VideoReport #365

Volume CCCLXV-Our Year of Weeks

For the Week of 8/14/12

Videoport gives you a free movie every day. Been doing that for 25 years. I don’t know how many free movies that means we’ve given away- but it’s a lot. Videoport- making your life better since 1987.

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!

>>>Elsa S. Customer suggests ‘Doctor Who’- season 1, disc 1 (in Sci Fi/Fantasy.) While I’m waiting for the newest season of BBC’s “Doctor Who,” I’ve started rewatching the series from its beginning. Well, not the beginning beginning: starting with the ninth Doctor (Christopher Eccleston, 2005). Starting the reboot over with the first episode, where Rose meet The Doctor, I’m struck by two things. First, the action is downright silly: [SPOILERS for the 1st episode] the stretchy plasticized alien attack, the way The Doctor pops off Micky’s head exactly like a Ken doll’s, the goofy low-level CGI that pervades the whole episode, as if the BBC is trying to prevent eight-year-olds from hiding behind the sofa. Second, Christopher Eccleston’s Doctor is A MADMAN. He’s gruff and abrupt, he’s scary, he’s even a bit cruel. The Doctor’s later incarnations — David Tennant, Matt Smith — get softened with their ready smiles and floppy hair, but Eccleston… if anything, he’s scarier when he grins. It’s jarring, and seemingly at odds with the silliness of the show, but this portrayal makes sense: Eccleston’s Doctor is a wild-eyed loner patrolling the skies, crushed by guilt, trying to atone for a great wrong — and he desperately needs the humanizing touch of a new companion. The Doctor saves us, but Rose saves The Doctor.

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!

>>>JackieO gives you his list of the 50 Best Movies You’ve Never Seen!

1. The American (in Mystery/Thriller)

2. The Awful Truth (in Classics)

3. Big Fan (in Drama)

4. Big Night (in Drama)

5. Branded to Kill (Criterion)

6. Charley Varrick (Action)

7. Coffy (Action)

8. The Conversation (Mystery/Thriller)

9. Devil in a Blue Dress (Mystery/Thriller)

10. Ghost Writer (Mystery/Thriller)

11. Greenfingers (Comedy)

12. Grey Gardens (Criterion)

13. Harper (Classics)

14. Heaven (Mystery/Thriller)

15. Home Movie (Incredibly Strange)

16. Hopscotch (Criterion)

17. The Ice Storm (Criterion)

18. The Imposters (Comedy)

19. The Informant! (Comedy)

20. Jackie Brown (Mystery/Thriller)

21. Jesus’ Son (Drama)

22. Joe Gould’s Secret (Drama)

23. The Last Picture Show (Drama)

24. The Laughing Policeman (Mystery/Thriller)

25. Lawn Dogs (Drama)

26. Leningrad Cowboys Go America (Criterion)

27. The Limey (Mystery/Thriller)

28. Macao (Classics)

29. Michael Clayton (Mystery/Thriller)

30. My Man Godfrey (Criterion)

31. Out of Sight (Drama)

32. Out of the Past (Classics)

33. Priceless (Foreign Language)

34. Psycho Beach Party (Incredibly Strange)

35. Sexy Beast (Incredibly Strange)

36. Sick (Incredibly Strange)

37. Smoke (Drama)

38. Suspiria (Horror)

39. Take Shelter (Mystery/Thriller)

40. Talk to Me (Drama)

41. The Third Man (Criterion)

42. Three Days of the Condor (Mystery/Thriller)

43. Timecrimes (Sci Fi)

44. Tom Dowd and the Language of Music (Popular Music)

45. Trucker (Drama)

46. Undertow (Mystery/Thriller)

47. Wet Hot American Summer (Comedy)

48. Win Win (Drama)

49. You Can Count on Me (Drama)

50. Zero Effect (Mystery/Thriller)

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!

>>>Dennis suggests you write for the VideoReport! I dunno if you got the opening joke this week, but with issue #365, that’s a year’s worth of weeks we’ve been putting out this here newsletter. That’s 365 issues times approximately 2500 words per issue. That’s approximately 912,500 words we, the staff and customers of Videoport have spent reviewing, praising, lambasting, and generally blathering on about our favorite/least favorite movies and tv shows. Whew. So all of you out there, why not join in the fun and send your reviews in to us at, our Facebook page “Videoport Jones” or just here at the store. And start thinking about what our 1,000,000th word’s gonna be!

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!

>>>Former Videoporter Stockman suggests Sister Act (in Comedy), The Secret Garden (in Children’s), and Hook (in Feature Drama.) I really thought I would be an exception to the rule of loving Downton Abbey. Everybody seems to love that show, but I was strong in my conviction that the show would be far too boring. It would be chalk full of boring British speeches and politics and use of words like “pish-posh” and “haberdasher”. Actually, I probably would like that last part. I am most certainly not the exception to this rule. Hot damn I love that show! I made it all of fifteen minutes of that show before surrendering my devotion. Downton Abbey has Maggie Smith in it, who like Glynis Johns and the dearly departed Kathryn Joosten, I have always admired for being exceptional, highly respected actresses who between the three of them have been in everything. Ever. I recommend the following very silly, yet entertaining, triple feature of Maggie Smith films. I did originally write “very entertaining”, but have reevaluated. This really probably doesn’t deserve the “very”.  Sister Act is the movie I always remember Maggie Smith from initially. Sister Act is as guilty as pleasure can ever get and the sole reason that I know virtually all the lyrics to the song “My Guy”. Any time the bus to Portland plays this film it has my avid attention and somehow I always enjoy it! I think the main reason I enjoy The Secret Garden is the over usage of the word “spores”.  Lastly, I don’t understand why Hook always gets such a bad rap. I mean, it’s not very good, I don’t disagree with that! But despite its stupidity it has entertainment value. It doesn’t require much of you and sometimes that’s all the movie you can handle. A movie with no value can hit the spot! Plus excessive use of yelling “Rufio” and “Bangarang”  is hilarious when I’m drunk. Which will segue nicely into next week’s Dante Basco themed recommendations!

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

>>>You know- for kids!

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

>>>For Saturday, Elsa S. Customer suggests 28 Days Later (in Horror.) Speaking of Christopher Eccleston! Listen, we’re a slow-zombie household, but Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later gets a pass because these fiends ARE NOT ZOMBIES Y’ALL DON’T EVEN GET ME STARTED OH NO TOO LATE THEY AREN’T EVEN DEAD! C’MON NOW. (Ahem. Okay. I just need a minute…) 28 Days Later starts off oh-so quietly in an eerily quiet hospital ward where Jim (Cillian Murphy) wakes up alone. Boyle (also recommended: Shallow Grave, Sunshine, Trainspotting) knows how to balance quiet and discord, stillness and suddenness, and how to make us hold our breath while we wait for the worst to happen. And it does. Boy, does it. But 28 Days Later scratches another peculiar cinematic itch for me: to see a faithful film adaptation of the classic John Wyndham novel Day of the Triffids. Sure, there was the 1962 schlockfest of the same name, but it didn’t even try to capture the creeping dread and desperation of the novel, much less Wyndham’s curiously affecting blend of domesticity and disaster (often called “the cozy catastrophe”). Alex Garland acknowledges that his screenplay for 28 Days Later owes an enormous debt to Day of the Triffids. Actually, “enormous debt” is understating it. 28 Days Later follows Day of the Triffids like an outline: from the opening in the hospital to the formation (and make-up) of the central group to the scene at the ad hoc military camp and all the way through to the film’s last moments, diverging from it only in avoiding the larger societal-rebuilding plotline that would bog down a lean, tense movie. It is, in effect, a production of Day of the Triffids in which the whip-fast, utterly deadly plants are replaced with whip-fast, utterly deadly rage-infected humans. Those familiar with the novel will be struck by how closely the film follows it — and even more by how very effective a structure this makes for an apocalyptic thriller.

>>>For Sunday, Elsa S. Customer suggests Julia & Julia (in Feature Drama.) August 15th would have been Julia Child’s 100th birthday. It would be fitting to celebrate her legacy by cooking yourself (and your beau, or your belle, or your passel o’ kids, whatever) a beautiful dinner, then settle in to watch “Julie & Julia.” When Julie Powell’s blog-to-book Julie & Julia was optioned, I was a little non-plussed: Powell’s story of working her way through Child’s legendary (and weighty, in page count and technique) Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. I & II in her Brooklyn kitchen, didn’t seem substantial enough to anchor a major motion picture. Even worse, it presents Powell as a frankly unsympathetic and self-centered character. Then I saw the film and breathed a silent “oh!” of admiration: Nora Ephron’s screenplay draws more than half its story from Julia Child’s 2006 memoir My Life in France (written with Alex Prud’homme). The film weaves together these two women’s stories in joyous, thoughtful interplay: Julia (Meryl Streep) spars with her instructors at Ecole de Cordon Bleu and with American publishers resistant to publishing such a dense and specialized tome; Julie (Amy Adams) squabbles with her coworkers, friends, and long-suffering husband (Chris Messina) and struggles to reproduce Child’s exquisite dishes in the all-too-brief evenings after work. [The casting is brilliant: on close comparison, Streep doesn’t really sound like Julia Child;, but she plays the neat trick of playing as the popular concept of Child, her voice trilling up and down the scale, her gestures all loaded with delicious gusto. Amy Adams, twice Oscar-nominated for being cute as a darned button, revs up all her considerable skill and charm to make whiny Julie Powell almost endearing.] Strikingly, Ephron captures the rapturous love story at the heart of Julia Child’s home life. Julia and Paul Child were legendarily in love: “If we could just have the kitchen and the bedroom, that would be all we need,” Julia famously reminisced. Streep and Stanley Tucci bring that love vividly, playfully, voluptuously to life here — without ever letting the love story obscure the centrality of Julia’s work. (Indeed, Roger Ebert, woefully oblivious to the scores of films in which female characters are marginalized as support systems for male endeavors, complained that the male characters felt secondary to their single-minded wives. Yup. That’s because THEY ARE secondary, and their wives ARE single-minded — obsessed, even. This is a rare film that tells women’s stories about work: about the deep pleasure and accomplishment that intense dedication and obsession can yield. It’s worth seeing just for that.

New Releases this week at Videoport: ‘Community’- season 3 (this is the funniest, most inventive show in tv; if you are not watching it, you are not as happy as you could be; that is all…), ‘Dexter’- season 6 (if you are reading this, call 773-1999 to reserve you some Dexter for the forseeable future; we bought a lot, but you guys just can’t get enough of this lovable serial killer!), ‘Happy Endings’- seasons 1&2 (a group of six friends [think ‘Friends’] try to cope with the chaos caused when two of their number break up at the altar in this sitcom that Videoport’s Regan says is very funny indeed), The Raid: Redemption (crazy, over-the-top action flick about a special forces team whose mission to apprehend a brutal crime lord in hiding in a high rise tenement is complicated when he offers every miscreant in the building a reward for his safety), Juan of the Dead (sure it can’t be as great as Shaun of the Dead [nothing is] but this zombie comedy about a 40 year old slacker turned reluctant hero when the undead rise in Havana is getting some good reviews anyway), Jay & Silent Bob Get Old: Tea Bagging in the UK (Kevin Smith and pal Jason Mewes bring their particular brand of profane storytelling to London in this two-man show cobbled together from three UK performances), Hick (a precocious teen from an abusive home [Chloe Grace Moretz] runs away to Vegas, encountering trouble along the way in this gritty indie based on the novel by Andrea Portes), Keyhole (the new weirdness from Canadian weirdo auteur Guy Maddin, an allegorical tale of a gangster [Jason Patric] returning home to his wife [Isabella Rossellini]; and if you think it’s gonna be as straightforward as all that, you’ve never seen a Guy Maddin Film), Blue Like Jazz (a young conservative Christian decides to break away to the least conservative place on earth, Reed College, in this coming of age indie), The Snowtown Murders (based on one of those true stories, this Australian thriller’s about an impressionable young man whose idolization of his mom’s new boyfriend, a neighborhood watch leader, gradually uncovers the older man’s disturbing secrets), Kill List (from the director of Down Terrace comes another intense, violent thriller, this time about a scarred, desperate hitman whose latest assignment throws him into madness), Leave It On the Floor (Beyonce produced this raucous dance musical about a young guy who runs away to LA and gets caught up in a pansexual disco world), The Poker House (Lori Petty makes her directorial debut with this coming of age drama about a young girl who attempts to escape her dismal home life through…basketball? Starring Jennifer Lawrence of The Hunger Games [which comes out on Saturday, and which more people will probably watch]), Snow on tha Bluff (acclaimed indie about an Atlanta drug dealer who decides to start documenting his daily life with a stolen camera), ‘Squidbillies’- seasons 4&5 (more of the squalid shenanigans of an animated redneck squid family in this Adult Swim series), ‘Dog Bites Man’- the complete series (this ‘Office’- style mockumentary series about an inept news team stars the Upright Citizen’s Brigade’s improv legend Matt Walsh and funny guy A.D. Miles among others, but its belated release on DVD probably owes more to some guy named Zach Galifianakis)

New Arrivals this week at Videoport: Clue (kind of beloved 80s comedy based on the board game hits DVD & blu ray), Summer With Monika (the Criterion Collection [and we] love Ingmar Bergman so check Videoport’s Criterion section for this early Bergman film about a young couple whose sensual escape from their stifling home lives is sadly temporary; considered shocking at the time, but that time was 1953, so…), The Boogens (early 80’s horror anyone? Some dumb kids mess around in an abandoned mine and unleash an ancient evil with a silly name), Hamlet (this 1969 film starring Nicoll Williamson [Excalibur] as Shakespeare’s most famous creation isn’t my favorite, but we’re sure to make our money back from kids who don’t want to do their homework), No Holds Barred (Hulk Hogan plays a ‘rassler [big stretch there] in this 1989 starring vehicle where he- SPOLIER!- wrestles a lot)

New Arrivals on Blu Ray this week at Videoport: Jaws, Kill List, Clue, Everything Must Go.


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