The Couch Potato Report

Movies, movies movies!!

The Couch Potato Report – November 28th, 2009
This week The Couch Potato Report peels hockey, angels, demons, four Christmases, and a fight club.
Alright, I was away for the past couple of weeks, so I do have some of the biggest titles that came out in my absence coming up for you, but first, the biggest releases from this past week, in case you would like a movie to watch tonight.
And if you like big names above the marquee, big stars, well, how about two-time Academy Award Winner Tom Hanks? And four-time Nominee, and winner of the Best Director Oscar for A BEAUTIFUL MIND, Mr. Ron Howard? How about those names? They’re pretty big.
Together, those men have given us the great films SPLASH and APOLLO 13, along with the very good 2006 film THE DA VINCI CODE.
And now, Ron and Tom, Tom and Ron team up again for the sequel to that latter film, yes the book is a prequel, but the film is a sequel…it is based on a Dan Brown book, so don’t get caught up in the details…yes Hanks and Howard are working together again as symbologist Robert Langdon is back on screen!!
This time around, he has been asked to help solve a murder and prevent a terrorist act against the Vatican.
Although, he isn’t altogether sure why.
The genres that I would put ANGELS & DEMONS in are Mystery and Thriller, although it really isn’t all that mysterious and certainly isn’t thrilling.
No, I’ll admit it, it isn’t the worst film I have seen this year, it occasionally has a few unique flashes of brilliance.
Unfortunately, just as one is introduced, it seems to run away from the unique stuff, to get to the next plot device.
Simply put, ANGELS & DEMONS is a boring film that I didn’t care for at all. The booked I liked.
I recommend the book, not the movie.
This next film I do recommend, but I say that with some reservations. I liked FUNNY PEOPLE, a lot! It will easily make my list of the year’s Ten Best, but you might like it as much as I did because in it Adam Sandler plays a character named superstar comedic actor who is not always likeable.
However, the film is a comedy, so he doesn’t stay unlikeable for long, especially when the story focusses on the fact that he is dying.
And yes, I did say that is is a comedy.
After he is diagnosed, he hires Canadian born actor Seth Rogen from KNOCKED UP and PINEAPPLE EXPRESS to be his assistant, and friend. Rogen is a young comedian who grew up watching the superstars films.
For me, FUNNY PEOPLE is at it’s best when it features the comedians and comedic actors who populate the picture just talking. Those scenes are very entertaining and feature some very smart dialogue.
However, all the good words aside, at 2.5 hours, FUNNY PEOPLE is too long, and could have cut out the whole third act, but it made me laugh out loud, both times I’ve seen it, and so I recommend it.
FUNNY PEOPLE is funny.
You know, I also liked this next film, I liked FOUR CHRISTMASES a lot.
FOUR CHRISTMASES stars Vince Vaughn from WEDDING CRASHERS and SWINGERS and Reese Witherspoon from LEGALLY BLONDE and WALK THE LINE as a young couple who are planning to spend the holidays in Fiji, however they get storm stayed at home…and now they have to visit all four of their divorced parents on Christmas Day.
In addition to exposing each other to families they had not met, the visits also expose some cracks in their – previously very happy – relationship.
FOUR CHRISTMASES is very funny and at only 80 minutes long, it goes by very fast.
PLUS, in addition to Vince and Reese, the fantastic cast includes Robert Duvall, Sissy Spacek, Jon Voight, Jon Favreau, Mary Steenburgen, country singers Dwight Yoakam and Tim McGraw, Emmy winner Kristin Chenoweth from PUSHING DAISIES and more familiar and very enteratining faces.
One warning, however, this film isn’t for the whole family, and there is a scene revealing the Santa secret, so be forewarned.
Also be forwarned…laughs ahead!! FOUR CHRISTMASES is a very entertaining movie!!
Okay, the final Brand New release this week is FIGHT CLUB, a movie that I love and have a lot to say about.
Oh, come on…but I have a lot to say about this 1999 film that has now debuted on Blu-ray in a spectacular 10th Anniversary Edition.
I am breaking the rules…Edward Norton and Brad Pitt star in Director David Fincher’s great, very dark film about an office drone and a soap salesman who start a club to help vent male aggression.
In addition to th eability to see the film in High Definition, and it looks great by the way, the superb 10th ANNIVERSARY EDITION Blu-ray for FIGHT CLUB also features some new Special Features as well.
If you have never seen thsi film, and you don’t mind dark, violent movies, then you should see it.
Just don’t tell anyone.
Okay, I’m moving on…let me tell you about five releases now that came out while I was away, that you might be curious about…and we’ll start with CBC’s Own, Mr. Don Cherry!
DON CHERRY’s ROCK EM SOCK EM HOCKEY NUMBER 21 features all the best action, hits, goals, saves and bloopers from the 2008-2009 NHL season.
It also features the best of last year’s Coach’s Corner – a feature that you can see each and every Saturday Night during Hockey Night In Canada on CBC Television.
If you like Don Cherry and hockey then this one is a must see!
If you like comedy that is almost over the edge, but not quite….comedy that pushes the envelope as far as it can go…humour that actually makes you uncomfortable at times, then this next release is a must see for you.
The folks who gave us BORAT back in 2006 are now back with another one of comedian Sacha Baron Cohen’s characters from DA ALI G SHOW, folks…meet Bruno.
The film is about a flamboyant Austrian fashionista who takes his show to America, and it has some laughs.
No, BRUNO isn’t as consistantly funny as BORAT, and the character’s open sexuality may turn some people off, but when this film is funny, it is one of the funniest of the year.
I liked it, I laughed, and I mildly recommend it.
THE UGLY TRUTH is the next release, and the ugly truth about this romantic comedy is that it doesn’t feature characters or lovers you can root for. It is a mildly enjoyable film at times, but it never seems to strive to be anything more than mediocre…and so that is all it really is.
THE UGLY TRUTH stars Katherine Heigl from GREY’S ANATOMY and Gerard Butler of 300. She is a lonely morning show producer who is forced to work with a chauvinistic correspondent to improve ratings.
He also tries to help her find love…and since it is a romantic comedy, you’ll be able to see how it ends a mile away.
Like I said, it doesn’t strive for much, and I’ll never sit through THE UGLY TRUTH again, but I didn’t mind it.
IN THE LOOP is the name of the film I have next, and this is a small British film about a US President and UK Prime Minister who want a war, but not everyone on their staffs agree that war is a good thing.
IN THE LOOP is a movie that is funny, politically in tune, very smart, interesting and full of pop culture references. I admit, I thought it would be better than it was, but it was still very good.
If you are looking for a smaller film to watch this weekend, get IN THE LOOP.
I have a cinematic classic to conclude this week’s Report…that one is next. Right now G.I. JOE – THE RISE OF COBRA.
I won’t pull punches here, this G.I. JOE movie is not great…in truth, it is pretty bad and some of the special effects look like they were done by rank amateurs…however, the cast tries hard, some of the effects are not bad, and even though I didn’t like it and couldn’t with a clear conscience tell anyone to go and see it…G.I. JOE – THE RISE OF COBRA might entertain you if you expect absolutely nothing from an action movie about an elite military unit that takes on an evil organization led by a notorious arms dealer.
I know I was entertained at times…G.I. JOE – THE RISE OF COBRA is okay.
Okay, so I mentioned the cinematic classic that I had to conclude this week’s Report…well, here it is!
In August of 1959 a movie was released about a hapless New York advertising executive who was mistaken for a government agent by a group of foreign spies, and is pursued across the country while he looks for a way to survive.
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock NORTH BY NORTHWEST stars Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint and it is a classic in every sense of the word.
The new 50th ANNIVERSARY EDITION of NORTH BY NORTHWEST brings the film to High Definition for the first time, and includes a wealth of special features, along with a 44-page book. It is available now on Blu-ray along with the 10th ANNIVERSARY EDITION of the great film FIGHT CLUB.
And DON CHERRY – ROCK EM SOCK EM HOCKEY NUMBER 21 is available now only on DVD.
And don’t miss Coach’s Corner tonight, on CBC Television’s Hockey Night In Canada!!
Coming up on the next Couch Potato Report
In HUMPDAY two guys take their bromance to another level, the 2 DISC SPECIAL EDITION of THE ROCKET allows us to once again celebrate the great Maurice Richard.
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!