The Couch Potato Report – March 29th, 2008
This week The Couch Potato Report peels films about hockey, a princess, and loveÖin the time of cholera.
With spring now upon us, and summer not far away, the release slate for DVDs is starting to thin out a bit after some jam packed weeks, but there are still a wide array of new ones that have come out over the past two weeks while I was away, including this week’s Hot Potato.
The Canadian Hockey film-with-more-that-a-few-twists – BREAKFAST WITH SCOT.
In BREAKFAST WITH SCOT Sam and Ed are in love with each other, and in love with live.
But when eleven-year-old Scot’s mother suddenly dies, the couple decides to make good on a wine-soaked promise made years before and become his guardians.
Eventually the men start to have problems with Scot, due to his featherboa wearing, Christmas carol singing, very flamboyant personality.
BREAKFAST WITH SCOT is based on the 2001 book of the same name from By Michael Downing, and in the film, as in the book, if Sam, Ed and Scot can just learn to accept each other for who they are, they all have the chance at happiness.
This is one of those small Canadian films that I was really hoping to love…but due to the fact that most of it is so predictable that you can see almost every twist and turn coming at least ten minutes before they happen…, I didn’t love it.
But I did like it. BREAKFAST WITH SCOT has it’s heart in the right place, the actors all give great performances, and as such, I can easily recommend it to you.
I can also easily recommedn the spectacular Disney movie ENCHANTED to you, especially since it was one of my favourite movies of 2007.
ENCHANTED is both a tribute to, and a parody of the classic Disney animated features as it makes numerous references to the studio’s past while blending live action, traditional animation and computer-generated images.
The plot focuses on the very positive and upbeat Giselle, a Disney “Princess” – not unlike Snow White, Cinderella, Ariel from The Little Mermaid or Belle from Beauty and the Beast – who is forced from her animated world into real-life New York City, as she waits for her Prince to come and rescue her.
The film stars Amy Adams, Patrick Dempsey and Susan Sarandon, and since it is both a tribute to, and a parody of Disney’s well-known animated features, there are also a few musical numbers.
Simply put, ENCHANTED is infectious, and it is fun! Even if you don’t usually like Disney animated films, even if you don’t usually like musicals, even if you have no use for Dr. McDreamy from GREY’S ANATOMY…ENCHANTED is a great film that has something for everyone!!
It is fun for the whole family, and I loved it!!
Alright, after two films that I recommend, let me get to three I don’t, starting with the latest from Oscar winner Javier Bardem of NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN.
Bardem stars in the first Hollywood filmed version of the beloved Spanish novel LOVE IN THE TIME OF CHOLERA.
And it is so bad that you should just skip it!!
Based on the beloved novel of the same name by Gabriel Garcia M·rquez, LOVE IN THE TIME OF CHOLERA tells the story of a love triangle that spans 50 years, from 1880 to 1930.
It is a great novel, but it is an awful movie!
Sure, it is lush and dramatic and exotic, but it is also very long, not engaging at all, and the film gives the female at it’s core no personality, so you will find it hard to believe that men are willing to wait five decades for her!
The movie version of LOVE IN THE TIME OF CHOLERA isn’t worth your time, so – as I said – I think that you should just skip it.
Yes, skip it…, AND the the TWO Keira Knightley costume dramas that are also new on DVD – ATONEMENT and SILK.
Now ATONEMENT does have some merit, but SILK, a film partially financed by Canadian dollars, is just awful as well.
SILK is based on the real life of a married silkworm smuggler in 19th century France.
While traveling to Japan for supplies he becomes obsessed with the concubine of a local baron.
Keira Knightley – from the PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN films – has a small role in this one as the smuggler’s wife.
While SILK does have an interesting premise, and some great locations and direction from Quebec director FranÁois Girard, it is slow, and the actor who play’s the smuggler – Michael Pitt – is horribly mis-cast.
SILK….not very smooth…skip it!!
As for Keira Knightley’s other costume drama that is new on DVD, well, as I mentioned, ATONEMENT does have some merit, but this beautiful looking, well-acted film offers nothing new to the viewer, and it would have worked better as a linear story, instead of having a timeline that isn’t constant.
Yes, the fact that we do get to see what happens from a coupls of different angles does work at times, but for the most part ATONEMENT isn’t very good either.
ATONEMENT is based on the novel by English writer Ian McEwan.
A 13-year-old fledgling writer changes the course of several lives when she accuses her older sister’s Keira Knightley lover James McAvoy of a crime he did not commit.
Keira Knightley is the sister and James McAvoy from THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND is the lover.
ATONEMENT was nominated for seven Academy Awards this year, including Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress.
It won the Oscar for Best Original Score and if you are a huge fan of sweeping epics…or films that aspire to be…maybe you will enjoy this film more than I did.
And if you are a fan of television shows that are poorly cast, feature useless secondary characters, and just don’t work at all, maybe you will enjoy the series reboot of BIONIC WOMAN.
Or, if you are a HUGE fan of the original seventies series about Jamie Sommers, maybe the 8 episodes will satisfy your curiosity factor…but other wise…they can rebuild the series, they have the technology…but they can’t make it good!
This made-in-Vancouver show had so much promise, but it fizzled out very quickly. It has now been cancelled, and it is best forgotten.
The main reason that the new BIONIC WOMAN series had so much early promise is the fact that it was being redone by the same people who remade another seventies television series, and did a spectacular job on that one.
That one, was BATTLESTAR GALLACTICA!
Also shot in Vancouver, the new BATTLESTAR GALACTICA series is a drama about the fight to save humanity, that just happens to take place in science-fiction setting.
This is one of the best shows that is currently on television, science fiction, or otherwise, and the superb SEASON THREE has come out in a great 6 disc box set!
SEASON THREE of the great BATTLESTAR GALLACTICA, the best-forgotten remake of BIONIC WOMAN – THE COMPLETE SERIES, the failed Keira Knightley costume drama SILK, the OScar nominated film with some merit ATONEMENT, the awful LOVE IN THE TIME OF CHOLERA and the Canadian Hockey film-with-a-twist BREAKFAST WITH SCOT are all available now on DVD.
Coming up on the next Couch Potato Report
LA FLORIDA is about a Quebec family who buys a motel in south Florida.
ALMOST HEAVEN is a romantic comedy set around a fishing show that is made for Canadian television.
THE MIST brings Stephen King’s horror novella to life.
OPERATION: FILMMAKER is a documentary about an Iraqui filmmaker who was given the opportunity of a lifetime.
And THE TOMORROW SHOW WITH TOM SNYDER – JOHN, PAUL, TOM & RINGO features the late-great television host’s interviews with three of the fab four.
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!
11193 – In case you are in need of something to watch…or avoid…this weekend!
The Couch Potato Report – March 29th, 2008