The Couch Potato Report

In case you need a flick to watch before – or after – the Oscars!!

The Couch Potato Report – February 26th, 2011
This week The Couch Potato Report features two Canadian films, two Hollywood ones, and lasts 48 hours.
A pair of films with Canadian connections kick things off this week. The first one features Saskatoonís Kyle Riabko and Edmontonís Catherine Mary Stewart ñ an actress who you might remember from the eighties films MISCHIEF, THE LAST STARFIGHTER and WEEKEND AT BERNIEíS.
RISING STARS features aspiring actor and musician Kyle as an aspiring actor and musician, and Catherine Mary as the less than nurturing mother of the girl Kyle has a crush on.
Kyle is one member of a small group of young musicians and filmmakers working for an ambitious and slimy producer on a reality TV show. The producer is trying to save his dying career, while the others work to try solidify their futures…and maybe even find love.
Egos clash and worlds collide in RISING STARS as the kids are pushed to find how far they will go to win and find stardom, and most of the time you wonít care.
However, everyone in the film is likeable, the music is not bad, and so while it is very predictable and ultimately nothing special, I still liked it.
Yes, I liked RISING STARS!
I also sort of liked the bilingual film THE STORY OF JEN, but only because it kept me interested right up until the end. Iíll never watch it again, and I was hoping for a better resolution, but I did like it enough to keep watching.
THE STORY OF JEN is the story of a fifteen year old living in small town in rural Quebec who doesnít seem to have much in common with her classmates, so she primarily keeps to herself.
After her fatherís suicide, her Uncle moves in with Jen and her Mother and the kid is intrigued by him, and attracted to him. Trying to stop what is quickly becoming an inappropriate relationship, Mom asks the Uncle to leave.
Yes, I was hoping for a better resolution from THE STORY OF JEN, because it really starts off as a really strong coming-of-age story.
However, even though it was ultimately unsatisfyingÖI felt for the characters ñ especially young Jen ñ and so I sort of liked it.
What I did not like, because it too was unsatisfyingÖand not ultimately, the whole thing was unsatisfyingÖI did not like the wannabe comedy DUE DATE from the director of OLD SCHOOL and THE HANGOVER.
This one is almost a complete waste of time.
DUE DATE stars Robert Downey Jr. as a man who only has five days to get from Atlanta to Los Angeles or heíll miss the birth of his first child.
Zach Galifianakis ñ from THE HANGOVER ñ is an aspiring actor who gets Downey kicked off a plane, along with himself, and put on a no-fly list.
YetÖeven though he did that to the tightly wound Downey, Robert still agrees to get in a car and take a road trip with him.
Okay, yesÖthe script does take away his luggage and wallet and because of that puts Downey in a position where he seemingly has no choice but to accept the ride from ZachÖbut there is no way that character would have ever gotten in the car with that guyÖabsolutely no way!!
Plus, in addition to a premise that in utterly implausible, most of DUE DATE is not funny. Granted, there are a few HUGE laughsÖthis is a film from the director of OLD SCHOOL and THE HANGOVER after allÖbut most of it is not funny, not entertaining, and not worthy of your time.
DUE DATE would like to be a modern day version of PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMBILES but it is notÖin any way!!
Skip it!!
One release this week that most people sill skip, but shouldnít, is the slow moving film GET LOW, starring Bill Murray and Robert Duvall.
In it, Duvall plays the cantankerous ìHermit of Caleb County,î a man so haunted by his secrets that he has lived in quiet desolation in the Tennessee backwoods for over 40 years. Realizing that he might be near death, he decides to have a ìliving funeral party,î inviting people to tell the stories that they have heard about him over the years.
Bill Murray plays the director of the Funeral Home, who is hired to put the party together.
The main reason I recommend GET LOW is due to Duvallís performance. It is small and quite, yet it weighs over the entire film.
This is one of those films that doesnít seem to really be all that interesting ñ or entertaining ñ but it is, and at times it is both.
Itís not be a classic, but GET LOW is very worthy of your time.
Business is at the core of BEAUTY AND THE BRIEFCASE. Former child star Hilary Duff is all grown up now, and she plays a single fashion writer looking for love who is hired to write an article for her favourite magazine about finding love in the modern day workplace.
So she gets a job and goes undercover at a Finance Company.
BEAUTY AND THE BRIEFCASE isnít what anyone would refer to as a believable movieÖthe woman has no office experience at all yet she somehow gets a fantastic job even though her resume is full of liesÖbut Hilary Duff is likeable, and the cast are okay enough, so the end result is a film that is fun at times that is aimed at pre-teen girls.
I am not one, yet somehow I kind of liked this movie.
I will never sit through it again, but it was fun at times.
Hey, do you know that story of DORIAN GRAY?
ìThe Picture of Dorian Grayî is a story by Oscar Wilde, that was first published in June of 1890, about a young man ñ named Dorian Gray ñ who is the subject of a painting by an artist who is impressed by Dorian’s beauty and becomes infatuated with him.
Realizing that one day his beauty will fade, Dorian expresses a desire to sell his soul to ensure the portrait would age instead of him.
Dorian’s wish is fulfilled, and as his life becomes less and less respectable, the portrait serves as a reminder of the effect each act has upon his soul, with each sin displayed as a disfigurement of his form, or through a sign of aging.
The book ìThe Picture of Dorian Grayî is considered a work of classic gothic horror fiction with a strong Faustian theme and it has been made into several movies over the years.
The latestÖsimply called DORIAN GRAY is boring. Even with this classic story to tell, it is a snore!!
Skip it, and read the novel. In this instance, the book is muchÖMUCH better than that movie!!
We have arrived now, at the death of SupermanÖa character created by American writer Jerry Siegel and Canadian-born artist Joe Shuster in 1932.
The animated film ALL-STAR SUPERMAN is based on a twelve-issue comic book series featuring the man of steel that ran from November 2005 to October 2008.
In it Lex Luthor masterminds an elaborate plot to kill himÖand it works. Poisoned by solar radiation, Superman is dying, so he decides to fulfills his lifeís dreams ñ especially revealing his true identity to Lois Lane.
Lois is voiced by Christina Hendricks from the TV show MAD MEN.
While in the midst of his fulfillment Luthor proclaims his ultimate plan to control the world with no alien hero to stop him.
But even with powers fading, Superman stand up for the planetÖas he always hasÖand the result is a great film for comic book lovers, and comic book movie fans.
Pick it up and enjoy!!
It has now been a few weeks since the Super Bowl, and if you are missing NFL football, or great football in general, do not miss the NFLís TOP 10 GREATEST PLAYERSÖa countdown of the men who have made that league great.
Produced by NFL films, each player is presented by a team mate, writer, coach, or owner, and each segment is filled with footage of that playerís greatest momentsÖ.including my favourite of all time, the one and only Joe Montana!!
Even though I am not 100% sure I agree with whoís Number One, NFLís TOP 10 GREATEST PLAYERS is a great DVD and must-see viewing for any football fan.
It is time for the Blu-Ray Beacon now, time to turn on that Blu-Ray and let it shine on some more releases that are now available in High Definition.
The quintessential buddy movie is coming up, along with a Steven Spielberg mis-fire, but first ñ the Academy Award winning film THE CIDER HOUSE RULES, based on John Irving’s novel of the same name.
THE CIDER HOUSE RULES is about a young man who was raised in an orphanage. Trained to be a doctor, in hopes he will stay at the orphanage, instead he decides to leave to see the world.
Tobey Maguire, Charlize Theron, Paul Rudd and Michael Caine star, the latter actor winning an Academy Award for his performance.
THE CIDER HOUSE RULES is a film that I have always thought was very good. I donít consider it a classic, but it is very good. Sadly, the Blu-ray doesnít offer a pristine transfer of the film, and there are absolutely no special features.
But while I am not highly recommending the Blu-ray, I do still recommend the filmÖsomething I wonít say for THE COLOUR PURPLE, director Steven Spielbergís 1985 film version based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name by Alice Walker.
Fantastic book, mediocre movie.
Whoopi Goldberg made her film debut here as Celie, a poor girl growing up in the early 1900’s. When we first meet her, she is 14 – and pregnant, for the second time – by her father. We then spend time with her over the next thirty years through we see her occasional highs, her lows, and frequent very, very lows.
THE COLOUR PURPLE was nominated for eleven Academy Awards when it came out, and it didnít win any. For me, that fact sums up this the film ñ it is good enough to be nominated, but not good enough to win.
As I said, fantastic book, mediocre movie.
Finally this week, THE BLU-RAY BEACON shines on the very first ìbuddy copî film.
Throughout the eighties and nineties there were the BEVERLY HILLS COP, LETHAL WEAPON, BAD BOYS AND RUSH HOUR films, but before all of those ones ñ in 1982 ñ Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy starred in 48 HOURS.
48 HOURS features Nolte as a hard-nosed cop who reluctantly teams up with a wise-cracking criminal who has been given temporary parole and assigned to him to try and track down a killer.
This was Eddie Murphy’s film debut, and he stole the show!!
48 HOURS is still a great movie, in fact I have no problems calling it a classic, but the Blu-ray version of it is for true fans only. The picture isnít pristine, the sound seems muted, and there are no special features at all.
That aside, I do still HIGHLY recommend the movie!!
The classic buddy movie 48 HOURS, the non-classic Academy Award losing THE COLOUR PURPLE, the Academy Award winning THE CIDER HOUSE RULES, the NFLís TOP 10 GREATEST PLAYERS, the entertaining ALL-STAR SUPERMAN, the pointless DORIAN GRAY, the personable Hilary Duff flick BEAUTY AND THE BRIEFCASE, the very good GET LOW ñ starring Bill Murray and Robert Duvall, the very bad DUE DATE, the Quebec made STORY OF JEN, and the likeable, but not great music movie RISING STARS, featuring Saskatoonís Kyle Riabko and Edmontonís Catherine Mary Stewart are all available now for you to watch and own.
Coming up on the next Couch Potato Report
The Quebec-made hockey film HE SHOOTS HE SCORES, the Hollywood made LOVE AND OTHER DRUGS, BURLESQUE and FASTERÖand the Blu-ray beacon shines on Walt Disneyís immortal animated film BAMBI.
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!