Volume DXII—The Creaky Old House On The Edge Of Town With The Terrifying History That Nonetheless Is The Number One Destination For Horny Teens Looking For A Place To Make Out
For the Week of 6/9/15
Videoport gives you a free movie every single day. We have done for 27 years. You’re-freaking-welcome.
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!
>>> Former Videoporter (and director of Nyarlathotep and An Imperfect Solution in Videoport’s horror section) Christian suggests Predator 2 (in Sci-Fi/Fantasy). When Arnie’s not available who is next on speed dial? Danny Glover of course! My god, just imagine if every Arnie film had a Danny sequel. Twins Too with Danny and Danny! But back to Predator 2: this film is a monumental failure on so many levels, and yet it is quite possibly the most creative action sequel of that era. It changes damn near everything that made the original so iconic. But one thing it didn’t change was the pairing of FX wizard Stan Winston with gone-too-soon character actor Kevin Peter Hall. There have been a few attempts at Predators since, but they all lack these two vital ingredients. Now what these guys were given with this script was a real gift: a fresh take on the character where instead of bigger and badder than the original (the standard approach) instead this hunter is less experienced and more reliant on his gadgets than the first. This subtle difference is the highlight of the film as Kevin really brings the character to life as he panics. Bill Paxton hams it up, we get some insanely bad Rastafarian caricatures, and a nifty nod in the Predator’s trophy case to Fox’s other big alien franchise. Give it a try!
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!
>>> Dennis suggests Bigger Than Life (in the Criterion Collection section). From Nicholas Ray (Rebel Without A Cause), this intense drama is one of James Mason’s most unsung performances. In it, he’s a dad, husband, and professional who goes to a shrink to deal with his anxiety and, prescribed the new wonder drug cortisone, goes quietly psycho. For 1956, it’s shockingly dark and complex, with Mason never better, portraying his character’s descent into menacing craziness with genuinely upsetting depth. Look, not everything can be all nice and sweet and full of Helen Mirrens.
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 Wet Hot American Summer (in Comedy). I keep running into people who haven’t seen this movie, which just proves how much I think everyone has the same taste I do. But since I keep hearing evidence that some of you are depriving yourselves of joy, here’s a recommendation—watch this movie. From some of the people behind the cult, insanely-influential sketch comedy series The State (available and recommended in the Incredibly Strange Section), this movie—marginally a satire of 80’s summer camp movies (so, Meatballs, essentially)—is just an excuse for people like Michael Showalter, Amy Poehler, Paul Rudd, Bradley Cooper, Michael Ian Black, Molly Shannon, David Hyde Pierce, Janeane Garofalo, Ken Marino, Joe Lo Truglio, and Chris Meloni to do their thing. And their thing is gloriously weird and hilarious riffing on the teen/summer camp movie clichés and/or just screwing around, using the whole plot as a clothesline for relentless comedy greatness. Seriously, this os one of the funniest movies in the last decade (I can’t imagine hanging out with someone who watched it and said, “I don’t get it”). There’s a prequel TV series coming out this summer on an internet concern whose name we do not say at Videoport, but I guarantee it’ll be worth watching too—when it comes to DVD.
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!
>>> Videoport customer Kevin H. suggests Like Sunday, Like Rain (in Feature Drama). “Like Sunday, Like Rain” is the kind of quiet little movie that, for me, is always such a joy to discover at Videoport. Eleanor, played by Leighton Meester (Gossip Girl), is a young 20-ish woman trying to make a go of life in New York, and largely failing at it. She is out of a relationship, out of an apartment, and out of a job. Meester conveys the sense of someone who, in the face of one indignity or setback too many, is ready to fold. She is given a chance, however, on a slim lead obtaining work as a nanny. That chance leads to a temporary placement tending to precocious 12 year old Reggie, who seems to mostly care to himself with minimal assistance from the household staff, and very little from his mostly absent wealthy parents. His typical 12 year old hobbies include composing for the cello, becoming widely read, and vegetarian cooking. In some ways, he’s worldly and self-assured, whereas Eleanor is aimless and timid. Both are lonely in their own way, of course. These characters are familiar from other movies: a friendship develops between two oddballs who have no reason whatsoever to ever cross paths. Director Frank Whaley treats them as genuine people, though. There are no great adventures or zany plots here: the two of them talk and wander New York and slowly draw the other out. There is a bit of drama resulting in an unexpected road trip, but most of what happens is that they start to see and accept the other person as a friend, someone who has value simply for who they are and who isn’t just around because they are an employee or ward. The best moments of the movie are very gentle and sweet-natured and fundamentally hopeful about people, and I unabashedly sometimes want to see a movie like that. (Also co-starring Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong.)
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!
>>> Dennis says, 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 Victory (in Feature Drama.) Because, with the Women’s World Cup going on, this movie is ridiculous and wonderful! And ridiculous! Directed by the legendary John Huston (The Maltese Falcon, Under The Volcano, about 25 more great movies), this one must have been the result of a lost bet, or a drinking binge, or both. Sylvester Stallone’s an American WWII POW who becomes the goalie of an all POW soccer team roped into playing the Nazi all stars! Michael Caine is the coach/player! Pele is in there! They’re all trying to engineer a massive prisoner escape in the midst of the big game! There some great soccer action (Pele has an amazing bicycle kick I rewound about 20 times when I was a kid), and some ludicrously rousing heroics It’s silly and amazing!
>>>For Sunday, Dennis suggests North Dallas Forty (in Feature Drama). With all of the heightened awareness of the hideous brain trauma suffered by professional footballers, this 1979 football movie seems especially prescient (also funny, exciting, and dramatic.) Written by former NFL-er Peter Gent, the most wrenching scene comes from then-current NFL-er John Matuszak, who, confronted with yet another instance of the coaches telling him to do what’s best for the team (at the expense of his health), explodes, “Every time I say it’s a game, you tell me it’s a business. Every time I say it’s a business, you tell me it’s a game.” Knowing that the formidable Matuszak (also Sloth in The Goonies, and a funny caveman in Ringo Starr’s Caveman) would end up addicted to painkillers and eventually die of a drug overdose makes the moment that much more powerful. Plus, you know, this is a really good football movie.
New Releases this week at Videoport: Kingsman: Secret Service (Colin Firth stars as perhaps the least likely action hero ever in this over-the-top action extravaganza about the titular super-secret British government agency as they recruit a young street tough into their ranks. Based on the comics series by Mark Millar, this one is all about giving you non-stop, silly mega violence! You’re welcome!), The Duff (The undeniably cool Mae Whitman [Arrested Development—her?)] stars as a normal-looking high school senior who discovers that she’s been designated her more popular, boringly pretty friends perpetual sidekick), Serena (Jennifer Lawrence and Silver Linings Playbook co-star Bradley Cooper reteam for this Depression-era drama/romance about a lumber baron’s love for a poor gal), Red Army (Remember Miracle? And that US Olympic hockey team that inspired Miracle? Well, there was another team involved, and this documentary examines the game and its outcome from the perspective of the defeated-for-all-eternity Russian team), Project Almanac (In this sci-fi thriller, a bunch of pretty teens discover the secret of time travel. What could possibly go wrong? [A lot. A lot goes really, really wrong.]), Amy Schumer: Mostly Sex Stuff (Standup special from naughty-eyed and very funny comic Schumer. Keep pestering us and we’ll get her very good sketch comedy show Inside Amy Schumer, too), Li’l Quinquin (In this French, Twin Peaks-style miniseries, human remains are found stuffed inside a cow in a small village. From Bruno Dumont, director of the genuinely unnerving and offputting movies Flanders, Humanite, and Camille Claudel 1915), Alive Inside (In this documentary, researchers present the case that music is the key to reaching people otherwise completely cut off by the total dick of a disease called Alzheimer’s), Appropriate Behavior (From writer/director/star Desiree Akhavan comes this great-looking indie about a young woman trying to make her way as a hip, bisexual, Persian woman in Brooklyn), Cinema Holdup (In this acclaimed debut film from director Iria Gomez Concheiro, a group of Mexico City teens knock over the local movie house, only to discover that their crime leads to unexpected consequences), These Final Hours (The world is ending, and a shiftless dude who wants nothing more than to get hammered at a “the world is ending” rager finds himself reluctantly taking care of a young woman he rescues from a gang of “the world is ending” rapists in this indie “the world is ending” drama), Spring (Really great-lookin’ indie horror romance stars Lou Taylor Pucci [Thumbsucker] as an American backpacker in Italy who falls for a mysterious young woman [Nadia Hilker], who harbors a truly unexpected and terrifying secret. From the directors of the very interesting indie horror movie Resolution), 5 Centimeters Per Second (A young man’s life is the subject of the three vignettes in this gorgeous anime from the director of Garden Of Words. Someone on the DVD box compares him to Miyazaki, which is a bold claim…), Willow Creek (Look, you might not take someone named Bobcat seriously, but standup comic-turned-director Bobcat Goldthwait is the real deal. [See his Sleeping Dogs Lie, God Bless America, Shakes The Clown, and World’s Greatest Dad for proof.] In his newest movie, he goes scary, with a very Blair Witch-y first-person horror flick about a couple heading off into the woods in search of Bigfoot. It’s another good one from the Bobcat), Da Sweet Blood Of Jesus (I don’t know why Spike Lee thought it was a good idea to remake the cult 70s horror movie Ganja And Hess [available in Videoport’s horror section, of course], but I wholeheartedly approve. In this one, a buttoned-down professor finds himself hungering for human blood after coming into contact with an African artifact), Magician: The Astonishing Life And Work Of Orson Welles (Orson Welles had a life that was insanely adventurous enough to fill up seven documentaries, but we’ll have to make due with this one, as it traces the Citizen Kane creator from his life as a child prodigy to he decades of post-Kane frustration where his cinematic genius was thwarted again and again by the people with the money and no taste), My Life Directed By Nicholas Winding Refn (Fascinating behind-the-scenes documentary examines the directing style and life of Drive and Pusher director Refn as he works to complete his indifferently-received Only God Forgives), The Taking Of Tiger Mountain (From legendary Chinese director Tsui Hark [Once Upon A Time In China] comes this bonkers historical action flick about a group of soldiers during the Chinese revolution battling a bandit gang on a mountain full of freaking tigers! Tigers!)
New Arrivals At Videoport: White Psalms (We don’t know what this is! A MECA student asked us to stock his movie and we did! It has a very disturbing and striking booklet of photographs that come with it!), State Of Siege (From legendary political director Costa-Gavras [Z, Missing] comes this typically scathing thriller about an American official kidnapped by rebels in Uruguay. Oh, and the official is secretly working for the CIA trying to undermine the legally elected Uruguayan government, which is something that the US government totally did and Costa-Gavras was having none of. Look for it in Videoport’s Criterion Collection section)
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