VideoReport #414

Volume CDXIV- Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery Of Why Daniel LaRusso Doesn’t Get Disqualified for Kicking That Guy In The Face When It’s Been Made Clear That You’re Not Allowed To Kick Dudes In The Face

 For the Week of 7/23/13

 Videoport gives you a free movie every day. Yes, every single day. No exceptions. We could not be more serious.

 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!

>>> Elsa S. Customer suggests Snatch (in Incredibly Strange.) When I think of Dennis Farina, I don’t just remember him; I hear him. His voice has taken up permanent residence in my head — and not just his voice, but his intonation, his cadence, his particular combination of wry wit and playful menace. That indelible presence and pluck —  it’s the key to his legacy. It transforms even derivative moments and lines into his personal touchstones. There’s a moment like this in Guy Ritchie’s Snatch, an ensemble-heavy dark comedy about British gangland oddballs scrambling to track down a priceless diamond. American gangster Avi (Farina) isn’t too keen to visit in the first place (as he tells his colleague, “London. You know, fish, chips, cup o’ tea, bad food, worse weather, Mary ****ing Poppins… LONDON”), but he’s even less enthusiastic as he leaves. When a customs agent asks “Anything to declare?” Avi spits back “Yeah. Don’t go to England.” In that split-second exchange, Farina takes the scripted line — a play on a dusty Oscar Wilde gem — and makes it utterly his own.  Watch a few of his films and his voice will take up residence in your head, too. And you’ll be glad.

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!

>>>Elsa S. Customer suggests some cinematic strategies to beat the heat!

Fargo (in Mystery/Thriller): strip down to your skivvies and sit huddled over and around a box fan on the highest speed. Pretend it’s a wood chipper and you are miraculously unharmed.

Groundhog Day (in Comedy): eat ice chips while the blender runs in the background; imagine yourself as Phil Connors executing a perfect ice sculpture.

The Shining (in Horror): Lie in a bathtub full of cold water while The Shining plays loudly outside the bathroom door. Hey, you’re that lady! YIKES.

The Thing (in Sci Fi/Fantasy): Strap ice packs to your extremities and play hide-and-seek with your partner, dog, or child. If child/partner/dog is unwilling or unavailable, just sit and wait. For as long as it takes.

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 a Mystery Science Theater 3000 marathon! With this week’s release of four new old episodes of this TV comedy show/gift to humanity, MST3k, Videoport, by my count, now has 103 episodes. You’re welcome. In case some of you don’t know what I’m talking about, MST3k involves a guy

From left: Tom Servo, Mike Nelson, Crow T. Robot. Not pictured: a deadly mantis.

From left: Tom Servo, Mike Nelson, Crow T. Robot. Not pictured: a deadly mantis.

(first Joel, then Mike) sitting in a darkened movie theater with a couple of robot pals (sure they look like puppets, but they’re robots, I tell you!). They make fun of bad movies and engage in a battle of wits with the evil scientists who stranded them all in space. It’s all a big goof, and an absolute treat for movie fans—anyone who’s ever sat stupefied in front of a crap movie and wished he/she had some equally funny and exasperated pals on hand to rip, say, Transformers 2 a new one, well, Mike, Joel, and Tom Servo and Crow T. Robot are your dream companions. Of course, they never had the budget to take on the awful blockbusters, but that makes it even more fun as they make with the jokes at the expense of some of the cheapest cinematic crud ever made. In this new set, watch in delirious, giggle-pussed joy as they crack wise over the likes of giant bug monster movie The Deadly Mantis (one of my favorites!), the “hippies get all big and demand fried chicken” opus Village Of The Giants (starring young Ron Howard and Beau Bridges!), and the not yet seen by me Rocket Attack USA and The Slime People. MST3k will make you happy. It just will.

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 Jason R. suggests Midnight Run (in Comedy). Cross country journey, check; being chased by the mob and the FBI, check; two very different individuals who begin their journey as enemies but end it as friends, check; and last, but not least, the shot of two people looking first at some

Dennis Farina, no doubt saying something hilariously vile. RIP...

Dennis Farina, no doubt saying something hilariously vile. RIP…

danger in the road ahead and then at each other, screaming all the while. These are all the clichés that define the “buddy road movie.” They have been parodied multiple times, so much so that lazy comedy writers can expect a chuckle from just the mention of “buddy road movie” or “on the run from the mob.” Clichés are clichés for a reason, however, and the fact that they have been done horribly so many times should not overshadow the fact that they are really good when done right. Midnight Run does the buddy road movie right. It has a hilariously deadpan Charles Grodin as an accountant wanted by the mob and the feds, and Robert De Niro, adding just the slightest bit of humor to his famous tough guy persona, playing the bounty hunter bringing him in. The movie has everything you would expect from its genre, car chases, shootouts, an exploding helicopter, but it really is the performances that stand out. Not just the performances from the two stars, but nearly everyone, not the least of which is Dennis Farina as the mob boss who speaks in a hilarious nonstop deluge of profanity and insults. The movie has a great sense of location and place, which is fitting from a cross-country road movie. Everything from the first class cabin of a jumbo jet to diners, cheap hotels, and casinos are filmed with such attention to how places were actually lived in that it feels like a journey. The film does not just hold up twenty-five years later, but the time passed has even improved it, given it a certain patina. This perhaps no more the case than with the films use of phones. Payphones, office phones, obligatory phone calls from police stations, this movie has so many phones in it that it now appears in retrospect to be a tribute to the landline, to its lost pleasures such as threatening to “bury it” in someone’s head. (A threat less menacing with an iphone).

>>>Dennis suggests using Videoport’s “3 movies for a week for 7 bucks” deal on Monday-Thursday to, yet again, become a film expert! Why not become Portland’s authority on Western director legend Budd Boetticher by taking home three of the gritty classics he made with co-legend Randolph Scott, like The Tall T, Seven Men From Now, and Ride Lonesome? Or explore the work of eternally kittenish actress Gloria Grahame strutting her stuff in In A Lonely Place, The Greatest Show On Earth, and The Big Heat? Or howsabout a 50s sci fi triple feature with The Day The Earth Stood Still, Earth vs. The Flying Saucers, and 20 Million Miles To Earth? Or become the first one in your group of friends to be able to talk knowledgeably about the films of idiosyncratic Italian director Nanni Moretti like The Son’s Room, We Have A Pope, and Caro Diario? You could take home three full seasons of the caustically funny BBC sitcom Black Books! You could finally see what all the fuss is about Japanese animation legend Hayao Miyazaki by taking home My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away, and Princess Mononoke! And on, and on…you’ll have a whole week to digest your newfound expertise and then come back for more. Don’t think of it is pigging out—you’re taking advantage of a great deal to discover some cinematic treasures!

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

>>>Here’s the deal—you can walk in, grab one of several thousand movies in the kids section, and take it home for free. There’s no other rental necessary. There’s no catch. You know- for kids!

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

>>>For Saturday, April suggests By Hook Or By Crook (in Feature Drama.) A neat little indie film about two petty thieves who meet and become fast friends. What I like most about it is all the things that are hinted at but never fully revealed. There’s a great scene in particular with Valentine where he speaks about his troubled past. It’s another one of those slow movies where “nothing much happens” that I really love. Look for the cameo by Joan Jett.

>>>For Sunday, Dennis suggests Out Of Sight (in Feature Drama.) Sure, Dennis Farina’s only got a couple of scenes in this truly excellent crime drama/comedy, but it’s one of my favorite Farina performances. As the ex-cop father to Jennifer Lopez’ federal marshal, Farina is present when Lopez’ sort-of boyfriend Ray Nicolette shows up. A hotshot cop with constantly chomping gum and perhaps not as many brains as he thinks he has, Ray (also played with hilarious aplomb by an uncredited Michael Keaton) faces off with Farina and gets out-faced almost imperceptibly. Asking seemingly innocent questions with a big friendly smile (except for his shark teeth and non-smiling eyes), Farina essentially unmans his daughter’s would-be paramour without ever seeming to have fired a shot at him. It’s little more than a cameo, but he (and Keaton, who plays the same character in a much bigger role in the equally-brilliant Jackie Brown) makes it stand out—a perfect little gem of a scene in a movie packed with them.

New Releases this week at Videoport: Trance (delightfully-loopy-looking thriller from director Danny Boyle [Trainspotting, Slumdog Millionaire] involves a fine art auctioneer [James McAvoy—Atonement, X Men: First Class] who gets involved with hypnotism, some high tech art thieves, and a sexy lady in order to track down a priceless painting), Twixt (did you know that Francis Ford Coppola made a new movie? And that is stars Val Kilmer as a bargain-bin horror writer who stumbles upon dark secrets in a small town? And that it’s awful and went directly to DVD? Well, now you do…), The Bitter Buddha (standup comedy pals like Sarah Silverman, Zach Galifianakis, Marc Maron, Patton Oswalt, Paul F. Tompkins and others all chime in with praise for underground standup legend Eddie Pepitone in this documentary about the best comedian you’ve never heard of), Arcadia (the always-excellent John Hawkes [Deadwood, Martha Marcy May Marlene] stars in this indie about a father taking his two daughters across the country to a supposed reunion with their mom), Graceland (gripping thriller from the Philippines about a father’s desperate rush to save hid kidnapped daughter after the negotiations go terribly wrong), The Jeffrey Dahmer Files (Americans loooove our cannibalistic serial killers, so head on over to Videoport’s documentary section for this “experimental documentary” which uses reenactments, interviews, and archival footage to uncover the details of the crimes and the investigation of the titular killer), Love And Honor (that hunky Hemsworth from The Hunger Games stars in this drama about a young soldier in Vietnam who goes AWOL in order to head back home and win back the girl who’s sent him a Dear John letter), The Silence (another chiller foreign thriller, this time from Germany, about the disappearance of a young girl from the exact same spot where a similar crime occurred 23 years before), Welcome To The Punch (our second James McAvoy thriller of the week, this sees the busy Brit facing off against tough guy Mark Strong [Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy] when the latter, an ex-con, returns to London to try and extricate his hoodlum son from a heist gone wrong. McAvoy’s the dogged cop obsessed with putting Strong away…for good this time!!), ‘Call Me Fitz’- season 1 (Jason Priestley’s the lead in this sitcom about an unscrupulous car salesman forced to team up with his annoyingly and inconveniently altruistic conscience [played by some dude] after a car accident threatens his business), ‘Scandal’- season 1 (with the excellent Kerry Washington recently nominated for an Emmy for this show’s second season, Videoport brings in season 1 where Washington plays a former White House communications director whose crisis management firm ends up having scandal-imageto deal with the same sort of sordid stuff as they have in Washington), ‘Zoom—Back To The 70s” (I watched the weird PBS kids show Zoom when I was growing up and while I can’t remember anything about it whatsoever, I do recall thinking it was weird enough to inflict on your kids…), AND…Videoport continues its years-long assault on your funny bone by bringing in four—count ‘em four—newly released episodes of the

Yeah, we don't know what this is either.

Yeah, we don’t know what this is either.

ever-hilarious Mystery Science Theater 3000! Check out Wednesday’s review of new eps: Slime People, Village Of The Giants, The Deadly Mantis, and Rocket Ship USA!

New Arrivals On Blu Ray This Week At Videoport: Trance

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…

Write for The VideoReport! The VideoReport (the thing you are reading right now) is the weekly newsletter of Videoport, the best, damned movie store left in the free world. It’s the place for the staff and customers of Videoport to share their reviews, views, and, um, shoes? screws? on their favorite, least favorite, and most reviled films and TV shows of all time. So if you want in on the action, send your reviews to us at denmn@hotmail.com, our Facebook page Videoport Jones, or just drop them off here at the store. We all love the movies, we all love to shoot our mouths off about what we love and don’t love about them, and the VideoReport is the place to bond with the rest of us film geeks and support, as I said, the best damned movie store left on the planet.

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