The Couch Potato Report – December 14th, 2004
In The Couch Potato Report this week, since it is the week before Christmas, there are a lot of films to tell you about.
Since there are so many movies to get to, I’m just going to give you the basics this week.
Yes, just the basic information, even though there is nothing basic about the thriller COLLATERAL.
Tom Cruise strays away from a career of good guys to play a contract killer named Vincent who hires an unsuspecting cab driver to drive him through a nocturnal tour of Los Angeles.
Not long into the film the audience, and the cab driver, learn that Vincent’s plan is to execute five people in a 10-hour spree.
The film’s director is Michael Mann, who in addition to creating the TV show MIAMI VICE, gave us the films HEAT and MANHUNTER. He is a director who knows how to craft a thriller.
Prior to his work playing the late Ray Charles in the film RAY triple Golden Globe nominee Jamie Foxx from ANY GIVEN SUNDAY gave the best performance of his career in COLLATERAL.
And Tom Cruise does a great job playing a sociopaththic killer.
COLLATERAL is just a tad shy of superb. It is an excellent movie.
If COLLATERAL is an excellent thriller, that would make I ROBOT the total opposite – a movie that is instantly forgettable.
Will Smith from MEN IN BLACK and INDEPENDENCE DAY plays a paranoid cop who suspects that the robots who perform the domestic tasks and minimum wage jobs of the near future are going to eventually turn on mankind.
When the creator of the robots dies suspiciously, he is given an opportunity to prove what he believes.
Isaac Asimov’s classic book was the inspiration for I ROBOT, but don’t look for much of a connection between the film and the book.
I ROBOT – the movie – is efficient enough, but it doesn’t break any new ground and once it is over it is instantly forgettable.
Did I say that it was forgettable already? Wow, even this review is instantly forgettable.
The always radiant and never forgettable Anne Hathaway is the star of this week’s next film.
Hathaway once again teams up with the legendary Julie Andrews in THE PRINCESS DIARIES 2: ROYAL ENGAGEMENT.
In this sequel to the 2001 original, the American teenager who in the first film learned she was actually European royalty, finishes college and finds out she has to get married in 30 days or she will lose her crown.
THE PRINCESS DIARIES 2: ROYAL ENGAGEMENT is geared toward young girls, but I watched it and it wasn’t bad.
I’m not trying to make the case that all 36 year old men should watch the movie, but if you have to, for work, or if you have a teenage daughter, you probably won’t mind it.
It isn’t as charming as the original PRINCESS DIARIES, but it is an entertaining family film, especially for young girls.
Young boys, on the other hand, will most likely prefer THE LORD OF THE RINGS – THE RETURN OF THE KING – SPECIAL EXTENDED EDITION. This new version of the Best Picture Oscar winning third installment of the uber-succesful series includes 50 minutes of never-before-seen footage incorporated into the film.
All of the new scenes are welcome, and the bonus features maintain the high bar set by the first two films, THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RINGS and THE TWO TOWERS.
And as soon as I can find 12 straight hours to sit and do so, I plan on watching all three extended editions of THE LORD OF THE RINGS TRILOGY. Let me know if you want to come over.
I didn’t have 12 straight hours this week, but I was able to find two hours to watch MEET THE PARENTS again.
With the high profile sequel MEET THE FOCKERS hitting theatres on December 22nd, I wanted to spend time with the hilarious 2000 original.
Now, we can all spend more time with MEET THE PARENTS as a new BONUS EDITION DVD of the film is in stores.
This new edition gives you more of the work of Ben Stiller and Robert DeNiro as there are never-before-seen extras including, over 35 never-before-seen outrageous outtakes and a deleted scene of Robert De Niro singing during the movie’s wedding.
MEET THE PARENTS is one of the funniest films of the past few years and the new BONUS EDITION DVD will get you ready to MEET THE FOCKERS.
This week you can also meet, enjoy and own STAR TREK: THE ORIGINAL SERIES – THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON.
This final eight disc box set features the final 24 episodes on eight discs, plus two versions of the never aired episode “The Cage” and many special features.
The best of the bonus material focuses on Canadian actor James Doohan.
In what is probably his last Star Trek appearance, Doohan, slowed by Alzheimer’s but still with a twinkle in his eye, recalls his voiceover roles and his favorite episodes.
He might not be long for this world, but his work in STAR TREK will allow him to live forever.
The final new releases that I want to tell you about this week are the latest offerings in WAVE FOUR of THE DISNEY TREASURES COLLECTION, and we’ll start with THE COMPLETE PLUTO – VOLUME ONE.
After Donald and Mickey, Pluto was the most prolific of the Disney characters and it was great to sit and watch the 28 classic animated shorts and the many bonus features on the two discs in this set.
For many years after school THE MICKEY MOUSE CLUB entertained kids across North America. Now, this 2 DVD Set allows you to time with Jimmie, Roy, Darlene, Karen, Cubby, Nancy and all of the other Mousketeers. And no matter how old I am, I will always have a crush on Annette!
And MICKEY MOUSE IN BLACK AND WHITE – VOLUME 2 is a collection of 40 classic Mickey Mouse cartoons – in black and white no less – that will enable you to just sit back and enjoy the animation and the joy that is contained in every hand drawn frame.
I, ROBOT, COLLATERAL, THE PRINCESS DIARIES 2: ROYAL ENGAGEMENT, MEET THE PARENTS – BONUS EDITION, STAR TREK: THE ORIGINAL SERIES – THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON and WAVE FOUR of THE DISNEY TREASURES COLLECTION, specifically THE COMPLETE PLUTO – VOLUME ONE, THE MICKEY MOUSE CLUB and MICKEY MOUSE IN BLACK AND WHITE – VOLUME 2 are all available now at your favourite local video store.
COMING UP ON JANUARY 8th IN THE NEXT COUCH POTATO REPORT
In the second funniest film of 2004 Will Ferrell from ELF and OLD SCHOOL stars in ANCHORMAN: THE LEGEND OF RON BURGUNDY. Ferrell plays a 1970’s era TV anchorman who is threatened when the station hires a woman. Man is this film funny!
OPEN WATER isn’t funny, but it is one of the most suspenseful films of the year. In the movie two SCUBA divers are accidentally left behind in shark infested waters. It is a small movie, that succeeds on a huge level.
DE-LOVELY is a musical portrait of American composer Cole Porter. In the film Kevin Kline plays Porter as he looks back on his life as if it was one of his spectacular stage shows, with the people and events of his life becoming the actors and action onstage.
GARDEN STATE may be the smallest film of the year, but it is also one of my favourite films this year. Zach Braff from TV’s SCRUBS is a man who decides to returns home for his mother’s funeral. Natalie Portman from CLOSER and the new STAR WARS films plays the love interest, with a twist. Like I said, I loved GARDEN STATE.
I didn’t love TROY, and I doubt you will either. But anyone who is a fan of hunky hunk actors Brad Pitt or Orlando Bloom probably will enjoy staring at the guys in this cinematic telling of Homer’s famous story of Achilles and ancient Greece.
The final new films I will tell you about in the next Couch Potato Report are the “comedies” LITTLE BLACK BOOK – with Brittany Murphy as a woman who digs into her boyfriend’s past – and HAROLD & KUMAR GO TO WHITE CASTLE – the latest film about two cinematic dumb guys.
I’m Dan Reynish and I’ll have more on those, and some other releases, on January 8th.
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 – December 14th, 2004