VideoReport #430

Volume CDXXX- Invasion Of The Podcasters!

For the Week of 11/12/13

Videoport gives you a free movie every single day. I genuinely cannot see a downside to that.

This week: Podcast people! They’re everywhere! They’re crawling right in through your earbuds, making excellent suggestions for Videoport rentals! OH GAWD THEY’RE EVERYWHERE!

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!

>>>Emily S. Customer suggests suggests Hellraiser. And Hellbound: Hellraiser II. And Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth. And Hellraiser: Bloodlines. And as many more Hellraisers as you can hellhandle. [in Horror] WE HAVE SUCH PODCASTS TO SHOW YOU! Including, of course, We Have Such Films to Show You, in which Yakov and Josh dissect, discuss, and ramble on about the high and low (mostly low) points of the Hellraiser franchise. As they put it on the podcast’s tumblr, “There’s just so much to talk about: the effects (good and bad), the costumes (both the very-80s wardrobe on the humans and the trendsetting Bondage Demons look of Pinhead and his Cenobite colleagues), the muddled religious and sexual themes of the film, the thematic strengths and mechanical weaknesses of Clive Barker’s feature film directorial debut, the mysteries of the infamous (and in this first film rather markedly under-explained) puzzle box, the stilted enigma that is is much of the dialogue, the little moments of inspired visual weirdness that really make it clear this is Barker material, the role of blue-eyed magic hobo skeleton dragons in the global demon economy, etc, etc.” After covering the nine (NINE!) Hellraiser films, Josh and Yakov move on to more varied fare, including clever meta-horror Cabin in the Woods, weird angel-horror franchise The Prophecy, and Event Horizon (or, as I like to call it, Hellraiser in Space.)

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!

>>> Emily S Customer suggests sending up classic movies like Casablanca. Just when you thought Mystery Science Theater 3000 couldn’t give you any more delight, it turns out those hilarious banterers have a podcast. When the Satellite of Love went dark, some of the team that brought you movie mockery first as MST3K took a well-deserved break, then reformed to create RiffTrax. It’s a variation on the MiSTie formula with one big difference: the RiffTrax team (Kevin Murphy, Mike Nelson, and Bill Corbett) isn’t restricted to public domain works. Here’s how it works: though RiffTrax does offer a limited library of DVDs and Blu-Rays with narration added (in the MTS3K tradition), many more commentary tracks, for big-budget, well-copyrighted fare ranging from Casablanca to The Matrix to The Hunger Games, are available as modestly-priced downloads, to be cued up and paired with a DVD – say, one you can rent from your friendly neighborhood Videoport!

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 Sleepwalk with Me (in Comedy.) Mike Birbiglia is usually identified as a comedian, but he’s more of a… what, a raconteur? A one-man-show? He tells stories. He’s a storyteller. You may have heard his appearances on This American Life, and The Moth, but I highly recommend his self-directed semi-autobiographical film Sleepwalk with Me, based on his off-Broadway one-man show detailing a life disrupted, first by a sleep disorder and then by the anxieties that disorder revealed in him.

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!

>>>Emily S Customer suggests Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. In the Judge John Hodgman Podcast (Episode 4, “Tear Down That Wall!” ), two friends present an argument: does breaking the fourth wall ruin entertainment by destroying the audience’s emotional investment in characters and action, or does it enhance art by creating a Brechtian effect that spurs us to consciously interrogate its meaning? In his summation, Judge Hodgman requires the defendant to watch, among other films, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, in which Ferris (Matthew Broderick in a career-defining continually addresses the camera with aside and advice, for an excellent example of the flagrant breaking of the fourth wall to draw the audience into collaboration and companionship with the protagonist. This is the sound of a gavel; I sentence you to watch Ferris, too.

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

>>>Emily S. Customer suggests suggests “Spongebob Squarepants.” Hey, parents! While your kid is enjoying the tomfoolery of the nonsensical and ubiquitous Spongebob Squarepants (for free, no less! Long live Free Friday!), you can either watch along or surreptitiously enjoy the grown-up tomfoolery of the HUMAN PERSON voicing Spongebob Squarepants, Tom Kenny, on the Dana Gould Podcast, episode “Poll to Pole” from Dec 2012. In conversation with comedian (and classic-era “Simpsons” writer) Dana Gould, Kenny talks about his own infelicitous history as a stand-up and how voice-acting brings him a joy and satisfaction he never achieved as a comedian. I don’t know about you, but for me, that revelation makes the already-entertaining antics of that submerged anthropomorphic sponge a lot more heartwarming. Knowing Kenny’s HUMAN PERSON from cult fave “Mr. Show,” I had conjured up an image of an aspiring comedian resigning himself to a lucrative but dreamcrushing career as a voice actor – but it’s quite the opposite! Spongebob makes dreams come true, folks.

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

>>>For Saturday, Emily S. Customer suggests suggests “The Ricky Gervais Show.” The Ricky Gervais Show holds the Guinness World Record for most downloaded podcast; by spring of 2011, the show had been downloaded over 300,000,000 times. It’s so staggeringly popular that HBO & Channel 4 collaborated to animate the podcasts, bringing an old-school Hanna Barbara feel to the decidedly not-for-kids material. [And when I say it’s not for kids, I mean it is not for kids, or even for some adults. This is salty stuff, folks.] It shouldn’t work, but it does: Gervais’ Barney-Rubble features contrast with Pilkington’s spiky round head and tiny frame and with the stick-insect angularity of lanky Stephen Merchant, who is practically a cartoon character in real life, and transforming the soundtrack of three men sitting around talking into a vivid, varied tapestry of hilarious hijinks. In the podcast, Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant (creators of The Office and Extras) revisit the banter of their pre-Office radio show, but with one crucial difference: they’re joined by their former radio producer Karl Pilkington. In each episode, Gervais and Merchant egg on Pilkington to air some of his more outlandish, often obtuse, almost always chronically depressing preoccupations – that ghosts must be sad to be stuck always in the outfits in which they died, that space travel can’t be all that exciting or Neil Armstrong would’ve returned at least once, that “it’s just hassle, having friends and family an’ that” – for their, and presumably our, raucous amusement. The reliable sucker-punch feel of this dynamic – encouragement, then ridicule – is only enhanced by Pilkington’s apparently stumbling sincerity; it feels like they fished this mumbling fella, innocent of radio conventions and presentation, out of a back office somewhere and propped him up by a mike for cheap laughs. In fact, Pilkington was a well-known radio personality long before his association with Gervais and Merchant, making hay from his eccentricities to create some of the cringe-y-est of cringe comedy.

>>>For Sunday, Emily S. Customer suggests “Mr. Show with Bob and David.” If you’ve been listening to the Comedy Bang Bang podcast (which is longer, odder, and reliably darker than the TV show), you want to back it up, kid, and see some of Scott Aukerman’s earlier writing on HBO’s “Mr. Show with Bob and David,” including notable episodes “Life is Precious and God and The Bible” and “It’s Insane, This Guy’s Taint.” And if you haven’t been listening to the Comedy Bang Bang podcast and the descriptions here of Aukerman’s other work doesn’t have you looking it up right this minute, then you’ve made the right call, pal.

New Releases this week at Videoport: Man Of Steel (in the long tradition of the movies not being able to get Superman right, this Zack Snyder-directed, mega-budgeted millionth reboot of Supes’ origin story has some good stuff, and a lot of questionable stuff, including one that makes me madder than I would have thought possible; serious nerd rage, people…), Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain (diminutive, energetic Hart is currently the only standup comic making any money in the long-dormant standup concert film genre, and Videoport’s got his new, and very funny, concert film right here!; as ever, look for standup comedy in the Comedy section under the comedian’s last name; Hart, in this case…), Computer Chess (very quietly, writer/director Andrew Bujalski has mined the “mumblecore” genre for some of the most impressive under-the-radar indie dramedy [in films like Funny Ha Ha, Mutual Appreciation, and Beeswax]; here’s his new one, a critically-beloved comedy about the assembled computer geeks at a 1980 man-vs.-machine computer chess tournament), Dexter- season 8 (the long, stabby journey of serial killer who works for the police but only kills serial killers concludes! I heard this season, and especially the ending, was a train wreck! Enjoy! And now maybe the excellent Michael C. Hall can do some other stuff for a change), Turbo (Ryan Reynolds gives voice to the titular gastropod, a snail who want’s to be a racecar-snail [or something]; Impossible dream? Not in the world of Pixar-knockoff animation it isn’t!), Blackfish (Sea World wasn’t pleased with this expose of the ways in which orcas are not especially happy with their lives as performing animals [and lucrative merchandise]; they’re right not to like it—this is a harrowing, eye-opening depiction of man’s attempt to enslave wild animals for your splashy entertainment; seriously—this one’s disturbing…), Frances Ha (check the Criterion Collection for this acclaimed dramedy starring indie queen Greta Gerwig as a twentysomething New Yorker just trying to figure some stuff out; directed by Noah Baumbach [The Squid And The Whale]), Broken (Tim Roth and Cillian Murphy lend their invaluable talents to this British coming-of-age story from Film Movement about a 12 year old girl trying to process the sex and violence of her working class neighborhood), I Declare War (good-looking indie about a group of kids whose traditional capture the flag game starts to spin dangerously out of control; check Videoport’s Incredibly Strange section for this one…), Dealin’ With Idiots (Curb Your Enthusiasm’s Jeff Garlin [I Just Want Someone To Eat Cheese With] writes and directs this indie comedy about a comedian interviewing the hyper-competitive little league parents of his son’s youth baseball team for a film; costarring some comedy all stars like Bob Odenkirk, JB Smoove, Kerri Kenney-Silver, Steve Agee, Gina Gershon, Fred Willard, and Timothy Olyphant), Silk- season 1 (BBC legal drama about a principled barrister forced to battle her charmingly unscrupulous colleague for a spot on the prestigious Queen’s Counsel), Poirot- season 9 (David Suchet’s turn as Agatha Christie’s punctilious Belgian sleuth continues!), Bounty Killer (in the near future, corporations have taken over the world and a gang of heavily-armed mercenaries are tasked with rooting out white collar corruption—with bullets!)

New Arrivals at Videoport: Free Willy (just in time for a double feature with this week’s Blackfish [which details the miserable lives of orcas in captivity] Videoport brings in the DVD of this beloved children’s film about an orca in captivity! Did Videoport’s owner Bill plan this as some sort of corporate synergy/irony move? Impossible to say with that guy…), Passchendaele (all the cool kids at Videoport know how brilliant and talented Paul Gross is from his turn as Geoffrey Tennant in the stellar Canadian series Slings and Arrows; so they should all seek this one out, an affecting WWI drama about a shell-shocked vet trying to cope with what he had to do in the war; it stars Gross and the ever-interesting Carloine Dhavernas of Wonderfalls, and is based on the experiences of Gross’ own grandfather)

New Releases on Blu Ray This Week At Videoport: Man Of Steel, Frances Ha, For A Good Time Call…, White House Down, Akira

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…

Write for The VideoReport! This here publication here is the place for Videoport’s staff, customers, and assorted movie freaks to argue, rant, and occasionally just go all gooey over their favorite movies. Or least favorite. Or, I suppose, one’s they’re indifferent towards. It’s a place for your movie and TV reviews, essays, screeds, poetry, recipes—really anything even tangentially connected to all the movies and TV series that Videoport carries. Which is all of them. So come one in, rent some movies, argue with a staff member who just doesn’t get why you’re so passionate about Babylon 5. And then go home and write up your manifesto about why Babylon 5 is the greatest single work of fiction ever created and why that Videoport clerk is a big, dumb dope. Then send it to us here at denmn@hotmail.com or our Facebook page Videoport Jones. Or, hey, just drop it off here in the store so you can give that dumb employee another piece of your mind. (I’ve never seen Babylon 5, but I’m sure it’s lovely, sir…)