The Couch Potato Report – August 14th, 2010
This week The Couch Potato Report peels the maximum headroom, weíll escape from New York, and itís Date Night!
Matt Frewer is a Canadian actor from Peterborough, Ontario, who has appeared in many television series over the years, including Supernatural, Da Vinci’s Inquest, Picket Fences and Star Trek: The Next Generation. He has also appeared in the film DAWN OF THE DEAD and in 2009 he played the retired villain Moloch The Mystic in the film adaptation of the comic book series WATCHMEN.
He has been acting since 1983 and has a wide array of acting and voice-over credits, but no matter how many roles heís had or how many more he gets, he will always be best known for portraying the 1980s icon Max Headroom.
Max Headroom was literally a talking head, known for his wit and stuttering, distorted, electronically sampled voice.
He was a music video host, starred in television commercials, had his own movie, and was featured in a television series, simply called MAX HEADROOM.
MAX HEADROOM was a show that was set in the future, 20 Minutes Into The Future in fact, and it debuted in 1987.
In addition to played Max, Matt Frewer was also a well known and principled investigative television reporter who works with a handler and a computerized version of himself.
The show ran for six episodes in the first season and eight were produced for season two before it was cancelled and now MAX HEADROOM ñ THE COMPLETE SERIES is available in a five DVD set that is full of retrospective features and interviews with everyone involved with the showÖexcept Matt Frewer.
MAX HEADROOM is one of those shows that is a must own ñ if you watched it ñ as I did ñ when it originally aired. If you didnít, then it is simply a product of its time, not unlike a certain computer-generated talking head himself.
MAX HEADROOM might be a good release if you and your spouse are having a date night, but you know what would make for a better date night movie? DATE NIGHT!
This film stars Steve Carell ñ whose day job is playing Michael Scott in the North American version of THE OFFICE ñ and Tina Fey, who is best known these days for being Liz Lemon on the TV show 30 ROCK.
Together they star as Phil and Claire Foster ñ a married couple from New Jersey who head into New York City one Friday night, looking to spice up their marriage after hearing their friends are getting a divorce.
But after a case of mistaken identity, The Fosters find themselves running for their lives.
DATE NIGHT was directed by Montreal born filmmaker Shawn Levy ñ who also gave us the Night at the Museum films ñ and has a great lead and supporting cast and a few really big laughs, but overall it is not a great movie.
It is too slow at times, and the combination of comedy and action doesnít always workÖbut that said, I still liked it.
Now, if you saw it in a theatre, the DVD and Blu-ray feature an extended cut of the film that runs an extra twenty minutesÖ.and if you missed itÖI think that the film would make for a nice rentalÖmaybe even on your own date night.
And if you donít want to watch DATE NIGHT on date night, pick it up for yourself while you also grab a film for the kids that is also not a home run, but a great rental.
I am now talking about DIARY OF A WIMPY KID, a live-action film based on the book of the same title by Jeff Kinney.
The film ñ and books before it ñ are about a wise-cracking sixth grade student named Greg Heffley, who feels that middle school is the dumbest idea ever invented.
To survive, and attain the recognition and status he feels he so richly deserves, Greg devises an endless series of can’t-miss schemes, all of which, of course, miss.
I said that DIARY OF A WIMPY KID would make for a good rental for kids, and I mean itÖbut it didnít work for me personally because the kid isÖwellÖmean. He is not a nice kidÖheís not a jerk mind you, he is just selfishÖand that made him unlikeable to me. His older brother is a jerk, but the kid is selfish.
That said, the film is high-energy fun. I didnít love it, but it is okayÖfor kids.
This next release puts us back in the ìFor Adults Onlyî columnÖTHE JONSES stars David Duchovny and Demi Moore as a seemingly perfect couple with a beautiful son and daughter who move into a suburban neighbourhood.
However, it turns out that they are not really a coupleÖand those arenít their kidsÖthey all just work together.
If the premise of the film intrigues you, and you like any member of the castÖand I mean are a huge fan, then you might enjoy THE JONSESÖotherwise, it is just an okay filmÖone that non-huge fans of the cast will be best served by staying away from it.
Now, even if you ARE a fan of anyone who stars in this next releaseÖyou should skip it! The only word I would use to describe MULTIPLE SARCASMS is ìblahî.
This one stars Ocsar winners Timothy Hutton from ORDINARY PEOPLE and Mira Sorvino of Woody Allen’s MIGHT APHRODITE, along with Dana Delany, Mario Van Peebles and Stockard Channing.
Great cast, right? But their talents are all wasted here in a film that wants to be quirky, clever, insightful and occasionally funÖbut it isnít any of those things.
What it is – is a movie where Hutton plays a successful architect in his late 40s with a beautiful wife and family who starts questioning his life choices, and decides to write a play that examines said life.
Plain and simple, MULTIPLE SARCASMS doesnít workÖit is best left on the shelf and ignoredÖand I am not being sarcastic at allÖtruly ignore this one, even if you LOVE the cast!!
TRIAGE is slightly better than that last messÖ.and I mean the film of that name, not the medical process of determining the priority of patients treatments based on the severity of their condition.
TRIAGE the film stars Colin Ferrell as a photojournalist who returns from an assignment in Kurdistan without his friend and fellow photographer. The two are best friends, and they are rarely seen together.
Yet, for a reason that is not explained until the end, Farrell returns aloneÖno one knows whyÖand he is not saying.
TRIAGE is not the worst film this weekÖbut it isnít the best one either. It is just okayÖnothing special at all. There are some interesting scenes, and some of it is very well written, but the entire movie never really gets going and at times it borders on sleep inducing.
If it interests you, give it a shotÖif not, ignore it.
Something that once interested me, intrigued me, entertained me and gave me many moments of enjoyment was the television series HEROES. It itís first season, this show about regular people who discover they have super powers, was fantastic!!
Season One of HEROES was superb!!
And then Season Two began. Never have I seen a show go from being so good to so bad so fast.
After that first year, HEROES was awfulÖand it continued to get worseÖyet it remained on the airÖeven with its audience numbers dwindling, it remained on the air.
And now, for those who care, HEROES ñ SEASON 4 is available as a five-disc Box Set.
I tried to care againÖas I sat and watched these episodes I tried to care, to remember what I loved about this show in the first placeÖbut the magic was no longer thereÖthe magic is no longer here.
HEROES ñ SEASON 4 is a release ONLY for people who still love the showÖthose of you who stayed with it until the less than satisfying ending.
For you folksÖI say enjoy!!
To the rest, no matter what powers you posses, I say skip it.
Finally this week, since The Report began this week with an 80s icon, lets end it with one too.
My friend, this week THE BLU-RAY BEACON is shining on Snake Plissken and the great 1981 action film ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK that was co-written and directed by John Carpenter.
It takes place in what was then the near future ñ 1997 ñ in a crime-ridden United States. Crime is so rampant that the island of Manhattan in New York City has been turned into a maximum-security prison.
When the President of the United Statesí plane crash lands inside the prison, an ex-soldier and legendary fugitive named Snake Plissken ñ who is brilliantly embodied by Kurt Russell ñ is given 24 hours to find him.
ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK remains a great film, and I loved sitting down and watching it again this week in High Definition. Sadly, the film was produced on a small, limited budget and it hasnít aged well, so the Blu-ray transfer isnít pristine, but it remains one of the greatest 80s action films, and I continue to highly recommend itÖas I have since the very first time I saw it.
ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK, SEASON 4 of HEROES, TRIAGE, MULTIPLE SARCASMS, THE JONSES, DIARY OF A WIMPY KID and DATE NIGHT are all available now on Blu-ray and DVD.
The five-disc set featuring THE COMPLETE SERIES of MAX HEADROOM is available now, only on DVD.
Coming up in on the next Couch Potato Report
Paul Gross stars in the Canadian-made-western GUNLESS.
Also next week, the rock and roll comedy vampire film SUCK, ME AND ORSON WELLES, and Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant ñ the guys who created the original BBC show THE OFFICE ñ take us to a place called CEMETARY JUNCTION.
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 14th, 2010