The Couch Potato Report – May 18th, 2013
We’re up in the clouds inside this week’s Couch Potato Report, for a pair of films that take risks. They both fail, but A for effort!
We live in a day and age when the major motion picture studios don’t usually bankroll anything new or unique, which is why we tend to get movies based on comic book superheroes and sequels and sequels and sequels to films starring characters we already know and have spent money to see.
That is why I was excited when I heard that the filmmakers who had made the very original films THE MATRIX and RUN LOLA RUN were working together on a project.
Even if it was horrible, I thought, it would be interesting to watch. And it is…CLOUD ATLAS is horrible, and it is interesting to watch!!
CLOUD ATLAS is a dramatic science fiction film thriller comedy written, produced and directed by Lana and Andy Wachowski – who gave us THE MATRIX TRILOGY – and Tom Tykwer – the man behind RUN LOLA RUN.
CLOUD ATLAS was adapted from the 2004 novel of the same name by David Mitchell and it features multiple plotlines set across six different eras with Tom Hanks, Halle Berry Susan Sarandon, Hugh Grant and others all playing multiple roles.
CLOUD ATLAS is about how the actions of individual lives impact one another in the past, present and future, and I was never bored once during it’s almost three hour running time…but I also didn’t really care.
But because there are six stories, with so much going on in each one, it is hard to get invested in any of them…and almost every time the actors appeared in a new role with new hair, make-up and prosthetics, it took me out of the film. I get that they did that to show the connection between space and time…but it doesn’t always work.
But all of that is why CLOUD ATLAS is a fantastic failure…because they tried something different, in a day and age when we almost never get that. I completely respect the film, but unless you’ve read the book, I do not recommend it – my friend Charlie says that it is great if you’ve read the book – but my stance is that we shouldn’t have to read a book to understand a movie, and that is why I recommend you skip it.
It is a fantastic failure…but a failure nonetheless.
Another failure is A GLIMPSE INSIDE THE MIND OF CHARLES SWAN III, starring Charlie Sheen as a successful graphic designer whose selfish life of luxury falls apart when his girlfriend breaks up with him.
A GLIMPSE INSIDE THE MIND OF CHARLES SWAN III was written and directed by Roman Coppola – who received an Oscar nomination this year for co-writing MOONRISE KINGDOM with Wes Anderson. The guy can write and the most interesting thing about this film is the words that Charlie Sheen and co-stars Jason Schwartzman and Bill Murray say. What their characters do – how they behave and act – that is what makes the movie not worthy of your time.
A GLIMPSE INSIDE THE MIND OF CHARLES SWAN III has style, a tremendous cast, and it tries to be something different, and I will give it an A for effort for trying, but you won’t care for the majority of the characters in the movie, and even though it is only 86 minutes long, it seems much, much longer.
You should skip this one too.
I have a trio of new releases to tell you about right now, and all of them are interesting, yet none of them are must sees.
The documentary ONE DAY ON EARTH actually takes us to the seas, and it also has sections on music, love, marriage, animals, farming, garbage and more.
On October 10, 2010 – 10-10-10 – people from around the planet recorded and filmed what they were doing that day, in the 24-hour period, and over 3000 hours of footage was submitted to onedayonearth.org.
That was then edited down to a one hour and forty-four minute film.
There is so much to see and witness in ONE DAY ON EARTH, and some of it is incredible, footage you’ve never seen before, and may never see again.
But because there is so much of it to get in, the majority of what we are shown feels rushed. We never get to really take in what is going on for too long, because soon enough it is off to something else.
ONE DAY ON EARTH is exceptionally interesting, and visually stunning, but I was only compelled to watch it all the way to the end so I could review it. After a while I just wasn’t engaged anymore and even started to get bored a bit.
But I never disliked it, so…let’s call that a mild recommendation.
I was bored during parts of the Cuban film SEVEN DAYS IN HAVANA…really bored!
This is a Spanish language anthology film that all takes place during a week in the Cuban capital.
There is one film for each day, and each segment is directed by a different filmmaker.
SEVEN DAYS IN HAVANA does have a couple of stories that are interesting, but for the most part there is nothing here that you must see.
Havana looks beautiful in the film, but you have better things to do than spend seven days there.
Skip this one…it just isn’t worth your time this long weekend.
Now this, this next release is worthy of your time!!
With the eighth and final season of the show set to begin, THE SEVENTH SEASON of DEXTER has been released on DVD and blu-ray.
DEXTER is a multiple award winning show about Dexter Morgan – played by Emmy winner Michael C. Hall of SIX FEET UNDER. He is a bloodstain pattern analyst who uses forensic science to help the Miami Metro Police Department catch criminals.
Oh, and he also moonlights as a serial killer.
In THE SEVENTH SEASON of DEXTER our anti-hero has to find a way to keep his sister from turning him in as SEASON SIX ended with her catching him in action.
She now knows he is a killer.
DEXTER is a smart police procedural drama, that is exceptionally well written and if you have never seen it, you should.
This is an amazing show, and even though THE SEVENTH SEASON isn’t the series’ best, it is still better than most of the shows on television today.
I remain excited for SEASON EIGHT and can’t wait to see how it all ends!
Finally this week is an Academy Award winner from 1968. Barbra Streisand stars as Fanny Brice in FUNNY GIRL, which is now available on blu-ray.
Barbra Streisand has been a star for so long, it can be difficult sometimes to remember that she became a star because she can act and in FUNNY GIRL she acts, she dances and she sings…some classic songs such as “People”.
The real Fanny Brice was a very popular and influential comedian and singer who appeared on stage and screen. In FUNNY GIRL Streisand brings her to life, and Omar Sharif is the love of her life.
The blu-ray for FUNNY GIRL doesn’t offer much in the way of extras, but the film – and its stars – all look and sound amazing in HD!!
If you’ve never seen this one…don’t miss it! Streisand tied with the legendary Katharine Hepburn to win Best Actress for her performance here. It was deserving of that honour then, and your time now.
The Academy Award winning 1968 film FUNNY GIRL, the good but never great SEVENTH SEASON of DEXTER, the uneven anthology SEVEN DAYS IN HAVANA, the interesting but not engaging documentary ONE DAY ON EARTH, the odd and not very good A GLIMPSE INSIDE THE MIND OF CHARLES SWAN III and the fantastic failure that is CLOUD ATLAS are all available now, either on disc or on demand.
Coming up inside the next Couch Potato Report
Jason Statham and Jennifer Lopez star in the action film PARKER, Al Pacino, Christopher Walken and Alan Arkin are STAND UP GUYS, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s first post political work is the crime thriller THE LAST STAND, and STORIES WE TELL is Canadian director Sara Polley’s fascinating documentary look at her own family, warts and all.
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!