The Couch Potato Report – July 21st, 2007
This week The Couch Potato Report peels four films that might entertain you on a hot summer night and documentary about coffee.
As I am sure you know, it is summer.
This is the time of year when many of us spend most of our leisure time outside in the sun having fun.
The folks at most of the movie studios know this, and they are out doing the same.
That at being the case, there haven’t been any huge new DVD releases of late.
The studios are saving those films for release at the end of the summer, just in
time for Back To School sales and the impending holiday buying season.
But there are still new movies being released each week on DVD, and I have four of them for you that you might mildly enjoy, even though none of them are what you might call “a great movie”.
First up is a film called GRAY MATTERS.
In this film Canadian actor Tom Cavanagh from TV’s ED and the beautiful Heather Graham from BOOGIE NIGHTS star as a brother and sister who both fall in love…with the same woman.
The two are so close that they live together and dance together and even finish each other’s sentences, and after an incident at a party when they are thought to be a couple, they decide that they need to start looking for other people to love.
So Sam agrees to look for a guy for his sister and Gray, that is his sister’s name, Gray says she’ll look for a girl for her brother.
And Gray succeeds!
But once Gray realizes that she loves the woman too, she has to ask some serious questions…like, does she even like men.
GRAY MATTERS isn’t great, and it has an awful ending, but it does have a good heart at it’s core, and some nice characters.
So if you are looking for a light romantic comedy to watch on a summer evening, this one might do the trick.
Next up is FACTORY GIRL.
This movie tells a fictionalized story of mid-sixties socialite and Andy Warhol
superstar Edie Sedgwick.
Edith Minturn Sedgwick – better known as Edie – was an American model actress, and heiress who starred in many of Andy Warhol’s short films in the 1960s.
I could sit here and give you multiple facts about Edie, but all of them would just
be things I found on Wikipedia.
No, prior to watching FACTORY GIRL the only reason I knew who she was came courtesy of a song.
The band The Cult wrote a song about her life called “Edie (Ciao Baby)” which was on their Sonic Temple album released in 1989.
Other than that…I only knew she was one of Andy Warhol’s gang who all gathered and worked and hung out at a place in New York called The Factory.
But after watching this movie, I guess I know a little bit more…however, I am not really that curious about her.
I suspect the real Edie Sedgwick lead a very interesting life, but the movie about
her isn’t very interesting at all.
The problem with this film has nothing to do with the cast – Sienna Miller is great
as Edie, Guy Pierce is spectacular as Andy Warhol, and Canadian actor Hayden
Christensen from the STAR WARS films does a good enough job Bob Dylan impersonation as a character who is, but isn’t named Bob Dylan- but their movie is just too artsy fartsy.
The filmmaker uses multiple camera angles and technicques, shoots on video, digital and film, and is constantly changing from film mode to documentary mode to too many other modes to care about.
And I get it, Edie Sedgwick and the Andy Warhol gang were creative and artistic, so they want the film to be artistic…but it ends up being a movie that has too much style and not enough substance.
I like artistic films that take chances, but FACTORY GIRL is just too artistic…thus, it is too artsy fartsy for me.
And yes, that is the first time I have ever called any film that…and hopefully it
is the last!
If you want to see something that is a bit different than the mainstream films that are the norm, the FACTORY GIRL is for you.
If you don’t…check out THE ASTRONAUT FARMER.
Billy Bob Thornton plays a former NASA astronaut who was forced to retire years earlier so he could save his family farm.
But he has never give up his dream of space travel, and he builds his own rocket in his barn and plans on going into space…despite the government’s threats to stop him.
THE ASTRONAUT FARMER isn’t a movie based in reality.
It is a story of a dreamers, and a movie for full of hope, and as such it requires
the viewer to take a huge leap of faith.
I was willing to do that, and I found it to be a good little film with some great
surprises, none of which I will spoil for you now.
So, if you suspend disbelief, and maybe dream just a little, you might enjoy THE
ASTRONAUT FARMER as well.
I mentioned that if you suspend disbelief, and maybe dream just a little, you might enjoy THE ASTRONAUT FARMER.
Well, if you have a kid who can do that, and that kid has never seen E.T. – THE
EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL, well then they might enjoy THE LAST MIMZY.
THE LAST MIMZY is a fantasy film for the whole family about a brother and a sister who discover a mysterious box while they are at the beach.
They open it and inside they find a magical stuffed rabbit who tells the girl that
it’s name is Mimzy.
Also inside that box are other mystical toys, which give the children some unique
and exceptional powers.
Soon, the kids begin to attract the attention of their parents, teachers… and even the FBI.
The source material for THE LAST MIMZY pre-dates E.T. by nearly four decades, but that film is so iconic that this movie suffers by comparison.
It isn’t a bad movie, in fact, it is a pretty good movie for kids, but as an adult,
all I kept thinking was: this would be a pretty good movie for kids.
So, if you have some young kids you need to entertain, or just need some grown-up time this summer, this might be the film for you…I mean them.
Finally this week, our FOREIGN FILM FESTIVAL ON DVD continues with the British
documentary BLACK GOLD about the international coffee trade and its ramifications for the farmers who grow coffee.
Around the world, more than two billion cups of coffee are drunk everyday and coffee is an eighty-billion-dollar-a-year business.
Personally, I have never had a cup of coffee in my life, so I sat down to watch this film with the eyes of an outsider.
However, if you do drink coffee, and you see this film, you may start to look
differently at your cups of java from now on.
BLACK GOLD takes us from the first Starbucks in Seattle to the region in Ethiopia where they grow some of the beans the chain uses.
In moments, we go from excess to famine.
If you are a coffee drinker, you might want to avoid this movie or your cup of black gold may never taste the same!
BLACK GOLD is entertaining, interesting and very insightful. It is a superb
documentary and the latest entry in our FOREIGN FILM FESTIVAL ON DVD!
The superb documentary BLACK GOLD, and the good but not great quartet of THE LAST MIMZY, THE ASTRONAUT FARMER, FACTORY GIRL and GRAY MATTERS are all available now on DVD.
Coming up on the next Couch Potato Report
Jim Carrey stars as a man who can’t escape THE NUMBER 23 and the classic cartoon UNDERDOG returns to DVD
Plus, our FOREIGN FILM FESTIVAL ON DVD continues with the documentary IRAQ IN FRAGMENTS, featuring stories from modern day Iraq as told by Iraqis living in a time of war, occupation and ethnic tension.
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 – July 21st, 2007