The Couch Potato Report

If you need a movie to watch before the Oscars…maybe you’ll find a good one here!!

The Couch Potato Report – February 23rd, 2013

Inside this week’s Couch Potato Report is the movie that will win Best Picture at the Oscars Sunday night and a game of thrones.

On Sunday night, the 85th Annual Academy Awards will be given out in Los Angeles and after all the other Awards have been handed out, one Hollywood icon or another will be introduced and they will give out the final Oscar…the most important one…the one for Best Picture of 2012.

AMOUR, BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD, DJANGO UNCHAINED, LES MISERABLES, LIFE OF PI, LINCOLN, SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK and ZERO DARK THIRTY are the other films that will be mentioned, but the winner will be Ben Affleck’s ARGO…not necessarily because it is better than the others, although it is very good, but because Affleck wasn’t nominated as Best Director.

That fact alone has seemingly carried his film to victory at the Golden Globes, the Screen Actors Guild and almost every other ceremony this Awards season.

Now, had Ben been nominated as Best Director, his movie would have lost to Steven Spielberg’s LINCOLN, but since he wasn’t, Spielberg gets the Director’s Oscar, and Affleck’s ARGO wins Best Picture, which is fine with me because it is a great film.

Based on the true story, ARGO tells the story of the joint CIA-Canadian secret operation to extract six fugitive American diplomatic personnel out of revolutionary Iran in 1980.

Ben Affleck – who also gave us THE TOWN and GONE BABY GONE – directs and stars as the CIA exfiltration specialist tasked with getting the Americans home. Bryan Cranston from BREAKING BAD plays his supervisor, a man who – along with his boss – knows that the rescue attempt may fail, and fail badly.

AGRO is a fantastic film that is full of tension and real drama as the race against time to get these people free goes down to the wire.

I really enjoyed it, and highly recommend the movie AND the wealth of Bonus Materials, which include interviews with the real people who planned and carried out the rescue, including the real CIA agent and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter.

Don’t miss ARGO, and also…don’t be surprised when it wins the Oscar for Best Picture on Sunday night.

Another film you absolutely should not miss is the documentary BULLY that shows us the results of peer-to-peer bullying in schools. Specifically, it introduces us to five students who face bullying on a daily basis.

BULLY is tragic, for many reasons, especially when we meet the parents of kids who could no longer live with being bullied anymore.

BULLY is heartbreakingly sad at times, but it is also uplifting and inspiring as some kids refuse to back down.

BULLY is one of those movies that everyone should see, parents, kids, teachers, students, educators…everyone should see this movie.

Anna Karenina is a classic piece of literature from the Russian writer Leo Tolstoy that was published in serial installments from 1873 to 1877.

It has been adapted for film over a dozen times throughout the years, starting in 1914 and continuing last year with a British version directed by Joe Wright – who also gave us the latest version of PRIDE & PREJUDICE in 2005 – and this latest comes from a screenplay by Tony and Oscar winner Tom Stoppard.

Costume drama queen and Academy Award nominee Keira Knightley – from THE PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN films – stars here as the aristocrat Anna Karenina who has an affair with a younger man, leaving behind her older Russian statesman husband.

Academy Award nominee Jude Law from the SHERLOCK HOLMES films plays the husband, and in this latest retelling of ANNA KARENINA, he is actually a decent, sympathetic guy.

ANNA KARENINA is a classic piece of literature, and there have been some great film versions of it over the years, but this latest one is not one of them.

I never really understood why she wanted to have an affair, her husband seemed like a good enough guy, AND the guy she takes up with is nothing special at all. Aaron Taylor-Johnson – of the film SAVAGES – plays the young count and his performance is stiff and uninteresting. He isn’t appealing in any way and I kept thinking, this guy? She is willing to throw it all away for this guy?!?

This newest version of ANNA KARENINA has received four Academy Award nominations – for Best Cinematography, Costume Design, Best Original Score and Production Design – and so it is a well-made and beautiful looking film, but I didn’t care for it at all. The changes to the text don’t suit the story well, it was boring far too often, and at almost two hours and ten minutes long I just couldn’t wait for it to end.

Now, if you want to see a film version of ANNA KARENINA that is worth your time, look for the 1935 version starring Greta Garbo and Fredric March. Now that one is a classic.

This newest one is not…and I recommend that you just skip it.

Here now is something worthy of your time, although it too is a bit boring in the middle…but it finishes strong.

ROBOT & FRANK is a comedic crime drama set in the not-too-distant future about an aging and forgetful former thief who is given a robot by his son, to help take care of him and clean the house.

But Frank discovers the robot has other uses as well, and soon the two are working together planning heists.

Stage and screen character actor Frank Langella – who received an Academy Award nomination in 2008 for playing Richard Nixon in FROST/NIXON stars as the human here and his work in ROBOT & FRANK hits all the right notes. What he remembers, what he has forgotten, we are never quite sure until the end.

It is a bit slow…but ROBOT & FRANK was always interesting and I liked it. It’s not a classic, and I probably won’t ever watch it again, but I liked it and recommend that you see it once too.

I also probably won’t watch BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: BLOOD & CHROME again, but I completely enjoyed watching this made-in-Vancouver release as it allowed me to immerse myself in the BATTLESTAR GALACTICA universe once again!!

Battlestar Galactica was an American military science fiction television series that aired from 2004 to 2009 and was a re-imagining of the 1978 series of the same name. Since it went off the air there have been several attempts to launch a prequel series – most notably with a show called CAPRICA – with not much luck.

BLOOD & CHROME was also intended to kick start a new series, but it too won’t succeed at that mission and it is now being released as a stand-alone film.

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: BLOOD & CHROME is about the first mission of young William Adama in the First Cylon War and it does have a few surprises & a couple of unique scenes, just not enough of them for me to recommend it.

However, even though I didn’t love BLOOD & CHROME I did enjoy watching BATTLESTAR GALACTICA again…so here’s hoping they find a way to do a new series that works, and lives up to the original, one day. I’d love to see it!!

Finally this week, adventure…drama…fantasy…beautiful women and men…action…dragons!! All of that and much, much more can be found in THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON of the series GAME OF THRONES.

This is a show has great twists, offers up plenty of surprises, and features tremendous acting from a great cast of strong men and women. SEASON ONE of this show was great…SEASON TWO is even better!!

GAME OF THRONES is primarily about what happens surrounding a civil war in a sprawling fantasy kingdom, but it’s also about family, honour, loyalty and friends.

Plus, there is plenty of good – old fashioned – battles, sword fights and love making to entertain you.

GAME OF THRONES is a great show!! I really enjoyed watching it, and can recommend THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON, and the first season as well, to all!!

THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON of the spectacular series GAME OF THRONES, the not great but not awful BATTLESTAR GALACTICA prequel BLOOD & CHROME, the likeable ROBOT & FRANK, the very boring latest cinematic version of Tolstoy’s ANNA KARENINA, the must see documentary BULLY and director Ben Affleck’s movie that will win Best Picture at the Oscars Sunday night – ARGO – are all available now, either on disc or on demand.

Coming up inside the next Couch Potato Report

The made-in-Quebec City drama ALL THAT YOU POSSESS, THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON of the made-in-Halifax CBC show MR. D, SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS, and we’ll celebrate the 25th ANNIVERSARY of one of the greatest action films ever made – DIE HARD.

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 the Academy Awards!! I’ll see you back here again next time on The Couch!