The Couch Potato Report – July 26th, 2008
This week The Couch Potato Report peels films made in Regina, Moose Jaw, Montreal and Australia. Yup, we are global!
Even though the film crews and people who work on the movies and shows made here in Saskatchewan do great work that is easily on par or better that the work done on any other location in the world, the actual films themselves don’t always stand up for repeat viewing.
Sure, there have been a few movies made here that I would – and have happily sat through a second, third, or even fourth time – but for the most part – with all due respect to those local folks who work hard on these films – the truth is – that there haven’t been a lot of cinematic classics that have been filmed in our province.
Sadly, that remains the case with this week’s HOT POTATO…the made-in-Regina and Moose jaw film SLEEPWALKING, starring Academy Award winner Charlize Theron from MONSTER and this summer’s HANCOCK.
However, even though it isn’t a cinematic classic, it is still a pretty interesting film.
Theron stars in SLEEPWALKING as a mother who leaves her teenage daughter with her well-meaning brother, along with a note indicating that she has a plan and will be back.
The hapless brother then loses his job, gets evicted from his apartment and Social Services decides to take the girl away from him.
So they run away…in search of a better life….and they run straight to his abusive father’s farm.
The father is played by the great Dennis Hopper.
No, SLEEPWALKING isn’t a cinematic classic…and for a while around the 55 minute mark it gets really, really slow…but the total result is an interesting and intriguing movie, with some very good scenes, and a very nice ending.
The movie isn’t for everyone, but I think that it is definitely worth seeing if slow, dramatic movies are what you enjoy .
And it is certainly worth seeing if you worked on it, or know someone who did.
From a movie made in our province, let’s head to Quebec now for the latest release from Academy Award nominated director Denys Arcand, the man who gave us JESUS OF MONTREAL, THE BARBARIAN INVASIONS and THE DECLINE OF THE AMERICAN EMPIRE.
His latest is the very entertaining comedy DAYS OF DARKNESS
DAYS OF DARKNESS takes place in Montreal – primarily at Olympic Stadium no less – in the not-too-distant future in a time when all is not well. People are dying, oceans are rising and countless epidemics are sweeping the country.
Jean-Marc Leblanc is an underachiever public servant; married to an ambitious real estate broker, and they don’t seem to have much use for each other.
She for him because she is busy, and he for her as he is constantly fantasising about a better life with four gorgeous women, including actress Diane Kruger of the NATIONAL TREASURE films.
He envisions her as a confidant and multiple award winner.
When his wife leaves him, he starts to put his life back together, and the result is a great time. Sure, the Medievil Festival scenes go on a bit too long, but the stuff with the brutally honest doctor is very funny.
There are more than a few great moments in this very witty film, the Rufus Wainwright cameos are very funny, and it makes great use of foreshadowing as well…and…
Sorry, yes, I do have a lot of other films to get to this week, so let me surmise by saying that I enjoyed DAYS OF DARKNESS.
I wanted to enjoy SUPERHERO MOVIE and the direct to DVD release GET SMART’S BRUCE AND LLOYD – OUT OF CONTROL, but unlike DAYS OF DARKNESS, they were only mildly entertaining.
As I am sure you can figure out, SUPERHERO MOVIE is a spoof of superhero films, mainly the first SPIDER-MAN.
The film also pays tribute to AIRPLANE! and THE NAKED GUN, two films that co-starred the same Regina born actor, and yes, that same actor – Mr.Leslie Nielsen – co-stars in SUPERHERO MOVIE.
Sadly, SUPERHERO MOVIE – even at only 77 minutes is waaaay too long, and there are only a few funny scenes. If you have seen AIRPLANE! then you know almost all of the jokes here, and if you have seen SPIDER-MAN, then you know the whole story and that doesn’t leave a lot for me to recommend…other than AIRPLANE! and the original SPIDER-MAN.
They are great films!!! As for SUPERHERO MOVIE…surely you can’t be serious.
Just as SUPERHERO MOVIE needs AIRPLANE! and SPIDER-MAN, the film GET SMART’S BRUCE AND LLOYD – OUT OF CONTROL needs this summer’s GET SMART remake to exist.
In that summer blockbuster Bruce and Lloyd are the two gadget technicinas that provide Maxwell Smart and Agent 99 with the support they need to work on their missions.
In this direct-to-DVD release the story runs concurrently to the events in the feature film, but it is a standalone story as Bruce and Lloyd are given their own assignment: to recover an invisibility cloak that has been stolen.
If you enjoyed the GET SMART remake, or are a huge fan of Anne Hathaway – who co-starred along with Steve Carrell in the film and makes a cameo in this DVD release – then you might get a kick out of BRUCE AND LLOYD – OUT OF CONTROL.
At only 62 minutes, it isn’t too long, and there is some good stuff in it…most notably Anne Hathaway…but all told, unless you have all the free time in the world, I say skip the direct to DVD release and just go and see the GET SMART film.
That is because GET SMART’S BRUCE AND LLOYD – OUT OF CONTROL misses the mark, by that much.
If you have a lot of driving to do this summer with young kids, and you need some new DVDs to entertain them along the way, I have two to tell you about this week.
The first is the 45th ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL EDITION of Walt Disney’s THE SWORD IN THE STONE.
THE SWORD IN THE STONE is a little slow by today’s animation standards, but it remains a fun film for kids who have a bit of an imagination.
The other release that I think would be great for kids in the car is the first release in the UNSTABLE FABLES series – THREE PIGS AND A BABY.
This series of stories are computer animated films produced by The Jim Henson Company…the same folks who gave us The Muppets…and they retell classic fairy tales and fables with an irreverent, unfaithfull and modern twist.
THREE PIGS AND A BABY is about how the three pigs become the target of a special-ops team of wolves.
It is a great program for kids, and might even have you adults laughing as well.
Enjoy the kids DVDs, and safe travels!!
Finally this week is ROMULUS, MY FATHER from Austrailia.
It is this week’s entry in the FOREIGN FILM FESTIVAL ON DVD.
ROMULUS, MY FATHER tells the story of Romulus and his less-than-faithful wife Christina, and their struggle in the face of great adversity on their farm, and in their lives, as they raise their son, Raimond.
The film is incredibly well made and acted, and it won the Australian Film Institute awards for Best Film, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor and a Young Actor’s Award was presented to Kodi Smit-McPhee, the young man who plays the son.
If you enjoy very slow moving films that are very dramatic then ROMULUS, MY FATHER is a must see!! It is heartbreaking at times, uplifting at others, and features some good twists and turns that you won’t necessarily see coming.
I liked it, ROMULUS, MY FATHER is a good movie, and this Australian film is the latest entry in The FOREIGN FILM FESTIVAL On DVD!!
ROMULUS, MY FATHER; the kids DVDs UNSTABLE FABLES – THREE PIGS AND A BABY and SWORD IN THE STONE, the not bad GET SMART’S BRUCE AND LLOYD – OUT OF CONTROL, the mildly okay SUPERHERO MOVIE, the Quebec film DAYS OF DARKNESS and the made-in-Saskatchewan movie SLEEPWALKING are all available now on DVD.
Coming up in on the next Couch Potato Report
LATE FRAGMENT is a Canadian made interactive film that allows YOU to decide how it ends.
I will also talk about EARTH – THE BIOGRAPHY, HAROLD AND KUMAR ESCAPE GUANTANAMO BAY and THE FOREIGN FILM FESTIVAL ON DVD entry next week is CHAOTIC ANNA from Spain.
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 – July 26th, 2008