Volume CDXCI- Portland Vice: The Movie
For the Week of 1/13/15
Videoport gives you a free movie every single day. There is no conceivable downside to that that we can see.
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 suggests Archer (in Animation.) The new season of Archer is out! Yes, I’m excited, as this animated spy spoof (featuring the best voice cast on TV), is one of the most consistently hilarious series on TV as well. The cast is headed by the great H. Jon Benjamin, who is one of the best actors on TV that you’ve never heard of. Sure, he pops up as his live action self in a guest spot here and there, but Benjamin’s an animation all-star for his work on shows like Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist and Home Movies (where he created two of my favorite animated characters of all time). Benjamin’s stock-in-trade is a boorish, insecure weirdo, which might seem a bad fit for the likes of series lead Sterling Archer, one of the best superspies in the world. Except that the signature Benjamin cluelessness and bluster is pitch perfect for the show’s conception of super-spy as douche-y super-jock. (Also super-high-functioning alcoholic, super-womanizing misogynist, and super-quip-and-catchphrase machine.) This’d be a good matchup with the hilarious French OSS 117 films, where Oscar winner Jean Dujardin performs the same function. But what really sets Archer apart is the snappy writing of series creator Adam Reed (Sealab 2021), who has a surgical way with a pause, a catchphrase, and a laugh-line, and the stellar supporting cast. There’s Aisha Tyler as agent Lana Kane, whose hyper-competence doesn’t extent to her reluctant attraction to Archer, Jessica Walter, basically playing ISIS agency head Mallory Archer (Sterling’s mom) as Arrested Development’s Lucille Bluth with a license to kill, Arrested Development’s Judy Greer as the patently insane secretary Carol/Cheryl Tunt, Lucky Yates as the resident mad scientist/possible Hitler clone Krieger, and everyman all-timer Chris Parnell as agency comptroller/wannabe field agent Cyril Figgis. And then there’s Pam! Played by Amber Nash, and introduced as nothing more than the office’s plus-sized HR rep (whose job is basically just dealing with sexual harassment claims against Archer), Pam Poovey has become one of the most consistently hilarious, and outrageously unique female characters anywhere. Gloriously gross yet gleefully sexual—I just love me some Pam. Anyway, after a truly solid fourth season, Adam Reed announced that he was—bored. And so he blew Archer up. Literally—the ISIS headquarters is raided at the start of season 5 by—the FBI. See, Mallory hadn’t ever really cleared all the super-destructive spy stuff with the government so, after copping a deal to avoid prosecution, the ISIS gang turns into cocaine dealers because they still have a huge stash of coke from a mission and because their collective lifestyle requires a ton o’ cash to maintain. It’s a bold move, with Reed changing the direction of his still-successful show simply because he didn’t want to repeat the same old stories. And it pays of huge, with the new adventures allowing the gang to ply their comic trade in new ways. (Plus, Pam eats an inhuman amount of cocaine throughout—which just makes her that much funnier.) You should really be watching this show, people.
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 suggests some Old Dark House fun! Winter is the perfect time to hunker down in your home, doors and windows sealed against the icy winds, and marathon some movies. And as long as you’re bundled up inside, why not binge on films featuring a motley group gathered together in a old house? In Clue, famously based on the board game and theatrically released with three different endings, six guests (Madeleine Kahn, Eileen Brannan, Lesley Ann Warren, Martin Mull, Christopher Lloyd, Michael McKean) and a butler (Tim Curry) convene one dark and rainy night to the mysterious Mr. Boddy’s house, where murders pile up like… well, like corpses. Clue owes a debt to Murder by Death, which spoofs famous film detectives (David Niven and Maggie Smith as Dick and Dora Charleston, James Coco as Belgian detective Milo Perrier, Peter Sellers in costumey Orientalist garb as Charlie-Chan simulacrum Sidney Wang, Elsa Lanchester as doughty spinster Miss Marbles, and Peter Falk as tough-talking private dick Sam Diamond) in a farcical mystery. Written by Neil Simon, it’s an unapologetically silly movie that that is sadly tainted by equally unapologetic racism. William Castle’s House on Haunted Hill stars Vincent Price as the eccentric millionaire host who’s invited five guests to spend the night in a reputed haunted house, with those who remain the full night to receive $10,000 reward. The Rocky Horror Picture Show, that midnight movie staple, plays on the tropes of mid-century horror and haunted-house films. When prim and timid protagonists Brad and Janet (Barry Bostwick, Susan Sarandon) break down on a lonely road, they turn to the looming mansion nearby, hoping to call for help. The master of the manor (Tim Curry! always Tim Curry! Who wouldn’t want to be stuck in an isolated old house with Tim Curry?) is occupied with his guests and his… experiment… but he’s not too busy to greet them enthusiastically. Very enthusiastically. Very very enthusiastically.
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 taking advantage of our daily deals to take a chance, people! We’re not kidding with all this propaganda about how Videoport gives you a free movie every single day. (You’re welcome.) But instead of taking something you’ve already seen, or something with that guy who makes those funny faces who you sort of liked that one time, why not just take a chance and get something—you’ve never seen before!! Don’t be a-sceered—a movie can’t hurt you and if you decide your random choice is lame, then what, exactly, have you lost? Nothing, that’s what. And, hey, who knows—you might just take home something that intrigues you, thrills you, titillates you, pisses you off, or even—changes your life!! (It can happen—my life has been changed by movies about two dozen times by now. Plus, of course, our friendly and almost-too-knowledgeable staff think it’s tons o’ fun to recommend stuff to you. C’mon…take a chance! It’s free, people!
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 staying in that Old Dark House. For a more serious take on the Old Dark House genre, turn to The Haunting, based on the Shirley Jackson novel The Haunting of Hill House (and not to be confused with The House on Haunted Hill). This chilling black-and-white film from Robert Wise uses every inch of the frame to infuse anxiety and occasional spurts of terror into the tale of a few guests (Julie Haris, Claire Bloom, and Russ Tamblyn as the ne’er-do-well heir to the house) gathered for psychic research in the ill-conceived, ill-lit, crooked old house on the hill. In Ten Little Indians/And Then There Were None (take your pick, we’ve got ‘em both), based on the novel by Agatha Christie, ten strangers are invited to an isolated house on an island, discovering after they arrive that they’ve all been enticed under wildly varying — and uniformly false — pretenses. In what was (at the time of publication) a daringly innovative twist, a gramophone record reveals the real reason they’ve all been gathered together in this lonely outpost.
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, Emily S. Customer says you can’t get out of that Old Dark House! Closely related to the Old Dark House trope, with its oft-implied “I suppose you’re all wondering why I’ve gathered you here,” is the ontological mystery genre, a.k.a., Where Are We Going And Why Am I In This Handbasket? Several people come to consciousness in an isolated location, puzzling over how they got there and how to escape. Cube, from director Vincenzo Natali (Splice), is the modern ur-example of this mystery, following a gaggle of strangers who bicker and toil their way through a vast, almost featureless series of rooms connected by small portals, trying to figure out how — and more importantly, why — they’ve been imprisoned there. Neo-noir sci-fi Dark City tells the tale of John Murdoch (Rufus Sewall), an amnesiac who cannot remember who is is, where he is, or why — and especially not whether he’s committed the murder he’s suspected of. Angel and Buffy the Vampire Slayer each played on this idea by showing their familiar cast of characters stripped of their memories, guessing at their identities, their histories, and their relationships as they battle the forces (real in one case, imagined in another) besieging them.
New Releases this week at Videoport: Gone Girl (David Fincher directs this wildly popular adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s thriller about a constitutionally unlikeable husband [perfectly cast Ben Affleck] who becomes the center of a media sh*tstorm after his wife goes missing. Twists, turns, and a good supporting cast [Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, Scoot McNairy, Carrie Coon, a surprisingly effective Tyler Perry] make for one of the most anticipated thrillers of the year), Boardwalk Empire- season 5 (Steve Buscemi returns as Prohibition-era Atlantic City gangster Nucky Thompson in this expensively-mounted, increasingly impressive HBO series. Especially improved as it apparently allows costars Jeffrey Wright and Michael K. Williams [Omar from The Wire to you] a real chance to show their stuff), A Walk Among The Tombstones (Liam Neeson takes time out from his lucrative career track of waiting until one of his loved ones is messed with and then going all violent bananas on bad guys to help out a drug dealer after his wife is killed and going all violent bananas on bad guys. Based on a series of Mystery novels featuring a violence-bananas ex-cop awesomely named Matt Scudder, and featuring that dreamy Matthew from Downton Abbey—should be a lot of crossover appeal there), Love Is Strange (Huge demand from the Videoport faithful for this indie dram comedy starring John Lithgow and Alfred Molina as a long-time gay couple whose impending marriage gets Molina fired from his teaching job [because the world is truly awful], forcing them to live apart while they look for a way forward), The Two Faces Of January (Viggo Mortensen, Kirsten Dunst and Oscar Isaac star in this conman thriller, an adaptation of a novel by the great Patricia Highsmith, sees a husband and wife grifter team forced to head on the lam from their Athens grifting grounds with a hunky stranger in tow when a Greek cop turns up dead), House Of Lies- season 3 (Don Cheadle, Kristen Bell, and Ben Schwartz continue to class up this Showtime series about a company that specializes in doing dirty tricks for their wealthy, often evil clients. It’s a comedy!), Middle Of Nowhere (Acclaimed indie drama about a woman forced to change her life plans after her husband is sentenced to eight years in prison. Starring Emayatzy Corinealdi, Omari Hardwick, and Selma’s David Oyelowo), Men, Women, and Children (Director Jason Reitman [Juno, Up In The Air] returns with this dramedy about a group of parents and children discovering that insidious Internet! There’s porn on there and stuff! Good cast includes: Judy Greer, Adam Sandler, Emma Thompson, Dean Norris, Rosemarie DeWitt, David Denman), Wetlands (Groooossss!! Sorry—this German film, about a young woman whose troubling homelife is at the root of her rather—gushy?—habits with regards to sex and her own body has gotten a lot of praise. From people with very strong stomachs), Young Ones (In a water-challenged near-future America, a group of survivors forced to come up with some seriously morally-questionable means to keep on living and drinking things. Interesting cast includes Michael Shannon, Elle Fanning, Nicholas Hoult, and Kodi Smit-McPhee),The Bridge- season 2 (Demian Bichir and Diane Kruger return as a pair of mismatched cops—one Mexican, one American—continuing to track down the person responsible for leaving bodies in cross-jurisdictional territory.), Supermensch: The Legend Of Shep Gordon (Mike Myers of Wayne’s World fame directs his first movie, a documentary portrait of legendary Hollywood insider and cool guy Gordon), About Alex (Some cool indie actors [Aubrey Plaza, Max Greenfield, Jason Ritter] star in this indie about a group of twentysomething friends reunite for an awkward weekend of drinking and sleeping with each other after one of them attempts suicide ), The Houses October Built (Some haunted house thrill seekers meet their fright-masked match when they stumble upon a carnival spook house that is not so much into pretending to eviscerate people), Bird People (An American businessman in Paris [The Good Wife’s Josh Charles] abruptly leaves his job and wife and enters into an enigmatic relationship with the maid in his hotel; Great reviews promise an amazing twist—so anyone spoiling this film can legally be shunned by all of Portland for the rest of time), Finding Fela (Documentary about legendary musician and actor Fela Kuti), The Identical (A weird, Jesus-y Elvis parable about the King’s stillborn twin brother—who lives! And becomes a rock star who looks just like Elvis! And it’s somehow about Israel in some way? And Ray Liotta’s in there somewhere?), Tyrant- season 1 (In this FX series, the Americanized pediatrician son of a Middle Eastern dictator goes home after his father’s death and gets embroiled in the region’s politics and intrigue; if you’re good, Videoport’s Dennis will start posting his reviews of each episode—they might not make you want to watch it—or maybe they’ll make you want to watch it even more.), Bird People (An American businessman in Paris [The Good Wife’s Josh Charles] abruptly leaves his job and wife and enters into an enigmatic relationship with the maid in his hotel; Great reviews promise an amazing twist—so anyone spoiling this film can legally be shunned by all of Portland for the rest of time)
New Arrivals At Videoport This Week: CB4 (Chris Rock stared in and cowrote this 1994 faux rap-umentary about the titular rap group whose members turn out to be slightly different than their public images)