The Couch Potato Report

In case you need something to watch (or avoid) this weekend.

The Couch Potato Report – March 24th, 2007
This week The Couch Potato Report shines the spotlight on a Genie nominee, an Oscar nominee and the fifth sequel to the Best Picture of 1976.
First up this week is a film you might not have heard of, but a few weeks ago it stood as one of the best Canadian films of last year at The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television’s Genie Awards.
The film is called CHEECH.
It is a film from Quebec about six people living through the worst day of their lives.
The less than respectable people in the film – the lead character runs an escort service – keep making bad decisions as their day goes on, and each one seems to make things worse.
One of the female escorts would like to join a new agency, so as a sign of good faith, she has told them the best way to rob her current employer.
Meanwhile, her current boss is trying to increase his business, and he has an assistant who is in love with one of the women who works with them.
Nothing seems to go right for these people…nothing…and that is a credit to CHEECH as just when you think you might know what is going to happen, it takes a twist or turn and you are back at square one, guessing what is going to happen again.
CHEECH is not an unfamiliar film, in fact most of it will seem very familiar, especially if you saw last year’s Academy Award winning film CRASH…but what is unique about it, is that fact that it takes place in Quebec, and the sights and sounds are all pure Canadian!
Something else that is unique is the fact that the main character stops whatever he is doing several times during the film for a daily affirmation, in hopes of getting out of his depression.
And when he stops, the people around him stop, and the action in the film stops.
CHEECH is not a perfect film, and it’s subject matter, language and violence prevent me from recommending it to everyone, but if you are interested in seeing how the lives of six less than perfect people collide, then perhaps you should look for it.
It isn’t superb, or all that unfamiliar, but CHEECH does have it’s unique moments.
Up next this week is the Academy Award nominated film BLOOD DIAMOND.
Leonardo DiCaprio was nominated in the Best Actor category and Djimon Hounsou from the movies GLADIATOR and IN AMERICA was nominated in the Best Supporting Actor category for their superb work in this thought provoking film about the diamond trade in Africa.
In BLOOD DIAMOND DiCaprio plays an ex Mercenary and Hounsou a fisherman.
Both men are African, but their histories as different as any can be, until their fates become joined in a common quest to recover a rare pink diamond that can transform their lives.
Jennifer Connelly from A BEAUTIFUL MIND also stars in the film as a journalist who is looking to tell the true story of Africa’s diamond trade.
BLOOD DIAMOND features great acting and an engaging story and group of actors, and it also depicts the savagry and barbarism that people in Africa will go through to get their hands on diamonds.
At times it is a tough film to sit through, but at all times it is honest.
If you are thinking of buying a diamond for someone you love, I sugest that you see this film first AND you should also watch the documentary on the DVD called BLOOD ON THE STONE.
In will open your eyes, I guarantee it!
Our final film this week is the very satisfying ROCKY BALBOA.
At the Academy Awards in 1976 the original ROCKY, about an underdog boxer from Philadelphia who was given a chance to succeed, was named best picture.
While it’s sequels 2 through 4 didn’t win Oscars, they did win the hearts of movie goers as The Italian Stallion became a worldwide sensation…on screen and off.
After ROCKY 5 came out and flopped in 1990 it looked like we would never get another one…but now ROCKY BALBOA is available and in this sixth and reportedly final chapter Rocky comes out of retirement to step into the ring for the last time.
I am am fan of the ROCKY films. I grew up with them, I watch them today, and I love them. But when I heard that Stallone was making another one I was very, very skeptical.
But the film is very satisfying, both to me as a fan o fthe series and characters, to me as a fan of films, and to me, as someone who is getting older, and isn’t always all that happy about that fact.
ROCKY BALBOA is a very entertaining film, even if you have never seen any of the others.
ROCKY BALBOA, and all of the ROCKY films for that matter, are now available on DVD. So is the entertaining and informative BLOOD DIAMOND and the not that unfamiliar, but unique in it’s own right film CHEECH.
Coming up in two weeks on the next Couch Potato Report
We’ll look back at the life and career of the late great film director Robert Altman with his eight film box set THE ROBERT ALTMAN BOX; a naive barber is the main character in the new-to-DVD classic Canadian film HIGHWAY 61; the great Ashley Judd is a woman searching for love in COME EARLY MORNING; and the animated film HAPPY FEET tap dances it’s way onto DVD.
I’m Dan Reynish. I’ll have more on those, and some other releases, in fourteen 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!