The Couch Potato Report

Today is September 8th, right?!?

The Couch Potato Report – September 8th, 2012

Inside this week’s Couch Potato Report is a film about a Canadian gangster, purgatory and some Aristocats from Paris.

It’s rare that we hear stories about Canadian gangsters.

There have been plenty of stories about Bonnie & Clyde, Al Capone, John Dillinger, Lucky Luciano, John Dillinger, Henry Hill, Bugsy Siegel, and many other American gangsters, but have you ever heard the story of Edwin Boyd, a Canadian criminal and leader of the Boyd Gang in the late forties and early fifties?

Well, Edwin Boyd was born the son of a policeman in Toronto in April of 1914. He had several run-ins with the law during the Great Depression of the 1930s and then served with the Canadian Army during World War II.

After being discharged, he failed to find adequate permanent employment so on September 9th, 1949 Edwin Boyd robbed a bank, turning to a life of crime to provide for his wife and children.

In the film EDWIN BOYD: CITIZEN GANGSTER, he is portrayed as a Canadian folk hero as he leads the notorious Boyd Gang through a series of bank robberies, we see him as a family man just trying to provide for his family, and Edwin is also a son who has let his Father down.

Scott Speedman from FELICITY and the UNDERWORLD films stars here, and the result is a very good gangster picture. EDWIN BOYD: CITIZEN GANGSTER is not a classic, but it is very good. The cast is strong, the story well told, and above all else I really enjoyed seeing this Canadian story told.

I easily recommend it.

Up next this morning is the Academy Award nominated documentary PARADISE LOST 3 – PURGATORY.

This is the sequel to the films PARADISE LOST: THE CHILD MURDERS AT ROBIN HOOD HILLS and PARADISE LOST 2: REVELATIONS. All three are about the arrest, 18 year imprisonment, and eventual release of Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley, otherwise known as the West Memphis Three.

The West Memphis Three are three men who were tried and convicted as teenagers in 1994 of the murders of three boys in West Memphis, Arkansas.

These films are considered to have played a substantial role in generating publicity, awareness, and support for the innocence of the West Memphis 3 and helping them get released.

PARADISE LOST 3 – PURGATORY is a fascinating film about a gross miscarriage of justice and I highly recommend it, even if you have never seen the other two.

There is a film now available to buy and rent that has a fantastic cast. Well known and personable actors Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Chris Pratt and Alison Brie all star. Plus, this film was written and directed by the same folks who made the great romantic comedy FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL and produced by the guy who gave us the very entertaining releases THE FORTY-YEAR-OLD VIRGIN, ANCHORMAN, KNOCKED UP and BRIDESMAIDS.

It had the pedigree to be amazing, but THE FIVE-YEAR ENGAGEMENT is not amazing. It is way too long for a romantic comedy and while it does have a few really big laugh out loud laughs, there are not enough of them.

In THE FIVE-YEAR ENGAGEMENT a young couple put their wedding on hold for so long that enough obstacles get in the way that they eventually start to wonder why they are even together. So they break up, and maybe…just maybe…they will get back together by the end.

Loved the cast, loved the ending, and it is occasionally very clever, but ultimately I didn’t care for THE FIVE-YEAR ENGAGEMENT. I wanted to, but the film got in the way.

Skip it, no matter how much you want to see it.

Once again this week there are some television show seasons now available for you to own, as the new television season is about to start. I have three sets to tell you about, and I will begin with HAVEN, the one made in Canada.

The very beautiful Chester, Hubbards and Lunenburg, Nova Scotia fill in for Maine in this show and in THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON of HAVEN FBI Agent Audrey Parker not only has to continues to solve murders and cases in the town that is a haven for people with supernatural powers, but she continues to discover the truth about her own mysterious past.

HAVEN is a supernatural police procedural series loosely based on the Stephen King novel “The Colorado Kid” and while it isn’t great, it is very good.

The cast of mostly unknown American actors and recognizable Canadian faces work well together and that Southern Shore of Nova Scotia is so picturesque to look at.

I didn’t love THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON of HAVEN, but I did enjoy it.

Up next is a show starring the very beautiful Canadian born actress Emily VanCamp, who is best known for her roles on the series EVERWOOD and BROTHERS & SISTERS.

REVENGE is about a young woman who becomes a part of a close-knit community populated by people who have no idea that she is only there to exact revenge on those who destroyed her family.

THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON of REVENGE is a great guilty pleasure. Emily VanCamp and the fantastic actress Madeline Stowe – from STAKEOUT and 12 MONKEYS – are so much fun to watch as they plot and scheme against people, and each other.

Yes, the show has far too many forgettable characters and storylines, but I enjoyed watching it and seeing how it would play out. More to the point, it made me care enough that I wanted to see if Emily would get her revenge.

I am really looking forward to SEASON TWO!!

There will be more next week, but the final TV show set that I have for you this week is the best show on television about underworld characters since THE SOPRANOS went off the air.

Set in the 1920s during the during the Prohibition era BOARDWALK EMPIRE stars Steve Buscemi from FARGO and THE BIG LEBOWSKI as Nucky Thompson, the undisputed ruler of Atlantic City, who is part politician and part gangster.

Not unlike that other gangster filled show set in New Jersey, BOARDWALK EMPIRE also features a supporting cast of characters you will want to see get away with their crimes on occasion.

BOARDWALK EMPIRE is a great show, that is exceptionally well made, written and full of engaging characters and performances, but what works against it is the fact that it is the type of show you never need to see it again…once you’ve seen it, you’ve seen it.

This week I watched THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON and now that I’ve seen it, I can tell you that I liked it and this is a show I really respect, but I’ll never watch any of it again.

So, let’s call that a mild recommendation for SEASON TWO of BOARDWALK EMPIRE

I would like to tell you about a great dramatic action thriller called ROUTE IRISH now. Set in Liverpool, England, this is a story about a private security contractor in Iraq who questions the official explanation of his friend’s death.

The friend died along a stretch of highway in Baghdad, Iraq that is heavily fortified and known as Route Irish.

Due to heavy military traffic and high-profile convoys, the route was extremely dangerous in the years following the invasion. The many roadside bombs, suicide bombers attacking its checkpoints, drive-by shootings and random shooting from the areas on both sides of the road have led to its notoriety.

But the contractor doesn’t believe his friend dies as a result of any of the events that take place there and so he sets out to discover the truth, by any means necessary.

ROUTE IRISH is fascinating from start to finish, I really enjoyed it and highly recommend it.

Now that Back-To-School is over, stores have their Halloween goodies out. And not just the big box stores and drug stores, places that sell movies too!!

HALLOWEEN 4 – THE RETURN OF MICHAEL MYERS and HALLOWEEN 5 – THE REVENGE OF MICHAEL MYERS and now out on blu-ray and available for you to add to your library.

There is no getting around the fact that the first HALLOWEEN is still the best one of the ten in the series – so far, but HALLOWEEN 4 is also a great genre picture. When it came out, it re-set the bar for the series.

Unfortunately, whatever good will that fourth film generated went away because of the boring fifth chapter. I can still barely sit through THE REVENGE OF MICHAEL MYERS.

Fans of the series will be pleased to hear that both blu-rays for HALLOWEEN 4 and 5 come with some brand new special features, and the films do look as good as they ever have.

Bottom line, if you are a fan of this franchise, you’ll need to own these. If not, you can just skip them.

Finally this week, we’re off to Paris for Walt Disney’s 1970 film THE ARISTOCATS has debuted on blu-ray and this fun for the whole family film about a group of privileged cats from the city of lights looking to find their way back home with the help of a smooth talking tomcat looks and sounds great in HD.

THE ARISTOCATS has never been one of my favourite Disney classics, but it is still a great movie that is full of colourful characters and the blu-ray has a wealth of great special features…both old and new.


Coming up inside the next Couch Potato Report

Kristin Stewart from the TWILIGHT films stars in SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMEN; Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez, Elizabeth Banks, and Matthew Morrison co-star in WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU’RE EXPECTING, and the second biggest movie of all-time debuts on blu-ray…James’ Cameron’s TITANIC.

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!