The Couch Potato Report

If you don’t want to watch the Oscars this weekend, how about these releases?

The Couch Potato Report – March 6th, 2010
This week The Couch Potato Report peels wild things, Elvis, the year 2012 and asks if you feel luckyÖwell, do yaÖpunk?!?
Back in 1963 a children’s picture book was released called WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE. It was written by Maurice Sendak, and since itís release it has sold over 19 million copies.
The book is about the fantasy – and real – consequences of a little boy’s mischief and over the years it has been adapted into an animated short, an opera in 1980, and now, a live-action feature.
The man who has brought this beloved book to life is Academy Award nominated director Spike Jonze, the man who also gave us the films BEING JOHN MALCOVICH and ADAPTATION.
Spike is a man who always bring his unique vision to the projects he works on, and he certainly did that for WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE!
It is a fantastic movie that is technically perfect as it combines live action, performers in costumes, animatronics, and computer-graphics.
But no matter how great the technical side of any film is, if it doesnít have heart and ñ especially for something based on a childrenís book ñ if it doesnít let your imagination run wild, then it wouldnít succeed.
But this movie does succeed, and credit for that can go to Spike Jonze for his vision, to the cast that includes young Max Records as Max and Catherine Keener as his Mother, along with the voices of James Gandolfini from THE SOPRANOS and Catherine OíHara of SCTV.
And lets not forget Maurice Sendak, who has provided us with a great piece of literature that has lasted 47 years, and I can guarantee will last at least 47 more.
WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE is a movie that the whole family can enjoy as it will involve viewers of all ages on different levels.
This movie is a must see for children of all agesÖeven if you have never been sent to your room without any supper.
From the masterful work of director Spike Jonze, let me tell you now about the great Japanese Director Hayao Miyazaki, a man who makes spectacular animated films that the whole family can also enjoy.
Miyazaki is a man who is often referred to as the Japanese Walt Disney and in 2006 Time Magazine called him one of the most influential Asians of the past 60 years.
Three of Miyazakiís films have now come out as TWO DISC SPECIAL EDITIONS and in addition to the movies themselves ñ the 1986 film CASTLE IN THE SKY, 1988ís MY NEIGHBOUR TOTORO and KIKIíS DELIVERY SERVICE ñ released in 1989 ñ all of these SPECIAL EDITIONS have a wide array of never before seen special features.
If you enjoy animated films that feature gorgeous artwork and worlds you can get lost in, then you should see all of these films. They are all beautiful and fantastic!!
The reason these three older films have been re-released on DVD is to coincide with the debut of Miyazakiís latest film, PONYO.
This one is a re-imagining of Hans Christian Andersenís classic story about THE LITTLE MERMAID.
Much like Miyazakiís other works PONYO is a film full of beautiful hand-drawn animation and features unique characters.
Admittedly, smaller children weaned on todayís fast paced computer animation may find it all a little bit slower than what they are used toÖbut I assure you they will enjoy all of the images they see in front of them.
This is a great movie, from a master filmmaker!!
From a fantastic re-imagining of a classic story, we move now to the latest disaster film from director Roland Emmerich, the man who also gave us INDEPENDENCE DAY and THE DAY AFTER TOMORROWÖall films where things blow up real good.
2012 stars John Cusack, Amanda Peet and Woody Harrelson and it is a film about a global cataclysm that threatens to bring an end to the world.
Sure, I could sit here and talk about the heroic struggles of the people who are trying to survive the end of the world, and all thatÖbut in the case of disaster flicks like this, the only way to judge them is on whether or not the disaster, devastation and destruction scenes are coolÖand you know what, in 2012, they are!!
2012 features the destruction of The Vatican AND The White House, California falling into the Pacific Ocean, and many other cool scenes of movie destruction from all around the globe!!
Except for Canada. Even though the movie was made in and around Vancouver, there is no scenes where we see our home and native land destroyedÖsomething I would never like to see in real life, but think it would be cool in a movie!!
Bottom line, if you like disaster pictures ñ which I do!!!! ñ then 2012 is a must see! If you donít, stay away from it as the dramatic stuff between the action isnít very compelling and the movie is a very, very long at two-and-a-half hours.
From a disaster movie from 2009 set in 2012, we head back 1979 now for a movie about a disaster that took place in 1977.
This disaster is the one that people felt due to the death of Elvis Presley.
In 1979, two years after the death of The King Of Rock And Roll, director John Carpenter and actor Kurt Russell brought Elvis back to life in the TV movie ELVIS, a film that has never been available in itís entirety on DVD until just this week.
ELVIS shows us Presleyís life from his childhood, up until he started performing in Vegas in 1969, and it is a great movie!!
Kurt Russell does a perfect job, and the rest of the cast is great as well!
The only problem I have ever had with the film ELVIS is that the musicians donít seem to really be playing the instruments, but that is just me being pickyÖI love this movie, always haveÖalways willÖand if you are an Elvis fan it is a must see!!
Elvis will definitely go on forever, and so will some movies about a man named Dirty Harry Callahan, a character played by the great Clint Eastwood in five films, Dirty Harry (1971), Magnum Force (1973), The Enforcer (1976), Sudden Impact (1983), and The Dead Pool (1988).
Of the five, the first two are still the best, and they are both available now on Blu-ray in a great Action Double Feature two disc set, so this week the Blu-ray Beacon shines itís light on DIRTY HARRY and MAGNUM FORCE.
1971ís DIRTY HARRY introduced us to Eastwoodís San Francisco cop, a man with little regard for rules, who is tracking a sniper who shoots at random victims.
And in 1973, Harry was back on screens and on the trail of vigilante cops.
The two disc set with these great detective pictures also has something most of these Double Feature releases donít haveÖall the Special features that have been previously released on other discsÖand these features are as great as the films themselves!!
The Clint Eastwood Action Double Feature DIRTY HARRY and MAGNUM FORCE, the disaster film 2012, Hayao Miyazakiís PONYO and Spike Jonze modern day classic WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE are all available now on Blu-ray and DVD.
The SPECIAL EDITIONS of Miyazakiís CASTLE IN THE SKY, MY NEIGHBOUR TOTORO and KIKIíS DELIVERY SERVICE, and John Carpenterís great 1979 biography ELVIS are available only on DVD.
Coming up on the next Couch Potato Report
We will go UP IN THE AIR with George Clooney, play with some OLD DOGS, Iíll tell you about the movie PRECIOUS ñ Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire ñ and there will be A LOVE STORY, about CAPITALISM starring Michael Moore.
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!