The Couch Potato Report

Entry Number 10300 – In case you need something to watch (or avoid) this weekend!

The Couch Potato Report – July 7th, 2007
This week The Couch Potato Report peels monkey warfare, Miss Potter, two “classic” TV shows and the dignity of the nobodies.
MONKEY WARFARE was named Best Canadian Feature Film and given a Special Jury Citation at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival and it is about two ex-revolutionaries from Vancouver, with a less than law abiding past, who are now living underground and off the grid in Toronto.
Dan and Linda earn money by scavenging through the garbage and selling their discoveries on the internet.
And to them, they are living a happy, very satisfying life.
Then Dan befriends a young drug dealer named Susan, and her rebellious ambitions could expose the couple’s troubled past.
While most films today shoot for months and have budgets in the hundreds of millions of dollars, MONKEY WARFARE was shot in two weeks with the film’s thirty thousand dollar budget borrowed from the director’s line of credit.
That makes it very low budget.
It is also very Canadian, due to it’s locations, dialogue and references, and, at times it is very good.
But for some reason, even though the movie is only seventy-five minutes long, it just can’t sustain that good for very long before it gets slow, boring and uninteresting.
Luckily it only goes down that road a few times, and never for very long.
Okay, bottom line, I liked it.
I liked that it was low budget, and Canadian, and I was interested enough in the characters to hope that everything worked out for them in the end.
MONKEY WARFARE isn’t a great movie, and due to it’s drug references and language, it might not be for everyone, but if you see it in your local movie store, I say give it a shot.
If you see it there…most stores these days don’t carry many low budget Canadian films…but that is a topic for another time.
Our next movie is one that is so cheery, so postivie, so polite, and so nice that I can’t believe I liked it because I usually like films that have a bit of an edge to them.
But I did…I did like MISS POTTER.
MISS POTTER is “based-on-the-true-story” of Beatrix Potter, the author of the timeless, beloved and best-selling children’s book, “The Tale of Peter Rabbit”, and her struggle for love, happiness and success as she attempts to get her books published.
Ewan MacGregor is the book publisher and Renee Zellweger plays Beatrix Potter in this movie that is just delightful.
Potter’s life wasn’t all sunshine, roses and beautiful, and this film does show the lows as well as the highs, and those lows are heartbreaking and moving.
The actors all seem to really be enjoying themselves and as a result, I enjoyed myself too, and their film.
I wouldn’t call MISS POTTER one of the best films of the year, but I did really enjoy it.
Okay, up next this week are two DVD box sets for two classic television shows.
The five-disc set for the last season of MIAMI VICE and the six-disc set for the first season of CHiPs.
CHiPs is a police drama about the adventures of Ponch and John, two California Highway Patrol motorcycle officers.
It ran from September 15th, 1977, until July 17th, 1983, for a total of 6 seasons.
Unlike some other shows from the seventies that get released on DVD, CHiPs – THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON is very well done and it features the actual episodes as they first aired, with all of the original music and title sequences.
CHiPs is the final great tv show from the 1970s to make it to DVD, and I am glad that we now have it to add to our libraries…just as I continue to be glad the 1980s show MIAMI VICE is available on DVD.
In fact, MIAMI VICE: SEASON FIVE is the final DVD set for the series because after five trendsetting seasons the show went off the air with an exposive finale and this set allows us to have the complete series at our disposal to watch anytime we’d like.
For me, that is often.
I loved MIAMI VICE when it aired, and I love it now.
Finally this week, with the opening of the TRANSFORMERS movie in theatres this week, the action filled, very loud, check-your-brain-at-the-door summer movie season continues.
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 back to our FOREIGN FILM FESTIVAL!
The FESTIVAL ON DVD continues with the very moving film THE DIGNITY OF THE NOBODIES from Argentina.
This documentary introduces us to some of the poor and dispossessed people of Argentina and their recent increasingly successful battles against neo-liberalism and globalization.
We also see their ongoing problems due to repossessed farms, enormous poverty, widespread joblessness, and a socialized health care system in chaos.
THE DIGNITY OF THE NOBODIES goes all across Argentina to tell its story and it is presented as a series of specific portraits, or sketches of situations as seen through the experiences of individuals.
We meet a woman whose only wish in the world is that she could send her kids to school.
A doctor who can’t understand why people can’t get the medicine they need.
And a family who were forced to sell their farm for less than it was worth when they didn’t get the help they needed after the Father had a stroke and couldn’t work anymore.
But there are also some positive stories as well!
Toba is a teacher who runs a free food kitchen.
He saved the life of Martin, a delivery man who was shot by police at a 2001 police riot.
Postive stories…negative stories…human stories…they are all contained in this very interesting film.
THE DIGNITY OF THE NOBODIES, Season Five of MIAMI VICE, Season One of CHIPS, MISS POTTER and the Canadian film MONKEY WARFARE are all available now on DVD.
Coming up on the next Couch Potato Report
At this point a jury of nine women and three men are still deliberating in the court case against former Canadian media baron Conrad Black and the film CITIZEN BLACK is a documentary that chronicles Black’s downfall during the most tumultuous period of his life. A period that lead to the recent trial.
The Canadian film PARTITION is a love story played out against a backdrop of political and religious upheaval.
Billy Bob Thornton stars in THE ASTRONAUT FARMER as a farmer who builds his own rocket.
And our FOREIGN FILM FESTIVAL ON DVD continues with ESMA’S SECRET, a movie from Austria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Germany and Croatia.
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!