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
- The Garden Of The Finzi Continis
- The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie
- Day For Night
- Dersu Uzala
- Get Out Your Hankerchiefs
- The Tin Drum
- Fanny And Alexander
- The Official Story
- Babette’s Feast
- Pelle The Conqueror
- Cinema Paradiso
- Belle Epoque
- Burnt By The Sun
- Antonia’s Line
- Life Is Beautiful
- All About My Mother
- Crouching Tiger. Hidden Dragon
- No Man’s Land
- Nowhere In Africa
- The Barbarian Invasions
- The Sea Inside
- The Lives Of Others
- The Counterfeiters
- The Secret In Their Eyes
- In A Better World
- A Separation
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)