The Couch Potato Report – March 5th, 2011
This week The Couch Potato Report shoots and scores, survives 127 hours, and loves Bambi
At centre ice, taking the face-off to get this weekís edition of The Report underway, is the Quebec made bilingual hockey movie HE SHOOTS, HE SCORES, about a fictional NHL team called the Quebec Nationals.
After an exhibition game in a small town the teamís players get on a bus for the ride back to Quebec City, but tragedy strikes when the bus goes off the road, killing half the players.
Now the team ñ and the survivors ñ must rebuild their shattered lives.
The hockey storyline is the primary one in HE SHOOTS, HE SCORESÖand had the filmmakers just focussed on it, and not included a secondary plot about saving a shoe factoryÖthey might have scored a movie worth recommending, instead they have given us a film that is just okay.
ButÖin the very least ñ if only in the film ñ we get to see NHL hockey played in Quebec City at the Collisee again. Now THAT is the magic of movies!!
HE SHOOTS, HE SCORES is about a group of survivors, while 127 HOURS is about just one.
This film stars failed Academy Awards co-host James Franco as real-life mountain climber Aron Ralston, an amateur adventurer who found himself trapped between a boulder and the side of a cliff for more than five days in early 2003 before having to amputate his own arm with a dull knife.
127 HOURS is based on Ralston’s autobiography ñ ìBetween A Rock And A Hard Placeî ñ and it was directed by Danny Boyle, who won the Oscar two years ago for SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE ñ and even though you know how it ends, the film does a great job of keeping the suspense goingÖright up until the end.
It is simplistic, claustrophobic, interesting, compelling and entertaining.
127 HOURS is a film I highly recommendÖ.and when you pick it upÖone of the bonus features on the Blu-ray is GOD OF LOVE, which won the Oscar for Best Live Action Short Film. This was the film from the guy who said he should have gotten a haircut:
This short film ñ GOD OF LOVE ñ is also very entertaining.
James Francoís role as co-host at the Academy Awards was instantly forgettable, but his latest film is memorable.
His Oscar co-host is the exact opposite ñ on stage at the Kodak Theatre she shined, but her latest film is instantly forgettable.
Anne Hathaway stars in LOVE & OTHER DRUGS as Maggie, a sexually open, free spirited woman who suffers from early onset Parkinson’s diseaseÖ the progressive degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that both Michael J. Fox and Muhammad Ali have in real life.
Jake Gyllenhaal from ZODIAC and BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN co-stars and when we meet him he is a womanizing pharmaceutical sales rep whose whole world changes when he meets Maggie…for better and for worse.
Just as she was at the Oscars, Anne Hathaway is very good here, but LOVE & OTHER DRUGS is one of those predictable movies that has occasional interesting sparks, just not enough of them to make it worthy of your time.
Plus it suffers from having one of the worst movie characters ever ñ and I donít mean just in this film, but in all of movie history. Gyllenhaalís character has a brother who is useless, and quite frankly repugnant ñ in absolutely every way.
Donít bother with this oneÖif someone gives you a prescription, skip it.
NoÖdonít bother with LOVE & OTHER DRUGS, and do not bother with BURLESQUEÖman, is this one badÖand not bad in that good sort of way that some movies can beÖthis one is just very bad!!
BURLESQUE stars pop-star Christina Aguilera as a small-town girl who leaves her waitress job to move to Los Angeles to become a star.
After some ñ not much ñ but some initial rejection ñ she wanders in to a burlesque club that is run by a former dancer ñ played by Cher ñ and finds a job, a new career, a new family, and a new love…and you wonít care.
BURLESQUE would like to be as good as A STAR IS BORN or ALL ABOUT EVE, but it isnítÖit isnít even as good as SHOWGIRLS.
It isnít good in any wayÖit is just bad! Skip it at all costs!
The failed musical BURLESQUE leads into the failed action film FASTER.
Dwayne ìThe Rockî Johnson toplines this one playing a double crossed ex-con who sets out to avenge the death of his brother.
He is being followed by a veteran cop and a hit man.
I still think that FASTER is a good idea for a revenge flick, but it is poorly executedÖit isnít even shut your brain off good . Yes, some of the action is cool, but the movie is awful.
Unless you absolutely need to see every action film ever made, skip it!
Letís go into the mind now for a couple of releases, starting with the MEGAMIND.
Will Ferrell provides the voice of the supervillain Megamind in this fun animated movieÖa supervillain who conquers his nemesis, but then finds his life pointless without a hero to fight.
Brad Pitt is the voice of the hero, and Tina Fey is reporter ñ and love interest – Roxanne Ritchie.
As I said, MEGAMIND is funÖbut it suffers from coming out in the same year ñ and in comparison to ñ the similar, and much more entertaining film DESPICABLE ME.
Still, I liked itÖI loved DESPICABLE MEÖbut I liked MEGAMIND.
We stay in the mind now for TRANSCENDENT MAN, a documentary focussing on the life and ideas of Ray Kurzweil, inventor, futurist, and author of the book ìThe Singularity Is Nearî.
The film presents his vision of technological singularity, the point in the future in which technology will be advancing so rapidly that humans will have to enhance themselves with artificial intelligence in order to keep up.
This is fascinating stuff!!
TRANSCENDENT MAN features discussions with and commentary by over 15 prominent scientific, political, and celebrity figures including Ray Kurzweil himself, Colin Powell, William Shatner, and Stevie Wonder.
It is an insightful, and engaging topicÖone that will put your mind to work for sureÖbut the film is more than a little boring.
I still enjoyed it enough to recommend, but this is definitely not for everyone.
We head to England for this weekís next release, the 3 disc set for SERIES ONE of the television series MURDER INVESTIGATION TEAM.
MURDER INVESTIGATION TEAM is about the leaders of an elite squad of detectives in the Special Crimes Unit of London’s Metropolitan Police.
It is not unlike CSI, or any of the many other North American police procedural shows, but the fact that it takes place in London is what makes it unique.
What I liked about the show is that is features a lot of very interesting twists and turns, and takes us through the entire course of an investigation from crime scene through profiling, forensics, all while featuring some pure old-fashioned detective work.
I love police shows, so I enjoyed MURDER INVESTIGATION TEAM a lot.
It is Blu-Ray Beacon time now, and the first film new to HD this week is the 1988 Academy Award winning film RAIN MAN starring Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise.
Cruise stars as Charlie Babbit, a self-centered Los Angeles-based automobile dealer/hustler/bookie who finds out ñ after his Fatherís death ñ that he has a brotherÖRaymond, an autistic savant who lives in a world of his own.
Together, the two go on an ill-advised road trip.
RAIN MAN won Oscars for Original Screenplay, Best Picture, Best Director and Dustin Hoffman was named Best Actor and it remains a fantastic film. The Blu-ray comes with all the DVD extras, but nothing newÖhowever the picture looks great!
I love RAIN MAN, and will always highly recommend it to anyone.
I also love the partially filmed in Toronto film MOONSTRUCK, which is also now also new on Blu-ray.
This 1987 comedy won Academy Awards for Olympia Dukakis ñ as Best Supporting Actress, John Patrick Shanley ñ for Best Original Screenplay, and Cher won her Oscar as Best Actress.
MOONSTRUCK features Cher as a widowed Brooklyn book-keeper who is torn between her fiancÈ and his brother.
Nicolas Cage plays the brother and he is great, the whole film is great and so is the Blu-ray.
Pick it up, press play, and enjoy!
Nineteen-seventy-two is the movie year we will stop at next for a film about a young Parisian woman who ñ for some reason – begins a sordid, purely sexual affair with a middle aged American businessman.
Marlon Brando is the American and Maria Schneider the Parisian, in this film directed by Bernardo Bertolucci called LAST TANGO IN PARIS.
LAST TANGO IN PARIS is a film that I respect more than I like it, and I only like it because it is very interesting at times, and the acting is so goodÖbut this is absolutely and completely 100% an art film ñ and as such it isnít for everyone.
Finally this week, the Blu-Ray Beacon shines on the 1942 Animated Classic that introduced us all to a little deer.
BAMBI is Walt Disneyís classic 1942 animated film about a young deer growing up in the wild after his mother is shot by hunters.
The ice skating scene with Bambi and Thumper remains one of my favourites of all time, and in High Definition it looks amazing!!
The Blu-ray for BAMBI comes with all of the old DVD features, and some brand new ones and of all of this weekís releases, I recommend this one the highest!
The animated classic BAMBI, the Academy Award nominated LAST TANGO IN PARIS, the Academy Award winning MOONSTRUCK and RAIN MAN, the British television series MURDER INVESTIGATION TEAM, the documentary TRANSCENDENT MAN, the animated MEGAMIND, the action film FASTER, the failed musical BURLESQUE, the not great LOVE & OTHER DRUGS, the great 127 HOURS, and the okay, but not great hockey movie HE SHOOTS, HE SCORES are all available now for you to watch and own.
Coming up on the next Couch Potato Report
St. Thomas, Ontarioís Rachel McAdams stars with Harrison Ford and Diane Keaton in MORNING GLORY, and weíll spend time with THE WALKING DEAD and Motorheadís LEMMY. Plus, I will tell you about the Academy Award winning Best Documentary INSIDE JOB ñ which takes a closer look at what brought about the recent financial meltdown.
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 – March 5th, 2011