The Couch Potato Report

Some good stuff this week!!

The Couch Potato Report – October 13th, 2012

Inside this week’s Couch Potato Report are two Canadian horror thrillers and E.T. comes home in HD.

With Halloween only a couple of weeks away the studios have started to release films that are best enjoyed at this time of year…as it gets darker earlier, when the leaves are all falling off the trees and when there is something extra creepy and scary in the air.

The Regina and Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, made horror thriller CHAINED definitely fits in at this time of year! It stars Vincent D’Onofrio from the television series LAW & ORDER: CRIMINAL INTENT as a man named Bob.

Bob is a cab-driving serial killer who stalks his prey on the city streets and brings them to his remote home in the country, where he’s assisted by his reluctant protégé Rabbit.

Rabbit was captured by Bob and chained to a bed when was a little boy, and as he grows older he must make a decision regarding whether he will follow in Bob’s footsteps, or break free from his captor.

The absolute best thing about CHAINED is the performance by Vincent D’Onofrio, who is completely menacing and believable as this character. I never doubted that his character was capable of all the horrific things he was doing, and that isn’t always true in a film like this.

It starts off strong, has an interesting middle, and kept me wanting to see what was going to happen all the way through, but unfortunately, the ending of CHAINED seems like it is from a completely different movie, and that is what prevents me from giving it more than just a mild recommendation.

I never disliked it, if only it had a better ending.

I actually did dislike the made in Rockwood, Ontario, horror thriller THE BARRENS. Ontario fills in for New Jersey and Stephen Moyer from TRUE BLOOD stars here as a man who takes his family on a camping trip deep in the woods and becomes convinced that they are being hunted by the legendary monster of the New Jersey Pine Barrens: the Jersey Devil.

Are they being hunted by the mythical creature…is it actually real, or is he merely going crazy? By the time THE BARRENS got to the answers, I just didn’t care. The film is never boring, it just isn’t all that interesting and I didn’t care for it at all.

I suggest you stay away from THE BARRENS. With Halloween just a few weeks away, there will be better horror thriller films coming along soon enough.

When I made my list of the films I was most excited to see prior to the start of the Summer Movie Season this year the ALIEN prequel PROMETHEUS – directed by Ridley Scott, the man who gave us that 1979 science fiction masterpiece – was near the top of my list.

When I made my list of the Top Five films I enjoyed the most after the summer had come and gone, PROMETHEUS barely made my top five.

But it did make the top five, and – at times – it is a very good film, it just isn’t as good as it could have been.

The main problem with PROMETHEUS is the fact that a team of explorers heads into space to try and discover the origins of mankind on Earth. Yes, there are space creatures…eventually…but they spend far too much time searching for the creator, faaaaaaar too much time.

Now, I’m not against a science fiction film that makes me think…as long as the thinking and the plot don’t get in the way.

PROMETHEUS has far too much thinking and parts of the story just don’t work. However, the action scenes and the sets are amazing – once the aliens do appear – but the abundance of story elements that don’t work prevents the film from being a classic.

It definitely has a home in the ALIEN series of films…I liked it much better than 3 or ALIEN RESURRECTION…but PROMETHEUS is nowhere near the film it could have been.

Call that a mild recommendation.

Pop singer Katy Perry has had a very successful last few years. Six of the eight singles released from her 2010 album TEENAGE DREAM went to number one on the charts, and the other two peaked at numbers two and three.

Her music and lifestyle are all fun…or at least they seemed fun. While she was riding the top of the music charts, her personal life and marriage to British comedian Russell Brand was falling apart.

As this is the twenty-first century, all of Katy’s highs and lows were filmed and are now on display in the concert documentary KATY PERRY: THE MOVIE – PART OF ME.

Now I like Katy Perry, I own her music and I went to see her in concert, and this movie shows her, warts and all. But I don’t want to see her warts. It is heartbreaking seeing her cry as her marriage is ending, and I didn’t need to see that.

KATY PERRY: THE MOVIE – PART OF ME could have been a much better film if it was a documentary about her life as a teenager aspiring to become a star – and the film has plenty of old footage too – and then showed her at the top of the music world.

Now THAT would have been a great movie. As it is, with all the drama, it is just an okay film aimed at fans only.

One of the most unique television series that has aired in the past few years is AMERICAN HORROR STORY.

THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON of the show has twelve episodes telling the complete tale of a family of three who move from Boston to Los Angeles to try and get a fresh start on live.

Unbeknownst to them, the restored mansion they buy is haunted by the people who used to live – and who died – there.

There is so much going on during the twelve episodes in the first season of AMERICAN HORROR STORY and almost all of it will have you thinking, “Whaaaaaaaat?!?”

THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON of AMERICAN HORROR STORY doesn’t finish anywhere near as strong as it starts, it basically goes on one episode too long, but overall it is so super creepy and enjoyable that I will still highly recommend it anyway.

This is television at its best!!

Did you know that Zooey Deschanel from the films ELF and ALMOST FAMOUS and Emily Deschanel from the television series BONES are sisters?

They are, and both of them have sets for the latest seasons of their respective television series now available.


Zooey stars as the NEW GIRL, a woman in her twenties who catches her boyfriend cheating on her, so she leaves and moves in with three guys she meets through the want ads.

There is no way that would ever happen in real life, and there is no way that these guys would put up with this very, very annoying character. No way at all!!

Now, Zooey is a cute actress, she’s adorkable, and at times she – and the new girl – are hard to dislike…at times. Overall though, this is not a great show, even though it has a few laughs, some nice moments between the roommates and several fun quirky moments by the female star.

THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON of NEW GIRL isn’t ever awful, even when she is awfully annoying. Honestly, I neither liked it or disliked it. But since It is my responsibility to offer up a yes or no, I would give it a mild skip.

You don’t really need to see it, even though it has some cute moments with Emily Deschanel’s younger sister Zooey.

As for Emily Deschanel’s show, BONES, in THE COMPLETE SEVENTH SEASON she and partner Booth had their baby.

This is the show about a forensic anthropologist and her partner – at work and after work – an FBI agent played by David Boreanz from ANGEL.

Their team to continue to investigate the cause of death for victims in and near Washington, D.C., even though they usually don’t have anything more than flesh or mere bones.

Seven years in BONES continues to offer interesting stories with good twists and turns and a cast who continue to work very well together. Plus, it is even funny at times.

I really enjoyed THE COMPLETE SEVENTH SEASON of BONES and this is a show from a Deschanel sister that I can easily recommend.

I have a little film for you now. A little film with a big cast.

CONCEPTION stars Julie Bowen and Sarah Hyland from MODERN FAMILY, Connie Britton of AMERICAN HORROR STORY, Alan Tudyk, Moon Bloodgood, Pamela Adlon, David Arquette, and even Jonathan Silverman, among others, and it is a comedy about nine very different couples on the night they conceive.

The downside of most ensemble romance comedies like this is the fact that we never get to spend enough time with any one set of characters, and so it can be difficult to make a connection to any of them.

CONCEPTION features that very likable cast, so it is a bit easier to care for these characters, and the end result is a movie that is pretty good. It is never great, but I liked it anyway.

You won’t find this one everywhere, so you’ll have to search it out, but I think you’ll enjoy it when you do.

The aliens in PROMETHEUS and the entire ALIEN film series are well known to movie fans around the world, but I think it is safe to say that the alien in E.T. – THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL is the best known cinematic space traveller of all time.

Steven Spielberg’s 1982 box office smash is new on blu-ray this week and it is time to reintroduce yourself to him, and Elliott, Gertie and Michael as their film looks and sounds amazing in HD!

In addition to the still heartwarming film, the blu-ray for E.T. – THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL also comes with a wide array of bonus materials, including an all-new interview with director Steven Spielberg.

This film about an alienated boy who befriends an extraterrestrial who gets stranded on earth remains a very entertaining movie that the whole family can enjoy. I highly, very highly recommend it.

Steven Spielberg’s still classic film E.T. – THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL, the well-cast and enjoyable ensemble comedy CONCEPTION, THE COMPLETE SEVENTH SEASON of the still good BONES and THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON of the not that good show NEW GIRL, THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON of the very good AMERICAN HORROR STORY, the for-fans-only concert documentary KATY PERRY: THE MOVIE – PART OF ME, the not as good as it could have been ALIEN prequel PROMETHEUS, the not that interesting made-in-Ontario horror thriller THE BARRENS, and the pretty good made-in-Moose Jaw and Regina horror thriller CHAINED are all available now, either on disc or on demand.

Coming up inside the next Couch Potato Report

Wes Anderson’s fun new flick MOONRISE KINGDOM, SEASON FIVE of MAD MEN, SEASON SIX of LITTLE MOSQUE ON THE PRAIRIE, Adam Sandler’s awful THAT’S MY BOY, and in the documentary JOURNEYS, iconic Canadian musician Neil Young takes us to the small town in Ontario where he grew up.

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!