VideoReport #512

Volume DXII—The Creaky Old House On The Edge Of Town With The Terrifying History That Nonetheless Is The Number One Destination For Horny Teens Looking For A Place To Make Out

             For the Week of 6/9/15

Videoport gives you a free movie every single day. We have done for 27 years. You’re-freaking-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 $7.99!

>>> Former Videoporter (and director of Nyarlathotep and An Imperfect Solution in Videoport’s horror section) Christian suggests Predator 2 (in Sci-Fi/Fantasy). When Arnie’s not available who is next on speed dial? Danny Glover of course! My god, just imagine if every Arnie film had a Danny sequel. Twins Too with Danny and Danny! But back to Predator 2: this film is a monumental failure on so many levels, and yet it is quite possibly the most creative action sequel of that era. It changes damn near everything that made the original so iconic. But one thing it didn’t change was the pairing of FX wizard Stan Winston with gone-too-soon character actor Kevin Peter Hall. There have been a few attempts at Predators since, but they all lack these two vital ingredients. Now what these guys were given with this script was a real gift: a fresh take on the character where instead of bigger and badder than the original (the standard approach) instead this hunter is less experienced and more reliant on his gadgets than the first. This subtle difference is the highlight of the film as Kevin really brings the character to life as he panics. Bill Paxton hams it up, we get some insanely bad Rastafarian caricatures, and a nifty nod in the Predator’s trophy case to Fox’s other big alien franchise. Give it a try!

Tough and Triassic Tuesday! Give yourself a free rental from the Action or Classics section with any other paid rental! OR Get any three non-new releases for seven days for $7.99!

>>> Dennis suggests Bigger Than Life (in the Criterion Collection section). From Nicholas Ray (Rebel Without A Cause), this intense drama is one of James Mason’s most unsung performances. In it, he’s a dad, husband, and professional who goes to a shrink to deal with his anxiety and, prescribed the new wonder drug cortisone, goes quietly psycho. For 1956, it’s shockingly dark and complex, with Mason never better, portraying his character’s descent into menacing craziness with genuinely upsetting depth. Look, not everything can be all nice and sweet and full of Helen Mirrens.

Wacky and Worldly Wednesday! You’ve got a free rental coming from the Comedy or Foreign Language sections with any other paid rental! OR Get any three non-new releases for seven days for $7.99!  

>>> Dennis suggests Wet Hot American Summer (in Comedy). I keep running into people who haven’t seen this movie, which just proves how much I think everyone has the same taste I do. But since I keep hearing evidence that some of you are depriving yourselves of joy, here’s a recommendation—watch this movie. From some of the people behind the cult, insanely-influential sketch comedy series The State (available and recommended in the Incredibly Strange Section), this movie—marginally a satire of 80’s summer camp movies (so, Meatballs, essentially)—is just an excuse for people like Michael Showalter, Amy Poehler, Paul Rudd, Bradley Cooper, Michael Ian Black, Molly Shannon, David Hyde Pierce, Janeane Garofalo, Ken Marino, Joe Lo Truglio, and Chris Meloni to do their thing. And their thing is gloriously weird and hilarious riffing on the teen/summer camp movie clichés and/or just screwing around, using the whole plot as a clothesline for relentless comedy greatness. Seriously, this os one of the funniest movies in the last decade (I can’t imagine hanging out with someone who watched it and said, “I don’t get it”). There’s a prequel TV series coming out this summer on an internet concern whose name we do not say at Videoport, but I guarantee it’ll be worth watching too—when it comes to DVD.

Thrifty Thursday! Rent one, get a free rental from any other section in the store! OR Get any three non-new releases for seven days for $7.99!                                        

>>> Videoport customer Kevin H. suggests Like Sunday, Like Rain (in Feature Drama). “Like Sunday, Like Rain” is the kind of quiet little movie that, for me, is always such a joy to discover at Videoport. Eleanor, played by Leighton Meester (Gossip Girl), is a young 20-ish woman trying to make a go of life in New York, and largely failing at it. She is out of a relationship, out of an apartment, and out of a job. Meester conveys the sense of someone who, in the face of one indignity or setback too many, is ready to fold. She is given a chance, however, on a slim lead obtaining work as a nanny. That chance leads to a temporary placement tending to precocious 12 year old Reggie, who seems to mostly care to himself with minimal assistance from the household staff, and very little from his mostly absent wealthy parents. His typical 12 year old hobbies include composing for the cello, becoming widely read, and vegetarian cooking. In some ways, he’s worldly and self-assured, whereas Eleanor is aimless and timid. Both are lonely in their own way, of course. These characters are familiar from other movies: a friendship develops between two oddballs who have no reason whatsoever to ever cross paths. Director Frank Whaley treats them as genuine people, though. There are no great adventures or zany plots here: the two of them talk and wander New York and slowly draw the other out. There is a bit of drama resulting in an unexpected road trip, but most of what happens is that they start to see and accept the other person as a friend, someone who has value simply for who they are and who isn’t just around because they are an employee or ward. The best moments of the movie are very gentle and sweet-natured and fundamentally hopeful about people, and I unabashedly sometimes want to see a movie like that. (Also co-starring Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong.)

Kids Friday! One free rental from the Kids section, no other rental necessary! OR get any three non-new releases for a week for $7.99!          

>>> Dennis says, It’s a free kids movie! There are a lot to choose from! For free!

Having a Wild Weekend! Rent two movies, and get a third one for free from any section! OR get any three non-new releases for a week for $7.99!                                            

>>> For Saturday, Dennis suggests Victory (in Feature Drama.) Because, with the Women’s World Cup going on, this movie is ridiculous and wonderful! And ridiculous! Directed by the legendary John Huston (The Maltese Falcon, Under The Volcano, about 25 more great movies), this one must have been the result of a lost bet, or a drinking binge, or both. Sylvester Stallone’s an American WWII POW who becomes the goalie of an all POW soccer team roped into playing the Nazi all stars! Michael Caine is the coach/player! Pele is in there! They’re all trying to engineer a massive prisoner escape in the midst of the big game! There some great soccer action (Pele has an amazing bicycle kick I rewound about 20 times when I was a kid), and some ludicrously rousing heroics It’s silly and amazing!

MV5BMTkxMjgwMDM4Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMTk3NTIwNDE@._V1_SX640_SY720_>>>For Sunday, Dennis suggests North Dallas Forty (in Feature Drama). With all of the heightened awareness of the hideous brain trauma suffered by professional footballers, this 1979 football movie seems especially prescient (also funny, exciting, and dramatic.) The-Duff-iPhone-6Written by former NFL-er Peter Gent, the most wrenching scene comes from then-current NFL-er John Matuszak, who, confronted with yet another instance of the coaches telling him to do what’s best for the team (at the expense of his health), explodes, “Every time I say it’s a game, you tell me it’s a business. Every time I say it’s a business, you tell me it’s a game.” Knowing that the formidable Matuszak (also Sloth in The Goonies, and a funny caveman in Ringo Starr’s Caveman) would end up addicted to painkillers and eventually die of a drug overdose makes the moment that much more powerful. Plus, you know, this is a really good football movie.

7750_poster_iphoneNew Releases this week at Videoport: Kingsman: Secret Service (Colin Firth stars as perhaps the least likely action hero ever in this over-the-top action extravaganza about the titular super-secret British government agency as they Red-Army-onesheetrecruit a young street tough into their ranks. Based on the comics series by Mark Millar, this one is all about giving you non-stop, silly mega violence! You’re welcome!), The Duff (The undeniably cool Mae Whitman [Arrested Development—her?)] stars as a normal-looking high school senior who discovers that she’s been designated her more popular, boringly pretty friends perpetual sidekick), Serena (Jennifer Lawrence and Silver Linings Playbook co-star Bradley Cooper reteam for this Depression-era drama/romance about a lumber baron’s love for a poor gal), Red Army (Remember Miracle? And that US Olympic hockey team that inspired Miracle? Well, there was another Project-Almanac-posterteam involved, and this documentary examines the game and its outcome from the perspective of the defeated-for-all-eternity Russian team), Project Almanac (In this sci-fi thriller, a bunch of pretty teens discover the secret of time travel. What could possibly go wrong? [A lot. A lot goes really, really wrong.]), Amy 600full-li'l-quinquin-posterSchumer: Mostly Sex Stuff (Standup special from naughty-eyed and very funny comic Schumer. Keep pestering us and we’ll get her very good sketch comedy show Inside Amy Schumer, too), Li’l Quinquin (In this French, Twin Peaks-style miniseries, human remains are found stuffed inside a cow in MV5BODQ3Mzc3NzUwNl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDMxNDQyNDE@._V1_SY317_CR4,0,214,317_AL_a small village. From Bruno Dumont, director of the genuinely unnerving and offputting movies Flanders, Humanite, and Camille Claudel 1915), Alive Inside (In this documentary, researchers present the case that music is the key to reaching people otherwise completely cut off by the total dick of a disease called Alzheimer’s), Appropriate Behavior (From writer/director/star Desiree Akhavan comes this great-looking indie about a young woman trying to make her way as a hip, bisexual, Persian woman in Brooklyn), Cinema Holdup (In this acclaimed appropriate-behavior-posterdebut film from director Iria Gomez Concheiro, a group of Mexico City teens knock over the local movie house, only to discover that their crime leads to unexpected consequences), These Final Hours (The world is ending, and a shiftless dude who wants nothing more than to get hammered at a “the world is ending” rager finds lg_cinemaholdupjpghimself reluctantly taking care of a young woman he rescues from a gang of “the world is ending” rapists in this indie “the world is ending” drama), Spring (Really great-lookin’ indie horror romance stars Lou Taylor Pucci [Thumbsucker] as an American backpacker in Italy who falls for a mysterious young woman [Nadia Hilker], who harbors a truly unexpected and terrifying secret. From the directors of the very interesting indie horror movie Resolution), 5 Centimeters Per Second (A young man’s life is the subject of the three vignettes in this gorgeous anime from the director of Garden Of Words. Someone on the DVD box compares him to Miyazaki, which 6Q8Zlj3is a bold claim…), Willow Creek (Look, you might not take someone named Bobcat seriously, but standup comic-turned-director Bobcat Goldthwait is the real deal. [See his Sleeping Dogs Lie, God Bless America, Shakes The Clown, and World’s Greatest Dad Spring-movie-horrorfilmfor proof.] In his newest movie, he goes scary, with a very Blair Witch-y first-person horror flick about a couple heading off into the woods in search of Bigfoot. It’s another good one from the Bobcat), Da Sweet Blood Of Jesus (I don’t know why Spike Lee thought it was a good idea to remake the cult 70s horror movie Ganja And Hess [available in Videoport’s horror section, of course], but I wholeheartedly approve. In this one, a buttoned-down professor finds himself hungering for human blood after coming into contact with an African artifact), Magician: The Astonishing Life And Work Of Orson Welles (Orson Welles had a life that was insanely adventurous enough5-centimeters-per-second-5216194f89e64 to fill up seven documentaries, but we’ll have to make due with this one, as it traces the Citizen Kane creator from his life as a child prodigy to he decades of post-Kane frustration where his cinematic genius willow-creek-dvd-cover-96was thwarted again and again by the people with the money and no taste), My Life Directed By Nicholas Winding Refn (Fascinating behind-the-scenes documentary examines the directing style and life of Drive and Pusher director Refn as he works to complete his indifferently-received Only God Forgives), The Taking Of Tiger Mountain (From legendary Chinese director Tsui Hark [Once Upon A Time In China] comes this bonkers historical action flick about a group of soldiers during the Chinese revolution battling a bandit gang on a mountain full of freaking tigers! Tigers!)

 

New Arrivals At Videoport: White Psalms (We don’t know what this is! A MECA student asked us to stock his Welles-Magician-purple-poster-LORESmy-life-directed-poster-460x680movie and we did! It has a very disturbing and striking booklet of photographs that come with it!), State Of Siege (From legendary political director Costa-Gavras [Z, Missing] comes this typically scathing thriller about an American official kidnapped by rebels in Uruguay. Oh, and the official is secretly working for the CIA trying to undermine the legally elected Uruguayan government, which is something that the US government totally did and Costa-Gavras was having none of. Look for it in Videoport’s Criterion Collection section)

 

Get some free money at Videoport! Yup, free money. Put $20 on your Videoport account, and we give you $25 in store credit. And a pre-pay of $30 gets you $40 in store credit! That…is free money, people. It’s money you’d spend at Videoport anyway, since we’re so super and you love us so much. But we give it to you for free. Why? Um, not sure the-taking-of-tiger-mountain-posterreally—come take advantage before we come to our senses!

 

Write for The VideoReport! This whole weekly blog/newsletter/thingy was started some 509 weeks ago as a place for people who work at/love Videoport to share their reviews, opinions, and occasional furious screeds about their favorite/least favorite movies. So do that! Send ‘em to denmn@hotmail.com or our Facebook page “Videoport Jones”! Do it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published in: on June 9, 2015 at 1:37 am  Leave a Comment  
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VideoReport #510

Volume DX— The House On People With No Self-Preservation Instinct Hill

For the Week of 5/26/15

Videoport gives you a free movie every single day. You love movies, so have a free one. That’s juts common sense, really.

Middle Aisle Monday! Take a free rental from the Science Fiction, Horror, Incredibly Strange, Popular Music, Mystery/Thriller, Animation, or Staff Picks sections with any other paid rental! OR Get any three non-new releases for seven days for $7.99!

>>> Emily S. Customer suggests Looper (in Sci-fi/Fantasy), with reservations. Director Rian Johnson made a name for himself with his first feature film, the celebrated, mannered teen noir Brick. His sci-fi action thriller Looper is a completely different kind of device: It’s smart, stylish, and fun to watch, but like Brick, it has a gimmick at its heart. It’s a time-travel crime tale, with Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt playing a hitman named Joe, 30 years apart. Bruce Willis is, well, Bruce Willis, with all his familiar tics and mannerisms; JGL is crisp and tightly controlled as young Joe. It’s a heck of a parlor trick to see him rein in his broad, mobile face to master the impersonation, and the resemblance is sometimes eerie, sometimes distracting. But it is a parlor trick. Gordon-Levitt’s one of the most interesting actors of his generation, and this gimmick constrains his performance and the movie as a whole.

Tough and Triassic Tuesday! Give yourself a free rental from the Action or Classics section with any other paid rental! OR Get any three non-new releases for seven days for $7.99!

>>> Dennis suggests Macbeth (in Classics.) The Orson Welles 1948 version. With Michael Fassbender ready to bring his big budget version of Shakespeare’s Scottish tragedy to the big screen, why not look back at the funky, oddball version that Orson Welles made on a frayed shoestring. An early example of how Welles’ ambitions were to be constantly thwarted by the people with the money for the rest of his career, this expressionistic adaptation was, out of financial necessity, shot on leftover sets from Republic Pictures’ westerns in less than a month. Welles freely re-jiggered the dialogue and plot, and had the actors dub their lines in post-production. The critics of the day hated it, and, like a shocking number of Welles’ projects over the years, it received only spotty distribution over the years before being cleaned up for the DVD release that came out a few years ago. It’s an odd experience—the dubbed Scottish burrs are alienating and unnerving, which actually sort of works. For Shakespeare nerds (like me) it’s essential.

Wacky and Worldly Wednesday! You’ve got a free rental coming from the Comedy or Foreign Language sections with any other paid rental! OR Get any three non-new releases for seven days for $7.99!  

>>> Dennis suggests Bob’s Burgers (in Comedy). I don’t know if you out there in VideoReportland still watch current episodes of The Simpsons (as opposed to the classic episodes available to rent at Videoport), but it’s something of a bobs-burgers-521fdf91f28e1bummer. Actually, it’s more than a bummer—The Simpsons (say, seasons 3-9) was one long run of classic comedy. Not just classic TV, or classic cartoons, but all-time classic comedy, possessed of a unity of plot, character, and inventiveness that was, at its best, essential. Seriously, think back at how central The Simpsons was—and remains—to American comedy. Now—eh. It’s a solid B-minus show, where the residual affection for the voice actors’ interpretations of their characters and echoes of past glories bump an indifferent show up a half-grade. There are flashes here and there—the Lego episode from last season could actually hold its own in a good season—but it’s mostly just there. Which is all a long preamble to me saying that Bob’s Burgers is the new Simpsons—a smart, delightfully silly, and improbably affecting animated family sitcom that combines huge laughs, great voice acting, and characterization. The family unit matches up precisely, with a mom and dad, and three kids (a boy and two girls.) Here, they live not in Springfield, but some unnamed New England seafront tourist trap of a town, where Bob Belcher (voiced by animation all-star Jon Benjamin, also the voice of Archer, which is also great) runs a dinky burger joint with the help (sort of) of his enthusiastically goofy wife Linda (John Roberts), and his kids, perpetually weird and longing Tina (Dan Mintz), happily strange and boisterous Gene (Eugene Mirman), and manically self-assured (and weird) Louise (Kristin Schaal at her Kristin Schaal-iest). Like early Simpsons, the Belchers are perpetually losers, their socioeconomic and social underdog status central to their storylines and their appeal. Bob is the mostly-sane one of the group, continually trying to rein in his clan’s propensity to follow their eccentric whims into disastrous places, but Bob’s hardly a killjoy. While the pressures of being a business owner and family man seem to dictate that he be sensible at all times, in Benjamin’s performance, Bob’s reactions to the strangeness all around him are delightfully deadpan. Plus, there’s always the hint of how family man Bob carries the seeds of oddity that have blossomed to wildly in the rest of his family—the chalkboard in his restaurant always carries evidence of his stifled creativity in daily punning names of his experimental burger specials (like the “We’re here, we’re gruyere, get used to it” burger), and his occasional bursts of defiance against life’s indignities. Linda is one of the most endearingly weird TV mom’s ever, Roberts’ performance always making her irrepressible enthusiasm and loyalty to her brood as funny as it is admirably unique. The kids are all originals, too: Gene is the master of bodily functions, farfetched dreams, and unashamed self-expression, Louise is all bright-eyed, crazy id, and Mintz’s Tina is one of the most singular representations of confused but hopeful adolescence ever, her owly monotone and crippling anxieties never keeping her from hopefully navigating her way through teenagerdom. This is just a warm, silly, uniquely hilarious sitcom that can match up with The Simpsons at its best.

Thrifty Thursday! Rent one, get a free rental from any other section in the store! OR Get any three non-new releases for seven days for $7.99!                                        

>>> Emily S. Customer suggests Edge of Tomorrow (in Sci-Fi/Fantasy). In the future, the nations of earth combine forces to battle an alien race that’s ravaging Europe and posed to take over the planet. (I ended up watching Edge of Tomorrow over Memorial Day weekend, not realizing its frequent references to somber landmarks of WWI & WWII would make that weirdly appropriate.) When Major Cage (Tom Cruise), a military public affairs agent and admitted coward, is unwillingly assigned a role in the first beach attack on the French shores, he gains an eldritch power that has him reliving the same day, the same storming of the beach, over and over. Only Sergeant Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt) understands what a tactical advantage that could give Earth’s forces in this battle, and in the war on which humanity’s fate hangs. Blunt’s Sgt. Vrtataski is huge fun to watch: strong, confident, tough, plenty of swagger but not an ounce of bluster. She’s every inch a soldier. And Edge of Tomorrow demonstrates Cruise’s understanding of his own uneasy appeal, and the public’s ambivalence about him. As in a videogame orGroundhog Day, Cage’s power to restart the day is triggered only by his death, and the film shows this initially unlikeable character dying — over and over, inevitably or suddenly or just repetitively — with a canny grasp of his potent charisma, which makes audiences enjoy and resent him in turns.

Kids Friday! One free rental from the Kids section, no other rental necessary! OR get any three non-new releases for a week for $7.99!          

>>> Dennis says, It’s a free kids movie! There are a lot to choose from! For free!

Having a Wild Weekend! Rent two movies, and get a third one for free from any section! OR get any three non-new releases for a week for $7.99!                                            

>>> For Saturday, Dennis suggests Undead (in Horror). Sometimes you just need an over-the-top Aussie zombie flick. You know it’s true. Well, this visually inventive first film gorefest from the Spierig Brothers (who’ve gone on to do the interesting Daybreakers and Predestination) is right up your alley, with the requisite meteor strike causing the residents of a tiny Australian fishing village to become the requisite flesh-eating zombies. The twin directors clearly worship at the altar of the pre-Lord Of The Rings Peter Jackson (he of the spazzy, giddily fun splatter flicks Bad Taste and Dead Alive), mixing so-gross-it’s-fun gore with offbeat dialogue and characters and hyperkinetic camerawork. There must be something in the Aussie water to keep turning out inventively silly horror filmmakers like this. Plus, it’s not every day you watch a horror comedy starring someone named Mungo McKay who spouts lines like, “…time is short. So you gotta ask yourself: Are you a fighter, Fish Queen, or are you zombie food?” in an Australian accent.

>>>For Sunday, Dennis suggests Space 1999 (in Sci Fi). (From something I wrote somewhere else.) What’s it about? In a very 1970s-looking 1999, 311 multinational crew members peacefully man Moonbase Alpha, Earth’s first space colony, under the no-nonsense command of Martin Landau’s Commander John Koenig. But when a massive explosion sends the moon flinging out of Earth’s orbit, Koenig finds himself the captain of an isolated outpost of humanity, hurtling into uncharted space and dealing with dwindling supplies, the occasional mutiny, and each week’s requisite alien encounter. Essentially, the moon is the Starship Enterprise, with Landau as a much more dour Kirk, Barbara Bain as an even less-expressive Spock (and she’s completely human), and a wry Barry Morse as a less-excitable Bones. Why you should watch it: Because its inexplicable combination of deadly seriousness, utterly lazy (and bonkers) science, and sterile-yet-funky ’70s design produces a singularly schizophrenic viewing experience that’s as entertaining as the episodes themselves. Space: 1999 is always a minute recalibration away from unintentional self-parody, but every time you’re tempted to go full Mystery Science Theater 3000 on the action (as MST3K itself did in its UHF days), there’s a poetic interlude, a thoughtful philosophical theme, seventh-son-poster-598x360or an overqualified guest star (Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, and Brian Blessed among them) to bring you back to attention. Plus, the multi-ethnic cast (in the first season, anyway) was bold for the time, and Space: 1999 still boasts the most exciting theme song/opening sequence in TV history. Who should watch it: Sci-fi geeks (earnest or ironic); scientists (ironic only); jumpsuit enthusiasts.sonsofliberty

New Releases this week at Videoport: Seventh Son (Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore class up this fantasy ray-donovan-second-season.28519adventure tale about a young apprentice monster-hunter sent to recapture Moore’s evil witch with the help of grizzled ol’ Bridges), Sons Of Liberty (In this History Channel miniseries, hunky young versions of George Washington, Sam Adams, Paul Revere, and John Hancock kick some Redcoat arse as they build the country that would static1.squarespacebecome ‘Murica! Starring the likes of Henry Thomas, Rafe Spall, Martin Csokas, and Breaking Bad’s Dean Norris as Ben-freaking-Franklin! Watch out British jerks! Here come the Founding Fathers!), Ray Donovan- season 2 (The always-interesting Live Schreiber returns in this Showtime series as professional L.A. “fixer” Ray Donovan, the Hello-Ladies-Season-1-Promo-Postergo-to guy for rich jerks who need their latest misdeeds swept under the rug. He’s all morally compromised, as most cable protagonists are, with a decent supporting cast including Jon Voight, Dash Mihok, Eddie Marsan, and Steven Bauer), The Loft (A group of skeevy married guys [including Karl Urban, Wentworth Miller, James Marsden, and url-1Eric Stonestreet] share a swanky bachelor pad for all their extramarital hijinx. What could possibly go wrong? Oh, right, dead lady in the communal bed.), Hello Ladies- season 1 (The very funny Stephen Merchant [Extras, The Ricky Gervais Show] stars in his own HBO sitcom about a terminally-awkward single guy trying to score in Los Angeles. Or with Los Angeles. Anyway, it’s another example of very solid cringe comedy from our uncomfortable British pals. ), Da Sweet Love Of Jesus (Have you ever heard of the cult horror film Ganja and supremacyHess? Well, you can rent it at Videoport, of course, possibly on a double feature with this oddball remake of the already oddball original from Spike Lee of all people. In it, a professor is cursed by an ancient African artifact with a thirst for human blood!), Supremacy (Based on a depressing true story, a young neo-Nazi gets out of prison and promptly takes an African American family hostage. Meanwhile, the head Nazi jerk scowls disapprovingly from prison, TMIT-VOD-key-art_{68d33bf6-3aa7-e411-8748-d4ae527c3b65}presumably because the young jerk is giving Nazis a bad name? I guess?), Two Men In Town (Another remake of a movie you don’t know, this drama sees Muslim ex-con Forest Whittaker forming an unlikely friendship with his parole officer, finding a good woman, and settling down, only to see a racist copper and his own past conspiring to pull him back into big trouble once again. Remake of the French film of the same name [but starring Alain Delon and Jean Gabin], which you can, of course, rent at Videoport, since we are so awesome.)

New Releases on Blu Ray this week at Videoport: Seventh Son

Get some free money at Videoport! Yup, free money. Put $20 on your Videoport account, and we give you $25 in store credit. And a pre-pay of $30 gets you $40 in store credit! That…is free money, people. It’s money you’d spend at Videoport anyway, since we’re so super and you love us so much. But we give it to you for free. Why? Um, not sure really—come take advantage before we come to our senses!

Write for The VideoReport! This whole weekly blog/newsletter/thingy was started some 509 weeks ago as a place for people who work at/love Videoport to share their reviews, opinions, and occasional furious screeds about their favorite/least favorite movies. So do that! Send ‘em to denmn@hotmail.com or our Facebook page “Videoport Jones”! Do it!

Published in: on May 26, 2015 at 4:39 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , ,

VideoReport #507

   Volume DVII— Zero Dark Thirty-One

For the Week of 5/5/15

Videoport gives you a free movie every single day. No one could have a problem with that. Unless they didn’t like movies, I guess. But, then, why are they here in the first place? Really confusing stuff. Take a free movie while we figure this out. 

Middle Aisle Monday! Take a free rental from the Science Fiction, Horror, Incredibly Strange, Popular Music, Mystery/Thriller, Animation, or Staff Picks sections with any other paid rental! OR Get any three non-new releases for seven days for $7.99!

>>> Emily S. Customer suggests a Monday Mother’s Day Double Feature! For Middle Aisle Monday, take a terrifying trip through maternity in preparation for Mother’s Day. Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby and David Cronenberg’s The Brood convey the sublimated terror lurking in the experience of pregnancy and childbirth. Paranoia and terror creep in all around Rosemary (Mia Farrow), crowding into the sunny days of her young marriage and throwing gloomy shadows across the freshly-painted walls of her handsome New York City apartment. The film hinges on a simple question: Is Rosemary’s imagination running away with her, or is something larger than mere maternal anxiety at play in her seemingly simple life? In Cronenberg’s cult favorite, Nola (Samantha Eggar) is fighting her ex for custody of their daughter, and seeking intense (and worryingly radical) treatments at The Somafree Institute, transforming the pain of her divorce and longer-buried traumas through a new therapy called psychodynamics — with startling results. Just how gruesome a Mother’s Day are you looking forward to, anyhow?

Tough and Triassic Tuesday! Give yourself a free rental from the Action or Classics section with any other paid rental! OR Get any three non-new releases for seven days for $7.99!

>>>It’s another Mother’s Day Double Feature from Emily S. Customer! Mildred Pierce (1945) and The Manchurian Candidate. Left alone by her no-good husband, single mother Mildred Pierce (Joan Crawford) would sacrifice anything to make a better life for her daughters. She doesn’t have much, but she has a strong work ethic, a dab hand with pastry, and a level head on her shoulders, and soon Mildred works her way up from provisionally-employed waitress to restaurant entrepreneur, all for the good of her girls… but for her selfish daughter Veda, nothing will ever be enough. Lay in a supply of pie, and also of hankies, for this melodrama in noir disguise. While Mildred Pierce would sacrifice everything for her children, Eleanor Iselin (Angela Lansbury, in an Academy-Award nominated performance) of The Manchurian Candidate (1962) would sacrifice her son, Raymond Shaw (Laurence Harvey), and much more on the pyre of her second husband’s political career. The addled, publicity-hungry Sen. Iselin (James Gregory, known to a generation as Inspector Luger from Barney Miller) leads a witchhunt devoted to rooting out (fictitious) Communists entrenched within the Department of Defense, and with his wife’s encouragement, he plays shamelessly on Raymond’s reputation as a war hero and (as his fellow platoon members invariably report) as “the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I’ve ever known in my life.”

Wacky and Worldly Wednesday! You’ve got a free rental coming from the Comedy or Foreign Language sections with any other paid rental! OR Get any three non-new releases for seven days for $7.99!  

>>>Emily S. Customer continues her Mother’s Day double features! Pair up El Orfanato (one Foreign rental FREE today with a paid rental!) and The Others (Horror) for an eerie, emotional double whammy of scares and sentiment. Though the cast and story construction of El Orfanato is strong throughout, Belén Rueda carries the film on her slim shoulders, bringing heart and depth to the role of Laura, a mother doggedly trying to protect her adopted son from horrors both uncanny and all too tangible. In The Others, Nicole Kidman’s Grace is just as fierce in protecting her children, and just as haunted by the prospect of failure.

Thrifty Thursday! Rent one, get a free rental from any other section in the store! OR Get any three non-new releases for seven days for $7.99!                                        

>>> Dennis suggests Brian’s Song (in Feature Drama). This football movie about the friendship between interracial NFL running back pals Gale Sayers and Brian Piccolo is the movie that makes it okay for dudes to cry. Manly crying. Burly tears. Both drafted by the Chicago Bears in a time when the league’s racial attitudes were a lot less tolerant than now—and the league’s racial attitudes aren’t great now—Sayers and Piccolo were paired up as the team’s first mixed-race roommates and became pals even though they were competing for the same job. Made for TV, the whole thing’s a little hokey, but when James Caan’s Piccolo gets sick, and Billy Dee Williams’ shy Sayers stands behind his buddy, well, things get a little dusty, even for the manliest football-loving dude in the house. Caan and Williams are both great in this, and their big showdown—with Piccolo using a particular word to get the injured Sayers motivated and the two devolving into paralyzing giggle-fits—was pretty damned bold for its day. So rent it, and go ahead and cry, fellas—this is the movie that made it okay.

Kids Friday! One free rental from the Kids section, no other rental necessary! OR get any three non-new releases for a week for $7.99!          

>>> It’s a free kids movie! There are a lot to choose from! For free!                                                                                

Having a Wild Weekend! Rent two movies, and get a third one for free from any section! OR get any three non-new releases for a week for $7.99!                                            

>>> For Saturday, Dennis suggests Penny Dreadful-season 1 (in Horror). For those of you who pay the frankly exorbitant and ridiculous cable television fees, you know that this excellent Showtime horror series returned this week for its second season. Which is fine, if you want to pay for cable, then pay extra for Showtime. Like a sucker. For all of us smarties out here, it’s time to catch up on the first season, available at frankly ridiculously low rental prices at Videoport. Starring Eva Green, Timothy Dalton, Billie Piper, and a surprisingly effective Josh Hartnett, it’s sort of like a Victorian League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen, in that it mixes historical and fictional characters (Dorian Gray, Dr. Frankenstein, and others make appearances). Oh, except, unlike that misbegotten movie, Penny Dreadful doesn’t suck. (You should check out Alan Moore’s original LXG graphic novels, though.) In the show, Dalton is an Alan Quartermain-like explorer, returned to England to hunt down some ancient evil with the help of Green’s stunningly good psychic/medium and Hartnett’s American gunslinger (tortured veteran of his own brush with evil, recruited from a third-rate “Wild West” show). Bloody, gorgeous, and very well acted, this is a great, little series.

selma-movie-poster>>>For Sunday, Hey, it’s the beginning of the month, so that means it’s time for our list of the movies that Netfl*x is taking away from you for no reason whatsoever! Seriously—if there’s anything more representative of the greedhead corporate evil of Netfl*x, it’s that they do this each and every month and make their customers believe it’s normal. It’s not—it’s not like they have to squeeze all these movies onto shelves somewhere. They just feel like making the decision of what those customers should be able to watch away from the people giving them money. So here are the movies poor, dumb Netfl*x customers/dupes won’t be able to see in May. (Oh, and, of course, you can rent them all at Videoport. Because we don’t pull this crap.)

12 Dogs of Christmas: Great Puppy Rescue (2012)

6 Bullets (2012)

The Accused (1988)

Airplane! (1980)

All I Want for Christmas (1991)

Along Came Polly (2004)

An American Haunting (2006)

BASEketball (1998)

Bitter Moon (1992)

Boys Don’t Cry (1999)

Bratz: Babyz: The Movie (2005)

The Brothers Bloom (2008)

Cecil B. Demented (2000)

Cloud 9 (2014)

Deuces Wild (2002)

Divine Secrets of the Ya­Ya Sisterhood (2002)

Fantastic Voyage (1966)

Finding Forrester (2000)

Flight (2012)

Friday the 13th: Part 7: The New Blood (1988)

Funny Face (1957)

Ichi the Killer (2001)

The Jewel of the Nile (1985)

A Knight’s Tale (2001)

Life Is Beautiful (1997)

The New Guy (2002)

Princess Diaries 2 (2004)

Red Dawn (2012)

RoboCop (1987)

Robot & Frank (2012)

Romancing the Stone (1984)

Sabrina (1954)

The Secret of NIMH (1982)

Silent House (2011)

Skyfall (2012)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze (1991)

Valkyrie (2008)

New Releases this week at Videoport: Selma (David Oyelowo is bigtmp_31367mesmerizing and complex as legendary civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King in this uncompromising depiction of King’s leadership of the march for voting rights from Selma to Montgomery Alabama in 1965. Shut out at the Oscars, now’s your chance, people. Directed by Ava DuVernay, whose excellent indie film Middle Black-or-White-PosterOf Nowhere you can also rent in Videoport’s Drama section), Mr. Turner (The great British director Mike Leigh [Naked, Secrets & Lies, Another Year, Topsy Turvy, High Hopes, Happy Go Lucky] brings out this visually stunning biopic of the last years of the life of legendary, and legendarily odd, English painter J.M.W. Turner. Starring always-stellar character actor Timothy Spall in a rare lead as Turner), Black Or White (In what I’m sure was a tumblr_nlvm7puvxA1r8iw09o1_250well-intentioned idea, this movie sees grieving [white] grandpa Kevin Costner fighting for custody of his beloved granddaughter after his son dies. Octavia Spencer is the [black] grandmother who’s doing the same. Man, I sure hope these two can come to some sort of symbolically palatable understanding on race. Just, fingers crossed over here), Mr. The-Bridge1Selfridge- season 3 (Jeremy Piven returns as turn of the century American mogul Harry Selfridge who opened London’s first department store), The Bridge- season 2 (While we’ve got the American remake, here’s the second season of the original, foreign-language mystery series about a pair of mismatched cops from opposite sides of the border rzCHEtBdxoZjNwRsO4pE7Q7U4Gq[Denmark and Sweden in this case] forced to work together to solve a murder where the body was right on the dividing line between their two countries), Spare Parts (George Lopez, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Marisa Tomei star in this fact-based inspirational movie about a team of Hispanic high school students who cobbled together car parts to take on the most advanced students in the country in a nationwide robotics competition), Lost River Lost-River-poster(Ryan Gosling makes his directorial debut with this artsy mystery drama about a single mother [Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks] who sets out to uncover the dark secrets of her dying small town in order to save her teenaged son; costarring Saiorse Ronan, Ben Mendelsohn, and Doctor Who’s Matt Smith), The Last Five Years 1.171988(Portland’s pride, Anna Kendrick stars in this musical adaptation of the play about the doomed romance of a novelist and his dream girl), Against The Sun (Based on a true story WWII survival tale about three downed airmen Against-the-Sunforced to go to unimaginable lengths to stay alive after their bomber crashes into the Pacific Ocean), Masters Of Sex- season 2 (Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan return in the second season of this compelling drama series about the then-infamous sex researchers Masters and Johnson), Miss Julie (Legendary actress Liv Ullman writes the screenplay and directs this adaptation of the Strindberg play about an 18th century heiress encouraging the attentions of her father’s hunky valet. Starring Jessica Chastain and Colin Farrell), 50 Shades Of Grey (Wait, wait, calm your pants—this adaptation of the internet fan fic-level erotic novel doesn’t come out until FRIDAY, miss-julieMAY 8th. Friday—so cool yourself with one of those big, ornamental fans, have a wine cooler, and look longingly at your bedside table until FRIDAY, when this tale of the sexy millionaire who likes some mildly kinky sex games Fifty-Shades-of-Grey-Poster-4and the doe-eyed lady who allows him to do stuff to her. Be cool, everybody), The Berlin File (Korean thriller about a North Korean secret agent who finds himself on the run in Berlin after his cover is blown.)

New Releases on Blu Ray this week at Videoport: The Boy Next Door, Inherent Vice

Get some free money at Videoport! Yup, free money. Put $20 on your Videoport account, and we give you $25 in store credit. And a pre-pay of $30 gets you $40 in store credit! That…is free money, people.the_berlin_file

VideoReport #506

Volume DVI—The Avengers 3: Punch Everything Until It All Comes Out Okay

For the Week of 4/28/15

Videoport gives you a free movies every single day. You know who gives you free movies never? Netfl*x, Redb*x, Time Warn*r Cable—that’s who. Local, independent—Videoport. Come have a free movie on us.

Middle Aisle Monday! Take a free rental from the Science Fiction, Horror, Incredibly Strange, Popular Music, Mystery/Thriller, Animation, or Staff Picks sections with any other paid rental! OR Get any three non-new releases for seven days for $7.99!

rare_exports_teaser_poster_en>>> Videoport customer Connor Q. suggests Rare Exports (in the Incredibly Strange section). Rare Exports is in Finnish, which is awesome. When I was in high school, all I wanted to do was learn Finnish. Which was hard, since Portland was low on Finns then, and also lacked the now ample Finnish-media-providing powers of the Internet, since it was the early 1990s. So instead I had to run and see every Aki Kaurismäki movie that The Movies saw fit to put on—try saying “Tulitikkutehdaan Tyttö” seven times fast—and also rent Leningrad Cowboys Go America (available in Videoport’s Criterion Collection section)…only to find that, well, they don’t say much (this is kind of a Finnish thing), and they’re also in America, so there’s not exactly a great percentage of Finnish to English spoken. Nice hair, though. Oh yeah: the movie. Evil Santa Claus. But the people are pretty evil, too. Though to their credit, a nasty monster eating your whole caribou/reindeer herd will awaken the foul beast that lies within us all. Especially since reindeer are apparently worth like $2000 apiece. (Or $200? I’m not sure about my reindeer math. Need to re-watch the reindeer marginal-rate-of-return bit again. One never wants to be off by a whole decimal point when it comes to reindeer.) Anyhow, there is an evil Santa, a totally badass kid—this film apparently suggests that rural Finnish parenting norms are, to say the least, far from the overprotective views currently popular/lamented in the U.S.A.—and a theft of radiators. Somewhat bad things happen to potatoes, and there is a British-accented guy with a U.S. passport. And a pretty decent set of explosions, lots of blerpy CGI snowscape action, and a wicked deep hole. What more could you want?

Tough and Triassic Tuesday! Give yourself a free rental from the Action or Classics section with any other paid rental! OR Get any three non-new releases for seven days for $7.99!

>>> Dennis suggests Medium Cool (in Classics). Hey, a 1969 half-documentary about the press trying to film police abuses during political protests. Thank goodness we don’t have to worry about that some 46 years later, right? Oh, right. Anyway, this film—directed by legendary cinematographer Haskell Wexler—follows an apolitical news cameraman (an excellent Robert Forster, decades before he was excellent in Jackie Brown) as he covers the 1968 Democratic national convention. Wexler thrust his leading an and crew right in the middle of the thuggish Chicago PD as they ran roughshod over legally assembled hippies and political types who had the dumb idea to express their first amendment rights in the infamously corrupt and fascistic Windy City of Mayor Richard Daley. That might sound dry, but the film is an electric, Cassavetes-esque, semi-improvised piece of Gonzo drama. (In fact, the lead role was intended for Cassavetes.) And, in an age where the widespread availability of handheld cameras exposes police abuses daily, Medium Cool seems more ahead of its time than ever.

Wacky and Worldly Wednesday! You’ve got a free rental coming from the Comedy or Foreign Language sections with any other paid rental! OR Get any three non-new releases for seven days for $7.99!  

>>> Dennis suggests I’ve Heard The Mermaids Singing (in Comedy).

I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

 

I do not think that they will sing to me.

 

I have seen them riding seaward on the waves

Combing the white hair of the waves blown back

When the wind blows the water white and black.

We have lingered in the chambers of the sea

By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown

Till human voices wake us, and we drown.

—T.S. Eliot, “The Love Song Of J. Alfred Prufrock”

Taking its title from the famous—and famously depressing—poem, this 1987 Canadian film somehow avoids diving into the depths of existential despair the poem hints at, even as it tells the tale of an awkward, lonely young woman pining for both a 1139_IveHeardTheMermaidsSinging_Catalog_Poster_v2_Approvedwoman and a career she can seemingly never have. In one of the most beautifully moving performances I’ve ever seen, Sheila McCarthy plays Polly, an aspiring photographer who gains the unexpected position of assistant to the chic proprietor of a hip art gallery. Honestly, McCarthy’s performance is something uniquely, heartbreakingly hopeful, a portrait of a terminal outsider who nonetheless continues to find reasons to maintain her cockeyes optimism. This is one of those little movies that I can never get anyone to rent, so why not buck that futile trend. This is one of those movies that will get to 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 $7.99!                                        

>>> Dennis suggests Would You Rather (in Horror). One of the chief benefits of watching low budget horror movies—something I’ve done obsessively since I was 13 years old—is uncovering little unexpected moments. Sometimes it’s a talented director (Sam Raimi and Peter Jackson were my discoveries, hidden gems I could hold onto even when they became justifiably famous for the likes of Spider Man and The Lord Of The Rings). Sometimes it’s a chance for an actor to shine in a disreputable genre—here, I look at people like Jeffrey Combs in Re-Animator or Tony Todd in Candyman. The love of horror movies is the joy of unexpected discovery. So a movie like Would You Rather is like a treasure trove. The main attraction is Combs, long a staple of genre films, having a field day as a mysterious millionaire who invites a group of disparate, unsuspecting people to his isolated mansion for his singularly twisted version of the titular summer camp game. It’s a nasty, low-budget little piece of work, relying on the grisly thrill of watching the various collection of characters decide how to cope with the bloody ethical dilemmas Combs’ malicious plans place them in. What makes the film so watchable are the performances from a top-to-bottom cast of interesting actors delivering the epitome of horror movie hidden gems. Apart from the always-great Combs, hamming it up with gleeful aplomb (Re-Animator, The Frighteners), the film stars Enver Gjokaj (Dollhouse, Agent Carter), John Heard, Lawrence Gilliard Jr. (The Wire), Eddie Steeples (Crab Man from My Name Is Earl), Robb Wells (Ricky from Trailer Park Boys), June Squibb (Oscar nominee from Nebraska), Robin Lord Taylor (The Penguin from Gotham), Charlie Hofheimer (Abe from Mad Men), and Sasha Grey (former porn star turned “legit” actress—The Girlfriend Experience). Oh, also, the main character—nice girl trying to win money to take care of her terminally ill brother—is Brittany Snow (Pitch Perfect) who is dull, but you can’t have everything. Grubby little horror with a ton of good actors doing interesting work—that’s the fun of seeking out the fringes.

Kids Friday! One free rental from the Kids section, no other rental necessary! OR get any three non-new releases for a week for $7.99!          

>>> It’s a free kids movie! There are a lot to choose from! For free!                                                                                

Having a Wild Weekend! Rent two movies, and get a third one for free from any section! OR get any three non-new releases for a week for $7.99!                                            

>>> For Saturday, Videoport customer Ryan M. suggests Inherent Vice (in Feature Drama). Seeing as most viewers are probably in search of perfect sense, it takes some serious balls to commit to perfect NONsense, and Paul Thomas Anderson has ‘em. This has been evident since the beginning of his career, though perhaps it just stands out more than usual in Inherent Vice, which is based on Thomas Pynchon’s novel from 2009. To varying degrees, it could certainly be argued that all of PTA’s films are comedies, but this is the one that most feels like a fearless screwball farce. It’s akin to watching a live action cartoon or a comic book adaptation in that it’s colorful, frequently amusing, and could not care less about whether it is understood or not. Pynchon’s novel was more concerned with a distinctive set of vibes than coherence, and Anderson clearly favors feelings over understanding where cinema and storytelling are concerned, so in that sense he is the perfect candidate to bring Doc Sportello and his truly out-there exploits to the screen. The film is very much alive, and quite frankly the energy is infectious. The spectacular ensemble cast certainly attributes to this, but its Anderson’s technical perfectionism and resonant cinematic philosophy that take it a step further. It’s something of a transcendent stoner comedy in that it’s incredibly playful while also delivering an engaging critique on the times (the story is set during the 1970’s) and digging deep, and I mean DEEP into its protagonist’s psyche. Everything is seen through bloodshot eyes and paranoid ears, so it’s frequently committed to disorientation. This may bother some, but I ran with it. Sometimes it truly is enough to just sit back and enjoy the ride, especially when said ride is as outrageously funny and visually stimulating as this.

>>>For Sunday, Dennis suggests Clerks (in Comedy). You know, sometimes after a particularly trying day working behind a counter, even the memory of this legendary, micro-budget comedy from writer-director-Silent Bob Kevin Smith provides some comfort. I still have a lot of affection for Smith, for a lot of reason, even though he’s never really progressed beyond the “guy from Jersey working out some stuff” level, artistically, especially when I think of how he transformed his time working 60985retail into a hilariously cathartic and filthy cinematic primal scream. Because sometimes people try to make themselves feel big by making the employees of a small business feel powerless and small—and sometimes said employees will…not…have…it. As one trEWtPexXuiZtEd7QGHyY9rhHLnof the characters states, “we push buttons.” But if you treat us like that’s all we do, people, prepare to have yourselves immortalized in all your supercilious, classist a-holery in the indie movies we’re all writing.

New Releases this week at Videoport: Paddington (He’s a little British bear, what more do you need? Based on the classic children’s books [and ubiquitous dolls], this family film is actually supposed to be really good. Again—cute British bear. What more do you want?), Wolf Hall (No one ever gets enough of that turkey-leg-chompin’, wife-beheadin’ Henry VIII! At least that’s the lesson learned from this recent Masterpiece Theater miniseries where Henry attempts to annul his marriage to the-gambler-movie-poster-20151901Anne Boleyn in order to get a male child—not knowing that it’s his damned fault that he keeps siring girl babies. Jerk. Starring Homeland’s Damian Lewis as Henry.), The Gambler (Mark Wahlberg stars in this Inherent-Vice-Poster1-e1420753199331crime thriller as a literature professor [not likely] and addicted gambler [much more likely] who gets himself in over his head and has to try one last gambling gambit to pull himself out. Good cast includes John Goodman, Jessica Lange, and The-Wedding-Ringer-Bar-640Michael K. Williams [aka Omar from The Wire]), Inherent Vice (This is the movie of the week, people. For one thing, director Paul Thomas Anderson has not only never made a bad movie, he’s never made anything but modern classics. [See: Hard Eight, Boogie Nights, Magnolia, Punch-Drunk Love, There Will Be Blood, The Master]. For another thing, this psychedelic detective story about a 1970s, spaced-out detective [Joaquin Phoenix] searching sun-drenched Los Angeles for a missing ex-girlfriend is the sort of ambitious adaptation of an “unfilmable” novel [this time by the ever-mysterious Thomas Pynchon] that only a masterful director like Anderson would take on. And last, here’s the supporting acccast: Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson, Michale K. Williams, Reese Witherspoon, Timothy Simons, and Jillian Bell. Just rent this one, you guys. See the Saturday from Videoport customer Ryan!), The Wedding Ringer (Kevin Hart stars as the titular wedding ringer, a guy who hires himself out to prospective grooms to provide thecapture-d_c3a9cran-2014-05-18-c3a0-16-33-04 fun bachelor party the poor shlubs can’t accumulate for themselves. Said shlub this time is Josh Gad [Frozen], who bonds with Hart as he tries to impress his bride and her family.), Accidental Love (The story behind this satirical comedy might be more entertaining than the film itself. Acclaimed director David O. Russell [Spanking The Monkey, Flirting With Disaster, Three Kings, I Heart Huckabees, Silver Linings Playbook, The Fighter, American Hustle] bailed on the film [along with much of the cast] when the producers ran out of money, and took his name of the movie. Completed without Russell, the movie, about a waitress [Jessica Biel] who becomes a nymphomaniac 1-would-you-ratherafter a nail gun accident and the dim-witted but ambitious politician [Jake Gyllenhall] who looks to capitalize, in various ways, on her affliction. With a supporting cast including James Marsden, Tracy Morgan, and Bill Hader.), Mommy (The newest from from precocious 25-year-old French Canadian writer-director Xavier Dolan [Laurence Always, I Killed My Mother] about a time in the near future where Canadian parents can easily commit their troublesome teenage children to state-run institutions), Would You Rather (See the-boy-next-door-posterThursday’s review for details on this nastily entertaining horror flick), The Boy Next Door (Jennifer Lopez is a recently-cuckolded woman who falls for her hunky, young new neighbor, only to gradually discover that sexing up the mysteriously sexy teenager next door can have unexpectedly un-sexy consequences.)

Get some free money at Videoport! Yup, free money. Put $20 on your Videoport account, and we give you $25 in store credit. And a pre-pay of $30 gets you $40 in store credit! That…is free money, people.

VideoReport #505

Volume DV—The Town That Dreaded Brunch

For the Week of 4/21/15

Videoport gives you a free movie every, single day. What movie should you get? Well, since you have seven movies a week for free to choose from, there’s really no pressure to narrow it down. Go nuts, people. 

Middle Aisle Monday! Take a free rental from the Science Fiction, Horror, Incredibly Strange, Popular Music, Mystery/Thriller, Animation, or Staff Picks sections with any other paid rental! OR Get any three non-new releases for seven days for $7.99!

AA_orphanblack_hero_images

That’s her. One of her, anyway.

>>>Dennis suggests Orphan Black (in Mystery/Thriller). Season three of this BBC America/Canadian series, so here’s my annual reminder that Tatiana Maslany is your favorite actress—you just don’t know it yet. Here’s also my annual warning that, unless you have seen this show, STOP READING NOW. Okay—for the rest of us, Maslany gets to play about, oh, 426 roles on this show, and she’s outstanding in all of them. The premise—again stop if you don’t want to get spoiled (as only inhuman, narcissistic monsters thoughtlessly spoil things for other people)—is that there’s this conspiracy to produce clones for nefarious purposes. Only thing, most of the clones have no idea they’ve got identical twins running around the world, so, when we meet the series’ main heroine, Sarah Manning (Maslany) sees a woman who looks just like her jump in front of a train, she—seeing an opportunity and being something of a rascal—steals her identity. Bad move, Sarah, as her chicanery embroils her in a tangled web of badness. All the sci-fi clone stuff you may have seen before, but believe me when I tell you that you’ve never seen anyone like Maslany, who creates a seemingly impossible array of characters as the series winds its way through its appealingly outlandish plot. Honestly, at times, Maslany’s skills are even more outlandish, especially when she’s sharing the screen with different versions of herself—sometimes with one or more characters pretending to be other characters at the same time. One more time—Tatiana Maslany. Your new favorite actress.

Tough and Triassic Tuesday! Give yourself a free rental from the Action or Classics section with any other paid rental! OR Get any three non-new releases for seven days for $7.99!

>>>Dennis suggests Goin’ South (in Classics.) Okay, let’s just get this out of the way—a 1978, mostly forgotten Western comedy belongs in the Classics section because we said so. Also because it wasn’t renting where it was and we didn’t want to get rid of it. (It rented almost immediately as soon as it moved to Classics, so there.) Is it “classic”? Well, no—it’s something of a mess, really. But the Classics section is more about time, and the movie is actually a lot of grubby fun, with Nicholson—directing himself—playing the grimiest, most lecherous character he’s ever played—and that’s saying something. In it, he’s a disreputable cowpoke/bandit who’s set to be hanged until a bizarre local loophole allows frontier spinster Mary Steenburgen to claim him as a husband. See, she’s got a gold mine and needs a man to work it—plus, you know, spinster. The two spar, and sneer, and Nicholson flirts like a rutting dog, and eventually they fall in dusty Western love. Naturally, there are complications in the form of Nicholson’s old gang (including John Belushi, Veronica Cartwright, and Christopher Lloyd) and the local law. Honestly, though, the main attraction is Nicholson on Nicholson—if you’ve never seen Jack Nicholson without anyone but himself to rein in his hammiest instincts, then you haven’t seen Jack at his Jackiest. Here, he scratches, and leers, and bats his lashes, and grins his Nicholson grin, and raises those eyebrows more than in any other ten movies combined.

Wacky and Worldly Wednesday! You’ve got a free rental coming from the Comedy or Foreign Language sections with any other paid rental! OR Get any three non-new releases for seven days for $7.99!  

>>>Emily S. Customer suggests Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy (in Comedy). I’m going to be frank with you: even the most avid critic gets worn out by churning out reviews and recommendations every day, every week, every month, for years. It can start to feel like you’ve recommended everything you’ve ever enjoyed. But it’s the small moments that remind you how powerful even the lightest of entertainments can be. The moment when you stumble ontoAnchorman’s “Afternoon Delight” sequence and watch in a combination of bellylaughs and stunned appreciation, and the moment after the scene ends when you rewind and rewatch it, just because you can.

Thrifty Thursday! Rent one, get a free rental from any other section in the store! OR Get any three non-new releases for seven days for $7.99!                                        

>>>Dennis suggests The Babadook (in Horror). There are so few good horror movies that come out in a year that the tendency is to overpraise any horror flicks that aren’t outright terrible. Sadly, this year was no exception. Not sadly, the two BABADOOK-POSTERmovies that got overpraised—this one and It Follows (which is not out on DVD yet)—weren’t overpraised by much. The story of a terminally exhausted single mother and her overactive, over-imaginative son, The Babadook is a lot of things—and the horror movie aspect isn’t even the most effective. As the mother, Essie Davis channels every single mom who struggles to deal with work, loneliness, grief (her husband died horrifically on the way to the hospital where she gave birth), and a difficult child—she’s capable, well-meaning, and at the absolute end of her rope, especially when the kid’s hyperactivity gets him tossed out of school. Essentially trapped alone in their house by their isolation and near-poverty, their loving but strained relationship starts to show more and more strain—and that’s even before the Babadook shows up. In trying to lull her son (an impressively obnoxious Noah Wiseman—you get to like him eventually) to bed one night, she reads to him from a book she doesn’t recall buying. It’s—a disturbing book, and she gets rid of it. But, well, you know how well that sort of thing goes. First-time director Jennifer Kent has an assured plan for her film—and if its homages to past films (The Shining, Repulsion, Nosferatu, Home Alone, believe it or not) aren’t subtle, they’re also really effective, especially once the Babadook starts bleeding into the mother and son’s reality. Or, you know, does he? This is one of the best horror movies in years, slightly overrated or not.

Kids Friday! One free rental from the Kids section, no other rental necessary! OR get any three non-new releases for a week for $7.99!          

>>> It’s a free kids movie! There are a lot to choose from! For free!                                                                                

Having a Wild Weekend! Rent two movies, and get a third one for free from any section! OR get any three non-new releases for a week for $7.99!                                            

>>> For Saturday, Dennis suggests Cutter’s Way (in Mystery/Thriller). Some movies just grab you. Maybe you saw them at the right (or wrong) time. Maybe there’s just something you can’t put your finger on that one un-definable moment that just 3991243b7912d9581f3e58c5379362camakes sense. (Or sometimes you read about the film in Danny Peary’s Cult Movies and rush out to rent it, finding it as mysteriously moving as he claimed.) Cutter’s Way is like that for me. Sort of a mystery, it is more like a meditation on war and madness and America in the form of a mystery. In it, a young Jeff Bridges is Bone, prettyboy playboy beach bum, sleeping his way through the bored, rich housewives of sleepy Santa Barbara. John Heard is his best friend, Alex Cutter, one-legged, one-armed, and one-eyed after being maimed in Vietnam, a brilliant but bitter alcoholic berating everyone around him in his impotent rage—especially draft-dodger Bone and his long-suffering wife Mo (Lisa Eichhorn, in a remarkable performance that should have made her a star, but didn’t). One night after another assignation, Bone’s car breaks down just in time to see someone dump something into a trashcan—when it turns out to be a murdered teenage girl, the disreputable Bone is both a suspect and a witness. When the trio drunkenly attends the city’s patronizing, Mexican-themed parade, Bone impulsively says, “It’s him” when he sees a local millionaire arrogantly riding his horse down the main street, which is all the cynical—yet wrenchingly idealistic—Cutter needs to hear, as he sets out on a quest to hold responsible just one of the fat cats he blames for sending him, and thousands of poor guys like him, to Vietnam. Director Ivan Passer displays a poetic, unnerving lyricism to what follows, as Cutter and Bone quickly see their friendship tested—and just as quickly get in over their heads. Bridges and Eichhorn are great, but it’s Heard (best known now as the go-to unlikable authority figure or alcoholic cop in everything) who snarls and limps away with the movie. The scurrilous, drunken vet has a poetic soul—and a sense of justice and heroism that seems to have to place in a world where powerless people are considered disposable. Some movies just get to you. This one gets to me.

>>>For Sunday, Videoport customer Ryan M. sugests Possession (in Incredibly Strange). The best way to go into what is perhaps director Andrzej Zulawski’s most notorious slice of sheer cinematic insanity is to know as little as possible about it. Indeed in today’s day and age, with the all-knowing Internet and all, it can be a tad difficult at times to experience a film isabelle_adjani_possession_movie_poster_2acompletely spoiler free, so there are surely images from Possession that have resonated deeply with audiences over time. Ask anyone who’s seen it, and they will most likely refer to it as “the movie wherein Isabelle Adjani cheats on Sam Neil with an octopus”, although to do so would doing Zulawski’s art-house genre-bender a great disservice. This isn’t a B-horror picture, nor can it be pinned down into a single category. In fact, Possession is one of the few movies that I feel is truly uncatagorizable- a strange mixture of divorce drama and monster movie; the anti-romantic and the chase thriller; and finally, the spiritual and the political. It seems like it’s biting off more than it can chew, but it’s not. Both Adjani and Neil are fully committed to a couple of over-the-top and nakedly emotional performances and Zulawski’s camera gives off the illusion of constant, often aggressive motion. The scenes don’t transition into one-another so much as they glide, shake, and twirl – guaranteed to get under your skin. It is an experience like no other, one that will surely only appeal to a select audience of adventurous movie-goers, but to them it is essential. And for those who are constantly looking for a horror film which branches out successfully into other genres so often to the point where it almost doesn’t come off as a horror film at all; well, this is it.

Taken 3 New PosterNew Releases this week at Videoport: Taken 3 (Let Liam Neeson tell you about this second sequel: “Listen to me carefully. I have a very particular set of skills. They are hungryforchangeneither preventative nor especially filled with foresight. But, once you have kidnapped one [or more] of my female relatives, and once I have determined that you are not American, but some sort of foreign person, then—blammo—those skills of mine kick right in. They will imbue me with the strength and, let’s be honest, age-inappropriate martial arts and face-kicking skills to retrieve my female relatives from your not-American, not white clutches with only minor collateral damage to various European cities and any female friends of my female relatives who have been snatched up alongside them, especially if those female friends are more promiscuous MV5BMTczNDkyODA1N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjIwOTI4MjE@._V1_SY1200_CR90,0,630,1200_AL_than my virginal female relatives. At that point, my mighty elderly skills will take your henchmen’s guns away and smash them in the faces with them repeatedly until everything comes out okay), Hungry For Change (Hey, you know all jennifer-aniston-cake-movie-poster-sosnation.com_those unbelievably optimistic claims made by diet, nutrition, and food companies about how you can lose weight with minimal effort as long as you buy their products? Well, shockingly, this documentary suggests that said companies are misleading you. I know—weird, right?), You’re Not You (Hilary Swank made her unsuccessful bid for another Best Actress Oscar when she played a talented classical pianist who finds out she has ALS [aka Lou Gehrig’s disease] in this weeper. Emily Rossum plays the spunky college student who tries to help her cope), Cake (Jennifer Anniston makes her own unsuccessful Oscar bid in this acclaimed [but award-less] drama about a woman in a chronic pain support group who finds herself obsessed url-1with why a fellow group member committed suicide), Frontera (Contemporary western sees Ed Harris as a hard-bitten former Arizona sheriff who goes on a racist rampage after his wife is murdered by, he assumes, an illegal Mexican immigrant. Presumably, he learns a lesson in tolerance 169c6f081c49a875dcbff5246a7ab4e7and understanding actual Arizonans seem to have trouble wrapping their heads around), A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night (Black and white, Iranian vampire movie, anyone? This artsy foreign horror film about a spooky young woman stalking the streets of an isolated village has all the arthouse buzz about it), Living Is Easy With Eyes Closed (In this Spanish comedy, an English teacher picks up two young hitchhikers on his journey to find and meet his idol, John Lennon. Points if you know what Beatles song the title’s from), The Missing (Riveting British livingiseasywitheyesclosed.poster.ws_thriller series about a pair of grieving parents [James Nesbitt, Frances O’Connor] who receive cryptic hints that their son is alive, some years after he was abducted on a holiday in Paris), Tracks (Certified cool actors Mia Wasikowska [Stoker, Maps To The Stars, Only Lovers Left Alive] and Adam Driver [Girls] star in this drama about a youngtracks_ver3_xlg woman on a trek across the desolate Australian desert with only her loyal camels and an odd-looking guy for company), Fortitude—season 1 (Great new mystery series you haven’t seen! How do I know you haven’t seen it? Well, it aired on a network called Pivot—anyone out there heard of Pivot? Anyway, this series, about the very first murder in the history of the titular Arctic town, boasts a great cast including Stanley Tucci, Michael Gambon, and Christopher Eccleston and is, as I mentioned, Fortitude-season-2-renewalreally good), Little Accidents (Elizabeth Banks tries out her dramatic side, starring in this small town mystery drama about a mine accident, a missing teenager, and a whole lot of depressed people)

Get some free money at Videoport! Yup, free money. Put $20 on your Videoport account, and we give you $25 in store credit. And a pre-pay of $30 gets you $40 in store credit! That…is free little-accidents-character-poster-2money, people.

Published in: on April 20, 2015 at 10:29 pm  Leave a Comment  
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