VideoReport #454

Volume CDLIV—The Year Netflix Died

For the Week of 4/29/14

Videoport is local, independent, inexpensive, has the best selection anywhere, and the most knowledgeable staff in the world. Oh, and we give you a free movie every day. Yes—we are awesome, thanks for saying so.

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 original Star Wars trilogy (in Sci Fi/Fantasy).  In the 70s and 80s when they were produced, the first three Star Wars films mixed the welcome gritty realism of their everyday worlds with a fantasy of a technological world so far beyond our experience as to seem not just radically advanced but almost magical. In the desolate deserts of Tattoine, even a humble moisture-farmer’s nephew can afford a brace of second-hand droids to fix up, and a seedy privateer has the reputation of running the fastest ship in the galaxy. But technology moves on as the movies stay static (more or less, depending on George Lucas’ mood when reissues come out, she said snidely), and we’re slowly but surely catching up. When the world first saw Princess Leia’s plea to Obi-Wan Kenobi, the hologram message cached inside RD-2D seemed a distant dream, a technological marvel. But it’s becoming reality: politicians in Turkey and India have already used hologram technology to supplement their personal appearances because WE LIVE IN THE FUTURE NOW FOLKS WOWIE.

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 old-school anthologies of the weird. My childhood fondness for spooky shows never really left me; I have an apparently bottomless appetite for any series that promises a taste of the ghoulish or the grim or the cruelly ironic twist of fate. “The Twilight Zone” was (and is), of course, my unparalleled favorite, and Videoport boasts a well-stocked collection of Rod Serling’s classic. But if you, like me, have a taste for the eerie and the incongruous, a nostalgia for anthology chillers, you can take comfort in Videoport’s shelves. Here you’ll find Roald Dahl’s “Tales of the Unexpected,” “Ray Bradbury Theater,” or – for a dose of reality with a murderous sense of humor – “Alfred Hitchcock Presents.”

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 checking out some of the foreign TV series that Videoport’s been bringing in! You asked for these, and Videoport got ‘em. And they actually seem to be renting pretty well—foreign TV, who knew?

Lilyhammer. The Sopranos’ Steven Van Zandt stars as a very familiar-looking mobster who heads to remote Lillehammer, Norway to escape the wise guys out to kill him.

Detective DeLuca. An honest Italian cop tries to do his job in fascist WWII Rome in this mystery series.

Borgen. Everyone loves this Danish political series about that country’s first female prime minister.

The Returned. Super-spooky, eerily beautiful French supernatural series about a small mountain town thrown into collective shock when several deceased loved ones suddenly and inexplicably appear alive after years.

Hijos del Carnaval. From HBO Brazil comes this family drama about a father who runs both a samba school and an illegal lottery.

Wallander. Everyone loves this Swedish detective series about the most depressed copper in Scandinavia! (The British remake starring Kenneth Branagh’s pretty good, too.)

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 Pacific Rim (in Sci Fi/Fantasy). Big, dumb fun. I guess I was disappointed in this enormous, loud, sci fi monster movie

Idris, about to explain how much cooler he is to Charlie Hunnam.

Idris, about to explain how much cooler he is to Charlie Hunnam.

extravaganza, but that’s just because it was made by the great (if erratic) Guilermo del Toro. On it’s own, I had a great time. Sure, the lead is filled (sort of) by the terminally bland, dull, and unnecessary Charlie Hunnam (Sons Of Anarchy). And okay, maybe the script is dopey to the point of, well, dopiness. But who cares—giant robots smashing giant monsters! Del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth, The Devil’s Backbone) sure knows his way around special effects and visuals at this point, and anyone who ever loved Godzilla, Mothra, Gamera, Rodan, or any other of the classic Japanese monster flicks will be tickled silly. Sure, the monsters (or kaiju) are CGI now instead of big, rubbery suits, but del Toro knows how to make special effects look good, especially when they’re all hundreds of feet high and beating the crap out of each other and shooting lasers and breathing fire! Ahem—excuse me, got a little carried away there. The plot is thin (giant monsters are coming up from the ocean floor, we build giant robots to beat the crap out of them), the dialogue is often silly, but who cares. It’s got the impossibly cool Idris Elba snapping dialogue and making florid, silly speeches sound like the St. Crispin’s Day speech. It’s got Oscar nominee Rinko Kikuchi (Babel), and It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia’s Charlie Day for manic comic relief. And del Toro’s buddy Ron Perlman being all gruff and funny. And, dumb as Pacific Rim might be, it’s about 27 times as smart and entertaining as the Transformers movies smushed together. Did I mention giant robots fighting giant monsters?

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

>>> It’s free! It’s for kids! Or the very immature!

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

>>>For Saturday, Emily S. Customer recommends you slake your thirst for terror with modern horror film series. If you grew up with those familiar stories of the eerie and uneasy, you probably developed the same sentimental soft spot for the pleasures of a grown-up horror anthology. Videoport can help you out again; on these shelves, you’ll find a wealth of film series to tickle that nostalgia. HBO’s Masters of Horror series boasts such gems as Lucky McKee’s “Sick Girl,” starring Angela Bettis (also star of McKee’s excellent May). The After Dark film series is more hit-or-miss, but I especially liked The Abandoned, in which a film producer (Anastasia Hille) from the U.S. visits the Russian countryside where she was born, seeking some connection to the family she lost so many decades ago. Spanish-language series Six Films to Keep You Awake has perhaps the best track record, and I particularly loved the throw-back flavor of A Christmas Tale, the ‘80s-set story of a gaggle of kids who stumble across a Santa of sorts out in the middle of nowhere.

>>>For Sunday, Dennis suggests getting some serious free money at Videoport! I mean, you can do this any day, but since nobody gave me a Sunday review this week (send your reviews to denmn@hotmail.com—we’re all in this together, people!), I thought I’d use the space to remind everyone out there about Videoport’s too-good-to-be-true payment plans! Any time you want, you can pay $20 on your Videoport account and we’ll give you $25 worth of rental credit. And any time you pre-pay $30 on your account, we’ll give you $40 worth of rental credit. It’s 5 or 10 free bucks right there—all you’ve gotta do is pick it up, gang! The credit never expires or any of that nonsense, you can use it for rentals or any of those pesky extra day fees, and—did I mention?—it’s free-freaking-money! Call it 5 or 10 free dollars you would have spent here anyway, call it 20 or 25% off Videoport’s already so-low rental prices—call it anything you want. It’s still free money!

 

New Releases this week at Videoport: Escape From Tomorrow (somehow the Disney lawyer armada didn’t sue this movie to smithereens—odd, since it’s a horror movie about people being killed at Disneyworld! Filmed in secret, this is supposed to be really god. See it before Disney changes its mind!), Mr. Selfridge- season 2 (Jeremy Piven is back as the titular entrepreneur, an American who opened the first modern department store in London in the 1930s in this Masterpiece Theater period series), Devil’s Due (when a young husband decides to record his wife’s pregnancy on camera, he notices that things aren’t—how you say?—going well in this horror flick starring Friday Night Lights’ Zach Gilford, who just can’t catch a break…), Best Offer (romantic thriller about a buttoned-down art appraiser [Geoffrey Rush] whose life starts to come unglued when he’s asked to evaluate the art collection of a mysterious young woman who never lets him see her face), Dark Hearts (A pair of brothers get in over their heads when one of those sexy, mysterious young women comes into their lives in this thriller), Gimme Shelter (teen star Vanessa Hudgens tries to break into the grown up film world as an abused pregnant teen running from her drug-addicted mother Rosario Dawson; James Earl Jones and Brendan Fraser co-star, alongside some propaganda for Catholic teen shelters ), Gloria (crowd-pleasing Chilean film about a lonely fiftyish woman [Paulina Garcia] determined to find love in a world that won’t recognize what she’s still got to offer), The Rocket (acclaimed Cambodian film about a neglected boy who runs away and attempts to build a huge rocket for the upcoming rocket festival), The Selfish Giant (two outcast British boys sell scrap metal and try to befriend an older boy in the same boat; based on a fable by Oscar Wilde), At Any Price (from acclaimed director Raman Bahrani [Chop Shop, Man Push Cart, Goodbye Solo] comes this family drama about a beleaguered farmer [Dennis Quaid] struggling to keep the family business afloat and warring with his son [Zac Efron] who wants to be a NASCAR driver), Trap For Cinderella (strange, sexy indie thriller sees a fun-loving London photographer meeting up with a childhood friend—and then things get disturbing), Better Living Through Chemistry (the ever-cool Sam Rockwell stars in this indie comedy about a mild-mannered pharmacist who finds his stuffy life turned upside down when sexy, possibly crazy Olivia Wilde sweeps him off on a joyride of debauchery), Great Expectations (a new adaptation of the Charles Dickens novel about a tormented orphan, escaped criminals, unrequited love, and a spooky lady in a wedding dress [played, inevitably, by Helena Bonham Carter]), Wrong Cops (weirdo director Quentin Dupieux is back with a sort-of sequel/spinoff from last year’s bizarre Wrong, this time focusing on that film’s police who are, as the title implies, very, very bad at their jobs; think Super Troopers made by David Lynch…), Seduced And Abandoned (fascinating, infuriating documentary follows maverick filmmaker James Toback [Fingers, Tyson, Black And White] and Alec Baldwin as they schmooze their way through the bigwigs at the Cannes Film Festival trying to drum up financing for their proposed sexy political thriller), The Legend Of Hercules (Kellan Lutz, that nice, hunky, seemingly not-too-bright lad from the Twilight movies, bulks up and straps on some sandals as Hercules! He’s…strong and stuff!), Labor Day (Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin star in this drama from Jason Reitman about a single mother who takes in a wounded ex-con and ill-advisedly falls in love with him while the police close in)

New Arrivals at Videoport: Housesitter (someone out there has been requesting Videoport replace this Steve Martin/Goldie Hawn comedy about a kooky woman and a strait-laced architect; so we did! Pester us—you’ll get what you want!), Men Don’t Leave (Jessica Lange starred in this 1990 dramedy about a widowed mother of two forced to go back to work after the death of her husband), When A Man Loves A Woman (did you know former SNL writer/current Senator Al Franken wrote this “drinking is bad” melodrama starring Meg Ryan and Andy Garcia? Well now you do.), A King In New York (late-career Charles Chaplin drama about a deposed European monarch in New York, where he becomes an accidental TV star and is accused of being a Commie), A Woman Of Paris (early Charles Chaplin drama about a kept woman [Edna Purviance] torn between her former fiancée and her current life of comfort)

 

New Arrivals on Blu-Ray This Week At Videoport: Misery, The Postman Always Rings Twice (Nicholson/Lange), Night Of The Demons,

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!

Get your movies duplicated at Videoport!

You guys know we can make copies of your DVDs and VHSes at Videoport, right? No, it can’t be anything copyrighted (that’s sort of what that word means), so you’ll just have to buy another copy of Weekend At Bernie’s to replace that VHS you’ve played so often it finally shredded itself. But home movies or anything not copyrighted? We can do it! $10 bucks a pop and little Susie’s dance recital can be copied and sent to every relative on your Christmas card list!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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