The Couch Potato Report – March 2nd, 2013
Inside this week’s Couch Potato Report is all that you possess and I’ll recommend you skip the new DIE HARD blu-ray collection.
Up first this week is a made-in-Quebec City drama about legacy and alienation that I felt could have been twice as long as it was. Even though ALL THAT YOU POSSESS is not a happy film, it had my attention from start to finish as we meet a disillusioned professor and Ph.D. candidate at a Quebec City university named Pierre who decides to walk away from his life’s work to translate the works of an obscure Polish poet into French.
He just wants to be alone, and be left alone as he lives his detached life, but two people are preventing that. Pierre’s Father, who announces that he has terminal cancer and his plan is to leave his estate – valued in the tens of millions – to his only son, even if the son doesn’t want it as he feels the money wasn’t earned honestly.
The other person who gets in the way of Pierre’s new life is the teenage daughter he didn’t know he had.
In the past, I have labelled more exciting than ALL THAT YOU POSSESS as boring…but somehow this film and its many, many layers really worked for me and I wish it had been longer so I could have get to know the characters in it even more.
Not everyone will appreciate it as it is a calm, mature film, but I think it is deserving of your time, so I recommend that you search out ALL THAT YOU POSSESS.
I truly hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
I also enjoyed this next release, the Academy Award nominated documentary 5 BROKEN CAMERAS…even though it is one of those films that seems to go on forever. Its running time is actually only 94 minutes, but it seems much longer.
That said, it is still very good.
5 BROKEN CAMERAS is a Palestinian farmer’s chronicle of his nonviolent resistance to the actions of the Israeli army.
Each of the cameras has a story, for instance the farmer bought his first camera in 2005 to record the birth of his youngest son. By 2009 and camera five, you see the evolution of his family after five years of turmoil and fighting to keep the farmland they have owned for centuries.
5 BROKEN CAMERAS features daily arrests, violent attacks, bulldozers knocking down olive trees, the loss of life and night raids in the village that scare the farmer’s kids and wife, his friends, and family and one camera after another used to document these events is either shot or smashed.
5 BROKEN CAMERAS is an honest and graphic movie that allows us to be the witness to what’s going on in this West Bank village, but because it is so honest, and shows some of the scenes of violence – using long, unedited footage – that causes it to seem longer than it really is.
I still enjoyed it though, and I do recommend it.
A guilty pleasure is something someone enjoys despite feeling guilty for enjoying it. The “guilt” involved typically comes from a fear of others discovering the secret. As I’ve said before on The Couch Potato Report, when it comes to movies and television shows, we all have guilty pleasures.
Some friends of mine love a CBC show called MR. D, for example. They just love it!!
Filmed in Halifax, MR. D. is a sitcom starring comedian Gerry Dee. He plays a strange slash misunderstood schoolteacher named Gerry Duncan, who invites everyone to call him Mr. D and isn’t always the most clued in guy in the room.
Gerry Dee based the comedy in MR. D on his ten years spent as a high-school teacher, before he left to become a stand-up comic in 2003. The stuff surrounding him mostly all works in the show’s first twelve episodes.
But when the show goes away from him during THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON, to tell stories about the other people who work in the school, that is when it fails…and occasionally fails miserably. There are characters in MR. D. that just don’t offer anything at all…aren’t funny, aren’t interesting, and aren’t going to take up any more of my time in this review…except for this clip.
If THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON of MR. D is one of your guilty pleasures, I hope that you continue to enjoy it.
As for me, I liked some of it…but not enough of it to recommend.
Now, one person’s guilty pleasure is another person’s unfunny sitcom…but we all have something we like that we’re a bit ashamed to admit…for instance, maybe you enjoy a television series called THE CLIENT LIST, about a woman who takes a job working in a day spa to keep her family afloat after her husband abandons her and their children, leaving her in financial debt.
Maybe you enjoy the series, because it is fun and funny at times, has an interesting dramatic arch, and stars the always beautiful Jennifer Love Hewitt as the wife who soon discovers that the spa gives much more than massages.
And if this one is yours, then good for you!! You have a guilty pleasure of your own!
The series THE CLIENT LIST is based on the 2010 film of the same name, but the lead character and premise are a bit different. What hasn’t changed during the ten episodes in THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON is the fact that the show is full of beautiful people – women and men – and while it doesn’t feature the best dramatic acting you’ll see on television today, the actors and the creators of it seem to know that they aren’t re-inventing WAR & PEACE with this show.
THE CLIENT LIST is the textbook example of a guilty pleasure…and I – for one – really enjoyed it!!
Television shows of varying quality are not the only things that can be guilty pleasures…surfing movies are also eligible!!
So if that is yours, don’t miss the surfing flick CHASING MAVERICKS.
This sporting drama was directed by two exceptional filmmakers – Michael Apted and Curtis Hanson, who have given us films such Academy Award winning films as LA CONFIDENTIAL, 8 MILE and COAL MINER’S DAUGHTER.
CHASING MAVERICKS is based on the real life of a young man named Jay Moriarity and is about his quest to surf the big Mavericks waves in Northern California.
It is also about his surrogate father figure, a local surfing legend who takes Jay under his wing in order to train him to survive it.
I’d never heard of Jay Moriarity prior to watching CHASING MAVERICKS, but I love movies about surfing, so I dove right in.
The film works for me, because the surfing scenes are tremendous and exceptionally well done. But when the movie is on land, it is mediocre at best.
I never disliked CHASING MAVERICKS, and I do now want to read and see more about Jay Moriarity, but this is not a great movie, with the exception of the surfing stuff.
Its okay, but never great…even for a guilty pleasure.
Okay, let me quickly run through these three releases now, none of them awful, just none of them good enough to spend much time on…either reviewing or watching.
The first one is THE PLAYERS and if you’ve ever wondered what French actor Jean Dujardin has been up to since winning the Oscar for THE ARTIST last year, this is it.
THE PLAYERS is a very entertaining series of short films set around the theme of infidelity and I really, really enjoyed almost all of it…except for the ending.
This is a fun, adult look at life, men who can’t stay faithful, and men who would like to be unfaithful…but the movie, like most relationships that include infidelity, doesn’t end well.
That said, I still enjoyed THE PLAYERS enough to recommend it
I will also recommend the crime comedy SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS, about – wait for it – seven…psychopaths… but you absolutely must know going in that actor Sam Rockwell is 100% annoying here.
The film itself is mostly clever, but he is just so over-the-top that it gets hard to take after a while.
SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS stars Colin Farrell as a struggling screenwriter who has a great idea for a film – wait for it – about seven…psychopaths – and as he works on that with his friend, played by Sam Rockwell, he becomes part of a dog kidnapping scam involving a gangster’s beloved Shih Tzu.
SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS has some great action scenes, is also very funny, features some great dialogue, and is clever at times, but it suffers from the presence of Sam Rockwell.
He is too annoying and since he’s in most of the film, that works against it. I never disliked the movie, but I can’t recommend it either.
Better than average. SINISTER is a better than average horror thriller.
SINISTER stars Ethan Hawke from REALITY BITES as a true-crime writer who finds a box of home movies in the attic of his new house, a house where a horrific series of murders took place.
The films seem to be the work of a serial killer whose career dates back to the 1960s.
SINISTER has some huge jumps, which is good for a horror film, and is better than average, but it is ten minutes too long. Had it ended ten minutes earlier, then I would easily recommend it.
As it is, ten minutes too long, I can only mildly recommend it.
Finally this week is the DIE HARD: 25th ANNIVERSARY BLU-RAY COLLECTION, a five-disc set that features one of the greatest action films ever made, it’s very good first sequel and two pretty good second and third follow-ups. It also comes with a Bonus Disc that takes us behind the scenes on all four films, through interviews with almost everyone who appeared in or helped create the four films…such as director John McTiernan and producer Joel Silver.
The original 1988 DIE HARD film that introduced us to Bruce Willis playing John McClane of the NYPD is a classic! As McClane struggled to save his wife, and others, who have been taken hostage by German terrorist Hans Gruber during a Christmas party at the Nakatomi Plaza in Los Angeles, a new type of action hero was born!!
1990’s DIE HARD 2 remains a very good sequel as McClane attempts to avert disaster as rogue military officials seize control of Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C.
1993’s DIE HARD WITH A VENGEANCE, co-starring Samuel L. Jackson, played too much like a LETHAL WEAPON film for many people, but as McClane works to defeat Hans Gruber’s brother,’s plot to raid the biggest gold storage in the world, there are a few scenes worthy of the DIE HARD name.
Then we get to 2007’s LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD, and the reason to skip this new blu-ray set. It’s not necessarily a bad movie, as I said it is a pretty-good follow-up, but the first three were all R rated action films for adults, full of violence and plenty of well-placed profanity, like at the end of the words Yippe-Kay-Yay.
The fourth movie was a PG-13 film, done as an attempt to allow more teenagers to see it…and thus make more money at the box office. That was fine, for theatrical reasons…but in the home video world, especially on blu-ray, the norm these days is to include both the theatrical version and an unrated version.
However, in the DIE HARD: 25th ANNIVERSARY BLU-RAY COLLECTION, the studio hasn’t done that. This is the second time these films have been released in a blu-ray collection and they still haven’t done that. The only way to see the unrated LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD is on DVD…not in High Definition, but on DVD.
To that I say BOOO!!!!
For those who love these movies…let me suggest patience. With the recent release of the fifth and probably final film in the series – the really awful A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD – there will be at least one more DIE HARD collection available to own one day that has all of the movies…and maybe that one will even the unrated version of LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD.
And that, my friends, that will be a collection of movies I highly recommend!! This DIE HARD: 25th ANNIVERSARY BLU-RAY COLLECTION…not so much.
The disappointing DIE HARD: 25th ANNIVERSARY BLU-RAY COLLECTION, the better-than-average horror film SINISTER, the should have been better crime comedy SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS, the entertaining French comedy THE PLAYERS, the okay surfing biopic CHASING MAVERICKS, THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON of the guilty pleasure THE CLIENT LIST, THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON of the CBC show MR. D, the very good Oscar nominated documentary 5 BROKEN CAMERAS, and the interesting Quebec City drama ALL THAT YOU POSSESS are all available now, either on disc or on demand.
Coming up inside the next Couch Potato Report
The made-in-Montreal crime thriller DEADFALL, the partially filmed in Vancouver sequel THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN – PART 2, the Academy Award nominated films THE MASTER, HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE and WRECK-IT RALPH and Steven Spielberg’s Oscar winning masterpiece SCHINDLER’S LIST debuts on blu-ray.
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!