The Couch Potato Report – August 7th, 2010
This week The Couch Potato Report peels death, a ghost, the monarchy, and it is Shark Week!!
A dark-comedy murder mystery is what tops the list of this weekís newest releases. DEATH COMES TO TOWN is the eight episode mini-series that brought the KIDS IN THE HALL back to television after a 16 year break, following the end of their weekly comedy series back in 1994.
Yes, Dave Foley, Kevin McDonald, Bruce McCulloch, Mark McKinney, and Scott Thompson ñ the Kids In The Hall ñ are back and DEATH COMES TO TOWN originally aired on CBC Television back in January. It is set in a fictional Ontario town called Shuckton where the mayor has been murdered.
As they did in their series, DEATH COMES TO TOWN features the Kids playing almost all of the major roles, and there are also several original characters from the TV show who appear in cameo roles.
Unfortunately DEATH COMES TO TOWN doesnít finish as strong as it starts, but I thoroughly enjoyed it anyway. Perhaps I am bias as I am a long-time fan of the troupe, but if you like your comedy dark, and you enjoy laughing out loud, I think youíll agree with me.
This is a very enjoyable series full of a lot of great little moments and some huge laughs and I really enjoyed it!
A dark-comedy murder mystery is where we began this morning, and a political thriller is where we are at right now.
THE GHOST WRITER is an adaptation of the Robert Harris novel ìThe Ghostî The film was directed by Roman Polanski and stars Ewan McGregor and Pierce Brosnan.
In real life, a ghostwriter is a professional writer who is paid to write books, articles, stories, reports, or other texts that are officially credited to another person.
In the film Ewan plays a ghostwriter who agrees to complete the memoirs of former British Prime Minister ñ played by Brosnan ñ who may or may not be an accomplice to the killing of the previous ghost writer, and a war criminal.
THE GHOST WRITER also has elements of intrigue, romance, double crossing and it is also a good old fashioned Who Dunnit at times.
I really enjoyed it. This is a great film for grown-ups, something we donít get that often anymore.
THE GHOST WRITER tells a story about a fictional British Prime Minister.
The television series MONARCHY is the factual story of the political and ideological history of the British Monarchy, from the Saxon period to modern times and each and every one of the sixteen episodes are very well researched and written.
MONARCHY ñ THE COMPLETE SERIES is a five-disc box set that is utterly fascinating, especially to monarchists. Admittedly, while I did really enjoy it, I did find the presentation of it a bit stiff at times ñ this is certainly nothing like the television series THE TUDORS ñ however I did learn a lot and glad Iíve seen it.
If you are a fan of all things Royal, donít MONARCHY ñ THE COMPLETE SERIES!!
An Award winning and Academy Award nominated film is next on this weekís edition of The Couch Potato Report.
A PROPHET received an Academy Award nomination as Best Foreign Film this year, and it won the Grand Prix at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. It was also named Best Film Not in the English Language at the British Academy Film Awards and it won 9 CÈsar Awards ñ which are the Academy Awards equivalent in France ñ including Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Supporting ActorÖand it deserved them all!
A PROPHET is a film from France about an illiterate 19-year old man who is sentenced to six years in prison. Upon his arrival, he becomes part of the Corsican mafia group who run the prison and carries out their wishes, including murder.
But while he is doing their dirty work, he is also learning how to read and write, and using his connections to discreetly plan for a life outside of jail.
A PROPHET is a great movie! It runs over two hours, and even though it occasionally moves at a very slow pace at times, I was never bored once.
This one is a must see!!
A PROPHET is a must see for gown-ups, and the 1996 film JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH ñ based on the classic book by Roald Dahl ñ is a must see for kidsÖheck, kids of all ages!!
JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH is brand new on Blu-ray this week and even though it is an all-new digitally restored special edition of the film, it is one of the worst looking transfers I have ever seen.
Sure, the film itself ñ a clever combination of live-action, stop-motion animation and computer-generated special effects ñ still mesh together well to create a world previously only based in our imaginations, but this new version of the film just does not look good at all.
It sounds good, but looks bad.
The story of JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH is about a young boy named James who is given some magic crocodile tongues, and when he spills them in the garden, an enormous peach grows there!
After climbing inside of it, he makes some new friends and they all set out on a magical trip to New York City.
JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH is a film that I admire and like, and if the video transfer of this new version had been better, I would highly recommend it.
However, the transfer being what it is, I still think this is a great film that is a nice piece of entertainment for the whole family!
JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH is new on Blu-ray this week, and The Blu-Ray Beacon continues to shine now on another newbie to High Definition ñ one that looks fantastic!!!! Sam Mendesí 2002 Academy Award winning film ROAD TO PERDITION.
ROAD TO PERDITION won the Academy Award for Best Cinematography and it stars the late, still great Paul Newman, Tom Hanks, Jude Law, Stanley Tucci and a young Daniel CraigÖthe current James Bond.
ROAD TO PERDITION is based on the graphic novel of the same name by Max Allan Collins and Hanks plays a mob enforcer who is traveling with his son as they seek vengeance against a mobster who murdered the rest of their family.
This is a great film, and if you have never seen it, you should check it outÖspecifically check out the Blu-ray as Conrad Hallís cinematography looks amazing in this version.
ROAD TO PERDITION was produced and released by Steven Spielbergís DreamWorks Company.
As we enjoy the summer of 2010, did you know that it has been 35 yearís since Steven Spielbergís JAWS was released in theatres?
Well, it has. That classic film, the original Summer blockbuster, came out in the summer of 1975.
So, in honour of that milestoneÖit is Shark Week!!
SHARK WEEK originated on The Discovery Channel in 1987 and it is a week-long series of features and programs that are dedicated to sharks.
And now, a great new two-disc set has been released ñ SHARK WEEK: THE JAWS OF STEEL COLLECTION asks several questions, such as Are sharks out to get us? It also presents many fascinating facts about sharks, and includes stories about some of the most terrifying shark attacks in recent history.
I am fascinated by sharks and I love Shark Week!! I especially loved this set, which includes the episodes ìBlood in the Waterî, ìShark Bite Summerî and ìGreat White Appetiteî. PLUS, even Survivormanís Les Stroud is included as he visits the five most notorious shark-infested waters on the planet.
SHARK WEEK: JAWS OF STEEL COLLECTION is a great tribute to the legacy of the film JAWS, and to a lesser extent, so is Joe Danteís 1978 film PIRANHA.
PIRANHA is a low-budget, even cheesy at times, comedy horror film from producer Roger Corman about a swarm of killer piranhas and as the interviews and special features on this new High Definition version admit, it was made primarily to capitalize on the success of JAWS.
That may be the case, but over the years the film has taken on a life of itís own and a big budget remake called PIRANHA 3D will be released to theatres in just a few weeks.
The original PIRANHA will always be the best one as far as I am concerned, and I really enjoyed watching it again this week.
Really, really enjoyed it!!
PIRANHA, SHARK WEEK: THE JAWS OF STEEL COLLECTION, ROAD TO PERDITION, JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH, A PROPHET and THE GHOST WRITER are all available now on Blu-ray and DVD.
THE COMPLETE SERIES of MONARCHY and KIDS IN THE HALL ñ DEATH COMES TO TOWN are both available now, only on DVD.
Coming up in on the next Couch Potato Report
Steve Carell and Tina Fey star in DATE NIGHT, Chris Rock toplines the remake of DEATH AT A FUNERAL, David Duchovny and Demi Moore are THE JONESES, weíll ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK on Blu-ray and also out next week, the 5 DVD Box Set containing THE COMPLETE SERIES of MAX HEADROOM.
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 – August 7th, 2010