The Couch Potato Report

CRAZY, STUPID, LOVE is amazing!!!

The Couch Potato Report – November 5th, 2011

Inside this week’s Couch Potato Report are some of the biggest names making films today, and a couple of good films too!!

Welcome to an all-star edition of The Report, which begins with a movie starring Steve Carell from THE OFFICE, Canadian actor Ryan Gosling from THE NOTEBOOK, THE BIG LEBOWSKI’s Julianne Moore, Academy Award winner Marisa Tomei, Emma Stone from SUPERBAD, and Kevin Bacon. They topline the cast of the great romantic comedy CRAZY, STUPID LOVE.

Carell plays a man trying to get his life back on track after his wife tells him she is having an affair.

Suave playboy pretty boy Gosling hears Carell whining about his life night after night in a local bar, and decides to help him.

After gaining back some of his confidence, Carell meets Marissa Tomei in a bar, and they end up back at his place.

In addition to the Carell/Gosling storyline, the film also features Moore as the ex-wife and her relationship with Kevin Bacon, a son who is in love with his babysitter, and Emma Stone is a young lawyer looking for love…crazy, stupid, love.

CRAZY, STUPID, LOVE will involve you and engage you, and it is even laugh out loud funny at times. The cast is great, the script offers a few nice twists and turns, and it is one of my favourite films of the year.

I absolutely loved it, and I easily recommend it.

I also loved the small, character driven film BEGINNERS, starring Canadian acting Icon Christopher Plummer, Ewan McGregor of TRAINSPOTTING and Mélanie Laurent from INGLORIOUS BASTERDS, but I can’t recommend this one to everyone, because it is a bit too odd and quirky.

Shortly after he comes out, and is loving life once again, Plummer’s character finds out that he has terminal cancer. That part of the story, and the son’s relationship with his Dad are told in flashback. In the present day we see said son falling in love with a French actress.

BEGINNERS is smart and interesting, and I really enjoyed it. But the reason I don’t wholeheartedly recommend it is because it is not a happy film. It wallows in self pity, and its own created misery for a good portion of the running time.

But I like the cast, I enjoyed the journey their characters take in the movie, and should you search it out, I hope you enjoy it too!!

You won’t have to search out WATER FOR ELEPHANTS, the film adaptation of Sara Gruen’s novel of the same name, it will be on every shelf and you’ll see it featured at the forefront of your OnDemand queue

That is because it’s all-star cast is Academy Award winner Reese Witherspoon, TWILIGHT’s pretty boy Robert Pattinson and Academy Award Winner Christoph Waltz.

This thing will be everywhere, and you should skip it all costs!!

The film is set during the prohibition era, during the Great Depression and Pattinson plays a veterinary student who gives up his studies and joins a traveling circus…where he meets the beautiful Reese and her husband, the sometimes cruel and tight fisted man who runs the circus. He gives him a job taking care of the animals, and she gives him the time of day…and you won’t care.

WATER FOR ELEPHANTS is such a snore…even Resse seems bored on screen by it. Plus, Pattinson has absolutely no screen presence – if he wasn’t the star of the uber-successful TWILIGHT series he would not even be in this film – and Christoph Waltz, so good in Tarantino’s INGLORIOUS BASTERDS, is over-acting here and all of that adds up to a cinematic mess.

Skip it, walk away, do not waste your time on this film!!

Both Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson are constantly seen in the tabloid newspapers, as their lives, careers and personal lives are put on display for the world to read.

Back in 1977 the tabloids – especially in Britain – were full of “The Case of the Manacled Mormon”, a truly odd story about a former Miss Wyoming who was charged with abducting and imprisoning a young Mormon Missionary.

Joyce McKinney’s story is now the subject of the documentary TABLOID.

In real life Joyce was accused of following a man to the U.K., kidnapping him, handcuffing him to a bed, and using him as her sex slave.

In real life – and in this documentary – she repeatedly proclaims her innocence…but since the man himself refused to be interviewed, we only get her side of the story, and the woman in this film is not likeable, or sympathetic, so I didn’t care.

TABLOID is interesting – yes, I admit that it is true – but ultimately it isn’t worth your time. Skip this one too!!

Skip, skip, skip to my Lou.

Skip this next film too, my darlin’!!

Although – from the moment I heard of this film – I thought the idea was questionable – I decided to watch it, because I support Canadian films, and I thought that maybe the filmmakers could have taken the questionable concert and given us a fun, quirky, possibly enjoyable movie.

They have not.

PEEPERS is about a group of peeping toms who take to Montreal’s rooftops under cover of night.

Yes, this is a film about people who go onto rooftops and – with their binoculars – stare at people in various states of undress and while they live their lives in the privacy of their own homes.

I could continue to tell you what this movie is about…discussing the battle for rooftop supremacy…as the characters all fight against the peepers code….but I won’t, because the movie is not funny, not fun, not dramatic and not worthy of any more time.

Skip PEEPERS, skip this film too, my darlin’!!

The next three films are also unworthy or your movie watching time, or my limited time each week to tell you about movies, so I won’t spend more than a minute on any of them…including A BETTER LIFE, a wannabe uplifting tale about a father who moves to America from Mexico to try and give his son a chance at a better life…but the man has a run of bad luck that prevents that from happening.

Life is tough…it can be hard and cruel and unfair…I know that, you and I, we live that every day. I don’t want to see a movie about it, especially one that doesn’t offer up a happy ending.

The ending of A BETTER LIFE is optimistic, but leading up to it is a boring story that – while you will root for the characters – you won’t care about their movie.

Jenna Fischer from THE OFFICE stars in this next skippable film…one called A LITTLE HELP. Jenna plays a woman who is unhappy with her marriage, her family, her son, her life…she could use A LITTLE HELP, especially after her husband dies.

Yet, over the course of her life, had she offered A LITTLE HELP when it was asked of her, things could have turned out different for everyone.

The main problem with A LITTLE HELP is that it doesn’t know what it wants to be. Is it a dramatic comedy, a comedic tale with drama…just a drama?

In the end, it has some nice scenes, and the brother-in-law character is very good, but while this is not the worst movie I have ever seen, you should just skip it.

There is a house in New Orleans
They call the Rising Sun
And it’s been the ruin of many a poor boy
And God I know I’m one

There is a movie called HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN, and if anyone of note starred in it, it would be the ruin of them…but there isn’t, so the “actors” in it should go unscathed.

And if you skip it, you should too.

And you should, skip HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN!!

This one is about an ex cop, ex-con in charge of security at a nightclub. When the club is robbed during his shift, he starts looking for the real criminals, while his bosses he is responsible…but who cares. The acting here can only be described as wooden – at best – and you won’t care what happens.

Skip the movie HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN, and just listen to the classic song by the Animals instead!!

Up next is an interesting and compelling documentary…one I won’t suggest that you skip…but I will admit that this is just another documentary about someone who fights for a cause they believe in.

There have been many of these films that have come out over the last few years, but what makes ECO-PIRATE above average is the man it is about… Paul Watson, a very dedicated Canadian animal rights and environmental activist, who founded and is president of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, a direct action group devoted to marine conservation.

He was also an early and influential member of Greenpeace.

ECO-PIRATE: THE STORY OF PAUL WATSON is just another documentary about saving the animals that populate the planet, yes, but Paul Watson’s story is worth watching.

Also worth watching…for the kids…is the animated film about Christopher Robin and his stuffed animals Winnie the Pooh, Eeyore, Owl, Piglet, Kanga, Roo, and Tigger!!

There have been many WINNIE THE POOH tales and adventures over the years, and in this new one Eyeore has lost his tail, and Winnie the Pooh and his friends hold a contest to get him a new one.

This WINNIE THE POOH is not one for kids of all ages, but younger kids may have some fun with it.

It isn’t great, but it is Winnie The Pooh!!

Winnie The Pooh was created by A. A. Milne and the first collection of stories about him was published in 1926.

The cat and mouse team known as Tom & Jerry were created by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera in 1940 and focus on the never-ending rivalry between Tom & Jerry. Their chases and battles often involve comic violence.

The new TOM & JERRY – GOLDEN COLLECTION – VOLUME ONE brings the cartoon all-star’s shorts to blu-ray and this two-disc set gives us the first 37 shorts, in chronological order, with a wealth of behind the scenes footage and a wealth of Special Features, new and old.

Previous collections of TOM & JERRY cartoons were censored, and there was dirt and wear on the images. This GOLDEN COLLECTION is truly that…it gives us everything, and the shorts look and sound amazing!!

THE BLU-RAY BEACON is shining brightly on TOM & JERRY – GOLDEN COLLECTION – VOLUME ONE right now…these cartoons are still so much fun!!

The final entry in our all-star edition of The Couch Potato Report features Lightning McQueen, Sally, Tow Mater, Finn McMissile and Holley Shiftwell.

And if you think they all sound like cartoon characters, you are right…they are the stars of Pixar’s CARS 2.

CARS 2 begins in Radiator Springs, but soon star race car Lightning McQueen and his pal Mater head overseas to compete in the World Grand Prix.

But this sequel to my least favourite Pixar film really isn’t about racing, it is about spies and international espionage as Mater gets mistaken for a spy by Finn McMissle.

And for me, that is the main problem with CARS 2 – other than the fact that I never cared for the first one, I could never get into a movie with talking cars – this one makes Mater the tow truck the lead character…and he is a secondary character at best. The film didn’t work for me, because the character isn’t that interesting…and as such, CARS 2 is now my least favourite Pixar film.

The kids who loved CARS will likely like CARS 2, but any adults who loved what the studio gave us in the TOY STORY films, UP, WALL-E, FINDING NEMO and MONSTERS, INC. should look for something else to entertain them.

CARS 2 looks amazing…it is a well made film, but the story is a let-down and this all-star edition of The Report, ends with no stars.

CARS 2, TOM & JERRY – GOLDEN COLLECTION – VOLUME ONE, WINNIE THE POOH, ECO-PIRATE: THE STORY OF PAUL WATSON, HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN, A LITTLE HELP, A BETTER LIFE, the made-in-Montreal film PEEPERS, the documentary TABLOID, the boring WATER FOR ELEPHANTS, the enjoyable BEGINNERS, and the very entertaining CRAZY STUPID LOVE are all available now, either on disc or on demand.

Coming up inside the next Couch Potato Report

THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON of the set-in-Ottawa, made-in Regina CBC Series INSECURITY, RUSH – LIVE IN CLEVELAND, HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS and Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman star in THE CHANGE UP.

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!