VideoReport #487

Volume CDLXXXVII- Meet Me In Portland

For the Week of 12/16/14

 Videoport gives you a free rental every day. Oh, and we give you a free rental every time you buy a movie from us. Wait—when do we actually charge for rentals? We should probably do that sometimes.

 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 The Simpsons (in Animation). Because your fearless editor has a gig reviewing the current-day Simpsons, I end up watching every episode with him. And it’s… fine. They’re rarely actively offensive, they occasionally harken back to their heyday for a split second of genuine joy and laughter. Mostly, it’s like bumping into the old friend who seemed so vital, so bright, so vibrant that they were sure to achieve greatness and finding that they’ve lost their fire and power, that they’ve eased into cheap mediocrity. But at its best The Simpsons was the funniest, smartest, most emotionally resonant show of a generation. If you’re only seeing it in syndication, you’re not seeing it. To meet the ever-increasing ad-break times of broadcast TV, re-runs get trimmed everywhere possible, tossing out moments of character development and the quiet beats that let jokes land — and sometimes entire jokes get tossed out wholesale! I strongly encourage you to pick up a DVD of The Simpsons today. Every day, you can take home three, count em, THREE DVDs* for a whole week for just $7.99. If you make those three DVDs The Simpsons, you’ll get as many as 18 episodes to luxuriate in for a week.

*Restrictions apply, brand-new one-night rentals not included, don’t be ridiculous, and other disclaimers — but Simpsons DVDs suit this deal down to the ground.

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!                                                            >>> Emily S. Customer helps you keep it local. Videoport knows that it can be a challenge even for the most devoted BUY LOCAL advocates to put their money where their mouths are, especially during the hustle-bustle of the busy holiday season. Sure, you want to support independent businesses and keep our local economy robust, but how do you fit your ideals into your budget and imagination? We’re here to help with some BUY LOCAL gift ideas, and a little something extra just for you.

The regular renter: For the Portland-area film aficionado on your list, there’s no better gift than The Spirit of Videoport Future! Choose a gift certificate (three rentals for $10, six rentals for $20, or 10 rentals for $30) or take advantage of Videoport’s great savings plan when you add credit directly to their account ($20 buys $25 in rental credits, $30 buys $40). Either way, these rentals qualify for Videoport’s great daily specials, so your recipient can get 2-for-1 rentals every weekday or 3-for-2 rental weekends! Throw in a FREE copy of the VideoReport to give them great ideas for future rentals and great free movies every day.

The movie-night basket: Pick up a new or previously-viewed DVD movie or TV season at Videoport, pack it up with a bag of Little Lad’s herbal popcorn, and a box of concession candy (try Snowcaps, Junior Mints, or Twizzlers!) and you’ve got a great gift basket for folks who want to stay in on a cold Maine night. You’ll also get a little something extra for yourself: with every DVD purchase of $3.99* and up, Videoport gives you a free rental on your own account!

The connoisseur: Can’t find just the right gift for the fancy, fussy, or hard-to-satisfy cinophile on your list? Videoport is here to help! Videoport can special-order any film in print for a gift that’s sure to please. (And you get that free rental on your account, just for buying from Videoport!)

—Some themed ideas to get you started, whether you pick them up off the shelf or special-order to get just the right title. And remember, with each DVD purchase of $3.99* and up, you get a free rental!

Arrested Development: Give a whole season of the legendary dysfunctional-family sitcom along with “a whole thing of candy beans” from Jelly Belly! If you haven’t seen the series, this doesn’t make much sense, but if you have, this idea raises an eyebrow… at least.

Finding Nemo: Pixar’s heartwarming classic will please young and old alike, and so will the Swedish Fish and chocolate-caramel turtles you pick up to go along with it!

E.T.: The Extraterrestrial: Spielberg’s modern classic doesn’t need any sweetening, but how can you not pick up some packets of Reese’s Pieces to go with it?

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory: Willy Wonka and candy go together like Gene Wilder and a terrifying smile, so take your pick. I especially recommend the Jelly Belly Bean Boozled collection, where you spin the wheel and take your chances. Will you taste a Tutti Frutti or Stinky Socks? Lime or Lawn Clippings? Licorice or Skunk Spray?

Chocolat and Like Water for Chocolate: For a delicious double-feature, pick these two romantic dramas, wrap them up with a few bars of Lake Champlain’s exquisite fair-trade, small-batch chocolate, and expect the winter to warm up fast.

*fine print and so on: offer subject to change, like everything else in life.

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 Arrested Development (in Comedy). The strange fourth season of this brilliant comedy series finally comes out on DVD next Tuesday. It’s a bold failure of a season from all accounts, trying out a completely new format from its first three seasons. I can’t wait, frankly, especially as those first three seasons were one of the most adventurous, clever sitcoms in recent memory. The story of one of the loopiest, most larcenous and screwed up families in TV history, the Bluths, crooked land developers and eccentrically silly people. Jason Bateman is a revelation—before this show he was something of a laughingstock has-been, after it, he’s someone I would watch in almost anything. He’s a master of deadpan as Michael, the one sensible Bluth sibling, desperately trying to keep the family business afloat after father and CEO Jeffrey Tambor (also hilarious) is sent to prison for his various malfeasances. Everyone in the cast is brilliant, creating indelibly weird characters, all the while the show spins intricately woven half hour stories where plot, character, and dazzlingly clever editing leave you giddy. Honestly, a fourth season, no matter how offbeat, is a gift—the show was ever underwatched, quickly cancelled, and a cult pleasure. Coming back in the face of ridiculous odds is a present.

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 Intimacy (in Drama.) Watching Game Of Thrones (finally) has me thinking about the actors’ other movies, so here’s a great, sad little indie British drama starring Stephen Dillane (aka the icy, unlikable Stannis Baratheon on GOT), Kerry Fox, and the great, pudding-y character actor Timothy Spall [Topsy Turvy]. It’s the story of unhappy people Dillane and Fox who embark on a desperately passionate affair. Spall, as he was born to be, is the decent, boring husband. The film got some small infamy when it came out due to some fairly explicit sex—there is, rather shockingly for two respected actors, some brief and very unsimulated coupling at times. But it’s all of a piece with the remarkably affecting sadness of the two leads, whose one day a week liaisons are less about fleeting pleasure than a longing for escape they know they’ll never have. And Dillane, so cold and unsympathetic on Game Of Thrones, is deeply heartbreaking here. Along with Fox (An Angel At My Table), they bring the commonplace tragedy of their individual loneliness into stark relief.

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!          

>>> Emily S. Customer suggests An American Tail. Happy Hanukkah! Not enough family favorites make mention of the Festival of Lights, but one child-friendly tail — uh, I mean, tale — opens during Hanukkah, with the Mousekewitz celebrating modestly in their tiny home as Papa Mousekewitz bestows upon young Fievel his very own hat, which has been in the family for generations. Collaboratively produced in part by Steven Spielberg and legendary Disney animator Don Bluth (who also directed), An American Tail melds an age-appropriate adventure with a story of fortitude and the immigrant experience, making a holiday classic for generations.

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 writing for the VideoReport! Staff, customers, random internet weirdoes—all are welcome to send in a movie or TV review, best/worst-of list, or anything even tangentially movie-related! We’ll probably publish it, unless it’s patently insane! Send your reviews to denmn@hotmail.com or our Facebook page Videoort Jones. Insane, I say!

>>>For Sunday, Dennis suggests The Wire (in Mystery/Thriller). I’ve been rewatching this show lately, because why not? It’s the best show TV has ever produced. Yeah, I said it. This is the fourth time I’ve watched the series all the way through, all five seasons. Which might seem odd, as it’s also one of the most searing, insightful, and overall devastating TV shows of all time. But it’s so good that all the heavy drama—about the seemingly inevitable decay of Baltimore, Maryland—is paradoxically exhilarating to watch. There’s humor in there, too, but the pleasure truly comes from watching filmmakers, writers, and actors all doing the best work they’ve ever done (and may ever do.) The show’s so good that it also seems like some (white) people who watch it take an odd pride in doing so—like watching something so difficult and so thoughtful about the plight of the (mostly black) underclass in an American inner city actually amounts to doing something to help. Which it does not (we should all be volunteering at an underprivileged middle school), but I do maintain that anyone who

Do not mess with THIS Doctor.

Do not mess with THIS Doctor.

watches all five seasons of this series and comes out the other end unchanged has no soul. None at all.

 

New Releases this week at Videoport: The Maze Runner (The latest young adult fantasy novel turned into a movie sees a young guy in a dystopian society thrown into an all-hunky Lord Of The Flies situation, where everyone has to run their way through a huge, bobby-trappy maze for some reason. It’s the new Hunger Games! [Screams the studio ad people, desperately]), Doctor Who- season 8 (The age of Peter Capaldi’s stern, glowery Doctor begins! Capaldi [as anyone who has ever seen the great BBC series The Thick Of It knows] a magnetic presence, and his Doctor’s an interesting change of pace from the cutie-pie Doctors we’ve had for a while), The Skeleton Twins (Former SNL pals Bill Hader and Kristin Wiig team up for indie drama goodness in this well-reviewed film about a pair of troubled estranged siblings who, after both escaping separate near-death experiences on the same day, try to mend their relationship), This Is Where I Leave You (When the patriarch of a scattered, estranged family dies, he leaves a stipulation that, in order to claim their inheritances, everyone has to hang out at the family home for one last time. Outstanding cast in this one includes the likes of: Tina Fey, Jason Bateman, Adam Driver, Rose Byrne, Connie Britton, Tiothy Olyphant, Jane Fonda, Dax Shepard, Kathryn Hahn, Ben Schwartz, Abigail Spencer, and on and on), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (What happens when Hollywood explosion fetishist Michael Bay gets his money-grubby producer’s mitts on your childhood? Why, he makes a slick, explode-y GCI-laden version of the once-mighty Turtles! Everyone hated it, but you’ll be forced to watch it in a fugue state of nostalgia), Wrinkles (Martin Sheen, Matthew Modine, and George Coe lend their voices to the English-language version of this acclaimed Spanish animated film about a trio of cantankerous elderly dudes who decide to rebel against the dehumanizing rules of their retirement home. {And, yes, the original Spanish version is on here too—just push that “languages” button on your DVD remote. No, that one. That one.), Premature (Sort of a semen-centric Groundhog Day, this comedy sees a nerdy high schooler forced to relive the same day over and over as soon as he, well, ejaculates while on an improbable date with the school hot girl. The very funny Alan Tudyk [Firefly] is in there, so that’s…something. Rent it for you grandma!), Paris-Manhattan (Breezy French romantic comedy about a sweet Woody Allen-obsessed woman looking for a romance commensurate with her movie-informed ideals), Under The Dome- season 2 (The residents of a small Maine town are still trapped under a freaking dome! Like, a transparent, impenetrable dome! WTF?! Well, since Stephen King wrote this, you’re going to want to rent it, even if it’s not really very good at all! You, as a Mainer, are legally obligated to do that!), Magic In The Moonlight (Speaking of Woody Allen, here’s his newest [his 40th? 43rd?—There are a lot of ‘em, is what I’m saying]. This time, the Woody stand-in is Colin Firth, a 1920s stage magician who sets out to debunk the claims of a pretty mind-reader [Emma Stone]. They may fall in love—just a guess), Stonehearst Asylum (Director Brad Anderson has one outstanding horror film to his credit [2001’s Session 9], which was set in an asylum. So here’s hoping it’s a good sign that he’s gone back to the booby-hatch for this dark thriller about a young psychiatrist who falls in love with a fellow staff member once he goes to work at a 19th century hospital. Little does he know, things are not what they seem—hopefully in a really creepy way. Great cast, including: Ben Kingsley, David Thewlis, Michael Caine, Jim Sturgess, Brendan Gleason, Sinead Cusack, and Kate Beckinsale), The Hero Of Color City (Super cheap-looking animated kids movie featuring the presumably well-compensated voices of Christina Ricci, Craig Ferguson, Sean Astin, Wayne Brady, and the like; Oh, it’s about heroic crayons, by the way—should be noisy enough to kep your kids quiet for 77 minutes anyway)

New Arrivals this week at Videoport: Bert Rigby, You’re A Fool (An obscure, cult musical from the 80s? You’re welcome! A one-man showcase for the multi-talented Robert Lindsay [G.B.H.], this film, directed by Carl Reiner of all people, follows coal miner Rigby as he, during a strike, decides to follow his dreams of show-biz stardom, heading to the stage and then all the way to Hollywood, all the while losing sight of his loving, pregnant wife).

New Arrivals on Blu-Ray This Week At Videoport: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Maze Runner, This Is Where I Leave You, Magic In The Moonlight

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Published in: on December 16, 2014 at 9:54 pm  Leave a Comment  
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