The Couch Potato Report – November 13th, 2010
This week The Couch Potato Report has a Canadian Pilgrim named Scott, and the Hills are alive, with the sound of movies.
SCOTT PILGRIM is a character created by London, Ontario born writer and cartoonist Bryan Lee O’Malley in a series of six graphic novels.
Pilgrim is a 22 year-old unemployed part-time musician in Toronto, dating a high school student, who falls for a woman his own age named Ramona FlowersÖbut ñ in order to date her ñ he must defeat her seven evil exes.
The books have now become a film and SCOTT PILGRIM VERSUS THE WORLD stars Michael Cera from ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT and SUPERBAD.
SCOTT PILGRIM VERSUS THE WORLD was directed by Edgar Wright ñ who also gave the world the very entertaining films SHAUN OF THE DEAD and HOTT FUZZ ñ and it is a clever, well cast, fast paced, tightly edited film that features romance, superb action movie quality fight sequences and some really fun charactersÖgood and bad.
I am a HUGE fan of the books, and I love this movieÖabsolutely love itÖin fact ñ when I make my list of my favourite films of the year, it will be in the Top Five, and in fact, it will probably be very close to the top.
Now, normally, I would HIGHLY recommend a film that I enjoy this muchÖbut ñ in this case ñ I have to admit that this is not a movie for everyone. Primarily because SCOTT PILGRIM VERSUS THE WORLD looks and feels like a video game crossed with a comic book. So if either of those things usually donít appeal to you, then this movie certainly wonít.
However, if you like comic books, video games, and clever, well cast, fast paced, tightly edited films that feature romance, superb action movie quality fight sequences and some fun charactersÖgood and badÖ.as I doÖthen do not miss SCOTT PILGRIM VERSUS THE WORLD!!
Yes, as is often the case, the books are betterÖbut the movie is pretty darn good too!!
No, because of itís origin as a Graphic Novel, SCOTT PILGRIM VERSUS THE WORLD is not necessarily a movie for grown upsÖand neither is a movie called GROWN UPS, starring Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade and Rob Schneider as four estranged old friends who get together for a weekend after their High School basketball coach passes away.
Rock, Schneider, Spade and Sandler were all cast members of Saturday Night Live in the early nineties and so this film feels like a reunion of old friends who really enjoy each otherís companyÖand since I tend to enjoy movies and shows about old friends spending time together, I really liked GROWN UPS.
Sure, it is juvenile and even childish at times, but so are most of my old friends, even though we are now grown ups too.
It wasnít as great the second time I saw it, but the first timeÖI really enjoyed GROWN-UPS.
Love is in the air now, here on The Couch Potato Report, its everywhere I look around.
Love is in the air, with these next three films, in every sight and every soundÖand the love begins on a LOVE RANCH.
LOVE RANCH is based on the true story of the first legal brothel that opened in Nevada. Academy Award winners Hellen Mirren and Joe Pesci star as the married couple who own and run the place and their lives are forever changed by infidelity on theirÖLOVE RANCH.
LOVE RANCH was directed by Taylor Hackford ñ who also gave us AN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN and AGAINST ALL ODDS ñ and it is full of interesting characters, but the film moves too slow at times and doesnít give us much reason to care.
It isnít a bad movie, but I didnít really like it, and I certainly didnít love it, and so I will suggest this one ñ and this next movie full of love ñ to fans of the lead actors only.
This next one features a cast lead by the Academy Award winning actress Tilda Swinton of MICHAEL CLAYTON, BURN AFTER READING AND THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON.
It is an Italian film called I AM LOVE.
I AM LOVE features Swinton as a respected mother of three in Milan. She has a full live, and although she isnít necessarily unhappy, she feels unfulfilledÖuntil she meets Antonio, a talented chef and her son’s friend and business partner, and she feels alive as they begin a passionate affair.
I AM LOVE is a good film, but it isnít great in any way. The scenery and locations are fantastic, and the way some of the story ñ that weíve seen a million times ñ is shot is unique, but as I said, this one is for fans of the lead actress only.
The final film about love that I have for you is another foreign one, this one is from France.
LE PERE DE MES ENFANTS or THE FATHER OF MY CHILDREN starts off as a story about GrÈgoire, a Parisian film producer who seemingly has it all ñ a beautiful wife, three adorable daughters, wealth and a successful career.
However, as the film goes on, we see that he is strugglingÖand he makes a drastic decision to try and end his miseryÖone that wonít benefit everyone, just him.
THE FATHER OF MY CHILDREN offers up a brilliant first hour, but then slows to a crawl and the conclusion is very, very unsatisfying.
So if you see it on a shelf, donít give it any loveÖit just isnít worth it.
As it turns outÖlove is still in the air!! But we switch now from the love one person has for another, to the love we can have for objects, items, television shows, and even comic books.
DC Comics is one of the largest and most successful comic book companies in the world, and they are home to a large number of well-known characters, including Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman, and many, many others.
SECRET ORIGIN: THE STORY OF DC COMICS is a film about the company, unfortunately it is more of a commercial for the company than a documentaryÖwhich means it offers information, but not a lot of insight, and it tends to focus on the positives.
That said, I liked itÖnot loved, likedÖbut I do still love comic books and comic book superheroes!!
I also still love the circus, but I only liked the PBS documentary series about itÖsimply called CIRCUS.
CIRCUS is a six-part series about the Big Apple Circus as they get ready for their annual 350-show tour ñ one that goes from town to town ñ and takes us from inside the big top to behind-the-scenes where the performerís where the trailers are parked and where they live.
CIRCUS introduces us to circus folk and we get to see the year unfold as rivalries and romances blossom, acts come together and fall apart, and a souring economy threaten the whole thing!
I remain as fascinated by the circus today as I did when I was a kid under the big top, and I expected this series to be amazingÖbut ñ somehow ñ it isnít.
It is incredibly well photographed and produced, but very few of the people we meet are all that interesting, and the ones that are donít seem to get enough screen time.
CIRCUS made me smile remembering the times Iíve been to a show, and actually made me decide to go again one day, and it was interesting at timesÖbut it isnít all that engaging.
If you have ever wanted to run away with the circus, you might enjoy it more than I didÖbut I remain very disappointed with the PBS series CIRCUS.
There is another television show for me to talk about this week, and it is one that I was never disappointed inÖeven toward the end of the series when the writers and producers were running out of plausible story ideas.
Nope, I was never disappointed in THE BIONIC WOMAN and now SEASON ONE is finally available to own on DVD!!
THE BIONIC WOMAN was a spin-off of THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN and stars the always beautiful Lindsay Wagner as Jaime Sommers, a tennis professional who was nearly killed in a skydiving accident, but was rebuilt with amplified hearing in her right ear, a greatly strengthened right arm, and enhanced legs, enabling her to run faster than a speeding car.
The series ran for three seasons, from 1976 to 1978, and that fun first season is now available in a four-disc set.
Some shows from the seventies and eighties donít hold up well when watched today, and at times that is true with THE BIONIC WOMAN, but I have such fond memories of this show that I enjoyed watching itís first season again this week.
If you feel that way too, donít miss this one!! It is good stuff!!
THE BIONIC WOMAN is now available only on DVD, and these next four titles are as well, but they are also all now available in High Definition on Blu-ray
The first of the four is the 35th ANNIVERSARY ULTIMATE COLLECTORíS EDITION of the Academy Award winning Best Picture from 1975ÖJack Nicholson stars in ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOOíS NEST.
Nicholson also won an Oscar playing a criminal who arrives at a mental institution and tries to get the patients to band together to take on the oppressive Nurse Ratched, a woman more a dictator than a nurse.
ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOOíS NEST remains a fantastic movie ñ with a cast that also includes Louise Fletcher, Danny DeVito and Christopher Lloyd ñ and this 35th ANNIVERSARY ULTIMATE COLLECTORíS EDITION features the fantastic film in High Definition and some unique collectibles connected to the film, such as a deck of playing cards.
If you are a fan of great movies, this is a must own!
And if you are a fan of Vegas, baby, VegasÖolde school Las Vegas, or The Rat Pack, then this next release is a must own for you!!
Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Peter Lawford, Joey Bishop and Angie Dickinson all star in the original, 1960 version of OCEANíS 11.
The Rat Pack star here as members of a troupe of eleven friends who know each other from World War II. They launch a plan to rob five of the biggest casinos in Las Vegas in one night, but after the whole thing is over, something goes terribly wrong.
OCEANSí 11 is now available in a 50th ANNIVERSARY EDITION on Blu-ray, but it an Anniversary Edition in name only. Unfortunately there was no additional content or special features created for this release. All of the Bonus Materials were merely imported over from the previous DVD release.
Still, the still very entertaining movie itself is worth a watch in the best format possibleÖso to have it in this format is a treatÖbut the biggest treat is seeing olde school Vegas once again!!
I have two Holiday staples to conclude this weekís edition of The Report ñ since the holidays are fast approaching ñ and both of them can easily be described as classics, classic musicals in fact.
The first one was released in 1954, and if youíve been dreaming of WHITE CHRISTMAS in High Definition, here it is!
WHITE CHRISTMAS is now available in High Definition and it looks and sounds amazingÖand how about these stars – Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, Vera-Ellen and Dean Jagger?!?!
Now THAT is a cast!! Bing and Danny play a successful song-and-dance team who become romantically involved with a sister act and team up to save the failing Vermont inn of their former commanding general.
This film is one of the greats, and if you have only ever heard the song, see the movie!! WHITE CHRISTMAS is fantastic!!
Finally this week, not just a musical, not just a classic musical, but my absolute favourite musical of all time!!
Yes, the Academy Award winning classic THE SOUND OF MUSIC is now available on Blu-ray in a 45th ANNIVERSARY EDITION that comes complete with a wealth of bonus materials, including an All-New Immersive Viewing Experience with Behind-the-Scenes Images, On-Screen Lyrics, a Trivia Track and Audio Commentaries with stars Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer and Director Robert WiseÖ, but primarily this Blu-ray features the film, and the incredible songs.
This is a classic film that has never looked or sounded betterÖif you have never seen it, THE SOUND OF MUSIC is one that I will always highly recommend.
The 45th ANNIVERSARY EDITION of THE SOUND OF MUSIC, WHITE CHRISTMAS, the 50th ANNIVERSARY EDITION of OCEANíS 11, the 35th ANNIVERSARY ULTIMATE COLLECTORíS EDITION of the Academy Award winning ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOOíS NEXT, SEASON ONE of THE BIONIC WOMAN, the documentary series CIRCUS, THE STORY OF DC COMICS, THE FATHER OF MY CHILDREN, I AM LOVE, LOVE RANCH, GROWN UPS and the great ñ but you might not like it ñ SCOTT PILGRIM VERSUS THE WORLD are all available now for you to watch and own.
Coming up on the next Couch Potato Report
A pair of releases that will let us enjoy hockey ñ THE CANADA CUP 1987 Box Set and DON CHERRYíS ROCK EM SOCK EM 22, plus there is the EXTENDED EDITION of James Cameronís AVATAR, THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT, and A TRIBUTE TO the late, still great comedian SAM KINISON.
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 – November 13th, 2010