The Couch Potato Report – May 5th, 2007
This week The Couch Potato Report peels an inspiring, yet tragic Canadian story, some little children and our summer FOREIGN FILM FESTIVAL will begin!
The CF-105 airplane – The Avro Arrow – is the stuff of legend!
The Avro Arrow was an interceptor developed in Malton, Ontario, in the 1950s for the Canadian military.
This is a plane that could have been the fastest plane in the world, it could have been the best Military defence against our enemies at the time, and it could have been the catalyst for Canada becoming one of the world leaders in aircraft design and construction.
Could have been…instead, The Avro Arrow is now only the stuff of legends!
The reason the Arrow is a legend, and not a reality, is the fact that just as the team of designers and engineers were close to finishing the plane, and the unique Canadian engine for it, the Canadian government – lead by Saskatchewan’s own John Diefenbaker – cancelled the project, destroyed all of the research information, documents and blueprints pertaining to it, and demolished the few planes that had been built.
However, Canadians haven’t forgotten this unique part of our history and the inspiring, yet ultimately tragic story and the legacy of the plane itself is told in the CBC film THE ARROW.
Make no mistake, THE ARROW is not a documentary.
It is a based-on-a-true-story film, with composite characters and scenes that take place in offices, rooms and homes where we will never – sadly – know what actually happened or what was actually said.
No, THE ARROW isn’t a documentary, but it is a very entertaining film about a unique time in Canadian history.
The bonus features on the DVD include stories from two great CBC programs that no longer exist as well – Midday and The Journal – as we are given the chance to meet the real engineers, politicians and military reps in The Arrow’s story, and watch an investigation of the real story behind Canada’s most famous aircraft.
From the stuff of Canadian legend, we go now to LITTLE CHILDREN – a very, very interesting movie starring Kate Winslet.
Winslet plays a housewife and mother who spends her days at the playground with other neighborhood mothers. She is bored and feels alienated from the others until the day she meets the only stay-at-home father in the neighborhood.
Winslet was justifiably given an Academy Award nomination for her work, and so was Jackie Earle Haley, the one-time child star who played Kelly Leak in the BAD NEWS BEARS films.
His character returns home following a conviction for exposing himself to a child. The townspeople react to him with predictable venom, even as their own misdeeds play out before our eyes.
LITTLE CHILDREN is a well-written film, populated by a wealth of lonely, interesting characters who aren’t all likeable, and don’t always communicate what they are feeling or thinking.
It also features a great narrator.
Due to it’s sometimes graphic content and language LITTLE CHILDREN isn’t a film for everyone, but I recommend it as a great film for adults.
It is a very complex movie with characters who go from likeable to pathetic and back again within a few minutes, and are – at all times – interesting.
Alright, lets go from a complex movie with many characters, to an easy to understand – and laugh at film – with one man playing many characters.
The one man is Chevy Chase, and the film is FLETCH.
FLETCH is one of my favourite movies of all time, and even though I have seen it dozens of times, I still laugh out loud to it each and every time.
Chase is at his career best playing an investigative reporter for a L.A.. newspaper who has gone undercover to expose drug smuggling activity among the Los Angeles Police Department.
Along the way he is asked to commit a murder, meets a beautiful woman, dons numerous disguises, and says one classic line after another.
THE JANE DOE EDITION of FLETCH is a special edition that features some interesting extras, but sadly, Chase himself doesn’t appear.
That makes the extras less than spectacular, but the film itself remains a classic.
Finally this week, with the opening of SPIDER-MAN 3 in theatres yesterday, the action filled, very loud, check-your-brain-at-the-door summer movie season is upon us.
If you’d prefer an alternative, each week during the summer movie season I will tell you about at least one current release on DVD that you’ll need your brain to enjoy.
Welcome to the FOREIGN FILM FESTIVAL!
This week’s film is LE PETIT LIEUTENANT from France and it is a great alternative to the loud summer films.
This movie takes 30 minutes to introduce everyone before the major plot point is introduced, and I found that an inventive decision by the filmmakers.
In LE PETIT LIEUTENANT you get to know the personal lives of an elite French police unit on the most intimate level.
Yes, there is murder and death and crimes to be solved, and they allow us to see some of the flaws of human behavior on both sides of the law.
I think it is best if you don’t know much about the plot in advance in order to enjoy the film, but even if you do, I think you will find this to be a very interesting, quiet and engaging film.
LE PETIT LIEUTENANT is the first entry in our FOREIGN FILM FESTIVAL and it is available in stores now, alongside the always entertaining film FLETCH, the complex LITTLE CHILDREN, and THE ARROW, a very entertaining movie about a unique time in Canadian history.
A time when Canada almost ruled the skies.
Coming up in the next Couch Potato Report
The TV series ROBSON ARMS debuts on DVD; Drew Barrymore and Hugh Grant star in the wanna be romantic comedy MUSIC AND LYRICS; THE PAINTED VEIL is a love story set in the 1920s that tells the story of a young English couple; in BREAKING AND ENTERING an Architect’s dealings with a young thief cause him to re-evaluate his life; and our FOREIGN FILM FESTIVAL will continue on DVD.
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 – May 5th, 2007