The Couch Potato Report

Happy New Year!! Here’s to some great home viewing in 2013!!

The Couch Potato Report – January 5th, 2013

Inside this week’s Couch Potato Report is one of the worst films of 2012, one of the best, and a game from 1997.

Toronto born director David Cronenberg is one of our country’s best known and respected filmmakers.

From his early career low budget horror films SCANNERS and VIDEODROME to his Hollywood releases THE DEAD ZONE and the box office hit THE FLY, he has stayed true to his roots and shot most of his films in and around Toronto.

Of late, he has been making smaller, lower budgeted films like 2005’s Academy Award nominated A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE and the 2011 drama A DANGEROUS METHOD. David Cronenberg’s movies may be small, but they tend to feature well-known actors, and that is definitely true with his latest – COSMOPOLIS.

Based on the novel of the same name by Don DeLillo, COSMOPOLIS was shot in Toronto and stars Robert Pattinson from the TWILIGHT films as a billionaire who just wants to go across town in his limo to get a haircut, even though there are people threatening to kill him.

Yes, COSMOPOLIS is a film about a guy – who very badly wants a haircut – and only occasionally gets out of his car…but primarily it is about a guy who keeps letting people get into his car, even though there are people threatening to kill him.

Those who get in the car include Academy Award winner Juliette Binoche, Academy Award nominee Samantha Morton, and Canadian character actors Kevin Durand from LOST and Jay Baruchel from GOON.

COSMOPOLIS has a great cast, a director I respect and admire, a few unique surprises and twists, but the end result is a movie that you won’t care anything about full of characters you won’t like.

The movie is boring from start to finish and is a rare mis-fire from David Cronenberg. The man has confused me many times in the past, many times, but he has never bored me until now.

COSMOPOLIS is one of the worst films of 2012 and you should skip it at all costs. At all costs!! It is really that bad!!

We travel now from one of the worst films of 2012, to one of the best, but we don’t time travel because in the great science fiction crime thriller LOOPER time travel is against the law.

LOOPER stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt from INCEPTION and THE DARK KNIGHT RISES as Joe, an assassin living in the year 2044.

When the mob in 2074 wants someone killed, they are sent back in time to 2044 where a hired gun awaits.

One day, Joe’s future self shows up as the target, and he doesn’t kill him…he doesn’t kill himself, causing all types of problems.

Bruce Willis plays the future Joe and in one great scene they meet at a diner.

LOOPER is a great flick, a great character driven sci-fi action movie, but it is not a perfect film.

The middle portion starring the always lovely Emily Blunt really slows down, but I give it credit for always only telling the audience what we need to know. It never rushes ahead to let us in on the story, we find out when writer/director Rian Johnson wants us to.

But even though it is not perfect, it is entertaining and smart and I really enjoyed it, and can easily recommend it.

It is my pleasure now to tell you about two very good releases that I really enjoyed watching.

The first one is an Italian romantic comedy called THE AGES OF LOVE that tells three separate stories about love at various ages and stages.

In the first segment a young attorney is engaged and deeply in love with a beautiful woman, but when he is sent to a small country town on business he meets someone new.

In the second story we meet a happily married television news anchor who allows himself to be seduced, with dangerous consequences.

And in the final segment of THE AGES OF LOVE, Robert DeNiro stars as a retired professor who falls in love with his neighbour’s beautiful daughter, played by the always stunning Monica Bellucci.

THE AGES OF LOVE is a nicely done movie with a great ensemble cast and some spectacular Italian locations and scenery and I really enjoyed it.

It isn’t the best movie I’ve ever seen, and isn’t likely to win many awards, but it was a pleasure spending time with it, and it’s characters.

Search this one out!!

I also really enjoyed spending time with the characters in THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON of the television series JUSTIFIED, even if I didn’t like some of them at all!

JUSTIFIED is the modern day western about a U.S. Marshal who is reassigned from sunny and beautiful Miami back to his childhood home in the poor, rural high crime area of Eastern Kentucky.

In SEASON THREE the Marshall has to contend with dirty politicians, drug cartels, murder, hidden fortunes and multiple criminal forces warring for control – including his archenemies Boyd and Dickie who would just as soon see him dead.

Plus, there is a new bad guy in town too, a lethal mob enforcer who doesn’t care for the Marshall too much.

THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON of JUSTIFIED, much like the other two seasons, is one that I enjoyed sitting down with over the course of a few days and watching the whole thing from start to finish.

Timothy Olyphant continues to be perfectly cast as the lawmen who enforces his type of justice, which sometimes gets him in trouble with his superiors, and Neal McDonough from the movie MINORITY REPORT is a great villain!!

Plus, JUSTIFIED is well written – mostly by Canadian Graham Yost – with great twists and turns, and it is also very funny.

As I said, you won’t care for everyone in this show, but you will care for the show. Search this one out too!!

Finally this week is a relatively 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.

This week, in case you received a movie as a gift over the holidays you don’t necessarily want, I suggest you return it and pick up David Fincher’s 1997 mystery thriller THE GAME.

THE GAME stars Michael Douglas as a wealthy financier who is given the gift of a game by his brother, played by Sean Penn.

Soon, this game takes over his whole life…and he no longer knows what is real, who is real, and who or what are a part of the game.

Director David Fincher made THE GAME in between his modern day classics SEVEN and FIGHT CLUB and it is nowhere near as beloved as those two movies are. In fact, many people – including myself – who saw it when it first came out didn’t care for it at all.

But in the intervening years, we have come to appreciate THE GAME’s intriguing and interesting premise, and get into – instead of dissecting – it’s many twists and turns.

THE GAME isn’t perfect, as you will have to suspend some disbelief to accept that what takes place is even possible, but it is a movie that takes risks. There is nothing safe about it at all.

And that is why THE GAME is a Catalogue Classic.

David Fincher’s THE GAME, the very entertaining COMPLETE THIRD SEASON of the television series JUSTIFIED, the very good romantic comedy ensemble THE AGES OF LOVE, the entertaining and smart sci-fi action flick LOOPER, and David Cronenberg’s boring waste of time COSMOPOLIS are all available now, either on disc or on demand.

Coming up inside the next Couch Potato Report

Tim Burton’s FRANKENWEENIE, SEASON ONE of the television series SMASH, THE COMPLETE FIRST AND SECOND SEASONS of the very entertaining series EPISODES, and the French Canadian film that has been submitted as Canada’s entry in the Best Foreign Language Film category at the 85th Academy Awards, WAR WITCH.

The nominations for the 85th Academy Awards will be announced on Thursday, by the way.

I’m Dan Reynish. I’ll have more on the nominations, and the newest 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!