VideoReport #483

Volume CDLXXXIII- The Portland Spring Of Mrs. Stone

For the Week of 11/18/14

Videoport gives you a free movie every single day. With the exception of that one day, what’s it called? Oh, right, NEVER DAY. Because there are no exceptions—free movie every 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!

>>> Dennis suggests Game Of Thrones (in Sci-Fi/Fantasy). In perhaps the most unnecessary recommendation of all time, I say, “He—give this scrappy little fantasy series a chance, people who do nothing but rent Game Of Thrones!” Well, I just read the first book, and then started rewatching the first season of the HBO series, somewhat annoyedly. See, I only read the

Dinklage. Just...Dinklage.

Dinklage. Just…Dinklage.

book because the lovely Ms. Emily S. Customer bought a copy for 50 cents and damned if I didn’t like it. So now I have to watch the damned show and read all the books, which will take over my life for an unacceptable length of time. I’d seen the first season and liked it enough, although not enough to keep going—it wasn’t enough to see me through the occasional turgid scene or untangle the connections of the seeming billion of so characters. But, having read the book—and therefore getting a second dose of remedial tutoring—watching the show is a fun game of seeing how well the series cast the roles and visualized what was often so striking in the book. (Which really is not bad at all.) First on the good list, of course, is Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister, aka The Imp. The dwarf son of the book’s world’s richest and most devious family, he’s drunken, lecherous, and knowingly sardonic about all the high-flown rhetoric and pledges of honor surrounding him. Dinklage’s Tyrion gets all the best lines, and steals ever scene he’s in. There’s really no one else who could have played the role, or played it so well. He’s a hoot. Sean Bean brings his signature stolid formidability to the role of Ned Stark, the world’s most honorable, if occasionally unworldly lord. Ned’s the heart of the show at the start, loyal and true—to a fault. Kit Harrington’s affecting—if a bit wet-eyed—as Jon Snow, Ned Stark’s bastard, sent to serve in this world’s most fascinating outpost, The Wall. A massive edifice at the frozen edge of the world, it’s (under)manned by exiles and outcasts expected to keep the barbarians and some supernatural spookiness out of the kingdoms. There’s Jack Gleeson who’s so good at playing the most punchable little creep in TV history, Prince Joffrey, that I imagine people just take pokes at him walking down the street in real life. Then there’s Jason Momoa as Drogo, king of Game Of Thrones’ answer to the Klingons, the horse-ridin’ barbarians, the Dothraki. He’s pretty damned cool. So thanks a bunch, George R. R. Martin—now I have my next few months of reading and watching all mapped out. Who needs to get anything done, anyway?

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 doing some holiday shopping at Videoport! Look, nobody wants to talk about the impending holiday wallet-emptying season at this early date (or ever.) But, since we all have to go through it anyway (except Scrooge, and I’m starting to see his point), why not buy local! And, apart from the principle of keeping your dollars in the community (which is really a good idea), Videoport’s got tons o’ movies for you to get for everyone on your list. And—here’s the real reason to do this—you get a free rental for yourself with any movies you buy from us. Tons o’ movies, plus you get yourself a li’l somethin’ for your troubles. (Plus, Videoport can special order anything we don’t have in stock and we have gift certificates!) Shop local!

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

>>> Dennis suggests writing for the VideoReport! We’ve been doing this every week for over nine years, and you can join the fun! The VideoReport is where the staff and customers of Videoport (your favorite local, independent video store) share our thoughts on our favorite (or least favorite) movies and TV series, so c’mon in and play with us! Send in your reviews to our Facebook page Videoport Jones, or to denmn@hotmail.com. Otherwise, you’re just going to get me blabbing on about the same stuff all the time. No one wants that.

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

>>>Emily S. Customer suggests Now You See Me (in Mystery/Thriller). On the surface, Now You See Me looks like a big goofy heist movie, and that’s not misdirection: it is a big goofy heist movie. Now could it be anything else? Even the premise is both big and goofy: four magicians (Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco), some of them down on their luck, some hustling, all ripe for a big score, are anonymously invited to a mysterious meeting. A year later, the quartet appears in a lavish Vegas magic show where they send a (random) audience member to his (random) bank halfway a continent away and bring him back along with millions of dollars in cash. Oh, and then an FBI agent (Mark RuffaIo) starts pursuing them. And Morgan Freeman shows up! Oh, and then Michael Caine is in there. And, hey, Common is in this movie! And Melanie Laurent (of Inglourious Basterds)! It’s frothy, silly, splashy fun, and though the plot is a little dizzy, the action and direction are remarkably clear: even the most frenzied scenes boast a coherence that keeps the film on track. Despite its ostensibly high-minded moral (which the marketing spoiled but I won’t), Now You See Mestarts out silly, then it gets sillier. But there’s something exhilarating about the sheer giddy glee of it, the pure preposterous audacity of a heist film that doesn’t much bother to make sense of its own manipulations and maneuvers.

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!          

>>> You get a free kids movie every Friday, no other rental necessary. And Videoport just put a few hundred new movies in there—try it out. You don’t have to be a kid, even!

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 the best TV series of a particular type. Comparing “best TV series ever” is a fool’s errand, since different shows fulfill different functions. So here’s another fool’s errand—the best TV shows by type.

Best American TV drama. The Wire. Not even close, really. This is, at its heart, just another cop show. What it is actually is like a great American novel of a city, in this case Baltimore. Home to easily a dozen of the most memorable television characters ever.

Best shows adapted from another work/best shows based on the dumbest ideas. Fargo and Hannibal (tie). A TV show based on the Coen Brothers’ classic thriller (but without the Coens or any actors or characters involved in the movie)? And yet another screen version of the Hannibal Lecter stories? Stupid ideas that made me roll my eyes when I heard about them. Also two of the best TV series in years. Wow.

Best sketch comedy series since Mr. Show. Key & Peele. First, if you haven’t seen Mr. Show, go to the Comedy section and rent all four season right now. Bob Odenkirk and David Cross. It’s revelatory. And then rent the three seasons of Key & Peele, which is just as good. Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key are masterful at the indispensible skill of inhabiting a specific character immediately which, coupled with their insightful take on race (and other things) in America makes for razor sharp (and delightfully silly) sketch comedy.

Best recent short form drama. Rectify. The story of a man who’s released after being on death row since he was 17, this show is like a mesmerizing little gem—unexpected, thoughtful, and almost unbearably moving. I watched it practically holding my breath the whole time. Luckily, the first season is pretty short.

Best new animated series. Rick & Morty. My pick for the best show of 2014, it’s like a dark, twisted, hilarious mashup of Futurama and Back To The Future. But that can’t express the unstinting inventiveness, audacious comedy, or exceptional voice work throughout. Created by Community’s Dan Harmon and Justin Roilland (who, unbelievably, voices both of the main characters), the show is also masterful at grounding the fantastical with unexpected heart. This is just an astounding show.

>>>For Sunday, Why not get yourself some free money!? There’s no reason why you would not do this. Put $20 down on your Videoport rental account, and you get $25 worth of rental credit. Or, high roller, pre-pay $30 and see it turn into $40 in credit. You love Videoport, and you love free stuff. Again, no reason why you would not do this—so do this.

New Releases this week at Videoport: Sin City 2: A Dame To Kill For (Robert Rodriguez and comics legend/current racist nutjob Frank Miller return with this prequel to Sin City. Mickey Rourke is back as Marv, which should be worth checking out anyway), 22 Jump Street (Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum return in this sequel to their film version of the silly 80s TV cop show. Surprisingly, the first one was pretty good, a knowing spoof of the very idea of itself. In this sequel, they’re at it again, knowingly goofing on both the idea of them passing as undercover college students, and of the idea of sequels. Nick Offerman’s in there, too, which is a good thing.), Automata (Artsy, good-looking sci-fi drama about Antonio Banderas’ scientist exploring the implications of future Earth’s reliance on robots, especially once the ‘bots start gaining self-awareness), Brazilian Western (Acclaimed Brazilian drama about a young drug dealer whose romance with a senator’s daughter causes no end of perhaps understandable conflict), If I Stay (The always-worth-watching Chloe Grace Moretz stars in yet another of these young adult “pretty girls with terminal illnesses” movies, here as a teenager who lapses into a coma and must decide whether or not to return to the land of the awake as she sees visions of what her life could be like.), Reclaim (John Cusack’s bummer of a late career slide continues with this unheard-of thriller about an American couple whose attempt to adopt a foreign-born child embroils them in a web of creepy deceit. Costarring Ryan Phillipe and the always-intense Jacki Weaver), And So It Goes (Diane Keaton keeps up her valiant struggle to provide your parents with romantic comedies starring people their age. This time, she’s the nice, kooky neighbor of jerk rich guy Michael Douglas who ends up helping soften the guy up while helping him raise his granddaughter. Directed by Rob Reiner—which used to mean something.), The Following- season 2 (Kevin Bacon is back, chasing evil cult leader and Edgar Alan Poe scholar James Purefoy. Some people like it—enjoy.), Johnny Worricker (Two episodes of this British spy series about a retired spook whose idea of sunning himself in the Caribbean is constantly interrupted by the more active spy community. Great cast, including Bill Nighy, Helena Bonham Carter, Olivia Williams, and Ralph Fiennes), The Wind Rises (In what purports to be the last film ever from legendary, brilliant Japanese animator Hiyao Miyazaki, he brings us another lovingly crafted film, a biopic of sorts about the young man who grew up to design the zeros of the Japanese air force), Into The Storm (In this Twister for a new generation, some storm chasers and unlucky, insufficiently grounded bystanders get swept up in a passing tornado or two)

New Arrivals this week at Videoport: Bomb Digity Arts: TV Show (From the website of the Portland arts collective that donated this DVD to us: The Momentum Portland location focuses on multi-media, visual, culinary, musical/vocal and agricultural arts. Our studio is located at 643 Congress Street, right in the heart of Downtown Portland and the Arts District. Many Bomb Diggity multi-media artists participate collaboratively with another local agency in the development of “TV SHOW,” a television variety show that involves everything from documentaries to animations to cooking segments to interviews and music videos. Bomb Diggity Arts incorporates workshops with guest artists into our programming. Many local artists share their artistic knowledge with participants during these sessions. So there you go—rent it at Videoport! We love local artists!)

New Arrivals on Blu-Ray This Week At Videoport: Sin City 2: A Dame To Kill For, Automata, Brazilian Western, If I Stay, 22 Jump Street, Into The Storm

Free parking at Videoport! The parking lot behind the building is free for customers after 5PM on weekdays and all days on the weekends. Also, we can get you a free hour of parking at any downtown parking garage (including the courthouse garage which is, like, a one minute walk away). Just ask for one of our magic stickers!

Get your movies duplicated at Videoport! You guys know we can make copies of your DVDs and VHSes at Videoport, right? No, it can’t be anything copyrighted (that’s sort of what that word means), so you’ll just have to buy another copy of Weekend At Bernie’s to replace that VHS you’ve played so often it finally shredded itself. But home movies or anything not copyrighted? We can do it! $10 bucks a pop and little Susie’s dance recital can be copied and sent to every relative on your Christmas card list!

Hell On Earth: A World Without Video Stores

Life without Videoport would be even scarier...

Life without Videoport would be even scarier…

A Videoporter writes this in an article on the AV Club:

The worst thing about my personal hell is that it’s inevitable—a world without video stores. Sure, since I still work in a video store (when not working here), that may seem self-serving. But the point is, I’ve worked in video stores my entire adult life because video stores are the places where people like me feel at home. Leaving the house, walking the aisles, fingering dusty, obscure cases (once VHS, now DVD), and actually making movie choices deliberately, thoughtfully—even lovingly. Talking to like-minded cinephiles who love nothing more than sharing the love of movies. When all of recorded entertainment is a (buffering, glitchy) click away, movies and TV shows become disposable, just one more ephemeral, disregarded rectangle on electronic devices, fighting for attention with celebrity sex videos and mindless click bait. Windswept, garbage-strewn empty storefronts whose lovingly curated collections of Criterion and Something Weird Video DVDs exist only in the dank basements of pale, scrabbling collectors whose devotion to film as art and plentiful extra features mark them as outcast mole people. The whole of cinematic history in the hands of media conglomerates deciding what is worthwhile and what is to be discarded. That’s hell.

Don’t let it happen, people. Rent local. Rent Videoport.

VideoReport #482

Volume CDLXXXII- To Portland With Love

For the Week of 11/11/14

Videoport give you a free movie every single day. Not to be braggy, but we think that’s pretty cool of us, frankly.

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!

>>> Dennis suggests taking a chance every day! One of the great things about the vanishing creature that is the independent video store is the fact that it’s jam-packed with movies and TV shows you haven’t seen. Plus, it’s gonna have workers who do nothing but watch movies, talk about movies, and think about movies. Seriously, these people love nothing more than turning other people onto the movies and TV they know they’re going to love. And since said independent video store (Videoport, duh) has a special every single day where you can get a movie for free in addition to the ones you cam in for, that means you have a daily chance to broaden your entertainment horizons at absolutely no cost and no risk to you whatsoever. Seriously, find me a risk. You can’t. Say the video clerk is completely dead wrong and you get five minutes into their recommendation and you hate it (this never happens, but go with it for the sake of the point I’m making). What have you lost? Nothing, that’s what. And, more likely (like, 100% more likely), that clerk has sent you home with something you’re going to find fascinating (or funny, terrifying, heartbreaking, brain-melting)—in short, something that’s going to make your life better. So take a chance—we’ll help you.

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 the damned holiday shelf is back and you should rent stuff from it because these movies exist. They just exist. Look, none of us are happy that this annual abomination is back again for the next few months—it takes up the staff picks section, which means we can’t force our movie taste on people as easily. Plus, holiday movies (especially Christmas movies) are terrible. Sure there are a few good ones, but for every It’s A Wonderful Life or A Christmas Story, there’s a Surviving Christmas, or a Christmas With The Kranks, or a Deck The Halls, or [gag] a Jingle All The Way. But, hey, if we don’t put them all together, then everyone gets all mad and annoyed and so here they are. I hope you’re happy…

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

>>> Dennis suggests Getting On (in Comedy.) This is one of those hybrid comedy/drama series that mines a workplace situation for insight into the human condition and therefore straddles the line between the two genres so precariously that it’s guaranteed not to attract a big audience. (See also: the brilliant HBO series Enlightened.) This one, set in a geriatric hospital ward, is about possibly the least laugh-conducive workplace ever, and the laughs come more from the world of cringe comedy. Sort of like The Office, except much, much grimmer and dark. Can’t believe it hasn’t been a big hit (although its second season just started on cable). In it, Family Guy’s Alex Bornstein is outstandingly real and heartbreakingly vulnerable as the show’s moral center, a middle aged, exhaustedly-single nurse with the desperately competent movements of someone just barely hanging on. Reno 911’s Niecy Nash matches her as another nurse, whose family obligations give her no more peace, but whose no-nonsense demeanor is her way of coping with the relentless grind of inevitable death. (See—comedy!) The great Laurie Metcalf is their boss, a driven, tactless doctor whose bone-tired impatience infuses her every interaction with bleakly comic potential. (She’s also doggedly pursuing her research project about genital shrinkage in the elderly. Look, none of this sounds especially fun, but it’s a thoughtful, well-acted, cringingly funny and pretty damned moving show that is the perfect antidote to the shrill sitcom crap that we all like to complain about.

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

>>>Emily S. Customer suggests Gilmore Girls (in Feature Drama). [MASSIVE SPOILERS AHEAD OH BOY PRETTY MASSIVE] Here’s the dark secret in Gilmore Girls that no one ever talks about: Stars Hollow lies in the grip of a shadowy fertility cabal that rules the lives of its denizens — and even their folk elsewhere — with terrible certainty. Think about it: Christopher Hayden accidentally impregnated Lorelai, then a generation later he accidentally impregnates his new partner. Luke has a daughter with his high school girlfriend. Luke’s sister Liz has two unplanned pregnancies ~18 years apart. Lane gets pregnant with twins the very first time she has sex. Sookie is so overwhelmed by pregnancy and parenthood that she and Jackson decide he should have a vasectomy to avoid any further disruption to their lives, but something persuades him not only to skip the agreed-upon procedure but to keep his continued fertility secret from his wife so she can be surprised by yet another OOPS pregnancy. The only reasonable conclusion: Gilmore Girls takes place in a dystopian alternative universe where all social and sexual mores are controlled by forces beyond the control of the individual, outside the scope of sex-ed classes, and unfettered from the many forms of reliable and widely available birth control. In the AU of Gilmore Girls, all heterosexual couplings serve the larger master of society’s need for babies, babies, more babies, always more babies. You have plans? Too bad. Stars Hollow needs babies. You have hopes and dreams? I hope and dream that they’re about babies, because that’s what you’ll be having. Make Gilmore Girls a double-feature with The Handmaid’s Tale! Also, I am pretty worried about April Nardini.

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!          

>>> You get a free kids movie every Friday, no other rental necessary. And Videoport just put a few hundred new movies in there—try it out. You don’t have to be a kid, even! Like this one for example.

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 Edge Of Tomorrow* (in Sci-Fi/Fantasy). The perfect movie for everyone who finds Tom Cruise eminently punchable. This is actually a pretty fun sci-fi action flick, with Cruise pulling a Groundhog Day as a soldier forced to relive the D-Day like assault on the beachhead of an invading alien invasion force. After getting some alien blood on him, Cruise wakes up at the same time the day before he dies. Super-cool Emily Blunt is the tough war hero who tries to use Cruise’s gift to win the seemingly hopeless war against the very tentacle-y aliens sweeping over Earth, a Noah Taylor does his typically entertaining geeky sidekick stuff as a genius scientist helping out. Director Doug Liman [The Bourne Identity] keeps things zipping along nicely. But the real appeal for everyone tired of the maniacally grinning, alpha male nutball that is Mr. Cruise is the sight of Tommy getting killed about 1000 times over the course of a movie. Playing a weaselly military PR flak whose TV-friendly bravery turns to ill-advised cowardice at the prospect of having to be in the front lines (even as an advisor), Cruise’s undeniable gift for playing people you just want to take a poke at is used perfectly. When the great Brendan Gleeson, as Earth military commander, responds to Cruise’s smirky blackmail attempt by busting him of his rank and putting him on the front lines, it makes Cruise’s succeeding (and endlessly repeated) violent, bloody humilations that much more gleefully enjoyable. Yes, the movie’s fun on its own, but the canny choice to put Cruise in this role just puts it right over the top.

*Oh, and this movie is still actually named Edge Of Tomorrow, although the studio has tried to get everyone to call it Live Die repeat once it hit DVD. Look, Edge Of Tomorrow is a terrible title, we can all agree. (Is it a soap opera? A romance novel?) But Live Die Repeat is even worse—for one thing, it gives away the premise. For a decent, fun sci-fi flick, the PR people really screwed this one up right from the start all the way through. So we file it under the original title because, well, it has to go somewhere.

>>>For Sunday, Why not get yourself some free money!? There’s no reason why you would not do this. Put $20 down on your Videoport rental account, and you get $25 worth of rental credit. Or, high roller, pre-pay $30 and see it turn into $40 in credit. You love Videoport, and you love free stuff. Again, no reason why you would not do this—so do this.

New Releases this week at Videoport: Tammy (Cool comedy powerhouse Melissa McCarthy stars as the titular Tammy, a typically boisterous and variously inappropriate sad sack who heads off on a road trip with mom Susan Sarandon), Let’s Be Cops (Damon Wayans Jr. and Jake Johnson are hilarious on the very funny sitcom New Girl, so this wacky comedy about two dudes who find that being mistaken for police officers is both rewarding and dangerous should be reasonably funny as well!), True Blood- season 7 (Anna Paquin is back as a vampire-lovin’ southern gal [who is also some sort of magic person herself] in the final season of this HBO series that some people are still excited about!), How To Train Your Dragon 2 (That kid has trained his dragon already, so it seems like this sequel is unnecessary, at least on that level. Perhaps he’s training a second dragon, or teaching a learning annex class in dragon taming? Rent it and see!), Getting On (See Wednesday’s review for the skinny on this quite good HBO sort-of comedy series about the beleaguered staff of a geriatric hospital ward), Mood Indigo (The newest film from Michel Gondry [The Science Of Sleep, Is The Man Who Is Tall Happy?] is a fantastical romance about a man and a woman [Audrey Tatou!] whose love is tested when she comes down with an enchanted illness which causes her to grow a flower in her lungs), Jersey Boys (Clint Eastwood directs this adaptation of the successful jukebox musical about the career of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons; Now some people might say that the whole jukebox musical thing is sort of lazy, since no one has to write any songs or anything, but I’m sure Mr. Eastwood knows what he’s doing), Come Hell Or High Water (Videoport’s owner Bill loves surfing, I don’t know if you know that. That might be why Videoport has such a great collection of surf movies. Here’s the new one! People surf in it!), Drive Hard (John Cusack and Tom Jane yoke their fading stardoms together in this vroom vroom action movie about men who drive cars very, very fast. Rent it along with The Prince [also in the Action section], the other most recent essentially direct-to-DVD Cusack action flick and get vaguely bummed-out.), Happy Christmas (Portland’s pride Anna Kendrick teams up with the also-excellent Melanie Lynskey for this indie comedy from her Drinking Buddies director Joe Swanberg about a pair of mismatched sisters clashing over the titular holiday), Scandal- season 3 (The super-cool Kerry Washington returns as Washington power player Olivia Pope, who defuses political scandals for her high-profile clients, even as she’s causing some scandals of her own by sleeping with the President of the United States?!)

New Arrivals this week at Videoport: Stargate: Universe- season 2 (The last season of this Stargate spinoff finishes up with Robert Carlyle and his intrepid band of space/time explorer people jumping through a magic sci-fi gate and just seeing what happens), Tales From The Grave (T he owner of Portland pawn shop Guitar Grave gave us this DVD made up entirely of people being sketchy, terrible, and all-around insane in his store. Are you on it?)

New Arrivals on Blu-Ray This Week At Videoport: Let’s Be Cops, Drive Hard, Tammy, Jersey Boys, How To Train Your Dragon 2

Free parking at Videoport! The parking lot behind the building is free for customers after 5PM on weekdays and all days on the weekends. Also, we can get you a free hour of parking at any downtown parking garage (including the courthouse garage which is, like, a one minute walk away). Just ask for one of our magic stickers!

Get your movies duplicated at Videoport! You guys know we can make copies of your DVDs and VHSes at Videoport, right? No, it can’t be anything copyrighted (that’s sort of what that word means), so you’ll just have to buy another copy of Weekend At Bernie’s to replace that VHS you’ve played so often it finally shredded itself. But home movies or anything not copyrighted? We can do it! $10 bucks a pop and little Susie’s dance recital can be copied and sent to every relative on your Christmas card list!

VideoReport #481

Volume CDLXXXI- An American In Portland

For the Week of 11/4/14

Videoport give you a free movie every, single day. If you have any problem with that, we suggest you consult your doctor.

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!

>>> Dennis presents this month’s list of movies you can get at Videoport (because we think you should be able to watch what you want, when you want) but that you now can’t get on that Internet streaming service that shall not be named (because that corporation thinks it should be able to capriciously take things away from you for no reason). Rent local—we have these (and always will):

101 Dalmatians (1996)

American Psycho (2000)

Apocalypse Now (1979)

Apocalypse Now Redux (2001)

The Big Chill (1983)

Blown Away (1992)

Brighton Beach Memoirs (1986)

Broadcast News (1987)

The Buddy Holly Story (1978)

"Yeah, our customers don't need this piece of crap."—Netfl*x

“Yeah, our customers don’t need this piece of crap.”—Netfl*x

Bullet Proof Monk (2003)

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)

Candyman (1992)

Caveman (1981)

Cheech & Chong’s Next Movie (1980)

The Dogs of War (1980)

Elvis ’56 (1987)

Footloose (1984)

For a Few Dollars More (1965)

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)

The Great Outdoors (1988)

Hannibal (2001)

He Said, She Said (1991)

La Bamba (1987)

Les Miserables (1998)

The Ninth Gate (1999)

The Odessa File (1974)

One from the Heart (1982)

The Prince of Tides (1991)

A Raisin in the Sun (2008)

Red State (2011)

Say Anything (1989)

This...will...not...stand.

This…will…not…stand.

Serenity (2005)

Silent Running (1971)

Single White Female (1992)

Small, Beautifully Moving Parts (2011)

St. Elmo’s Fire (1985)

Starman (1984)

Steel Magnolias (1989)

Tetro (2009)

Thelma & Louise (1991)

Thomas & Friends (2005-2012)

Tortilla Soup (2001)

Trees Lounge (1996)

Under the Tuscan Sun (2003)

Up at the Villa (2000)

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 Animal Crackers (in Classics—filed under “Marx” with all the other Marx Brothers movies). Sure, there’s always a little lull or two in a Marx Brothers movie—Harpo plays the Harp, Chico plays the piano, they let Zeppo talk—but the lunatic benefits far outweigh the occasional musical number. In this one, the Brothers crash a swanky party at Margaret Dumont’s mansion, a painting gets stolen, Harpo beats up a society dame and then roofies everyone, and things are about as deliriously silly as they ever got. Which is pretty damned hilarious. One example of prime Groucho wordplay: Well, art is art, isn’t it? Still, on the other hand, water is water. And east is east and west is west, and if you take cranberries and stew them like applesauce, they taste much more like prunes than rhubarb does. Now, uh… Now you tell me what you know.

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

>>> Dennis suggests Scrubs (in Comedy.) Now that Zach Braff has a new movie out (Wish I Was Here) and everyone hates him again, I say it’s time for you to check back in on this hospital sitcom where his earnest goofiness was still endearing. This is just a good show. Braff is the idealistic goofball doc, his friendship with Donald Faison’s cocky surgeon Turk is hilariously co-dependent and warm, Sarah Chalk’s overachieving klutz doc Eliot is a marvel of physical comedy, and the great John C. McGinley creates one of the most indelibly dynamic sitcom characters in Dr. Perry Cox, snarky badass extraordinaire. (What McGinley does is technically hamming it up, but I don’t care.) The show is a deft, daffy blend of surreal physical comedy, workplace comedy, and unexpected, stealthy drama—seriously, there are some episodes that will rip your heart out. It’s silly, funny, full of heart, and just a plain, solid show. I feel like it’s sort of fading in the cultural memory, which is a shame.

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

 >>>Dennis suggests Devil’s Pass and Banshee Chapter (both in Horror), especially if you want to see movies squander can’t-miss horror premises. Devil’s Pass is about the infamous Dyatlov Pass incident, when a group of Russian hikers were found inexplicably dead, afflicted with mysterious injuries. Some of them, despite the freezing temperatures, has apparently disrobed before dying. It’s spooky as hell in reality—which makes the movie such a bummer. It’s not terrible—there are some scares here and there, and a respectable final twist reveal. But director Renny Harlin (Die Hard 2 was a long time ago) squanders the scares with as derivative a Blair Witch ripoff as you can get—right down to the driven, reckless female film crew leader who, investigating the original incident with a quintet of obnoxious American 20-somethings, even gives a weepy apology to the camera. And Banshee Chapter, too, makes precious little hay out of the MK-Ultra program, a real, super-evil US government program that drugged and tortured unsuspecting US citizens for creepy, suspicious purposes. Here, an obnoxious 20-something reporter who goes in search of her college sort-of boyfriend, a writer who disappeared after ingesting a legendary hallucinogen and leaving behind a disturbing video tape. Seeking out the help of a famous Gonzo journalist (Ted Levine having fun as an obvious Hunter S. Thompson character), she investigates MK-Ultra, the mysterious “numbers stations” that broadcast cryptic messages to this day, and some really bad acid. It’s intermittently effective—there are a couple of really good jump scares—but the lead is dull, and things go off the rails. There are genuinely spooky, unsettling unexplained mysteries at the heart of each, but these films are actually less scary than just reading the incidents’ Wikipedia entries. That’s sort of a failure, right?

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!          

>>> You get a free kids movie every Friday, no other rental necessary. And Videoport just put a few hundred new movies in there—try it out. You don’t have to be a kid, even! Like this one for example:

>>>Emily S. Customer suggests a Friday night double-feature: Frozen and The Shining. For Free Kids Friday, take home a double bill — one FREE film for the whole family and one rental for after the kids go to bed. Journalist/blogger Mary Katherine Ham is spinning some a theory about the connections between Disney’s Frozen and Kubrick’s The Shining. Thiiiiiink about it: an elaborate sprawling estate where a family is isolated for a seemingly endless winter, a young child playing alone in those echoing corridors, and who’s hurt by the relative who succumbs to the power of supernatural influence. For even more resonances between the two films, you can check out https://mkhammer.squarespace.com/blog… or just rent the films and screen them for yourself.

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 that sometimes even the dumbest idea for a TV show can turn out to be a really great TV show. Case in two points: Hannibal and Fargo. Both based on movies. One (Hannibal), based on a series that is seriously played out, and the other (Fargo) based on a great movie, except not using any of that film’s plot, characters, or The Coen Brothers. See—both really dumb ideas of TV shows. Except, they’re two of the best shows on TV last year. Hannibal, from creator Bryan Fuller (Dead Like Me, Wonderfalls, Pushing Daisies) is simply stunning—a serial killer show where every moment evinces infinite care in every aspect of the production. Hugh Dancy and Laurence Fishburne are stellar, but it’s Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen who you can’t keep your eyes off of. He’s a better, more menacing (and less hammy) Hannibal Lecter than Anthony Hopkins. Yeah, I said it. And Fargo is a mesmerizing, strange, darkly comic crime drama which (apart from one, subtle nod to the film) is completely its own animal. Allison Tolman is brilliant as the Marge Gundersen-esque cop who doggedly pursues the truth behind a series of killings in her once quiet Minnesota town. Martin Freeman (The Hobbit, The Office) is the squirmy milquetoast husband at the unlikely center of things, and Billy Bob Thornton creates as indelible a villain as does Mikkelsen—as the hitman who seems to be pursuing some sort of agenda he finds as amusing as it is bloody. Dumb ideas, great TV.

>>>For Sunday, Why not get yourself some free money!? There’s no reason why you would not do this. Put $20 down on your Videoport rental account, and you get $25 worth of rental credit. Or, high roller, pre-pay $30 and see it turn into $40 in credit. You love Videoport, and you love free stuff. Again, no reason why you would not do this—so do this.

New Releases this week at Videoport: A Most Wanted Man (In this spy thriller, the late [I still hate writing that] Philip Seymour Hoffman stars as a beleaguered German spy embroiled [beleagueredly] in a deadly game of cat-and-mouse. Also starring Willem Dafoe and Robin Wright.), Wrong Turn 6 (Man, when will inadequately dressed female travelers stop playfully turning off their Siris and getting lost in inbred, cannibalistic, rapey hillbilly country? It’s just a bad move.), What Is Cinema? (Movie-lovers’ documentary from Chuck Workman [Superstar, The Source] lets directors like Alfred Hitchcock, Robert Bresson, Mike Leigh, David Lynch, and Jonas Mekas express their answers to the titular question in their own words—and pictures.), The One I Love (Mad Men’s Elizabeth Moss and The League’s Mark Duplass star in this seemingly-ordinary indie drama about an unhappy the-one-i-lovemarried couple who go to shrink Ted Danson’s seemingly-ordinary counseling retreat. All I know next is that something very unexpected happens, and that everyone who sees the movie talks about it, and if you spoil what happens I shall be very, very mad at you and think unkind things about you.), The Newsroom- season 2 (Okay—so there’s a lot to dislike about this HBO show about Jeff Daniels as a principled anchorman and the often-crazy behind-the-scenes shenanigans of his network news show. But it is from Aaron Sorkin, who did things like The West Wing, Sports Night, Moneyball, and The Social Network, and even when he’s having an off day, his stuff is so much smarter than most anything else on TV that it seems ungrateful to complain. It’s no West Wing, but there’s good stuff is what I’m saying.), Maleficent (Angelina Jolie is the Wicked Witch who’s menacing Snow White, or is it Cinderella? Anyway, this is another one of those “dark and sexy” retellings of fairy tales that all the kids are apparently crazy about these days.), Land Ho! (Indie comedy drama about a pair of mismatched elderly guys who take an ill-advised road trip to Iceland in order to get their male mojo back; Sort of like a geriatric The Trip!), Hercules (Dwayne Johnson [I still call him Mr. The Rock] stars in this version of the Hercules story, which I understand is sort of better than its reputation. Plus, I love Mr. The Rock and I’m not ashamed to say it.), Planes 2: Fire And Rescue (So, it’s a Disney sequel to a spinoff of a Pixar movie? I think the Pixar magic is stretched pretty thin at this point, but your kids probably won’t notice.), The Dog (Remember how sweaty and weird and squirrely Al Pacino was as the lead in Dog Day Afternoon? Well, the real guy he’s based on was even odder, based on the evidence in this documentary.)

New Arrivals this week at Videoport: Novo (Eduardo Noriega [Open Your Eyes, The Devil’s Backbone] stars in this movie about a guy who can’t form any new long-term memories who gets used by his oversexed female boss. It’s like Memento, but with lots more sex! Or like 50 First Dates, but with more sex and fewer fart jokes! Enjoy!), Critic’s Choice (Videoport’s Classics section brings in the comedy dream team of Bob Hope and Lucille Ball in this zinger-filled rom-com about a snarky, Bob Hope-like theater critic [strangely enough, played by Bob Hope] who’s forced to curb his acid, shticky wit when he has to review his wife’s new Broadway play)

New Arrivals on Blu-Ray This Week At Videoport: Planes 2: Fire And Rescue, Land Ho!, A Most Wanted Man

Free parking at Videoport! The parking lot behind the building is free for customers after 5PM on weekdays and all days on the weekends. Also, we can get you a free hour of parking at any downtown parking garage (including the courthouse garage which is, like, a one minute walk away). Just ask for one of our magic stickers!

Get your movies duplicated at Videoport! You guys know we can make copies of your DVDs and VHSes at Videoport, right? No, it can’t be anything copyrighted (that’s sort of what that word means), so you’ll just have to buy another copy of Weekend At Bernie’s to replace that VHS you’ve played so often it finally shredded itself. But home movies or anything not copyrighted? We can do it! $10 bucks a pop and little Susie’s dance recital can be copied and sent to every relative on your Christmas card list!

Published in: on November 5, 2014 at 2:16 am  Leave a Comment  
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Emily S. Customer Hits The Big Time!

 

You’ve read her smart, funny takes on movies and TV in the VideoReport for years. Now the great Emily S. Customer is writing for none other that the A.V. Club (where they pay her to be smart).

Here’s a quote from her latest, an article on television and horror movies:

Three iconic horror films of the 1980s and 1990s express that contemporary unease with television’s pervasive presence. In Poltergeist, Videodrome, and Ringu, television becomes a medium for psychic pollution, physical corruption, and deadly trespass. The television set first manipulates the viewer with treacherous images, sounds, and ideas, then allows unwholesome intrusions into the home through the permeable membrane of its screen.

 

Read the whole thing here, at The A.V. Club, where Emily totally works because she’s so smart.

 

 

 

Published in: on November 1, 2014 at 12:58 pm  Leave a Comment  
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