The Couch Potato Report

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

The Couch Potato Report – April 14th, 2007
This week The Couch Potato Report shines the spotlight on a hotel, some children of men, a crude awakening and some vice cops from Miami.
First up this week is the DVD release of the CBC series AT THE HOTEL.
This series from Ken Finkleman – the brilliant creator of THE NEWSROOM takes place at the upscale hotel Ch‚teau Rousseau in an undefined Canadian city.
During the course of this six episode series there are dozens of stories that take place as we meet the staff, the guests, and a wide array of very unique people, good and bad.
There is also time spent introducing us to a writer, who is working on a book, and the family who owns the Hotel.
But in the end, only a few of the stories and characters we meet are interesting and have any resonance.
AT THE HOTEL is a very ambitious show. It looks great, is well written, and features appearances from some of Canada’s best-known film, television and theatre actors in roles both small and large.
It is funny, dramatic, a murder mystery, and at times it is even a musical…but in the end AT THE HOTEL is…well, it is like a hotel stay itself.
You check in, maybe you watch a little TV or take a swim in the pool, but in the end, you walk away from your stay and rarely think about that Hotel again.
I admit that I did find AT THE HOTEL to be entertaining and interesting, but it is too methodical in it’s storytelling, and there is too much time wasted on too many secondary characters, and it is for that reason that I can’t recommend it.
The show wasn’t a waste of my time, and I don’t think it would be a waste of yours either, but there are better things to watch.
Things like the film CHILDREN OF MEN, for instance.
In this film – set in futuristic London in the year 2027 – women can no longer have babies and knowing that it’s days are numbered, society begins to crumble under a wave of violence and anarchy.
Clive Owen from INSIDE MAN and CLOSER is the man who’s job is to protect a mysteriously pregnant girl and the possible future of the human race from a group of terrorists who want her dead.
And that is all that I am going to say about this film except this: Add it to your must see list now. It is dramatic, full of science-fiction elements, and has great action sequences.
CHILDREN OF MEN has something for everyone, plus, it is a unique cinematic vision. The people behind the film created a world and characters that aren’t like the ones you see in movies every day, and that affords it an extra level of appreciation.
I didn’t love the movie, but I will see it again, at least once. CHILDREN OF MEN is just that interesting.
Up next this week is the eye opening documentary A CRUDE AWAKENING: THE OIL CRASH.
Using archival footage, shots of burning oil fields, and interviews with experts, the film presents the facts about the planet’s dwindling oil resources.
A CRUDE AWAKENING is informative and insightful as it describes the oil crisis in a way we can all understand.
However, no matter how insightful, informative, and true the facts are, the filmmakers don’t make the film entertaining enough.
Yes, it is full of vital information that we all need to know, but even though it is only ninety minutes long, it seems much, much longer because it is just fact after fact after fact after fact.
But, even if you have to watch it in multiple sittings, A CRUDE AWAKENING: THE OIL CRASH is still a movie that you should see…because we will all need to do our part to solve this crisis.
Okay, finally this week is the latest DVD releases from the classic 1980’s series MIAMI VICE.
By now I am sure you you have heard of the 1984 to 1989 television series about the adventures of the vice squad detectives of the Miami Police Department starring Don Johnson as Detective James ‘Sonny’ Crockett and Philip Michael Thomas as Detective Ricardo ‘Rico’ Tubbs.
What you might not know isthat Season 3 and 4 are now available on DVD, and in addition to the show itself, the best part about these two seasons is that we get to watch some of the entertainment world’s biggest names today, in some of their earliest roles.
Some of those people are comedian Chris Rock, Steve Buscemi from FARGO and THE SOPRANOS, THE MATRIX’S Laurence Fishburne and SCHINDLER’S LIST Oscar nominee Liam Neeson.
I was a fan of MIAMI VICE when it originally aired, and I had a great time this week watching it again on DVD.
MIAMI VICE – SEASONS 3 and 4, the eye opening documentary A CRUDE AWAKENING: THE OIL CRASH, the very interesting CHILDREN OF MEN, and the not completely a waste of your time CBC series AT THE HOTEL are all now available on DVD.
Coming up in the next Couch Potato Report
THE GREATEST CANADIAN INVENTION celebrates and counts down the finest innovations and innovators our country has produced; DEATH OF A PRESIDENT follows the investigation of the fictional assassination of President George W. Bush on October 19th, 2007 while BOBBY is the story of the real assasination of U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy; and in THE JOHNNY CARSON SHOW from 1955 and 56 we get to see the man at work before he made “The Tonight Show” his own.
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!