The Couch Potato Report – July 11th, 2006
This week The Couch Potato Report shines the spotlight on a matador, a rolling stone and a saboteur.
In 1995 Pierce Brosnan made his debut as superspy James Bond in GOLDENEYE.
But last year, like Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore and Timothy Dalton before him, Brosnanís time in Her Majestyís Secret Service came to an end.
In the superb film THE MATADOR Pierce Brosnan leaves James Bond behind playing a globetrotting hitman, or ìfatality facilitatorî as he calls himself, who meets a businessman in a hotel bar in Mexico City.
Greg Kinnear from AS GOOD AS IT GETS plays Danny, the businessman, and the chemistry he and Brosnan have is fun to watch as the two men become friends, for reasons neither expected.
When the ìfatality facilitatorî loses his ability to successfully facilitate, he goes to his new friend for help.
Unlike his work as Bond, or in the TV series REMINGTON STEELE, Brosnan is having a great time in this film and I really enjoyed his enthusiasm.
The way he says and does some of the things he is asked to do, like paint his toenails and walk through a hotel lobby in less than flattering attire on his way to the pool, are a pure joy to watch.
THE MATADOR is a black comedy and if the lead actor wasnít enjoying himself it could easily have come across as boring. But Brosnan gives the role everything he has, and the result is both enjoyable as a film on itís own, and as a bit of a comedic farewell by the man towards his former profession as James Bond.
I completely enjoyed THE MATADOR. It is one of my favourite films so far this year.
The last film that Pierce Brosnan made as James Bond was 2002ís DIE ANOTHER DAY. That film was written by Neal Purvis and Robert Wade.
They are also the screenwriters for the film STONED.
STONED is a chronicle of the sordid life and suspicious death of Rolling Stones co-founder Brian Jones, who was found in the bottom of his swimming pool just weeks after being kicked out of the band.
If you donít know who Brian Jones was, you are not alone. Other than what I just mentioned – that he was a co-founder of the Stones, was kicked out of the band, and died in his swimming pool – I donít know much about Brian Jones either.
And I still donít know much, even after watching STONED.
Yes, Leo Gregory, the actor who played Jones was believable in the role and he sure looked the part.
But other than the Stones themselves, and a woman named Anita – who I only know because she is the mother of some of Keith Richardsí kids – I had no idea who the other people are in the film.
Since STONED doesnít bother to take enough time to introduce them to me, I wasn’t emotionally invested to any of them.
And unless you know everything about the early days of The Rolling Stones, you probably won’t know who they are either.
I was hoping STONED would allow me to get to know a forgotten musical legend who lived hard, died young, and left a good looking corpse.
While STONED does offer a few answers, it doesnít offer enough of them and in the end I was very unsatisfied.
Now the search is on for a book that offers the ultimate Brian Jones biography because I sure didnít get that from the film STONED.
Finally this week, Universal Home Video has re-released some of Alfred Hitchcock’s classic films on DVD, calling each “An Alfred Hitchcock Masterpiece.”
Normally when a studio does that I just tell you that they have done it and then briefly recap the titles.
But I thought I would do something differently with these re-releases and I have been speaking about them one at a time.
This week the Hitchcock film I have for you is SABOTEUR from 1942.
When sabotage destroys part of an aircraft plant, plant worker Barry Kane is falsely blamed for the crime.
Determined to clear his name, he sets out to track down the man he believes to be the actual saboteur, the mysterious Mr. Fry.
He chases Fry from Los Angeles, across the western deserts, to New York, where the two men confront each other on top of the Statue of Liberty.
SABOTEUR isnít a classic or great film, and the characters donít seem to have much depth to them – they are either good or evil – but it does possess enough Hitchcock suspense to recommend at least one viewing.
And that isnít true about every film you see.
Especially STONED, which is now available on DVD along with Alfred Hitchcockís SABOTEUR and the superb THE MATADOR starring Pierce Brosnan and Greg Kinnear.
Coming up in the next Couch Potato Report
Sharon Stone is back in BASIC INSTINCT 2, but director Paul Verhoeven, writer Joe Esterhaus and co-star Michael Douglas stayed away from this box-office flop.
Bruce Campbell stars in the short-lived TV show JACK OF ALL TRADES
And Iíll also continue our tribute to ALFRED HITCHCOCKíS FILMS with the “Alfred Hitchcock Masterpiece” TOPAZ.
And I will finally tell you about SEASON ONE of the TV show WEEDS.
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 time on The Couch!
The Couch Potato Report – July 11th, 2006