The Couch Potato Report

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

The Couch Potato Report – May 19th, 2007
This week The Couch Potato Report peels an old Joni Mitchell concert film and asks: Who the bleep is Jackson Pollock?
While we will always have her music, on CDs and albums, we will likely never get the chance to see Joni Mitchell live in concert anytime soon.
In a 2002 interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Mitchell voiced her discontent with the current state of the music industry, describing it as a “cesspool.
She also stated her dislike of the record industry’s dominance and her desire to control her own destiny.
So Joni no longer tours or performs in concerts, and that is too bad for those of us who never got the chance to see her.
Even though we may never get to see her live, there are now several DVDs available that document her tours during the heyday of her success.
This sixty-minute disc features a performance from Joni’s “Wild Things Run Fast” tour in 1983.
Okay, it is a concert, but we only hear the audience a few times, and they are never seen.
But we don’t really need an audience, because REFUGE OF THE ROADS gives us Joni Mitchell, live, on a stage with musicians, and they all look like they are having a great time.
The DVD also includes some very interesting film footage, including Joni backstage.
No, you and I may never get the chance to see Joni Mitchell live, but if more great DVDs like REFUGE OF THE ROADS are made available, it will be a pretty good substitute.
Up next this week is a film I will not use the words “pretty good” to describe.
Instead, I will refer to THE FOUNTAIN as a wonderful failure.
Partially filmed in Montreal THE FOUNTAIN is the latest film from director Darren Aronofsky, who worked for four years to complete this epic-sized love story that stretches across centuries and galaxies.
The film takes place in three time periods – the 16th century, the present day, and the 26th century.
Hugh Jackman from the X-MEN films and Academy Award winner Rachel Weisz from THE CONSTANT GARDENER play a couple who struggle to stay together, only to keep losing each other through death and time.
Much like Darren Aronofsky’s other films – PI and REQUIEM FOR A DREAM – THE FOUNTAIN is very poetic, beautiful to look at and has an interesting premise and great performances, but it just isn’t a good piece of entertainment.
I respect this film, and continue to admire the filmmakers and actors, but I just didn’t care for their movie
As I said, THE FOUNTAIN as a wonderful failure.
Okay, now on to our next film…a film that is a great piece of entertainment.
Teri Horton is a very profane 73-year-old former long-haul truck driver with an eighth grade education.
She bought a painting for her friend and she paid five dollars.
But there is a chance it is worth a few dollars more…fifty million dollars more.
Jackson Pollock was an influential American painter and a major force in the abstract expressionist movement. In November 2006 Pollock’s “No. 5, 1948” became the world’s most expensive painting, when it was auctioned to an undisclosed bidder for the sum of $140,000,000.
Teri’s decade long attempt to sell her painting is chronicled in the film WHO THE BLEEP IS JACKSON POLLOCK?
This documentary is exceptionally engaging because of Teri Horton personality, and because of the lengths she has gone to prove skeptical Pollock and art experts of the validity of her painting.
Some say that she has a Jackson Pollock…some say she doesn’t.
After you watch WHO THE BLEEP IS JACKSON POLLOCK?, and I recommend that you do, you will have your own opinions as well
Finally this week, our FOREIGN FILM FESTIVAL ON DVD continues.
The action filled, very loud, very hyped, check-your-brain-at-the-door summer movie season is upon us in theatres, this week’s entry is the animated sequel SHREK THE THIRD.
So, if you would like something different, I’ll be offering you an alternative every week.
This week’s selection is the Mexican film PAN’S LABYRINTH from director Guillermo del Toro Rating.
There were two fantasy films released in the past year that featured a young girl as the main character.
One of those films was the made-in-Saskatchewan, non-Academy Award nominated film TIDELAND.
The other is the three time Academy Award winning PAN’S LABYRINTH.
When TIDELAND came out on DVD I invited some people to watch it with me and this is what one of those people – Russ – had to say.
Now the opposite of what Russ said is the truth about PAN’S LABYRINTH.
It is entertaining.
And it does have a great story!
PAN’S LABYRITH is a masterpiece!!
Set in rural Spain in 1944, this film is a fairytale for adults about a young girl who moves in with her new stepfather, a tyrannical military officer.
As he forces he life to change, she is only left with her imagination, but with it she discovers a mysterious labyrinth and the lines between fantasy and reality begin to blur.
PAN’S LABYRITH features real characters, is beautifully made, and it is an exceptional movie.
It is a must see entry in the FOREIGN FILM FESTIVAL ON DVD
The masterpiece PAN’S LABYRITH, the very entertaining documentary WHO THE BLEEP IS JACKSON POLLOCK?, the wonderful failure that is THE FOUNTAIN, and the concert film from Joni Mitchell REFUGE OF THE ROADS are all available now on DVD.
Coming up in the next Couch Potato Report
THE JOURNALS OF KNUD RASMUSSEN is a Canadian film about an Inuit shaman and his headstrong daughter; VENUS features screen legend Peter O’Toole in his Oscar Nominated role; George Clooney and Cate Blanchett star in THE GOOD GERMAN; Clint Eastwood’s LETTER FROM IWO JIMA tells the story of the battle of Iwo Jima from the perspective of the Japanese who fought it; and our FOREIGN FILM FESTIVAL ON DVD will continue with the exceptional French film LA MOUSTACHE, about a man who shaves off his moustache…and his whole world changes.
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!