The Couch Potato Report

Movies, movies, movies!!!

The Couch Potato Report – May 5th, 2012

Inside this week’s Couch Potato Report are two very strong female characters, although one is totally clueless.

With the release of AVENGERS in theatres this weekend, the Summer Movie Season has begun!! We have arrived at that time of the time of year when movies blow up real good and it is best if you check your brain at the door before going in.

That way, you can just enjoy what unfolds in front of you, with little to no expectations…just sit back and enjoy!

And if you follow those guidelines at home after picking up or downloading the action movie HAYWIRE, you will have a blast!! But if you think too much about it, this latest from Academy Award winning director Steven Soderbergh won’t entertain you at all.

I shut of my brain, and I had a blast!!

HAYWIRE stars fitness model, mixed martial arts fighter – and non-actress – Gina Carano as a well-trained and much in-demand secret agent for a government security contractor.

After she is betrayed and left for dead, she goes after those responsible.

Now, if when I say the name HAYWIRE…you are thinking of the eighties band from Prince Edward Island…you are thinking too hard!!

Turn off your brain, and this is a great action film, with an incredibly beautiful woman kicking some butt, and a fantastic supporting cast that includes Channing Tatum, Michael Douglas, Antonio Banderas, Ewan McGregor, and Michael Fassbender.

However, if your brain is on, you will see holes in the plot, the timelines won’t work out…and when does she have time between traveling back from Europe to get a haircut?!?

I had a blast with HAYWIRE, and I can’t wait to shut my brain off and enjoy it again.

I have two films for you know, based on true stories, stories that need to be told and shared with the world, but deserve to be told better than in either of these films.

Angelina Jolie’s directorial debut IN THE LAND OF BLOOD AND HONEY is the first one…and it is just an all round bad movie.

Nothing works here, in what is supposed to be a tragic love story set against the backdrop of the Bosnian War.

The Bosnian War took place in Bosnia and Herzegovina between April 1992 and December 1995. The most recent research places the number of killed people at between 100,000 and 110,000 and the number displaced at over 2.2 million, making it the most devastating conflict in Europe since the end of World War II.

That war is part of humankind’s history, and more people should know about it because – as they say – those who don’t know their history are condemned to repeat it.

There are a few scenes in IN THE LAND OF BLOOD AND HONEY that are effective, but they are few and far in-between. The ten minute making of featurette does a better job of communicating the horrors of that war than the whole 127 minute film did.

Now, I know that IN THE LAND OF BLOOD AND HONEY is meant to be a movie…it is not a documentary…but even the movie part doesn’t add up as it is basically telling the same story that existed between Ralph Fiennes and Embeth Davidtz in SCHINDLER’S LIST…but make no mistake, IN THE LAND OF BLOOD AND HONEY is no SCHINDLER’S LIST!!

I will give Angelina Jolie credit for being ambitious in her directorial debut, but you don’t need to see it. This is a movie that you should skip.

I also think you should skip a movie called HUNGER…although it features a tremendous performance from Michael Fassbender – of SHAME – playing Bobby Sands…the twenty-seven-year-old Irish Republican Army member who went on a hunger strike in 1981 in order to protest the British government’s refusal to recognize him and his fellow IRA inmates as political prisoners, rather than as ordinary criminals.

I knew of Bobby Sands before I started watching this film, but I didn’t know much about him. After seeing HUNGER, I still don’t know that much about him…and I wanted to know more.

HUNGER is a very raw, intense and dramatic film, that is compelling and interesting at times…just not enough times for me to recommend it.

I have four films that I would like to share my thoughts on now…four films that are all new to blu-ray…four films that I always enjoy watching, well, okay, three films that I always enjoy watching…and a not-so-great sequel that features some characters I like.

Robert Redford’s 1972 western JEREMIAH JOHNSON leads the way.

Directed by Academy Award winner Sydney Pollack – who was also behind the lens for the Redford films OUT OF AFRICA, THE WAY WE WERE and THREE DAYS OF THE CONDOR – JEREMIAH JOHNSON is about one man’s attempt to leave civilization behind and learn to survive in the wilderness of the Rocky Mountains.

Redford is completely believable as the mountain man, and he gives a quiet, understated performance in an exceptionally well made movie that has more than a few great twists and turns…including several that are heartbreaking.

I really enjoyed JEREMIAH JOHNSON, and it looks and sounds amazing on blu-ray!!

I have to admit that I also enjoyed the blu-ray for the 1967 Academy Award winning film CAMELOT!!

CAMELOT won three Oscars – for Art/Set Decoration, Costume Design, and Best Music – and this is the Hollywood adaptation of the hit Broadway musical about the love triangle between King Arthur, Guenevere, and Sir Lancelot.

The cast of CAMELOT includes Richard Harris, Vanessa Redgrave and Franco Nero and they are all great, and this new 45th Anniversary Digibook Edition comes with 36 pages of photos and trivia, a soundtrack sampler, the all-new featurette “Camelot: Falling Kingdoms” and a great look back at the world premiere of the film.

CAMELOT is a great film, one that can easily be referred to as an “old school classic”. I really enjoyed it!!

Lets fast-forward from 1967 to 1997, and the release of the superb sci-fi comedy MEN IN BLACK.

MEN IN BLACK STARS Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith, two miss-matched members of a top-secret organization established to monitor alien activity on Earth.

They find themselves in the middle of a deadly intergalactic terrorist plot and have to fight to save the earth.

The original MEN IN BLACK is still a tremendously entertaining film, and it has been released on blu-ray before, but it’s less-than-inspired sequel – MEN IN BLACK II – is brand new in HD…if only it was a better movie.

The actors are just going through the motions in the second film, and it comes across as a retread more often than not…but I like the characters so much, that I could never dislike the film.

MEN IN BLACK I is a classic…MEN IN BLACK II is the sequel to a classic…and I am really looking forward to seeing MEN IN BLACK III when it is released in theatres on May 25th!!! Here’s hoping that it is a classic, instead of a sequel to a sequel!!

We started off this week’s edition of The Report, with a film starring the strong, smart and beautiful Gina Carano, and it now ends with the strong, smart and beautiful Alicia Silverstone, in the 1995 film CLUELESS.

Released in 1995 CLUELESS is a modern day comedy classic that is loosely based on Jane Austen’s novel, Emma.

Silverstone stars here as a Beverly Hills teenager named Cher who likes to help people, shop, and hang out with her friends.

The blu-ray for CLUELESS features some great extras, including a retrospective feature with the great comedic actor Paul Rudd, from ANCHORMAN and I LOVE YOU MAN, who co-starred in the film in one of his earliest roles.

I loved CLUELESS when it was first released, and I had a great time watching it again this week. It is a film that I highly, very highly recommend!!

The still fun nineties film CLUELESS, the very entertaining MEN IN BLACK and the it’s less than great sequel MEN IN BLACK II, the 1967 Academy Award winning adventure CAMELOT, Robert Redford’s 1972 Western JEREMIAH JOHNSON, the very dramatic but not very informative biopic HUNGER, Angelina Jolie’s less than impressive directorial debut IN THE LAND OF BLOOD AND HONEY, and the mindless action flick HAYWIRE are all available now, either on disc or on demand.

Coming up inside the next Couch Potato Report

Canadian actress Rachel McAdams stars with Channing Tatum in romance film THE VOW, the fun and hockey loving Quebecois guys we met in LES BOYS are back – and in Europe – in LES BOYS II, and Kate Beckinsale returns to the UNDERWORLD action franchise in AWAKENING.

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!