Volume CDXCVI- The Rent All The Movies At Videoport And Then Don’t Go Out Again Until Spring Gang: The Movie
For the Week of 2/17/15
Videoport gives you a free movie every, single day! Every, single, mercilessly-snowing day!
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 Christian suggests Outland (in Sci-Fi/Fantasy). Yes, it’s “High Noon” in space. Yes, it has James Bond holding a shotgun on the cover. But did you know it opens with Cliff Claven’s head exploding? Or that the badguy is best known for his role in a Mel Brooks comedy? I love this film as a sort of unintentional prequel to ALIEN. It shares some production DNA as a number of designers worked on both films. It also shares the working-class-in-space “used future” aesthetic that ALIEN pioneered in ’79. Outland‘s legacy continues to be felt. Look for references in unlikely places like Terminator 2 and the recent video game Alien: Isolation, while the film’s iconic space suits pop up in everything from Aliens to the opening credits of Red Dwarf.
*Editor’s note: Thanks, Christian! And, if I may, seeing all these former Videoporters still involved with Videoport years after they stopped working here is part of what makes Videoport special. You should be like Christian even if you never worked here—send in your reviews to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or our Facebook page “Videoport Jones.” Also, check out Christian’s cool moviemaking skills in Videoport’s horror section (Nyarlathotep, Dunwich, and in the H.P. Lovecraft Collection!)
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 Gaslight (in Classics.) Poor Ingrid Bergman’s never had a harder time than in this 1944 thriller about a waifish young bride being driven mad by scheming husband Charles Boyer. I mean, sure, she got burned at the stake in Joan Of Arc, but at least then she had armor to protect her. She’s almost painfully delicate here, her innocent bride finding things moving, things disappearing, and those gaslamps in her new home mysteriously dimming at odd intervals. Boyer makes a truly slimy villain, his purring, supercilious accent worming its way into poor Ingrid’s mind with every seemingly reasonable reassurance. (The way he keeps saying her name—Paula—in a patronizing way is truly memorable. Throw in ol’ Joseph Cotton as the nice copper who tries to decide if Paula’s actually losing her mind, and you’ve got a great, oft-forgotten classic thriller. Oh, and look for an 18-year-old Angela Lansbury as a saucy Cockney maid.
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!
>>> Videoporter Sam, perhaps taking stock of John Cusack’s recent action titles you haven’t heard of (evidence: The Factory, The Contract, Drive Hard, The Prince, The Numbers Station, Reclaim, The Bag Man), innocently posted the following on Facebook: From 1985-2010 there was never even one hint that Steven Segal and John Cusack could ever have such similar careers. Ouch for Big John. But the Internet, being the Internet, decided to revive the old VideoReport game “Premise!” You’ll get the idea:
Better Off Marked For Death
Say Anything, Motherf***er! Say it!
Beating John Malkovich
Eight Men Out Cold
Eight Men Out For Justice
One Crazy Bummer
Hard To Watch
The Journey Of Fatty Man
Must Shoot Dogs
The Raven And The Fat Man
Hot Tubby Time Machine Gun
Midnight In The Olive Garden Of Good And Evil
1408 (Dollars at the Box Office)
2012 (Dollars at the Box Office)
Money For Sucking
Map Of The Human Pressure Points
Say Anything About My Hair Plugs And I’ll Kick Your Chin
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 Ryan M. suggests Walker (in the Criterion Collection.) William Walker. The man who, along with 60 other men, invaded Nicaragua during the 1850’s and elected himself as its president. Ed Harris in the title role, six million dollar budget. Sounds like a pretty standard historical biopic, yes? It might be worth mentioning that Alex Cox is at the helm. Yes, the Alex Cox; that being, the guy responsible for Sid & Nancy as well as the wonderfully whacked-out Repo Man. It’s both delightful and tragic that anyone within Hollywood domain trusted Cox to deliver an accessible commercial offering with that kind of money, and predictably, he made about the farthest thing from a conventional biopic as you can get. Along with the similarly strange Western satire Straight to Hell, this was the one that severed just about all ties Cox had with any of the major studios. While this didn’t stop him from churning out a couple independent features throughout the following years, one thing is for sure, and that is that Cox will never make something of this caliber again. And maybe that’s why Walker is so special, for all its imperfections big and small. It’s about as messy and campy as can be and filled with intentional anachronisms (coke bottles, Time Magazine, zippo lighters! In the 1800’s!) that could be enough to throw off even the most jaded viewer. It is a modestly budgeted oddity, the likes of which is considerably rare, but not one that is deserving of the amount of scorn that it got during the time of its release. The anachronisms, for example, are not merely showy but are used as a device to draw some thought-provoking parallels between history and modern times. And then there’s Harris, who is in top form here, portraying a real-life madman with a penchant for the hysteric. In spite of appearances, it is a complex performance. As a criticism of manifest destiny, an endearingly excessive portrait of a destructive psyche, and even just a damn solid midnight movie, Walker excels. You can find historical accuracy, such as it is, in just about any other film. That Cox couldn’t care less about it speaks to his distinctively anarchistic spirit at the time. Consider this a historical film for movie buffs rather than a historical film for history buffs. Irreverent as that may seem, it’s all a part of the charm.
Free 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 V/H/S 2 (in Horror). First, if “found footage” horror isn’t your thing (i.e.: if you like to whine about how shaky cameras make you all dizzy), then sit this one out. For the rest of us, then this sequel to the original handheld horror anthology is even better than the quite-solid first one. The wraparound segment (a private eye and his gal Friday find some creepy tapes in an abandoned house) is boilerplate, but the short films themselves are good, with one foray into greatness. There’s the guy with the implanted artificial eye that lets him see ghosts (eh), the zombie apocalypse seen through a bicyclist’s helmet GoPro camera (gross and sort of funny), the slumber party invaded by…somethings (super well-shot), and then there’s…the other one. Whoa,,,the other one. Called “Safe Haven,” it follows a documentary crew as they interview the leader of an isolated cult. Whoa. No one should spoil movies under pain of never being allowed to watch movies again, so I’ll just say that the film follows a logical progression which nonetheless draws deeper and deeper into something like nightmare, like madness. Gory and terrifying. Whoa.
>>>For Sunday, Dennis suggests getting some free money at Videoport! You guys know about this, right? No? Well, it’s such a good deal that, well, you should do it. If you like free money, that is. Listen up: If you put $20 down on your Videoport account, you get $25 dollars worth of rental credit. And, even better, if you put $30 down, you get a whopping $40 worth of rental credit. It’s free money, it just sits on your account until you use it up (and, presumably, buy some more), and it’s good for all rentals and any pesky extra day rentals you rack up. Seriously, people—why wouldn’t you do this? I’m genuinely asking.
New Releases this week at Videoport: Game Of Thrones- season 4 (Hey—have you guys ever heard of this show? Some sort of fantasy, sword-and-sorcery deal? With, what, dragons and stuff, I guess? Huh—some people like that sort of thing, I suppose…), Birdman (Or: The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance) (Oscar-nominated up the wazoo, this one-take-looking, artsy character study about a former superhero movie star attempting to make a comeback on Broadway is Michael Keaton’s big comeback itself. From cool director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu [Babel, Biutiful, Amores Perros]), To The Ends Of The Earth (You guys also love that British dude, what’s his name Bumbldy Bomberbatch? Oh, Benedict Cumberbath, right. Well here’s a big, epic British miniseries about a young aristocrat who sails to Australia in the 1800s and finds adventures and tribulations he’d never dreamed of. Also starring Jared Harris, Sam Neill, and some other people with non-silly names), The Theory Of Everything (Eddie Redmayne stars [and gets an Oscar nomination for his troubles] as Professor Stephen Hawking in this biopic about the famous scientist’s youth, romance with his future wife, and first troubles with ALS, the disease that’s rendered him immobile [but for his mind] for decades), Dumb And Dumber To (Jim Carrey an Jeff Daniels improbably returned for this 20 years-later sequel to that movie where they acted like idiots and it was sorta funny 20 years ago. Will it work its marginal magic again? Are fart noises still hilarious? Rent it and see), The World Made Straight (Noah Wylie stars in this gritty backwoods thriller about a young man trying to escape his seemingly inescapable violent destiny in an isolated Appalachian community), Terms And Conditions May Apply (You know that innocuous-looking ”I Agree” button you unthinkingly click every time you use a website, or an app, or essentially anything online? Well—shocker—it turns out that the corporations that make you click those in order to use their shiny products hide a lot of pretty evil stuff in there. This documentary would like you to be angrier about that than you apparently are.), Skating To New York (Coming-of-age story about a quintet of Canadian would-be-hockey stars who decide to skate their way across Lake Ontario to New York on the coldest day of the year in their quest to make it in the NHL), Life Itself (Moving, life-affirming documentary about the late, great film critic Roger Ebert, whose love of movies was perhaps a close second to his enthusiasm for, well, life itself), The Interview (Seth Rogen and James Franco almost made the world blow up or something when this typically rude and silly comedy about a pair of celebrity journalists recruited by the CIA to assassinate real-world North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un. Barely released in fraidy-cat theaters, Videoport, of course, will have it for you), The Homesman (Written and directed by Tommy Lee Jones, this appropriately grimy Western sees Jones as a, yes, grimy cowboy recruited by hard-bitten pioneer woman Hilary Swank to help her escort a trio of women driven mad by how awful pioneer life was), Doctor Who: Last Christmas (Peter Capaldi’s Doctor gets his first Chrstmas special, reuniting with companion Clara to save the world with the help of—Santa Claus? Nick Frost [Shaun Of The Dead, The world’s End, Hot Fuzz] stars as Father Christmas—or is he?—in this completely delightful adventure. Capaldi’s first year was a little up-and-down [it wasn’t the great Capaldi’s fault], but this one’s outstandingly fun), Dying Of The Light (Nicholas Cage stars in this thriller about a dying CIA operative who tries to complete one last mission with the help of the Soviet agent who once tortured him all those years ago), St. Vincent (Bill Murray brings his crusty late-career awesomeness to this darkly heartwarming comedy about a misanthropic loner who very reluctantly allows single mom Melissa McCarthy and her lonely son into his life. Anything with Bill Murray’s worth watching—but you knew that), The Tale Of Princess Kaguya (You want to see everything from Studio Ghibli [home of legendary Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki—My Neighbor Totoro, The Wind Rises] brings out this typically gorgeous animated tale of a tiny girl found inside a stalk of bamboo and the adventures she encounters as she grows)
New Arrivals This Week At Videoport: Gaslight (In this classic 1944 thriller, newly-married Ingrid Bergman starts thinking her new husband Chales Boyer is trying to drive her mad. James Cotton’s avuncular detective tries to help out_but is he too late? By the way, this one’s totally out of print. How did Videoport get one? Don’t worry your pretty little head about it)
New Releases on Blu Ray this week at Videoport: The Interview