The Couch Potato Report

I do love watching movies!!

The Couch Potato Report – March 31st, 2012

Inside this week’s Couch Potato Report is a dangerous method, a battle royale, and we head back to The Town.

Over the years, Toronto born director David Cronenberg has given us some very interesting films. From his early horror releases SHIVERS, SCANNERS, THE DEAD ZONE and his 1986 remake of THE FLY, through his more mature releases like DEAD RINGERS, NAKED LUNCH, A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE and EASTERN PROMISES his movies aren’t always great…but they are always interesting.

And that is true with his latest release as well. A DANGEROUS METHOD is far too slow moving to be considered great, but it is very, very interesting.

The focus of the film is the relationship between two of the great founders of modern psychological theory, Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung.

Cronenberg crony Viggo Mortensen – who co-starred in both A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE and EASTERN PROMISES – plays Freud, and Michael Fassbender from INGLORIOUS BASTARDS is Jung.

Keira Knightly of the PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN films also stars, as a woman who is initially a patient of Jung, later becoming a physician and one of the first female psychoanalysts.

This is a movie about three intellectuals, so it is very smart, but because the story takes its time getting to where it’s going, it is far too slow moving, and so I can’t recommend it.

As per usual with a David Cronenberg movie, I didn’t enjoy A DANGEROUS METHOD, but I did find it interesting.

We move now from a film about the founders of modern psychological theory, to one about Confucius – the Chinese politician, teacher, editor, and social philosopher – starring the great Chow Yun-fat from CROUCHING TIGER HIDDEN DRAGON.

CONFICIOUS is a biographical fantasy adventure drama that begins with the man looking back on his life, through the political times and war he lived through, all the way to him becoming a wandering scholar.

Confucious – the man – was a brilliant individual who is justly known around the world. CONFICIOUS the movie won’t gain global attention for much longer as it isn’t compelling, the special effects are poorly done, and it just isn’t a very good movie.

I can’t recommend it either.

Last weekend in theatres across North America, THE HUNGER GAMES had the third-highest grossing debut of all-time, putting it behind only the final HARRY POTTER film and THE DARK KNIGHT in the history books.

THE HUNGER GAMES is widely understood to have the exact same story as the Japanese book BATTLE ROYALE. Both tell the story of school children who are forced to fight each other to the death…sort of like THE RUNNING MAN mixed with LORD OF THE FLIES…and each have huge fan bases…as shown by that massive opening.

And now the film version of BATTLE ROYALE is available for fans to own and enjoy in an all-new collection!

BATTLE ROYALE – THE COMPLETE COLLECTION is a four-disc set that includes the Director’s Cut of the exceptional film and the Theatrical Cut, along with the not great sequel BATTLE ROYALE II and a disc full of Bonus Materials.

BATTLE ROYALE is a tremendous film with some great twists and turns and THE COMPLETE COLLECTION is a must see for all fans of THE HUNGER GAMES, or anyone who enjoys a great cinematic action flick.

This is great stuff!!

Also great, so great, still great even after fifteen seasons is the animated series SOUTH PARK. Fifteen years after it first began to entertain me, I still watch the show and think, “How do they keep coming up with this stuff?!?”

In addition to the fourteen laugh out loud episodes, SOUTH PARK – THE COMPLETE FIFTEENTH SEASON once again features mini-commentaries on all episodes by the creators of the show, Trey Parker and Matt Stone – who also gave us the Tony Award winning Broadway musical THE BOOK OF MORMON during the time they were doing the show, and the fantastic documentary summing it all up “Six Days to Air: The Making of South Park”!

Due to its content and profanity, SOUTH PARK has never been a show for everyone…but it has always been a show for me! I really enjoyed THE COMPLETE FIFTEENTH SEASON and the documentary is a fantastic look at how they get it all done each week!

It is documentary time…time to look at three releases, containing six projects that are all absolutely worthy of your time.

And I will start with a film made about a man who makes movies.

CORMAN’S WORLD: EXPLOITS OF A HOLLYWOOD REBEL is a star-studded tribute to movie producer Roger Corman, who – starting in 1953 – gave the world a wealth of low budget movies, whose titles most people won’t know, but he helped launch the careers of many stars that everyone knows – including Robert DeNiro, Peter Fonda, Pam Grier, Martin Scorcese, William Shatner and Jack Nicholson.

CORMAN’S WORLD is a great look at the creative inventiveness of Roger Corman, and his films and anyone who calls themselves a movie fan should not miss it!!

It is entertaining, and so is the man himself….a man who continues to make movies to this day!

Had the automobile industry taken more chances a few years ago, we might all be driving electric cars now. The story of cars that run on electricity and not fuel was exceptionally told in the 2006 documentary WHO KILLED THE ELECTRIC CAR, which investigated the birth and death of the electric car.

And now we have REVENGE OF THE ELECTRIC CAR, which takes a look at the resurgence of electric vehicles, and their availability around the world.

Director Chris Paine follows up his original with a film that shows us unprecedented access to the electric car research and development programs at the major car companies.

REVENGE OF THE ELECTRIC CAR is a very good film, but since all of the car companies cooperated this time around, there is only limited opposing views or opinions.

Electric cars are good, gas cars are bad is the message we get.

But that said, the message is informative, entertaining, and even heart breaking at times.

REVENGE OF THE ELECTRIC CAR is as worthy of your time as WHO KILLED THE ELCTRIC CAR is. Don’t miss either one!

The final documentaries I have are all included in the box set, THE BBC HIGH DEFINITION NATURAL HISTORY COLLECTION…and all four of them are spectacular and even mesmerizing at times!!

This overwhelming 8-disc set features the fantastic documentaries PLANET EARTH, WILD CHINA, GALAPAGOS and GANGES and all of them will show you things you have never seen before, such as polar bears sliding down mountains, 3 million bats in one place, sea lions chasing iguanas just for fun, and even mudskippers, fish that can use their pectoral fins to walk on land!

All of these films are incredible, but the key release in this set is PLANET EARTH, which was in production for five years, using 40 cameramen filming across 200 locations, and the result gives us the ultimate portrait of our planet.

Finally this week, Ben Affleck’s exception film THE TOWN has been released in an ULTIMATE COLLECTOR’S EDITION with an all-new ending.

THE TOWN was co-written and directed by Ben Affleck and he also stars alongside Academy Award nominee Jeremy Renner from THE HURT LOCKER, Jon Hamm of MAD MEN, and Blake Lively from GOSSIP GIRL, along with character actors Pete Postlethwaite and Chris Cooper.

It was adapted from Chuck Hogan’s novel “Prince of Thieves” and is about a longtime thief from Boston who is trying to get out of the neighbourhood and away from the people that have defined and shaped his life, all while planning one last job.

He is also trying to find a new life with a woman who had been a hostage during a bank robbery, and doesn’t know the truth about who he is, and he’s trying to stay away from an FBI agent looking to bring him and his crew down…and said agent may also have an interest in the former hostage.

THE TOWN is a great film and this new ULTIMATE COLLECTOR’S EDITION has a wealth of all-new features and goodies – in addition to that additional ending – but if you own it already, you really don’t need to upgrade…unless you absolutely think that it is one of the greatest films ever made.

And it is a great film…if you have never seen it, check out THE TOWN!!

THE ULTIMATE COLLECTOR’S EDITION of THE TOWN, the more than spectacular BBC HIGH DEFINITION NATURAL HISTORY COLLECTION with PLANET EARTH/WILD CHINA/GALAPAGOS/GANGES, the very interesting REVENGE OF THE ELECTRIC CAR, the loving documentary CORMAN’S WORLD, THE COMPLETE FIFTEENTH SEASON of the still entertaining SOUTH PARK, THE COMPLETE COLLECTION of the Japanese BATTLE ROYAL films, the okay Chinese film CONFUCIOUS and David Cronenberg’s interesting, but not that entertaining film A DANGEROUS METHOD are all available now, either on disc or on demand.

Coming up inside the next Couch Potato Report

SEASON TWO of the made-in-Winnipeg series TODD AND THE BOOK OF PURE EVIL, TORCHWOOD – MIRACLE DAY, Steven Spielberg’s WAR HORSE, and Cameron’s Crowe’s family film WE BOUGHT A ZOO, starring Matt Damon.

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!