The Couch Potato Report

In case you need something to watch on a cold weekend evening!!

The Couch Potato Report – December 6th, 2008
This week The Couch Potato Report peels royalty, a regal television series, and a Shawshank redemption.
I have two great new TV on DVD Box Sets to tell you about this week, and so for the first time we have TWO Hot Potatoes!
The 1978-79 season of SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE is coming up in a few minutes, and first up is THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON of the great guilty pleasure, THE TUDORS.
THE TUDORS is the Gemini AND Emmy Award winning series that is based upon the early reign and marriages of King Henry VIII.
Based upon…this is not a documentary series, it is a series meant to entertain.
And it does entertain.
The series has a good cast, an interesting script, incredible costumes,…and it is all exceptionally entertaining.
In SEASON TWO of THE TUDORS King Henry continues to find a way to divorce himself from his Queen and banish Katherine of Aragon, so he can marry Anne Boleyn.
But it is Queen Anne’s inability to produce male heir that cause King Henry’s attention to sway toward Jane Seymour.
SEASON TWO of THE TUDORS is a little bit slower that the first one, and there seems to be a lot of waiting for things to happen, plus, if you are a historian, or study the British Monarchy as a hobby, this probably isn’t the series for you.
But, this 10 part second series is full of attractive actors and seasoned professionals and if you think it might entertain you, then it probably will.
It isn’t just a stuffy retelling of history, but it is a very entertaining series, and I am looking forward to the THIRD SEASON of THE TUDORS when it begins to air on CBC Television, and then comes out on DVD.
Personally, I am really looking forward to the TENTH SEASON of SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE on DVD, the 1984-1985 one with Billy Crystal, Christopher Guest, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Harry Shearer and Martin Short, but that won’t be out for a few years yet, so in the meantime I have the THIRTY-FOURTH SEASON, which is currently airing on Saturday Nights…live…and I also now have SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE – 1978-1979 – THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON on DVD!!
During this season, Saturday Night Live used grotesque and controversial issues as sketch ideas, such as nuclear meltdowns, and the idea of Superman as a Nazi, but there was still some funny skits, and many of the regular characters that had started to take on lives of their own.
The 7-disc set for THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON of SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE also has one episode of the show that many people, myself included may have never seen…the one hosted by Milton Berle.
No matter what instructions the director gave him, he mugged for the camera, did broad spit-takes, and ad-libbed jokes directly to the camera.
This episode only aired once, and was barred from being shown in syndication due to complaints from the show’s creator – Canadian Lorne Michaels – and the cast.
This COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON also features Canadian Dan Aykroyd and the late-great John Belushi’s final episode as cast members.
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE – 1978-1979 – THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON is a superb set, and it is one I highly recommend!!
And as they continue to release these sets twice a year, it won’t be long until I have that TENTH SEASON that I so desire!!
Up next this week is a very good Quebec made film called THE AMERICAN TRAP.
THE AMERICAN TRAP is a very interesting film that is inspired by the life and crimes of legendary Quebecois drug-dealer Lucien Rivard.
The story moves from late 1950s Havana to early 1960s Montreal and New Orleans, and it is partially a crime film, but it also takes liberties with the truth and also offers some conspiracy theories about the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
I am not 100% sure how much of THE AMERICAN TRAP is true…but I did enjoy this visually interesting movie.
I also enjoyed the summer film WANTED, which is very loosely based on the comic book miniseries of the same name by Mark Millar.
It too has some great visuals…including Angelina Jolie!
Remember when Jolie was just a movie star…and not the tabloid mother and person she has become? Well, she is the main star of WANTED, so I found I was able to just see her in a character role again…the role of a mysterious woman named Fox…she attempts to recruit a man named Wesley Gibson into a fraternity of hit men and women, lead by Morgan Freeman.
James McAvoy from THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND and ATONEMENT stars alongside Jolie and Freeman in WANTED and while it isn’t the greatest action film of the year, it is a really good one.
This is a great, mindless action film that is a very worthy rental.
Up next is another good rental, this is a small Irish film called HOW ABOUT YOU.
HOW ABOUT YOU is about a young woman who is left in charge of the residential home run by her older sister over Christmas.
Most of the residents have left to spend the holidays with their families, but four residents remain.
And they are not the nicest four people in the world.
HOW ABOUT YOU is a quiet, little film that is ultimately very predictable, after all, how could four people stay mean over Christmas?!?
They can’t, they don’t, and as such this is a pretty good film. It isn’t great, but if you see it on a shelf, give it a chance. I liked it!
Finally this week, is the Blu-Ray Beacon
Blu-ray is the next step in DVDs and home viewing as a Blu-ray Disc and all blu-ray players play standard DVDs and CDs as well, so you won’t have to buy all of the films you already own again, unless you want them in this new format….one that is vastly superb, and the ultimate in home viewing.
Each week for the next little while, as the format continues to take off, and the number of films available in Blu-ray increases and the price of the players goes down, I will spotlight one new release each week, and share more information about the format, in this forum – The BLU-RAY BEACON.
This week, the spotlight shines on the fantastic film THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION.
SHAWSHANK is the 1994 film that is based on the Stephen King novella, “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption.”
Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman star as two men behind bars at Shawshank State Prison, a fictional penitentiary in Maine, and the film is about their lives, and their growing friendship.
THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION was in the same Best Picture category as Forrest Gump, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Pulp Fiction and Quiz Show and only grossed $28 million dollars at the box office. It was considered by many to be a flop, but it’s critical acclaim and popularity on television, home video, and DVD has allowed it to continually be ranked by film fans as one of the greatest films of all time.
In fact, it currently heads the Internet Movie Database’s poll of top 250 films, leading such pictures as The Godfather, The Dark Knight, and Pulp Fiction.
SHAWSHANK is one of my favourite films of all-time, and the Blu-ray version looks spectacular and it sounds superb!! It is now available in a new DigiBook packaging, which includes a full-color 30-page booklet with production notes, cast bios and many rare and never-before-seen publicity stills.
THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION gets this week’s spotlight from the BLU-RAY BEACON and it is available in stores now, along with the DVDs of the small-Irish film HOW ABOUT YOU, the great, mindless action film WANTED, the very interesting Quebec made film THE AMERICAN TRAP, the great SEASON FOUR OF SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE and SEASON TWO of the guilty pleasure that is THE TUDORS.
And don’t forget that, in addition to now being available on DVD, you can see THE TUDORS Tuesday night on CBC Television!
Coming up on the next Couch Potato Report:
A NO-HIT NO-RUN SUMMER takes place in the Summer of 1969 as the city of Montreal has a new baseball team and a young man dreams of making the neighbourhood team.
And then there is THE DARK KNIGHT, starring the late Heath Ledger as The Joker.
I will also talk about the great movie MAN ON WIRE about the daredevil who walked from one of the World Trade Center Towers to the other back in 1974; LOST – THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON; and the BLU RAY BEACON next week shines on the ULTIMATE COLLECTOR’S EDITION of CASABLANCA.
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!