VideoReport #502

Volume DII—DII Another Day

For the Week of 3/31/15

 Videoport gives you a free movie every single day. Netfl*x keeps having pizzas delivered to your house that you didn’t even order. 

 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 $7.99!

>>>Andy suggests Ernest & Celestine (in the Animation section). Sufferers of seasonal depression, I have a movie to boost your spirits! Ernest & Celestine is a French animated film about the unlikely friendship between Ernest, a grumpy, street busking bear, and Celestine, an orphan mouse who is an apprentice dentist, but would prefer to be an artist. It is a simple but heartfelt, beautifully animated, and sometimes kinda weird story about art, music, friendship, and teeth. The DVD ernest_celestine_posterfeatures an excellent English language audio track featuring the voices of Forest Whitaker, Lauren Bacall, Paul Giamatti, William H. Macy, Jeffrey Wright, and Nick Offerman. Besides being a sweet and heartwarming movie that might make you forget about your seasonal woes, I also recommend Ernest & Celestine for one lovely and inspired scene. Ernest the bear and Celestine the mouse, at this point in the movie [spoiler alert] established friends, are feeling cooped up in their snow covered house, so Ernest puts a hole in the snow so Celestine can paint a picture of the world outside. She paints a couple of curves on a white canvas and, voila: a snowy landscape! Then the audience is transported onto the canvas and the painted lines of the picture are accompanied by mournful music that quickly becomes joyful as Celestine’s brush introduces splashes of color to represent the season changing to spring. The scene successfully transitions us to a vibrant spring landscape and, I swear, in the span of just a couple minutes, my mindset also uplifted from gloomy winter to hopeful spring. I recommend Ernest & Celestine in the hope that you, beloved Videoport customer, have a similar experience. And, if not, well… it’s still a nice movie about a mouse and a bear.

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 $7.99!

>>>Hey independent video store heroes! Here’s your list of all the movies that Netfl*x has decided to take away from its customers for no reason whatsoever for the month of April! As ever, they are all available at Videoport, always. Because only a company that doesn’t care about you at all would just take movies away from you!

  • The Amityville Horror (1979)
  • Annie (1982)
  • The Cable Guy (1996)
  • Chalet Girl (2011)
  • Clue (1985)
  • Coneheads (1993)
  • Friday the 13th (1980)
  • Friday the 13th: Part 2 (1981)
  • Friday the 13th: Part 3 (1982)
  • Friday the 13th: Part 4: The Final Chapter (1984)
  • Friday the 13th: Part 6: Jason Lives (1986)
  • Friday the 13th: Part 8: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)
  • Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)
  • Get Shorty (1995)
  • Good Morning, Vietnam (1987)
  • Guess Who (2005)
  • Inventing the Abbotts (1997)
  • Jane Eyre (1944)
  • Jeepers Creepers (2001)
  • Jeepers Creepers 2 (2003)
  • The Karate Kid (1984)
  • The Karate Kid Part II (1986)
  • The Karate Kid Part III (1989)
  • Les Miserables (1935)
  • Madeline (1989)
  • Miral (2011)
  • Murder by Numbers (2002)
  • Mystic Pizza (1988)
  • Mystic River (2003)
  • Pee­wee’s Big Adventure (1985)
  • Philadelphia (1993)
  • The Quick and the Dead (1995)
  • Reindeer Games (2000)
  • Sense and Sensibility (1995)
  • Shadow of the Vampire (2000)
  • Sleeping Beauty (2011)
  • Taking Lives (2004)
  • The Whole Nine Yards (2000)

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 $7.99!  

>>> Dennis suggests Primary Colors (in Comedy). What with Hillary Clinton about to put herself through the thoroughly undignified hellstorm that is the American election cycle, why not revisit this dramedy about a suspiciously Bill and Hillary-esque presidential candidate and his wife. Based on an initially anonymous novel (it was reporter Joe Klein), the movie should be a broadly mean-spirited affair, what with the candidate eating donuts and sleeping around and all, but the film (from director Mike Nichols) is both much more thoughtful and nuanced than you’d expect, especially since Governeor Jack Stanton is played by John Travolta. But, honestly, it’s the best thing I’ve ever seen the guy do—a consummate politician, Travolta’s Stanton is both clumsily weak in his personal life and remarkably self-aware about what it takes to actually become president. And, as the Hillary of the piece, the great Emma Thompson is, well, great, her American accent the least of her accomplishments. Her Susan Stanton, too, is unexpectedly poignant in her willingness to make the sacrifices necessary for her and her husband’s ultimate goal. Along with Travolta and Thompson, there’s an absurdly stellar supporting cast, too, with British actor Adrian Lester playing American as the George Stephanopoulos-like advisor, losing his innocence as the film goes on, Billy Bob Thornton (think James Carville) as the wily, garrulous Southern campaign manager, and a heartbreaking Kathy Bates, as the longtime operative and Stanton friend who puts her mental problems and disillusionment in the process on hold to “bust dust” as the campaign’s fixer. Coming from such dubious source, Primary Colors the movie is something like a funny American tragedy, just in time for election season to ramp up the shrill, childish, soul-sucking nonsense once again.

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 $7.99!                                        

>>>Dennis suggests Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War On Journalism (in Documentary). With Jon Stewart leaving The outfoxed-rupert-murdochs-war-on-journalism-movie-poster-2004-1020227487Daily Show, it’s time for the rest of us to keep up the mockery of the mockery of journalism that is Fox News, so what better way than by renting this infuriating documentary outlining how a “news” channel tyrannically run by a right wing billionaire plutocrat panders to the darkest, most shameful prejudices of white America all the while call itself “fair and balanced.” The thing the movie does so deftly is make the case that even a conservative (assuming he/she has a conscience) should be ashamed at how shamelessly Fox News employs intellectual dishonesty to further racist, sexist, homophobic, poor-hating ideas in the guise of “saying what everyone’s really thinking.” (Just a note: no one who has ever said that has then said anything I have ever thought, ever.) Be a conservative if that’s your thing, but be intellectually honest about it. (What The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, and John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight have always done so brilliantly is to highlight hypocrisy, which is Fox News’ only strategy to whip up the worst instincts of its viewing audience.) Murdoch—the closest we have to a real life Montgomery Burns, minus the sense of humor—is a rich a-hole pretending to speak for poor, frustrated (white) America, which is a dishearteningly neat trick. And so he created a network which essentially gives unfettered access to the airwaves to the sort of bigoted, narcissistic loudmouths everyone rolls their eyes at when they’re ranting in public. Rent Outfoxed—as Monty Burns might say, it’ll angry up the blood. (Fun fact about “fairness and balance”: Murdoch’s many newspapers wouldn’t run any advertising for the movie. Because that’s how intellectual courage works.)

Free Kids Friday! One free rental from the Kids section, no other rental necessary! OR get any three non-new releases for a week for $7.99!          

>>> It’s a free kids movie! There are a lot to choose from! For free!   

Having a Wild Weekend! Rent two movies, and get a third one for free from any section! OR get any three non-new releases for a week for $7.99!                                            

>>>For Saturday, Dennis suggests Haywire (in Mystery/Thriller). When director Steven Soderbergh decides to make a straightforward action movie, the results deliver everything you could really want and a few fringe benefits as well. In this tale of an ass-kicking female spy kicking her way up the espionage ladder after a double-cross, Soderbergh is both restrained and inventive, not throwing in anything you wouldn’t see in a standard action flick of the type while applying a sure hand to every aspect of the proceedings. Casting mixed martial arts fighter/non-actress Gina Carano as his leading lady is a risky move that pays off—Carano doesn’t look or sound like and actress, but Soderbergh and screenwriter Lem Dobbs (Soderbergh’s The Limey) wisely makes her character a no-nonsense woman of few words, and lets her do what they really brought her there to do—destroy dudes. There’s a crisp professionalism to the film, as expected from Soderbergh, and he employs a nicely incongruous 70s-style funk score at times during the chases, but the fight scenes are all silence and thudding sounds, and gasps of pain, with Carano very convincingly running roughshod over some of Hollywood’s leading action heroes. (No spoilers, but the cast includes the likes of Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender, and Channing Tatum.) Unlike the choreographed haymaker-fests of your Stallones, your Schwarzeneggers, and the like, these scenes are ruthlessly efficient, the brutally businesslike actions of people who kill other people for a living and who are fighting for their lives with ever move. Haywire makes me hope that Soderbergh just has a master list of movie genres he wants to reinvigorate.

>>>For SundayGet some free money at Videoport! Yup, free money. Put $20 on your Videoport account, and we give interstellar3you $25 in store credit. And a pre-pay of $30 gets you $40 in store credit! That…is free money, people.

>>>Emily S. Customer has a marathon suggestion for you: Mad Men (in Feature Drama!) The final half-season of Mad Men starts on Sunday, which means you jussssssst enough time to shotgun the first six-and-a-half seasons if you start right now and take minimal breaks for sustenance and rest. Knock ‘em back! No time for ruminations on the subtlety of masterful narrative! Don’t dilly-dally around wondering how the Emmy voters have so often overlooked the sensitive portrayals, making sometimes unsympathetic characters so affecting and even endearing! Start now and get through all 85 episodes just in time!

New Releases this week at Videoport: Interstellar (Inception’s Christopher Nolan The-Imitation-Game-Final-Postergoes even more sci-fi with this visual spectacle about Matthew McConaughey setting off on a last-ditch effort to find another world to save a humanity dying off due to a global drought/global warming situation), The Imitation Game (Everyone’s boyfriend Benedict Cumberbach stars as legendary, legendarily screwed-over mathematician Alan Turing who, after basically winning World War II by cracking the German codes, was persecuted into infamy because he was gay. Classy move, British government.), WildMonster High Haunted (It’s for kids! A spooky girl goes back to find out why her old high school is being haunted. All I know is it involves veep-3deg-temporada_t85427_jpg_210x312_crop_upscale_q90something called “boogey sand,” take that as you will), Wild (Reese Witherspoon stars in this adaptation of the memoir by a woman who undertook a thousand mile solo hike to work out some things after a tragedy), Veep- season 3 (Julie Louis-Dreyfus returns in this stellar HBO comedy series about Selina Meyer, a career-minded Outcast_Poster-27x39-OL-01-708x1024politician stuck in the most meaningless political position of all—Vice President of the United States. Great supporting cast and consistently smart, mean spirited writing from creator Armando Iannucci, who also did the excellent British series The Thick Of It [available in the British Comedy section, of course]), Outcast (Nicholas Cage dons his hair extensions and leather once again, this time playing a warrior helping a Chinese warlord fight his silicon-valley-poster-hboevil brother. Why is Cage [and Hayden Christensen, of all people] fighting in ancient China? These are questions you just shouldn’t ask…), Silicon Valley- season 1 (Another excellent HBO comedy series, this time from Mike Judge [Office Space, Idiocracy] about a gaggle of computer geeks attempting to become the software moguls they feel themselves destined to be. Great cast, including Martin Starr, Kumail Nanjiani,T.J. Miller, and the late Christopher Evan Welch), NTSF:SD:SUV- ntsf_sd_suv_paul_shipperseason 1 (Paul Scheer [The League, Human Giant] stars in this very funny/bonkers parody of police procedural/terrorism TV shows. By the way, he title stands for National Terrorism Strike Force: San Diego: Sport Utility Vehicle)

 special-id-2013-01New Arrivals On Blu Ray This Week At Videoport: Special ID (Marital arts legend Donnie Yen [Hero, IP Man] stars in this over-the-top Chinese action flick about a cop going undercover in the criminal underworld only to face off with his former friend/protégé)

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