The Couch Potato Report – March 9th, 2013
Inside this week’s Couch Potato Report Oscar nominees and winners, plus some really good movies!!
It is a very busy week for new releases, so let me get right to them, starting the partially made in Sault Ste. Marie drama COLLABORATOR about a once successful playwright, whose marriage and career are falling apart when we first meet him, but are soon looking up as an old love re-enters his life.
But then, as the playwright is heading out one night to meet his old flame, he’s taken hostage by his former neighbour, a mentally unstable ex-con who, we find out, has always been envious of the playwright’s success, and now everything – professionally and personally – for both men – including their lives, is in jeopardy.
COLLABORATOR was written, directed and co-stars character actor Martin Donovan – from the television series WEEDS and BOSS – and it features great performances from him and David Morse of the movies CONTACT and THE GREEN MILE.
As the playwright collaborates on new ideas with the man holding him hostage, humouring him while trying to find a way to get free, the result is a very compelling film. It is a bit slow…but that made me view it almost like a play, watching two great actors squaring off against one another.
COLLABORATOR isn’t the greatest movie I’ve seen this year, but it is very good.
THE INTOUCHABLES…now that is one of the best films I’ve seen this year!! This foreign film from France is about a very wealthy quadriplegic who hires a young ex-con man on welfare to be his caretaker because when they first met he didn’t treat him with pity or compassion, but as an equal.
As they bond and become friends, introducing each other to a wide array of new experiences, we the audience are the benefactors as they seem like real people…never movie characters, but real people.
THE INTOUCHABLES is interesting and fun and funny and dramatic and informative and I loved it!! This is a fantastic film that I easily recommend!!
Here’s one now for the whole family, and I also recommend it to everyone…young, old, everyone! WRECK-IT RALPH is a movie the whole family can watch and enjoy!!
WRECK-IT RALPH was nominated as Best Animated film at the recent Academy Awards and it features the voice of John C. Reilly from TALLADEGA NIGHTS as a villain in a video game who wants to be a hero, so he heads out into the other games in the arcade to find the one thing that he thinks will make that happen, and along the way he causes problems for everyone he meets…until he realizes that maybe who he is isn’t so bad after all.
WRECK-IT RALPH features a great voice cast, superb animation, an engaging story, and some great inside jokes for people who are fans of video games and the characters in them. I really enjoyed it and can’t wait to watch it again!! I highly recommend it!!
This next release this busy week received three Academy Award nominations this year – Best Actor for Joaquin Phoenix, Best Supporting Actor for Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Best Supporting Actress for Amy Adams.
They all star in a sometimes intense drama called THE MASTER.
Phoenix from WALK THE LINE is an unstable war veteran who returns home not really sure of what to do. He tries several jobs, but none of them seem to work out. Then one night he passes out on a boat and is introduced to a charismatic leader of a group – known as The Master and played by Hoffman. They become friends and the veteran helps spread the group’s word…known as “The Cause”.
Writer/Director Paul Thomas Anderson has also given us the films BOOGIE NIGHTS, MAGNOLIA PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE and THERE WILL BE BLOOD. He is a filmmaker who I have always thought was overrated. His films are always interesting, but I wouldn’t say that I am a fan of any of them.
THE MASTER features some great performances, and it is a well-made movie that I am able to appreciate, but there is no real reason to care about what happens. And since I didn’t really care, I can’t recommend it. However, if you have enjoyed his movies in the past, don’t miss it!
Four, count ‘em four!! I have four movies for you right now that were all made in Canada!!
The first one is a crime thriller made in and around Montreal called DEADFALL.
DEADFALL stars Eric Bana from the STAR TREK reboot and Olivia Wilde of COWBOYS & ALIENS as two siblings who are trying to survive apart after a botched casino heist.
He is wandering through the woods looking for shelter, and she has met a man and fallen in love…something that doesn’t sit well with her brother when they all finally meet up and crash a family’s Thanksgiving celebration.
DEADFALL is one of those movies – and there are hundreds of them every year – that isn’t awful, but it could have been much better. The premise is okay, it is a well-made movie, and the cast – that also includes Charlie Hunnam from SONS OF ANARCHY and icons Kris Kristofferson and Sissy Spacek – is great, but there is just nothing special about the movie.
So, should the cast appeal to you, check it out. If not, skip it.
The made in British Columbia drama FOREVERLAND is a little film that doesn’t feature a cast that you would recognize, and that actually works in its favour as none of the actors bring any baggage with them. Unfortunately, they don’t bring much weight with them either.
FOREVERLAND is your typical “bad things happen to good people so they go on a road trip” movie, where everything happens as you’d expect it to…but I still liked it.
A young man with cystic fibrosis is left the ashes of a friend and is tasked with taking them to Mexico, and the fallen friend’s sister goes along to ensure her brother’s last wish is granted…and wouldn’t you know, they fall in love along the way?!
FOREVERLAND is predictable, and cliché, and a dozen other things…but I still liked it. This is an okay little film that I will mildly recommend.
Also partially made in British Columbia…duh duh daaah…the final film with Edward, Jacob, Bella and the gang…duh duh daaaah…THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN – PART 2!!
This is the fifth and final TWILIGHT film, a film that was nominated for a total of eleven Golden Raspberry Awards, the awards presented each year to recognize the worst films of the year, and it ended up “winning” the award for Worst Picture…but I didn’t think it was the worst film of last year, because I never expect too much from these movies.
The acting is still, the CGI awful, but more importantly they’re not made for me. They’re made for fans of the books, and you, you fans of the book will love it!!
THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN – PART 2 picks up where PART 1 left off, and it is pretty good, but – to be honest – I expected nothing from this movie. My expectations were very, very, very low and it was better than I thought it would be.
It was still laugh out loud funny at how bad it was sometimes, but again, these TWILIGHT films aren’t made for me. They’re made for fans of the books, and you, you fans of the book will love it!!
The final of these four made-in-Canada flicks that are now available is the made-in-Toronto horror sequel SILENT HILL: REVELATION.
This mostly useless flick is the sequel to the 2006 film SILENT HILL and is based on the survival horror video game Silent Hill 3.
When her father disappears, teenager Heather Mason is drawn into a strange and terrifying alternate reality that holds answers to the horrific nightmares that have plagued her since childhood.
That alternate reality is the town of Silent Hill.
SILENT HILL: REVELATION has dozens of great horror film JUMPS, but it is ultimately nothing special and for horror fans only, and I mean people who like horror films and will watch anything.
Otherwise, skip it.
Another movie to skip is the remake of the 1984 film RED DAWN.
That original movie remains a great eighties period piece about a group of teenagers who fight together to defend their town, and their country, from invading Soviet forces.
This new one…is not so great.
The new version of RED DAWN does feature featuring Chris Hemsworth from THE AVENGERS and Josh Hutcherson of THE HUNGER GAMES, but – unfortunately – it also features bad CGI and voice dubbing and more plot holes than I care to get in to. This is an absolutely mindless action film, and the original is much, much better.
Now, all that said, should you find yourself in the mood to just watch a mindless action film featuring things that blow up real good, then this might make for an okay rental for you.
Otherwise, avoid RED DAWN…and the Wolverines!!
Finally this week, a film that is a modern day classic, Steven Spielberg’s 1993 Academy Award winning SCHINDLER’S LIST.
SCHINDLER’S LIST won seven Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director, and is the story of Oskar Schindler, a German businessman who saved the lives of more than a thousand mostly Polish-Jewish refugees during the Holocaust by employing them in his factories.
It stars Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes and Ben Kingsley and it is now available in HD on blu-ray and it looks amazing!!!
Unfortunately, there are no new Bonus Features, but the blu-ray does come with the original DVD version, so you do get all of the old Features.
But primarily you get Spielberg’s masterpiece, SCHINDLER’S LIST. A movie that remains heartbreaking to watch, but an important movie for every generation to see.
Steven Spielberg’s Academy Award winning classic SCHINDLER’S LIST; the okay rental remake of RED DAWN, the not awful horror film SILENT HILL: REVELATION; the for fans only sequel THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN – PART 2; the okay little B.C. made FOREVERLAND, the not great filmed in Montreal crime drama DEADFALL; the respectable but not great Oscar nominee THE MASTER; the fun family flick WRECK-IT RALPH; the fantastic French film THE INTOUCHIBLES and the very good partially made in Sault Ste. Marie drama COLLABORATOR are all available now, either on disc or on demand.
Coming up inside the next Couch Potato Report
Philip Seymour Hoffman and Christopher Walken star in a great little movie called A LATE QUARTET, Dave Grohl, Neil Young, Tom Petty, Rick Springfield, Paul McCartney and many others appear in the spectacular documentary SOUND CITY, and Ang Lee’s Academy Award winning LIFE OF PI, based on the novel by Canadian author Yann Martel.
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!