Volume CDXCVIII- The Undiscovered Country: RIP Leonard Nimoy
For the Week of 3/3/15
Videoport gives you a free movie every, single day. Which makes your life better every, single day. So we’re basically heroes, is what we’re saying.
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 Star Trek, the original series (in Sci-fi/Fantasy). He lived long and prospered, and he showed us all how. When revisiting the work of Leonard Nimoy — poet, photographer, singer-songwriter, memoirist, and actor — in the wake of his death, it’s natural to turn first to his most recognizable role as Mr. Spock on the groundbreaking series Star Trek. The show is such an iconic piece of pop culture, it’s easy to forget it only ran from 1966 to 1969. In those three short years, the show explored Spock’s complex, sometimes contradictory character with finesse, respect, and a more than a glimmer of fun.
—“The Man Trap,” the first-aired Star Trek episode, follows members of the Enterprise as they visit a remote planet for routine examination of the husband-and-wife researchers stationed there. A few strange details pique their suspicions, and a gruesome discovery is made. “The Man Trap” makes the most of the half-Vulcan science officer’s superficial differences from his fellows, establishing him as the eternal Other… allowing future episodes of Star Trek to mine the notion that no matter how different we seem, we’re very much the same under the skin.
—“The Menagerie, Parts I & II” (S1, ep11 & 12): Incorporating footage from then never-aired Star Trek pilot “The Cage,” in The Menagerie” Mr. Spock abducts incapacitated former Enterprise captain Christopher Pike and locking the ship on course to a forbidden planet. Spock’s eloquent, elaborate defense of his actions composes much of the series’ only double episode, a Hugo Award winner.
—“Amok Time,” S2ep1. Star Trek’s second-season premiere shows Mr. Spock in a new light. After a series of outbursts, the usually cool, collected first officer requests leave to return to Vulcan for the ferocious mating ritual common to his people. In the thrall of the potent urges of pon farr, Spock’s typical intensity turns palpably — even brutally — physical.
—“All Our Yesterdays,” S2ep23. Visiting a seemingly abandoned planet headed for destruction, Spock, Kirk, and Dr. McCoy enter a living library, where they become trapped in two different eras of the planet’s history, and as the past creeps over him, Spock regresses to the atavistic ways of his ancestors. It’s one of Star Trek’s final episodes, and I’m sure there are plenty of Trek fans who take bittersweet pleasure in the poetry the idea: the show — and especially the dignified, beloved, eternally decent Mr. Spock — trapped in a past, always spinning new tales in old times for the delight of its viewers.
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 Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (1979 version) (in Sci-Fi/Fantasy). This, one of the best horror/sci-fi remakes of all time (The Thing might be better, but not by much), sees Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, Veronica Cartwright, and Jeff Goldblum as a quartet of San Franciscans gradually coming to the realization that their friends and loved ones have been replaced by emotionless alien replicas. All four are great, and the film still has the best last scene of any horror movie ever (okay, maybe that’s arguable, but it still gives me the heebie-jeebies just thinking about it), and the 1970s San Francisco setting, with its touchy-feely, 70s milieu of mud baths and EST seminars providing a different vibe from the Red Scare-era original, the spacey California denizens of the remake making the theme less about Communist infiltration than creepy homogenization of American culture. One of the best choices director Philip Kaufman (The Right Stuff, The Unbearable Lightness Of Being, Henry & June) made was the casting of Leonard Nimoy as the smarmily calm self-help guru Dr. David Kibner, whose patronizing advice to his patients and acquaintances segues seamlessly into similarly reasonable-sounding assurances that everything fine and the protagonists’ growing paranoia is just that. Nimoy’s persona is so trustworthy, yet imposing and believable, that Kibner’s smooth tones are the perfect cover for the insidious alien invasion.
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 suggests Three Men And A Baby (in Comedy). Leonard Nimoy wasn’t all statesmanlike dignity and pointed ears. Did you remember he directed Three Men and a Baby? Yeah, me neither. It fits right in to the mid-80s spate of English-language remakes of French comedies: Three Men and a Baby, The Man with One Red Shoe, The Woman in Red, The Man Who Loved Women, and many more. Three Men and a Baby is a silly little movie with a silly, sentimental heart: three New York bachelors are surprised when a former lover of all three drops off a surprise at their doorstep: a baby, and any one of them could be the father, and highjinx ensue, from the trope-y and predictable (diapering is hard! formula needs preparing! men are incompetent!) to the absurd (heroin confused with powdered formula, sure, why not), but the film got decent reviews as heartwarming entertainment, and even found its way into an urban legend: Some people believe there’s a ghost visible in one scene, and I wouldn’t dare spoil their fun with foolish things like facts and screengrabs.
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!
>>> Emily S. Customer suggests Fringe (in Sci-fi/fantasy). Leonard Nimoy, so respected and beloved as Spock, brought a note of that respectability, a promise of quality, to other characters and other shows throughout his career. I recall vividly how my tentative interest in a fledgling show called Fringe turned to warm eagerness to see more as soon as Nimoy showed up as Howard Bell. He graced the show with rare appearances, suitable to the character’s story, bringing the imprimatur of sci-fi royalty and untold numbers of viewers into the fold that became a near-cult. Now’s a great time to revisit Fringe and get a glimpse of Nimoy aging into that lean face, those long lines of cheek and chin and brow, and that resonant voice, so familiar, so welcome.
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 Star Trek: The Animated Series (in Sci-fi/Fantasy). Sure, it’s a little hokey, and the animation is just this side of Super Friends quality, but there are some good points to this animated continuation of the original Star Trek series, and it’s another chance to hear Leonard Nimoy as Spock, so that’s a good thing. The show used a lot of the same writers as the original show (recycling scripts from a live action sequel series that never happened), and most of the original cast members appear, voicing their original characters—something that only happened because mensch Nimoy refused to do the show unless everyone was included. The main lesson here, as elsewhere—Leonard Nimoy was a mensch.
>>>For Sunday, Emily S. Customer suggests Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan (in Sci-fi/Fantasy). When Khan Noonien Singh (Ricardo Montalbán) escapes forced exile to wreak his vengeance on James T. Kirk, he brings more than his superhuman rage to punish the man he believes responsible for his misery, and the crew of the Enterprise work and sacrifice together in hopes of foiling his hellish plans. You can consider this a spoiler warning for Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan, which has been lavishly quoted in the wake of Nimoy’s death: Captain James T. Kirk speaks meaningfully Mr. Spock” “Of my friend, I can only say this: of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most… human.” That simple phrase says a lot about the character and the man who portrayed him, who spent his last days tweeting out messages of love and kindness, who offered himself as honorary grandfather to anyone earnestly asking for acceptance, who inhabited his sometimes-taxing position in pop culture with patience and pride.
>>>Dennis suggests Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness (in Sci Fi/Fantasy). For comparison purposes only. Not that these rebooted Star Trek movies aren’t entertaining enough—they’re fine, although director J.J. Abrams’ slick, underwritten style remains profoundly overrated. But there are rewards to be seen in both, with Zachary Quinto’s Spock 2.0 being one of the biggest. It was a ballsy move for Quinto (Heroes), much moreso than any other cast member in taking over a legendary role. Leonard Nimoy’s Spock, more than Kirk or any other character, is the one that’s most beloved (as the outpouring of love at Nimoy’s recent death shows), and Quinto acquits himself well. Sure, Abrams’ glib script rushes too much character derailment into Spock for the sake of concentrated drama (Spock’s in love! Spock loses his temper! Spock has to mourn his entire [redacted]!), but Quinto finds an appropriately Spock-ish tone to the Vulcan first officer’s performance that’s less ripoff than homage in its conscientious respect for the original. There are some good things in these movies (John Cho’s Sulu and Simon Pegg’s Scotty chiefly), but, as in the original show, Spock’s the real attraction.
New Releases this week at Videoport: Outlander- season 1 (Sexy adventures in 18th century Scotland! When a WWII combat nurse is inexplicably sent back in time to 1743 Scotland where she gets caught up in various kilt-y intrigues and romances), Longmire- season 3 (Robert Taylor returns as crusty modern-day Sheriff Walt Longmire, solving crimes and being crusty alongside Battlestar Galactica’s Katee Sackhoff), Foxcatcher (Steve Carrell got an Oscar nomination for his impossibly creepy performance as real life millionaire and super-creepy self-proclaimed wrestling patron/coach John du Pont in this—yes—creepy true tale of du Pont’s mentorship of up-and-coming wrestlers played by Mark Ruffalo and Channing Tatum), TinkerBell And The Legend Of The Neverbeast (Everyone’s kids’ favorite Disney-franchised fairy gets another solo animated movie! This time she’s freeing a huge dog monster of some kind), The Humbling (Al Pacino stars in this adaptation of Phillip Roth’s final novel as an aging actor struggling under the demands of his latest performance and his tumultuous attraction to lesbian costar Greta Gerwig. Also starring Dianne Wiest, and Charles Grodin), The Last Of Robin Hood (Another tale of an again actor’s inappropriate attraction to a much younger woman, only this time it’s real! Kevin Kline plays the late-career Errol Flynn’s scandalous affair with the 15 year old starlet Beverley Aadland. Yup, 15. Dakota Fanning stars as the jailbait, while Susan Sarandon is more age-appropriate), Let’s Kill Ward’s Wife (A good cast, Donald Faison, Scott Foley, Patrick Wilson, Angel’s Amy Acker star in this dark comedy about a group of friends who decide to help out a pal through the questionable titular actions), Life Partners (Community’s Gillian Jacobs and Leighton Meester star in this female-friendship comedy about a pair of lifelong pals whose bond is threatened when one falls in love with Adam Brody), The Captive (Canadian auteur Atom Egoyan [The Sweet Hereafter] brings us another chilly drama, this time about the family of a long-ago kidnapped girl who start to receive evidence that she may be alive. Starring Ryan Reynolds, Scott Speedman, Rosario Dawson, and Bruce Greenwood)
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Free parking at Videoport! The parking lot behind the building is open for customer parking after 5 PM weekdays and all day on the weekends! And Videoport can get you a free hour of parking at any parking garage in town (including the courthouse garage, one minute away!) And Videoport has a drop-off box right on the sidewalk on the corner of Pearl and Newbury Streets if you don’t want to come in and rent more movies. But, you know, come in and rent some more movies.
Some Videoport love from a Maine filmmaker!
From a recent article at Ioncinema.com, Maine native and director of the Maine-set indie Bluebird (now in theaters), Lance Edmands has this to say about Videoport:
Lavallee: During your formative years, what films and filmmakers inspired you?
Edmands: I guess I would consider my “formative years” to be the last couple years of high school and maybe the first year or two at NYU. That’s when I really cracked into all the stuff that is considered a part of the indie/art house canon. There was— and thankfully still is— a great video store in Portland, Maine called Videoport, with an amazing section called “Incredibly Strange Films.” It’s basically a mix of cult curios, mondo-type docs, exploitation films, and other extreme art house stuff. When I found this section I pretty much went nuts, renting 10-15 films at a time and locking myself in my parents basement. This was where I found STRANGER THAN PARADISE, SCARECROW, BADLANDS, STROSZEK, etc. I crawled deeper into the wormhole from there. – See more at: http://www.ioncinema.com/interviews/ioncinephile-of-the-month/lance-edmands-bluebird#sthash.HxInTRuv.dpuf