The Couch Potato Report – January 17th, 2010
This week The Couch Potato Report peels films about Mothers and Fathers and we visit the hurt locker.
I begin this weekís Report with two Canadian films about parents and parenting.
One is a movie about two women hoping to become mothers that wants to be a comedyÖbut it isnít funny.
The other movie is a documentary about a man looking for his biological father that is interesting and insightful.
Let me get the unfunny one out of the way so I never have to think about it again.
THE BABY FORMULA is set in Toronto and it is about two women in a loving relationship who decide they want to have a baby.
Through a series of stem cell experiments for one of them, and lies from the other, they both end up pregnant.
Iíll admit, I like the idea of THE BABY FORMULA. I thought that it could have made a good film, but the people who made it decided to shoot it as if it was a documentary, like the television show THE OFFICE, and while it works for the TV show, it just doesnít work in this movie.
There are so many things wrong with THE BABY FORMULA, but the primary thing that worked against it is that I didnít care for the lead characters, and thus, I didnít care about them. There were also too many secondary characters who took away from what could have been a nice story about two women using science to create life and have a family.
Plus, the movie thinks its funny. The people who made it think that what they have written is funnyÖand it isnít. It is just another textbook definition of Canadian Melodrama put on film and I did not care for it at all!
At the 45th of the 81 minutes of the movie, I was actually wondering how I would be able to sit through any more of it, but I made it to the end…and I am here to advise you not to bother.
THE BABY FORMULA is just not worthy of your time.
From a story about Mothers, lets move now to a film about Fathers.
And BIO DAD is a movie I did like.
BIO DAD is a documentary about a man named Barry Stevens who was born of artificial insemination and is on a search to find his biological father.
And – in addition to looking for his Bio Dad – Barry is also looking to track down as many of the hundreds of half brothers and sisters he can find.
I liked BIO DAD as it shows us Barryís successes and disappointments. It informed and entertained me, and I also learned a few things about artificial insemination and adoption that I didnít know.
Unlike THE BABY FORMULA, BIO DAD is worthy of your time. This is good stuff!
The nominations for this yearís Academy Awards will be announced on Tuesday, February 2nd and while our first two releases this week arenít likely to hear their names called, these next two films are almost guaranteed to be nominated.
Especially THE HURT LOCKER, this movie will be nominated in at least the Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor categories, and maybe even several others.
The film is one of the most highly praised releases of the year, and while I will admit that it is very good, I didnít think it was THAT good.
THE HURT LOCKER was directed by Kathryn Bigelow, who also gave us POINT BREAK, BLUE STEEL and STRANGE DAYS, and it is about an elite Army bomb squad in Iraq who must defuse bombs and work in a city where everyone is a potential enemy and every object could be a deadly explosive.
Now that synopsis, that concept, that film sounded great to me, it still does, and for the first 55 minutes this movie about people who ñ for some reason ñ have the nerve and courage to try and stop something from exploding is great!
But then, after that tremendous start ñ a start full of tense action, drama and hard-to-believe scenarios ñ the movie switches gears with one long stand-off in the desert and at that point, I started to not only lose interestÖI was bored.
THE HURT LOCKER manages to recover, and I was interested in it again by the end. No, it doesnít finish as strong as it starts, but what a start!!
No, after watching it for a fourth time this week, I still donít think that the movie is as good as everyone else seems to think it is, but it is a movie that has enough good stuff in it for me to recommend it.
And if you like to see all of the movies nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars, you will need to see THE HURT LOCKER (START CLIP) for sure!
Yes, THE HURT LOCKER is almost a guaranteed Best Picture nominee, and another almost lock is THE COVE, but not for Best Picture. This film about the purported annual killing of about 2,300 dolphins in a National Park in Japan should garner a nod in the Best Documentary Feature category.
Yes, you heard me right, THE COVE is a documentary about the slaughter of dolphinsÖdolphins! Those cute creatures who everyone lovesÖeven the mention of them can make us smileÖdolphins.
THE COVE is a very, very interesting and well made documentary that I recommend about a topic that I still find hard to believeÖthe slaughter of one of the worldís friendliest creatures.
From potential Academy Award nomineesÖand maybe even winnersÖlets movie now to a film that wonít get nominatedÖbut will probably find an audience of teenage girls and young women who discover it and love it on DVD or Blu-ray.
Alexis Bledel from GILMOUR GIRLS stars in POST GRAD.
POST GRAD is about a young woman who graduates from college and doesnít get the dream job that she has been planning for her whole life, and as such, has to move back in with her parents, while she attempts to find a job, the right guy, and some idea where her life is headed.
If POST GRAD sounds a lot like the 1994 film REALITY BITES, well thatís because they are basically the same movie. This one isnít as good as that one, but like I said, there are some young women out there who will love it.
Enjoy it, ladies!
I have four films for you now, and they are the films of the THE SCARY MOVIE FRANCHISE
The Scary Movie series is a series of four films that spoof popular horror films. They have collectively grossed over $818 million at the box-office and all star Anna Faris, as Cindy Campbell.
The third and fourth films in the series also star Saskatchewanís own, Mr. Leslie Nielsen!!
The first two films in THE SCARY MOVIE FRANCHISE are still the best, but the latter two still have more than a few laughs, so if you have enjoyed them over the years, you can now own them in this inexpensive set.
From a series of four comedies, let me now tell you about a documentary about the last U.S. election called BY THE PEOPLE ñ THE ELECTION OF BARACK OBAMA.
This documentary follows Obama’s campaign all the way from 2006 to the night he won the U.S. Presidency.
We see him and his team doing early grassroots campaigning, through large fundraisers, and the we also see the race shift his was as he went from an unknown, to the most well-known politician on the planet.
Sadly, it is what we donít see and hear that makes this documentary not worth recommending.
Yes, they story of the campaign is well covered, but there are no big surprises, no scoops for those of us who wanted to know more about the man and his victory.
And, even though the film promises ìExclusive Accessî, the cameras are not with Obama during the big moments, as in the exact moment he won the presidency. I wanted to see his face and reaction when he realized heíd wonÖbut this film does not give us that.
In the end, BY THE PEOPLE ñ THE ELECTION OF BARACK OBAMA is a pretty good documentary, but there is nothing special about it.
There was also nothing special about Arnold Schwarzeneggerís LAST ACTION HERO when it came out in 1993, and the time hasnít been that kind to it either. Even watching it this week, the film about a kid who gets thrown into a movie with his favourite action movie star, I was left with no nostalgia for a film that I – and many movie goers at the time – was hoping would continue Ah-noldís box-office dominance. Instead ñ then and now ñ the film is a huge flop.
LAST ACTION HERO is now available on Blu-ray, and while the movie does look tremendous in High Definition, it still isnít a film that is worthy of our time. PLUS, the Blu-ray has absolutely no Special Features. There is no retrospective look back, no commentary from the filmmakers about the filmís failure, and what they had hoped,Ö nothing.
So, if you are one of the few folks who do love this movie, then the BLU-RAY for LAST ACTION HERO is one you might want to own. OtherwiseÖit is best left in the past.
Another movie that came out in 1993 ñ but this one was and remains a success ñ is Sylvester Stalloneís CLIFFHANGER.
It too is now out on Blu-ray, and unlike LAST ACTION HERO, this one has a wealth of special features and retrospectivesÖbut most importantly, it has a film that remains a movie worth watching.
CLIFFHANGER is an action film with great characters and suspense about a heist gone wrong that results in people searching for suitcases full of cash in the Rocky Mountains.
CLIFFHANGER looks great in High Def, and the Special Features are insightful and entertaining. Donít miss this film on BLU-RAY, if you are a fan of good films.
Up next on Blu-ray, the Beacon shines on a film about the satellite that shines on us every night.
It is a movie called MOON.
MOON is a very interesting little film starring Sam Rockwell from Forst/Nixon and Confessions of a Dangerous Mind as man who is coming to the end of his three-year contract at a single-man mining outpost on the moon and he is getting ready to go home.
His only companion is his talking computer, howeverÖafter an accidentÖhe makes an interesting discovery.
Oscar winner Kevin Spacey provides the voice of the computer.
MOON is not your typical science-fiction film, there are no aliens or space fights, but the sci-fi element is what might keep people away from the movie.
However, I could easily recommend the film to anyone who is interested in character driven films that make you wait to get all the answersÖanswers that I wonít be giving you, youíll have to watch the movie to get them
No, MOON is not a classic, but it is a smart, engaging little movie that I do mildly recommend.
Finally this week, we get to celebrate twenty years of (START CLIP) THE SIMPSONS
For over twenty years now Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, Maggie and the residents of Springfield and area have been entertaining us, and making us laugh on a very regular basis.
Prior to this week, the first twelve seasons of the show had been released on DVD, and now THE COMPLETE TWENTIETH SEASON has come out on DVD AND Blu-ray!
Why jump ahead, you askÖwell, this is the season that saw the show debut in High Definition, using the left and right sides of the TV screen to add new images and jokes and the studio wanted to get it out there.
Unfortunately, because they jumped ahead, this set doesnít have the usual amount of special features and commentaries that we have come to expect from these SIMPSONS BOX SETSÖhowever, it does still have the episodes, which still make me laugh, so I can easily recommend itÖand I eagerly await SEASON THIRTEEN or SEASON TWENTY-ONE on DVD and Blu-rayÖwhichever comes first.
THE COMPLETE TWENTIETH SEASON of THE SIMPSONS, MOON, CLIFFHANGER, THE LAST ACTION HERO, POST GRAD and THE HURT LOCKER are all available now on Blu-ray and DVD.
BIO DAD, BABY FORMULA, THE SCARY MOVIE FRANCHISE, THE BURNING PLAIN, BY THE PEOPLE ñ THE ELECTION OF BARACK OBAMA and THE COVE ñ the documentary about the slaughter of dolphins – are all available now only on DVD.
Coming up on the next Couch Potato Report
A Canadian made romance called CAIRO TIME about a brief, unexpected love affair that catches two people completely off-guard.
Also next week, the Academy Award winning Foreign Language Film DEPARTURES, THE INVENTION OF LYING, and THE BLU-RAY BEACON will shine on THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON of the television series CHUCK.
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 again next time on The Couch!
The Couch Potato Report – January 17th, 2010