Volume CDXCII- Synecdoche, Portland
For the Week of 1/20/15
Videoport gives you a free movie every single day. Oh, and we’re local, independent, and care about movies and our customers. But mainly it’s about the free movie thing.
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!
.>>> Rent the big Academy Award Nominees at Videoport!
These are the ones that are available:
Best Picture: Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Best Supporting Actor: Boyhood (Ethan Hawke)
Best Actress: Gone Girl (Rosamund Pike)
Supporting Actress: Boyhood (Patricia Arquette)
Animated Feature: How To Train Your Dragon 2
Best Director: Boyhood (Richard Linklater), The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson)
Best Documentary: Finding Vivian Maier
Best Foreign Language Film: Ida
OR howsabout the Golden Globe Nominees!
Best Picture—Drama: Boyhood (winner),
Best Actress—Drama: Gone Girl (Rosamund Pike)
Best Picture—Comedy or Musical: Pride, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Best Actress—Musical or Comedy: The Hundred Foot Journey (Helen Mirren)
Best Actor—Musical or Comedy: The Grand Budapest Hotel (Ralph Fiennes)
Best Animated Film: The Lego Movie, How To Train Your Dragon 2 (winner)
Best Foreign Language Film: Ida
Best Supporting Actress: Boyhood (Patricia Arquette—winner)
Best Supporting Actor: Boyhood (Ethan Hawke)
Best Director: Boyhood (Richard Linklater—winner), Gone Girl (David Fincher), The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson)
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 his Joss Whedon fanboy shelf (in the Staff Picks section). Sure, I’m too old to be a fanboy. I was too old to become the world’s biggest fan of a show called Buffy The Vampire Slayer, too, but here I am, so we’ll all just deal with it. Whedon is the creator of the following. They are all incredibly entertaining, surprisingly deep, and way smarter than their genres may indicate to people with prejudices against such things. First, there’s Buffy The Vampire Slayer*, which was Whedon’s first introduction to the viewing public. A small percentage of the public (he never gets good ratings) but still. It’s Whedon’s mission statement—the blonde girl in the horror movie who usually gets killed in the dark alley is, instead, the newest in a long line of monster killers—and the monsters in the alley are the ones in trouble. Don’t let the title (or the admittedly shaky first season) scare you off—this is an outstanding show, one that combines horror, comedy, and coming-of-age high school drama in equal, and equally satisfying measure. Outstanding TV. And then there’s Angel, the Buffy spinoff that become Buffy’s equal—sometimes its better. Buffy’s beau—a vampire cursed with a soul—sets out as an unlicensed private dick in Los Angeles. High adventure and the signature Whedon wit and penchant for heartbreaking drama. Again—outstanding TV. Firefly is next—and the best thing that Wehdon’s done. Which of course means that no one watched this sci-fi series and it was cancelled after like 14 episodes—at least he got the gang back together for the movie Serenity. Which no one watched. I hate you people. Make it up to me, and yourselves I guess, by watching this show—a sci-fi series unlike any other you can think of. Perfect television—I’ve watched the brief run of this show about 20 times. Dollhouse wasn’t Whedon’s finest TV outing, with a rough start and two short seasons. But boy howdy did it pick up, eventually broadening its initial concept (secret government agency uses rewritable human “dolls” to fulfill client’s nefarious desires) to become something apocalyptic, and stunningly imaginative. Cabin In The Woods was written by Whedon and directed by his Buffy pal Drew Goddard, and it is every horror fan’s bloody dream, a smart deconstruction of the horror genre that is also a kickass horror movie. I love this movie. Dr. Horrible’s Singalong Blog is a musical about a sensitive would-be supervillain (everyone’s pal Neil Patrick Harris) whose pursuit of world domination pales next to his love for a shy do-gooder and runs headfirst into his nemesis, the meathead superhero Captain Hammer (Firefly’s Nathan Fillion). Whedon’s a huge musical fan (see Buffy season 6, disc 2 for the superlative Buffy musical episode), and this is one of the best musicals I’ve ever seen. (Sure, I hate musicals, but that only proves how great this is.) The Avengers was where Whedon conquered the world. Wrapping all Marvel’s superhero mythologies together in this one blockbuster was entrusted to a cult TV director who’d never really been able to attract an audience—and I don’t have to tell you how well that went. All the money, all the critical acclaim—Joss now has all the power. Which makes the world a better damn place as far as I can see. (He went on to create the TV show Agents Of Shield, spinning off from The Avengers, too.) Much Ado About Nothing was the tiny-budget Shakespeare adaptation Whedon made while in post-production on The Avengers. And it’s great. I’m a Shakespeare geek as well as a Whedon geek, and this tiny movie (made at Whedon’s house and starring friends from his various TV shows) is as good as the lauded Kenneth Branagh/Emma Thompson version, with a stunning turn from Angel’s Amy Acker as Beatrice. Whedon used to have drunken Shakespeare readings with his actors at that same house—this is as warm and intimate as those evenings must have been. Oh, and Whedon wrote the original Toy Story, too, just in case you needed more reason to love him. Get renting, people. This guy’s got a lot to offer you.
*Oh, and here’s an incredibly cool story about Anthony Head, who played Buffy’s British watcher/helper/father figure on Buffy The Vampire Slayer. If you need one cool story to put you over the top, this is it. Outstanding, this guy.
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! >>> April suggests a double feature of all-lady rock band movies. There’s quite a few to choose from but I’ve picked two of my favorites. Linda Linda Linda (in Made in Japan) is an excellent Japanese film about a group of high school girls who have three days to prepare songs for their school’s rock concert. Unfortunately their lead singer quits, so they coerce Korean exchange student Son to join them, even though her Japanese isn’t great. It’s a fun coming of age drama with cool music originally by the Japanese punk band The Blue Hearts. Bandits (in Foreign Language) goes in a very different direction than Linda Linda Linda; it’s more of a prison break road movie but with rock & roll thrown in. Four women in a German prison form a band, but on the way to a performance they hear one of their songs on the radio and decide to escape. Along the way they become famous but they can’t run forever. Listen, it’s not a great movie, but I enjoy how outrageous and funny it is and it doesn’t hurt that star Jasmin Tabatabai wrote or co-wrote most of the songs because they’re great.
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 Ultraviolet (in Sci Fi/Fantasy). When Det. Sgt. Michael Colefield’s best friend disappears hours before his wedding day dawns, what could be simple cold feet turns out to be so much more. Tracking his missing friend leads Colefield (Jack Davenport, Coupling, Smash, Pirates of the Caribbean) to a covert team policing squad (including Idris Elba and Susannah Harker) who specialize the threat of “Code Fives” preying on the population of London. This stylish, stylized six-episode thriller never utters the word “vampire,” and delivers some neat tricks and intriguing ideas along with its sang froid.
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, April suggests The Mighty Boosh (in British comedy) Do you love absurd surreal comedy? Then you might like The Mighty Boosh, a bizarre yet perfectly normal comedy series from Noel Fielding (The IT Crowd) and Julian Barrett (A Field in England). Series one starts off in a zoo where Vince (Fielding) and Howard (Barrett) are zookeepers. There aren’t many animals in this zoo and most of the time Vince and Howard end up doing outrageous things like fighting a kangaroo, dressing up like a panda, or joining a band called Kraftwerk Orange. I told you it’s bizarre, but funny! Series two is equally strange although they’re no longer at the zoo but hanging out in the apartment above Naboo the Shaman’s shop. There they search for “the new sound”, hang out with goth girls, and discover the legend of Old Gregg, a part-fish part-woman/man creature. Series three takes place in Naboo’s shop where Vince and Howard work. It gets even weirder as Vince becomes infected with a Jazz virus, Vince and Howard’s doubles challenge them to a crimp off, and there is a crack fox. Yes. Watch it.
>>>For Sunday, Emily S. Customer suggests The Fall—season 1 (in Mystery/Thriller). As Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson, called in from The Met to head Belfast’s investigation into a string of murders, Gillian Anderson brings an incomparable cool polish to this smart, stylish procedural. Gibson is ferociously intelligent, deliberate, and uncompromising. The series is both a nailbiter of a thriller and a thoughtful commentary on the tropes too often invoked in serial-killer stories, making for a taut first season that never discounts the humanity of all its characters.
New Releases this week at Videoport: Lucy (Even though that whole “people only use 10 per cent of their brains” thing is pure onsense [please Google it before you argue with me], but this action flick from action flick master Luc Besson [The Professional] is supposed to be a ton o’ fun. In it, Scarlet Johansson as a test subject whose —tee hee—10 per cent brain is unlocked, letting her use the 90 per cent of the human brain that we all use every day, only she gets all the superpowers that come with embodying an old wives’ tale. Morgan Freeman is on hand to intone spooky scientific stuff. So go ahead and use your whole brain and rent this one. Well, maybe not your whole brain…), The Boxtrolls (A young orphan boy raised by the titular, um, boxtrolls—which are trolls with box bodies, or something?—tries to save his grubby weirdo pals from an evil exterminator in this odd, little animated movie that’s actually supposed to be pretty good. Ben Kingsley and Jared Harris are in there, doing voices.), The Drop (In his last role, James Gandolfini plays a bar owner and low-level gangster who enlists younger brother Tom Hardy to help him out of a jam with the mob. A gritty goodbye to one of the best actors around.), Annabelle (Remember that movie The Conjuring? Well, there was a spooky doll in there somewhere—and here’s her own horror movie. Killer dolly!!!), Rudderless (Everybody loves William H. Macy, so everyone should rent his directorial debut, an indie drama about a grieving father who finds a box full of his dead son’s music and lyrics and, trying to understand the boy, forms a band to play his kid’s music. Starring the always-interesting Billy Crudup and Antonin Yelchin), The Zero Theorem (Terry Gilliam [Brazil, 12 Monkeys] is back, returning to the dystopian sci-fi that is his bread-and-butter, this time starring Christoph Waltz as a computer hacker whose inquiries into human existence run afoul of the shadowy totalitarian government called Management ), Coherence (Good-looking thinky sci-fi thriller about a group of bickering people huddling in a house when a comet passing by causes all manner of…things I can’t tell you about. Costarring everyone’s favorite everyman, Nicholas Brendon from Buffy The Vampire Slayer), Expedition To The End Of The World (rousing Danish documentary about a group of eccentrics setting sail to the most unexplored regions left on the globe),Jimi: All Is By My Side (Andre Benjamin [aka Outkast’s Andre 3000] stars in this biopic of legendary guitar hero Jimi Hendrix), Honeymoon (A just-married young couple [including Rose Leslie from Downton Abbey and Game Of Thrones] find their lake house honeymoon getaway turning super scary—find it in the Horror section), The Scorpion King 4 (Lou Ferrigno and some UFC fighters continue the franchise that stared as a spinoff of the Mummy sequel. That’s how you know it’s good), Supernatural—season 9 (Sam and Dean Winchester keep on fighting demons in this still-entertaining horror action series. I mean, it’s no Buffy The Vampire Slayer, but after you rent all the Buffy [and then all the Angel], you gotta have get your “pretty people fighting evil” TV fix somewhere.), Prisoners Of War— season 1 (Hey—you know how everyone in the world [and certainly at Videoport] looooves Homeland? Well here’s the Israeli TV series it’s a remake of! You…are…welcome!), Take Back Your Power (Activist and possible conspiracy nutjob Josh del Sol digs deep into the NSa government surveillance scandal and spins this documentary into theories that Big Brother is using your utilities and other means to spy on you. Nutjob…or not?!), Revenge Of The Green Dragons (Based on a true story, this gangster flick watches two 1980s Chinese immigrant brothers rise through the infamous titular NYC Chinatown gang. Ray Liotta’s in there somewhere. ), The Pirates (Big budget high-seas Korean period adventure about a rag-tag group of pirates banding together to track down a legendary white whale that’s swallowed a royal trinket ), The Mule (Hugo Weaving stars in this Australian crime comedy about a first time drug mule who gets caught by law enforcement with contraband in somewhere very uncomfortable and undignified. [It’s his butt]), The Green Prince (The son of a Hamas leader becomes an Israeli informant in this gripping documentary)