VideoReport #449

Volume CDXLIX- Wait, “Videoport?” Because we rent videos and are in Portland. I just now got that.

For the Week of 3/25/14

 

Videoport gives you a free movie every day. Like, every single day. A free movie. I genuinely cannot see anything bad about that.

 

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 The Game (in Mystery/Thriller). James Rebhorn’s role in David Fincher’s 1997 thriller The Game is small but crucial. When corporate titan Nicholas Van Orton (Michael Douglas) takes his mysterious birthday gift and wanders into the slick, nondescript offices of Consumer Recreation Services to see what the heck his feckless little brother Conrad (Sean Penn) has signed him up for, presence provides a vital sense of reality. Unlike Conrad, James Feingold (James Rebhorn) knows the power of a necktie, a handshake, an office with your name on the door. Even his self-introduction oozes salaryman confidence: “Jim Feingold, V.P, E.D.A. – engineering and data analysis” as he plows over Van Orton’s questions and gets to business, the business of filling out forms. But it’s more than that. Rebhorn endows him with an undeniable naturalism, the bustling, mundane ease of a professional who’s maybe running a little late, maybe a little rushed, eager to brush past the questions he’s heard a hundred times, briskly ushering one more elite customer through his initial interview before he can finally sit down and shovel in the just-delivered lunch that sits cooling and leaking on his desktop. Some of this is the writing, of course, but Rebhorn’s Feingold gives the entire enterprise a concrete authenticity that anchors the film’s reality in a way that allows us to swallow what’s coming next. And there is plenty coming next.

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 checking out all of the Best Supporting Actor nominees! In honor of the passing of stalwart character man James Rebhorn this week, Why not take home some of the movies where guys in smaller roles stole the show. Seriously—we need guys like Rebhorn (never nominated for an Oscar, but he could have been), otherwise we’re stuck watching Kate Hudson and Gerard Butler make goo-goo eyes at each other. And no one wants that.

o    Joseph Schildkraut (The Life Of Emile Zola)

o    Thomas Mitchell (Stagecoach)

o    Donald Crisp (How Green Was My Valley)

o    Charles Coburn (The More The Merrier)

o    Harold Russell (The Best Years Of Our Lives)

o    Edmund Gwenn (Miracle On 34th Street)

o    Walter Huston (The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre)

o    Dean Jagger (Twelve O’Clock High)

o    George Sanders (All About Eve)

o    Karl Malden (A Streetcar Named Desire)

o    Anthony Quinn (Viva Zapata)

o    Frank Sinatra (From Here To Eternity)

o    Edmond O’Brien (The Barefoot Contessa)

o    Jack Lemmon (Mister Roberts)

o    Anthony Quinn % For Life)

o    Burl Ives (The Big Country)

o    Hugh Griffith (Ben-Hur)

o    Peter Ustinov (Spartacus)

o    George Chakiris (West Side Story)

o    Ed Begley (Sweet Bird Of Youth)

o    Melvyn Douglas (Hud)

o    Peter Ustinov (Topkapi)

o    Martin Balsam (A Thousand Clowns)

o    Walter Matthau (The Fortune Cookie)

o    George Kennedy (Cool Hand Luke)

o    Gig Young (They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?)

o    John Mills (Ryan’s Daughter)

o    Ben Johnson (The Last Picture Show)

o    Joel Grey (Cabaret)

o    John Houseman (The Paper Chase)

o    Robert DeNiro (The Godfather Part II)

o    George Burns (The Sunshine Boys)

o    Jason Robards (All The President’s Men)

o    Jason Robards (Julia)

o    Christopher Walken (The Deer Hunter)

o    Melvyn Douglas (Being There)

o    Timothy Hutton (Ordinary People)

o    John Gielgud (Arthur)

o    Louis Gossett Jr. (An Officer And A Gentleman)

o    Jack Nicholson (Terms Of Endearment)

o    Hang S. Ngor (The Fields)

o    Don Ameche (Cocoon)

o    Michael Caine (Hannah And Her Sisters)

o    Sean Connery (The Untouchables)

o    Kevin Kline (A Fish Called Wanda)

o    Denzel Washington (Glory)

o    Joe Pesci (Goodfellas)

o    Jack Palance (City Slickers)

o    Gene Hackman (Unfogiven)

o    Tommy Lee Jones (The Fugitive)

o    Martin Landau (Ed Wood)

o    Kevin Spacey (The Usual Suspects)

o    Cuba Gooding Jr. (Jerry Maguire)

o    Robin Williams (Good Will Hunting)

o    James Coburn (Affliction)

o    Michael Caine (The Cider House Rules)

o    Benicio Del Toro (Traffic)

o    Jim Broadbent (Iris)

o    Chris Cooper (Adaptation)

o    Tim Robbins (Mystic River)

o    Morgan Freeman (Million Dollar Baby)

o    George Clooney (Syriana)

o    Alan Arkin (Little Miss Sunshine)

o    Javier Bardem (No Country For Old Men)

o    Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight)

o    Christoph Waltz (Inglorious Basterds)

o    Christian Bale (The Fighter)

o    Christopher Plummer (Beginners)

o    Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained)

o    Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)

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 the works of character actor James Rebhorn. Man, I it when The VideoReport is easy to write. That usually means someone we admire and respect has died, often too soon. This week, it’s James Rebhorn who made the Videoport Jones household utter a shared “awwwwwww, no!” You might recognize him as Carrie’s father, Frank Mathison, on “Homeland,” as charismatic corporate titan Charles Szidon on “Enlightened,” as the distracted, affable doctor for the shadowy corporation that runs the titular game in David Fincher’s The Game, as the war-hawk Secretary of Defense in Independence Day, or as the irascible DA prosecuting the “Seinfeld” gang in the 2-part series finale, But in the Jones house, he’s most often quoted as Dr. Kaplan, the oral surgeon who gets so tired of Liz Lemon asking “When can I eat hard cheeses again?” that he has a pamphlet entitled “Hard Cheeses and Your Root Canal, Liz” printed up just for her and, when she vexes him, withholds her turn at the good-patient treat bin, costing her the wind-up Batman she’s had her eye on. “Yeah,” he taunts her, “and if you wind him up, he swims in the bath.” Goodbye, James Rebhorn, and thank you for giving us even greater joy than a wind-up Batman who swims in the bathtub.

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 the great roles of April Grace. It’s important to honor our great character actors before they leave us, and this week I’d like to raise a salute to April Grace. If her name isn’t familiar to you, she herself will be. Her resume is thanklessly laced with roles like “police stenographer” and “ICU nurse #2,” but April Grace is a memorable face, a memorable voice, and a memorable presence. You may remember her as the mysterious Bea Klugh on “Lost,” as Joe’s shrewd and sympathetic partner, Detective Lee Bridgewater, in SciFi Channel miniseries “The Lost Room,” as transporter chief Maggie Hubbell on “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” or as Sgt. Toni Williams on “Joan of Arcadia.” But perhaps her most memorable role is in Paul Thomas Anderson’s staggering Magnolia as Gwenovier, the quiet, shrewd reporter who interviews pick-up-artist guru Frank Mackey (Tom Cruise). Frank makes his reputation and his living teaching angry, frustrated men tactics of rhetoric to disarm and te women, but Gwenovier is unflustered, unflappable, and impressively sanguine in the face of his bluster. And with good reason.

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

>>> It’s a free movie! It’s for kids! Or kids at heart! Only a monster would deny a free movie to the children! A monster, I say!

Having a Wild Weekend! Rent two movies, and get a third one for free from any section!                                                     >>>For Saturday, Dennis suggests Enlightened (in Feature Drama.) This is an outstanding (tragically short-lived) HBO series about an executive (Laura Dern, doing the best work of her career) who, after a breakdown and a transformative stay at a new age-y rehab, comes back to her high-powered position at a typically corrupt corporation to find that her newfound zealotry is incompatible with her duties. Exiled to the basement with a roomful of similar outcasts (including creator Mike White, stealing every episode as the contented nonentity Tyler), Dern’s Amy Jellicoe foments dissent, eventually drawing the attention of smiling corporate head Charles Szidon (played by the late James Rebhorn.) The great thing about Enlightened is how creator White plays with audience empathy. Upon her return, Amy Jellicoe is largely insufferable—even though she’s clearly saying things that White thinks are essentially correct. And Rebhorn’s reasonable, pragmatic, and outwardly avuncular Szidon is the opposite of insufferable, seemingly listening to Amy’s concerns about what’s wrong with his company and the world, and even offering to make some cosmetic changes to diffuse her wild-eyed reformer’s passion. If Szidon is a bad guy, he’s the kind of bad guy not only common, but necessary to be a successful American businessman, and Rebhorn cannily plays him that way. At least for a while. Rebhorn’s performance perfectly captures the shifting points of view on the show—and how viewer’s, unlike Amy, are never allowed to get too comfortable with their convictions.

>>>For Sunday, Dennis suggests If Lucy Fell (in Comedy.) I remain one of the only fans of this forgotten indie comedy from the 90s (hi, Matt McMillan!), but while I concede that it’s got its problems, I maintain that its oddball energy lifts it above the average romcom—and it contains one of my favorite performances from recently-late character actor James Rebhorn. The story of a pair of platonic pals (writer/director Eric Schaeffer and Sarah Jessica Parker) as they, tired of the mid-thirties romantic and professional malaise in which they find themselves, revive a decade-old act to kill themselves if they don’t find someone to love in the next 30 days. One of the problems is that the stakes are never that great—as mopey as the two get, there’s never really a sense that the pact is a serious possibility. That being said, I really like the movie—Parker is weirder and more appealing than she ever would be on And The City, playing along gamefully with the undeniably weird Schaeffer. Look, I like Schaeffer and his work. And while I recognize that he’s a polarizing figure (that a lot of people find irretrievably creepy), and that his movies all have some weaknesses and self-indulgent touches, I think he’s got a unique voice and can really bring the comedy and the pain. Here, he’s Joe, would-be painter and enforced celibate who has been “saving himself” for the leggy supermodel type (played by leggy supermodel Elle MacPherson) who doesn’t know he’s alive. As part of the pact deal, though, he has to talk to the woman and his eccentric attempts to break through are weird and funny and actually kind of affecting. Schaeffer’s got a singular comic persona which, sure, is sort of creepy—but again, he just works for me. So does Parker, whose control freak shrink allows herself to be wooed {thanks, pact!] by flamboyant pop artist Ben Stiller (also funnier here than I generally find). There are laughs, there are tears, there’s talk of es and bowel movements—it might not be everybody’s thing, but again, I like it a lot. And Rebhorn, as Parker’s distant father, only has a few scenes but he makes them—especially the last one, finally telling his daughter how proud of her he is—count. James Rebhorn was one of those guys you figured would always be around—and that the movies always need. Bummer.

 

New Releases this week at Videoport: Delivery Man (Vince Vaughn stars in this feel-good comedy about an aimless middle aged guy [and one time champion sperm donor] who discovers that his many, many deposits over the years have produced 533 children—and that some of them are suing to find out his identity; co-starring the very funny Chris Pratt from Parks & Recreation, this one’s a remake of the Canadian film Starbuck, which Videoport also has of course since we’re so awesome), The Great Beauty (winner of this year’s Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, this crowd-pleasing Italian film is about an aging writer and ladies’ man forced to look back on his life on the eve of his 65th birthday; plus—gorgeous Italian scenery!), Cold Comes The Night (just remember—you love Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston; he stars in this thriller about a Russian mobster who, going blind, takes a woman and her daughter hostage in order to retrieve a big bunch o’ money; you love Bryan Cranston…), Wrath Of Vajra (No, this is not a giant monster movie about a rampaging monster [I would totally watch that]; instead, this one’s a martial arts action flick from China about a guy, kidnapped and turned into a machine by the Japanese in WWII, who throws off his conditioning and goes on one of those roaring rampages of revenge that make such exciting movies), Easy Money: Hard To Kill (Joel Kinnaman [The , the RoboCop remake] returns in this sequel to the acclaimed Swedish thriller Easy Money [which Videoport has of course since we’re so awesome] with his coke smuggler attempting to go straight, which goes about as well as those plans do…), Walking With Dinosaurs (animated big screen dinosaur action for the whole family, with John Leguizamo and Justin long, and did I mention DINOSAURS!?), Veep- season 2 (Julia Louis-Dreyfus is back after winning all the Emmys in this rudely hilarious HBO sitcom about the first female Vice President of the United States and how she copes with her squabbling, eccentric staff and the fact that her job is essentially meaningless), The Punk Singer (some of you saw this rockumentary when it played at SPACE Gallery a while ago; for the rest of us, this is the time to check out this portrait of pioneering lead singer of Kill Kathleen Hanna and why she hasn’t been heard from in a decade), Odd Thomas (the cool Antonin Yelchin [Star Trek, Huff] stars in this quirky horror adaptation of the Dean Koontz series of books about a small town fry cook who uses his ability to see people to fight ghosts and the like), Geography Club (comedy about a group of closeted and confused gay teens who form the titular after school activity in the hopes that no one else will be interested and they can all work out what their hormones are telling them in a safe space), The Conspiracy (when two young filmmakers pick as their documentary subject a crazy conspiracy theorist, their lives get seriously complicated when he disappears in this indie thriller with the crazy cover), Californication- season 6 (David Duchovny being all douche-y and , and y—if that’s your thing and you’ve come this far…), Avengers Confidential: Black Widow and Punisher (when the gun-nut killer [and somehow hero] Punisher discovers a conspiracy that might take more than his brand of t gunplay to solve, he teams up with Avenger and former spy Black Widow in this animated movie from Marvel Comics), The Broken Circle Breakdown (acclaimed Dutch film about a couple who love bluegrass music, tattoos, and all things American trying to cope with life and stuff; featuring a ton of great bluegrass music), Loves Her Gun (when a young woman flees big, bad, violent New York City for the presumed peace of rural Texas, her involvement with the local gun culture brings home the fact that isn’t just for city folk in this acclaimed indie drama), The Wolf Of Wall Street (Martin Scorcese and Leonardo Dicaprio team up again, this time for a raucous, filthy, exuberant portrait of real life swindler and Wall Street shark Jordan Belfort), Key & Peele- season 2 (HEY! Sorry to yell, but not enough people are watching this show and that annoys me; Keegan Michael Key and Jordan Peele are hilarious and brilliant and this is the best sketch comedy show in a decade; so watch it already…), Welcome To The Jungle (the improbably welcome Jean Claude Van Damme comeback trail marches on, this time with the former laughingstock actually trying to get laughs as the gung ho former Marine leading a corporate retreat gone wrong; costarring certified funny people like Kristin Schaal, Rob Heubel, and Dennis Haysbert), La Bestia (searing documentary follows several Central American migrant who, trying to cross illegally into the United States, must first traverse Mexico in the titular train, a legendarily brutal and dangerous journey)

 

New Arrivals at Videoport this week: King Of The Hill (long forgotten Steven Soderbergh film about a young boy coming of age during the Depression gets the full Criterion Collection treatment; one of those movies that’s called “a forgotten gem” so often that it’s practically your duty to see it now), The Spoilers (John Wayne, Randolph Scott, and Marlene Dietrich star in this 1942 film about the rambunctious, claim-jumping times of the Alaskan gold rush; oh, and John Wayne wears blackface at one point! Because he’s John Wayne!), and four, count ‘em four new episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000!!! (Woo-hoo! If you’ve never watched MST3k, then you don’t know what joy is, so come get some joy at Mike, Joel and the robots make fun of four more classically terrible movies for your delight! This box set includes: Untamed Youth, Hercules And The Captive Women, The Thing That Couldn’t Die, and the gloriously inept The Pumaman!)

 

New Arrivals on Blu-Ray This Week At Videoport: Delivery Man, The Great Beauty, The Wolf Of Wall Street, Frozen, Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, Walking With Dinosaurs, Odd Thomas, King Of The Hill.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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