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

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VideoReport #477

Volume CDLXXVII- Portland Holiday

For the Week of 10/7/14

(Click the pics for more reviews!)

Videoport gives you a free movie every single day. Oh, and we have the best selection and prices and are locally-owned and also very pretty. It’s not bragging if it’s true.

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!

t>>> Emily S. Customer suggests Twin Peaks (in Mystery/Thriller). “It is happening… again.” With this week’s big announcement that David Lynch and Mark Frost have signed with Showtime to write, direct, and produce a new nine-episode series continuing the story of Twin Peaks, it’s a perfect time to revisit the original series—or watch it for the first time! It’s hard to explain the seminal influence of Twin Peaks on modern television, but in 1990, it was like nothing else on TV. To put it in context, consider some of the other network titles airing at 9 p.m. in 1990: Murphy Brown, Doogie Howser, M.D., Perfect Strangers, CheersThe Golden GirlsTwin Peaks‘ heady blend of heightened soap opera, noir tragedy, and surreal vision hit the network audience with disorienting, intense power. Let it hit you: rent the entire original series today at Videoport.

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 Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (in Comedy). This movie can’t not be funny, considering that it’s got Will Ferrell reprising one of his greatest roles alongside returning costars Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, David Koechner, Christina Applegate, and new playmates like Greg Kinnear, Harrison Ford, James Marsden, Kristen Wiig, and others. And it is funny—scattershot and too long, but full of more laughs than any two normal movies. That being said, it’s about half as funny as the original Anchorman. That’s the knock on all sequels, of course—that they’re never as good and blah, blah, boring, blah. It took the super-lucrative and successful team of Ferrell and writer/director Adam McKay (The Other Guys, Talladega Nights) a surprisingly long time to get a movie studio to make the movie, which seems like a travesty, since those are some funny guys and some funny movies, and they always make money. And, yes, studios are congenitally, inherently stupid organisms, sure. But there’s a reason why comedy sequels generally fare even worse than other types of movies in the “next one’s not as good” column. A great comedy (which I content the first Anchorman is) is much harder to craft than any other genre of movie. One—comedy’s just hard. But more importantly, comedies that don’t just involve Adam Sandler farting around somewhere photogenic with his pals for 85 minutes have an internal logic, an essential structure that necessitates closure. There’s an arc to comedy that needs it to end when it ends, if you get my meaning. Throw in the fact that a movie like Anchorman is built on lightning-in-a-bottle improvisational riffing, and the idea that a sequel would recapture the magic without seeming like a retread. It’s not that Anchorman 2 is bad—it’s consistently pretty funny throughout—it’s that what seemed fresh and gaspingly original is a little effortful the second time around. Points as ever to McKay, who throws in some nicely smart and mean-spirited satire—this time about the birth of sensationalistic, jingoistic cable (FOX) news, and there’s still plenty here to like. But it also goes a long way toward proving that all comedies, no matter how brilliant, should really be left at one.

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 Bad Timing: A Sexual Obsession (in Videoport’s Criterion Collection section.) Quick, what’s the least sexy movie with the most sex in it that you’ve ever seen? WRONG—it’s this one! The AV Club’s David Ehrlich pretty much nailed the essence of this wrenching 1980 relationship drama/thriller from director Nicholas Roeg when he wrote: “It’s a miracle that Art Garfunkel’s performance in Bad Timing didn’t immediately and forever extinguish all sexual desire on Earth.” Yup. It’s not that the mutually-destructive, sexually-obsessive relationship between Garfunkel and Theresa Russell is especially explicit or repellant—they don’t do anything that freaky, and the nudity, while plentiful, is very matter-of-fact. It’s that the whole thing is so determinedly cold and offputtingly odd. Part of that is due to Roeg (Don’t Look Now, The Man Who Fell To Earth, Track 29) who, as ever, keeps a fragmented distance from the humans on the screen. And part of it is the performances from the two leads (and costar Harvey Keitel, playing a smug, suspicious detective)—everyone is sort of arch, and blandly cold, even when screwing, fighting, or being accused of awful things. Part of the reason is Garfunkel who—as inexplicable as it seems—was something of a sex symbol actor for a while there. As the male half of the doomed couple, he’s playing a cold, standoffish, controlling jerk, sure—but he’s awfully at home there. (That coupled with his signature red afro and lankly, muscleless, pasty body [which you see a lot of] makes him almost unwatchably unpleasant as he becomes increasingly mean and controlling to the dewy Russell. Theresa Russell, too, is an odd presence here—I’ve always liked Russell without finding her especially talented or magnetic, but here her seedy prettiness combines with the 80s fashions to make her look like she’s always heading to or from a cocaine orgy. She’s, as ever, game for anything Roeg asks of her (they married after the film), and her natural, peach-colored nakedness throughout is deliberately unappealing. Not unattractive—it sort of just…hangs there, and her “love” scenes with Garfunkel, coupled with Roeg’s icy camera have an almost nature channel remoteness. Told in the form of a series of flashbacks (and forwards, and sideways) while Russell is undergoing a series of very explicit and upsetting medical procedures in the wake of a seeming suicide attempt, the film watches their relationship with the same remoteness—it’s not that we don’t care about them, it’s like we’re watching another species. Part of my “close your eyes and pick something randomly from the Criterion Collection” series.

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, Dennis suggests V/H/S (in Horror). In order ot get hyped up for this year’s Damnationland (the Maine-made horror anthology premiering at the State Theatre on Thursday, October 17th), why not take home this non-Maine-made horror anthology, which, despite not being related to Maine in any way, is pretty damned solid. The anthology format (except for Damnationland) is, by its nature, hit-or-miss, but there really isn’t a clunker in this one, an exploration of the whole handheld, found footage horror genre. Taking the form of the series of VHS tapes found by a gang of burglar creeps when they break into a creepy house where a dead guy sits in front of a bank of static-y TV screens, the film sees each of the jerks pop in a tape, seeing a succession of surveillance or home video tapes of variably terrifying doings. A couple of the films are from the guys who made The House Of The Devil, The Innkeepers, You’re Next, 24 Exposures, and the like, there’s some good stuff here (and I don’t want to hear any complaints about found footage horror—done well, it’s very effective.) I’m not gonna spoil anything, except to say that douchebag guys have some serious karmic comeuppance throughout. Like, seriously. Good movie—can’t wait to see part 2 (in Videoport’s Horror section, of course.)

>>>For Sunday, Dennis suggests movies where everyone wakes up with amnesia and tries to discover how they’re in their weird predicament and then discover disturbing stuff and don’t know whom to trust! Prompted by my recent viewing of the new Open Grave (in Mystery/Thriller), I’m gonna say that this premise is so sure-fire, I don’t know why every movie doesn’t do this! In Open Grave, District 9’s Sharlto Copley wakes up in…an open grave! There are bodies everywhere and he doesn’t know who he is, and neither do any of the people who he discovers bickering in a nearby spooky house. Part of the fun of these sorts of movies is discovering what the hell’s going on along with the confused characters, so I won’t say much, except that things go in some icky, unexpected directions and it all pays off pretty satisfyingly. Then there’s Unknown (in Mystery/Thriller), where five guys (including Greg Kinnear, Barry Pepper, Joe Pantoliano, Jeremy Sisto, and Jim Caviezel) all wake up in a decrepit warehouse and…have no idea who they are! There are some guys around, some guys have been tied up—who do they trust?! Same deal—the fun is not knowing, so I’ll just say vaguely good things and encourage you to rent it. And then there’s the trippy Canadian horror movie Cube (in Horror) where some people wake up in a weird cube, all dressed in identical jumpsuits, with no memory of how they got there, why they’ve been put there, or why the hell the identical cube-shaped rooms are freaking booby-trapped! Fun and nasty, it’s like a really good Twilight Zone episode. So bonk yourself on the head with a frying pan (or have a friend bonk you!), sit back, and enjoy some amnesiac fun!

New Releases this week at Videoport: Vikings- season 2 (This Norseman-centric period drama/hack-fest has been one of the most popular, surprisingly good series at Videoport in the last year. Travis Fimmel is back as Ragnar Lothbrok, the coolest, Viking-est Viking in Viking-land. Seriously, this is a good show.), Bates Motel- season 2 (Vera Farmiga and Freddie Highmore return as Norman Bates and his possibly-even-crazier mom in this Psycho prequel series that’s actually not that bad.), A Million Ways To Die In The West (Some of you love Seth MacFarlane and his creations Family Guy and Ted. I have come to accept that fact. So here’s his new movie, where MacFarlane himself [lucky us!] plays a snarky Old West guy who thinks living in a Western is very stupid and dangerous. Co starring the likes of Liam Neeson, Neil Patrick Harris, Charlize Theron, Giovanni Ribisi, and Sarah Silverman—I’m sure the people who like this will really, really like it.), Edge Of Tomorrow (Despite the fact that this sci fi action movie

This seems suggestive...

This seems suggestive…

had a terrible title and was changed for DVD release to the even worse Live Die Repeat, and stars certified crazy person everyone’s tired of Tom Cruise, it’s actually supposed to be pretty darned good. Costarring the certifiably cool and not crazy Emily Blunt.), American Horror Story 3: Coven (Everyone loves this twisted horror series, where actresses like Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, Sarah Paulsen, and more do gleefully nasty things to each other every year in a different horror movie setting. This year, everyone’s a witch, and everyone’s devious and sexy and nasty and depraved. Fun!), Million Dollar Arm (Mad Men’s Jon Hamm stars in this piece of based-on-a-true-story piece of Disney feelgoodery about an American pro baseball scout who heads to India to recruit a pair of cricket players to be big league baseball pitchers.), Sharknado 2 (Videoport finally caved and got the first one of these intentionally horrible SyFy Channel sci fi movies about a tornado—made of sharks! So, legally we suppose, we had to buy the sequel which came out this week. Not to spoil anything, but I’m almost certain this one is also about a tornado made if sharks.), Obvious Child (Former SNL-er Jenny Slate makes her big break for movie stardom in this acclaimed indie drama comedy about a successful single woman who finds herself unexpectedly pregnant and decides to exercise the choice part of pro-choice.), The Almighty Johnsons (Decidedly odd comedy fantasy series from New Zealand about a family of rambunctious brothers who find out that their family legacy is to turn into the Norse gods on their 21st birthdays. Pair it up with Vikings—see how that works out and report back to us!), Aftermath (Videoport brings you this acclaimed Polish thriller about a man who returns to his rural village after his father’s death and uncovers the town’s dirty secrets from WWII), Tasting Menu (Stephen Rea stars in this international foodie extravaganza about the closing of one of the world’s best, most eclectic restaurants and the eccentric group of gourmands who come to eat it out of business), Twelve O’Clock Boys (Fascinating indie documentary about the titular Baltimore street racers, a group of young African American boys who illegally race their dirt bikes through B-more’s worst neighborhoods. Perfect for anyone who loved The Wire!), Endeavor- season 2 (If you love Inspector Morse but wish he were a young, hunky British detective instead of an old, crusty British detective, then check out the new season of this BBC mystery prequel series.)

New Arrivals on Blu-Ray This Week At Videoport: A Million Ways To Die In The West

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 #472

Volume CDLXXII- Portland, When It Sizzles

For the Week of 9/2/14

(Click the pics for more reviews!)

Videoport, your locally-owned, independent movie store also gives you a free movie every single day. Look—we’re not trying to be braggy over here. It’s just the truth.

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 seven bucks!

>>> Dennis suggests the Videoport Blaxploitation tribute shelf (in the Staff Picks section). In a time when Hollywood had little use for strong black movie heroes (you know, not like now…oh, wait—sort of like now quite a bit), the Blaxploitation genre emerged. Sure, there were some problematic aspects of the genre (apart from the fact that such an alternative cinema for talented black actors, writers, directors, and composers was necessary in the first place)—the “ploitation” part of the name wasn’t joking around. Violent, filled with the same sort of junkie, hooker, pimp, and hustler roles that Hollywood shunted black actors into, the genre nonetheless provided some charismatic, talented black entertainers an opportunity at stardom. The main difference was, these actors got the chance to play leads just as cool, sexy, and central as their mainstream white counterparts—and that the best of these films presented black culture from the inside out. Of course, once Hollywood saw that there was a huge, untapped market for action flicks with black heroes, they swarmed in and watered the genre down, but still, if it weren’t for Blaxploitation, we’d likely never have seen some exceptionally talented, exciting actors and actresses (unless they were being arrested on Starsky and Hutch or something). People like Richard Roundtree (Shaft), Ron O’Neal (Superfly), former NFL-er Fred Williamson (Black Caesar, Bucktown, Hell Up In Harlem), impossible to describe party comedian turned improbable camp action hero Rudy Ray Moore (Dolemite, Petey Wheatstraw), and character actor with the greatest name of all time Thalmus Rasulala (say it out loud). And, of course, the greatest gift the genre gave to us all, the stunning Pam Grier (Foxy Brown, Sheba Baby, Friday Foster) who, like most of the Blaxploitation stars, found her career left high and dry when the genre dies out. At least until Quentin Tarantino pulled one of his most successful career reclamation projects, casting Grier as the star of his brilliant Jackie Brown. The most stellar example of Tarantino’s signature mining of old exploitation genre films for new purposes, it’s his best film (yes, even better than Pulp Fiction), and provides the glorious Grier with the role she always deserved.

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 seven bucks!

>>> Dennis suggests Buchanan Rides Alone (in Classics). The great Randolph Scott/Budd Boetticher Western classic catchup continues with this, their oddest collaboration. In this one, Scott is Buchanan, a preternaturally cheerful cowpoke who crosses the border into Texas in the creepy, corrupt town of Agry, where everything seems to cost ten dollars, and the bent town government and law are all controlled by the same crooked family. When the worthless son of the clan is killed by a justifiably vengeful Mexican lad, the helpful, smiling Buchanan is roped into jail along with him. Bad move, Agry jerks. What’s so odd about the film is how passive and pleasant Scott’s Buchanan remains as bodies continue to fall all around him. It’s sort of like Yojimbo, with both sides of the feud dropping like dusty flies—except that Buchanan, unlike Toshiro Mifune’s mercenary samurai, doesn’t appear to be that invested in what’s going on. Weird little Western, but not in a bad way, and the rangy, genial Scott, as ever, is pretty much the soul of the Western genre.

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 seven bucks!                                                        

>>> 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.

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 seven bucks!                                        

>>> Emily S. Customer suggests Big Trouble In Little China (in Action/Adventure). As earlier editions of The VideoReport will attest, I have a long-time fondness for John Carpenter films. You might even call it a weakness. But there’s one much-admired Carpenter movie for which I’ve never had much affection. Big Trouble in Little China always left me cold, maybe (I thought) because I’m not steeped in the action and martial arts flicks of which it is such an affectionate parody. Then I heard a John Carpenter quote that blew the movie wide open for me. It’s so simple and so obvious, and somehow I missed it every time. Big Trouble protagonist Jack Burton (Kurt Russell) is “a guy who thinks he’s the action hero when he’s really the comic sidekick.” BOOM. 

>>>Dennis suggests, as a follow-up Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins (in the Incredibly Strange section). Then there’s this beefy macho action flick from around the same time where…it’s not entirely clear how in on the gag everyone is. Sure, it’s based on The Destroyer series—you know, those slim secret agent books your weird uncle loved, and it was clearly setting itself up as the first in a series (that did not happen). On the other, it’s got Fred Ward in the lead—now I love Fred, but he plays Remo like a big lunkhead most of the time. Also, it stars the very not-Asian Joel Grey (Cabaret) as the very racistly Korean martial arts master Chun, who teaches former cop Remo how to dodge bullets, punch his fingertips through hard stuff, and dive right through big piles of sand while running without leaving footprints. Is it a satire? I honestly don’t know, but it’s got a huge fight setpiece at the then under-repair Statue Of Liberty! Plus, Wilford Brimley as a grumpy spymaster!

Free Kids Friday! One free rental from the Kids section, no other rental necessary!            

>>> Emily S. Customer suggests My Neighbor Totoro.  I recommend My Neighbor Totoro so often as a gimme-grab for Free Family Friday, and I rarely tell you why. Today I will. It’s been a tough month, Videoporters. It’s been rough on me, it’s been rough on people I love, and a glance at the news tells me it’s been tough all over. When life puts too much on your plate, it’s okay to take a two-hour respite, to escape for the length of a favorite film to a world that’s less alarming, less painful, less tumultuous. But most movies don’t provide such a world: most movies thrive on amped-up conflict. But not the films of Hayao Miyazaki, and especially not the sweetly balanced world of My Neighbor Totoro. In this world, a mother can be ill—so ill that she’s stuck in the hospital, away from her husband and daughters, but never so ill that the specter of death looms over this sunny emotional territory. A family can move to a new home and discover it’s inhabited by mysterious supernatural creatures to first the shock and then delight of the tiny girls who’ll be living with them. It’s a world in which changes are sometimes challenging but not inherently scary, in which tiny girls can wander a field and waterfront full of excitement and curiosity. Totoro is filled with an unfettered joy and thrills that thoughtfully reproduce the actual joy and thrills we see in real children as they push the boundaries of their ever-expanding worlds, and it shows that thing we forget so easily, so early: that the world is bigger and brighter than we ever imagined, and magical in a thousand unexpected ways.

Having a Wild Weekend! Rent two movies, and get a third one for free from any section!                                                    

>>>For Saturday, Emily S. Customer suggests A Mighty Wind (in Comedy). Easily my favorite of the Christopher Guest mockumentaries, A Mighty Wind walks the uneasy line between snark and sentiment without sacrificing compelling characters and affecting stories. Upon the death of a venerated folk music producer, his grown children ask three of his most memorable acts to gather for a tribute concert to commemorate his life. Its familiar loose, naturalistic style give the often broadly drawn characters punch and depth, and the drama ramps up naturally: will the rusty old musicians handle the pressure of media attention and a live audience? Will the slick, plastic perfection of a revamped, commercialized line-up evoke the heartfelt spirit of its original? Will the long-separated lovers rejoin to sing a duet for which the world has waited decades? There’s a reason A Mighty Wind holds a place in my affections higher than any of Guest’s other work: it balances so delicately between sweet and acid, sometimes bittersweet without ever quite dropping into true bitterness. The music is lovely, hilarious, and pitch-perfect… and the crowning song, “A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow,” rightfully won an Oscar for its composers, star Michael McKean and his wife Annette O’Toole. 

>>>For Sunday, Dennis suggests exploring the delicate pleasures of the “so bad it’s good” cinema. Now, not to get down on the shole Syfy channel original movie nonsense—I know you crazy kids love your mega-piranhas, sharktopuses, and frognadoes and so forth, and I’m not trying to steal your fun. But what’s so galling to me about these deliberately awful, cynical crapfests populated by cringing D-list former celebrities waving chainsaws at CGI hybrid animals is that they represent a fundamental betrayal of the joys of actual hate-watching. These movies (all the rage, I’m told) are one giant, smirking wank-fest of audiences and filmmakers goosing each other for recognizing that they’re doing something essentially meaningless. What’s really entertaining for the seasoned hate-watcher is a movie that has absolutely no freaking idea it’s terrible. Watching a movie that a group of people have made flush with the confidence that they are, indeed, engaged in creating something beautiful which is, in reality, jaw-droppingly, funnybone-ticklingly awful. There’s a special glory in discovering a movie that is just…simply…wrong in every aspect—it’s like you’ve discovered the first, stumbling attempts of an alien species attempting to emulate human entertainment. Maybe as part of a plan for world domination—we can’t be sure. What am I talking about? Well, it can’t be winkingly bad, like those pandasaurus movies. And it can’t be something you find morally reprehensible—unless it’s also completely inept (if that’s your bag, I’d suggest the right-wing “satire” An American Carol, which proves, once again, that “conservative comedy” is a paradox). Nope, I’m talking about stuff like Birdemic: Shock And Terror (think Hitchcock’s The Birds made by your college sophomore roommate who just discovered iMovie). Or Miami Connection (neon drenched 1980s Miami Vice clone fueled by cocaine and actors rounded up off the street). Or even the big budget remake of The Wicker Man, where director Neil LaBute’s grim self-seriousness combines with Nicholas Cage sailing gleefully over the top while spin-kicking middle aged women in the face for the last third of the movie. Or the infamous Showgirls, which delves so deeply into cheesy sleaze (while obviously convinced it was going to be an erotic masterpiece) that you can only watch it in sort of glazed awe. Or Troll 2 (completely unrelated to Troll 1 and completely disconnected from storytelling or acting competence). Or Road House, which is the most 1980s thing that’s ever existed, with every single line an unintentional parody of macho, tough guy awesomeness. (Plus, Swayze at his Swayze-est!) Or notorious disaster Howard The Duck, which you can only watch in a sort of horrified nauseous schadenfreude (“at least I’m not George Lucas”). Or the insane, slurring grandfather of them all, The Room. Oh God, The Room. Written, directed by and starring something called Tommy Wiseau, this is what I’m talking about when I refer to aliens trying to make human movies. This erotic (I guess) drama (I suppose), in the hands of the burly, oddly-accented Wiseau (who gives himself numerous sex scenes where it looks like the poor lady involved is being humped by a butcher shop), seems like a Martian in a human suit who’s spent a year watching only Cinemax after dark and tried to make a softcore porn love triangle flick despite not knowing how human sexuality or human communication work. It…is…glorious. So keep your lazy octosquids—real “so bad they’re good” movies are so enjoyable because they’re not in on the joke. (Of course, for a master class in this form of entertainment, check out Videoport’s Incredibly Strange section for over 100 episodes of the classic movie-mockery series Mystery Science Theater 3000!)

New Releases this week at Videoport: Draft Day (Kevin Costner stars as a slicky-boy NFL agent trying to land all the guys who are the best at the blocking and the throwing and the hitting and so forth in this Jerry Maguire-looking football drama), Eastsiders (indie drama about a group of friends gathered for a wild party on the eve of the 2012 Mayan apocalypse [which, weirdly enough, did not happen] only to have their fun ruined when one guest realizes that his boyfriend has been cheating on him with another guest; adapted from the acclaimed webseries, you can find this one in Videoport’s Pride section), Mom’s Night Out (When some tired moms leave the kids with their significant others and head out for a night on the town, you know there’s gonna be some saucy, wacky hijinks—unless, as in this case, the whole thing is one of those “faith-based” Christian movies that have been coming out of late [see: God’s Not Dead, Heaven Is For Real, whatever Tyler Perry is up to this week], in which case lessons will be learned about being a good mother and lovin’ the Lord! Sean Astin is in here somewhere), For No Good Reason (Entertainingly weird documentary about cartoonist/artist Ralph Steadman, whose savage, jagged creations put some of the fear and loathing into infamous Gonzo writer Hunter S. Thompson’s best works. With cool guy celeb fans JohnnyDepp, Richard E. Grant, Terry Gilliam, and Jann Wenner along for the ride.), The Musketeers- season 1 (Swashbuckling series from BBC America about…well, you know who it’s about. Starring the great Peter Capaldi [The Thick Of It, plus he’s the new Doctor Who] as the villainous Cardinal Reichelieu )

New Arrivals on Blu-Ray This Week At Videoport: Draft Day, For No Good Reason

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 #469

Volume CDLXIX- Wherein We Could All Use A Good Laugh

For the Week of 8/11/14

 

Videoport gives you a free movie every single day. Maybe a free Robin Williams movie will cheer us all up. Maybe…

 (Click the pics for more reviews—and a couple of great articles about Williams.)

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 seven bucks!

>>> Former Videoporter Stockman suggests The Fisher King (in Drama) and The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen (in Sci Fi/Fantasy). In the onslaught of sadness after Robin Williams passing I was exceptionally moved by the words of Terry Gilliam. “Robin Williams, the most astonishingly funny, brilliant, profound and silly miracle of mind and spirit, has left the planet. He was a giant heart, a fireball friend, a wondrous gift from the gods. Now the selfish bastards have taken him back. F*** ‘em!”. There’s something comforting and particularly poignant I’ve always found in the marriage of anger and death so when someone lashes out while still remaining respectful and expressing love it sticks with me. If I were to spend an evening appreciating the career of Robin Williams I think I would choose the two Terry Gilliam films that I’ve seen him in. For one I think Terry Gilliam is a brilliant filmmaker and artist. For two I think he utilized Robin Williams in a way not enough people did. People so often get awards for drama, but rarely for comedy. I think comedy is often considered lesser as though it is easy to do whereas drama is difficult. And yet I see comedic actors time and again wipe the floor with drama and when a dramatic actor does comedy they more often than not fizzle. The ones I fall the most in love with of course are the ones that display a comedic actor making the most of both sides of their abilities. The Fisher King runs Mr. Williams through the gamut of his abilities and I think the result is one of my favorite movies. I can only imagine now as I think of the character he played, someone struggling significantly with reality being too great to bear with any sanity, how much it must have resonated with him as a person. The other film The Adventures of Baron Munchausen Robin Williams played only a small role, but as always he gave it everything he had. Munchausen, like the persona I knew as Robin Williams is light hearted in nature, but as might have been the person that was Robin Williams is also deeply dark.  Both movies have always made me appreciate the marriage of comedy and drama and how well Robin Williams could pull off both. 

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 seven bucks!

>>> Dennis suggests The Best Of Times (in Comedy.) Robin Williams and Kurt Russell make an unlikely successful comedy team in this 1986 comedy about middle aged desperation and what guys will do to redress the humiliations of their past. 20 years before, Russell was the star high school quarterback and Williams was the lowly receiver who dropped the ball in the big game. Now they’re both facing divorce and lives of gradual humiliation, so Williams cooks up the unlikely, movie-friendly plan to replay the big game and set things aright. The burly, laid-back Russell humors his friend until the prospect of recapturing that old teenage mojo and winning wife Pamela Reed’s affection back causes him to give in. This was one of those films where Williams was allowed to goof around, but that actually works here, livening up the predictable premise. Plus, he injects a dose of that Williams sentimentality as his nebbish becomes more and more desperate to give his disappointing life a do-over.

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 seven bucks!                                                        

>>> Videoport customer Abby L. suggests The Birdcage (in Comedy.) One element that made Robin Williams’ career legendary was the element of surprise. The Juilliard-trained actor-comedian could shift effortlessly from comedy to drama, and The Birdcage is an admirable showcase for his many talents. Williams plays Armand, the devoted partner of and director for Albert (Nathan Lane), who moonlights as the marquee drag queen, Starina, in the film’s titular nightclub, which the couple own and live above. The cabaret they stage nightly is an institution in South Beach, and the decadent home they share is maintained by their kooky, effete housekeeper, Agador (Hank Azaria). When Armand and Albert’s son, Val, the product of Armand’s lone experimentation with a woman, announces that he intends to marry the daughter of conservative senator Kevin Keeley (the 20- and 18-year-old lovebirds are played, per usual, by 30-somethings Dan Futterman and Calista Flockhart), a number of screwball accommodations must be made to futilely convince Armand and Albert’s future in-laws (Gene Hackman and Diane Weist) that they’re a wholesome natural family (that’s papa bear, mama bear and baby bear) who just happen to live in the gay epicenter of Florida. Naturally, the meeting dinner is arranged hastily as the Keeleys escape the scandal caused by the death of the senator’s conservative counterpart in the arms of an underage hooker. Ironically, Williams must play the straight-man in this wild Miami setting, which frequently appears to inhabit the same pastel-heaven universe as The Golden Girls. Lane’s performance as the mincing, shrieking grand-dame Albert, hilarious as it is, relies heavily on a sort of caricature, as does Azaria’s role. Williams plays the humane, patriarchal, sensible center of the film, the glue that keeps his family together. Many may remember this film by the clip of Williams hastily performing a brief history of American dance, concluding with frenetic voguing and shouts of, “Madonna, Madonna, Madonna!” In fact, this is one of very few instances in this film where Williams utilizes his signature physicality and feverish celebrity impersonations. At one point, Armand tells his son authoritatively, “Yes, I wear foundation. Yes, I live with a man. Yes, I’m a middle-aged fag. But I know who I am, Val. It took my twenty years to get here, and I’m not gonna let some idiot senator destroy that.” Armand proves to be a tough, fiercely protective, loyal father and partner, even when he’s delivering lectures to his son poolside in a tacky tiger-print robe or wise-cracking the love of his life in the middle of one of her diva tantrums. It’s easy to forget that almost 20 years ago, when The Birdcage was released, it was a bold choice for Williams to take a role like this. For a straight actor to avoid the low-hanging fruit of tired tropes and stereotypes to bring humanity to this character, to make such surprising and delightful choices, it is a testament to his skill and compassion as a performer and one of the many reasons Williams will be sorely missed.

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 seven bucks!                                        

>>> Emily S. Customer suggests The Fisher King (in Feature Drama).  Like all of director Terry Gilliam’s best work, The Fisher King is hilarious, heartbreaking, and often hard to watch. Shock-jock Jack Lucas (Jeff Bridges) is at the crest of his career — his radio show a smash success, a sitcom deal in the works, his glib badgering of minor celebrities feeding an ugly hunger in his audience and himself. Badgering a politician’s mistress, he lectures “we want to hear about the backseats of limos, about the ruined lives of people we want to be,” but it’s not just the glamorous or outrageous that Lucas targets; he’s got a stable of sad-sack listeners who call in for a helping of invective and bile, and Jack delivers it unstintingly, unthinkingly, cloaked in the confidence of certain success. But success is never certain. The only thing certain is loss, and Jack Lucas is about to find that out. And no matter how much you’ve lost, you could always lose more. When he meets Parry (Robin Williams in an Oscar-nominated role), a man whose life he unwittingly destroyed, Jack determines — perhaps for the first time in his selfish life — to atone for his sins. The entire cast delivers tremendous performances. Mercedes Ruehl deservedly won an Oscar for her incandescent, ever-shifting blend of love and rage and pain and tenderness. Amanda Plummer scuttles in suspicion, her entire body as narrows and tight as her eyes. Michael Jeter radiates a fragile flamboyance that touches me every time. But the leads — well, the leads. Both Bridges and Williams reach down into themselves to delve into something that’s lovely and hateful and playful and somber. Like Robin Williams himself, The Fisher King is a mercurial mess of a film, beautiful and chaotic, silly and sentimental and sardonic, overblown and loud. And it uses Robin Williams’ rare talent for mayhem with an unabashed glee that keeps teetering over into terror. 

Free Kids Friday! One free rental from the Kids section, no other rental necessary!            

>>> Aladdin and Ferngully

Having a Wild Weekend! Rent two movies, and get a third one for free from any section!                                                    

>>>For Saturday, Dennis suggests Club Paradise (in Comedy). Robin Williams anchors this shaggy 1986 comedy as a Chicago firefighter who spends his big injury settlement on a rundown Caribbean resort. Directed by the late Harold Ramis (and can we just cool it the f*** out with killing all the best people, 2014? Seriously…), and written by Ramis, Brian Doyle-Murray, and Harry Shearer, the film is a rambling, genial goof-around—everyone in the absurdly talented cast was encouraged to contribute to the dialogue. It’s more a collection of set-pieces with the likes of Eugene Levy, Rick Moranis, Andrea Martin, Peter O’Toole, Mary Gross, Robin Duke, and others playing off each other and seemingly having a great time. Is it the best comedy ever? Well, no—but it’s incredibly likable and silly, and Williams presides over the hijinks as occasional straightman, who still has plenty of room to screw around. Plus, reggae legend Jimmy Cliff is on hand to sing and kick the plot (about the exploitation of the island’s population) into gear from time to time. If you’re looking for a relaxed Williams sleeper you might not have seen, this one’s worth a rental.

>>>For Sunday, Dennis suggests the Robin Williams tribute shelf (in the Middle Aisle). I know it’s ghoulish that everyone rushes to watch someone’s movies right after they die, but with something like this, it’s so unexpected and shocking, I think we can be let off the hook. Look, this sucks. I’m old, but there isn’t a time in my life when I wasn’t aware of Robin Williams as a constant, welcome presence in my life. And sure, I got annoyed—even sort of contemptuous at times, to my shame—at some of his movie choices. But even in movies I genuinely loathed (if I ever meet the real Patch Adams in person, he’s going to have to cheer himself up in the emergency room), there was always something unusual, something weird, or warm, or off-the-wall funny. One example is the drippy, nonsensical What Dreams May Come—in the midst of the shameless schmaltz, Williams is in there acting his heart out and damned if he’s not affecting. So watch the great stuff (Moscow On The Hudson, Good Morning Vietnam, Good Will Hunting, Dead Poets Society, World’s Greatest Dad [a pitch-black comedy featuring his best performance], Insomnia, One Hour Photo, The Fisher King, Popeye), and then watch some of the rest—there’s always something to see. Robin Williams was funny and comforting. Again—this sucks.

New Releases this week at Videoport: Filth (Based on a novel from Irvine Welsh, author of Trainspotting, in this one James McAvoy stars as a, well, filthy Scottish copper whose actions revolve more around drugs, sex, and cash than doing cop things. Costarring a lot of good British actors), The Railway Man (Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman star in this fact-based drama about a former British army officer who sets out to confront the Japanese guard who tormented him as a prisoner of war during WWII), Bears (Disney documentary about bears! They’re bears! They’re adorable and will rip your face off! Bears!), Muppets Most Wanted (Tina Fey, Ty Burrell and Ricky Gervais join in on this, the second reunion Muppets movie where the Muppets find a Kermit The Frog double who may be up to no good), A Haunted House 2 (Marlon Wayans returns as the spazzily beleaguered boyfriend of women who keep getting possessed in this sequel to that horror spoof he did and some people enjoy. Costarring Gabriel Iglesias, Jaime Pressley, and Cedric The Entertainer), The Past Is A Grotesque Animal: A Film About Of Montreal (Another acclaimed documentary about a cool indie band [see last week’s film about The Magnetic Fields for more], this one concerning the band Of Montreal, which all the cool kids are listening to and such), Batman: Assault On Arkham (Priming the ground for the upcoming video game, here’s a DVD film about the Bat infiltrating Gotham City’s most notorious—and poorly-secured—insane asylum), The Blacklist- season 1 (James Spader seems alternately bored and delighted by the responsibility of hamming it up in order to save this middling TV crime series. In it, he’s a criminal mastermind who turns himself in to the authorities in order to bring down a series of criminal masterminds slightly less mastermind-y than he is), Stand Off (From the director of Hotel Rwanda comes this Irish crime caper thriller about a botched heist at a fish market. Starring Brendan Fraser [who plays an American, thankfully], and cool guy Irish actors Colm Meaney and David O’Hara), Breathe In (The first of two Guy Pearce movies out this week, this one starring as the father of a typical American family thrown into confusion upon the arrival of a sexy exchange student. Good cast, including the great Amy Ryan [The Wire, The Office, Gone Baby Gone], and Felicity Jones), Hateship Loveship (And here’s the second, with Pearce starring alongside former SNL-er Kristen Wiig in a drama about a wild teenage girl who conspires to pair up her addict father and Wiig’s family nanny), Locke (Ever-fascinating Tom Hardy [The Dark Knight Rises, Bronson] stars in this intense, unusual thriller about a building executive who spends the evening before the start of the biggest project of his career driving frantically around and fielding a series of mysterious phone calls which threaten the project—and his entire existence)

New Arrivals At Videoport This Week: Fun With Dick And Jane (No, not the Jim Carrey remake, this is the 1977 original, a comedy starring George Segal and Jane Fonda as a professional couple whose sudden poverty causes them to turn to armed robbery to make ends meet), Moon Over Parador (perhaps in response to the recent death of director Paul Mazursky, Videoport brings in the DVD release of his 1988 political comedy about an out of work actor [Richard Dreyfuss] roped into impersonating the deceased dictator of a South American country. Costarring the Sonia Braga and the ever-outstanding Raul Julia. Former Videoporter Jeremy loves this movie—and since he’s the funniest person in the world, you should probably listen to him), Doctor Detroit (Back in 1983 when Dan Aykroyd could open a movie, this comedy still flopped. In it, Aykroyd stars as a timid college professor who reluctantly steps in the alligator shoes of a pimp and finds himself enjoying the pimp life. Pair it up with Night Shift, where Henry Winkler and Michael Keaton discover the same exact thing. Different time, the 80s…)

New Arrivals on Blu-Ray This Week At Videoport: Filth, Locke, Bears, Muppets Most Wanted, A Haunted House 2

VideoReport #467

Volume CDLXII- Videoport: The Videoporting

For the Week of 7/29/14

(Click the pics for more reviews!)

Videoport gives you a free movie every single day. Who’s gonna argue with that? People who hate movies, I guess. But why are they even in the store in the first place? Weird…

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 seven bucks!

>>> Videoport Customer Caleb suggests Bad Biology (in the Incredibly Strange section). This masterpiece of filth and perversity is the work of none other than NYC film auteur Frank Henenlotter, the man responsible for such cult brilliance as the Basket Case trilogy, Frankenhooker, and Brain Damage, and was co-written and produced by sick and twisted Long Island hardcore rapper, R.A. ‘The Rugged Man’ Thornburn. It tells the story of a New York photographer Jennifer (Charlee Danielson) whose extracurricular activities include feeding her insatiable appetite. She was born a sexual mutant, and is on the hunt for fulfillment; possibly even love. Her daily routine involves dirty sex and a fast reproductive metabolism. You have to see it to believe it. And she does a photo shoot called F*** Face! Parallel to this, we follow Batz (Anthony Sneed), who spends all of his time feeding a mixed cocktail of strange chemicals to his “lower self” who has been forever mutated and has made him a slave… to himself. Again, you gotta see it to believe it. The story eventually brings these two kindred (tortured) souls together, but not before a whirlwind intercourse’al adventure that would make John Waters blush. Unfortunately, I can’t explain too much about this picture here in the VideoReport.  I can say I sat through all 4+ hours of Von Trier’s Nymphomaniac Vol. 1-2, and I hated it. The reason I’m bringing this up, is that Bad Biology actually had a few things in common with that waste of time. Jennifer in Bad Biology spends some time justifying her appetite, but she manages to explain herself in a matter of minutes (as opposed to over 4 hours of my life). The HUGE difference is that the depravity in this picture was plot-driving, comedic, entertaining, and I thought more symbolic. I highly recommend this to fans of Henenlotter, sex-comedies, exploitation, sexploitation, gore, horror-comedies, perversity, B-movies, filth, Troma films, stop-motion penis animation, obscene language, gratuitous sex scenes, unapologetic sex, transcendental orgasms, telepathic reproductive organs, photography and blood.

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 seven bucks!            

>>> Dennis presents his monthly update on how a certain internet movie subscription service (which is routinely the subject of class action lawsuits) hates you and doesn’t care about your happiness! Yup, it’s the start of a new month, which means that said huge, heartless conglomerate is taking away a huge list of great movies from those of you foolish enough to rely on it for your entertainment (we forgive you). They do this every month. Videoport does this….never. We never take movies away from you—because that’s evil and stupid. We love you. They hate you. Here’s this month’s list:
“The Addams Family” (1991)

"No one'll miss this piece of crap!"—Netfl*x

“No one’ll miss this piece of crap!”—Netfl*x

“Airplane!” (1980)

“Attack of the Crab Monsters” (1957)

“Braveheart” (1995)

“The City of Lost Children” (1995)

“Clay Pigeons” (1998)

“Clockers” (1995)

“Days of Thunder” (1990)

“Donnie Brasco” (1997)

“Easy Rider” (1968)

“Fido” (2006)

“The Ghost and the Darkness” (1996)

“The Good Son” (1993)

“Heartbreakers” (2001)

“Maximum Overdrive” (1986)

“The Mill and the Cross” (2011)

“Monty Python’s the Meaning of Life” (1983)

“Neil Young: Heart of Gold” (2006)

“Paper Moon” (1973)

“The Pianist” (2002)

“Piranha” (1978)

“The Rainmaker” (1997)

“She Done Him Wrong” (1933)

“Somewhere in Time” (1980)

“Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country” (1991)

“Stephen King’s Thinner” (2996)

“Stripped to Kill” (1987)

“Swimming with Sharks” (1994)

“To Be or Not to Be” (1983)

“Top Secret!” (1984)

”Valkyrie” (2008)

“Waking Ned Divine” (1998)

“Zack and Miri Make a Porno” (2008)

So that sucks, right? The worst loss? I’d say The Meaning Of life, but the whole policy stinks. It’s random, and it reveals that said internet subscription service doesn’t care about movies…or you. Videoport keep its movies at your fingertips. Always. Your choice, I suppose…                                                                                    

 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 seven bucks!                                                          

 >>> How about getting some free money at Videoport! Pre-pay $20, we give you $25 in rental credit. Pre-pay $30 and you get $40 in rental credit. Yes, it’s just that easy, people.

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 seven bucks!                                        

>>> Emily S. Customer suggests Six Feet Under (in Feature Drama.) HBO’s Six Feet Under gets better the more I watch it. Alan Ball’s prestige drama centers on a family-run Los Angeles funeral home, weaving together the sorrows and lessons of each week’s spotlit death and subsequent funeral through the longer arc of the Fisher family’s joys and dramas. Where it could be trading in archetypes or even stereotypes, the show brims with deftly drawn, complex characters. Newly widowed Ruth (Frances Conroy, American Horror Story) mixes life-long repression with unpredictable quirks and bents. As David the younger son who followed his father into the family business and black-sheep older brother Nate, Jr., Michael C. Hall (Dexter) and Peter Krause (Parenthood, Sports Night) immediately radiate a peculiar but utterly plausible affinity that only develops and broadens as the show does. Angsty teenaged daughter with arty aspirations Claire (Lauren Ambrose, Sleepwalk with Me) is perhaps the closest to a caricature, but Ambrose’s weird, wired combination of snark and luminous energy gives Claire inner life. As it expands, the series introduces a wide range of family and friends, bringing in impressive, accomplished actors of every ilk: Rachel Griffiths, Jeremy Sisto, Lili Taylor, Ben Foster, Mathew St. Patrick, Patricia Clarkson, Justina Muchado, Kathy Bates, James Cromwell. On this rewatch, I noticed that the series manages to seed important character developments and plot points through the earliest seasons, sometimes letting them germinate for years before they bloom. What feels like a loose, long series of stories is actually very tightly structured — without ever losing that fresh, raw sense of immediacy.

Free Kids Friday! One free rental from the Kids section, no other rental necessary!                      

>>> It’s a free movie and it’s for kids. Save your grinchy grinching for someone who’s not giving a free movie to a kid.

Having a Wild Weekend! Rent two movies, and get a third one for free from any section!                                                   

 >>>For Saturday, Videoport Customer Kevin H. suggests a pair of movies about art! First up: The Best Offer (in Mystery/Thriller). Every so often a lost masterpiece turns up, found in an attic or maybe even painted over at some later date. World famous art appraiser/auctioneer Virgil Oldman (Geoffrey Rush) is the type who makes such finds, except he’d never deign to dirty himself by poking about in attics. Mainly because he’s an irascible old prig who is never without pair of gloves on, so as to best avoid all actual human contact, I guess. But while he doesn’t care for people, he does love his art (he scams his own auctions in order to obtain desired works). When he is called to catalogue and sell the contents of a crumbling old villa, he becomes intrigued by the promise of what he finds. There may be pieces of a long lost automaton, for instance. Oh, and there’s his mysterious client, a woman who lives in secret behind the walls of the house and refuses to be seen. He’s kind of intrigued by that too. I don’t want to say too much else about it. A lot of things are not what they seem in this movie; watching the story unfold and allowing myself to be surprised at certain points was part of the fun. And it is, above all else, a fun movie. Director Guiseppe Tornatore (Cinema Paradiso) creates a stylish look and a breezy feel that seems like something from an earlier age of movie-making. And watching Geoffrey Rush give a performance that is over the top yet humanizing for a very unlikeable character, that’s a lot of fun too.

>>>For Sunday, Videoport Customer Kevin H. gives you the second half of his art movie double feature with Museum Hours (in Foreign Language). By contrast, Museum Hours is a quiet little film that takes place in large part amongst the works of the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. Johann, an aging guard at the museum, spends his days in near-invisibility, quietly observing and meditating on the museum’s artwork and visitors. One day a visitor, in need of directions, interrupts his routine. Anne, a Canadian, is only in Austria to attend to a comatose relative who has no one else. She speaks very little German, doesn’t have a lot of money, and like Johann appears to be more or less edging through middle age alone. In a more conventional movie this would be headed for a romance, but it isn’t, or at least not in the usual sense.  “What is it about some people that makes you curious, while with others one would be just as happy not to know anything about them?” asks Johann in a voiceover. Their romance is one of companionship. He shows her the city as he knows it and assists her, a foreigner, in navigating it. They talk – about the paintings in the museum, about their lives, about the city around them (and the city of Vienna is, as much as the artworks in the museum are, the background of the movie). They pass their time together, at ease with and respectful of one another. That’s maybe more of a rare thing than we might think.

 

New Releases this week at Videoport: Noah (Russell Crowe stars as the titular Biblical drunk boat builder, gathering a certain number of all the animals in the world because God loved us so much that He decided to drown the bejeezus out of the human race. Big budget, a good director [Darren Arnofsky], and a good supporting cast including Jennifer Connolly, Ray Winstone, Anthony Hopkins [who contractually must appear in all epic movies], Emma Watson, and the voice of Nick Nolte!), The Protector 2 (Ong Bak star and certifiably insane risk-taker and arse-kicker Tony Jaa is back in the sequel to that movie where he knocked out hundreds of goys with his sharp, deadly elbows), Jimmy P. (Great actors Benicio Del Toror and Mathieu Amalric star in this indie drama about a traumatized WWII Native American veteran and the caring French psychiatrist who tries to help him. Directed by Arnaud Desplechin of A Christmas Tale, Kings & Queen, and My Sex Life…Or How I Got Into An Argument), Appleseed Alpha (a gun-toting woman and her cyborg pal try to survive in the rubble of post-WWIII New York City in this continuation of the long-running anime series), Finding Vivian Maier (fascinating documentary about an unassuming nanny whose lifelong obsession of taking stunning photographs of the most rundown people and places of New York only was discovered after her death), Wahlburgers- season 1 (So former novelty music acts turned successful actors Mark and Donnie Wahlberg [and some other non-famous Wahlberg brother] opened a burger restaurant? And people care about that? Enough that the increasingly-inaccurately named Arts & Entertainment network would make a reality show about it? That makes…sense? I guess? Anyway—enjoy!), The Other Woman (Three blonde women discover they’re all being betrayed by the same weaselly guy and set out for comical revenge in this comedy starring Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann, and Kate Upton),Super Duper Alice Cooper (documentary about a particular makeup-wearing shock rocker. Nope, I’m not gonna tell you which one…)

New Arrivals on Blu-Ray This Week At Videoport: The Other Woman, Noah

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 know that Videoport copies DVDs and VHS tapes, right? Well we do! Now don’t try to get us to copy anything copyrighted—that’s against the law. That’s what “copyrighted” means. But home movies, stuff like that—bring ‘em in and get yourself some copies. They’re ten bucks apiece, we do ‘em fast, and you really should have extra copies of those secret surveillance tapes of that thing that you saw that time. You know—just in case you need to foil someone’s dastardly plot. Soo many movies would have been over that much more quickly of the heroes had made some copies at Videoport. So sad…

 

Buy your movies at Videoport!

(Instead of some stupid chain store or soulless, small-business-crippling website.) Yup, apart from the many previously viewed movies and TV shows on hand at Videoport, we can get you anything that’s currently in print. We don’t charge shipping (or that handling nonsense), and you can have it in your hands in a bout a week. Sure, said corporate behemoths might get it a bit cheaper (because of their concentrated, small-business-crippling evil), but Videoport gives you a free rental with every single movie you buy from us. Call that $3.50 off the price, call that a blow for the little guy—all it really means is you get your movie and make the world a liiiiiitle bit better at the same time.