The Couch Potato Report – December 31st, 2012
Inside this week’s Couch Potato Report are some film suggestions – and ones to stay away from – for New Year’s Eve.
If you need a movie suggestion or two for New Year’s Eve, I can help you with that, and I’ll start with the made-in-Montreal drama THE WORDS, starring Bradley Cooper from THE HANGOVER films.
Bradley is a failed writer here who finds a manuscript in an old satchel his wife buys for him in Paris.
That manuscript is better than anything he’s ever written, and it brings his wife to tears…so he claims it as his own and becomes a huge success.
Everything in his life is finally going well…until the man who actually wrote the words comes looking for him.
THE WORDS is one of those films where you can’t wait to see what happens next, and why. I almost went a few chapters ahead to find out, but ultimately decided not to. But I wanted to!!
Even though it isn’t perfect, there are several huge plot holes and when the focus shifts to the third level of the story my attention started to wander, even with those flaws THE WORDS has a great cast – that also includes Dennis Quaid, Olivia Wilde, Zoe Saldana and Jeremy Irons – and I really enjoyed it.
It is a mature film that takes it’s time and it will make a great rental for New Year’s Eve.
From something worthy of your time, here now is the opposite.
The success of the television series GLEE is the only reason this next movie exists as PITCH PERFECT liberally uses that show – and elements of several movies – including BRING IT ON, BEST IN SHOW and actual footage from THE BREAKFAST CLUB to tell its story…a story about an all-female a cappella singing group who must rise up – and rise together – in order to beat their rivals at regionals.
PITCH PERFECT might have been fun if it had an original moment in it – which it does not – and didn’t take itself so seriously…it takes itself way too seriously.
Instead, what we are left with is a predictable and unfunny movie about a group of characters that you won’t care anything about, and several you won’t even like.
The music numbers are well done, so huge fans of GLEE may enjoy the movie a little, but my suggestion is that you just skip PITCH PERFECT. It isn’t worthy of any of your busy holiday time.
Also not worthy of your time – absolutely any of your time – is the very boring and completely unfunny comedy BUTTER.
This is an example of when bad movies happen to good people as the cast includes Jennifer Garner, Hugh Jackman, Ty Burrell from MODERN FAMILY, Olivia Wilde, Rob Corddry, Ashley Green from the TWILIGHT films and 90s star Alicia Silverstone.
All good actors and people, all starring in a bad, bad, bad, bad, bad, bad movie!!
BUTTER is about butter carving in small-town Iowa, and that part of the movie is interesting as I had never seen it done – on screen or in real life before.
But as the movie goes on and a controlling local woman works to win a competition against a young adopted girl, stopping at nothing, you won’t care. Not once, not at all.
BUTTER is a complete waste of time and you should skip it on New Year’s Eve, during 2013, and for all time.
Great cast…really bad movie.
Let me get back to saying positive things again, in the Final Couch Potato Report of 2012, and I will say them about a high school reunion movie called 10 YEARS.
People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive – Channing Tatum – stars in 10 YEARS along with Rosario Dawson, Justin Long, Chris Pratt and Aubrey Plaza from PARKS & RECREATION, Ron Livingston from OFFICE SPACE, and a bunch of young actors who you will probably recognize from their other films.
The movie takes place on the night before the high school reunion as the old friends get together at a bar for some drinks and reminiscing.
I really, really liked parts of 10 YEARS…and I didn’t care for other parts at all…but I still liked it enough to recommend it and tell you that it is a good rental.
I have a pair of titles to tell you about right now, and you probably haven’t heard of either of them…even though one of them is from an Academy Award nominated writer and director who is known around the world.
Spike Lee’s RED HOOK SUMMER is coming up, but right now I want to tell you about a very interesting documentary about Ai Weiwei, a Chinese contemporary artist who was an artistic consultant for the Beijing National Stadium at the 2008 Olympics.
In addition to being an artist, Ai Weiwei is also a political activist who has been highly and openly critical of the Chinese Government’s stance on democracy and human rights.
AI WEIWEI – NEVER SORRY is a documentary about the man, his work, and his detention by Chinese authorities in spring of 2011.
I knew of AI WEIWEI (I WayWay) but I didn’t know that much about him until I saw NEVER SORRY and now I am fascinated by him.
This is a great documentary about a very interesting human being.
It doesn’t necessarily tell both sides of his story, as the filmmakers don’t speak to the Chinese government about Weiwei and why he was arrested, but the story it does tell is worthy of your time and comes highly recommended by me.
Spike Lee is an Academy Award nominated filmmaker who has been making films since 1983.
His works include DO THE RIGHT THING, MALCOLM X, SHE’S GOTTA HAV EIT, CLOCKERS, CROOKLYN, INSIDE MAN and JUNGLE FEVER.
He is also an outspoken advocate of race relations, the role of media in contemporary life, urban crime and poverty, and other political issues.
Spike rarely flies under the radar when he does things, especially when he releases a new movie…until now.
In 2012, Spike self-financed and released a movie called RED HOOK SUMMER…and hardly anyone knew.
But now that it is out on DVD and Blu-ray, you will know about it…as I am going to tell you about Spike Lee’s RED HOOK SUMMER.
RED HOOK SUMMER is not Spike Lee at his best, in fact I was thinking more than a few times while watching it, “This is a Spike Lee movie?!?
The story is definitely Spike Lee…A middle-class boy from Atlanta travels to the housing projects of Red Hook, Brooklyn, New York, to spend the summer with his deeply religious grandfather…but the film is missing that special thing that Spike usually brings a film, and that is why it fails.
When watching the almost two-hour making of and listening to the commentary, the story behind RED HOOK SUMMER – the fact that Spike paid to make it and get it out there – comes out and that story is interesting.
RED HOOK SUMMER itself is not. What could have been an interesting fish out of water story isn’t, and as the story moves from being about the boy to the deeply religious grandfather I lost interest.
He has made some great movies in the past, and since it is his own money, Spike Lee can do whatever he wants with it.
But I suggest you skip RED HOOK SUMMER.
The results of his labour aren’t worthy of your time.
Finally this week is a new feature here on The Couch Potato Report. From time to time I will dig into the vast film library of titles that have been released throughout the years for a Catalogue Classic.
And with it being so close to New Year’s Eve, this week’s Catalogue Classic is WHEN HARRY MET SALLY
WHEN HARRY MET SALLY is director Rob Reiner’s 1989 romantic comedy written by the late, great Nora Ephron and starring Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan.
Harry and Sally have known each other since graduating university, and have had an on again off again friendship for years, until they finally end up in bed together…and things don’t go well.
WHEN HARRY MET SALLY is warm and funny and features real people and I love the movie and highly recommend it!! If you are looking for something to watch on December 31st this is a great movie to dig out, especially since it all culminates on New Year’s Eve.
The Catalogue Classic WHEN HARRY MET SALLY, Spike Lee’s failed RED HOOK SUMMER, the very interesting documentary AI WEIWEI – NEVER SORRY, the likeable good rental high school reunion comedy 10 YEARS, the boring and unfunny comedy BUTTER, the completely unoriginal singing competition non-comedy PITCH PERFECT and the very good made-in-Montreal drama THE WORDS are all available now, either on disc or on demand.
And whatever you end up doing on New Year’s Eve, Happy New Year from all of us at The Couch Potato Report!! Here’s to a 2013 full of happiness, good health and good movies!!
Coming up next week inside another all-new edition of The Couch Potato Report
Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Emily Blunt star in the great science fiction action film LOOPER, David Fincher’s underappreciated mystery thriller THE GAME is the Catalogue Classic and Robert Pattinson from the TWILIGHT films stars in David Cronenberg’s made-in-Toronto mess COSMOPOLIS.
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!
And for more of my movie reviews, visit: http://www.cbc.ca/couchpotato