The Couch Potato Report

It’s cold, so how about a movie?!?!

The Couch Potato Report – December 11th, 2010
This week The Couch Potato Report has the whole story, and weíll invade your dreamsÖ.without you even knowing.
It was back in 2001 when the very first SHREK film was released, giving us our first cinematic look at the ogre who had originally been introduced to the world in William Steig’s 1990 picture book, Shrek!.
The original SHREK won the very first Academy Award that was given out for Best Animated Feature, and was followed in 2004 by the almost as good SHREK 2, and the awful SHREK THE THIRD in 2007.
Back on May 21st, of this year, the fourth film in the series ñ one that was billed as THE FINAL CHAPTER ñ was released and now SHREK FOREVER AFTER is available to ownÖand while it isnít as good as either of the first two films, it is a much better way to conclude the series than with SHREK THE THIRD.
SHREK FOREVER AFTER is actually pretty good.
Canadian Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy, Antonio Banderas and the whole voice cast are back for this final film, one that sees the title ogre going through a mid-life crisis, and in a twist on ITíS A WONDERFUL LIFE, is shown what life would have been like for everyone if he had never been born.
SHREK FOREVER AFTER is only for people who love these characters, really love them, and this seriesÖotherwise, donít bother with it.
And if you do love them, you should look for SHREK ñ THE WHOLE STORY, a great box set that features the four films that have collectively become the fourth highest-grossing film series of all-time ñ behind only Harry Potter, James Bond, and Star Wars.
When I compiled my list of my favourite films of 2001, the first SHREK film was at the top of the list.
As I work toward finishing my list for this year, one film that is near the top is INCEPTION, director Christopher Nolanís fantastic film about a man who leads teams of thieves, artists and scientists into the subconsciouses of powerful men to steal their secrets and plant ideas while they dream.
INCEPTION is a visual masterpiece and features a cast that includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Tom Berenger, Michael Caine and Halifaxís Ellen Page.
This movie is smart, well made and acted and very clever!! I loved it and I easily recommend INCEPTION as one of the yearís best!!
Another one of this yearís best releases is ESPN ñ 30 FOR 30 BOX SET, a six-disc set featuring the first fifteen of the thirty documentaries that have been produced about sports related stories from the first three decades of the ESPN sports networkís existenceÖincluding, The Band That Wouldnít Die about the Baltimore Colts, Small Potatoes: Who Killed The USFL?, The Legend of Jimmy The Greek, Straight Outta L.A. about the Raiders move to and from Oakland, and Kings Ransom, about Wayne Gretzkyís trade to the Los Angeles Kings.
But the best film in the set may just be June 17th, 1994 ñ one that is about several different sporting events on the day in question as O. J. Simpson’s run from the police overshadowed an NBA Finals game between the New York Knicks and Houston Rockets, soccerís World Cup began, Arnold Palmer played in his last-ever U.S. Open, and the New York Rangersí Stanley Cup parade.
The ESPN ñ 30 FOR 30 BOX SET is a must have ñ and would make a great gift ñ for sports fans, and for people who love great documentaries.
This is a tremendous collection of films and one of the best releases of the year!!
KNIGHT & DAY is not a film that many will call one of the best releases of the yearÖhowever, it is one that will be listed as one of the biggest flops of 2010.
Tom Cruise stars as a fugitive super spy who may or may not have had a psychotic break from reality and Cameron Diaz as a woman who meets a mysterious stranger, and thinks she’s found the man of her dreamsÖbut her opinion changes when she is put in the middle of a cat-and-mouse chase that spans the globe.
Due to the fact that there is too much less than impressive computer effects that real action and perilous scenes KNIGHT & DAY is not a great film, but I sort of liked itÖliked, not loved.
At least I didnít think it was a waste of time, like THE TWILIGHT SAGA ñ ECLIPSE was.
Now I know that millions of people around the world love the books and the films based on them, but I am not one of them.
For the uninitiated, the TWILIGHT series is made up of four fantasy/romance novels that feature Vampires.
They were all written by Stephenie Meyer and the books follow the life of Isabella “Bella” Swan, a teenager who falls in love with a vampire named Edward Cullen.
In this third of four films a string of mysterious killings grips Seattle and Bella ñ whose high school graduation is fast approaching – is forced to choose between her love for Edward and her friendship with werewolf Jacob.
I liked the first TWLIGHT film, even though it was far from perfect, but the last two have just too much teenage melodrama and the computer animation and red contact lenses they use for some of the characters are so laughably bad, I still find it hard to believe they made it into a movie that was released theatrically.
The bottom line is that ECLIPSE is what it is. If you are a Twilighter, if you ìTwi-hardî and love this series, then you will love and need to own this made-in-Vancouver movie, no matter what I ñ or anyone else ñ says about it.
And if you do love them, then donít miss DESTINATION FORKS: THE REAL WORLD OF TWILIGHT because this documentary takes us to Forks, Washington, the actual place where the stories are set, and introduces us to the people who own the “homes” of Bella, Edward and Jacob, and more!
While not superb, DESTINATION FORKS is very interesting at times.
VAMPIRES SUCKÖthat is true, it is what they doÖand it is also the name of a film that is a parody of the TWLIGHT films and the current vampire craze.
The filmmakers have loaded it up with lots of jokes, and attempts at jokes, and it is too bad that ñ ultimately ñ VAMPIRES SUCK isnít that funny. It has a few laughs, but for the most part this spoof just does what vampires do…as the title implies.
Up next this week is the latest from director Rob Reiner, who has given us This Is Spinal Tap, The Sure Thing, Stand by Me, The Princess Bride, When Harry Met Sally, Misery, A Few Good Men, and Sleepless In Seattle!!! One guy is responsible for all of those fantastic films!!
Sadly, he is also the guy who gave us the less than entertaining movies North, Ghosts of Mississippi, The Story of Us, Alex & Emma, Rumor Has It and now FLIPPED.
I really had high hopes for this latest film, and was hoping it would be a return to form for ReinerÖbut, sadly, it is notÖsadly.
The tag line for FLIPPED is ìYou Never Forget Your First Loveî and it is about two eighth graders who start to have feelings for each other despite being total opposites. One of them flips right away, the other eventually.
FLIPPED does have a nice ending and a few sweet moments, but it is not a good film, or one I can suggest you see.
If you want to see a good Rob Reiner film, check out This Is Spinal Tap, The Sure Thing, Stand by Me, The Princess Bride, When Harry Met Sally, Misery, A Few Good Men, or Sleepless In Seattle!!!
Now those are all great films!!!
Okay, lets have a few laughs now, shall we? Courtesy of SEASON TWO of the very entertaining show PARKS AND RECREATION!!
PARKS & RECREATION was created by some of the same people who produce THE OFFICE, and is shot in mockumentary style like it’s predecessor.
The show features a top notch ensemble cast, lead by Saturday Night Liveís Amy Poehler playing an ambitious and hopeful small town government worker.
She is pushy and doesn’t always listen, and could have come across as unlikeable, but Amy is just such a great comedian, that instead of not liking her, you actually root for her.
Rashida Jones, Aziz Ansari, Paul Schneider, Aubrey Plaza and Nick Offerman round out the cast of PARKS & RECREATION and in SEASON TWO the cast gelled and the show is fun to watch.
I love this show and the addition of Rob Lowe to the cast at the end of the season bodes well for SEASON THREE!!
The characters in the Swiss film CARGO arenít trying to get to the moon, but they are in space, in the 23rd century, as an ecological collapse has forced Earth’s inhabitants into overcrowded, disease-ridden space stations.
Their only hope of escape is a blissful yet expensive-to-reach planet that is five light years away that everyone aspires to get to.
That includes a doctor who takes a job on a cargo freighter, but when a crew member is killed, questions arise about exactly what the cargo is.
CARGO offers up some unique stuff, but it also borrows heavily from THE MATRIX, ALIEN and several other films. It also has some good, and some very bad computer effects.
Personally, as I have said before, I will watch any science fiction films or television shows, and Iím glad Iíve seen CARGOÖbut I canít wholeheartedly suggest you see itÖunless you are also willing to watch any science fiction films or television shows.
I have three classic Holiday shows to get to in a moment, as soon as I am done talking about the romantic comedy GOING THE DISTANCE. This one stars Drew Barrymore and Justin Long as a couple who try to keep their love alive as they shuttle back and forth between New York and San Francisco to see one another.
GOING THE DISTANCE is a very predictable film that is not great, but I liked it. It had enough funny scenes and enough nice moments to keep me entertained.
I have certainly seen worse this week…TWILIGHT – ECLIPSE, I am talking to you!!!
Okay, let me tell you now about three holiday classics that are available on Blu-ray in one great package.
THE PEANUTSí HOLIDAY COLLECTION features BOTH Blu-ray AND DVD versions of It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and A Charlie Brown Christmas!!
And if you are a fan of the Peanutís specials of years gone by, this set also includes the Bonus Episodes: “It’s Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown”, “The Mayflower Voyagers”, “It’s Magic, Charlie Brown” and Backstory Featurettes on the creation of the shows, but primarily THE PEANUTSí HOLIDAY COLLECTION features the classic shows we know, remember, and love.
Finally this week, THE BLU-RAY BEACON is able to shine on a film that was not only on my list, but topped it as my favourite film for the year it came out.
LOST IN TRANSLATION was released in 2003 and stars Bill Murray as an aging movie star having a mid-life crisis and Scarlett Johansson as a neglected newlywed. The two are strangers who meet in Tokyo, Japan and form an unlikely, but very beautiful bond.
This is a very entertaining and beautiful film that was nominated for four Academy Awards, including: Best Picture, Best Actor for Bill Murray, and Best Director for Sofia Coppola; who also won for Best Original Screenplay.
Even though it was produced on a small budget, LOST IN TRANSLATION looks great in High Definition and if you have never seen itÖI highly recommend that you do.
Coming up on the next Couch Potato Report
Weíll see QUEEN ELIZABETH IN 3D, hang out with THE OTHER GUYS, try and find THE A-TEAM and youíll meet CYRUS.
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!