The Couch Potato Report – February 13th, 2010
This week The Couch Potato Report peels Love, because it is in the air, everywhere I look around. Itís in the air, in every sight and every sound.
Today is the 13th day of February, meaning tomorrow is the 14thÖyes, once again, that will mean that it is Saint Valentine’s Day, a day to celebrate love and affection.
And once again this year, the studios have released a wide array of films that have one connection or another to the day at hand.
Yes, love is in the airÖand up firstÖ I HATE VALENTINEíS DAY!!
NoÖthat is not a statement from me, I HATE VALENTINEíS DAY is the latest movie from Winnipegís Nia Vardalos of MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING fame.
John Corbett, Niaís co-star from MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING co-stars in this filmÖyes Toula and Ian are together againÖbut make no mistake, this film is not that film.
This one is about an independent woman who owns a flower shop and has a very strict rule about dating ñ no relationship should last no more than 5 dates.
Her rule is in place because she believes that this way, no one gets dumped or hurtÖbut then she meets someone she thinks she could love, and she doesnít know what to do.
Even though I like Nia Vardalos and her work, I have to admit that I HATE VALENTINEíS DAY is nothing specialÖit is one of those movies that if you like the cast and the characters they play, you might enjoy the movie. If you donít, you wonít care for it at all.
I liked them, and I liked itÖliked, not loved. Iíll never watch it again, but I am glad Iíve seen it.
And that is also true about THE TIME TRAVELERíS WIFEÖliked, not loved, glad Iíve seen it, but will never watch it again.
London, Ontario born actress Rachel McAdams from THE NOTEBOOK stars in THE TIME TRAVELLERíS WIFE, along with Eric Bana from FUNNY PEOPLE and MUNICH.
Based on the 2003 novel of the same name, this is a love story about a man with a genetic disorder that causes him to time travel unpredictably. It is also about his wife who has to cope with his frequent absences and dangerous experiences.
Bana plays the traveler and McAdams his wife and theirís is a love affair that lasts for years as they first meet when she is but a little girl.
I was always engaged by THE TIME TRAVELLERíS WIFE, and I bought into the movieís premise, but this film just isnít anything special.
It is what it is, and then it endedÖnothing special.
If you do pick it up this Valentineís Day weekend, and expect something more substantialÖI hope you enjoy it more than I did.
From a pair of love stories that I am glad Iíve seen, let me tell you about one that I thought was just a waste of time.
LOVE HAPPENS is about a widower whose book about coping with loss turns him into a best-selling self-help guru.
On a business trip to Seattle, he falls for a woman who, only to learn that he hasn’t yet truly confronted his wife’s passing.
Aaron Eckhart from THE DARK KNIGHT and ERIN BROKOVICH is the widower. Tabloid staple ñ and former FRIEND ñ Jennifer Aniston is the woman.
Both Eckhart and Anniston are likeable actors, and their film has a few nice moments and a few laughs, but the love story here seems like it was added as an afterthought, and I have to admit that I just didnít care for this movie at all.
LOVE HAPPENSÖyes, that is true. BAD MOVIES HAPPEN as well. Skip this one, unless you are HUGE fans of either Eckhart or Aniston.
LOVE HAPPENS is Jennifer Anistonís latest cinematic romance, back in 2006 she made one with Vince Vaughn called THE BREAK-UP.
Vinceís latest cimematic romance is the romantic comedy COUPLEíS RETREATÖand I enjoyed this one a heck of a lot more than either LOVE HAPPENS or THE BREAK-UP.
A heck of a lot more!!
Now, in addition to Vince Vaughn, COUPLEíS RETREAT stars Jon Favreau, Canadian actress Malin Akerman, Kristin Davis from SEX AND THE CITY, Kristen Bell, and Jason Bateman from JUNO.
COUPLEíS RETREAT is a comedy that shows us the lives of three couples who decide to go to a tropical-island resort for a vacation, in order to help their friendís marriage.
They all think that in addition to helping their friends, a vacation will be great tooÖuntil they discover that attending the resort’s therapy sessions is not optional.
COUPLEíS RETREAT has that great cast, some fantastic locations and scenery, and it offers up some huge laughs ñ and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau acting together again ñ as they did in SWINGERS ñ but the movie is only, it is not great by any means.
So, lets call this one a good rental.
So far this morning, this pre-Valentineís Day edition of The Report, has only featured films about love between one man and one woman, but all that changes now as I have a great Quebec-made documentary about one man and five womenÖooh la la!!
Michel Louvain is a French Canadian singer who was most popular over forty years ago. His first hit, “Buenas Noches Mi Amor”, launched his career, and he has also worked as a host for a varieties of shows on television and radio. He is, and remains, the Wayne Newton of Quebecís music industry.
The documentary LADIES IN BLUE is about Louvain and his five of his fans, women from different generations who made a place for the crooner in their hearts and in their lives and it shows us how he remains there to this day.
These woman have pictures of Louvin above their beds, in the same frames as their husbands and children, and they all have hundreds of his cassettes, albums and CDs.
We all have one musician or another we love more than the rest, and so this movie is a nice tribute to the artists we love, and the fans who love them.
If you have never heard of Michel Louvain, donít let that keep you away LADIES IN BLUE is a very entertaining film!!
Yes, we all love musicians, and many of us love filmmakers as well. This morning, I would now like to share my love of Joel and Ethan Coen, who collectively are known as The Coen Brothers.
The films they have made include Fargo, The Big Lebowski, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, No Country for Old Men and Burn After Reading and through their ups and downs, I love them. As far as I am concerned, they can do no wrong.
That is why I loved their latest film, A SERIOUS MAN, although I know many people wonít love it as much as I did.
A SERIOUS MAN is a comedy set in 1967 about a professor whose life starts to unravel.
His wife wants to leave him, his inept brother won’t move out of the house, and his students are offering bribes for higher grades.
I canít deny that parts of A SERIOUS MAN could be seen as self-indulgent to anyone who is just a casual fan of Joel and Ethan Coen. I would also have to agree that the storyline might seem dull to people who are looking for another movie like FARGOÖbut, to meÖsomeone who loves these guysÖI think the film totally belongs in the Brotherís filmography.
A SERIOUS MAN is a very interesting and entertaining film that I really loved, and if you are someone who completely enjoys the Coen Brothersí films, then I think you will too.
If not, I suggest that you grab a movie by your favourite filmmakers and enjoy that one instead.
In addition to loving filmmakers, some of us also love different genres. My personal favourites are comedy, action and science-fiction, but I do enjoy a good horror film now and then.
Sadly, in order to find a good horror film, I sometimes have to sit through bad ones, and I had to do that this week as I watched the remake of the 1987 horror film THE STEPFATHER about a serial killer who is searching for the perfect family to be a part of…and when he doesnít find them, he kills them.
The original version of THE STEPFATHER remains a pretty good horror film that stars Terry O’Quinn ñ who plays John Locke on LOST as the title character.
The remake features Dylan Walsh from NIP/TUCK in the lead role and it is just not as good. It truly is a slasher film for fans of the genre only.
Up next is a movie that is a loose adaptation of an autobiography about an undercover informant within the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA), from 1987 to 1991.
It is called FIFTY DEAD MEN WALKING.
This film takes its name from the informantís claim to have saved the lives of fifty people during his time as an informant.
FIFTY DEAD MEN WALKING, based on a true story or not, is boring.
The real life tales of what happened during through troubled times in Ireland is full of drama, intrigue and violence that I still canít believe this film about it fails to capture much of it.
This movie is one to just ignore.
From a serious war movie about soldiers, we have arrived now at one that is a comedy.
Monty Pythonís John Cleese stars in PRIVATES ON PARADE.
This 1982 comedy is about the members of a Song And Dance Unit in South East Asia who fall in and out of love while trying to dodge Malayan Communist bullets.
And in addition to that, they have to contend with a loony, bible bashing Major who creates far more danger than any of the jungle inhabitants.
PRIVATES ON PARADE was a great film when it came out, and it still is!
No, it isnít the funniest war movie ever ñ that title remains with M*A*S*H ñ but this one is definitely in the Top Ten!
Love, it is still in the air this Valentineís Day weekend, and I love watching new releases on blu-ray!!
This weekís BLU-RAY BEACON shines on a two-disc set featuring episodes from the television show STARGATE UNIVERSE.
I mentioned a few minutes ago that I love science-fiction, and I doÖIíll watch just about any sci-fi shows that come out.
Some stick with me, some are forgotten as soon as they are over. STARGATE UNIVERSE definitely goes into the latter category.
STARGATE UNIVERSE reveals the previously unknown purpose of the “Ninth Cheveron”, something that youíll know if you watched the other STARGATE television shows.
The Stargate takes a team to an Ancient ship, and traps them there, as they are unable to change its programmed mission.
Along the course of the episodes, they encounter new races, new technology and new enemies, as the runaway ship takes them to the far ends of the UniverseÖand unless you are a huge fan of this series, it wonít matter to you.
STARGATE UNIVERSE ñ SGU 1.0 as it is known on Blu-ray and DVD ñ is not awful, but it isnít great either.
Yes, you will forget it once in concludes, but it isnít necessarily a waste of time along the way
Of all the love stories that I have spoken about this morning ñ whether it is love between one person and another, love for a person, love of a filmmaker, or love of a format to watch films on ñ the greatest love story I have for you this week is this next one, yes I have saved the best type of love for lastÖlove that will stand the test of time.
That was the kind of love that was shared between Johnny and June Carter Cash, and that is the love that is on display in the movie WALK THE LINE.
WALK THE LINE is the 2005 Academy Award winning film starring Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny and Reese Witherspoon as June, and this great movie shows us the ups and downs of their love.
WALK THE LINE is primarily a look at all of Johnny Cash’s life ñ from his early days on an Arkansas cotton farm to his rise to fame with Sun Records in Memphis, where he recorded alongside Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins ñ but it is the love story at itís core that continues to resonate with me.
I absolutely love this movie, and it is now available in High Definition and it looks ñ and especially sounds better than ever!!
The movies to and about love WALK THE LINE, STARGATE UNIVERSE ñ SGU 1.0, FIFTY DEAD MEN WALKING, THE STEPFATHER, COUPLEíS RETREAT, A SERIOUS MAN, LOVE HAPPENS, THE TIME TRAVELLERíS WIFE and I HATE VALENTINEíS DAY are available on Blu-ray and DVD.
PRIVATES ON PARADE and LADIES IN BLUE are all available now only on DVD.
Oh…and Happy Valentineís Day!!!
Coming up on the next Couch Potato Report
The made-in-Regina film WALLED IN; the made-in-Winnipeg movie AMREEKA; and the made-in-Hamilton-and Toronto project YOU MIGHT AS WELL LIVE; will preceed COCO AVENT CHANNEL; WOMEN IN TROUBLE and the revenge thriller LAW ABIDING CITIZEN.
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 – February 13th, 2010