VideoReport #459

Volume CDLIX—The Return Of Captain Ron!

For the Week of 6/3/14

 

Videoport gives you a free movie every single day. Who doesn’t want a free movie? Free movies are like free happiness. Therefore, Videoport makes you happy. Every single day.

 

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 diegetic musicals. I was listening idly to Judge John Hodgman podcast #158 when out of nowhere he invoked one of the great canards of musical theater: that musicals require character to break inexplicably into song through some flight of fancy that tests the audience’s suspension of disbelief, and that any film deviating from this model is by definition not a musical. To this I say “bosh.” BOSH, I SAY. In evidence, I offer a roster of indisputable musicals that rely heavily on diegetic song-and-dance numbers. Singin’ in the Rain, Stanley Donen’s much-admired 1952 musical featuring songs thriftily salvaged from MGM’s ’20s and ’30s songbook vaults, takes advantage of its Roaring ’20s setting and Hollywood triple-threat characters to full effect. These high-stepping hoofers belt out their songs to and with each other, whether it’s on stage, in practice, or a way to sublimate their true feelings into a performance, and often break into a peppy dance to boot. Cabaret takes place in a seedy pre-war Berlin nightspot whose denizens express in song everything from their doomed romantic intrigues to the burgeoning anxieties of rising fascism. in “Once More with Feeling,” the musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the unwilling performance of musical numbers is visited upon the city of Sunnydale by a mystical curse that only the Slayer can break — or so our heroes hope. Hedwig and the Angry Inch features Hedwig (director and co-writer John Cameron Mitchell) as a former Army wife and expatriate lounge singer crooning out her heart and soul or crowing in the finest glam-rock tradition. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes follows showgirls Lorelai Lee (Marilyn Monroe) and Dorothy Shaw (Jane Russell) on their luxury-liner cruise to Paris, and many of the splashy musical numbers are straight from Dorothy & Lorelai’s stage show. Admittedly, some of these musicals also include non-diegetic musical numbers. It’s true: I don’t reeeeeally think we live in a world where Dorothy Shaw strutted around the ocean liner’s on-board gymnasium ogling men and wailing “Isn’t Anyone Here for Love?,” nor that the Parisian street urchins gathered ‘round Dorothy and Lorelai for a spontaneous jazz-inspired dance number… but, boy howdy, I wish we did.

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 some of the new arrivals on DVD at Videoport! First, head over the VHS sale bin—we just cleared out a ton of well-loved Classics and they’re looking for a good home. Then head over to the Classics section and see the new old stuff we’ve brought in to replace them. Stuff like The Pawnbroker (1964) about, well, pawnbroker Rod Steiger whose experiences in a Nazi death camp prevent him from connecting with the people of his New York neighborhood. Or The Group (1966), also directed by Sidney Lumet, about a, well, group of 1933 Vassar College graduates whose friendships are tested over the ensuing decades. Starring the likes of Candice Bergen, Shirley Knight, Elizabeth Hartman, Joan Hackett, and Jessica Walter. Then zoom over to The Loved One (1965), director Tony Richardson’s utterly bananas dark comedy about a young man (Mad Men’s Robert Morse) who learns the hard way just how twisted the California funeral business is. Also starring Rod Steiger—apparently, Videoport can’t get enough Steiger! Then there’s the DVD release of Father Goose (1964) with Cary Grant’s contented beach bum forced to care for Leslie Caron and her gaggle of schoolgirls when they’re shipwrecked on his desert island. He also helps win WWII! And since we’re all about Cary Grant on DVD as well, check out the shiny new release of 1948’s Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, where Grant and Myrna Loy find out that their dream suburban house comes with a hefty price tag. It’s 1940’s The Money Pit!

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 end of the world—from all over the world! I love when the world ends. In movie form anyway. And while we in America usually prefer our apocalypses to come in the form of giant CGI catastrophes with Nicholas Cage screaming and running away from them, the foreign section shows that elsewhere things end a lot more eccentrically. There’s Hell (from Germany) where some very sunburnt survivors of global warming try to find things to drink in a sun-scorched wasteland crawling with opportunistic plunderers and rapists. There’s Time Of The Wolf (from France), where Isabelle Huppert tries to keep her family alive in another blighted future hellscape full of seriously unfriendly survivor types and enigmatic dangers, seemingly all centering on a mysterious train. Staying in France, there’s Luc Besson’s Le Dernier Combat, where a lone survivor of another genuinely eccentric and insane apocalypse where rocks fall from the sky, a psychotic Jean Reno is not to be trusted, and there’s only one word of dialogue since everyone has been struck mute. More French apocalypse with Delicatessen, a black comedy about a post-apocalyptic Paris where the tenants of a rundown boarding house wonder where the proprietor keeps getting all this fresh meat when the world is starving. And, hey, where’s everyone disappearing to? And what about Stalker (from Russia), where an unnamed man makes his treacherous way through the wasteland on a quest to the mysterious Zone. As strange and mesmerizing an apocalypse as you’re gonna get. Nicholas Cage does not appear.

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 A Canadian apocalypse! Why should Europeans have all the end of the world fun? Head to the Drama section and pick up Last Night, the beautifully strange and melancholy (and oddly funny) film from writer/director/star Don McKellar (Slings & Arrows, the similarly apocalyptic Blindness). Everyone in a Canadian city knows that the world is going to end at midnight. We follow McKellar’s sad Patrick as he spends his last night dealing with a number of friends, family, and strangers, all of whom are preparing for the end of it all in their own, often surprising ways. When he reluctantly leaves his apartment in order to help the distressed Sandra Oh, their lonely stories merge into something strikingly beautiful and, yes, very, very sad. Along for the final ride are the likes of Sarah Polley, famed horror director David Cronenberg (acting), Callum Keith Rennie, and the ever-luminous Genevieve Bujold. As befitting its setting, Last Night is something of a polite apocalypse—which somehow makes it all the more haunting.

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

>>> “A free movie—for children?! Why, back in my day, children worked in the fields all day and played with sticks to entertain themselves! Bah!”

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

>>>For Saturday, Emily S. Customer sets you straight: Little Foxes is William Wyler’s 1941 drama (adapted from the Lillian Hellman play of the same name) detailing the backbiting and manipulations of a fin de siecle Southern family (including Bette Davis, Herbert Marshall, and Teresa Wright) all scheming to control the family’s money and destiny. Foxes is a bawdy 1980 coming-of-age tale directed by Adrian Lyne (Lolita9 ½ WeeksFatal Attraction) in which a quartet of girls (Jodie Foster, Cherie Currie, Marilyn Kagan, Kandice Stroh) seek to escape the troubles of home and school in a haze of drinking, drugs, and the decadence of late-70s SoCal culture. Adding to the understandable confusion is the out-of-print 1980 title Little Darlings, a bawdy and exploitative coming-of-age tale in which two 15-year old girls at summer camp (Kristy McNichol & Tatum O’Neal) compete to rid themselves of their virginity first. Yeeeah, that one doesn’t appear to be available on DVD, which is… just fine.

>>>For Sunday, Dennis suggests The Manhattan Project (in Mystery/Thriller.) You should pair this one up with WarGames (in Drama) for a “precocious teenager almost destroys the world by being a science geek in the 1980s” double feature. In this one, Christopher Collet (Sleepaway Camp, not much else) stars as a science whiz who discovers that his mom’s new boyfriend is clearly working on a secret nuclear project in the government facility in his town. And so he decides to steal some of the nuclear material therein in order to make his own nuclear bomb. He just plans to win the science fair with it—and make sure everyone knows that the government is up to some shady business in suburbia, but things go very wrong. For all the potential nuclear holocaust, the film’s smart and light on its feet, and sort of funny. Written by Marshall Brickman (who co-wrote Annie Hall, for God’s sake), The Manhattan Project is a wholesomely exciting flick, not unlike WarGames, where it’s Matthew Broderick as a computer expert teen who hacks into a top secret government computer only to accidentally set off a doomsday clock when said computer can’t differentiate between the kid’s simulated nuclear war games and the real thing. In each film, the nerdy guy’s got a cute, spunky girl to help him out (and swap spit)—Broderick’s got Ally Sheedy, while Collett’s got Sex And The City’s Cynthia Nixon, and things turn out okay in the end. Fun double feature.

 

New Releases this week at Videoport: RoboCop (it’s some sort of robot cop…a Robocop, if you will. Sure, there was probably no reason to remake the still-awesome 1987 original, but this one—starring Gary Oldman, Michael K. Williams, Samuel L. Jackson, Jackie Earle Haley, Jennifer Ehle, and that guy from The Killing—should be some bloody fun), Lone Survivor (Mark Wahlberg stars in this fact based action flick about four soldiers on a mission to assassinate a Taliban leader; from the title, I’m gonna go ahead and predict that all four of them come out of it juuuuuust fine…), Journey To The West: Conquering The Demons (Chinese superstar actor/writer/director Stephen Chow [think The God Of Cookery, Kung Fu Hustle, Shaolin Soccer, CJ7] returns with another funny, exciting, and very weird action adventure about a young guy trying to woo his lady love and protect his village from invading demons; plus, he meets The Monkey King! The Monkey King!), Workaholics- season 4 (Ders, Blake, and Adam, the worst employees and best friends in the world return in this intermittently hilarious sitcom about a trio of stoner super-slackers doing gross stuff), The Motel Life (Stephen Dorff, Emile Hirsch, Dakota Fanning, and Kris Kristofferson star in this indie drama about a pair of brothers who hole up in a dingy Reno motel room after they’re involved in a hit and run accident), Falling Skies- season 3 (Noah Wylie returns as the leader of the ragtag human resistance movement in this sci fi series about really gross aliens that have taken over the planet), Black Out (Dutch action thriller about a career criminal who wakes up next to a dead guy on the morning of his wedding and has to race to find the Mob’s missing cocaine; Dutch people can make sleazy action crime thrillers too, you guys…), 24 Exposures (acclaimed indie writer/director Joe Swanberg [Drinking Buddies, LOL, Hannah Takes The Stairs, Kissing On The Mouth] brings out this dark crime tale about a photographer whose erotic works make him a suspect when one of his models turns up dead; check out Videoport’s Incredibly Strange section for this one!), Run & Jump (Will Forte [Nebraska] continues his foray into dramatic leading man territory with this indie drama about an American doctor who travels to Ireland to study a man with a rare disorder, and becomes involved with the man’s dynamic wife), 17 Girls (based on a true story from New Bedford, Massachusetts, this French drama examines the reasons why every 17 year old girl in town decided to get pregnant at the same time), Afterlife- season 1 (Andrew Lincoln [from The Walking Dead] stars in this British horror series about a professor who becomes convinced that a troubled woman is an actual psychic—especially when some serious spookiness starts happening)

 

New Arrivals This Week At Videoport: Scooby Doo: The Wrestlemania Mystery (have you ever wanted to see Scooby and the gang team up with WWE superstar John Cena to solve a mystery? If so, then you are to blame for the fact that this exists), Same Time Next Year (Alan Alda and Ellen Burstyn play a pair of unhappily married lovers who continue to cheat on their respective spouses every year on the same date for decades. It’s a love story! For cheaters!), aaaaaand Captain Ron! It’s back on DVD! You’re welcome!

New Arrivals on Blu-Ray This Week At Videoport: RoboCop, Lone Survivor

 

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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