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)
Bullet Proof Monk (2003)
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
Cheech & Chong’s Next Movie (1980)
The Dogs of War (1980)
Elvis ’56 (1987)
For a Few Dollars More (1965)
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)
The Great Outdoors (1988)
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)
Silent Running (1971)
Single White Female (1992)
Small, Beautifully Moving Parts (2011)
St. Elmo’s Fire (1985)
Steel Magnolias (1989)
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 married 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!