VideoReport #386

Volume CCCLXXXVI- How To Succeed In The Video Rental Business Without Really Trying*

(*You actually have to try pretty hard- Videoport just makes it look easy)

For the Week of 1/8/13

Videoport’s new year’s resolution is to give you a free movie every single day. Trust us- it’s going to go much better than that one about you finally finishing that novel…

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 great, vaguely-sports-related indie comedy/drama double feature that no one ever, ever rents, ever! All right people. There are those of you out there claim to swear by my recommendations, so I’m gonna go ahead and recommend the hell out of two movies I really liked but that never, ever rent. Like, ever. See, I like little indie flicks where character holds sway over plot, where relationships and acting take precedence over car chases and gunshots, and where, well, nothing really happens. Trust me- I’m a professional. Anyway, this week, I suggests you check out Turkey Day (in Comedy) and The Do-Deca Pentathalon (in Incredibly Strange.) In Turkey Day, a group of thirtysomething friends meet up at a city park for their annual touch football game. And that’s it. I mean, there’s about five minutes of milling about and choosing up teams, but then we just watch these friends (and a couple of strangers recruited to fill up the numbers) play the game. As sloppy passes are dropped and the pit-stains grow, we gradually pick up on the state of relationships, the mindset of the players involved, and generally just eavesdrop on the rambunctious, often fractious chatter of a group of people using this deliberately juvenile ritual to forestall the inevitable disillusionment and dissolution that comes with getting older and living your life. It’s a gimmick film, sure, but it’s also alternately funny, insightful, and even a little exciting. (It also ends with an over-credits gag that left me with a big smile on my face.) After that, check out The Do-Deca Pentathalon, the newest film from indie mavens the Duplass Brothers, Mark and Jay (The Puffy Chair, Cyrus, Baghead, Jeff Who Live At Home.) Here too, the protagonists (two estranged adult brothers) fall back on adolescent sporting ritual, in this case the titular twenty five event competition the brothers invented as kids. Always contentious, the brothers’ relationship has grown more distant and hostile as they’ve hit their late 30s, with responsible dad and father Mark (Baghead’s Steve Zissis) looking down on poker-playing, irresponsible Jeremy (Mark Kelly) to the extent that Jeremy is not even invited to Mark’s big birthday celebration at their mom’s house. Jeremy, showing up unannounced anyway, immediately starts antagonizing Mark, focusing on the controversy surrounding the outcome of the original Do-Deca Pentathalon, an event seemingly at the root of their continuing friction. As the two head for the inevitable showdown over the resurrected Do-Deca, the film deftly hints at the reasons for the brothers’ various resentments and issues, all the while wringing wry laughs from the way they quickly revert to their old patterns as they sneak around trying to reenact every event without the rest of their family catching on. Both actors are great, with Zissis especially hinting heartbreakingly at the desperate sadness underneath the padding of seemingly placid husband/fatherhood. Again, nothing really happens (although the hijinks involved in the Do-Deca itself are unpredictably entertaining), but the end result, like Turkey Day, is a surprisingly satisfying indie comedy/drama. So take these home- I haven’t steered you wrong before, have I. Take a chance already…

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!

>>> Regan presents: Regie Beegie Puppy Dog’s Top 10!

1. Goon- “Stray away from my ricochet, and do you have any percocets?”

2. The Guard

3. Lawless

4. Goon- “Garbage blows in my face sometimes.”

5. Woody Allen documentary, parts 1&2

6. ‘Prohibition’

7. Tiny Furniture

8. Goon- “He’s probably giving a single mom herpes in the parking lot.”

9. Submarino

10. Goon- With a bullet!

And the award for big, steaming poophole goes to:

Friends With Kids

Unless the idea was, “Hey, let’s get Maya Rudolph, Kristen Wiig, John Hamm, Adam Scott, and that guy from ‘The IT Crowd’ (Chris Dowd) AND MAKE THE MOST UN-F***ING FUNNY MOVIE EVER! GOOD JOB!

PS: Adam Scott played the same part in Our Idiot Brother which is 20 times funnier than this steamy dump-o-movie.

PPS: Spolier Alert! Because I couldn’t finish this crapbag-o-movie, my mother was kind enough to tell me the last line, “I want you to f*** the s*** out of me.” Hey Jennifer Whatever your last name is, maybe you can f*** the memory of your NPR-approved, piece of s*** , overrated garbage town movie out of my BRAIN!

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!

>>>Ms. Emily S. Customer suggests ‘Monty Python’s Flying Circus’ (in British Comedy.) You’d think that 45 episodes of a timeless comedy classic, jam-packed with iconic performances and absurdist scenarios, would be enough to celebrate. But if you need one more reason to count your blessings, consider this: in 1974, when a Dallas PBS station bought the rights to broadcast Monty Python in the US for the first time, the BBC was just about to wipe the original episode tapes for re-use. Wipe. The. TAPES.

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!

>>>Videoport customer John S. suggests ‘The Dick Cavett Show’- Rock Icons’(in Popular Music.) “An absolute “must see” for kids of the Woodstock generation. Janis Joplin is way cool”

>>>Videoport customer John S. suggests Elvis (in Feature Drama.) “A definite “staff pick.” Kurt Russell is all Elvis and the music reminds us of what a great voice the man had.”

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

>>> It’s a free movie from the kids section and you don’t have to rent anything else to get it for free. That is a good deal. Deal with it. Get it?

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

>>>For Saturday, Dennis suggests Lockout (in Sci Fi/Fantasy.) If there were a movie for which the term “dumb fun” was invented, it’d be this prison/space/action flick…in space! A buffed-out Guy Pearce stars as some sort of action-y guy…in the future! He’s a secret agent or spy or something (the movie’s kind of hazy on that point) who gets framed for killing another spy(?) and sentenced to be put into deep freeze in the future’s newest maximum security prison…in space! The thing is, the president’s do-gooder daughter is on a fact-finding mission to the prison…in space! trying to determine if the 500 prisoners there are having their civil rights violated by being stuffed into freezers which sometimes causes them to lose their freaking minds. And, after, shocker!, the prisoners (all freezer-burnt and even crazier than before) bust out and take everyone hostage, Pearce’s Walt Disneyfication is put on hold if he’ll agree to infiltrate the prison and rescue the first daughter. Yup- it’s essentially Escape From New York…in space! which is, yeah, not promising, but man, that Guy Pearce really makes this one far more enjoyable than it’s got any right to be. Pearce is an interesting case- after smashing onto the scene with the excellent LA Confidential and Memento, he seemed to get stuck in big dull lead roles he frankly wasn’t suited for (The Time Machine, anyone?) before heading back home to Australia for more interesting projects (The Proposition, Animal Kingdom) and accepting scene stealing supporting roles in the likes of Lawless and now this, where he gets to be the funny center of a silly, fun action movie. It looks good on him, and his slyly subversive underplaying, commenting snarkily on every silly action cliche his character has thrown at him. (Example: Pearce- Shh! Annoying president’s daughter- Why, is someone coming? Pearce- No- just enjoying the silence.) Throw in some nice ‘splosions, a couple of crazy baddies with Scottish accents (always a plus), and some nicely nasty space deaths, and Lockout’s much more fun than you’d think…in space!!

>>>For Sunday, It’s April’s 5 movies and 1 TV show I liked in 2012 list!

1. The Artist

2. Moonrise Kingdom

3. Jeff, Who Lives at Home

4. Jiro Dreams of Sushi

5. ‘American Horror Story’

New Releases this week at Videoport: ‘Archer’- season 3 (one fo the funniest shows on tv, this animated spy spoof stars the great Jon Benjamin [Home Movies, Bob’s Burgers, Dr. Katz] as Sterling Archer, the funniest, douche-iest secret agent since OSS 117’s Jean Dujardin), Dredd (Star Trek’s Karl Urban sacrifices the top half of his face starring as the ever-helmeted, grim-voiced dredd-01futuristic copper in an adaptation of the legendary British comic that, one can safely assume, is 18.5 times better than the Stallone version), Frankenweenie (perpetual dreamy manchild Tim Burton revisits the short film of his youth for this feature length animated comedy about a little kid who brings back his beloved dog from the dead), samsaraSamsara (from the director of Baraka comes another stunningly photographed, wordless documentary traveling to the most sacred and/or degraded places of the world), House At The End Of The Street (unrated horrors starring Elizabeth Shue and Jennifer Lawrence as a mother and daughter whose move to their new house is complicated by the fact that some grisy murders took place there…and the killer may live right next door!!), Hit & Run (real life couple Kristin Bell and Dax Shepard star in this surprisingly well-reviewed action comedy about a hit_run_2012-4former bank robber on the run from his former partner [Bradley Cooper]), Compliance (this year’s “movie that people walked out on/threw up at at Sundance” is this based on a completely hard to believe true story about a fast food manager who, at the orders of an anonymous voice on the phone, subjects one of her employees to an increasingly-humiliating series of ordeals), Seal Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden (made for the National Geographic Channel, this docudrama about the events leading up to the titular capture of the terrorist a-hole; this should hold us over until Zero Dark Thirty comes to DVD), Game Change (Julianne Moore gives Tina Fey a run for her money in the “impersonating loathsome political footnote Sarah Palin” sweepstakes in this HBO film about the former vice presidential candidate; written by Recount’s Danny Strong, who you might recognize from Mad Men or, if you’re a geek like me, Buffy the Vampire Slayer), ‘Enlightened’- season 1 (Laura Dern stars in this HBO uneasy comedy series about a high-powered corporate exec who suffers a breakdown and returns to work having undergone her version of a spiritual awakening), ‘An Idiot Abroad’- season 2 (Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant continue to torment their I guess friend Karl Pilkington by sending him traveling to the most beautiful places in the world in this BBC series), ‘Smash’-season 1 (the behind the scenes shenanigans of mounting a Broadway, well, smash are the subject of this series about people who just wanna…SING!!!), Guns, Girls, and Gambling (From imdb: The story throws Elvis impersonators, Indians, modern cowboys, a 6-foot-tall blond assassin, a frat boy, a corrupt sheriff and a prostitute into a chase for a priceless American Indian artifact stolen during a poker game at an Indian casino; so, there you go- starring Christian Slater and a seriously slumming Gary Oldman), The Inbetweeners Movie (the four genially-befuddled teenagers from the BBC comedy bring all their sexual insecurity with them on a tropical vacation in this feature film), Jack and Diane (when two teenage girls’ new relationship is threatened, things take an unexpected, disturbing turn in this not quite a horror film you’ll find in Videoport’s Incredibly Strange Section), Now Is Good (Dakota Fanning plays a young woman dying of cancer who’s compiled a bucket list; the first item- lose that pesky virginity), Sleep Tight (super-creepy Spanish thriller about the building manager from hell- a miserable sociopath who plays mind games with his tenants in order to make their lives hell), Stolen (did you know Nicholas Cage made another movie last year? Me neither, but he did- it’s about a thief whose daughter is kidnapped and he has to get all the money and run and yell and stuff), ‘The Hour’- season 2 (The Wire’s McNulty is back as a conflicted journalist in this acclaimed BBC series about the Cold War machinations at a British investigative TV show), War of the Dead (for fans of the completely-batsh*t insane Dead Snow, here’s another Nazi zombie movie; you’re welcome…), Crazy Eyes (Lukas Haas stars in this indie dramedy about an aimless party guy whose pursuit of the titular dream girl might force him to straighten himself out), ‘Tosh.0- Deep Vs’ (everyone’s favorite smug rape-joker is back with more internet videos of people hurting themselves, interspersed with the occasional rape joke)

New Arrivals this week at Videoport: ‘Being Human’- season 1 (the first season of the American remake of the BBC horror drama comedy about a ghost, a werewolf, and a vampire sharing an apartment)

New Releases on Blu Ray this week at Videoport: Samsara, ‘Archer’- season 3, ‘Enlightened’- season 1, Game Change, Frankenweenie, Hit & Run, House at the End of the Street, ‘Downton Abbey’- season 2, Looper, ‘Shameless’- season 1, ‘Shameless’- season 2, Sleep Tight

Videoport = Free Stuff!

1. Free rentals! You get one every day with our daily specials. Also, you get one any time you purchase a movie from Videoport (and not some hideous corporate website that charges you shipping- seriously, keep this in mind for the holiday gift-buying onslaught right around the corner).

2. Free money! Videoport payment deals give you free money just for spending money at Videoport. Look, you’re gonna rent movies here anyway, so why not do this: pre-pay for $20 in rentals, and Videoport gives you $25 worth of rental credit. Or pre-pay $30 and Videoport gives you $40 worth of rental credit. The money just sits on your account all safe and snuggly until you decide to use it. That’s five or ten free bucks just for doing what you were going to do in the first place. If there’s a flaw in this plan, I have yet to discover it.

3. Free parking! Just pull into any downtown parking garage (the courthouse garage is literally a two minute walk away) and ask for a Park&Shop sticker at Videoport. Viola-a free hour of parking! (And, of course, the lot behind the building is open after 5pm weekdays and all weekend!)

4. Littlelad’s Popcorn and Capt’n Eli’s Soda. Seriously-have you tried this stuff? Buy local!!

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