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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Staff Movie Watch Swap Volume 1

The mental patients of the Have You Seen... Institute for the Criminally Unsane have officially begun our long talked about movie watch swap. The rules of engagement are as follows:

Each resident picks the name of another out of a vessel of some sort (hat, toilet bowl, air sickness bag). Whoever chooses your name then selects a film for you to watch. It can be either something they really want you to see because they totally love it or something so absolutely horrible they would never ever sit through themselves. The patients (participants) must agree to watch the entire movie, no matter how much of an endurance test it might be, and then file a short report at the end of the mission. This is like, so super fun! If you have a grope of friends, you can do this your very own selves. It's a wonderful way to see something you might have never considered or have just been putting off. Or, it's just be a great way to torture a friend.

So far, here's where we're at in Round 1. Other reports to be filed will be posted as they become available.

SIMONE chose the movie Rituals (1977) for JESSE P. Here's what he had to say:

OK - "RITUALS". Canadian Deliverance knock-off. 1970's. Nice, pastoral opening... innocuous theme music... 5 MDs on a fishing trip in an isolated wilderness... Doctor's conversations sound authentic, but how come noone wonders why someone stole their footwear from the campsite? The doctors smoke pot? Oh- a swarm of bees. I like bees! Ha, the bees are obviously just in front of the camera, while the actors thrash about at nothing in the background - Oh... One of the characters has died. "He was such a boob. Such a gentle boob..." one of the others sobs.... Where does the one doctor keep getting booze? It's like he has a magic flask... Bear traps, bee traps.
I haven't written lately- too engrossed in the plot. It's an interesting twist that all the characters in peril are doctors... in between the action scenes, characters are fleshed in: their guilt, relationships to their Fathers, alcohol- these are key points in the film. .. a scene where Hal Holbrook casts a severed head on a pike into a ravine is an unusual high point.
Well, "rituals" is not that much like "deliverence" after all, and may even be the superior, inasmuch as the latter film strived to bedeck its high-brow aspirations with calculated and gutteral shocks, wheras "rituals" stays the course, aware of itself as a genre movie first and foremost and delivers a surprising experience.

PAUL chose the movie Gozu (2003) for ELLIOTT. Here's what he had to say:

Takeshi Miike's 'Gozu' isn't quite the visceral lacerationfest that his more famous 'Audition' or 'Ichi the Killer' are, however, it is still hugely unsettling. I read a review of 'Gozu' that likened it to some sort of Japanese 'Eraserhead'; an interesting comparison, but definitely a superficial one. Both films concern a young man dealing with familial woes set against a twisted yet familiar cityscape, but Miike's odyssey pushes for more literal horror as opposed to surrealist soundscapes. I may never look at a small child drinking a glass of milk or a protagonist hesitantly speaking to a cow-headed demigod through the vagina of a sleeping girl he may or may not want to fuck who may or may not be the reincarnation of his late brother whose corpse was crushed in a steam press the same way again. Recommended.

JESSE H. chose the movie F For Fake (1973) for PAUL. Here's what he had to say:

I’d been intrigued by F For Fake ever since we added it to the store and this was the kick in the pants I needed to finally check it out. And it’s an odd one indeed! Orson Welles appears as himself and directs this curious documentary/essay about fraud and authenticity. Elmyr de Hory, the artist who became renowned for successfully passing off his own paintings as works by Picasso and Renoir, among others, is a central focus. Welles weaves a code yarn of fact and fiction the viewer must attempt to decipher as other layers are sewn into the scheme along the way. His borderline sensationalized narration and charlatan character presence sucked me in and left me tangled in a sticky dreamlike web of honesty and deceit. The editing becomes a mischievous character itself, winking and nodding, but never revealing.In the end, I was left questioning everyone and everything in my life. Thanks a lot, Hoffman.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


When setting up new accounts, we still get a number of folks who ask us how much our membership fees are. In days of yore, some, well, most video stores used to charge customers a membership or "set-up" fee before they were able to begin paying even more money to rent videos. This was a store cash grab in the glory days of video rental, before the inception of legal and non-legal downloading, mass VOD and the wheelbarrow full of other ways people get their movies today. There wasn't a damn thing you could do other than grumble and pay because the movies you wanted and needed were being held hostage until you coughed up the ransom.

It always irked me that stores would engage in this membership funny business. Today, only the insane require you to pay them for the privilege of giving them more money. Even at a time when we could have charged for this (our first few years in the video game) we didn't. While we are certainly interested in making revenue, we are not into gouging people.

So, for however long we have left in this crazy business, we will never implement membership fees. Because we care. Deeply.