Volume DVII— Zero Dark Thirty-One
For the Week of 5/5/15
Videoport gives you a free movie every single day. No one could have a problem with that. Unless they didn’t like movies, I guess. But, then, why are they here in the first place? Really confusing stuff. Take a free movie while we figure this out.
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!
>>> Emily S. Customer suggests a Monday Mother’s Day Double Feature! For Middle Aisle Monday, take a terrifying trip through maternity in preparation for Mother’s Day. Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby and David Cronenberg’s The Brood convey the sublimated terror lurking in the experience of pregnancy and childbirth. Paranoia and terror creep in all around Rosemary (Mia Farrow), crowding into the sunny days of her young marriage and throwing gloomy shadows across the freshly-painted walls of her handsome New York City apartment. The film hinges on a simple question: Is Rosemary’s imagination running away with her, or is something larger than mere maternal anxiety at play in her seemingly simple life? In Cronenberg’s cult favorite, Nola (Samantha Eggar) is fighting her ex for custody of their daughter, and seeking intense (and worryingly radical) treatments at The Somafree Institute, transforming the pain of her divorce and longer-buried traumas through a new therapy called psychodynamics — with startling results. Just how gruesome a Mother’s Day are you looking forward to, anyhow?
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!
>>>It’s another Mother’s Day Double Feature from Emily S. Customer! Mildred Pierce (1945) and The Manchurian Candidate. Left alone by her no-good husband, single mother Mildred Pierce (Joan Crawford) would sacrifice anything to make a better life for her daughters. She doesn’t have much, but she has a strong work ethic, a dab hand with pastry, and a level head on her shoulders, and soon Mildred works her way up from provisionally-employed waitress to restaurant entrepreneur, all for the good of her girls… but for her selfish daughter Veda, nothing will ever be enough. Lay in a supply of pie, and also of hankies, for this melodrama in noir disguise. While Mildred Pierce would sacrifice everything for her children, Eleanor Iselin (Angela Lansbury, in an Academy-Award nominated performance) of The Manchurian Candidate (1962) would sacrifice her son, Raymond Shaw (Laurence Harvey), and much more on the pyre of her second husband’s political career. The addled, publicity-hungry Sen. Iselin (James Gregory, known to a generation as Inspector Luger from Barney Miller) leads a witchhunt devoted to rooting out (fictitious) Communists entrenched within the Department of Defense, and with his wife’s encouragement, he plays shamelessly on Raymond’s reputation as a war hero and (as his fellow platoon members invariably report) as “the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I’ve ever known in my life.”
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!
>>>Emily S. Customer continues her Mother’s Day double features! Pair up El Orfanato (one Foreign rental FREE today with a paid rental!) and The Others (Horror) for an eerie, emotional double whammy of scares and sentiment. Though the cast and story construction of El Orfanato is strong throughout, Belén Rueda carries the film on her slim shoulders, bringing heart and depth to the role of Laura, a mother doggedly trying to protect her adopted son from horrors both uncanny and all too tangible. In The Others, Nicole Kidman’s Grace is just as fierce in protecting her children, and just as haunted by the prospect of failure.
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 Brian’s Song (in Feature Drama). This football movie about the friendship between interracial NFL running back pals Gale Sayers and Brian Piccolo is the movie that makes it okay for dudes to cry. Manly crying. Burly tears. Both drafted by the Chicago Bears in a time when the league’s racial attitudes were a lot less tolerant than now—and the league’s racial attitudes aren’t great now—Sayers and Piccolo were paired up as the team’s first mixed-race roommates and became pals even though they were competing for the same job. Made for TV, the whole thing’s a little hokey, but when James Caan’s Piccolo gets sick, and Billy Dee Williams’ shy Sayers stands behind his buddy, well, things get a little dusty, even for the manliest football-loving dude in the house. Caan and Williams are both great in this, and their big showdown—with Piccolo using a particular word to get the injured Sayers motivated and the two devolving into paralyzing giggle-fits—was pretty damned bold for its day. So rent it, and go ahead and cry, fellas—this is the movie that made it okay.
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 Penny Dreadful-season 1 (in Horror). For those of you who pay the frankly exorbitant and ridiculous cable television fees, you know that this excellent Showtime horror series returned this week for its second season. Which is fine, if you want to pay for cable, then pay extra for Showtime. Like a sucker. For all of us smarties out here, it’s time to catch up on the first season, available at frankly ridiculously low rental prices at Videoport. Starring Eva Green, Timothy Dalton, Billie Piper, and a surprisingly effective Josh Hartnett, it’s sort of like a Victorian League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen, in that it mixes historical and fictional characters (Dorian Gray, Dr. Frankenstein, and others make appearances). Oh, except, unlike that misbegotten movie, Penny Dreadful doesn’t suck. (You should check out Alan Moore’s original LXG graphic novels, though.) In the show, Dalton is an Alan Quartermain-like explorer, returned to England to hunt down some ancient evil with the help of Green’s stunningly good psychic/medium and Hartnett’s American gunslinger (tortured veteran of his own brush with evil, recruited from a third-rate “Wild West” show). Bloody, gorgeous, and very well acted, this is a great, little series.
>>>For Sunday, Hey, it’s the beginning of the month, so that means it’s time for our list of the movies that Netfl*x is taking away from you for no reason whatsoever! Seriously—if there’s anything more representative of the greedhead corporate evil of Netfl*x, it’s that they do this each and every month and make their customers believe it’s normal. It’s not—it’s not like they have to squeeze all these movies onto shelves somewhere. They just feel like making the decision of what those customers should be able to watch away from the people giving them money. So here are the movies poor, dumb Netfl*x customers/dupes won’t be able to see in May. (Oh, and, of course, you can rent them all at Videoport. Because we don’t pull this crap.)
12 Dogs of Christmas: Great Puppy Rescue (2012)
6 Bullets (2012)
The Accused (1988)
All I Want for Christmas (1991)
Along Came Polly (2004)
An American Haunting (2006)
Bitter Moon (1992)
Boys Don’t Cry (1999)
Bratz: Babyz: The Movie (2005)
The Brothers Bloom (2008)
Cecil B. Demented (2000)
Cloud 9 (2014)
Deuces Wild (2002)
Divine Secrets of the YaYa Sisterhood (2002)
Fantastic Voyage (1966)
Finding Forrester (2000)
Friday the 13th: Part 7: The New Blood (1988)
Funny Face (1957)
Ichi the Killer (2001)
The Jewel of the Nile (1985)
A Knight’s Tale (2001)
Life Is Beautiful (1997)
The New Guy (2002)
Princess Diaries 2 (2004)
Red Dawn (2012)
Robot & Frank (2012)
Romancing the Stone (1984)
The Secret of NIMH (1982)
Silent House (2011)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze (1991)
New Releases this week at Videoport: Selma (David Oyelowo is mesmerizing and complex as legendary civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King in this uncompromising depiction of King’s leadership of the march for voting rights from Selma to Montgomery Alabama in 1965. Shut out at the Oscars, now’s your chance, people. Directed by Ava DuVernay, whose excellent indie film Middle Of Nowhere you can also rent in Videoport’s Drama section), Mr. Turner (The great British director Mike Leigh [Naked, Secrets & Lies, Another Year, Topsy Turvy, High Hopes, Happy Go Lucky] brings out this visually stunning biopic of the last years of the life of legendary, and legendarily odd, English painter J.M.W. Turner. Starring always-stellar character actor Timothy Spall in a rare lead as Turner), Black Or White (In what I’m sure was a well-intentioned idea, this movie sees grieving [white] grandpa Kevin Costner fighting for custody of his beloved granddaughter after his son dies. Octavia Spencer is the [black] grandmother who’s doing the same. Man, I sure hope these two can come to some sort of symbolically palatable understanding on race. Just, fingers crossed over here), Mr. Selfridge- season 3 (Jeremy Piven returns as turn of the century American mogul Harry Selfridge who opened London’s first department store), The Bridge- season 2 (While we’ve got the American remake, here’s the second season of the original, foreign-language mystery series about a pair of mismatched cops from opposite sides of the border [Denmark and Sweden in this case] forced to work together to solve a murder where the body was right on the dividing line between their two countries), Spare Parts (George Lopez, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Marisa Tomei star in this fact-based inspirational movie about a team of Hispanic high school students who cobbled together car parts to take on the most advanced students in the country in a nationwide robotics competition), Lost River (Ryan Gosling makes his directorial debut with this artsy mystery drama about a single mother [Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks] who sets out to uncover the dark secrets of her dying small town in order to save her teenaged son; costarring Saiorse Ronan, Ben Mendelsohn, and Doctor Who’s Matt Smith), The Last Five Years (Portland’s pride, Anna Kendrick stars in this musical adaptation of the play about the doomed romance of a novelist and his dream girl), Against The Sun (Based on a true story WWII survival tale about three downed airmen forced to go to unimaginable lengths to stay alive after their bomber crashes into the Pacific Ocean), Masters Of Sex- season 2 (Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan return in the second season of this compelling drama series about the then-infamous sex researchers Masters and Johnson), Miss Julie (Legendary actress Liv Ullman writes the screenplay and directs this adaptation of the Strindberg play about an 18th century heiress encouraging the attentions of her father’s hunky valet. Starring Jessica Chastain and Colin Farrell), 50 Shades Of Grey (Wait, wait, calm your pants—this adaptation of the internet fan fic-level erotic novel doesn’t come out until FRIDAY, MAY 8th. Friday—so cool yourself with one of those big, ornamental fans, have a wine cooler, and look longingly at your bedside table until FRIDAY, when this tale of the sexy millionaire who likes some mildly kinky sex games and the doe-eyed lady who allows him to do stuff to her. Be cool, everybody), The Berlin File (Korean thriller about a North Korean secret agent who finds himself on the run in Berlin after his cover is blown.)
New Releases on Blu Ray this week at Videoport: The Boy Next Door, Inherent Vice
Get some free money at Videoport! Yup, free money. Put $20 on your Videoport account, and we give you $25 in store credit. And a pre-pay of $30 gets you $40 in store credit! That…is free money, people.