The Couch Potato Report

Movies reviews, I write them and hopefully you read them!!

The Couch Potato Report – April 28th, 2012

Inside this week’s Couch Potato Report is series about a succubus and Marlon Brando yells.

In folklore traced back to medieval legend, a succubus is a female demon appearing in dreams who takes the form of a human woman in order to seduce men.

Tradition states that repeated time spent with a succubus may result in the deterioration of health or even death.

The main character in the made-in-Toronto supernatural crime drama LOST GIRL follows the life of a succubus named Bo, as she learns to control her abilities, help those in need, and discover the truth about her origins.

The back story in LOST GIRL is that Bo grew up in an adoptive human family, unaware of her non-human nature, and she refuses to accept her supernatural side, instead choosing to fight for others…and during most of SEASON ONE, unless supernatural succubus series are your passion, you…won’t…care.

Yes, LOST GIRL has a few good episodes, but most of it is nothing special at all. The sidekick character is annoying, the special effects are cheaply done and never even remotely look real, and I just didn’t care

LOST GIRL…lost time is more appropriate. Skip this one, it isn’t worth your time.

You know what else is a waste of time…the crime drama CONTRABAND, starring Kate Beckinsale and Mark Wahlberg.

This is a complete waste of time!!

Wahlberg stars here as a former smuggler who decides to take on one more counterfeiting job to try and protect his brother in law from a ruthless drug lord.

But you see, what the former Marky Mark doesn’t know is that he can’t trust some of the people closest to him…he can’t see it in the movie, but anyone watching this film can see the “surprise twists” coming almost right from the start.

I watched CONTRABAND right to the end, because I am a fan of Wahlberg and Kate Beckinsale, but she is absolutely wasted here and Wahlberg is just going through the motions.

I was curious to see how it ended, so I watched it all the way through, but you should skip this movie at all costs.

As I said, it is a complete waste of time!

Reality television like DRAGON’S DEN, AMERICAN IDOL, THE VOICE and SURVIVOR are commonplace in this day and age, bringing everyday people into our living rooms and onto our screens and tablets.

But it was less than forty years ago when the concept was a tough sell to the networks and the people that it would potentially make stars.

1973’s AN AMERICAN FAMILY was the very first reality television show. It followed the Loud family as they went about their daily lives…but it also featured an on-camera divorce demand from wife Pat to her husband, and one of their kids coming out.

CINEMA VERITE is a new film about the making of AN AMERICAN FAMILY and it stars Diane Lane and Tim Robbins and the husband and wife, and James Gandolfini from THE SOPRANOS is the man trying to bring their life – the good and especially the bad – to the masses.

CINEMA VERITE is an interesting film…but I didn’t find it compelling at all…and I knew very little about AN AMERICAN FAMILY going in. Had I known more about it, I probably would have been bored…but since I didn’t, I enjoyed it.

It is never great, but it is a very good look back at the origin of reality television…for better, or for worse.

It is time now to get your motor runnin’, Head out on the viewing highway. Especially if you are lookin’ for adventure, and whatever comes our way.

And if, like a true nature’s child – orangutans and elephants – you were born, born to be wild, I have a film for you now that will help you climb so high…that you’ll never, want to die.

Narrated by Academy Award winner Morgan Freeman, BORN TO BE WILD is a documentary about orphaned orangutans and elephants and the extraordinary people who rescue them, raise them, and work toward releasing them back into the wild.

I love nature documentaries, especially when I see things I have never seen before, and learn things that I did not know, and I learned and saw a lot in BORN TO BE WILD.

BORN TO BE WILD is great for the whole family, and at only forty minutes long, the little ones will easily be able to sit and watch the whole thing…and I hope that they – and you – enjoy it as much as I did.

And I did enjoy it, and easily recommend it!!

I also enjoyed the hockey documentary ROAD TO VICTORY – THE ’94 NEW YORK RANGERS STORY…this is a great film!!

ROAD TO VICTORY is the typical celebration film that we have seen when a team wins a championship, but what sets this one aside is the fact that it not only includes the players, people who work for the team and the media…it also includes stories from the fans.

I am not a fan of the New York Rangers…GO LEAFS GO!!!…but I am a fan of the game, and that is why I enjoyed ROAD TO VICTORY – THE ’94 NEW YORK RANGERS STORY.

If your team has already been eliminated from this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs…or never even qualified – GO LEAFS GO!!! – don’t miss this celebration of our game!!

I highly recommend it!!

Up next is a four-part miniseries written by Julian Fellowes – the man who also gave us DOWNTON ABBEY and GOSFORD PARK. TITANIC was created to mark the 100th Anniversary of the ship’s sinking.

The many stories surrounding TITANIC will always be compelling, but what ultimately dooms this mini-series is the fact that it jumps back and forth in time to tell the story of more than a dozen characters.

So the ship actually hits the iceberg in each of the four hours.

Had the mini-series told a linear story – say, like James Cameron’s TITANIC film did – it would have worked better. As it is, it is very good…never great, but very good.

I probably won’t ever watch it again…but I never once felt that the TITANIC mini-series was a waste of my time.

Finally this week is the very first film to win three out of four acting categories.

It did that at the 1952 Academy Awards when Vivien Leigh won Best Actress, Karl Malden was named Best Supporting Actor for Malden, and the Best Supporting Actress trophy went to Kim Hunter for A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE.

Marlon Brando was also nominated, but he lost to Humphrey Bogart for THE AFRICAN QUEEN.

However, as good as Bogart was, it is Brando’s work as Stanley Kowalski that remains one of the most iconic and influential performances of all time!!

Brando’s Stanley and his wife, Stella are a working class couple in New Orleans’s French Quarter whose lives are upended by the arrival of Stella’s sister, Blanche DuBois, a woman who is trying to put her shattered life back together, and hold on to her sanity.

A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE offers a master class on acting, and the new 60th Anniversary blu-ray release features a wealth of extras – including a look at the changes that had to be made to bring the production from the Broadway stage to the silver screen – and it is all housed in a 40-page book, featuring behind-the-scenes photography, production notes, biographies and more!

This is a true Hollywood classic and I highly, and quite easily recommend it!!

The Academy Award winning classic A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE, the very good television mini-series TITANIC, the great documentary ROAD TO VICTORY – THE ’94 NEW YORK RANGERS STORY, the entertaining for the whole family IMAX movie BORN TO BE WILD, the interesting but not great CINEMA VERITE, the waste of time action film CONTRABAND and SEASON ONE of the nothing special made-in-Toronto series LOST GIRL are all available now, either on disc or on demand.

Coming up inside the next Couch Potato Report

Angelina Jolie’s well-meaning but awful directorial debut IN THE LAND OF BLOOD AND HONEY, an all-star cast from A – Alyssa Milano to Z – Zac Efron appear in the ensemble romantic comedy NEW YEAR’S EVE, and former Mixed Martial Arts fighter Gina Carano makes her movie debut in Steven Soderbergh’s action thriller HAYWIRE.

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!