Volume CDLXXX- Portland Does Not Believe In Tears
For the Week of 10/28/14
Videoport gives you a free movie every, single day. No one can take that free rental away from you, man…
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!
>>> Emily S. Customer suggests some Halloween movies actually set on Halloween! It’s like double Halloween! Videoport is pleased to help you plan your Halloween renting with a not-at-all exhaustive list of films set on (entirely or in part) on Halloween. For your viewing ease, I’ve split them up into films suitable for family viewing (use your own judgment! You know your kids/parents/siblings best!) and films that are… probably emphatically not. Happy hauntings!
For the whole family:
It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!
Addams Family Value
House on Haunted Hill
The Nightmare Before Christmas
Arsenic and Old Lace
The Halloween Tree
NOT for kids (unless you’re one of those cool parents):
The Lady in White
Trick ‘r Treat
Halloween (original through infinity)
Twin Falls, Idaho
House of 1000 Corpses
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 some classic horrors for Halloween. Dracula? Check. Frankenstein? You betcha. Invisible Men, Lagoon creatures, Wolfmen, Mummies, zombies (voodoo and flesh-eating)? Oh, you know it. Consult with Videoport’s tiny but expert army of film buffs for some old school scares that won’t freak anyone out by showing boobies or shedding any in-color blood!
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 horror comedies! Except that most horror comedies are really awful! It’s just a hard balance to pull off. Some that aren’t terrible: Shaun Of The Dead [which succeeds in being a legitimate horror movie, a horror spoof, a touching drama, and a romantic comedy all at once. It’s like a hilarious, gory magic trick.] The Fearless Vampire Killers [From renowned laughmeister Roman Polanski, this 1967 vampire spoof remains sort of funny! It’s a miracle!] Behind The Mask: The Rise Of Leslie Vernon [Sort of a conceptual horror comedy, in that it spoofs the conventions of horror movie by being set in a world where masked serial killers as simply a fact of life. A documentary crew follows a seemingly inept wannabe Jason, Freddy, or Michael Myers, only to gradually discover he might not be the clown they think he is.] Tucker And Dale Vs. Evil [Tyler Labine and Alan Tudyk are the titular hillbillies who look scary to a group of backwoods-vacationing college jerks, but are completely harmless. Unfortunately, seriously bloody stuff happens all around them, causing some seriously gory laughs, with the leads’ underplayed charms making the film.] Slither [Before he conquered the world with Guardians Of The Galaxy, director James Gunn made some seriously gross, hilariously twisted sh*t, non moreso than this super-gross alien invasion squirm-fest starring Firefly’s great Nathan Fillion as a small town sheriff fighting the slimiest alien slug monsters in the universe]. Young Frankenstein [One of the funniest movies ever. Nuff said.] An American Werewolf In London [A wry sense of humor alongside werewolf gore and one of the best monster transformation scenes ever]. Re-Animator [Sick, twisted, gory laughs in questionable taste! Great lead performance by Jeffrey Combs as a mad scientist with a head in a lasagna pan]. Bad Taste [Before he conquered the world even more thoroughly than James Gunn, Peter Jackson [Lord Of The Rings] made scruffy, gross, disreputable horror comedies from New Zealand. Also see: Dead Alive]. Bubba Ho-Tep [The great Bruce Campbell (Evil Dead II) stars as an elderly Elvis fighting the mummy killing folks in his retirement home. No, I am not kidding—this is a great, weird little horror movie, also starring the late Ossie Davis as an old black man claiming to be John F. Kennedy. He also fights the mummy—trust me, this makes perfect sense].
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 Abby L. suggests Wallace And Gromit: The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit (in Animation). Aardman Animations deserves to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Pixar as one of the top producers of outstanding animated family entertainment that’s really- truly- fun for all ages, as they say. The first feature-length film of its signature characters, 2005’s Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, easily establishes why it deserves to be there. The film follows the titular human-canine duo- Wallace, the bumbling, fromage-obsessed inventor and his beloved sidekick, Gromit- as they endeavor to humanely address the overpopulation of playful, curiously-pig-nosed bunnies upon their quaint English village. The pair finds a benefactor is the form of soft-hearted Lady Tottington (voiced by Helena Bonham Carter, whose eccentricity finds the perfect outlet here) and are commissioned to use their ingenious gadgets to solve the bunny problem on the eve of the village’s famous vegetable competition. But when a monster-sized rabbit begins ravaging the village’s produce, W&G realize they may have bitten off more than they can chew. From the opening credits on, every meticulous claymation frame of Were-Rabbit distinguishes itself from the crowd of off-brand, mostly-CGI crap-fests out there, which subsist on two kinds of low-hanging fruit: toilet humor for the kids and pandering, out-of-place pop culture references for the adults. Were-Rabbit’s trademarked British whimsy exists in a retro world all its own. Its mannered visual puns (early on, Wallace slathers “middle age spread” on his breakfast toast) are counterbalanced nicely by a bold sense of anarchic mischief (the village’s vicar splashes holy water on his eggplant in order to win the veg competition). Were-Rabbit is a family-friendly spoof of throwback classic monster films, with nods to everything from Dracula to King Kong. The charming craftsmanship of the film is another welcome relic that separates its sensibilities from the millions-per-pixel ethos of its peers. In slower moments, one can make out the loving indentations of fingerprints rendered on the setting and characters. Gromit, the silent non-voice of reason and the glue keeping the bunny-wrangling expedition together, mostly communicates through eye expressions, masterfully conveying every emotion from joy to exasperation towards his bungling owner. Were-Rabbit commits a staggering attention to detail that is present throughout. The world impatiently awaits Wallace & Gromit’s next feature-length outing; understandably, even a short film like 2009’s A Matter of Loaf and Death takes ages to complete. In the meantime, whether you’re a parent looking for Halloween night family fare or an adult looking for a laugh before hitting the bars dressed as a sexy what-have-you, Were-Rabbit is an ideal choice.
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!
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 suggests some David Lynch terror. Halloween week is traditionally a big week for scarrrrrrry movies, but we know not everyone loves horror. Can you enjoy a good scare without browsing the horror aisle? So of my most horrifying film memories come from films not usually defined as horror. As a horror aficionado, I’m inured to slow-burn suspense and jump scares alike, but there are three scenes in David Lynch’s oeuvre that just plain scare me silly.
Lost Highway. If you’ve seen Lost Highway, you already know what scene I mean, but if I have to think about it, so do you: it’s the party scene where the Mystery Man (Robert Blake) and Fred Madison (Bill Pullman) lock eyes across a vapid SoCal house party and everything around them—the music, the chatter of the other guests—drops away.
Mulholland Dr. Sound design is just as crucially important to the scene when Dan (Patrick Fischler) tells his … friend? partner? therapist? … of a dream he’s had that takes place right there in Winkie’s Diner. “They start out that I’m in here, but it’s not day or night. It’s kind of half-night, you know?” [I suspect that’s a hint to Sunset Blvd., a film Mulholland Dr. references heavily.] Fischler’s affecting blend of intensity and embarrassment carries the scene, but the long slow take and merciless sound design give it a feeling of in-the-bone terror that has stuck with me for over a decade. My third choice is the ending of Mulholland Dr., so consider yourself SPOILER ALERTed. When a knock pounds on Diane’s door and the tiny figures of Betty’s airplane companions scurry through the gap of the threshold… I can’t explain it, but it terrifies me, especially when they grow back to full size and loom over Diane, their hands curled into talons, backing her from her only escape. And that’s the crux of the horror in David Lynch’s work: I can’t explain it. These scenes employ some of the standard vocabulary of film scares, but they’re superficially nonsensical, too. They have no obvious origin or meaning. They’re a peek into a destabilized world; more than that, they destabilize the seemingly rational shared world. They tilt the world sideways and it never gets righted.
New Releases this week at Videoport: Deliver Us From Evil (Eric Bana tries out a very, very New York accent in this “based on a true story” [except that demons don’t exist] horror flick about a NYC cop who discovers—because it’s totally a true story—that all the creepy crimes he’s been investigating aren’t a result of Bew Yorkers being themselves but that pesky demonic possession that totally exists! Damn those demons!), The Pretty One (Zoe Kazan stars as a pair of twin sisters, one of which is popular and outgoing, the other one who is, um, not. When opportunity presents itself, the, let’s call her lesser twin, takes her sister’s place and has all manner of romantic adventures with the likes of Drinking Buddies co-stars Jake Johnson and Ron Livingston), ILO ILO (The close relationship between a young boy and his family’s maid is threatened when the global financial crisis in Singapore means the family can no longer afford to employ her), Le Chef (Attention, Portland foodies! New food movie! This time, it’s the great jean Reno [The Professional] starring as the principled chef of a snooty French restaurant forced to fight for the place’s integrity when a new CEO tries to force an experimental new hotshot chef on him), Cottage Country (Looking a lot like star Tyler Labine’s dark horror comedy Tucker And Dale Versus Evil [which is really good], this Canadian horror comedy sees Labine and fiancée Malin Akerman [Children’s Hospital] embroiled in a series of escalatingly bloody hijinks when their romantic getaway is invaded by his weird family), Wish I Was Here (Everyone kind of liked wrier/director/star Zach Braff’s Garden State, but now people have turned on the goofy Scrubs alum, just in time for this indie dramedy to hit DVD. In it, Braff is a struggling actor and dad who isn’t very happy and ends up making lots of decisions about growing up. There all also many hugs and indie rock songs you will probably also sort of like. [And Braff says the title’s misuse of the subjunctive tense is totally intentional, by the way.]), America: Imagine A World Without Her (Newest right-wing, fact-challenged hate-umentary from Fox News dum-bulb Dinesh D’Souza who, in the guise of a 90 minute long “America! F*** Yeah! Goes after all those liberals and progressives who want to present a balanced view of American history. Rent it at Videoport!), Child Of God (James Franco continues to use his celebrity and millions of dollars to direct middling indie drama adaptations of the works of his favorite authors. It’s Cormac McCarthy’s turn this time, with his early novel about a misanthropic mountain man turned necrophiliac serial killer), Good People (More James Franco! This time, he and wife Kate Hudson play a pair of cash-strapped Americans who think their problems are solved when they find a huge pile o’ cash in their dead neighbor’s apartment. Strangely, unscrupulous people [including Tim Wilkinson and Omar Sy] come looking for the money. Who knew?), LFO (Award-winning Swedish sci fi thriller about a brilliant loner who discovers sound waves that can make people do his bidding, so he uses his newfound invention to make the world a better place. Wait, what’s that—oh, he uses it to make his attractive neighbors do creepy sex stuff. My apologies.), Life Of Crime (While not technically a prequel to Quentin Tarantino’s stellar Jackie Brown, this Elmore Leonard adaptation is based on a book about Ordell and Louis, who were played by Samuel L. Jackson and Robert DeNiro in Jackie Brown. Here, Yasiin Bey [formerly known as Mos Def] and John Hawkes [Deadwood] star as the two lifelong criminal pals, this time embroiled as younger men in a comically botched kidnapping scam. Costarrin Jennifer Aniston, Tim Robbins, and Will Forte.), The Prince (Jason Patric stars as a retired assassin who gets sucked back into his old ways when his daughter is kidnapped by meanie Bruce Willis. Pal John Cusack tags along to help, and continue his essentially direct-to-DVD late career path.), Begin Again (Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo star in this musical drama about a disgraced music company exec who discovers a beautiful and talented singer songwriter. Good cast includes Catherine Keener, Hailee Steinfield, and Yasiin Bey [Mos Def]—second Yaslin Bey appearance of the week. Score!), Once Upon A Time- season 3 (Fairy tales are real, and all grown up and sexy and stuff in this TV series that’s the one that’s not Grimm.)
New Arrivals on Blu-Ray This Week At Videoport: Wish I Was Here, Deliver Us From Evil