VideoReport #474

Volume CDLXXIV- From Portland With Love

For the Week of 9/16/14

(Click the pics for more reviews!)

Videoport gives you a free movie every single day. So, every day you come into Videoport, we’re going to say, “Hey—do you want another movie for free?” So you’ve got that going for you…which is nice.

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!

>>> Emily S. Customer suggests Candyman (in Horror). School is back in session, and that means it’s time for some back-to-school scares. Candyman tells the story of Helen Lyle (Virginia Madsen), a frustrated grad student. Her thesis on the uncanny Candyman legend haunting Chicago’s Cabrini Green keeps getting stalled: by indifferent evidence, by bureaucratic delays, and by the blithe dismissal of her academic advisors and mentors. Incidentally, she lives with one of those advisors, which isn’t necessarily a career-damning move, but when the professor you’re sleeping with is played by professional cad Xander Berkeley… well, Helen, things don’t look too bright for 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 Ninotchka (in Classics). Co-written by Billy Wilder (Some Like It Hot, The Apartment) and directed by 1930s comedy all-star Ernst Lubitsch (Trouble In Paradise, The Shop Around The Corner) this comedy romance was hyped back (way back) in the day for being the movie where languorous screen legend Greta Garbo finally loosened up and had some fun. (“Garbo laughs!” screamed the tagline, proving that movie marketing people have been the same since there were movies to make up dumb taglines about.) And while she, as the humorless Russian bureaucrat sent to settle the sale of a cache of confiscated Tsarist jewelry in Paris does eventually goof around to good effect—she has a drunk scene, wears a funny hat, even has a pretty convincing giggle fit in a restaurant—the real treat for me was seeing a movie from so long ago incorporate real world political stuff into a lightweight comedy just as a matter of course. That’s not surprising, really—Lubitsch was always pushing against the boundaries of propriety—but there’s a lot going on in Ninotchka. The three bearded Russian functionaries sent to smooth the way for Garbo are played for laughs as they are immediately seduced by Parisian decadence—but their banter is also full of matter-of-fact talk of class, politics, and the Russian revolution (which was of not-that-distant memory). Garbo’s monotone humorlessness in the face of foppish Melvyn Douglas’ annoying attentions is played for a joke, but while her eventual softening is inevitable, she never quite abandons her politics, either. Douglas (in a role crying out for William Powell instead) is the fun loving playboy we’re meant to identify with—but his wastrel ways are held up for serious criticism, and identified with the worst excesses of capitalism. The exiled Russian countess scheming to break up Garbo and Douglas and get her jewels back from the Soviets turns pretty villainous—but she’s allowed to show the righteous anger of the aristocracy who’ve been forced out of their country and had their property appropriated in the name of the revolution. There’s even a pre-WWII throwaway joke about a frumpy German couple greeting each other at the Paris train station with a hearty “Heil Hitler” that’s pretty jarring. And Garbo is a great sport throughout, doing pratfalls and enduring Douglas’ would-be charming gadfly banter. I especially like her deadpan comeback to Douglas’ initial flirtatious extolling of the joys of capitalist debauchery, “Your kind will be extinct soon.” (Sure, she’s a Stalinist, but that’s a solid line for any woman being harassed on the street.) Plus, in her first trip to Douglas’ apartment, she’s very clearly intending to have sex with him before the plot gets in the way—her no-nonsense approach to the fact that sex is something she enjoys and wants to have right now is as bold as anything you’re going to see in early Hollywood. Just startlingly sexy for the 1930s. As usual in Lubitsch, it’s the hypocrites and the judgmental and the mean who are truly the enemy, with those willing to bend a little getting a happy ending.

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 Hannibal (in Mystery/Thriller.) Look, I know that this seemed like a really stupid and unnecessary idea, but if you’ve ever trusted me before, then trust me on this—this TV adaptation of the Thomas Harris novels about Hannibal Lecter is one of the best shows of the year. And now that season 2 just came out, it’s one of the best shows of the past two years. It’s violent, intelligent, stunningly acted and strangely, hypnotically beautiful Trust me, people.

(Also, check out a Videoporter on this Hannibal podcast from SoundonSight.org!)

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!          

>>> Videoport has a new special! Maybe you noticed that the heading for every single daily special is different. If so—well done. You should have your own Psych-type show where you’re very observant all the time. Regardless, here’s the new deal— NOW you can get 3 movies for a week for $7.99 EVERY SINGLE DAY! I know, right!? Also, on a specifically Friday vibe—we’ve put a ton of new stuff into the family section. Like, a lot of high-quality stuff. Now the part you might not like as much—all rentals at Videoport (including kids movies) are $3.50. Yeah, kids movies are now the same price as everything else, but you can still get a free movie from the kids section every Friday, no other rental necessary, no questions asked. And, now there are tons more movies packing that section for you to choose from. Be cool, everybody—Videoport’s got you covered, as always.

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 Black Mama, White Mama (in Incredibly Strange/the Blaxploitation Tribute shelf in the Middle AISLE). PAM GRIER! Pam-freaking-Grier, people. In this one, she’s thrown in a Philippines prison alongside the very pale Margaret Markov, who’s some sort of WASP-y revolutionary. When they bust out (‘cause no grimy prison can hold Pam), they’re handcuffed together in a sort of low-rent, sexy The Defiant Ones. Look, no one’s going to deny that, like most Blaxploitation flicks, this one’s got plenty of the “ploitation” part—nudity, group showers, sexy lady guards with an eye on Pam—but it’s also another chance for Pam Grier to be Pam-freaking-Grier. And that’s something I think we can all get behind.

>>>For Sunday, Dennis suggests They Came Together (in Comedy). If you’ve ever been made to sit through a romantic comedy at the behest of a loved one, then rent this and tell him/her it’s a new rom-com. Then sit back and smile smugly as Amy Poehler and Paul Rudd (and a huge cast of very funny people) hilariously eviscerate every threadbare rom-com cliché ever. It’s from David Wain and Michael Showalter (of The State, The Ten, and Wet Hot American Summer) and it’s so effectively satirical because these guys clearly have seen every romantic comedy ever made and are tearing out from the inside. Sure, your significant other will probably break up with you about half way through it, but that’s probably for the best, isn’t it?

New Releases this week at Videoport: The Fault In Our Stars (They’re young, and pretty, and in love, and have cancer in this extraordinarily popular teen romance based on that Young Adult book that every pretends they didn’t read but actually did. And then they cried and told everyone they had allergies), Godzilla (He’s young, and in love, and falls in love with a pretty girl with a tragic secret—oh, no wait, he’s a giant, freaking, fire-breathing lizard monster and he’s trying to eat Bryan Cranston! GODZILLA, people!!!), The Roosevelts—An Intimate History (Hey, did you know we had two presidents named Roosevelt? Crazy. Find out that and other important facts in this typically mammoth and exhaustive documentary series from Ken Burns!), Arrow- season 2 (Against all logic, this series about DC Comics B-list archer superhero Green Arrow [just called Arrow here because Americans can’t remember two words at the same time, I guess?] is actually pretty good. Rich boy Oliver Queen dons some green leather, a quiver of arrows, and his abs in order to shoot arrows at the bad guys of his corrupt city), Sleepy Hollow- season 1 (Against ever greater odds, this supernatural series about a resurrected, hunky Ichabod Crane fighting the Headless Horseman in the present day alongside a spunky lady cop is pretty great, too. When Tom Mison’s Crane refers to Nicole Beharie’s Lt. Abbie Mills as “leftennant,” it’s pretty much the sexiest thing on TV—can’t explain it.), South Park- season 17 (This is still going on…check out Videoport’s Incredibly Strange section to see if the venerable offense-factory that is South Park can still bring the funny. [It sort of can…]), Hannibal- season 2 (You know how Hannibal- season 1 was, improbably, one of the best shows on TV last year? Well, it was, and now here’s season 2, where things get even more insanely awesome. Yeah—I didn’t think that was possible either. Mads Mikkelsen’s Hannibal Lecter is better than Anthony Hopkins’ ever was. Yeah, I said it…), Palo Alto (Directed by yet another member of the Coppola family [Gia this time], this indie teen drama sees shy Emma Roberts attending parties with her wilder friend and edging closer to a sexual awakening; Costarring James Franco and Val Kilmer and based on a book of short stories by polymath Franco), Alpha House- season 1 (Can four Republican senators share the same Washington DC townhouse without driving each other crazy?! That’s the premise of this internet political comedy series starring John Goodman and The Wire’s Clark Johnson. It was created by Doonesbury’s Gary Trudeau, whose 80’s political series Tanner 88 was pretty outstanding and which you should rent from the Criterion Collection), The Big Bang Theory—season 7 (So this show is still going on, what with the nerds and their nerdiness and all. Have fun!), Burt’s Buzz (Documentary about Burt Shavitz the guy who founded that company Burt’s Bees with the lip balm and the other goop!), Petals On The Wind (After the incestuous creepiness of the remake of Flowers In The Attic comes more of the same, with the perhaps even more incestuous sequel! Starring Heather Graham and the great Ellen Burstyn—how long has it been since you’ve seen her in Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, anyway?), Cat Run 2 (Remember Cat Run? That sexy, action-packed thriller about a call girl getting involved with spies and murders and such? No? Anyone? Well, this is your lucky day, no one! Because here’s the sequel—which does not return the lovely Paz Vega, but has, um, those two dopey guys who played the detectives…so, enjoy!), A Long Way Down (Based on a novel by Nick Hornby [High Fidelity, About A Boy], this one has Pierce Brosnan, Toni Collette, Imogen Poots, and Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul as a disparate quartet of suicidal people who, ending up on the same rooftop and preparing to jump, decide to postpone their deaths for a month to see if they can’t bond and become friends and the like. [I bet they do…]), Words And Pictures (Clive Owen and Juliette Binoche pair up for this dramedy about an art instructor and an English teacher having a competition to determine which is more important—words or pictures. You know—like the title!), The Legend Of Korra—seasons 1 & 2 (You asked for it, so we got it! All you Avatar fans [the anime series, not the massively overrated sci fi movie], here’s the sequel, or spinoff, or whatever it is! You’re welcome!), Regular Show: Rigby Pack (It’s more of that cool, hip cartoon show all the cool kids like!), The Escape Artist (Everybody’s favorite Doctor Who [except for those who like those other Doctors] David Tennant stars in this BBC miniseries about a cocky defense attorney who has to deal with the fact that his legal maneuvering has set a serial killer free), God’s Pocket (The late Philip Seymour Hoffman [and how much does it still suck that he died, by the way?] stars in this drama directed by Mad Men’s John Slattery about a grieving father who comes to discover that his dead son might not have been killed in a work accident, but thanks to the corruption of his titular working class neighborhood. Gods-PocketCostarring John Turturro), Fairhaven (Well-reviewed indie dramedy about a depressed guy [the always great Chris Messina] who comes home to his titular New England town for his father’s funeral and reconnects with his two childhood pals [Tom O’Brien, Mad Men’s Rich Sommer]), Think Like A Man Too (Kevin Hart, Romany Malco, and the others are back in this sequel about how men and women are different and stuff)

New Arrivals on Blu-Ray This Week At Videoport: The Fault In Our Stars, Brick Mansions, Godzilla

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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