The Couch Potato Report

If you would like to pick up a movie to watch this Thanksgiving weekend, here are some ideas…good and bad!!

The Couch Potato Report – October 8th, 2011

Inside this week’s Couch Potato Report are screams that you are entitled to, a fast five and the circle of life.

There are a lot of releases this week, so let me jump right into it, starting with the made in-and-around Sudbury, Ontario thriller THE ENTITLED.

Canadian actor Kevin Zegers of GOSSIP GIRL stars as a guy who is down on his luck, and so he decides to kidnap the entitled children of three rich businessmen and hold them for ransom.

Things spiral out of control – as they do in films like this – when one of his partners gets trigger happy.

In addition to Kevin Zegers the cast of THE ENTITLED features Canadian actors Laura Vandervoort of SMALLVILLE, Victor Garber from ALIAS, Stephen McHattie from HAVEN and Regina’s Tatiana Maslany…along with Ray Liotta from GOODFELLAS and FIELD OF DREAMS.

It is a very good cast and the script – which features some twists and turns you won’t see coming – helps make THE ENTITLED a very good thriller, one that is quite worthy of your time.

Also time worthy is the latest film in the SCREAM movie franchise….yes, what’s old is new again as Guelph, Ontario’s Neve Campbell returns as Sidney Prescott, the woman who has been terrorized by killers since the series debuted in 1996.

SCREAM sequels followed in 1997 and 2000, and now the surviving original cast – Campbell, Courtenay Cox and David Arquette – are all back, along with director Wes Craven and screenwriter Kevin Williamson for SCREAM 4…and in this one, ten years have gone by and Sidney has managed to put her life back together, until she is once again visited by the Ghost Face Killer.

The first SCREAM film was a unique mix of horror, comedy and it also did a fantastic job of explaining the “rules” of horror films…it was a fantastic movie that changed the horror film genre, for a time.

SCREAM 4 is a deserving sequel, something I never said about SCREAM 3…and I enjoyed it. Sure, it starts off very strong and doesn’t sustain itself through the end, but I still enjoyed it. It was good to see these old cinematic friends again.

Some other old cinematic friends – namely Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and Jordana Brewster – also returned this Summer in the fifth film in THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS series.

This one is simply called FAST FIVE.

In this fantastic guilty pleasure Diesel, Walker and crew once again find themselves on the wrong side of the law, and have to drive fast to get away.

And in this film – in an incredible casting choice – the law is played by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson!!

These FAST AND THE FURIOUS films have never been anything other than popcorn action films – of varying quality – and I have not enjoyed them all…but I really enjoyed FAST FIVE because it entertained me and kept me guessing. And Dwayne Johnson is a tremendous addition to the cast and series!!

FAST FIVE is fantastic!!

The word “fantastic” doesn’t begin to sum up the work that Ken Burns has done with his documentaries.

Among his productions are The Civil War (1990), Baseball (1994), Jazz (2001), The War (2007), and The National Parks. He has been nominated for two Academy Awards, and have won seven Emmy Awards, among other honours, and all of them – each and every one of them – are amazing piece of work.

His latest is the three part, 5.5 hour PROHIBITION.

PROHIBITION takes a look at how alcohol and its effects were connected to many different cultural forces and how immigration, women’s suffrage, the income tax, and the temperance movement led to the passing of Prohibition, the Eighteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

It also shows us the enforcement and gradual dissatisfaction with the amendment and how it all adds up to its repeal thirteen years later.

KEN BURNS’ – PROHIBITION is engaging, entertaining, and informative…it is everything you’d expect from Mr. Burns’…he has given us another spectacular piece of work!!

Up next for Ken Burns are documentaries on The Dust Bowl, The Roosevelts, and Jackie Robinson and I can’t wait to see them all!!

Up next for Mike Judge, the creator of KING OF THE HILL, OFFICE SPACE and BEAVIS & BUTT-HEAD is more BEAVIS & BUTT-HEAD and I can’t wait to see all of those either!!

BEAVIS & BUTT-HEAD originally aired from 1993 to 1997 and it is an animated series about two teenaged heavy-metal music fans who occasionally do idiotic things because they are bored.

For them, everything is “cool” or “sucks.”

The show is poorly drawn, features idiotic characters, and is stupid and juvenile…and I love it!!!

I absolutely love shutting off my brain and just enjoying the stupidity of these two…and am looking forward to the new episodes…but I love the old ones too!!

After years off the air, new episodes of BEAVIS & BUTT-HEAD will begin running on October 27th and as a tie in a DVD called BEAVIS & BUTT-HEAD – MIKE JUDGE’S MOST WANTED has come out.

It features twenty classic cartoons, plus the “Taint of Greatness: The Journey of Beavis and Butt-Head” featurette, the original, uncut “Frog Baseball” and scenes from the new season!

Have some stupid fun…hang out with Beavis & Butt-Head!!

Or perhaps, you enjoy your stupid fun in the form of music…and if that is the case, then let me recommend WEIRD AL YANKOVIC’s THE ALPOCOLYPSE TOUR LIVE!

This very entertaining show was filmed at Massey Hall in Toronto back on July 16th and it features all of his hits…old and new.

Sadly, seeing WEIRD AL YANKOVIC – THE ALPOCOLYPSE TOUR on DVD or blu-ray isn’t not exactly what it is like seeing him live. The man goes through a dozen or more costume changes during his show…and you see the costumes…but in an actual show there are video montages of the shows and movies he has been in over the years, while here they just go from song to song.

It is still a very entertaining show…but it would have been more enjoyable had we been able to see it all.

Still, that said, I do easily recommend it!!

The man puts on a great show!!

It is TV Shows At Home time now…with the new television season upon us there are a wealth of new box sets out there featuring shows from last season…including THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON of a program called HOW TO MAKE IT IN AMERICA.

This is a show about two 20-something friends in New York City who plot a series of entrepreneurial strategies – making jeans, selling t-shirts – to try and find the fast track to financial success – and achieve the American Dream on their own terms.

I liked HOW TO MAKE IT IN AMERICA, it seems like the characters on there are real people sometimes. Too often they do come across as TV people, and that really works against it when that happens, but this is a fast paced, stylish and very good show.


A show that I once found very good that I got bored of over the years is LIE TO ME…about a deception specialist who reads body language rather than minds or dreams to crack cases, from murders to business matters, for a variety of law enforcement agencies.

Tim Roth from PULP FICTION plays the doctor and when the show started I really enjoyed its unique take toward the police procedural drama.

But – and this is the truth – as it entered its third season, I grew tired of how the doctor and his team seemed to solve every case they worked on…so I stopped watching it on a weekly basis.

However, as I watched THE THIRD AND FINAL SEASON of the show on DVD this week…I started to really enjoy it again.

LIE TO ME is a smart and interesting show and if you have never seen it, I easily recommend it…primarily SEASON ONE…but THE THIRD AND FINAL SEASON of the show is very good as well!!

Back in 1982 there was a television show that I hoped would last three seasons…if not more…but the show was cancelled after airing only four episodes and only broadcast six in total.

But then…the show came back to life as POLICE SQUAD became THE NAKED GUN film series, starring Canada’s own rubber-faced-funny-man Leslie Nielsen, and all was good again!!

The original film in the trilogy – 1988’s THE NAKED GUN: FROM THE FILES OF POLICE SQUAD! – is now available on Blu-ray, and while it doesn’t a pristine video transfer of the film…it is still a hilarious movie!!

I love THE NAKED GUN and if you have never seen it – or the six episodes of POLICE SQUAD…you absolutely must!!! They are fantastic!!!

As much as I love THE NAKED GUN, and I do love it, there was a movie that came out the year before that I love more and the great PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES is also now available in HD on Blu-ray!!

Steve Martin and the late, great John Candy star in this 1987 classic that was written, produced and directed by the also late and great John Hughes….and the blu-ray features a nice tribute to him and some old interviews.

Steve Martin stars in PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES as a high-strung advertising executive who meets Candy’s eternally sunny, overly talkative, well-meaning, but accident-prone shower curtain ring salesman.

Candy’s Del Griffith seems to live in a world governed by a different set of rules and the two men are forced to share a two-day odyssey of misadventures trying to get home to Chicago from New York in time for Thanksgiving dinner.

PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES is a modern day classic and I have no problems recommending it to anyone…tell me that you have never quoted this movie…you know you have…especially this line!!

There is another classic out on Blu-ray now…and BEN HUR comes in a 50th ANNIVERSARY ULTIMATE COLLECTOR’S EDITION.

BEN HUR is an epic film that won 11 Academy Awards – including Best Picture. Charlton Heston also won an Oscar for playing Judah Ben-Hur, a Jewish nobleman in Palestine whose heroic odyssey includes enslavement by the Romans and vengeance against his tormentors during a furious arena chariot race.

The film is and always will be a classic that I easily recommend, but it is just one of the reasons that I suggest that you pick up the 50th ANNIVERSARY ULTIMATE COLLECTOR’S EDITION.

Another one is the all-new feature-length documentary CHARLTON HESTON & BEN-HUR: A PERSONAL JOURNEY.

BEN-HUR – even over half a century after it was first released – remains a must see film and the new 50th ANNIVERSARY ULTIMATE COLLECTOR’S EDITION is now the only way to see it!!

It is a spectacular Box Set!

I can – and have – used the word “spectacular” to describe this next release…but in case you have never heard me say it before…let me tell you now that the television adaptation of the comic book series THE WALKING DEAD is spectacular

THE WALKING DEAD is based on the comic book series of the same name by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard and it tells the story of the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse as a small group of survivors, travel across a ravaged United States in search of a new home – one far away from the walking dead.

This show is well written, very well acted, has some great shocking moments, and is extremely enjoyable!! But with only six episodes – SEASON ONE of THE WALKING DEAD is far too short!! As the group’s desperation to survive pushes them closer and closer to the brink, you will wish there were more episodes, I sure did!!

Luckily the show has been picked up for a second season, starting October 16th…and we do have the comic books to enjoy as well…so pick them up…the show, the comics, all of them!!!

And there is now more to love in THE WALKING DEAD – THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON – SPECIAL EDITION set, which comes with a wealth of all-new features!!

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do…as I said, I LOVED IT!!

Seventeen years after the release of Walt Disney’s THE LION KING I still sing “Hakuna Matata” for hours whenever I hear it or think of it…and that is not a complaint, I love it!!

I especially enjoyed singing the song this week when I watched the film in High Definition this week…yes, Timon and Pumbaa…and Simba, Nala, Mufasa, Scar, Rafiki, Zazu…all of them are now available on Blu-ray!!

Ahhh…yes, this extraordinary coming-of-age adventure follows Simba on his heartbreaking journey to becoming king, as he moves toward his destiny in the great “Circle of Life.”

THE LION KING is a modern day classic that doesn’t have a wasted moment in it and it looks and sounds stunning on blu-ray!!

Pick it up…and while you are grabbing that one…look for the documentary AFRICAN CATS as well, a film about real lions…and cheetahs and other cats who live in the Serengeti in Africa.

It is narrated by Samuel L. Jackson.

AFRICAN CATS is a fun, entertaining documentary that stands on its own, but it is also the perfect companion to THE LION KING.

I love wildlife docs like this, and this one is very good…so I easily recommend it!!

AFRICAN CATS, Walt Disney’s classic THE LION KING, the SPECIAL EDITION of the fantastic COMPLETE FIRST SEASON of THE WALKING DEAD, the 50th ANNIVERSARY ULTIMATE COLLECTOR’S EDITION of the cinematic classic BEN HUR, the modern day classic PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES, THE THIRD AND FINAL SEASON of the television series LIE TO ME, THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON of HOW TO MAKE IT IN AMERICA, WEIRD AL YANKOVIC’s THE ALPOCOLYPSE TOUR, MIKE JUDGE’S MOST WANTED episodes of BEAVIS & BUTT-HEAD, KEN BURNS’ – PROHIBITION, the great action film FAST FIVE, the very good horror film SCREAM 4 and the made-in-Sudbury, Ontario, thriller THE ENTITLED are all available now in stores and online.

Coming up inside the next Couch Potato Report

Vancouver’s Ryan Reynolds is the GREEN LANTERN…unfortunately for him…JOHN A. MACDONALD is featured in BIRTH OF A COUNTRY…fortunately for us. And I will also talk about THE TREE OF LIFE, HORRIBLE BOSSES and Quentin Tarantino’s JACKIE BROWN and PULP FICTION are both out on Blu-ray!

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!