VideoReport #383

Volume CCCLXXXIII- Holiday Wallet Massacre: The Walleting

For the Week of 12/11/12

Videoport will ease your holiday burdens. Let us count the ways: 1. A free rental every single day! 2. A free rental with every movie you purchase (from us, rather than some lame corporate chain!) 3. Get free money on your Videoport account any time ($20 buys you $25 in rental credit, $30 buys you $40.) 4. Our rentals are really quite reasonable…

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!

>>>Emily S. Customer says It’s a paranoid political-thriller Christmas! The 1970s were a turning point

Merry Christmas.

Merry Christmas.

for psychological thrillers and disaffected stories of disenchanted, disenfranchised anti-heroes, and two of the ’70s greatest tales of paranoid suspense take place in the midst of the bustling Christmas season, when the bright lights and cheerful crowds only emphasize our protagonists’ isolation and unease. In “Three Days of the Condor,” bookish government researcher Joe Turner (Robert Redford) is the sole survivor of an assassination designed to take out his entire office. Inexperienced, unarmed, and so little schooled in the finer points of espionage that he can barely stammer out his own code name (“Condor”), Joe has to scramble to survive on the streets of New York while he dodges the agents and assassins trailing him, not knowing who to trust or where to turn. “The Conversation,” arguably Francis Ford Coppola’s greatest film, features Gene Hackman as Harry Caul, an expert surveillance artist obsessed with maintaining his own privacy — and plagued by the knowledge of how easily that privacy can be breached. Both films take place in the bright bustle of December, and in both, the joy and fellowship of others is just a bittersweet background to the essential isolation of the individual. MERRY CHRISTMAS, Y’ALL.

>>>JackieO wises you up on a holiday rental. Did you know there’s a Christmas episode of “Homicide” (Psst: it’s season 3, episode 8: ‘All Through the House’)? Maybe more. Belzer and Braugher for Christmas? Come on, dummy.

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!

>>> Emily S. Customer suggests that you might want a break from the holly-jolly without completely forsaking the season. Fortunately, there’s a long tradition of movies set at Christmastime (or with their peaks at Christmas) but that aren’t what we traditionally think of as “Christmas-y.” The classic example, of course, is Die Hard, but there are a few more. Oh, just a few. The Lion in Winter. Brazil. Holiday. The Shop around the Corner. Toy Story. Doubt. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Better Off Dead. The

Even less Christmassy than you might think...

Even less Christmassy than you might think…

Apartment. The Proposition. Eyes Wide Shut. Meet John Doe. Twelve Monkeys. Three Days of the Condor. The Conversation. Bell Book and Candle. Gremlins. Diner. The Thin Man. Trading Places. Edward Scissorhands. The Ref. The Ice Harvest. Less Than Zero. The Matador. Eyes Wide Shut. Prometheus. In Bruges. Eastern Promises. Mysterious Skin. Lethal Weapon. The French Connection. The Square. Lady in the Lake. Metropolitan. Go. Profondo Rosso. First Blood. Female Trouble. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. The Mothman Prophecies. Hellcab, aka Chicago Cab

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 Some more weird Christmas TV episodes! Yeah, sure all the copies (and we have many) of A Christmas Story, It’s A Wonderful Life, Christmas Vacation, and A Charlie Brown Christmas

Just watch Community already...

Just watch Community already…

might all have been taken, since it’s, you know, that time of year and other people thought of calling ahead and stuff. But we here at Videoport excel at finding alternatives to the same old stuff that everyone else wants. So, first up, I’m gonna steer you toward one of my favorite shows of all time, ‘Community.’ Apart from the absolutely indispensable ‘Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas’ (season 2, episode 11), which I may have already pushed on someone else by this point, I’ll definitely suggest you take on season 3, episode 10 “Regional Holiday Music.” In this one, the gang, continuing the running gag that they despise Greendale’s glee club, sees those chipper, insufferable cover artists get busted for ASCAP violations, only to find themselves falling under the sway of the creepily-cheery glee club instructor (SNL’s Tarran Killam). It’s a (pardon) gleeful takedown of ‘Community’s longtime competition, ‘Glee’ sure, but it, like every ‘Community’ episode with a hook, is also a loopy, inventive, character-driven work of hilarious art in its own right. I could point to Donald Glover’s chance to bring his rap skills to the fore (he has a quite respectable rap career under the name Childish Gambino), or the disturbingly hilarious “sexy Santa girl” deconstruction by the ever-amazing Alison Brie, or the weirdly appropriate conflation of “Glee” and “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”, but I think it’s best if you just let this episode, like all of ‘Community’ wash over you in a bubbly sea of giddy hilarity.

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!

>>>JackieO suggests a holiday movie alternative! You know what Christmas movie will NOT be checked out? Not Elf, not Scrooged, not A Christmas Story, no no. Christmas in New England. My wonderful wife and I have just thrown our second annual holiday day drinking party offering respite to shopping-weary friends in the form of ham, pie, microbrews, and cocktails, and the belle of our ball, the secret of our parties’ success, has been Videoport’s Yule log/snow fall video. Classical arrangements of traditional carols accompany the seemingly unending footage of a fireplace, but I recommend muting your TV and playing your own favorites, assuming your taste in music is as good as my wife’s and mine. (Also learn to cook as good as my wife does.) Solid!

>>>Overheard in the Holiday Movie section: “If you’re going to go Scrooge, screw Albert Finney- go with George C. Scott. He’s just a pissy old man and it’s great!”

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

>>> Emily S. Customer suggests How The Grinch Stole Christmas. In the fuzzy reaches of memory, my own childhood viewings of the classic animated 1966 tv special How the Grinch Stole Christmas have gotten jumbled up cozily with the delight of watching it, year after year, Christmas after Christmas, with my many nieces and nephews. Like so many traditions, watching The Grinch has become a palimpsest of holiday moments: sitting on the floor in my footie pajamas, peeking around my fingers as the vewwwwwy scawwwwwy Grinch creeps around Cindy Lou Who’s house in the middle of the night; seeing the sheer disgust on my tiny nephew’s face as he sees The Grinch triumphantly haul away all their gifts; hearing the relieved giggle of my nieces as that overloaded sleigh barrels down into town to bring all those jingtinglers, whohoovers, and fluefloopers back to the joyful Whos down in Whoville. Watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas is a beloved family ritual older than I am, and made all the more wonderful by the way it melds together all the years of family togetherness of the sweetest kind. But there’s so much more to this lovely, loving tale of redemption. At its heart, How the Grinch Stole Christmas is the story of an outsider, a pitiable creature whose heart is shrunken by solitude and bitterness. When he sees innocent joy in the townspeople below his mountain hermitage, The Grinch lashes out: since he cannot be joyful, he tries to steal joy from those around him — to make the happy masses as cold and bitter as he is. But he cannot. Even in the face of misfortune, we can marshall our spirits and find joy and love and fellowship in our hearts. Indeed, we must, because if we don’t, we’re lost. In this season, especially, we would do well to remember that: our greatest joy lies in our fellowship, in our ability to share love and joy even in times of cruel catastrophe.

>>>JackieO suggests A Wish for Wings That Work. I came of age when Berkley Breathed’s brilliant comic strip “Bloom County” was a thing, and it went a long way to form my teenaged comic sensibilities. The strip was as hilarious as it was bittersweet and sublime, like a “Peanuts” for a jaded modern age. There’s a “Bloom County” Christmas special called “Bill and Opus: A Wish for Wings That Work” which I have no memory of having aired on television. The characters’ voices don’t sound like how I’d imagined them on the funny pages, but that’s OK. This is good stuff.

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

>>>For Saturday, JackieO suggests Premium Rush (in Action.) Regarding Friday’s release of Premium Rush, JoGoLev does the best with the poor lines his more-or-less unlikeable, one-dimensional d-bag bike courier character was given, but the bicycle vs. car chase scenes through the streets of Manhattan are truly thrilling, and professional weirdo Michael Shannon of Take Shelter and HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” is mesmerizing, in fact the main reason to watch this quickly-paced and fun thriller is to revel in Shannon’s turn as a banacakes crazy crooked cop on, of course, the edge. Even when he’s getting a beat-down in a Chinatown gutter, he’s somehow both riveting and hilarious. What’s this Michael Shannon guy’s deal? He’s great!

>>>For Sunday, April hopes someone will do a double or triple feature of Videoport’s selection of gay and lesbian holiday movies, of which there are only three: Visions of Sugar Plums, Treading Water, and 24 Nights. They may be low budget with bad acting but that can be kinda fun, right? And look! Just look at the cover of Visions of Sugar Plums– why aren’t you renting it right now? And 24 Nights has David Burtka (Neil Patrick Harris’ better half) and is actually kinda funny. Of the three, Treading Water is the only one I watched to the end, so that’s something. I know I’m not winning you over right now. Would a lame gay yuletide joke make it better? No? Okay.

New Releases this week at Videoport: Premium Rush (this “bike messenger gets chased by crooked cop for the package he’s carrying” action thriller would probably be a snooze, except that it stars the undeniably-talented Joseph Gordon-Leavitt as the bike guy and the incontrovertibly-weird and terrifying Michael Shannon [Boardwalk Empire] as the evil cop; plus, I hear it’s actually pretty good; since this comes out on Friday, ridiculously, check out Jackie’s Saturday review!), Pitch Perfect (Portland’s own Anna Kendrick [50/50, Up In the Air] stars alongside April’s #1 crush Rebel Wilson in this musical feel-good comedy about a college student who joins the school’s misfit a cappella singing group and sings her little heart out in order to win the big singing competition; for fans of Glee, singing, feelgoodery), Trouble With the Curve (Clint Eastwood is a crusty old baseball scout with failing eyesight who crustily accepts the help of his estranged daughter [Amy Adams] on one last big recruiting trip; for fans of: Clint, crust, baseball. Not for fans of: Moneyball, subtlety), Total Recall (Colin Farrell takes over from Arnie in this remake of the sci fi semi-classic about a guy who may or may not be living in a world created by implanted memories; for fans of: unnecessary remakes, 3-boobed prostitutes), Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days (2nd sequel to that movie based on the kids books with the stick figures; for fans of: the first two movies based on kids books with the stick figures), ‘Shameless’- season 2 (William H. Macy is back, reddening his neck as the shiftless patriarch of the white-trashiest family on TV, you know- now that Downton Abbey is on hiatus), Resident Evil: Retribution (I believe this to be the fifth of these, so if you aren’t already a fan of Milla Jovovich gunning down zombies while wearing a leather catsuit, then you’ve got a lot of catching up to do; for fans of: loud noises, shiny things, Milla Jovovich in a leather catsuit: ATTENTION- for some dumb reason, this isn’t being released until Friday, 12/21- don’t ask…), Arbitrage (Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon, and Tim Roth star in this financial thriller about a fraudulent hedge fund manager whose chicanery threatens to bring down his perfect life; for fans of: rich people, watching rich people lose all their stuff), ‘Californication’- season 5 (David Duchovny continues to sleaze his way through the bedroom’s of LA’s hottest trophy wives as a perpetually-blocked novelist in this boobful Showtime comedy series), Killer Joe (from director William Friedkin [The Exorcist, The French Connection, Bug] comes this over-the-top [in every way] tale of a sleazy, psychotic Dallas detective/hitman [Matthew McConaughey] who starts doing very unpleasant things to the life and family of a loser [Emile Hirsch] who can’t pay him: ATTENTION- also coming out on Friday, for no earthly reason…), Sleepwalk With Me (comedian Mike Birbiglia turns his autobiographical one-man show about his misadventures in relationships, his standup career, and his struggles with a rare sleep disorder into a funny, poignant feature film; for fans of: standup comedy, good things), Liberal Arts (have you ever watched ‘How I Met Your Mother’ and wished it were all about Ted? Well, me neither, but HIMYM’s Josh Radnor wrote, directed and stars in this comedy/drama about a stuck-in-a-rut college admissions adviser who meets the fetching young Elizabeth Olsen [Martha Marcy May Marlene]; also starring the great Richard Jenkins and Allison Janney; oh, and Zac Efron, too, if you’re into that sort of thing), 10 Years (cool-ish cast including Channing Tatum, Chris Pratt, Rosario Dawson, and Justin Long liven up this high school reunion comedy), ‘House of Lies’- season 1 (the great Don Cheadle stars as a slick, if conflicted, corporate fixer in this comedy series costarring the not-too-shabby Kristen Bell [Veronica Mars] and ‘Parks and Recreation’’s Jean-Ralphio), ‘The Sarah Silverman Program’- season 3 (America’s favorite potty-mouthed yet adorable comic is back being weird and adorably offensive!), Red Hook Summer (Spike Lee’s newest film features ‘The Wire’’s brilliant Clarke Peters [he was Detective Lester Freamon] as a young boy’s terrifying preacher grandfather in another of Lee’s Brooklyn coming-of-age stories), The Pruitt-Igoe Myth (documentary about the implosion of the titular public housing project, whose failure is examined as a metaphor for the failure of low-income housing projects across America)

New Arrivals this week at Videoport: World War III (a very, very 80s cast including the likes of Rock Hudson, Brian Keith, David Soul Cathy Lee Crosby and more star in this 1982 depiction of a fictional invasion of America [well, Alaska] by Russian troops; darn those Ruskies!)

New Arrivals on Blu Ray this week at Videoport: Total Recall, Trouble With the Curve, Arbitrage, Killer Joe, Premium Rush, Resident Evil: Retribution, ‘Girls’- season 1, Pitch Perfect.

And, hey, happy holidays from us at Videoport. Thank you all for another great year. We love ya’, you crazy kids…

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