The Couch Potato Report – July 31st, 2010
This week The Couch Potato Report peels a pair of films that were made-in-Canada, and weíll clash with some titans.
Up first on this weekís Report is a small film that was filmed in and around Vancouver called HELEN.
The beautiful and talented Ashley Judd from SOMEONE LIKE YOU and KISS THE GIRLS stars as a talented music professor, mother and wife who is forced to come to terms with her clinical depression.
It is also about a husband and 13-year-old daughter, and how HELENís depression affects them.
HELEN is a well-made movie with some great performances and it offers a truthful look at depression, however ñ after a powerful start, it is sooo boring!!
In the last hour of the film the story moves so slowly that it was quite difficult to stay interested in it. Yes, it recovers by the end, but ultimately this is not a film I can recommend.
From one made in British Columbia, we move East now for a film shot in and around Toronto. REPO MEN stars Jude Law from SHERLOCK HOLMES and Academy Award winner Forest Whittaker and ñ just so you know ñ it is NOT a remake or re-imagining of Alex Coxís 1984 cult classic REPO MAN starring Emilio Estevez.
This one is set in the near future in a time when artificial organs are available and bought on credit, however if you miss a payment, said organ is repossessed…by any and all means necessary!!
In addition to being one of the REPO MEN, Lawís character has to have a heart transplant, but once he becomes unable to make payments, his friends an co-workers come after him and the hunterÖbecomes the hunted.
REPO MEN is a very graphic and violent movie that does have some very clever moments, and when it is rolling, it is a fast paced action film. Ultimately though this is the second film this week that starts off strong, ends well, but the middle is sooooo boring!!
If a violent action film with science fiction elements appeals to you, then this is one you might slightly enjoy. Otherwise, donít bother with it.
I am not one who predicts the future, I am just a TV weather man and radio movie reviewer generally, but right now I will make a prediction. In about 90 seconds I will once again utter the words ìOtherwise, donít bother with it.î
And I will say them about a film that is a remake or re-imagining of another film.
The 1981 version of CLASH OF THE TITANS had a cast that includes Harry Hamlin, Ursula Andress, Burgess Meredith, and even Sir Laurence Olivier!!
This new one has Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes and Gemma Arterton, from the James Bond film QUANTUM OF SOLACE.
Both of them offer up a cinematic story about the myth of Perseus ñ the mortal son of the god Zeus ñ and his quest to battle both Medusa and the Kraken monster to stop the underworld and its minions from spreading their evil to Earth as well as the heavens.
This version of CLASH OF THE TITANS came out in theatres in 3-D and it was one of the worst looking 3-D films ever released. For home viewing it is regular 2-D and I have to admit that I thought it was okayÖnot great in any way, but okay.
The special effects are cheaply done and awful at times ñ just like the original ñ and the computer generated characters donít look anything close to realÖbut if you go in with little to no expectations, and you like action movies, you might get some enjoyment out of it.
Otherwise, donít bother with it.
Okay, I have a pair of releases now that I liked, before we get to what I feel is the most disappointing release of 2010.
That is coming up, but right nowÖlet me tell you about the new animated film from the DC Comics Universe: BATMAN ñ UNDER THE RED HOOD.
In this great film, the mysterious Red Hood ñ one part vigilante, one part criminal kingpin ñ returns and begins to clean up Gotham with the efficiency of Batman, but without following the same ethical code, and so the Dark Knight has to step in and restore order.
The very entertaining storyline for BATMAN ñ UNDER THE RED HOOD also features the Joker, Robin and Nightwing.
BATMAN ñ UNDER THE RED HOOD is an animated film, yes, but it is not for kids. It is very violent and deals with some mature situations, and I loved it!!
For fans of Batman and animated superhero movies, this is a must see!!
This next release ñ one I also liked ñ is the two-disc set for a television show that ñ sadly ñ doesnít air in Canada, so the only way that we can see it is on DVD.
MY BOYS is a fun show about a female sports columnist in Chicago named P.J. and the men in her life – including her brother, her ex-boyfriend, her best friendÖher boys.
The new two-disc-set for MY BOYS features the eighteen episodes that were produced for SEASONS 2 & 3 and while this is not the greatest television show ever, I like it and I always enjoy spending time with P.J. and her boys.
If you have never seen the show, and you usually like shows about friends hanging out and spending time together, check out MY BOYS.
OkayÖI can escape it no longerÖit is time for me to talk about the most disappointing movie of the year!!
Kevin Smith is the man who has made several films ñ including CLERKS, MALLRATS, CHASING AMY and DOGMA ñ that rank among my all-time favourites.
He is a filmmaker whose work I enjoy, and when his name is attached to a project, I always look forward to watching it.
Usually, he writes and directs his own scriptsÖhowever this time ñ for a film called COP OUT ñ he is directing a script written by someone elseÖand it does not workÖatÖall!!
COP OUT was written as a buddy cop movie ñ it is like 48 Hrs or Beverly Hills Cop ñ and it has been made as a tribute to those 80s action films, and FLETCH.
Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan from 30 ROCK star as police partners. When Willisí rare baseball card is stolen, the detectives go on a search to get it back.
Plain and simple, even though it has a cast I like, is a film in a genre I usually always, and was directed by a man whose films I loveÖCOP OUT is not a good film.
Yes, it has some good scenes and moments, but it isnít worthy of your ñ or my time.
And that, remains truly disappointing!!
Happily, I enjoyed THE LOSERS more than COP OUT, but my expectations werenít as high going in.
The Losers is an adaptation of a comic book series of the same name by Andy Diggle and it stars Jeffrey Dean Morgan from WATCHMEN, Zoe Saldana of STAR TREK and Chris Evans from the FANTASTIC FOUR and it is about members of a CIA black ops team who ñ after they are betrayed and left for dead ñ search for the man who wanted them assassinated.
THE LOSERS is a very good action filmÖit is faaaaaaaaaaaaar from great, but it might make for a good rental, as long as action films are your thing.
At this moment, as we sit here on this Saturday in the Long Holiday Weekend, the number one theatrical film at the Box Office is the fantastic movie INCEPTION, written and directed by Christopher Nolan, who also gave us THE DARK KNIGHT, MEMENTO and ñ back in 2002 ñ a film called INSOMNIA.
That movie wasnít written by Nolan, he just directed the remake of a 1997 Norwegian film about two Los Angeles homicide detectives who are sent to small town Alaska to investigate the murder of a teenager.
The sun doesn’t set in this part of the world, and that is giving the lead detective ñ played by Al Pacino ñ insomnia and his already questionable judgement is further impaired.
Hilary Swank and Robin Williams also star in INSOMNIA and even though it isnít as original as the original, and is no where near as original as Nolanís original works, the made in British Columbia thriller is still very good.
It always keeps me awake when I watch it.
Lets go from coast to coast now, shall we? As I mentioned INSOMNIA was shot in B.C. and the television series LEXX was primarily shot in Halifax.
Lexx is a science fantasy television series that ran for four seasons starting in 1997. It follows the adventures of a group of mismatched individuals aboard a space craft called Lexx. They travel through two universes and encounter planets including a parody of the Earth.
The crew of the Lexx is Stanley Tweedle, Kai, Zev and 790 – a sarcastic robot head.
I have said many, many times before that I am such a fan of science fiction that Iíll watch anything ñ good or bad ñ and that is definitely true with LEXX. I used to watch this when it first aired, and I loved the cheesiness of it thenÖand still do now!
LEXX ñ THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON is a five DVD set that I am happy to own, and happy to recommend ñ to anyone who also enjoys all types of science fictionÖgood and bad.
Love that Lexx!!
Finally this week, letís let the Blu-ray Beacon shine on a fantastic new release!!
Fantastic because of the show itself, and fantastic because of how it looks in High Definition!!
SEASON THREE of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA is now out individually on Blu-ray ñ after previously only being available in a complete series box set ñ and it looks and sounds fantastic!!
I continue to highly recommend this filmed-in-Vancouver show about the human survivors of an alien attack ñ even to those who donít normally watch science fiction shows. It is so well written, acted and realized that it crosses genres and is just that good!
SEASON 3 of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA looks so good on Blu-ray, that I canít imagine ever watching in any other formatÖthe quality is just that amazingÖand so is the writing, the acting, the storylinesÖit is all great, and so I will once again highly recommend it!!
SEASON THREE of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, INSOMNIA, THE LOSERS, COP OUT, BATMAN ñ UNDER THE RED HOOD, CLASH OF THE TITANS and REPO MEN, are all available now on Blu-ray and DVD.
THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON of LEXX, SEASONS TWO AND THREE of MY BOYS and the made-in-Vancouver film HELEN are available only on DVD.
Coming up in on the next Couch Potato Report
Earlier this year we celebrated their return to television, and next week the KIDS IN THE HALL ñ DEATH COMES TO TOWN mini-series debuts on DVD!!
Also next week, the series about the MONARCHY, THE GHOST WRITER, JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH, and weíll take the ROAD TO PERDITION.
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 – July 31st, 2010