The Couch Potato Report

Movies, movies movies!!

The Couch Potato Report – September 19th, 2009
This week The Couch Potato Report peels a comic book film about a Canadian superhero and some DVDs that were dead on arrival!
The film that started the Summer Movie Season off back in May is now available for you to watch in your homes, and it is our Hot Potato this week.
There have been four now, films based on the X-MEN Marvel Comics characters who are human mutants, each with unique special powers.
The first two X-MEN AND X2 or X-MEN: UNITED – both directed by Bryan Singer – were spectacular!
They were so good, and made the characters so popular, that at least one spin-off film was inevitable, and now we have the first one.
WOLVERINE grossed $180 million at the box office, and was the Number Seven film of the summer, but man, what a mediocre movie.
Hugh Jackman’s character has been so appealing and interesting, that this film seemed like an easy slam dunk, a walk-off home run in extra innings, an overtime goal in game seven of the Stanley Cup Finals, a double-raise jam that rolls to the button for the winning point with the hammer in the 10th end!!
It seemed like there was no way that they could mess it up…this film had box office success written all over it!!
But mess it up, they did, primarily by hiring the wrong director.
Gavin Hood’s previous films were the Best Foreign Film Oscar winner Tsotsi (2005) and the boring drama Rendition (2007). Yes, his talents brought emotional weight to the dramatic scenes, but he wasn’t able to elevate the majority of the action filled ones to a higher plain…that plain where you see a stunt or scene and think – cool!!!
I don’t know anyone who went to see WOLVERINE for it’s dramatic elements, and I also don’t know anyone who went to see Danny Huston play the villain, Colonel William Stryker.
Huston has been okay in films like The Kingdom, The Number 23, Children of Men, Marie Antoinette and The Aviator, but he just does not have the acting weight or talent to pull off playing a guy you could – in any way – believe would best the superhero who the film is named after.
Yes, despite the wrong director and actior playing the bad guy – I admit, there is a lot to like about WOLVERINE, and not just the fact that he is Canadian.
Liev Schreiber is great as his half-brother, the very beautiful Lynn Collins is sympathetic and passionate as his love interest, and Vancouver born Ryan Reynolds is both menacing and entertaining, but as a whole this film just isn’t very good.
However, because those first two X-MEN films were sooo good…I, as someone who is a huge fan of these sorts of films, am willing to overlook the mediocrity.
No, WOLVERINE offers absolutely nothing new, and for the most part just shows us what we found out in the second film…but if you like these types of films, and have seen the other X-MEN movies, then it is a must see.
Otherwise, it is a must skip.
Oh, and if you do watch it…make sure you stay with the film until AFTER the credits.
There is a new feature here on the Report that I will debut for you in a couple of minutes, but before those movies that arrived DOA, let me focus on a show that focuses on people who are dead on arrival.
FRINGE is a television show that is sort of a cross between The X-Files and The Twilight Zone, combined with the film Altered States.
It was co-created by J.J. Abrams, who also gave us ALIAS and LOST.
It is about an unorthodox team, lead by a female FBI agent who works with an institutionalized scientist and his son in order to solve cases that all seem to be connected to a growing series of unexplained phenomena.
FRINGE is a very entertaining show that has a great cast, including Canadian Joshua Jackson from DAWSON’S CREEK, and it is kooky, creepy, odd and interesting…and sometimes it is even all of those things at the same time.
Each episode stands on it’s own, but I especially like how everything is also part of a season long storyline that has a great payoff.
FRINGE – THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON is a 7 DVD and 5 Blu-ray Set that I really enjoyed!
THE WES CRAVEN COLLECTION is a two-disc DVD set that I also enjoyed, even though it doesn’t contain the master director of horror film’s best known work.
That would be THE NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET and SCREAM films, but I digress as this COLLECTION does still provide us with some great horror moments through the – entertaining in their own right – films THE SERPENT AND THE RAINBOW, SHOCKER and THE PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS.
THE WES CRAVEN COLLECTION is primarily for people who saw those films when they first came out, and have just never picked them up on DVD. Well, now you can…and you can get all of the chills and horrific moments they offer, all for about twenty bucks.
It is time for a new feature here on The Report now, and its called DOA DVDs.
Sadly, not every film that is made can be good…even with the best intentions, some films are just not worthy of your time.
And that fact can be subjective. I know I have loved films that you have hated, and vice versa.
But, from time to time there are awful films that do get released, with casts full of people whose work we love and usually look forward to seeing, that are absolutely awful, and they are the films that are DEAD ON ARRIVAL, and are DOA DVDs.
I’ll watch them, so you don’t have to, and from time to time I’ll warm you about them.
This week, I’ll warn you about three of them, starting with a film that even the star of it thinks is bad.
Sienna Miller, the late David Carradine, Scott Glenn and James Franco from PINEAPPLE EXPRESS and the SPIDER-MAN films star in CAMILLE, and when Franco was being interviewed on BBC Radio he told Edith Bowman he was shocked it was even coming out and that it was “not good”.
He was right, CAMILLE is DOA and you should ignore this one about a young newlywed couple on their way to Niagara Falls at all costs.
The same is true for THE INFORMERS. This one has a cast made up of Academy Award winners Billy Bob Thornton and Kim Basinger, along with Mickey Rourke, Winona Ryder, Amber Heard and Chris Isaak, and it is based on the book by Bret Easton Ellis, who also wrote the screenplay.
Like most of Ellis’ work, THE INFORMERS is about excess in the eighties, and it is a stiff. Not worthy of even another word!
So lets move on to our final DOA DVD this week, the film DEAD GIRL.
This absultely awful film is about two teenagers who find an imprisoned woman in an abandoned mental asylum who cannot die.
The things they do to her, the things this film is about…it is dead on arrival. I can’t beleive this one even got made, but it did, and you will see it in your local store, and you have been warned. Stay away from DEAD GIRL, it is a DOA DVD.
How about some laughs now? Enough with the DOAs, let’s laugh.
Those laughs, and many, many others, can be found in the four DVD Box Set for the COMPLETE SECOND SEASON of THE BIG BANG THEORY.
This is the show that was about a beautiful woman who moved in across the hall from two male science geeks, exposing their inabilities to communicate with the opposite sex, but in season two it just became a show ith a great ensemble cast that provided some great pop culture references, and more that a few laughs.
THE BIG BANG THEORY – THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON was so much fun, that I am really looking forward to watching SEASON THREE. And I might not even wait for the DVDs…I might actually watch it on TV when it airs.
And one thing is for sure, I will always sit through the show’s opening credits, with the theme song from the Barenaked Ladies!!
Finally this week, the BLU-RAY BEACON shines it’s light on two westerns with ensemble casts, one from 1985 and the other from 1995.
The one from the eighties is the great SILVERADO, about a group of cowboys who decide to fight the injustices that are taking place in a small town.
It stars Kevin Kline, Scott Glenn, Kevin Costner, Danny Glover and Mr. John Cleese
SILVERADO remains a great film with a cast full of people I like and admire and the Blu-ray comes with some nice retrospective features.
Sam Raimi’s 1995 film THE QUICK AND THE DEAD also has a great cast, but that film just doesn’t gel as well, and in the end it isn’t a good.
THE QUICK AND THE DEAD stars Sharon Stone, Gene Hackman, Russell Crowe, Leonardo DiCaprio and Gary Sinise.
It is a film that was made by people who admire and respect westerns, and it looks good in high definition on Blu-ray, but it isn’t one that I liked when it first came out, and I can’t say I like it now. I admire it…but I’ll probably never see it again.
The Blu-ray westerns THE QUICK AND THE DEAD and SILVERADO, the DOA DVS CAMILLE and THE INFORMERS and the great COMPLETE FIRST SEASON of FRINGE and the mediocre summer action film WOLVERINE are all now available on Blu-ray and DVD.
Coming up on the next Couch Potato Report
Canadian actor and writer Seth Rogan stars in the mis-fire OBSERVE AND REPORT, Jenniger Garner and Matthew McConaughey topline THE GHOSTS OF GIRLFRIENDS PAST, Jessica Biel takes on Noel Coward in EASY VIRTUE and there are laughs aplenty in SEASON THREE of 30 ROCK.
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!