The Couch Potato Report

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The Couch Potato Report – September 12th, 2009
This week The Couch Potato Report peels a little bit of everythingÖmovies, TV shows and foreign filmsÖa little bit of everything.
There is no one huge title that stands above all others this week…no Hot Potato…so instead, I’ll just tell you about the 10 new titles that are the most noteworthy.
SEASON FIVE of the American remake of the BBC classic series THE OFFICE is where I’ll begin, primarily because this show still makes me laugh out loud, even when I watch the episodes a second or third time!!
THE OFFICE is the show about a paper company in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and the people who work there and love there.
In addition to the laughs, SEASON FIVE of the show also featured several shows that were very touching, and one that primarily took place just East of us.
Big laughs, lots of fun, emotionally touching episodes, that was SEASON FIVE of THE OFFICE.
And that was a formula that a new show last year tried to copy. Not emulate, copy.
PARKS & RECREATION was created by some of the same people who produce THE OFFICE, and is shot in mockumentary style like it’s predecessor.
The first season of this show wasn’t a total failure, but without it’s top notch cast, it easily could have been.
PARKS & RECREATION stars Saturday Night’s Live’s Amy Poehler as an ambitious and hopeful small town government worker, who is trying to have a park built on an abandoned construction site.
The character is pushy and doesn’t always listen, and she could have come across as unlikable, but Amy is just such a great comedian, that instead of not liking her, you actually root for her.
Rashida Jones, Aziz Ansari, Paul Schneider, Aubrey Plaza and Nick Offerman round out the cast of PARKS & RECREATION and while SEASON ONE wasn’t a complete success, I am looking forward to the second one, because that cast is just so strong that I look forward to seeing if they can succeed.
The cast of this next film, originally a Canadian/German co-production, is the only reason I watched it…actually, the fact that Canadian actress Natasha Henstridge was in it was the reason I watched it…but she is a part of the cast!!
This film is called IMPACT.
IMPACT is in the same vein as ARMAGEDDON, INDEPENDENCE DAY and DEEP IMPACT, but it just doesn’t have as big a budget, and as strong a script.
It was filmed in Victoria, B.C. and Berlin and it is about a global crisis caused by an asteroid that has smashed into the moon.
Then, the moon’s new orbit has put it on a collision course with Earth and a global team of scientists now only have 39 days to stop it or Earth, and all of mankind, will perish.
Canadian actor David James Elliott of the television series JAG also stars in IMPACT and while it is a bit slow at times, and doesn’t really offer anything unique or brand new, I still liked it.
But then again, I will watch just about anything with Natasha Henstridge in it, and IMPACT was no different.
She’s a favourite of mine, and action star Jason Statham is a favourite of many others.
They will watch anything that he is in, including the three TRANSPORTER films, THE BANK JOB, and the 2006 film CRANK.
Well, now there is a sequel to that one…it’s CRANK 2 – HIGH VOLTAGE.
The original CRANK had Staham playing a professional assassin named Chev Chelios who has been injected with a poison that will kill him if his heart rate drops.
In CRANK 2, a Chinese mobster has stolen his heart and replaced it with a battery-powered one that requires regular jolts of electricity to keep working.
That all said, does it matter?!? Jason Statham is in another action film, and if you like him, you’ll like this!!
It is violent, profane, and has a preposterous premise, but CRANK 2 – HIGH VOLTAGE is exactly what you’d expect, and even though I think it could have been better, I enjoyed it for what it was.
Bring on CRANK 3!! And how much do you want to bet it will be CRANK 3-D?!?
I still have six noteworthy releases for you this week, and this next one is narrated by the late, great Paul Newman!!
THE MEERKATS is an 83 minute documentary about a clan of meerkats in the Kalahari Desert, not unlike the ones we met in the great television series MEERKAT MANOR.
The film uses real footage from a series of cameras, many of them underground, to show us the lives of these fascinating creatures.
It is well written and edited and it features some great footage. THE MEERKATS isn’t as completely entertaining as MEERKAT MANOR, but the creatures themselves will always be fun to watch, so this movie is one you should see, if you get as much of a kick out of them, or you just enjoy nature documentaries.
From the Kalahari Desert and some meerkats, lets go now to Sweden and a very entertaining movie – based on the true story of Maria Larsson – a working class woman in the early 1900s, who wins a camera in a lottery and – even with seven kids and an abusive husband – managed to carve out a career for herself as a photographer.
It’s funny, I have taken over 30,000 pictures in the last couple of years, and yet prior to seeing this film, I never once thought of them as “everlasting moments”, and so I think I liked the more more than I should have because it gave me that realization.
In truth, EVERLASTING MOMENTS is not a great movie…but it is a nice one. I liked it.
I also liked LEMON TREE…actually, I really liked this one!!
This is a film that tells us the story of a Palestinian widow whose only means of income is the lemon tree grove that she has beside her house.
But, when the new Israeli Defense Minister moves into the house that is next to her, his security team thinks the field is a potential threat and says that it must be torn down.
However, instead of taking the compensation they are offering, she decides to fight for her lemon trees.
Hiam Abbass won Best Actress at the Israeli Film Academy Awards earlier this year, and she is superb in LEMON TREE I wasn’t completely satisfied with the ending of it, but it is still a film that I highly recommend.
If you saw BEDKNOBS & BROOMSTICKS when it forst came out in 1971, then I can also highly recommend this next release to you…it’s the ENCHANTED MUSICAL EDITION of BEDKNOBS & BROOMSTICKS!!
The film stars Angela Lansbury as an apprentice witch who is traveling on an enchanted bed along with three kids and a cynical con man. They are searching for the missing part of a magic spell that would be useful in defending Britain.
Yes, if you saw and loved BEDKNOBS & BROOMSTICKS when it first came out, or fell in love with it in 2001 when it was completely restored, then this new version is a must have. I doubt that it will overwhelm today’s youngsters, but I always enjoy it when I get to see it again.
Finally this week, two films that are noteworthy as they have just been released on Blu-ray.
The first BLU-RAY BEACON shines on a film that stars Alberta born actress Elisha Cuthbert. This is THE GIRL NEXT DOOR.
Cuthbert stars as an adult film actress who just happens to move next door to a high school guy, and wouldn’t you know it, they fall in love.
Every generation has their raunchy comedies…mine had PRIVATE SCHOOL, TOMBOY and FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH and this current one has THE GIRL NEXT DOOR.
I liked this film when it came out in 2004, and I still like it. There is no real benefit in seeing it on blu-ray, I mean how much more beautiful can Elisha Cuthbert get?!?
But that said, it’s a good movie.
And you know what…so is the film M*A*S*H.
This is the Academy Award winning 1970 movie about the doctors and staff of a Korean War field hospital.
Now I love the television series, and have seen every episode over a dozen times, and I even own the 26 disc M*A*S*H – Martinis and Medicine Complete Collection…but until this week, I had never seen the film.
I thought I’d seen it, but I hadn’t.
And as I said, and you might even know this, it is a good movie!!
I am really glad that I have finally seen the film, and in High Definition on Blu-ray, no less. It looks and sounds great, and comes with a wide array of special features…including one where director Robert Altman is asked about that TV series I – and many others – love so much!
The great films M*A*S*H and THE GIRL NEXT DOOR, the exactly what it should be Jason Statham movie CRANK 2 – HIGH VOLTAGE, the nature documentary THE MEERKATS, narrated by the late, great Paul Newman and SEASON FIVE of the still-very-funny television show THE OFFICE are available on Blu-ray and DVD.
The Disney classic BEDKNOBS & BROOMSTICKS, the great Israeli film LEMON TREE, The Swedish movie EVERLASTING MOMENTS, IMPACT – starring Natasha Henstridge, and SEASON ONE of PARKS & RECREATION are all available now on DVD.
Coming up on the next Couch Potato Report
The failed summer blockbuster WOLVERINE debuts on DVD and Blu-ray.
Plus, I’ll tell you about THE WES CRAVEN COLLECTION, CAMILLE starring Sienna Miller and James Franco, THE INFORMERS with Billy Bob Thornton, Kim Basinger, Mickey Rourke and Winona Ryder, plus the BLU-RAY BEACON will shine on SILVERADO and Sam Raimi’s THE QUICK AND THE DEAD.
I’m Dan Reynish. I’ll have more on those, and several 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!