VideoReport #452

Volume CDLII-The Return Of Tax Day: The De-Walleting

For the Week of 4/15/14

 Videoport give you a free movie every single day. Just to repeat: free movie. Every single day. Any questions? Good—now get rentin’.

 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 Hannibal (in Mystery/Thriller.) If you’re watching Bryan Fuller’s audacious “Hannibal” – and you are, aren’t you? – now is an excellent time to rewatch the first season. In addition to creating the most artful, dreadful, intoxicating television in years, maybe

Soooo  much better than you think...

Soooo much better than you think…

decades, Fuller is a masterful plotter, laying subtle groundwork for the second season’s actions and revelations in even the first few episodes of S1. Here’s a spoiler-free hint at the kind of background the show lays down: at the mid-point of S2, the show revealed (as this reviewwill not) what precisely was in Hannibal’s cellar to shock a seasoned FBI agent, but meticulously attentive viewers already knew, because as early as the very first episode, the show began describing techniques and layering in suggestive motifs and symbols. Bryan Fuller’s attention to the long arc elevates “Hannibal” from just an arty thriller to a work of art.

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 Arrow (in Action/Adventure.) Look, I was as skeptical as the next aging comics nerd when this show was announced on the CW, the WB, or whatever second-string tv network that is. Not only was it advertised as being along the lines of the dreadful Smallville (the younger days of a DC superhero), but, like Smallville, it also starred a male model whose super-sexy abs were the focus of much of the pre-air publicity. Plus, unlike Superman, it was about one of the DC Comics second-stringers, Green Arrow. I love the second stringers and Green Arrow—a millionaire playboy who, um, is really good at shooting arrows—is one of my favorites. But somehow, this show works like Smallville never did. Introducing elements of the DC Universe not currently snapped up my the lawyers of the major studios (hello, Suicide Squad, Deadshot, Deathstroke, Huntress, Bronze Tiger, the Flash), the show is energetic, witty, and, even with the aforementioned ab-factory Stephen Amell in the lead as Ollie Queen/Arrow, compelling for nerds and the rest of you alike. And sure, Amell’s “secret identity” being protected by a smudge of eye makeup and a voicebox isn’t especially convincing, but give the show a chance anyway.

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 Bob’s Burgers (in Comedy). The best sitcom on TV right now (yeah, I said it) is this shaggy, unheralded animated comedy about a family that runs a tiny, unassuming burger joint in a small New England tourist town. Very few American television comedies deal with class as an essential ingredient, and the hardscrabble Belchers (for ‘tis their unfortunate name) are, like the Conners of Roseanne), just barely getting by. It’s surprising more shows don’t incorporate that element into their world, really—here, Bob (voiced by the brilliant Jon Benjamin) is a regular husband and dad trying to keep his business afloat. That means that when the usual sitcom conflicts come up, he’s got to balance his innate desires and instincts to do the right thing by his family and as a man with the material considerations of making rent and making sure his family has a roof over their heads. (They live in an apartment over the restaurant.) And the more we get to know Bob, a classic everyman with a hot streak and a keen eye for nonsense, the more we come to sympathize with the dilemmas his life and family constantly put him in. And what a family—there’s his wife Linda, loving and eccentric, and constantly trying to prod the exhausted Bob into some of her enthusiasm. Daughter Louise, manic and weird and always wearing a pink bunny ears hat (and voiced with manic glee by the great Kristen Schaal). There’s son Eugene, also manic and weird, and obsessed with bodily functions and prone to outbursts of creative enthusiasm (played perfectly by Eugene Mirman). And, stealing the show, there’s eldest daughter Tina (voiced by Dan Mintz) who, on the cusp of adolescence, rides her strange, obsessive flights of erotic fantasy to some very funny places. It’s weird to say, but this character (voiced by a dude) is one of the most insightful and hilarious female characters on television. I know that doesn’t make sense, but Tina Belcher is less the product of a guy’s voice and a couple of drawn lines and more a very specific and funny person of her own. This is a great show which only gets better the more you watch it.

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!            

>>> Emily S. Customer says: When I was a little kid, back in the dark days before VCRs, we had to rely on television rebroadcasts to see our favorite films, and a handful of films were shown nation-wide on certain holidays. My childhood memories of The Wizard of Oz are also memories of chocolate bunnies and jelly beans, of picking cellophane “grass” off the blanket we snuggled under (and pulled over our heads when the flying monkeys appeared). It’s hard now, in our text-rich environment where we can watch almost anything at any time on our magical pocket-phones, to imagine having to wait a whole year to watch a childhood favorite, and I’m not saying the relative paucity of choice in the ‘70s and early 80s was better; on the contrary, I revel in the wide availability of choices we have now. But it’s worth recognizing the trade-offs that we make for this abundance. One thing we’ve lost: that commonality, the shared experience of seeing and savoring a cherished film, of those happy, frivolous memories forming and washing over whole swathes of a generation at the same time. That experience is gone, and I don’t suppose it will come back in my lifetime.

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

>>>For Saturday, Dennis suggests some Justice League! Forget all this Marvel Comics big screen domination—good ol’ DC Comics is where it’s at! Do, not with their big screen movies—god, no. Apart from Christopher Nolan’s Batman stuff (which are hardly superhero movies at all), DC has gotten its spandex-clad butt seriously handed to it as far as live action movies go. They screwed up Green Lantern, botched Superman—twice in the last decade—and handing the keys to the upcoming Batman/Superman crossover movie to Zack Snyder seems like a very, very dumb idea. Nope, for true DC Comics greatness, I’s direct you to the animation and kids sections, where the DC animation wing have quietly built up a pretty impressive resume. In the kids section, you’ll find the Justice League and Justice League Unlimited series, where the greatest superhero team in history (yeah—suck it, Avengers, bite me, X-Men) ply their noble trade in cartoon adventures as energetically animated and acted as they are written. There’s a truly shocking number of good actors on board in the series, voicing heroes and villains alike, and the stories they tell, drawing liberally from some of the best JL comics, are surprisingly mature and nuanced. (Look for the likes of Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Jeffrey Combs, Keri Russell, Carl Lumbley, Kevin Conroy, Mark Hammill, and more). Plus, look for the appearances of some of the lesser known DC heroes—like The Question, Vixen, Elongated Man, Booster Gold, Wildcat, and more.This ain’t the Super Friends, people. Over in the Animation section, things get even a little more grown-up, with the series of JLA feature length films. More great voice acting, more violence, even a few PG-13 ratings—this is good stuff. (Marvel’s cartoon offerings pale in comparison—although their live action movies are better and make about one jillion dollars. So what—DC forever! Who’s with me! Anyone?)

>>>For Sunday, Emily S. Customer suggests a double-holiday triple feature! This Sunday is Easter, sure. It’s also 4/20. I don’t observe either holiday, but for those of you who do, we’ve got the weekend laid out. For Easter, let’s have the classic giant-bunny three-pack: Donnie DarkoSexy Beast, and Harvey, a tonally diverse series of stories to give you shivers, laughs, and a little dose of whimsey. For 4/20 celebrants… actually, imma say, yeeeeah, same three-pack: Donnie Darko, Sexy Beast, and Harvey.

>>>Emily S. Customer suggests The Nightmare Before Christmas (in Feature Drama.) The Easter Bunny’s a skittish beast, infrequently captured on film, and even when he (she? gender is both hard to determine in such a poorly documented creature and, y’know, not the most interesting aspect of a giant immortal rabbit that creeps into your home at night to leave candy) is, the appearances are fleeting. In The Nightmare Before Christmas, Jack Skellington sends his minions to kidnap – ahem, I mean retrieve – Santa Claus, whose sage tutelage Jack hopes will inspire fresh enthusiasm and artistry in the denizens of Halloween Town. But when his ghastly henchmen return, it’s not Santa they have in their sack. One guess who it is, and really one should be enough.


New Releases this week at Videoport: Philomena (everybody’s mom wants to see this one [mine sure does], a touching drama about the real life journey of an old woman trying to discover the child she was forced by the Catholic church to give up as an unwed pregnant woman long ago; Judi Dench and Steve Coogan star), The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller stars in this big budget adaptation of the James Thurber story about a lonely daydreamer whose escapes into fantasy cast him as a daring hero adventurer; when his love for a coworker [Kristen Wiig] and his job are threatened, he has to be that hero in real life, etc), The Nut Job (everyone made fun of this cheap-looking animated comedy about squirrels trying to steal nuts and so forth, but your kids are gonna make you watch it; sorry…), Ride Along (Kevin Hart and Ice Cube star in this comedy about a high school security guard and wannabe cop who tries to impress his tough cop prospective brother-in-law by going on a dangerous ride along! Hart’s funny!), The Bletchley Circle- season 2 (the BBC mystery series about a group of female former WWII codebreakers who band together to solve crime continues!), Interior. Leather Bar. (James Franco’s strange movie career continues to lurch all over the place, this time with this semi-truthful depiction of the legendary behind-the-scenes filming of the infamous 1980 Al Pacino thriller Cruising), Life Of A King (Cuba Gooding Jr. stars in this inspirational biopic about an ex-con who sets up a chess club for troubled, inner city kids in Washington DC), Flowers In The Attic (Ellen Burstyn and Heather Graham star in this new adaptation of the creepy VC Andrews thriller about a group of siblings forced to endure the psychotic cruelty of their grandmother after their father’s death), Mobius (great cast [Tim Roth, Jean Dujardin] star in this thriller about a Russian agent ill-advisedly falling for the American banker he’s assigned to spy on),The Making Of A Lady (from Frances Burnett Hodgson, author of The Secret Garden, comes this BBC period drama about a poor but spirited young woman who accepts a nobleman’s proposal of marriage and gets swept up into one of those rich family webs of madness and intrigue you read about in old novels), The Invisible Woman (Ralph Fiennes and Felicity Jones star in this drama about the latter days of Charles Dickens, when he threw over his long-suffering wife in favor of a teenaged actress; it’s a love story!)



New Arrivals at Videoport: The Group (Sidney Lumet directed this 1966 drama about a group of eight young women graduating from Vassar in 1933 and coping with post-graduate life up until WWII; starring the likes of Candace Bergen, Joan Hackett, Jessica Walter, Shirley Knight, and Elizabeth Hartman)


New Arrivals on Blu-Ray This Week At Videoport: Better Living Through Chemistry (the ever-cool Sam Rockwell stars in this indie comedy as a mild-mannered pharmacist who finds his stuffy life turned upside down when sexy, possibly crazy Olivia Wilde sweeps him into a joyride of debauchery), August: Osage County, Paranormal Activity 5: The Marked Ones, The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug, The Nut Job, Philomena, Ride Along, The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty, Grudge Match, Breaking The Waves, Invisible Woman. 



Free parking at Videoport! The parking lot behind the building is free for customers after 5PM on weekdays and all days on the weekends. Also, we can get you a free hour of parking at any downtown parking garage (including the courthouse garage which is, like, a one minute walk away). Just ask for one of our magic stickers!











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