The Couch Potato Report – May 29th, 2010
This week The Couch Potato Report peels the road, reviews a dear John film, and weíll sing along with Dr. Horrible.
The first movie I have to talk with you about is THE ROAD, the film based on the Best Selling, Pulitzer Prize winning book by Cormac McCarthy, who also wrote NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN.
THE ROAD stars Viggo Mortensen of the LORD OF THE RINGS TRILOGY as a father who is trying to survive, and keep his son alive, in a post-apocalyptic wastelandÖby any means necessary.
THE ROAD is a well-acted film, but I just didnít care what happens to the people in it. Yes, it piqued my interest at times, and I never came close to shutting it off, but I just didnít care.
Iíve never read the book, but I certainly hope that it is better than this filmÖespecially since it won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction!!
THE ROAD is dour, depressing and boring and unless that is the type of film you love, just skip this one.
A different type of survival is at the core of this next release, the survival of a relationship.
DEAR JOHN is also based on a book, it is an adaptation of Nicholas Sparks’s novel of the same name.
Sparks is the man who also gave us The Notebook, Message in a Bottle, A Walk to Remember, Nights in Rodanthe, and several other best-sellers.
DEAR JOHN is that story of a soldier who falls in love with a woman after they spend two weeks together one summer while he is on leave.
After his leave ends, they decide to stay in touch by writing letters to each other.
Channing Tatum of GI JOE and the very talented and beautiful Amanda Seyfried from MAMMA MIA and the television show BIG LOVE star in DEAR JOHN, which is directed by Lasse Hallstrˆm, the man responsible for the Academy Award nominated films Chocolat, The Cider House Rules and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?
The end result is a beautifully made film, that is populated by friendly and interesting characters, but it is also a movie that is not very good. The two young lovers spend most of their time apart, reading the letters they have writtenÖand that makes for a boring film.
A good book maybe, but a boring film.
DEAR JOHN is for Nicholas Sparksí fans only!!
I was away last week, so there was no Couch Potato ReportÖbut there are some notable films that came out while I was away, so I thought I would offer up a brief look at them, starting with Clint Eastwoodís INVICTUS, which focuses on Nelson Mandela, who in his first term as the South African President, initiates a unique venture to unite the apartheid-torn land: he enlists the national rugby team and puts them on a quest to win the 1995 Rugby World Cup.
INVICTUS Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela and Matt Damon as FranÁois Pienaar, the captain of the Springboks, the South African rugby union team, and both of them ñ quite deservedly ñ received Academy Award nominations for their work.
INVICTUS is not the best sports film that I have ever seen, and make no mistake, it is primarily a sports film, but I really, really liked it. It is a movie that takes its time getting to itís conclusion, a conclusion I was very satisfied with.
Yes, at 2 hours and 14 minutes it is a little long, but I still liked it a lot.
I also liked VALENTINEíS DAYÖwell, more to the point, I liked the cast of VALENTINEíS DAYÖa cast that includes Julia Roberts, Bradley Cooper, Jessica Alba, Patrick Dempsey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Biel, Jamie Foxx, Taylor Swift, Taylor Lautner, and the always lovely Jennifer Garner.
VALENTINEíS DAY is an ensemble film about couples and singles in Los Angeles who break-up, make-up, and fall in and out of love on one February 14th.
I didnít love VALENTINEíS DAY as it is very, very predictable, and a bit too contrived, but I like the cast so much that in the end I liked the film. Not loved, liked.
If you like the cast as well, donít miss this one!
Next on the agenda this week is THE MESSENGER.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences loved Woody Harrelson’s performance in THE MESSENGER enough to give him an Best Supporting Actor nomination.
He plays a man whose job it is to tell Military families when a loved one has died.
THE MESSENGER is a very dramatic, very good movie that is well written and very well acted. It is not a happy movie, but I easily recommend it.
Canada’s own Brendan Fraser stars in this next releaseÖa movie called EXTRAORDINARY MEASURES about a father of two kids with a rare genetic disorder who goes into business with a doctor – played by Harrison Ford – to try and prolong their lives.
Admittedly, this is primarily a cliche filled tear jerker, but there were a few moments I liked. Not loved, liked.
Yes, I liked EXTRAORDINARY MEASURES.
HeyÖso have you ever heard of the TV Show HOARDERS? Well, it is a documentary series depicting the real-life struggles and treatment of people who suffer from compulsive hoardingÖwhich is a real condition about a personís excessive acquisition of possessions (and failure to use or discard them), even if the items are worthless, hazardous, or unsanitary.
Each episode features two interventions where a psychological or psychiatric clinician specializing in hoarding behavior and a crew of professional cleaners attempt to assist a hoarder with the cleanup of their home.
But they arenít always successful.
I am a very organized, fairly clean person, Iím not a neat freak, but I believe in the concept of ìclean as you goî, so watching this show actually freaked me out at timesÖbut that said, I found it utterly interesting!
HOARDERS ñ THE COMPLETE SEASON ONE is a two-disc, seven episode set that I do recommendÖbut be warned, you may just have to clean your home when youíre done.
I have a pair of doctors on Blu-ray to conclude this weekís Report. Doctor Horrible is coming up, but this is DR. ZHIVAGO, the 1965 epic dramatic-romance-war film directed by David Lean that is loosely based on the famous novel of the same name by Boris Pasternak.
It is about the life of a Russian doctor/poet who, although married, falls for a political activist’s wife and experiences hardships during the Bolshevik Revolution.
The BLU-RAY BEACON is shining on DR. ZHIVAGO this morning as the 45-year-old classic world-famous film is now available in a deluxe blu-ray package that is fitting for a film of this stature.
If you have never seen it, there are a wealth of Special Features in this release, and it looks absolutely amazing!!! I hope I look this good when I am 45!!
Finally this week, Neil Patrick Harris stars as Dr. Horrible in the very entertaining and exceptionally fun DR. HORRIBLEíS SING-ALONG BLOG, a film that is now available, and sounding great, on Blu-ray!.
This 2008 musical tragicomedy is a series of three short films produced exclusively for Internet distribution that invites us into the world of Dr. Horrible, an aspiring supervillain; Captain Hammer, his nemesis; and Penny, their mutual love interest.
The project was overseen by Joss Whedon, of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE and DOLLHOUSE fame during the 2008 Hollywood Writerís Strike and if you have never seen ñ or even heard of ñ DR. HORRIBLEíS SING-ALONG BLOG, it is so much fun, and I highly recommend it
DR. HORRIBLEíS SING-ALONG BLOG, DR. ZHIVAGO, EXTRAORDINARY MEASURES, THE MESSENGER, VALENTINEíS DAY, INVICTUS, DEAR JOHN and THE ROAD are all available now on Blu-ray and DVD.
HOARDERS ñ THE COMPLETE SEASON ONE is available now, only on DVD.
Coming up on the next Couch Potato Report
LIFE, ALICE IN WONDERLAND, THE WOLFMAN, THE RED BARON, WAR OF THE WORLDS, and weíll head to the SOUTH PACIFIC ñ AN OCEAN OF EXTRAORDINARY DISCOVERIES.
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 – May 29th, 2010