The Couch Potato Report

Here are some movie ideas for a cold winter weekend!

The Couch Potato Report – January 24th, 2009
This week The Couch Potato Report peels Romeo, Juliet, Annie, Appaloosa, and Austin, Baby.
I have a wealth of titles for you this week, so let me get right to them, starting with the documentary TO BE ROMEO AND JULIET, from Saskatchewan filmmaker Robin Schlaht.
TO BE ROMEO AND JULIET shows us three different groups of actors who are in preperation to play Shakespeare’s tragic lovers.
We see a youth summer camp production in Guelph, Ontario, and a very unique, and sometimes odd professional production at the Chilean National Theatre, in Santiago, and an amateur production in Reading, England.
TO BE ROMEO AND JULIET takes us through the twists, turns and obsticles that get in the way, of the actors and directors putting on the play. It also shows us the frailty of the young actors, who at times aren’t all that confident in what they are doing.
TO BE ROMEO AND JULIET is a documentary, but it isn’t your typical documentary. There is no narration, and there are no one-on-one interviews with the film’s subjects. Instead, we just get to see what is taking place on stage, and during rehearsals.
At times the lack of narration works and benefits the film, but there are other times when it could have used some. Those times don’t necessarily hurt the film, as there are a lot of very interesting things that happen in the movie, but they do prevent it from being a documentary that I can proclaim a MUST SEE because that narration could have moved the film along a bit faster.
I liked it, but I just don’t think it will appeal to everyone. Instead, TO BE ROMEO AND JULIET is really only a film for fans of theatre, Shakespeare himself, and people who enjoy the timeless tale of tragic lovers Romeo and Juliet.
Up next this week is another documentary, one about something that concerns us all – water.
FLOW – FOR LOVE OF WATER is a film that features interviews with water and community activists and it explains the big business of privatization of the world’s water infrastructure.
That is a business that prioritizes profits over the availability of clean water for people and the environment.
FLOW – FOR LOVE OF WATER is interesting and insightful, and it also features some great visuals, and it will make you think. For instance, the one question posed that got me was. “Did you ever think that water would sell for the same price as milk?”
FLOW – FOR LOVE OF WATER has a lot going for it, and I do highly recommend it, but it is completely one sided as the big businesses that are depicted never get a chance to defend their actions.
Still, it made me think, and it showed and told me about things I didn’t know and hadn’t seen. I am glad I had the chance to see it!!
I am also glad, very glad that I was able to watch the documentary ANNIE LEIBOVITZ – LIFE THROUGH A LENS. This is a great movie!!
If you have ever read, or flipped through Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair or Vogue magazines, then you have seen the work of Annie Leibovitz. She has produced some of the most iconic images of the last 30 years shooting the rich and famous, the profound and powerful, the exceptional and notorious.
Some of the most famous Leibovitz photos include the January 22nd, 1981 Rolling Stone cover of John Lennon naked, lying beside Yoko Ono, which was taken on the day of his death.
Demi Moore’s nude Vanity Fair cover featuring the actress when she was seven months pregnant.
Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi, as The Blues Brothers, with their faces painted blue.
Closeup portrait of Pete Townshend framed by his bleeding hand dripping real blood down the side of his face.
Bruce Springsteen’s, Born in the U.S.A. album cover.
And even Miley Cyrus’ recent photo spread in which the young star appeared semi-nude.
Simply put, she is one of the world best, and best-known photographers and ANNIE LEIBOVITZ – LIFE THROUGH A LENS shows her taking pictures, living life and introduces us to her family and some of the people who know her best.
It also includes interviews with – among others – Mikhail Baryshnikov, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Bette Midler, Demi Moore, Yoko Ono, Keith Richards, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Gloria Steinem and Mick Jagger.
ANNIE LEIBOVITZ – LIFE THROUGH A LENS is a superb film about a great artist! Search this one out!
You don’t have to search out these next two releases I have for you, they can be found everywhere right now, in video stores big and small! And if they sound interesting to you, check them out. If they don’t, skip them. Both are okay films, but both films should and could have been better.
I’ll get to SWING VOTE in a moment, but first is the western APPALOOSA starring Viggo Mortenson, Jeremy Irons, Renee Zellweger, and it was co-written, directed by and stars the great Ed Harris.
In this movie, Viggo and Ed play two old friends who are hired to police a small town that is suffering under the rule of a rancher.
They find their job complicated by the arrival of a young widow, who is played by Zellweger.
Now I like every member of this film’s cast, but they deserved a better movie. APPALOOSA isn’t awful, but it isn’t very good. However, if you like the cast too, or just love westerns, maybe you will get something out of it.
You might also get something out of SWING VOTE, if you love Kevin Costner, or you don’t expect too much from this film. This one is not great either, but I liked it.
Costner plays an irresponsible single-father who loves his daughter and his country, but is just never able to do the right thing for either.
And then, due to an “only-in-the-movies’ sort of coincidence, the result of the entire presidential election comes down to his vote.
It is up to him, he will pick the next president, so both sides travel to his small town to court him, and try to get his vote.
SWING VOTE is a movie that is almost totally implausible, and the amount of media attention Costner’s character gets isn’t realistic, in actuality he would be hounded 24 hours a day and never get a moment’s peace….but I liked the ending, and I like this film.
Nope, it isn’t great, but if it – or APPALOOSA – sounds interesting to you, check them out. If they don’t, skip them.
Finally this week, if you have never picked up any of the fantastically fun and entertaining AUSTIN POWERS films, well now you can own all three on the inexpensive DVD set AUSTIN POWERS – THE FRANCHISE COLLECTION.
This DVD is available for less than twenty dollars and it includes all of Mike Myers’ brilliance in Austin Powers – International Man of Mystery, The Spy Who Shagged Me and Goldmember.
Sadly, AUSTIN POWERS – THE FRANCHISE COLLECTION features only the Pan & Scan editions of the films, but if it the content of the movies you want to own – and watch repeatedly – for a cheap price, then this is the release of the week for you!!
APPALOOSA, SWING VOTE and the AUSTIN POWERS films are all also available on Blu-ray.
Coming up on the next Couch Potato Report
The made-in-Canada films CLOSING THE RING and MAX PAYNE and the made-in-Spain film VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA.
Also next week, the football film THE EXPRESS, the box set for THE SECRET POLICEMAN’S BALLS, and the BLU-RAY BEACON focusses on Bill Murray’s classic film GROUNDHOG DAY, and the BLU-RAY BEACON focusses on Bill Murray’s classic film GROUNDHOG DAY.
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!