The Couch Potato Report – October 23rd, 2010
This week The Couch Potato Report keeps itís head up, and goes a little madÖbut, we all go a little mad sometimes.
With all due respect to Peter Mansbridge, Wendy Mesley, Ron Maclean, Anna Maria Tremonti, George Strombolopolous, and everyone else who works for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, I think it is safe to say that our best known personality is Donald Stewart Cherry, Don Cherry from Coachís Corner on Hockey Night In Canada. And I can say that quite confidently as Don is the only one who has had a movie made about his life.
Written by Donís son Tim Cherry, and filmed in and around Winnipeg, KEEP YOUR HEAD UP, KID ñ THE DON CHERRY STORY is about Cherry’s journey through the minor leagues, and his moves into broadcasting, and coaching.
Even though KEEP YOUR HEAD UP, KID is primarily about Don Cherry, the film is also about his late wife Rose. Through thick and thin, good and bad, she always stood by his side.
KEEP YOUR HEAD UP, KID ñ THE DON CHERRY STORY is very well acted and written and the locations and period recreations are great, so I liked it. But I like Don Cherry ñ warts and all. If you arenít a fan of the man, you probably wonít enjoy it as much.
It was in 1987, when Ron MacLean joined Don Cherry in the Coachís Corner, and the two have been together ever since.
And as long as Ron and Don have been teamed up, they have been making science-fiction/action movies with the word PREDATOR in the title. The first one ñ simply called PREDATOR ñ came out in the Summer of 1987, and starred Arnold Schwarzenegger as a member of a team of commandos, who while on a mission in a Central American jungle, find themselves hunted by an extra-terrestrial warrior.
The latest was released to theatres back in July and now ñ instead of just one ET WarriorÖthere are many more!!
This latest film is called PREDATORS and it features a group of human killers who must survive in a vast jungle of a distant world.
It is literally kill or be killed.
The cast of PREDATORS features Academy Award winner Adrian Brody from THE PIANO and it was produced by Robert Rodriguez, the director of FROM DUSK TILL DAWN and SIN CITY. If you are a fan of this film series, or sci-fi action films, then you will probably agree that this a good rental. No, the film is not greatÖbut it is pretty good.
But if you are not a fan of the genre, then donít bother with PREDATORS. It is for fans only.
I will admit up front that ñ even though this next release was universally panned by audiences and critics ñ that I kind of liked it. That said, I had heard so many negative things about the cinematic version of the JONAH HEX comic books before I watched it, that it couldnít help but be better than I expected.
Not much betterÖbut better.
JONAH HEX is a post-Civil War antihero Western film based on the DC Comics character of the same name. Despite his poor reputation and personality, Hex is bound by a personal code of honor to protect and avenge the innocent. The film stars Josh Brolin as the title character and starlet Megan Fox as his love interest and it was a critical and commercial failure when it opened back on June 18th.
Going in, I thought it might be a so bad itís kind of good sort of film, but it isnít. It is just an okay film that is very well acted and is even clever at times. It is not the worst comic book film I have ever seen, and when viewed with very, very low expectationsÖit is mildly entertaining.
Make no mistake, JONAH HEX is not great in any wayÖbut if you enjoy comic book movies ñ as I do ñ then check it out.
If notÖabsolutely do not!!
As I have said many, many times here on The Couch Potato Report, I love nature documentaries!! I absolutely love them, and will sit and watch themÖno matter how good, bad, or how insightful or interesting their focus is.
There are four new ones that came out this week, and I happily sat and soaked in each and every minute of them all!!
And I started with the CBC production of THE NATURE OF THINGSí ONE OCEAN. Hosted by David Suzuki this is a four-part documentary series that shows us both the oceanís beauty and itís power…good, and bad.
Since this is a NATURE OF THINGS documentary, ONE OCEAN isnít just about the Ocean and inhabitants, it is also about how they can be saved and how much more there is to explore.
ONE OCEAN goes from the significance of microscopic plankton, to the power of the Oceanís top predators and it does have some very good stuff, however it left me wanting more stories and footage about the actual ocean and itís inhabitants, and less interviews with the people who have opinions about it, and ideas on how to save it.
So, while THE NATURE OF THINGS presents ONE OCEAN is very good, if you are looking for just a documentary about the ocean, this is not the one for you.
Instead, you should search out OCEANS!! Now THIS is a great documentary about life, under the sea!
Narrated by former James Bond ñ Pierce Brosnan ñ OCEANS is a spectacular story about some utterly remarkable creatures and the state-of-the-art-underwater filmmaking allows us to watch a shrimp fight with a crab, sea lions sunbathing, otters scratching their head, whales migrating, and so much more!!
OCEANS is fascinating and I loved it!! And yes, this film also features commentary about the fact that the Ocean needs to be savedÖbut it never hits us over the head with that fact, it is subtle and isnít focus too often.
So ñ simply put ñ this is a great film!!
Another great film is THE CRIMSON WING ñ MYSTERY OF THE FLAMINGOS looks at the fascinating bird as they mate and breed in one of the most inhospitable places on earth in Africa.
The photography here is amazing as we get to see storks and flamingos fighting, babies born and walking, their mating dance, and even their landings on water are fun to watch!!
THE CRIMSON WING ñ MYSTERY OF THE FLAMINGOS doesnít have the strongest ending I have ever seen in a documentary like this, but up until then it is fantastic!! I easily recommend this one for the whole familyÖbut know in advance, there are some death scenes of baby birdsÖand younger kids might have a problem with how graphic they are.
The final nature documentary release that I have for you this week is for the series RAGING PLANET.
RAGING PLANET is an eight-episode series that focuses on natural disastersÖincluding tornadoes, hurricanes, avalanches, lightning, and blizzards. The show is put together using actual videos shot as the disasters are ongoing, CGI effects, and a few re-enactments.
RAGING PLANET is completely fascinating, and while I hope none of us ever have to live through any of the disasters depicted here, I think this series about them is great!!
RAGING PLANET is a series about some very big disasters, and this next release is something smaller ñ PLEASE GIVE is a low budget film about a couple who live in New York City.
Catherine Keener from THE 40-YEAR-OLD VIRGIN and Canadian born actor Oliver Platt are a couple who own a second-hand furniture shop and live next door to an elderly woman in their apartment building.
Their lives are surrounded by death as they buy items from the families of deceased people to sell in their shop, and as soon as their neighbour dies, they will be taking over her place and expanding their apartmentÖandÖeventuallyÖall of that death starts to have an effect on one of them.
PLEASE GIVE is a smart film with interesting characters and I really enjoyed it. It is more of an art house film than one youíd watch in a multiplex, but if that doesnít scare you off, I suggest you search it out.
And I do that just as easily as I suggest you ignore and do not look for a film named AGORA, starring Academy Award winner Rachel Weisz from THE CONSTANT GARDENER and ABOUT A BOY.
I can tell you what this film is aboutÖbut it doesnít matter. This movie is such a waste of timeÖit is a historical drama set in Roman Egypt, concerning a slave who turns to the rising tide of Christianity in the hopes of pursuing freedom while also falling in love with his master, the famous female philosophy professor and atheist Hypatia of AlexandriaÖ.and blah, blah, blah!!
AGORA is an ambitious film, that is impressive to watch and it is very intellectual, but it is also almost completely lacking in emotion. I made no connection with this film at all, and when it was over all I thought was, ìWho cares?!?î
The film is called AGORA and you should skip it at all costsÖbut you know, if I had to say something positive about it, I can easily say that it is not the worst film of the week.
That ìhonourî goes to a DOA DVD ñ a film that is dead on arrival ñ called THE SIX WIVES OF HENRY LEFAY.
This one is such a complete waste of time!!
When a film is this bad, I usually donít include it on The Report, as there are usually other, better film sto talk about. But, THE SIX WIVES OF HENRY LEFAY has such a nice cast, that you may want to pick it up, so I have included it so you donítÖthis movie is just awful!!
That cast includes Calgary born actress Elisha Cuthbert from 24, Chris Klein from the made in Regina film JUST FRIENDS, Tim Allen, Jenna Elfman, and Andie MacDowell, among many others and no matter how much you enjoy those folks, or their previous efforts, stay away from THE SIX WIVES OF HENRY LEFAY!!
It is easily the worst release of the week!!
HeyÖwe just have one more week to go before HalloweenÖand since it is on a weekend, we only have one more week until the Halloweekend!!
So, if you are in the mood for a horror film, or are looking for one to put you in the mood, let me tell you about the remake of the 1988 film NIGHT OF THE DEMONS.
The original was about ten high school seniors who had a Halloween party in an isolated mortuaryÖ.and all didnít turn out well.
The new version still has a group of kids who go to a Halloween party, only to have to face down a group of demons, but this one takes place in an old ñ possibly haunted house ñ in New Orleans.
NIGHT OF THE DEMONS doesnít strive to be much, and so it really isnít. However, if you are interested in seeing a better than mediocre horror film, you could do worse.
Maybe not a lot worse, but worse.
It is time now to allow The Blu-Ray Beacon to shine on a few releases that are new in HD, starting with the musical MOULIN ROUGE, director Baz Luhrmann fantastic 2001 film starring Nicole Kidman and Ewan MacGregor .
The latter plays a poet who falls for a beautiful courtesan, but a jealous duke is also in love with her. And as I said, it is a musical, with most of the songs using familiar 20th century sources.
I have loved MOULIN ROUGE since the first time I saw it, and still love it to this day, especially on Blu-ray! It looks and sounds amazing!!
In just a moment I will be concluding this weekís Report with a film that is fifty years old but before I do that, I have one for you that is only 35 years old.
Yes, it was in the Fall of 1975 when we were first exposed to THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW!!
The film is a parody of science fiction and B-movie horror films and stars Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon, Meat Loaf and Barry Bostwick, and no matter how much fun this film is to watch at home, it will always be more fun in theatres.
But that said, this new 35th ANNIVERSARY EDITION comes with a wealth of features that make watching it at home fun too as it has a restored picture, a trivia track, a look inside a midnight showing, a 24 page book of photos and more!!
THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW is amazing on Blu-Ray and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!!
Finally this week, lets go back to the Fall of 1960, when we first met Norman Bates ñ and his mother ñ in director Alfred Hitchcockís masterpiece PSYCHO!
Anthony Perkins is spectacular as Norman Bates, the mama’s boy proprietor of the Bates Motel; and so is Janet Leigh as Marion Crane. Together they topline a cast of one of the greatest and ñ dare I say ñ scariest films ever made!
Watching PSYCHO on the 50th ANNIVERSARY EDITION Blu-ray this week was such a treat as the picture is nearly perfect, the black and white looks superb!! and the remastered audio track sounds amazing!!
Then, there are the bonus features that take us inside and behind the scenes of the movieÖhereís Janet Leigh discussing showering, post filming.
PSYCHO remains a classic and a documentary called THE PSYCHO LEGACY examines why. This film doesnít come with the film, but it is available as a separate purchase, and while it isnít great, it is an interesting look at the filmís legacy.
THE PSYCHO LEGACY, the 50th ANNIVERSARY edition of PSYCHO, the 35th ANNIVERSARY EDITION of THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW, MOULIN ROUGE, NIGHT OF THE DEMONS, SIX WIVES OF HENRY LEFAY, AGORA, PLEASE GIVE, RAGING PLANET, THE CRIMSON WING ñ THE MYSTERY OF THE FLAMINGO, OCEANS, THE NATURE OF THINGS presentation ONE OCEAN, JONAH HEX, PREDATORS and KEEP YOUR HEAD UP, KID ñ THE DON CHERRY STORY are all available now for you to watch and own.
Coming up on the next Couch Potato Report
The documentary series AFRICA ON THE MOVE, YOU DONíT KNOW JACK, THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE, THE ALIEN ANTHOLOGY, and the 25th ANNIVERSARY EDITION of THE BACK TO THE FUTURE 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!
The Couch Potato Report – October 23rd, 2010