The Couch Potato Report

I do love movies!!

The Couch Potato Report – August 8th, 2009
This week The Couch Potato Report peels a dollhouse, weíll kill Bill – twice – and enjoy some high quality H2O.
Usually the films I review are done in the following order: 1) Canadian films, 2) High Profile Releases, 3) Everything else, and then 4) The Blu-Ray Beacon, featuring some new High Definition releases.
This week, Iím going to switch things up a bit and not tell you about the nine releases I have for you in that order.
Instead, Iíll talk about them in descending order based on how much I liked them.
And number one on the list, the release I enjoyed the most this week was SEASON ONE of the great television show DOLLHOUSE!!
DOLLHOUSE is the latest show from Joss Whedon, the man who gave us Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and Firefly.
The very beautiful and talented Eliza Dushku from Buffy and the film BRING IT ON plays a woman maned Echo. She is a woman who volunteers to be an operative in an underground organization.
These operatives, or “Actives” are given brain implants and new personas and personalities to fit the requirements of the millionaires who require one service, or another.
The services can be anything from crimes to fantasies to the occasional good deed.
The early episodes of DOLLHOUSE are self-contained, but after the first four everything that happens becomes part of the ongoing story about the house, the operatives, and the mystery corporation behind it all.
Not every episode is great, but there is always enough going on to make each episode interesting, and so I recommend DOLLHOUSE – SEASON ONE wholeheartedly!!
But, I must qualify that by admitting that this isn’t a show for everyone. If you don’t like science fiction/action shows than, you should stay away from it.
However, if you enjoy science-fiction action shows, that also add a little bit of police procedural dramas thrown in, then book your appointment with the DOLLHOUSE.
And get ready, SEASON TWO debuts on Friday, September 18th!!
My second favourite release this week is actually a re-release. We are now less than two weeks away from a brand new film from director Quentin Tarantino, and so some of his other films are being issued in new formats, including his spectacular 2003/2004 releases KILL BILL, VOLUMES 1 & 2.
The DVD KILL BILL – DOUBLE FEATURE has both films on one disc, for one low price, and I enjoyed watching them again this week as I remain a huge fan of Tarantino’s work…BUT…the disc has only the films themselves, with no special features at all…not even a trailer for Tarantino’s new film!!
THAT fact is disappointing…the films, never will be!
Films that star Uma Thurman as a Bride who wakes up after a long coma and the only thing on her mind is to get revenge on the team of assassins who betrayed her, including her once lover and mentor…Bill.
I truly love the Kill Bill films, and I also truly love Adam Sandler’s comedy THE WATERBOY.
Yes, even though it is lowest common denominator, sophmoric, juvenile humour, the darn film still makes me laugh out loud!!
Sandler is a waterboy who uses his pent up anger to become a star football player and this comedy is new on Blu-ray this week, and even though being in High Definition doesn’t benefit a comedy liek this, I enjoyed it…and I will watch it again!
No, High Definition doesn’t always benefit the older films that are now being released in the format, but it does give me an excuse to talk about them as new releases.
I’ll offer up the Academy Award winning film MY COUSIN VINNY as another example of that.
This fish-out-of-water story about a big city lawyer who has to travel to small town Alabama to defend a case remains a very entertaining comedy, but it doesn’t necessarily benefit from being on Blu-ray as the clever writing and funny jokes can be made clearer through technology.
You either get them and find them funny, or you don’t.
But, technology aside, I dare say that I do get them and I always enjoy this film!!
I too always enjoy director John Carpenter’s 1986 otherworldly action adventure comedy BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA, and it is Number Five on my list this week, due to it’s debut on Blu-ray.
If you have never seen it, BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA stars Kurt Russell as an atypical hero who finds himself deep beneath San Francisco’s Chinatown, in a murky, creature-filled world populated by an empire of spirits.
Canadian actress Kim Cattrall, from SEX AND THE CITY, co-stars.
BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA is fun. Sure, it has all of those other great qualities I mentioned, but I have always liked it because it was fun.
I wouldn’t use the word “fun” in conjunction with this next film, instead I will use “violent”, “action packed” and “award winning.”
It won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival and Five European Film Awards in 2008, including Best Picture.
This is the Italian gangster movie GOMORRAH.
GOMORRAH is based on the book by Roberto Saviano and it offers an inside look at Italy’s modern-day crime families.
Due to it’s slow moving pace, it isn’t a mob movie that will grab and never let you go – like THE GODFATHER or GOODFELLAS – but there are some very interesting things that take place…and, it is all true!!
GOMORRAH is a very good movie.
A few weeks ago, on July 18th, I told you about Academy Award winning director Steven Soderbergh’s CHE – a four hour, subtitled bio-pic about Marxist revolutionary leader, and counter-culture t-shirt icon Che Guevara – starring Oscar winner Benicio Del Toro from TRAFFIC and THE USUAL SUSPECTS.
CHE is being released on DVD in two parts and PART 2: GUERRILLA is available now.
If you have ever wanted to know more about the man whose face adorns thousands of t-shirts, these films are a great place to start.
I personally enjoyed PART ONE more than PART TWO, but ultimately I enjoyed them both.
But, make sure you have enough time set aside to fully enjoy them as, I said, combined they are over four hours long.
We have arrived at the botoom two films this week, my least two favourite of the week, and coming in second last is the remake/re-imagining of the WITCH MOUNTAIN films from the 1970s.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson stars in RACE TO WITCH MOUNTAIN.
Now, let me be clear, RACE TO WITCH MOUNTAIN isn’t necesarrily second last on my list this week because of it’s quality, or because it takes a film from my childhood that remains one of my all-time favourites and remakes/reimagines it…it is second last because of the quality of releases this week.
That said, this new version of the 1975 film ESCAPE TO WITCH MOUNTAIN features The Rock as a Las Vegas cabbie who decides to help two alien kids – Seth and Sara in this version, Tia and Tony in the original movie.
The kids on on earth by accident, and they are trying to get back home…however, some government agents would like to prevent that from happening.
RACE TO WITCH MOUNTAIN is a very good movie, for the whole family, and it contains some great nods to the original for those of us who love the original.
It stands on it’s own, and I think some of today’s generation will love it!
Finally this week…yes, last and least…is OBSESSED.
It is awful!!!
OBSESSED is about a businessman who is being stalked by the new office temp.
Eventually the stalking leaves the office and his wife and family become targets too.
Variations on thi spremise have worked before in films like FATAL ATTRACTION and THE HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE, but it doesn’t work here.
OBSESSED is cliche, predictable, and it commits the cardinal sin of these types of films…it features people who aren’t good actors!!
FATAL ATTRACTION stars Michael Douglas and Glenn Close and HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE’s cast includes Annabella Sciorra, Rebecca De Mornay and Julianne Moore…all people who can act!
OBSESSED features Ali Later from TV’s HEROES and pop singer Beyonce Knowles…who does not know how to act!
Look, if you watch this movie, and you like, then I say put a ring on it…because if you like it then you should put a ring on it.
But I didn’t like it…and that is why it is last on my list, and my least favourite release this week.
Skip it!!
The awful OBSESSED, the pretty good RACE TO WITCH MOUNTAIN, the mob movie GOMORRAH, the still fun BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA, the still funny MY COUSIN VINNY and THE WATERBOY and SEASON ONE of the great television series DOLLHOUSE are all available now on Blu-ray and DVD.
CHE – PART 2, CHE – PART 1 and the new KILL BILL – DOUBLE FEATURE are only available on DVD…although the KILL BILL films are available separately on Blu-ray too.
Coming up on the next Couch Potato Report
It will be my pleasure to tell you about the superb, Academy Award nominated film WALTZ WITH BASHIR.
We will also go back to school with the films 17 AGAIN, THE CLASS, ST. TRINIANíS and ST. ELMOíS FIRE.
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!