Saturday, December 26, 2009

Cruisin' For Videos

As I mentioned once before, Video Clearance Center on Howe Avenue is sort of a museum of VHS tapes. Circa 1990, it was the biggest show in town when it came to video sales, but when DVDs arrived they were stuck with a huge backlog of supply. They've been struggling ever since - gamely adding DVDs to their collection, but still having trouble moving the old VHS stuff.

Lately, they've been having an extended going-out-of-business sale (supposedly ending january 10, but may last longer, depending on sales). Some genres of tapes are as much as 90% off original price! Thus, cutting-edge technology aside, I've been stocking up on VHS videos.

Yesterday I watched Woody Allen's 1994 movie "Bullets Over Broadway". Very nice, amusing film!:
Woody Allen sends up the world of Broadway and the gangsters who love it in this Runyonesque comedy, one of his very best.

John Cusack is the Allen surrogate, a nebbish playwright who's struggling to remain true to his artistic vision amongst countless obstacles. Those obstacles include: a gangster's girlfriend (Jennifer Tilly) who Cusack is forced to cast in a lead role; her bodyguard (Chazz Palmienteri), who reveals quite a few dramatic instincts; a high-maintenance diva (Dianne Wiest, uproarious); a leading man who eats too much (Jim Broadbent); and a dithery actress very much in love with her dog (Tracy Ullman).

Because Allen sets his movie in a world he knows well (NY theatre), this feels like one of his strongest and most realized screenplays. The whole thing is a riot. Between Wiest, Tilly and Ullman, I still can't decide who's funniest.
And part of the fun of watching this tape was watching trailers for upcoming 1995 movies that I don't remember ever hearing of, featuring cutting-edge actors that have left no trace....

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