VideoReport #446

Volume CDXLVI- 2014: The Year Everyone Remembers How Awesome Indie Video Stores Are

For the Week of 3/4/14

Videoport gives you a free movie every single day. Been doing that for 27 years. How many free movies have we given to our customers? Let’s see…one kajillion. One kajillion free movies.

Middle Aisle Monday! Take a free rental from the Science Fiction, Horror, Incredibly Strange, Popular Music, 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!

>>>Emily S. Customer suggests Lone Star (in Mystery/Thriller.) You guys, I have an embarrassing admission: I have been underestimating Matthew McConaughey. This fella can act. Years ago, I wrote him off as a swaggering hunk of handsome nothing destined for taking off his shirt in shallow rom-coms without even realizing I was doing it. To be perfectly frank, sustaining that belief must have taken some effort on my part; after all, I’ve seen Lone Star. If you haven’t, you should. John Sayles’ film is an understated masterpiece, a complex blend of intrigue and social critique and romance. Every performance is a gem. Chris Cooper as Sam Deeds, the small-town Texas sheriff tasked with investigating a newly uncovered generation-old murder. Elizabeth Peña as Pilar, his one-time high school sweetheart, and McConaughey as the long-dead father and former sheriff whose shadow always looms over Sam, in his life and in his job. The film ticks along patiently, and in the end those ticks turn out to be a bomb, not a watch.

>>>Dennis suggests diving randomly into the Incredibly Strange section! Like he did! Sometimes you juts want something unusual (I do anyway) so on a week’s worth of recent lunch hours, I threw in a trio of random Incredibly Strange section randomness of things I’d never seen. It wasn’t boring, I’ll tell you that. First up was Blue Sunshine, with its striking, shiny silver cover. It’s the 70s, and some former groovy drug types find their hair falling out while they go insane and start killing people! All traced back to the titular bad batch of acid cooked up by a drug guru turned creepy political candidate, it stars Zalman King, who, before masterminding the Red Shoe Diaries erotic series, was a marginal and improbable romantic lead. With his unfriendly face, huge honker, and unruly mop of greasy looking curls, he’s like a slightly less charismatic Marjoe Gortner. Sorta, sleazy, sorta violent—don’t take drugs! Next up was Petey Wheatstraw: The Devil’s Son In Law starring the impossible-to-describe Rudy Ray Moore! Like in most of his movies, Rudy plays a club comic (he works blue) who is also a rip-roarin’ karate star fighting the MAN and assorted baddies in the 1970s ‘hood. And, as ever, Rudy is about as convincing as a martial arts action star as Grady from Sanford and Son. Maybe it’s his pot belly, or the fact that his tight pants don’t allow him to raise his legs up over his waist, or, well, because he’s Rudy. I love Rudy. Oh, in this one, he’s gunned down and makes a deal with the dapper Devil to come back for revenge. There’s a lot of very broad comedy too. Check out Rudy further in Dolemite and Disco Godfather! Rudy! And last was Private Parts—no, no the Howard Stern thing, this was the first feature by cult director Paul Bartel (Death Race 2000, Eating Raoul) and is a nice and sleazy (and batsh*t insane) time capsule of both 1970’s sleaze and 1970s morality. A slightly annoying teen runaway crashes at the super-seedy hotel run by her crazy old aunt and discovers that, well, creepy-crazy stuff is going on there. Murders, perversions, other stuff I can’t tell you about but you’ll see coming a mile away. Bartel’s inventive kinkiness seeps in throughout—some sexy, some icky. Fun times! See—there’s always something for your inner weirdo in the Incredibly Strange section!

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 we laissez les bons temps rouler, y’all. Whether you call it Mardi Gras, Carnival, Fasnacht, or just good ol’ Fat Tuesday, it’s here and it’s time to celebrate. Grab some beads and maybe some beers, get y’ a king cake or some beignets, pop in some movies, and let ‘em roll. Easy Rider, the classic ‘60s road story, is all about the travels and trial that our counterculture protagonists Billy (Dennis Hopper) and Wyatt (Peter Fonda) meet on their motorcycle journey to celebrate Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Black Orpheus, winner of the 1959 Palme D’Or and the 1960 Golden Globe for Foreign Film, retells the myth or Orpheus and Eurydice amidst the hedonism of Rio de Janeiro’s Carnival. Thunderball sends James Bond (Sean Connery) to The Bahamas, where he tracks the two atomic bombs hoisted by SPECTRE against the backdrop of tropical island beauty laced through with Mardi Gras madness.

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. says: Here is a list of some of my favorite movies of my youth (and why) that I would still watch today.

The Outsiders – besides having read the book way too many times, I would have to say the movie was obviously cast by looking at all the Tiger Beat pictures I had hanging up on my wall and hiring each one of them. ——-—Stand By Me – Kiefer Sutherland. Also, great story featuring young people I could actually relate to.

The Lost Boys – Kiefer Sutherland. Also, vampires, and a truly awesome soundtrack.

Sixteen Candles – Just pure funny.

Evil Dead 2 – My brother introduced me to this movie so I was heavily influenced by him. But it was scary and funny and I loved the idea of a crazy cameraman on a moped flying around the place.

The Neverending Story – Falcor.

Heathers – Dark, funny and Christian Slater. Also, watching now – it’s like a time capsule of my angst at that age.

Cinema Paradiso – My first foreign language film – I saw it in Italian class and fell in love. It was so beautiful and such a lovely tribute to film. And I could understand it (well, with help from the subtitles of course).

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!

>>>Howsabout checking out some Oscar winners, and the more numerous Oscar losers at Videoport! They’ll all come out on DVD eventually, but here’s the stuff that’s out already at Videoport!

BEST PICTURE

—12 Years A Slave (WINNER—BEST PICTURE. Out today!)

—Captain Phillips

—Nebraska

—Dallas Buyer’s Club

—Gravity

Not on DVD yet:

—Her (no date announced)

—American Hustle (coming out 3/18)

—Philomena (no date announced)

—The Wolf Of Wall Street (coming out 3/25)

BEST ACTRESS

—Blue Jasmine (WINNER—Cate Blanchett)

—Gravity (Sandra Bullock)

Not on DVD yet:

—August: Osage County (Meryl Streep—coming out 4/8)

—Philomena (Judi Dench—no date announced)

—American Hustle (Amy Adams—coming out 3/18)

BEST ACTOR

—Dallas Buyer’s Club (WINNER—Matthew McConaughey)

—12 Years A Slave (Chiwetel Ejiofor)

—Nebraska (Bruce Dern)

Not on DVD yet:

—American Hustle (Christian Bale—coming out 3/18)

—The Wolf Of Wall Street (Leonardo DiCaprio—out 3/25)

BEST DOCUMENTARY

—20 Feet From Stardom (WINNER)

—The Act Of Killing

—Cutie And The Boxer

—Dirty Wars

Not on DVD yet:

—The Square (no date announced)

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

—The Hunt

Not on DVD yet:

—The Great Beauty (3/25)

—The Broken Circle Breakdown (3/11)

—The Missing Picture (no date announced)

—Omar (no date announced)

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

>>>It’s free.

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

>>>For Saturday, Emily S. Customer suggests Twin Peaks (in Mystery/Thriller). The Videoport Jones household has been catching up on “True Detective” (not available on DVD yet, so let’s all settle down!), which has us craving some of its influences and precursors. My favorite of the weird-crime series has to be “Twin Peaks,” with Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle McLachlan), the brilliant and bizarre lead investigator who gathers his insights from a combination of meticulous police work, insight-oriented meditation, and esoteric rituals. But more striking than its stable of characters – and with “Twin Peaks,” we’re talking about characters in two senses of the word – is the show’s jarring, transporting combination of homey comforts with eldritch horrors, the coziness of damn fine coffee and a slice of cherry pie with the terror of the unknown, the unknowable, and the things you don’t want to know… but do.

>>>For Sunday, Emily S. Customer suggests 12 Years a Slave and then take your pick. Well, dangit. World-class actor (and favorite chez nous) Chiwetel Ejiofor didn’t get his well-deserved Best Actor Oscar this year. But mark my words, folks: he will. And soon. You can make your own assessment of his prowess in 12 Years a Slave, new on DVD this week, and while you’re at it, take home a free movie and check out this guy’s range in roles large and small: collected and precise as desk-jockey counterintelligence office for the CIA in Salt, as Simon and his cheeky drag alter ego Lola in Kinky Boots, oddly empathetic and utterly chilling as The Operative in Joss Whedon’s Serenity, the slick business-minded program director of station WOL in Talk to Me, as a rising lieutenant in the drug wars of American Gangster, or game and wisecracking as Denzel Washington’s sidekick in Inside Man. I imagine there’s some role the man can’t play, but I ain’t seen it yet.

New Releases this week at Videoport: 12 Years A Slave (Sure, Matthew McConaughey won Best Actor at the Oscsrs, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a better actor than the brilliant Chewitel Ejiofor who stars in this Best Picture winner based on the memoirs of a free black man hoodwinked into slavery from great modern director Steve McQueen [Shame, Hunger]; costarring Best Supporting Actress winner Lupita Nyong’o and McQueen’s favorite actor Michael Fassbender), Doctor Who: The Time Of The Doctor (Matt Smith bids an heroic adieu as the eleventh Doctor gives way to Peter Capaldi’s Number Twelve in this epic adventure), Hours (the last Paul Walker stars in one of his last movies as a desperate father trying to keep his hospitalized daughter alive during Hurricane Katrina), The Venture Brothers—season 5 (lunatic, batsh*t-carzy animated series about a mad scientist, his useless sons, and his gung-ho bodyguard [voiced by the ever-awesome Patrick Warburton] as they battle evil and get killed a lot), Girl Rising (ambitious documentary about nine girls from nine different countries around the world’ each of their stories is written by a writer from their homeland is narrated by actors like Kerry Washington, Anne Hathaway, Cate Blanchett, Liam Neeson, Meryl Streep, and Salma Hayek), The Grandmaster The-Grandmaster-2013-Movie-Title-Banner(one of the greatest directors in the world [and a personal favorite] Wong Kar-wai helms this biopic about the legendary martial arts master Ip Man [played by the great Tony Leung]: the man directed the likes of In The Mood For Love, 2046, Chungking Express, My Blueberry Nights, Ashes Of Time, and more—you should rent all of those, too), Oldboy (Spike Lee directs this probably unnecessary but supposedly decent remake of the completely, insanely awesome and psychotic Oldboy-Remake3Korean original about a long-imprisoned man who, released after a decade in solitary confinement in a mysterious prison, goes on a horrifying rampage of revenge; rent this along with the original—I know you’ll be astounded by the original at least ), The Last Days On Mars (good cast, including Liev Schreiber, Elias Koteas, and Romola Garai star in this sci fi thriller about the first manned station on Mars—SPOILER: things do not go well…), Reportero (intense documentary about a dogged, dedicated reporter and his newspaper attempting to challenge the corrupt government officials and drug cartels running/ruining Mexico City), The Summit (totally different intense documentary, this one about the deadliest day in mountain climbing history, when 11 climbers mysteriously vanished while trying to climb K2; didn’t they see that movie K2? It never goes well!), Hellbenders (Clifton Collins and Clancy Brown star in this horror flick about an outcast cabal of debauched priests and nuns who, when not violating their holy orders and/or each other, fight demons escaped from Hell), Hijos Del Carnaval- the compete series (Videoport continues to bring in the best of international TV with this Brazilian drama [it airs on HBO around the world]; about the troubled family of a dedicated Samba school founder and illegal lottery head coping with his troubled sons), Dirty Wars (2014 Oscar-nominated documentary about journalist Jeremy Scahill, whose investigation into America’s expanding covert wars yields even more disturbing information than he thought it would), G.B.F. (comedy about a closeted gay teen who, outed by a friend, is reluctantly taken in as the “gay best friend” of three of the school’s mean girls), The Pervert’s Guide To Ideology (brilliant, eccentric philosopher and social critic Slavoj Zizek is back [after his Pervert’s Guide to Cinema] this time looking at the collective dreams and fantasies that shape our beliefs)

New Arrivals this week at Videoport: Lego Ninjago- season 2 (Lego Ninjas! For kids! They love both those things!), Air Bud and Air Bud: Golden Receiver (also for kids! He’s a dog who plays sports! If only he were made of Legos!), Father Goose (Cary Grant and Leslie Caron star in this 1962 comedy romance war film about a slovenly bachelor persuaded to spot planes from his island haven in WWII who finds himself forced to look after a shipwrecked school teacher and her all-girl students),

New Blu-Rays At Videoport: The Last Days On Mars, Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull, 12 Years A Slave, Raiders Of The Lost Ark

Be nice to our DVDs. Seriously.

There’s literally nothing we here at Videoport obsess about more than the health and safety of our precious movies. It’s our crusade, our raison d’etre—it’s given us nightmares, and made us wake up in cold sweats. As a small, independent video store, you might say that the safety of our movies is the most important thing in our jobs. So, when someone—not you, dear reader, never you—returns a movie that is: scratched up, smeared with prints, bearing water spots (at least we hope it’s water), etc, you might understand our skepticism at the “it was like that when I got it” lip service we often get. Like, super-skeptical, since we inspect and clean every single movie that goes out and comes back!! Look, sometimes a DVD won’t work right—anyone who claims differently is lying. But we here at Videoport clean every disc that goes out, buff any disc that has scratches on it, and basically treat our precious movies better than you do your (or we, our) kids. So, if you wanna lessen our night-sweats, and help Videoport out:

1. Never touch the shiny side of a DVD,

2. Never leave a DVD out of its case.

3. Don’t let kids handle our DVDs.

4. Get a real DVD player—computers stink at playing DVDs.

5. See 1-4. We love you. Don’t touch the shiny side.

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