VideoReport #490

Volume CDXC- Portland Buyers Club

For the Week of 1/6/14

 Videoport gives you a free movie every single day. Does that make us heroes? Well, it’s not for us to say. 

 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!

.>>> Former Videoporter Regan* presents her BEST OF 2014!

Broken Circle Breakdown –it’s hard to settle in for a total bummer-fest movie, but when I finally do, it’s so worth it. like my other favorite this year The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, it gives me gut filled feelings that I’d rather not feel, but I’m better for it after. every time I watch films like these I question why I watch movies  that are nightmares on wheels and the answer is –they stick with you. most movies barely linger 5 minutes after viewing. I like the ones that make me think. bother me. and just won’t let go. and this is that kind of movie.

Under the Skin –I don’t really like to read reviews before seeing a film.

  1. because it will heighten my expectations, which the movie almost never lives up to. B.  I’m a visual kinda person, and the reviews don’t mean anything till I have a reference point. And C. THEY F*CKING TELL YOU TOO MUCH! even the previews for movies. COME ON! quit it. Under the Skin is directed by Jonathan Glazer (Sexy Beast) he is mostly known as a music video director for some small bands like Blur and Radiohead. Which is real neat and all, but sometimes that doesn’t translate well into a full length film. in this case it works drearily well with some visuals that are dark and murky and I felt it all the way through. ScarJo is stunning. no doubt. but in most films she often leaves me limp. but this time the absence of dialog serves her well. I’m all in. I suggest leaving your phone elsewhere and turning down the lights. and maybe a TV screen that is larger than most laptops.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 40th anniversary –it’s been at least a decade since I’ve seen this one. and it’s still scary-as-f*ck. I went to Boston with my main squeeze to see this in a packed theatre and at a certain point I was so scared I was shaking and unsure if I could take any more. I think it’s a pretty perfect horror film, and for a movie made under $90 grand, a totally boss art film too.

Only Lovers Left Alive –not always, but for the most part Jarmusch puts me to sleep. not this time. you got me J. Musch. I’m in. I love the waxing on about vintage guitars and the desolate Detroit locations. Mia Wasikowska as Ava, the tempestuous sister…she’s great. so great. she just busts in, f*cks it all up, and splits. and Tilda Swinton. come on. she rules my world. some website had a list of the ugliest celebrities and she was on it. That is a job that exists. suck a skin tag Internet! Tilda is a goddess!

We Are The Best –holy pajamas! I love coming of age movies! and this one is the tits. Videoporter Andy and I went to see this at Space, and many audience members gasped at teenagers preparing their own dinner using a big knife. guess what, it turns out fine. duh-doi.

Annabelle –it scared the crap-jesus Outa me. (Coming out later this year on DVD!)

Tusk –I went to see this movie right after getting laid….off from my dream job. and it totally took my mind off of it and it was pretty entertaining. Kevin Smith, you surprise me.

so there. I still have a list of 30 films from 2014 I need to see. 5 of them won’t suck I predict. here are some that do!


Nymphomaniac 1&2 –no…..nope. repetitive. disappointing. funny where it shouldn’t be. AND THE ENDING!?!?!??!

Neighbors — eh. I’m really bummed out when really funny people (Seth Rogen, Chris Rock, Owen Wilson) are in totally unfunny sh*t-piles. and get paid MILLIONS. F*CK YOU.

Happy Christmas — and I also get bummed when indie directors make movies that seem totally ad-libbed and say the word “like” 800 times. I love me some Melanie Lynskey and Portland’s own Anna Kendrick is not bad playing against type as a f*ck up. but this sh*t was hard to watch.

Obee kaybee. have a swonderful new year and don’t forget to tip your waitress and don’t forget that Videoport is a rare and beautifully dusty thing that may not have all the seasons of Vampire Diaries or Hillbilly Blood, but Videoport has SO MUCH MORE. I have rented there since I was 14 and I had free rentals for over a decade and I will still never get through this ENDLESS LIST that keeps growing! Portland is a music town and it’s an art town and it sure is a bar town, but I’m not sure we like movies much. the movies on exchange is sorely missed. and smaller towns in Maine show more art house movies than we do. whassup wit dat? show some love. love movies locally(occasionally! you’re only human).

Editor’s note: It breaks my heart to write “former” before Regan’s name. Regan was a vital part of Videoport since before I started working there—she was part of the heart of this place. It sucks that she doesn’t work here anymore—and it’s incredibly classy that she wrote in for your entertainment and edification here. So here are two things you can do to say thanks: 1. If you have a job that needs someone classy, smart, responsible, and all-‘round awesome, hire Regan. 2. Rent at Videoport, get a friend to rent at Videoport (instead of stupid Netfl*x), and then maybe we can bring Regan back and Videoport will be around for a lot longer. Thanks, Regan.

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 says It’s hard to pick my favorite film of the Classics section, but there’s a handful that always make the cut: Some Like It Hot, The Apartment, Sunset Blvd., Double Indemnity. Heeeey, they all have something in common: the director. Maybe it’s a good time for a Billy Wilder retrospective? That’s a trick question. It’s always a good time for a Billy Wilder retrospective. Take your pick, and maybe pick two, because one is free on Tuesdays with a paid rental.

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 Gilmore Girls, Lost Boys, The Paper Chase, Annie. Edward Herrmann, who died last week at the not-ripe-enough age of 71, is a classic That Guy. You know his face, though not every viewer will know him by 640name. But critics and cinephiles know him. Roger Ebert knew him so well, and respected him so thoroughly, that Herrmann became his voice: Herrmann was selected to be the voice of the then-voiceless Ebert’s memoir, Life Itself, for the audiobook. Upon hearing it, Ebert said “I discovered for the first time a benefit from losing my own speaking voice: If I could still speak, I suppose I would probably have recorded it myself, and I wouldn’t have been able to do that anywhere as near as well as Herrmann does.” Herrmann’s sensitivity and poise allowed him to convey the gravitas of historical figures like FDR (in 1982’s Annie) and Max Eastman (in 1981’s Reds). It allowed him to bring a measure of dignity and heart to some rather silly roles (like Max, the affable, floppy-haired father figure in 1987’s vampire goof The Lost Boys). His easy patrician bearing suited Lorelei’s estranged and moneyed father on Gilmore Girls, and his warmth made Rory’s dawning affection for him more than plausible; it made the blossoming love between a newly acquainted granddaughter and grandfather a sweet piece of earnest sentiment amid all the fast-talkin’, coffee-swillin’ banter. Edward Herrmann was never quite a household name, never quite a star. He was better than that: he was an actor.

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 Boyhood (in Feature Drama). He’s a dreamy eyed little boy, first seen stretched out, staring at the sky. We learn his name’s Mason when his mom (Patricia Arquette) picks him up from school, that he has a sister named Samantha (Lorelei Linklater), and that he’s thoughtful and curious, if not especially interested in schoolwork. Gradually we hear about an absent father (played by Ethan Hawke), who, when he appears after years away, is boisterous and affectionate—and sort of wild. Through the opening scenes of Richard Linklater’s newest film “Boyhood,” Mason takes all this in with a quiet watchfulness. And then he’s a year older. His mom’s gone back to school and is dating a respectable-seeming professor. His dad picks him up on weekends in his muscle car, sometimes to go camping in the Texas wilderness. He rides bikes and experiments with graffiti with his friends. And then he’s a year older. Each year, the boy’s eyes stay the same, even as Mason starts to grow, eventually taking on a sleepy adolescent scraggliness. If you didn’t know the story behind the film, you’d wonder at the perfect casting, one stage of Mason’s childhood flowing seamlessly into the next. Of course, knowing the unprecedented story behind “Boyhood”’s development—Linklater cast Ellar Coltrane in 2002 when the boy was seven, and then returned to Mason’s story for a few days every year over the next 11 years—makes for interesting movie trivia. But it’s also largely irrelevant to the quiet power of “Boyhood,” the best movie of 2014 so far. Linklater has worked with this sort of long-form drama before, with his trilogy “Before Sunrise,” Before Sunset,” and “Before Midnight” following a single couple’s relationship (Hawke and Julie Delpy) through three films and 18 years. “Boyhood” takes a similar approach to Mason’s story, and the results are similarly revelatory and moving. Like Michael Apted’s ongoing documentary “Up” series, “Boyhood” derives tremendous power from the simple experience of watching children grow up. As viewers, we provide layers of meaning to every change, to every thing—good or bad—that affects the children we’re watching. But, as fascinating a social experiment as the “Up” films are, “Boyhood” fashions a fictional framework for the real transformation of the child on the screen—and the effect in the hands of Linklatter and the remarkable Coltrane is consistently astounding. Which isn’t to say that “Boyhood” revels in melodrama, or surrounds Mason with drama, even. (This may be the most thrilling two hour and 45 minute film with the least action ever made.) There are many times when the film introduces events (bullies, drugs, divorces, young love, one truly terrifying sequence of poor step-parenting) that seem to teeter on the edge of predictability, only to reassert Linklater’s sure-handed thesis—that children are both unbelievably resilient and heartbreakingly fragile at the same time. And that who they become is made up of an accumulation of moments—some so small and seemingly insignificant that no one but the child himself ever knows they’ve occurred at all. That “Boyhood” transcends its buzzworthy premise is a testament to Linklater (cementing his place as one of the best, most innovative American directors we have) and Coltrane, who, at every stage of the film, delivers a genuinely inhabited, natural performance. Hardly an idealized character, Mason is a resolutely regular kid—sometimes difficult, or prone to alternating flights of teenaged inarticulateness and self-righteousness. Like “Boyhood,” Mason is as heartbreakingly, mysteriously beautiful as life itself.

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, Dennis suggests Downton Abbey (in Drama.) I actually don’t like this show enough to have an opinion one way or another. It’s fine. But you know Emily S. Customer, right? (The one who writes all the best stuff in the VideoReport for free every week?) Well, she’s also getting paid big money nowadays to write for the prestigious AV CLUB! And one of the shows she reviews is this British soap opera which all of you love so much! So here’s a clip from her review of the season 5 premiere (which comes out on DVD on January 27th, so hold your carriage horses, Lord and Lady Rushalot):

“Carson’s sense of foreboding notwithstanding, this episode isn’t an earthquake or an avalanche. This is a crossroads. Despite the inklings of social and sexual revolution under the roof of Downton Abbey—and right under Robert Crawley’s nose—the immediate effect of the episode’s events is small, just as the fire is. What looks like a conflagration capable of destroying the home and heart of the family turns out to be a lot of smoke and commotion, but not much more. Yet.”

>>>For Sunday, Dennis suggests getting some free money! Any time you want, $20 gets you $25 in rental credit, or $30 buys you $40. That, my friends, is some free money.

New Releases this week at Videoport: Boyhood (Pretty much the frontrunner for all the awards—and one of the most asked-about movies in recent Videoport history, this unique drama from director Richard Linklater was filmed over a decade, crafting a story around the coming-of-age of a thoughtful little boy. Patricia Arquette and Linklater pal and collaborator Ethan Hawke joined in, filming scenes every year for over a decade. But that’s all just window dressing—this is a legitimately fascinating, subtly moving tale of growing up. See Thursday’s review for more.), Left Behind (Nicholas Cage…oh swett, sweet Nicky. Another “worst of whatever year it is” movie? Sigh. Oh, well. In this adaptation of a ridiculous Jesus-y sci fi Jesus novel, all the good people get sucked up into Heaven—by God, I guess—leaving a real pickle for airline pilot Cage, who has to land a plane full o’sinners when all the chaos is busting out all over the world. God hates you.), Atlas Shrugged- Part 3: Who Is John Galt? (Speaking of right-wing “worst movies of whatever year it is,” here’s the super low-budget third installment of the diminishing movie trilogy based on the Ayn Rand novel which, like all her books, is about how rich, awesome people are awesome. Luckily for the rest of us peasants, this one—which uses scads of stock footage and an even less-employable cast than the other two—was roundly chuckled and hooted out of whatever handful of theaters unfortunate enough to book it. They probably are just jealous of all the rich, awesome people who made it.), No Good Deed (Undeniably great actors Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson star in this thriller about a single mom terrorized on one rainy night by a suspicious—and suspiciously sexy!—stranger), Get On Up (Chadwick Boseman continues his career path of playing fascinating African-American celebrities, following his Jackie Robinson [42] with the lead role in this biopic about the rise of singing legend James Brown), Archer- season 5 (One of the funniest animated series of all time—actually one of the funniest shows of all time—the new season of this hilariously rude spy spoof series sees Sterling Archer and the gang at spy agency ISIS being busted by the feds and becoming cocaine dealers to make ends meet), Girls- season 3 (Lena Dunham’s HBO comedy about a quartet of young female friends making all manner of personal and professional mistakes in NYC is just a great, challenging show. Trust me—watch it.), Looking- season 1 (Sometimes called “Gay Guys” to compare it to co-HBO channelmate Girls, this is another excellent series, this time about a group of young gay male friends, this time in San Francisco. Another great show.), Horns (Based on the novel by Maine’s own Joe “Don’t call me Stephen King’s Son even though I totally am” Hill, this horror fantasy sees Harry Potter’s Daniel Radcliffe wake up the day after his girlfriend’s mysterious death to find a pair of—yup—horns growing out of his head.), 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.), The Longest Week (Jason Bateman stars as a wealthy, aimless dude who loses it all in the same week he falls for his best friend’s girl in this indie dramedy. Costarring Billy Crudup, Olivia Wilde, and Jenny Slate), The Guest (From Adam Wingard, director of the effective horror thriller You’re Next, comes this acclaimed thriller about a typical family who welcome a normal-seeming young man into their home after he claims to be a friend of their deceased soldier son), Reach Me (Indie drama with a huge, odd cast [Sylvester Stallone, Kelsey Grammer, Nelly, Tom Sizemore, Omari Hardwick, Kyra Sedgewick, Terry Crews, Tom Berenger, Cary Elwes] about a disparate group of people affected in different ways by a mysterious motivational book written by a mysterious man), Kelly & Cal (Acclaimed indie drama about a former puck rock chick-turned middle aged suburban mom who befriends a rebellious 17 year old neighbor boy. Starring Juliette Lewis, who’s getting some of the best reviews of her career.)



VideoReport #489

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 

"Our customers don't need this piece of crap!"—Netfl*x

“Our customers don’t need this piece of crap!”—Netfl*x

A River Runs Through It (1992)
Anatomy of a Murder (1959)
Bad Boys 
Beethoven’s 2nd 
Beverly Hills Cop 
Big Trouble in Little China 
Brothers & Sisters, 
Seasons 1–5
Boyz n the Hood
Can’t Buy Me Love 
Children of a Lesser God 
Duck Soup 
Far and Away 
From Here to Eternity 
Girls Just Want to Have Fun 
The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner 
Happy Gilmore
Hotel Rwanda 
Journey to the Center of the Earth 
Kiss the Girls 
Kramer vs. Kramer 
The Last Temptation of Christ 
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels 
Love Actually
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington 
My Girl 
Paths of Glory
The Parallax View 
Red Dawn
Rock ‘n’ Roll High School 
Rocky I, II, III, IV, V
Roman Holiday 
Scary Movie 2 
Searching for Bobby Fischer 
The Brady Bunch Movie 
The Breakfast Club
The Chronicles of Riddick 
The Company Men 
The Day the Earth Stood Still 
The Frighteners 
The Grapes of Wrath 
The Longest Yard 
The Mighty Ducks 
The Original Kings of Comedy 
The Parent Trap 
The Truman Show 
Turner and Hooch 
The Usual Suspects
The Wedding Planner
You’ve Got Mail (1998)

Woody Allen Movies
Manhattan (1979)
Shadows and Fog 
Radio Days (1987)
A Midsummer’s Night Sex Comedy 

"Beloved masterpiece, you say? Take it from them!"—Netfl*x

“Beloved masterpiece, you say? Take it from them!”—Netfl*x

Love and Death (1975)
Alice (1990)
Stardust Memories (1980)
The Purple Rose of Cairo

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 or our Facebook page Videoport Jones.

>>>For Sunday, Dennis suggests supporting your local video store and getting something for yourself! Pay $20 on your account and get 5 free bucks in credit. Or $30 gets you $40! We both win!

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).