The Couch Potato Report – February 28th, 2009
This week The Couch Potato Report peels seven films that are not very good, and the greatest of alllll time!!
It is my first week back from vacation, and I thought I was going to be able to tell you about some great films this week, all with fantastic casts…but unfortunately, they were all disappointing, and as such I don’t have anything great to say about any of them…but I will try to be as nice as I can…I’ll try!
Let’s start with the Clint Eastwood directed film CHANGELING starring Angelina Jolie.
CHANGELING begins in 1928 Los Angeles and it is based on the true story of a woman who is reunited with her kidnapped son, except there is one problem…the child is not her son and after confronting the city authorities about the fact that the new boy is not her son, Jolie is vilified as an unfit mother and branded delusional.
In addition to the story of a mother looking for her son, CHANGELING also focuses on the crimes of Saskatchewan-born murderer Gordon Northcott, who was convicted in 1928 of raping and killing three young boys in California.
CHANGELING is not an awful film, I just didn’t think it was very good.
It is well directed and acted, but it actually seems much longer than it’s two-hour and twenty-minute running time…and that in itself is long enough.
The movie is so slow moving that at times you will actually want something to happen, just to keep you interested in the film.
I was always interested in how it would all turn out, but at times I just had no interest in the movie, due to it’s slow pace.
I’m glad I had the chance to see CHANGELING, and if you enjoy Angelina Jolie, Clint Eastwood, or films that are very slow and dramatic, then maybe you will enjoy it. Otherwise, skip it.
And unless you absolutely have to see every film that is very slow and dramatic, you should probably also skip BLINDNESS.
This films is such a waste of time and talent.
BLINDNESS takes place in a big, unnamed city.
After an unexplained outbreak of blindness affects some people, the victims are quarantined by the government in a hospital without any medical care, treatment or hygiene.
Among the first people affected is an ophthalmologist, and even though the blindness seems contagious, his wife can still see and she accepts the task of taking care of him, and the others in their hospital ward.
A ward that quickly loses control of the hospital as a battle for control begins.
The couple are played by Mark Ruffalo from ZODIAC and COLLATERAL and Julianne Moore from CHILDREN OF MEN and THE HOURS, and even they can’t rise above the material. Now I have never read the book that this film is based on, so I can’t compare them, but I hope it is better than the film.
I wanted answers to the questions and scenarios the film poses, and got none. I wanted to be entertained, and I was not, I wanted something…but BLINDNESS gave me nothing. It is just an awful movie! Even if you like the cast, skip this thing!!
Now, for the next release this week, it is the cast that actually saves FLASH OF GENIUS.
The story itself is a formulaic David Vs. Goliath tale, this time about the man who invented the intermittent windshield wiper, saw the major automobile manufacturers steal it from him, and then spent years trying to win back credit for his invention.
The cast is lead by Greg Kinnear from LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE and the great Lauren Graham from BAD SANTA and they are always likeable, even if their film is not.
FLASH OF GENIUS is not a bad little film, but it isn’t great. Movie fans might not care too much for it, but I suspect that autombobile enthusiasts will as it features the creation of the intermittent windshield wipers – which operate in timed intervals rather than constantly. This keeps a windshield clean in conditions of misting or very light rain.
Now while I am confident that autombobile enthusiasts will get something out of FLASH OF GENIUS, I am just confident that people who love guitars will not get anything out of THE GUITAR…and neither will people who love all other instruments.
I wanted to like this small little movie about a woman who changes every single part of her life after she is diagnosed with a terminal disease, fired from her job and dumped by her boyfriend all on the same day, I really did!!
When she is given two months to live and throws caution to the wind to pursue her dreams, I was rooting for her…but in the end, while I rooted for the woman, I couldn’t root for the film that she is in.
THE GUITAR is just a self-indulgent film that stretches even it’s own credibility and boundaries, and so you should just ignore it!
You should probably also ignore Guy Ritchie’s latest, although it is still a step up from his last couple of films.
This is a guy who debuted with the one-two punch of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch, and then gave us the awful Swept Away and Revolver…so while ROCK N ROLLA isn’t quite as good as Guy’s first two flicks, it is much better than the last two!
ROCK N ROLLA features lots of double crossing, underworld backstabbing, Russians, old Brits, petty thieves, a beautiful accountant, a gay gangster, and a crackhead who all cross paths, steal millions of Euros, beat a man on a golf course, unearth an informant, or look for an expensive painting.
Confused with all those lines and stories crossing? Well, that is what Guy Ritchie does best!
Gerard Butler from 300 and Thandie Newton from CRASH are great in the film, but there is too much going on, and most of the time no reason to care.
ROCK N ROLLA is not great or even very good, but it is better than Swept Away and Revolver, and so for those of us who loved, and still love Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch, there is reason to beleive in Guy Ritchie again.
So rock on, ROCK N ROLLA
If it wasn’t for the cast, the next film I have for you this morning is one that I might probably not include at all on The Couch Potato Report…but since it features some recognizable names, and it actually not bad, I have decided to include THE LODGER.
The film stars Alfred Molina, Hope Davis, Simon Baker, Shane West, Donal Logue, Philip Baker Hall, Rachael Leigh Cook and Rebecca Pidgeon and it is a remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1927 film The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog.
It features two parallel storylines, one about a troubled detective who is playing a cat-and-mouse game with an unknown killer, and the second about a less-than-stable landlady and her relationship with her handsome and new “lodger”.
THE LODGER is not a great film, but if you like thrillers, and don’t overthink it, then you might enjoy it. I liked this one!
I didn’t like BODY OF LIES…even though I love the director – Ridley Scott, and the two stars – Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe. This film features some interesting technology and a few good scenes, but it just isn’t a very good movie…sadly.
The plot of BODY OF LIES is pretty simple to explain…Leo is a CIA agent on the ground in the middle East. He is an believes in creating and nurturing personal relationships based on trust and professionalism.
Russell Crowe is his U.S. based supervisor, a meddler who makes up the rules as he goes along and is more than willing to trade long-term benefits for a short-term situation he considers a victory.
With it’s cast and director, I expected big things from BODY OF LIES, but unfortunately I didn’t get them. I am glad I saw it, but I just can’t recommend it.
I can however recommend THE ULTIMATE ALI COLLECTION, and not just because today is the last day of BLACK HISTORY MONTH, but because it features over two hours of the one, the only, Mr. Muhammad Ali!
Ali’s career in and out of the boxing ring is revisited through classic fight footage, interviews and more in this 3-DVD Box Set.
To this day Muhammad Ali remains much more than “The Greatest Boxer” of all time, he is an international icon who captivated the world by articulating the feelings of the oppressed underclasses.
And he was an unusual sports figure in his day, being an outspoken conscientious object willing to offer an opinion on civil rights and the Vietnam War, and while he was stripped of his heavyweight crown, no one could ever shut him up or take away his dignity.
THE ULTIMATE ALI COLLECTION is a fantastic collection of his work, his words, and him…the one and only Muhammad Ali.
THE ULTIMATE ALI COLLECTION, THE LODGER, THE GUITAR, FLASH OF GENIUS and BLINDNESS are all available now on DVD.
BODY OF LIES, ROCK N ROLLA, CHANGELING are available on DVD and Blu-ray as well.
Coming up on the next Couch Potato Report
GROWING OP is a Canadian film about a home-schooled kid who decides to head to high school, despite protests from his pot-growing parents, in the hopes of winning the affection of a new girl.
WHAT JUST HAPPENED stars Robert DeNiro as a Hollywood producer who’s having a rough time trying to get his new picture made.
THE FRENCH CONNECTION and FRENCH CONNECTION II debut on Blu-ray, and then there is a brand-new animated WONDER WOMAN film.
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 – February 28th, 2009