The Couch Potato Report – January 9th, 2007
This week The Couch Potato Report shines the spotlight on five films, including one about some snakes on a plane.
Our first film this week is THE WAR TAPES – a superb but hard to watch documentary that was filmed by actual servicemen in Iraq.
Before heading to the war several members of the National Guard were given digital video cameras.
THE WAR TAPES is the film that was edited together from their footage and it provides a perspective on a complex and troubled conflict.
At times THE WAR TAPES is fascinating, frustrating, disgusting, and at other times it is insightful and dispicable.
But at all times it gives us an insiders look at the war in Iraq, and what it is doing to the people who are fighting there.
When this year’s Academy Award nominations are announced on January 23rd THE WAR TAPES is likely to get nominated in the DOCUMENTARY FEATURE category. If that happens, everyone will be lining up at your local store to check out this movie. Don’t wait, see it before the rush.
You might not be glad you did, but you will have experienced a one of a kind look at war.
Next up this week is THINGS TO DO. This is a small Canadian film that probably won’t get an Oscar nod, but it is still fun to watch.
The plot in THINGS TO DO is as follows: A twenty-five year old office worker leaves the big city behind and go back to his childhood hometown to take stock of his life and try to resolve some past regrets.
And while that plot does have some unique twists and turns, the reason that THINGS TO DO is worth seeing, is because the two lead characters are so interesting and…well, boring.
These aren’t movie people, they are people people, living lives that we can all relate to.
Not all conversations in real life sparkle or are peppered with pop culture references, sometimes – in real life – people just ask each other questions.
That is what happens in this movie too!
THINGS TO DO isn’t for everyone, but if you are interested in a small film about small people with big problems, then search it out.
But you don’t like films like that because matial arts films are more your forte, then track down Jet Li’s FEARLESS.
It has hand fighting…Pole fighting…And even sword fighting.
FEARLESS is inspired by a real-life Chinese martial arts master.
Jet Li from ROMEO MUST DIE and HERO plays this legendary figure, whose martial arts style and fearless fight helped the people in China regain their pride in the early 20th century when China was intimidated and humiliated by the growing Western and Japanese powers.
Li is superb, and if you like films full of fighting, then FEARLESS is the movie you need to find this week.
The fourth of five films I have for you in this Couch Potato Report is a horror movie set in a cave.
It is called THE DESCENT.
In the film a group of female friends get trapped in a mountain cave due to a rockfall.
As they try and find a way out of the caves they start to realize that time, and lack of oxygen aren’t their only enemies.
They are also being pursued by a strange breed of predators.
In a day and age when almost every film released stars and is for people between the ages of 18 and 25, the most positive thing I can say about THE DESCENT is the fact that it stars adults, making adult decisions…and trying to come to grips with the adult consequences.
Other than that, THE DESCENT is only, and I hate to say this, but the creativity of my statement is on par with the film itself – THE DESCENT is only a decent horror film.
It doesn’t deserve to be buried under rocks, but I’m not sure everyone needs to see it on the shelves at your local store either.
Okay, the final release this week is a little known film about some SNAKES ON A PLANE.
Since this film was released in theatres back in August “professional critics” have been falling over each other to tell you how bad it is, why it doesn’t work, how fake the computer generated snakes look, and anything else negative that they can say about it.
Truth is, this isn’t a film for “professional critics.”
It is a film for people who would be interested in seeing a movie called SNAKES ON A PLANE.
I saw this film sitting in a jam packed theatre the night it came out, and I watched it again this week at home on DVD.
I enjoyed it both times.
It is everything a film called SNAKES ON A PLANE should be!
If you think you’d be interested in seeing an action film with Samuel L. Jackson about snakes on a plane, then go ahead and enjoy!
Otherwise, there are plenty of other selections now available on DVD on the shelves at your favourite local home entertainment store, including the only decent THE DESCENT, JET LI’S superb martial arts film FEARLESS, the fun to watch Canadian film THINGS TO DO and the potential Academy Award nominee THE WAR TAPES.
Coming up in the next Couch Potato Report
Ricky Gervais followed up his superb BBC series THE OFFICE with the spectacular series EXTRAS and SEASON ONE is now available on DVD with guest stars Patrick Stewart, Kate Winslet and Ben Stiller.
Also next week, in THE ILLUSIONIST a magician uses his abilities to secure the love of a woman far above his social standing and in THE NIGHT LISTENER a radio announcer begins communicating with his biggest fan, but when questions about the boy’s identity come up, the host’s life is thrown into chaos.
I always hate it when radio announcer’s lives are thrown into chaos!!
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 – January 9th, 2007