The Couch Potato Report

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

The Couch Potato Report – October 6th, 2012

Inside this week’s Couch Potato Report: three Canadian films and Cinderella, Cinderella, all I hear is Cinderella!!

Our support of the Canadian film industry continues once again this week on The Report with two films primarily made in Toronto and this first one, which was made in Montreal and on the International Space Station.

TOUCH THE SKY is documentary about a man from Quebec named Guy Laliberté and his dream of travelling into space. The film follows him through his training and beyond, and all the while there is drama as we learn that space travel doesn’t come easy.

I have always dreamt of going into space, but I had neither the aptitude or the finances. As the owner and founder of the word renowned Cirque du Soleil, Guy Laliberté has the money, and whether or not he has the skills that would usually allow him to go or not, he is certainly very passionate about his goal.

TOUCH THE SKY is a very interesting film that features some great historical footage and insightful information about space travel from several people who have actually been there.

I really enjoyed it and highly recommend it, especially to anyone who has ever wanted to travel to space. The insight this film offers into what it takes to get there is amazing, and what we are shown along the way is unparalleled.

TOUCH THE SKY even has U2!!

The shot-in-Toronto thriller THE SAMARITAN is up next, and it is a thriller that offers some great twists and turns as Samuel L. Jackson plays an ex-con who wants to go straight after spending twenty-five years in prison, but his former partner’s son has other ideas.

Samuel L. Jackson gives a great performance in THE SAMARITAN and as things continue to tighten around the character, and he realizes that he has very few options left, he gets even better.

Unfortunately the writing and some of the supporting cast can’t match Samuel L. Jackson’s efforts and the end result is a film that is very good, but not great. You won’t see the twists and turns it takes coming, but you also might not care once they play out.

That is why I can only mildly recommend THE SAMARITAN. It’s not a must see, but if you do check it out I think you’ll agree that it is worth the price of the rental.

The less said about this next film the better, and that isn’t because it isn’t very good, but because the less you know going in, the creepier 388 ARLETTA AVENUE is.

And make no mistake, this made-in-Toronto movie is creepy!!

Who made a mixed CD and left in in the car of a young couple? Who is watching them, and who has put cameras into their home?

As 388 ARLETTA AVENUE progresses, and we see the action through more and more hidden cameras – in the young couple’s home , and where they work – you will be desperate to know what is going on…and you will be creeped out every step of the way!!

388 ARLETTA AVENUE isn’t 100% satisfying, but it is very close. Yes, not unlike the PARANORMAL ACTIVITY films and most of these “found footage films” you do have to suspend disbelief more than a little bit for them to work, but this one does work.

I really enjoyed it!!

Two movies, two TV shows. That is what I have for you this morning, and when it comes to the movies, I hope that you never have to sit through either of them. I did, so trust me when I say that you don’t have to.

PEOPLE LIKE US stars Chris Pine from the STAR TREK reboot, Elizabeth Banks of THE HUNGER GAMES, Olivia Wilde and Michelle Pfeiffer.

Pine plays an irresponsible man in his twenties who finds out – after the death of his father – that he has a sister. But after receiving the news, and meeting his sister, played by Banks, he doesn’t tell her that they are related.

Instead, he just starts to spend time with her and her young son – and she starts to fall for him – and so you spend the entire film knowing that she will eventually find out, and knowing that she won’t be happy about it, and that all happens and it all plays out in a very predictable manner.

PEOPLE LIKE US has a great cast, and the story is inspired by real life events, but the film is boring. They cast is so good that you will wish everyone in the film happiness…but you will not care what happens to them.

Skip this movie, ignore it, it just isn’t worthy of your time.

THE LUCKY ONE isn’t worthy of your time either. It too is a “why doesn’t one person just tell another person something right away and avoid all the drama?!?” type film, and there isn’t one second in this one that you won’t see coming a mile away.

This mess stars Zac Efron from the HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL films as a Marine who finds a picture while serving in Iraq and then manages to survive while after serving three tours.

After he is discharged he then decides to track down the woman in the picture as he believes she was his good luck charm, helping him survive the war.

THE LUCKY ONE is based on the 2008 novel of the same name by Nicholas Sparks, who also gave us THE NOTEBOOK, A WALK TO REMEMBER, DEAR JOHN and many others.

Some of the adaptations of his books have worked, this one definitely does not. It is predictable, the cast carries no weight, and you absolutely will not care what happens to anyone in this movie.

Personally, once it ended I considered myself the lucky one as I was done watching this mess.

Skip it…you will not like this movie. I sure didn’t.

Two movies, two TV shows…and with the movies behind us, let’s get to the TV stuff now, shall we, especially since it actually is worthy of your time.

MAGIC CITY is where we have set up residence, specifically Miami Beach, Florida, circa 1959.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan from GREY’S ANATOMY and WATCHMAN stars in this show as Ike, the owner of a luxurious hotel. However, in order to finance his dream hotel he had to sell his soul – and partial ownership – to a mob boss.

And as Ike tries to remain an honourable man, both his mob ties and the CIA threaten to take him down.

MAGIC CITY was never awful, but it always seemed like a low-budget gangster show to me. The sets and stories are all okay, but the cast doesn’t feature any really big names…and so, it is never captivating the way a Scorsese mob movie is.

Negativity aside…I actually enjoyed THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON of MAGIC CITY, I did, I enjoyed it as it builds to a great finale, and there are some very beautiful people who star in the show, but overall it really never is anything special…although I did enjoy it.

So, let me call that a mild recommendation.

The last television show on The Report this week is the very inventive and engaging PERSON OF INTEREST.

Created by some of the people who have made LOST and the DARK KNIGHT films this show is about an ex-CIA hitman and an eccentric tech genius who team up to prevent crimes in New York City, before they happen.

THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON of PERSON OF INTEREST is set in the present day, but uses future technology and smarts to allow it to stand above most of the action and procedural shows on TV these days.

And as the season goes on, in addition to smart individual episodes, it builds a very interesting overall plot as well.

PERSON OF INTEREST is just a good show and I really enjoyed watching it.

Finally this week, let’s go back to 1950, shall we? For that was when Walt Disney released his animated version of the fairy tale known as CINDERELLA.

Every eligible maiden is to attend the Royal Ball, and that includes the put upon Cinderella, but when her cruel stepmother tries to prevent her from attending , she gets some unexpected help from some lovable mice and her Fairy Godmother.

CINDERELLA has never been one of my personal favourites, but I do still regard it as a classic, an dthis new Diamond Edition blu-ray allows the film – that is now sixty-two years old – to look and sound better than ever.

Plus, it features a wealth of bonus features new and old.

Simply put, CINDERELLA is a classic the whole family can enjoy together and I happily recommend that you do.

Walt Disney’s classic film CINDERELLA, THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON of the very good show PERSON OF INTEREST, THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON of the interesting but rarely great show MAGIC CITY, the boring duo THE LUCKY ONE and PEOPLE LIKE US, the creepy and enjoyable Canadian film 388 ARLETTA AVENUE, the very good Toronto made action movie THE SAMARITAN and the insightful and interesting Canadian space travel documentary TOUCH THE SKY are all available now, either on disc or on demand.

Yes, we do love to support Canadian films here on The Couch Potato Report!!

Coming up inside the next edition of The Report

Another Canadian film, the made-in-Ontario horror film THE BARRENS starring Stephen Moyer from TRUE BLOOD, Ridley Scott’s pseudo ALIEN prequel PROMETHEUS, THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON of AMERICAN HORROR STORY, and Steven Spielberg’s classic film E.T. – THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL debuts in High Definition on Blu-ray.

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!