The Couch Potato Report

It is cold and snowy outside…why not stay in and watch a movie?!

The Couch Potato Report – February 25th, 2012

Inside this week’s Couch Potato Report we stop at a very entertaining café and learn about the head of the FBI.

In this time in history when the internet allows us to know just about everything about a movie, long before its release, I always enjoy sitting down with one that didn’t get as much press as some of the others, wasn’t on the cover of magazines, and didn’t get a lot of stories written about it.

And this week, not only did I get one of those…but two!!

The first one was CAFÉ DE FLORE, a Canadian film that cuts between two seemingly unrelated stories – one set in modern day Montreal, and the other in Paris in the early 1960s. The latter setting is where we meet a very protective single Mother of a seven year old boy, born with Down syndrome. The boy has a crush on a girl in his class… who also has Down syndrome…and they become inseparable.

Meanwhile, in Montreal, we meet a man who is torn between his new girlfriend and his ex-wife, a woman he has loved since he was a teenager.

He is trading one soul mate, for another.

CAFÉ DE FLORE is so engaging and interesting that I wanted to fast forward to the end – not because I didn’t like it – but because I wanted to see how the stories all came together. But I didn’t do that…and I am glad as I enjoyed the journey it took me on.

I am also glad I didn’t know much about it going in…and that is all I will tell you about it, other than to say this is a great film, one that I completely enjoyed.

I highly recommend CAFÉ DE FLORE, and I feel the same way about the small film MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE.

Because this one stars a young actress named Elizabeth Olsen…who just happens to be the younger sister of FULL HOUSE twins Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen…I had read a little bit more about it, but not a lot more.

MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE is a great little dramatic thriller about a young woman who escapes a cult – where she’s lived for the past few years – and returns to her family.

She tries to live a normal life with her older sister and husband, but her progress is slow because her sister is very cold toward her, and they were never that close. Plus, she also believes that the cult may be watching her every move.

There was some early Oscar buzz for Elizabeth Olsen when the film debuted at the Sundance Film Festival, but because it is a performance and not a showy Oscar role nothing came of it, which is good because now you can sit down with MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE and enjoy Olsen’s tremendous performance, and those of the supporting cast without all that Oscar hype.

This is a very interesting movie that I thought was great!!

Neither of those first two films received the coverage of this next release…and that is a shame as they are both worthy of your time.

The failed super-hyped movie TOWER HEIST is not worthy of your time…in fact it is a complete waste of time.

I sat there for most of the 104 minute running time asking – out loud, at times – really?!?

Really?!? Is this the film that was supposed to mark the return of the funny Eddie Murphy, the fast talking Eddie from the 80s that we all loved?!?

Really?!? Did someone actually think that an audience would find this movie funny?!?

Really?!? This movie is junk, it is garbage…do I really have to keep watching it?!?

Directed by the worst filmmaker working today – the hack Brett Ratner, who also gave us the RUSH HOUR FILMS and X-MEN – THE LAST STAND – TOWER HEIST is a high concept comedy starring Eddie Murphy, Ben Stiller and Matthew Broderick. It is about a group of employees at a high rise building in New York who were taken advantage of by a wealthy business man’s schemes, so they conspire to rob him to get their money back…and you…won’

You also won’t laugh.

TOWER HEIST is an unfunny mess, that isn’t smart either – it features characters who believe that a high profile court date would actually be scheduled for Thanksgiving Day – and you shouldn’t waste your time on it.


Eddie Murphy has made a lot of really bad live-action films in the past two decades – after his tremendous start – and the main reason he is not a complete cinematic has-been today is because of the SHREK films. It was in SHREK 2 where his Donkey met the Puss In Boots, as voiced by Antonio Banderas.

Now, the cat has his own film…and PUSS IN BOOTS isn’t a classic…like the original SHREK…but it is okay.

PUSS IN BOOTS takes place just before SHREK 2 and the sword fighting cat’s meeting with the ogre and donkey.

Here we meet Puss’ sidekicks Humpty Dumpty and Kitty Softpaws as they work together to get some magic beans from Jack and Jill…beans that reportedly lead to a great fortune.

PUSS IN BOOTS has some funny moments, and the kid in me really liked it. The adult in me didn’t like it as much, but still thought that it was pretty good.

Bad things happen to good people all the time…and sometimes bad movies happen to good people as well…. FIREFLIES IN THE GARDEN, for instance.

This is a movie that stars Julia Roberts, Willem Dafoe, Emily Watson, Hayden Panettiere from HEROES and Canadians Carrie-Anne Moss from THE MATRIX films and Ryan Reynolds.

All good people, in one bad movie.

FIREFLIES IN THE GARDEN is about an abusive father – played by Dafoe – and his family, specifically his long suffering wife and son – played by Julia Roberts and Ryan Reynolds.

It is set in the present, but a good portion of the story flash-backs to the past, and that is where it fails. Some movies go back and forth seamlessly using this method, while others can’t master it. This is one that can’t pull it off, and as a result you won’t care about what happens…I sure didn’t.

Plus, FIREFLIES IN THE GARDEN introduces too many storylines that don’t pay off, and there are even a few that do…but we never really see how they started.

This movie was shot in 2008, and it is only coming out now, which is rarely a good sign for a film to be worthy of our time.

FIREFLIES IN THE GARDEN isn’t worthy of your time, although I love the cast. Maybe one day they will appear in a better movie.

The cast of THE ACCIDENTAL HUSBAND is also in need of a better movie.

Uma Thurman heads the cast of this one, which was also shot in 2008 and only released now, along with Academy Award winner Colin Firth, Jeffrey Dean Morgan from GREY’S ANATOMY, and the great Sam Shepard and Isabella Rossellini.

THE ACCIDENTAL HUSBAND is a love triangle between Uma and Colin and Jeffrey Dean. She plays a talk radio host who advises Jeffrey’s fiancé to break up with him, and so he sets out to get some revenge, coming between Uma and her fiancé Colin.

THE ACCIDENTAL HUSBAND isn’t completely awful, but there isn’t much about it to like…other than the cast. They do the best they can with mediocre material. It is just another bad film, that has happened to good people, and you should skip it too.

With those two behind us, lets head now to the west…the wild west, as perfectly embodied on film in 1948’s FORT APACHE, directed by John Ford and starring John Wayne and Henry Fonda.

Fonda plays an arrogant military man who is obsessed with military form and honour. He goes against the advice of John Wayne while trying to destroy the Apache chief Cochise.

Both Fonda and Wayne give great performances, Ford’s direction is top notch – as always – and FORT APACHE is now available in High Definition on blu-ray and it looks and sounds amazing!!

This one is a keeper!!

The Academy Awards were given out in Hollywood on Sunday night, and at the very end of the show THE ARTIST was named Best Picture.

Twenty years ago at the Oscars, a Clint Eastwood film won the prestigious honour.

Eastwood’s made-in-Alberta masterpiece features him playing a retired Old West gunslinger who takes on one last job, and travels with his old partner – played by Morgan Freeman – and a young man.

UNFORGIVEN is still an incredible film, and the new Blu-ray Book version comes with a 54-Page Commemorative Book, plus it sounds amazing in HD!!

If you have never seen it…I highly recommend that you do!!

I have never hid the fact that I am a fan of Clint Eastwood’s and his films…even his lesser works, such as his latest, which is definitely one of his lesser works.

J. EDGAR is a biopic that stars Leonardo DiCaprio as J. Edgar Hoover, the face of the FBI and law enforcement in America for almost 50 years.

J. Edgar Hoover was feared and admired as he searched for truth amongst the nation’s secrets, but behind closed doors, he held secrets of his own that would have destroyed him.

J. EDGAR suggests – as many other books, films and documentaries have – that Hoover was gay, but it never fully takes a stand on that, one way or another. The film does a very good job showing his work and the law enforcement techniques which he pioneered, but at no time will you feel that you know who he is…the film just doesn’t dig deep enough, and that is ultimately why the film doesn’t work…and a major reason why Clint and company are not at the Oscars again this year.

I admire Eastwood’s J. EDGAR…as I am a complete fan of his work…I just don’t recommend it.

Clint Eastwood’s Academy Award winning UNFORGIVEN, his Academy Award ignored J. EDGAR, the 1948 John Wayne and John Ford classic FORT APACHE, the useless THE ACCIDENTAL HUSBAND, the pointless FIREFLIES IN THE GARDEN, the good animated film PUSS IN BOOTS, the failed and awful TOWER HEIST, the surprisingly good MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE and the great Canadian film CAFÉ DE FLORE are all available now, either on disc or on demand.

Coming up inside the next Couch Potato Report

Former WWE wrestler Trish Stratus stars in the “action film” BOUNTY HUNTERS, Martin Scorsese’s Academy Award nominated love letter to the movies called HUGO, the documentary THE OTHER F WORD, and the 1960 Academy Award winning Best Picture – THE APARTMENT

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!