The Couch Potato Report – July 19th, 2008
This week The Couch Potato Report peels an awful movie, some unique
documentaries andÖcome drink with me.
Up first this week is the latest film from Oscar nominee Ellen Page from
JUNO, and Genie and Gemini Award winning director Bruce McDonald – the man
behind ROADKILL, HARD CORE LOGO and DANCE ME OUTSIDE.
Yes, the two titans, the current cover girl and established best man of
Canadian cinema team up for this week’s Hot Potato.
The film is called THE TRACEY FRAGMENTS and it is possibly the absolute
worst film that I have ever seen.
In the film Page’s Tracey Berkowitz is looking for her missing little
brother Sonny, a boy who thinks he’s a dog…and the film follows her as
she looks for him, lives her life before he goes missing, and plays games
and talks with her shrink and the boy she has a crush on.
Now had the film followed a linear storyline, and just told the story, the
result might have been interesting, but it doesn’t.
Instead McDonald piles images and sounds on the screen.
At times there are up to 16 different scenes happening on screen, and just
as many audio tracks.
Now the explanation from the director as to why there are that many images
and sounds on screen at the same time is due to the fact that he want sthe
viewer to feel as if they are inside Tracey’s head, and since her brain
isn’t thinking in a linear fashion…her story shouldn’t either.
My response…that is just an excuse to cover up a bad film, and even at
77 minutes, this is one of the worst films I have ever seen, with Ellen
Page playing the same character that she always plays…yet again..
If you are a film student, someone who abhors mainstream movies, or just
seem to enjoy films that people say are garbage, then perhaps you will
find THE TRACEY FRAGMENTS to be visually stunning and provocative.
But I don’t share that opinion, this film just annoyed me….and I think
that films should inform or entertain, not annoy.
So, to be 100% clear, in the 17 years that I have been doing The Couch
Potato Report, I have never hated a film more than THE TRACEY
FRAGMENTS…period, end of story.
Up next this week is a film that is infinately better that THE TRACEY
FRAGMENTS…okay, that isn’t saying much, but HEAVY METAL IN BAGHDAD is
better, and not a complete waste of your time, so it is definitely a step
The two Canadian filmmakers behind HEAVY METAL IN BAGHDAD follow that band from the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003 to the present day.
Imagine all you wanted to do was rock out and make music with your
friends, but due to a war in your country, it just wasn’t possible…you
can’t even see them for fear of being killed…and they only live 15
Well that is what this film is about.
HEAVY METAL IN BAGHDAD is a very interesting, but unfortunately it is not
a compelling documentary. The people in the band and their stories are
interesting, but the filmmakers aren’t able to completely succeed in
telling the Iraqui’s story as they spend too much time telling their own
story about what it took for them to make the movie.
But I do recommend it, especially if you like heavy metal, are a musician,
or have ever felt that you or your art were being oppressed here in
beautiful war-free Canada.
Alright, let switch gears now to two titles that I completely enjoyed, and
would recommend for the who family.
They are MEERCAT MANOR – THE STORY BEGINS and SEASON ONE of the show
Man this is good stuff!!
A meerkat is a small mammal and a member of the mongoose family.
Timon, the character that Nathan Lane voiced in the film THE LION KING was
MEERKAT MANOR is a show that blends traditional animal documentary style
footage with narration, making it sort of a Meerkat soap opera….one that
at times is very dramatic, like Shakespeare dramatic!
Both the STORY BEGINS movie, and SEASON ONE of the show feature some great footage, including scenes from a few well-placed underground cameras, and well-written narration.
Due to the fact that there is death involved in the show, it isn’t for
very young or sensitive kids…but otherwise it is a very interesting for
the whole family, and it is all completely real.
Yup, it is good stuff!! Check it out and have some fun!!
BATMAN – GOTHAM KNIGHT is also good stuff…well, no, okay, it is great
This direct-to-DVD anthology film is inspired by Japanese anime and it
features six short stories, from several different filmmakers, and most of
them are pretty good.
The stories help bridge the gap in the timeline between the 2005 film
BATMAN BEGINS and the new, spectacular movie THE DARK KNIGHT….which is
in theatres now.
GOTHAM KNIGHT is partially a stand alone unique experience all it’s own,
and a tie-in for the new film.
PLUS…on the two-disc edition…there is also a great documentary about
Bob Kane, the man who created Batman back in 1939.
BATMAN – GOTHAM KNIGHT is primarily it is just a release for huge fans of
Batman like me, people who can’t get enough of the caped crusader, so if
you are like me, enjoy!!
If you are the opposite of folks like me, folks who love the action
filled, very loud, check-your-brain-at-the-door summer movie season.
Well, each week during the summer movie season I am telling you about at
least one current release that you’ll need your brain to enjoy in this
year’s FOREIGN FILM FESTIVAL ON DVD
This week’s film is COME DRINK WITH ME from Japan, and it is the 2003
version of the film, not the original one from 1966.
In the film a group of bandits kidnaps the governor’s son and demands
their imprisoned leader to be set free in exchange.
There is drama, love, tension…and lots of great martial arts fighting!!
COME DRINK WITH ME doesn’t have the best martial arts choreography that
you will see in a film, in fact some of it is a bit slow by today’s
standards, and it isn’t even the best Foreign Film that you will see this
summer, but I still enjoyed it, and it is the latest entry in The FOREIGN
FILM FESTIVAL On DVD!!
COME DRINK WITH ME, BATMAN – GOTHAM KNIGHT, MEERCAT MANOR – THE STORY BEGINS and SEASON ONE of MEERKAT MANOR, HEAVY METAL IN BAGDAD and the awful film THE TRACEY FRAGMENTS are all available now on DVD.
Coming up in on the next Couch Potato Report
I will offer my thoughts on the made-in-Saskatchewan film SLEEPWALKING, and the FOREIGN FILM FESTIVAL ON DVD entry is the Award Winning ROMULUS,
MY FATHER from Australia.
I’m Dan Reynish. I’ll have more on those, and some other releases, in
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 – July 19th, 2008