The Couch Potato Report July 6th, 2004
This week in The Couch Potato Report, there is almost 33% of new reviews!
The past few months have been busy for us all.
Some weeks, who has time to watch movies?!?!
Well, other than me that is.
So this week, just in case youíve finally found the time to catch up on some releases youíve missed, and because there isnít one single new release that is worth mentioning, Iím going to look back on some of the more notable releases of the past six months.
And weíll do it chronologically.
So, off we go to January 24th, when I recommended a movie to you.
Movie. Spelled M-O-V-I-E.
Okay, I got it right!! I can spell the word movie!
It’s unlikely any actual spelling bee would offer such an easy word to spell. I know that for a fact as I’ve seen the spelling bee documentary SPELLBOUND. And you should see it too! It is wonderful.
Now who would have thought that a documentary about spelling-bee contestants could be wonderful, or even as suspenseful as a Hitchcock thriller?
But it is.
SPELLBOUND follows eight kids from their early victories in regional spelling bees to the national competition in Washington, D.C.
And none of their words are as easy as movie. M-O-V-I-E.
Look, I spelled it right again!
But enough about my ability to spell, just search out SPELLBOUND at your local video store. It is a riveting, wrenching, must-see movie.
That title again: S-P-E-L-L-B-O-U-N-D.
Another title to search out, and spell for your local video store proprietor is SWIMMING POOL.
If you feel like watching a movie that you can discuss and dissect afterward than SWIMMING POOL is your movie.
The erotic thriller that is SWIMMING POOL offers a potent, voyeuristic charge as it takes you through a seductive tale of murder and complicity.
A delicate dance of trust, curiosity, and gradual understanding ensues, until a twist ending that forces you to reevaluate everything you’ve seen.
Every single thing!
Jump into SWIMMING POOL. You might not feel refreshed, but you will feel engaged.
On February 7th I said that if you knew Bill Murray only from his comedies CADDYSHACK, GHOSTBUSTERS and GROUNDHOG DAY, and not his sole dramatic turn in THE RAZORíS EDGE, then you should prepare to be surprised by LOST IN TRANSLATION.
Murray is Bob Harris, a once popular American actor who now finds more acceptance and money from the people of Japan than from his own country.
He goes to Tokyo to shoot some whisky commercials for a big payday.
Contrast this with Charlotte, a young wife who is staying at the same hotel while her photographer husband does a multiple-day photo shoot.
Both Bob and Charlotte are married people, but they are also very lonely people. And neither one of them can sleep.
The entire plot of LOST IN TRANSLATION is about these two people getting to know each other.
Bob, in his early-fifties, is old enough to be Charlotte’s dad, but that doesn’t matter here. It’s not about age. It’s about the place and time.
The two find each other, spend time with one another, and even sleep in the same bed together.
Most filmmakers would have to include a physical love affair to round out a story like this. Writer-director Sophia Coppola doesn’t. She only allows Bob and Charlotte to go so far.
If they go any further is all up to you, depending on how you perceive what takes place.
Iíve continued watching LOST IN TRANSLATION since I recommended it and it still entertains and moves me.
Just like the TV Show FREAKS & GEEKS.
If you were a fan of a brilliant little TV show called FREAKS AND GEEKS – that came and went too quickly in 1999 – then you’ll be happy to know that there is a new box set available that has all 18 episodes of the show.
This 6 DVD set has a wide array of extras that include the director’s cut of the pilot with never-before-seen footage, deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes footage, and outtakes.
If you went to high school in the early 80’s you’ll relate to FREAKS AND GEEKS as its the most realistic approach you will ever see about our time getting an education.
The show is colourful and hilarious and you will easily identify with the characters as you laugh at them while laughing at yourself.
It was an awesome show that makes a superb DVD set.
Another TV show that received a positive review back in April was THE OFFICE ñ THE SECOND SERIES.
THE OFFICE takes place in the offices of a fictional British paper merchant.
The writing is subtle and deft, yet broad and daft at the same time.
The ensemble cast are so perfect together that the documentary feel of the show sometimes feels very real.
That cast is led by co-director and co-writer Ricky Gervais who plays David Brent, the office manager.
Gervais steals every scene heís in as he is so letcherous and idiotic that you canít help but laugh at what he does, and how funny HE thinks he is.
This SECOND SERIES picks up where the FIRST SERIES left off and we see the continuation of the fall of David Brent.
That fall allows for some darker comedic moments, which like the rest of the series, have to be seen to be believed.
Yes, I enjoyed raving about THE OFFICE. Almost as much as THE TRIPLETS OF BELLEVILLE.
This is a unique film about a bicyclist who is kidnapped from the Tour de France by some mysterious gangsters.
Once that ocurrs the bicyclist’s grandmother travels to the city of Belleville, where she tracks him down with the help of a musical trio.
In addition to the very unique characters, music plays a central part.
There are only a few spoken sentences in the entire movie.
Most of the soundtrack is a mix of squeaks, barks, and the jazzy music of Benoit Charest.
This is a film that is wonderful, whimsical, bizarre, surreal and very touching.
It is not to be missed.
The final item Iíll recap in this look back at the last six months edition of The Couch Potato Report is SCTV.
SCTV, the greatest comedy show of all time, is debuting on DVD!
The cast of SCTV reads like comedic royalty: John Candy, Dave Thomas, Andrea Martin, Martin Short, Rick Moranis, Catherine OíHara, Joe Flaherty, Eugene Levy and Harold Ramis.
These are some of the funniest people in the world, who created some of the funniest characters and moments in the world.
SCTV was produced right here in Western Canada and TV Guide recently named it “One of the 50 best television shows of all time.”
Iíll do them one better.
Plain and simple, SCTV is the best TV Show of all time!
SEINFELD, I LOVE LUCY, THE SIMPSONS, MONTY PYTHONíS FLYING CIRCUS, MAGNUM, P.I., or any other show you could name might deserve honourable mentions, but SCTV was, and is the best TV show ever!
The brand new SCTV five-disc box set includes several “Great White North” segments; “Play It Again, Bob,” starring Rick Moranis as Woody Allen and Dave Thomas as Bob Hope; the ill-fated made-for-SCTV “Polynesiantown” starring Johnny LaRue, who also turns up in ìStreet Beef.î There is also “The Sammy Maudlin Show”, ìMoney Talks with Brian Johnsî, ìMelís Rock Pile,î with Rockin Mel Slurrip, and much much more!
Also included in the SCTV box set are new interviews with most of the cast; a tribute to the late John Candy; the 1999 SCTV reunion event at the Aspen Comedy Arts Festival; plus commentaries and an insightful 24-page photo booklet.
The SCTV Box Set is the comedy release of the year. Period, end of story!
SPELLBOUND, SWIMMING POOL, LOST IN TRANSLATION, FREAKS & GEEKS, THE OFFICE ñ THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON, THE TRIPLETS OF BELLEVILLE and SCTV are the releases that I recommend you check out, should you have some time to catch up on the best of the past 6 months on video and DVD.
If you donít have the inclination, or youíve seen all of those already.
COMING UP IN THE NEXT COUCH POTATO REPORT
I canít wait to tell you about Denys Arcandís Oscar winning Canadian film THE BARBARIAN INVASIONS.
It concerns an old college professor who learns he’s rapidly dying of cancer, but the film has just as much humour as drama and it is a wonderful movie.
What I primarily loved about the film is that not once does it pander to tear-jerking effects, nor does it attempt to offer a squeaky-clean resolution.
Also next week, Meg Ryan from SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE and WHEN HARRY MET SALLY plays a female boxing manager who tries to turn a street punk into a champ in the less-than-classic film AGAINST THE ROPES.
And in AGENT CODY BANKS 2: DESTINATION LONDON Agent Cody Banks goes undercover in London.
Seriously, who cares!?!?!?
Iíll have more on those, and some other releases, in seven days.
For now, that’s this week’s COUCH POTATO REPORT.
Enjoy the movies and I’ll see you back here next week on The Couch!
The Couch Potato Report July 6th, 2004