VideoReport #422

Volume CDXXII- Sherlock Holmes And The Mystery Of How Spoiling The Ending Of Movies Is Not A Federal Crime

For the Week of 9/17/13

Videoport gives you a free movie every day. Plus we have the best selection anywhere, are locally-owned and independent, and have great prices and special deals galore. Those are reasons to rent at Videoport and not some crappy internet company or ridiculous vending machine. In case you were wondering.

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 using the Monday-Thursday 3 movies for a week for 7 bucks special to catch up on some great genre TV. This special is great for binge-watching TV, you guys know that, right? Well it is. Anyway, you could rent ¾ of the greatest, most-unfairly cancelled sci fi series of all time, Firefly. Seriously, people—you owe it to yourselves. You could get your British murder mystery on, with any of the approximately 1,000 BBC shows about Brits killing each other. (The most popular of which include Midsomer Murders, Foyle’s War, Prime Suspect, Wallander, Injustice, Cracker, Luther, Poirot, Inspector Morse, Inspector Lynley, Endeavor, The Vice, Rosemary & Thyme, and all the hundreds of others. Seriously, what is it with British people and murder?) Or head to the Incredibly Strange Section and check out the creepy Depression-era chills of Carnivale. Or grab some amazing animated comedy like Home Movies, Archer, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, SeaLab 2021, Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist, or the good ol’ Simpsons. You’ve got a week to enjoy them…and then come back and plow through some more.

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!

>>>Emily S. Customer suggests The Big Sleep (in Mystery/Thriller, but it’s a Classic, so we’ll count it for the Tuesday special, ‘cause we’re nice.) Hey, y’all, it’s Lauren Bacall’s birthday this week. I suggest you celebrate by renting The Big Sleep and watching that scene where she sings “And Her Tears Flowed Like Wine” about a hundred times.

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 says Hey, it’s Peter Falk’s birthday week, too! To celebrate, let’s all watch The Princess Bride one more time (and then one more after that, and then maybe once more just to be sure) and admire how a seemingly unadaptable book, William Goldman’s The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern’s Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure, was re-written and reframed for the scene without sacrificing the novel’s charming awareness of its own ongoing elision and revision. Replacing Goldman’s own (fictionalized) editorial comments on a (fictionalized) satirist’s overwritten and unnecessarily detailed fairy tale turned trenchant social comments, the film instead gives us a rumpled old Grampa (Peter Falk) arriving with a leather-bound book to read to his sick grandson (Fred Savage) — who is not too sick to resist what he expects to be a boring old story, and probably full of kissing, too.

>>>And as long as we’re all doing our best Columbo impressions, just one more thing, folks. Wim Wenders’ Wings of Desire, which explores the city of Berlin through the travels of two angels who move about, seen only by children as they eavesdrop on the bustle of mortal affairs — and by a visiting American actor (Peter Falk) who has taken a break from his busy career as a beloved television detective to make a film on location in Berlin. It’s a dreamy, beautiful film imbued with a yearning that’s hard to articulate and impossible to resist.

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!

>>> Emily S. Customer suggests more Lauren Bacall! Check her out in “The Sopranos” episode Luxury Lounge (S6 ep7), where she makes a cameo during Christopher’s expensive and increasingly frustrating trip to Hollywood, where he hopes to recruit Sir Ben Kingsley for his hacky horror project, Cleaver. Strung out on cocaine and exasperation with the lavish movie glamour just out of his reach, Christopher decides to seize a bit of expensive elegance by grabbing a goodie basket from an unsuspecting star after an awards ceremony. But even a numbskull like Chris-tu-fuh (as he is known chez nous) should know that Lauren Bacall is a tough dame, and she gives the young thug a pretty good tussle for a broad her age — or any age. Chris-tu-fuh, you might not be cut out for rigors of mob life, honey.

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

>>>Emily S. Customer suggests The Great Muppet Caper. Well, looks like this case is just about wrapped up, but just one thing bothers me, sir. Yessssss, just one little detail. […] Oh, it’s nothing, really. Hardly worth bothering you with, and I’m sorry to disturb you so late. It’s just that I was wondering, sir, if you happened to notice the fellow in the rumpled raincoat and battered fedora. […] Well, he was right over there on that park bench next to a frog, telling the frog about his own life story. And I couldn’t help but notice he got some details wrong. That’s a funny thing, isn’t it, sir? And you didn’t mention it. And that made me think that maybe there were some other details you were hiding. Sir.

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

>>>For Saturday, Dennis suggests Space 1999 (in Sci Fi/Fantasy). Okay, first of all, let’s just get it out of the

The Eagle.

The Eagle.

way—yes, the premise of this show, and the attendant science, makes no sense at all. Happy? It’s still a good example of thoughtful, quintessentially-70s science fiction with a lot to recommend it. Fine—you wanna hash out the lame stuff first. Yes, the idea that a nuclear/magnetic/whatever explosion would not send earth’s only moon hurtling wildly through space—it would instead either do nothing or just blow the thing up. And yes, Mr. Science, even if the moon were to be sent hurtling off into space, it wouldn’t be going fast enough to whiz by another mysterious, uncharted planet every episode. Happy now, spoilsport? Anyway, that’s what does happen in the first episode of the show—explosion, moon goes bye bye, the 300 or so crew members of Moonbase Alpha go with it, hurtling through the cosmos. Just deal with it. Because then you’ll see some good stuff, with ever-cool Martin Landau as Moonbase Commander John Koenig making the tough decisions as he and his crew face hostile aliens, mysterious ailments, ever-present isolation, and general space weirdness as they whip around the universe. And while the show is a little talky, well, that’s what I like about it—while Star Trek could get all think-y and philosophical from time to time, you always knew there’d be a space battle or a green chick for Kirk to sleep with. On Space 1999, the whole enterprise (see what I did there?) is awash in a sort of cold, dour, scientific environment, and the singular nature of their predicament hangs over everything like a cloud of icy doom. (Sounds fun, right?) For all that, while there are undoubtedly the occasional beastie to be battled, the show spends as much imagination on the idea of being alone in the universe and encountering

Jumpsuits. From the future!

Jumpsuits. From the future!

things in a spirit of desperation. The show devotes itself to what Battlestar Galactica should have spent more time doing—exploring the real challenges and fears of a very limited, isolated population in a cold, cold universe where there is simply no help coming. That being said, there’s also an undeniable camp value—not in the approach, which remains steadfastly serious throughout—but in the fashions (groovy jumpsuits!) and the air of complete self-seriousness. Landau is ramrod-straight, real-life wife/co-star Barbara Bain looks like she’d crack in half if she ever smiled, and there’s precious little in the way of comic relief. But, as a relic of its time, you could do much worse—for one thing, as a lad (I may not be young) it was fascinating and gratifying that Moonbase Alpha was filled with people from all over the world. There were Aussies (the super cool Nick Tate as hotshot pilot Alan), Brits (The Fugitive’s Barry Morse giving all his science gobbledygook a little twinkle), and ever—gasp!—Asians and black people! The 1970s version of the 1990s was ahead of its time, is what I’m sayin’. And I still think that the show’s technology looks great—functional and recognizably NASA-like, tweaked just enough to make the ten year old me desperately want every toy replica they made. I had the cool staplegun-looking phaser gun but could never get my hands on and Eagle, one of the best-designed sci fi vehicles of all time. With their pod-shaped pilot cabin (an escape pod in emergency!) attached to its boxy, functional body, and equipped with those cool, footed landing feet that Alien made popular three years later(!!!), the Eagle is a triumph of form and function. And I still want one. A couple of added assets (and then I’ll shut up): 1. The show did that thing where, in the opening credits, it says “This episode” and then shows a masterfully-edited montage showing tantalizing hints of the cool space stuff you’re about to see. Why do no shows do that anymore? Who would ever turn off a show after seeing something like that? (Mission Impossible did it too—also starring Landau and Bain, oddly enough.) And 2. That montage business wouldn’t work as well without…wait for it…the greatest TV theme song of all time! Yeah, I said it. Just rent it and see—good show, worth a rental for the theme song alone.

>>>For Sunday, Emily S. Customer suggests Howard’s End and Remains Of The Day (both in Feature Drama). Costume drama double-feature! Emma Thompson double-feature! Anthony Hopkins double-feature! Merchant-Ivory-Jhabvala double-feature! Stiff-upper-lip double-feature! Introspective understated class-based drama double-feature! Take your pick, really.

New Releases this week at Videoport: World War Z (Brad Pitt stars in this big budget zombie flick about war…with zombies! I’ve heard it’s fine [if you can deal with the dimwittery that are fast zombies] but you should also read the book it’s [barely] based on by Max Brooks—that thing will blow your mind…), Behind The Candelabra (Michael Douglas and Matt Damon do great work in this necessarily over-the-top biopic of flamboyant pianist Liberace and his years-long relationship with his chauffeur/ward/lover Scott Thorsen; directed splendidly by Steven Soderbergh and featuring Rob Lowe as the most mesmerizingly odd creature you’ve ever seen), The Mentalist- season 5 (blandsome Simon Baker is back, solving crimes…with the power of his mind!), The Hollow Crown (Jeremy Irons and Tom Hiddleston stars in this multipart adaptation of the four Shakespeare plays chronicling the reigns of Richard II, Henry IV, and Henry V; Shakespeare!!!), Arrow- season 1 (that guy with the abs stars in this surprisingly entertaining superhero series about DC comics favorite playboy archer Oliver Queen), The Bling Ring (director Sofia Coppola [Somewhere, Lost In Translation] brings us this fact-based tale of disaffected LA youths who use that pesky internet to track the whereabouts of their favorite celebrities—and then ransack their

The abs of justice.

The abs of justice.

homes while they’re away), The East (from the people who brought you last year’s unsettling The Sound Of My Voice comes another tale of outsiders attempting to infiltrate a creepy organization; this time it’s Another Earth’s Brit Marling trying to find out the secrets of a powerful anarchist hacker group targeting major corporations), Simon Killer (saucy thriller about a heartbroken American college grad whose plans to help a Parisian hooker blackmail one of her clients shockingly does not go according to plan), Injustice- season 1 (new British thriller series from the creators of Foyle’s War sees James Purefoy as a successful barrister with some dark secrets), Chasing Ice (beautiful, harrowing documentary about the director’s travels capturing footage of the melting-est ice shelves on our poles: Hey—howsabout shutting off some lights once in a while, by the way…), Greetings From Tim Buckley (indie mini-biopic about the late, beloved singer/songwriter Jeff Buckley on the eve of a tribute concert for his father Tim), Grimm- season 2 (more of that series where fairy tales are real and fairy tale cops have to track them down), Shanghai Calling (indie comedy about a hot shot Chinese-American lawyer dealing with the culture shock when he gets transferred to the motherland), Suddenly (Ray Liotta and Dominic Purcell star in this action thriller about an alcoholic cop who has to thwart a presidential assassination), The We And The I (this is the indie drama you should rent this week: directed by Michel Gondry [Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, The Science Of Sleep] this follows a group of Bronx high schoolers on a real time bus ride; seriously—this is the one you want), Java Heat (an American agent [that sexy dummy from Twilight] gets wrapped up in an Indonesian coup…with Mickey Rourke!), The Last Tycoon (for anyone who’s into cool stuff, all I have to say is NEW CHOW YUN-FAT MOVIE; if you need more convincing, it’s got the man playing a real life Hong Kong crime lord), Bates Motel- season 1 (Vera Farmiga stars alongside a squirrely little guy in this Psycho prequel series explaining just how Norman got so messed up and how the Bates Motel lost all those stars in the AAA guide), Bless Me Ultima (from perpetually underrated director Carl Franklin [One False Move, Devil In A Blue Dress] comes this WWII drama about a young boy’s friendship with an elderly medicine woman), Frontline: Two American Families (hey, you know how rich people steal all our money and the rest of us work our asses off and can’t afford to live and have necessary medical treatment? Well, so does this documentary.)

New Arrivals this week at Videoport: The Hole (most recent horror flick from the ever-cool Joe Dante [Gremlins, Piranha, Innerspace] features some suburban kids who discover the titular hole in their new house, and unleash everyone’s nightmares)

New Arrivals on Blu Ray this week at Videoport: The Great Gatsby, World War Z, Behind The Candelabra.

Get some free money at Videoport! $20 buys you $25 worth of rental credit and $30 buys you $40. That’s either 5 or 10 free bucks which you would spend at Videoport anyway. I genuinely cannot see any reason why you shouldn’t do this…


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