The Couch Potato Report – July 13th, 2004
This week in The Couch Potato Report, a Canadian Oscar winner, one film to skip, and one to see if you’ve seen the film before it.
Denys Arcand’s Oscar winning Canadian film THE BARBARIAN INVASIONS is the first film I’ll peel this week. And I’m happy to let you know about it’s appeal as it is very funny and incredibly moving.
THE BARBARIAN INVASIONS is the follow-up to writer-director Arcand’s 1986 drama THE DECLINE OF THE AMERICAN EMPIRE.
That seminal Canadian film features four men and four women, all coming from the academic world, discussing their professional and sex lives around a diner.
THE BARBARIAN INVASIONS is a sequel that surpasses the original.
One of the male professors learns he’s rapidly dying of cancer. His estranged son then assembles friends and family to guide him through his last days.
The father, Remy, played by Remy Girard, is wonderful in the film.
He is an old womanizer who happily talks about his sexual conquests, while his ex-wife and former lovers chime in.
His bed-ridden tirades cover even more topics than the original film and his bedside companions come from all walks of life, and each provide a unique contrast to the other characters.
What I liked most about THE BARBARIAN INVASIONS is how it doesn’t pander to your emotions.
Not once is the film’s goal to make you cry.
The fact that you genuinely care for the characters may induce tears, but that is due to your emotions, not anything fale contained withing the script.
You may also cry because you’re laughing so hard. The film is quirky and funny, in a way that only old friends can be.
THE BARBARIAN INVASIONS has raunchy, honest humour and real honest characters.
While it may not be a perfect film, the French-Canadian subtitled film LES INVASIONS BARBARES est tres manifique!
Those words, in French, English, Sanskrit, or any language will probably never be used to describe this week’s next new film.
Meg Ryan from SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE and WHEN HARRY MET SALLY plays the real life person Jackie Kallen. She was the first big-time female boxing promoter.
Jackie tries to turn a street punk into champ in the less-than-classic film AGAINST THE ROPES.
Let me hit you with the right hook up front, AGAINST THE ROPE is a clichÈ ridden boxing film. With the exception of the fact that it has none of the style or grace of even the most average pugilist picture.
AGAINST THE ROPES is one part “based on a real person” movie and one part big bout ROCKY style action flick. But neither half equals a whole movie.
And I know that Meg Ryan is supposed to be “acting” in this movie, but what’s with the accent?
I didn’t buy Meg Ryan in this film, although I still consider myself to be a fan of hers. I also didn’t buy AGAINST THE ROPES, either as a movie or as a DVD priced to own.
It’s just a waste of time.
If you spent yime with the original AGENT CODY BANKS film, you will probably like it’s sequel: AGENT CODY BANKS 2: DESTINATION LONDON.
Frankie Muniz from TV’s MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE returns as the pint sized 16-year-old Secret Agent and he gives us another entertaining performance.
In this fun for the whole family film Banks has to go to London to stop a mind control system from taking over the world.
It isn’t the most believable movie you’ll see this year, but, like I said, if you liked the first film, you’ll like this one.
For my money, the SPY KIDS franchise is much better, but Muniz is good at what he does too.
By the way, if your kids enjoyed the first movie because of the presence of pop princess Hilary Duff, you should know that she’s no longer a part of Cody
Either with or without Duff’s Stuff, AGENT CODY BANKS 2: DESTINATION LONDON is a fun family film that the kids can enjoy and parents might not mind sitting through either.
THE BARBARIAN INVASIONS, AGAINST THE ROPES, and AGENT CODY BANKS 2: DESTINATION LONDON are available now at your favourite local video store.
COMING UP IN THE NEXT COUCH POTATO REPORT
In the comedic remake of the 1970’s TV show STARSKY & HUTCH the two legendary cop partners meet and get their first case together. Bear in mind that with Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson starring it is a bit funnier than the TV Series.
CONFESSIONS OF A TEENAGE DRAMA QUEEN has the super busy Lindsay Lohan playing a popular teen who moves from Manhattan to New Jersey. Think of this as perfect for teenage girls, but hardly anyone else.
Finally, next week, Anthony Hopkins, Nicole Kidman and Ed Harris are the heavyweight actors behind the box office failure THE HUMAN STAIN. As is often the case, Philip Roth’s acclaimed novel just didn’t translate well to the big screen. But what a cast!
I’ll 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 13th, 2004