The Couch Potato Report – April 16th, 2011
This week The Couch Potato Report travels to Antarctica and the Deathly Hollows, and The Incredibles keep us safe.
Right off the bat this week we head SouthÖall the way South to the Earth’s southernmost continentÖthe Last Continent, if you will.
This film is called THE LAST CONTINNENT, and it is also comes with a three part series entitled ANTARCTIC MISSION and both of them are insightful and entertaining!!
Both the film and the series were shot during a 17 month/430 day Canadian expedition to the Antarctic as a team of scientists and filmmakers, journeyed there to experience climate change and its consequences within Antarctica’s icy grip.
We also get to spend time with the animals that live there.
THE LAST CONTINNENT is narrated by Donald Sutherland and ANTARCTIC MISSION by David Suzuki and at times it does get a bit preachy as it explains ñ repeatedly ñ that we need to save the planet, and while they arenít wrong, I didnít need to hear the message over and over again.
Preaching aside, I really enjoyed this release and so I highly recommend it!
I donít highly recommend this next title, but I know it will end up at the top of the rentals and sales charts anyway.
Harry PotterÖyou know him, you love him, and many of you canít live without himÖand now HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS ñ PART ONE can be added to your film library!
Based ñ as always ñ on the novel by J. K. Rowling DEATHLY HALLOWS was split into two movies and PART ONE allows us to follow Harry, Ron and Hermione as they try to locate and destroy Lord Voldemort’s secret to immortality.
I enjoyed the Harry Potter books when Iíve read them, and I liked HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS ñ PART ONE, but ñ for me ñ this film ñ and the others in the series ñ have never blown me away. They are good, and the castoff young actors remain fantastic, but I have never highly recommend any one of them, and I donít with this one either.
But ñ as I said ñ this one goes straight to number one, no matter what I say or what my criticisms might beÖso: Muggles, enjoy!!!
Yes, HARRY POTTER will be number one this time next week, while COUNTRY STRONG is a long shot to even make the top ten.
COUNTRY STRONG stars Oscar winner Gwyneth Paltrow ñ from SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE ñ as Kelly Cantor ñ a fictional Queen of country music, who is also a recovering alcoholic. Real life country superstar and actor Tim McGraw is her manager and husband and he is trying to push her back on the road to try and reclaim her past.
And then there is the younger side of this story Garrett Hedlund ñ of the new TRON movie ñ and GOSSIP GIRLíS Leighton Meester are opening for the fallen star and trying to learn from her, all while hoping that some day they will be headlining a tourÖmaybe even together, and maybe even in love.
COUNTRY STRONG has a great cast and some fantastic music, but the film didnít hold my interest. I started playing Angry Birds about 25 minutes in and didnít stop until the movie was almost over.
Itís entertaining, but not great, which is why it wonít make the top ten.
Coming up are four family films that are now available on Blu-ray for the first time, but right now I have a film for you that is absolutely not for the whole familyÖin fact RE-CUT is only for fans of horror films.
RE-CUT is the latest in the ìFound Footage Filmsî genreÖmovies that are presented as real stories told using movie footage that was found after someone ñ or some people ñ went missingÖlike the PARANORMAL ACTIVITY movies.
But RE-CUT is no PARANORMAL ACTIVITY. Those films are great, this one is notÖbut it isnít awful either.
RE-CUT stars Meredith Phillips from TVís BACHELORETTE as a reality star turned television reporter and her camera crew who are sent to a small town in rural Wisconsin to investigate some gruesome deaths, but soon they realize that they might have become a part of their own story.
This is a creepy, but not compelling film that is for people who like horror films or these ìFound Footageî films only.
Just as SUMMER IN GENOA is for fans of recent Academy Award winner Colin Firth, Only.
Firth ñ Oscar winner for THE KINGíS SPEECH ñ stars here as a man who moves his two daughters to Italy after their mother dies in a car accident.
Genova changes all three of them ñ but not necessarily for the better.
For me, SUMMER IN GENOA is a movie that started and ended, and even though there was the death of a wife and mother in it, I never got emotionally involved.
It was well made and acted, but too boring for me to recommend.
I also found the based-on-a-true-story-spy-thriller FAREWELL a bit boring. Part of the reason for that is due to the fact that it is a foreign film from France, and foreign films just move a bit slower than North American ones, but part of that is also due to the fact that the filmmakers just didnít tell this compelling story well.
FAREWELL takes us back to the height of the Cold War as the French intelligence service alerts the U.S. government about a Soviet spy operation, changing the lives of those who received the information, and those who leaked it.
I am a fan of spy thrillers, and foreign films, and even though I still maintain that the story here is fascinating, the movie made about it is not.
So let me say a hearty farewell to FAREWELL.
Since the character of Peter Pan first appeared in a section of “The Little White Bird”, a 1902 novel written by Scottish novelist and playwright J. M. Barrie for adults, the mischievous boy who can fly and magically refuses to grow up has appeared in countless films, most notably the 1953 Walt Disney animated version and the television version from 1960 starring Mary Martin.
There is also the 1982 version from SCTV starring John CandyÖbut not as many people know that version.
PETER PAN is a classic character and of all the books and stories and movies and plays based on him there is only one that I find just does not capture the spirit of the characters at all, and it is the 2003 live action film, which is brand new this week in High Definition on Blu-ray.
Not one of the people who play the characters here seem like they are really embodying the characters as they exist in our mindsÖand have existed in in the other versions that have come out over the years. Nope, Peter Pan, Captain Hook, Mr & Mrs. Darling, Wendy, Tinker Bell, none of them seem real to me, and even worse, this movie is no fun.
Peter Pan ñ the character ñ is fun!! He is a boy who wonít grow upÖthat is fun!!
This film ñ this PETER PAN ñ is no fun and not worthy of your time.
Watch the SCTV version on YouTube instead!!
Now BABE, BABE is a family film based on a book that is, was, and always will be worth watching!! It is fun, it is dramatic, it is an Academy Award winner!!
It is BABE, about a pig raised by sheepdogs, who learns to herd sheep with a little help from Farmer Hoggett.
BABE would be a fantastic film to watch and share in any format and the new Blu-ray of it offers a very good transfer of the movie and all of the DVD features. This one is a keeper!!
THE SECRET OF NIMH is also a keeperÖas long as you saw it when it first came out back in 1982Öif not, donít pick it up for your kids because they will easily be bored by it.
I saw it when it first came outÖand I still love it to this day!!
THE SECRET OF NIMH ñ NIMH standing for National Institute of Mental Health ñ was directed by Don Bluth and it is an adaptation of Robert C. O’Brien’s 1971 children’s novel Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH and it is about a field mouse mother who asks a colony of super-intelligent rats for help in saving her ill son.
Along the way she discovers that she has a connection to the rats that she never suspected.
Sadly, the video in this HD transfer is less than pristine, and there are no new featuresÖit mere includes the bonus materials from the Special Edition DVD, but that said, THE SECRET OF NIMH on Blu-ray is still a great viewing experience because the film is so good.
But againÖ it is only good as long as you saw it when it first came out back in 1982
Finally this week, the Blu-Ray Beacon shines on not only a great animated film, not only a great superhero film, not only a great family filmÖbut a film that is fun, smart and superbly entertaining.
I love this movie, and thoroughly enjoyed watching it again this week in HD on Blu-ray.
This is 2004 Academy Award winning film THE INCREDIBLES
THE INCREDIBLES is director Brad Birdís film about a family of retired superheroes trying to live the quiet suburban life, who are forced into action once again to try and save the world.
THE INCREDIBLES looks amazing on Blu-ray, but this film is so good I bet it will look fantastic decades from now, in whatever format we use to watch movies then!!
And, in addition to the bonus features that came out on the previous DVD versions, the BLU-RAY also includes some new stuff, including a retrospective look back from the filmmakers.
I love this film ñ absolutely love it ñ and I easily, and happily, recommend it.
The fantastic Pixar film THE INCREDIBLES, Don Bluthís still great THE SECRET OF NIMH, the family classic BABE, the live action family film failure PETER PAN, the espionage filled FAREWELL, Oscar winner Colin Firthís SUMMER IN GENOA, the tense, but flawed horror film RE-CUT, the less than entertaining COUNTRY STRONG, the uber-succesful HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS ñ PART ONE ñ which I hope you enjoy more than I did ñ and the informative and entertaining documentary THE LAST CONTINNENT/ANTARCTIC MISSION are all available now for you to watch and own.
Coming up on the next Couch Potato Report
Canadian Jim Carrey stars in the often delayed I LOVE YOU, PHILLIP MORRIS, Spike Leeís second New Orleans documentary IF GOD IS WILLING AND DA CREEKS DONíT RISE and The Academy Award winning Best Picture THE KINGíS SPEECH.
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 – April 16th, 2011