VideoReport #451

Volume CDLI-Smurfs 3: The Reckoning

For the Week of 4/8/14

 

Videoport will give you a free movie every single day, see if we won’t…

 

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!

>>> Dennis suggests Orphan Black (in Mystery/Thriller). This BBC America series comes back on the TV April 19th, so now’s the prefect time to catch up on the first season, or revisit it. One of the unsung joys of last year’s TV season, this one’s a showcase for an actress you’re going to start seeing come Emmy time (there was something of an internet anger-storm when she wasn’t nominated this year). Her name’s Tatiana Maslany (she showed up as a potential girlfriend of Tom’s on Parks & Rec last year as well), and she’s simply astound ding as the lead…and that’s pretty much all I can tell you about the show. (Even the word “lead” would be a spoiler if I went into it, and since only Mr. and Mrs. Hitler thoughtlessly blurt out important plot twists, I’m gonna be cagey from here on out.) In Orphan Black, Maslany plays a British con artist named Sarah who, on the run from yet another of her mistakes, sees a woman on a railway platform who looks exactly like her. Then the woman jumps in front of a train, leaving her bag (and identification) behind. Sarah steals it, aaaaand that’s where I have to stop describing things in all good conscience. All I’ll say is that the show is smart and exciting and funny, and Maslany is just astoundingly good. You’re gonna have to trust me on this, people—it’s for your own good.

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 renting all the Best Director Oscar Winners at Videoport! Do the Oscars usually get everything wrong? Well, yeah, sure—but even a blind monkey with a handful of darts is gonna hit the target once in a while! Enjoy!

o    Lewis Milestone (All Quiet On The Western Front)

o    Frank Lloyd (Cavalcade)

o    Frank Capra (It Happened One Night)

o    Frank Capra (Mr. Deeds Goes To Town)

o    Leo McCarey (The Awful Truth)

o    Frank Capra (You Can’t Take It With You)

o    Victor Fleming (Gone With The Wind)

o    John Ford (The Grapes Of Wrath)

o    John Ford (How Green Was My Valley)

o    William Wyler (Mrs. Miniver)

o    Michael Curtiz (Casablanca)

o    Billy Wilder (The Lost Weekend)

o    William Wyler (The Best Years Of Our Lives)

o    Elia Kazan (Gentleman’s Agreement)

o    John Huston (The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre)

o    Joseph L. Mankiewicz (A Letter To Three Wives)

o    Joseph L. Mankiewicz (All About Eve)

o    George Stevens (A Place In The Sun)

o    John Ford (The Quiet Man)

o    Fred Zinneman (From Here T Eternity)

o    Elia Kazan (On The Waterfront)

o    Delbert Mann (Marty)

o    George Stevens (Giant)

o    David Lean (The Bridge On The River Kwai)

o    Vincente Minnelli (Gigi)

o    William Wyler (Ben-Hur)

o    Billy Wilder (The Apartment)

o    Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins (West Side Story)

o    David Lean (Lawrence Of Arabia)

o    Tony Richardson (Tom Jones)

o    George Cukor (My Fair Lady)

o    Robert Wise (The Sound Of Music)

o    Fred Zinneman (A Man For All Seasons)

o    Mike Nichols (The Graduate)

o    Carol Reed (Oliver!)

o    John Schlesinger (Midnight Cowboy)

o    Franklin J. Schaffner (Patton)

o    William Friedkin (The French Connection)

o    Bob Fosse (Cabaret)

o    Geroge Roy Hill (The Sting)

o    Francis Ford Coppola (The Godfather Part 2)

o    Milos Forman (One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest)

o    John Avildsen (Rocky)

o    Woody Allen (Annie Hall)

o    Michael Cimino (The Deer Hunter)

o    Robert Benton (Kramer vs. Kramer)

o    Robert Redford (Ordinary People)

o    Warren Beatty (Reds)

o    Richard Attenborough (Gandhi)

o    James L. Brooks (Terms Of Endearment)

o    Milos Forman (Amadeus)

o    Sydney Pollack (Out Of Africe)

o    Oliver Stone (Platoon)

o    Bernardo Bertolucci (The Last Emperor)

o    Barry Levinson (Rain Man)

o    Oliver Stone (Born On The Fourth Of July)

o    Kevin Costner (Dances With Wolves)

o    Jonathan Demme (The Silence Of The Lambs)

o    Clint Eastwood (Unforgiven)

o    Steven Spielberg (Schindler’s List)

o    Robert Zemeckis (Forrest Gump)

o    Mel Gibson (Braveheart)

o    Anthony Minghella (The English Patient)

o    James Cameron (Titanic)

o    Steven Spielberg (Saving Private Ryan)

o    Sam Mendes (American Beauty)

o    Steven Soderbergh (Traffic)

o    Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind)

o    Roman Polanski (The Pianist)

o    Peter Jackson (The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King)

o    Clint Eastwood (Million Dollar Baby)

o    Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain)

o    Martin Scorcese (The Departed)

o    Joel and Ethan Coen (No Country For Old Men)

o    Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire)

o    Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker)

o    Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech)

o    Michael Hazanavicious (The Artist)

o    Ang Lee (Life Of Pi)

o    Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity)

 

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 The Ritz (in Comedy.) My lunchtime parade of forgotten 70’s movies continues with this deliriously risqué 1976 film version of the Terrance McNally play about a hapless, hopelessly naïve Midwesterner (stout everyman Jack Weston) who, on the run from his psychotic brother-in-law (Jerry Stiller, psycho but still less broad than on Seinfeld) has his cabbie take him to “the last place in town anyone would look for me). Where he ends up is the titular gay bathhouse, whose seedy lobby full of weirdos conceals an interior incongruously made up of a series of luxurious theme rooms (pool, disco, nightclub, bar) where seemingly all of New York City’s gay men come to lounge around in bathrobes and be free to do whatever they want. It’s a broad bedroom farce of a movie, with the amiable but seriously flustered Weston being confronted with “the gays” behind every door, and constantly having things explained to him, but it’s also shockingly good-natured about all things homosexual, especially from a studio film from the 1970s. Obviously, any play by legendary playwright McNally was going to be sympathetic to its gay characters, but it’s still shocking that even so essentially silly a movie would be made by a Hollywood studio at the time, dealing as it does so frankly—if farcically—with gay guys being gay guys, and so cheerfully at that. Sure, plenty of the characters are screwed up, but so are the straights, and for 70s audiences, the sheer amount of onscreen, matter-of-fact gayness must have been a shocker. What seems most surprising is how, in a studio comedy of the time, gay men are allowed to have agency—this is a world where gay guys could be funny, weird, menacing, kinky, sad, and helpful—you know, like people. McNally insisted that director Richard Lester keep on most of the cast of his Broadway production, including a shockingly young and skiny F. Murray Abraham as Weston’s sweetly funny guide to The Ritz, Treat Williams affecting a silly high voice as a greenhorn private eye tracking Weston, and Rita Moreno as the ludicrously-untalented nightclub singer Googie Gomez, who latches onto Weson, thinking he’s a big time producer. (Oh, and look for Cheers’ John Ratzenberger slinking around in the background.) Honestly, it’s a funny, frenetic movie that I can only imagine freaked the living hell out of unsuspecting audiences at the time.

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 getting some free money at Videoport! Sure, Monday-Thursday you can get 3 movies for a week for 7 bucks, which is a pretty savvy entertainment move. But did you know you can also get 5 or 10 free bucks from Videoport whenever you want? It’s true. Prepay 20 bucks on your account and you get 25. Prepay 30 and you get 40. You’re gonna use that money to rent all Videoport’s great stuff anyway eventually, so why not get yourself a little something-somethin? No reason I can see…

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

>>> It’s free! It’s for kids! Or kids at heart!

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

>>>For Saturday, Videoport customer Buffet Feline suggests an alternative to the new Captain America movie in theaters right now. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is the 17th annual installment in Marvel’s cash grab Avenger’s franchise. Anthony and Joe Russo of You, Me and Dupree fame direct a cast of witless tropes in a convoluted, sense-punishing film with enough backflips, bullets, and explosions to make Jackie Chan, John Woo, and Michael Bay simultaneously poop their pants. Eye candy Chris Evans returns as everybody’s favorite imperialist posterboy Captain “Cap” America while contemporary thespian Scarlett Johansson slurs her way through as Natasha Romanoff, playing her just the way self-proclaimed feminist Joss Whedon likes her: as an object of sexuality and barbaric hyper-violence puking up an endless stream of throwaway quips. Best bro turned titular communist boogieman Winter Soldier is played by the charismatic Josh Saunders, AKA GothicKingCobra, who delivers inarguably the best performance of the piece as a broody robot man who’s good at guns or whatever. Samuel L. Jackson plays Samuel L. Jackson as agent Nick Fury. It’s a confused mess of a cold war superhero flick that does little to stray from Marvel’s tired formulas; instead, consider heading to Videoport to pick up a copy of the superior Captain America: The First Avenger. It’s a film that knows what it is: campy, simple, and fun.

>>>For Sunday, Dennis suggests The Fall (in Mystery/Thriller.) Now you might be asking yourself, do I really need another damned cop show? Yeah, you do—especially one starring Gillian Anderson. Set in very tense Belfast, The Fall sees Anderson’s smart, incredibly capable and independent British copper being brought in to oversee the stalled investigation of a particularly nasty sex crime, and discovering that there’s a serial killer on the loose. Again, doesn’t sound very interesting amidst the clutter of same-sounding police procedurals out there, but it’s all about Anderson who has never been more assured or luminous.

 

New Releases this week at Videoport: The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug (Peter Jackson is back, making The Hobbit into three huge movies for some reason; Whatever—Martin Freeman’s Bilbo Baggins is just a lovely creation and this time your weird boyfriend Benedict Cumberbatch is on hand, giving creepy voice to the titular dragon fellow), Grudge Match (Robert DeNiro and Sylvester Stallone [combined age 139] team up in this boxing comedy about a couple of really old actors who should know better making a boxing comedy; Oh, wait—that’s the story behind the movie…), August: Osage County (Meryl Streep is the mean matriarch of a dysfunctional family in this drama comedy with a cast and a half: Julia Roberts, Sam Shepard, Dermot Mulroney, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ewan McGregor, Margo Martindale, Chris Cooper, Juliette Lewis), Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (more scares from ghosts who are really not very good at avoiding security cameras in this fifth entry in the series), Spiral- season 3 (foreign TV is so hot right now…at least at Videoport. So that’s why we’ve brought in another season of this acclaimed French detective series—you guys simply wouldn’t have it any other way. Same thing with shows like Borgen, Wallander, Lilyhammer, Detective DeLuca, and more—foreign TV, so hot right now), Camille Claudel 1915 (Juliette Binoche stars in this portrait of the titular artist who, once the muse and lover of Rodin, has gone mad and been committed to a notorious asylum; directed by Bruno Dumont [Humanite, Flanders] the film continues the director’s divisive plan of using unexpressive nonprofessional actors [this time including actual mental patients] for effect, only with the ever-great Binoche at the center), The Past (French drama about an Iranian man coming back to France to finalize his divorce from a French woman [The Artist’s Berenice Bejo]), Museum Hours (Austrian film about a lonely guard at Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum who gets drawn into the life of a poor foreign museum visitor in the city because of a medical emergency), A Touch Of Sin (strange, visually striking Chinese film about four stories of seemingly random acts of violence), I Am Devine (documentary about the former Harris Glenn Milstead who became the friend and muse of legendary shock filmmaker John Waters as the inimitable Divine; check Videoport’s front doors and see how we feel about her!), A Field In England (strange, artsy drama about a group of deserters from the 17th century English Civil Wars captured by an alchemist and forced to help him search the titular field for buried treasure), Everyday (Michael Winterbottom [24 Hour Party People, Tristram Shandy, Wonderland, 9 Songs, etc] is stealthily becoming a major director—this time, it’s another of his meticulously observed dramas, about a family coping with the father’s five year prison sentence), Bastards (the great Claire Denis [Friday Night, Beau Travail, White Material, 35 Shots Of Rum] brings us this drama about a man determined to avenge his brother’s suicide who finds out things are never as simple as revenge would have them be)

 

New Arrivals at Videoport: Lego Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles (why all the Lego all of a sudden? Ask your kids…)

 

New Arrivals on Blu-Ray This Week At Videoport: The Past, August: Osage County.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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