VideoReport #485

Volume CDLXXXV- Portland Alexanderplatz

For the Week of 12/2/14

 

Videoport gives you a free movie every single day. I don’t know how that can be anything but a good thing.

 

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

>>> Emily S. Customer helps you keep it local. Videoport knows that it can be a challenge even for the most devoted BUY LOCAL advocates to put their money where their mouths are, especially during the hustle-bustle of the busy holiday season. Sure, you want to support independent businesses and keep our local economy robust, but how do you fit your ideals into your budget and imagination? We’re here to help with some BUY LOCAL gift ideas, and a little something extra just for you.

The regular renter: For the Portland-area film aficionado on your list, there’s no better gift than The Spirit of Videoport Future! Choose a gift certificate (three rentals for $10, six rentals for $20, or 10 rentals for $30) or take advantage of Videoport’s great savings plan when you add credit directly to their account ($20 buys $25 in rental credits, $30 buys $40). Either way, these rentals qualify for Videoport’s great daily specials, so your recipient can get 2-for-1 rentals every weekday or 3-for-2 rental weekends! Throw in a FREE copy of the VideoReport to give them great ideas for future rentals and great free movies every day.

The movie-night basket: Pick up a new or previously-viewed DVD movie or TV season at Videoport, pack it up with a bag of Little Lad’s herbal popcorn, and a box of concession candy (try Snowcaps, Junior Mints, or Twizzlers!) and you’ve got a great gift basket for folks who want to stay in on a cold Maine night. You’ll also get a little something extra for yourself: with every DVD purchase of $3.99* and up, Videoport gives you a free rental on your own account!

The connoisseur: Can’t find just the right gift for the fancy, fussy, or hard-to-satisfy cinophile on your list? Videoport is here to help! Videoport can special-order any film in print for a gift that’s sure to please. (And you get that free rental on your account, just for buying from Videoport!)

—Some themed ideas to get you started, whether you pick them up off the shelf or special-order to get just the right title. And remember, with each DVD purchase of $3.99* and up, you get a free rental!

Arrested Development: Give a whole season of the legendary dysfunctional-family sitcom along with “a whole thing of candy beans” from Jelly Belly! If you haven’t seen the series, this doesn’t make much sense, but if you have, this idea raises an eyebrow… at least.

Finding Nemo: Pixar’s heartwarming classic will please young and old alike, and so will the Swedish Fish and chocolate-caramel turtles you pick up to go along with it!

E.T.: The Extraterrestrial: Spielberg’s modern classic doesn’t need any sweetening, but how can you not pick up some packets of Reese’s Pieces to go with it?

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory: Willy Wonka and candy go together like Gene Wilder and a terrifying smile, so take your pick. I especially recommend the Jelly Belly Bean Boozled collection, where you spin the wheel and take your chances. Will you taste a Tutti Frutti or Stinky Socks? Lime or Lawn Clippings? Licorice or Skunk Spray?

Chocolat and Like Water for Chocolate: For a delicious double-feature, pick these two romantic dramas, wrap them up with a few bars of Lake Champlain’s exquisite fair-trade, small-batch chocolate, and expect the winter to warm up fast.

*fine print and so on: offer subject to change, like everything else in life.

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 Vikings (in Action). I wrote some stuff about Vikings once. (Actually, I write about it a lot for one of my 35 other jobs).

“It took a while, but I finally came to the understanding that Ragnar’s caginess in his leadership is partly born of something like sheepishness and caution. He’s like the star quarterback who’s discovers the joys of poetry and tries to find the least obtrusive way to bring his hidden appreciation for higher culture into greater acceptance—without getting the Viking equivalent of a locker-room wedgie, which would probably involve a lot more cleaving. In retrospect, it’s a brilliant way to create a Viking hero for modern sensibilities without turning him into an anachronistically modern hero. (It’s also a smart way to deliver the expected Viking thrills in a reduced-guilt form.) As Ragnar’s ambitions are revealed, they are decidedly homey—land to farm, greater prosperity for his people, and an end to the constant violence that marks every aspect of Viking life. Ragnar’s desire to sail west into the unknown flies in the face of stolid Earl Haraldson’s (Gabriel Byrne) determination to simply keep raiding the doormat lands to the east, which is standard rebellious hero stuff. But when Ragnar discovers the rich and fertile England, what he sees is farmland (the Scandinavia of the period had precious little arable land)—and with it, the chance to fundamentally transform the Vikings’ pillage-based way of life. And while it’s never clear how fully articulated Ragnar’s plans to essentially colonize England are, even to himself (Vikings is at its weakest when it gives Ragnar too much to say on the subject), it is clear that what he’s longing for is an end to the necessity of constant warfare in favor of what we see him enjoying from the first episode: family and farm and security.”

This is a good show, is what I’m saying.

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 Party Down (in Comedy.) For one of those 35 other jobs, I have to come up with suggestions for the best sitcom episodes of the last 25 years. Still formulating, but I’ll definitely be including one episode from this short-lived sitcom about the very resentful staff of a Hollywood catering company. The cast is stellar, and the show traffics in character work in tandem with big physical gags to produce one of the best workplace comedies ever. If I had to pick one episode to represent the show, though, I’d say it’s be season two’s “Steve Guttenberg’s Birthday Party,” where Party Down Catering shows up to, yes, Steve Guttenberg’s house to staff his birthday party, only to find that the Gute has forgotten all about booking the gig. Faced with having to eat the deposit and waste all the food, the Gute, instead, tells the gang to come in and party with him, and to invite some friends. It’s a great setup (the Gute does some great self-parody, and seems like a great guy), and the episode offers the cast the chance to play out their ongoing stories as they hang around, with varying degrees of comfort, with a big (if faded) movie star. Adam Scott and Lizzy Caplan are simply amazing in this one, as their will-they-or-won’t they coworkers (he a failed actor, she a wannabe one) try to impress each other by acting out parts in coworker Martin Starr’s terrible sci-fi script. Meanwhile, Ken Marino’s perpetually bumbling and pathetic sort-of boss breaks the Gute’s priceless aquarium/work of art, Megan Mullaly’s social climber tries to get in good with the host, and dim actor Ryan Hansen fails to impress his much smarter actress date. Even McLovin’ shows up. The whole thing just works, coming together in a way that is simply perfect. Huge laughs, some unexpected heart, and the Gute. What more could you want?

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!                                        

>>> Andy suggests The Tee Vee Show, Episode 8 (in the Incredibly Strange section). The Tee Vee Show is a locally produced collaboration between developmentally disabled adults and local artists. A joint venture between the creative teams at The Art Department and Bomb Diggity Arts*, Episode 8 is a culmination of their 2014 short films, edited together into one cohesive program with clever transitions and some genuine enthusiasm for extended title sequences. But why should you watch this right now, you ask? Because it’s super fun (and thanks for asking)! Some of the short films are straight-up spoofs, like the MTV Cribs episode (“This is my stool I use to sit.”) and the Survivor parody. There are also well-produced genre exercises (Marc vs. Marc, Love Is In The Air), a cooking show (“I want my carrots sliced and diced!”), and a summery music video for a damn catchy song. But my favorite segments are the harder to categorize, stop motion animated flights of fancy that seem to tie The Tee Vee Show together. All About The Common Loon is a lovely and heartfelt ode to nature, and others are more difficult to describe. A brief description of the original fairy tale video couldn’t possibly do it justice! I’m just sayin’, you should check it out, adventurous Videoport renter**! After the ending title sequence that incorporates a generous helping of bloopers and behind the scenes footage, an Episode 9 is promised for 2015. Stay tuned!

*You have likely walked by their storefronts on Congress Street, or possibly even bought some of the artwork sold inside. If not, you should give it a try!

**And if you’re reading this review, I assume you are exactly the kind of adventurous Videoport renter who would be interested in taking The Tee Vee Showhome***.

***Also, thanks for reading this far. You must share my love of asterisks!

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 movie! And you don’t have to rent anything else to get it! Plus, Videoport’s conception of an appropriate kids movie is wonderfully broad—you’ll find something.

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 In A World (in Comedy). It’s nice when people I like do something I like. That’s pretty much my reaction to this unassuming, sweetly entertaining indie comedy drama from actress Lake Bell, who also writes and directs. You’ll recognize Bell, even if you don’t know her name—she’s very funny on the very funny Childrens Hospital and was good in the Maine-made horror thriller Black Rock (from Mainer-made-good Katie Aselton). But she’s usually stuck playing the funny pal to rom-com leads like Cameron Diaz or someone like that. So, in a role mirroring her own frustrations no doubt, Bell stars here as Carol, a sensibly shlubby vocal coach with aspirations to voiceover stardom like that possessed by her overbearing father (silky voiced Fred Melamed, the unlikely lover in A Serious Man). Everyone’s looking to fill the shoes of recently deceased, real-life movie trailer legend Don LaFontaine (famous for his “In a world…” opening catchphrase.) When Carol finds herself in the running for the gig voicing the trailers for a new Hunger Games-like franchise, she finds herself also in competition with her dad and the smarmy prettyboy up-and-comer played with his usual pitch-perfection by The State’s Ken Marino. Like all first features, everything’s sort of low-key and pleasant, but the cast is outstanding, including the likes of Michaela Watkins, Rob Corddry, Nick Offerman, Demitri Martin, and Tig Notaro, all bringing their roles the spiky, lived-in colors only comic character actors can really bring. And Bell is really good, resolutely refusing to let Carol be either to self-indulgently perfect, or anybody’s victim. Just a good little movie.

>>>For Sunday, Dennis suggests Broad City (in Comedy.) Look, there’s no doubt that the lovely Ms. Emily S. Customer will review this show—that she loves—very soon. In the meantime, I’ll just direct you to this show starring two of the funniest, weirdest, crudest women you don’t know about yet. Unless you’re one of the cool kids. (PS: Amy Poehler discovered them and produces this. That should be enough to convince anyone.)

New Releases this week at Videoport: Broad City- season 1 (Okay, this is the show you should be watching, a rude, crude, defiantly hilarious Comedy Central sitcom about two young women pursuing nothing in particular with unapologetic zeal. Serioulsy—all the cool kids love this one. And you want to be cool, don’t you? Don’t you?), The Hundred Foot Journey (Pretty much all I have to say is “Helen Mirren,” and you all are going to want to rent this one, but I’ll supply more details, because I’m a professional. In this one, HELEN MIRREN plays the snooty ruler of a five-star French restaurant who gets all snooty when an Indian restaurant opens up right down the street. Silly HELEN MIRREN—Indian food beats French food any day of the week.), Justified- season 5 (Timothy Olyphant is back as the ‘totally gona shoot you and say it was justified’-est marshal around in this still-pretty-good copper show, The Strain- season 1 (Guillermo del Toro [Pan’s Labyrinth, Pacific Rim] produced this horror series about the Center For Disease Control discovering that this new disease might have something decidedly unusual [read: fang-y] about it), Kite (Based on the cult anime film [which, of course, you can rent in Videoport’s Anime section], this action thriller sees a tough, gun-totin’ girl go after the thugs who murdered her parents with the help of her dad’s old cop partner [played by Samuel L. Jackson]), Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes (Monkeys! All right, they’re apes, but still, it’s fun to yell Monkeys! In this sequel, the superintelligent ape Caesar and his rebellious brethren have pretty much taken over the world, leaving a band of human survivors [including Gary Oldman] to try and keep those damn dirty ape hands off of their throats), The Simpsons- season 17 (Look for Sideshow Bob on the cover this time!), The Jewish Cardinal (Long-awaited film, based on a true story, about a Catholic cardinal who discovers that he’s actually—well, you’ve read the title.), Stretch (Comic thriller from director Joe Carnahan [The Grey, Narc] about a down-on-his-luck limo driver who has one seriously bad day, ferrying around a series of increasingly crazy and violent characters), Trailer Park Boys: Don’t Legalize It (Those hard-drinking, doping, trailer park layabouts are back in another feature length adventure, this time realizing that legalized weed will deprive them of their only source of income.), Billy Crystal: 700 Sundays (Billy Crystal brings his one man Broadway smash show to DVD, as he reminisces about his childhood and—I’m just guessing here—tells a story or two about Mickey Mantle), The Congress (Robin Wright stars in this Being John Malkovich/Cold Souls-style reality bending film as herself, an aging actress who allows her essence to be captured by a movie studio’s computers in order that she can be inserted into any film they choose; Costarring Harvey Keitel, Paul Giamatti, Danny Huston, and Jon Hamm)

New Arrivals on Blu-Ray This Week At Videoport: Kite, The Hundred Foot Journey, Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes

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!

VideoReport #481

Volume CDLXXXI- An American In Portland

For the Week of 11/4/14

Videoport give you a free movie every, single day. If you have any problem with that, we suggest you consult your doctor.

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 this month’s list of movies you can get at Videoport (because we think you should be able to watch what you want, when you want) but that you now can’t get on that Internet streaming service that shall not be named (because that corporation thinks it should be able to capriciously take things away from you for no reason). Rent local—we have these (and always will):

101 Dalmatians (1996)

American Psycho (2000)

Apocalypse Now (1979)

Apocalypse Now Redux (2001)

The Big Chill (1983)

Blown Away (1992)

Brighton Beach Memoirs (1986)

Broadcast News (1987)

The Buddy Holly Story (1978)

"Yeah, our customers don't need this piece of crap."—Netfl*x

“Yeah, our customers don’t need this piece of crap.”—Netfl*x

Bullet Proof Monk (2003)

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)

Candyman (1992)

Caveman (1981)

Cheech & Chong’s Next Movie (1980)

The Dogs of War (1980)

Elvis ’56 (1987)

Footloose (1984)

For a Few Dollars More (1965)

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)

The Great Outdoors (1988)

Hannibal (2001)

He Said, She Said (1991)

La Bamba (1987)

Les Miserables (1998)

The Ninth Gate (1999)

The Odessa File (1974)

One from the Heart (1982)

The Prince of Tides (1991)

A Raisin in the Sun (2008)

Red State (2011)

Say Anything (1989)

This...will...not...stand.

This…will…not…stand.

Serenity (2005)

Silent Running (1971)

Single White Female (1992)

Small, Beautifully Moving Parts (2011)

St. Elmo’s Fire (1985)

Starman (1984)

Steel Magnolias (1989)

Tetro (2009)

Thelma & Louise (1991)

Thomas & Friends (2005-2012)

Tortilla Soup (2001)

Trees Lounge (1996)

Under the Tuscan Sun (2003)

Up at the Villa (2000)

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 Animal Crackers (in Classics—filed under “Marx” with all the other Marx Brothers movies). Sure, there’s always a little lull or two in a Marx Brothers movie—Harpo plays the Harp, Chico plays the piano, they let Zeppo talk—but the lunatic benefits far outweigh the occasional musical number. In this one, the Brothers crash a swanky party at Margaret Dumont’s mansion, a painting gets stolen, Harpo beats up a society dame and then roofies everyone, and things are about as deliriously silly as they ever got. Which is pretty damned hilarious. One example of prime Groucho wordplay: Well, art is art, isn’t it? Still, on the other hand, water is water. And east is east and west is west, and if you take cranberries and stew them like applesauce, they taste much more like prunes than rhubarb does. Now, uh… Now you tell me what you know.

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 Scrubs (in Comedy.) Now that Zach Braff has a new movie out (Wish I Was Here) and everyone hates him again, I say it’s time for you to check back in on this hospital sitcom where his earnest goofiness was still endearing. This is just a good show. Braff is the idealistic goofball doc, his friendship with Donald Faison’s cocky surgeon Turk is hilariously co-dependent and warm, Sarah Chalk’s overachieving klutz doc Eliot is a marvel of physical comedy, and the great John C. McGinley creates one of the most indelibly dynamic sitcom characters in Dr. Perry Cox, snarky badass extraordinaire. (What McGinley does is technically hamming it up, but I don’t care.) The show is a deft, daffy blend of surreal physical comedy, workplace comedy, and unexpected, stealthy drama—seriously, there are some episodes that will rip your heart out. It’s silly, funny, full of heart, and just a plain, solid show. I feel like it’s sort of fading in the cultural memory, which is a shame.

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 Devil’s Pass and Banshee Chapter (both in Horror), especially if you want to see movies squander can’t-miss horror premises. Devil’s Pass is about the infamous Dyatlov Pass incident, when a group of Russian hikers were found inexplicably dead, afflicted with mysterious injuries. Some of them, despite the freezing temperatures, has apparently disrobed before dying. It’s spooky as hell in reality—which makes the movie such a bummer. It’s not terrible—there are some scares here and there, and a respectable final twist reveal. But director Renny Harlin (Die Hard 2 was a long time ago) squanders the scares with as derivative a Blair Witch ripoff as you can get—right down to the driven, reckless female film crew leader who, investigating the original incident with a quintet of obnoxious American 20-somethings, even gives a weepy apology to the camera. And Banshee Chapter, too, makes precious little hay out of the MK-Ultra program, a real, super-evil US government program that drugged and tortured unsuspecting US citizens for creepy, suspicious purposes. Here, an obnoxious 20-something reporter who goes in search of her college sort-of boyfriend, a writer who disappeared after ingesting a legendary hallucinogen and leaving behind a disturbing video tape. Seeking out the help of a famous Gonzo journalist (Ted Levine having fun as an obvious Hunter S. Thompson character), she investigates MK-Ultra, the mysterious “numbers stations” that broadcast cryptic messages to this day, and some really bad acid. It’s intermittently effective—there are a couple of really good jump scares—but the lead is dull, and things go off the rails. There are genuinely spooky, unsettling unexplained mysteries at the heart of each, but these films are actually less scary than just reading the incidents’ Wikipedia entries. That’s sort of a failure, right?

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:

>>>Emily S. Customer suggests a Friday night double-feature: Frozen and The Shining. For Free Kids Friday, take home a double bill — one FREE film for the whole family and one rental for after the kids go to bed. Journalist/blogger Mary Katherine Ham is spinning some a theory about the connections between Disney’s Frozen and Kubrick’s The Shining. Thiiiiiink about it: an elaborate sprawling estate where a family is isolated for a seemingly endless winter, a young child playing alone in those echoing corridors, and who’s hurt by the relative who succumbs to the power of supernatural influence. For even more resonances between the two films, you can check out https://mkhammer.squarespace.com/blog… or just rent the films and screen them for yourself.

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 that sometimes even the dumbest idea for a TV show can turn out to be a really great TV show. Case in two points: Hannibal and Fargo. Both based on movies. One (Hannibal), based on a series that is seriously played out, and the other (Fargo) based on a great movie, except not using any of that film’s plot, characters, or The Coen Brothers. See—both really dumb ideas of TV shows. Except, they’re two of the best shows on TV last year. Hannibal, from creator Bryan Fuller (Dead Like Me, Wonderfalls, Pushing Daisies) is simply stunning—a serial killer show where every moment evinces infinite care in every aspect of the production. Hugh Dancy and Laurence Fishburne are stellar, but it’s Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen who you can’t keep your eyes off of. He’s a better, more menacing (and less hammy) Hannibal Lecter than Anthony Hopkins. Yeah, I said it. And Fargo is a mesmerizing, strange, darkly comic crime drama which (apart from one, subtle nod to the film) is completely its own animal. Allison Tolman is brilliant as the Marge Gundersen-esque cop who doggedly pursues the truth behind a series of killings in her once quiet Minnesota town. Martin Freeman (The Hobbit, The Office) is the squirmy milquetoast husband at the unlikely center of things, and Billy Bob Thornton creates as indelible a villain as does Mikkelsen—as the hitman who seems to be pursuing some sort of agenda he finds as amusing as it is bloody. Dumb ideas, great TV.

>>>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: A Most Wanted Man (In this spy thriller, the late [I still hate writing that] Philip Seymour Hoffman stars as a beleaguered German spy embroiled [beleagueredly] in a deadly game of cat-and-mouse. Also starring Willem Dafoe and Robin Wright.), Wrong Turn 6 (Man, when will inadequately dressed female travelers stop playfully turning off their Siris and getting lost in inbred, cannibalistic, rapey hillbilly country? It’s just a bad move.), What Is Cinema? (Movie-lovers’ documentary from Chuck Workman [Superstar, The Source] lets directors like Alfred Hitchcock, Robert Bresson, Mike Leigh, David Lynch, and Jonas Mekas express their answers to the titular question in their own words—and pictures.), The One I Love (Mad Men’s Elizabeth Moss and The League’s Mark Duplass star in this seemingly-ordinary indie drama about an unhappy the-one-i-lovemarried couple who go to shrink Ted Danson’s seemingly-ordinary counseling retreat. All I know next is that something very unexpected happens, and that everyone who sees the movie talks about it, and if you spoil what happens I shall be very, very mad at you and think unkind things about you.), The Newsroom- season 2 (Okay—so there’s a lot to dislike about this HBO show about Jeff Daniels as a principled anchorman and the often-crazy behind-the-scenes shenanigans of his network news show. But it is from Aaron Sorkin, who did things like The West Wing, Sports Night, Moneyball, and The Social Network, and even when he’s having an off day, his stuff is so much smarter than most anything else on TV that it seems ungrateful to complain. It’s no West Wing, but there’s good stuff is what I’m saying.), Maleficent (Angelina Jolie is the Wicked Witch who’s menacing Snow White, or is it Cinderella? Anyway, this is another one of those “dark and sexy” retellings of fairy tales that all the kids are apparently crazy about these days.), Land Ho! (Indie comedy drama about a pair of mismatched elderly guys who take an ill-advised road trip to Iceland in order to get their male mojo back; Sort of like a geriatric The Trip!), Hercules (Dwayne Johnson [I still call him Mr. The Rock] stars in this version of the Hercules story, which I understand is sort of better than its reputation. Plus, I love Mr. The Rock and I’m not ashamed to say it.), Planes 2: Fire And Rescue (So, it’s a Disney sequel to a spinoff of a Pixar movie? I think the Pixar magic is stretched pretty thin at this point, but your kids probably won’t notice.), The Dog (Remember how sweaty and weird and squirrely Al Pacino was as the lead in Dog Day Afternoon? Well, the real guy he’s based on was even odder, based on the evidence in this documentary.)

New Arrivals this week at Videoport: Novo (Eduardo Noriega [Open Your Eyes, The Devil’s Backbone] stars in this movie about a guy who can’t form any new long-term memories who gets used by his oversexed female boss. It’s like Memento, but with lots more sex! Or like 50 First Dates, but with more sex and fewer fart jokes! Enjoy!), Critic’s Choice (Videoport’s Classics section brings in the comedy dream team of Bob Hope and Lucille Ball in this zinger-filled rom-com about a snarky, Bob Hope-like theater critic [strangely enough, played by Bob Hope] who’s forced to curb his acid, shticky wit when he has to review his wife’s new Broadway play)

New Arrivals on Blu-Ray This Week At Videoport: Planes 2: Fire And Rescue, Land Ho!, A Most Wanted Man

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!

Published in: on November 5, 2014 at 2:16 am  Leave a Comment  
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VideoReport #480

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:

E.T.

It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!

Addams Family Value

House on Haunted Hill

Hocus Pocus

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

Ms. 45

Trick ‘r Treat

Halloween (original through infinity)

Donnie Darko

Ginger Snaps

May

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.

>>>For Sunday, Buy Videoport’s savings plans and get free money! $20 buys you $25 in rentals, and $30 buys you $40. Scarrrrry!!!

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 jun2along 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

VideoReport #475

Volume CDLXXV- Portland, Texas

For the Week of 9/23/14

(Click the pics for more reviews!)

Videoport gives you a free movie every, single day. And reminds you that choosing a local, independent movie store like, say, us is good for the soul.

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 watching some forbidden films! Banned Films Week!  To mark Banned Books week, Sept. 21-27, Videoport presents a collection of films based on banned, censored, or challenged books, and a handful of original films that faced similar challenges upon release. First up: Brokeback Mountain. A wealthy donor offered Austin’s St. Andrew’s School a six-figure endowment to remove Proulx’s Brokeback Mountain from their recommended reading list. St. Andrew’s refused the money… and kept the book on its list. Predictably, the film of Brokeback Mountain faced similar protests from Focus on the Family, and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops raised BrokeBackMountain’s Film and Broadcasting Office rating from L (for films “Limited” to adult audiences) to O (for “Offensive”). A Salt Lake City theater removed the film from its slot, with the owner claiming that it was “dangerous” in its portrayal of love between two men. The Today Show’s critic Gene Shalit decries one of Brokeback’s protagonists as “a sexual predator,” for which GLAAD criticized him, pointing out that audiences and critics view heterosexual star-crossed lovers as romantic and heartbreaking. None of this controversy prevents Brokeback Mountain from a record-breaking per-theater gross during its opening weekend, nor from raking in prestigious awards, including a Best Director Oscar for Ang Lee.

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 getting some serious free money at Videoport! You’re gonna spend your entertainment dollars with us, so why not get some free ones? No reason not to. $20 buys you $25 in store credit and $30 buys you $40. Boom—free money. Do that.

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 We Are The Best! (in Foreign Language). Swedish director Lukas Moodysson’s sure-to-be crowd-pleasing new film “We Are The Best!” is a lot of things—coming-of-age story, a tale of female friendship and solidarity, a rock movie. But most gratifyingly, it’s a return to early form for Moodysson, a filmmaker whose first films were some of the most perceptively warm and humanistic anywhere, but whose more recent output has tipped over into soul-crushing bleakness. “We Are The Best!” resembles nothing so much as Moodysson’s first film “Show Me Love,” a lovely, funny, and generous-hearted love story about two very different small-town Swedish girls who find the escape they’re seeking in each other. Set in 1983 Stockholm, “We Are The Best!” finds seventh grade outcast best friends Bobo (watchful, bespectacled Mira Barkhammar) and vocal, impulsive Klara (bright-eyed Mira Grosin) bonding over their outsider status, self-chopped haircuts, and defiant love of punk music, which has begun to wane in their peers’ estimation. (They stare in disbelief at a school dance recital set to The Human League’s “Don’t You Want Me.”) Declaring themselves a punk band, largely to spite the mean boys playing loudly at the local teen center, the girls quickly recruit another outcast, the quiet, religious Hedvig (Liv LeMoyne) when they see her defiantly perform a classical guitar number in front of braying classmates at the same talent show. And so, with one member who knows how to play an instrument, a broken down bass and drum set, and all the attitude a trio of just-teenaged girls can muster, the girls forge an unlikely friendship which is as sweet, rude, and funny as any in recent memory. Moodysson’s follow up to “Show Me Love” was the equally charitable “Together,” about a disparate group of adults living in a modern-day commune. There, too, the director’s view of people was clear-eyed but generous, finding sympathy for everyone, even as they screwed up. After that, in the heart-wrenchingly bleak teen prostitution drama “Lilya 4 Ever” and the even more hopeless pornography drama “A Hole In My Heart” (never available in America), Moodysson seemed to have gazed too far over the edge and decided that the world is just too unforgiving of human weakness for anything like a happy ending. Thankfully, “We Are The Best!,” while maintaining the director’s edgy immediacy (it’s shot largely hand-held), looks into the lives of Bobo, Klara, and Hedvig and not only forgives their youthful errors, but loves them for them. I did too. A running theme in Moodysson’s work is how precarious the world can be for young women. And while this film never spills over into the darkness his more recent films have, that undercurrent of unease informs every aspect of “We Are The Best!” The girls’ simmering resentment (over unhappy home lives, jerk boys, judgmental peers, and condescending adults) is what draws them to each other—and to the raw, exuberant protest of punk music. And, as they navigate the traps of being young and inexperienced, their growing solidarity is absolutely winning, especially in the hands of the three remarkable young actresses. Based on a graphic novel by Moodysson’s wife Coco, the film treats its protagonists without sentimentality but with complete sympathy—the lessons they learn as they try find their musical voice (with hilarious accuracy, their first song is about how stupid sports are) aren’t hammered home, but are more striking because of it. (After Bobo and Klara get in trouble for urging the conventional Hedvig to cut her hair like theirs, their confrontation ends with Klara exclaiming, “Learn to say no when you don’t want something!”) And their final response to a provincial audience’s abuse at their first public performance is about as punk as you can get—while remaining hearteningly, movingly sweet. As rambunctious as they get (watch the closing credits), the girl rockers of “We Are The Best!” are utterly, defiantly loveable. So’s the movie.

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 continues her tour of Banned movies with Monty Python’s Life Of Brian (in The Criterion Collection)> Banned for years in Ireland (and for a year in Norway, leading to its Swedish promotion touting it as “The film so funny it was banned in Norway!”) and picketed throughout the U.S. and England, Life of Brian was greeted (by people who’d never seen it) as blasphemy. It’s important to note that Life of Brian is not a satire of the life of Jesus, but a parallel story of an unwitting, unwilling false messiah pursued by devout believers trying to thrust him into a position of spiritual power. Brian of Nazareth (Graham Chapman bringing every gawky inch of his towering talent into play), born one stable over from Jesus on the same day, joins a band of would-be revolutionaries opposing the long-term Roman occupation of Judea. Like so many revolutionary organizations before and after them, the People’s Front of Judea spend most of their time and energy bickering and in-fighting instead of working for real social change. When Brian is misidentified as the Messiah, he has not only to avoid persecution by Pontius Pilate and the powers of the state, but also the internecine squabbling of assorted schism groups putatively devoted to following him. It’s not a satire about Christ, but a satire about the appeal of following and the faults of followers and statesmen alike.

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!          

>>> Videoport has a new special! Maybe you noticed that the heading for every single daily special is different. If so—well done. You should have your own Psych-type show where you’re very observant all the time. Regardless, here’s the new deal— NOW you can get 3 movies for a week for $7.99 EVERY SINGLE DAY! I know, right!? Also, on a specifically Friday vibe—we’ve put a ton of new stuff into the family section. Like, a lot of high-quality stuff. Now the part you might not like as much—all rentals at Videoport (including kids movies) are $3.50. Yeah, kids movies are now the same price as everything else, but you can still get a free movie from the kids section every Friday, no other rental necessary, no questions asked. And, now there are tons more movies packing that section for you to choose from. Be cool, everybody—Videoport’s got you covered, as always.

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 continues her appreciation of banned movies with Beloved (in Feature Drama). Toni Morrison’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel has been challenged a number of times in attempts to remove it from school curricula and reading lists all over the U.S.: In Ohio, Florida, Illinois, Idaho, Kentucky, Texas, and right here in Maine, Toni Morrison’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel has faced challenges to remove it from curricula, libraries, and reading lists, with complaints about its subject matter and language. Surely the story of a former slave faced with the terrible choice to return her children to a state of slavery is one which brooks some painful language, necessary to describe the horrors of that life. The 1998 film adaptation starring Oprah Winfrey, Danny Glover, and Thandie Newton is admittedly a tempered version of the story, but it still garnered praise for its performances and moving story.

>>>For Sunday, Videoport customer Abby L. suggests Palindromes (in Incredibly Strange). If you’re looking for something to do tonight, how about a good old-fashioned Todd Solondz soul-pummeling? For those unfamiliar with Solondz’ work, 2004’s Palindromes offers a mind-altering introduction to the writer-director’s jet-black worldview. To those who’ve already witnessed his cinematic, shall we say, risks: this was the Solondz film that couldn’t find a major studio to back it. Which isn’t to say Palindromes is any more or less shocking, say, Happiness or Storytelling, rather, it more directly attacks the pillars of the American identity, namely our perceived responsibility to procreate and the piety with which we view reproduction. Almost everyone will be uncomfortable watching Palindromes; those who are adventurous and armed with a cynical enough sense of humor will enjoy dissecting why. The film follows Aviva, a 13-year-old on a mission to get pregnant who eventually hits the road as a runaway and winds up as a sort-of Alice in Wonderland in the sordid post-9/11 American cultural landscape. Among the most daring choices in a film comprised almost entirely of daring (and many off-putting) choices is the revolving-door casting approach of its main character. Aviva is played by 8 different actors of varying ages, races, genders and sizes. It’s a decision that some may consider a gimmick intended to capitalize on shock value and provide a sarcastic visual sight gag. To others, it’s a stunt that pays off. By stripping its lead character of the traits considered central to one’s identity, Palindromes ponders the interconnectedness of its characters. At one point in the film a character wonders aloud, “How many times can I be born again?” That line is a brilliant encapsulation of the film’s premise, a skewering of both the sentimental evangelical Christian worldview and the meaningless cycle of birth and death created when the importance of being a vessel for more humans is elevated above all other elements of the human experience. Aviva’s flowery, middle-class pubescent existence is a direct primer for her loss of innocence on her path to becoming an empty-headed, baby-obsessed breeder zombie. Perhaps one day, Palindromes will earn its rightful place near the top of the Solondz canon. It was probably too nervy for the time it was released. The film is as potent a time capsule for the George W. Bush era as any that came out at the time. Beneath Solondz’ merciless satire is an emphatic critique of the treatment of young women in a fundamentally misogynistic culture. It’s also probably the best way to experience a laugh, a groan and a gasp at the same time.

New Releases this week at Videoport: The Rover (Great-looking action thriller from Down Under, with Guy Pearce playing a hardened loner tracking down the bad guys who stole his car—after a global economic collapse has turned the world into a Mad Max-esque wasteland. Costarring that vampire guy from those Twilight movies—although I hear he does a good job here…), Neighbors (Seth Rogen and that other little teen star who everyone says actually does a good job here [Zac Efron] costar in this crude, rude comedy about a nice couple whose life is turned all upside down and so forth when a fraternity movies into the house next door. Wackiness promises to ensue.), Brooklyn Nine Nine- season 1 (This is a funny, funny show. Andy Samberg plays a wiseass copper in the titular precinct and he’s absolutely surrounded by funny people as his workmates. Joe LoTruglio, Terry Crews, Stephanie Beatriz, Melissa Fumero, Chelsea Peretti, and the great Andre Braugher all stake out their comic territory. Braugher, especially, is a revelation, playing Samberg’s no-nonsense boss with an impeccable deadpan awesomeness.), Panty & Stocking With Garterbelt- season 1 (New anime series! So there are these two sisters who are sort of like angels? Except they get kicked out of heaven for being too wild and destructive, and wearing lingerie all the time? And they go to a city full of ghosts and fight the ghosts, but sometimes have sex with the ghosts? Oh, and their lingerie can turn into, like, chainsaws and bazookas? Oh Japan—never, ever change. Please? For me?), Key & Peele- season 3 (This is the best sketch comedy show in more than a decade [since The Upright Citizens Brigade, if you must know], so you should probably go ahead and rent it. Jordan Peele and Keegan Michael Key are two of the best comic actors on TV. The sketches are smart and silly and very, very funny. I cannot emphasize enough how much you should be watching this show right now. That is all.), Sharknado (It’s a tornado made of sharks. This is a movie that exists.), Modern Family- season 5 (You guys like this show. More power to you.), We Are The Best! (Really good new foreign film from director Lukas Moodysson [Show Me Love, Together, Lilya 4-Ever]—read Dennis’ review for Wednesday in this very newsletter!), Ida (Acclaimed film [it played at last year’s Maine Jewish Film Festival] about a devout Catholic nun who discovers that’s she’s actually Jewish.), Jimi Hendrix: Hear My Train A’Comin’ (Documentary about Jimi Hendrix, people. What more could you want?), Postman Pat: The Movie (Long a kids’ favorite in England, Videoport brings you the first feature film about that cartoon postman that little Brits love!), The Signal (Great reviews on this indie sci fi flick about a group of computer hackers who…well, I’ve been told the twists and turns are most of the fun of this one, so I’ll stop there. The great Laurence Fishburne is in it, though—that much I can tell you.)

New Arrivals This Week At Videoport: Seizure! (Head to the Incredibly Strange section, where Oliver Stone’s first movie rightly resides! Starring the guy from Dark Shadows as a writer being menaced in trippy fashion by a sexy dame, a bodybuilder and Herve Villecheize. It makes no sense!)

New Arrivals on Blu-Ray This Week At Videoport: Panty & Stocking With Garterbelt- season 1, The Rover, The Birdcage, The Signal

Published in: on September 24, 2014 at 12:08 am  Leave a Comment  
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