The Couch Potato Report

If it is cold where you are, grab a movie and cuddle up with a loved one!!

The Couch Potato Report – October 10th, 2009
This week The Couch Potato Report peels a Winnipeggers life, in ruinsÖyear one, and Degrassi goes Hollywood.
If you have ever wondered what Winnipeg born actress and writer Nia Vardalos has been doing since the worldwide success of her 2020 film MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING, well her film became a short lived television series called MY BIG FAT GREEK LIFE that tried to capture the spirit of the original.
It failed.
Then she wrote and co-starred in the film CONNIE AND CARLA.
And it also failed.
Nia then took a break from her career to deal with what she has called “…the end of her 10-year battle with infertility.” and she and her husband adopted a baby.
That was almost two years ago, and her daughter is now almost 4-years-old.
During her hiatus she was asked to write a script for Tom Hanks, who was one of the co-producers of MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING.
She wrote six scripts, and one of them is the film that returned her to movie screens back in June.
It is called MY LIFE IN RUINS.
Nia plays an American tour guide living in Greece, and even though she is surrounded by life and beauty every day, she is searching for her “kefi” – a Greek word that has been described as the spirit of joy, passion, enthusiasm, high spirits, or frenzy.
Nia’s latest tour group is a mixture of characters that you would only see on a television sitcom, they never come acrross as real people and that hurts the film.
What also works against it is how utterly predictable it is – especially the scenes with the great Richard Dreyfuss – and the fact that Nia is overacting during most of her scenes.
However, if you like Nia Vardalos – which I do – and you are in the mood for some light-hearted entertainment, then you might enjoy MY LIFE IN RUINS.
I didn’t love it, but I liked it, and so I say Opa!!
I doubt there is anyone who will get any enjoyment out of this next film. I won’t call it a DOA DVD – a film that is dead on arrival – as I actually laughed a couple of times – but that said, this is still a horrible, horrible movie!
It is called YEAR ONE and it stars Jack Black from TROPIC THUNDER and KUNG FU PANDA and Michael Cera from JUNO and the TV series ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT.
They play two cavemen who are kicked out of their tribe who wander through a series of biblical events – specifically Cain and Abel, Abraham preparing to smite his son Isaac, and everybody converging on Sodom.
Sadly, YEAR ONE is not funny…when you watch the behind the scenes features or listen to the commentary the stars and director think it is funny…but the movie just is not funny.
And that director…Harold Ramis!!! The man who gave us CADDYSHACK, GROUNDHOG DAY, ANALYZE THIS and many great comedies over the years knows funny, he knows comedy.
Or at least he used to.
YEAR ONE is awful, and you should just skip it.
I mentioned that YEAR ONE is not a DOA DVD – a film that is soo bad it is only worthy of a mention because the film’s stars are appealing – however VISIONEERS is a movie that is Dead On Arrival.
This film is only coming out due to the success this summer of THE HANGOVER. Zach Galifianakis – who played the guy with the beard in that film – stars here and even if you thoroughly enjoyed his work in that film…this movie is a complete waste of your time.
The filmmakers think that it is a one of a kind, irreverant comedic classic.
It isn’t!
VISIONEERS is a DOA DVD!! If you see it, I suggest that you keep walking!!
I would also suggest that many of you keep walking if you happen to see DEGRASSI GOES HOLLYWOOD on a shelf…however, it isn’t a DOA DVD because I know that it will probably appeal to fans of the show….which I am not…and people who fit within the show’s target demo…teenage girls…which I am not.
That said, I thought that DEGRASSI GOES HOLLYWOOD was awful, and it actually made me lose some respect for two of the people in it.
Specifically Kevin Smith and Jason Mews…who have been in and been the creators of films like CLERKS, MALLRATS, DOGMA and CHASING AMY.
What are they doing in this thing?!?!
Okay, I know why they are in it…Smith has long decalred his love for the show – even naming characters in his films after them – and he has appeared on it before…but did he not read the script for this thing?!!?
In DEGRASSI GOES HOLLYWOOD the Degrassi students venture to Los Angeles to try and get parts in a film directed by Jason Mewes that is being produced by Kevin Smith.
Now if – and only if – you love the show, then DEGRASSI GOES HOLLYWOOD is for you. If you don’t, then it is not.
I have a film from France to tell you about next. SUMMER HOURS is about two brothers and a sister who have to deal with the passing of their mother, and their own childhood memories as they are forced to decide what to do with their Mother’s estate after she dies.
SUMMER HOURS does move a little slow, and the ending isn’t as strong as I was hoping, however this is a very interesting film.
And so is THE BROTHERS BLOOM. It is also very interesting. It is also clever at times, and at others very smart.
This movie stars Academy Award winners Rachel Weisz and Adrien Brody, along with Mark Ruffalo from ZODIAC.
The men play brothers, who are also con men who swindle millions through complex scenarios of lust and intrigue.
For their final job, they try and con an eccentric heiress.
THE BROTHERS BLOOM is not great, but I liked it. If quirky is your cup of tea, this is a good rental.
We are off to Columbia now for a fascinating movie!!
PVC-1 was inspired by a true story about a pipe bomb that was placed around the neck of an extortion victim.
The victim then has to walk across town, unaware of how long she has before it explodes, where the police will try and defuse it.
The story in PVC-1 is interesting all on it’s own as you watch – in real time – to see what will happen to this poor woman with a bomb around her neck…but what elevates it to another level is the fact that the whole 84 minute movie – from start to finish – is one shot.
There are no cuts, no edits, none of that, it is just one shot.
PVC-a is a well written, well acted movie that I thought was great!.
The 1994 film WOLF starring Jack Nicholson and Michelle Pfeiffer is also well written and well acted, but I’ve never thought that it was great, or even very good.
This story about a book publisher who is fighting to keep his job, while he also seems to be turning into a wolf is okay, but with the talent involved, I always thought it was a bit of a misfire.
WOLF is now available on Blu-ray and there are absolutely no Special Features or retrospective looks back. Plus, the film’s transfer to High Definition is not as good as most of them are, so this disc is for true fans of the film only.
And then there is the final release I have for you this week.
WOLF doesn’t hold up 15 years after it’s release.
SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS does…72 years after it was first shown to audiences.
The BLU RAY BEACON this week shines on the spectacular DIAMOND EDITION of Snow White.
The film itself continues to be the focal point as it does not have a wasted minute and there is an abundance of Special Features – Brand New and old – that take you even further into the artistic process that created it.
SNOW WHITE is one of those films that will live forever, and now in High Definition, it looks and sound better than ever before.
This one is both a classic AND a masterpiece!!
The superb SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS, the not great WOLF, the quirky con-men movie THE BROTHERS BLOOM, the not funny, not funny at all “comedy” YEAR ONE and MY LIFE IN RUINS, starring Winnipeg born Nia Vardalos from MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDINg are available on Blu-ray and DVD.
Coming up on the next Couch Potato Report
ANVIL – THE STORY OF ANVIL is a superb documentary about a Canadian band who are still trying to make it big, over 30 years after they first started.
Also next week, THE END OF THE LINE is a documentary about how many fish there are actually left in the ocean, we’ll call a cab for TAXI – THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON, get ready for Halloween with DRAG ME TO HELL and THE CRAFT, and the BLU RAY BEACON will shine on SOUTH PARK: BIGGER, LONGER AND UNCUT.
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!