VideoReport #447

Volume CDXLVII- 2014: The Year Videoport

Brings Down Blockbuster Video. Oh, wait—

We Did That Last Year

For the Week of 3/11/14

 

Videoport gives you a free movie every single day. Who else does that? Nobody, that’s who.

 

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!

>>>Dennis suggests The Silent Partner (in Mystery/Thriller). Sometimes movies just get lost. It’ll happen to most movies, I suppose, but for some it’s that they simply disappear from public consciousness for no good reason. A good, inventive 1970s thriller with two big (at the time) stars giving interesting performances, The Silent Partner is just waiting to be discovered by someone just looking for a good movie they haven’t seen. (Like you for example!) The film stars Elliot Gould—back when he was one of the most bankable leading men in movies—as a seemingly mild-mannered bank teller who begins to suspect that a mall Santa is planning to rob the bank where Gould works. I’ll be cagey about the details, except to say that neither Gould nor robber Christopher Plummer is exactly what they seem to be —on much more clever, one much more cruel—and that the film clips along with ruthless efficiency. Like fellow Mystery/Thriller 1970s relics The Laughing Policeman, The Black Marble, The Seven-Ups and others, The Silent Partner is simply a movie that slipped through the cracks. Which is why the world needs a Videoport—we hold on to good movies, even when the world seems to have no use for them.

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 Generation Kill (in Action/Adventure.) You should watch this HBO Iraq War series. So should I, really—for some reason I’ve just never pulled the trigger on watching the thing. It was created by Ed Burns and David Simon, for cryin’ out loud—you know, the guys who created The Wire (still my choice for the best TV show ever made). It stars a bunch of people you really like on other HBO series, including Ziggy from The Wire, Lee Tergesen from Oz, Alexander Skarsgard from True Blood, and more. And did I mention it was made by the same guys who did The Wire? Look, we all resisted Treme for some reason and, when we finally caved in and watched it, it turned out to be great. And guess what? That was made by David Simon, too! C’mon…I’ll let you get your hands on it first.

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 Mindy Project (in Comedy.) Honestly, once I gave up on thinking that this star vehicle for The Office’s Mindy Kaling was going to be something special did I really start to enjoy it. Hear me out. The ever-engaging Kaling was always hilarious as The Office’s Kelly Kapoor, and, as an accomplished writer and outspoken comedy female voice, I maybe had hopes that were a little too lofty for what I got. (Honestly, I was expecting the next Tina Fey.) when I saw that this show was just another sitcom, I was pretty disappointed—and then I got over it. For all its flaws, and they are many, The Mindy Project is just funny, and silly, and pretty irresistibly charming—like Kaling herself. As a New York City OB/GYN also named Mindy, Kaling is a smart but klutzy goofball of the highest order, her ineptitude with men vying only with her confused, rom-com ideas about romance to keep her up to her twinkly eyeballs in romantic misadventures. The supporting cast changes pretty often through the show’s first couple of seasons—the show really is sort of a mess—but the standouts are Ike Barinholtz as male nurse and staff oddball Morgan and especially Chris Messina’s macho doctor Danny. Messina, his flustered voice of reason running up against the weirdball energy that is Mindy, is just the foil that Kaling needs. It’s a funny show—don’t overthink it.

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!                                        

>>>Videoport gives you your Best Foreign Language Oscar Winners Checklist! We have these—you should rent them and catch up on your foreign-y goodness. (In chronological order.)

  • La Strada
  • Nights Of Cabiria
  • Mon Oncle
  • Black Orpheus
  • The Virgin Spring
  • Through A Glass Darkly
  • 8 ½
  • Yesterday, Today, And Tomorrow
  • The Shop On Main Street
  • A Man And A Woman
  • Closely Watched Trains
  • War And Peace
  • Z
  • The Garden Of The Finzi Continis
  • The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie
  • Day For Night
  • Amarcord
  • Dersu Uzala
  • Get Out Your Hankerchiefs
  • The Tin Drum
  • Mephisto
  • Fanny And Alexander
  • The Official Story
  • Babette’s Feast
  • Pelle The Conqueror
  • Cinema Paradiso
  • Indochine
  • Belle Epoque
  • Burnt By The Sun
  • Antonia’s Line
  • Kolya
  • Life Is Beautiful
  • All About My Mother
  • Crouching Tiger. Hidden Dragon
  • No Man’s Land
  • Nowhere In Africa
  • The Barbarian Invasions
  • The Sea Inside
  • Tsotsi
  • The Lives Of Others
  • The Counterfeiters
  • Departures
  • The Secret In Their Eyes
  • In A Better World
  • A Separation
  • Amour

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

 >>> It’s a free movie! It’s for kids! Or kids at heart! Only a monster would deny a free movie to the children! A monster, I say!

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

>>>For Saturday, Andy suggests Room 237 (in the Documentary Arts section). I do enjoy movies about movies, and Room 237 is a unique spin on that genre. As you can gather from the subtitle of the movie (“Being an Inquiry into The Shining in 9 Parts”), it is not a mere making-of documentary about Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 masterpiece.* Room 237 offers nine speculations about what Kubrick had in mind when he made the movie. Was he invoking the European settlers’ massacre of the American Indians and/or the Holocaust, which he felt was more suitably addressed in a spooky movie than directly? Was he expressing his deep guilt over his part in faking the moon landing footage? Was he just a bored prankster attempting to make an elaborate puzzle of a movie? Room 237 presents each case clearly and with a straight face, and it’s up to the viewer whether to find each theory valid, possible, or laughable. At the very least, it will put a bug in the viewer’s ear to watch The Shining.**

*I choose the word “masterpiece.” Others might call The Shining a “flawed masterpiece,” or perhaps “a good scary movie,” or possibly “boring,” and sometimes “a shameful bastardization of Stephen King’s novel.”

**I watched The Shining soon after each viewing of Room 237, and each time I began the movie intent on spotting a new detail, or a previously unnoticed impossibility, and ready to formulate a new interpretation. But then, inevitably, I get sucked into the story, or marvel at the imagery, or just appreciate the performances and the skill that went into making it. Because, you know, it’s a really good movie.***

***Which brings up another point! Movies are primarily meant to draw you into the story that the filmmaker is telling you. While Room 237 points out a lot of background details, like the skiing/minotaur poster and the Calumet baking soda can (which were surely not accidental), why weren’t the critics watching the movie? Answer: They were watching it wrong.

>>>For Sunday, Dennis suggests Final (in Sci Fi/Fantasy.) Speaking of movies that time forgot, well, this one was actually never remembered in the first place, so I guess that doesn’t really apply. Nearly a two person movie between Hope Davis’ psychiatrist and Denis Leary’s irascible, paranoid patient, the whole thing takes place in an asylum where Leary rants and accuses Davis and her hospital of, well, a whole lot of things, from organ-harvesting to memory-stealing, to a great many more things which seem the ravings of a complete nutball. Through it all, the ever-engaging Davis nods, and listens, and tries to get through to her recently-comatose patient that everything he’s imagining is just in his head. I’m not telling much more than that (the fact that the film’s in the Sci Fi section is itself something like a spoiler, but we had to put it somewhere), but I will say that if you’re in the mood for a smart, twisty, impeccably acted drama with a few good surprises to keep you on your toes, then you should check this one out. (Even Leary’s good in it—honest!)

>>>Emily S. Customer suggests a Veronica Mars-athon! I don’t know if we’ve mentioned it roughly one thousand times, but we in the Videoport Jones household are fans of both of Veronica Mars (Kristen Bell), the spunky teenaged investigator operating in the social strife of SoCal’s Neptune, and of “Veronica Mars,” the cleverly written, allusion-laced show about her. Also, I don’t know if we’ve mentioned it roughly one thousand times, but creator Rob Thomas (also co-creator of Videoport favorite “Party Down”) took to Kickstarter to fund the continuing story of Veronica Mars and HEY YOU GUYS the movie comes out this week! So swing by Videoport and pick up an armload of DVDs (Mon-Thurs you can pick up 3 for a week for seven measly bucks!) and plow through ‘em in anticipation! Veronica! Wallace! Mac! Weevil! Vinnie van Lowe! DICK! Logan and Piz (she conceded gracelessly). You’ll see ‘em all and more, so this week is the perfect time to reacquaint yourself with the denizens of Neptune and the friends and foes of your diminutive heroine.

New Releases this week at Videoport: The Book Thief (a young girl in Nazi Germany starts rescuing books from book burnings and sharing them with the hunky Jewish refugee hiding upstairs in this WWII drama that everyone’s buzzing about), Inside Llewyn Davis (I really shouldn’t have to say anything more than “It’s the new Coen Brothers movie” but if anyone out there needs more convincing—it’s the new Coen Brothers movie!!! Sigh—fine, some details then—it’s the new Coen Brothers movie, about the titular musician, a would-be folk singer at the start of the Greenwich Village folk scene; starring the magnetic Oscar Isaac and with a great score; People—Coen Brothers…), Out Of The Furnace (Christian Bale and Casey Affleck are hard-luck brothers whose luck gets even worse when Bale heads to jail and his brother goes missing while working for a ruthless crime family; with an all-time tough guy cast including Sam Shepard, Woody Harrelson, Willem Dafoe and more), Homefront (human knuckle sandwich Jason Statham stars as a former DEA agent who decides to retire and settle down in small town America; it goes about as well as those stories usually do in these types of movies with meth-head crime boss James Franco deciding to un-retire him and his adorable daughter; written by Sylvester Stallone, so you know it’s good!), The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Jennifer Lawrence is back, shooting arrows at everyone in sight in this sequel to that movie about young people forced to shoot arrows at everyone; I’ve never actually seen these movies, but since everyone in the world is going to rent them anyway, I could say literally anything—poop, monkey butt. See?), In Fear (a couple on a car trip through the Irish countryside finds themselves hopelessly lost, and then even more hopelessly menaced by some guy from Downton Abbey in this creepy looking indie horror film), Enemies Closer (Jean Claude Van Damme stars as a crazy drug runner with an even crazier accent in this crime thriller about drug smugglers battling a dogged ex-Navy SEAL in this purportedly entertaining crime thriller), Beyond Outrage (the great Takeshi Kitano returns in this Yakuza sequel about a presumed-dead mobster sucked back in to a crime war in order to set things right and show those young Yakuza punks what a hardass really is), Mademoiselle C (documentary about former Vogue Paris editor-in-chief and fashion stylist Carine Roitfeld as she moves to New York to try to start her own fashion magazine; pair it with The September Issue!), Lloyd The Conqueror (comedy about a group of college LARP-ers [google it] who have to defeat the king of the nerds; starring Brian Posehn and Trailer Park Boys’ own Bubbles, Mike Smith!), Commitment (Korean thriller about a young guy forced to become a double agent trying to protect the two women in his life, one in each country), Rogue—season 1 (Thandie Newton stars in this cop series about a detective falling in love with the son of a local crime family—that means she’s going…rogue!)

 

New Arrivals this week at Videoport: RawFaith (fascinating, Maine-made documentary about a man who enlists his family in a quest to build, and then live on, a replica of an antique sailing ship), Barbie: The Pearl Princess (it’s Barbie. I have no idea what else to say)

 

 

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VideoReport #431

Volume CDXXXI- We Told Blockbuster Not To Mess With Us…

 For the Week of 11/19/13

 Videoport give you a free movie every single day. Sorry about that, everyone—oh, wait, we mean “you’re 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 seven bucks!

>>>Dennis suggests Scandal (in Mystery/Thriller.) The lovely Ms. Emily S. Customer keeps telling me that this series about a DC crisis management firm is over-the-top fun. (And that star Kerry Washington is awesome.) Look, I’ll tell you what I tell her—I’ll get to it tomorrow… geez!

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!

>>> Former Videoporter Stockman suggests Rocky (in Action/Adventure.) I understand the overwhelming number of people out there who have seen this! But the more time passes the fewer that number is and the greater the number of people like me. People who know of this movie almost exclusively by parodies and references. It’s weird to finally be exposed to a movie that you feel like you know really well and yet have never experienced. It’s just the main themes of boxing, being a “bum”, boxing, yelling unintelligibly, and boxing are really driven home. It seems impossible that the movie would have encompassed so much more and yet utterly ridiculous that I ever thought that in the first place. Rocky is a beautiful story and boxing isn’t as relevant as I always believed. Rocky is a soulful endearing character and the love story between he and Adrian warms your heart. It’s definitely an older movie with older elements to it. By that I mean some of the relationship between Rocky and Adrian you have to accept for the time it was. It starts out a bit, aggressively, and a similar film released today would have a whole different undertone to it. If you are very sensitive to such things you might have trouble throwing yourself into it. If you can do that though it unfolds as a truly touching and moving romance. And Sylvester Stallone makes so much more sense now. He’s surprisingly subtle in his performance. I never knew he had that in him and I certainly had no clue that he wrote it. You can tell the passion for this story he had. He really works in it as well; that face and that Stalloney vocalization are perfect for this character. This loving, sweetheart of a brute. It actually takes place around Thanksgiving and Christmas so I think it’s a perfect season for you to give it a try or maybe you’d just like to relive the magic! Find some poor ignorant sap like me and say “no, really.”

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!

>>> Former Videoporter Stockman suggests 17 Again (in Comedy.) Videoport’s own Andy was once gentlemanly enough to support my claim that In Good Company was a quality film well worth your time. I hadn’t been sure at the time because watching a movie on a bus is like entering a vortex of undetermined movie quality. Do you really like it? Or is it just because almost anything is worth watching when you’re stuck on a bus? Andy says it wasn’t the bus that made In Good Company good it was just good to begin with. Now here I am to pay my debt, Tyrion Lannister would be so proud! Andy, the bus wasn’t magic, the magic was in you all along! 17 Again really was awesome! I’m hoping the combined power of Andy and I will make it so that the daring amongst you will discover this movie by choice instead of by bus. This movie has a surprising number of components I feel like I can find a trigger for at least a fair number of viewers. See if any of these intrigue you: Zac Efron with his sexy abs, good nature, and yes, dare I say, quality acting. Tom Lennon from everything funny ever but most notably from Reno 911!, The State, and you should really read his phenomenal book Writing Movies for Fun and Profit because it’s amazing. Tom Lennon’s character woos a principal with the erotic power of being a nerd. Bill Murray’s brother plays the janitor, I bet you loved that guy in Groundhog Day! The words “bedazzled” and “douche” are used within two minutes of each other. Andy liked it. You like Andy don’t you?

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!

>>>Regan suggests….this. After countless “fahkin’ frecks,” a butloada “coo-ack suckahz,” a few “cahhhhhnts,” a couple “quee-ahhs,: a gaggle of “fay-guts,” plus 2 Afflecks (1 Ben, 1 Casey), 2 Wahlbergs (both Marky!), and 2 roles (her only roles) played by the horrifying* actress Jill Quigg** (“I remebah you from high school. I can see yo’ah still a little conceited, huh?”—Jill Quigg as Dottie in Gone Baby Gone), I bring you the Boston Marathon! Kinda. Kinda, cuz we start out with Killing Them Softly , which has some nice accents, but seems to take place outside of Boston. And this is a solid, goofy-ish crime movie with a stellar performance by my new, most-favoritist actor Ben Mendelsohn. Check him out in some better fare like Animal Kingdom and A Place Beyond The Pines. But the heavy-handed soundtrack (the song “Herion” by the Velvet Underground plays while a guy’s doing heroin—come on! Amateur hour!) So we move on to…Gone Baby Gone, Ben Affleck’s directorial debut, and it’s a winner. A girl goes missing in South Boston and a private investigating couple finds the hard-headed community a bit difficult. No sh*t. I highly recommend this one. There are some plot holes, but it’s a highly enjoyable thriller with super-dooper performances by Amy Ryan and Titus Welliver. Aaaand—on to Good Will Hunting. We’ve all seen it, we mostly all liked it. I think it’s pretty perfect, a bit schmaltzy at times. The look, the soundtrack, and some quotable quotables! Like….”I swallowed a bug!” and “Hook hook, dunk dunk” and “ya’ suspect!” And the marathon continues with a much-needed nap, so let’s pop in…The Friends Of Eddie Coyle, and this is a classic and you should watch it and it has really great masks , but it’s lacking the ridiculous donkey Boston accents. So after naptime, we move onto The Departed. What can I say? That Scorcese loves some Rolling Stones, hand to Gawd! It’s great, watch it. Whatever. Okay! The Fighter! Crack-smokin’ and the scariest women ever! “I’ll hit you in the c*cksucker!” And we near the finish line with…The Town. Boooo. Watch Michael Mann’s Heat instead. The Town has the opposite of chemistry is. And so that’s it. Mostly winnahs. Only a couple fahkin’ frecks in thay-yah. No bad, not bad. Not-bad, not-bad, not-bad, not-bad, not-bad.

*And straight from Southie.

**She’s also in The Fighter as one of Marky Mark’s delightful sisters. He has, like, 8 of them and I pray to never run into them in a dark alley. Because they’re real, right?

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

>>> A free movie! For kids! Only a monster would complain about that!

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

>>>For Saturday, Andy suggests South of the Border (in Documentary). Hey, who wants to see Oliver Stone cozy up to dictators? I do! I do! That’s what initially drew me to Stone’s documentary South of the Border. Also, I admit I was curious to see a filmmaker who has so often been accused of playing fast and loose with facts (in narrative films like Nixon, W., JFK, and so many more) make a supposedly straight documentary. The result is kind of an odd, surprisingly breezy, and sometimes dull film that serves as a very brief introduction to some of the recent leaders of the South American continent (all elected presidents, not “dictators,” as I facetiously remarked earlier). The longest, and most fascinating segment of the film focuses on dynamic, recently deceased Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. Stone digs into the man’s history and spends a good chunk of Border’s running time conducting reverent on-screen interviews with Chavez about his rise to power, Venezuela’s economy, and his relationship with the Bush administration. Almost as an afterthought, Stone also interviews presidents of Bolivia, Argentina, Paraguay, and other nations*. But this is really a movie about Chavez, intended by Stone to contradict the common American perception of him as a heartless dictator and enemy of America. And for that reason, South of the Border is essential viewing.

*My theory is that Stone interviewed all these presidents with the purpose of giving them all equal time, but when his footage of Hugo Chavez proved the most compelling, he edited down the other interviews. In my opinion, Border should have been exclusively about Chavez. But then, I wouldn’t have the heart to bump the president of Bolivia for time.

>>>For Sunday, Dennis suggests The World’s End (in Comedy.) I’m not gonna say much about this movie—the commercials have already done a bang-up job spoiling the hell out of most of the plot twists and other delightful surprises. I will say that you should watch it, for the following reasons: 1. It’s from director Edgar Wright and cowriter/star Simon Pegg who’ve only done things like Spaced, Shaun Of The Dead, and Hot Fuzz (Wright also directed the brilliant Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World). All of those things will make you giddily happy. 2. It reteams Pegg and best pal/costar Nick Frost, the greatest modern comedy team in the world. 3. It’s a delightfully daffy genre mash-up, just like (but really nothing like) Shaun Of The Dead and Hot Fuzz. And, no—I’m not telling you which genres get mashed up this time. Don’t even read the back of the box. Just trust me. One of the best comedies of the year. Just rent it and we’ll talk about it later…

New Releases this week at Videoport: The World’s End (from the comedy geniuses behind Spaced, Shaun Of The Dead and Hot Fuzz comes another slice of fried gold—Simon Pegg and Nick Frost reteam in another genre-bending comedy masterpiece, this time about a group of former friends whose plan to relive their legendary pub crawl is interrupted by…something I’m not going to tell you because spoiling a cool movie would make me a terrible, worthless person’ Just watch it…), Planes (You, or at least your kids, liked Cars! You didn’t like Cars 2 so much! Now Disney spins off from the far-superior Pixar with some talking planes! Kids’ll probably still like it though—they’re pretty undemanding), We’re The Millers (Jason Sudekis and Jennifer Aniston star in this weed-y comedy about a pot dealer who recruits a fake family in order to smuggle some of that sweet, sweet ganja across the border; hijinx presumably ensue!), 2 Guns (Denzel Washington teams up with Mark Wahlberg in an action movie about some cop-types, presumably armed with some sort of weaponry, who proceed to shoot other guys with said weaponry; I wish I knew what sort of weaponry they had…), Treme- season 3 (the current example of the “great, critically acclaimed show everyone means to watch but never quite gets to” is back for a third season of folks just tryin’ to get by in Katrina-ravaged New Orleans; created by the guy who made The Wire, people—if that’s not enough of a recommendation to get you to actually take this show home, then you haven’t seen The Wire…), Paranoia (the littlest Hemsworth [the one from The Hunger Games] stars in this corporate thriller about a young exec expected to spy on his boss’ rival; costarring Harrison Ford and Gary Oldman, so that’s something…), The To-Do List (Parks & Recreation’s Aubrey Plaza stars alongside some very cool actors in this saucy sex comedy about a young woman who decides she needs to check sex acts off of the titular list before she heads off to college; costars/possible partners include Donald Glover, DC Pierson, Bill Hader, McLovin, Adam Pally, Maeby, Andy Samberg, Connie Britton, and Clark Gregg), Hannah Arendt (screen legend Barbara Sukowa stars as political philosopher and writer Arendt, who reported on the war crimes trial of Nazi Adolf Eichmann), Drew: The Man Behind The Poster (cool-looking documentary about Drew Struzan, the guy who did the hand-drawn posters for Star Wars, Raiders Of The Lost Ark, and many more), All Is Bright (Paul Rudd and Paul Giamatti star in this indie dramedy about a guy out on parole who reluctantly takes a job with his friend selling Christmas trees in order to buy his daughter a piano for Xmas), Violet & Daisy (action comedy about a pair of teenaged assassins whose latest job is complicated when their latest target [the late James Gandolfini] simply isn’t afraid of dying), Crystal Fairy & The Magical Cactus (Michael Cera continues his mission to subvert his squeaky-clean image, this time playing an obnoxious, druggie American tourist on a quest for the titular legendary hallucinogen in South America), Therese (everybody’s foreign language sweetheart Audrey Tatou stars in this French drama about an unhappily married woman trying to break free from her stultifying life; based on the novel by Francois Mauriac), Congorama (An eccentric Belgian inventor travels to Québec to search for his family, which uncovers a secret history between two seemingly unrelated people.), Barbara (German thriller about a doctor whose petition to leave Cold War East Germany gets her exiled to a small country hospital where she must weigh her growing attachment to her patients with her desire to escape to the West)

New Arrivals at Videoport: Othello (hoo-boy—I love me some Shakespeare, but this 1965 version of Othello features the least-well-advised casting of all time, with legendary Laurence Olivier donning an embarrassing accent and the greasiest coat of skin-paint of all time; seriously, they must have had to swap out his costume every ten minutes; some roles just weren’t meant for you, Larry…)

New Releases on Blu Ray This Week At Videoport: The World’s End, Dexter- season 8, Paranoia, 2 Guns

Get yourself some free money at Videoport! As if you needed another reason to rent here, Videoport has these deals which just plain give you free money. Check it out: pay 20 bucks up front on your rental account, and we turn that into 25 dollars worth of rental credit. Do the same thing but with 30 dollars, and we give you 40 dollars worth of store credit. That’s either five or ten free bucks, which you were going to spend here anyway eventually. So why wouldn’t you go for this deal? Um–you hate deals maybe? I’m not your psychiatrist…

Videoport cares. You should rent from us. That’s all.

We all want things to be comfortable, cheap, and convenient. We’re Americans, after all.

But the pursuit of these qualities in our lives above all else isn’t always a good thing. Take huge, faceless corporations, for example. Places like Wal-Mart thrive because people looking to spend less don’t care that:

-their goods are made from what are essentially slaves in China (or in crumbing, unsafe Indian factories)

-that the company treats its employees like garbage

-that its predatory practices drive out local businesses and cost the jobs of people whose companies treat them well

-that they get sued constantly for trying to get away with literally everything at the expense of their workers, communities and customers

-(New one as of 5/1/13): that Netflix drops movies from its service all the time. Just because they don’t think they matter. Check out a partial list here and see what they think you don’t need to see

But hey, at least you can save a few pennies.

Look, I know I’m an interested party here. It’s no secret that the video store biz is in trouble. And while we at Videoport did a little dance every time another plastic rental chain went under (screw you, Blockbuster, Home Vision, Hollywood, Movie Gallery- you shouldn’t have messed with us), I also know that, apart from the fact that I love my job, and Videoport, and my coworkers with an irrational passion, that there’s value in a place like ours.

I could talk about the facts that:

-our staff have been here forever, and know literally everything about movies, and how the store works

-we like nothing more than turning people on to movies and TV shows they’re going to love as much as we do

-we routinely do stuff for free (donating movies, this here VideoReport) to help the store because we want it to do better. And because we love it.

-our owners have stuck it out in this business for 25 years, dedicating themselves to keeping the place running and all of us in the jobs we love.

-those owners treat their employees so well that no one ever leaves, ever. (Hell, Andy’s still the new guy and I think he’s been here for six years).

-we’re responsible neighbors, and tireless supporters of local business (practically all our supplies and services come from local companies).

-we’ve taken on all comers, and are still standing.

And now there are these stupid vending machines (where you can stand in a shady 7-11 parking lot and have a scratched copy of one of fifty crap movies farted out at you), and the internet in the form of the N-Word, Netflix (where, when it’s working, you can let a company determine what you can download and when). These places, operating according to the Wal-Mart principles above, don’t care about movies. They might as well be selling rubber vomit for all they care about movies, and you. They work together to undermine the few video stores like ours that are still trying to do things the right way.

And they’re winning.

They’re winning because people want to save a few pennies (although Videoport has raised its prices exactly three times in 25 years, and when you do the math, they’re not much cheaper at all). They’re winning by luring people into remaining sedentary, isolated, and alone. But they’re also winning because they’re ever so gradually eroding people’s standards and expectations. I mean, you can’t expect to have all the movies in the world in one place at reasonable prices tended by helpful, well-treated, knowledgeable employees and run by a conscientious, responsible local businessman, can you?

Oh right, you can. It’s called Videoport. It’s right here.

Come rent some movies at your friendly local video store. We’ll help you find just the right ones.

773-1999 to reserve what you want to watch tonight. Trust me- we’ve got it.

VideoReport #400

Volume CCCC- 400. That’s right.

 For the Week of 4/16/13

 Videoport celebrates 400 straight great weeks of great, movie-related bathroom reading.

Hi gang. Yup, it’s VideoReport #400. That means 7-plus years of the staff and customers of Videoport recommending things, making bad jokes and penis references, and writing about their favorite movies, TV shows, and the occasional penis reference. Thanks to you all. It’s been weird, But, you know, in a good way.

1. You get a free movie every day.

2. Yes, seriously.

3. No, there’s not a catch.

4. I mean, you have to pick out the free movie, so I suppose you could count that as a catch by the strictest definition. If you’re that sort of person.

5. On Mondays, it’s a free rental from the Science Fiction, Horror, Incredibly Strange, Mystery/Thriller, Animation, or Staff Picks sections with any other paid rental.

6. On Tuesdays, Give yourself a free rental from the Action or Classics section with any other paid rental.

7. On Wednesday, it’s a free one from the Comedy or Foreign Language section.

8. On Thursday, get a free anything. From anywhere.

9. Friday’s a free kids movie from the kids section.

10. Complaining about the Friday special means you don’t love kids.

11. Saturday and Sunday, if you rent two movies, you get any third one free.

12. Some people have asked, “What’s the deal with the weird food items by the TV?”

13. Yup, they’ve asked that all right.

14. A lot.

15. Okay, we’ll tell you. Somewhere later in this newsletter. So you’d better read the whole thing.

16. See what we did there?

17. Turnstiles only turn in one direction.

18. We cannot stress that enough.

19 Just one direction.

20. Always been that way, since they were invented.

21. Kind of weird how many people don’t know that.

22. Touching the shiny side of one of our DVDs makes it not work well.

23. You get a free rental every time you buy a movie from Videoport.

24. Netflix employs slave kitten labor.

25. Have you tried that Littlelads popcorn we carry yet? Darned tasty.

26. Videoport’s Sam is a blues superstar. Rent at Videoport and you can say, “I rented movies from that guy!” when he’s all rich and famous.

27. Check out Sam at http://therealsamueljames.com/

28. You should really watch the HBO show Enlightened.

29. Videoport’s been here for 25 years, taking on all comers and we’re still standing. Bring it on.

30. The parking lot behind the building is open at 5PM on weekdays and all day on the weekends.

31. Parking-wise, we can also get you a free hour at any downtown garage. Just ask for one of our magic stickers!

32. Fully 85% of our employees have never eaten human flesh. Try and guess which ones- you’ll be pleasantly surprised!

33. Touching the shiny side of one of our DVDs makes you a bad person.

34. You might argue that touching the shiny side of a DVD isn’t enough of an offense to judge your entire character.

35. You are incorrect. Shiny-side-DVD-touching is legally admissible evidence of guilt in any trial.

36. The same kid who played the young Michael Bluth on Arrested Development played the young Don Draper on Mad Men.

37. Here, have a free pen. It’s free advertising for us and you get to, I dunno, write stuff with it I guess.

38. That purple notebook by the computer is for you to suggests movies we should get.

39. I mean, we have everything, but not everything, everything, so knock yourself out.

40. And, hey, let’s only suggest things that are already on DVD. That just seems like common sense…

41. And no, kid, we’re pretty sure there’s no movie called “Slipknot Rulez!” And if there is, we’re not getting it.

42. The fastest animal on earth: The cheetah. Next.

43. The worst Best Picture Oscar winners (in no particular order of stinkiness): Forrest Gump, Crash, A Beautiful Mind, The Greatest Show On Earth (sorry, Dennis’ dad), Dances With Wolves.

44. Fast zombies are stupid and only stupid people like them.

45. Regan got Adam Scott to autograph one of our discs of Party Down when he was in the store.

46. Adam Scott and Party Down and Regan are awesome.

47. The Mexican is in the Incredibly Strange section because it just is. Get over it.

48. Hey, here’s an idea- don’t touch the shiny side of our DVDs!

49. One actor only appeared in five movies, all of which were nominated for Best Picture: John Cazale.

50. There’s a documentary about him called I Knew It Was You in Videoport’s Documentary Arts section.

51. Remakes better than the originals: The Thomas Crown Affair, The Crazies, True Grit, Ocean’s Eleven, Little Shop of Horrors, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (remake of Bedtime Story). Aaand, that’s it. Hollywood- please stop with the remakes.

52. We clean and check every DVD we send out. And we check them when they come back. So if you’re messing with our discs…we know who you are. Seriously.

53. The Criterion Collection is a company dedicated to putting out deluxe editions of movies they think are worth the trouble. And they have such good taste that people started asking us for the latest Criterion releases, so we put them all together. That’s what the Criterion Collection section is.

54. We’re clearing out most of our VHS stock, since no one ever rents VHS anymore, ever. They’re all turning up in the sale bin and are $3.99 each or 3 for ten bucks. And, of course, you get a free rental for every one you buy. (See #23)

55. Videoport makes it so you don’t have to return anything on a legal holiday. Because we are nice.

56. Redboxes are manufactured from plastic originally intended for little kids’ playground equipment. Those kids? Now playing on broken glass.

57. You should read Danny Peary’s Cult Movies books.

58. Movies in the Kids Section are always just a buck.

59. Videoport doesn’t have a new release section.

60. Because we don’t, that’s why.

61. All new releases have that unmissable green NEW sticker on the spine.

62. If you don’t see the green NEW sticker, then it’s not new. You can keep it for three days.

63. You can extend a new release from a one day rental to a three day rental for an extra $1.74.

64. You can extend a three day rental to a week for an extra 69 cents.

65. No, we did not pick that number to be intentionally provocative. It just worked out that way.

66. How you doin’?

67. We’re open from 10AM to 11PM every single day.

68. Yes, even Sunday.

69. See #65.

70. Renting movies on Thursday gets them ‘til Sunday. Stocking up for your weekend means you’ll avoid the crowds and ensure you’ll get what you want.

71. Time Warner Cable was just rated as the fourth worst company in America by website The Consumerist.

72. We’re just sayin’.

73. Videoport’s April and Andy make music. It’s weird, but in a good way: http://apevspanda.bandcamp.com/

74. You can read back issues of The VideoReport at http://www.videoportjones.com.

75. You should do that, because it’s full of great movie reviews. And also because seeing our stats gives us an inordinate amount of self-esteem.

76. You should let your young kids handle our DVDs as much as you let your kids play with your wedding china. Or your laptop. Or your ceramic unicorn collection.

77. Look, we know you love your kids. We love your kids. It’s just a motor skills, experience, jelly-fingers thing.

78. Anytime you want to contribute to this ongoing VideoReport experiment, you can send your movie reviews to us at denmn@hotmail.com. C’monnnn….

79. While we’re on the subject, the VideoReport medal of honor goes to the lovely Emily S. Customer, who’s written more reviews than anyone other than your lowly editor. And she’s even gaining on him.

80. Best baseball movie in the store: Eight Men Out.

81. Videoport payment plans give you free money.

82. Payment plan #1: pre-pay $20 and you get $25 worth of rental credit on your account.

83. Payment plan #2: pre-pay $30 to buy yourself a whopping $40 in rental credit.

84. Credit’s good for rentals and any pesky extra day fees.

85. It never expires.

86. And it’s money you would spend with us anyway. So why wouldn’t you get yourself a little something-something out of the deal?

87. It’s just common sense.

88. One of your friendly Videoport clerks is the grandson of Hollywood royalty. Try to guess which one!

89. Sadly, Dennis’ suspicions that his actual grandfather was Melvin Van Peebles turned out not to be true.

90. What writer/director is 3-for-3 with great movies? Tom McCarthy: The Station Agent, The Visitor, Win Win.

91. What writer/director is 6-for-6 with great movies? Paul Thomas Anderson: Hard Eight, Boogie Nights, Magnolia, Punch-Drunk Love, There Will Be Blood, The Master.

92. Videoport’s (massive, unparalleled) Foreign Language section is broken down by language in the brown binder by the computer. Little known secret, but very true.

93. People who touch, or allowed to be touched, the shiny side of Videoport’s DVDs should not be trusted with the following: heavy machinery, public office, children or puppies, or our freaking DVDs!

94. Seriously, you guys- C’MONNNN!!!

95. People buying a blu-ray player: you know you have to periodically update the software on the thing, just like on a computer, right?

96. You don’t know that? Not surprising, since the bait-and-switch artists at big box stores don’t want to scare you away from buying them in the first place. Read your owners’ manual.

97. Oh, and if you don’t have a blu-ray player, the blu-ray discs won’t play on your DVD player. (The blu-rays are in the smaller, blue cases.)

98. In addition to the daily specials listed in #s 5-11 above, on Monday-Thursday you can get three non-new-releases for a week for 7 bucks.

99. Which is really a great deal, especially if you want to, say, stock up for the weekend, or to plow through most of a TV season.

100. Plus, how much of a sucker must you be if you’re watching TV on TV? Waiting a week to see what happens next? What are we, cavemen?

101. Plus, commercials?! That’s just a sucker move.

102. We’ve got candy!

103. We’ve got Andy!

104. You can bring your dog into the store, with the following stipulations: no pooping, no peeing, no barking, must be on a leash.

105. We have dog cookies, but not human cookies.

106. Because we like dogs more than people.

107. You know how all the chain stores in Portland closed down? They shouldn’t have f***ed with us.

108. Computers are notoriously crappy at playing DVDs. Just get yourself a real DVD player. It will save you sooo many problems.

109. We’re gonna make you take a bag for your movies if it’s raining, snowing, or slushing out. Don’t get all mad- we reuse and then recycle our bags.

110. And, you know, if you don’t take a bag and our cover art gets destroyed, you’re gonna have to pay to replace it. C’mon gang- work with us here.

111. Best football movie in the store: North Dallas Forty.

112. Close second: The (original) Longest Yard.

113. You know that part of the membership application you signed which clearly says that you are the only person who can use your Videoport account? Not a joke.

114. Seriously, you guys- it solves more problems than you can possibly imagine.

115. The guys who was so good as Evil Ed in the original Fright Night ended up in gay porn. And no, we do not have any of his gay porn.

116. We have plenty of other gay porn, though.

117. And other kinds or porn.

118. Viva porn!

119. Netflix is run by those mutant cannibals from The Hills Have Eyes. We’ve totally heard that.

120. You know what the thing is about letting anything touch the shiny side of one of our DVDs? Don’t do it. That’s what.

121. The Employee Picks section (first shelves on the right, middle aisle) house a rotating series of weirdness you should check out.

122. The top shelf is generally older stuff we just bought for you to enjoy and so we can be even more cool and awesome.

123. Other shelves might be employee picks (which you should totally rent since our clerks are so smart and have seen everything in the world, collectively).

124. Alternatively, sometimes we throw together a weird theme shelf, just to showcase some different stuff and because we’re bored.

125. We are collectively in love with customers who seem to have a weird, little video renting project going on.

126. Like former Videoporter David M. who chooses a director and watches the hell out of everything he/she has ever done.

127. Or the nice lady who’s just going alphabetical through the Feature Drama section. (She’s almost into the Bs).

128. And there’s more than one person just working their way through the Criterion Collection. Which is essentially an entire film studies course in itself.

129. Since you get a free movie every day at Videoport, why not take a chance? Advice to follow…

130. Close your eyes and pick something out of the Criterion Collection. You’re guaranteed to get something freaking fascinating.

131. Ask us. We’re all movie smarty-pantses and we love to force our opinions down your throats.

132. Take a damn chance and pick out something you wouldn’t ordinarily rent. It’ll cost you exactly nothing and you might accidentally open yourself up to something new and wonderful.

133. Best soccer movie: the original Fever Pitch.

134. Watching TV on DVD is just the best. The lovely Emily S. Customer and I have spent many an evening getting engrossed into the better part of an entire season of The Wire, 30 Rock, The Sopranos, Parks and Recreation, Archer, Party Down, Slings and Arrows, etc.

135. Hey, don’t judge us.

136. We clean every single blessed DVD we send out the door.

137. Seriously. We have never not done that.

138. Which means if there are smudges, prints, hummus, tequila, or any combination thereof on them when you’re trying to play them, you or someone in your house put them there.

139. That being said, if you’re having trouble playing one of our movies, try cleaning it with a nice, soft, clean cloth.

140. No liquids!

141. Clean out from the center, like bicycle spokes.

142. Do NOT use any of the nonsensical, borderline insane internet cures (like toothpaste, vodka, rubbing alcohol)- those will just destroy the disc. Which means you’ve then bought the disc.

143. And do NOT buy one of those “home DVD repair” machines. They mangle our DVDs aaaand congratulations! You’ve bought a DVD!

144. That all being said, sometimes, a DVD isn’t gonna work properly. You know because some people touch the shiny side of our DVDS.

145. If that happens, we’re sorry.

146. Even though, clearly, we have done everything possible to care for our precious, beloved discs.

147. And someone touched the shiny side.

148. Just let us know (pinpointing where you had a problem helps), and we’ll give you credit and check the disc out.

149. Best hockey movie: Slap Shot.

150. Videoport can copy your old VHS tapes onto DVD and your DVDs onto DVD. (Not copyrighted stuff though, as that’s what “copyright” means.)

151. Best director you didn’t know you loved: Hal Ashby. (Shampoo, Harold and Maude, Coming Home, The Last Detail, The Landlord, Bound For Glory, Being There.)

152. Best basketball movie: Hoop Dreams/Hoosiers (tie).

153. Most entertainingly awful movie: The Room. It’s like an alien tried making an erotic drama based on watching Lifetime movies for a week.

154. The best TV show in Videoport’s inventory/TV history: The Wire. It’s not even close.

155. Film that improbably works on every conceivable level: Shaun of the Dead.

156. Show about a subject you don’t have to care about to love the show itself: Friday Night Lights. (Just ask Regan.)

django-unchained157. New Releases this week: Django Unchained, Dragon, Angels of Sex, Monster In Paris, ‘Spies in Warsaw’, ‘Merlins’- season 5.

158. New Arrivals at Videoport his week: ‘Friends’- all ten seasons! , Kipper- Kipper Helps Out,

159. New Blu Rays at Videoport this week: Django Unchained, Dragon, Repo Man.

160-399. I thought we could fit in 400 facts. That was not possible.

400. Look, we know there are there are other entertainment options out there. They suck in various ways, but they’re out there. But if you’re reading this then you’ve chosen to stick with Videoport. The little store that could. The underdog. The Daniel LaRusso. The Rocky in Rocky 1 and not any of the others when he became a ‘roided-out freak. The independent video store that’s been around for a quarter century and is fighting the good fight every single day. So thank you. The people who work here really are a family- we love each other, we love working together, and we even love our boss. His name’s Bill. He’s weird, and we love him for it. And we love you guys. You come in here and you spend your money and you take our recommendations even when you think we’re nuts (it usually works out). So thanks for sticking with us, for telling your friends, and for ensuring we can all hang out with our best friends, rent some movies, and share a laugh. Seriously, you kooks. One million thanks.

VideoReport #393

Volume CCCXCIII- Star Wars: Episode 7- The Girl With the Dragon Tatooine

For the Week of 2/26/13

Videoport give you a free movie every day. And since we have all the movies, that means you’ll run out of free movies to watch in approximately…never. Never o’clock.

Middle Aisle Monday! Take a free rental from the Science Fiction, Horror, Incredibly Strange, 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!

>>> Elsa S. Customer suggests Gosford Park (in Mystery/Thriller.) Oh, bother! The scandalous doings at Downton Abbey have concluded for the season (my dear, you know nobody who is anybody spends the off-season on the estate) and left us bereft of diverting amusements. In its lieu, may I suggest you setle in with a cup of tea (or even a spot of sherry if you’re feeling saucy) and Robert Altman’s Gosford Park? It proffers all the upstairs-downstairs intrigue one desires when deprived of one’s wont.

>>>Dennis suggests The Holy Mountain (in Incredibly Strange.) You should see this utterly berserk Alejandro Jodorowsky insanity-fest for many reasons. But I’ll let the IMDb “plot keywords” search do my work for me. Where else will you see a film that contains all of the following: camel, buddha, striptease, transvestite, nun, pelican, laxative, fan dancer, hippopotamus, midget, hermaphrodite, Santa Claus suit, eunuch, mohawk haircut, balloon fight, lederhosen, teleportation, and Jesus Christ? I mean, except for Downton Abbey, of course. But other than that…

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!

>>>Check out the Classics section (and/or the New Arrivals section in the middle aisle) for two new additions of those movie obscurities that Videoport loves to get for you so you can pick them up and say, “Huh- that’s weird” and then move on to rent Argo! First up is the 1972 British crime drama The Offence [that’s how the Brits spell it, spellcheck…] starring a still relatively young and definitely still trying Sean Connery breaking out of his Bond tuxedo straitjacket to play a much more conflicted, down-low sort of copper, a detective gradually unhinged by his interrogation of a suspected child molester. And then there’s The Landlord, a 1970 counterculture comedy about a rebellious rich boy [Beau Bridges] whose decision to buy a Brooklyn tenement and transform it into chi-chi condos comes apart when he decides he likes his worldly new neighbors. So come on and support Videoport’s unending mission to stock the joint with shelf upon shelf of stuff that only 3% of you will ever want to see!

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 watching the first three seasons of Community (in Comedy) and forgetting the present ever happened/is happening.

(A brief playlet.)

(Scene: A TV executive office. Two TV execs are doing a mountain of cocaine off of a very bored-looking stripper.)

Exec #1: “Man, that Community is getting all sorts of love from critics, smart people, internet bloggers, and generally the best minds watching TV today.

Exec #2: Yeah I know- what I like to call “the worthless demographic.”

#1: But no one apart from those nerds are watching it. All the real people out there love great f***ing shows like Two and a Half Men and that reality show where those really tanned idiots have sex with each other.

#2: Man, I wish we’d thought of that one!

#1: Seriously. Anyway, so we cancel Community, right? And finally get that smarty pants creator Dan Harmon out of our receding hair, crunchy with product?

#2: I guess… (Snorting a cereal scoop’s worth of cocaine.) No wait! I have a better idea! Let’s get rid of that jerk Harmon…but keep the show on the air!!

#1: (Checking his hairline in a cocaine-streaked mirror.) Wait, what? That makes no sense- no one’s watching the show now. If we remove the one guy who’s making it (according to those nerds we hate and really don’t understand because of all the big words they use) “the best, smartest, funniest, and most inventively-goofy sitcom in recent memory” then won’t the few viewers it does have just get furious, confused and sad?

#2: And?

#1: Oh, my God- that’s brilliant! We’ll take away the driving force behind Community and let it dribble out as a pale shadow of its former self so that the nerds get punished for liking it in the first place and pestering us with internet petitions full of words we have to look up and any new viewers will go around saying they don’t see what the big deal is about Community in the first place!

#2: Exactly! We’ll get revenge on those braniacs for their good taste and burn down the legacy of the show at the same time like a flash fire at a cocaine factory. All for the low, low cost of a day’s worth of stripper cocaine- and of making TV that much more soul-suckingly awful!

#1: And the only remnant of Community’s former glory will be lonely DVDs gathering dust on the shelf of some independent video store in the middle of nowhere. Maine, maybe.

#2: And what could a place like that ever do to us? BWAH-HA-HA-HAAAA

(Annnnnnnd- scene.)

Rent the first three seasons of Community. They’ll make you happier than TV executives doing cocaine off of a bored-looking stripper right before they both get arrested for possession of cocaine by an undercover policewoman posing as a stripper.

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!

>>>Elsa S. Customer suggests The Accused (in Feature Drama.) How I see Jodie Foster’s performance as an outspoken real-life gang-rape survivor in The Accused: an epic, fearless, Oscar-winning performance that gave a voice to too many voiceless women at a time when our nation’s long silence about the pervasive reality of rape had finally started to erupt into a cry for justice. How Seth MacFarlane saw it: hee hee, boobies.

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

>>>It’s free. It’s for kids. There’s some stuff that will awaken the kid in all of you, so stop yer complainin’…

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

>>>For Saturday, Elsa S. Customer suggests Silkwood (in Feature Drama.) What I think Silkwood is about: one marginalized worker’s struggle to expose a corrupt and dangerous institution despite the personal cost to herself — her job, her peace of mind, her safety, her comfortable home, her loving relationship, and maybe her very life. What Seth MacFarlane thinks it’s about: Nipples.

>>>For Sunday, Elsa S. Customer suggests Boys Don’t Cry (in Feature Drama.) What I took away from Boys Don’t Cry: a powerful statement about the power of love and of self-determination under horrific pressure from a hostile world; the pain of being terrorized by a dominant culture that tries to define you by its own narrow parameters and that cruelly punishes any perceived infraction against those narrow social strictures; the fear that fuels homophobia and transphobia and powers the brutality that they can harbor. What Seth MacFarlane took away from it: Hey, knockers!

New Releases this week at Videoport: The Master (here are the films of Paul Thomas Anderson up to this point: Hard Eight, Boogie Nights, Magnolia, Punch Drunk Love, There Will Be Blood. He is really, really good is what I’m saying, and this is his new movie, which means it’s really good too. Plus, it probably made Tom Cruise really mad, so there’s that…), Chasing Mavericks (Gerard Butler brings his rumpled unlikability to this tale of an aging surfer having a midlife crisis…about surfing), The Awakening (a young woman set on the-awakening-posterdebunking paranormal phenomena in WWI England runs up against a possible real ghost at a spooky boarding school; costarring The Wire’s McNulty, Dominic West), Holy Motors (this bananacakes French flick from director Leos Carak [Mauvais Sang, Pola X, 1/3 of Tokyo, The Lovers on the Bridge] about an eccentric billionaire riding around in his limo and messing with people appeared on the top 10 lists of 2012 from every cool movie critic), Fun Size (Nickelodeon gets into the PG-13 business with this teen comedy about a perhaps less-than-responsible sister who loses her toddler brother while babysitting on Halloween night), Absentia (indie horror film about a bereaved woman who, after her husband has been missing, is urged to have him declared dead; but do those creepy tales about the tunnels under their apartment building have some secrets?), Freaky Deaky (based on a novel by Elmore Leonard [Get Shorty, Out of Sight, Jackie Brown], this crime comedy stars the likes of Christian Slater, Michael Jai White, Crispin Glover, Bill Duke, and Andy Dick in a tale of two sixties radicals whose desire to make money in the seventies involves selling their bomb-making abilities to the highest bidder), Chicken With Plums (French drama about a renowned violinist [Quantum of Solace plague_posterand A Christmas Tale’s Mathieu Amalric] whose decision to give up on life when his beloved violin in broken leads to a series of flashbacks revealing the reasons for his drastic decision), How to Survive a Plague (the stirring, tragic true story of the early AIDS activists who challenged the bigotry of the public and the ignorance of the medical establishment at the start of the crisis), The Loneliest Planet (another 2012 top pick of all the coolest film critics, this gripping drama details a young couple’s hiking trip where one pivotal moment fairly explodes everything the seemingly loving couple thought they knew about their life together; starring Gael Garcia Bernal), Silent Souls (Russian heartwarmer about a man and his fried on an odd pilgrimage to scatter his wife’s ashes on the riverbank where they spent their honeymoon), A Simple Life (a successful actor [Infernal Affairs’ Andy Lau] returns home to help deal with his family’s beloved childhood maid when she has a stroke and must move into a nursing home), Stolen Seas: Tales of Somali Pirates (documentary about those modern-day ship-nappers who, for some reason, people seem to like less than Johnny Depp; Yaaaarrrrrr!), Creep Van (my pick for the Videoport title of the year so far, this horror thriller is about a guy who buys the titular vehicle, somehow not realizing it is the notorious…CREEP VAN!!!), Werewolf: The Beast Among Us (some hunters attempt to defend a 19th century village against some sort of…I don’t know…I had it written down somewhere; costarring the long-suffering and quite talented Stephen Rea), Batman: The Dark Knight Returns- part 2 (the conclusion of this estimable animated adaptation of the classic Frank Miller [before he turned racist hack] alternate future Batman story where the Dark Knight comes out of retirement to save Gotham City one more time in a creepy fascist future where Superman has become a government pawn), and then there’s some movie called Twilight: Breaking Dawn- Part 2 about vampires and werewolves and such which comes out, for some reason, on SATURDAY, MARCH 2nd. No, we don’t know why they’re making you wait until then. Please don’t twinkle at us- it’s not our fault.

New Arrivals at Videoport this week: The Offence (Sidney Lumet directed this 1972 cult film about a harbitten British detective [Seas Connery] whose interrogation of a suspected child molester pushes him to the edge), The Landlord (the first movie from director Hal Ashby [Harold and Maude, Coming Home, The Last Detail] was this 1970 comedy about a rich kid [a startlingly young Beau Bridges] who runs away from home, buys a

Seth MacFarlane thinks this poster is hilarious.

Seth MacFarlane thinks this poster is hilarious.

tenement in Park Slope, Brooklyn, and decides he likes living amongst the ghetto’s soulful residents, including Louis Gossett, Jr. and Pearl Bailey), ), Triangle (spooky, Twilight Zone-y thriller about the passengers on a pleasure yacht whose sudden disaster at sea is saved by the appearance of one of those creepy abandoned cruise ships you read about…in the Bermuda Triangle!!!), Patty Hearst (the late Natasha Richardson starred in this biopic of the life and seriously messed-up ordeal of the titular heiress whose kidnapping by a bunch of self-styled revolutionaries led to her becoming a bank robber and eventually a costar in John Waters movies; directed by Paul Schrader), The Ballad of Narayama (the Criterion Collection comes through again! Those enigmatic arbiters of all cinematic taste have bestowed their blessing on this Japanese cult classic, a mesmerizing, disturbing tale of the denizens of a tiny, primitive 19th century village where, among other upsetting traditions, the village’s elders are packed of to the titular isolated mountaintop to die once they’ve hit 70. The one decent man in the town balk at the prospect of carrying his still-vital mum off to die in the wilderness, and thus begins a journey of horrors and madness.)

New Releases on Blu Ray this week at Videoport: The Master, Chasing Mavericks, Brick, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Lady Vengeance, Oldboy, Headhunters, Life Is Beautiful.

                              VideoReport #1,000,000 is coming!

Yup, in just seven more issues (#400, duh) the VideoReport will hit its one millionth word written about movies, TV shows, how Blockbuster, then Movie Gallery, then Redbox, then Netflix all suck, and all subjects relating to how Videoport is still, after 25 freaking years, then best damned movie store anywhere in the world. (400 issues X and average of 2,500 words per issue = close enough, dammit). So keep thinking all of you out there in VideoReport-land: we’re gonna be looking for your reviews, your thoughts on movies, TV and Videoport, and your thoughts on what that 1,000,000th word should be. There may be a contest. There may be prizes. Dennis’ computer may finally just disassemble itself like the car at the end of The Blues Brothers- we don’t know. Just keep reading, keep watching, and keep writing- and of course keep renting at Videoport.

                                  Get free money at Videoport!

Look, we know you love us. And you’re gonna keep spending your hard-earned rental dollars here (and not on some scratched DVDs plunked out from a plastic vending machine in a scabby 7-11 parking lot), so why not get yourself some free money. Yup- prepay $20 on your Videoport account, and we give you $25 worth of rental credit. And if you prepay $30, we give you $40 worth of rental credit. That’s just free money you’re leaving on the table, people.