Volume CDLXXXIX- A Happy Indie Video Store New Year!
For the Week of 12/30/14
Videoport gives you a free movie every single day. And has every day since 1987, which means we’ve given away—a buttload of movies. (An estimate—we’re not math people.)
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 the monthly list of movies Netfl*x is purging from its roster of films it thinks you should be able to watch. You know Netfl*x does this, right? They just take movies away from you. And there’s no reason for them to do it, other than that the corporation simply doesn’t care about movies. Or you. (Oh and this month, they really have it in for Woody Allen, for some reason.) Needless to say, you can get all of these movies at Videoport—and always will. Videoport cares about movies. And you.
Here’s the list:
12 Angry Men (1957)
A Mighty Heart (2007)
A River Runs Through It (1992)
Anatomy of a Murder (1959)
Bad Boys (1995)
Beethoven’s 2nd (1993)
Beverly Hills Cop (1984)
Big Trouble in Little China (1986)
Brothers & Sisters, Seasons 1–5
Boyz n the Hood (1991)
Can’t Buy Me Love (1987)
Children of a Lesser God (1986)
Duck Soup (1933)
Far and Away (1992)
From Here to Eternity (1953)
Girls Just Want to Have Fun (1985)
The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967)
Happy Gilmore (1996)
Hotel Rwanda (2004)
Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959)
Kiss the Girls (1997)
Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)
The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)
Love Actually (2003)
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
My Girl (1991)
Paths of Glory (1957)
The Parallax View (1974)
Red Dawn (1984)
Rock ‘n’ Roll High School (1979)
Rocky I, II, III, IV, V
Roman Holiday (1953)
Scary Movie 2 (2001)
Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993)
The Brady Bunch Movie (1995)
The Breakfast Club (1985)
The Chronicles of Riddick (2004)
The Company Men (2010)
The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
The Frighteners (1996)
The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
The Longest Yard (1974)
The Mighty Ducks (1992)
The Original Kings of Comedy (2000)
The Parent Trap (1998)
The Truman Show (1998)
Turner and Hooch (1989)
The Usual Suspects (1995)
The Wedding Planner (2001)
You’ve Got Mail (1998)
Woody Allen Movies
Shadows and Fog (1991)
Radio Days (1987)
A Midsummer’s Night Sex Comedy (1982)
Love and Death (1975)
Stardust Memories (1980)
The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985)
Netflix—screw those guys.
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 Mountains Of The Moon (in Action/Adventure). Since I’ve been (finally) catching up on Game Of Thrones (quiet you—I’ve been busy), I continue to play “hey, it’s that guy/gal!” as the approximately five thousand characters are introduced and recommend some earlier movies they were in before all this Game Of Thrones-mania earned them a comfy lifetime of appearance fees at ComiCon. This week, it’s Iain Glen, who plays Ser Jorah Mormont, the sunburnt, touchingly loyal retainer to Daenerys Targaryen, aka the Khaleesi, last in her family’s royal line, a pale, innocent girl wed by her spineless brother to the truly impressive barbarian horselord Khal Drogo. (See what I mean about the 5000 characters?) Anyway, Mormont, a disgraced former knight in service to Drogo’s people, the Klingon-like Dothraki, takes it upon himself to guide and protect the poor, frightened girl as she becomes queen, and then something even more (once she claims her birthright—a trio of the last dragons in the world.) Mormont’s devotion to his charge—and then queen—is quietly touching. While Mormont’s a troubled character, and, like everyone else on the show, his various loyalties make him walk a fine edge of morality, but Glen makes Mormont’s clear-eyed love for the strangle young girl who’d be queen as close to pure as it gets. It put me in mind of the first time I spotted Glen, plying a different sort of adventure in the sweeping would-be epic Mountains Of The Moon. The true life tale of the pair of 19th century adventurers/cartographers who set out into the unexplored (by white guys) center of Africa in search of the source of the Nile, the film reminds me of nothing more than the great rip-roaring adventure The Man Who Would Be King. Both colonialist tales of white dudes conquering the dark continent, but both layered with a knowing self-satire, with Mountains having the benefit on being based on the deeds of two very interesting people. Patrick Bergin (in the one performance of his career that supports his claim to leading man status) plays the infamous Sir Richard Burton, the daredevil. Drinking, womanizing glove-trotter whose prodigious achievements in cultural exploration were poo-poohed by the classist gargoyles of the Royal Geographical society. Enter John Hanning Speke (Glen), a more acceptably bookish cartographer who joined with the reluctant Burton on a joint expedition, only to forge a touchingly manly bond with his more experienced comrade. The professional and personal jealousies of Speke (abetted by those stuffy gargoyles), lead Speke to break with his friend, and Glen’s torment at his actions is sad and moving, Glen’s delicate, pale features registering his dilemma with subtly heartbreaking depth. A legendary theater actor in his own right now, Glen, through both of these characters, has forged an unlikely place in adventure film/TV—the noble, loyal man whose divided loyalties bring him nothing but pain. Bonus love for Mountains costars Fiona Shaw (in a fiery, Streep-ian turn as the liberated woman who falls for—and eventually marries—Burton, and the great Delroy Lindo (in one of his earliest roles) as the loyal, brave native guide whose allegiance to Burton has unexpected consequences.
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 her favorite TV series of 2014, available for rental here at Videoport! In no particular order: Hannibal. Ending its second season in 2014, Bryan Fuller’s Hannibal mixes lush visuals with thrilling, suspenseful plotting and complex, troubling psychological studies — and not only of its titular villain. Everyone in this tale is culpable on some level, guilty of some deadly deception, whether they’re fooling their friends, fooling their colleagues, or fooling themselves. Hannibal is like nothing else on TV. It’s breathtaking. Mad Men. Gearing up for its final half-season (beginning in spring 2015), Mad Men continues its inimitable drama, telling individual stories in a distinctive time frame that feel both universal and timeless. Originally, it appeared to be the tale of Don Draper, a hard-drinking, hard-loving, no-nonsense advertising genius. But Mad Men has gradually, masterfully revealed itself to be more: it’s the story of Don Draper, yes, and of the man he is underneath his brittle exterior. But it’s also the story of Peggy Olson, a woman bristling under the strictures of sexism as she climbs the ladder in a male-dominated industry. And of Joan Harris, a woman who sees more and more of the limits of the patriarchial bargain as she ages and rises through the ranks herself. And of Betty Draper, a woman who maybe should never have become a mother but who never thought of an alternative… because no one ever expected her to. And of Sally Draper, a girl with a hostile, confused mother and a sad, absent father, muddling her way to adulthood as best she can. You can rent the entire series, from the pilot to the first half of its final season, at Videoport. Fargo. Fargo and Hannibal have undercut everything I thought I knew about TV. When I first heard Hannibal was coming to television, I cringed and thought “… well, it’s Bryan Fuller, so maybe,” only to be floored by its rich complexity. I can’t even pretend I had an inkling of Fargo being anything but a mess — but it quickly became one of my favorite shows of the season. It’s no surprise to see affecting performances from Tom Hanks, Billy Bob Thornton, or Keith Carradine, but Alison Tolman was a revelation as Molly Solverson, stand-in for Marge Gunderson of the original film, but never a carbon copy. Broad City. Springboarding off Abbi Jacobson and Illana Glazer’s web series and produced by Amy Poehler, Broad City captures female friendship in a rare, bright burst of mingled honesty and fantasy. Abbi and Illana love each other, get frustrated with each other, bare their souls to each other as no other television characters I can recall, and they give each other terrible advice and unfailing support as all my friends and I did in our twenties. Rick & Morty. An animated series from Adult Swim seems an unlikely pick to top Best Of lists around the web, but Rick & Morty is doing just that — and I’m no exception. Rick & Morty is perhaps the most-quoted series chez nous, an impressive achievement for a show that’s only been around for eleven episodes. And that’s the crux of it: Rick & Morty feels deeper, more rounded, more complete than it has any business feeling. From its very first episode, the show feels like it’s had a longer existence, a wider world, a bigger backstory. It doesn’t coddle you with establishing the story from outside; it jumps right in, assuming you’ll keep up. And you will, mostly.
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 The Wire (in Mystery/Thriller). Let’s talk about The Wire. Time and time again, we at The VideoReport have hailed this five-season HBO series, which resets each season in a new setting in Baltimore, as arguably the pinnacle of television greatness. It has a sweep and depth that few novels achieve, let alone TV shows. And there’s a reason that “the Dickensian aspect” became both a title of a S5 episode and something of an in-joke among those associated with The Wire. But there’s a reason people are talking about The Wire right now, and it isn’t all about the stories. So let’s talk about The Wire in high-definition widescreen. When the show was first produced, Robert Colesberry, co-creator along with David Simon (and credited by Simon as the artist who contributed most meaningfully both to the look of the series and to Simon’s current standing as an auteur), petitioned for widescreen. But it was a no-go. So he framed the series to accommodate the needs of HBO’s restraints, to accommodate a TV set. As David Simon puts it in a blog post extolling the cinematic genius of his co-creator, “Because we knew the show would be broadcast in 4:3, Bob chose to maximize the storytelling within that construct.” It’s true that the filming allowed for later reconstruction of the series in widescreen. The information is there. But the intent isn’t. This show, so filmic in intent, isn’t filmic in aspect ratio, and that’s a choice on the part of its creators and directors. Altering the width changes the framing of each shot, including information that they intentionally excluded. It’s possible. Heck, it’s happening. But it isn’t necessary desirable. David Simon and Robert Colesberry, along with their directors, intended for you to see this show in 4:3. And that’s how I prefer to watch it.
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!
>>> It’s a free kids movie! There are a lot to choose from! For free!
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, Write for the VideoReport! Send ‘em to email@example.com or our Facebook page Videoport Jones.
New Releases this week at Videoport: Tusk (on one of his pot-giggly podcasts, someone said Kevin Smith should make a horror movie about a guy who gets turned into a walrus by a mad scientist. Guess what? Weed makes you very suggestible! Here, Justin Long is the unfortunate walrus-man, the great movie weirdo Michael Parks is the scientist! You will believe a man can…um, have tusks!), The Equalizer (Now, I love Denzel Washington. I mean, we’re all legally obligated to love Denzel—but there comes a point when his annual “action movie that’s slightly beneath him” is just “the new Denzel Washington movie.” And while this one—he’s a mild-mannered store worker who used to be a decidedly non mild-mannered secret agent guy who goes back to his violent ways in order to do violent things, etc—is supposed to actually be not bad, making a movie version of a 1980s TV show that no one remembers (starring some old white dude) doesn’t seem like the flick to buck the yearly Washington trend), Shameless- season 4 (The seriocomic adventures of the white-trashiest family on cable, this Showtime series stars William H. Macy as the perpetually drunken, shiftless patriarch of a large family of kids whose adeptness at all manner of rascally behavior is perhaps an inherited trait; costarring Emily Rossum—who’s pretty cool), Banshee- season 2 (Some of you are quite fond of this super-violent, darkly comic Showtime series about a conman [played by the appropriately named Lucas Hood] who impersonates a murdered small town sheriff and finds himself embroiled in one of those tangled webs of sexy, violent intrigue that make for good cable series), Dominion- season 1 (Remember that middling horror movie Legion? The one about all the angels from Heaven going bananas and deciding to murder humanity and take the joint over? Well it exists, and this Syfy series continues the tale, with the angels [continuing to not act very angel-y] having taken the world over and fighting a war with all of the rest of us in the middle. It does star the great Anthony Stewart Head [that’s Giles from Buffy The Vampire Slayer to you]), Two Bit Waltz (It’s good to have famous parents—witness this indie dramedy from Clara Mamet, daughter of playwright/screenwriter, f-bomb aficionado David Mamet, and actress Rebecca Pidgeon [along with some other people named Mamet by some strange coincidence. William H. Macy is in there, too—it’s a Wes Anderson-like story of an eccentric family, and it’s supposed to be pretty good, for all the nepotism), Longmire- season 2 (Robert Taylor and Battlestar Galactica’s Katee Sackhoff star in this pretty good modern-day Western about an again Wyoming sheriff solving crimes on the range), Elsa & Fred (Old-time movie stars Shirley MacLaine and Christopher Plummer find romance in late, twinkly life in this mature romance), A Good Marriage (Stephen King alert! Yup, Maine’s very own horror guru penned the screenplay [based on his short story] for this suspense thriller deal starring the great Joan Allen as a happy wife who starts to suspect that her seemingly normal hubby [Anthony LaPaglia] may be one of those secret serial killer fellows they make Lifetime original movies about).