The Couch Potato Report – April 24th, 2010
This week The Couch Potato Report peels the biggest movie of all time and a small movie that is better than that one.
Since it was released in theatres back in December, the Canadian filmmaker James Cameronís movie AVATAR has gone on to make over 740 million dollars and become the highest grossing film of all-time!
Since the DVD and Blu-ray discs went off sale Thursday, an early industry estimate set overall sales higher than 4 million units, which makes it the year’s top-selling release and the Blu-ray sold about 1.5 million copies, beating the first-day sales of the previous high-definition top dog THE DARK KNIGHT.
AVATAR is about a paraplegic marine who is sent to a moon named Pandora on a unique mission and is torn between following his orders and protecting this beautiful world where he feels at home and if you didnít see it in theatres in 3D, you wonít get to do that at home now as this completely 3D film has debuted on DVD and Blu-rayÖin 2DÖand it also doesnít come with any special features at all. No documentary, no commentary, no deleted scenesÖabsolutely nothing!!
Now I enjoyed my cinematic experience watching AVATAR, and I still think that it is a very good film, but I remain utterly disappointed that the film is coming out in this bare bones versionÖright nowÖyou see, it has been announced that there is an Ultimate Edition that will come out in November.
That one will be a four-disc edition will include ñ among other things – a two-hour documentary on the making of the film, as well as unused additional scenes from the movie.
If special features donít mean anything to you, and you want to see what all the fuss has been over this film, then maybe youíll enjoy this bare bones releaseÖmaybe.
At least youíve been warned that there is a better version coming out down the roadÖso the decision to buy or even watch this version is all up to you.
The film, it is still goodÖthis release of it is not!
The primary reason AVATAR came out this week was because Thursday was Earth Day, a day that came to be on April 22nd, 1970, and is designed to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth’s environment.
Another title that came out this week in conjunction with that day is EARTH DAYS, a film that looks back at the modern environmental movementófrom its post-war rustlings in the 1950s to the very first Earth Day celebrations, and the continuing efforts of people around the world.
EARTH DAYS is a very interesting film, featuring great historical footage and information, and I enjoyed it and learned from itÖplus it entertained me.
I liked it, and if you donít know much about Earth Day, this is a film that you should see!
I was hoping that I could also tell you that this next film is one that you should see, especially if you attended one of the Cheech & Chong shows in Regina or Saskatoon back in JanuaryÖbut I canítÖsadly!!
I love, respect, admire and idolize the comedy duo made up of Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong, and I thoroughly enjoyed their concert, and had CHEECH & CHONGíS HEY WATCH THIS been just one of those shows ñ or any of the shows on their recent reunion shows filmed in itís entirety and released on DVD it would have been greatÖbut this disc isnít a full show, and it certainly isnít great.
Instead, we get parts of a show from the tour, parts of it, edited together with some new material featuring the stoner duo dressed up as new, not very funny charactersÖ.and some new bits with the boys playing themselves, a la Statler & Waldorf, sitting in the balcony of the theatre critiquing the show.
The stuff from the stage is funny, the new stuff is not at all, but there just isnít enough of the stage show for me to recommend this releaseÖespecially since Dave is truly not here at all, man!
CHEECH & CHONGíS HEY WATCH THIS is for fans of the comedianís onlyÖand you will probably never watch it a second timeÖbut parts of it will definitely make you smile.
Ahhh, the music of Cheech & ChongÖI do love it!!
I also love the music of Bad Blake, as portrayed by Jeff Bridges in the Academy Award winning film CRAZY HEART.
Now thisÖthis is a great film, one I highly recommend!!
CRAZY HEART is the film that finally won Bridges an Oscar for Best Actor, and he truly deserves it, playing a musician not unlike John Prine/Lyle Lovett or John Hiatt. But his days of hits songs have long since past and he is now a faded star who continues to tour and play bars, clubs and bowling alleys in small towns from coast to coast.
At one show he meets and falls for a journalist who wants to do a story about him, and he is forced to take a look at his more than dysfunctional life and decide if it still works.
Maggie Gyllenhaal from THE DARK KNIGHT is the journalist, and while she didnít win, she received a very deserving Oscar nomination for her work.
CRAZY HEART is a small film that had a huge effect on me. I loved the characters, the settings and the music, especially the music!!
This one didnít gross over $700 millionÖor even $70 millionÖbut it is a fantastic film that I highlyÖvery highly recommend!!
As I said, CRAZY HEART won a well-deserved Academy Award for Jeff Bridges.
THE YOUNG VICTORIA won a well-deserved Oscar for Sandy Powell for Best Achievement in Costume Design.
THE YOUNG VICTORIA is a dramatization of the first few years of Queen Victoria’s rule, and her enduring romance with Prince Albert.
Emily Blunt from THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA plays the young Victoria, and she is very good in the film.
The film itself is also very goodÖbut it really isnít anything specialÖhowever, that isnít the filmmakers fault, it is just that the later years of Queen Victoriaís reign were much more exciting than the early ones.
There is nothing wrong with THE YOUNG VICTORIAÖespecially if you like films about royalty or costume films or period dramas. But if you donít, you should probably skip it.
I mentioned how THE YOUNG VICTORIA and CRAZY HEART were both Oscar winnersÖwell last Fall this next film was expected to be a major Oscar contender, after all, it was an adaptation of a book to film, being made by the people who had previously made ñ and had tremendous success adapting THE LORD OF THE RINGS books to films.
How could Peter Jackson and crew go wrong?!? But go wrong they didÖvery, very wrong!!
THE LOVELY BONES is an adaptation of the best-selling 2002 novel of the same name by Alice Sebold.
It is about a young girl who has been murdered and watches over her family – and her killer ñ from ìheavenî and she has to make some grown-up decisions regarding vengeance and her families healing process.
THE LOVELY BONES is very well made, and quite interesting at timesÖbut it is a two hour and sixteen minute film that is almost entirely lacking in emotion.
This is the story of a murdered 14 year old girlÖand the family and friends who are left behindÖand during the majority of the movie, I wasnít emotionally involved it it ñ or them ñ at all.
THE LOVELY BONES is not awful, but is nowhere near as good an adaptation as THE LORD OF THE RINGS films.
Jackson and his crew have missed the mark here by a wide margin!!
Our final release this week is a science-fiction film from 2002 that stars Tom Cruise, was directed by Steven Spielberg, and is a based on a short story by Philip K. DickÖwho was also the mind behind BLADE RUNNER and TOTAL RECALL.
Iím talking about MINORITY REPORT.
MINORITY REPORT is set in 2054, a future where criminals are caught before they commit crimes.
Cruise plays an officer in the Pre-Crime Unit who is accused, and sets out to prove he is innocent.
THE BLU-RAY BEACON is shining on MINORITY REPORT this week as it is now available for the first time in High Definition and it looks and sounds fantastic, plus ñ unlike AVATAR ñ it comes with a wealth of Special Features.
Yes, it is still a little bit too long, but it is also still a very good science fiction filmÖ.and thatís my report.
MINORITY REPORT, THE YOUNG VICTORIA, THE LOVELY BONES, CRAZY HEART and CHEECH & CHONG ñ HEY WATCH THIS are all available now on Blu-ray and DVD.
EARTH DAYS is available only on DVD.
Coming up on the next Couch Potato Report
Reginaís Tatiana Maslany stars in the made-in-Newfoundland film GROWN UP MOVIE STAR.
Also next week, ITíS COMPLICATED, TOMBSTONE and ARMAGEDDON arrive on Blu-ray, and NEW YORK, I LOVE YOU.
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 – April 24th, 2010