The Couch Potato Report – December 18th, 2010
This week The Couch Potato Report has The Queen, in 3D, and three of the best films of the year!
With the success of James Cameronís AVATAR, Tim Burtonís ALICE IN WONDERLAND, CLASH OF THE TITANS and a wide array of animated films over the past year, the combination of the number ì3î and the letter ìDî have become the go to gimmick for movie studios looking to cash in on the 3D bandwagon.
But ñ as I am sure you know, 3D is not a new thing, this technology ñ which seeks to give viewers the illusion of depth perception ñ has been around for yearsÖin fact, when researchers at the British Film Institute opened some long forgotten film canisters, they found footage of the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II from 1953 in colour, and in 3D.
Back on September 20th, that footage was featured in the first 3D documentary to be broadcast in Canada when it aired on CBC Television and now QUEEN ELIZABETH IN 3D is available to own on DVD.
In addition to the coronation footage, QUEEN ELIZABETH IN 3D looks back at her relationship to Canada and with Canadians over her almost sixty year reign, and it isnít all in 3DÖin fact, most of it actually isnít. But the footage that is, is amazing!!
I really enjoyed the footage with the extra dimension, it looks greatÖespecially when you consider it was filmed in 1953, but ultimately I canít recommend QUEEN ELIZABETH IN 3D because it spends far too much time explaining the technology behind 3D and doesnít offer us enough actual footage in 3D.
As I said, the footage that is, is amazingÖbut there just isnít enough of it.
Something else there wasnít enough of, were great films in 2010. While there have been some really good ones, the majority of movies that have come out this year have been less than great.
However, three of the best ones that did come out are all brand new this week on DVD and Blu-ray, and I am about to tell you them, beginning with an action comedy starring Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg.
THE OTHER GUYS is about two under the radar New York City detectives who live in the shadow of two larger than life cops ñ played by Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne ìThe Rockî Johnson ñ and even though they are partners, Ferrell and Wahlberg donít really like each other.
However, when Jackson and The Rock are no longer available, opportunity knocks for the other guys and a very entertaining film ensues.
I really liked THE OTHER GUYS! It is a very smart movie with a fantastic supporting cast that also includes Michael Keaton, Eva Mendes and Derek Jeter, of the New York Yankees. Plus, it have some great lines and inside jokes, and it offers viewers some unique small scenes and moments.
I highly recommend it!!
I also highly recommend the explosive action film that is THE A-TEAM
To me, this is the perfect example of what a summer action movie should be, loud, abrasive, and funÖit is a true, check-your-brain-at-the-door, enjoy the popcorn sort of filmÖyet ñ somehow ñ this remake of the eighties television series about four ex-Special Forces Servicemen who work as soldiers of fortune while on the run from the Army after being branded as war criminals for a “crime they didn’t commit” – didnít do that well at the box office.
But I loved it!! If you like your action loud and explosive, and your actors to look like they are in on the joke and having a good time in a movie, then do not miss THE A-TEAM.
If you can find them.
Both THE A-TEAM and THE OTHER GUYSÖwhich was originally called THE B-TEAM, but had itís title changed to avoid confusion with the better known A-TEAMÖboth of these films feature plenty of VERY LOUD action scenes.
THE TOWN also has action, and violence, but instead of using tanks and explosives, most of it just occurs through gunplay.
But THE TOWN is not the lesser film of the three, in fact after seeing it a second time this week it actually moved up my list of the yearís best films. This is a great flick!
THE TOWN was co-written and directed by Ben Affleck and he also stars alongside Academy Award nominee Jeremy Renner from THE HURT LOCKER, Jon Hamm of MAD MEN, and Blake Lively from GOSSIP GIRL, along with character actors Pete Postlethwaite and Chris Cooper.
It was adapted from Chuck Hogan’s novel “Prince of Thieves” and is about a longtime thief from Boston who is trying to get out of the neighbourhood and away from the people that have defined and shaped his life, all while planning one last job.
He is also trying to find a new life with a women who had been a hostage during a bank robbery, and doesnít know the truth about who he is, and heís trying to stay away from an FBI agent looking to bring him and his crew downÖand said agent may also have an interest in the former hostage.
When The Academy Award nominations are announced on January 25th of next year, donít be surprised if THE TOWN is nominated as Best Picture, and it might even win. It will deserve that nomination, and it is deserving of your time.
This is a great film!!
One film that came out this year that I thought would be great is the film CYRUS, starring Academy Award winner Marisa Tomei from MY COUSIN VINNY and THE WRESTLER…an actress I love…along with Academy Award nominee John C. Reilly from CHICAGO and TALLEDEGA NIGHTS along with Jonah Hill from SUPERBAD.
Reilly plays a recently divorced guy who meets the woman of his dreams and everything seems perfect, until he meets her sonÖand they donít get along at all.
I thought CYRUS would be great because I love the cast and the premise, but it isnít greatÖit is only pretty goodÖ.however, I liked it. This is what I would call a nice little film.
Watching the newly released five-disc box set this week for the eighth season of LAW & ORDER, it hit me how much I miss this show. It hasnít even been off the air for a year yet, and I miss seeing new episodes every week.
Luckily I hadnít seen many of the episodes in this set, so I was able to pretend they were new ñ after all, if you havenít seen it, itís new to youÖright?!
LAW & ORDER: THE EIGHTH YEAR stars the late, great Jerry Orbach, and Benjamin Bratt, Sam Waterston and Carey Lowell and features cases about military corruption, drive-by shootings, a killer infected with the AIDS virus and more, spread over twenty-four great episodes.
LAW & ORDER is the longest-running crime series in the history of television and these episodes from the 1997-1998 season are prime examples why.
Yes, I used the word great to describe LAW & ORDER, and I probably always will, but I will not use it anywhere in relation to this next filmÖthe failed summer action film THE SORCERERíS APPRENTICE.
This one stars Nicolas Cage as master sorcerer Balthazar Blake. He recurits an everyday guy in his mission to defend New York City from his arch-nemesis.
Montreal born actor Jay Baruchel from TROPIC THUNDER and MILLION DOLLAR BABY plays the everyday guy.
Iíll be honest, THE SORCERERíS APPRENTICE does feature some very well-done action scenes, but primarily it bored me. It just didnít hold my interest and the attempts at comedy all failed, and I didnít care for it.
You should just skip it.
You should also just skip VALHALLA RISINGÖa movie that I didnít care for at all!!
This one takes place in 1000 AD, and is an action film about a mute warrior with supernatural strength, and when it is an action film, it is very good with some fantastic fights.
However, there are only a few of those scenes, and the rest of the movie is about an escape, and a journey into the heart of darkness.
ìHeart of Darknessî by the way is a novella written by Joseph Conrad that was published in 1902 and is the source material for APOCALYPSE NOW.
VALHALLA RISING would love to be as good as that Academy Award winning film, but it is notÖit is just boring during those scenesÖ.it is actually boring during almost all of the running time, except the fight scenes. They are good.
Still, VALHALLA RISING is a movie you should just skipÖin fact, it is the second of three in a row that you absolutely do not need to see!!
The final one is an absolutely awful art house film from director Lars Von Trier called ANTICHRIST.
Trier is a Danish director whose films are usually an exploration of controversial subject matterÖ.he primarily makes Art House filmsÖfilms typically aimed at a niche audience rather than a mass one.
His latest, ANTICHRIST, stars Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg as a grieving couple who leave the city and head to their cabin in the woods, hoping to put their lives back together after the death of their young son.
But things go from bad to worseÖ.and you wonít care.
ANTICHRIST is a movie that has very graphic scenes featuring sex and genital mutilation, and I have absolutely nothing good to say about it.
This is a movie that I didnít care for at all, it is absolutely not one that was made for meÖand unless you LOVE art house films, you should stay away from it as well.
Since the release of the Mutiny on the Bounty novel in 1932 novel, there have been several film versions of it. The first was in 1933, another came out in 1962, and then it was filmed again in 1984.
But, for many the definitive cinematic version is the 1935 version, starring Charles Laughton and Clark Gable, as Fletcher Christian leads a success revolt against the ruthless Captain Bligh on the HMS Bounty.
This version was one of the biggest hits of its time, and THE BLU-RAY BEACON shines on it this week as it is now available in High Definition.
MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY doesnít look pristine in HD, after all the film is 75 years old, but it remains a classic and is a great film!
Yes, there have been several version of MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY, and there have now been two cinematic versions of NANNY MCPHEE.
NANNY MCPHEE RETURNS is the sequel to the 2005 film NANNY MCPHEE. Both were adapted by Emma Thompson from Christianna Brand’s NURSE MATILDA books.
Thompson also reprises her role as Nanny McPhee, and the film co-stars Maggie Gyllenhaal, Ralph Fiennes, Rhys Ifans and Maggie Smith.
I really enjoyed the first film, and NANNY MCPHEE RETURNS is a lot of fun tooÖespecially the scenes with the pigs swimming. It isnít great, primarily because at 109 minutes it is just too long, but it is one of the better family films of the yearÖnot the greatest one, but one of the better ones.
Finally this week is a fun animated film that kids will love, and parents can enjoy too!!
Yes, DESPICABLE ME is just that good!
DESPICABLE ME stars the voices of Steve Carell from THE OFFICE, Jason Segel of FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL, Russell Brand, Julie Andrews, Canadian Will Arnett, Saturday Night Live’s Kristen Wiig and Miranda Cosgrove from ICARLY.
Carell plays a criminal mastermind who is vying for the title of ìWorldís Greatest Villainî and is plotting to steal the moon. In order to assist him in his scheme, he adopts a trio of orphan girls, but things donít always work out as heís planned.
DESPICABLE ME is a fun, clever, and very entertaining film. Do not miss itÖeven if you donít have kids!
DESPICABLE ME, NANNY MCPHEE RETURNS, the 1935 version of MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY, Lars von Trierís ANTICHRIST, VALHALLA RISING, THE SORCERERíS APPRENTICE, SEASON 8 of LAW & ORDER, CYRUS, THE TOWN, THE A-TEAM, THE OTHER GUYS and QUEEN ELIZABETH IN 3D are all available now for you to watch and own.
Coming up on the next Couch Potato Report
Keifer Sutherland stars in 24 ñ THE COMPLETE EIGHTH STORY, Angelina Jolie toplines SALT, Emma Stone plays the lead in EASY A, and John Wayne takes the reigns in the Academy Award winning film TRUE GRIT.
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 – December 18th, 2010