The Couch Potato Report

I have been known to post it late, from time to time, but this week The Report is way early!!

The Couch Potato Report – May 26th, 2012

Inside this week’s Couch Potato Report are wolves fighting humans, humans fighting humans, and humans fighting the afterlife.

We begin this week with the made in Alberta and British Columbia dramatic action adventure film THE GREY. The always reliable Liam Neeson from TAKEN and WRATH OF THE TITANS stars as a man who takes it upon himself to try and lead a group of oil workers to safety after their plane crashes in Alaska.

In addition to the elements – the harsh cold, wind and snow – that they have to battle, they have also crashed near a pack of wolves, who are following their every step…and attacking.

Now, if you are going to watch THE GREY because you love wolves and you want to see a realistic portrayal of them in a movie…don’t! The wolves in this movie never look or act as real wolves do and they are always disappearing just as they are about to make a kill in order for actors to move their personal stories forward.

THE GREY is not a documentary about wolves…it is a dramatic action adventure, and one that had me right up until the end…and I mean the first ending, not the one that comes after all of the credits are done. I didn’t care for the ending of the movie at all.

But prior to the ending, I liked it. This is a film has some great action, some genuinely scary moments, and as long as you never think about whether wolves would actually do what they are doing, or wonder why – in these frigid cold temperatures – you can’t see the people’s breath.

Other than that, THE GREY is not bad…so I will mildly recommend it.

You will do yourself a favour to also not question much that takes place on screen in the made in British Columbia romantic action comedy THIS MEANS WAR as it requires even less thinking.

Chris Pine from STAR TREK and Tom Hardy of INCEPTION star here as two best friends who are also partners in the CIA. However, when they both fall in love with the same woman – played by the always engaging Reese Witherspoon from LEGALLY BLONDE, well…THIS MEANS WAR.

Yes, in THIS MEANS WAR their friendship – and millions of dollars in government assets – are thrown aside all in the name of keeping Reese for themselves…and the only time I was really in love with the movie was when the soundtrack used music from the Beastie Boys (Rest in peace, MCA!!).

THIS MEANS WAR might make an okay rental for fans of Chris Pine, Tom Hardy or Reese Witherspoon, but no one else. Just don’t expect too much because the spy stuff goes nowhere, the bad guy – and there actually is one, because the plot needs one – the bad guy moves slower than any bad guy in any movie ever.

This film is nothing special. It has a few good moments, but it isn’t much fun…so you should skip it.

We have arrived at the humans fighting afterlife portion of this week’s Report…Daniel Radcliffe – of the HARRY POTTER films – stars in THE WOMAN IN BLACK.

Based on Susan Hill’s great novel of the same name, THE WOMAN IN BLACK is a gothic thriller about the ghost of a scorned woman set on vengeance.

Radcliffe is part of a great cast and does a very good job playing a young, recently widowed lawyer who travels to a remote village and makes the supernatural discovery.

THE WOMAN IN BLACK is very, very creepy and has some great scary jump out of your seat moments.

I really enjoyed it, and can easily recommend it!

Finally this week, with all the fighting behind us, let’s travel now to THE SECRET WORLD OF ARRIETTY.

This 2010 Japanese animated fantasy film was co-written by Hayao Miyazaki – who also gave us Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, Kiki’s Delivery Service, My Neighbor Totoro (toe-ta-roe), Castle in the Sky and many other great animated films.

Based on Mary Norton’s novel The Borrowers – which was once also a Saturday morning cartoon called The Littles – THE SECRET WORLD OF ARRIETTY is about tiny people who live in people’s homes and “borrow” things to survive while keeping their existence unknown.

Specifically it is the story of a young Borrower named Arrietty who befriends a human boy, although her family have warned her that she needs to avoid being seen or their lives could be in danger!!

Like all of Miyazaki’s previous films – produced under the banner of Studio Ghibli – THE SECRET WORLD OF ARRIETTY features beautiful animation and an engaging story.

It is a bit too slow for little kids, but young adults might like it, and I – a middle aged, animation loving adult – really enjoyed it!!

The very entertaining animated film THE SECRET WORLD OF ARRIETTY, the very creepy and entertaining supernatural thriller THE WOMAN IN BLACK, the nothing special made-in B.C. romantic comedy action film THIS MEAN WAR, and the made-in-Alberta and B.C. not bad if you do not overthink it dramatic action adventure flick THE GREY are all available now, either on disc or on demand.

Coming up inside the next Couch Potato Report

SERIES TWO of the great BBC modern day re-imagining of Holmes and Watson – SHERLOCK, THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON of the Canadian television series ROOKIE BLUE, and the made-in-Manitoba hockey comedy GOON.

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!