The Couch Potato Report

Here are some movie choices for the weekend!!

The Couch Potato Report – June 9th, 2012

Inside this week’s Couch Potato Report is a successful Coach, a failed action hero, and a Yellow Submarine.

With all due respect to Peter Mansbridge, Amanda Lang, Ron Maclean, Rex Murphy, George Strombolopolous, Anna Maria Tremonti, and everyone else who works for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, I think it is safe to say that the best known personality is Donald Stewart Cherry, Don Cherry from Coach’s Corner on CBC Television’s Hockey Night In Canada. And I can say that quite confidently as Don is the only one who has had not one, but TWO movies made about his life.


As with the first film, WRATH OF GRAPES was also filmed in and around Winnipeg, and this one is about Don Cherry’s later years as he moves from coaching to Coaches Corner.

Even though WRATH OF GRAPES is primarily about Don Cherry, the film is also about his late wife Rose. Through thick and thin, good and bad, she always stood by his side.

I really liked THE first DON CHERRY STORY…but WRATH OF GRAPES – THE DON CHERRY STORY II is not as good as the first one. It goes back and forth too often trying to tell the story of Don as a kid, and then as an adult, and that non-linear storytelling doesn’t always work.

However, is very well acted and written – with Jared Keeso reprising his Gemini Award-winning performance as Don – and I did learn some things about the man…but I like Don Cherry – warts and all. If you aren’t a fan of the man, you probably won’t enjoy it as much.

There has been a lot written in the press and on chat boards about the science fiction film JOHN CARTER since its release back in March, and most of it has been negative. Most of it has also been right, this movie – about a civil war vet who winds up on a Mars inhabited by 12-foot tall barbarians and meets a princess who is in desperate need of a savior – is awful!!

Starring Kelowna, B.C. born actor Taylor Kitsch – from the television series FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS – this is the origin story about the first adventure of John Carter, the hero of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ 11-volume Barsoom series of novels.

The books are great…the movie doesn’t work at all!!

Yes, JOHN CARTER does have a few good action scenes, but the acting isn’t very strong, and the special effects are so bad they are laughable at times.

I just didn’t care about anyone or anything in this movie at all…and I suggest that you just skip it!! It is one of the worst films that I have ever seen!!

I have said it many times before, and I will say it again right now…the months of January, February and March are dumping grounds for the movie studios. If a movie comes out at that time, it is because the studio that produced it know that it isn’t good enough to win Awards during the Fall and not entertaining enough to pull in a huge crowd over the Summer…and since they made them, and have to release them sometime…they dump them in theatres in the first few months of each year, and they get released for home viewing sometime in June.

That is definitely the case with SAFE HOUSE…starring Denzel Washington and Vancouver’s Ryan Reynolds. It was released on February 10th and it is nothing special at all!!

Ryan Reynolds plays an inexperienced CIA agent who runs a safe house…a place that is a secure location, suitable for hiding witnesses, agents or other persons perceived as being in danger.

Denzel is a fugitive who is brought to the house, and the two have to go on the run after said safe location is attacked.

SAFE HOUSE is another one of those “the bad guy is actually a good guy” action films, with a fairly predictable ending, and while it is never awful, it is never really that good.

It started, I watched it, it ended, and ultimately, I don’t recommend it.

Okay, I have some films that are a complete waste of time coming up on this week’s edition of The Couch Potato Report…but before I get to them…how about something good? How about THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON of the television series BREAKING BAD.

Multiple Emmy Award winning actor Bryan Cranston – who also played the father on MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE and Dr. Tim Whatley on SEINFELD – continues to star in this show as a crystal meth maker who is just trying to secure his family’s financial future.

His illegal activities were once a secret from his wife, but she now knows about them and in SEASON FOUR they are now working together to keep the business growing, and to stay alive!

Now, I didn’t really care for the first two seasons of BREAKING BAD, but I really enjoyed SEASON THREE!! They were firing on all cylinders on that one.

THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON has more tension that the other three added together, and also offers up some great twists and turns…I just didn’t enjoy it as much as the THIRD SEASON…because that season was amazing!!

Make no mistake, though, I did enjoy it. BREAKING BAD is a great show and THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON is very, very good!!

It is my complete displeasure to have a trio of films right now that are – together and individually – a complete waste of time. Oh sure, they each posses moments and cast members that might make you want to see them, and exist in genres that you may generally enjoy…but make no mistake, each is a complete waste of time.

The trio begins with one that might potentially entertain a few people, namely those who enjoy post apocalyptic movies.

THE COLLAPSED was filmed in and around Toronto and it features a family of four who head into the forest to try and survive some other survivors of the end of the world.

Because THE COLLAPSED was made with very little money, the main thing that it absolutely has to offer a viewer is a great script, full of one-of-a-kind moments and characters. It doesn’t offer that until the very end and so – even though I did like ending – the rest of it was a waste of my time, and so I can’t and do not recommend it.

Not long ago, I reviewed a film called THE LEDGE about a man who went out onto the ledge of a high rise…for one reason or another. Great cast I said at the time…but the movie didn’t work.

Right now I am about to review another movie about a man who goes out onto the ledge of a high rise…for one reason or another.

This one is called MAN ON A LEDGE and it too has a great cast…but – it too – doesn’t work.

This one stars Sam Worthington from WRATH OF THE TITANS as an ex-con who is also an ex-cop as the man on the ledge. Elizabeth Banks from THE HUNGER GAMES is the police psychologist who is trying to talk him off of the ledge…and you…won’t care.

You see, while he is out there, his brother and girlfriend are committing a diamond heist across the street…and the police psychologist and the MAN ON A LEDGE have a romantic chemistry…and none of what is going on is new, engaging, or believable.

I liked the cast…but the film was a complete waste of my time.

Skip it!!

Now, the biggest…the absolute and most complete waste of time this week is the historical romance W.E. about American divorcée Wallis Simpson, she is the “W” and King Edward VIII, and he is the “E”. Remember him, he was the King who abdicated his throne for the love of a woman?

But hold on…W.E. isn’t just about that Wallace and Edward. It is also about “W” – Wally and “E” – Edward Winthrop, a couple who live in 1998 New York. Wally is obsessed with Wallis and spends almost every day at an Auction House where her belongs will soon be sold to the highest bidder.

Had W.E. just told the story of Wallis Simpson and King Edward VIII, it might have worked, and might have been a movie that was worthy of your time.

Unfortunately, the director and co-writer of the film – music icon Madonna…yes, THAT Madonna – unfortunately Madonna is an inexperienced movie writer and director and likely surrounded herself with people that told her that her script was good.

It isn’t!!

Plus the accents in the film come and go, the multiple video and film formats used – the switching between them is a technical failure – and the back and forth between the two couples and their stories just didn’t work.

I could go on about all of its faults…but let me just conclude by saying that W.E. is so bad that I just couldn’t wait for it to end. It is a complete and utter waste of time, and you should skip it, at all costs.

Okay…the bad stuff is behind us now…so let’s conclude The Report this week with a couple of classics…starting with the 1953 John Wayne western HONDO.

The Duke stars here as Hondo Lane, a cavalry rider who becomes the designated protector of the strong-willed Angie Lowe as well as a father figure to her boy, Johnny.

HONDO was originally shot in 3D, so there are some cheesy moments where the actors fight and gesture towards the camera, but the brand new blu-ray version – which is 2D only, looks amazing and this great western has been very well preserved.

I have always enjoyed the film, and can easily recommend it.

Finally this week, in 1968 an animated musical fantasy film was released based on the music of The Beatles…specifically, it was based on their song “Yellow Submarine”.

In the film, also called YELLOW SUBMARINE, John, Paul, George and Ringo agree to accompany Captain Fred in his Yellow Submarine back to Pepperland to free it from the music hating Blue Meanies.

Along the way, they meet some very interesting characters, including a Nowhere Man.

YELLOW SUBMARINE always has been, and always will be a trip…and not necessarily the one The Beatles take on their journey. This movie is as odd as odd can be…and I love it!!

The new High Definition transfer of YELLOW SUBMARINE on blu-ray is amazing…this bright and colourful film has never looked better.

Music fans, animation fans, movie fans…pick it up and enjoy!!

The classic animated Beatles’ film YELLOW SUBMARINE, the great John Wayne western HONDO, the awful royal drama W.E., the boring “thriller” MAN ON A LEDGE, the small budget Canadian post apocalyptic action movie THE COLLAPSED, THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON of the great television series BREAKING BAD, the nothing special action film SAFE HOUSE, the complete waste of time that is the science fiction mess JOHN CARTER, and the only okay WRATH OF GRAPES – THE DON CHERRY STORY II are all available now, either on disc or on demand.

Coming up inside the next Couch Potato Report

Sam Raimi’s SPIDER-MAN TRILOGY, the family film JOURNEY 2: THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND, THE FIRST SEASON of a great television show called EPISODES, and Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law are back in SHERLOCK HOLMES – A GAME OF SHADOWS.

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!