VideoReport #375

Volume CCCLXXV- The Girl With the WASSSUUUP!? (Which She Doesn’t Show People Much Anymore) Tattoo

For the Week of 10/23/12

Videoport gives you a free movie every day. And we want you to have that free movie because we have all the movies and because we want you to watch all the movies.

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 a George A. Romero zombie trilogy Halloween extravaganza (in Horror, duh.) SPOILERS!Romero literally invented e modern horror genre with these three movies: Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, and Day of the Dead. You know the drill by now- inexplicably, the recently deceased start waking up and mindlessly chomping on the living, who then become zombies themselves, and start chomping, and so on. If you’ve got any math skills, you’ll call that an exponential progression, and the gradual-but-accelerating extinction of the human race (read: us) is all but assured- unless, you know, the disparate, divided, squabbling peoples of the earth can set aside our weaknesses, our prejudices, and out fears and work together. Yeah, good luck with that. What these initial three films sketch out so chillingly, so masterfully, is the fact that, in the face of such an incomprehensible global threat, it’s the human element more than the ravenous zombie hordes that are going to doom us all. In Night, the phenomenon has just begun, and the microcosm of our collective dunderheadedness is played out in an isolated farmhouse, with the only sane man (the great Duane Jones) unable to bring his reason to bear on the dimwits who inevitably muck everything up. In Dawn, things are getting worse, society is breaking down, and a quartet of refugees (led by the equally-awesome Ken Foree) hole up in a zombie-infested shopping mall, fortifying it into a safe haven-until humanity comes around to assert its inherent crappiness again. And then in Day, it’s all over. A tiny band of scientists and soldiers have retreated into an abandoned salt mine to wait out the end (although the scientists hold out hope for some sort of solution to the zombie plague which now outnumbers humans, as one guesses, some 300,000 to one.) In Romero’s trilogy (sadly, his return to the genre in later years has been thoroughly underwhelming), the inexorable extinction of us all was there all along- it was just waiting for the right catastrophe to reveal itself. (Oh, and fast zombies are the dumbest thing in the history of cinema and anyone who prefers them over the shambling, classic Romero zombies is a complete dumbass.)

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 Worst Horror Monsters of All Time!

Feel like some giggles along with your squiggles this Halloween? Try these for the filmmakers who shot for the moon…and landed in crazy/sillytown instead.

1. The Giant Claw (in Classics-on a double feature DVD with Creature With the Atom Brain.) Deep in the giant monster craze of the 1950s, someone looked at all the giants ants, rabbits, mantises, spiders, and gila monsters, and thought, “Hey- no one’s done a giant turkey-buzzard thing, right?” And no, no they hadn’t. Nor had they thought of suspending said critter from some of the thickest and most secure wires in all the land. You really have to see this one to believe it.

2. Birdemic: Shock and Terror (in Incredibly Strange.) Over 50 years had passed since The Giant Claw, and giant guywires give way to the free software available in iMovie in this tale of killer birds flying amok and killing people through their powers of not being of the same opacity and believability as the actual humans they are trying to kill. Makes you long for Hitchcock’s stuffed bird puppets.

3. Mystery Science Theater 3000 (over 100 episodes available in the Incredibly Strange Section.)All people who love funny things and movies know about MST3k, wherein funny people (and robots) make with the wisecracks at the expense of some of the worst movies of all time. Sure sometimes they’re making fun of Joe Don Baker, but other times they’re mocking monsters even more rubbery and unconvincing, such as: The Giant Gila Monster, Gamera (many movies), The Giant Spider Invasion, Revenge of the Creature, The Blood Waters of Dr. Z, King Dinosaur, Devil Fish, Werewolf, Pod People, The Horrors of Spider Island, Bride of the Monster, and on and on. Guaranteed laughs if you have any sense of humor at all.

4. Attack of the Giant Leeches (in Sci Fi/Fantasy.) How did the dudes in the wrinkly trash bags not drown in that swamp?

5. Troll 2 (in Horror- on a double feature DVD with the still awful, but so much better than this Troll.) Like Birdemic, Troll 2 is of the legendarily bad, so bad it’s good category, and part of the fun in this epic crapfest is the drug store-quality troll masks. Seriously? They don’t move when the trolls talk. It’s like trick or treating, except someone expected people to pay to see 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!

>>>Videoport customer Deb T. suggests American Movie (in Comedy.) If you ever find yourself thinking you’re dreaming the impossible dream, or if you ever wonder if true friendship exists, I urge you to go rent “American Movie.” As a die-hard Evil Dead fan who occasionally makes awful movies with her friends, a documentary about some friends making a horror movie sounded like the perfect fit. And on that level, it did not disappoint. There were bad costumes, bad acting, and situations with people in robes in a field. I loved it all. But on top of all that was the amazing ability of the subject of this film – Mark – to hold onto his dream of making these movies against all odds (those odds including no money, no real actors, his own challenges in his life, etc.) Not only was his hope never diminished, but he was supported by the most incredible group of friends and family I have ever seen. Friends willing to be in his movies, fund his movies, and share in the excitement of Mark’s dream. These are friends we all need – the kind who are willing to let you slam their head into a cabinet over and over just to get the scene perfectly right in your movie. I rented this film thinking  it would be funny and interesting. I came away surprised at how inspired and moved it made me. I loved the friendships and the family loyalty. I loved Mark’s enthusiasm for his impossible dream. I loved all of the characters. It is truly an incredible film. That said, if Videoport still has “Britney, Baby One More Time,*” don’t, under any circumstances rent it. The only redeeming piece of this movie (which features Mark and his friend, Mike) is that it proves that Mark and Mike were totally genuine in the first movie because they certainly can’t act in this one.

*Editor’s note: we do. Please don’t judge us…

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 these scary TV episodes (for when you come in to find a scary movie at the last minute for Halloween.) Here are some genuinely scary TV alternatives. Nobody’s gonna rent these, so go nuts:

1. ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ – ‘Hush’ (season 4, episode 10) It’s an awesome show, but the Buff’s horror elements weren’t usually its main attractions. This one, though introduces The Gentlemen, easily one of the greatest, creepiest monsters on TV (or movies) ever. The plot: the town of Sunnydale wakes up one day unable to speak. Amidst the ensuing chaos, we meet The Gentlemen- whose skull-like faces, rictus grins, and silent obsequious politeness mark them as pure nightmare fuel as they drift through the now-silent streets of Buffy’s hometown harvesting hearts from people unable to scream. Sure, there’s comedy, and some affecting love stuff for the Buff and the stiff-but-noble Riley (well, I like him), but the image of The Gentlemen will haunt your dreams.

2. ‘Doctor Who’- ‘Blink’ (Season 3, episode 10.) “Don’t Blink. Blink and you’re dead. Don’t turn your back. Don’t look away. And don’t blink. Good Luck.” That’s the advice Sally Sparrow [the delightful Carey Mulligan- Shame, An Education] receives from David Tennant’s Doctor on a series of inexplicable taped messages. It’s pretty good advice, since this episode’s villains, the absolutely chilling Weeping Angels, are statue-like monsters who can only move in on you when you’re not looking. And this episode, masterfully directed by Hettie Macdonald, makes terrifying use of that concept. Don’t look away. And don’t blink. Seriously…

3. ‘Firefly’- ‘Bushwhacked’ (episode 2) In this not-enough-complimentary-words-to-accurately-describe-it sci fi series, the scrappy, disreputable crew of the ship Serenity come face to face with the unspeakable aftermath of an attack on another spaceship by the infamous Reavers. Little-seen boogeymen of the show’s lonely outer space universe, the Reavers are rumored to be simply those who have gazed into the abyss of the edge of space and gone horrifyingly, savagely mad, raiding ships and outposts and doing…things to the unfortunate inhabitants thereof. As Nathan Fillion’s Captain Malcolm Reynolds pieces together the events that led up to one survivor of the Reaver attack’s strange behavior, the show draws tighter and tighter.

4. ‘Twin Peaks’ (Season 2, episode 7) Sure, season 2 got worse and worse, but this one has…well, I can’t tell you. Sarah Palmer sees…well, I can’t tell you. I just…can’t tell you.

5. ‘Angel’- ‘Reprise’ (season 2, episode 15) More of an existential horror, maybe, but chilling nonetheless. As David Boreanaz’ titular vampiric detective decides to make a final assault on the “senior partners” of Satanic law firm Wolfram & Hart, abetted by the firm’s recently deceased CEO Holland Manners, he enters a ghostly elevator which hurtles down, down, down into the depths of hell, all so Angel can see the worst people in the history of the world. With Manners’ oddly courtly guide explaining that he’s going to the worst place on the planet, Angel steels himself for what’s to come. And then the doors open.

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

>>> Check out the family-friendly Halloween movie shelf in the Staff Picks section in the middle aisle.

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

>>>For Saturday, Dennis suggests Carnival of Souls/Dementia 13 (a double feature DVD in the Mystery/Thriller section.) One of the benefits of obscure movies slipping into the public domain is their inevitable inclusion in bargain basement collections. Sure, most of the time that means you get lured into buying a Mill Creek Entertainment 50 pack featuring six installments of The Falcon film series, but sometimes it means that you can rent this excellently grubby double feature of two atmospheric cult horror classics for the price of one. Carnival of Souls is the better of the two, a microbudgeted spook cult classic about a young woman whose near escape from a car crash leads to her increasing isolation and visions of creepy supernatural stuff. It’s eerily effective and deservedly heralded as a lost treasure. Dementia 13 was Francis Ford Coppola’s first feature, a strikingly directed black and white murder mystery set in Scotland. Sort of stately, but there’s a great, spooky scene where a bra-and-panties clad lady takes an ill-advised swim in a murky pond. Things don’t go well…

>>>For Sunday, Dennis suggests Damnationland 2010 and Damnationand 2011 (both in Horror.) Congrats to this year’s Maine-made horror anthology which everyone had a chance to see at the State Theatre last Friday. (And look for future screenings at http://www.damnationland.com.) Rent the last two years’ entries for hours of all-Maine-made, all-ambitiously-insane local horror shorts. (Highest recommendations: Humoresque, Shambles, Are You The Walkers?, Keeper’s Refrain)

New Releases this week at Videoport: Magic Mike (Channing Tatum, Matthew McConaughey, Matt Bomer, Alex Pettyfer, and that True Blood werewolf guy are all shaking their stuff in this stripper drama that’s for the ladies…and some of the guys), Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Witness Protection (gee, wonder who directed this? Oh, and two possessives in a row? Nice ego, egomaniac. Plus, bad grammar…), Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter (in the first feature film developed entirely from internet commenter posts, the young Honest Abe has to kick some serious vampire butt; this exists…), Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (Steve Carrell and Keira Knightley star in this sweet/dark comedy about two neighbors who bond on a roadtrip to find his high school sweetheart. Oh, and the world is going to end. Did I mention that part?), Wrong Turn 5 (yup- still making these. Once again, some obnoxious college types run afoul of one of those bands of inbred hillbilly murderer clans you read about. Man, will inbred hillbilly murderer clans ever catch a break? PS: just a hint-get a GPS and problem solved), Take This Waltz (directed by Sarah Polley [Away From Her] helms this indie drama about a happily married woman [Michelle Williams] who strays from her loving but goofy husband [Seth Rogen] with the hunky artist next door [Luke Kirby]; unsolicited recommendation- you should rent the superlative Canadian series ‘Slings and Arrows’ starring Kirby and Polley; seriously, do yourself a favor…), ‘Check It Out! With Doctor Steve Brule’- season 1 (John C. Reilly gets his own equally batsh*t insane spinoff from his gig on the decidedly batsh*t ‘Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!’ as his titular befuddled health reporter), ‘The House of Elliot’- seasons 2 &3 (the continuing adventures of two orphaned sisters in 1920s England are back in this epic BBC drama series), The Courier (Jeffrey Dean Morgan plays the titular ‘bring stuff from here to there’ guy assigned to deliver a case to Mickey Rourke, the world’s most dangerous hitman; with some above-average character support from the likes of Lili Taylor and Miguel Ferrer), The Countess (Julie Delpy [Before Sunrise, Before Sunset] writes, stars in, and directs this gory period drama about Elizabeth Bathory, the bananas 17th century noblewoman who took to bathing in virgin blood to keep herself young…and because botox hadn’t been invented yet), Chained (David Lynch’s little girl Jennifer Lynch continues her string of disturbing, loopy dark thrillers [Boxing Helena, Surveillance] with this creepy tale of a serial rapist/killer [Vincent D’Onofrio] who trains the son of one of his victims to be his apprentice)

New Arrivals on Blu Ray this week at Videoport: Tears of the Sun, Straw Dogs, Spaceballs, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, Day of the Dead (Romero), Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, Diamonds Are Forever, Live and Let Die, The Man With the Golden Gun, The Spy Who Loved Me, Moonraker, For Your Eyes Only, From Russia With Love, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Chained.

Get free money at Videoport! $20 buys you $25 in rental credit, and $30 buys you $40 in rental credit. That’s what you call free money.

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