Volume CCCLIX- Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Batman
For the Week of 7/3/12
Videoport gives you a free movie every day and reminds you that going outdoors in the Summertime is very overrated. I mean, there’s bugs out there and stuff…
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!
>>> Dennis suggests getting your Kevin Corrig-on! Wow, that’s was awful. I mean, apart from it just being a terrible, labored half-joke, the guy’s name is spelled “Corrigan,” not “Corrigon.” Man, let’s just pretend this never happened and move on to celebrating one of the best character actors we’ve got. Don’t know who I’m talking about? Well strap in, because you’re about to get the Kevin Corrigan crash course. Goodfellas (in Feature Drama.) It’s a tiny part at the end of the movie (he’s Henry Hill’s cousin in the wheelchair), but it’s Scorcese, and he obviously made an impression, as Marty brought Kevin back for a bigger part (the drugged out guy who gets Leonardo DiCaprio’s undercover cop entree into Jack Nicholson’s crew) in The Departed (see Mystery/Thriller for that one.) Corrigan had another small but juicy role as the stoner cameraman in Tom DiCillo’s still-very funny indie filmmaking satire Living in Oblivion (in Incredibly Strange), but it wasn’t until Nicole Holofcener’s 1996 indie dramedy Walking and Talking(in Drama) that Corrigan really got a part that really played to his unique strengths. As Bill, the dorky video store clerk (hey, wait a minute…) who improbably impresses dishy customer Catherine Keener enough to get her to go out with him, Corrigan’s gift for creating awkward, genuine characters (with an edgy
undercurrent), KC creates a fully-inhabited supporting character who, for all his oddness and seemingly inevitable humiliation (he’s referred to as “the ugly guy” behind his back), has surprising integrity. It’s a great movie, and, in his brief time onscreen, Corrigan’s mysterious gravitas makes it even better. (Plus, as a geeky video store clerk who somehow impressed a hot customer enough that she’s now married to him, The Ugly Guy is sort of my role model.) Look for Corrigan’s gift for playing spacy weirdos as Goon in certified loony Vincent Gallo’s nonetheless interesting Buffalo 66 (in Incredibly Strange.) Then watch as Corrigan hooks up with the Judd Apatow crowd, to his, and our, enduring benefit: he played the genuinely scary disreputable guy who gets the gang fake I.D.s in the “Carded and Discarded” episode of “Freaks and Geeks” (in Comedy), and then shows up, acting humorously, genuinely terrifying in a small psycho role in Superbad (he beats up Joe LoTroglio), and really shows off his Walken-like comic improv skills as one of the two hitmen (with the hilarious Craig Robinson) chasing the guys in Pineapple Express. In comic roles, the perpetually edgy Corrigan brings an unsettling intensity that can be especially funny, and his uniquely inhabited style generally brings any scene he’s in a riveting little extra boost of energy. That’s especially evident in what I maintain is his funniest role, a recurring character on the loopily brilliant “Community.” From his first appearance in the episode “Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design,” Corrigan is the rock-solid fulcrum of one of the best-written, goofiest, and most all-around genius episodes of one of the best sitcoms ever. I can’t tell you much about his role without spoiling things, so I’ll just say, “trust me on this one” and move on. Speaking of going on, I could continue listing scene-stealing Corrigan appearances until it blotted out everything else in this week’s VideoReport (he has 112 listed credits on IMDB), but look for him on ‘Damages,’ the underrated indie Big Fan (with the equally great Patton Oswalt), and especially ‘Fringe’ (in Sci Fi), where his Walken-like livewire eccentricity and secret soulfulness are put to welcome use in the oddball role of spiritual advisor/bowling alley owner Sam Weiss, who seems, much like Corrigan, to be operating on a different wavelength than the rest of us.
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!
>>>Andy suggests Compulsion (in Classics). Compulsion is the most straightforward and realistic movie version of the famous 1924 Leopold and Loeb murder case. The movie begins before the murder is committed, with two bored young men, Artie Shaw (Bradford Dillman) and Judd Steiner (Dean Stockwell), almost running down a homeless man in their car, just for kicks. Shaw is a very enthusiastic psychopath, while Steiner is more reserved and coldly intellectual. Their dynamic is similar to the one between John Dall and Farley Granger in Rope (another version of the Leopold and Loeb case), but in Compulsion, made 11 years later, the characters could be more explicit. That’s one of the shocking things about the movie. For a black and white Hollywood movie from the ‘50s, all the talk of murder, rape, and homosexuality is surprising. And for at least half of the movie, the audience is expected to identify with the murderers and sympathize with their struggle to cover up their crime, and this was a year before Alfred Hitchcock made Psycho! But in this movie, the actual crime is never shown. Compulsion follows Artie and Judd as they make mistakes, argue bitterly, garner the suspicion of the police, and eventually go to trial. That’s when the big star of the movie comes in. Orson Welles plays Jonathan Wilk (a fictionalized Clarence Darrow), the boys’ lawyer. By the time they get to court, there’s no disputing that Artie and Judd are guilty, so Wilk uses his lawyerin’ skills to try to get them life imprisonment instead of the death penalty. In a movie full of showy performances, Welles, as you might expect, doesn’t even try to rein his in. But his climactic ten-minute closing argument is an eloquent and very moving anti-capital punishment monologue. Compulsion is an edgy (for 1959) movie about murder and hate, but ultimately a story of compassion and justice.
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!
>>>Former Videoporter Stockman suggests a BIRTHDAY BONANZA! It’s my birthday on Sunday! I LOVE my birthday! I love it and I own the shit out of it. Which is why I’m going to use this as a cheap excuse NOT to recommend a schlocky brilliant double feature of two impeccable guilty pleasures: Sixteen Candles and 13 Going on 30 (which I in no way admit to crying at), but instead to recommend some fabulous birthdayish episodes of TV shows that the Videoreport has already recommended to you a trillion times! WHY AREN’T YOU WATCHING THESE YET DAMN IT! Exhibit A) Cougar Town, Season Two, Episode 7 “Fooled Again: I Don’t Like It”! Sadly I just started watching the third season of this once unimaginably awesome show and it sucked hard core. I still maintain faith that it can improve, but in the meantime I sweetly reminisce about this episode and the celebration of Jules Cobb’s birthday. I relate to every single character on this show in some way, but particularly Jules who traps people in a prison of friendship and makes them compete for best birthday present! Magical! Jules knows how to live. Exhibit B) Sports Night, Season One, Episode 4 “Intellectual Property”. This is where I first learned about the Happy Birthday song and public domain and that it was written by Mildred and Patty Hill. For an Aaron Sorkin show, which prides itself on being non-stop witty banter, this is one of my favorite back-and-forths. With special guest star Yeardley Smith AKA Lisa Simpson! Exhibit C) Community, Season One, Episode 3 “Introduction to Film”. I bought the first season of Community on DVD before I had even finished the first disc. I loved the show before I finished the first episode, but it was episode three that took that love from a puppy dog crush to Princess Bride style true love! Learn how to seize the day! Dead Poet’s Society Schmead Poet’s Society! All you need is Community and to go to a coffee shop and order a birthday cake!
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!
>>>Regan suggests a Jonathan Demme double feature! Come on kids! Let’s do the Demme Double! It’s not a new dance but it’s pretty easy to do. First you start with an empty stomach. Then you pour some brown booze down your gullet. Then you pop in Married to the Mob. Then you add some brown beer. Then some doctor-prescribed steak with a side of wine. And maybe a couple more beers with a Manhattan chaser. Oh look! It’s Chris Isaac as a crazy shootin’ clown! Let us watch Silence of the Lambs! Great idea! Let us drink tequila-infused coffee! Great idea!Let us drink vodka! Vodka! Vodka! Ues-yes-yes! Hey Bunny? Yeah Regan! Remember that time I told that guy Charlie he could put his lotion in my basket anyday? Sure do! Good times!
Free Kids Friday! One free rental from the Kids section, no other rental necessary!
>>> It’s a free movie. It’s for kids. Because we are nice.
Having a Wild Weekend! Rent two movies, and get a third one for free from any section!
>>>For Saturday, Elsa S. Customer suggests ‘Louie’ (in Comedy.) I’m going to try to describe Louie, but – well, it’s kinda indescribable. Not the basic format. That’s simple, even dully familiar: a hugely
popular comedian stars in a self-titled show that shows the absurdity of daily life, woven together and punctuated with clips of his actual stand-up act. But Louie stands out from the long tradition of stand-up sitcoms in so many ways. Louis CK’s peculiar brand of humor and his willingness to tackle touchy, transgressive material won’t surprise anyone familiar with his stage work, but the show’s format might. At first, the show seems to be a straight-forward single-camera sitcom, but it starts to subtly introduce bursts of surrealism, creating a permeable boundary between objective and subjective reality, between actuality and imagination. Because they illustrate not how events actually unfold but instead how events feel to our protagonist, these little moments of unreality paradoxically make the stories feel intensely real. The show plunges into controversial and sensitive issues — the nature of masculinity, the pitfalls of sexual desire, the heartbreak that family can wreak upon us, the precarious balance of a parent’s duty and his selfish desire to pursue his own happiness, the casual use of vicious slurs — but it never adopts the familiar, moralizing, afterschool-special tone so family from “very special episodes” of popular shows. Louie’s approach is unpredictable: these uncomfortable scenes might portray characters fumbling and stumbling into open-mindedness, they might close up into knee-jerk defensiveness, and they rarely seek or offer the kind of closure. The show even rewrites its own continuity from episode to episode: in early episodes, Louis CK has a brother living nearby, but in later episodes, he has no brother and two sisters (or maybe that’s one sister who changes completely between appearances); his mother, played by two different actresses, is portrayed first as a flinty, unloving narcissist and later as a decent, kind-hearted person; his daughters change from time to time. The sum of all this uncertainty is powerful: Louis CK has created a wildly entertaining, appallingly funny, deeply touching funhouse of a show. At any moment, the ground can tilt under you, bowling you over in unexpected ways.
>>>For Sunday, Former Videoporter Stockman suggests Shame (in Feature Drama.) I usually try to stay away from recommending new releases, because I figure those puppies are renting just fine without a push from me. Not that Shame is even still a new release in super awesome Videoport land! But the concept still applies, I’d much rather spend my time telling you to watch Spice World, which you probably didn’t know was super awesome, then telling you to watch a movie the critics have recently beaten you over the head with recommending. I’m making an exception however because this movie keeps coming up in conversation. And with every person I’ve spoken to generally the same excellent and impressed things are said. So it seems worth mentioning. For a movie with sexy stars, featuring an abundance of sex, about sex, this is in no way a sexy movie. I think that’s an amazing feat both from the directing and acting. There are an abundance of visual cues that are just, well, “off” for lack of a better description. “Off” in just the right way. Not so much that you can’t stomach the film, but enough that you are overly aware that these characters are not healthy and likely stemming the majority of their lives. Particularly I found myself fascinated by the minute facial expressions of Michael Fassbender, who though partaking of what should be a pleasurable act, is able to relate the pain, self loathing, and confusion he’s battling during the throes of a crippling addiction. It’s just a very well put together film, certainly very dark and very difficult, so be warned when renting. And as an added bonus, Fassbender wang! Regan does an excellent impression of it, if you’re curious.
New Releases this week at Videoport: God Bless America (Just in time for all the flag-waving of the 4th of July comes the newest movie from unlikely auteur Bobcat Goldthwait [Shakes the Clown, Sleeping Dogs Lie, World’s Greatest Dad]; in his newest film, depressed middle aged Joel Murray [Freddy Rumsen from Mad Men] has the worst day of his life and, alongside a like-minded teenaged sidekick takes off on a cross-country killing spree, hunting down America’s dumbest, most irritating celebrities), The Hunter (ever-craggy Willem Dafoe stars as a mercenary hired by an evil corporation to hunt down the last Tasmanian tiger in the world in this grim adventure action thriller), Some Guy Who Kills People
(this odd little horror comedy is actually pretty good, thanks to its cast; this generation’s Christopher Walken Kevin Corrigan stars as a jittery guy, recently released from a mental institution, who becomes the chief suspect when the bullies who tormented him back in high school start turning up murdered in grotesquely over-the-top ways; Corrigan continues his run as one of the most riveting character actors around, and he’s surrounded by interesting people like Barry Bostwick, Karen Black, Lucy Davis, Leo Fitzpatrick and others, all doing interesting little things with a script that’s better than average for this sort of thing- honestly, it’s like there’s a little indie drama hidden inside a horror comedy [see Monday’s review for more Corrigan!]), Jesus Henry Christ (quirky indie comedy about an artificially-conceived boy genius who sets out to find the father he never knew alongside an eccentric professor; costarring the always-cool Toni Colette and Michael Sheen), The Secret Diaries of Miss Lister (BBC drama, based on the actual diaries of a Jane Eyre-era British woman whose decision to live openly as a lesbian ran into, as the Brits say, unpleasantness…), Quicksilver Highway (finally a DVD release for this forgotten horror anthology based on short stories by fearmeisters Stephen King and Clive Barker short stories; starring the likes of Christopher Lloyd and Matt Frewer), Freddy Frogface (animated Danish comedy about a little kid whose dreams of circus stardom are threatened by the titular bully; did we mention that it’s sort of a slow new release week?)
New Arrivals at Videoport this week: Tom & Jerry Meet Sherlock Holmes (yup- it’s all right there in the title…), Norma Jean and Marilyn (Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino tag-teamed the role of Norma Jean/Marilyn in this career-spanning HBO movie bio of the beloved movie goddess’ troubled life)