“Is this poorly written, or is it just me?”

The Couch Potato Report – November 29th, 2005
This week The Couch Potato Report features 8 new releases, and I will overuse the word “surprise.”
One of the most successful films of the year was a complete surprise.
It was surprise that it did as well as it did at the box office, and it was surprisingly entertaining.
That film is MARCH OF THE PENGUINS a documentary about the over-100 kilometer journey that emperor penguins have to make every year in order to survive and procreate.
The film is narrated by Morgan Freeman and at times it is dramatic, suspenseful, and informative. At other times it is just funny and entertaining.
Actually, the film is entertaining from start to finish.
Penguins can either be waddling entertaining, or incredibly graceful and in MARCH OF THE PENGUINS you get to experience both.
The film is a perfect mix of science and entertainment and the whole family will enjoy it.
Yes, the documentary MARCH OF THE PENGUINS was a surprise.
So was the documentary MURDERBALL.
I had no idea what to expect from this film about quadriplegic rugby – or “Murderball” as it was formerly known.
The film shows us players in modified wheelchairs in a hardcore, full-contact sport trying to win Gold at the Athens Paralympics. But in addition to MURDERBALL being about the sport, it is also about some very interesting people who play it.
The film is a unique mix of sports documentary and inspirational profiles of triumph over adversity.
The majority of the people in MURDERBALL are disabled, but since the film doesn’t focus on that, by the end of the film you won’t be thinking about that it at all.
Unlike MARCH OF THE PENGUINS, MURDERBALL isn’t for the entire family. But both documentaries are completely entertaining, and both are full of surprises.
MR. AND MRS SMITH isn’t full of surprises, in fact it doesn’t have any. But some films don’t have to have surprises, or be a surprise to be entertaining.
And make no mistake, MR AND MRS SMITH sure is entertaining.
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie play an unhappy couple who are bored with each other and their mundane day to day home life.
Their relationship improves once they discover their mutually-hidden identities as world-class assassins.
Unfortunately they have each been hired to kill the other one.
No MR AND MRS SMITH doesn’t contain any major surprises or plot twists, but the performances of Pitt and Jolie are fun to watch and the dialogue is a treat to listen to. Plus, Jolie looks amazing as always, and Pitt is always fun to watch in a film.
Director Doug Liman gave us a better action film with THE BOURNE IDENTITY, and MR AND MRS SMITH should’ve been a better movie than it is, but I still enjoyed it.
I also sort of enjoyed SKY HIGH, even if I am not in the film’s target demographic.
In this film the son of superheroes must save the world, and I suspect the demographic the filmmakers were shooting for was between 12 and 16 years of age.
Sky High is a high school in the clouds for kids with super-human powers or abilities.
At this school gadgets, acts of bravery, and magical skills are part of high school the same way that peer pressure and dating are.
SKY HIGH isn’t unique, especially if you’ve seen THE INCREDIBLES, but it is a surprisingly fun film, whether you are in the correct demographic or not.
Finally this week, I would like to talk about THE MUPPET MOVIE, THE GREAT MUPPET CAPER, MUPPET TREASURE ISLAND and THE MUPPET CHRISTMAS CAROL because all four films are being re-released to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Kermit The Frog.
Yes, it has really been 50 years since Jim Henson introduced us to Kermit The Frog.
I have made no attempt over the years to hide my adoration for Jim Henson and The Muppets, so I won’t bother to review these four releases for you, other than to say that I watched all four again this week and they still entertained me on every level, especially THE MUPPET MOVIE and THE MUPPET CHRISTMAS CAROL.
I’ve seen each of these films dozens of times over the years and it still surprises me how much I am entertained by them.
Happy Anniversary Kermit!
Coming up in the next Couch Potato Report
CINDERELLA MAN is the underlooked, but very good, true story of heavyweight boxer Jim Braddock starring Russell Crowe, Renee Zellweger and Paul Giamatti.
IMAGINE: JOHN LENNON is the superb 1988 documentary about the man made with home movies. The audio from those movies allows Lennon himself to
be the narrator.
The movie version of the classic comic book FANTASTIC 4 is less than classic, and much less than fantastic, but it isn’t horrible. On the other hand the film version of THE DUKES OF HAZZARD is horrible, but somehow it is worth seeing.
I’m Dan Reynish. 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!