The Couch Potato Report – December 1st, 2007
This week on The Couch Potato Report, pack your bags, we are taking a few trips!!
I am a traveller! I love to travel!
Around Saskatchewan, across Canada and throughout the world!!
This week, I went from coast to coast in our home and native land, and I journeyed across the ocean to Paris, and the south of France.
And I did it all, on DVD!
I hope your bags are packed, because this morning we are traveling, and we’ll start our trip in Canada as some filmmakers take us from coast to coast through their documentary: LET’S ALL HATE TORONTO.
Toronto is the largest city in Canada.
With over 2.5 million residents, it is the fifth-most populous municipality in North America, and the 46th most populous in the world, and it is the place that many Canadians love to hate, and love to make fun of.
Heck, even last week, when bad Toronto weather forced the city to cancel some Grey Cup festivities, people were making fun of Toronto….but why do people seem to hate Toronto?
That is the question this film wants to ask.
LET’S ALL HATE TORONTO is co-directed by Canadian documentarians Albert Nerenberg and Robert Spence.
Spence nicknames himself “Mister Toronto” and takes off on a cross-Canada journey to find out why there seems to be so much resentment for Canada’s biggest city, all the while promoting the made-up “Toronto Appreciation Day”.
Unfortunately “Mister Toronto” is not a likeable guy, and when he is in it that hurts the film.
He doesn’t go from Coast To Coast asking people why they don’t like Toronto, instead, he arrives at a destination and he acts acts arrogant and rude.
That forces the people he talks with to only react to him, and their dislike for Toronto is only based on his representation of it.
During those scenes, the film is just not very good.
But there are many others where the film is good.
Now, in the spirit of full-enclosure, I love Toronto. I lived there for ten years and I still visit it often and consider it to be one of the greatest places in the world.
And I got a few chuckles over this film, because I know that many people don’t like the city, even if they have never been there.
LET’S ALL HATE TORONTO is not a great documentary, but it does have a few great moments.
Plus, it allows us to travel to St. John’s, Halifax, P.E.I., Ottawa, Montreal, Calgary, Vancouver and Toronto, and meet some other Canadians.
For that reason, I think it is worthy of your time…especially if you think you hate Toronto.
Okay, let’s head across the Atlantic now, to Paris, the city of lights, the city of love – PARIS, JE T’AIME
Tranmslated, the title means “Paris, I love you” and the film consists of eighteen short films written and directed by a wide varirty of filmmakers such as Tom Tykwer – who gave us RUN LOLA RUN, Gus Van Sant of GOOD WILL HUNTING fame, Wes Craven – the creator of the NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET FILMS, Alexander Payne – the writer and director fo SIDEWAYS, and Joel and Ethan Coen, the brothers who made FARGO and THE BIG LEBOWSKI.
The ensemble cast of American, British and French movie actors includes Marianne Faithfull, Steve Buscemi, Miranda Richardson, Juliette Binoche, Willem Dafoe, Nick Nolte, Ludivine Sagnier, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Fanny Ardant, Bob Hoskins, Elijah Wood, Emily Mortimer, Rufus Sewell, GÈrard Depardieu, Ben Gazzara, Gena Rowlands and Natalie Portman.
PARIS, JE T’AIME features beautiful shots of Paris in the day and night times, shots and locations that you might only get to see if you actually visit the city.
Some of the short films are very engaging and entertaining, some are outright funny, and some are more than a little weird.
And since there are so many, you can decide which is which, just by watching the film…something I recommend that you do.
I wish I could recommend our next traveling film this week…one that takes us to the very warm, hot, sunny and beautiful south of France…but I just can’t.
I love Rowan Atkinson’s Mr. Bean character, but I just can’t advise you to watch most of MR. BEAN’S HOLIDAY.
In this second film based on the beloved character, Mr. Bean wins a holiday to Cannes, a video camera and some cash.
Along the way, I suspect that the hilarity was supposed to ensue, but the story elements here are just too predictable.
You know he is going to leave his luggage on the train when he gets off, you know he will forget his money and passport when he gets back on, and even though he has seemingly kidnapped a young boy, you know that everything is going to work out fine.
What I can advise you to watch, what is always a pleasure to watch when it comes to Mr. Bean are the silent moments when he doesn’t get what he wants, is eating, or dancing.
That, that my friends is the Mr. Bean we know, the Mr. Bean we love!!
Rowan Atkinson has said that MR. BEAN’S HOLIDAY will be the last Mr. Bean story he appears in, and I for one hope he reneges on that statement, so he can do one more film, and do it better, and make a film that is less predictable and more enjoyable.
Here’s hoping they do that, so Mr. Bean can go out on top where he belongs!!
Love than Mr. Bean…I also love that Mr. McCartney!!
The main thing I want to say about this next release is WOW!!
THE MCCARTNEY YEARS is a three DVD set full of Paul McCartney’s music since he left The Beatles.
We get concert footage, old and new, interviews, old and new, and almost all of the music videos he has ever made.
Plus, he offers commentaries on those videos too!!
THE MCCARTNEY YEARS is a spectacular release, and offers some great insights into the man’s work!
I completely enjoyed it, and if you are a fan of the man, it is a must own!!
Finally this week, and finally every week for the next month, I have a DVD Box Set for you. The studios are releasing an abundance of these sets – just in times for the Holidays – and I will let you know if they are worth your dough…and worthy of your time!
This week’s Box Set should have been worthy of both time and money…but it isn’t, and I am very disappointed in it!
That Box set is THE NHL GAME SEVEN COLLECTION – THE GREATEST GAMES IN STANLEY CUP HISTORY.
You and I may never get to play in a Game Seven in a Stanley Cup final, so over the years we have lived vicariously through our hockey heroes who have had that opportunity.
Many of those great moments and unforgettable memories are all now available in this Seven-DVD Box Set.
I suspect that the goal of THE NHL GAME SEVEN COLLECTION was to enable us to own these moments in pristine condition on DVD.
Unfortunately, the games haven’t been remastered or cleaned up, and they are the American broadcasts of the game.
I hate to sound like a homer, but I can’t fathom why they didn’t use the Hockey Night In Canada broadcasts of these games. The NHL itself put this set together, so they have access to them, yet they didn’t use them.
Luckily the crowd noises are still there, but where is the excitement from the announcers?! And where are the on-ice interviews after the games?!? There are only a few of those, and they are a staple of championship games!!
I wanted more from this set, and I remain very disappointed that I didn’t get it!
THE NHL GAME SEVEN COLLECTION does feature the full game sevens from 1987, 1994, 2001, 2003, 2004 and 2006.
It also features recaps of the games from 1942 to 1971.
If you – or someone you love – are a fan of the Edmonton Oilers, The New York Rangers, New Jersey Devils, Colorado Avalance, Tampa Bay Lightning, Carolina Hurricanes, and you can look past the less then stellar versions of the games that are included here, than this Box Set is a keeper.
The NHL GAME SEVEN COLLECTION – THE GREATEST GAMES IN STANLEY CUP HISTORY, the very entertaining 3-DVD set THE MCCARTNEY YEARS, the mildly entertaining MR. BEAN’S HOLIDAY, the enjoyable film PARIS, JE T’AIME and the almost okay documentary LET’S ALL HATE TORONTO are all available now on DVD.
Coming up on the next Couch Potato Report
NITRO is a Canadian film about a former drag racer who is forced to return to his criminal past when his girlfriend requires a heart transplant;
THE NANNY DIARIES stars Scarlett Johansson as a upper class Nanny in New York City;
Fans of the television series BATTLESTAR GALLACTICA – myself included – get some answers about past storylines in the movie RAZOR;
Our BOX SET next week is 40-disc set that looks at each team that has won the Superbowl;
And also next week, Johnny Depp and cast return in PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN – AT WORLD’S END.
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 – December 1st, 2007