VideoReport #501

Volume DI— Di, Monster, Di

For the Week of 3/24/15

Videoport gives you a free movie every single day. That’s one, small, good thing you can count on every day.

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!

>>> Andy suggests All Good Things (in Mystery/Thriller). I hadn’t heard anything positive about this movie, and only all_good_things_posterrented it because of the connection to HBO’s documentary miniseries The Jinx, which is getting rave reviews and making headlines. Frankly, I was just glad the subject, Robert Durst, was not related to Fred Durst from Limp Bizkit. That would have been a deal breaker for me. Several years before The Jinx, that show’s director, Andrew Jarecki, brought his considerable filmmaking skills to All Good Things, a barely fictionalized version of Robert Durst’s crimes. And it’s pretty good! First of all, Ryan Gosling (as “David Marks”) and Kirsten Dunst (as his [spoiler alert] doomed wife) are compelling actors to watch, though the screen is often hijacked by the supporting cast of your flippin’ dreams: Frank Langella, Philip Baker Hall, Nick Offerman (everyone’s favorite Ron Swanson), Kristen Wiig, and Trini Alvarado (anyone remember her in The Frighteners? I do!). If you’ve read a synopsis of The Jinx or read one of the headlines about Durst’s confession, I’m sure you know the story. The surprising thing, to me, about All Good Things is how Jarecki chooses to tell this story. I would expect he would use a narrative film to attempt to delve deeper into Durst’s psyche. But, as played by Gosling, whenever we expect to peer through a window into David Marks’ mind, that window promptly shuts. There doesn’t seem to be anything there. We never see his psychological wounds; we only see the scar tissue. I think Andrew Jarecki enjoys not being able to fully explain a character, even in a fiction film, where he could explain away to his heart’s content! But Jarecki’s craftsmanship is apparent. He uses the artifice of a non-documentary (even when he’s mimicking “real” home movie footage) as just another reason to distrust what we are seeing on the screen. There’s a scene in the movie that is repeated several times. There’s a man on a foggy bridge at night. These are beautifully staged shots, with that artificial nighttime look that clearly doesn’t look real, but we recognize it as what nighttime looks like in movies. The man throws black trash bags full of what we assume is body parts off the bridge into the water below. The same scene is shown at different points during the film. Each time we think we know what’s going on, but only after our minds make some leaps. Now that it’s over, I wonder… when does this scene happen? Where is the bridge? Whose body is it? I think Jarecki enjoys not knowing.

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 A Face In The Crowd (in Classics.) What with Tea Party dipstick Ted Cruz entering the 2016 presidential race, thus officially kicking off another soul-crushing election cycle, why not rent this 1957 political parable about a pseudo-folksy southern singer-turned-political candidate. The great Patricia Neal plays the political operative who discovers the bumpkin-y Larry “Lonesome” Rhodes and turns him into a “straight-talking, outsider” politician only to see him embrace his conservative ideals to a monstrous extent, stoking his own ego on the adulation of the easily-manipulated masses who fall under the sway of his manufactured right-wing sloganeering. Why am I bringing this up now, when Fox News is juust ramping up their ludicrously biased political coverage on behalf of the fringe conservative candidates hand-chosen by their plutocratic corporate overlords? No reason.

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 UHF (in Comedy). From a recent oral history of this cult classic comedy from Weird Al Yankovic, here’s Weird Al: I got pretty pumped up, thinking that I was going to be a movie star for a brief period of time. That was certainly the way Orion was positioning it. They said that I was going to be their new Woody Allen. They were looking forward to a long career with me. Well, that didn’t happen, but Weird Al’s still cool, and this movie’s still very, very silly fun.

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 Banshee (in Mystery/Thriller.) Gone are the days when Cinemax was just HBO’s gleefully sleazy little brother-in-law, peddling endless Shannon Tweed erotic thrillers and British 1970s soft core skin flicks. (Not making a value judgment here, just sayin’.) Nope, with the third season of this Cinemax original series wrapping up on TV last week, the banshee-season-2-bannerformer “Skinemax” is now a mid-major player in cable television programming. (I hear their Strike Back [in Videoport’s Action section] is pretty good, too.) Not that there’s not a generous dollop of gratuitousness in Banshee—it’s just that the show’s undeniably copious sex and violence is all surrounded by a genuinely solid, even stirring show, one where genre clichés are spun, twisted, then punched in the face repeatedly. The plot is patently ludicrous—mysterious, compactly hunky stranger (Australian Anthony Hood, doing one of those perfectly nondescript American accents that all Aussies and Brits are getting so good at) who arrives in the small town of Banshee, Pennsylvania, only to walk into the middle of a gunfight between some jerks and the newly-arrived new Banshee sheriff. The sheriff—named Lucas Hood—is killed, along with the jerks, and, since no one has met the sheriff yet, the (always-unnamed) stranger takes his place with the help of former boxer, ex-con, and barkeep Sugar (good ol’ Frankie Faison from The Wire, Do The Right Thing, and Silence Of The Lambs) and the stranger’s old frenemy Job (the outstanding Hoon Lee), a world class computer hacker and transvestite ass-kicker. See, he’s in town to find the woman who got away (sort of—I’m not going to spoil anything), now a happily married mother of two. Oh, and the town is in Amish country and is run by the corrupt former Amish meat packing millionaire Kai Proctor (the icily brilliant Ulrich Thomsen from In A Better World). And there’s an army base, run by a corrupt colonel. And there’s an Indian reservation, ruled through fear by a Native American gang run by the absurdly huge and fearsome Chayton Littlestone (the formidable and ridiculously sonorous Geno Segers). Oh, and the stranger’s past comes back to haunt him in the form of gloweringly evil Ukrainian gangster Rabbit (Chariots Of Fire’s Ben Cross, sounding more like a vampire than ever), who has a secret connection to that woman Hood (we’ll call the stranger Hood from now on) has come to see (Ivana Milicevic). It’s all over-the-top nonsense, but then again so are most thriller action series. What’s great about Banshee is, well, several things. One, the acting is outstanding: Starr’s Hood is of the “grim man of few words” ilk, but the actor has a boyish soulful thing going on that’s very affecting, and he’s as formidable in the show’s many, many fight scenes as anyone in recent TV history. It’s not that he’s a martial arts master—his moves are more MMA than kung fu—it’s that he, and literally everyone else on the show is utterly convincing in what they do. (Milicevic is as—or even more—formidable in the fight scenes. Honestly, she’s the best action heroine on TV right now.) The actors are all great at playing the drama completely real and straight in the midst of all the carnage (and the frequent sex scenes—it is still Cinemax, after all). What Banshee does is to craft compelling, human drama from the most lurid ingredients of pulp. (For a more extensive—and coherent—account of Banshee’s goodness, check out the great Les Chappell’s episodic reviews at the AVClub.com).

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, Videoport customer Ryan M. suggests Ratcatcher (in the Criterion Collection). To watch a film by Lynne Ramsay is a sensory experience comparable to opening the closet door of an old, deserted house and having an entire childhood – that includes both the incredible highs and the intense lows – 600full-ratcatcher-postertumble out onto the viewer. These are more like spells than they are films at times, though the filmmaker nonetheless always has great insight in regards to the mad world of men, women, and children. Especially the latter. Ratcatcher is a prime example of an artist in full control of her craft from the very beginning; just an exceptionally assured and dramatically arresting debut that displays mastery of tone, form, and essential humanism. Ramsay finds an unlikely protagonist in a guilt-stricken young boy living in Glasgow during the garbage strike of the early 1970’s – immediately, the director lets us into his world, and I expect it isn’t all that different from her own, and we feel everything. His pain, his passion, his (possibly misguided) hope for a better tomorrow. The film is grim but hardly a slog because it adopts a POV that is suitably more innocent than cynical, thanks to its main character, and also because it’s just damn fine aesthetically. Ramsay gets that everything is heightened for a child, so in representing the kid’s worldview, we get a totally immersive soundscape as well as imagery that is so simple yet so poetic. A beautiful film, and one of the few that hits the nail on the head as far as seeing the universal truth in one’s youth.

>>>For Sunday, Get some free money at Videoport! Yup, free money. Put $20 on your Videoport account, and we give you $25 in store credit. And a pre-pay of $30 gets you $40 in store credit! That…is free money, people.

hobbit_the_battle_of_the_five_armies_bilbo_posterNew Releases this week at Videoport: The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies (At long, long, [long] last, the over-extended epic of the unassuming original Hobbit comes to an end with this action-packed, CGI-heavy final chapter. At least the great Martin Freeman has another MV5BMTY4MzQ4OTY3NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjM5MDI3MjE@._V1_SX640_SY720_chance to show that he was the perfect Bilbo Baggins, and now maybe Peter Jackson can get back to doing weird, cool stuff he actually cares about), Into The Woods (Star-sprinkled musical adaptation of the Stephen Sondheim musical promises people singing who are not know for their singing, Johnny Depp in another funny costume, and Meryl Streep doing her thing), Unbroken (Angelina Jolie directs this true-life biopic about Louis Zamperini, the juvenile delinquent-turned-soldier-turned POW-turned Olympic champion runner. Seriously, with this guy’s actual life out there, I can’t believe it’s taken so long for someone to make this movie), Wolf Cop (He’s a wolfman cop! What do I have to do, make you a roadmap? Rent it in the Incredibly Strange section unbroken__2014__by_myrmorko-d78zol0already.), Sebastian Bergman: Dark Secrets (You know how you love Wallander? We’ll here’s another dour Scandinavian detective series, this time with a dour police psychologist solving shadowy crimes), Song One (Anna Hathaway stars in this music-heavy drama about a young woman who comes back to New York when her musician brother gets into an accident, only to fall for his hunky bandmate on anWolf-Cop-Official-movie-poster indie-rock tour of the city), Low Down (Great character actor John Hawkes [Deadwood, The Sessions, Winter’s Bone] stars as real life jazz great Joe Albany in this biopic about the musician’s troubled life. Based on a memoir by Albany’s daughter, here played by the always-interesting Elle Fanning [Somewhere]), The Red Tent (Big religious miniseries about the troubled history of the twelve tribes of Israel told through the eyes of Jacob’s daughter Dinah. Based on the novel by Anita Diamant, an starring the likes of Morena Baccarin, Minnie Driver, and Debra Winger), The Last Of Robin Hood (Another tale of an aging actor’s 114035-sebastian-bergman-0-230-0-341-cropinappropriate attraction to a much younger woman, only this time it’s real! Kevin Kline plays the late-career Errol Flynn’s scandalous affair with the 15 year old starlet Beverley Aadland. Yup, 15. Dakota Fanning stars as the jailbait, while Susan Sarandon is more age-appropriate), Outlander- season 1 (Sexy adventures in 18th century Scotland! When a WWII combat nurse is inexplicably sent back in time to 1743 Scotland where she gets caught up in song_one_movie_poster_1various kilt-y intrigues and romances), Life Partners (Community’s Gillian Jacobs and Leighton Meester star in this female-friendship comedy about a pair of lifelong pals whose bond is threatened when one falls in love with Adam Brody), Ask Me Anything (When a sexy young woman spends her year before college making a blog chronicling all of her sexual exploits with a variety of men, things get out of hand; starring Britt Robertson as the lass, and the likes of low-down-posterChristian Slater, Justin Long, and Martin Sheen as some of the chronicled)

New Arrivals This Week at Videoport: Alex In Wonderland (In this 1970 movie from the late director Paul Mazursky [Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, Down & Out In Beverly Hills], Donald Sutherland plays a boy wonder director struggling to find a subject the follow-up to his first successful movie. It’s like a MPW-44745Hollywood version of 8 ½, and Federico Fellini actually shows up at one point, a movie director’s exploration of his own creative process, with the always-interesting Sutherland at the peak of his leading man fame. ), The Accountant (In this short film, which won an Oscar for best live action shot in 2002, an unconventional accountant finds a series of increasingly bizarre ways to bail out a failing family farm. Starring, written, and directed by character actor Ray McKinnon [Deadwood], who also created the stunningly good drama Rectify, which lives in the Drama section at Videoport, and which you should MV5BMjA4NTM5Mzk5MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwODYzMDU2Mw@@._V1_SY317_CR5,0,214,317_AL_watch right now. Seriously. )

 

New Arrivals On Blu Ray This Week At Videoport: Top Five

Published in: on March 23, 2015 at 11:23 am  Leave a Comment  
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Indie Video Stores Need Everyone’s Help. Even Jimmy Kimmel And Matthew McConaughey’s.

Any video store-lovin’ celebrities kicking around in Maine who want to do one of these for Videoport would make for a nice surprise. We’ll make a theme shelf with all of your movies on it. Even the bad ones!

Published in: on March 17, 2015 at 1:49 pm  Leave a Comment  
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VideoReport #500

Volume D— D Is For Damn, This Is Issue Number 500 Of The VideoReport: The Movie

For the Week of 3/17/15

Videoport celebrates 500 issues of the VideoReport telling you how you can have a free movie every, single day. And calculates that, in its some 1,500 weeks of existence, Videoport has given the people of Portland approximately seventy-jillion free movies. Here—have a free movie.

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!

>>> Videoport customer Jenny A. suggests Nightcrawler (in Mystery/Thriller). Because Videoport is awesome, they give you a free rental when you buy a used DVD. So I bought ‘Zodiac’ and rented ‘Nightcrawler,’ because I’m nothing if not thematic. nightcrawler-600x450A Jake G. fest! Don’t make me spell the last name*, G will suffice. How did I miss ‘Nightcrawler’ on the big screen? See it for Jake’s acting alone, he gives a singular performance. Has there ever been a repulsive, conniving character like Lou Bloom? From director Dan Gilroy’s comments, Lou represents the underemployed Millennial, desperate for options, raised on the internet, lacking human compassion, caring only for profit/success, thriving on gore and exploitation. It’s really a BIG statement film, hitting you over the head. Jake delivers incredibly intricate dialogue, nailing it down to punctuation. Sometimes it is too mannered (I’ve never known a psychopath *that* glib yet calculating), but that’s a tiny conceit to a staggering performance. Whereas Rene Russo as Nina, the ‘if it bleeds it leads’ TV news producer, gives an understated turn. Nina is almost reptilian, a long-time survivor of this sordid underworld. The characters are all using each other, for various selfish purposes. We spend a lot of time in Jake’s car, racing around nighttime LA. Some of the driving shots are money, which gives it the feel of a studio film, though it has indie film daring. I was glad to home-viewing, yelling at Jake,  “Don’t do that! No! You psycho!” Any film you can yell at is a solid recommendation in my book. Thanks, Videoport, for the outstanding free rental, the excellent customer service, and for letting us blab on your movie blog.

*Editor’s note: It’s spelled “Gryffindor.”

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 300 (in Action) and 200 Cigarettes (in Comedy). Okay, neither one of these movies is my favorite, but they add up to 500. I’m not a math guy. One of them would be free on Tuesday, what do you want from me? (500 issues is a lot, you guys.)

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 (500) Days Of Summer (in Comedy). Emily S. Customer suggests (500) Days of Summer… 500-days-of-summer-uk-promo-500x374again! (originally appeared in VideoReport #350) The A.V. Club’s Nathan Rabin coined the phrase “manic pixie dream girl” to describe the twinkling, whimsical girl-creature who scampers aimlessly and changelessly through romantic comedies with no raison d’etre beyond liberating the repressed, depressed, subjugated, or otherwise uptight male protagonist from his colorless world. Initially,(500) Days of Summer seems like a classic embodiment of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope, but as the nonlinear timeline unfolds, it challenges the unthinkingly sexist assumptions of those narratives with witty ease. As the extremely personal opening disclaimer and Tom’s montaged blason of Summer’s beloved attributes suggest, 500 Days of Summer is all about Hipster Boy’s self-centered experience of Hipster Girl, not about Hipster Girl herself, a notion that’s highlighted throughout the film with its little asides of fantasies, ruminations on “dream girls,” and the explicitly staged split between reality and expectation. Though Rabin included the titular Summer (Zooey Dechanel) from 500 Days of Summer in his list of MPDGs, I’d argue that she’s exactly the opposite: Summer has her own goals and desires, as well as a clear and unambiguously expressed distaste for commitment and love, which directly conflicts with Tom’s (Joseph Gordon Leavitt) expectations of her, which she re-states emphatically as their romance picks up, which he agrees to over and over again, and which — of course — he manages to ignore completely his swoony romantic haze. Any manic pixie dust in 500 Days springs from the hopes and daydreams that Tom imposes upon the uncompromising and independent woman whom he’s woefully miscast as his plaint, ardent dream girl. Summer doesn’t usher him into any new vistas of imagination or ambition; she has her fun with him on her own terms without changing anything for him. It’s Tom’s rampant imagination that adds color and flash to his real-world routine, making 500 Days a mercurial mix of exuberant and mundane, but the only pixie here is Tom.

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 How I Met Your Mother (in Comedy).  “I would walk 500 miles…” In “Arrivederci, Fiero” (S2ep17), Marshall’s Fiero — the car passed down from his big (and I meanbig) brothers, the car that saw him through high school college, and into adulthood, all with a Proclaimers record stuck in the deck, the freakin’ Giving Tree of cars — is about to hit 200,000 miles… or is it? In “Duel Citizenship” (S5ep5), while Robin tries to avoid deportation to Canada, Ted looks forward to refreshing his bond to Marshall with a road trip… but Marshall has a surprise, and it’s not a big bag of GORP for the road. In “The Lighthouse” (S8ep9), over their wedding weekend, Barney tries not to pick sides between his feuding mother and bride, while Marshall shares a rental car with a stranger (Sherri Shepherd) headed in the same direction. “Mom and Dad” (S9ep10) has Barney and his half-brother James bickering over whose dad will reunite with their mother, and Ted ruins Barney’s wedding gift for Robin.

>>>And Emily S. Customer keeps the whole ‘500’ theme rolling with Identity Thief (in Comedy). “… And I would walk 500 more…” There’s a reason HIMYM uses The Proclaimers’ “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” as the show’s iconic road-trip song, and that’s because (brace yourselves) it’s an iconic road-trip song, and like a companion on on a road trip, by the time it’s over, you’ll either be thoroughly sick of it or weirdly attached to 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, Emily S. Customer’s not done yet, with her review of Grey’s Anatomy (in Feature Drama). “… Just to be the man who walked a thousand miles to fall down at your door.” “He says he feels like his heart is going to burst,” the EMT tells April as she wheels over a patient in “Readiness is All,” S9ep23. And he’s not the only one. If you’ve seen the show, you remember this, and if you didn’t, telling you any more would ruin a lovely surprise. But I’ll say this: it doesn’t seem like a o-TOP-FIVE-POSTER-570sensible use of the ambulance arrival zone.

>>>For Sunday, Get some free money at Videoport! Yup, free money. Put $20 on your Videoport account, and we give you $25 in store credit. And a pre-pay of $30 gets you Annie-LAS$40 in store credit! That…is free money, people.

New Releases this week at Videoport: Top Five (Chris Rock once again attempts to translate his undeniable standup comedy genius to the big screen, writing and directing this comedy about a coasting comedy movie star who finds himself reevaluating his career while being interviewed for a single day by fetching and intelligent reporter Rosario Dawson), Annie (The musical remake of the musical with those chirpy, chipper songs your little sister wouldn’t stop singing Song-of-Sea-Poster-Webwhile you were growing up, no matter how many times you stuck your fingers in your ears and ran around screaming for her to stop. Starring the adorable, Oscar-nominated Quvenzhané Wallis from Beasts Of The Southern Wild, Jamie Foxx, Cameron Diaz, and an orphanage just brimming with adorable, singing Exodus-Gods-and-Kings-Poster-Bale-and-Edgertonmoppets!), Song Of The Sea (From the makers of the delightful and lovely Secret Of Kells comes another lovely animated Irish fable, this time about selkies, the legendary mermaid women who sometimes fall in love with human men), Exodus: Gods And Kings (Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, and a whole lot of other white people get suntans to play Moses, Ramses, and a huge cast of suspiciously pale Biblical characters in Ridley Scott’s typically sprawling, effects-laden Sunday school lesson/disaster movie), Turn- season 1 (Jamie “Billy Elliot” Bell stars in 100911433this period spy series from AMC about the Culper Ring, arguably America’s first spies, as they fight the British in the Revolutionary War), Parts Per Billion (A good cast, including old pros Gena Rowlands and Frank Langella star in this necessarily heartbreaking end-of-the-world drama about three couples coping with humanity’s lingering death from a mysterious, MV5BMTQyODgxMDMyNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNDMzMDk3MTE@._V1_SX640_SY720_devastating plague. Fun times!), Let’s Kill Ward’s Wife (A good cast, Donald Faison, Scott Foley, Patrick Wilson, Angel’s Amy Acker star in this dark comedy about a group of friends who decide to help out a pal through the questionable titular actions), Veronika Decides To Die (Former Buffy herself, Sarah Michelle Gellar stars in this adaptation of Paulo Coelho’s inspirational novel about a young woman who ends up in an asylum after a suicide attempt, only let-s-kill-ward-s-wife-93803-poster-xlarge-resizedto learn life-affirming lessons from the other inmates.), Vice (Professional rent-a-former-stars Bruce Willis and Thomas Jane lend their evaporating marketability to this low budget sci-fi/action Westword ripoff about a future resort city where rich jerks can essentially play live-action Grand Theft Auto by murdering and/or sexing robot people. When a sexy robot refuses her nightly memory-viceposterexclusivewipe and goes rogue, things start going all Itchy and Scratchyland up in there), Son Of A Gun (Cool-looking action thriller starring Ewan McGregor as a notorious bank robber who escapes from prison with a young inmate in tow, only to draw the youngster into his latest criminal scheme), The Penguins Of Madagascar (After three movies-worth of wacky, penguin hijinks in those Madagascar movies, everyone’s apparently favorite supporting flightless seabirds 2014SonOfAGun_Poster_Press2_111214get their own movie! It’s a cartoon! Kids will laugh and get all riled up! Penguins!), Listen Up Philip (Jason Schwartzman plays a great creep, never better than in this dark indie comedy about an egocentric novelist who flees the hoopla surrounding the publication of his second novel to the country home of mentor Jonathan Pryce. Also starring Mad Men’s Elisabeth Moss as his long-suffering girlfriend)3e5190eeb51ebe6c5bbc54ee8950c548_500x735

 New Arrivals On Blu Ray This Week At Videoport: Night at The Museum 3

Free parking at Videoport!

The parking lot behind the building is open for customer parking after 5 penguins-of-madagascar-teaser-1-sheetPM weekdays and all day on the weekends! And Videoport can get you a free hour of parking at any parking garage in 600full-veronika-decides-to-die-postertown (including the courthouse garage, one minute away!) And Videoport has a drop-off box right on the sidewalk on the corner of Pearl and Newbury Streets if you don’t want to come in and rent more movies. But, you know, come in and rent some more movies.

Whew. 500 issues. That’s a lot of issues.

So here we are, gang. 500 weekly VideoReports. That’s 9.61 years worth of VideoReports. Former Videoporter JackieO and I started this thing on a whim in 2005-ish or so (I’m to tired to look it up) as a way to bring business to Videoport by getting customers invested in the store. Also as a way to keep our underemployed, overeducated minds from turning to beery mush. Jackie bailed pretty early on—mainly because he got one of those life things and had better stuff to do. But I just kept doing the thing—on paper first, then online after a few years once I got that fancy Internet and a super-fast dialup connection. (Seriously, I want the months back I cumulatively spent waiting for damned movie posters to load.) Along the way, customers did come—and go, sending in their reviews from time to time. Employees, too. (Everyone had those life things, I guess.) So I just kept doing it and, before the pity party gets out of hand, this scrappy, ramshackle enterprise has brought me a lot of great things. The great Justin Ellis (formerly of the Press Herald, now a big deal at Harvard) reached out and I wrote with him in the paper of record. Then the paper actually started paying me to write about movies—they still do, even. Then local writer (for the Onion A.V. Club) Zack Handlen told me about an opening, and I got hired to write there, too. And, honestly, none of that would have happened without the experience and confidence I got from writing here, for free, for the VideoReport. So thanks to all of you for reading what started out (and mostly remains) a goofy whim indulged by Videoport owner Bill. Thanks to Bill, then. Thanks to everyone who’s ever contributed to the VideoReport—they know who they are—but especially to the lovely Ms. Emily S. Customer, who has been the most consistent and brilliant contributor. Especially since she married me somewhere along the line and saw the exhausted, empty look in my eyes at 1AM on nights when the thing wasn’t done and wrote amazing reviews so I didn’t have to scrape an entire week’s worth together. Of course, since the whole purpose behind this thing (apart from avoiding brain-mush) was to bring the customers of Videoport in to the store to, you know, rent movies and stuff, thanks to all of you reading this. We love movies—we writing and you reading—and we love Videoport, one of the few remaining (and best) video stores in the world. 500 issues is a lot of writing. It works out to an estimated 1,250,000 words in nine-plus years. (I may have had to have a sit down after figuring that out.) If any of that stuff has given you any pleasure at all, then here’s the thing—rent at Videoport. Honestly, if you want there to be a VideoReport #600 (or more, or a lot less) only your conscious choice to rent at a local, independent video store that loves and cares about movies and has the best selection of movies anywhere can make that happen. Another thing you can do—share this message. If you’re reading this online, share it via Facebook, or Twitter, or some other cool Internet thing I’m not cool enough to know about. If you’re reading this on a paper copy, I dunno—leave it in a Laundromat, or a public bathroom. Those people need something to read. Regardless, thanks for reading. Videoport is the place where people who love movies do that sort of thing.

Here’s to another 500.

Dennis (a.k.a “Videoport Jones”)

VideoReport #499

Volume CDXCIX- A Winter’s Tale Or, (Please Just Kill Me, I Can’t Take This Nonsense Any More): The Movie

For the Week of 3/10/15

Videoport gives you a free movie every single day. Who’s gonna argue with that? Crazy people, that’s who.

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!

>>> Videoport customer Ryan M. suggests Careful (in Incredibly Strange). If all great directors can be viewed as big kids playing with expensive toys, then Guy Maddin is truly one of the select few who have made no attempt over the years to hide this. The Winnipeg native borrows heavily from the likes of German expressionism and other films of the silent era for his own work, which often resemble cosmic tragicomedies. They seem to me like mad tales from the mind of a man who is constantly receiving indecipherable messages from some other world entirely; and what we’re seeing is his attempt at understanding such visions. 1992’s Careful is no different, and is perhaps one of Maddin’s most uncompromising and thoroughly enthralling films; a darkly funny story of a 19th century village wherein everyone speaks quietly, always at the mercy of a potential avalanche. Indeed, this is strange, though amidst the more obviously eccentric details – such the village animals having their vocal cords taken out as to not upset the current situation – there are smarter gags; but at the heart of this macabre fable is a poignant Freudian fantasy in which the expected rules don’t apply and taboos are explored rather than merely exploited. The atmosphere that the director compliments his unique story with is one that is truly original and at times disorienting, but in a good way. This is very much the kind of film that is so pleasing on all sensory fronts that one could have a good time simply listening to its complex soundscape and taking the imagery, which is fantastic, into consideration later. This is a distinctively imaginative and overall spectacular entertainment, and refreshing, not merely another shallow nostalgia trip. Where many have the passion but not the vision, Maddin is lucky enough to have the best of both worlds; of which Careful is the buggy bastard love-child.

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!

>>>Your monthly list of movies that Netfl*x thinks you don’t need to see any more! Yup, everyone’s favorite video store-killing internet conglomerate routinely sh*tcans a lot of great movies and TV shows from its glitch computer movie service. Here’s what Netfl*x thinks you don’t deserve for March, 2015! (All of which you can get at Videoport, of course, as we are not Netfl*x.)

Adventure Time (Seasons 1-4)

Air Bud (1997)

Anaconda (1997)

Arachnophobia (1990)

The Blair Witch Project (1999)

Brokedown Palace (1999)

Cheech & Chong’s Nice Dreams (1981)

Childrens Hospital (Seasons 1-2)

Cool Runnings (1993)

Desperado (1995)

Dumb and Dumber (1994)

Emma (1996)

Evita (1996)

Fireproof (2008)

Flubber (1997)

Freaky Friday (2003)

Fright Night (1985)

Girlfight (2000)

The Graduate (1967)

The Grey (2012)

Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989)

House on Haunted Hill (1959)

Jackass: Number Two (2006)

Legends of the Fall (1994)

Lords of Dogtown (2005)

The Muppet Movie (1979)

Muppet Treasure Island (1996)

Old Yeller (1957)

Ordinary People (1980)

Out of Time (2003)

The Possession (2012)

Pretty in Pink (1986)

The Preacher’s Wife (1996)

Rachel Getting Married (2008)

Regular Show (Season 1-4)

Robot Chicken (Season 1-2)

Riding in Cars with Boys (2001)

Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993)

RoboCop 2 (1990)

RoboCop 3 (1993)

Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion (1997)

Saving Silverman (2001)

Seven (1995)

Samurai Jack (Season 2)

The Sweetest Thing (2002)

Swiss Family Robinson (1960)

The Tale of Desperaux (2008)

Troop Beverly Hills (1989)

Uptown Girls (2003)

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—season 4 (in Comedy.) This is one of the best sitcoms in TV history—so, naturally it got cancelled because no one watched it. Luckily, it was resurrected by an internet company that shall not be named. Unluckily, said company is a cheap, horrible little third world corporation, which meant smaller budgets and a cast that had been scattered to the winds after no one watched the show the first time around. Luckily (it’s a real rollercoaster over here), creator Mitch Hurwitz used the head that had come up with such a great, inventive show in the first place, and made a fourth season completely different in structure than the original series, a structure that allowed the entire cast to come back at different times in service of another intricate, season-long plot that makes use of their gifts—and all pays off in the end. It’s a bold move (and one that doesn’t completely work), but it’s still pretty 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!                                       

 >>> Videoport customer Deb T. suggests Darkon (in Documentary). Darkon is a documentary about the Darkon Wargaming Club in Baltimore, a large group of adults who spend weekends battling others in medieval gear in public parks. It won the Audience Selection for Best Documentary at South by Southwest, and apparently, a lot of people like this movie, just not me. I thought all of the people in it were jerks. I mean, really it’s a story about selfish, self-absorbed, entitled men with an unusual hobby that involves running around the woods in costumes wielding foam swords. I will say, it is somewhat interesting to see what, exactly, this world of live gaming warfare entails. There are different countries. There are maps of land. There are many confrontations that build up to large-scale war in the woods. And then there are parts where these people go back to their normal lives and work at Starbucks. The story mostly follows the lives of two leaders of opposing countries. One is Skip Lipman (known as Bannor), who is a stay at home dad in real life and leader of the country Laconia in Darkon. The other is Kenyon Wells (known as Keldar) who is leader of the most powerful country, Mordom, when he is not working his desk job. And then there are the evil elves with their red eyes and their very own elvish language. I would have loved for the filmmakers to have followed those people home, but unfortunately, they weren’t heavily featured in this movie. The film follows Lipman and Wells as they lead up to a big battle against each other. I could see where it would be a good setup for a movie, if only there was at least one person even remotely likable. But there isn’t. Lipman and Wells spend a lot of time talking about their greatness and how they deserve recognition. Another character sounds a bit entitled when he laments about how despite doing everything right, he’s still a virgin. The token woman, who is a single mother and former stripper, says she uses Darkon because it gives her a sense of control – although that control is never shown in the movie – her Darkon character is barely seen. Bottom line is, when the final battle played out, I didn’t care who won. There wasn’t anybody worth rooting for. So if you’re interested in learning more about the world of Live Action Role Playing or want to see grown men run around public parks with handmade swords and armor, you should check this movie out. If you’d like to see a documentary about people who, despite being a little strange, are endearing and worth cheering for, rent American Movie instead.

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!                                           

 8115271670_c4a09c6fdd>>> For Saturday, Dennis suggests The Ice House (in Mystery/Thriller). If there’s one thing that I’ve learned most acutely from my years working at Videoport, it’s that you people looove watching British people murdering each other. Like, love it, love it. So many BBC mystery (AKA Brits murdering each other and then other Brits catching those other Brits) series and miniseries at Videoport, and nearly every one rents—a lot. Bless you—you guys just love killing in a British accent. So here’s a new acquisition from your pals at Videoport, a 1997 miniseries (3 hours, all on one disc!), with the younger than now Daniel Craig in his pre-James Bond days, when his teeth hadn’t been un-Britished and he was still a little skinny. Well, maybe not skinny, but he’s not the beefy thug-monster he is as Bond, as a young copper investigating a body found on the grounds of a British estate occupied by three strong-willed ladies. The lady of the house has lived under the suspicion and derision of the local villagers because 1. They think she murdered her husband years ago, and 2. She’s a lesbian, and 3. People think the women are witches. (The miniseries really is delightfully hard on the bigoted groupthink of the general public.) Craig and imperious superior Corin Redgrave swoop in upon the discovery of the decayed corpse, assuming either that the secretive trio have killed someone new or that they’re finally going to catch them out for the murder of the husband. There are twists, some new crimes, some bigoted British jerks, and some all-‘round decent emoting from the solid cast. It’s, well I’ve already said “solid” but it is, well, solid. Craig’s good as the seemingly dickish dick who reveals some hidden sensitivity, and things wrap up nicely. Plus—the people are all British, and some of them murder each other.

>>>For SundayGet some free money at Videoport! Yup, free money. Put $20 on your Videoport MONDOFUZZPOSTERaccount, and we give you $25 in store credit. And a pre-pay of $30 gets you $40 in store credit! That…is free money, people.

Annie-LASNew Releases this week at Videoport: Night At The Museum 3: Secret Of The Tomb (Ben Stiller is back alongside a lotnight_at_the_museum_secret_of_the_tomb_new_posterof good actor playing reanimated historical figures—who are not zombies, mostly—as the worst security guard in the world in this third film in the family-friendly action adventure series; fun fact, all these middling but successful movies are written by the excellent comedians Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant [The State, Reno 911]), Annie (The musical remake of the musical with those chirpy, chipper songs your little sister wouldn’t stop singing while you were growing up, no matter how many times you stuck your fingers in your ears and ran around screaming for her to stop. Starring the adorable, Oscar-nominated Quvenzhané Wallis from Beasts Of The Southern Wild, Jamie Foxx, Cameron Diaz, and mockingjay_poster_by_vanja1995-d7i57yian orphanage just brimming with adorable, singling moppets!), The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 1 (The ever-interesting Jennifer Lawrence returns as the arrow-The_Liberator_movie_poster,_United_Statesshootin’ heroine of this dystopian young adult, sci-fi series where the lots of pretty young people shoot each other with arrows, and everyone has weird facial hair and odd names), The Liberator (Sweeping historical epic about South American military leader and revolutionary Simon Bolivar, played here by Edgar Ramirez of The Bourne Ultimatum), R100 (Screw 50 Shades Of Grey [wait, let me rephrase that]—here’s a kinky Japanese drama about a mild-mannered guy who joins a mysterious sex club with only one rule—you cannot resign under any circumstances for one year. Things get a little weird…), The Legend Of Korra—Book 4 (Did you like the Avatar anime series? Of course you did! Well, this is R100 Drafthouse Poster-thumb-300xauto-52161the sequel spinoff, and it’s even better. You’re welcome), The Red Tent (Big religious miniseries about the troubled history of the twelve tribes of Israel told through the eyes of Jacob’s daughter Dinah. Based on the The-Red-Tent-posternovel by Anita Diamant, an starring the likes of Morena Baccarin, Minnie Driver, and Debra Winger), Listen Up Philip (Jason Schwartzman plays a great creep, never better than in this dark indie comedy about an egocentric novelist who flees the hoopla surrounding the publication of his second novel to the country home of mentor Jonathan Pryce. Also starring Mad Men’s Elisabeth Moss as his long-suffering girlfriend)

 

3e5190eeb51ebe6c5bbc54ee8950c548_500x735New Arrivals This Week At Videoport: Rob The Mob (Michael Pitt [Hannibal] and Nina Arianda star as a perhaps-not-the-brightest couple who decide to take advantage of the mafia’s purported “no guns in the 51x1HGkmyXLnightclub” policy to steal their stuff. Based on a true story and starring Andy Garcia and Ray Romano), The Ice House (BBC mystery series—see Dennis’ review on Saturday. It definitely has British people murdering each other, that we can promise), Mondo Fuzz (Check out Videoport’s music section for this super-cool “concert movie mixtape” about the various bands in the Austin, Texas music scene)

Free parking at Videoport!

The parking lot behind the building is open for customer parking after 5 PM weekdays and all day on the weekends! And Videoport can get you a free hour of parking at any parking garage in town (including the courthouse garage, one minute away!) And Videoport has a drop-off box right on the sidewalk on the corner of Pearl and Newbury Streets if you don’t want to come in and rent more movies. But, you know, come in and rent some more movies.

Published in: on March 9, 2015 at 8:42 pm  Leave a Comment  

Maine Filmmakers Love Videoport, Too!

blue_bird

Here’s Maine native Lance Edmands, the writer/director of the Maine-made, Maine-set indie drama Bluebird (now in theaters) talking about his enduring love for a certain independent video store!

From Ioncinema.com:

Lavallee: During your formative years, what films and filmmakers inspired you?

Edmands: I guess I would consider my “formative years” to be the last couple years of high school and maybe the first year or two at NYU. That’s when I really cracked into all the stuff that is considered a part of the indie/art house canon. There was— and thankfully still is— a great video store in Portland, Maine called Videoport, with an amazing section called “Incredibly Strange Films.” It’s basically a mix of cult curios, mondo-type docs, exploitation films, and other extreme art house stuff. When I found this section I pretty much went nuts, renting 10-15 films at a time and locking myself in my parents basement. This was where I found STRANGER THAN PARADISE, SCARECROW, BADLANDS, STROSZEK, etc. I crawled deeper into the wormhole from there.

Thanks, Lance! And check out Bluebird at theaters and, eventually, on DVD at Videoport! In the meantime, follow Lance’s example and go nuts in the Incredibly Strange section!

Published in: on March 3, 2015 at 5:23 pm  Leave a Comment  
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