The Couch Potato Report

Should you desire a movie for the long weekend, here are some ideas.

The Couch Potato Report – September 1st, 2012

Inside this week’s Couch Potato Report are the walking dead and the very first Foreign Film nominated as Best Picture.

Niagara Falls is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Either in person, or when featured in a movie it is a stunning place to behold.

The would be comedic drama A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO ENDINGS was shot in Niagara Falls, and while the Horseshoe Falls and area once again look amazing, the film itself is nothing special.

A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO ENDINGS stars Harvey Keitel from THE PIANO and RESERVOIR DOGS as a less than perfect Father who uses his last will and testament to inform three of his five sons that they are dying.

Upon hearing the news, they individually set off to reverse a lifetime of mistakes.

A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO ENDINGS has a very good cast – that also includes Alberta’s Tricia Helfer from BATTLESTAR GALLACTICA, Scott Caan of the new HAWAII 5-0 and character actor J.K. Simmons from THE CLOSER – and the Falls look amazing!!

Unfortunately, the film the Falls are in just doesn’t really work, and it has an ending that is a complete cop out. I actually said out loud, “Is that the best that you can do?!”

I never disliked A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO ENDINGS, and I don’t think it was a waste of my time, but I wouldn’t recommend it. There is better stuff out there for you to watch.


THE WALKING DEAD is based on the comic book series of the same name by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard and it tells the story of the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse as a small group of survivors, travel across a ravaged United States in search of a new home – (START CLIP HERE) one far away from the walking dead.

SEASON ONE of the show only had six episodes, and that limited run combined with great writing and acting, and some truly shocking moments gave the creative team more leeway when it came to making SEASON TWO. Sadly, they made the mistake of producing thirteen episodes and that meant that storylines are stretched out and the fast pace of the first season was lost as the show really slowed down in the second one.

However, THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON of THE WALKING DEAD gets better as it goes along and by the end it is on par with SEASON ONE. I love this show. The twists, the turns, the zombies, the people, I love it all!!

If you have never seen the show, or read the comics, I highly recommend both and I hope you enjoy them as much as I do…as I said, I loved THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON of THE WALKING DEAD and am looking forward to SEASON THREE starting October 14th!!

You have to feel bad for Kelowna, BC born actor Taylor Kitsch these days. At the start of 2012 he looked to be on the verge of a breakout year with roles in two action movies that had the potential to be huge hits, JOHN CARTER and BATTLESHIP.

However, both films cost upwards of two-hundred million dollars to produce yet only made around seventy million dollars at the North American Box Office. Both were huge bombs, and while neither flopped – necessarily – because of Taylor Kitsch, you have to feel bad for him.

BATTLESHIP is a movie inspired by the board game of the same name…yes, this is a movie inspired by a board game…as well as the films ARMAGEDDON and TOP GUN. In addition to Taylor Kitsch, Liam Neeson, Alexander Skarsgård, pop singer Rihanna, and Brooklyn Decker also appear in this alien invasion science fiction naval war film.

I will admit that BATTLESHIP does have a some cool action scenes and things do blow up real good, but not enough of them for the movie to be worthy of the two hours and eleven minute running time.

The filmmaker sunk this battleship, it is a complete waste of time. Don’t get caught in its wake.

And better luck next year, Taylor Kitsch!!

I had no idea what was coming up when I pressed play this week on JERSEY SHORE SHARK ATTACK.

Okay, I’ll be honest, with a title like that I guess I had some idea.

This film is not supposed to be a classic, it is meant to be a cheesy b-movie, but that said, the producers should have put some effort into making their sharks not look totally fake, and they could have hired some actors who could act a little.

They could have, but they didn’t.

Easily explained, JERSEY SHORE SHARK ATTACK is about a series of deadly shark attacks in New Jersey…along the Jersey Shore…like the television show JERSEY SHORE with JWoww, The Situation, Snooki and Pauly D.

Even at their worst though, those guys are occasionally fun to hang out with. The gang here are not.

JERSEY SHORE SHARK ATTACK wants to be JAWS meets JERSEY SHORE, but it isn’t those things, it isn’t anything except a waste of your time.

Just skip it.

We stay near water now, actually on the water for the stop-motion animated film THE PIRATES! BAND OF MISFITS from the good people at Aardman Animations, who also gave us WALLACE & GROMIT.

This film is nowhere near as good as anything starring that classic duo, but it has its moments. Not many, but it has some.

Directed by Peter Lord, who also gave us CHICKEN RUN – another great Aardman Animations production – THE PIRATES! features Hugh Grant as a Pirate Captain who sets out on a mission to become Pirate Of The Year.

That all encompassing desire takes the Captain and his crew from the shores of Blood Island to the foggy streets of Victorian London.

As you might imagine, a story about a Pirate Captain who wants to become Pirate Of The Year really isn’t all that interesting, and so THE PIRATES! BAND OF MISFITS won’t keep you – or your youngsters glued to the TV for very long.

But while you are watching, there are a great many props, inside jokes and posters that appear in the background of the film from start to finish and they are fun.

For instance, The Pirate with Gout has a Blue Peter badge on his hat. Blue Peter is the world’s longest running children’s TV show, having first aired in 1958. Badges are awarded for appearing on the show, or in recognition of achievement.

That stuff was fun to spot, but most of THE PIRATES! BAND OF MISFITS isn’t fun and so I can’t recommend it.

Nature documentaries, I love ‘em!! That is something I have said dozens of times over the years here on The Couch Potato Report, and I am never ashamed to say it again…even right now!!

Nature documentaries, I love ‘em!!

CHIMPANZEE is the latest nature documentary that has been released. This one introduces us to and then documents the attempts at survival by an orphaned three-year-old chimp named Oscar who is separated from his troop.

It won’t ruin the dramatic ark for me to tell you that Oscar is adopted by another chimp, so I will let that be known, lest you think this is a depressing story.

Because of the real-life story that plays out CHIMPANZEE has some real drama, and it is a very good film.

But the reason I don’t highly praise it is because I didn’t care for Tim Allen’s narration. I am a fan of Tim Allen, the voice of Buzz Lightyear, and Tim Allen from the show Home Improvement, but his style just didn’t work for me here and at times he even took away from the story that was unfolding on screen.

Ultimately, I did like CHIMPANZEE. It is a very good movie, that I do recommend, but they should have gotten someone else to narrate it.

We end this week with the first.

At the 11th Academy Awards held on February 23, 1939, the French film LA GRANDE ILLUSION became the first foreign language film nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture.

LA GRANDE ILLUSION is now available on blu-ray and this seventy-five-year-old film looks and sounds amazing!!

Directed by Jean Renoir, this film takes place during the First World War. Two French soldiers are captured and imprisoned in a German Prison Of War camp.

They try to escape several times until they are sent to a seemingly impenetrable fortress.

LA GRANDE ILLUSION is interesting and engaging and it is with good reason that is regarded by critics and film historians as one of the masterpieces of French cinema and among the greatest films ever made.

If you have never seen it, I highly recommend that you search it out.

It is such a great film!!

Jean Renoir’s 1937 classic LA GRANDE ILLUSION, the very good nature documentary CHIMPANZEE, the occasionally fun – but not that often – family film THE PIRATES! BAND OF MISFITS, the not great action comedy JERSEY SHORE SHARK ATTACK, the summer flop BATTLESHIP, the superb second season of THE WALKING DEAD and the not very good made-in-Niagara Falls A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO ENDINGS are all available now, either on disc or on demand.

Coming up inside the next Couch Potato Report

The Canadian crime drama EDWIN BOYD: CITIZEN GANGSTER; the made-in-Nova Scotia series HAVEN; THE ARISTOCATS bow on blu-ray and Jason Segel and Emily Blunt star – and are at the centre of – THE FIVE-YEAR ENGAGEMENT.

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!