The Couch Potato Report

Happy Thanksgiving Long Weekend!!

The Couch Potato Report – October 9th, 2010
This week The Couch Potato Report will begin in small town Saskatchewan, and end in small town Alberta.
Kipling is a town in southeast Saskatchewan, that was named after author Rudyard Kipling.
Corbin Bernsen is an Emmy and Golden Globe Award nominee who is best known for playing lawyer Arnie Becker on L.A. LAW from 1986-1994.
The town and the man first came together when Bernsen visited to hold open auditions for a movie called DONNA ON DEMAND, and they cemented their cinematic relationship when he wrote a film specifically to be filmed in the town called RUST.
Bernsen also directed and stars in RUST as a former pastor who returns to his hometown after a long absence. When a mysterious house fire kills a family new to the area, his childhood friend is charged with the crimeÖbut convinced of his friendís innocence, Bernsen sets out to find the truthÖ and in the process, rediscovers his family, and his lost faith.
There are a wealth of people ñ in both Kipling and Regina ñ who worked on and performed in RUST, and for themÖthis movie is a must see, and I am sure that they will be very proud!!
For the rest of us ñ people who watch and hope to love movies ñ this is just a small, low budget film that plays like a slow moving, agricultural based episode of LAW & ORDER.
RUST isnít awfulÖbut there just isnít anything special about it and so I canít recommend it to anyone outside of KiplingÖbut to you, I say ENJOY!!
Another film I donít whole-heartedly recommend is the remake of the 1984 film THE KARATE KID.
In the original ñ a single mother moves from New Jersey to Los Angeles with her high school aged sonÖand in this version, a single mother moves to China from Detroit with her 12-year-old son, and he also doesnít fit in with the locals. So, in order to stop the boy from getting bullied and pushed around, a kung fu master agrees to teach him the martial art.
I remain a huge fan of the original KARATE KID, which I saw when I was 16-years old, and anyone who is 16 years old now will probably love this remake just as much as I do the originalÖbut this now 42-year-old didnít care for it.
While the action and karate scenes are very well done, the film moves way too slow, and it never engaged me. I wanted it to, and I hoped it would, but it never did.
So, this one is for current teenagers only.
When this yearís Academy Award nominations are announced on January 25th, 2011, it is possible that Jackie Chan is nominated for his work as the mentor in THE KARATE KID, just as Pat Morita was given a nod back in 1985 for Best Supporting Actor as Mr. MiyagiÖbut it isnít likely.
But sometimes The Academy surprises us, and that was certainly true when the nominees for this yearís Awards were announced back in early February. Prior to that morning, many film followers had never even heard of a small animated Irish film called THE SECRET OF KELLS until it was named one of the five finalists for BEST ANIMATED FEATURE.
The visually fascinating SECRET OF KELLS is about a young orphan named Brendan, who lives with his uncleÖa loving guardian who is a bit too strict, and much more concerned with fortifying the wall around the town from a coming attack by vikings than he is at nurturing the boy’s imagination.
When Brother Aidan shows up and encourages Brendanís playful and imaginative side, the boy goes on a journey and makes a new friend, and with her help he attempts to save the town from the attack AND help Brother Aidan complete a mystical book whichólegend has itócan turn dark into light.
THE SECRET OF KELLS is visually amazing, features great music and voices and I really enjoyed it!! It is not an animated film for kids, as it moves too slow at times, but I really enjoyed it!
The Academy had it rightÖTHE SECRET OF KELLS was one of the top five animated films of last year!!
One film that is almost assured to not get any attention from the Academy next year ñ and if it does it will be a huge SHOCK, not a surprise, is GET HIM TO THE GREEK.
This is a spin-off of the very entertaining film FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL starring the very funny, and morally flexible rock star Aldous Snow, as played by British comedian Russell Brand.
Unfortunately, a character who was very funny in a supporting role is not very funny at all in his own film, this is a textbook example of too much of a good thing.
Jonah Hill ñ who also starred in FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL co-stars here, but he isnít playing the same character. Instead, he is now a record-company employee whose job it is to transport Aldous from London to Los Angeles ñ specifically to the Greek Theatre, where Aldous is supposed to revive his stumbling career with a comeback show.
GET HIM TO THE GREEK could have been a very entertaining comedy, but I didnít laugh once.
Yes, some of it was mildly amusing, but this is a comedy that just didnít make me laughÖnot even onceÖand so I suggest that you skip it!
The made-in-Montreal film THE TROTSKY is next up this week, and it stars Jay Baruchel from TROPC THUNDER as Leon Bronstein. Leon is not your average Montreal West high school student, primarily because he claims ñ and really, really believes ñ that he is the reincarnation of early 20th century Soviet iconoclast and Red Army hero, Leon Trotsky.
When his father sends Leon to public school as punishment, Leon quickly changes the meaning of ìStudent Unionî and is determined to live out his pre-ordained destiny to the fullest and change the world.
THE TROTSKY features some interesting stuff, and I didnít think it was awfulÖbut I didnít care what happened. I watched it from start to finish and tried to allow it to engage me on several occasionsÖbut I just didnít care and so, to it, I say dosvedanya!!
I said that I just didnít care about THE TROTSKY, and I didnítÖbut it never left me with a ìWho cares?!?!î attitude, the way THE KILLER INSIDE ME did.
Even now, days after I have seen it, as I focus on it, my only thoughts are ìWho cares?!?î
THE KILLER INSIDE ME stars Casey Affleck from GONE BABY GONE and the OCEANíS ELEVEN remakes as a West Texas deputy sheriff who is also a psychotic killer. The lovely actresses Jessica Alba ñ from SIN CITY ñ and Academy Award nominee Kate Hudson of ALMOST FAMOUS co-star, and I do not recommend this film on any level.
It is slow, boring, uninteresting and you will probably also find yourself asking, ìWho cares?!?î
I did that a lot and I still donít know.
We are done with the mediocre releases this weekÖand a strong, very positive conclusion is coming up as THE BLU-RAY BEACON shines this week on three very strong releases, starting with the sequel to a 1994, 18Ω hour, Emmy Award-winning documentary series by Ken Burns about the game of baseball.
This is BASEBALL: THE TENTH INNING, a two-part, four-hour documentary film directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick that focuses on the tumultuous story of the sport from the 1990s to the present day, including the Steroid Era and the Boston Red Sox finally winning the World Series.
Once again there is a wealth of extraordinary highs and lows, stunning still photographs, and insightful commentary by players, managers, and fans, and THE TENTH INNING is a fantastic piece of history for all fans of the game.
No, it is not as good as the original seriesÖbut how could it be?! The original had over one-hundred years of stories from the game to tell, while this one has just a decade of them.
But even though it isnít as good, it is still good. This is a very worthy follow-up to one of the best documentary series ever films.
Back in 1992, this next film wasnít just nominated as Best Animated Feature at the Academy Awards, it was the first full-length animated film to be nominated as one of the top five releases of the yearÖyes, BEAUTY & THE BEAST was given a nomination in the Best Picture category that year, and this yearÖthis week in fact, it has debuted in High Definition on Blu-ray!
This is the tale, as old as time, about the beautiful Belle who is looking for the prince inside the Beast.
This newest release of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST features three different versions of the film, which all look and sound better than they ever have before, along with a wealth of Special FeaturesÖmany of then exclusive to this new release.
TIME – 15 seconds
BEAUTY & THE BEAST is a true classic, it is a film that transcends the fact that it is ìÖjust a cartoon.î
I highly recommend it, and always will, and that is also true about another story that features a beauty and a beast.
Our final release this week allows THE BLU-RAY BEACON to shine on a true cinematic classic, that is also now available in High Definition for the first time: the 1933, original version of KING KONG, co-starring Cardston, Alberta, born actress Fay Wray.
Watching KING KONG this week, I sat and thought about the fact that it is a 77 year-old movie that still seems fresh and is interesting. Plus, this is the definitive video version: remastered from a pristine archival print, with previously censored scenes restored, there are some great retrospective features, and a 32-page Blu-ray book with production photos, notes, and more!
KING KONG, on Blu-ray, even with itís vintage effects, over-the-top acting, and old time themes remains a must see!!
And if you ever find yourself on the main street of Cardston, Alberta, donít miss the ìFay Wray Fountain.î It is a nice tribute to the actress.
The original 1933, the classic version of KING KONG, the animated classic BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, KEN BURNS BASEBALL: THE TENTH INNING, THE KILLER INSIDE ME, THE TROTSKY, GET HIM TO THE GREEK, the Academy Award nominated Irish film THE SECRET OF KELLS and the remake of THE KARATE KID are all available now on Blu-ray and DVD.
The made-in-and starring Kipling, Saskatchewan film RUST is available now only on DVD.
Coming up on the next Couch Potato Report
The made in Toronto horror film SPLICE starring Sarah Polley and Adrien Brody, the animated film HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON, THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON of Joss Wedonís DOLLHOUSE, and THE BLU-RAY BEACON shines on the ROBOCOP TRILOGY.
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!