VideoReport #369

Volume CCCLXIX- The Vengeance-izer

For the Week of 8/28/12

Videoport gives you a free movie every day, which you get to choose. Cable TV gives makes you pay to watch what they choose- and it’s usually something with the word “Honey Boo Boo” in the title. Advantage: Videoport.

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 you take another look at Cary Elwes, suggesting “Psych,” Robin Hood: Men in Tights, Shadow of the Vampire, and The Princess Bride. You guys, I’m worried about Cary Elwes. You too, huh? I just don’t get it. A graduate of the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, he also studied his craft at Sarah Lawrence, The Actors’ Studio, and Lee Strasberg Theater and Film Institute. Just three years into his film career, Elwes scored a plum role as Westley, the romantic lead in sentimental and critical favorite The Princess Bride. It became that rarest of things, a family-friendly cult classic, guaranteeing him a place in the hearts of generations of viewers. He followed that up with a string of supporting roles in high-profile films: Major Cabot Forbes in touching Civil War epic Glory, a hotshot rookie racecar driver in Tony Scott/Tom Cruise blockbuster Days of Thunder, a handsome suitor/landed gentry/vampire hunter Sir Arthur holmwood in Francis Ford Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Since then… gosh, I dunno, guys. I mean, he’s working: he does a lot of voice work, plays a lot of film villains, and pops up in a plum TV role from time to time. I’m just wondering: how did this dashing, witty, appealingly intelligent fellow go from playing [SPOILER for The Princess Bride] raffish and winning Dread Pirate Roberts [spoiler ended] to playing roles like: the dumbest*, whiniest, most pathetically wan doctor ever in Saw*; adult male lead Bobby Wobbly alongside a bunch of sloppy, farting, pants-dropping puppet costumes in the cynically awful children’s movie The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure (in theaters now! for about two more minutes, I imagine!); and a string of sneering, loser-y serial killers and lesser villains? (Wow, he played Ted Bundy in an A&E biopic. Yikes. Pretty much any time I see Cary Elwes’ name in a thriller’s credits, I assume he’s the smirking killer.) Really, how does one of the most promising actors of a generation become fourth male lead in Razzy-nominated Garry Marshall holiday formula movie New Years Eve (credited as “Stan’s doctor,” no less)? Maybe something in his personal life makes him reluctant to work, or difficult to work with? Maybe The Princess Bride residuals and ComiCon fees have set him up for life and he only has to take jobs he finds entertaining, easy, or convenient? (This would be the best-case scenario, I think.) So, you guys, you can see why I’m worried, right? Yeah. Do you think we should stage an intervention? While you think it over and prepare your intervention remarks to Cary emphasizing the affect his action have had on you and being careful to use “I” statements, I suggest you check out Cary Elwes at his best: in his recurring role as debonair art thief Pierre Desperaux on wacky police procedural “Psych” (S4 ep1, “Extradition: British Columbia”; Season 5 ep10, “Extradition II: The Actual Extradition Part”; and, when it’s available as a new release in October, S6 ep10, “Indiana Shawn and the Kinda Crappy Rusty Old Dagger”); as the deliciously arch Robin hood in Mel Brooks’ (admittedly uneven) Robin Hood: Men in Tights; as Expressionist cinematographer Fritz Arno Wagner in weird meta-horror/meta-movie Shadow of the Vampire; and — natch — as Westley in The Princess Bride, a fan favorite for decades to come.

*[ENORMOUS TERRIBLE SPOILERS for Saw: I mean, come on. He doesn’t realize that sawing off just the heel instead of taking off the foot at the ankle would allow him to escape his shackles, retain most of his foot, and maybe just maybe not pass out from blood loss before he can free himself and his companion? And he doesn’t notice that the corpse he’s sharing a small locked chamber with is, y’know, breathing? Bad 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!

>>> James suggests 50 movies I have seen and recommend. Enjoy!

1. Across The Universe (in Musicals) – Julie Taymor + the Beatles = beautiful

2. Airborne (was in Comedy) – roller blade movie with young Jack Black

3. Air Guitar Nation (in Documentary) – the serious world of Air Guitar competition

4. Airheads (in Comedy) – rocking out with Steve Buscemi, Brendan Fraiser and Adam Sandler

5. Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (in Family) – Batman in the future

6. Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (in Family) – the first animated Batman movie I saw on the big screen

7. Beerfest (in Comedy) – the Broken Lizard guys drink beer

8. Blindness (in Mystery/Suspense) – the world goes blind, Julianne Moore doesn’t

9. Blood of Heroes (in Sci Fi /Fantasy) – Rudger Hauer kicks ass in this post-apocalyptic sport film

10. Bottle Rocket (in Feature/Drama) – Wes Anderson’s first feature film

11. Brain Donors (in Comedy) – a rewrite of the Marx Brother’s A Night At The Opera

12. Bride Came C.O.D., The (in Classics) – James Cagney and Bette Davis get funny

13. Darkon (was in Documentary) – nerds don their chain-mail and play dungeons and dragons out in the woods

14. Decline of Western Civilization: The Metal Years (in Popular

Music) – classic metal documentary

15. Detroit Rock City (in Comedy) – high school stoners in the 70’s go see Kiss in Detroit

16. Dog Soldiers (in Horror) – werewolves vs. army in Scottish woods

17. Electric Daisy Carnival Experience (in Popular Music) – documentary about huge electronic dance music festival

18. Get Crazy (was in Incredibly Strange) – “Malcolm McDowell is hilarious as the punk rock super star Reggie Wanker” who has a talking penis

19. Girls Rock! (in Documentary) – girls learning to rock

20. Host, The (in Assorted Asian Exploitation) – Korean monster movie

21. Into The West (in Feature/Drama) – 2 Irish-gypsy boys runaway with a white horse

22. Italian Job, The (1969) (in Action) – Michael Caine orchestrates a gold heist using Minis

23. Little Princess, A (1995) (in Family) – makes me cry every time

24. Matando Cabos (in Foreign) – bumbling criminals, a masked wrestler and cannibal dwarf

25. Metallica: Some Kind of Monster (in Popular Music) – documentary about popular metal band in therapy

26. Millions (in Comedy) – great family film from Danny Boyle

27. Monster Camp: The Story of Nero Seattle (in Documentary) – more nerds playing D&D in the woods

28. Monsters (in Sci Fi /Fantasy) – sci-fi drama about couple trying

to escape alien infested Mexico to USA

29. Mr. Vampire 3 (in Made In Hong Kong) – ghosts, hopping vampires and a demoness OH MY!

30. Muppets From Space (in Family) – funky soundtrack and Pepe the King Prawn

31. Muppets Treasure Island (in Family) – Pirates, jokes and Tim Curry

32. Near Dark (in Horror) – brutal vampire film with Bill Paxton

33. No One Knows About Persian Cats (in Foreign) – problems of Iranian musicians

34. Onion Movie, The (in Comedy) – the Onion, movie

35. Owning Mahowny (in Feature/Drama) – Philip Seymour Hoffman

36. Party, The (in Classics) – Peter Sellers as Hrundi V. Bakshi, Indian actor

37. Party Girl (in Comedy) –

38. Powaqqatsi (in Documentary) – slightly upbeat sequel to

Koyaanisqatsi, more Philip Glass

39. Rango (in Comedy) – Western fable of pet lizard turned law man

40. Rare Exports (in Incredibly Strange) – Finnish tale of the discovery of burial mound of the real Santa Claus

41. Rundown, The (in Action) – the Rock kicks Christopher Walkens’ ass in South America

42. Russian Ark (in Foreign) – beautifully filmed in the palace at St.Petersburg, weaves in and out through time in one continuous shot

43. Season of the Witch (in Action) – Nicholas Cage and Ron Perlman transport a witch during the middle ages

44. Shakes the Clown (in Comedy) – “The Citizen Kane of alcoholic clown movies.”

45. Some Mother’s Son (was in Feature/Drama) – Helen Mirren is a mother of an IRA soldier during the Bobby Sands hunger strike.

46. Songs From The Second Floor (in Foreign) – Swedish film, just watch it and tell me what it’s about

47. Taxi (in Foreign) – A cop with no drivers license teams up with a hot-rod-ding taxi driver to catch car thieves

48. Trollhunter (in Incredibly Strange) – TROLLS! Norwegian trolls

49. Wind (in Feature/Drama) – America’s Cup sailors try to win back the cup from the Aussies

50. X: The Unheard Music (in Popular Music) – documentary of the band X, good snapshot of punk rock years

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!

>>> Videoport Customer John S. suggests Fool For Love (in Drama), saying, “Absolutely outstanding! Sam Shepard rocks- c’mon! He writes, he directs, acts, and is handsome.” Tom Dowd and the Language of Music (in Documentary Arts), saying,”Very interesting. Insights into the value of a producer vis a vis music production.” And J. Edgar (in Drama), saying , “Very good on background and insight. Better than expected.”

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 gives her overlooked movie picks! Since Jeremy popped the cherry on former Videoporters taking a turn at their lists of 50 I’ve managed to almost type out my list about three times now. I keep getting too embarrassed to actually commit. Each time I’m overwhelmed by fears that my list will be mocked for how mainstream it is. What if I have it all wrong and the movies on my list are all actually “50 movies that everybody’s totally seen because all the fools recommend them”. Mr. T pities fools like that and I don’t want his pity for this! So instead of writing my list with honor, I’m going to bravely pussy out and instead highlight the movies from the original EW list that I’m pissed off they blatantly stole from me. No, I will not acknowledge how ridiculous that statement is until I receive a written apology from the staff of EW for inappropriately stealing knowledge directly from my brain. On my list you would most certainly have found quite a few films including Cold Comfort Farm, The Daytrippers, and The Iron Giant but in particular I love recommending Devil’s Playground, Idiocracy, and The Magdalene Sisters, all on that stupid EW list! You suck EW for taking the pleasure and pride out of recommending these movies. Devil’s Playground is one of the rare documentaries I truly enjoy. See? I’m already painfully mainstream for thinking documentaries are mostly boring and wishing they had more impromptu song and dance numbers. Devil’s Playground is not at all boring. I can’t think of a better compliment for a movie about Amish kids partying harder than all the parties I’ve been to combined. Though those Amish kids missed out on a pretty sweet Halloween party when Dennis was the Will Ferrell parody of Robert Goulet. Idiocracy is the joke about humanity that you’ve been hoping would be made into a movie your whole life. Because, wow, stupid people sure get knocked up fast and frequently! It got doomed to obscurity I think because focus groups were sort of offended, which is kind of hilarious. You need to watch this movie just as much as you need electrolytes. Your survival depends on it. Then you have The Magdalene Sisters, for all those times you forget how horrible humanity can be, but don’t feel like watching a movie about the holocaust. Well, luckily you can’t watch a horrible humanity movie without seeing glimpses of how inspiring and beautiful humanity can be as well. The Magdalene Sisters, it’s more a movie about the unbreakable spirits of three women than it is a movie about abusive nuns.  That should have been their tag line.

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

>>>Elsa S. Customer suggests Sesame Street. Folks, I just saw the trailer for recent theatrical release The Oogielove in the Big Balloon Adventure (brain child of marketing strategist Kenn Viselman). Uh-huh. We all know children’s entertainment is supported by foundation of marketing: play with the McQueen car from Pixar’s Cars, pack the kindergarten snacks in a Winnie The Pooh lunchbox, go to the drive-thru and pick up the new tie-in toy in a Happy Meal, buy the whole Sesame Street neighborhood from Playskool. (Heck, I had that when I was a kid — and loved it!) But to have a movie’s very creation helmed by a marketing strategist — aside from being appallingly cynical, this ploy just plain doesn’t work. The movie is a noisome, condescending mishmash of fart jokes, dropped pants, and DayGlo felt bobbleheads uttering vapid self-congratulations like “This is the BEST MOVIE EVER!” Thankfully, this jaded attempt to cash in on children’s attention at the loudest common denominator has tanked — like record-setting TANKED — at the box office and will soon fade from our collective memory. Let’s move on and talk about intelligent, thoughtful children’s entertainment, the kind that lingers — both on the airwaves and in our hearts — for decades. Sesame Street was the first children’s programming developed with a specific research-based curriculum shaping its form and content, with an emphasis on humor and repetition to retain children’s attention while doling out digestibly small chunks of language- and numerical-acquisition. The attention-getting Muppets and colorful, complex animations aren’t the entire package, but they aren’t an afterthought either; these engaging characters, scenes, and sounds are both an enticing delivery system for the building blocks of knowledge and a welcome reward system, cheering on the kids at home and encouraging them to believe in their own abilities. The often controversial changes to the Muppets — say, introducing Elmo or making Snufflupagus visible to all — aren’t whims of the producers, but carefully considered, well-reasoned choices made for the child viewers’ best interests. For example, Elmo’s excitable toddler falsetto and third-person chatter mirror the speech patterns and self-concept of just-barely-verbal children. His short, high-pitched utterances are easy for toddlers to ear and parse, though they may grate on adult viewers. Snuffleupagus, whose reality was long in question, used to visit Big Bird and wander away again before any other Sesame Street denizens could happen along to witness him. Big Bird spent years frustrated at the patent disbelief proffered him by his friends and neighbors. Then it occurred to the creators of Sesame Street that this message was not only destructive to self-esteem, but downright dangerous in some cases: children need to trust that the adults who love them will listen to their insistent, persistent claims and assess the evidence, not wave off a child’s testimony as silly or fantastical. With such a thoughtful, caring approach to its audience’s needs, it’s little surprise that Sesame Street conjures up such abiding loyalty and affection in children as well as fans long-grown to adulthood. [Next week: Electric Company!]

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

>>>For Saturday, JackieO does not recommend The Woman in Black (in Horror.) A review blurb on this video’s cover art instructs, “Don’t watch it alone.” I think that’s because otherwise, you’ll be muttering, “seriously?” and groaning, “Really?” to your lonesome self, like a crazy person.

>>>For Sunday, you should really rent some of the dozens of TV show seasons that have come out in the past few weeks. Check the past VideoReports for details- there’s some amazing stuff…

New Releases this week at Videoport: ‘Up All Night’-season 1 (certified funny people Will Arnett, Maya Rudolph and Christina Applegate star in this sitcom about a stay at home dad), Lola Versus (indie queen Greta Gerwig stars as a young woman who, dumped right before her wedding, enlists her friends to help her have all the adventures she’s missed before her 30th birthday), We Have a Pope (from Italian director Nanni Moretti (The Son’s Room) comes this widely-praised dramedy about a therapist hired to find out why the new pope is so depressed), 6 Bullets (Jean Claude Van Damme is back! And direct to DVD!), Beyond the Black Rainbow (this psychedelic thriller was screened to impressed/confused audiences at SPACE Gallery earlier this year, and now can be found where it belongs in the Incredibly Strange section), Cleanskin (Game of Thrones’ Sean Bean stars in this thriller about a British spy out to stop a suicide bomber), Karate-Robo Zaborgar (from Japan [of course] comes this wacky adventure about a martial arts robot!), The Loved Ones (high school horror about a young woman who goes waaay overboard when she’s rejected for the prom), Where Do We Go Now? (comedy/drama about a group of Lebanese women trying to ease tensions between their town’s Christians and Muslims), Blind Revenge (when a distinguished author is blinded, his need for an assistant unfortunately attracts psycho Daryl Hannah; starring the ever-interesting Tom Conti), For Greater Glory (Andy Garcia stars in this drama about the little-known Cristeros War in Mexico), The Last Song (Miley Cyrus stars in this drama about a rebellious girl who reconnects with her father…through song!), Snow White and the Huntsman (the fairy tale gets all grim ‘n’ gritty when rebellious princess Kristen Stewart fights back against that wicked queen [Charlize Theron] out to prove ain’t nobody fairer that her…), ‘30 Rock’- season 6 (Tina Fey, Tracy Morgan and Alec Baldwin are back in what is still one of the funniest shows no one is watching), ‘Castle’- season 4 (bona fide nerd god and cool guy Nathan Fillion [Firefly] continues to brighten up this fun cop show as a goofy mystery author who, for some reason, still tags along helping with murder investigations), ‘The Big Bang Theory’- season 5 (people still like this show. So Videoport has brought it to you.)

New Arrivals this week at Videoport: Teen Witch (sort of legendarily bad, this 1989 teen comedy about a girl who discovers she’s a witch has spawned a lot of jokes over the years…)

New Arrivals on Blu Ray this week at Videoport: Lola Versus, Cleanskin, For Greater Glory, Snow White and the Huntsman

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