VideoReport #424

Volume CDXXIV- Sherlock Holmes And The Mystery Of Who Still Doesn’t Know Not To Touch The Shiny Side Of A DVD

For the Week of 10/1/13

Videoport gives you a free movie every, single day. That is a truth-fact.

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 Martyrs (in Horror). This one came with a lot of hype that, frankly, it didn’t live up to. Sure, it’s bloody, brutal, and plenty icky, but, like The Cabin in the Woods, it’s ultimately too conceptual to be scary. I got excited when, in the “Introduction from the Director” feature before the movie, Pascal Laugier claimed that he doesn’t particularly like himself for having made this film. That sounded to me like something Lars von Trier might say, which geared me up for an upsetting, or at least unsettling, movie experience. You gotta love a self-loathing artist, right? Martyrs is about two young women, Lucie and Anna, who team up to violently avenge Lucie’s childhood physical abuse, while also escaping some kind of undead demon lady. The story goes to some surprising and, like I mentioned before, too-conceptual-to-be-scary places from there. And I would never spoil the fun, even though it means there is much I can’t discuss in this review. By the end, I can honestly say I admired Martyrs for its ambition, but I’d rather a horror film’s primary ambition is to scare the hell out of me. Nice try, France.

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 some bare-fisted viewing action with the films of action master Walter Hill. Hill has been cantankerously cranking out energetic, exciting, brutal, and just all-around fun action flicks for almost 40 years now. Some are great (those’ll be in bold), but even the lesser ones reveal that most modern “action directors” don’t know how to frame a fight scene any more. Hill, as boneheaded as some of his movies are, is one of the best action directors ever. Most modern action flicks are flabby, slack, lazy slogs of GCI and mumbly lugs—when somebody gets pounded in the face in a Walter Hill film, you can feel it through the screen. Check these out.

The Warriors (1979)

The Long Riders (1980)

Southern Comfort (1981)

48 Hours (1982)

Brewster’s Millions (1985)

Crossroads (1986)

Extreme Prejudice (1987)

Red Heat (1988)

Johnny Handsome (1989)

Another 48 Hours (1990)

Trespass (1992)

Geronimo: An American Legend (1993)

Wild Bill (1995)

Last Man Standing (1996)

Supernova (2000)

Deadwood- Pilot Episode (2004)

Broken Trail (2006)

Bullet To The Head (2012)

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! >>>Videoport customer Deb T. suggests Five Teen Shows that “Grown-ups” Can Enjoy Too. Feeling sad that you’re not part of the homecoming dances and Friday night football games anymore? Don’t despair. Here are the top five teen shows that people on the north side of 35 can enjoy as well. From best to worst.

1) Freaks and Geeks. (best show ever) Check out all the actors you like before you knew who they were. But more than that, the characters in this show are the people you were, the people you wanted to be, the people you were in love with, and the people you ignored in high school. Add a little Dungeons and Dragons, Grateful Dead, Monty Python, disco, mascot antics, and (my personal nightmare) personalized singing to a loved one, and if you don’t find something to relate to, you’re a robot.

2) Friday Night Lights. Before Landry became Todd and the cool wheelchair guy became nazi Kenny, they were, well, Landry and the cool wheelchair guy. I had many friends recommend this show to me but I refused because I knew the premise – southern football town obsessed about football with a new coach who had to win. But then I watched it and fell in love. All of the characters are great – adults and kids. The storylines touch on themes beyond football – including a lot about parenting. As a mother, I especially connected with Tami – who became my mothering-idol – even at her weakest. Watch it, enjoy, and don’t sweat the weird second season – just get through it and it gets good again.

3) The OC. I started watching this show simply because watching The West Wing depressed me – seeing as instead of President Bartlett, we were stuck with W. The OC seemed like the perfect escape – and it was. Rich kids dealing with a non-stop parade of problems. Yes, like 90210, but a little more developed, a little self-aware, and even funny – thank you Seth Cohen. The adults have slightly bigger roles than in other teen shows, which is always interesting. And, in classic teen show fashion, the OC had a featured club where plenty of guest bands had their opportunity to show off their stuff to the young audience – including The Silversun Pickups, Death Cab for Cutie, and (incredibly) Modest Mouse.

4) Vampire Diaries – While I’m a sucker for teen shows and vampires, I did hate Twilight – which, even while stuck on a plane, I couldn’t force myself to watch in entirety. But Vampire Diaries has some redeeming qualities which has kept it on my list (other than the Salvatore brothers’ abs) Yes, it’s a teen show, but there are some interesting backstories to this show that have fun flashbacks to older days. There is a lot of legend to these vampires that unrolls slowly throughout the seasons. There are some genuinely scary parts to some of the shows. And, it’s more than just vampires – there are witches, werewolves, ghosts, dopplegangers, hybrids, and Elena’s hair – all of which are gorgeous.

5) Gossip Girl – We’re getting to the bottom of the barrel here, but there are some redeeming qualities of Gossip Girl – the clothes are always interesting, the sometimes funny remarks by Chace Crawford’s Nate, and the gap in Ed Westwick’s teeth.

Honorable mention – Bring It On. I know this is not a show, but it is worth a mention simply because every time it’s on TV, my husband and/or I feel compelled to watch it. I urge some great Videoport customer to rent it and write a review about it and why, despite not being particularly funny or interesting, it has the power to make me watch it at least 30 times.

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 that anyone can surprise you. Sometimes someone does something so different from what you ever expected that it’s like your entire worldview changes. Just a tiny bit, but still. Not buying what I’m selling? Okay, well, take Rob Lowe, for example. There was a time, (precisely defined as ever waking minute until The West Wing debuted in 1999) when the guy was a punch line. And deservedly so—the epitome of the bland, smug, talentless prettyboy (I dare you to rent St. Elmo’s Fire and get through it without googling Lowe’s home address and mailing him a box of dog poop). But then he was cast as White House aide Sam Seaborn and embodied one of the best characters on one of the best TV series in recent memory, and everyone had to re-evaluate everything they thought they knew about what was possible. I mean, if Rob Lowe could be a good actor all of a sudden, then what’s next? (And, despite him still appearing in a lot of made-for-TV movie nonsense [like Drew Peterson:Untouchable—in Videoport’s Mystery/Thriller section!] , he’s still a good actor. Just check out his other great TV creation, uber-chipper government bureaucrat Chris Traeger on Parks & Recreation.) It’s like when Dan Harmon resurrected Chevy Chase’s career by casting him in the plum role of Pierce Hawthorne on the brilliant comedy Community. After decades of insufferable mugging, Chase was suddenly receiving critical plaudits and actual viewer love again (and deserving them—I think he should have been nominated for an Emmy for the “Dungeons and Dragons” episode. Seriously.) Of course, Chevy went Chevy and burned every bridge the show had built for him, but it was still eye-opening while it lasted. And my pick for the most recent example—Claire Danes in Homeland (in Mystery/Thriller.) While she wasn’t a laughingstock like Lowe or Chase before landing the role of troubled, obsessed CIA agent Carrie Mathison, she was certainly bland and forgettable. But on Homeland, she’s simply riveting. See—anyone can turn things around. It’s almost enough to give you hope.

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

>>>It’s a free movie. Get it for a kid, get it for yourself—nobody here’s gonna judge…

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

>>>For Saturday, Dennis suggests some of the recent acquisitions to Videoport! You guys know we get all the newest, latest movies here at Videoport because we’re so awesome and want you to be happy. But did you know we also buy cool older stuff! Well it’s true! (I’ll cool it with the exclamation points now, I swear.) Anyway, check the top shelf of the “Employee Picks” shelf in the middle aisle—that’s where we put the older stuff we’ve just bought for the store for a while before they find their homes in their regular sections in the big, wide world. What are these new/old movies you ask? Well, sometimes they’re things that had never been on DVD until now. And sometimes they’re just things we finally got around to buying—we can’t have everything, gang, but we’re trying. Current residents on the new arrivals shelf: The Electric Horseman (Robert Redford, Jane Fonda, and Willie Nelson in this 1979 dramedy about a drunken rodeo cowboy who kidnaps a prize racehorse when he finds that the animal’s being abused), Babette’s Feast (Oscar-winning Danish film about a poor servant who puts on a mysteriously-sumptuous banquet; from the Criterion Collection), Crusoe (Aiden Quinn in a visually striking, minimalist adaptation of the Robinson Crusoe story), Private Benjamin (Goldie Hawn’s best comedy about a spoiled lady who ill-advisedly joins the army after her husband dies on their wedding night), A Town Like Alice (1956 war drama about a woman remembering the hunky Aussie who assisted her when she was a POW in Malaya), Gate Of Hell (also from the Criterion Collection, visually sumptuous Japanese film about a brutal samurai obsessed with the married woman he saves during a rebellion), Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (Cary Grant vehicle from 1948 about a guy whose plans to design his, well, dream house, run into comical obstacles), Of Human Bondage (early Bette Davis starring role where she plays the trampy, mean waitress bedeviling Leslie Howard in this adaptation of the W. Somerset Maugham novel), Private Resort (do you wanna see young Johnny Depp in a 1985 sex comedy? Sure you do!), The Hole (director Joe Dante [Gremlins] made this horror flick about two brothers who discover an evil, fear-inducing pit in their backyard), Solarbabies (Videoport customer Josh donated this frankly awful 1980s sci fi anti-classic to us—it’s got Jami Gertz and Jason Patric rollerblading to save the world from post-apocalyptic tyrants!) You guys get the idea. And if there are other older movies you want us to get, write ‘em down in the purple request book. It’s by the computer. Plus, if you look back through the pages, you’ll see all the other Videoport customer wishes we’ve fulfilled! We love you!

>>>Dennis suggests a comedy end of the world triple feature! With this week’s This Is The End, that brings to three the number of oddball comic movies about the actual end of it all. So why not take ‘em all home and laugh yourself queasy! Apart from This Is The End, look in the Incredibly Strange section for Rapture-Palooza, where those left behind after the biblical Rapture (including nice couple Anna Kendrick and John Francis Daley) struggle to cope with all the plagues, fireballs, and, oh yeah, the Antichrist himself, played with signature comic charisma by Craig Robinson. (Hey, Mr. Robinson’s in two of these end of the world movies this year—weird.) Third, head to the Comedy section for It’s A Disaster, where a group of polite suburbanites (including the great David Cross) gather for a leisurely Sunday brunch, only to see their plans tripped up by gathering signs that the end is seriously nigh.

>>>For Sunday, Emily S. Customer reveals where you saw that actress before! It’s in 30 Rock (in Comedy). Are you watching the new season of How I Met Your Mother and trying to place the newly introduced Mother? The VideoReport is here to help! That cutie-pie is Cristin Milioti, whom you might remember from her guest appearance on 30 Rock. In “TGS Hates Women” (S5, ep16), Liz responds to accusations of sexism by hiring a new writer Abby Flynn to give the show a fresh feminist voice… but the writer who shows up simpers and smirks her way around the writers’ room, sitting on the guys’ laps and perfecting her “very sexy baby” voice.

New Releases this week at Videoport: This Is The End (Seth Rogen, Craig Robinson, James Franco, Jay Baruchel, Michael Cera, Jonah Hill, and the rest of that whole crew play themselves in this hilariously rude comedy where their hedonistic Hollywood party is interrupted when the apocalypse breaks out), The Croods (animated comedy about the last surviving prehistoric family dealing with the end of their way of life and the coming of that pretty new species homo sapiens; featuring the voices of Nicholas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, and Catherine Keener), The Frozen Ground (John Cusack and Nicholas Cage latch their fading careers together in this serial killer thriller about real-life creep Robert Hansen who brought young women to his remote Alaskan cabin to hunt them for sport; Cage bundles up as the state trooper out to take him down), New Girl- season 2 (Zooey Deschanel and a trio of really funny guys return in one of the best new sitcoms out there), How I Met Your Mother- season 8 (no, he has still not met that damned mother yet…), Glee- season 4 (they are still singing, and still rather peppy about it…)

Get free money at Videoport!

Look, we know you love us. And you’re gonna keep spending your hard-earned rental dollars here (and not on some scratched DVDs plunked out from a plastic vending machine in a scabby 7-11 parking lot), so why not get yourself some free money. Yup- prepay $20 on your Videoport account, and we give you $25 worth of rental credit. And if you prepay $30, we give you $40 worth of rental credit. That’s just free money you’re leaving on the table, people.

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