The Couch Potato Report

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The Couch Potato Report – July 5th, 2008
This week The Couch Potato Report peels releases that will take us to Dakota, Bruges, Yankee Stadium and California.
I am a huge fan of movies about friends getting together.
Whether it is PETER’S FRIENDS – where some former University students get together in England, THE BIG CHILL – featuring a reunion at a funeral, this summer’s SEX AND THE CITY MOVIE – with Carrie and the girls getting back together again, or DAZED AND CONFUSED – about friends hanging out and living life on the last day of school, I just love these movies!
Well, I usually do, anyway.
This week’s HOT POTATO is a friends getting together movie, a Canadian made one no-less, and it is called DAKOTA.
When one of their friends tries to commit suicide, five old friends all come back home to be with him.
Some come willingly, others are tricked and manipulated, but ultimately they six all end up back together under the same roof, hanging out, talking, and as is inevitable at these types of real, and cinematic gatherings, reminscing and thinking about the past.
As I said, I like movies about old friends getting together, and I really wanted to like this one too, but when people talk about Canadian films being way too full of melodrama, this is the type of film they are referring to.
Not one person in this entire movie is happy, they are all depressed and unsatisfied, and…well…melodramatic.
DAKOTA isn’t bad, but it isn’t a good film either. If you are a fan of small Canadian films that come across as small Canadian films, then you should search this out.
Otherwise, don’t go to Dakota.
Why not go to Bruges instead!!
Bruges is city in Belgium that is located in the northwest of the country. Due to the act that the historic city centre is so well preserved – with some buildings and sculptures dating back to the year 1134 – and earlier – it is actually a World Heritage Site, meaning The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization – or UNESCO – considers the city centre of Bruges to be of outstanding value to humanity.
It is one of the world’s most beautiful places, and the city is at the heart of the comedic crime drama IN BRUGES
After a job in London, hit men Ray and Ken are ordered to go to the storybook Flemish city, and told to cool their heels for a couple of weeks.
So the two men fill their days living the lives of tourists…but one of them would rather be anywhere else.
Eventually Ray and Ken find themselves surrounded by locals, tourists, violent medieval art, an actor shooting a European art film, and a potential romance for Ray.
But eventually the storybook storylines must conclude, because – after all, IN BRUGES is a film about two hitmen waiting for their next assignment, and the movie becomes about life and death.
IN BRUGES stars Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson as the hitmen in hiding, with Ralph Fiennes from SCHINDLER’S LIST playing their gangster boss and I liked them, and this film a lot.
It is crass, interesting and very, very good. It features some very interesting twists and turns, and I can easily recommend it to you.
I can also easily recommend the next release I have for you. This one is called YANKEE STADIUM: BASEBALL’S CATHEDRAL – OPENING DAY 1923 TO OPENING DAY 2008, and if you like baseball, history, sports, old buildings, or stories about any combination of those things, then this is a must see!
Since it first opened in 1923 Yankee Stadium has been more than just a place where people play baseball. There have been concerts, football games, memorial services, rallies, boxing matches, a wedding, and even several religious events as Pope John Paul The Second and Pope Benedict The 16th both celebrated Mass there.
But primarily, there has been baseball at Yankee Stadium and baseball players and some of the most iconic things that those players ever did, and said, took place at The Stadium.
Players like Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth, David Wells, Reggie Jackson, and Lou Gehrig.
Even at almost three hours, I personally soaked up every minute of the 2-DVDs in YANKEE STADIUM: BASEBALL’S CATHEDRAL, and while there were times when I thought that there was way to much New York Yankees history, and not nearly enough Yankee Stadium history, I still completely enjoyed it.
Unless the Yankees make the playoffs this year, and if the season ended today they wouldn’t, this Cathedral of baseball is set to close on September 21st, with the new Yankee Stadium opening literally across the street in 2009.
It will be missed…but luckily we now have this DVD Set as a keepsake.
And if you are a fan of the late seventies TV show CHIPS, well you have a new DVD Set to keep as well!
CHiPs is the police drama about the adventures of Ponch and John, two California Highway Patrol motorcycle officers, that ran from September 15th, 1977, until July 17th, 1983, for a total of 6 seasons.
The four-disc set for SEASON TWO is now available, and this show will always be fun to watch! If you have never seen it, or haven’t seen it in years, and you are missing a daily or nightly television fix due to summer re-runs, pick this up and have some fun!!
Okay, the final title that I have for you this week is the latest entry in The FOREIGN FILM FESTIVAL On DVD and it is a movie called GONE WITH THE WOMAN from Norway.
GONE WITH THE WOMAN was Norway’s Official Submission to the Best Foreign Language Film Category of the Academy Awards this year and it takes a look at some of the ups and downs of relationships as a nameless bachelor finds his life overtaken by a chatty female, who he decides to falls in love with, but then he meets someone else.
This movie had a lot of great moments and dialogue, in once scene where a decision is made one characters asks – “Don’t you realize the consequences?!?”
And get the reply – “I can’t go around realizing all day.”
There is a lot of great stuff in this film, but there are also times when the film forces us viewers to wait, since the lead character is a guy who waits, and waits and waits, but ultimately GONE WITH THE WOMAN is a pretty good film, one that I easily recommend.
The Norwegian film GONE WITH THE WOMAN is the latest entry in The FOREIGN FILM FESTIVAL On DVD, and it is available now on DVD, along with the always entertaining COMPLETE SECOND SEASON of CHiPS, the great documentary YANKEE STADIUM: BASEBALL’S CATHEDRAL, the very, very good comedic crime drama IN BRUGES and the great example of Candian melodrama, but only a mildly entertaining film, DAKOTA.
I will be out at the Craven Country Jamboree site all next weekend, so coming up in TWO WEEKS on the next Couch Potato Report, I will tell you about the latest film from Oscar nominee Ellen Page, and Genie and Gemini Award winning director Bruce McDonald.
It is called THE TRACEY FRAGMENTS and it is possibly the absolute worst film that I have ever seen.
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!