The Couch Potato Report

“I’m not discriminating! I just hate bad movies!”

The Couch Potato Report – March 28th, 2006
This week The Couch Potato Report shines the spotlight on one of 2005ís biggest movies and one of the yearís smallest.
Some movie fans like all types of films, while others are more discriminating.
The big blockbuster releases donít interest the discriminating, they only want smaller, character driven films.
However, the opposite is also true. Some movie fans have no interest in character driven films, they only want blockbusters.
This week, each group should be happy as I have one of both.
KING KONG is the blockbuster, and THE SQUID AND THE WHALE is the character piece.
Each one has itís own merits, and in the end, I will recommend both of them.
The merits of Peter Jacksonís remake of KING KONG are extensive: The story itself is a classic; the special effects are seamless; Naomi Watts acting is superb, especially when you bear in mind that her co-star is computer generated; and it was generated using the body movements of Andy Serkis, who was also Gollum in THE LORD OF THE RINGS TRILOGY.
Peter Jackson used his clout and success from THE LORD OF THE RINGS TRILOGY to remake the 1933 classic KING KONG and this update takes place in New York in 1933.
Jack Black from SCHOOL OF ROCK is an ambitious filmmaker who finds a map to a mysterious Island.
He then fools cast and crew to go with him, and it is there where they encounter Kong, a twenty-five foot tall Silver Back Gorilla.
Naomi Watts from THE RING is the film, and the film within a filmís leading lady.
After the Islandís residents offer her up as a sacrifice, Kong seems instantly smitten.
In the original 1933 version of the film, and the last remake in 1976, the action in KING KONG came after the humanís rescued the woman from Kong. That is true in this version as well, but due to the fact that the movie runs over three hours, there is also plenty of other action as well.
I want to make specific reference to the scenes where Kong fights with dinosaurs. If you thought the creatures in JURASSIC PARK looked real, get ready to be blown away!! From now on this is the standard for computer-generated battles between creatures that are extinct.
There is also plenty of action once the humans capture KONG and take him back to New York, and there are plenty of stories there too.
If you havenít guessed it yet, I loved this version of KING KONG, just as I have loved the other versions.
At over three hours, I will also admit that ñ even though I loved it ñ the movie was too long. It would have benefited from having a good editor working alongside Jackson on it.
That said, when the rumoured three-hour and forty-five minute directorís cut comes out on DVD in November, I will be one of the first people in line to buy it.
KING KONG is what it is, a blockbuster, and it is a very good one at that!
The rumoured budget to make KING KONG was $207 million and it grossed over $500 million in theatres around the world.
By comparison, the budget for Noah Baumbachís film THE SQUID AND THE WHALE was $1.5 million, and it has grossed a little over $7.3 million.
It was no blockbuster.
THE SQUID AND THE WHALE is a wonderfully made, smart and loving film about two brothers dealing with their parents divorce in Brooklyn in the 1980’s.
Jeff Daniels from THE HOURS is their father and the always-superb Laura Linney from KINSEY is their mother.
THE SQUID AND THE WHALE may be the best film of 2005 that only a few people saw.
It is superbly acted and well written, and it is also very touching and heartbreaking, especially when the filmís title is explained.
THE SQUID AND THE WHALE was no blockbuster, and I loved it!
KING KONG was a blockbuster, but I loved that movie too!
And now both of them are available now at a store near you.
Coming up in three weeks on the next Couch Potato Report
THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA ñ THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE brings the beloved literary classics to cinematic life; THE GREATEST GAME EVER PLAYED is based on the true story of the 1913 US Open; Jim Carrey and Tea Leoni star in the remake of FUN WITH DICK AND JANE, and it is no fun at all; and then there is BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN, a small film about a love story that has hardly received any press at all since itís release last December.
I’m Dan Reynish. I’ll have more on those, and some other releases, in twenty-one days.
For now, that’s this week’s COUCH POTATO REPORT.
Enjoy the movies and I’ll see you back here next time on The Couch!