VideoReport #405

Volume CDV- Indiana Jones and the Secret of the Recipe for Dr. Pepper

For the Week of 5/21/13

Videoport gives you a free movie every single day. That, and about 73 other reasons, means we are awesome and you should cancel your Netflix subscription.

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!

>>> Andy suggests The Fly (in Sci-Fi/Fantasy). “I’m talking about penetration beyond the veil of The Flesh!” The Flesh! You know it’s a David Cronenberg movie when the people talk this way. Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) is a very Jeff Goldblum-like eccentric genius who invents a teleportation device. His Telepods can perfectly transport objects from one pod to the other, except when the objects are living things (The Flesh!). That’s when baboons get turned inside out*. So Brundle tweaks his invention and then, in a restless, drunken moment, decides to test his invention on himself (and a sneaky housefly). And it works! And then he notices that The Flesh is changing. You know the rest. Seth Brundle becomes “Brundlefly.” The Fly is an artfully made, smart, and disgusting science fiction film. For every thought-provoking moment in the movie, there’s at least one barf-provoking one. David Cronenberg is a filmmaker of great intelligence, taste, and craft, who also seems to realize that subtlety is inherently un-cinematic, and, frankly, boring. I would like to recommend The Fly to fans of John Carpenter’s The Thing. Both films share a deliberate, no bullshit approach to storytelling. They seem simple and straightforward, but with lots of big ideas under the surface. Both films are musically spare and quiet, but then explode with noise and elaborate special effects. There is nothing unnecessary in these movies. Their focus makes so many other movies seem cluttered and busy. And the characters in The Fly are often as isolated in their nearly empty, unnamed city as the Antarctic residents in The Thing. But most importantly, both The Fly and The Thing qualify as two of the best and smartest sci-fi horror films of the 1980s, and essential viewing for any horror fan.

*Why baboons? Why doesn’t Brundle test his invention on a smaller, cheaper, and easier to acquire test subject like a mouse, a guinea pig, or a dog? Just a small quibble.

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 writing for the VideoReport! We’re all in this together people: you rent the movies, we rent you the movies, but we all love the movies. And to talk about them with each other. That’s where The VideoReport comes in, people­—a weekly forum for us all to share our reviews of our favorite, or least favorite films and TV shows. And then to start a lot of arguments. So send your reviews to us at denmn@hotmail.com, our Facebook page “Videoport Jones”, or just drop them off at the store. All lengths, all movies and shows, any time! C’monnnnn!

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 standup comedy goodness! With this week’s release of the new Kevin Hart standup film, Kevin Hart: Laugh At My Pain, here are some suggestions for a standup comedy double feature to go along with it. (OR a triple feature if you want three of these for a week for only seven bucks: warning—your sides may bust wide open).

1. Richard Pryor: Live On The Sunset Strip. Funniest example of the standup arts ever filmed.

2. Richard Pryor: Live. Exactly as funny as #1.

3. Patton Oswalt: My Weakness Is Strong. Pure, perfectly constructed comedy.

4. Any of the three Louis CK DVDs.

5. Maria Bamford: Plan B. Wow.

6. We’ve got a bunch of George Carlin. Pick one.

7. Patton Oswalt: Finest Hour.

8. Sandra Bernhard: Without You I’m Nothing. I don’t know what this is, but it’s brain-twirlingly awesome.

9. Zach Galifianakis: Live At The Purple Onion. His standup remains twice as funny as his movies.

10. The Comedians of Comedy. Bamford, Galifianakis, Oswalt, Jon Benjamin, Michael Ian Black, Sarah Silverman, and more all on the same bill? Yup.

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 Shaun of the Dead (in Incredibly Strange.) The movie triumvirate of director/writer Edgar Wright and costars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are the closest thing to a sure thing in movie comedy these days. In the TV show ‘Spaced’ (in British Comedy), Hot Fuzz (in Comedy), and Shaun of the Dead (in Incredibly Strange), they have an infallible comic sensibility which does the seeming impossible: they work on every level. They’re all verging on perfect but Shaun actually is. Perfect, I mean. The tale of an underachiever whose bad day (his girlfriend dumps him) is topped off by a zombie invasion, Shaun is several things all at the same time: a legitimately scary and violent horror movie, a romantic comedy, a buddy comedy, and action flick, even a heart-wrenching drama. In another movie (assuming there exists another film so ambitious), this might seem overstuffed, off-balance, or just a big ol’ mess. But Shaun, improbably, manages to run all of its disparate elements in brilliantly effortless parallel. I honestly can’t think of another film like it. (Oh, and the third feature from the trio comes out in August. It’s called The World’s End, and it’s going to be awesome.)

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

>>>You get a free movie from the kids section, with no other rental necessary! Yeah! (Note: if you complain about the Friday special, that means you hate children.)

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

>>>For Saturday, Dennis suggests ‘Friends’ (in Comedy.) When I first started working at Videoport, I rather sheepishly admitted that I like Friends. People scoffed, one laughed, Regan may have whipped something at my head. But former Videoporter Laree Love, a cool arbiter of taste if ever there were one, validated my opinion simply by saying, “F*** it—funny is funny.” And for all its faults (the whitest TV show of all time?) and syndication ubiquity, Friends is still damned funny. So now Videoport has just brought in the entire ten season run of the show. Don’t let your friends keep you from renting them. Funny is funny.

>>>For Sunday, Videoport customer Deb T. suggests Seven Psychopaths (in Incredibly Strange.) Post-modern – like quinoa – sounds more unapproachable than it is. When someone says they saw a post-modern movie or read a post-modern book, don’t run away. Did you read a Choose Your Own Adventure book when you were a kiddo? Well, then you’ve read a post-modern book. It’s hard to describe exactly what is post-modern, but here’s a try: Regular fiction is 2-dimensional. You watch the film it starts and goes to the end. You are a passive audience. You can believe what is happening. The characters do what they’re supposed to do. You have no idea what the writer’s thoughts were about the film. When a film is post-modern, those things don’t happen. It could be shot by the point of view of an unreliable narrator so you have to spend your time trying to figure out whether to believe him or not. The characters could lash out at the way they’re written – and may even overpower the writer. The writer herself could even put herself into the film to deal directly with these characters. It may even seem that decisions about the film are being made just at the same time the film is going along. Basically, you see beyond the story, you see the outside of the story, you see the construction of the story. You are even part of the story in a way. It’s more than just 2-dimensional. With that said, no, this isn’t a review about a Charlie Kauffman movie – although, yes, go see them. All. It’s about Seven Psychopaths, which I rented recently because I saw it on the shelf and vaguely remembered the title – yet nothing else about the film. Let’s start with the review. First, holy cast of characters – Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken, Woody Harrelson, and even Tom Waits(!). My goodness. While they were all fun, Sam Rockwell’s character Billy and Christopher Walken’s character Hans were my favorites. Billy – because I love lovable crazy – and everyone should have a loyal psychotic friend. And Hugh – because (beside the fact that everyone has to love Christopher Walken) he plays such a nuanced role – between the loving husband and the slightly off personality to his job as part of a dog-kidnaping team and his thoughtful voluntary contributions to the film itself. The story is fun because it’s different – and post-modern. It’s about a writer trying to write a screenplay called “Seven Psycopaths” – (hey . . .wait a minute . . . ) However, he doesn’t want it to be all about guns and gore. He actually wants it to end being about love, peace and hope. His friend, Billy, has other ideas – and wants to help him write it. Billy’s character takes over the story for a bit and makes you wonder if he changed the story in the middle. Such as did the Jack of Diamonds killer have a different identity at the beginning of the film than the end? Upon reflection, you can see what parts Billy had his hand in, and which parts Marty wrote himself. There are parts of the film they didn’t need – they didn’t need to hammer away at the fact that he was basically writing the film as it happened. However, I guess the constant reminders make the audience better understand what is happening. There were other parts of the film I enjoyed greatly – such as the conversations between characters on their thoughts about film – such as on women in movies (or this movie) and pets in movies. The movie as a whole is fun, fast, easy to understand with a nice combination of gratuitous violence, sentimentality, odd humor, and thoughtful commentary on screenwriting as a whole. And, in the end, after all the psychopath stuff goes down, we are treated to a lovely monologue by Hans that ties the film up in a nice bow. It made me happy. If you like strange and funny. If you want to dip your toe into post-modern without making your head hurt too much. If you like to write fiction. Or if you like shih tzus, go rent this movie. It’s a fun one.

New Releases this week at Videoport: ‘True Blood’- season 5 (vampires are real! And they drink this junk that’s like vampire Red Bull instead of human blood! Except when they don’t- which is often! And then there’s all the vampire sex! The kids seem to like it…), Beautiful Creatures (a young woman learns that her family heritage comes complete with a spooky old mansion and some mysterious powers; with an overqualified cast for this sort of thing including Emma Thompson, Jeremy Irons, Margo Martindale, Viola Davis, and Pruitt Taylor Vince), The Last Stand (Arnold Schwarzenegger, back from that job he was woefully unqualified for, returns to doing what he’s minimally qualified for, playing a lunkheaded action hero, this time alongside Johnny Knoxville), Side Effects (from always-interesting director Steven Soderbergh comes this thriller about a woman, prescribed experimental anti-anxiety medication by her doctor, who has some, um, issues; good cast including Rooney Mara, Jude Law, Cjanning Tatum, and Catherine-Zeta Jones; Videoport’s Regan says it’s pretty good!), Parker (Jason Statham plays, well, Parker; based on the Donald Westlake books, Parker is an enigmatic professional thief; based on Statham’s career, Parker is a dude who punches people until everything turns out okay), Stand Up Guys (slumming all-stars Al Pacino, Alan Arkin, and Christopher Walken star in this mob thriller about some aging mobsters out for one last big night on the town), Return To Nim’s Island (you know that movie about the little girl having adventures on a tropical island starring Jodie Foster? Well here’s the sequel- no one from the first movie is in it. Matthew Lillard is. Good luck), Yossi (there was a movie ten years ago called Yossi and Jagger about two Israeli soldiers in love; now here’s the sequel, following one of the pair as he tries to cope with the suspicious fact that he’s now the only one in the title), Open Road (Andy Garcia and Juliette Lewis lend their mid-wattage star power to this indie about a young free-spirited occasional waitress who’s torn between the free life of the road and some people who seem to like her), Gregory Crewdson-Brief Encounters (check out Videoport’s Documentary Arts section for this documentary about the famed photographer whose stunningly weird images make everyone feel funny), Cool Air (HP Lovecraft fans rejoice! Here comes another adaptation, this time of the tale of a guy who begins to suspect there’s something odd about his neighbor, who needs his apartment kept reeeeaaaaal cool all the time), A Common Man (Ben Kingsley and Ben Cross [two of the best British Bens] star in this thriller about a seemingly mild-mannered citizen who plants bombs all over the city and demands the release of several international terrorists), Kevin Hart: Laugh At My Pain (new standup comedy concert film from the diminutive, and very funny, Hart), Nightfall (Simon Yam [IP Man] stars in this Hong Kong-based thriller about a jaded detective out to discover who bumped off a beloved pianist), Witness: A World in Conflict Through a Lens (HBO documentary series about war photographers documenting atrocities around the globe), Penthouse Playboys (three young urban professionals [read: douches] in modern day Seoul cope with sex addiction, relationship troubles, and lots and lots of sex in this Korean erotic drama), Picture Day (Canadian drama about a young woman whose badass reputation forces her to repeat her senior year of high school where she befriends a dorky freshman she used to babysit; starring the very, very talented Tatiana Maslany, who you should check out on the show ‘Orphan Black’ on BBC America)

New Releases on Blu Ray this week at Videoport: Parker, Last Stand, Beautiful Creatures, A Common Man, Side Effects, ‘True Blood’- season 5.

Get yourself some free money at Videoport!

As if you needed another reason to rent here, Videoport has these deals which just plain give you free money. Check it out: pay 20 bucks up front on your rental account, and we turn that into 25 dollars worth of rental credit. Do the same thing but with 30 dollars, and we give you 40 dollars worth of store credit. That’s either five or ten free bucks, which you were going to spend here anyway eventually. So why wouldn’t you go for this deal? Um–you hate deals maybe? I’m not your psychiatrist…

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