The Couch Potato Report – January 25th, 2005
There is a world of tomorrow in The Couch Potato Report this week, along with some kind of monster, white heat, and 6 people coupling.
No matter how old I am, I will always be fascinated by robots and the world of tomorrow.
Luckily I am not alone in that fascination. There are still many people around the world who would like to have a robot, drive a flying car, or travel to the moon.
For those who share my mindset, there is a new film for you to enjoy called SKY CAPTAIN AND THE WORLD OF TOMORROW. The film features Jude Law, Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow.
Those three big Hollywood names are the stars of the film, but the real star of SKY CAPTAIN AND THE WORLD OF TOMORROW is writer-director Kerry Conran.
Even though movies are a visual medium, one of the things that’s missing in movies today is vision. It is very rare in this day and age when a movie comes out that is unique, and unlike anything we’ve seen before.
There is just too much money to be made from sequels and movies based on old TV shows for people with vision to get their films made.
Happily, SKY CAPTAIN AND THE WORLD OF TOMORROW did get made and it is a technical marvel!
I can say that because there were no actual locations used to make this film. All of the actors did their work on a stage and the sets and events were all digitally created around them.
That is what allows the film to be unique, yet reminiscent of classic works like Fritz Lang’s METROPOLIS, the cliffhanger serials of the 30’s and 40’s, and the INDIANA JONES films. Even STAR WARS is referenced when a pilot is instructed to land on the air carrier’s pad 327, the same number the Millennium Falcon lands on in Cloud City.
But I digress.
The story centers on ace pilot “Sky Captain” Joe Sullivan and his daring reporter gal pal Polly Perkins as they attempt to save the world from a mad scientist.
SKY CAPTAIN AND THE WORLD OF TOMORROW is a wonderfully interesting film to look at, and even though I loved it, that fact is also why I hesitate to recommend it.
There is only a small amount of character development in the movie, and all of it comes from dialogue. In the end no one grows, or changes, or even becomes deeper than a character you might see in a commercial.
But I loved the picture as there is just so much going on in visually and it gave me the chance to relive a world that I have dreamt about since I was a kid.
Yes, I loved SKY CAPTAIN AND THE WORLD OF TOMORROW, but unless you are exactly like me, you might want to skip it.
That statement is almost true for this week’s next new release as well.
Unless you are exactly like me, you might want to skip METALLICA: SOME KIND OF MONSTER.
This movie is a documentary about Metallica, the most successful heavy metal band of all time. The band that gave us “Enter Sandman”, “Nothing Else Matters” and “One.”
SOME KIND OF MONSTER offers a revealing and exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the group as they find out that they have conflicts in their professional relationships. We also see them address some personal issues as they begin to record their – eventual Grammy winning – album “St. Anger.”
The filmmakers spent two years with Metallica as the band was forced to deal with the departure of long-time bassist Jason Newsted, the struggle to record St. Anger, and they even filmed the group as they began seeing a psychiatrist, or “performance enhancement coach.”
The main selling point of SOME KIND OF MONSTER is the fact that it is the ultimate backstage pass. If you’ve ever wanted to be a fly on the wall in a recording studio with a very successful band, this is your opportunity.
Now let me get to the “exactly like me” part of this review. I love the rock and roll music that Metallica produces.
Even though there is more documentary than music in the film, the music is still Metallica’s when it exists.
But I don’t think you should allow the music to stop you in this instance. There are just so many great moments, and so much interesting stuff about the music industry, that I hope you will watch it.
I also think you should watch WHITE HEAT, actually, I insist that you do!
WHITE HEAT is one of the best gangster films ever made and the James Cagney classic has finally debuting on DVD.
Cagney returned to the gangster film genre in this 1949 film as Cody Jarrett.
Cody Jarrett is a killer with a mother fixation to rival Oedipus Rex as he tries to get to the “top of the world”.
The result is a classic slice of Hollywood at it ‘s best! If you only know the film and it’s dialogue from the Madonna song of the same name, see WHITE HEAT for yourself.
It is top of the world. Top of the world!!
Our final new release this week is COUPLING – THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON.
On previous editions of THE COUCH POTATO REPORT you have heard me call this BBC sitcom a classic. I have also said that it is the funniest things I have seen in years.
Now, while those statements are true for the series’ first three seasons, neither one of them is applicable to the fourth season.
COUPLING is a witty, instantly addictive series about the tangled sex lives of a close-knit group of six people that is made up of “exes and best friends.”
The main supplier of comedy in the show is Jeff Murdoch, as played by Richard Coyle. Coyle said he’d had enough of the show after three seasons, and he didn’t return for the fourth.
His absence looms over the entire season, and the producers seem to be aware of it as they added another nervy and nerdy character to replace him. But Oliver is no Jeff! Not even close!!
While the show’s fresh and provocative takes on relationships still exist, the humour and life of the show left with Coyle.
Yet, even without him, COUPLING – THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON still has it’s moments. In time I will probably learn to appreciate them almost as much as season’s one through three. I just don’t right now.
The first four seasons of the BBC sitcom COUPLING, SKY CAPTAIN AND THE WORLD OF TOMORROW, METALLICA: SOME KIND OF MONSTER and WHITE HEAT are now available at your favourite local video store.
COMING UP IN THE NEXT COUCH POTATO REPORT
RAY is the true biographical account of Ray Charles’ life. Oscar nominee Jamie Foxx gives the performance of a lifetime as the titular legend.
In THE GRUDGE a deadly curse is passed on between victims like a curse. Sarah Michelle Gellar is the curse slayer.
SHALL WE DANCE is the ill-advised Hollywood remake of a beautiful Japanese film of the same name. This version stars Richard Gere as a businessman takes who takes dancing lessons to impress a woman. Jennifer Lopez and Susan Sarandon are the women in his life.
Bernie Mac is the man known as MR. 3000. He plays an unlikable baseball star who is forced to come out of retirement to get three hits in order to secure his entry into baseball’s Hall Of Fame.
Also coming out next week is VANITY FAIR. Reese Witherspoon stars in the classic story as a woman who uses wit and sexuality to better herself socially.
I’m Dan Reynish and I’ll have more on VANITY FAIR, RAY, and those other releases, in seven days.
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 – January 25th, 2005