The Couch Potato Report – March 15th, 2008
This week The Couch Potato Report peels a small Canadian “comedy”, 2007’s Oscar winning best picture, and DanÖin real life.
Well, even though I was away last week, I only have five releases to talk about this week, beginning with our Hot Potato…the made-in-Vancouver-starring-half-the-cast-of-CORNER GAS-film LOVE AND OTHER DILEMMAS.
LOVE AND OTHER DILEMMAS stars Gabrielle Miller, Lacey from CORNER GAS as a woman who insists her wedding day will be perfect, even though she’s eight-months pregnant, been robbed, kidnapped and thinks her fiancÈ Henry is dead.
Now, if this was a big Hollywood film, with say Jennifer Anniston or Katherine Heigl as the bride and George Clooney or Patrick Demspsey as the kidnapper, I would tell you that it was the sort of film you have seen a million times, made a million times better, and that it was a complete waste of your time!
But…for some reason…because it is a small Canadian film, that features Lacey, Hank and Emma from CORNER GAS…I sort of enjoyed it.
Yes, LOVE AND OTHER DILEMMAS is utterly predictable and not really all that funny for a comedy…but something about it made me not hate it.
I guess you could call this one a good rental.
I also didn’t hate AUGUST RUSH…and I really, really thought I would!
The trailers for this film made it look awful…but somehow, somehow I didn’t hate it.
In fact…I liked it!!
Yes, I liked AUGUST RUSH!
AUGUST RUSH is about a young orphaned boy who is searching the streets of New York for his parents.
He is also a musical prodigy, the result of a chance meeting and night of passion between a guitarist and a cellist.
The main reason the trailers for this film made it look bad was due to Robin Williams presense in them.
In the trailer, and the film itself, he is a mysterious stranger who gives the boy his name.
This looked to be another one of those roles where Williams was just yelling the whole time…but luckily he isn’t in the film that much, and his presence never actually hurts it.
As I said, I didn’t expect to like AUGUST RUSH…but I did. Yes it is predictible melodrama, and the music that is supposed to be some of the best ever written really isn’t anything special…but the film…somehow…is.
I don’t expect it to become your favourite film of all time…but it is worthy of your time.
At last Month’s Academy Awards AUGUST RUSH was nominated in the Best Song Category.
The Coen Brothers’ NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN was the winner of several of those Awards, including Best Director AND Best Picture.
From Blood Simple, Raising Arizona, Miller’s Crossing and Barton Fink through The Hudsucker Proxy, Fargo, The Big Lebowski and O Brother, Where Art Thou?, I am a huge fan of Joel and Ethan Coen’s work, and like many film lovers, I think NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN is a masterpiece of filmmaking.
And as you heard on this show, the fact that it won Best Picture, and they Best Director, came as no surprise to me…but what might come as a surprise to you is the violence in this film.
In fact, violence and mayhem ensue after a hunter stumbles upon some dead bodies, a stash of heroin and more than $2 million in cash.
So if you don’t care for violence…stay away from NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN.
But if it doesn’t bother you…this is a film you must see! The acting from Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin and Oscar winner Javier Bardem is tremendous, the writing is superb, the filmmaking unmatched, and…I will stop there as I made my point…I loved this film!
Yes, I highly recommend NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN.
Two other films to quicky tell you about this week, starting with a film that I really like…and not just because of the title.
Steve Carrell from television’s THE OFFICE stars as DAN IN REAL LIFE.
Carrell plays Dan Burns, a widowed father of three young girls who is a newspaper columnist living in New Jersey.
While spending the weekend at a family reunion, he happens to meets a woman named Marie at a bookstore. They have a chemistry that goes beyond a chance meeting.
But then Dan finds out that Marie is actually dating his brother, Mitch.
I thought I might like it, but I honestly didn’t expect to enjoy DAN IN REAL LIFE as much as I did. It is a small and fairly quiet film that is surprisingly entertaining.
What’s more, it is a mature film, for grown-ups. I really enjoyed DAN IN REAL LIFE, even regardless of the fact that I share the same name, and I highly recommend it to you.
I thought I would also be recommending this week’s final release…but while there is some great animation, and voice work in JUSTICE LEAGUE – THE NEW FRONTIER – an origin story of how Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and the Justice League first got together – the film itself is not that great.
If you are already a fan of Toronto comic book writer, artist, cartoonist and animator Darwyn Cooke, and you love his work in the Shuster Award-winning six-issue comic book limited series DC: The New Frontier, then you probably won’t find any value in this abridged version of his work.
If you have never heard of Darwyn Cooke, then maybe…maybe you will find some enjoyment in JUSTICE LEAGUE – THE NEW FRONTIER.
Personally, I was aware of the comics…but I have yet to read them, so the story here was fresh. It was the film itself that just didn’t work for me.
It isn’t awful…and I do have to admit that there is some pretty cool stuff here…but when they eventually get around to making a live action Justice League feature film…and they will…somedy….I hope it is better than this!
JUSTICE LEAGUE – THE NEW FRONTIER , the surprisingly effective films AUGUST RUSH and DAN IN REAL LIFE, the Academy Award winning Best Picture of 2007 – NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN and the Canadian “comedy” LOVE AND OTHER DILEMMAS are all available now on DVD.
Coming up in the next Couch Potato Report
I will tell you about the Canadian Hockey film-with-a-twist BREAKFAST WITH SCOT; the spectacular Disney movie ENCHANTED – which was one of my favourite movies of 2007; and Oscar winner Javier Bardem from NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN stars in the first Hollywood filmed version of the beloved Spanish novel LOVE IN THE TIME OF CHOLERA.
Plus, there will be not one, but TWO Keira Knightley costume dramas – ATONEMENT and SILK – and two television series reboots: BIONIC WOMAN – THE COMPLETE SERIES and SEASON FOUR of BATTLESTAR GALLACTICA.
I’m Dan Reynish. I’ll have more on those, and some other releases, in fourteen 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!
Just in case you would like to watch a film on Monday, instead of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day!
The Couch Potato Report – March 15th, 2008