VideoReport #482

Volume CDLXXXII- To Portland With Love

For the Week of 11/11/14

Videoport give you a free movie every single day. Not to be braggy, but we think that’s pretty cool of us, frankly.

Middle Aisle Monday! Take a free rental from the Science Fiction, Horror, Incredibly Strange, Popular Music, Mystery/Thriller, Animation, or Staff Picks sections with any other paid rental! OR Get any three non-new releases for seven days for $7.99!

>>> Dennis suggests taking a chance every day! One of the great things about the vanishing creature that is the independent video store is the fact that it’s jam-packed with movies and TV shows you haven’t seen. Plus, it’s gonna have workers who do nothing but watch movies, talk about movies, and think about movies. Seriously, these people love nothing more than turning other people onto the movies and TV they know they’re going to love. And since said independent video store (Videoport, duh) has a special every single day where you can get a movie for free in addition to the ones you cam in for, that means you have a daily chance to broaden your entertainment horizons at absolutely no cost and no risk to you whatsoever. Seriously, find me a risk. You can’t. Say the video clerk is completely dead wrong and you get five minutes into their recommendation and you hate it (this never happens, but go with it for the sake of the point I’m making). What have you lost? Nothing, that’s what. And, more likely (like, 100% more likely), that clerk has sent you home with something you’re going to find fascinating (or funny, terrifying, heartbreaking, brain-melting)—in short, something that’s going to make your life better. So take a chance—we’ll help you.

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 the damned holiday shelf is back and you should rent stuff from it because these movies exist. They just exist. Look, none of us are happy that this annual abomination is back again for the next few months—it takes up the staff picks section, which means we can’t force our movie taste on people as easily. Plus, holiday movies (especially Christmas movies) are terrible. Sure there are a few good ones, but for every It’s A Wonderful Life or A Christmas Story, there’s a Surviving Christmas, or a Christmas With The Kranks, or a Deck The Halls, or [gag] a Jingle All The Way. But, hey, if we don’t put them all together, then everyone gets all mad and annoyed and so here they are. I hope you’re happy…

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 Getting On (in Comedy.) This is one of those hybrid comedy/drama series that mines a workplace situation for insight into the human condition and therefore straddles the line between the two genres so precariously that it’s guaranteed not to attract a big audience. (See also: the brilliant HBO series Enlightened.) This one, set in a geriatric hospital ward, is about possibly the least laugh-conducive workplace ever, and the laughs come more from the world of cringe comedy. Sort of like The Office, except much, much grimmer and dark. Can’t believe it hasn’t been a big hit (although its second season just started on cable). In it, Family Guy’s Alex Bornstein is outstandingly real and heartbreakingly vulnerable as the show’s moral center, a middle aged, exhaustedly-single nurse with the desperately competent movements of someone just barely hanging on. Reno 911’s Niecy Nash matches her as another nurse, whose family obligations give her no more peace, but whose no-nonsense demeanor is her way of coping with the relentless grind of inevitable death. (See—comedy!) The great Laurie Metcalf is their boss, a driven, tactless doctor whose bone-tired impatience infuses her every interaction with bleakly comic potential. (She’s also doggedly pursuing her research project about genital shrinkage in the elderly. Look, none of this sounds especially fun, but it’s a thoughtful, well-acted, cringingly funny and pretty damned moving show that is the perfect antidote to the shrill sitcom crap that we all like to complain about.

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 Gilmore Girls (in Feature Drama). [MASSIVE SPOILERS AHEAD OH BOY PRETTY MASSIVE] Here’s the dark secret in Gilmore Girls that no one ever talks about: Stars Hollow lies in the grip of a shadowy fertility cabal that rules the lives of its denizens — and even their folk elsewhere — with terrible certainty. Think about it: Christopher Hayden accidentally impregnated Lorelai, then a generation later he accidentally impregnates his new partner. Luke has a daughter with his high school girlfriend. Luke’s sister Liz has two unplanned pregnancies ~18 years apart. Lane gets pregnant with twins the very first time she has sex. Sookie is so overwhelmed by pregnancy and parenthood that she and Jackson decide he should have a vasectomy to avoid any further disruption to their lives, but something persuades him not only to skip the agreed-upon procedure but to keep his continued fertility secret from his wife so she can be surprised by yet another OOPS pregnancy. The only reasonable conclusion: Gilmore Girls takes place in a dystopian alternative universe where all social and sexual mores are controlled by forces beyond the control of the individual, outside the scope of sex-ed classes, and unfettered from the many forms of reliable and widely available birth control. In the AU of Gilmore Girls, all heterosexual couplings serve the larger master of society’s need for babies, babies, more babies, always more babies. You have plans? Too bad. Stars Hollow needs babies. You have hopes and dreams? I hope and dream that they’re about babies, because that’s what you’ll be having. Make Gilmore Girls a double-feature with The Handmaid’s Tale! Also, I am pretty worried about April Nardini.

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!          

>>> You get a free kids movie every Friday, no other rental necessary. And Videoport just put a few hundred new movies in there—try it out. You don’t have to be a kid, even! Like this one for example.

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 Edge Of Tomorrow* (in Sci-Fi/Fantasy). The perfect movie for everyone who finds Tom Cruise eminently punchable. This is actually a pretty fun sci-fi action flick, with Cruise pulling a Groundhog Day as a soldier forced to relive the D-Day like assault on the beachhead of an invading alien invasion force. After getting some alien blood on him, Cruise wakes up at the same time the day before he dies. Super-cool Emily Blunt is the tough war hero who tries to use Cruise’s gift to win the seemingly hopeless war against the very tentacle-y aliens sweeping over Earth, a Noah Taylor does his typically entertaining geeky sidekick stuff as a genius scientist helping out. Director Doug Liman [The Bourne Identity] keeps things zipping along nicely. But the real appeal for everyone tired of the maniacally grinning, alpha male nutball that is Mr. Cruise is the sight of Tommy getting killed about 1000 times over the course of a movie. Playing a weaselly military PR flak whose TV-friendly bravery turns to ill-advised cowardice at the prospect of having to be in the front lines (even as an advisor), Cruise’s undeniable gift for playing people you just want to take a poke at is used perfectly. When the great Brendan Gleeson, as Earth military commander, responds to Cruise’s smirky blackmail attempt by busting him of his rank and putting him on the front lines, it makes Cruise’s succeeding (and endlessly repeated) violent, bloody humilations that much more gleefully enjoyable. Yes, the movie’s fun on its own, but the canny choice to put Cruise in this role just puts it right over the top.

*Oh, and this movie is still actually named Edge Of Tomorrow, although the studio has tried to get everyone to call it Live Die repeat once it hit DVD. Look, Edge Of Tomorrow is a terrible title, we can all agree. (Is it a soap opera? A romance novel?) But Live Die Repeat is even worse—for one thing, it gives away the premise. For a decent, fun sci-fi flick, the PR people really screwed this one up right from the start all the way through. So we file it under the original title because, well, it has to go somewhere.

>>>For Sunday, Why not get yourself some free money!? There’s no reason why you would not do this. Put $20 down on your Videoport rental account, and you get $25 worth of rental credit. Or, high roller, pre-pay $30 and see it turn into $40 in credit. You love Videoport, and you love free stuff. Again, no reason why you would not do this—so do this.

New Releases this week at Videoport: Tammy (Cool comedy powerhouse Melissa McCarthy stars as the titular Tammy, a typically boisterous and variously inappropriate sad sack who heads off on a road trip with mom Susan Sarandon), Let’s Be Cops (Damon Wayans Jr. and Jake Johnson are hilarious on the very funny sitcom New Girl, so this wacky comedy about two dudes who find that being mistaken for police officers is both rewarding and dangerous should be reasonably funny as well!), True Blood- season 7 (Anna Paquin is back as a vampire-lovin’ southern gal [who is also some sort of magic person herself] in the final season of this HBO series that some people are still excited about!), How To Train Your Dragon 2 (That kid has trained his dragon already, so it seems like this sequel is unnecessary, at least on that level. Perhaps he’s training a second dragon, or teaching a learning annex class in dragon taming? Rent it and see!), Getting On (See Wednesday’s review for the skinny on this quite good HBO sort-of comedy series about the beleaguered staff of a geriatric hospital ward), Mood Indigo (The newest film from Michel Gondry [The Science Of Sleep, Is The Man Who Is Tall Happy?] is a fantastical romance about a man and a woman [Audrey Tatou!] whose love is tested when she comes down with an enchanted illness which causes her to grow a flower in her lungs), Jersey Boys (Clint Eastwood directs this adaptation of the successful jukebox musical about the career of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons; Now some people might say that the whole jukebox musical thing is sort of lazy, since no one has to write any songs or anything, but I’m sure Mr. Eastwood knows what he’s doing), Come Hell Or High Water (Videoport’s owner Bill loves surfing, I don’t know if you know that. That might be why Videoport has such a great collection of surf movies. Here’s the new one! People surf in it!), Drive Hard (John Cusack and Tom Jane yoke their fading stardoms together in this vroom vroom action movie about men who drive cars very, very fast. Rent it along with The Prince [also in the Action section], the other most recent essentially direct-to-DVD Cusack action flick and get vaguely bummed-out.), Happy Christmas (Portland’s pride Anna Kendrick teams up with the also-excellent Melanie Lynskey for this indie comedy from her Drinking Buddies director Joe Swanberg about a pair of mismatched sisters clashing over the titular holiday), Scandal- season 3 (The super-cool Kerry Washington returns as Washington power player Olivia Pope, who defuses political scandals for her high-profile clients, even as she’s causing some scandals of her own by sleeping with the President of the United States?!)

New Arrivals this week at Videoport: Stargate: Universe- season 2 (The last season of this Stargate spinoff finishes up with Robert Carlyle and his intrepid band of space/time explorer people jumping through a magic sci-fi gate and just seeing what happens), Tales From The Grave (T he owner of Portland pawn shop Guitar Grave gave us this DVD made up entirely of people being sketchy, terrible, and all-around insane in his store. Are you on it?)

New Arrivals on Blu-Ray This Week At Videoport: Let’s Be Cops, Drive Hard, Tammy, Jersey Boys, How To Train Your Dragon 2

Free parking at Videoport! The parking lot behind the building is free for customers after 5PM on weekdays and all days on the weekends. Also, we can get you a free hour of parking at any downtown parking garage (including the courthouse garage which is, like, a one minute walk away). Just ask for one of our magic stickers!

Get your movies duplicated at Videoport! You guys know we can make copies of your DVDs and VHSes at Videoport, right? No, it can’t be anything copyrighted (that’s sort of what that word means), so you’ll just have to buy another copy of Weekend At Bernie’s to replace that VHS you’ve played so often it finally shredded itself. But home movies or anything not copyrighted? We can do it! $10 bucks a pop and little Susie’s dance recital can be copied and sent to every relative on your Christmas card list!