VideoReport #352

Volume CCCLII- This Time, It’s Even Personal-er…

For the Week of 5/15/12

Videoport gives you a free movie every day. If there’s something wrong with that, then we don’t want to be right.

Middle Aisle Monday! Take a free rental from the Science Fiction, Horror, Incredibly Strange, Mystery/Thriller, Animation, or Staff Picks sections with any other paid rental! OR Get any three non-new releases for seven days for seven bucks!

Funniest guy in the world right now? Maybe…

>>> Former Videoporter Stockman suggests Stand Up Comedy! (Currently all of Videoport’s standup is together in the Staff Picks section in the middle aisle.) Wow, it’s particularly difficult to come up with reviews when I haven’t recently been watching anything that isn’t Community, The Avengers, or Game of Thrones, but I’ll do my best. This is assuming for some grotesque reason that you don’t want to watch any of the above and you ALSO have no desire to watch Buffy, Angel, Firefly, Serenity, Thor, Captain America, Iron Man, Iron Man 2, or anything featuring the raw charismatic power that is Peter Dinklage (which I’ve been saying for YEARS thank you very much Hollywood! Jeez, why don’t you ever LISTEN). Well what about Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol because it has Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye) and is directed by The Incredibles incredible superstar Brad Bird? I actually haven’t seen it, but it’s on my to do list! Or take good ole Lord of the Rings trilogy for a spin and see Sean Bean continue to be one of the rare men who somehow looks really good filthy and scruffy. Oh hey, actually Game of Thrones and The Avengers go really well together! Why? They both have a Mr. Stark! I just gave you an amazing afternoon with a THEME! YOU’RE WELCOME! No? None of this working for you? Huh. Well, than guess what, I’m throwing you for a complete loop because there IS something else I’ve been watching a lot of lately. I’ve been enjoying my new life tactic of encouraging laughter first thing in the morning. Yep, “encourage laughter in the morning”, hippy bullsh*t, but tickles me pink nonetheless. So I try and watch a segment of a stand-up comic while I putter about my apartment in the morning getting ready for work. It makes one stand-up last for awhile that way, but lucky for you Videoport is chock full of deals that let you keep a movie for a full week at minimal cost. Of course there are the classics, which though the current events might be slightly less topical the message behind them is still prevalent, for me that’s anything from George Carlin, Chris Rock, or Eddie Izzard.  But the ones that floor me are Louis C.K., Daniel Tosh (his stand-up in my opinion is vastly better than his Tosh.0 series, though he does sadly repeat jokes frequently which puts him at far lower on the respect scale), Jim Gaffigan, but most of all Patton Oswalt who regularly has me pausing in awkward mid-dressing moments as I’m immobilized with laughter. Good morning to me!

Tough and Triassic Tuesday! Give yourself a free rental from the Action or Classics section with any other paid rental! OR Get any three non-new releases for seven days for seven bucks!

>>>Dennis suggests The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (in Foreign Language and Mystery/Thriller), if only to see what all the big, hairy deal is. I finally got around to reading this mega-best-seller because we found it at goodwill and I was bored. (Here’s a tip: you can always find a copy of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo at any goodwill anywhere. Other books you’ll find next to it: The Firm, Chicken Soup for the Soul, anything written by Rush Limbaugh.) It was not very good (and waaay too long), but I read the stupid thing in three days. Grrr- I hate it when a weak book is also compulsively-readable. Anyway, I guess I can see why it became the book club favorite it did, despite being really, really rape-y. So, having plowed, against my will, through the thing, I thought I should sit through the two equally-popular film versions to see what the big deal was there (and whether they could improve the source material any.) Nope. I confess that the thriller plot isn’t without promise: rich old industrialist hires disgraced reporter to look into the decades-old disappearance of his beloved niece and the convoluted history of his very creepy family. Plus, it all takes place on a frigid, isolated Swedish island full of creepy mansions! Of course, neither of those people are the titular girl with the titular tattoo. That’s Lisabeth Salander, a punk computer hacker /researcher who’s also antisocial to the point of Asperger’s and by far the most interesting character in the book/movie/movie. Her long history of abuse and her complete unwillingness not to beat the crap out of anyone who crosses her having put her into a very precarious legal situation, Salander has to go through some…stuff, but emerges as something pretty original in the thriller-heroine genre. Unfortunately, the films concentrate more on the frankly-duller reporter guy as he unravels a mystery simultaneously less complicated and ickier than promised while Salander gets sent on errands and falls for the guy. (She does get to deliver a couple of seriously-memorable beat-downs.) If I had to pick one version, I’d have to give the edge to the Swedish original on the basis of Naoimi Rapace’s Salander; Rooney Mara in the American version gets flattened out by the always-dumb decision to play a foreign character in English with a half-assed, vaguely-European-y accent. Always a bad idea. On the reporter front, I guess I’d have to prefer Daniel Craig just because he’s Daniel Craig, but he doesn’t really get to do much; I mean, there are only so many ways you can look intently at a computer screen. (Plus, the Swedish reporter guy looks like Eugene Mirman, who is a funny guy but not anyone’s idea of a romantic hero.) Director-wise, the edge has to go to the clearly-brilliant David FIncher in the American version, although, frankly, the whole enterprise seems a little beneath him. SPOILERS AHOY! All in all, I sort of get why these movies were so popular; lots of sex, some serial-killer goodness, a horrific rape followed up with some satisfyingly-brutal revenge (so everyone can feel cleansed afterward,) lots of people looking at stuff on computer screens, um, snow… Yeah, I’m not sure I really do get it.

Wacky and Worldly Wednesday! You’ve got a free rental coming from the Comedy or Foreign Language sections with any other paid rental! OR Get any three non-new releases for seven days for seven bucks!

>>>Elsa S. Customer suggests ’30 Rock’ (in Comedy.) We’re already halfway through May, which means wedding season is coming… which means it’s time to watch the Season 4 two-part finale, wherein Liz Lemon is in three wedding parties in two busy days (episodes “Emmanuelle Goes to Dinosaur Land” and “I Do Do,” S4 D5). Poor Liz: she has to cram herself into a skimpy bridesmaids’ dress (and double-Spanx) to stand next to impossibly stylish bride Ceri, then she’s standing up at the wedding of Griz, with whom she had a never-seen but much-referenced hook-up, and to start the day off with a bang, she’s giving a reading at the wedding of Floyd, “the only normal guy I’ve ever dated.” To quote Liz’s paraphrase of Corinthians: “Love isn’t judgmental.  Love is patient.  Love is weird, and sometimes gross.  Love is illusive.  And you found it.  So treasure it.  And maybe don’t leave it alone with Dot Com.”

>>>Dennis suggests getting your Czech on by diving into the ‘Pearls of the Czech New Wave’ boxed set in the Criterion Collection. Because the Criterion Collection (and by extension Videoport, since we bought them for you) are so awesome, you’ve got the chance to check out this collection of six films from that brief period when the Czech cinema was producing some of the most interesting, ahead-of-their-time films in the world, at least before the Russians basically trampled the industry into the ground, presumably forcing them to churn out documentaries about tractor production instead. Before the Iron Curtain came crashing down, Czech directors turned out some impressive, satirical, and often downright weird flicks. Out of the six in this set, I’ve seen, and recommend Daisies (a saucy political satire with two frequently undressed, free-spirited young ladies spend their days indulging in political discourse and frequent intercourse), The Joke (a chilling, Kafka-esque story of revenge about a middle-aged man whose offhand college witticism led his supposed friends to ostracize him), and Capricious Summer (an increasingly-absurd melancholy comedy [melanchomedy?] about three older men whose plans for a lazy seaside holiday get thrown into disarray with the arrival of a traveling magician …and his seemingly-obtainable and fetching assistant; directed by Jiri Menzel, who made the truly-great Closely Watched Trains, also in the Criterion Collection.)

Thrifty Thursday! Rent one, get a free rental from any other section in the store! OR Get any three non-new releases for seven days for seven bucks!

>>>Dennis suggests The Perfect Host (in Mystery/Thriller.) David Hyde Pierce has a great face. Playing a stuffy (if funny) twit on TV forever and ever sort of made him blend into the background but, playing a movie lead, as he does in this nicely-twisty little thriller, his seemingly-incongruous collection of features keep your attention nice ‘n’ focused. In The Perfect Host, Pierce plays the persnickety owner of a plush, designer apartment whose preparations for a swanky dinner party are interrupted by an injured young man (Clayne Crawford, who looks like Ray Liotta’s handsomer little brother) who claims to be a friend of a friend. Of course we know that that guy’s really a bank robber who got shot in a holdup, is on the run from the cops, and stole a peek at Pierce’s mail in order to wheedle his way inside, and, as he tries to maintain his cover story with some clumsy cat-and-mousery, we think we, as smarty-pants viewers, think we know where this is heading. We are wrong. I can’t say much more, so I’ll hide behind the old SPOILER tag at this point and play it cagey. I will say that the movie, seemingly headed for a Sleuth or Deathtrap situation goes in, shall we say, a different direction, or rather several different directions. That’s sort of a problem actually, as The Perfect Host eventually suffers from a case of over-twist (including a couple that don’t make much sense), but the movie’s main attraction is David Hyde Pierce’s performance. In his first leading movie role, Pierce really gets to throw off the tweedy Niles Crane shackles and do some unexpected things, and he’s never less than riveting to watch.

Free Kids Friday! One free rental from the Kids section, no other rental necessary!

>>>You can get a free movie for the kids, no other rental necessary. I really think that’s quite nice.

Having a Wild Weekend! Rent two movies, and get a third one for free from any section!

>>>For Saturday, Videoport customer Alex S. suggests ‘The Larry Sanders Show’ (in Comedy.) Re-watch the Larry Sanders show immediately. Every time I tell people that I am working my way back through the seasons, they say something like, “Oh, I remember that. Is it any good?” Yes it’s good, goddamnit, and on the whole it is one of the funniest things ever to have been on television. Also, Judd Apatow helped nail this out when he was edgy and wasn’t feeling so sentimental about being in his 40s. Especially good elements to keep your eyes open for: any scene in which Rip Torn acts drunk, any scene which includes Jeffery Tambor; any scene that leaves you wondering why, exactly, Garry Shandling’s face looks like that, Jeremy Piven’s early 90s hairline; Dana Carvey and David Spade cameos galore! Do it!

>>>For Sunday, Elsa S. Customer suggests The Incredible Hulk (in Action/Adventure) and Fight Club (in Incredibly Strange.) Don’t make Ed Norton angry. You won’t like him when he’s angry.

New Releases this week at Videoport: The Grey (Liam Neeson just keeps getting manlier as he gets older, and he’s gonna need all of his late-middle-aged action heroism in this one, an action thriller about arctic plane crash survivors who may all become wolf-chow if Liam doesn’t punch enough ravenous wolves in the face), One for the Money (the professionally blonde and unlikeable Katherine Heigl stars as a hard-nosed bounty hunter in this action comedy based on a series of novels by author Janet Evanovich who, I’m guessing, was not consulted on the casting), Chronicle (as with all superhero origin stories, the lesson is- when a glowing meteor crashes to earth, you and your friends should definitely touch it; that’s the setup for this well-reviewed ‘three friends get superpowers’ flick; costarring ‘Friday Night Lights’ and ‘The Wire’‘s Michael B. Jordan!), Albert Nobbs (practically wearing a ‘give me an Oscar nomination!’ sign throughout, Glenn Close plays a 19th century Irish woman who disguises herself as a male butler in a posh hotel), Mother’s Day (Rebecca DeMornay straps on her crazy eyes as the titular mother of a criminal clan who hold the new owners of their foreclosed home hostage for some good ol’ torture-y fun and games in this horror thriller; from the director of Saw 2, 3 and 4, so you know it’s good…), The Woman (director Lucky McKee re-teams with Angela Bettis, the star of his quite-good horror movie May for this nasty-but-intriguing-looking horror thriller about a feral woman, captured on a hunting trip by a seemingly-normal suburban dad, who is subjected to his increasingly-sadistic methods of ‘civilizing’ her), The Devil Inside (our second ‘found footage’ film of the week [Chronicle is the other], this one shakily follows the devil-banishin’ ways of a young rogue exorcist out to discover the truth about what happened to her dead mother, and exorcise the heck out of some possessed folks along the way), Rampart (Woody Harrelson’s gone rogue! In 1999, Harrelson plays a rogue [read: a-hole] L.A. cop trying to exert his particularly-brutal brand of justice while he attempts to care for his family.)

 New Arrivals on Blu Ray this week at Videoport: The Grey.

You know you can park for free at Videoport, right?

Seriously. The parking lot behind the building is free every weekday after 5pm and all weekend. Also, Videoport will validate you for a free hour of parking at any downtown garage (the courthouse garage is like a minute’s walk away.) And, of course, all parking meters are inert and foolish after 6pm Monday-Saturday and all day Sunday.

Get free money at Videoport!

Pay ahead $20 on your Videoport account and we’ll give you $25 worth of rental credit. Pay $30 and we’ll give you a whopping $40 worth. Free money? Yup.

Get free rentals at Videoport!

Any time you buy a movie from Videoport (and remember-we can special order anything you need), we’ll give you a free rental on your Videoport account. Think of it as $3.50 off the purchase price, think of it as a nice little reward for yourself when you buy someone else a gift, think of it as a way to support local business instead of some soulless corporation- any way you think of it, you’re getting yourself something for free…


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