Volume CDXXV- Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Person Who Was Murdered for Touching the Shiny Side of a Rental DVD and Then No One Came to His Funeral
For the Week of 10/8/13
Videoport gives you a free movies every day. Who thinks that’s a bad thing? No one, that’s who…
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 Heat (in Mystery/Thriller.) While it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly when Robert DeNiro stopped trying and/or being good at acting, but it was definitely after 1995. That’s when he starred alongside Al Pacino for the only time ever (nope—Righteous Kill never happened. It…just…didn’t.) In director Michael Mann’s superlative cops vs. robbers epic, DeNiro is icy cool and no-nonsense formidable as a career robber leading an equally-professional gang, with Pacino’s similarly brilliant and obsessed LA supercop on his trail. At nearly three hours, the film never flags for a second, keeping the action realistic and all the more exciting because of it. It’s like Mann took every element they usually leave out in favor of more dumb car chases and put them all back in expertly—while leaving plenty of time for car chases and shootouts. It’s essentially the perfect cop thriller—if the genre had been shut down right after this movie, I think we might all have been better for it. Moody, visually sumptuous, crisply directed, and filled to the tippy-top with stellar character actors like Val Kilmer (in one of his last good roles), Dennis Haysbert, Danny Trejo, Tom Sizemore, Wes Studi, Hank Azaria, Jon Voight, Mykelti Williamson, Ted Levine, Tom Noonan, William Fichtner, and on and on. Virtuoso extended shoot out sequence. Just about perfect. And again, Righteous Kill never happened.
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!
>>>Videoport customer Frank suggests Barry Lyndon (in Drama, but we’ll count it as Classics if you make a big stink about it). This film, Kubrick’s 13th, was made as the director’s taste pendulum swung into the past from the dystopian future of A Clockwork Orange.. Set in 18th century Ireland & England, It follows the life of Redmond Barry (Ryan O’Neal) as he attempts to claw his way into polite English society. There is no equal in it’s panorama, technical proficiency, color palate, costumes or sets. Kubrick, along with his brilliant cinematographer John Alcott, used lenses they procured from the Apollo program which had an f-stop of .6, enabling them to shoot the film’s indoor scenes with only window and candlelight, hence the shallow depth of field in many of these scenes. This use of natural light brings the past setting to life authentically, albeit cold as far as color temperature. One truly gets the sense of being there in the room with this lighting effect, and combined with the period costumes, drawing rooms, and dialogue, this film is much like a series of fine art photographs. The acting is excellent throughout, especially the brilliantly delivered drawing room statement by Lord Bullingdon (Leon Vitali) and subsequent brawl. Horses, pistol duels at 50 paces, Redcoat armies, pomp & circumstance are all part of a giant tableau in this fairly long film. Commercially, this film was not very successful, but it is a gem, and should be watched on the largest TV possible, while wearing an itchy wig.
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 paying tribute to a recently deceased French director. Patrice Chereau wasn’t especially well-known, but the director, who died on Tuesday directed some solid dramas over the years. So head to Videoport’s Foreign film section and check out his Those Who Love Me Can Take The Train, Queen Margot, and Gabrielle, and the hop over to the Drama section for his one English language film, the intense erotic drama Intimacy.
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 celebrating the release of Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing with his picks for the best Shakespeare adaptations! (In the Shakespeare shelf we’ve got goin’ in the middle aisle.) First—just rent Much Ado About Nothing. Joss Whedon is a hero to nerds everywhere—all kinds of nerds. Sci Fi nerds, horror nerds, comic book nerds, musical nerds, and now Shakespeare nerds. He is our God. Anyway, Whedon (creator of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, Dollhouse, Cabin In The Woods, and now Agents of SHIELD), while prepping the multi-million dollar tentpole superhero movie The Avengers, Whedon gathered some of the best actor pals from his TV series and movies and shot this microbudgeted adaptation of Much Ado in and around his house, over a few weeks. And, because he’s Joss, he got it released in theaters where it actually made a little money and got great reviews. So why not pair it up with some of the other best Shakepeare adaptation and so forth I’ve ever seen. 1. Much Ado About Nothing. Hey, wait…No this is the film version directed by and starring Kenneth Branagh alongside the luminous Emma Thomson. Playing Beatrice and Benedick, the two are simply perfect as the ever-bickering, destined to be together lovers, and the rest of the cast (Denzel Washington, Richard Briers, Brian Blessed) are great, too. Add in some gloriously gorgeous scenery (it was filmed in a sun-drenched Tuscany), and Branagh’s typically insightful and energetic interpretation, and this one’s a delight. 2. Slings and Arrows. Not a Shakespearean adaptation per se, this Canadian series is about the turbulently comic on-and-offstage doings at a prestigious Shakespeare festival is one of the nest shows I’ve ever seen. It’s as smart (and funny) about Shakespeare as anything I’ve ever seen as well. 3. Hamlet. Branagh again. The only full-length, uncut theatrical film version of the play, it clocks in at over four hours. And I’ve watched it in its entirety more than a dozen times. Nuff said. 4. King Lear. Legendary Laurence Olivier starred in this TV version of the play when he was 75 years old, lending the adaptation an almost heartbreaking pathos. Plus, Diana Rigg’s in there, too. 5. Ran. King Lear time again, this time in the hands of Japanese master director Akira Kurosawa who re-imagines Shakespeare’s tragedy as an epic samurai drama, with an aging feudal lord unwisely dividing his kingdom among his sons. Visually stunning and thrilling. 6. Throne Of Blood. Kurosawa again, this time lending his unmatched moviemaking skills to a samurai version of MacBeth, with the peerlessly charismatic Toshiro Mifune as the minor nobleman urged on to murder both by his ambitious wife and a very disturbing witch. Watch for Mifune’s final stand against what seems like a thousand archers. 7. Henry V. Branagh one more time. His feature directing debut saw the then 28 year old Branagh announce his presence as the premiere Shakespearean interpreter and actor of his generation. Deconstructing this notoriously difficult history play as a jaded referendum on gung-ho, jingoistic nationalism and militarism, Branagh the director and actor is simply masterful. Try to listen to his rendition of the famous St. Crispin’s Day speech and try not to invade France on a flimsy pretext!
Free Kids Friday! One free rental from the Kids section, no other rental necessary!
>>>Hey, here’s an idea! Why not let your kids play around with your wedding china! What? You say that kids lack both the judgement and motor skills to handle something so delicate and precious? Hmm. Good point. Now let’s see if you can extend that logic to our DVDs…
Having a Wild Weekend! Rent two movies, and get a third one for free from any section!
>>>For Saturday, Emily S. Customer suggests a broke double feature (in Drama)! Brokedown Palace stars Claire Danes (“Homeland,” “My So-Called Life”) and Kate Beckinsale (Much Ado about Nothing, Pearl Harbor) as newly graduated high-school girls whose celebratory trip to Thailand turns nightmarish when they’re nabbed for smuggling heroin. Brokeback Mountain stars Jake Gyllenhaal (Donnie Darko, Zodiac, The Good Girl) and Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight, Candy) as midcentury shepherds surprised by love out in the wilds of Wyoming.
>>>For Sunday, Emily S. Customer suggests suggests a three-pack of Charlton Heston dystopia! (Or, to be more precise, two Charlton Heston dystopias and one Charlton Heston post-apocalyptic landscape; you can work out on your own which is which.) Where Heston goes, can the end of the world be far behind? Challenge the fates with a weekend three-pack of Planet of the Apes, Soylent Green, and The Omega Man. Do it, I dare you…. did you do it? DID YOU FINALLY REALLY DO IT? YOU MANIACS! YOU BLEW IT UP! OH, DAMN YOU. DAMN YOU ALL TO HELLLLLLLLL.
New Releases this week at Videoport: The Hangover Part III (Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms and that boring guy return! I don’t want to harsh anyone’s enjoyment, but I just have to say that, at this point, we have to agree that these guys are total lightweights, right?), Bones- season 8 (this detective series returns asking the eight season long question, can that guy from Angel and Zooey Deschanel’s sister solve really gross mysteries while making go-goo eyes at each other? The answer is yes—yes, they can), After Earth (Will Smith continues his lucrative trend of nepotism, acting alongside real life son Jayden in this sci fi action flick directed by M. Night Shyamalan; in it, Will and son crash land on a long-abandoned Earth and find out exactly why it’s been abandoned for so long), American Horror Story: Asylum (Jessica Lange, James Cromwell, and a bunch of other good actors willing to do very weird stuff star in the second season of this dark, completely loopy horror series—this season set in a spooky loony bin!), Much Ado About Nothing (coolest guy in the world Joss Whedon took time out from shooting The Avengers to gather some of his best pals his various awesome TV series and shoot a super low budget Shakespeare production at his house; I, for one, am literally giddy that this exists; starring Nathan Fillion [Firefly], Amy Acker [Angel], Fran Kranz [Dollhouse], Alexis Denisof [Angel], Clark Gregg [The Avengers], and more), The Purge (Ethan Hawke stars in this high-concept horror flick about a future America where, one night a year, all laws are suspended; one family holes up in their, as it turns out, inadequately defended home when a gang of mask-wearing psychos decide to take advantage of that whole “no laws apply” thing), Psych- season 7 (James Roday and Dule Hill are back as, respectively, a fake psychic detective and his more responsible buddy in this still-reliably-funny detective comedy series), Europa Report (Sharlto Copley [District 9] and Embeth Davidtz star in this thoughtful sci fi film about a manned mission to discover if there’s life on Jupiter’s largest moon, Europa), Robot Chicken- season 6 (Seth Green continues to plunder his childhood toybox and make his action figures do really rude things to each other), Ain’t In It For My Health: A Film About Levi Helm (you read the title, so expect a documentary about the former drummer of The Band; don’t say the title didn’t warn you—no refunds!), Zombie Hunter (can’t wait for the new Machete movie? Well check out ultra-cool, terrifying dude Danny Trejo in this direct-to-DVD movie; I’m fairly sure he kills zombies in it; like, 90-95% sure…), 100 Bloody Acres (check out Videoport’s Incredibly Strange section for this black comedy about a pair of brothers whose secret ingredient for their organic fertilizer business is…well, no spoilers—but it’s human blood…), Reality (Italian comedy about a small-time fishmonger whose family urges him to try out for the Italian version of Big Brother…which leads him to change his life somehow…), My Father And The Man In Black (music documentary about the troubled relationship between Johnny Cash and his manager; directed by the manager’s son, who’d like some answers, please…), How I Met Your Mother- season 8 (well, Ted still hasn’t met that damned mother yet, but this is still a reliably funny show; plus Alyson Hannigan—rrrrrowrrrr), Laurence Anyways (acclaimed French Canadian drama about a longtime couple whose relationship is shaken by the male half’s revelation that he wants to become a woman), The Look Of Love (Steve Coogan reteams with director Michael Winterbottom [Tristram Shandy, The Trip, 24 Hour Party People] for this darkly funny portrait of Paul Raymond, the smut impresario whose string of burlesque houses and softcore magazines transformed 1960s England), Mea Maxima Culpa (remember that whole unpleasantness when the Catholic Church hierarchy covered up the massive child molestation scandal among the clergy, thus enabling pedophiles to prey on innocent children? Well, the people behind this searing documentary do, and they are piiiiiiissed…), Resolution (good-looking, well-reviewed indie horror flick about a guy whose plan to help his friend kick his addictions by chaining him to a pipe in an abandoned cabin on an Indian reservation goes even wronger than you might expect), White Collar- season 4 (Joe Handsome [aka Matt Bomer] returns as a con man who works for the FBI to bring down the wealthy criminal jerks of the land), Curse Of Chucky (yup, they made another one of these, just in time for your slightly-disappointing Halloween horror viewing party! This time—it’s exactly the same as all the other times. There’s this evil doll who kills people and makes with the wisecracks; at least Brad Dourif still gets a paycheck), Home Run (Christian sports cinema strikes again with this tale of a hotshot baseball star whose off the field troubles get him sent back to his small, God-fearing home town to relearn his swing…and his faith)
New Releases on Blu Ray this week at Videoport: After Earth, The Purge, The Hangover- part III
Get free money at Videoport!
Look, once you’re in the door at Videoport, you know you’re gonna spend your entertainment dollars here and not on some horribly-run cable company (Time Warner cable’s customer service, according to a recent Press Herald survey, received an 18% “positive” vote, which means fully 82% of their customers think it sucks), or heartless internet concern (google “Netflix” and “class action lawsuits” sometime). Nope, you’re comin’ here, so why not get some free money while you’re at it. Pre-pay $20 on your account, and we give you $25 in credit. And $30 buys you $40. Dang.