The Couch Potato Report

In case you need advice on something to watch this weekend

The Couch Potato Report – February 17th, 2007
This week The Couch Potato Report shines the spotlight on one Oscar nominee who is Canadian and another who is guaranteed to win!
When the 79th Annual Academy Awards are given out next Sunday night in Hollywood Canadian actor Ryan Gosling’s name will be one of those listed off in the category of Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role for his work in the film HALF NELSON.
It is my belief – and the belief of prognoticators world wide – that Forest Whitaker will deservedly win the category for his work in THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND.
But if there was going to be an upset, Gosling’s performance is the one that could do it.
In HALF NELSON Gosling plays an eighth-grade history teacher in an inner-city school deep in the heart of Brooklyn.
He is a passionate, committed, engaging person who is trying to teach the kids to understand history, instead of just memorizing it.
But he has a secret…at least until the night that one of his 13-year-old students finds him almost passed out in a bathroom stall – from smoking crack.
After that night the film focuses on the unique friendship between the two, and his struggles to prevent her from ending up like him.
If you are looking for an interesting, engaging film, full of real people that doesn’t promise you a happy ending, but simply tells you the story of two people and their effect on each other’s lives, then search out HALF NELSON.
It isn’t the type of film you can watch with the whole family, but I recommend that the grown-ups see this superb film featuring an incredible performance from an up and coming Canadian Actor.
Now if you are wondering why Ryan Gosling’s name sounds familiar, he is the person who won Rachel McAdam’s heart in the very entertaining, and very romantic film THE NOTEBOOK.
No, Ryan Gosling isn’t expected to win an Oscar this year…but Martin Scorsese is.
The director has never won an Academy Award, despite the fact that he has been nominated five times in the past for such classics as RAGING BULL and GOODFELLAS.
Scorsese will get his first trophy on February 25th for his latest classic THE DEPARTED
In their song “Dead On Arrival the band Fall Out Boy sing: “The songs you grow to like never stick at first”, and that is true about movies as well.
When I first saw Scorsese’s latest in theatres, I didn’t care for it at all, but after watching it again this week on DVD, let me paraphrase that song lyric: The movies you grow to like never stick at first.
If you are like me and think TAXI DRIVER, RAGING BULL and GOODFELLAS to be some of the best films ever made, then go out and get THE DEPARTED.
It is worthy of the Scorsese legacy.
In the film, Matt Damon is a mob informant who becomes a police officer and Leonardo DiCaprio is a police officer who becomes a gangster.
Eventually each side realized that their is a mole in their operation and violence and bloodshed are the result.
In addition to Damon and DiCaprio, the cast of THE DEPARTED is all a-list: Jack Nicholson, Martin Sheen, Mark Wahlberg – who was the only actor in the film to receive an Academy Award nomination – and the great Alec Baldwin.
THE DEPARTED is actually a remake of a superb Hong Kong action film called INFERNAL AFFAIRS – but if you pick up the superb TWO DISC SPECIAL EDITION DVD you will find out that in addition to taking material from that film, it is also based on a real mobster in Boston.
Plus, that edition of the film also has an 85 minute documentary featuring Martin Scorsese talking about this film, and his many others.
Now, if you are curious about the sourse material after you have seen the remake, well you are in luck my friend!
There is a new Special Collector’s Edition Box Set available for the incredible INFERNAL AFFAIRS and that set features the original, it’s prequel and a sequel.
INFERNAL AFFAIRS 2 and 3 aren’t as good as number one, but it is my opinion that THE DEPARTED is better.
It is also my opinion that you see them for yourself and make up your own mind.
The final release I have for you is THE U.S. VS. JOHN LENNON.
This is a documentary on the life of the former Beatle that focusses on his life in the early seventies when he turned from being a lovable moptop into an anti-war activist.
As a fan of Lennon’s, I was hoping that this film would give us some never-before-seen insight into his well documented FBI file, and feature an explanation of why Richard Nixon and his White House staff always seemed to have it in for him.
And there is some of that, but the majority of THE U.S. VS. JOHN LENNON is for people who don’t know the man’s post-Beatle history.
If you are one of those people, or a Lennon completist, than this is a must see.
Actually, the film is also a must see for those of us who know the story and have heard and seen the interviews with Lennon countless times before, simply because the man and his life will always be interesting and worth seeing.
THE U.S. VS. JOHN LENNON, Martin Scorsese’s soon to be Oscar winning THE DEPARTED, the Special Collector’s Edition Box Set for INFERNAL AFFAIRS – the film his movie is based on, and HALF NELSON featuring an Academy Award nominated performance from London, Ontario’s Ryan Thomas Gosling are all available now on DVD.
Coming up in the next Couch Potato Report
In TRAILER PARK BOYS: THE MOVIE – Ricky, Julian and Bubbles come up
with a scheme to steal large amounts of untraceable coins; After sweeping the Grammy Awards the DIXIE CHICKS documentary SHUT UP AND SING will debut on DVD, FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION features the same folks that gave us WAITING FOR GUFFMAN and BEST IN SHOW and in THE PRESTIGE two magicians vie to be the world’s best.
Then, in two weeks, director Terry Gilliam’s made-in-Saskatchewan film
TIDELAND debuts on DVD.
I’m Dan Reynish. I’ll be back with more thoughts and reviews (from the
couch in 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!