VideoReport #428

Volume CDXXVIII- Sherlock Holmes And The Mystery Of How Robert Altman Never Won A Best Director Oscar

For the Week of 10/28/13

Videoport gives you a free movie every day. Oh, and they have all the movies ever, so you’ll never run out of free movies. Oh, and their prices are low, their employees know everything about movies, and they’re locally-owned. Trying to think of something negative about Videoport in fact….nope. Can’t do it.

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!

>>>Andy suggests The Woman (in Horror). After I saw May and the Masters of Horror episode Sick , I became a fast devotee of director Lucky McKee and his favorite leading lady Angela Bettis. And yet, it took me three years to get around to watching their latest collaboration, The Woman. The reason, as some of the horror lovers out there may have guessed, is McKee’s disappointing follow-up to May, The Woods (at least Bettis can’t be blamed for that disaster, as she wasn’t given a role). But I was wrong to have given up on McKee so easily. The Woman is a stunning horror film. Without giving too much of the story away, it’s about clean cut family man Chris Cleek (played by Sean Bridgers*) who finds a wounded feral woman (Pollyanna McIntosh) in the woods while hunting. Naturally, he captures her and brings her home to tend to her wounds and attempt to “civilize” her. We soon realize that Chris only looks clean cut, and his family is deeply troubled. Like May, this movie intrigued me with its horror premise, and then surprised me with its intelligent writing and senstitive performances**. The Woman is a much darker, more brutal movie than May, however, and it has barely a trace of the earlier film’s sense of humor.

*Between this movie and Nell, Bridgers just keeps finding lone women in the woods.

**McIntosh has the showiest role, and she’s excellent and very credible as the wild woman. I even found myself wondering at one point where the filmmakers discovered a real feral woman to play this part!

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!

>>> It the Videoport Advice Column!

Q: I’m meeting my fiancee’s parent’s for the first time this weekend and I want to make a good impression. How do you suggest I get in good with the future in-laws?

A: I suggest swinging by Videoport and picking up a selection of elder-friendly movies to watch after dinner (maybe something like The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and the recent Unfinished Song), and then dazzle them with your careful disc-handling skills [obviously never touch the shiny side and never leave the DVD out of its case]. But be careful—all right-thinking parents will toss you out on your arse if they see you damage a rental DVD. That’s just good parenting.

Q: My child is 2 and he loves playing with rental DVDs. I know they’re delicate and completely vital to the local video store where I rent them, but I just can’t say no to my sweet l’il smoopsy. What should I do?

A: Wait calmly for the authorities to arrive. I have called child protective services for the good of your child as you are clearly an unfit parent and bad person.

Q: What’s the fastest land animal in the world?

A: The cheetah. And keep your damned hands off of Videoport’s DVDs.

>>>Dennis suggests Vikings (in Action/Adventure.) Honetly I wasn’t really looking forward to reviewing this show (I review shows sometimes), but, boyoboy was I wrong. The first scripted series from the History Channel, this show exceeded pretty much every expectation I had for it, gradually becoming my pick for overlooked TV show of the year. (Well, maybe except for Rectify. And Enlightened. Oh, and Orphan Black. You people should really watch better TV in general, by the way.) Anyway, the think that impressed me the most about Vikings was how committed it was to creating a world completely alien from our own. Sure, there’s a protagonist (Australian actor Travis Fimmel is outstanding) as sorta historical figure Ragnar Lothbrok with whom we’re meant to identify. But the show proved astoundingly adept at keeping me off guard about what Ragnar was going to do at any one time, simply by remaining true to the idea that Viking society had values completely different from ours. Yes, Ragnar seems to love his kids and his formidable, y wife Lagertha (the also excellent Kathryn Winnick), but he’s also a Viking. Viking society was not our society with swords and leather jerkins—it developed on its own path a long time ago, and Vikings mines that essential difference for consistently fascinating conflict. This comes to the fore when, early on, a Viking raid brings back young Christian monk Athelstan (the also great George Blagden) as a captive, where he becomes Ragnar’s slave. Or confidant. Or almost friend—it’s that kind of relationship. The monk is our eyes, finding much of the Viking culture strange, even horrifying, (as we do). But gradually Athelstan gets seduced by the action, the freedom, (and the y Viking wenches), only to, again and again, be taken aback by something the Vikings (including Ragnar) do which he just can’t understand. It’s a fascinatingly well-drawn portrait of an ancient culture—with lots of hot Viking action thrown in. (I may have used the phrase “Viking threesome ” in reviews more than once.) Plus, there’s an all-time great supporting turn from Gustaf Skarsgard as Floki, Ragnar’s friend and boatbuilder/priest/jester/slinky weirdo. Great little show. You should watch it.

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!

>>> Emily S. Customer suggests Ghostbusters (in Comedy.) I have failed in my auntly duties: my teenaged niece recently mentioned in passing that she had never seen Ghostbusters, and we all know what that is. That’s right, it’s a youth heading toward a disaster of biblical proportions. Fire and brimstone raining down from the sky. Rivers and seas boiling. Human sacrifice. Dogs and cats living together! MASS HYSTERIA! Have you done right by your kids, your nieces and nephews, your various charges and wards? Are you sure? Better safe than sorry. Rent Ghostbusters today, for the sake of a generation.

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 customer Frank M. suggests Deep Water (in Nonfiction/Sports). If you’re a fan of seafarin’ tales, 16mm film, and documentaries loaded with crazy/courageous people, this movie’s for you. Deep Water is the story of the 1968 London Sunday Times Round The World sailboat race, in which nine men set off singlehandedly on a chance for the title of the 1st nonstop circumnavigation before the days of GPS or emergency radio beacons. Featuring a haunting soundtrack and matched with harrowing accounts of hundreds of days at sea, Louise Osmond and Jerry Rothwell’s treatment and framing of this true story is part thriller, part mystery, with equal parts comedy, triumph, farce, and tragedy. These parts are told through interviews and archival footage of the journalists, competitors, as well as their wives & children. Much of the film’s sea footage was shot by the competitors themselves, on grainy, scratched, and dirty 16mm and super 8 chrome film, which will be a delight to film purists. Not to be missed are some additional interviews in the ‘sailors’ stories’ chapter of the special features, specifically Chay Blythe, Bill King and Robin Knox-Johnston. Na by Tilda Swindon.

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

>>>It’s free. For kids! What, you don’t like kids? Well then why not get back in touch with your neglected inner child with a beloved film from your childhood! And then maybe you’ll find yourself no longer complaining about getting a free movie!

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

>>>For Saturday, JackieO suggests (in haiku form) Miller’s Crossing (in Feature Drama.)

Fire is blazing.

From his bed, Leo sees smoke.

“O Danny Boy” plays.


Casper advises:

“Always put one in the brain.

I tell all my boys.”


Tom stares at Bernie.

Bernie won’t answer the phone;

it isn’t for him.


Tom sees the angles,

leaves Mink calling up the stairs,

“Dammit, Tom! Jesus!”


Eating cereal,

reading The Katzenjammers,

Drop is visited.


Verna, a sick twist,

won Tom’s hat playing poker.

Won it fair and square.


As he speaks the words,

the Dane’s eyes don’t drift from Tom’s.

“And we’ll see who’s smart.”

>>>For Sunday, Emily S. Customer suggests The Simpsons (in Animation.) As we say thank you and goodbye to the late great Marcia Wallace, “The Simpsons” will be saying goodbye to Missus Krabappel, the ribald, cynical schoolteacher with the irascible laugh. All the way back in S3, the episode “Bart the Lover”(S3, ep16) explored and expanded Edna Krabappel’s background, showing how the once-idealistic teacher had soured and shrunk into bitterness and how a a mere breeze of freshness and friskiness (in the form of romantic letters from an unknown suitor) breathes the spirit back into her. In “Grade School Confidential” (S8, ep19), Edna pursues a more tangible romance with straitlaced Principal Skinner, who throw caution to the wind and canoodle at a child’s birthday party. Aaaaand let’s not forget her indelible performance in the teachers’ talent show (“Screaming Yellow Honkers, S10, ep15), where she belts out a sultry rendition of “Fever” as she performs a burlesque balloon-popping dance. (NB: if you’re watching “The Simpsons” reruns on TV, you’re missing a lot of the show; syndication requires significant cuts in running time, and Missus Krabappel’s best lines are an all-too-frequent casualty.)

New Releases this week at Videoport: Leviathan (critically acclaimed avant-garde documentary is an almost wordless examination of the lives of the crew of a commercial fishing vessel in the North Atlantic), Byzantium (always interesting director Neil Jordan [Interview With The Vampire] returns to the sucking vein with this moody, y film about a mother/daughter duo of vamps on the prowl and operating out of a ; starring Gemma Aterton and Saoirse Ronan), Monsters University (Pixar goes back to the sequel well once again—at least this time the results are pretty good, with Monsters Inc buddies Mike and Sully flashing back to how they met at the titular institute of higher monster learning; a Pixar Animal House, if you will…), RIPD (it’s about time the brave men and women of the Rhode Island Police Department got their own movie—wait, what? Oh, this is that suspiciously Men In Black-looking action comedy about Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges fighting supernatural menaces as undead police coppers. My apologies…), Family Tree- season 1 (Christopher Guest [Waiting For Guffman, A Mighty Wind, Best In Show] brings his gift for loose, hilarious improv-y narratives [and his usual stable of brilliant improvisers] to this shaggy, genial HBO sitcom about a British regular Joe [Chris O’Dowd of The IT Crowd and Bridesmaids] as he heads to America to uncover the truth of his family’s long-lost relatives), The Indian Doctor- season 2 (you loved season one, Videoporters, so here’s another season of this British series about the titular immigrant physician whose arrival in a 1960s Welsh mining town causes some serious attitude adjustment), Last Tango In Halifax- season 1 (Much-loved BBC series about a pair of senior citizens [British Treasures Anne Reid and Derek Jacobi] who were teenage sweethearts, married other people, and now find each other again after 50 years; everyone loves this one, people…), I Give It A Year (as a happily married couple approaches their first anniversary, the combined skepticism of their family and friends that they can stay married despite their differences puts their relationship in jeopardy; great cast for this comedy, including Rafe Spall [Hot Fuzz], Rose Byrne [Damages], Stephen Merchant [Extras], Minnie Driver, and Anna Farris)

New Arrivals at Videoport: Hanging For Django (Following the great Italian cinematic tradition of surreptitiously changing movie titles to cash in on a good thing, this spaghetti western about a couple of suspiciously European-y cowboys stumbling upon a border baron’s evil, ous immigrant-smuggling/killing scheme has nothing to do with legendary gunslinger Django; which is sort of unethical, if you think about it…),

New Releases on Blu Ray This Week At Videoport: Monsters University, RIPD, The Conjuring, The Internship, The Way Way Back.

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 deals maybe? I’m not your psychiatrist…