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The Couch Potato Report

It is a few days late, but I am posting it anyway!! :D

The Couch Potato Report – August 20th, 2011
 
Inside this week’s Couch Potato Report is Newfoundland Private Eye, you’ll meet Monica Velour, and the Dude abides, in High Definition.
 
If you are in – or have ever been to – the fantastic city of St. John’s, Newfoundland, you know of the beauty…the view from Signal Hill, the look of The Battery, the colours of the houses downtown…you know how incredible the city looks.
 
But if for some reason you have never been there, you can see some of the unbelievable beauty of St. John’s each week on CBC television’s very entertaining private eye show REPUBLIC OF DOYLE.
 
And I am not just calling it “entertaining” because my Mother is from Newfoundland and I have family in St. John’s and think it is one of the greatest cities in the world…or because I work for CBC…I honestly really enjoy this show!!
 
REPUBLIC OF DOYLE centers around a father and son who are private investigators and the very colourful group of family and friends who help them and work with them as they travel the streets of St. John’s solving cases, and trying to stay out of jail themselves.
 
Allan Hawco stars as the son – Jake Doyle – and in the entertaining, engaging and action filled COMPLETE SECOND SEASON he is joined by a wealth of great Canadian guest stars, including Don McKellar, Gordon Pinsent, Victor Garber, Alan Doyle of Great Big Sea and Paul Gross, from DUE SOUTH.
 
I enjoy REBUBLIC OF DOYLE and I can easily recommend the thirteen episodes in the three disc set for THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON!!
 
And if you have never been to St. John’s…you really should go!! The city is fantastic!!
 
Oh, and don’t forget, SEASON THREE of REPUBLIC OF DOYLE can be seen Wednesdays at 9 pm on CBC Television starting in January…featuring special guest star Russell Crowe!!
 
From Newfoundland, we now travel all the way across Canada to Courtenay, British Columbia, for that city on the east coast of Vancouver Island is where actress Kim Cattrall – from SEX AND THE CITY – was raised.
 
Kim is now starring in a semi-interesting new film called MEET MONICA VELOUR where she plays a former adult film star who has fallen on hard times. She is trying to find a job, any job, but nobody will hire her because of her past. She is also trying to regain custody of her daughter from her jerk of an ex-husband.
 
When she meets an awkward teenager – who has travelled thousands of kilometres to meet her as he is her biggest fan and has seen and owns all of her old films – both of their lives change.
 
Kim Cattrall is known as the very glamorous Samantha Jones on SEX AND THE CITY, but in this film she goes without make-up most of the time, and her hair is less than combed.
 
I enjoyed her work here – I liked both main characters actually – and although MEET MONICA VELOUR is never great, I liked it. It is an interesting character study.
 
Also interesting is the Canadian-South African, based-on-a-true-story, THE BANG BANG CLUB about the lives of four photojournalists and the limits they pushed themselves through gunfire, bombing and multiple murders, in order to take pictures and capture what was happening in the days prior to the downfall of Apartheid in South Africa.
 
Kelowna, British Columbia’s Taylor Kitsch – from the television series FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS – plays one of the photographers.
 
Canadian actress Malin Akerman from WATCHMEN also stars, along with Ryan Phillippe, of THE LINCOLN LAWYER.
 
THE BANG BANG CLUB – due to the time in history that it takes place – is very interesting…but it is never compelling. With all of the action taking on screen and during the time the film is set, this should have been a movie that always kept my attention, yet it didn’t.
 
But that said, the story is still interesting enough for me to profess it a good rental.
 
I have two films for you now that have religious undertones…coming up is twenty-five year old religious murder mystery starring Sean Connery, but first is PRIEST, starring Paul Bettany – from A BEAUTIFUL MIND – as a priest who goes against church law to track down the vampires who kidnapped his niece.
 
Yes, you head me right, this is a movie about a priest who goes against church law to track down the vampires who kidnapped his niece.
 
PRIEST is set in an alternate world – one torn apart by centuries of war between man and vampires – and the aim of the filmmakers was to give us a post-apocalyptic sci-fi thriller.
 
While there is nothing all that thrilling about it, PREIST does have some good acting and very good action scenes, so the end result is what I would label an okay action film…and a good rental
 
Sean Connery’s THE NAME OF THE ROSE is also a good rental, as long as you saw it when it first came out. It is a bit slow for today’s audiences, namely people who love the pace of THE DIVINCI CODE, but for those of us who saw it when it was released in the Fall of 1986 it remains and engaging and interesting religious murder mystery.
 
Connery stars here as an intellectually brilliant, non-conformist monk who is brought in to investigate a series of mysterious deaths in an isolated medieval abbey.
 
THE NAME OF THE ROSE is new on Blu-ray and the video transfer is not pristine, but it is very good, and it all comes with some great Special Features, but it is the film itself that I still enjoy…primarily because I saw it when it first came out!
 
This movie holds up, and should you enjoy an older, slower moving murder mystery…check it out!!
 
Sean Connery is super in that film, not super? The dark-comedy-superhero-film SUPER.
 
SUPER stars Rainn Wilson – Dwight Shrute from television’s THE OFFICE – as a everyday regular guy who isn’t happy, especially after his wife leaves him for a drug dealer, played by Kevin Bacon, so he become The Crimson Bolt, a superhero who wants to help people and stop crime.
 
But he lacks heroic skills, and he actually causes more crime than he stops.
 
Halifax Academy Award nominee Ellen Page – from JUNO – stars as a young woman who wants to be The Crimson Blot’s sidekick…once he admits he is The Crimson Bolt, that is.
 
I liked the premise going in, and I still think that it would make for a great movie…but SUPER is not that movie. This is a dark, very dark comedy that just doesn’t work…primarily because the lead characters are not likeable…and because of that, and the lack of any fun, this film is one that you should skip.
 
I’m glad I’ve seen it, but you shouldn’t bother.
 
No SUPER is not super, but at least it isn’t as bad as the absolutely awful romantic comedy SOMETHING BORROWED!!
 
Now I like a good romantic comedy, even those with women as the lead characters…I believe people refer to them as “chick flicks”…but this is not a good romantic comedy, it is the opposite of that, it is awful!!!
 
With an hour left, I honestly didn’t know how I was going to get through the rest of this boring, predictable mess.
 
Somehow, I did…but you should absolutely skip SOMETHING BORROWED!!! Absolutely!!!
Ginnifer Goodwin – of the television series BIG LOVE – stars here as a lawyer who fell in love with a guy named Dex in Law School, but never told him how she felt. He also loved her…but never said a word. En
ter her best friend – played by Kate Hudson – of too many bad romantic comedies to name – enter her pushy, obnoxious best friend who – manages to get Dex to ask her out, and then becomes engaged to him.
 
Who will Dex end up with, the nice lawyer who deserves to be happy, or the friend? Who do you think…but no matter who it is, you…won’t care!!
 
SOMETHING BORROWED is predictable, clich├ęd and just awful!!
 
Skip it, at all costs!!
 
One romantic comedy you may see on the shelf and decide to skip is WAITING FOR FOREVER, but this one is actually not bad.
 
It isn’t believable, but it is likeable.
 
WAITING FOR FOREVER features Tom Sturridge  from PIRATE RADIO as a pajamas wearing man in his twenties who is so in love with his female best friend from childhood that he follows here wherever she goes because he wants to be near her…he doesn’t talk with her or tell her how he feels, he just moves around to wherever she goes.
 
She is played by Rachel Bilson from the television series THE O.C.
 
Both Sturridge and Bilson are likeable enough, and I enjoyed this film…as long as I didn’t think about it. You see, she has become a TV star, and he is a homeless, unemployed man who always wears pajamas…yet somehow she can see through all of that…after initially strongly rejecting him, because she loves him.
So, don’t think about that fact…and you could like WAITING FOR FOREVER too!!
 
The most enjoyable romantic comedy I saw this week is one called JUMPING THE BROOM, about two very different families – one uptown, one downtown – who all converge on Martha’s Vineyard one weekend for a wedding.
 
There is absolutely nothing in JUMPING THE BROOM that we haven’t seen before…in one movie or another…but I still enjoyed it!!
 
We’re off to the beach now for what is meant to be an inspirational movie about a teenager who fights the odds to do something she loves.
 
SOUL SURFER is based on the true story of Bethany Hamilton, who – at the age of thirteen – lost her arm while surfing in a shark attack, yet she never gave up her dreams of getting back on the board again.
  
Bethany Hamilton’s life is inspirational, and her actions in and out of the water are commendable, but unfortunately this movie SOUL SURFER about her life isn’t very good, so I suggest you ignore the movie and search out Bethany’s biography instead.
 
It is called “Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board.”
 
Okay, it is time for what is hands down, the worst movie of the week…this is the worst film I watched all week…no matter how bad I have said other movies this week were, this is worse.
 
This is MARS NEEDS MOMS.
 
MARS NEEDS MOMS is the latest performance capture film from Robert Zemeckis’ ImageMovers studio…they also gave us THE POLAR EXPRESS (with Tom Hanks), BEOWULF (with Angelina Jolie) and A CHRISTMAS CAROL (with Jim Carrey)…all not very good, and all featuring characters that look creepy since performance capture has the actors doing the work, with everything captured and then animated on computers. It is not quite animated, and it is not quite live action, but it is all quite awful!!
 
I haven’t liked any of those films, and I did not like MARS NEEDS MOMS about a nine-year-old boy who is mean to his Mom, but realizes how much he misses her after she is abducted by Martians.
 
MARS NEEDS MOMS might be a great book, but it is not a great movie. The Performance Capture method still looks creepy, and the characters aren’t interesting at all.
 
No, this is not the worst movie of all time…but it is easily the worst movie of the week!!
 
SKIP IT!!!
 
That mess behind us, lets have some fun now, with the childish, immature, painfully funny television show CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL!!
 
CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL is a satirical comedy television and web series that lampoons the medical drama genre.
 
It was created by and stars former Daily Show correspondent Rob Corddry and also features – among many others – Megan Mullally from Will and Grace, Canadian actress Malin Akerman, and Henry Winkler joined the cast for season two.
 
THE COMPLETE FIRST AND SECOND SEASONS are now available in a two-disc set and if you enjoy a good laugh, check out CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL.
 
It is a blast!!
 
The other television show I have for you this week is THE FINAL SEASON of SECRET DIARY OF A CALL GIRL.
 
SECRET DIARY OF A CALL GIRL is a British television drama based on the blog and books by the pseudonymous “Belle de Jour,” a London Call Girl.
 
Billie Piper from DOCTOR WHO stars as Belle, and in this final season she has to decide between quitting a job she loves for the man she loves…a decision that gets more complicated when she meets his Mother.
 
I am a huge fan of Billie Piper, but I have never been a fan of this series, and that is also true of THE FINAL SEASON. At times SECRET DIARY OF A CALL GIRL is fun and funny, and the people on it – including Billie – are all beautiful, but I just never got into it. She either wants to continue to be a call girl, or she want sto be with this guy…they dragged that on for four seasons…make a decision already!!!
 
I am glad I’ve seen it all, and I admit that I was very satisfied by the finale, but I can’t recommend it. It would have been a great movie, but the series goes on too long.
 
Finally this week, The Blu-Ray Beacon shines on a modern day classic…a movie featuring Mr. Jeff Lebowski.
 
THE BIG LEBOWSKI came out in 1998 and it was Joel and Ethan Coen – The Coen Brothers’ – follow-up to the Academy Award winning film FARGO and it wasn’t nominated for any Oscars, and it wasn’t as well received as FARGO either.
 
But over the years this very funny pseudo-private detective film about a Los Angeles stoner who is just trying to get his urinated on rug replaced, and then go off and enjoy a few games of bowling, has become beloved.
 
Jeff Bridges plays Jeffrey Lebowski – and he prefers to be called The Dude, by the way – and this is one of those movies that gets better each time you watch it…because each time you notice more and more!!
 
For instance, I never noticed before this week how little The Dude actually bowls!! And I have seen the movie dozens of times!!!
 
Personally, I have thoroughly enjoyed THE BIG LEBOWSKI since I first saw it, and I had a great time this week watching the film in High Definition on Blu-ray for the first time, for in addition to the film, the package has a 28 page book and a wealth of special features…new and old! Here is co-star Steve Buscemi.
 
I love THE BIG LEBOWSKI, and it is a movie I have always…and will always…recommend!!
 
Spend some time with The Dude, you will enjoy it…just maybe not the first time.
 
The still great Coen Brothers’ comedy THE BIG LEBOWSKI, , THE FINAL SEASON of SECRET DIARY OF A CALL GIRL, THE COMPLETE FIRST AND SECOND SEASONS of the very funny – but stupid – non-kids show CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL, the bad kids movie MARS NEEDS MOMS, SOUL SURFER, , the entertaining JUMPING THE BROOM, the skippable romantic comedies SOMETHING BORROWED and WAITING FOR FOREVER, the failed action hero dark comedy SUPER, Sean Con
nery’s THE NAME OF THE ROSE, the not great religious vampire flick PRIEST, the interesting but not compelling THE BANG BANG CLUB, the never great MEET MONICA VELOUR and THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON of the very entertaining made-in-St. John’s, Newfoundland CBC series REPUBLIC OF DOYLE are all available now in stores and online.
 
And if you have never been to St. John’s, you should go!! It is one of the most beautiful cities in the world!!
 
Coming up inside the next Couch Potato Report
 
FORCE OF NATURE – THE DAVID SUZUKI MOVIE features the Canadian scientist, activist, environmentalist and educator, delivering what is referred to as a ‘last lecture’, the documentary THE GREATEST MOVIE EVER SOLD looks at product placement, marketing and advertising in movies, and Jodie Foster and Mel Gibson star in the dramatic comedy THE BEAVER.
 
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!