The Couch Potato Report

Movies, movies movies!!

The Couch Potato Report – September 6th, 2008
This week The Couch Potato Report peels a moving Canadian documentary, and an interesting Brazilian film.
I am a huge fan of documentaries! Sure, I enjoy films that come from the unique creativity of screenwriters, and I love comedies, but if given a preference, I will usually choose to spend an evening watching a documentary, because these films inform us about situations we might not hear about – good AND bad – and introduce us to folks we might never get to meet.
So even with all of the huge other releases that I have for you, this week’s HOT POTATO is the Canadian documentary THE FORGOTTEN WOMAN.
THE FORGOTTEN WOMAN is a film that may haunt you. journey through the ashrams and streets of Vrindavan, India, the final resting place for many widows, who, essentially, go there to die.
Filmmaker Dilip Mehta’s film is sort of follow-up to his older sister Deepa Mehta’s WATER – which looked at the plight of widows in India circa 1938.
THE FORGOTTEN WOMAN put real faces on widows similar to those depicted in that Oscar-nominated Canadian film.
And instead of heavy-handed narration, he simply focusses his camera on the women and lets them tell their stories.
Sometimes, they aren’t easy to watch, or hear – as the stories are mostly about widows who are abandoned by their families and relatives once their husbands die – but THE FORGOTTEN WOMAN is a great documentary as it will make you feel empathy for the people in it, without being political.
It is not an easy film to watch, but it is one that I think should be seen.
Switching gears completely, up next this week is one of my favourite films of all time! It is not a documentary, and it is not serious in any way…although it is serious fun!!
I am talking about Tim Burton’s THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS!
Originally released in 1992 this stop motion animated film is primarily about Jack, the bored and unhappy “Pumpkin King” of Halloween Town.
He sets out to find something exciting and discovers “Christmas Town”, eventually deciding to take over the duties of Santa to deliver toys to children around the world!
Canadian actress Catherine O’Hara – from SCTV and the HOME ALONE films – provides the voice of the movie’s female lead, and potential love interest, Sally.
THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS is now available in a new 2 DISC COLLECTOR’S EDITION, and even though several o fthe Special features are recyled from previous DVD releses of the film, there are also some all-new features, and the picture has never looked or sounded better.
If you love this film as I do, this new version is a must have.
And if you have never seen it, well as you might guess, I highly recommed this Academy Award nominated film!
It is beautiful to look at and listen to, the story and characters are all unique, and it is just plain fun.
Pick it up, and enjoy!!
If you are a fan of THE LITTLE MERMAID there is a chance that you could enjoy the next release I have for you this week, but I suspect that it is better suited to the child you now live with or know, as opposed to the child who still lives inside of you.
THE LITTLE MERMAID – ARIEL’S BEGINNING is not bad in any way, I actually enjoyed it, but it just doesn’t have the magic of the original…a film I enjoy, maybe even more than THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS!!
THE LITTLE MERMAID – ARIEL’S BEGINNING is actually a prequel to the 1989 film that put Disney’s Animation studios back on the map after years of less than stellar films.
In this movie, after the King outlaws music, Ariel and her six sisters live a humdrum existence, while governess Marina Del Ray scemes to take over the Chielf Of Staff position from Sebastian The Crab.
A chance meeting with a fish named Flounder changes everything.
THE LITTLE MERMAID – ARIEL’S BEGINNING is a direct-to-DVD film, and even though it is not as good as the original film, I still enjoyed it as I like the characters.
And I am sure kids, and many of the children inside adults will enjoy it too.
THE WOODY ALLEN COLLECTION features the documentary WILD MAN BLUES about his Jazz Band’s European tour, and six of his films, including MIGHTY APHRODITE.
The other movies in the set are DECONSTRUCTING HARRY, CELEBRITY, EVERYONE SAYS I LOVE YOU, SCOOP, and one of my favourite Woody Allen films ever made BULLETS OVER BROADWAY, starring B.C. raised Oscar nominee Jennifer Tilly.
If you don’t already own these films, THE WOODY ALLEN COLLECTION is a great way to get them all at once. Great stuff here!!
This week’s entry in THE FOREIGN FILM FESTIVAL ON DVD is also great stuff, it is the Brazilian film THE YEAR MY PARENTS WENT ON VACATION.
This film takes place in 1970 as two parents are scared and in a hurry to leave their son with his grandfather, but the father promises to return before the Brazilian National Soccer Team’s first game in the World Cup.
The parents drop the boy off, and his Grandfather’s neighbour tells him that he had a heart attack and died.
The neighbour looks after the kid, and together they exist. They don’t necessarily grow or learn from each other…but their lives go on.
THE YEAR MY PARENTS WENT ON VACATION has intrigue, politics, sports, friends, love…it almost has it all. Sadly, it is just a few emotional scenes away from perfect, but I still really enjoyed it.
THE YEAR MY PARENTS WENT ON VACATION is this year’s second-to-last entry in the FOREIGN FILM FESTIVAL ON DVD and it is available now on DVD, along with the 7-DVD set THE WOODY ALLEN COLLECTION, the enjoyable THE LITTLE MERMAID – ARIEL’S BEGINNING, the superb 2-DISC COLLECTOR’S EDITION of Tim Burton’s THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS, and the moving Canadian made documentary THE FORGOTTEN (START CLIP HERE) WOMAN.
Coming up on the next Couch Potato Report
THE FUTURE OF FOOD offers an in-depth investigation of some of the genetically engineered foods that are now on our grocery store shelves, and how they are made.
This film features some Saskatchewan farmers – Marc Loiselle from Vonda, and Bruno’s Percy and Louise Schmeiser.
Also next week, the documentary THE WORLD ACCORDING TO MONSANTO; and the FOREIGN FILM FESTIVAL ON DVD concludes with the Russian film POISONED BY POLONIUM: THE LITVINENKO FILE, about ex-spy Alexander Litvinenko.
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!