The Couch Potato Report – June 16th, 2012
Inside this week’s Couch Potato Report: Sherlock Holmes and Spider-man, Spider-man, Friendly Neighbourhood Spider-man.
Three weeks ago on The Report, I referred to the modern day reimagining of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes as brilliant…and I stand by that. The television series that has run for two seasons now on the BBC – simply called SHERLOCK – is brilliant.
That review – and all previously aired reviews – are all available online at cbc.ca/couchpotato, by the way…and at the time, in addition to praising and highly recommending SHERLOCK, I also spoke briefly about the most recent cinematic version of SHERLOCK HOLMES starring Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law. I stated that A GAME OF SHADOWS was pretty good too…and it is.
In this follow-up to their 2009 adventure, Detective Sherlock Holmes and his partner Dr. John Watson work to bring down their fiercest adversary, Professor Moriarty.
Because director Guy Ritchie and his cast gave us such a fresh twist on the characters and how we’d seen them over the years…specifically showing them to us in ways we had never seen…this sequel was bound to seem a little less unique than the first one, however SHERLOCK HOLMES – A GAME OF SHADOWS is still a very good film.
Yes, if you are paying attention it does telegraph everything that is going to happen, but the chemistry between Downey, Jr and Law is so good, and it is so well made that it’s cons don’t get in the way of its pros.
I enjoyed it, recommend it, and am already looking forward to the next one!
I also enjoyed, recommend, and am already looking forward to the next season of the television show HAPPY ENDINGS…which will actually be its third. The second season just finished airing and will be out on DVD this Fall, but THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON of the show is available right now!
HAPPY ENDINGS stars Calgary born/Montreal raised actress Elisha Cuthbert from the television series 24 as one of six people in their mid-twenties/early-thirties who drink coffee while talking about life’s problems…oh, and in the debut episode Cuthbert’s character leaves her soon-to-be husband at the altar.
Now wait…wait…this is not FRIENDS…his show is called HAPPY ENDINGS and it is not FRIENDS…exactly…it is just a lot like FRIENDS.
In THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON of HAPPY ENDINGS their pals are forced to choose which side to take after the split, but by the end of it that fact is a story point, but the show is more about people who hang out…and I like shows like this. Plus, the cast has great chemistry, the writing is quite strong, and there are plenty of very funny jokes.
If you miss the old FRIENDS, why not make some new ones?
One of the original FRIENDS – Matt LeBlanc – co-stars in this next release, an amazing television series called EPISODES.
A British husband and wife team decide to bring their successful and award winning television series to America, making all of their dreams come true, until the network changes almost everything, and suggests they cast the former FRIEND…who changes almost everything about their beloved show, and their lives.
The two main reasons that THE FIRST SEASON of EPISODES works so well – and it does work very, very well – is due to the writing and the fact that Matt LeBlanc is playing Matt LeBlanc, not an actor…he is playing himself, sort of, and the show is better for it!!
EPISODES is smart, laugh out loud funny and I really enjoyed it as well!!
I have three films for you right now, from three different genres. None of them are great, but they will be seen by people due to their cast or premise.
The family film JOURNEY 2: THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND is up first and this is a sequel to the 2008 film JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH starring Canadian actor Brendan Fraser and Josh Hutcherson, who is better known today as Peeta from THE HUNGER GAMES…which is one of the main reasons why people will sit through this film.
Fraser isn’t back for this JOURNEY, but Hutcherson is and he is joined this time around by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Vanessa Hudgens from HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL.
Yes, regardless of its own merits, this film will be seen because it co-stars the guy from THE HUNGER GAMES and the girl from HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL.
JOURNEY 2: THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND is not an awful movie, but it isn’t very smart, and the computer graphics and special effects do look really bad at times.
That said, there are some fun scenes, and plenty of references to books – especially the writings of Jules Verne – and so if the film can get kids interested in books, then that is a good thing!
JOURNEY 2: THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND is never great, but it is an okay film that the whole family can watch together. Call that a mild recommendation.
The main reason people will see this next film – even after I call it a predictable mess that is absolutely awful and a complete waste of time – is the cast. Sean Astin starred in THE LORD OF THE RINGS films, Michael Vartan appeared in the television series ALIAS and David Cross starred in the classic series ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT.
There is absolutely nothing classic about a wannabe “comedy” called DEMOTED. It is a predictable mess that is absolutely awful and a complete waste of time.
In this mess, Astin and Vartan are two prank playing tire salesmen who get their comeuppance when the main person they picked on becomes boss. However, he is a jerk too…and you won’t care about any of it.
The characters aren’t real or in any way likeable, the jokes are not funny, and you can see absolutely every single thing that is going to happen coming a mile away.
DEMOTED is one of the worst comedies I have ever had to sit through. Skip it, even if you LOVE a member of the cast or even all of them!!
The final of the films I have for you that aren’t great, but will be seen by people due to their cast or premise…is the based on a comic book action film GHOST RIDER – SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE.
This failed sequel to the 2007 flick simply called GHOST RIDER is a huge surprise. Oh, nothing in the movie is surprising, the fact that they made it at all is a surprise, since the original one was awful.
In these films, motorcyclist Johnny Blaze gives up his soul to become a hell blazing vigilante and in SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE he has to fight the devil himself, who is trying to take human form.
As I said, the first one was awful, the second one is awful…this film series just doesn’t work. From the casting of Nicolas Cage, to the special effects…nothing works here.
People will still buy, borrow or digitally download GHOST RIDER – SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE though, because they saw the first one, and people like movies based on comic books.
Personally, even if that is you…I still suggest you skip it!!
Finally this week, not one!
But three SPIDER-MAN films on blu-ray!!
Director Sam Raimi’s 2002 SPIDER-MAN movie was great…his 2004 sequel was even better, in fact it is still one of the greatest comic book based action films ever made…but his 2007 SPIDER-MAN 3 was and remains awful, although in High Definition it does look as amazing as the other two.
All three films in this series starring Tobey Maguire as a crime fighting teen have been available on blu-ray before, but the first two didn’t have the Special Features that were available on the DVDs. That has been rectified, and you can now enjoy the webcrawler’s adventures with Mary Jane, The Green Goblin, Doc Ock and others in HD, and see how they were all made.
I still really enjoy 1 & 2, and 3…well, even Spider-man can’t win them all.
Sam Raimi’s still impressive SPIDER-MAN TRILOGY, the not very good GHOST RIDER – SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE, the awful non-comedy DEMOTED, the okay family film JOURNEY 2: THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND, the very entertaining FIRST SEASON of the comedic series EPISODES, THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON of the very entertaining ensemble comedy HAPPY ENDINGS – starring Calgary born/Montreal raised actress Elisha Cuthbert, and the very good sequel SHERLOCK HOLMES – A GAME OF SHADOWS, with Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law are all available now, either on disc or on demand.
Coming up inside the next Couch Potato Report
THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON of the CBC series BEING ERICA, the Burnaby, B.C. filmed western DAWN RIDER, Director Atom Egoyan’s Canadian classics EXOTICA and the Academy Award nominated THE SWEET HEREAFTER debut on blu-ray, and I will also talk about the Canadian zombie saga EXIT HUMANITY.
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!