The Couch Potato Report – September 22nd, 2012
Inside this week’s Couch Potato Report are some of the best releases of the year, including Indiana Jones on Blu-ray!
Up first this week is a made-in-Vancouver dramatic/fantasy/mystery/thriller called DONOVAN’S ECHO. Danny Glover from the LETHAL WEAPON films stars here as Donovan, a math genius who helped create the first atomic bomb, then – wracked with guilt – devises a plan to save the planet through energy conservation. But as he focusses more and more on his work, he loses focus on his family and when his wife and daughter are killed in an accident he runs away and leaves everything behind.
The film begins thirty years later as he returns to his hometown.
All of Donovan’s past life and experiences are told in flashbacks in the present day as a series of events unfolds that draw parallels to his tragic past. Everyone he meets and everything that happens seems to be connected, and Donovan gets increasingly adamant that it all means something.
But his brother-in-law, and others, don’t quite see it that way.
In addition to Glover, the cast of DONOVAN’S ECHO includes the great Canadian actor Bruce Greenwood – from THE SWEET HEREAFTER and the STAR TREK reboot – and the film has the right tone for the supernatural story it wants to tell, but the plot and the writing get in the way as it slows down and is borderline boring in the middle.
It has some good ideas, but as a whole it isn’t fully realised. I admit that I wanted to see how it ended, but I didn’t really care once it did.
DONOVAN’S ECHO is never awful, but you have better things to do with your time.
Now, THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL, now this is a great way to spend your time!!
THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL is a wonderful comedy-drama directed by John Madden – who gave us SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE – and features an ensemble cast that includes Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Maggie Smith, Tom Wilkinson. They are all part of a group of British pensioners who move to a retirement hotel in India.
THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL is a lovely movie that features a cast that bring so much weight to their roles, and some incredible scenery. It is smart and entertaining and fun and funny. I really, really enjoyed it and highly recommend it.
This is one of my favourite films of the year!!
This next film is also one of my favourites of 2012…however, due to its content, I’m not going to tell you too much about it.
What I will say is that HYSTERIA is about the accidental invention of a device that remains one of the best-selling items in the world.
Set at the end of the 19th century, in addition to being about the invention of the non-said device, HYSTERIA is also a love story between a young doctor, and a prim and proper Victorian woman, until the doctor falls for her older sister that is.
HYSTERIA is a very interesting film, for grown-ups, that is based on true events I knew nothing about. It is predictable at times…you can see the ending coming a mile away…but it is interesting, and even funny at times.
I really enjoyed it. Due to its content, I can’t recommend it to everyone, but I do recommend it.
These two releases that I have for you right now are both witty, exceptionally well-written, and laugh out loud funny.
They are also waaaaaaaaay out there with comedy so obtuse and dark at times that not everyone will appreciate them.
But I do appreciate them, love them, and couldn’t be happier to now own them both, especially the first one – the six-disc set for the early nineties sitcom GET A LIFE starring Chris Elliott.
Chris Elliott is known by millions today from his work on Everybody Loves Raymond, and in the films THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY and GROUNDHOG DAY, but in 1990 he was only really known as The Guy Under The Seats on Late Night with David Letterman. His career outside of Letterman’s world began with GET A LIFE, where he played a thirty-year-old paperboy who still lived with his parents.
As with everything Chris Elliott has done since, his humour is a little out there…too odd for most people…but those who love it, love it a lot!!
The new set for GET A LIFE – THE COMPLETE SERIES features all of 35 episodes and a wealth of retrospective features. For some reason, what it doesn’t include is Chris Elliott. He doesn’t appear in any of the new material, and that is too bad as he is one comedian that I just can never get enough of.
Luckily director Judd Apatow – who gave us THE 40-YEAR-OLD VIRGIN and KNOCKED UP is there instead, to offer his thoughts on a show he never worked on, but loved.
Get a life? Got it on DVD and even though it remains one of the dumbest shows ever made, and the second season is nowhere near as good as the first, I love it!!
Anyone who watched it when it first aired absolutely must pick up this set!!
No, there is no new Chris Elliott stuff on the GET A LIFE set, but the new three-disc set STEVE MARTIN – THE TELEVISION STUFF does feature plenty of new of Steve Martin looking back at his work.
Mostly though, the discs feature his brilliant work!
STEVE MARTIN – THE TELEVISION STUFF features some of the great things that the man produced for television in the seventies, eighties and into the nineties. It has over six hours of rare stand-up performances, television specials, and so much more.
And it is that much more that I particularly love having on DVD, especially the appearances he made at Awards shows, on Saturday Night Live and with David Letterman and Johnny Carson.
STEVE MARTIN – THE TELEVISION STUFF is a tremendous release and made me laugh out loud almost from start to finish.
STEVE MARTIN – THE TELEVISION STUFF and THE COMPLETE SERIES of Chris Elliot’s GET A LIFE are both fantastic and I highly recommend them both. I hope you enjoy them as much as I always have.
Last – and absolutely not least – this week is what just might be the release of the year on blu-ray, the five disc set INDIANA JONES – THE COMPLETE ADVENTURES
Indiana Jones first appeared in the fantastic 1981 film RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, then in the very good TEMPLE OF DOOM in 1984, the absolutely amazing THE LAST CRUSADE appeared in 1989, and then – after too many years off screen – the character unfortunately returned – in the awful THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL in 2008.
All four films – yes, even the waste of time fourth one – are now available in High Definition and all of them look and sound amazing!!
George Lucas created the character, Steven Spielberg directed the films, and Harrison Ford brought him to life and all of them appear in the bonus materials on the extra disc in the set.
INDIANA JONES – THE COMPLETE ADVENTURES is a spectacular set that has three of the greatest action adventure films ever made…and a fourth one that features killer ants, swinging monkeys, aliens and Shia LaBeouf?!? Yes, well, even with that fourth film, this is still a must have.
I love these movies, maybe even that fourth one a little at times, and I highly recommend this tremendous set!!
THE COMPLETE ADVENTURES of INDIANA JONES, STEVE MARTIN – THE TELEVISION STUFF, THE COMPLETE SERIES of Chris Elliot’s way out there show GET A LIFE, HYSTERIA, THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL, and the not great made-in-Vancouver dramatic/fantasy/mystery/thriller DONOVAN’S ECHO are all available now, either on disc or on demand.
Coming up inside the next Couch Potato Report
The made in British Columbia and Saskatchewan mystery THE TALL MAN starring Jessica Biel; THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON of the great show MODERN FAMILY, THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON of AMERICAN HORROR STORY; director Whit Stillman’s DAMSELS IN DISTRESS; and the biggest movie of 2012…THE AVENGERS.
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!