The Couch Potato Report

Here are some viewing ideas for the weekend!!

The Couch Potato Report – June 23rd, 2012

Inside this week’s Couch Potato Report is the evolution of Metal Music and the sweet hereafter.

Banger Films is a production company in Toronto that specializes in music documentaries. They have given the world several tremendous films so far, including IRON MAIDEN: FLIGHT 666 and RUSH: BEYOND THE LIGHTED STAGE.

Now, Banger Films has produced an 11 episode series called METAL EVOLUTION that looks at how the hard rocking music style came to be through interviews with people like Alice Cooper, Slash, Lemmy, Iggy Pop, and members of Rush, Metallica, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Slayer, Van Halen, Soundgarden, Mötley Crüe, Rage Against the Machine, and Canadian music producer Bob Ezrin…a man who was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 2004.

Hosted by anthropologist and film-maker Sam Dunn METAL EVOLUTION picks up where the 2005 documentary METAL – A HEADBANGER’S JOURNEY left off as Dunn travels the world to find out how this music he – me, and so many other people love – came to be.

As much as I enjoyed this series – and I really enjoyed it – I can’t label METAL EVOLUTION the definitive documentary of the genre because it barely mentions AC/DC and a few other bands that helped make heavy metal and hard rock music what it is today.

But it does get to almost everything else, including grunge and even eighties hair metal and that is why METAL EVOLUTION is an amazing series. I highly recommend it to all music fans!!

Music fans will love METAL EVOLUTION, and fans of the Zombie genre will love the Ontario-made-movie EXIT HUMANITY…which refers to itself as “A Zombie Saga”.

EXIT HUMANITY is set after the American Civil War as a man tries to survive an outbreak of the undead and others who are still alive as he travels the countryside to try and find his son.

EXIT HUMANITY gets credit for being a low budget film, that doesn’t look like it was cheaply made. The costumes and effects are very well done, and the film also includes some great animated sequences.

What takes away from it is the running length. At 108 minutes it was far too long as the time that was included to set up the tension only slowed it down…a lot.

I never loved the movie, but it was never awful, and while I don’t think everyone needs to see it, I can easily recommend it to fans of the zombie genre.

No matter how hard you search, nowhere in Canada will you find anyone who supports the Canadian film and television industry like The Couch Potato Report. Each and every week, we proudly fly our nation’s flag, letting you know about the latest releases shot in Canada, by Canadians, starring people born and raised in our home and native land.

BEING ERICA is a Toronto-made show starring Jasper, Alberta born actress Erin Karpluk as Erica Strange, a young woman who decides to see a therapist because she wants to start dealing with the regrets she has in her life.

In each episode she would go back in time to actually relive her regretful moments, even change them.

In THE COMPLETE FOURTH – AND FINAL – SEASON of BEING ERICA, she is finally happy…mostly…thanks to the guidance of Dr. Tom, but it is now almost time for her therapy to end, as she begins the final stage of her therapy as a doctor in training.

I have watched BEING ERICA since it first began back in 2009. The show has always been too hit and miss for me to ever be a huge fan, it just misses far too often, but I like the character of Erica, I have always rooted for her happiness, and I like her group of family and friends, and so, even though it isn’t perfect, I like the show and can easily recommend THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON, and all of the seasons of BEING ERICA to you.

It had a very good run.

BEING ERICA is hit and miss…but – sadly – the made in Toronto and Southern Ontario CBC television movie SUNSHINE SKETCHES OF A LITTLE TOWN is mostly miss.

“Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town” is a sequence of stories by Stephen Leacock, first published in 1912. It is generally considered to be one of the most enduring classics of Canadian humorous literature.

The book is funny, the movie it is based on…made me want to read the book again.

The film does have a great Canadian cast – including Gordon Pinsent, Jill Hennessy, Ron James, Patrick McKenna, Colin Mochrie, Debra McGrath, Eric Peterson and many others, and this adaptation starts off strong, but by the end it really slows down and as it became a coming-of-age story, I just lost interest.

At times SUNSHINE SKETCHES OF A LITTLE TOWN is charming, witty and whimsical…just not often enough for me to recommend it.

Read the book, skip the movie.

Of this next release, I would say see the movie…skip the movie.

See the 1935 John Wayne western THE DAWN RIDER, skip the 2012 re-make DAWN RIDER.

Christian Slater stars in this British Columbia made film as a man who is searching for the people who killed his father. Trouble is, he has no idea that the person responsible may be living under the same roof.

Edmonton born actress Jill Hennessy from Law & Order and Crossing Jordan plays the love interest, and Canadian acting icon Donald Sutherland is a bounty hunter…and truth be told, DAWN RIDER is never an awful film, it is an okay western…it just isn’t as good as the original, and so if you can find the John Wayne version, watch it and skip the remake.

If you can’t find it, this one is okay too…and since it was filmed in Canada, by picking it up, you will be supporting the Canadian film and television industry, and that is never a bad thing!!

Finally this week…ohhh, baby!! Two Canadian classics…from Victoria, B.C. raised director Atom Egoyan…1994’s EXOTICA and 1997’s Academy Award nominated THE SWEET HEREAFTER.

THE SWEET HEREAFTER is about the effects of a tragic school bus accident on the population of a small town in British Columbia.

It won three awards at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival, six trophies at the Genies that year and was nominated for Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay at the 70th Academy Awards.

EXOTICA…one of my favourite Canadian films of all time…is about a group of people who are connected by a tragic event, which is only revealed to the audience late in the movie.

The new blu-ray versions of EXOTICA and THE SWEET HEREAFTER are incredibly well produced, and each also include all of the old special features from the DVDs and all-new audio commentaries full of insightful information about the films…for instance, Ian Holm wasn’t the original star of THE SWEET HEREAFTER.

If you have never seen them, these are both well-written, well-acted films, that I easily recommend. And if you have seen them, don’t miss these new blu-rays. They are now the definite way to see these two great films!!

The Atom Egoyan classics THE SWEET HEREAFTER and EXOTICA, the not as good as the original British Columbia filmed Western remake DAWN RIDER, the okay but never great made-near-Toronto CBC movie SUNSHINE SKETCHES OF A LITTLE TOWN, THE COMPLETE AND FINAL FOURTH SEASON of the hit and miss series BEING ERICA, EXIT HUMANITY – the Ontario filmed Zombie saga for genre fans only, and the not definitive but exceptional music documentary series METAL EVOLUTION – from Toronto’s Banger Films – are all available now, either on disc or on demand.

Coming up inside the next Couch Potato Report


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!