The Couch Potato Report

Since it is cold in Canada right now, why not enjoy a movie or two!

The Couch Potato Report – December 12th, 2009
This week The Couch Potato Report peels a television show about real people and some movies about people who are real.
For five years now, two guys from Toronto have been trying to outdo each other in some of the most innane challenges you’ll ever hear of.
Challenges such as Who Can Wear a Gorilla Suit the Longest?, First Guy to Touch the Ground Loses, Whoís the Best Pro Wrestler?, Whoís the Best Soldier?, and those are just the ones I can say without getting fired.
But as odd as it might be to think of two friends trying to win those challenges, imagine it as a TV show.
Because it is a show…and now KENNY VS. SPENNY – SEASON FIVE is available in a 2 DVD set.
KENNY VS. SPENNY stars Kenny Hotz and Spencer Rice and the loser of the episode must perform an act of humiliation, usually selected by the winner.
KENNY VS. SPENNY is one of those shows that I sit and watch and wonder, “Why am I watching this?!?!”
And as I laugh out loud at their idiocy, I wonder, “Why do I find this funny?!?!?”
I guess it is because KENNY VS. SPENNY is a guilty pleasure, so if you have laughed at them in the past, enjoy SEASON FIVE!
I did!!
I also enjoyed JULIE & JULIA…although for completely different reasons.
I enjoyed this one because it is a great movie!!
JULIE & JULIA stars Meryl Streep and Amy Adams and is about the life of chef Julia Child in the early years in her culinary career, AND it is also about Julie Powell, a woman in New York who aspires to cook all 524 recipes from Child’s cookbook “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” during a single year.
I found JULIE & JULIA very entertaining, and it is also very funny and sweet…plus, the movi emade me smile. There were scenes where I was just sitting there smiling at it.
Admittedly, Meryl Streeps scenes are stronger than Amy Adams, and they could actually have made a whole movie just about Julia Childs…but they didn’t, and in the end, I liked what they did make, warts and all!
JULIE & JULIA is a great film, that I highly recommend, and when the Academy Award nominations are announced on Tuesday, February 2nd, you can expect to hear at least Meryl Streep’s name announced for Best Actress!
Unlike JULIE AND JULIA, this next film has very little Oscar buzz, but I liked it as well.
Johnny Depp and Christian Bale star in director Michael Mann’s PUBLIC ENEMIES
This film is set during the Great Depression and it is based on the true story of Bale’s Bureau of Investigation agent Melvin Purvis’ attempt to stop Depp’s John Dillinger and other criminals.
PUBLIC ENEMIES is well written, acted and directed and like all Michael Mann’s films – Manhunter, The Last of the Mohicans, The Insider, Ali and Collateral – it has a fantastic attention to detail.
Yes, truth be told, like most of Mann’s films this one also takes a bit of time to get where it’s going, and with a running time of two-hours and twenty minutes it may seem very long at times, but I completely enjoyed it.
PUBLIC ENEMIES is not perfect, but I think there is enough good stuff for me to recommend it.
Another one of Michael Mann’s films that plays long is the 1995 film HEAT. It is almost three hours long, at 170 minutes, but it too EASILY features enough good to recommend it.
Namely two actors whose names are Al Pacino and Robert De Niro.
HEAT is a crime and heist movie that takes place in Los Angeles and is about two men on opposite sides of the law – one a detective; the other a thief.
HEAT is new on Blu-ray and in addition to the old school action and acting, the disc features some great special features.
I love this film, and even though it is long, I am always surprised at how fast the time goes by when you are watching a great movie.
There is another new heist movie that is available now, it is called THE MAIDEN HEIST, and while it isn’t as good as HEAT it is quirky enough to get a mild recommendation from me.
I love the cast of this film, Morgan Freeman, Christopher Walken, William H. Macy and Marcia Gay Harden, and the men in the cast play museum security guards who put together a plan to steal the artworks they love, after they have been sold to another museum.
Yes, I love the cast of THE MAIDEN HEIST, but I didn’t think the movie was as good as they are. It isn’t a bad film, but I was hoping for better.
As I said, I watched it because of the cast, so if you like them too, give it a shot.
I have four foreign films for you now, three of them which I consider classics – so if you have never seen Krzysztof Kieślowski’s THREE COLOURS TRILOGY, now is your chance as Alliance has released them in an inexpensive set.
Blue, white, and red are the colours of the French flag in left-to-right order, and the story of each film is loosely based on one of the three political ideals in the motto of the French Republic: liberty, equality, fraternity.
BLUE was released in 1993, and stars Academy Award winner Juliette Binoche, WHITE in 1994 and stars Julie Delpy from BEFORE SUNRISE, and RED came out later in 1994, remains my favourite of the three, and it stars IrËne Jacob.
The THREE COLOURS TRILOGY is full of a wealth of interesting characters, operates on a multitude of layers, and all three are spectacular films!
If you have never seen them…go ahead!! I highly recommend them all!!
This other new foreign film release is one that I don’t recommend. Sure, it is very interesting at times, and it is both horriffic and erotic, but ultimately I didn’t care.
This film is called THIRST and it is a two-hour and fifteen minute South Korean film about a failed medical experiment that turns a priest into a vampire.
THIRST is one of the best made films I have ever seen, but the acting is stiff and the story is actually boring at times.
Vampire movies and stories are popular these days, and if you need to see them all, then you’ll have to bite into this one, otherwise…ignore it.
It bites.
It is time to let the BLU RAY BEACON shine now on two new releases that look great in High Definition. If you enjoy these films, then this is definitely the way to see them.
Especially, LEON: THE PROFESSIONAL, Luc Besson’s superb 1994 action film starring Jean Reno, Gary Oldman, Danny Aiello and a young Natalie Portman about a professional assassin who reluctantly takes care of a 12-year-old girl.
In addition to the great film itself, the Blu-ray for LEON features the International and North American versions of the film, along with some great retrospective features.
The new Blu-ray for THE GREEN MILE also comes with a wealth of special features, and a book about the film, however this is a film that I have always thought was only pretty good.
I know others love this this Frank Darabont adaptaion of a Stephen King story as much as the other one the men did together – a little movie called THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION – but I don’t love it as much as that film, one that I consider a classic.
However, THE GREEN MILE is an interesting movie, and it certainly looks and sounds great on Blu-ray.
I was going to save this next film for last, so I could say: “last and certainly least this week…”, but I have decided to make it second last so I could end this week’s Report on a positive.
So, instead I will now say, “Second last and certainly least this week…SHORTS.”
Actually, it’s full name is “Shorts: The Adventures of the Wishing Rock” and this is the latest film from Robert Rodriguez, the man who gave us Desperado (1995), From Dusk Till Dawn (1996), Sin City (2005), Planet Terror (2007), and the SPY KIDS trilogy.
This film is another one for kids, starring some kids who find a magic rock that makes their dreams come true.
Simply put, SHORTS is for kids – boys mostly – under 10. No one else. Adults, you will not like this movie…I certainly didn’t, even though I was once a kid – a boy in fact – under ten.
SHORTS bites too!!
Finally this week, last, but NOT least is the latest season of the television show LOST.
This FIFTH SEASON of LOST is when the show started getting good again, after it had slipped a little in quality, and when I say good, I mean good.
This was a great season of television, that now makes up a great 5 disc Box set!!
LOST gave us lots of twists, turns and time travel last year and now THE COMPLETE FIFTH SEASON is available on DVD and Blu-ray, along with the kids only film SHORTS – THE ADVENTURES OF THE WISHING ROCK, THE GREEN MILE, LEON: THE PROFESSIONAL, Michael Mann’s film HEAT and PUBLIC ENEMIES, an dthe very entertaining JULIE & JULIA
THE MAIDEN HEIST, THIRST, the spectacular THREE COLOURS TRILOGY, and the guilty pleasure KENNY VS. SPENNY – SEASON FIVE are all available now only on DVD.
Coming up soon on a Special Edition of The Couch Potato Report
I’ll tell you about some new DVD and Blu-ray box sets that are available now for gift giving, both to yourself, and others, including: the 32 disc set for ALLY MCBEAL – THE COMPLETE SERIES and the 4-disc set celebrating 100 YEARS OF THE MONTREAL CANADIENS.
I’m Dan Reynish. I’ll have more on those, and some other releases, soon!!
Enjoy the movies and I’ll see you back here next time on The Couch!