The Couch Potato Report

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

The Couch Potato Report – June 9th, 2007
This week The Couch Potato Report peels another film that was made in Saskatchewan and offers some Father’s Day gift suggestions.
Since The Couch Potato Report first began in 1991, I have reviewed films on almost as many formats. There have been video cassettes, video discs, laserdiscs, VCDs, UMDs and more than a few others.
And the future of home viewing is already upon us with Blue Ray and HD-DVD gaining popularity…, but for the time being I will continue to just talk about new releases that are available on DVDs.
Including the DVD that is now in stores for the made-in-Saskatchewan horror film THE MESSENGERS.
When this film opened in theatres back in February, it became the first film made in that province to open in the number one spot on the box office charts.
In THE MESSENGERS Dylan McDermott from TV’s THE PRACTICE and Penelope Ann Miller of KINDERGARTEN COP fame are a couple who have packed up their life in the city and moved to the country with their two children, including a teenage daughter who has done something terribly wrong.
The young actress Kristen Stewart from PANIC ROOM is the daughter, and soon after they arrive at their spooky old house in the middle of nowhere, she starts to see things…and hear things…and no one …especially not her parents…believes her
During the very brisk 84 minute running time of this film, we also get to meet a banker, a few kids from the neighbouring town, and a mysterious stranger who becoimes the family’s hired hand.
What we don’t get is much originality.
THE MESSENGERS is a “what you see is not what you’ve seen” sort of film that borrows heavily from other well-known horror classics like THE AMITYVILLE HORROR, Alfred Hitchcock’s THE BIRDS, THE GRUDGE and POLTERGEIST, and it is for those reasons that I can’t strongly recommend it.
But, ultimately, I do recommend it.
If you enjoy horror films, and movies that have a few good scares in them, then this is a good one to watch.
On Easter Monday of this year, CBC Television covered the rededication ceremony of the war memorial in Vimy, France.
As I watched the new DVD this week featuring the highlights of the many features and stories that my CBC colleagues had produced for that broadcast of the Monument’s rededication, I felt the same way as I did when I sat and watched their original airing:
VIMY RIDGE 90 made me proud to be a Canadian, and it also made me want to make a pilgrimage to see this spectacular tribute to the Canadians who gave their lives so we could be here today.
VIMY RIDGE 90 is three hour highlight package from an unforgettable day in Canadian history. You get to witness the Sunset Ceremony, the Lighting of the Monument, and you’ll experience the newly restored memorial in all of its glory, the Freedom of the City parade; and much, much more.
It is a must see and a title that you must own.
This DVD would make a great Father’s Day gift next weekend…and so would the Two-Disc Ultimate Collector’s Edition of director Howard Hawks’ classic western RIO BRAVO!
Simply put, RIO BRAVO is one of the top five western movies ever made.
John Wayne is Sheriff John T. Chance, Dean Martin is his sobering-up alcoholic friend Dude, and Ricky Nelson is the hotshot new kid Colorado.
They are what stands between a currupt prisoner and the growing list of people who want to break him out of jail.
There is fightin’, horse ridin’, heroes, villains, a saloon, a perty gal, and everything a classic western should have.
Plus, this Ultimate Collector’s Edition features a remastered version of the film, a commentary, documentary, featurettes, the press book, a comic book, teh film’s lobby cards and more!!
If you like Westerns, this is the package for you, and if your Dad likes them, then this would be a great gift for him next Sunday.
Okay, it is time for the next release in our FOREIGN FILM FESTIVAL ON DVD.
This summer I will be telling you about a different film each week in a foreign language.
German is the language spoken in the Austrian film ANTARES.
This movie features people who have secrets and lies
Specifically we meet a three women, whose paths cross in a large building complex.
There is a married nurse who has a lover that hardly speaks.
A cashier who is lying to her boyfriend that she is pregnant.
And a divorced woman who has problems getting rid of her ex-husband.
The destinies of the women we meet all have something to do with each other, and it is all quite engaging.
ANTARES is the type of movie where you won’t understand everything that you see in it until the very end, and then it will all be clear.
I really enjoyed watching it all fall into place.
The engaging Austrian film ANTARES (an-tair-eez), the Two-Disc Ultimate Collector’s Edition of director Howard Hawks’ classic western RIO BRAVO, the exceptional VIMY RIDGE 90, and the made-in-Saskatchewan film THE MESSENGERS are all available now on DVD.
Coming up in the next Couch Potato Report
MISSING VICTOR PELLERIN is a Canadian film about a young star of the art scene who burns a fortune in paintings and leaves Montreal without a trace; SNOWCAKE focusses on the friendship between a high-functioning autistic woman and a man who is traumatized after a fatal car accident.
I will also talk about Season Two of the superb television series THE CLOSER; and the based-on-a-true-story spy thriller BREACH.
Also next week, our FOREIGN FILM FESTIVAL ON DVD continues with the French film TOI ET MOI. It juxtaposes real-life relationships with those of fiction and shows us how and why we sometimes get confused.
Mon dieu!!
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!