The Couch Potato Report – June 18th, 2011
Inside this week’s Couch Potato Report, we are off to a haven in Nova Scotia, and Montreal for the decline of the American Empire.
Up first is HAVEN with the very beautiful Chester, Hubbards and Lunenburg, Nova Scotia filling in for Maine to help create a town called Haven, where FBI Agent Audrey Parker goes to solve the murder of a local ex-con, but soon she discovers that the town is a refuge for people with supernatural powers, a haven, and she starts to look into some of the town’s mysterious secrets, including the hidden truth about her own past.
HAVEN is a supernatural drama television series loosely based on the Stephen King novel “The Colorado Kid” and while it isn’t great, it is very good.
What I especially like about it is how the filmmakers have set it totally in Stephen King’s world – for instance an ex-con arrives in Haven fresh out of a stint in Shawshank. That stuff, the little details had me hooked.
Plus, the cast of mostly unknown American actors in the lead roles, and recognizable Canadian faces in the supporting cast work well together and that Southern Shore of Nova Scotia is so picturesque to look at…that if you are missing television during the Summer Repeat season, THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON of HAVEN might make for some good viewing.
I didn’t love it, but I did enjoy it.
I also enjoyed Quebec City born comedian Norm Macdonald’s new release, the appropriately titled ME DOING STANDUP.
Norm Macdonald is best known for his five seasons as a cast member on Saturday Night Live, which included anchoring Weekend Update for three years and being one of only a few people who have been fired from the show.
He also wrote for the sitcom Roseanne, appeared on The Drew Carey Show and NewsRadio, and starred in the television series “The Norm Show”, and the films DIRTY WORK and BILLY MADISON.
And now, he has given us a very funny feature-length stand-up special, where he offers his unique take on cheating death, 24-hour news stories, Tiger Woods, OJ Simpson and much more.
Most of NORM MACDONALD – ME DOING STANDUP isn’t safe for airing on a family oriented radio show, so if you have sensitive comedic tastes, you should stay away from it.
Personally, I have seen it twice now, and I laughed out loud both times.
My laughs during Norm’s program came due to the fact that he was telling jokes and stories I found funny.
I laughed during JACKASS 3.5 – THE UNRATED MOVIE because it remains one of my most enjoyed guilty pleasures.
Yes, the JACKASS guys are back!!
Jackass was originally a television show that ran from 2000 to 2002. It features people performing various dangerous, crude, ridiculous, and self-injuring stunts and pranks.
Once the show ended, the Jackass crew – including Johnny Knoxville and Steve-O – started to make movies and the most recent one – the third – was released last Fall.
While filming JACKASS 3 the filmmakers accumulated too much footage, so they have now given us 3.5, which has been put together with unused footage and interviews.
JACKASS remains stupid, dumb, idiotic, and fun!! I love it!!! It is a group of friends hanging out and doing dumb stuff with each other…and that is gold to me!! It isn’t for everyone, but I thoroughly enjoyed it! I still don’t know why they put themselves through this…but I enjoy the fact that they do, and I will always watch – and laugh out loud – no matter what they put themselves through.
If you are in the mood for a new film in theatres this weekend, there is a big budget live action superhero movie that has opened called GREEN LANTERN that stars Vancouver born actor Ryan Reynolds.
And as a tie in to it, there is a new DC Universe Animated Original Movie available to watch at home – either before, after, or instead of your cinematic experience – called GREEN LANTERN – EMERALD KNIGHTS.
EMERALD KNIGHTS gives us the story of a precautionary evacuation of all valuables from the Green Lantern home world, in case it comes under attack by an evil anti-matter alien tyrant that once sought to destroy all life.
Green Lanterns get their energy from their rings, which charge on a Central Battery, and while in line to charge their rings before the Battery is taken away, a rookie converses with Hal Jordan – the first human to join the Green Lantern Corps. – and expresses her self-doubts as the newest Green Lantern…so Hal tells her the story of the first Green Lantern.
GREEN LANTERN – EMERALD KNIGHTS features good animation and a great voice cast – one that includes Edmonton born actor Nathan Fillion and Elisabeth Moss from MAD MEN, among others – but it is boring at times. It isn’t unusual for these DC Animated films to feature far more fighting than story, but it is odd to have that story be boring.
After watching this, I actually said “I hope the movie is better!!”
And I truly do!!
Up next, Academy Award winner Natalie Portman stars as the second wife of a New York City lawyer, someone who started off as THE OTHER WOMAN.
The film starts off with Portman grieving the loss of her infant daughter, while coming to terms with her status as a second wife to a not-too-happy-to-be-single first wife, while trying to find a way to get along with her young stepson.
Nope, this is not what you would call a “happy movie”.
I found THE OTHER WOMAN to be a very boring movie, but at the same time I was interested enough to stay with it because I wanted to see what would happen.
Would Portman’s character find some happiness? Would everything work out? Or was this meant to be a movie – like life – where not everything does work out?
So I am glad I’ve seen it, but I hope to never have to sit through it again.
Now, a film about adults, with adults that I do hope to see again someday is ANOTHER YEAR, a small British film written and directed by Mike Leigh that was nominated for an Academy Award for best original screenplay.
ANOTHER YEAR is about an old married couple who have managed to remain blissfully happy and it takes place over the course of Four Seasons as they spend time with – and cook for – friends, colleagues, and family who are all unhappy, very unhappy at times, for one reason or another.
ANOTHER YEAR features broken marriages, alcoholism and self denial, and while it too is not a happy movie, it is populated by characters you root for…and hope that life works out for them.
It is a slow moving and mature film that I found very entertaining, and really enjoyed!!
Okay, how about a battle now…a battle for Los Angeles!!
As I have said before – many times – on The Couch Potato Report, I love science-fiction films, good and bad…and I also love movies features death and destruction, so when I heard the two were coming together in a movie called BATTLE: LOS ANGELES, I was super stoked!!
And happily, I wasn’t disappointed!!
Set in the modern day BATTLE: LOS ANGELES follows a platoon of Marines as they fight to reclaim the city of Los Angeles from alien invaders.
BATTLE: LOS ANGELES is a well acted and very good film science fiction/death and destruction film, and while I liked INDEPENDENCE DAY and DISTRICT 9 a lot better, this one has some unique stuff and more than a few good twists and turns.
I did…I enjoyed it!!
Finally this week the Blu-Ray Beacon shines on two very entertaining, very different films that are new to HD…and both of them have a Canadian connection.
This first one was Executive Produced by Kapuskasing, Ontario’s own James Cameron.
Let’s catch some high adrenaline waves, dude, courtesy of 1991’s POINT BREAK!!!
Directed by Kathryn Bigelow – who would go on to win the Academy Award for THE HURT LOCKER – POINT BREAK stars Toronto’s Keanu Reeves as Johnny Utah , an undercover FBI agent who is trying to infiltrates Patrick Swayze’s gang of bank robbers…the ex-presidents.
POINT BREAK remains a fantastic adrenaline filled flick with cars, girls, surfing, sky diving and a great cast!!
This Blu-ray doesn’t offer any new features, but the film looks and sounds great, and it continues to work for me when I need a great popcorn flick!!
Now, when I need a great flick about how different men and women are – and the comedy and heartbreak that can come from those differences – I always pick up Denys Arcand’s 1986 Academy Award Nominated film THE DECLINE OF THE AMERICAN EMPIRE…now celebrating it’s 25th Anniversary in a beautiful new Blu-ray edition!
DECLINE features four friends speaking frankly about men and women and what we do with each other, mentally and physically, and it is both fascinating and interesting.
It is partially set at a house in the Montreal countryside and at a downtown gym, but the writing is so strong that it could have been set anywhere.
It won 9 Genie Awards in 1987, including Best Motion Picture, Best Achievement in Direction, and Best Original Screenplay, and also received the International Critic’s Prize at the Cannes Film Festival and twenty-five years later THE DECLINE OF THE AMERICAN EMPIRE is still great to watch and listen to!!
If you have never seen it, I very highly recommend it!!
THE DECLINE OF THE AMERICAN EMPIRE, POINT BREAK, BATTLE: LOS ANGELES, HALL PASS, ANOTHER YEAR, THE OTHER WOMAN, GREEN LANTERN – EMERALD KNIGHTS, JACKASS 3.5 – THE UNRATED MOVIE, NORM MACDONALD – ME DOING STANDUP and THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON of the made-in-Nova Scotia series HAVEN are all available now in stores and online.
Coming up inside the next Couch Potato Report
The classic AC/DC concert film LET THERE BE ROCK, THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON of BREAKING BAD and Matt Damon stars in THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU as a politician who meets and falls in love with a ballerina, even though mysterious forces are working overtime to keep them apart.
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!