the perennially-Jack Black-y Labine who, surprisingly steals the show, toning down his usual bluster and making Dale’s burly vulnerability genuinely funny and touching. The two of them make a good comic team, and their stunned incredulity in the face of a series of inexplicable (to them) hilariously-violent accidents which they can’t but be blamed for is very funny.

>>>For Sunday, Andy suggests The Village (in Mystery/Thriller). Remember M. Night Shyamalan? What happened to him? He still makes movies, but… The Last Airbender? That’s not the M. Night I remember. I’ve been re-watching some of his movies lately. Signs completely holds up, and The Happening is better than it seemed back in 2008. But the biggest surprise was The Village, Shyamalan’s 2004 disappointment. I’m considering re-classifying it as one of his good ones. Of course, the dialogue is painfully corny, the performances stiff, and the “twist” obvious from the start. But! This is the director’s best looking, most beautifully filmed (by Roger Deakins) movie. And that’s saying something, since Shyamalan regularly works with the best cinematographers in the business, and always carefully designs his shots. The Village also benefits from an affecting performance by Bryce Dallas Howard. Her character’s devotion to Joaquin Phoenix’s character always rings true, which is especially impressive given the terrible dialogue she’s burdened with. Howard provides the movie’s beating heart, and even a deeply flawed movie can work if it has a heart. That’s the one thing The Village has over Unbreakable, M. Night’s otherwise far superior 2000 film.

New Releases this week at Videoport: Kung Fu Panda 2 (Jack Black’s back as the roly-poly endangered protagonist in this animated comedy about a punchy-kicky panda), Rise of the Planet of the Apes (James Franco monkeys around with ape brains [you know- for science!], causing the titular ape-y uprising in this remake/reboot-type thing; MONKEY ATTACK!!!), ‘Family Guy’- volume 9(I was going to make a joke about this inexplicably-still-existing animated show, but a random pop culture reference got

Dr. Who vs. the Vampires!

in the way; look- a naked Kardashian! Fart noise!), Fright Night (while it’s usually wise to avoid all remakes [especially horror remakes], this one, about a teenager who suspects his new neighbor is a vampire and enlists the help of his show-biz idol to kill it, is actually very solid, with a smart script from ‘Buffy’ writer Marti Noxon and a good cast [David Tennant, Colin Farrell, Anton Yelchin, McLovin]), Around a Small Mountain (from 84 year old French auteur Jacques Rivette [La Belle Noiseuse] comes this charming romance about a former circus performer’s chance encounters with an Italian traveller who keep meeting by chance), The Love We Make (documentary about Paul McCartney’s preparations to appear in the Concert for New York, post-9/11 fundraiser), ‘The Life and Times of Tim’- season 2 (slyly-funny little HBO animated show about a genially-snarky guy who finds himself embroiled in various, ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’- style predicaments), Daddy Longlegs (oddball, charming indie about a divorced father whose attempts to create a perfect, fairy-tale two weeks for his visiting sons are complicated by his own eccentricities), Circumstance (an Iranian family finds its safety threatened by the adolescent sexual rebellions of its children in this gripping drama), The Smell of Success (the new film from the Polish Brothers [Twin Falls Idaho, Northfork, Jackpot, The Astronaut Farmer] features Billy Bob Thornton, Kyle McLachlan, and Ed Helms as competing 1960s manure salesmen), Tanner Hall (Rooney Mara [star of the upcoming American remake of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo] is the main draw in this coming-of-age story set in an exclusive all-girls private school), How Beer Saved the World (from those drunks at the Discovery Channel comes this series explaining the vital role beer has played in the development of civilization), Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame (some serious star power [director Tsui Hark, stars Tony Leung and Andy Lau] promise great things from this cool-looking martial arts flick about an exiled sleuth brought back to uncover the plot behind an Empress’ inauguration), Main Street (a good cast [Colin Firth, Ellen Burstyn, Patricia Clarkson, Orlando Bloom] star in this indie about a small Southern town’s reaction to a mysterious stranger’s plan to revitalize things; written by Horton Foote [Tender Mercies, The Trip to Bountiful]), The King and the Clown (acclaimed Korean thriller about a pair of clowns whose satirical play causes them to be brought before the king; there, they will be executed, unless they can make the king laugh.)

New Arrivals on Blu Ray this week at Videoport: Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Fright Night, ‘Dexter’- season 5, ‘Portlandia’- season 1.

Videoport = The Best Gifts for Movie Lovers

We know, we know- it’s getting rather late in the day, shall we say, but Videoport’s still the place for up-to-the-last-second gifts for the movie fans on your holiday list. You’ve always got the Videoport Gift Certificates, of course. And we’ve got lots of new and previously-viewed (and therefore cheaper) DVDs in stock. (If it’s gotten too late to special order what you need in time for the big day, we’ll issue you an attractive gift certificate card which the lucky so-and-so can redeem when their movie arrives.) Also, as time marches on, so the VHS movie is headed the way of the Betamax, so check the sale bin for some really great movies on tape for super-cheap (there’s a lot for great foreign stuff in there right now- don’t panic, we’ve still got ‘em on DVD.) And remember that for every movie you buy from Videoport, we give you a free rental for yourself; think of it as a reward for being so darned generous.

Free Money at Videoport!

Stretch your entertainment dollar with these super-cool Videoport payment deals. $20 buys you $25 of rental credit, while $30 buys you a sweet $40 in rental credit. Free money- that’s what that is…

Write for the VideoReport!

Send your movie and tv reviews to us at denmn@hotmail.com or our Facebook page “Videoport Jones.” We’re looking for all the film nerds, movie geeks, and DVDiots in Videoportland to share their favorites with the world!

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