VideoReport #479

Volume CDLXXIX- Under The Portland Sun

For the Week of 10/21/14

Videoport gives you a free movie every day. You don’t have to take it, but we really want you to because we really want you to be happy. And movies make people happy. Especially Captain Ron.

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 Rick & Morty (in Animation). Anyone who has read the VideoReport for any length of time has been subjected to my multiple, glowing reviews of the TV show Community. So those people might be shocked when I say this: this animated series is the best comedy currently on television. Sure, that may sound like I’m turning by back on Community, but I’m not. Community is still fresh and weird and beautifully hilarious. Also, since Rick & Morty is co-created by Community’s Dan Harmon, so it’s not like I’m really cheating. Essentially a dark, psychotic take on Back To The Future, the show follows the realities-hopping adventures of (very) mad scientist Rick Sanchez and his nebbishy 13 year old nephew Morty. Rick, undeniably brilliant, is also rude, crude, sardonic, and ethically suspect, especially when it comes to the various inventions he unleashes, seemingly on a whim. Morty’s a typical, put-upon teen who loves but wisely doesn’t trust his weirdo uncle and follows/gets roped into Rick’s capers, whether they involve creating Morty a love potion, getting kidnapped by intergalactic scammers, or winding up on any number of lunatic, insanely-dangerous planets. Co-creator Justin Roilland voices both Rich and Morty and he’s a wonder—each character is broad (Morty’s the quintessential squeaky-voiced nerd, Rick is a gravelly, belching, farting loudmouth), but, like the show itself, each reveals surprising (and surprisingly affecting) levels as the show goes on. The same goes for Morty’s perpetually bewildered family, with Rick’s daughter Beth (Sarah Chalke), neice Summer (Spencer Grammer), and, especially the great Chris Parnell as son-in-law Jerry slipping hidden depths into their could-be stock supporting characters, even as they are whipped into tizzies by Rick’s machinations. Take for example, “Rixty Minutes,” where a bored Rick (horrified that the family enjoys a Bachelor-style reality show), busts open their cable box and rejiggers it so the TV can pick up shows from an infinite number of dimensions. (He also tosses off some goggles that allow the family to see alternate timelines of their own lives when they start talking too much and interrupting his watching.) The episode manages to throw in some of the most insanely inspired TV parodies of all time (my favorite being the movie trailer from a dimension where no one can say things in any sort of straightforward way) alongside Summer’s realization that her parents’ lives would be better off if she’d never been born. The stories come together, improbably, perfectly—this show is brilliant at whipping some stealth heart at you, even when the most ludicrous, dark weirdness is exploding all around. The vocal performances really sell the chaos as well, with a loose, naturalistic style animated shows doesn’t get right very often. Bursting with inventiveness, ingenious plotting, and often jaw-dropping boldness, this is, I’m saying it, the best comedy on TV right now. Trust me.

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!

>>> April suggests a Vincent Price classic. The original House On Haunted Hill is one of my all-time favorite movies. It’s not in the least bit scary but that’s what makes it so charming. A wealthy man (Price) invites five strangers to a party for his wife (Carol Ohmart) in a haunted house. If they survive the night, Price will give them $10,000. Price and Ohmart are fantastic and I wish they’d done more films together. Price: “Do you remember the fun we had when you poisoned me?” Ohmart: “Something you ate, the doctor said.” Price: “Yes, arsenic on the rocks.” Producer and director William Castle was a master of cheesy gimmicks, so when HOHH was shown in theaters, he arranged for a skeleton on a wire to swoop over the heads of the audience. This movie is currently on my “Original vs. Remake” shelf (in the staff picks section) and, if you’re feeling bold, you can rent the 1999 remake with Famke Janssen and Geoffrey Rush. It’s not terrible, but it’s not quite as entertaining as the original.

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!                                                        

>>> $20 gets you $25 in store credit! And $30 gets you $40! Yeah!

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 Mad Men (in Drama). Mad Men. “Are you ready? Because I want you to pay attention. This is the beginning of something.” Mad Men S7 part 2, “The End of an Era,” doesn’t premiere until spring 2015, but Videoport has your Mad Men fix right now: S7 part 1, “The Beginning,” came out this week. Starting in January, 1969, the first half of S7 delivers all the giddy spectacle that the last gasp of the ‘60s deserves. Everything here is in flux: the characters, the culture, the clothing. (On Mad Men, the clothing is never unimportant. Costume designer Janie Bryant tells whole stories in fabric and fit: Joan’s sorrows in purple, Peggy’s schoolgirl and military styles, Harry’s evolution from shirt-sleeves dork to gadding peacock, the quiet resonances and repetitions in patterns and colors that connect or distance characters. Everything in this show rewards close viewing.) The counter-culture has been creeping in around the edges for most of the decade, but the first half of S7 is a full-on collision of the slicked-back gray-flannel conservatism that cloaks Don Draper’s guilty insecurity with the decade’s flashy flamboyance. It’s a heady, it’s noisy, it’s a little bit ugly and a little bit gorgeous, and I love it. Keep in mind, this brand-new season doesn’t qualify for a free rental yet, so rent S7 and take an earlier season as your free pick — or order S7 from Videoport and get a free rental credited to your account!

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, Emily S. Customer suggests An Elizabeth Peña memorial double feature. Lone Star (in Mystery/Thriller).  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I hate when The VideoReport is easy to write; it usually means someone I admire has died. Elizabeth Peña, who died at the age of 55 this week, stars in John Sayles’ Lone Star, a bittersweet, character-driven mystery of a sheriff (Chris Cooper) of a small Texas border town unravelling the myth and the misdeeds of the father (played in flashbacks by Matthew McConaughey) whose boots he’s filling. Pilar Mercedes (Peña) plays the woman who was once his high-school sweetheart with a no-nonsense naturalism and easy appeal that steals the show in a film packed with heartfelt performances. Jacob’s Ladder (in Mystery/Thriller). Director Adrian Lyne’s psychological horror film is an eerie little period piece with nods to everything from the Bible to Ambrose Bierce to The Manchurian Candidate. Jacob (Tim Robbins) is a former grad student and Vietnam vet now whiling away his days and months at the post office, losing sleep and sanity to hallucinations that seem to be the echos of PTSD and some unclear incident from his last tour. Playing Jacob’s long-suffering lover, Elizabeth Peña brings everything she’s got to an underdeveloped character, imbuing Jezzie with a potent mix of patience, frustration, and (of course — this is an Adrian Lyne movie) a long-smoldering sexiness that is equal parts seductive and sinister. It’s a glimpse of a criminally underused talent: Peña could turn on a dime, giving even the most cardboard caricature a depth and breadth — and breath — that makes them feel undeniable.

>>>For Sunday, Dennis suggests Under The Skin (in Sci-Fi). From the director of the great, bonkers British crime comedy Sexy Beast (Jonathan Glazer), this unclassifiable film is best if you go in knowing absolutely nothing about it. So, if you haven’t seen it already—stop reading this right now and rent it first. There, now that only those of us who’ve seen it are here, let’s talk about how astonishingly great it is. Scarlett Johansson stars as a beautiful, blank-faced woman driving a white van around Scotland. She meets men (which isn’t hard), seduces them back to her unassuming-looking flat (even easier), and then—stuff happens. On one level, the film is as simple as Invasion Of The Body Snatchers—it’s alien invasion time. What sets Under The Skin apart is Glazer’s stunningly stark vision of the story. What the woman does to those poor, tumescent dopes in her apartment lair is as mysteriously beautiful as it is shocking. (An alternate title for the film could be House Of The Horrified Boners.) Everything about this film—from the sound design to the visuals, to the sparse but mesmerizing storytelling—kept me riveted. And Johanssen’s perpetual blankness is used to chilling effect here—it’s less than she’s ever done onscreen, and as good as she’s ever been. The whole film is suffused with her blank gaze—cruising the streets of Edinburgh, the faces of the people (you know, us) look as strange and small as they do to this mysterious, impassive observer. There are shocks here and there—and they are more powerful emerging from this distanced, clinical perspective. As strange and stunning a piece of genre filmmaking as I’ve seen in years.

New Releases this week at Videoport: Mad Men- season 7, Part 1 (There’s not much I can say at this point to get anyone to watch this show, but here goes anyway. Jon Hamm is back as mysterious, haunted, super-sexy 1960s advertising executive Don Draper, alongside the show’s stellar supporting cast, all playing out the period’s styles, conflicts, and rapidly-changing sensibilities in a drama as good as any that has ever been on television. Seriously, it’s that good. So fans—here you go. Non-fans—you’re weird. The uninitiated—start at the beginning. You’ll thank me later), Snowpiercer (From the great Bong Joon-Ho [The Host, Mother, Memories Of Murder] comes this epic, post-apocalyptic sci fi action thriller, his first English language film. Captain America himself Chris Evans stars as the leader of a group of survivors of an icy doom-future, where everyone is packed onto a massive train which speeds, seemingly forever, through the frozen wasteland that Earth has become. There’s class warfare, Tilda Swinton in crazy makeup, action, weirdness—everything you could have hoped for in an apocalypse), Houdini (Adrien Brody stars as the titular escape artist, magician, and legend in this TV biopic where you will believe that a guy can get out of a straitjacket while chained underwater in a locked tank—possibly swimming with angry piranhas! [I haven’t seen this yet, but that sounds like the sort of thing Houdini got up to]), Siddarth (Intense Indian drama thriller about a poor family forced to delve into the seedy human trafficking underworld when their young son never returns from his faraway factory job), The Scribbler (Coo-coo crazy adaptation of a graphic novel about a beautiful young woman with multiple personalities living in a halfway house seemingly only populated by incredibly beautiful, scantily-clad crazy women. People start getting killed—is one of her other personalities responsible? Or is at costars Gina Gershon, Sasha Grey, Garret Dillahunt, Michelle Trachtenberg, or Eliza Dushku?), The Purge: Anarchy (In this cost-effective sequel to the highly successful and marginally scary original, future America is still doing the yearly Purge, where, for one super-bloody night of national id release, you can do literally any horrible thing you want and not get in trouble. Only this time, some pesky revolutionaries decide to use the Purge as opportunity to do some stuff that even die-hard yearly Purge fans find distasteful), A Coffee In Berlin (Award-winning German comedy drama about one day in the life of a beleaguered, unstable guy just trying to take the sting out of a mountain of recent disappointments with a maddeningly elusive decent cup of coffee), Sex Tape (Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz get up to some mildly kinky fun with their home video equipment—but then dum-dum Segel accidentally uploads the resulting titular sex tape to the cloud! Cue lots of jokes about the cloud! What is the cloud?! How do you get your sex tape off the cloud?! CLOUUUUUDDDD!!!!), Earth To Echo (Three friends find an adorable little alien who just wants to go home. Sort of like E.T. Or Batteries Not Included. Kind of a Spielberg-y sort of thing. Derivative? Maaaaaybe.), Rick & Morty- season 1 (See Monday’s review. If that doesn’t convince you o rent this berserkly hilarious animated series from the creator of he equally brilliant Community, then go back and read it again.), Idiots & Angels (Animated feature from the great cult animator Bill Plympton [who just did one of the best Simpsons couch gags ever this year] about a mean jerk who wakes up one day to find two angel wings growing out of his back. Forced by them to do good things against his will, the jerk sets off on a series of bizarrely animated adventures), Ripper Street- season 2 (The continuing filthy, brutal adventures of the infamously brutal police squad tasked with keeping the peace in the aftermath of the Jack The Ripper murders), Life After Beth (Everyone’s favorite snarky, doe-eyes deadpan artist Aubrey Plaza [Parks & Recreation, The To-Do List] stars in this horror comedy about a young woman brought back to life as a zombie, much to the confused delight of her family and boyfriend, all of whom try to adjust to her new state without being eaten and stuff; With John C. Reilly), The Librarian: The Quest For The Spear (E.R. hunklet Noah Wylie returns in this made-for-TV National Treasure-type series and a globe-trotting bookish type who seeks out historical artifacts with the help of learned fuddy-duddy pal Bob Newhart), Damnationland 2014 (This year’s annual anthology of all-Maine short horror films is here at Videoport for you to rent [or purchase!], with seven local chillers from Maine-based directors Jenny Anastasoff, Corey Norman, Jason Bosch, Ranin Brown, and the infamous cinematic minds behind Tasty Dude Films and Through The Door Productions. As ever, there’s something in Damnationland for everyone—provided everyone likes great, energetic horror thrillers from Maine’s best filmmakers)

New Arrivals on Blu-Ray This Week At Videoport: Snowpiercer, The Purge 2: Anarchy, Earth To Echo

VideoReport #478

Volume CDLXXVIII- Fellini’s Portland

For the Week of 10/14/14

(Click the pics for more reviews.)

Videoport has all the movies ever. So when we give you a free rental every day (which we do), you’ll still never run out of movies. Ever.

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!

Good bye, funny lady.

Good bye, funny lady.

>>> Emily S. Customer suggests Saturday Night Live (in Comedy.)  This week, we say a sad farewell to Jan Hooks, the wide-mouthed bright-eyed broad who lit up every Saturday Night Live sketch she entered — and inspired a generation of girls and women to reach for comedy greatness, just as Gilda Radner inspired us in the ‘70s. Enjoy one of her greatest performances in “The Diner” on “SNL: The Best of Alec Baldwin,” boasting all the slow-burn innuendo of a Hayes-era flick.

>>>Dennis suggests Banshee Chapter (in Horror.) The Halloween spirit always drives me to catch up on the year’s horror movies. I love horror movies, but most of them are terrible, so it’s sort of a fool’s errand every year. Still, you take your little pleasures where you can find them, like this low-budget 2013 flick which is about half a good horror movie. Still, half… The premise is nice ‘n’ promising, following a female reporter who decides to follow up on the research of her college sort-of boyfriend, who was planning a book about the infamous MK-Ultra government experiments, which dosed often unsuspecting subjects with hallucinogens in order to develop mind control techniques. Like you do. Mixing in footage and references from the factual, genuinely creepy US government policy lends the spookiness a level of unease, as does the found-footage tapes of the missing journalist’s experiments with a helping of the long-lost LSD compound purported to produce maddening shared hallucinations. There are a couple of extremely well-executed jump scares along the way—ump scares are cheap, but I still jumped, so I give props. Sure, the movie gets pretty half-assed at times, and the lead (Katia Winter) is a drip (she’s an “intrepid reporter” because the script says she is), but things pick up once she seeks out the guidance of a legendary gonzo reporter played by character actor Ted Levine (Monk, Silence Of The Lambs). Clearly intended to be Hunter S. Thompson, Levine is a ton of fun in the role, a half-crazy, wily old druggie dragged reluctantly into perhaps one final, dangerous story. Half a good horror movie is sometimes enough, especialy with such a fun performance at the center.

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 getting some serious free money at Videoport! You’re gonna spend your entertainment dollars with us, so why not get some free ones? No reason not to. $20 buys you $25 in store credit and $30 buys you $40. Boom—free money. Do that.

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!                                                        

>>> Emily S. Customer suggests The Simpsons (in Animation). Jan Hooks, who knew that the soul of comedy is in specificity, brought a lively brightness to the role of Manjula Nahasapeemapetilon, imbuing a relatively small recurring role with vivid personality and intelligence. Manjula, who could have been a sketched-in “wife of” cutout, first appears at the end of “The Two Mrs. Nahasapeemapetilons” (S9, ep7) entering Springfield as Apu’s intended bride in a marriage arranged by their traditional-minded parents. (Young Manjula shows up in a flashback in an earlier episode, but for this brief appearance she’s voiced by Tress MacNeille.) In “I’m with Cupid” (S10, ep14), Manjula is the happy recipient of Apu’s ever-escalating Valentine gestures, which become so outrageous that the other men of Springfield are moved to protest. And you can guess what all that romancin’ leads to: in “Eight Misbehavin’” (S11, ep7), Manjula and Apu are run ragged by their octuplets (which they conceived with a whole lot of help from Springfield — not that kind of help, you perv).

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 30 Rock (in Comedy). The Videoport Jones household takes Jan Hooks prettttttty seriously. How seriously? Your editor started a conversation with a friendly “I don’t want to start a fight, but…” before gently essaying a correction of a Jan Hooks reading from her brief but indelible arc as Verna Maroney on 30 Rock. As Jenna’s estranged mother in “Verna” (S4, ep 12) and “The Moms” (S4, ep 20), Verna tries to leverage her daughter’s volatile combination of resentment and guilt to her advantage. We never got enough Verna, which is a sadly inadequate epitaph for the life of Jan Hooks herself.

>>>Dennis suggests Damnationland (in Horror). First of all—head out to the State Theatre this Friday. Everyone in the know knows that Damnationland is kind of a big deal. Started by some former Videoporters, it’s the annual Maine horror anthology film where the best Maine filmmakers come together to scare your pants clean off. Consisting of a number of Maine-shot horror shorts, each Damnationland offers a wide variety of chilling tales to choose from. So go on Friday (check http://www.damnationland.com/) for full screening details), then come in to Videoport and rent the four previous installments. Ever wonder what the scary soul of Maine filmmaking looks like? Well, the full run of Damnationland is where you find out—if you dare. (Seriously though, you should dare. They’re really good.)

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 Pee Wee’s Big Adventure (in Comedy). Keeping with the Jan Hooks love, Hooks only has one scene in this classic bonkers comedy, but it’s destined to live forever. As the perpetually, incessantly chipper tour guide at the Alamo, she makes poor Pee Wee wait through an interminable walk-through of the dusty national monument before letting him in on the regrettable fact that the Alamo does not, in fact, have a basement. Hooks did a lot of stuff well, but she really nails the soulless, faux-friendly customer service persona that makes you want to set a national monument on fire.

>>>For Sunday, Dennis suggests Beneath The Harvest Sky (in Feature Drama.) I got to interview co-directors Gita Pullapilly and Aron Gaudet who made this Maine-based coming-of-age film. It’s getting great reviews, and is, by all accounts, as authentic a portrait of life in rural Maine as you’ll see anywhere. From the interview: AG: It’s about two boys whose lives are pulling each other in different directions. One’s hoping to buy a car and get out of town, and the other starts dealing prescription drugs with his father and uncle across the border. GP: It’s about that vulnerable age when friendship is the most important thing in your life. I look back at ’80s films like “At Close Range,” “Stand By Me” and “Rumble Fish,” which, in the world of “Twilight” and stuff like that, is missing today.

>>>Dennis suggests Under The Volcano (in the Criterion Collection). The great Albert Finney got nominated for an Oscar for his almost-unbearably painful role in this adaptation of Malcolm Lowry’s cult novel. As Geoffrey Fermin, the British consul to Mexico at the dawn of WWII, Finney is heartbreaking as a terminally alcoholic lost soul, stumbling through his days despairing the loss of wife Jaqueline Bisset and the coming war, heralded by the infiltration of glad-handing German agents in his domain. There have been a lot of great, showy drunk performances in the history of the movies, but Finney’s might be the best, simply because of how unadorned it is. Fermin’s given to venting his drunken pain through bursts of florid verbiage—but they’re short chunks of half-remembered culture still accessible through his perpetual alcoholic haze. There are hints of the man Fermin was, and of what brought him to this state, but they’re unsentimental and sketchy as is Fermin’s memory. He’s charming but embarrassing, sympathetic and pathetic, especially when Bisset unexpectedly turns up one day, apparently having decided to return to Mexico, and him. Fermin’s brother, a handsome journalist chasing the story of Nazi infiltration in the region, has been playing Geoffrey’s caretaker—and was Bisset’s lover once. Together, the two people whose love for Fermin is mixed with layers of betrayal take care of Geoffrey as he rages and drinks. He drinks a lot. And Finney is magnificent yet contained—there is no sentimentality in Geoffrey’s drinking. He’s a drunk, and Finney embodies him so completely that you feel like you can see the man’s soul seeping away in front of you on the hot, dusty Mexican streets. There are times when Fermin simply stops and looks—at nothing. It’s the closest to a completely blank mind I’ve ever seen in a performance. Directed by John Huston, the film is clearly a personal, idiosyncratic project, as many of his later films were. The story of the sad, beautifully tragic end of a man.

New Releases this week at Videoport: X Men: Days Of Future Past (After the Brett Ratner-ed atrocity that was X Men 3, the Marvel mutant superhero team rebounds in a big way with this time-traveling adventure where all the old and new X Men meet each other and fight and try to prevent humanity from being big, mutant-hating jerks; Peter Dinklage is in this one, people—you know, if you need added incentive), Beneath The Harvest Sky (Made in Maine, this acclaimed independent film follows the dangerous journey of two teenaged friends up in the County as they face the prospect of life after high school. From director couple Gita Pullapilly and Aron Gaudet), Lucky Bastard (NC-17 thriller time, kids! [Seriously, though, no kids.] A found footage thriller about a porn enthusiast invited to have sex with his favorite online porn actress. Strangely, things go very, very, sleazily wrong…), Himizu (Award-winning Japanese thriller about a young man who goes on a vigilante killing spree after a massive tsunami throws his town into lawlessness. A young woman becomes obsessed with him, and they join up in an escalating rampage), Venus In Fur (From director Roman Polanski comes this erotic thriller about a famous director unable to find the right actress for his erotically charged new production. Luckily [or not] a brash, foul-mouthed, sexually provocative would-be actress forces herself into his life. Starring The Diving Bell And The Butterfly’s Mathieu Almaric and Mrs. Polanski Emmanuelle Seigner), Whitey: The United States Of America Vs. James J. Bulger (Documentary about the grade-A evil bastard Bulger, the Boston gangster who was also an FBI informant, which means that the FBI let him go on murdering people as long as he kept blabbing. Pretty much a moral nightmare all around, guys), Witching & Bitching (From excellent cult director/weirdo Alex de la Iglesia [The Perfect Crime, Day Of The Beast, Dance With The Devil, 800 Bullets, As Luck Would Have It] comes this typically dark and twisted flick about a failed bank robber who ends up fleeing with his young son—only to end up in the middle of a family of witches preparing for their big evil ritual), You And The Night (There’s no better seeling pont for this French erotic cult film than its IMDb description: Around midnight, a young couple and their transvestite maid prepare for an orgy. Their guests will be The Slut, The Star, The Stud and The Teen.” Boom—it’s a kinky Breakfast Club. Now you wanna see it), Chinese Puzzle (Audrey Tatou and those other French people you care less about return in this third film about a group of friends dealing with love and sex and other things—it’s the next sequel to L’Auberge Espagnole and Russian Dolls), Fort McCoy (Eric Stolyz stars in this autobiographical WWII era drama about a Wisconsin family who live next to a prisoner-of-war camp), Mr. Peabody & Sherman (Look! It’s a movie about that time-traveling dog and his dumb kid sidekick that only people over 50 remember! That’ll bring in the kids! Starring the voices of Ty Burrell from Modern Family and Stephen Colbert), Penny Dreadful- season 1 (A lot of great TV this week, starting with this great, bloody, exciting horror series about a team of monster hunters in 1800s England. Good cast, including Timothy Dalton, Eva Green, Josh Hartnett, Rory Kinnear, and Billie Piper, liven up a dark horror tale—incorporating real and fictional figures, it’s like The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen except not excruciatingly awful!), Fargo- season 1 (Along with the excellent Hannibal, this series is a terrible idea that miraculously turns out to be really, insanely good; Sort of a spiritual sequel to the classic Coen Brothers’ film, it follows dogged, super-competent female cop Allison Tolman dealing with the intrusion into her small town of diabolical hitman Billy Bob Thornton and put-upon local murderer Martin Freeman), Jack And The Cuckoo Clock Heart (Stylistically bold animated film about a little boy with a clock heart—I dunno, it looks cool), Dracula- season 1 (Jonathan Rhys Meyers stars as the most famous Dracula of them all—Dracula! In this series, he comes to 19th century England to develop an energy company—oh, and suck on a whole lot of necks), The Honorable Woman- season 1 (Maggie Gyllanhall stars in this critically-adored thriller series about a woman who inherits her father’s arms business and finds herself caught smack in the middle of the Palestinians and the Israelis. Who do not like each other.), Space Station 76 (Matt Bomer, Patrick Wilson, and Liv Typer star in this sci fi spoof about the most 1970s space station in the universe; Co-written and directed by the very funny weirdo Jack Plotnick [Wrong, Reno 911])

New Arrivals on Blu-Ray This Week At Videoport: X Men: Days Of Future Past, Jack And The Cuckoo Clock Heart

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 #477

Volume CDLXXVII- Portland Holiday

For the Week of 10/7/14

(Click the pics for more reviews!)

Videoport gives you a free movie every single day. Oh, and we have the best selection and prices and are locally-owned and also very pretty. It’s not bragging if it’s true.

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!

t>>> Emily S. Customer suggests Twin Peaks (in Mystery/Thriller). “It is happening… again.” With this week’s big announcement that David Lynch and Mark Frost have signed with Showtime to write, direct, and produce a new nine-episode series continuing the story of Twin Peaks, it’s a perfect time to revisit the original series—or watch it for the first time! It’s hard to explain the seminal influence of Twin Peaks on modern television, but in 1990, it was like nothing else on TV. To put it in context, consider some of the other network titles airing at 9 p.m. in 1990: Murphy Brown, Doogie Howser, M.D., Perfect Strangers, CheersThe Golden GirlsTwin Peaks‘ heady blend of heightened soap opera, noir tragedy, and surreal vision hit the network audience with disorienting, intense power. Let it hit you: rent the entire original series today at Videoport.

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 getting some serious free money at Videoport! You’re gonna spend your entertainment dollars with us, so why not get some free ones? No reason not to. $20 buys you $25 in store credit and $30 buys you $40. Boom—free money. Do that.

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 Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (in Comedy). This movie can’t not be funny, considering that it’s got Will Ferrell reprising one of his greatest roles alongside returning costars Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, David Koechner, Christina Applegate, and new playmates like Greg Kinnear, Harrison Ford, James Marsden, Kristen Wiig, and others. And it is funny—scattershot and too long, but full of more laughs than any two normal movies. That being said, it’s about half as funny as the original Anchorman. That’s the knock on all sequels, of course—that they’re never as good and blah, blah, boring, blah. It took the super-lucrative and successful team of Ferrell and writer/director Adam McKay (The Other Guys, Talladega Nights) a surprisingly long time to get a movie studio to make the movie, which seems like a travesty, since those are some funny guys and some funny movies, and they always make money. And, yes, studios are congenitally, inherently stupid organisms, sure. But there’s a reason why comedy sequels generally fare even worse than other types of movies in the “next one’s not as good” column. A great comedy (which I content the first Anchorman is) is much harder to craft than any other genre of movie. One—comedy’s just hard. But more importantly, comedies that don’t just involve Adam Sandler farting around somewhere photogenic with his pals for 85 minutes have an internal logic, an essential structure that necessitates closure. There’s an arc to comedy that needs it to end when it ends, if you get my meaning. Throw in the fact that a movie like Anchorman is built on lightning-in-a-bottle improvisational riffing, and the idea that a sequel would recapture the magic without seeming like a retread. It’s not that Anchorman 2 is bad—it’s consistently pretty funny throughout—it’s that what seemed fresh and gaspingly original is a little effortful the second time around. Points as ever to McKay, who throws in some nicely smart and mean-spirited satire—this time about the birth of sensationalistic, jingoistic cable (FOX) news, and there’s still plenty here to like. But it also goes a long way toward proving that all comedies, no matter how brilliant, should really be left at one.

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 Bad Timing: A Sexual Obsession (in Videoport’s Criterion Collection section.) Quick, what’s the least sexy movie with the most sex in it that you’ve ever seen? WRONG—it’s this one! The AV Club’s David Ehrlich pretty much nailed the essence of this wrenching 1980 relationship drama/thriller from director Nicholas Roeg when he wrote: “It’s a miracle that Art Garfunkel’s performance in Bad Timing didn’t immediately and forever extinguish all sexual desire on Earth.” Yup. It’s not that the mutually-destructive, sexually-obsessive relationship between Garfunkel and Theresa Russell is especially explicit or repellant—they don’t do anything that freaky, and the nudity, while plentiful, is very matter-of-fact. It’s that the whole thing is so determinedly cold and offputtingly odd. Part of that is due to Roeg (Don’t Look Now, The Man Who Fell To Earth, Track 29) who, as ever, keeps a fragmented distance from the humans on the screen. And part of it is the performances from the two leads (and costar Harvey Keitel, playing a smug, suspicious detective)—everyone is sort of arch, and blandly cold, even when screwing, fighting, or being accused of awful things. Part of the reason is Garfunkel who—as inexplicable as it seems—was something of a sex symbol actor for a while there. As the male half of the doomed couple, he’s playing a cold, standoffish, controlling jerk, sure—but he’s awfully at home there. (That coupled with his signature red afro and lankly, muscleless, pasty body [which you see a lot of] makes him almost unwatchably unpleasant as he becomes increasingly mean and controlling to the dewy Russell. Theresa Russell, too, is an odd presence here—I’ve always liked Russell without finding her especially talented or magnetic, but here her seedy prettiness combines with the 80s fashions to make her look like she’s always heading to or from a cocaine orgy. She’s, as ever, game for anything Roeg asks of her (they married after the film), and her natural, peach-colored nakedness throughout is deliberately unappealing. Not unattractive—it sort of just…hangs there, and her “love” scenes with Garfunkel, coupled with Roeg’s icy camera have an almost nature channel remoteness. Told in the form of a series of flashbacks (and forwards, and sideways) while Russell is undergoing a series of very explicit and upsetting medical procedures in the wake of a seeming suicide attempt, the film watches their relationship with the same remoteness—it’s not that we don’t care about them, it’s like we’re watching another species. Part of my “close your eyes and pick something randomly from the Criterion Collection” series.

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 V/H/S (in Horror). In order ot get hyped up for this year’s Damnationland (the Maine-made horror anthology premiering at the State Theatre on Thursday, October 17th), why not take home this non-Maine-made horror anthology, which, despite not being related to Maine in any way, is pretty damned solid. The anthology format (except for Damnationland) is, by its nature, hit-or-miss, but there really isn’t a clunker in this one, an exploration of the whole handheld, found footage horror genre. Taking the form of the series of VHS tapes found by a gang of burglar creeps when they break into a creepy house where a dead guy sits in front of a bank of static-y TV screens, the film sees each of the jerks pop in a tape, seeing a succession of surveillance or home video tapes of variably terrifying doings. A couple of the films are from the guys who made The House Of The Devil, The Innkeepers, You’re Next, 24 Exposures, and the like, there’s some good stuff here (and I don’t want to hear any complaints about found footage horror—done well, it’s very effective.) I’m not gonna spoil anything, except to say that douchebag guys have some serious karmic comeuppance throughout. Like, seriously. Good movie—can’t wait to see part 2 (in Videoport’s Horror section, of course.)

>>>For Sunday, Dennis suggests movies where everyone wakes up with amnesia and tries to discover how they’re in their weird predicament and then discover disturbing stuff and don’t know whom to trust! Prompted by my recent viewing of the new Open Grave (in Mystery/Thriller), I’m gonna say that this premise is so sure-fire, I don’t know why every movie doesn’t do this! In Open Grave, District 9’s Sharlto Copley wakes up in…an open grave! There are bodies everywhere and he doesn’t know who he is, and neither do any of the people who he discovers bickering in a nearby spooky house. Part of the fun of these sorts of movies is discovering what the hell’s going on along with the confused characters, so I won’t say much, except that things go in some icky, unexpected directions and it all pays off pretty satisfyingly. Then there’s Unknown (in Mystery/Thriller), where five guys (including Greg Kinnear, Barry Pepper, Joe Pantoliano, Jeremy Sisto, and Jim Caviezel) all wake up in a decrepit warehouse and…have no idea who they are! There are some guys around, some guys have been tied up—who do they trust?! Same deal—the fun is not knowing, so I’ll just say vaguely good things and encourage you to rent it. And then there’s the trippy Canadian horror movie Cube (in Horror) where some people wake up in a weird cube, all dressed in identical jumpsuits, with no memory of how they got there, why they’ve been put there, or why the hell the identical cube-shaped rooms are freaking booby-trapped! Fun and nasty, it’s like a really good Twilight Zone episode. So bonk yourself on the head with a frying pan (or have a friend bonk you!), sit back, and enjoy some amnesiac fun!

New Releases this week at Videoport: Vikings- season 2 (This Norseman-centric period drama/hack-fest has been one of the most popular, surprisingly good series at Videoport in the last year. Travis Fimmel is back as Ragnar Lothbrok, the coolest, Viking-est Viking in Viking-land. Seriously, this is a good show.), Bates Motel- season 2 (Vera Farmiga and Freddie Highmore return as Norman Bates and his possibly-even-crazier mom in this Psycho prequel series that’s actually not that bad.), A Million Ways To Die In The West (Some of you love Seth MacFarlane and his creations Family Guy and Ted. I have come to accept that fact. So here’s his new movie, where MacFarlane himself [lucky us!] plays a snarky Old West guy who thinks living in a Western is very stupid and dangerous. Co starring the likes of Liam Neeson, Neil Patrick Harris, Charlize Theron, Giovanni Ribisi, and Sarah Silverman—I’m sure the people who like this will really, really like it.), Edge Of Tomorrow (Despite the fact that this sci fi action movie

This seems suggestive...

This seems suggestive…

had a terrible title and was changed for DVD release to the even worse Live Die Repeat, and stars certified crazy person everyone’s tired of Tom Cruise, it’s actually supposed to be pretty darned good. Costarring the certifiably cool and not crazy Emily Blunt.), American Horror Story 3: Coven (Everyone loves this twisted horror series, where actresses like Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, Sarah Paulsen, and more do gleefully nasty things to each other every year in a different horror movie setting. This year, everyone’s a witch, and everyone’s devious and sexy and nasty and depraved. Fun!), Million Dollar Arm (Mad Men’s Jon Hamm stars in this piece of based-on-a-true-story piece of Disney feelgoodery about an American pro baseball scout who heads to India to recruit a pair of cricket players to be big league baseball pitchers.), Sharknado 2 (Videoport finally caved and got the first one of these intentionally horrible SyFy Channel sci fi movies about a tornado—made of sharks! So, legally we suppose, we had to buy the sequel which came out this week. Not to spoil anything, but I’m almost certain this one is also about a tornado made if sharks.), Obvious Child (Former SNL-er Jenny Slate makes her big break for movie stardom in this acclaimed indie drama comedy about a successful single woman who finds herself unexpectedly pregnant and decides to exercise the choice part of pro-choice.), The Almighty Johnsons (Decidedly odd comedy fantasy series from New Zealand about a family of rambunctious brothers who find out that their family legacy is to turn into the Norse gods on their 21st birthdays. Pair it up with Vikings—see how that works out and report back to us!), Aftermath (Videoport brings you this acclaimed Polish thriller about a man who returns to his rural village after his father’s death and uncovers the town’s dirty secrets from WWII), Tasting Menu (Stephen Rea stars in this international foodie extravaganza about the closing of one of the world’s best, most eclectic restaurants and the eccentric group of gourmands who come to eat it out of business), Twelve O’Clock Boys (Fascinating indie documentary about the titular Baltimore street racers, a group of young African American boys who illegally race their dirt bikes through B-more’s worst neighborhoods. Perfect for anyone who loved The Wire!), Endeavor- season 2 (If you love Inspector Morse but wish he were a young, hunky British detective instead of an old, crusty British detective, then check out the new season of this BBC mystery prequel series.)

New Arrivals on Blu-Ray This Week At Videoport: A Million Ways To Die In The West

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!

The Damnationland 2014 Trailer Is Here! (In fact…it’s right behind you…)

The all-Maine, all-terrifying annual horror anthology is back! Join co-creators (and former Videoporters) Allen Baldwin and David Meiklejohn on Thursday, October 17th at the State Theatre in Portland to see this year’s Maine horror extravaganza. Here’s this year’s haunting, mysterious, and freaky trailer. (It, as all good horror trailers should be, is NSFW):

Damnationland—scaring Maine’s collective pants off for five straight years!

(See the Damnationland site for full screening details!)

Published in: on October 6, 2014 at 2:33 pm  Leave a Comment  
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VideoReport #476

Volume CDLXXVI- The Real Portlandia

For the Week of 9/30/14

Videoport gives you a free movie every, single time you walk in the door. You know what day you don’t get a free movie at Videoport? Never-day, that’s when.

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!

>>> Now Former* Videoporter Regan suggests Joe (in Feature Drama). Now that my job mostly consists of answering questions like “do you have magic cards?” and “do you have a bathroom?” and my favourite “PIZZA?!?” I’ll take a moment to recommend the new David Gordon Green joint Joe. it stars Nicolas Cage as the titular character JOE! and he’s the boss man who’s having trouble staying on the right side of the law, and along comes this kid Gary played by Tye Sheridan, who is practically homeless but is eager and willing to put in a hard days work for some cash so he and his sister can get AS FAR AS HUMANELY POSSIBLE FROM THEIR HORRIBLE FATHER. I’m noticing there is an abundance of a**hole-dad movies, perhaps I’ll bundle them all together in their own section. Nuzzled right between movies about the holocaust and slavery. Back to Joe! the director David Gordon Green has returned to his roots after a stint in the dumbasses-getting-high-and-acting-like-total-boobs genre which does include some hits like Pineapple Express and Eastbound and Down. But I think his talent is best seen in movies like George Washington and All the Real Girls, and in his most recent feature Joe, with THE CAGE! I will forever love Nicolas Cage. He can pummel me with a sh*t-storm of subpar batsh*tcrazy movies, and then he’ll make one that’s not like the others and I come a running. Now I’ll just have to muck through 10 more Ghost Riders till he strikes again. Not-so-fun-fact: the actor who played the part of Wade a.k.a G-Daawg(a**hole dad), his name was Gary “Ozzy” Poulter and he was homeless when the director cast him as the father, he was found dead a couple months after the film was finished.

*Yeah, we said “former.” Regan’s the best and we’re all going to miss her, especially you, when you’re looking for great movie recommendations like this. I’m sure Regan would like to, at this point, say something rude about people who choose Netfl*x over an independent video store like Videoport, but she’s not around any more.

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 presents the monthly list of movies that Netfl*x thinks you don’t need to see! Oh, Netfl*x—there are so many reasons to hate you, but your regular practice of purging movies for no reason whatsoever is right at the top of the list. Here are the movies and TV shows you can’t get from Netfl*x now, but can always get at Videoport!

28 Days (2000)

The African Queen (1951)

Akeelah and the Bee (2006)

Battlestar Galactica (2003-2009)

Barefoot in the Park (1967)

Beyond Borders (2003)

Body of Evidence (1993)

Blood and Wine (1996)

Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)

Breaking Away (1979)

Center Stage (2000)

Crimson Tide (1995)

The Dark Half (1993)

Dead Man Walking (1995)

Death Wish (1974)

Don’t Look Now (1973)

Eight Men Out (1988)

Fatal Attraction (1987)

Ghost (1990)

Netfl*x thinks you don't deserve Ghostbusters. Just think about that.

Netfl*x thinks you don’t deserve Ghostbusters. Just think about that.

Ghostbusters (1984)

Ghostbusters 2 (1989)

Girl in Progress (2012)

Heavy Metal (1981)

The Hunger Games (2012)

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

King of New York (1990)

Law & Order (1990-1997)

Law & Order: Criminal Intent (2006-2011)

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (2006-2010)

A League of Their Own (1992)

Legends of the Fall (1994)

Little Birds (2011)

Major League (1989)

Mean Girls (2004)

Patriot Games (1992)

Primal Fear (1996)

Pumpkin (2002)

The Sand Pebbles (1966)

Safe (2012)

The Skeleton Key (2005)

Snow White: A Tale of Terror (1997)

This Must Be the Place (2011)

The Thomas Crown Affair (1999)

Two Family House (2000)

Wow! Those are some great movies and shows! And Netfl*x just takes them away from you? That’s some serious bullcrap right there… Rent Videoport. We don’t do that.

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 some serious free money at Videoport! You’re gonna spend your entertainment dollars with us, so why not get some free ones? No reason not to. $20 buys you $25 in store credit and $30 buys you $40. Boom—free money. Do 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!                                         >>> Dennis suggests Only Lovers Left Alive (in Incredibly Strange). Jim Jarmusch is one of America’s best directors. Need proof? Dead Man, Ghost Dog, Down By Law, Mystery Train, Stranger Than Paradise, The Limits Of Control, Coffee And Cigarettes, Broken Flowers—there’s no more idiosyncratically brilliant roster of films anywhere. Visually arresting, made up of long, static shots and verbally deadpan to the point of giddy perfection, his movies have a specific, mesmerizing comic vibe that is utterly unique. Or you’ll be confused, bored and irritated—but that’s the risk you take. Me? I watch Jarmusch’s movies in a sort of tickled awe, secure that I’m watching a perfectly executed vision from a director in complete control of his instrument. Yes, they’re that good. And his new one—Jarmusch’s take on the vampire flick—is just about perfect in its strange vision. In it, Tilda Swinton plays Eve, the most languorously beautiful vampire anywhere, lounging in her art-filled Tangiers apartment. Tom Hiddleston is her perfect match as Adam, a tortured musician living in glorious rock-star squalor in a guitar and gadget-filled abandoned Detroit townhouse. She senses he’s dangerously melancholy and comes, packing her only suitcase with books like Infinite Jest. He plays strange, beautiful rock funeral music and welcomes her with relieved love and canisters of blood he regularly buys from doctor Jeffrey Wright. Jarmusch’s conceit is that vampires would use their immortality to endlessly indulge in their love of art, and music, and poetry—which makes perfect sense, especially if said vampires are the gloriously alien Swinton and Hiddleston. For a vampire flick, it’s perversely un-perverse, avoiding nearly every cliché of the genre in favor of a fascinating, weirdly funny portrait of undying hipsterism. There’s a lot of odd detail nibbling around the edges, and a lot unspoken but tantalizingly evocative. Hiddleston’s like a Hamlet stuck “to be or not to be-ing” for centuries, which inspires a great joke I won’t spoil involving a decrepit fellow vampire played by John Hurt. Hiddleston’s walls and Swinton’s bookcases teem with Jarmusch’s paragons of genius, making it fascinatingly fun to see who made the cut and who didn’t. Even when wilder, less tamed vamp Mia Wasikowska, playing Eve’s “sister” shows up, threatening to bring some more traditional vampire movie beats to the story, Jarmusch has other plans in mind. Jarmusch is an original—check this one out if you like never knowing what’s going to happen next.

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!                                            

An adult drew that.

An adult drew that.

>>>For Saturday, Dennis suggests his “shelf of wonderfully uncomfortable laughter” the staff picks section. Dark comedies! Stuff to make you squirm while you laugh! Things that you feel bad for laughing at later! Whether it’s Dr. Strangelove’s nuclear annihilation gags, or the walking-the-edge-of-absolute-bad-taste of The Ten, or the absurdist satire of Bunuel in The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie, or the delightfully misanthropic comedies of Bobcat Goldthwait like World’s Greatest Dad or God Bless America, or the classic cannibalistic yuks of Eating Raoul, or the New Zealand gross-out stylings of a young Peter Jackson in Bad Taste—these are the movies that’ll make you go gaaaahhhhh! You know, but in a funny way.

>>>For Sunday, Dennis suggests Cheap Thrills (in Incredibly Strange). Speaking of dark comedies, here’s a ghoulish little indie that would fit right in on a really good episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, if they allowed profanity and graphic violence on TV back then. In it, failed writer Pat Healy (The Innkeepers) plays a failed writer facing eviction with his wife and baby who, fired from his crappy job, meets up with felonious old pal Ethan Embry (Empire Records) in a bar. Their awkward catchup is interrupted by the attentions of boisterous David Koechner (Anchorman) and his sullen wife Sara Paxton (also from The Innkeepers), who buy them drinks and then start making innocent wagers—on darts, who can down a shot fastest, that sort of thing. With his aging fratboy good cheer and a huge wad of hundreds, Koechner easily gets the guys to agree to come back to his luxurious house to continue the fun. And that’s when things take a turn. Sevral turns, actually, as party guy Koechner’s dares become more lucrative—and twisted. It’s a great setup for squirmy suspense, and the couple’s endgame is kept concealed, right up until the final twist. Everyone’s good, but Koechner’s a revelation—there’s plenty of his signature boorish comic persona on display, but he brings some layers to the seemingly innocuous good0timer that make him subtly fascinating. Fun and dark and entertaining.

New Releases this week at Videoport: Chef (Jon Favreau directs and stars in this feel-good foodie comedy drama about a brilliant chef who decides to open a gourmet food truck and hit the road with his son and his sous chef; costarring John Leguizamo, Robert Downey Jr., and Dustin Hoffman), Cold In July (Dexter’s Michael C. Hall stars alongside Sam Shepard and Don Johnson in this acclaimed indie redneck drama about an ex-con and several shady types attempting, unsuccessfully, to stay out of serious trouble), Decoding Annie Parker (Samantha Morton and Helen Hunt star in this based-on-a-true-story story of a woman with cancer and the brilliant scientist doctor person who discovers the root cause of her rare genetic affliction; costarring Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul), Hellion (Aaron Paul again! This time, he’s the emotionally distant father forced to confront his bad parenting when his troubled son is put into foster care), Transformers 4—Age Of Extinction (Explosion fetishist Michael Bay returns to play smash-up with his imaginary robot pals. He’s brought Mark Wahlberg along this time.), Wolf (In this Dutch drama, a troubled but talented ex-con whose emerging boxing career is threatened by his felonious past), 24—Live Another Day (Kiefer Sutherland is back as superspy/torture machine Jack Bauer in a continuation of the entertainingly fascist 24 series. Cut the blue wire! The blue wire!), Lucky Them (Toni Collette stars in this indie comedy about a struggling rock journalist sent on an assignment to score an interview with a reclusive, possibly missing rock star, who also happens to be her ex-boyfriend. Costarring Thomas Haden Church as a comically eccentric amateur documentarian sent along for the scoop.), Third Person (Writer/director Paul Haggis of Crash fame again takes a huge cast of stars and smashes ‘em together. This time, it’s a gaggle of unhappy lovers [Liam Neeson, James Franco, Mila Kunis, Olivia Wilde, Adrien Brody, Mario Bello, Kim Basinger] in New York, Paris, and Rome.)

New Arrivals on Blu-Ray This Week At Videoport: Chef!, Transformers 4—Age Of Extinction, The Signal

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!

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