The Couch Potato Report

Love those DVDs!!!

The Couch Potato Report – September 20th, 2008
This week The Couch Potato Report peels a Manitoba made movie and the Dude continues to abide.
I have six new titles to tell you about this week, including the debut of two televisions shows on DVD, and some classic comedies.
The most important release I have this week – this week’s HOT POTATO – is a movie that was filmed in communities across Manitoba including Winnipeg, Hartney, Balmoral, Otterbourne, Landmark, and they also filmed some around Lake Winnipeg.
Academy Award winning actress Ellen Burstyn stars in THE STONE ANGEL.
The source material for THE STONE ANGEL was a book that was first published in 1964. It is possibly the best-known of Margaret Laurence’s series of novels set in the fictitious town of Manawaka, Manitoba.
Using parallel narratives of past and present day, the book – and now film – tells the story of Hagar Currie Shipley.
In the present-day, 94-year-old Hagar is struggling against being put in a nursing home, which she sees as a symbol of death.
The past narrative feature Hagar as a strong willed young woman who is full of life.
Ellen Burstyn won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1974 for her performance in the movie ALICE DOESN’T LIVE HERE ANYMORE, and she has also appeared in THE LAST PICTURE SHOW, THE EXORCIST, REQUIEM FOR A DREAM and many other classic films.
My point listing her resume is that she can act. In lesser hands the cinematic version of Hagar Currie Shipley may have come across as just a crotchety old woman, in Burstyn’s hands you feel empathy toward her. You want her to be okay.
Unfortunately, while I have enjoyed the book, and I think that Burstyn and the rest of the cast of THE STONE ANGEL do a great job, and Mantitoba looks great on films, I just can’t completely recommend the film.
It isn’t bad in any way, but it isn’t necessarily good either. It just is what it is.
If you like films that are slow and dramatic, then you should see this as I don’t think you will be disappointed. Otherwise, I am sure there is something else out there more worthy of your time.
Maybe even a television show – a night time soap opera about a family of exceptionally wealthy socialites in New York City.
If that premise interests you, well then let me tell you about DIRTY SEXY MONEY.
The stories in DIRTY SEXY MONEY are nothing new to night time soap operas…people sleeping with people they shouldn’t, money being used to buy happiness and to get rich folks out of trouble, too much alcohol and drugs…but what allows the show to be as good as it is boils down to the cast.
Peter Krause from SIX FEET UNDER stars as the lawyer who is forced to take care of one of New York City’s wealthiest families, and the heads of that family are played by Academy Award nominated actress Jill Clayburgh and the great Canadian actor Donald Sutherland.
Not every episode in SEASON ONE of DIRTY SEXY MONEY is as good as the others, and some of the characters – namely the two youngest kids in the family – are usless to the show, but New York City has never looked better on film, the acting is just so good, and simply put, the show is a completely enjoyable guilty pleasure.
It is definitely a soap opera, make no mistake about that, but the acting is spectacular, it is very, very entertaining, and at times the show is funny too.
I love these guilty pleasures!!
I was really hoping that this week’s other new TV show on DVD would be very entertaining too…or maybe just a guilty pleasure…especially since I am a huge fan of the character BATMAN and his universe, but sadly BIRDS OF PREY just isn’t very good.
And that is a tremendous diappointment!
If you are a huge fan of Batman as well, or just loved this summer’s THE DARK KNIGHT juggernaut and are looking to delve further into the characters, I would recommend that you avoid the 4-DVD set for BIRDS OF PREY – THE COMPLETE SERIES.
In the show Batman has disappeared and his daughter is a mysterious superhero known as “The Huntress” who has picked up where he left off, defending the city.
She has teamed up with the paralyzed hero “Batgirl” together they meet up with their next teammate Dinah Lance.
Dinah is a telepath and psychic and the three must learn how to work together and become not only a team of superheroes but also a family.
The main reason why BIRDS OF PREY is a failure is primarily due to the fact that the main three actresses aren’t interesting enough to keep you interested in what they are doing.
And what they are doing is mainly melodrama…teenage angst filled melodrama.
The faults added together don’t result in a show that is worthy of your time.
As a Batman fan, I wanted to see it, and I am glad I did, but let me suggest that you skip it, and instead check out the BIRDS OF PREY comic books.
They are much better!
Or just go and see THE DARK KNIGHT again! That film will always be worthy of your time!!
Three comedies now, well four actually, four comedies now to conclude The Report this week…so if you have been looking for a laugh, I have some for you!!
Well, actually, these films have the laughs…I didn’t help creat them…so, the films have the laughs for you…but I have the clips!
This first one is from the Tina Fey/Amy Poehler movie BABY MAMA.
Fey – from the television show 30 ROCK – plays a successful, single businesswoman who dreams of having a baby, but discovers that she can have kids, so she looks to find a surrogate.
Amy Poehler of SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE is the working class woman that Fey hires to be her surrogate mother.
The best thing about BABY MAMA – in addition to Fey and Poehler – is the fact that it isn’t completely predictable. Some of it is, but most of it isn’t, and that is great!!
So is the film, I laughed out loud more than a few times while watching BABY MAMA.
Yes, I laughed out loud at the new comedy BABY MAMA, and in the years since the very first FLETCH film starring Chevy Chase came out, I have laughed out loud dozens of times.
That original FLETCH movie – about a wise-cracking undercover newspaper reporter who just can’t seem to stay away from trouble – came out in 1985 and the follow-up FLETCH LIVES came out in 1989.
And now both movies are available in the new, inexpensive 2-DVD set THE FLETCH COLLECTION.
These movies have already been issued a couple of times each on DVD, but if you don’t own them, and have always found them funny, this is a set that I highly recommend.
I love these movies!!
I also love the Coen Brothers’ 1998 classic THE BIG LEBOWSKI, and it too has already been released several times on DVD, but the new 10TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION is the best one yet!!
In addition to the film – about Jeff “The Dude” Lebowski, a man mistaken for a millionaire who shares his name – who seeks restitution for his ruined rug and enlists his bowling buddies to help get it – this new 2 DVD set also has some great retrospective features on the film, from all of the main stars, including Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore.
THE BIG LEBOWSKI is one of my all-time favourite comedies, and this 10TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION is for fans of the films, and for people who are just seeing it for the first time.
It is a classic!!
The two-disc FLETCH COLLECTION with the great original FLETCH and FLETCH LIVES, the very funny comedy BABY MAMA, THE COMPLETE SERIES of the failed BIRDS OF PREY, SEASON ONE of the guilty pleasure DIRTY SEXY MONEY, the made-in-Manitoba film THE STONE ANGEL, and the 10TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION of the Coen Brothers’ classic film THE BIG LEBOWSKI are all available now on DVD.
Coming up on the next Couch Potato Report
Carrie and her friends very succesful summer big screen outing debuts on DVD…get ready for SEX AND THE CITY – THE MOVIE….and a less succesful summer film also debuts for home viewing…Mike Myers absolutely awful “comedy” THE LOVE GURU
I will also talk about the television show SAMANTHA WHO?, George Clooney and Renee Zellweger’s LEATHERHEADS, the comedy RUN FATBOY RUN and the HIGH SCHOOL FLASHBACK COLLECTION features the John Hughes films SIXTEEN CANDLES, WEIRD SCIENCE and THE BREAKFAST CLUB.
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!