The Couch Potato Report

Bond is back, Baby!!

The Couch Potato Report – February 16th, 2013

Inside this week’s Couch Potato Report a liar’s autobiography, the perks of being a wallflower, and Bond is back!!

Prior to the release of the twenty-third James Bond film SKYFALL last November, it had been four years since the world had a Bond film…four long years!

The delay was caused by the financial troubles of MGM, but now that they have survived, Bond is back and Daniel Craig has never been better as 007.

Academy Award winning director Sam Mendes – who also gave us AMERICAN BEAUTY – is in charge this time around and he has managed to create an action adventure film that is firmly rooted in the present, Bond no longer seems like an older version of Jason Bourne, plus SKYFALL also features some spectacular references from the franchise’s past, and it also sets things up for a very entertaining future.

The story here surrounds the fact that Bond’s loyalty to M is tested when the past comes back to haunt her and everyone at MI6. As always though, it is up to Bond to save the world, no matter what it takes.

As he did when he won the Oscar for NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, Javier Bardem gives an amazing performance in SKYFALL as the villain Silva, in fact all of the actors here give great performances, and the credit for that goes to Mendes…he is a great director and he made these actor and the film great.

Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Ralph Fiennes, Albert Finney, they are all at the top of their game here!!

Now, let’s be clear, this is a James Bond movie…so things explode for no real reason during implausible action sequences, and there are some plot holes you can drive a truck through…but this is a James Bond movie, and they’ve been making them this way for over fifty years now, so we all know what to expect.

Don’t overanalyze it, just enjoy it…and you will enjoy it!! SKYFALL was my favourite film of 2012 and I – obviously – highly recommend it.

THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER was produced on a much smaller level than a Bond film, and it is for that reason alone that I am quite sure many people will gravitate toward it – as they have toward the book of the same name by Stephen Chbosky.

However, as much as I liked it – and I did like it – I just didn’t care for some of it…in fact one of the characters – who many will describe as a “scene stealer” – was just way too over the top for me with his perfectly scripted dialogue.

THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER is about a shy, lonely high school freshman who becomes friends with a girl and her step brother. They are seniors and they decide to help him make friends…and in the process the freshman fall in love with the girl, who is played by Emma Watson of the HARRY POTTER films.

Emma is very good in the film, and the young actor – Logan Lerman – playing the freshman is good too. The two of them and the step brother are great friends, and they have each other’s back during the trying times that High School can bring. I really enjoyed that aspect of it.

But whenever the step brother has one of his far too often too over the top moments, it took away from the story for me.

But, flaws aside, I do still recommend THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER. It is a very likeable movie with a great young cast.

Prior to the announcement of this year’s Academy Award nominations, just about every Oscar prognosticator – including me – thought that John Hawkes would be nominated for his performance as a man in an iron lung who wishes to lose his virginity in the film THE SESSIONS.

However, once the nominations came out Hawkes – from the TV series DEADWOOD and the film WINTER’S BONE – was not nominated, instead, his co-star Helen Hunt was nominated as Best Supporting actress.

And while she does a very good job playing the professional who helps him fulfill his wish, his performance is the more impressive one.

THE SESSIONS is a touching film that is also interesting, informative and even funny at times.

Unfortunately, there is also some stuff about it that doesn’t work. Both John Hawkes and Helen Hunt’s Boston accents come and go at times, there is one HUGE cinematic cliché that takes place simply to move the story along – when everything else seems almost real – and I didn’t care for the ending at all.

Not at all!!! But – that said – I will still mildly recommend THE SESSIONS as I enjoyed it far more often than I didn’t.

And finally this week, a film whose title says it all. This is A LIAR’S AUTOBIOGRAPHY: THE UNTRUE STORY OF MONTY PYTHON’S GRAHAM CHAPMAN

This is a very odd film, not unlike Graham Chapman himself. In the Monty Python troupe, he always seemed like he was brilliantly out of step from the other five…and all but one of those surviving five lend their voices to this interesting animated film that is narrated by Chapman himself, with the audio coming from a reading of his autobiography done shortly before he died of cancer.

Plus, Python’s Michael Palin voices Chapman’s father and Terry Jones voices his mother.

A LIAR’S AUTOBIOGRAPHY: THE UNTRUE STORY OF MONTY PYTHON’S GRAHAM CHAPMAN is very funny and always engaging and even fascinating as it allows us to get to know this comedic genius who died far too young.

Not everyone will appreciate it’s very dry humour and the different styles of animation used, but I do recommend it…especially the bonus materials, which allow us to get to know Mr. Chapman better – at times – than even his autobiography does.

The interesting and odd A LIAR’S AUTOBIOGRAPHY: THE UNTRUE STORY OF MONTY PYTHON’S GRAHAM CHAPMAN, the Academy Award nominated informative drama THE SESSIONS, the likeable but sometimes too over the top drama THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER, and the spectacular James Bond film SKYFALL are all available now, either on disc or on demand.

Coming up inside the next Couch Potato Report

ANNA KARENINA, SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS, THE BULLY PROJECT, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: BLOOD & CHROME, and Ben Affleck’s soon to be Academy Award winning Drama ARGO – about the American hostages who got out of Iran in 1979 with some help from the Canadian government.

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!