VideoReport #450

Volume CDL- The Fool Of Some Unspecified Date

For the Week of 4/1/14

 

Videoport doesn’t give you a free movie every day, isn’t independent and awesome, and thinks Netflix is a great, not-evil corporation. (Check the date, 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 seven bucks!

>>> Emily S. Customer suggests The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) (in Horror.) Only for the strong of stomach and of heart. It’s all there in the title: this rural collection of chainsaws just… gets … MASSACRED. Oh, those poor, poor chainsaws. [Be sure to see Tobe Hooper’s 1974 original, and not the remake which – SPOILER ALERT – rounds up the chainsaws moments before the titular massacre and delivers them to a fix-it shop.]

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 Taxi Driver (in Action/Adventure.) Taxi Driver. Straying from his gritty roots, Scorsese anticipated the 1980s indie anthologies like Jim Jarmusch’s Mystery Train and Night on Earth with this lyrical glimpse into the stories of New York as told in the back of a cab. Titular Taxi Driver and nominal star Travis (Robert DeNiro) is the strand that weaves together the disparate tales of love, loss, and harrowing pain that spill out in the back seat of his cab as he pilots it around the dark streets of the city. Travis’s vantage point allows him to see a cross-section of humanity, and as the film reels on, his interests expand into everything from child welfare to the national election. But his sociological and political pursuits don’t keep this Everyman from expounding on the simple questions of life, like chewing the fat about the weather. As for Travis, he likes New York City when it rains and the streets are washed clean.

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 The Silence Of The Lambs (in Mstery/Thriller.) A sort of Babette’s Feast of the American West, Jonathan Demme’s Silence of the Lambs shows how the strength of one determined woman can save a ranch, a flock of sickly sheep, and a family – with a little bit of help, and a lot of quid pro quo. Determined to save her elderly uncle’s foundering sheep ranch, Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) gives up her demanding training with the FBI and moves to rural Montana to take over the operation. When the struggle becomes too much for one set of hands, veterinarian and father-figure Dr. Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) pitches in, joining her on the lonely landscape of the isolated ranch, and proves to be as adept in the field and the kitchen as he is in the clinic. Be sure to have a good Chianti on hand for the luscious dinner scene.

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 A Streetcar Named Desire (in Classics.) Clang clang clang went the streetcar! Who knew Vivienne Leigh could sing?! Or, for that matter, that Elia Kazan, known for taut, gritty dramas like On the Waterfront and A Face in the Crowd, could – or wanted to – pull off a big-budget musical in the style of Vincente Minnelli’s Meet Me in St. Louis? When elegant older sister Blanche (Leigh) travels from the family’s country estate to visit sister Stella (Kim Hunter) and husband Stanley (Marlon Brando) in their working-class apartment in New Orleans, the fun begins! A Streetcar Named Desire pulls out all the bells and whistles and buttons and bows, sparking such musical-theater standards as Blanche & Mitch’s duet “Alpaca,” the haunting street chorus “Flores,” and Stanley’s rousing “Never Once Touched ‘er.”

>>>Dennis suggests F Is For Fake (in the Criterion Collection.) Orson Wells had his last laugh on the filmmaking word which notoriously rejected him in the last decades of his life by making this fascinating, fiendishly-clever documentary about fakers, forgers, and faux flim-flammers of all kinds. Ostensibly a portrait of the notorious art forger Elmyr de Hory, whose impeccable fakes, the film claims, hang in art galleries and museums all over the world. Then the film weaves in footage of de Horys supposedly shot by the infamous Howard Hughes hoaxer (see the film The Hoax) Francois Reichenbach, and then weaves in another story about an art swindle supposedly perpetrated on Pablo Picasso by a mysterious, beautiful woman who appears in the background of both stories. And then Welles, ever the sleigh of hand-man, pulls a final rabbit out of his stylish fedora. It’s a fascinating, prankish masterpiece—the last great Welles film in a career littered with unfinished projects.

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

>>> “A free movie—for children?! Why, back in my day, children worked in the fields all day and played with sticks to entertain themselves! Bah!”

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

>>>For Saturday, Emily S. Customer suggests Jaws (in Horror.) A sort of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead for the super-spy set, Jaws is a witty, bittersweet character study of the often-disregarded henchman, Jaws (Richard Kiel). The James Bond franchise typically focused on Jaws’ attention-grabbing superficial attributes and abilities: his towering height and massive strength, his nine-lives-style survival skills, and, of course, the steel-capped teeth that allow him to bite through metal cables and human bones alike. But Jaws is more than a pair of murderously-powerful hands and a terrifying bite radius. More than any other character in the 007 universe, Jaws has insight into the daily lives, motives, and machinations of the most elite villains ever to threaten the earth’s very existence. He’s been employed at high levels in at least three different supervillain consortia, yet never before has a film addressed the ins and outs of Jaws’ no-doubt fascinating life.

>>>For Sunday, Emily S. Customer suggests The Godfather (in Feature Drama.)  Get ready to laugh! In this 1972 kneeslapper, Vito (Marlon Brando), is just trying to get to the chapel on time. Vito’s single and schlubby; Tom’s settled down with his new wife, a house in the ‘burbs, and now a baby! Standing up as the baby’s godfather during his baptism will give Vito a chance to cement their once-vital friendship – but first he’s got to get to the chapel on time, and the Metro-North ain’t cooperating! Slapstick adventure turns to a farcical buddy-pic reminiscent of The Out-of-Towners when Vito finally calls on Tom for help (and a ride in Tom’s station wagon), culminating in a hilarious and heartwarming scene at the Causeway toll plaza where both men spill their guts in admiration for each other.

>>>Dennis suggests not emulating these prank-y movies (but definitely suggests renting them from Videoport.) Pranking is a pretty douche-y thing to do if you do it wrong (it’s pretty douche-y regardless, rally.) But some people have raised the art of making other people look stupid to, well, an art. Now a lot of you are gonna throw the Jackass dudes at me here, and, all right, I’ll concede that they occasionally make me laugh. When I’m not trying not to hurl. Look, I’m a grown man—I need to see less footage of dirtbags eating their own pee than they seem to think. That being said, there’s a certain genius in making people feel really uncomfortable by violating the social contract with seeming heedless glee, so more power to ‘em. Plus, it’s perversely satisfying to watch an obnoxious guy get really, really hurt. The one prank I remember liking most is in one of the Jackasses (don’t ask which one) where several of them stand overlooking a golf course and blast an air horn every time one of the rich golfers tries to take a swing, eventually provoking the upper-class twist to start winging their golf shots right at them. I think golf and country clubs are ridiculous and awful—it just appealed to the Caddyshack in me. The art of the prank phone call is another thing, and the show Crank Yankers takes some very funny people (Billy West, Tracy Morgan, Sarah Silverman) and has them do characters while calling to complain that, say, they can’t get a tee time at the local country club (golf, again, is stupid), or that they’re going to sue the strip club they’re applying to because they’re blind and have to bring their seeing eye dog onstage with them. That sort of thing. As with all pranksmanship, a little goes a long way, but the performers throw themselves into the necessarily improv-y performances with gusto, and, as I say, they are very funny people. Oh, and did I mention it’s all reenacted in puppet form? It’s an inspired idea, adding a whole other level of loopy rudeness to the proceedings. Of course, the mack-daddy of all current pranks is an unassuming Brit named Sacha Baron Cohen who, whether as alter-egos Borat, Ali G, or Bruno has taken the simple Candid Camera gag and turned it into something like satirical genius. His stuff (the Ali G Show and the movies Borat and Bruno) are certainly a tough watch, partaking in all the grossness and squirminess the genre requires, but his fiendish idea is to confront people with a character which brings out the worst in them. So that when they react, they’re unknowingly revealing some very ugly truths about themselves—and us. Cruel, sure—but there’s some stuff that Cohen pulls off which is like a sociology experiment masquerading as gross, dumb comedy bits. Getting fratboys to chant gleefully hateful things, or red staters to join in with the ignorant Borat’s racist song, or nearly provoking a homophobic riot at a mixed martial arts competition—Cohen is fearless and much smarter than the average prankster. Oh, there’s also a lot of poop. So please don’t try this stuff at home—you’re just not very good at it—but rent ‘em from Videoport. They will all make you very, very uncomfortable.

 

           An April Fool’s Day DVD-Handling Primer

So it’s totally okay to touch the shiny side of one of Videoport’s pristine, precious DVDs. Oh, and please, whatever you do, leave the disc our of its case so that your baby, dog, monkey, or just irresponsible friends and family can spread peanut butter, grit, dirt, grime, sand, crumbs, bongwater, and humus on it! Videoport definitely doesn’t need that movie to work properly! Oh, and if you have a chance, go ahead and let your young kids—who you don’t let operate anything more complicated than a nerf ball—handle and play with our DVDs without supervision—in fact, we insist you do that. Videoport is not a small, independent video store which depends on the health and safety of its hard-bought, precious DVDs! And if it’s not too much trouble, go ahead and play floor hockey with a Videoport DVD—Videoport’s employees don’t feel like screaming and crying and setting things on fire when they see one of their precious DVDs (which are all inspected and cleaned going out the door so we know exactly who’s messing them up every time) come back looking like they’ve been used to sand an antique coffee table. Seriously! All of these things! In no way ironic! Make it happen, people!

 

New Releases this week at Videoport: Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (Ron Burgundy is back! Sure, it’s a sequel, but it’s a sequel to one of the funniest, most quotable films ever—Will Ferrell’s vain newsman is one of the most inspired comic creations ever and I’m going to watch this about 50 times and then annoy you with quotes until you punch me!), 47 Ronin (The very not-Japanese Keanu Reeves stars in this bananas big-budget retelling of the legendary Japanese tale of the titular samurai who, when their master is treacherously killed, go on a serious arse-kicking spree; fun fact—Keanu Reeves? Not Japanese! Like, in the slightest!), Psych—season 8 (say goodbye to everyone’s favorite comic crimefighting team with James Roday’s fake psychic detective and his sensible—and hilarious—pal Burton Guster solving crimes with the power of lying and comic timing), Broadchurch—season 1 (David “Doctor Who” Tennant and Olivia “Really Good Actress” Coleman star in this gripping British detective series about a pair of mismatched coppers teaming up to solve the murder of a young boy in a seaside town), The Bag Man (oddball crime thriller about John Cusack’s hitman tasked with delivering a mysterious bag to boss Robert DeNiro—without looking inside, no not even one little bit! No spoilers, but I bet he looks inside. Also starring Crispin Glover for added weirdness!), Knights Of Badassdom (a group of LARPers [that’s live action roleplayers to you] find themselves having to swap out their foam swords for the real things when some dope accidentally reads from a real spell book and raises demons; starring cool people Steve Zahn, Summer Glau, and Game Of Thrones knight of awesomeness Peter Dinklage!!), At Middleton (Andy Garcia and Vera Farmiga star in this grown up romantic comedy about a pair of mismatched parents taking their respective kids on a college tour who decide to play hooky and have a lovely day making moony eyes at each other), The Truth About Emanuel (Jessica Biel stars in this thriller about a disturbed young woman who becomes obsessed with the woman who moves in next door), The Pirate Fairy (Tinkerbell is back! And now she’s a pirate or something? Ask your daughter—she’ll fill you in)

 

New Arrivals on Blu-Ray This Week At Videoport: Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, 47 Ronin, King Of The Hill

An April Fool’s Money-Saving Tip from Videoport!

When you put $20 on your Videoport account, it magically turns into $25 worth of rental credit! And $30 buys you $40 worth of rental credit! Just kidding—it doesn’t! Just kidding—it totally does! (Seriously, these are real specials you can do any time to stretch your movie renting dollar. We’d never kid about things like that. Except we totally did that one time just now. Just get some free money, you…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

VideoReport #446

Volume CDXLVI- 2014: The Year Everyone Remembers How Awesome Indie Video Stores Are

For the Week of 3/4/14

Videoport gives you a free movie every single day. Been doing that for 27 years. How many free movies have we given to our customers? Let’s see…one kajillion. One kajillion free movies.

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 Lone Star (in Mystery/Thriller.) You guys, I have an embarrassing admission: I have been underestimating Matthew McConaughey. This fella can act. Years ago, I wrote him off as a swaggering hunk of handsome nothing destined for taking off his shirt in shallow rom-coms without even realizing I was doing it. To be perfectly frank, sustaining that belief must have taken some effort on my part; after all, I’ve seen Lone Star. If you haven’t, you should. John Sayles’ film is an understated masterpiece, a complex blend of intrigue and social critique and romance. Every performance is a gem. Chris Cooper as Sam Deeds, the small-town Texas sheriff tasked with investigating a newly uncovered generation-old murder. Elizabeth Peña as Pilar, his one-time high school sweetheart, and McConaughey as the long-dead father and former sheriff whose shadow always looms over Sam, in his life and in his job. The film ticks along patiently, and in the end those ticks turn out to be a bomb, not a watch.

>>>Dennis suggests diving randomly into the Incredibly Strange section! Like he did! Sometimes you juts want something unusual (I do anyway) so on a week’s worth of recent lunch hours, I threw in a trio of random Incredibly Strange section randomness of things I’d never seen. It wasn’t boring, I’ll tell you that. First up was Blue Sunshine, with its striking, shiny silver cover. It’s the 70s, and some former groovy drug types find their hair falling out while they go insane and start killing people! All traced back to the titular bad batch of acid cooked up by a drug guru turned creepy political candidate, it stars Zalman King, who, before masterminding the Red Shoe Diaries erotic series, was a marginal and improbable romantic lead. With his unfriendly face, huge honker, and unruly mop of greasy looking curls, he’s like a slightly less charismatic Marjoe Gortner. Sorta, sleazy, sorta violent—don’t take drugs! Next up was Petey Wheatstraw: The Devil’s Son In Law starring the impossible-to-describe Rudy Ray Moore! Like in most of his movies, Rudy plays a club comic (he works blue) who is also a rip-roarin’ karate star fighting the MAN and assorted baddies in the 1970s ‘hood. And, as ever, Rudy is about as convincing as a martial arts action star as Grady from Sanford and Son. Maybe it’s his pot belly, or the fact that his tight pants don’t allow him to raise his legs up over his waist, or, well, because he’s Rudy. I love Rudy. Oh, in this one, he’s gunned down and makes a deal with the dapper Devil to come back for revenge. There’s a lot of very broad comedy too. Check out Rudy further in Dolemite and Disco Godfather! Rudy! And last was Private Parts—no, no the Howard Stern thing, this was the first feature by cult director Paul Bartel (Death Race 2000, Eating Raoul) and is a nice and sleazy (and batsh*t insane) time capsule of both 1970’s sleaze and 1970s morality. A slightly annoying teen runaway crashes at the super-seedy hotel run by her crazy old aunt and discovers that, well, creepy-crazy stuff is going on there. Murders, perversions, other stuff I can’t tell you about but you’ll see coming a mile away. Bartel’s inventive kinkiness seeps in throughout—some sexy, some icky. Fun times! See—there’s always something for your inner weirdo in the Incredibly Strange section!

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 we laissez les bons temps rouler, y’all. Whether you call it Mardi Gras, Carnival, Fasnacht, or just good ol’ Fat Tuesday, it’s here and it’s time to celebrate. Grab some beads and maybe some beers, get y’ a king cake or some beignets, pop in some movies, and let ‘em roll. Easy Rider, the classic ‘60s road story, is all about the travels and trial that our counterculture protagonists Billy (Dennis Hopper) and Wyatt (Peter Fonda) meet on their motorcycle journey to celebrate Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Black Orpheus, winner of the 1959 Palme D’Or and the 1960 Golden Globe for Foreign Film, retells the myth or Orpheus and Eurydice amidst the hedonism of Rio de Janeiro’s Carnival. Thunderball sends James Bond (Sean Connery) to The Bahamas, where he tracks the two atomic bombs hoisted by SPECTRE against the backdrop of tropical island beauty laced through with Mardi Gras madness.

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!

>>>Videoport customer Deb T. says: Here is a list of some of my favorite movies of my youth (and why) that I would still watch today.

The Outsiders – besides having read the book way too many times, I would have to say the movie was obviously cast by looking at all the Tiger Beat pictures I had hanging up on my wall and hiring each one of them. ——-—Stand By Me – Kiefer Sutherland. Also, great story featuring young people I could actually relate to.

The Lost Boys – Kiefer Sutherland. Also, vampires, and a truly awesome soundtrack.

Sixteen Candles – Just pure funny.

Evil Dead 2 – My brother introduced me to this movie so I was heavily influenced by him. But it was scary and funny and I loved the idea of a crazy cameraman on a moped flying around the place.

The Neverending Story – Falcor.

Heathers – Dark, funny and Christian Slater. Also, watching now – it’s like a time capsule of my angst at that age.

Cinema Paradiso – My first foreign language film – I saw it in Italian class and fell in love. It was so beautiful and such a lovely tribute to film. And I could understand it (well, with help from the subtitles of course).

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!

>>>Howsabout checking out some Oscar winners, and the more numerous Oscar losers at Videoport! They’ll all come out on DVD eventually, but here’s the stuff that’s out already at Videoport!

BEST PICTURE

—12 Years A Slave (WINNER—BEST PICTURE. Out today!)

—Captain Phillips

—Nebraska

—Dallas Buyer’s Club

—Gravity

Not on DVD yet:

—Her (no date announced)

—American Hustle (coming out 3/18)

—Philomena (no date announced)

—The Wolf Of Wall Street (coming out 3/25)

BEST ACTRESS

—Blue Jasmine (WINNER—Cate Blanchett)

—Gravity (Sandra Bullock)

Not on DVD yet:

—August: Osage County (Meryl Streep—coming out 4/8)

—Philomena (Judi Dench—no date announced)

—American Hustle (Amy Adams—coming out 3/18)

BEST ACTOR

—Dallas Buyer’s Club (WINNER—Matthew McConaughey)

—12 Years A Slave (Chiwetel Ejiofor)

—Nebraska (Bruce Dern)

Not on DVD yet:

—American Hustle (Christian Bale—coming out 3/18)

—The Wolf Of Wall Street (Leonardo DiCaprio—out 3/25)

BEST DOCUMENTARY

—20 Feet From Stardom (WINNER)

—The Act Of Killing

—Cutie And The Boxer

—Dirty Wars

Not on DVD yet:

—The Square (no date announced)

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

—The Hunt

Not on DVD yet:

—The Great Beauty (3/25)

—The Broken Circle Breakdown (3/11)

—The Missing Picture (no date announced)

—Omar (no date announced)

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

>>>It’s free.

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

>>>For Saturday, Emily S. Customer suggests Twin Peaks (in Mystery/Thriller). The Videoport Jones household has been catching up on “True Detective” (not available on DVD yet, so let’s all settle down!), which has us craving some of its influences and precursors. My favorite of the weird-crime series has to be “Twin Peaks,” with Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle McLachlan), the brilliant and bizarre lead investigator who gathers his insights from a combination of meticulous police work, insight-oriented meditation, and esoteric rituals. But more striking than its stable of characters – and with “Twin Peaks,” we’re talking about characters in two senses of the word – is the show’s jarring, transporting combination of homey comforts with eldritch horrors, the coziness of damn fine coffee and a slice of cherry pie with the terror of the unknown, the unknowable, and the things you don’t want to know… but do.

>>>For Sunday, Emily S. Customer suggests 12 Years a Slave and then take your pick. Well, dangit. World-class actor (and favorite chez nous) Chiwetel Ejiofor didn’t get his well-deserved Best Actor Oscar this year. But mark my words, folks: he will. And soon. You can make your own assessment of his prowess in 12 Years a Slave, new on DVD this week, and while you’re at it, take home a free movie and check out this guy’s range in roles large and small: collected and precise as desk-jockey counterintelligence office for the CIA in Salt, as Simon and his cheeky drag alter ego Lola in Kinky Boots, oddly empathetic and utterly chilling as The Operative in Joss Whedon’s Serenity, the slick business-minded program director of station WOL in Talk to Me, as a rising lieutenant in the drug wars of American Gangster, or game and wisecracking as Denzel Washington’s sidekick in Inside Man. I imagine there’s some role the man can’t play, but I ain’t seen it yet.

New Releases this week at Videoport: 12 Years A Slave (Sure, Matthew McConaughey won Best Actor at the Oscsrs, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a better actor than the brilliant Chewitel Ejiofor who stars in this Best Picture winner based on the memoirs of a free black man hoodwinked into slavery from great modern director Steve McQueen [Shame, Hunger]; costarring Best Supporting Actress winner Lupita Nyong’o and McQueen’s favorite actor Michael Fassbender), Doctor Who: The Time Of The Doctor (Matt Smith bids an heroic adieu as the eleventh Doctor gives way to Peter Capaldi’s Number Twelve in this epic adventure), Hours (the last Paul Walker stars in one of his last movies as a desperate father trying to keep his hospitalized daughter alive during Hurricane Katrina), The Venture Brothers—season 5 (lunatic, batsh*t-carzy animated series about a mad scientist, his useless sons, and his gung-ho bodyguard [voiced by the ever-awesome Patrick Warburton] as they battle evil and get killed a lot), Girl Rising (ambitious documentary about nine girls from nine different countries around the world’ each of their stories is written by a writer from their homeland is narrated by actors like Kerry Washington, Anne Hathaway, Cate Blanchett, Liam Neeson, Meryl Streep, and Salma Hayek), The Grandmaster The-Grandmaster-2013-Movie-Title-Banner(one of the greatest directors in the world [and a personal favorite] Wong Kar-wai helms this biopic about the legendary martial arts master Ip Man [played by the great Tony Leung]: the man directed the likes of In The Mood For Love, 2046, Chungking Express, My Blueberry Nights, Ashes Of Time, and more—you should rent all of those, too), Oldboy (Spike Lee directs this probably unnecessary but supposedly decent remake of the completely, insanely awesome and psychotic Oldboy-Remake3Korean original about a long-imprisoned man who, released after a decade in solitary confinement in a mysterious prison, goes on a horrifying rampage of revenge; rent this along with the original—I know you’ll be astounded by the original at least ), The Last Days On Mars (good cast, including Liev Schreiber, Elias Koteas, and Romola Garai star in this sci fi thriller about the first manned station on Mars—SPOILER: things do not go well…), Reportero (intense documentary about a dogged, dedicated reporter and his newspaper attempting to challenge the corrupt government officials and drug cartels running/ruining Mexico City), The Summit (totally different intense documentary, this one about the deadliest day in mountain climbing history, when 11 climbers mysteriously vanished while trying to climb K2; didn’t they see that movie K2? It never goes well!), Hellbenders (Clifton Collins and Clancy Brown star in this horror flick about an outcast cabal of debauched priests and nuns who, when not violating their holy orders and/or each other, fight demons escaped from Hell), Hijos Del Carnaval- the compete series (Videoport continues to bring in the best of international TV with this Brazilian drama [it airs on HBO around the world]; about the troubled family of a dedicated Samba school founder and illegal lottery head coping with his troubled sons), Dirty Wars (2014 Oscar-nominated documentary about journalist Jeremy Scahill, whose investigation into America’s expanding covert wars yields even more disturbing information than he thought it would), G.B.F. (comedy about a closeted gay teen who, outed by a friend, is reluctantly taken in as the “gay best friend” of three of the school’s mean girls), The Pervert’s Guide To Ideology (brilliant, eccentric philosopher and social critic Slavoj Zizek is back [after his Pervert’s Guide to Cinema] this time looking at the collective dreams and fantasies that shape our beliefs)

New Arrivals this week at Videoport: Lego Ninjago- season 2 (Lego Ninjas! For kids! They love both those things!), Air Bud and Air Bud: Golden Receiver (also for kids! He’s a dog who plays sports! If only he were made of Legos!), Father Goose (Cary Grant and Leslie Caron star in this 1962 comedy romance war film about a slovenly bachelor persuaded to spot planes from his island haven in WWII who finds himself forced to look after a shipwrecked school teacher and her all-girl students),

New Blu-Rays At Videoport: The Last Days On Mars, Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull, 12 Years A Slave, Raiders Of The Lost Ark

Be nice to our DVDs. Seriously.

There’s literally nothing we here at Videoport obsess about more than the health and safety of our precious movies. It’s our crusade, our raison d’etre—it’s given us nightmares, and made us wake up in cold sweats. As a small, independent video store, you might say that the safety of our movies is the most important thing in our jobs. So, when someone—not you, dear reader, never you—returns a movie that is: scratched up, smeared with prints, bearing water spots (at least we hope it’s water), etc, you might understand our skepticism at the “it was like that when I got it” lip service we often get. Like, super-skeptical, since we inspect and clean every single movie that goes out and comes back!! Look, sometimes a DVD won’t work right—anyone who claims differently is lying. But we here at Videoport clean every disc that goes out, buff any disc that has scratches on it, and basically treat our precious movies better than you do your (or we, our) kids. So, if you wanna lessen our night-sweats, and help Videoport out:

1. Never touch the shiny side of a DVD,

2. Never leave a DVD out of its case.

3. Don’t let kids handle our DVDs.

4. Get a real DVD player—computers stink at playing DVDs.

5. See 1-4. We love you. Don’t touch the shiny side.

VideoReport #445

Volume CDXLV- 2014: The Indie Video Storepocalypse

For the Week of 2/25/14

Videoport gives you a free movie every day. Netflix sideswiped your car that one time and drove off without leaving a note. We saw it…

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

>>>Dennis suggests that all of the coolest people in the movies stop dying unexpectedly. This week: Harold Ramis. This one just hurts. You love Harold Ramis, even if you don’t know you do. Of course, everyone loves him in Ghostbusters as Dr. Egon Spengler, and maybe as Bill Murray’s sardonic best bud in Stripes. But the man was one of the most important comic minds of the last century. Think I’m overstating it? Well, he wrote/cowrote: Animal House, Caddyshack, Stripes, Meatballs, National Lampoon’s Vacation, Ghostbusters, SCTV, Back To School, and Groundhog Day (one of the most perfect comedies ever made.) He also wrote Analyze This, which a lot of you like as well. He directed a lot of those movies, along with the underrated comic thriller The Ice Harvest, and some of the best episodes of The Office. And he was, by all accounts and everything I ever saw, a kind, funny, unassuming, avuncular presence—honestly, “avuncular” is just right, as he seemed like the favorite uncle you wished you had. He was as formative to my ideas of comedy as Bill Murray, SNL, Monty Python, Richard Pryor, George Carlin, or anyone/anything else I ever saw. I’ve been getting teary all day and feeling silly about it. And then I don’t. This just plain sucks…

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!

>>>Free money at Videoport! Come and get it!!!

Seriously. Not a joke, people. This is not a drill. Anytime you want, you can get either 5 or 10 free bucks in rental credit at Videoport. Put $20 down on your Videoport account, and you’ll see it magically transformed into $25 worth of rental credit. And, if you’re feeling especially spendy/smart, $30 will buy you $40 worth of credit. (Which you would have spent at Videoport anyway, since we’re so great and you’re so intelligent.) There’s no down side to this deal, people. Come get your free money.

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

>>>Dennis suggests Knocked Up (in Comedy.) As a huge Judd Apatow admirer, I’ll be the first to admit that there are some things that don’t quite work. Katherine Heigl is tragically miscast in the female lead, for one—honestly, she’s one of the least-appealing romantic leads in rom-com history. And like all Apatow movies, it’s too long, and the guy-centric improv can get a bit trying if you’re not into that sort of thing. But it’s still funny as hell, and can come at you with some sneakily-affecting moments, many of which are supplied by the great, late Harold Ramis. He’s only got a couple of scenes, as Seth Rogen’s father, but these scenes—which were all improvised by Ramis himself—form one of my favorite all-time screen father-son relationships. Rogen, having, well, knocked up a woman he barely knows, comes to his dad for advice on what to do. And he gets practically none—none practical, at least. But what Ramis’ divorced father does give him is the sort of honest, warmhearted, yet realistic parental advice that his son really needs. No platitudes, no easy answers, but a palpable sense of understanding and love, all delivered with Ramis’ signature warmth and twinkling eyes. He’s a man who has been around, loves his son, and cares too much about what’s actually best for him to pretend to have any answers. It’s honestly one of the warmest, most realistic father-son relationships I’ve ever seen—and I feel improbably bereft that Ramis won’t be around any more.

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

>>>Videoport customer Katie B. suggests paying tribute to Harold Ramis by get a little worked up over Stripes (in Comedy.) I’ve always loved Harold Ramis as a director, writer, and his characters. Rewatching “Stripes” once when I was home sick and grown up I was floored at the bathtub scene with Sean Young (bless her crazy heart). In my lusty delirium I rewound the scene a couple of times – suddenly I was lusting after Harold Ramis. He became a sensual nerd. I never got over that. I’ve been crushing on him since.

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

>>>It’s free.

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

>>>For Saturday, A throwback from 2009, when the great Justin Ellis and I commiserated over Ramis’ disappointing Year One—and comforted ourselves with our mutual love for the man. Dennis: “I had high hopes for this one, and why wouldn’t I? I think both Jack Black and Michael Cera are funny guys. The script was co-written by a couple of writers from ‘The Office.’ It’s got supporting parts from surefire funny folks like David Cross, Oliver Platt, Paul Rudd, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Hank Azaria, and Bill Hader. And it was also co-written, and directed by, Harold Ramis, who, in addition to being a really charming and funny guy, has, if you check out his resume, had a hand in some of my all-time personal comedy favorites. ‘Caddyshack?’ ‘Meatballs?’ ‘Ghostbusters?’ ‘Stripes?’ ‘Animal House?’ ‘Back to School?’ ‘Groundhog Day?’ I cannot overstate how important this guy has been to the development of my own sense of humor. (‘Gee, thanks,’ I can hear some of you say). Well, I gotta say this knockabout comedy, about a hapless pair of bumbling cavemen who stumble into some of the Bible’s most popular set pieces, is a big letdown. And I am bummed out. Shooting for a ‘Life of Brian’ level hilarity, ‘Year One’ ends up delivering ‘Wholly Moses-level laughs’ (look that one up on IMDB.com – yeah, ouch). Actually, I compared it to Mel Brook’s ‘History of the World – Part 1′ as I was watching it; lazy script going for easy laughs redeemed, when it is, by some inspired, loony performance bits from funny actors, but ultimately a flabby disappointment. In the movie’s defense, and to make myself feel better, I will say that Black and Cera make a funny team, with Jables’ trademark comic bluster blending nicely with Cera’s trademark time-released underplaying, and Cross is especially funny as a predictably-untrustworthy Cain. (Those who babble on about ‘being tired of Jack Black and Michael Cera’s schticks’ are just white noise to me; the guys are funny and good at what they do. So sue them.) Still and all, a mildly-disappointing timewaster. The commentary with the two stars and the ever-affable and warm Ramis is more enjoyable. (And, yes, the Ramis’ commentary does make Year One worth a rental.]”     Justin: “Way to bring us all down to earth compadre. Do you feel a little personally wounded by a Ramis misfire? Do you need some time to compose yourself? Should I come over with a six-pack of PBR and some Oreos? I’ll do it buddy. It’s not easy seeing your heroes take a bit of a tumble, and that’s the case here. You joke that Ramis played a part in developing your humor, but I would lay good odds that he’s had a role in EVERYONE around our generation’s sense of humor. I defy you to not name at least ONE Ramis flick you like America. Do it. As for ‘Year One,’ this is shades of what we talked about last week: the parts not adding up to the whole. I absolutely LOVE Cera and Black, but for me, this has a knock-it-out-of-the-park comedy support staff. Rudd, Cross, Azaria AND Hader? Gold. While I see your comparison to ‘History of The World Part 1,’ I think Brooks almost always plays for the hard schtick over a solid script, so maybe not the best comparison. (Also, I love ‘History of the World’ more than anything. The FIRST Brooks movie I saw as a kid. Changed me. I could sing you ‘The Inquisition’ right now.) Maybe Ramis is getting a little long in the tooth, maybe the historic comedy is a tough sell, or maybe this one is just a miss. We’ll put it near the back of a long list of hits from the man that gave us ‘Caddyshack.’”

>>>For Sunday, Dennis (cannibalizing his column from the Press Herald) suggests Muscle Shoals (in Documentary.) Spurred by the release of the Coen Brothers’ “Inside Llewyn Davis,” a few weeks ago, I devoted this column to examining the difficulty in trying to depict a musical genius in a movie. Eventually, not being a musical genius, I resigned with a shrug, concluding that a great piece of music comes from innate talent, individual history, and that elusive stuff I simply will never understand. But can musical greatness arise from a place? That’s the argument put forth by the new musical documentary “Muscle Shoals”, a beguilingly entertaining history of the tiny, titular Alabama town which is the unlikely birthplace of a truly startling array of classic popular music. Focusing on the hardscrabble life story of legendary producer Rick Hall, Greg Camalier’s film, apart from providing an intriguing and surprising history behind some of your favorite songs and artists, also posits that there’s something ineffably inspirational about Muscle Shoals itself which made those songs what they are. An alchemy of place, and history, and the ever-murmuring Tennessee River running beside the deep, dark Alabama earth which seeped into the music made there, and the musicians who made it. Unfortunately, that theme of the film remains as elusive. I’m all for appreciating the unknowability of the creative process, but, even coming from the mouths of musical legends like Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Jimmy Cliff, Percy Sledge, Bono, Gregg Allman, and Etta James, the idea that the town of Muscle Shoals can impart some mystical flavor to music made there comes off more like self-mythologizing. Apart from blurry assertions like, “Being there does inspire you to do it slightly differently,” or “People go to a place with a sort of magic to it,” or “There are certain places where there is a field of energy,” the film offers little explanation of why the “Muscle Shoals sound” was so fertile. More convincing, and fascinating, is the documentary’s portrait of driven producer Hall and his chosen backup players the Swampers, possibly the least-likely soul, R&B, and rock gods imaginable, and how Hall’s modest Fame Studio became the most sought-after recording facility in the world. Hall, presented as an irascible, exacting perfectionist needed a backup band to record with local African American singers and hired the Swampers, a group of white teenagers. Backing up black singer Arthur Alexander, the Swampers provided a layered, shockingly funky groove which soon led to Alexander’s songs being covered by the Beatles and the Rolling Stones—and brought the world knocking on Fame Studios’ doors in search of its signature sound. They were in for a shock (as was I)—as Bono puts it, “People came expecting black guys and instead found a bunch of white guys who look like they work at the supermarket.” The racial aspect of the film is both idealized and underdeveloped, but never less than fascinating, with numerous musicians extolling how Fame operated as an oasis of harmony in the 1960s Deep South, with black and white musicians coming together in harmony in pursuit of, well, harmonies. The present day Swampers (who eventually broke off to set up the equally-legendary 3614 Jackson Avenue Studio across town) indeed look like nothing less than everybody’s soft-spoken uncles, but they, indeed provided the backbone to some of the most indelible R&B songs of all time. Aretha Franklin, who admiringly states, “I didn’t think they’d be as greasy as they were,” sings in front of them on “I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You,” and “Respect.” They were Percy Sledge’s band for “When A Man Loves A Woman.” That’s them on the Staples Singers’ “I’ll Take You There,” and Jimmy Cliff’s “Sitting In Limbo.” And when the Rolling Stones came to Muscle Shoals in order to partake of the town’s soul history, the Swampers (aka The Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section) were the session men on “Wild Horses” and “Brown Sugar.” The list of artists who enlisted the Swampers and/or Rick Hall to bring that Muscle Shoals sound is astounding. The film, which ambles alongside the soft, Southern voices of now-old men and languorous shots of the unassuming Alabama countryside that, for reasons that remain unclear, gave rise to one of the most unsung and influential movements in American music, may not provide many answers. But it, like Muscle Shoals itself, provides a hell of a lot of great music.

New Releases this week at Videoport: Thor: The Dark World (He’s big! He’s blonde! He’s got a really big…hammer! Strapping Aussie Chris Hemsworth is back battling Tim Hiddleston’s deliciously evil Loki in this entertaining Marvel Comics movie), Gravity (Sandra Bullock and George Clooney are stranded in space in this Best Picture-nominated sci fi flick from talented director Alfonso Cuaron [Y Tu Mama Tambien, Children Of Men]; heard it’s great, as is this joke from Tina Fey and Amy Poehler at the Golden Globes: “’Gravity’ is nominated for best film. It’s the story of how George Clooney would rather float away into space and die than spend one more minute with a woman his own age.”), Nebraska (Another Best Picture nominee, this indie road movie from director Alexander Payne [Election, Citizen Ruth, Sideways] with Bruce Dern and son Will Forte heading cross country and sorting out their issues), Adventure Time- season 3 (everyone loves this supposedly-for-kids animated series; except Videoport’s April—she’s still a nice person…), Blue Is The Warmest Color (the good people at Criterion are putting out their typically-gorgeous, deluxe treatment of this acclaimed French drama, a years-spanning love story about a young woman whose tumultuous, passionate affair with another woman changes her life), Muscle Shoals (music documentary about the titular, legendary Southern recording studio, which was instrumental in more of your favorite songs than you could possibly know), Legit- season 1 (funny, rude sitcom starring brash Aussie comic Jim Jeffries as himself, plying his trade and basically being slobby and disreputable every week), Mr. Nobody (Oscar nominee Jared Leto stars in this trippy sort-of sci fi drama about a very old man in the future who, looking back on his life, imagines the alternate timelines he thinks were caused by one fateful decision; pair it up with the Community episode “Remedial Chaos Theory” [season 3, episode 4] which explores a similar idea—and is undoubtedly more fun), Twice Born (intense drama about single mother Penelope Cruz, who decides to return to Sarajevo years after her husband was slain there), Narco Cultura (documentary about how, shockingly, poor people from depressed and exploited countries often turn to illegal drug trafficking to escape their hideous, hopeless lives ), Diana (Naomi Watts stars as the inexplicably beloved former member of a figurehead royal family who died; apologies to everyone’s mom…), Memory Of The Dead (crazy horror from Argentina, with a widow luring a group of people at an isolated mansion in order to resurrect her dead husband—and probably kill a whole bunch of people in the process; good reviews and an over-the-top look)

New Arrivals this week at Videoport: Space Jam (now back at Videoport on DVD, watch Michael Jordan smirk his way through a half-animated movie playing basketball with the Looney Tunes! And Bill Murray! It’s actually kind of funny…)

New Blu-Rays At Videoport: Miracle, Gravity, Blue Is The Warmest Color, Mr. Nobody, Thor: The Dark World

Be nice to our DVDs. Seriously.

There’s literally nothing we here at Videoport obsess about more than the health and safety of our precious movies. It’s our crusade, our raison d’etre—it’s given us nightmares, and made us wake up in cold sweats. As a small, independent video store, you might say that the safety of our movies is the most important thing in our jobs. So, when someone—not you, dear reader, never you—returns a movie that is: scratched up, smeared with prints, bearing water spots (at least we hope it’s water), etc, you might understand our skepticism at the “it was like that when I got it” lip service we often get. Like, super-skeptical, since we inspect and clean every single movie that goes out and comes back!! Look, sometimes a DVD won’t work right—anyone who claims differently is lying. But we here at Videoport clean every disc that goes out, buff any disc that has scratches on it, and basically treat our precious movies better than you do your (or we, our) kids. So, if you wanna lessen our night-sweats, and help Videoport out:

1. Never touch the shiny side of a DVD,

2. Never leave a DVD out of its case.

3. Don’t let kids handle our DVDs.

4. Get a real DVD player—computers stink at playing DVDs.

5. See 1-4. We love you. Don’t touch the shiny side.

VideoReport #429

Volume CDXXIX- Sherlock Holmes And The Mystery Of Who Thinks Touching The Shiny Side Of Our DVDs Doesn’t Make Them A Bad Person

 For the Week of 11/5/13

Videoport gives you a free movie every day. Just think about that…

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

Crow, Joel, Mike, Tom Servo—from Soultaker.

Crow, Joel, Mike, Tom Servo—from Soultaker.

>>>Dennis suggests Mystery Science Theater 3000 (in Incredibly Strange). Videoport now owns over 100 episodes of this show. Which you should all send us a little thank you note for, as it is one of the truest sources of joy in the universe. No, no I am not overstating that. The eccentric brainchild of a bunch o’ Midwestern comedians and assorted knuckleknobs, the premise was just simple enough to be brilliant—make fun of terrible movies. Sure, there’s a little more to it, with the premise further including the fact that a guy (first Joel, then Mike) was stranded on a satellite (quickly christened The Satellite Of Love in honor of the late, great Lou Reed) by some mad scientists. Oh, and that they intend to use this experiment to rule the world somehow. And that Joel invented a bunch of puppety robot pals to keep him company and help him make fun of the movies. Still—simple as pie. Anyway, the whole enterprise is just an excuse for the comedians involved to crack wise at the expense of some truly terrible flicks. The general consensus is that the worst movie they ever did was something called Manos: The Hands Of Fate, a bleak, dreary, distasteful devil worshiper flick that is, indeed, soul-crushingly abysmal. But the mysterious alchemy of the show could turn films of all manner of dreadful into he most hilariously entertaining experiences of all time. Introduced to MST3k soon after college, I’ve carried it with me for more than two decades (I may not be young), trotting it out whenever I need something to pick me up. What’s best about the show for a movie geek like me is the way it mirrors the immediate criticism gene when I’m watching a movie, but suddenly I’ve got a trio of funny, knowledgeable, (and equally weird) pals to bounce my goofy insults off of. There’s a neverending debate about who was the better host, Joel or Mike, but I think that’s irrelevant. Joel Hodgson has a unique, dreamy quality and a kinship with his ‘bot friends that often veered into loopy, eccentric riffs and sketches. Joel’s five seasons on the show were my entry point, and contains some of my most indelible memories. I’d recommend: Master Ninja I (the first, and still best I’ve ever seen), Mitchell, any of the Gamera movies, Pod People, Fugitive Alien, The Amazing Colossal Man, Attack Of The Giant Leeches, Bride Of The Monster, Warrior Of The Lost World, I Accuse My Parents, The Girl In Lover’s Lane, and, of course, Manos. When Mike took over after Joel left, his relationship with Tom and Crow was more on equal footing, meaning, they routinely made his life miserable (there’s still a lot of love there.) Sharper-edged than Joel, Mike (who was the series’ head writer all the way through) gave his episodes more of a zippy, joke-filled pace. It’s like comparing wacky apples with hilarious oranges, but there’s no wrong answer here. For the Mikes, I’d suggest: The Brain That Wouldn’t Die, Samson Vs. The Vampire Women, Night Of The Blood Beast, The Brute Man, Laserblast, Revenge Of The Creature, The Deadly Mantis, Hobgoblins, The Final Sacrifice (Rowsdower!—you’ll get it…), Devil Fish, Soultaker (containing the long-awaited Joel/Mike meet-up!), and Future War. Rent MST3k—it’ll just make you happy.

Editor’s note: MST3k cast members Mary Jo Pehl (aka Pearl Forrester), Kevin Murphy (Tom Servo), and Bill Corbett (Crow/Brain Guy) will be in Portland at the Coast City Comicon this week! I got to interview them for my other job, and they are as funny and warm, and wonderful as I could have ever dreamed. You should rent some MST3k and then go tell them how much they make you happy.

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 some sweet, sweet Chiwitel Ejiofor goodness! Chiwitel Ejiofor is finally getting the world-wide recognition he’s long deserved, thanks to a tour de force performance in Twelve Years a Slave (currently in theaters, and Videoport will have it the moment it’s available on DVD). Ejiofor won British Independent Film’s Best Actor award for his role as Okwe in 2002 thriller Dirty Pretty Things, was nominated Best Actor for both the Golden Globes and the BIF for his lead in Kinky Boots, won the hearts of Whedonverse geeks everywhere (including your editor, Mr. Jones himself) in 2005’s Serenity, was part of a SAG-nominated Best Ensemble for American Gangster, and was nominated for yet another Golden Globe for 2009’s Endgame, which is doubly meaningful when you consider they nominated him against co-star William Hurt. How is this guy not a household name already? And I’ll throw this one in just for kicks: if anyone can take your eyes off charismatic Det. Frazier (Denzel Washington) in Inside Man, it’s his bright-eyed and breezy partner, Det. Mitchell (Chiwitel Ejiofor, of course).

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 the roles of Philip Baker Hall. He’s a hard-nosed hard-bitten no-nonsense type who won’t stand for your tomfoolery, see? The kind of guy you call “sir,” partly because you respect him and partly because you’re a tiiiiiiny bit afraid of what he’d do if you didn’t. Maybe you know him from Paul Thomas Anderson’s oeuvre: as Floyd Gondolli, the shrewd porn producer who pegged videotape as the wave fo the future – and the death of art – in Boogie Nights; as Jimmy Gator, the jovial host of popular children’s game show “What Do Kids Know?” and father of twitchy, depressed adult daughter Claudia (played with heartbreaking skill by Melora Walters); as professional gambler Sydney who takes novice John (John C. Reilly) under his wing in the Vegas casinos in Hard Eight. Or in Robert Altman’s Secret Honor, in which Hall delivers a masterful one-man performance as the now-disgraced Richard Nixon, alone in his home office with his whiskey, his handgun, and his memories. But to a generation of TV viewers, he’ll always be Mister Bookman from “Seinfeld” episode “The Library (S3, ep5), the library cop who tracks down Jerry for a decades-overdue copy of Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer and barks out retorts like “ ‘No hard feelings’?! What do you know about hard feelings? Ya ever have a man die in your arms? Ya ever kill a man?” No, he has not, sir. No, sir.

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 you become intolerable, like she is! Sometimes, elements of TV and film dialogue spills over the boundaries of its narrow world and seeps into our household lexicon irretrievably. Here’s a handful of the tiny pop-culture tidbits peppering our viewing time*. 1. After the hipster horrors of Cloverfield’s kaiju, it has become de rigueur chez nous** to nod or point at any television or film appearance of the Brooklyn Bridge and announce blandly “Cloverfield monster.”

2. Description of a good (or, more specifically, delicious) place is, of course, greeted with Liz Lemon’s dreamy “I want to go to there!” 3. Whenever a TV or movie detective runs a blurry photograph through the impossibly advances Blurry Photo Phixer machine, one of us pipes up with Blade Runner Rick Deckard’s monotone “Enhance. Enhance. Enhance.” * I should emphasize: this only happens when we’re home alone together, not when we have guests. Mostly. **We’re very fancy.

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

>>>It’s a free movie! You get it! And you don’t have to rent anything else! It would be weird to complain about that!

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

>>>For Saturday, You get a third movie for free. That ain’t bad.

>>>For Sunday, Emily S. Customer gives you the rundown on the Rips and the Rod. Rip Torn, Rip Taylor, Rod Taylor. They’re three quite different actors, and one of them is fascinating. Confuse them at your peril! Rip Torn is the irascible loon who debuted in 1956’s Baby Doll, and went on to become the stuff of legend after, for example, Dennis Hopper defamed him by claiming Torn was ousted from Easy Rider after pulling a knife on Hopper (two courts decreed that Hopper pay Torn just almost a cool ninety thou in damages for the slander, btw). Check him out as the power-hungry confidante to space alien David Bowie in The Man Who Fell to Earth, Heartland, as high-sorcery priest villian Maax (the extra “a” is for “AAAAAAAAH!”) in The Beastmaster, as Being From A Higher Plane/lawyer in Albert Brooks’ Defending Your Life, as Being From A Higher Plane/supervisor Zed in Men in Black, and as gladhanding producer Artie on “The Larry Sanders Show.” Rip Taylor in the mustachio’d confetti-pelting jokester perhaps best known for his madcap appearances on “The Match Game” and “The Gong Show,” but you can get a sense of his, um, act from his cameo in the roast scene in Amazon Women on the Moon. Rod Taylor is the underseasoned slab of actor-meat who plodded stalwartly through The Birds, y’know, the guy you kinda remember standing in between Tippi Hedren and Jessica Tandy.

New Releases this week at Videoport: Mad Men- season 6 (look, I don’t have to say anything here—you and I both know you’re gonna rent the hell out of the new season of this, one of the best TV shows ever. So I’ll just save my breath, except to suggest that you call 773-1999 to reserve your copies. Videoport’s got a lot of ‘em, but you wanna be the early worm on this one…), White House Down (terrorists take over the White House! Again! Yup—the second movie of the year with the same premise comes out this week; at least this one has a cool, Obama-esque prez [Jamie Foxx], and the surprisingly entertaining Channing Tatum instead of human scowl Gerard Butler), Grown Ups 2 (Adam Sandler calls all his best pals again for another piece of low-hanging comedic fruit with he, Chris Rock, Kevin James, David Spade, and Rob Schneider falling into pools, and making boob jokes and such), Parkland (Paul Giamatti, Marcia Gay Harden, Billy Bob Thornton, Zac Efron, and more star in this drama about the reactions of a cast-ful of regular folks to the JFK assassination), Lovelace (Amanda Seyfried stars as legendary porn star Linda Lovelace in this biopic which, shockingly, suggests that the star of Deep Throat did not have a happy experience), Under The Dome- season 1 (one of those Stephen King-y small Maine towns finds itself trapped under one of those Simpsons-esque impenetrable, transparent domes you read about in this Stephen King adaptation—about a dome!), Passion (director Brian De Palma is back, doing his super-stylized sex and violence thing on this tale of two sexy [and probably violent] corporate execs [Rachel McAdams, Noomi Rapace] whose ambition might turn a little…stabby), Girl Most Likely (Kristen Wiig stars in this good-looking indie about a once-hot playwright trying to cope with her career’s decline; costarring the likes of Matt Dillon, Annette Bening, Bob Balaban, and Natasha Lyonne), The Fitzgerald Family Christmas (writer/director/star Ed Burns [The Brothers McMullen, etc] keeps churning out indie dramedies, which is admirable, I suppose; this time, he’s one of the titular adult siblings preparing for their first holiday with the father who abandoned them decades before; Connie Britton and the late, great Ed Lauter are in it, so that’s something…), Clear History (Larry David writes and stars in this HBO comedy movie about an embittered former exec [David, duh] trying to get back at his former partner [Jon Hamm] who made millions from their idea for an electric car), As I Lay Dying (James Franco continues his career as professional overachiever, writing, directing, and starring in this adaptation of the seemingly-unfilmable William Faulkner novel about a poor family escorting their dead mother’s body for burial; costarring Tim Blake Nelson and Danny McBride), Syrup (a slacker invents something but has to learn to trust the sexy corporate lady who’s in charge in this comedy based on the novel by Max Barry; starring Amber Heard, and some guy from Twilight), The Painting (French animated film about the three classes of people in an unfinished painting), Renoir (biopic about Jean Renoir, legendary film director and son of the even more legendary Impressionist painter as he recuperates upon his return from WWI alongside a mysterious, gorgeous woman; I hear that helps…), Damnationland 2013 (former Videoporter Allen Baldwin produces this series of Maine-made horror anthologies; this one scared the pants off of audiences around the state this Halloween—come gets the rest of your clothes scared off…at Videoport!)

New Arrivals at Videoport: The Four Seasons (Alan Alda wrote and directed this 1981 comedy about a trio of middle aged couples whose longstanding friendship is thrown into comic upheaval when one gets a divorce; costarring Carol Burnett, Rita Moreno, Bess Armstrong, and Sandy Dennis), The Devil At 4 O’Clock (Spencer Tracy and Frank Sinatra costarred in this 1961 disaster drama about a crusty priest and an escaped convict trying to save an isalnd leper colony from an erupting volcano!), Kung Fu: The Movie (David Carradine returned to the most famous role he ever stole from Bruce Lee in this TV movie where his Kung Fu character mentors…Bruce Lee’s son Brandon!?!? Awkward…), Damnationland 2012 (Allen hooked us up with last year’s Maine horror anthology as well! Check out all four in the Horror section at Videoport!)

New Releases on Blu Ray This Week At Videoport: The Painting, Grown Ups 2, White House Down

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…

VideoReport #428

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

For the Week of 10/28/13

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

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

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

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

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

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

>>> It the Videoport Advice Column!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fire is blazing.

From his bed, Leo sees smoke.

“O Danny Boy” plays.

 

Casper advises:

“Always put one in the brain.

I tell all my boys.”

 

Tom stares at Bernie.

Bernie won’t answer the phone;

it isn’t for him.

 

Tom sees the angles,

leaves Mink calling up the stairs,

“Dammit, Tom! Jesus!”

 

Eating cereal,

reading The Katzenjammers,

Drop is visited.

 

Verna, a sick twist,

won Tom’s hat playing poker.

Won it fair and square.

 

As he speaks the words,

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

“And we’ll see who’s smart.”

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

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

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

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

Get yourself some free money at Videoport! As if you needed another reason to rent here, Videoport has these deals which just plain give you free money. Check it out: pay 20 bucks up front on your rental account, and we turn that into 25 dollars worth of rental credit. Do the same thing but with 30 dollars, and we give you 40 dollars worth of store credit. That’s either five or ten free bucks, which you were going to spend here anyway eventually. So why wouldn’t you go for this deal? Um–you deals maybe? I’m not your psychiatrist…