VideoReport #280

Volume CCLXXX- New Year’s Evil

For the Week of 12/28/10

Videoport thanks all of our loyal customers for a great 2010. 2011 sounds all future-y and stuff, but stick with us in the new year, and we’ll continue to bring you the best movies in the world.

Middle Aisle Monday. (Get one free rental from the Sci-Fi, Horror, Incredibly Strange, Mystery/Thriller, Animation or Staff Picks sections with your paid rental.)

>>>Videoport Customer Mark Magee suggests Deep Impact (in Sci Fi/Fantasy.) A very moving and intelligent entry to the disaster film genre and so much better than it’s counterpart released the same year, Armageddon. More than just an end-of-the-world action film, Deep Impact is extremely thought-provoking. If you knew you had just weeks and days to live, what would you do differently? How would that change your perspective on yourself and your relationships? These are questions that the film asks in a very powerful way. The cast is extremely good, especially Morgan Freeman as the type of President we all wish we had when disaster strikes and Robert Duvall as the elder astronaut. Duvall gives some of his best and most moving work in this film. The special FX are great (realistic and not over the top, given the subject matter) and the score is fittingly emotional. Even after several viewings, the film still moves me — I think it’s a great family film also. The violence is not too graphic and in this complicated, dangerous time in which we live, it’s questions make for meaningful family discussion.

Tough and Triassic Tuesday. (Get one free rental from the Action or Classics sections with your paid rental.)

>>> Elsa S. Customer suggests The Lion in Winter (in Classics.) Deck the halls with snarky intrigue, fa la la la la, la la la LA! And you think your family get-togethers are rough? Sheesh. In December 1183, the Plantagenet family comes together to celebrate Christmas. And by “come together,” I mean Henry II (Peter O’Toole) releases his wife Elinor of Aquitaine (Katherine Hepburn) from her elegant prison in a palace tower, which should give you a sense of the tensions that erupt over their holiday festivities. The whole family schemes and snipes, slily maneuvering to secure the throne for themselves or their favored sons (Anthony Hopkins, Timothy Dalton, John Castle). My favorite thing about this classic, other than the wry, acerbic wit of the script (handled with predictable and delicious deftness by the leads), is the plain grubbiness of the set and costumes. There’s no false Renaissance-Faire lushness, no pretty genteel thee-ing and thou-ing; here there is hewn stone and handwoven textiles, the whip-stinging invective of real anger (mingled with love and nostalgia and pride), and the time-proven appeal of a real classic.

Wacky and Worldly Wednesday. (Get one free rental from the Comedy or Foreign Language sections with your paid rental.)

>>>Dennis suggests another Wednesday super-special quadruple feature! For those in the know, the new Wednesday deal, where you get four (non new-release) movies for seven days for seven bucks is a perfect way to delve into a televisual or cinematic subject in a big, big way. I’ve noticed a customer working her way through every Bruce Willis movie at Videoport. I’ve seen crazy-eyed ‘Lost’ aficionados feverishly plowing through the series many cliffhangers on the way to the conclusion (get ready for disappointment.) And I’ve seen just plain smart people taking advantage of the deal to take home an armload o’ random movies. This week, howsabout taking home all four seasons of ‘The State’ (in the Incredibly Strange section) for some ambitiously-bananas sketch comedy greatness. Alumni from this brilliantly-loopy sketch troupe have gone on to comedy greatness in shows and movies as varied as ‘Stella’, ‘Reno 911’, ‘Party Down’, Wet Hot American Summer, The Ten, The Baxter, Role Models, etc, and their unique comic sensibilities made this one of the best sketch comedy series of all time. And you can get ’em all on Wednesday, keep ’em for a week, and then, like me, become a lifelong fan of everything any of them have ever done…

Thrifty Thursday. (Get one free movie from any section with your paid rental.)

>>> Videoport customer Emily dropped us a note about the indie film You Might As Well Live (in the Incredibly Strange Section), saying, “Dear Videoport- This one was odd, but we enjoyed its ‘off’ humor.” To which we reply, “Dear Emily- Thank you so much for your review! And if there’s anyone else out there who’d like to review a movie in the VideoReport, please feel free! Drop it off at the store, or send it to or our Facebook page “Videoport Jones.”

Free Kids Friday. (Get one free rental from the Children’s or Family sections, no other rental necessary).

>>>Dennis suggests that, if anyone’s looking for a New Year’s resolution this year, he has an idea involving the shiny side of DVDs, and not touching them ever…

Having a Wild Weekend. (Rent two, get your third movie for free from any section on Saturday and Sunday.)

>>>For Saturday, Videoport customer Olivia M. (via our Facebook page “Videoport Jones”) suggests Exit Through the Gift Shop (in Documentary Arts), saying, “Still not sure if I’m in on the joke, or part of it…”

>>>For Sunday, Videoport customer B.S. Eliot brings us, um, this: “So you guys want lists for the end of the year, huh? Here ya go-“

Movies I’m embarrassed to talk about in public ’cause I can’t pronounce their titles:

Bande a part (I could use the English title [Band of Outsiders], but I’m too pretentious)

Dersu Uzala, Dodes ka-den, Kagemusha, Ran (all Kurosawa movies)

‘Fooly Cooly’ (this one seems straightforward, but it’s Japanese, so the whole L/R thing)

‘The Fuccons’

Häxan (the two dots, what’s that all about?)

Mulholland Dr. (“drive?”, “doctor?”)

La Dolce Vita (“dols?”, “dole-che?”)

La Cage aux Folles (‘aux’ stands for ‘auxiliary’, right?)

Ichi, the Killer (“eechee?”, “itchy?”)


Fellini’s Satyricon

Stroszek, Woyzeck (both Werner Herzog movies- even his name…),

Salo: The 120 Days of Sodom

THX 1138 (“eleven thirty eight?”, “one-one-three-eight?”)

Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song (come on!)

The Harder They Come (it’s not the pronunciation…)

New Releases this week at Videoport: The American (George Clooney is great [as usual] as an aging, cagey gun maker on the run in remote Italy in this lean, low-key thriller from director Anton Corbijn), Resident Evil: Afterlife (Milla Jovovich is back in zombie-killing, hot chick mode in this [fifth? tenth?] sequel in the video game-derived horror series), ‘Archer’- season 1 (the great Jon Benjamin [Coach McGuirk from ‘Home Movies’] voices the title character in this twisted, hilarious animated James Bond spoof series), Twelve (handsome young dealer discovers that drugs are bad in this overheated melodrama from uberhack director Joel Schumacher), ‘The United States of Tara’- season 2 (Toni Colette is back as the multiple-personality-laden Tara in this Showtime series), Merantau (acclaimed Indonesian martial arts action!), Handsome Harry (good cast [Jamey Sheridan, Steve Buscemi, Campbell Scott] star in this thriller about a brooding ex-Navy man who reluctantly delves into a deep, dark secret at the deathbed behest of an old Navy buddy), The Horde (cops, crooks, and zombies battle it out in the streets of Paris in this French horror thriller…French Zombies!!), Edie & Thea (after 42 years together, a still-passionate lesbian couple plans to get married in this documentary.)

New Arrivals this week at Videoport: Sweetgrass (beautiful, evocative documentary about a group of aging shepherds making one last sheep drive through treacherous wilderness), The Conman 1999 (Hong Kong superstar Andy Lau [Infernal Affairs] stars as an ex-con card sharp targeted for revenge killing), A World Without Thieves (Andy Lau is back as another conman in this Hong Kong thriller.)

New Arrivals on Blu-Ray this week at Videoport: Seven Years in Tibet, Starship Troopers, The A-Team, Stranger Than Fiction, The American, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Kung Fu Hustle, Universal Soldier: The Return, What Doesn’t Kill You, Water Horse: Legend of the Deep, Quarantine, Resident Evil: Afterlife.

Dennis’ Best and Worst DVD Releases of 2010

The Best Movies (in order of release)

Moon (All good movie geeks love Sam Rockwell. In this cleverly-twisty sci fi mystery, it’s a Rockwell one man show.)

In the Loop (This British political comedy is as creatively profane and subversively-intelligent as Dr. Strangelove.)

A Serious Man (Serious props to the ever-confounding Coen Brothers for stripping their new movie of the crowd-pleasing elements and leaving a weird, riveting obscurity behind.)

Black Dynamite (Burly low-budget action star Michael Jai White is shockingly funny in this clever, knowing, and hilariously-silly blaxploitation parody.)

Where the Wild Things Are (Director Spike Jonze turns the sparse children’s classic into a classic of a completely different, and artistically-satisfying kind.)

The Fantastic Mr. Fox (…and so does indie god Wes Anderson [Rushmore], combining Roald Dahl and deliberately low-tech stop motion animation into a witty, hilarious new grown up fairy tale.)

It's a dark horse pick...

Passenger Side (Adam Scott [of the late, lamented ‘Party Down’] stars in a quietly funny, sad indie about two brothers on a mysterious, picaresque road trip.)

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (Director Edgar Wright’s hyperactive, hyper-clever comedy-fantasy fairly overflows with great ideas; I was practically giddy by the end.)

Inception (An intricately-plotted, maddeningly-confusing, ambitious action/sci fi thriller that still made a jillion dollars? There might be hope for us yet.)

The Other Guys (When Will Ferrell teams up with director Adam McKay, you’re gonna laugh a lot. A lot.)

The Worst of 2010 (that I actually saw for some reason):

The Box, Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant, Sorority Row, Clash of the Titans, The Marc Pease Experience.

The Most Disappointing of 2010:

The Invention of Lying (Great premise gets squandered at about the halfway point. I expect more from Ricky Gervais.)

The Men Who Stare at Goats (Great cast gets bogged down in sub-Coen Brothers eccentricity.)

The Slammin’ Salmon (The Broken Lizard dudes [Super Troopers] are clearly just coasting at this point.)

Crazy Heart (Jeff Bridges is great, as usual, but I liked this movie more thirty years ago when it was called Tender Mercies.)

Cop Out (Kevin Smith directing someone else’s script means worse than usual screenplay and typically subpar direction.)

Kick Ass (With a total zero for a protagonist, this bloody, winking satire of superheroism left this fanboy cold. And annoyed.)

Robin Hood (Why even make a Robin Hood movie if you’re going to drain every drop of fun and adventure out of it?)

Splice (I like director Vincenzo Natali [Cube, Nothing]’s weird cinematic ideas, but this sci fi/horror mad scientist flick falls victim to the idiot plot fairly quickly.)

Best overlooked performances of 2010

Patton Oswalt- Big Fan

Paul Giamatti- Cold Souls

Tom Hardy- Bronson

Michael Sheen-The Damned United

Jon Krasinski- Brief Interviews With Hideous Men

Frankie Faison- Brief Interviews With Hideous Men

Chris Meloni- Brief Interviews With Hideous Men

Ursula Werner- Cloud 9

Ray Winstone- 44 Inch Chest

Donald Glover- Mystery Team

Michael Stuhlbarg- A Serious Man

Ciaran Hinds- The Eclipse

Adam Goldberg- Untitled

Chris Messina- Devil

Hye-ja Kim- Mother

Penelope Cruz- Broken Embraces

Jean Dujardin-OSS 177: Lost in Rio

Videoport customer (and radio goddess) Jenny A (she hosts ‘Cinema Hits and Misses’ on WMPG) brings us her Best and Worst of 2010!

Top Ten:

I Am Love; Social Network; White Ribbon; Scott Pilgrim; Winter’s Bone; Single Man; Hereafter; Kickass; Splice; Black Swan.

Bottom Eleven:

Wolfman; Green Zone; Eclipse; Knight and Day; Shutter Island; Nowhere Boy; Inception; Never Let Me Go; Enter the Void; Robin Hood; Going the Distance.

“Oh, and I didn’t get a chance to say this on-air but I’d like to give a shout-out to some cool screenings this year: Cremaster, Metropolis, Evil Dead, and Troll2/Best Worst Movie. Portland’s film scene is improving by leaps & bounds!! “

April’s Top 10 DVDs of 2010

Moon– Sam Rockwell on the moon! Director Duncan Jones (aka David Bowie’s son) uses old school models to create a creepy, claustrophobic thriller. I can’t tell you any more. Just watch it.

Harry Brown– Michael Caine vs. drug-dealing thugs. A bit slow-moving, but when Caine starts kicking butt it’s awesome!

Mary & Max– Stop-motion animation from Australia. Pen pas, Asperger’s Syndrome, first crushes, suicide, and alcoholism are just a few things this story of friendship deals with.

Inception– Don’t have to say much about this one. Christopher Nolan- yup, he’s pretty good.

Best Worst Movie– Best documentary about the worst movie (perhaps not of all time, but…) Troll 2! I even have a Best Worst Movie t-shirt made locally at the Fun Box Monster Emporium.

The Fantastic Mr. Fox– I made the mistake of watching this after seeing Mary & Max. Don’t do it. They’re two different movies. All stop-motion animation is not equal. Mary & Max has the better animation, but Mr. Fox is fantastic.

Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work– She’s just amazing. Even with the fake face.

Damnationland– Local films! Watch it!

Family Guy: Partial Terms of Endearment– Because, let’s face it, abortion is a taboo thing to make fun of, but I’m just gonna say it- abortion is funny! Haha! (*gets shot by everybody. Haha!)

The Human Centipede– Is better than you think.

More top and bottom ten lists of 2010 to come in next week’s VideopoReport! Send in yours to or our Facebook page “Videoport Jones.”

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