The Couch Potato Report – November 27th, 2010
This week The Couch Potato Report goes 3D, eats, prays, loves and takes you to Deadwood, South Dakota.
It has now been four months since the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa concluded with that fantastic final game featuring the Netherlands against Spain.
CBC carried the games in Canada, and we were treated to some fantastic insight and coverage. There were other broadcasters in nations around the world who also carried them, and they also gave their viewers one-of-a-kind coverageÖincluding showing some of the games in 3D.
Yes, you could watch the glorious game of soccer, live, in 3D and now THE OFFICIAL 2010 FIFA WORLD CUP FILM is available IN 3D.
The World Cup’s official film is the very first sporting event that is available on the new Blu-ray 3D formatÖand it is only available in 3D. If you donít have a 3D player and television you wonít be able to watch it, but if you do it runs a very entertaining sixty-four minutes and includes interviews and footage from the entire tournamentÖthe good, and the bad.
THE OFFICIAL 2010 FIFA WORLD CUP FILM IN 3D brought back some great memories for me of the tournament itself, and as a documentary ñ AND a soccer fan ñ I easily recommend it as the added dimension is put to good use hereÖI only wish it was also available in 2D so it could be viewed and enjoyed by everyone, not just people who have spent thousands of dollars to watch 3D releases at home.
Oh well, 3D it is, and Vuvuzelas it does have!!
I love the sound of those horns, and I also love the sound of Julia Robertsí voice and I have since I first saw her on screen in STEEL MAGNOLIAS back in 1989.
Julia is the star of this weekís second titleÖone that only has three wordsÖEAT PRAY LOVE.
EAT PRAY LOVE is based on the best-selling memoir ìEat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesiaî by Elizabeth Gilbert. The film was co-written and directed by Ryan Murphy ñ who also created the television show GLEE and in it Julia plays a woman who comes to the realization that she is not getting what she wants out of life, and, after a painful divorce, sets out on a journey of self discovery.
The film also stars Javier Bardem, Viola Davis, James Franco, and Academy Award nominee Richard Jenkins ñ from SIX FEET UNDER and THE VISITOR ñ who gives a brilliant performance as a man Julia befriends at an Indian ashram.
EAT PRAY LOVE features that great cast, and my beloved Julia, and it is a very likable film. I can see how some people would LOVE it, and I understand why the book was a bestseller, but I just didnít connect with the film emotionally, so I canít fully recommend it. It was good, but nowhere near great.
Actually, I am going to champion this next film, one about street graffiti and graffiti artists called EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP.
What a cool movie this was, cool and enjoyableÖ. EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP is a documentary that may or may not be 100% trueÖbut that makes it even cooler!!
It is about an eccentric French shop keeper and amateur film maker in Los Angeles who films absolutely everything he doesÖyes, everythingÖand because of that he stumbles into the world of street art and sets out to meet the reclusive, anonymous and hard to find artist known only as Banksy.
Banksy is a graffiti artist known around the world whose work can be seen on walls from post-hurricane New Orleans to the separation barrier on the Palestinian West Bank and his work is amazing!! Had EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP just been about him, what inspires him, and his works it could have been spectacular!!
As it is ñ the shop keeper decides to become an artist and eventually the movie becomes all about him ñ as it is, the movie is very goodÖbut if you are looking for insight on Banksy, or a documentary only about Street Art, this is not it.
Still, like I said, I am championing it because it contains spectacular footage of Banksy, Shepard Fairey, Invader and many of the world’s most infamous graffiti artists at work, and I liked it!! EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP is a cool flick!!
EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP stars a man from France and FREEDOM is a film shot in France.
FREEDOM ñ or LIBERTE ñ is about a Gypsy family traveling the French roads during the Second World War. When they reach a town where they have usually stop for a few months and work in vineyards, they learn that a new law forbids them from being nomadic and so they try and settle down, but their need for freedom makes that difficult on them, and those who befriend them.
FREEDOM is based on real events and features some fantastic performances from both humans and animals, and I liked it. It is very slow at times, but I liked it.
The next release I have for you this week is an eight-part miniseries based on the International Best Selling historical novel THE PILLARS OF THE EARTH by Ken Follett about the construction of a cathedral in the fictitious town of Kingsbridge. It all takes place in the Twelfth Century during a period of English history known as The Anarchy.
THE PILLARS OF THE EARTH features war, religious strife, power struggles and even love and all of it ñ as directed and acted by an incredible international cast that includes Canadian Donald Sutherland ñ is very well doneÖbut the end result is not great. Some of the scenes are, and a few of the performances are stand-outs, but I didnít think THE PILLARS OF THE EARTH was great in any way.
If you love the book, and series set around true-to-life historical events, you might enjoy it. Iím glad Iíve seen it, but I will never watch it again.
But I will watch V again!! V for Visitors, V for Victory, V for Very Entertaining!!
V originally aired in 1983 and was a two-part science fiction television miniseries about aliens known as “The Visitors” trying to gain control of Earth.
The original V was followed in the 1980s by V: The Final Battle and a short-lived series.
And now, in the twenty-first century, there is new version of the seriesÖand it looks to be short-lived too, although it managed to do something the original never didÖget a second season.
Season Two of the remake of V will premiere on January 4th, 2011, and V ñ THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON is now available to own.
This new version of V is filmed in and around Vancouver and while it does have some unique stories and a nice cast, it also features some bad computer graphics and effects. I loved the original, and I like this new version, and I will watch it as long as it is on the airÖbut as I have said before, I will watch any science fiction films or television shows, good and bad.
And that is exactly what V ñ THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON is ñ its good and bad.
I have some quick reviews for you now, before we get to this weekís Blu-Ray Beacon, starting with LOTTERY TICKET, a film about a guy in his twenties living in the projects who is holding a winning lottery ticket worth $370 million. But life is not as good as it sounds because it is a long Holiday weekend and he canít cash the ticketÖa ticket that everyone wantsÖand some will do anything to get it.
This is a great idea for a film, but LOTTERY TICKET doesnít effectively execute itís own ideas, and so the result is something that is okay, but nothing special.
Next up is CATS & DOGS ñ THE REVENGE OF KITTY GALORE, the second film in the series about the ongoing war between the canine and feline species.
This chapter sees the war put on hold when they join forces to try and stop a cat spy who has her own plans for World DominationÖthe aforementioned KITTY GALORE.
CATS & DOGS 2 is juvenile and fun! It was made for kids, but I liked it. Yes, some of the special effects and computer graphics look awful, but as a whole, it is good stuff.
This next film, should just be thrown into a hole and forgotten because itÖisÖawful!!
The original SEX AND THE CITY movie was surprisingly good, full of energy and good times, while SEX AND THE CITY 2 has nothing good, no energy at all, and it seems as if even the four main stars are tired of being these charactersÖwhich is too bad because I know lots of people ñ men and women ñ who enjoy Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samanthaís adventures.
This time, those adventures find the group heading off to Abu Dhabi, where one of Samantha’s many exes is filming a new movie. The other three ladies tag along in order to get away from the pressures of life, love, and work in ManhattanÖbut there are pressures of life, love, and work in Abu Dhabi too.
SEX AND THE CITY 2 is for fans of the show only, true fans, very hardcore fans. Otherwise, skip it because this chapter of the ongoing series is awful!! Absolutely awful!!
Okay, with that unpleasantness behind us, lets focus on some good stuff nowÖsome classics, in fact!!
This weekís BLU-RAY BEACON begins with THE MALTESE FALCON.
This is the classic 1941 film based on the novel of the same name by Dashiell Hammett that was written and directed by John Huston. It was Huston’s directorial debut and was nominated for three Academy Awards.
Humphrey Bogart as private investigator Sam Spade and his dealings with friends and enemies who are looking for his help in obtaining a priceless statuette of a falcon.
THE MALTESE FALCON is a true classic and on Blu-ray the black and white images look crisp and clear. I love this movie and if you have never seen it, or THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADREÖyou should.
This 1948 classic is another John Huston Humphrey Bogart collaboration as Bogey plays a member of a team of gold prospectors in Mexico during the 1920s.
It was a time when if you had gold, everyone else wanted it, and Bogart wanted to keep his.
THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE was one of the first Hollywood films to be filmed almost entirely on location outside the United States and those locations look superb to this day.
This is one of the films people are talking about when they say, ìThey donít make ëem like that anymore!!î
Finally this week THE BLU-RAY BEACON shines on a fantastic television series set in what would become South Dakota.
DEADWOOD is a reinvention of the classic western genre, with very smart characters, quite foul characters, all who speak with well written, smooth, and quite profane language.
They actually act how you would expect people to act in a lawless, evolving town that attracts fortune-seekers, drifters, tyrants, and burned-out adventurers searching for a card game and a place to die.
DEADWOOD ran on HBO from March 21st, 2004, to August 27th, 2006, spanning three 12-episode seasons and the 13-disc set called THE COMPLETE SERIES features all 36 episodes in 1080p, and comes with audio commentaries, featurettes, interviews, and a making-of documentary.
Mostly it has the show, this fantastic show with a great ensemble cast, and many historical figures actually appear as characters on the showósuch as Seth Bullock, Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane, Wyatt Earp, and many others.
Simply put, DEADWOOD is a fantastic show and it is one I very, very highly recommend!!
THE COMPLETE SERIES of the utterly fantastic show DEADWOOD, the classic films THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE and THE MALTESE FALCON, the absolute failure that is SEX AND THE CITY 2, the fun CATS & DOGS ñ THE REVENGE OF KITTY GALORE, LOTTERY TICKET, THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON of V, the miniseries THE PILLARS OF THE EARTH, the foreign film FREEDOM, the great documentary EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP, EAT PRAY LOVE starring Julia Roberts and the superb THE OFFICIAL 2010 FIFA WORLD CUP FILM IN 3D are all available now for you to watch and own.
Coming up in Two Weeks on the next Couch Potato Report
The latest SHREK film, THE SORCERERíS APPRENTICE, THE TWILIGHT SAGA ñ ECLIPSE, Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz star in KNIGHT & DAY, the original 1935 version of MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY, and Christopher Nolanís fantastic mind-bender INCEPTION.
I’m Dan Reynish. I’ll have more on those, and some other releases, in fourteen 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 27th, 2010