The Couch Potato Report – March 19th, 2011
This week The Couch Potato Report goes inside Hannaís Suitcase, promotes a fighter, and avoids a jackal.
ìHanaís Suitcaseî is a non-fiction childrenís book by CBC Radioís Karen Levine that came out in 2002 about Hana Brady, a Jewish girl killed at Auschwitz, and how her suitcase came to be a part of the Tokyo Holocaust Education Resource Center. The book was preceded by a CBC Radio documentary in 2001.
The theatrical documentary INSIDE HANAíS SUITCASE is based on the book and it is also about Hana, her brother ñ who survived ñ and a how a group of Japanese children and their teacher used Hanaís suitcase to find out about the life of its owner and the Holocaust.
The scenes with the students and teacher are good, but the main reason that I recommend INSIDE HANAíS SUITCASE ñ other than that fact that those who forget their history are condemned to repeat it ñ is Hanaís brother George Brady. After surviving Auschwitz, he moved to Toronto and worked hard to create the happy family life that the Nazis had denied to his younger sister and parents.
INSIDE HANAíS SUITCASE isnít a complete success because it doesnít always weave the story of the Japanese teacher and her students into Hana and Georgeís story, plus there is a revelation made late in the film that is heartbreaking, but it is still very good, and I do recommend it to both adults and children.
At the Academy Awards back on February 27th THE FIGHTER was nominated for seven Oscars, including Best Picture. It won two, Best Supporting Actress for Melissa Leo and Christian Bale took home the Best Supporting Actor statuette.
Based on a true story, THE FIGHTER stars Mark Wahlberg from THE OTHER GUYS and THE DEPARTED as ìIrishî Micky Ward, and down on his luck ñ but promising ñ Boston boxer who is trying to keep his career alive, while dealing with not catching many breaks. Christian Bale plays his drug addicted brother and trainerÖheís a guy who had his shot at success but blew it, Melissa Leo his mother, who is also his manager and Amy Adams from ENCHANTED and JULIE & JULIA is his love interest, and the woman who teaches him to be honest with himself, and those around him.
THE FIGHTER is a fantastic movie with tremendous actors and I easily recommend it!
The third release I have for you this March morning is a film that was pulled from theaters in Japan this week ñ as it starts off with a tsunami disaster ñ and now ñ for its North American debut on DVD and Blu-ray ñ Warner Brothers Home Video has announced that rentals and sales of the film will raise funds for relief efforts in the island nation through the Japanese Red Cross.
HEREAFTER ñ directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Matt Damon as a reluctant psychic ñ is primarily about death, grief and the afterlife, but it opens with an intense sequence showing a tsunami ravaging a coastal city and leaving its streets filled with corpses and wreckage.
HEREAFTER is a mature and smart film that is very interesting and I liked it. It is a bit slow at times, and never great, but I was never bored.
As I said, I liked it, but I saw HEREAFTER last week, before the Tsunami, and even though the film is meant to be a piece of entertainment, I canít imagine anyone seeing the Tsunami sequences right now and not thinking of Japan.
But if you do pick it up, know that you will be supporting relief efforts in JapanÖand good luck to them right now!
Imagine now a movie about a creature created by the military as a killing machine. A creature that is half shark, half octopus.
Can you imagine that, and how idiotic it sounds?! Now, imagine a low-budget movie about such a creatureÖcan you imagine how bad that could beÖand by bad, I mean the good sort of badÖsomething so bad it is just goodÖas in plain good goofy fun, yet badÖbad as in poorly made, acted, directed and written.
Well, you no longer have to imagine it as the movie SHARKTOPUS is realÖand IÖLOVED IT!!!
Hereís the plot for SHARKTOPUS ñ a half-shark, half-octopus creature created for the military, creates a whole lot of terror in Mexico while a scientist who helped created it tries to capture/kill it.
The film was cheaply produced for the SyFy network in the States and if you just go with it, and you love cheesy creature movies, you might enjoy it, the very bad acting, the awful computer graphics, and the whole unbelievable thing.
For me, SHARKTOPUS was the best kind of badÖand I am hoping for a sequel!!
While watching SHARKTOPUS I ate some chips and drank a pop.
While watching the DVD version of the television series BEST FOOD EVER, I was only drinking water, but I was craving so much more!!
BEST FOOD EVER shows us the South’s best BBQ…The Big Apple’s most delicious delis…including Ukrainian FoodÖif serves up the most fabulous food in the fifty United States.
Narrated by John Goodman, each episode of BEST FOOD EVER shows plenty of mouth watering foods and introduces us to the people who created them, and continue to make them.
DO NOT watch it if you are even remotely hungryÖthere is some fantastic foods on display here.
In fact, I am starving just thinking about it!! So yummy!!!
Finally this week, the BLU-RAY BEACON shines on a five-and-a-half-hour television mini-series about notorious terrorist Carlos The Jackal.
Venezuelan revolutionary Ilich RamÌrez S·nchez is better known around the world as Carlos The Jackal and he has worked with and for causes associated with communists, Arab nationalists and Islamists. He founded a worldwide terrorist organization and raided the 1975 OPEC meeting and is now serving a life sentence in prison.
The three-part series ñ also called CARLOS THE JACKAL ñ covers two decades in the life of the man, and it starts off fantastic!! At the beginning, even though he is a merciless terrorist, you kind of root for him. But as it goes on, and on, and on, and on it slows down and is much less riveting.
In the end, it is goodÖand very interesting at timesÖbut it is in no way great.
CARLOS THE JACKAL, PRECIOUS LIFE, BEST FOOD EVER, the awful, yet entertaining SHARKTOPUS, Clint Eastwoodís HEREAFTER, the Academy Award winning boxing movie THE FIGHTER and the theatrical documentary INSIDE HANAíS SUITCASE are all available now for you to watch and own.
Coming up on the next Couch Potato Report
The first ever half-hour, completely computer-animated television seriesÖthe Canadian made REBOOT comes to DVD.
Plus, Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie star in THE TOURIST, Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd and Jack Nicholson appear in HOW DO YOU KNOW and BILLY JOEL ñ and former Beatle Paul McCartney ñ are featured in the documentary LAST PLAY AT SHEA.
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 19th, 2011