The Couch Potato Report

In case you are looking for something to watch – or avoid – this looooong weekend!

The Couch Potato Report – October 6th, 2007
This week The Couch Potato Report peels sound, on film, a forty year old jungle book, and we’ll laugh.
The definitive documentary on Jazz music and Jazz musicians is Ken Burns’ ten part series JAZZ, that first aired on television, and was released on DVD, in 2001.
JAZZ is a spectacular series that looks at the history of jazz music from its origins at the turn of the twentieth century through to the present day.
Canadian director Ron Mann’s IMAGINE THE SOUND documentary on jazz actually predated Ken Burns’ magnificent series by two decades, but Mann’s film was only released on DVD this year.
And while Ken Burns’ looks at jazz as a whole, IMAGINE THE SOUND is about free jazz, a type of music that attempts to break down or extend the conventions of jazz, often by discarding fixed chord changes or tempos.
IMAGINE THE SOUND features interviews with and musical and dramatic performances by pianist Cecil Taylor, saxophonist Archie Shepp, trumpeter Bill Dixon and pianist Paul Bley.
It was filmed and produced in Canada and it is a great tribute to a group of highly celebrated artists that helped forge the avant-garde jazz scene of the 1960s.
Over the years Mann has become known for his one-of-a-kind documentaries COMIC BOOK CONFIDENTIAL, TWIST, GRASS and TALES OF THE RAT FINK.
IMAGINE THE SOUND was Mann’s first film and it is now available on DVD for the first time.
If you are not already a huge fan of jazz music, and the free jazz period of teh 1960s, IMAGINE THE SOUND is not a good place for you to start.
You have to know at least a little about free-form jazz music, or jazz music as a whole, to take anything away from it.
But if you are already a jazz lover, or a lover of jazz if you will, then this is a great movie for you.
I know a little about jazz, so I enjoyed it, but I loved Ken Burns’ series much more.
However, the reason that both IMAGINE THE SOUDN and Ken Burns’ JAZZ are worth mentioning is because they get jazz music out to the masses, and that is always a good thing, as far as I am concerned
Yes, I only know a little about jazz, but I can trace the history of what I do know back to one thing.
One thing that is also new on DVD this week…well, new in a 40th anniversary edition.
Louis Prima stars as King Louis from the Walt Disney animated film THE JUNGLE BOOK, and I first learned what jazz music was because of his performance in the film.
After hearing it, I just wanted to know more, and now, I know a little about jazz.
Originally released on October 18th, 1967, THE JUNGLE BOOK was very loosely based on the stories about the man-cub Mowgli from Rudyard Kipling’s book of the same name.
And now, THE JUNGLE BOOK is available as a two-disc 40th Anniversary Edition! This edition comes complete with a superb digital restoration, a wealth of special features, and all of the fun and magic you remember, including one of the greatest songs of all time!
I loved THE JUNGLE BOOK then, I love it now, and I will always highly recommend it.
This is the textbook definition of a “classic” film!
Also out this week is the suspense thriller 1408, based on the Stephen King story of the same name.
1408 is the number of a hotel room in New York City that may just be the final room that Cusack’s character visits.
This is not the best suspense thriller that you will see this year, but if you enjoy things that go bump in the night, or are just a fan of Cusack’s work – as I am – then I think that you will enjoy it.
RED ROAD is also full of suspense, but it is set in Glasgow, Scotland, instead of New York.
The other main difference is the fact that during the course of RED ROAD, you are never quite sure what is going on.
RED ROAD is about a security camera operator who observes the daily activities of the public through a large bank of video monitors, and reports suspicious incidents to the police.
One day she notices a man from her past, and she continues to observe him, eventually makes contact.
During the entire time she is watching him, tracking him, and dating him, we – the audience – never know her motivations, as they aren’t given to us until the end.
RED ROAD is a movie where nothing happens for the longest time, but somehow it is all very interesting.
And then, once everything is explained, it is interesting for different reasons.
I didn’t love RED ROAD, but it engaged and entertained me.
If you are looking for a small, unique film to watch, I think you should look for it!
Finally, this week is a three movie set that I wanted to let you know is available, just in case you need a few laughs, because THE ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER COMEDY FAVOURITES COLLECTION will defintely make you laugh.
This set features the Governator’s best foray’s into comedy – TWINS, JUNIOR, and KINDERGARTEN COP.
All three movies were directed by Canadian filmaker Ivan Reitman, and all three are very, very funny!! I highly recommed all three, whether you have seen them before, or haven’t seen them since they came out in the late eighties and early nineties!!
The very funny ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER COMEDY FAVOURITES COLLECTION, the interesting suspense films RED ROAD and 1408, the classic Disney film THE JUNGLE BOOK, and the Canadian made documentary IMAGINE THE SOUND are all available now on DVD.
Coming up on the next Couch Potato Report
THE ROYAL CANADIAN AIR FARCE – FARCEBOOK is a double-DVD of Air Farce comedy, featuring 43 sketches from the show last season on CBC – and don’t forget that you can see the AIR FARCE every Friday night at 8 pm on CBC Television.
YOU KILL ME is a mafia comedy thriller made in Winnipeg starring Academy Award winner Ben Kingsley; Academy Award winners Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush and Richard Attenborough star in the new SPECIAL EDITION of the film ELIZABETH; and the classic 1980 Al Pacino film CRUISING debuts on DVD in a DELUXE EDITION!
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!