The Couch Potato Report

In case you need something to watch (or avoid) this looooong holiday weekend!

The Couch Potato Report – September 1st, 2007
This week The Couch Potato Report peels six figures, history bites, heroes and our FOREIGN FILM FESTIVAL ON DVD concludes.
Up first this week is the Canadian film SIX FIGURES.
Set in Calgary, SIX FIGURES introduces us to Warner. He is 35, married, the father of two children, and has a career that isn’t going well.
Warner works hard at his job, and loves his family, but while he and his wife are looking for an affordable house to buy, he can’t help but think that they should be further along in life by now.
Warner’s wife Claire loves him so much that she ignores her Mother’s advice that he is a loser, just like her father was.
As the film goes on, we see Warner struggle at his job, while Claire gets a raise and a promotion….and just when they finally find a house they are interested in, and can afford, Warner’s boss tells him that maybe he shouldn’t buy a house just yet.
Warner is 35, married with a wife who loves him, two children he adores, but he thinks that his life isn’t going well.
But then it gets even worse. Claire is violetly attacked and left for dead, and the people closest to the couple suspect that Warner’s general frustration with life may be to blame.
Since he is the prime suspect, the only suspect in fact, Warner is arrested and put in jail for 24 hours.
And after he gets out, his accounts are frozen, he loses his job, and his own parents aren’t even sure that he’s innocent.
SIX FIGURES is the type of film that wants to be a low concept thriller, and at times I will admit that it is interesting. Mostly, however, it is just a very, very slow film that isn’t all that thrilling.
In fact, there is segment of the movie that comes at the one-hour-twenty-minute mark where absolutely nothing happens for five straight minutes. No action, no dialgue…nothing!
But that five minutes, or the movie’s very slow pace aren’t the main faults with the film.
No, the primary reason why SIX FIGURES isn’t something I can fully recommend to you is that fact that it has a fatal flaw.
A flaw that prevents it from having any logical conclusion, a flaw that erases any hope of a conclusion that makes any sense….a flaw that I can’t even discuss, because if I do it will ruin any suspense the film does possess, should you choose to watch it.
No, I won’t tell you what the film’s fatal flaw is, but I will tell you that I mentioned the fatal flaw just a few sentences ago.
SIX FIGURES wants to be the type of film that you’ll talk about and dissect after it is over. But you won’t do that. You may spend a few minutes making up your own mind about what you think happened, but it isn’t good enough to compell you to discuss it with anyone.
SIX FIGURES isn’t great, but it does have a few interesting moments.
Plus, the actress who plays Claire – Caroline Cave from THE L WORD – and Brooklynn Proulx, the young actress who plays the couple’s daughter, are very good in the film.
Now, let me be honest, if SIX FIGURES wasn’t a Canadian film, I probably would tell you that it is a waste of your time…but since it is Canadian, I happily cut it some slack, and you should too.
They even reference Saskatchewan in it!
Search it out and give it a watch! Support Canadian films!!
Up next this week is the three-DVD set for series five of the TV show HISTORY BITES.
HISTORY BITES was a Canadian sketch comedy show that ran from 1998-2003.
Each episode of the series looked at what might have been on television had the medium had been around for the last 5,000 years of human history.
Typically, a significant historical event was chosen and mock news, sports and entertainment programming was created around it.
For instance, the first Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims is done as a parody of ALL IN THE FAMILY, and renamed ALL IN THE PILGRIM FAMILY.
Each episode also includes several segments of the great Rick Green – of The Frantics!! – giving historical background of the episode’s chosen era.
HISTORY BITES frequently goes from one comedy sketch to another, and often returns to running skits, as it is meant to represent a channel-surfing viewer who never watches anything for more than a few minutes at a time.
That was a great impression of ANNIE HALL-era Woody Allen, and the cast of HISTORY BITES all do great impressions, and the show is well researched and well-written, but as a whole, the show is hit and miss.
Some of it is exceptionally entertaining, while other parts aren’t very good at all.
Plus, for a Canadian show, there was never much Canadian history included on the show…in fact, with the exception of The War Of 1812, there isn’t much about our home and native land on this 15 episode set.
Still, if you have never seen it, HISTORY BITES is very worthy of your time…even if it is hit and miss.
Perhaps what was a miss for me, will be a hit for you. And when it is a hit, it is very, very funny.
HISTORY BITES – THE COMPLETE SERIES 5 is now available on DVD, and so is SEASON ONE of HEROES, the spectacular TV show that debuted last season about some ordinary people who discover that they have extraordinary abilities.
During the last television season, many of the anthology shows that had been entertaining us, and confusing us weren’t as good as they had been. LOST and 24, to just pick on two, had awful years…but luckily there was a show that filled in the gap and gave action and adventure fans a weekly dose of confusion, an answer here and there, some great writing and very interesting characters.
That show…yes…was HEROES, the most talked-about television show of the 2006-2007 season.
The HEROES, who “thought they were like everyone else… until they realized they have incredible abilities”, soon realized that they have a role in preventing a catastrophe and saving humankind.
HEROES tells it’s story like a comic books with short, multi-episode story arcs that build upon a larger, more encompassing storyline.
But most importantly, the show doesn’t just tease and tease and tease. It makes you ask questions, and then from time to time, it gives you answers.
And now, with the debut of Season Two coming in about four weeks on Monday, September 24th, SEASON ONE is available on DVD in a superb 7 disc Box Set full of special features, including cast commentaries, deleted scenes, and an extended version of the Pilot episode that shows where the series might have gone.
HEROES is a spectacular show, even if you don’t usually watch science-fiction or fantasy based shows. The stories and plots are all very well-written, and the actors all make their characters seem like believeable people.
I highly recommend it.
And here’s hoping that Season Two, and the upcoming seasons of LOST and 24 are all as good as Season One of HEROES!
Finally this week, when the Summer Movie Season began with the opening of SPIDER-MAN 3 on May 4th, the action filled, very loud, check-your-brain-at-the-door summer movie season began.
With the Labour Day upon us, that season has ended with box-office sales hitting a record $4 billion, surpassing the industry’s previous high established in 2004.
Each week during the summer movie season I have been telling you about at least one current release on DVD that you’ll need your brain to enjoy.
Welcome to the 18th and final entry in the FOREIGN FILM FESTIVAL ON DVD.
Our Festival continues with the superb Academy Award nominated Danish film AFTER THE WEDDING.
I can’t think of a better way to end than with this movie. It is an exceptionally interesting and entertaining film!
Mads Mikkelsen, who played the villain in the most recent James Bond film, is a very human man named Jacob.
He is a Danish emigrant running an orphanage in India.
With the orphanage facing closure due to financial pressures, he returns to Denmark seeking funding from Jorgen, a multi-millionaire who will only give him the money if he goes there to get it.
Since their meetings will take a few days and since Jacob has no other engagements, Jorgen invites him to be a guest at the wedding of his daughter.
When he arrives at the church for the ceremony, Jacob discovers that Anna’s mother and Jorgen’s wife is an old flame.
And that’s only the first of several startling revelations that will turn Jacob’s short business trip into a life-changing experience.
When I watched AFTER THE WEDDING I repeatedly wanted to skip chapters so I could see how it ended. I was that curious.
Luckily I did not because what played out in front of me was a film full of tension, betrayal, and interesting people.
Like I said, I can’t think of a better way to end thsi summer’s FOREIGN FILM FESTIVAL ON DVD than with this movie.
Search it out, AFTER THE WEDDING is an exceptionally interesting and entertaining film!
And don’t worry, I will continue to talk about Foreign Films here on CBC radio whenever there are titles available.
So, let me recap – the interesting and entertaining AFTER THE WEDDING, SEASON ONE of the great TV show HEROES, the hit and miss, but still entertaining Canadian TV show HISTORY BITES and the Canadian film SIX FIGURES, a movie that is worth seeing, even with it’s fatal flaw, are all available now on DVD.
Coming up on the next Couch Potato Report
To some September of 1972 featured the greatest goal in Canadian sports history. To other, including me, that goal came in September of 1987. Next week, we will relive that goal, and much more with CANADA CUP ’87 – THE FINAL SERIES.
Also next week, with the new TV season starting soon, I will tell you about the new DVD box sets that are available for THE OFFICE, 30 ROCK, THE BLACK DONNELLYS, WEEDS and FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS.
Plus, the one-of-a-kind eighties show VOYAGERS! is also now available on DVD!
So, to recap, next week I will cover 20 hockey games, from twenty years ago, and over 55 hours of television showsĂ–and I will do it all in 12 minutes!
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!