VideoReport #410

Volume CDX- Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery Of Why We Needed Two “Terrorists Seize The White House” Movies This Year

For the Week of 6/25/13

Videoport gives you a free movie every day. Because of niceness, that’s all…

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 The Mexican (in Incredibly Strange.) You! You who questioned why this would-be wacky rom-com was in the Incredibly Strange section shall now eat your hastily-chosen words. I mean, have you people ever seen this movie? Did you note the palpable lack of chemistry between burgeoning America’s sweethearts Brad Pitt (who turned much more interesting) and Julia Roberts (who seemed satisfied with America’s Sweetheart status). Directed by future Johnny Depp best bud Gore Verbinski (the Pirates of the Caribbean nonsense, and the upcoming The Lone Ranger), the movie also sort of stinks, but the reason why you should always have rented it (and why you should rent it now) is for James Gandolfini’s performance as the conflicted tough guy hitman sent to, well, who cares (it really is a lame movie). It’s the late Gandolfini here that provides enough entertainment for a much, much better movie. Sure, everyone’s on the Gandolfini death cult train now, but he really was a great actor, and in this mid-Sopranos character role, he exhibited the charisma and talent the world was about to discover, big-time. Check out the rest of this newsletter for some more Gandolfini tributes, but check out The Mexican to see the sort of talents he brought to even the most mediocre movies before he died, too soon.

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!

>>>Former Videoporter Stockman suggests Red (in Action/Adventure.) I saw the trailer for the sequel coming soonish to a theater near you and let me tell you I am seriously stoked! I had to explain to my 8 year old niece what stoked meant recently so I guess it’s safe to say I’m not hip with today’s lingo. To be fair I don’t actually think I was ever hip and I’m waiting for the day my nieces realize this. Hip or not, I’m here to tell you that Red was not only thoroughly enjoyable, but so thoroughly enjoyable as to cause stokification for a sequel. That’s a real word. Don’t look it up in the dictionary or anything, just trust me, it’s definitely real. I think it comes from Latin or Greek. This movie was severely poo-pooed by critics and I really don’t understand why. Far sillier and worse action flicks have gotten far kinder treatment. Maybe everyone was feeling particularly judgey at the time? There’s certainly always something to be said for the right time/right place argument. Sometimes a movie will strike a surprising chord, whether it be negative or positive, depending on timing. Personally I say, “suck it movie critics”, this movie has everything that I ever need or expect from an action film, trite as they may be. There’s banter, romance, brawls, pointless explosions, and it’s all done humorously tongue-in-cheek. I rarely like my action movies taken seriously. Forget physics! Does it look cool? Works for me! I’m going to be eagerly bouncing in my theater seat at Red 2 ready to giggle like a loon every time a character (probably even all the characters on several occasions) kicks butt when someone poo-poos their ability to kick butt like a critic poo-pooing this film! If you’re as easily entertained as I ignore the critics and give this a shot. Ha! Accidental pun. Shot! Action movie! It works on so many levels. I may have mentioned I’m easily entertained.

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!

>>> Emily S. Customer suggests a James Gandolfini retrospective. James Gandolfini will be best remembered for his signature role as Tony Soprano, and with good reason. The mercurial mixture of melancholy, despair, rage, and plain frisky fun that he expertly melded to create Tony is indelible, the kind of performance that can easily define a character actor. But any good character actor is just that: someone who creates characters, and Gandolfini’s range was broader than even the immense scope he showed in “The Sopranos.” His turn in True Romance as Virgil, the brutal and chillingly reflective tough who interrogates Alabama (Patricia Arquette), will give you shivers. In Get Shorty, Gandolfini plays Bear, a cuddly stuntman who sidelines as the hired muscle for drug dealer/aspiring producer Bo Catlett (Delroy Lindo), imbuing Bear with an uncanny and utterly naturalistic mixture of cuddly sweetness and assured menace. But nowhere does that eerie combination of sweetness and stark, simple force come through more clearly than in Where the Wild Things Are,” with Gandolfini as Carol, the massive monster whose tantrums smash entire forests and who can be mollified with a sweet word and a sweet gesture.

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’s Andy (and various Videoport customers) suggest a Hitchcock marathon to fight off the summertime blues! I always re-watch Hitchcock movies in the summer. It just feels right to me. Last night I watched North by Northwest. It didn’t quite live up to my memory of it, for some reason. I always called it a “cure for depression,” because it’s just damn much fun, but this time it didn’t cut it. Tonight I watched Vertigo, and I loved it more than ever! That movie really demands that the viewer goes to some deep, dark places. It’s no wonder it was kind of a bomb when it came out! Any thought, Hitchcock fans?

Emily S. Customer: Let’s rewatch Dial M for Murder and talk endlessly about the tennis-match staging and the repeating motif of trophy-shapes in the background and foreground.

Owen K.: Go for Rebecca or Rear Window next.

Andy: I did watch Rebecca a few weeks ago, Owen! That one holds up, though Lawrence Olivier is so hostile and ugly in that movie, it’s amazing that it’s aged as well as it has, otherwise.

Jennifer M: Shadow of a Doubt is my favorite… I have a theory that Hitchcock actually lets the heroine be intelligent and non-victimized because Teresa Wright was a brunette and not blond… I have yet to substantiate this with any real research.

Emily S. Customer: Shadow of a Doubt was Hitchcock’s favorite, too! I have an equally unsubstantiated theory that Shadow of a Doubt was a formative influence on David Lynch.

Andy: I think Shadow of a Doubt will be next on my list of Hitchcock movies to re-watch, Jenny and Emily! It is pretty great and, like a David Lynch movie, hopelessly square Americana on the surface but dark and ugly underneath. And I love the not-blond Jane Wyman in Stage Fright, Jenny! But a lot has been made of her likeness to Hitchcock’s daughter, which makes her a notable exception, at best.

N. Genevieve T: Marnie…period.

Jeremiah M: Are you a Trouble With Harry fan?

Andy: Yes! Such an odd movie, though. It’s a small, very British comedy set in… Vermont. I just like to go with it and have a good time.

Mitchell M: Shadow of a Doubt is a personal favorite, for the gender/feminist reasons that Jennifer described – there’s also a scene in Maine! (actually, Maine is only mentioned, but it’s important). Psycho is high on my list of fun Hitchcocks, because any film is improved by Martin Balsam randomly appearing (he almost cancels out Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany’s). Try Torn Curtain sometime (if you haven’t yet). It’s not too important, but it’s a nice breezy one with good Andrews/Newman chemistry

Former Videoporter Stockman: Notorious was always my favorite! Its the romance and the smoldering Cary Grant that does it. I keep meaning to re-watch Foreign Correspondent. I saw it once on the big screen at MOMA and fell in love finding it to be that fun enjoyability that you said about N by NW. Plus I adore Joel McCrea, but I’ve never tested if it stands up to my memory.

Jon P: Rope is a great one. Watched that one many times.

Andy: Ah, Rope! I think that one is way better than its “interesting experiment” reputation!

Editor’s note: in case you hadn’t figured it out, this all came from an exchange on Videoport’s Facebook page Videoport Jones. You should check us out there. It’s where all the cool kids swap movie recommendations, and the occasional dirty joke.

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

>>>You can just come in and get a free movie from the kids section–no other rental necessary. Because of loving the kids.

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

>>>For Saturday, Emily S. Customer suggests The Sopranos (in Feature Drama). Our recent wave of epic novelistic television —- everything from “The Wire” to “Mad Men” to “Game of Thrones” to “Hannibal” — owes a great debt to “The Sopranos,” and modern anti-heroes owe at least as much to the magnificent mix of charm and viciousness and playfulness and vulnerability that James Gandolfini brought to Tony Soprano. Last week, I learned the sad news about Gandolfini’s untimely death just minutes before I began a long-awaited marathon of “Sopranos” episodes. I delayed my spree a few hours, not sure that I could bear to watch this masterful actor with that news so fresh in my mind. Eventually, I did give in and start watching… and something magical happened. I got so engrossed that I forgot. I forgot that James Gandolfini had died heartbreakingly young, I forgot that I’d just been shedding tears for his family and for the loss of a great talent, I forgot that I was watching TV, I forgot that I wasn’t magically privy to the mercurial life of this sad, angry man named Tony Soprano. I just watched him. He wiped all that away from my mind in a moment. I’ve seen and admired Gandolfini in other roles, but having so many seasons of his masterful, nuanced performance as the complicated character of Tony Soprano is a gift for which I’m just plain grateful.

>>>For Sunday, Dennis suggests Cafe Flesh (in Videoport’s Adult section.) Yes, we have an adult section. Around the corner, past the sell-through movies, bring an ID. There was a time when people sought to create real movies with hardcore sex within. They failed for the most part, but hats off to them. (Check out In The Realm Of The Senses, Intimacy, The Brown Bunny, and Nine Songs for non-porn examples.) But

There's no appropriate image for this movie, so here's a kitty.

There’s no appropriate image for this movie, so here’s a kitty.

this 1983 sci fi porn flick is about as close as you’re gonna get to what Boogie Nights’ Jack Horner aspired to calling “a real movie” as possible, largely due to how it seeks to actively mock those who rent it looking for porn. In some ill-defined post-apocalyptic future, 99% of humans have become basically allergic to sex, with human desire making them physically ill. The lucky few who can get it on without having to ralph are less than lucky, as they are put on stage to bone while the “sex negatives” sit out in the darkness and watch the goings-on in silent agony, drooling and moaning, and yearning for the actual physical contact that they can never have because they’re all impotent and incapable of real sexual relationships. You don’t have to be a film theorist to see that there’s a level of mean-spirited satire towards the very consumers of porn the film was intended for. Throw in some weird humor (mostly from club’s emcee Max Melodramatic who’s actually pretty funny), and, yes, some relatively artsy sex (featuring future low-budget scream queen Michelle Bauer, credited here as Pia Snow), and you’ve got yourself as close to a “real movie” as the porn genre ever produced. Even if you’ll feel sort of made fun of afterwards. (Oh, and the director’s name is Rinse Dream—obviously the greatest porn name of all time.)

New Releases this week at Videoport: Upside Down (Jim Sturgess and Kirsten Dunst star in this sci fi Romeo and Juliet about a man and a woman who live on twin worlds in an alternate dimension where their planets have opposite gravity; can love survive when everyone is drifting away from each other all the time? And can a movie survive a convoluted premise? Rent it and see), The Call (Halle Berry stars as a 911 operator who tries to help a young woman kidnapped by a serial killer in this thriller), The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (Steve Carell and Jim Carrey star as GOB Bluth-style aging magicians attempting to outdo each other for a huge gig in this comedy), Phantom (Ed Harris, David Duchovny, and William Fichtner lead an impressive cast in this Cold War submarine thriller about a Russian sub dodging the Americans…and World War III), A Place At The Table (Jeff Bridges narrates this wrenching documentary about starving families right here in America), No (international star/cool guy Gael Garcia Bernal stars in this fact-based drama about the young advertising executive who accepted the challenge of opposing Chilean strongman Augusto Pinochet in a very risky election in 1988), The Big C- season 3 (Laura Linney is back as a woman whose cancer diagnosis doesn’t get in the way of her being sort of mean and funny), Hansel and Gretel Get Baked (with Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters whipping up a medium amount of fairy tale movie frenzy, perhaps it was inevitable that we get a Hansel and Gretel horror stoner comedy, right? Starring Lara Flynn Boyle who may not have the most graceful career arc at this point), Pusher (You should rent the Danish Pusher trilogy [in Videoport’s Foreign section] and then rent this British remake, which similarly attempts to portray the drug trade in all its brutal glory; but seriously_you should watch the original trilogy), Black Pond (British dark comedy about the travails of a typical family whose kind invitation to let a homeless guy have dinner at their house turns into an escalating series of awful decisions), As Luck Would Have It (a dying man attempts to sell his story to the tabloids in the new film from brilliant Spanish director Alex de la Iglesia, whose films 800 Bullets, The Perfect Crime, The Baby’s Room, Dance With the Devil, and The Oxford Murders you should also check out; you know—if you like good movies…), Brian Posehn: The Fartist (new standup film from hulking geek [meant as a compliment] Posehn, who wrote for Mr. Show, which should be the only recommendation any knowledgeable comedy fan should need),

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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