The Couch Potato Report – October 16th, 2010
This week The Couch Potato Report splices and dices, and insists you stay alive, at any costs, because I will find you.
Since we are now only two weekends away from Halloween, there has been ñ and will continue to be ñ a wide array of horror films coming out on DVD and Blu-ray ñ good and bad ñ as the studios hope that you pick them up before ñ or on ñ All Hallows Eve.
One such release is SPLICE starring Academy Award winner Adrian Brody from THE PIANO and the great Gemini and Genie Award winning Canadian actress Sarah Polley.
SPLICE was filmed in and around Toronto and is about a young scientist couple that decide to introduce human DNA into their work of splicing animal genes. As a result, a female creature is bornÖone who ñ much to their surprise ñ begins to grow and learn at an accelerated rate.
SPLICE has some great acting and is a very well made film with great sets and effects, but it is not a unique. Weíve seen this story before, from the original FRANKENSTEIN back in 1931 all the way through WEIRD SCIENCE in the 80s and even since then.
But even though it isnít unique, I remained interested in it almost right up until the end. Yes, I shook my head a few times along the way and thought, ìCome on?!?!?îÖbut I was always interested.
SPLICE is not a great film, but as we get closer to Halloween I assure you that we will be subjected to worseÖso consider this a mild recommendation.
This next release is one that I donít mildly recommendÖI HIGHLY recommend INTO THE WIND.
INTO THE WIND is directed by two-time NBA MVP ñ and proud Canadian ñ Steve Nash and it is about Terry Fox and his Marathon Of Hope.
Even thirty years after it came to an unfortunate, and heartbreaking end, Terry Foxís inspirational 3,339-mile Marathon across Canada during the summer of 1980 remains an inspirational tale and INTO THE WIND is a wonderful look at Terryís life and efforts.
And although it is not perfectÖit is a fantastic film that ñ as I said ñ I highly recommendÖAND, the DVD has some great Bonus Features, including a look at where the Van used in the Marathon is today, some extended interviews, and Steve Nash himself.
I have four TV Show Box Sets to tell you about this week, but with the new television season in full swing, this is the last week that there will be more than one or two, and I will begin with the second season of Joss Whedonís DOLLHOUSE.
Joss Whedon is the man who gave us Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and Firefly and the very beautiful and talented Eliza Dushku from Buffy and the film BRING IT ON plays a woman named Echo in the show. She is a woman who volunteers to be an operative in an underground organization.
These operatives, or “Actives” are given brain implants and new personas and personalities to fit the requirements of the clients who require one service, or another.
The first season of DOLLHOUSE was very entertaining, even though not every episode was great. The second season is just not as good. There is usually enough going on in each episode to make them something more than a waste of time, but not enough to keep it a show that is a must see.
DOLLHOUSE isn’t a show for everyone, so if you don’t like science fiction/action shows you should stay away from it.
However, if you enjoy science-fiction action shows, then check out the DOLLHOUSE…but know that SEASON TWO is not as good as SEASON ONE.
However, as a whole, the show is very goodÖas Joss Whedon will tell you in the bonus features.
Another show that didnít have as strong a second season as itís first was FRINGE, however this show didnít get cancelled and SEASON THREE is now airing on Thursday nights.
THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON is now available for you to own.
FRINGE is sort of a cross between The X-Files and The Twilight Zone, combined with the film Altered States. It was co-created by J.J. Abrams, who also gave us ALIAS and LOST.
It is about an unorthodox team, lead by a female FBI agent who works with a once institutionalized scientist and his son in order to solve cases that are all connected to a series of unexplained events, and in THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON we start to get some explanations.
FRINGE is a very entertaining show that has a great cast, including Canadian Joshua Jackson from DAWSON’S CREEK, and it is kooky, creepy, odd and interesting…and sometimes it is even all of those things at the same time.
The stand-alone episodes arenít always as good as the ones that are part of the seriesí ongoing mythology, but the majority of them are still above average.
FRINGE continues to be a show that I really enjoy!!
I also continue to enjoy THE OFFICE, which is now airing itís SEVENTH SEASON every Thursday night, but SEASON SIX is available to ownÖand I am proud to say that I do!!
If you have never heard of this show, THE OFFICE is about a group of office workers in Scranton, Pennsylvania, where the workday consists of ego clashes, inappropriate behavior, and the tedium of working in an office.
THE OFFICE is based on the far superior BBC series, but after six seasons one must give this version itís due as it continues to be one of the most consistently funny shows on TV.
I love THE OFFICE and SEASON SIX is great!!
Another show that airs on Thursday nights is 30 ROCK ñ and is great!! ñ co-stars Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin. Fey is wonderful as Liz Lemon and Baldwin is spectacular as her boss as they work together on a fictional sketch comedy show.
If you have been looking for a very funny show to watch, do not miss SEASON FOUR of 30 ROCK.
It is consistently funny and very entertaining. This is great stuff!!
One show that wants to be great is FAMILY GUY. I know people who loveÖabsolutely LOVE this show and think that it is THE GREATEST show on television.
Personally, while I think it has moments of brilliance, it just isnít all that funnyÖand most of the writing on the show is lazy, and not smart.
I donít dislike FAMILY GUY, but I donít make a point of watching it anymore eitherÖexcept when there is a new DVD release.
And so this week I sat down to watch the FAMILY GUY episode PARTIAL TERMS OF ENDEARMENT, which because of itís content, was actually banned from airing, and can only be seen on a single episode DVD…and that episode is about what happens when Lois agrees to become a surrogate mother for an infertile couple against Peterís wishes and the debate about whether they should, or should not keep the baby.
The PARTIAL TERMS OF ENDEARMENT episode of FAMILY GUY is really just an average episode of the show and is absolutely nothing special. I am not even sure why it was banned, the subject matter may be controversial, but they have aired ñ and done ñ much worse.
This one is only for people who think FAMILY GUY is the greatest show ever made!
It is time right now to allow The Blu-Ray Beacon to shine on some new releases that are available in High Definition for the first time and I will begin with the 1992 Academy Award winning film THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS.
LAST OF THE MOHICANS won the Oscar for Best Sound and the efforts of the filmmakers can fully be heard and appreciated in HD, but ñ unfortunately ñ the picture is not pristine. It is crisp and clean, but all the colours seem dull and it doesnít look that great.
However, the film itself ñ starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Madeleine Stowe ñ remains an interesting, albeit not perfect love story set against the backdrop of a frontier wilderness in the middle of warÖand it is too bad this new Blu-ray isnít the definitive way to watch it.
Finally this week is a TRILOGY, featuring one film that remains a sci-fi classic, and itís two mediocre sequels.
That classic? 1987ís futuristic ROBOCOP about a terminally wounded police officer who returns to the force as a powerful cyborg.
The original ROBOCOP was an Academy Award nominee for Best Sound, and it received a Special Achievement Award for Sound Effects Editing, and in HD it does sound amazing!!
However, the video image looks like it was transferred from a video tape, and at times it actually looks awful.
Plus, there are absolutely no Special Features on any of the three films and so, even though I still love the first movie, I have to admit that THE ROBOCOP TRILOGY on Blu-ray is a HUGE disappointment!
This series ñ especially the still fantastic first film ñ deserves better!!
THE ROBOCP TRILOGY, THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS, FAMILY GUY ñ PARTIAL TERMS OF ENDEARMENT, SEASON FOUR of 30 ROCK, SEASON SIX of THE OFFICE, THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON of FRINGE, THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON of DOLLHOUSE, Steve Nashís Terry Fox documentary INTO THE WIND and the made-in-Toronto horror film SPLICE are all available now for you to watch and own.
Coming up on the next Couch Potato Report
THE NATURE OF THINGS PRESENTS ONE OCEAN, THE DON CHERRY STORY, NIGHT OF THE DEMONS, RAGING PLANET, and ñ just in time for Halloween ñ THE BLU-RAY BEACON will shine on THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW!!
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 – October 16th, 2010