VideoReport #415

Volume CDXV- Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery Of Why The Rebels Didn’t Fly Straight To The Exhaust Port Instead Of Going Down That Long, Long Corridor

For the Week of 7/30/13

Videoport gives you a free movie every day. Plus, we have all the movies ever so you’ll never run out of free movies. Like, ever.

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!

>>> Videoport customer Jason R. suggests The 10th Victim (in Incredibly Strange.) What if I told you that I just watched a film set in the not too distant future about a massively televised hunt that pit humans against humans? That this film was a satire of our obsession with violence? I know, what else is new? What if I told you that this film happened to be made in 1965, beating Battle Royale, The Running Man, and Hunger Games to the punch by decades? And that is was made by the underappreciated radical Italian director Elio Petri? And that it stars Ursula Andress and Marcello Mastroianni? Now things get interesting, but there is only so much fun that can come from watching something “before its time” during its time. There is more to The 10th Victim than beating other films to the punch—than being the ultimate trump card in an argument about the derivate nature of various death match films. First of all there is its sense of style, its use of architecture, clothes, and cars to immerse its critique of pop culture in a sophisticated pop sensibility. The 10th Victim does not just look good it is also smart. It satirical point of view manages to include everything from reality TV (before it even existed) to Rome’s conservative marriage laws and new age religions. I should add that Petri is woefully maligned director. I watched this film after seeing Investigation of A Citizen Above Suspicion at the Maine International Film Festival, a film that is pretty much unavailable on DVD despite the fact that it won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 1971.

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 three of the least-probable, most-convincing fight scenes of all time. Yup, why not use that awesome “3 movies for 7 days for 7 bucks” deal to take home three great movies with really convincing fight scenes by the least likely actors you can think of. Think I’m exaggerating? Well, first stop is the Mystery/Thriller section where you can watch a sport-coated Robert Redford have a real knockdown, drag out fight with a trained assassin in Three Days Of The Condor. Playing a bookish CIA analyst fleeing for his life, Redford delivers one of his truly good performances (I’m not a fan), and also delvers some really creditable fight moves. Great movie, great fight scene. Second, head over to Videoport’s Classics section and watch the mind-bending spectacle of Frank Sinatra engaging in a no-joke martial arts fight scene with longtime character actor/not martial artist Henry Silva in The Manchurian Candidate. Now picture Frank Sinatra. Maybe crooning onstage at one of Ronald Reagan’s inauguration ceremonies or hanging out his mafia pals and making racist comments women at a casino*. then think about him knocking your socks off in one of the most exciting early martial arts movie fight scenes of all time. Sound like a probable match? Well it is. Wow. Finally,and perhaps least plausibly, there’s Bad Day At Black Rock (in the Mystery/Thriller section), where, of all people 55 year old Spencer Tracy (playing a one-armed man, no less) engages in a more than creditable judo fight(!?) against burly baddie Ernest Borgnine. Again, if someone asked you, “Who are the least likely candidates for a judo fight in cinema history?” would you be far off if you said Spencer Tracy and Ernest Borgnine? No. No you would not.

*Google him sometime—Sinatra really was a creep.

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 Dirk Gently (in British Comedy.) When Howard Overman (“Misfits,” “Merlin”) created a BBC four-episode series inspired by Douglas Adams’ two Dirk Gently novels, he gave himself license to play fast and loose — just as Dirk Gently would, in fact. Rather than retelling the events of the two novels, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency and Long Dark Teatime of the Soul, the series appropriates and recontextualized specific events, ideas, and even characters from the novels and recombines them into new hour-long arcs. It’s a bit of a jolt for a reader who’s as nerdily familiar with the books as I am (and frankly, many Douglas Adams fans are going to be nerdily, obsessively acquainted with the source material). The first half-hour had my head spinning as I sorted out the old from the new and, admittedly, squawked at the liberties the writers had taken with the interpersonal dynamics. (“BUT SHE’S HIS SISTER!”) But “Dirk Gently” manages a tricky task: it is recognizably a Douglas Adams universe, inhabited by Douglas Adams-style people and schemes, yet it is also a wholly new and engaging set of stories that left me wondering what on earth would happen next, and how everything could possibly wrap up tidily at the hour’s end. The show’s success makes me reconsider what it is we really want from adaptations after all: a fawning recitation of familiar stories, or a wild reimagining that captures the voice and spirit of the original while presenting a whole new work?

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 using the “3 movies for a week for 7 bucks” special to make yourself Videoport’s expert in esoteric movie knowledge! Howsabout making your brain hurt (but in a good way) by checking out three meditative mindbenders from master Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky: I’d suggests The Sacrifice, Stalker, and Solaris. Or why not get deep into classic 1030s gangster cinema with White Heat, Scarface (the good one, not the garishly-overrated Pacino remake), and The Public Enemy. Or wow everyone at your next night out (I swear, they’ll be wowed) with your knowledge of filthy, disreputable biker movies like Hell’s Angels On Wheels, Run Angel Run, and the double feature DVD of The Mini Skirt Mob and Chrome And Hot Leather. Or head to the Criterion Collection section and take home the box set called The Golden Age Of Television, 3 DVDs of classic TV drama featuring the likes of Paul Newman, Jack Palance, Mickey Rooney, Cliff Robertson, Piper Laurie, Julie Harris, and Rod Steiger. Or take home Italian horror maestro Dario Argento’s Suspiria, Inferno, and The Mother Of Tears. (I don’t care for them, but many do, so who am I to argue…) Or why not splurge on a trio of films sure to make you laugh, cringe, and re-examine your views of what’s not remotely okay from legendarily-controversial Italian director Lina Wertmüller like Seven Beauties, The Seduction Of Mimi, and Swept Away. I could go on, but I suggest you follow your own curiosity. Videoport’s got everything you could ever want to see, and we make it more than affordable to indulge yourself.

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

>>>Emily S. Customer says It’s time to play Guess the Disney Movie! A bright and diligent natural scholar, you dote upon your inventive if absent-minded father. Thus, when Dad consigns you to life with a belligerent brute to get himself out of a scrape, you dutifully submit. Just as you and your captor are reaching detente, your creepy stalker leads a mob to assault him, pushing a tense situation into a deadly one.

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

>>>For Saturday, Dennis suggests Moneyball (in Feature Drama.) I’m with the lovely Ms. S. Customer in her stance about adaptations. sure, she was talking about fiction, but I think her point is well-taken when dealing with “true stories” as well. There’s nothing more pedantic, less cinematic, and more all-around dullsville than a movie which approaches its subject with undue reverence. Apart from outright hagiography, which flattens out the story and leaves the protagonist a too-noble cipher (sadly, the recent 42 does this to Jackie Robinson), to the outright hagiographic lie-fests, which omit or elide anything that might get in the way of the film’s mission of making its protagonist more squeaky clean than he was (The Hurricane wasn’t a very good boxer and probably killed those people), dumber than he was (The Blind Side’s Michael Oher was already a very good football player and didn’t need sassy Southern white lady Sandra Bullock to teach him what a football looked like), or much less of a prick than he was (A Beautiful Mind’s John Nash was just a prick), the task of making an entertaining and principled biographical film of a real person is a very delicate business. And as I was rereading Michael Lewis’ stunning baseball book Moneyball recently, I was struck by how brilliantly screenwriters Steve Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin adapted that seemingly uncinematic nonfiction book for the big screen. A historical analysis of the shifting views on baseball statistics and the one major league general manager (the Oakland A’s Billy Beane) who chose to build a team around an unorthodox way of evaluating baseball talent doesn’t seem the stuff of great movies. But it most certainly is, even as it rejiggers a few things (Jonah Hill’s character is an amalgam of a few other baseball execs, the dramatic through-line of Brad Pitt’s Beane seems a bit too pat). This is a great baseball movie, a great literary adaptation, and just a great movie all around.

>>>For Sunday, Emily S. Customer suggests Sex And The City (in Feature Drama). Sigh. So, I have a confession to make. Here goes: I’ve been watching “Sex and the City” … for the first time. I’m not even sure which part I’m embarrassed by: that I’m watching a show generally decried (often by those who disdain it too much to watch much of it) as frivolous or vapid or even anti-feminist, or that I’m so late to it. I’m only a half-dozen episodes into it, and I’m reserving judgment until I watch a few seasons, so this is less a review than a series of question. Am I supposed to like Carrie, or is she an anti-hero? Am I supposed to be charmed by Big? ‘Cause so far, he seems like a manipulative gaslighter. And HEY did you catch those bit roles? AMAZING. In just these few episodes, I’ve spotted H. Jon Benjamin, Timothy Oliphant, Justin Theroux, Todd Barry… and it’s only as I’m typing this up that I notice the male extras and bits are far more interesting than the female. Huh. That is… not super-encouraging. But it’s early days yet, so I am in this for a while longer. Care to join me?

New Releases this week at Videoport: G.I. Joe: Retaliation (Channing Tatum and Bruce Willis are back battling those baddies from COBRA and this time they’ve brought Dwayne [“don’t call me The Rock anymore or I will suplex you”] Johnson! COBRA says, “No fair!”), Banshee- season 1 (this Cinemax original series from Alan Ball [creator of True Blood] is about an ex-con who, improbably, becomes sheriff of the titular Amish-area town and becomes embroiled in the town’s equally-improbable web of corruption, gangsters, lies, sex, and all manner of spooky whatnot), Starbuck (the highest-grossing Canadian comedy in forever about a forty-ish slacker who discovers that the hundreds of kids he half-created on a years-long sperm donation moneymaking binge are suing to find out who their daddy is), Kiss Of The Damned (Xan Cassavetes, daughter of John Cassavetes and Gena Rowlands, directed this artsy Euro-sleazy throwback vampire flick), Ginger and Rosa (ever-interesting director Sally Potter [Yes, Orlando, The Tango Lesson] brings us her new movie about two teenage girls in 1960s London whose relationship amidst the tumult of the Cuban Missile Crisis is put to the test), Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (the DC Universe animated movie series continues with this alternate universe adventure; when speedster The Flash accidentally ends up in a darker, more violent version of his world, he seeks out some very different versions of the Justice League in order to get back home)

New Arrivals at Videoport this week: TMNT- season 3 (those kooky, kicky turtles, kicking the bad guys until everything turns out okay), Ace Ventura- The Animated Series (yes, there was an animated Ace Ventura series! Jim Carrey does not participate! Enjoy!), The Bling Ring (don’t get too excited…while this Lifetime movie is based on the same true story of disaffected jerks ripping off rich jerks, it is not the theatrical film directed by Sofia Coppola—that comes out this fall sometime; but it stars Jennifer Grey! That’s…something…), Nick Of Time (Johnny Depp starred in this 1995 thriller about a regular Joe blackmailed into carrying out a political assassination by super-baddie Christopher Walken; the gimmick—all filmed in real time! The movie cheats, but still…), and Videoport brings you some of those American Girl Doll movies! Yeah! Treat your kids to the likes of: American Girl—Samantha, American Girl—Molly On The Home Front, American Girl—Kit Kittredge, and American Girl—Felicity.

New Arrivals On Blu Ray This Week At Videoport: GI Joe: Retaliation

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, 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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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Guess The Disney Movie! is a long-standing game ’round these parts, but I have to give credit for its resurgence to The Hairpin’s recent column.

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