The Couch Potato Report – December 25th, 2010
This week The Couch Potato Report has a two-four, some SALT and TRUE GRIT, all for your festive enjoyment.
24 stars Kiefer Sutherland as Federal Agent Jack Bauer, a man who doesnít ñ and actually can’t ñ always play by the rules.
Bauer is a member of CTU ñ the Counter Terrorist Unit ñ and over the course of the showís history heís had to stop bombs, viruses, assassination attempts, all while also trying to save someone he cares about.
If youíve never seen 24, every season has 24 episodes, and each one plays out over an actual hour during the course of one day.
In 24 ñ SEASON EIGHT ñ THE COMPLETE FINAL SEASON, Jack Bauer races against the clock to prevent an attempt on the life of a Middle Eastern leader who is on a peace-making mission.
I have watched this show since it debuted, and after a less than superb SEASONS SIX and SEVEN, I am glad that the show ended on a high note.
24 ñ SEASON EIGHT ñ has great characters, a very engaging storyline, the always reliable Kiefer Sutherland, and it is a release ñ and show ñ that I highly recommend!!
SEASON EIGHT of 24 is full of action and adventure, but it is made for the small screen, so it isnít as loud and as explosive as SALT isÖan action film that was made for the big screen.
And make no mistake, SALT is loud, explosive and full of plenty of action and adventure!!
This very entertaining film features Angelina Jolie as Evelyn Salt, is a respected high-ranking CIA agent whose life falls apart when a defecting Russian operative declares that she’s a Russian mole in deep cover.
Instead of standing still to try and discover the truth with her CIA counterparts, she runsÖand the result is a film that has a little bit James Bond, a little bit Jason Bourne and a whole lot of Salt.
SALT isnít the best action film of 2010, but it is very, very good. There are some surprising twists and turns to keep you interested, the action is all well staged, and Angelina Jolie is great in the title role.
I really enjoyed it!!
Another film I also really enjoyed is one called EASY A!
This film stars the always entertaining actress Emma Stone from ZOMBIELAND and SUPERBAD as Olive, a smart, but unpopular high school girl who agrees to say sheís had sex with her friend Brandon, so people will stop bullying him about being gay.
Soon after, she becomes known around schoolÖand her popularity risesÖand she likes it, so she agrees to lie about doing more things with more and more people and allows the rumour mill to advance her social AND financial standing.
As with all films like this, what goes up, must come down and Olive soon realizes that she isnít living in a movieÖalthough she is.
EASY A was born of the spirit of the great films from the eighties ñ along with Nathaniel Hawthorneís ìThe Scarlet Letterî ñ and it is a fun, very entertaining film!
Like I said, I really enjoyed it!!
I also thought I might enjoy a second WALL STREET film as well, but I didnít.
The first WALL STREET movie came out in 1987 and starred Charlie Sheen as a young and impatient stockbroker who was willing to do anything to get to the top, including trading on illegal inside information given to him by a ruthless and greedy corporate raider named Gordon Gekko, and played by Michael Douglas.
WALL STREET ñ MONEY NEVER SLEEPS picks up the story as Gekko is released from prison and he finds himself on the outside looking in at a world he once commanded.
That world includes a daughter who no longer speaks to him, and her fiancÈ who is another young and impatient stockbroker willing to do anything to get to the top.
This second ñ and hopefully last ñ WALL STREET film is not awfulÖit isnít anywhere near as good as the original, but it isnít awful. The problem with it stems from the casting of Shia LaBeouf ñ of the TRANSFORMERS films ñ as the young stockbroker.
This is an actor who really isnít that talented, and heís not that great an actor, so his characters donít carry any weight. He isnít menacing at all and it is hard to believe that in the real world this guys he plays would be capable of doing any of the things he is asked to do in films.
And when he is in scenes with Michael Douglas, who is a great actor, Shia is just waaaay out of his league!
Like I said, WALL STREET ñ MONEY NEVER SLEEPS, which also co-stars Academy Award nominees Carey Mulligan and Josh Brolin, isnít awfulÖit is totally unnecessary, but it isnít awful.
This next film comes from director Zack Snyder ñ who gave us the action films 300 and WATCHMEN.
LEGEND OF THE GUARDIANS: THE OWLS OF GA’HOOLE is an animated fantasy adventure about owls, based on ìGuardians of GaíHooleî, a book series written by Kathryn Lasky about mythic winged warriors who fight a great battle to save all owl kind from the evil Pure Ones.
I have nothing negative to say about LEGEND OF THE GUARDIANS ñ in fact the animation is great and it is an engaging film and I sort of liked it ñ but it isnít really a family film because younger kids might be frightened by it, and it isnít one that teenagers or adults would necessarily get intoÖso I donít know who I could recommend it to.
I guess if you like the books, or owls, this is a movie for you. Otherwise, skip it.
Now, if dogs are your thing, if you own them, love them, and admire themÖdonít miss A DOG YEAR, starring Academy Award winner Jeff Bridges. Even though it is very predictable, this movie is very good!
A DOG YEAR is based on the 2003 memoir by best-selling author Jon Katz and it is about a 50-something writer who doesnít know what he wants to do most days, let alone write about.
But then ñ when he impulsively agrees to adopt a high-strung border collie named Devon ñ his whole life changesÖalong with the dogís.
I am a dog guy, so I liked A DOG YEARÖsometimes it is just that plain and simple.
And sometimes, films come out that are DEAD ON ARRIVAL or DOA DVDs and I have two of those for you this weekÖtwo films so bad that ñ no matter how much you like the people in them ñ you must skip them! I have seen them, and you donít need to!!
The first DOA DVD is a mess called EX-TERMINATORS that stars Heather Graham from THE HANGOVER and Jennifer Coolidge ñ who played Stifflerís Mom in the AMERICAN PIE films.
Heather plays a woman who meets Jennifer, the owner of an extermination business who might be killing more than bugs, they might be killing bad ex-boyfriendsÖand so they are EX-TERMINATORS, wreaking havoc on the men of Texas with their own brand of girl justiceÖ.and blah, blah, blah, you will not care!!
EX-TERMINATORS is a poorly executed film that is absolutely unworthy of your time!!
Skip it at all costs!!
The other DVD that has arrived Dead On Arrival is one that stars Jimmy Fallon, Sharon Stone, Lucy Liu and Tom Arnold.
In THE YEAR OF GETTING TO KNOW US Fallon plays a commitment-phobic man who returns to his home town to reunite with his estranged, ailing father. While there he is forced to come to terms with his own childhoodÖand as is the case with DOA DVDs, you wonít care at all.
This is a sad, boring awful movie!! No matter how much you like anyone in the cast, skip it!!!
This next film might have been a DOA DVD as well, but the acting in it is so strong that it is not. Instead, THE LIGHTKEEPERS is an interesting story, set by the sea, that is not greatÖbut pretty good.
THE LIGHTKEEPERS takes place in the year 1912 and is set on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Richard Dreyfuss plays a lighthouse keeper who ñ along with his assistant ñ have sworn off womenÖ.but then two attractive women move into a nearby cottage for the summer, and things start to change.
There is nothing brilliant about THE LIGHTKEEPERS, but since it has a grown-up story and cast, and is a film that holds itís secrets until it is the absolute right time to reveal them, I liked it.
Admittedly, I am a sucker for any film that is set by the seaÖbut I liked it.
The great animated television series FUTURAMA aired from 1999 to 2003, before ceasing production. It was revived in 2007 as four mediocre straight-to-DVD films, and then earlier this year it was brought back again and now 16 new, half-hour episodes are available on FUTURAMA ñ VOLUME 5.
Yes, the Planet Express crew is back and you can once again spend time with Fry, Bender, Leela and the rest of the gangÖand I am happy to report, that these new episodes are as good as many of the ones from the original series. It is almost as if the time off gave the creators and writers a new appreciation for the show because they have channelled their efforts wisely.
FUTURAMA ñ VOLUME 5 is a blast!!
It is BLU-RAY BEACON time nowÖand watch outÖItís a trap…specifically, FAMILY GUY ñ ITíS A TRAP is yet another spoof ñ the third one now ñ from the team at the television show Family Guy.
Their first BLUE HARVEST is still the best and SOMETHING SOMETHING SOMETHING DARK SIDE is still not great at all, but with ITíS A TRAP, Family Guy have once again done a great job mocking ñ and loving ñ the saga many of us still love so much.
This one features so many great jokes!!
I highly recommend FAMILY GUY ñ ITíS A TRAP, and the Blu-ray features great animation and a wealth of special features. Yes, there are some jokes that donít pay off, and since this is a direct to Blu-ray and DVD release, there is a lot of profanityÖand much of it is not necessary, but I still really enjoyed it and recommend it to you.
Finally this week, with a big-budget remake from The Coen Brothers now in theatres, the time has finally come for the release of the 1969 Academy Award winning film TRUE GRIT to appear on Blu-ray.
TRUE GRIT is based on Charles Portis’s bestselling novel and stars John Wayne ñ who won the Best Actor Oscar for his work ñ as a patch wearing, past-his-prime Marshal who is hired by a teenager to track down her father’s killer.
TRUE GRIT also features Glen Campbell, Dennis Hopper and Robert Duvall in supporting roles, and it remains a very entertaining film.
The Blu-ray has some great retrospective features, including the surviving members of the cast talking about working with John Wayne, among others, but primarily it has true grit!
TRUE GRIT, FAMILY GUY ñ ITíS A TRAP, FUTURAMA ñ VOLUME 5, THE LIGHT KEEPERS, THE YEAR OF GETTING TO KNOW US, EXTERMINATORS, A DOG YEAR, LEGEND OF THE GUARDIANS: THE OWLS OF GA’HOOLE, WALL STREET ñ MONEY NEVER SLEEPS, EASY A, SALT and 24 ñ SEASON EIGHT ñ THE COMPLETE FINAL SEASON are all available now for you to watch and own.
Coming up on the next Couch Potato Report
The boys are back in FUBAR II as Terry and Dean head north to make sweet cash in the oil patch, George Clooney is THE AMERICAN, weíll spend 90 minutes WAKING SLEEPING BEAUTY, and in THE BOYS ñ THE SHERMAN BROTHERS STORY, youíll meet the brothers who wrote the unforgettable songs ìSupercalifragilisticexpialidocousî, ìChitty Chitty Bang Bangî, and “Itís a Small World (After All)”. They wrote those songs together ñ and many more ñ even though they didnít really like spending time together.
I’m Dan Reynish. I’ll have more on those, and some other releases, in seven days.
For now, Merry ChristmasÖHappy New YearÖhereís to a better year of movies in 2011Öand that’s this week’s ñ and this yearís ñ worth of COUCH POTATO REPORTS.
Enjoy the movies and I’ll see you back here again next time on The Couch!
The Couch Potato Report – December 25th, 2010