The Couch Potato Report

In case you are cold this Spring weekend, and would like something to watch.

The Couch Potato Report – April 10th, 2010
This week The Couch Potato Report peels a movie made in Saskatchewan and three that were shot in New Zealand.
We are off to the Shire and beyond in just a few minutes, but the new release that starts off this edition of The Report is one that was mostly made in and around Regina and Moose JawÖeven though it actually takes place in Las Vegas.
DOLANíS CADILLAC is a revenge thriller that is based on the short story written by Stephen King.
The film is about a teacher whose wife witnesses an execution and then becomes the target and victim of a Vegas crime lord named Jimmy Dolan.
So the teacher sets out to avenge his wifeís deathÖbut he runs into a few road blocks along the way, including the man he is trying to kill.
Wes Bentley from the Academy Award winning film AMERICAN BEAUTY plays the teacher and Christian Slater of PUMP UP THE VOLUME and TRUE ROMANCE is the crime boss.
In addition to primarily being short in Saskatchewan, DOLANíS CADILLAC was also directed by a SaskatchewanianÖMoose Jawís Jeff Beesley, who was also at the helm for several episodes of CORNER GAS and CBC Televisionís LITTLE MOSQUE ON THE PRAIRIE, and he has fashioned a film that is very well done.
Sure there are some things that happen that are a little too cinematically convenient ñ like a cell phone left at a murder sight for instance ñ and Christian Slater isnít always as slimey as he needs to be to make his character someone you truly despise, but if you like revenge thrillers DOLANíS CADILLAC will make for a good rental.
Well done, folks!!
Yes, I give a hearty ìwell doneî to DOLANíS CADILLAC, but to SERIOUS MOONLIGHT I say ìThanks, but no thanks.î
SERIOUS MOONLIGHT is a small, character-driven story about a high-powered lawyer who finds out that her husband is leaving her for a younger woman and so ñ in order to change his mind ñ she duct tapes him to a chair and then the toilet.
Meg Ryan plays the lawyer and Academy Award winner Timothy Hutton is the philandering husband, and they ñ and the supporting cast that also includes Kristen Bell from FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL ñ are all great, and if you love ñ truly love and admire any of these actors, then you might enjoy this filmÖyou mightÖand I say that because this isnít the type of small, character-driven films where a couple talk through their problems and either decide to save their marriage or call it quits, this is one where an unexpected visit takes place.
Yes, a burglar stops by and changes everything!!
I like the cast of SERIOUS MOONLIGHT, and thought the premise was very interesting, so it was a movie that I wanted to see, but this is one of those films that thinks it is smarter than it actually isÖwhen it isnít that smart at all.
The major plot contrivance that takes place ñ one I wonít give away ñ is so obvious, and admittedly annoying ñ that I sat watching the movie almost annoyed that they thought I would see right through it.
That said, I know there are some people who will absolutely love this film, so if you like the cast, as I said, check it out.
Like I said, ìThanks, but no thanks!!î
This weekís next release is a film from Belgium called LOFT. It about five friends, all married men, who share a luxury loft apartment and use it as a secret place to meet their mistresses.
The menís carefree affairs take an unexpected turn when the body of a dead woman is found hand-cuffed to the loftís bed.
Afraid to go to the police, lest their philandering ways become known to their wives, the men stay quiet, all the while knowing that there may be a killer among them.
LOFT is a very good, very interesting suspense thriller that adds layer upon layer upon layer upon layer upon layer until it eventually starts explaining itself.
Yes, there is about a twenty-minute stretch that almost grinds the movie to a halt, but it recovers and if you are looking for something to keep you guessing, may sure you rent this LOFT.
Iíll be honest with youÖI am not sure what to say about this next, pointless, mindless release. I know it wasnít meant for me, I am not the target audience, yet I thought it might have some entertainment value for me because it is based on characters that I have enjoyed since I was a kid.
But I got nothing out of this film, to me it is a horrible piece of garbage that is best forgotten.
However, there might be some young kids who love THE SQUEAKQUEL.
Alvin & The Chipmunks have been around since 1958, and I do love the characters, but I have no love at all for ALVIN & THE CHIPMUNKS ñ THE SQUEAKQUEL, for too many reasons to bother with this morning, and so I am just going to stop talking about it.
Yes, young kids might like it, and get hours and hours of enjoyment from itÖso if you have a youngster in your home, give it a shot.
If you donítÖabsolutely do not!! Man, is this thing bad!!!
Alright, letís put THE SQUEAKQUEL behind us, and focus on THE NATURAL.
THE NATURAL is director Barry Levinson’s 1984 movie starring Robert Redford as Roy Hobbs, a baseball player whose life takes some unexpected turns on the way to baseball’s major leagues.
THE BLU-RAY BEACON is shining on THE NATURAL this Saturday morning as it is now available in High Definition and it looks and sounds fantastic!! I love baseball, and this is easily one of the best films about the sport ever made, so I have enjoyed this movie since I first saw it all those years ago.
And now, the Blu-ray comes with a wealth of Special Features that have allowed me to go behind-the-scenes and learn even more about itÖand to hear some retrospective interviews as Redford, the cast, crew and even some well-known broadcasters like Bob Costas reflect on it.
THE NATURAL is a fantastic film, and if you have never seen it, I highly recommend itÖeven to those of you who donít like baseball.
It is an incredible movie!!
There are three other incredible movies for THE BLU-RAY BEACON to shine on now, and that is because THE LORD OF THE RINGS TRILOGY has debuted on the format in High Definition!
The is no questioning how great director Peter Jacksonís LORD OF THE RINGS FILMS are. 2001ís The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers in 2002 and 2003ís The Return of the King were all Academy Award winners and all remain fantastic cinematic achievements as well as tremendous adaptations of J.R.R Tolkienís timeless books.
Now to the disappointing news ñ the video transfers to High Definition arenít perfect, and at times the quality is less than ideal. Plus, the versions of the films that have come out in this nine-disc set are the theatrical ones, and not the Extended Directorís CutsÖwhich are ñ by far ñ the more superior versions of the movies.
PLUS, this box set only comes with some of the special features that were originally included on the Platinum Series Special Edition DVDs, AND, that content is spread across three DVDs and it is presented only in standard definition.
Yes, this Blu-ray box set features DVDs!
Those drawbacks aside, the good here far outweighs the bad, and so if you love the theatrical versions of these films ñ which I always will ñ then this is now the ideal way to watch them.
Finally this week, with the release of the Peter Jackson films on Blu-ray, also comes the HD Debut of the original theatrical version of Tolkienís stories, Ralph Bakshi’s animated version from 1978Ösimply called THE LORD OF THE RINGS.
I always wanted to see what he would do in the sequel, but Bakshi’s was only able to complete half of what was intended to be a two-movie epic, and that is what is now available for us to watch and own.
Because he was trying to do in two films what Peter Jackson did in three, the pace of the animated version of LORD OF THE RINGS is very fast, and it misses some of the nuances of the books. But, it remains a film full of fantastic animation, and I still enjoy itÖas I did the very first time I saw it almost 32 years ago.
Ralph Bakshi’s still entertaining 1978 animated version and Peter Jacksonís tremendous LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy, Barry Levinsonís superb baseball film THE NATURAL, the absolutely awful ALVIN & THE CHIPMUNKS ñ THE SQUEAKQUEL, the for fans of the cast only SERIOUS MOONLIGHT and the made-in-Saskatchewan film DOLANíS CADILLAC are all available now on Blu-ray and DVD.
The Belgium film LOFT is available only on DVD.
Coming up on the next Couch Potato Report
We will go back to August 9, 1988, for a documentary about the day The Great One was traded and a behind-the-scenes look at the trade itself.
Also next week, the British PIRATE RADIO stations of the 1960s and a made-in-Hamilton film about a DEFENDOR.
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!