The Couch Potato Report

If you need something to watch – or a gift idea – this Easter Long Weekend…here you go!!!

The Couch Potato Report – April 23rd, 2011
This week The Couch Potato Report presents love, an Academy Award winning Speech, and a Royal film collection.
When a movieís release date is delayed, it usually means that the studio doesnít have confidence in its ability to do well at the box-office.
And they are usually correctÖvery rarely has a delayed film actually done well at the box office, there have been a few that have found an audienceÖbut not many.
The most notable exception is TITANICÖwhen James Cameron’s film was delayed from July to December of 1997 it was widely speculated that it was going to be a flopÖthen the Canadian directorís movie went on to surpass the billion dollar mark in global box-office receipts, and win 11 Academy Awards ñ including Best Picture and Director.
So not always but usuallyÖusually when a filmís release date is moved, the film is a dud.
This weekís first release ñ I LOVE YOU, PHILLIP MORRIS starring Canadian actor Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor from TRAINSPOTTING and MOULIN ROUGE ñ is one of ñ if not THE most delayed film ever!!
It was originally shown at The Sundance Film Festival in January of 2009, and was first set for theatrical release in February of 2010, then in March, then on April 30th, then July 30th, and it eventually opened in limited release last December.
And then, even its DVD and Blu-ray releases were delayedÖso how bad must this thing beÖright?!?!
I LOVE YOU, PHILLIP MORRIS is based on a true story and it stars Jim Carrey as an exceptionally charismatic con man who ñ after coming out ñ decides to leave his life as a married small-town police officer to move to MiamiÖalong the way becoming a flamboyant white-collar criminal, repeatedly finding himself in trouble with the law and on the run.
But it is all in the name of loveÖand Ewan McGregor plays his love interest.
Both Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor give very good performances in I LOVE YOU, PHILLIP MORRIS, but the movie isnít great. It has some very entertaining scenes, a few laugh out loud moments, and it is even touching at timesÖ but it is never great.
Iím glad I finally got the chance to see it after all of the delays, but I will never sit through it again.
One movie I will sit through againÖis this yearís Academy Award winning Best PictureÖ THE KINGíS SPEECH!
Best Actor Oscar winner Colin Firth top lines the exceptional cast in this film based on a true story of King George The Sixth of Britain and his desire to overcome his stutter while working with an unconventional speech therapist, played by Oscar nominee Geoffrey Rush.
THE KINGíS SPEECH remains a fantastic film, and I loved it. Film lovers will discuss for years whether or not it was actually deserving of the Academy Award as the best film of 2010, but there is no disputing how good it is.
This is a picture that I highly recommend!
Back in early 2007 I highly recommended Spike Leeís documentary WHEN THE LEVEES BROKE, about Hurricane Katrina, and those who lived to tell about it.
Spike has now delivered a sequel, looking back on New Orleans and the people there five years later. It is called IF GOD IS WILLING AND DA CREEK DONíT RISE
The sequel starts with images of New Orleans in the wake of Katrina before fast-forwarding to last yearís Super Bowl ñ won by the New Orleans Saints ñ and then back to many of the people we met in the first filmÖand all of it is compelling, heartbreaking and still hard to believe that it all actually happened.
While I do highly recommend IF GOD IS WILLING AND DA CREEK DONíT RISE, the one thing about it that I didnít like was that fact that it also includes coverage of the recent BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
While that story is also unbelievable, and completely connected to New Orleans, I would have preferred more about Katrina and the relocation of residents and their desire to return home one day, the rebuilding of the city, the current status of the levees, and the lasting impact of the hurricane on New Orleans.
But that small criticism aside, I do suggest that you see IF GOD IS WILLING AND DA CREEK DONíT RISEÖand if you havenít seen WHEN THE LEVEES BROKE, you should pick that up as well!!
We are off to foreign lands for the rest of this weekís Report, and weíll be concluding our adventures with Gulliverís Travels and some time spent in England, but right now we are heading to Switzerland so I can review a thriller called DIRTY MONEY about a Swiss policeman who infiltrates an international money laundering business moving millions of Swiss Francs between Switzerland and Turkey.
DIRTY MONEY is based on a true story and it all adds up to a very good film that is smart, full of great twists and turns.
Plus, it features the great Quebecois actress Lucie Laurier from BON COP BAD COP in a supporting role.
I really enjoyed DIRTY MONEYÖand I thought I would also really enjoy the Italian film LA NOSTRA VITA, which competed for the Palme d’Or at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival and includes a performance by Elio Germano, who shared the Best Actor Prize at Cannes with Javier Bardem.
Yes, I thought I would enjoy itÖbut I only liked it. LA NOSTRA VITA is very good, but it isnít great.
LA NOSTRA VITA is the story of a construction worker in Rome. He loves his wife, who is pregnant with their third child, but tragedy strikes his ñ and another family ñ and he struggles to succeed, when everything seems stacked against him.
As I said, LA NOSTRA VITA is a very good movie, and I did connect to it and the characters in itÖbut the story really isnít anything that we havenít seen before ñ and have even seen done better ñ in other movies and television shows.
If it had a few more unique scenes, some stuff we had not seen before, it would get higher praise from me, but since it doesnítÖit doesnít.
Another release that doesnít offer up anything that we havenít seen before ñ and have even seen done better ñ in other movies and television shows is the two part British Television production COLDITZ.
And donít confuse this with the British television series that aired between 1972 and 1974, this COLDITZ is a two-part 2005 production that is good ñ at times ñ but never great.
COLDITZ is mostly about British and Allied prisoners in World War II and their attempts to escape the supposedly escape-proof Colditz Castle.
It also features the story of one POW who successfully escapes to Britain only to steal the girlfriend of a fellow prisoner.
Once in Britain, he tries to prevent his fellow POW from returning and reclaiming his girlfriend.
I like war movies and television showsÖpossibly due to the fact that my Father was in the Military and I was surrounded by it my whole youthÖand while I didnít dislike COLDITZÖI had seen it all before.
As I said, it is good ñ at times ñ but never great.
How about some music nowÖI love music, and the hills are now alive with the sound of musicÖas performed by a group of children living in a slum in Mumbai, India.
THE SOUND OF MUMBAI is a documentary about a group of young children living in a slum in Mumbai who are given a chance to experience a different world as they perform The Sound of Music with a classical orchestra.
But it isnít just the opportunity to perform that has them excited, they are also excited because this concert gives them all hope that it could change their lives and get them out of the slums forever.
That causes some friction between friends.
THE SOUND OF MUMBAI is the type of documentary where you want the best for everyone in itÖyou want them to have their dreams come true ñ each and everyone of them ñ and you would hope that they can get out of the slums in IndiaÖbut lifeÖand lives told through documentariesÖdoesnít work that way.
This is a very good film, a really nice film and if you see it on the shelf in a store, or find it on-demand, check it out.
Not good, not nice, not full of people you root forÖnot worthy of your timeÖnot anything is the latest film version of Irish writer and clergyman Jonathan Swiftís 1726 publication GULLIVERíS TRAVELS about the land of Lilliput and its tiny inhabitants.
The original tale of Gulliver’s Travels was first published in 1726 and it is both a satire on human nature and a parody of the “travellers’ tales” literary sub-genre. It is a classic of English literature and a must read.
This latest film stars Jack Black from SCHOOL OF ROCK and it is pointless!! It would like to be irreverent, but it is just irrelevant and quite crass. I wouldnít recommend it for kids, teenagers, adults or anyone.
If you have a desire to take part in GULLIVERíS TRAVELSÖsimply read the book!! I love that book, I did not even like this movie!!
Finally this week The Blu-Ray Beacon shines on a fantastic new Five Disc Box Set that includes four Academy Award winning films ñ THE KINGíS SPEECH, THE QUEEN, THE YOUNG VICTORIA and SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE. It also features VANITY FAIR starring Reese Witherspoon as a woman who aspires to be royalty.
THE ROYAL COLLECTION has been released to coincide with the Royal Wedding on Friday, but that commercial reason aside, the reason that I am proud to now have the set in my movie library is because of the filmsÖespecially THE KINGíS SPEECH, THE YOUNG VICTORIA and THE QUEENÖalthough that latter film ñ sadly – doesnít look all that great in HD as the transfer is not pristine. The movie is still great, but the Blu-ray is not.
That said, I decree that I will keep this box set forever, and may Prince William and Kate Middletonís life together be as memorable as the films in THE ROYAL COLLECTION.
The very entertaining Five-Disc Box Set THE ROYAL COLLECTION, the not great GULLIVERíS TRAVELS, the documentary THE SOUND OF MUMBAI, COLDITZ, LA NOSTRA VITA, DIRTY MONEY, Spike Leeís second Hurricane Katrina documentary, IF GOD IS WILLING AND DA CREEKS DONíT RISE, the fantastic Academy Award winning film THE KINGíS SPEECH and the not great, but not awful romantic comedy I LOVE YOU, PHILLIP MORRIS are all available now for you to watch and own.
Coming up on the next Couch Potato Report
THE STRIKING TRUTH is a documentary about charismatic Saint-Isidore, Quebec born Ultimate Fighting Champion Georges St-Pierre and dynamic Montreal raised MMA fighter David “The Crow” Loiseau.
Also next week, Kevin Spacey stars in CASINO JACK, weíll hear from lottery winners ñ and losers ñ in the documentary LUCKY and the boys are backÖKyle, Stan, Kenny and CartmanÖin THE COMPLETE FOURTEENTH SEASON of SOUTH PARK.
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!