The Couch Potato Report

Movies, movies, movies!!!

The Couch Potato Report – August 17th, 2013

There are two very artistic films inside this week’s Couch Potato Report, it is definitely a week of style over substance.

An Art House Film is one that is typically serious film, usually aimed at a smaller, niche market. They aren’t usually produced courting mass appeal. Occasionally art films cross over and become hits, but at beast the usually become cult classics.


Neither did director Terrence Mallick’s recent Art House Film TO THE WONDER.

Terrence Mallick is the textbook definition of an Art House Filmmaker. He received an Academy Award for Best Director for both THE THIN RED LINE and THE TREE OF LIFE, but neither were huge hits at the box office, and most movie fans would be hard pressed to tell you anything about them.

In a few years that will be true with TO THE WONDER as well…even though it stars Oscar winners Ben Affleck from ARGO and JAVIER BARDEM of SKYFALL and NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, along with London, Ontario born actress Rachel McAdams from MIDNIGHT IN PARIS and THE NOTEBOOK.

The characters in TO THE WONDER don’t really talk to each other, they mostly just whisper what is happening – or has happened – to the audience.

TO THE WONDER is a beautiful looking Art House Film, Terrence Mallick definitely knows how to make a movie look good, but it isn’t for everyone, it’s an Art House Film.

I have no regrets that I’ve seen it, I wanted to see it and it wasn’t a waste of my time, but I’ll never watch it again. It truly is a movie that offers style over substance

There is also a lot more style than substance in ON THE ROAD, and even though it is very interesting at times, ultimately I just didn’t care.

ON THE ROAD is a partially filmed in Quebec adaptation of the 1957 novel of the same name by Jack Kerouac and it received some coverage upon its release because it co-stars Kristen Stewart from THE TWILIGHT SAGA.

Personally, I was more excited about the fact that it co-starred Elizabeth Moss, Peggy from MAD MEN.

The book “On The Road” is based on the travels of Kerouac and his friends across America.

The movie is about a young writer who becomes friends with a free spirited guy and his girl, Marylou.

As they travel across the country, they meet a mix of people who change their journey in one way or another, some in good ways, some in bad.

But I didn’t care. The movie is smart and I was interested in what happened and how close it was to the book, but I just didn’t care for the majority of the characters and that is ultimately why ON THE ROAD isn’t a movie I could recommend.

It too is a style over substance Art House Film…one of the ones that movie fans will soon be hard pressed to tell you anything about.

Another film that has more style than substance is the British crime drama WELCOME TO THE PUNCH.

In this one a former well-known criminal is forced to return to London when his son is involved in a heist gone wrong.

That return gives the police officer the criminal once shot another chance to catch him.

WELCOME TO THE PUNCH has a great cast of easily recognizable British actors, it looks great and is above average as far as these types of films are concerned, which is why I can mildly recommend it, but it is never great.

It is just the third movie this week that offers too much style, and not enough substance.

Many people – including myself – still enjoy watching their favourite television shows each week when new episodes air. And we want to own them to add to our collection as soon as we can.

But there are also fans who are patient enough to wait so they can watch a whole season of their favourite shows when they come out at the end of each season on disc.

COMMUNITY is a show that I could never wait for. I need to see new episodes of this show as soon as they air!!

I also thoroughly enjoy re-watching them on disc.

COMMUNITY. It is also smart, hip, funny, always fresh and full of characters that I always enjoy hanging out with!!

COMMUNITY is sitcom about a group of people who met when they joined a study group at Community College in Colorado who have become a family over the course of the four seasons that the show has been on the air, and in THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON, they continue to have their ups and downs…and the show did too.

After the third season, the show’s creator – Dan Harmon – was fired from his own show and in year four you could tell that someone else was calling the shots because it just wasn’t as good, or as funny.

Okay, some of it was still funny, but SEASON FOUR of COMMUNITY isn’t the series’ best, but it is still fun and still has an amazing ensemble cast.

If you are looking for some laughs, you will definitely find some in THE COMPLETE THIRD – and FIRST and SECOND seasons of COMMUNITY…and, who am I kidding, you’ll also find some in THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON of COMMUNITY as well.

Just not as many.

I also didn’t find as many laughs in THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON of the show GIRLS either, which I merely attribute to the sophomore slump as creator, writer, director and star Lena Dunham is still gainfully employed as the main character in this show about the comedic and heartbreaking experiences of a group of girls in their early twenties.

As I am not a girl, I can’t fully relate to everything the characters in this show are going through, but I too was once a person struggling in my early twenties – believe it or not – so I can appreciate most of it,

I just didn’t always care.

I didn’t – and don’t – like some of the characters in the show, and since its asking me to invest in them and care if they succeed or fail, that is when I find it difficult.

GIRLS suffered a creative lull during its SECOND SEASON, as some shows do, but not enough of one to scare fans away…so fans, grab this one as you will love it!!

Non-fans…let’s see how SEASON THREE turns out before I recommend the whole series to you, or not.

I’ll always recommend this next show. Always, because the eighties show FAMILY TIES remains one of my favourites!!

FAMILY TIES came to an end after seven seasons due to Michael J. Fox’s burgeoning film career…and I am happy to now own, and tell you about, THE SEVENTH SEASON on DVD.

THE SEVENTH AND FINAL SEASON offers us a grown, maturing Keaton Family and sees Alex get a high playing job on Wall Street. As the show ends, he is moving to New York.

If you remember FAMILY TIES fondly, then this set for THE SEVENTH SEASON is a must own…and if you’ve never seen it, check it out!! It is very much rooted in the years 1988 and 89 when it was made, but I still love this show!!

It is one of my all-time favourites and I will always love spending time with the Keaton Family.

Finally this week…it was back in 1979 when Jim Henson’s lovable creations made their big screen debut it THE MUPPET MOVIE, and now – almost 35 years later – we get THE MUPPET MOVIE – THE NEARLY 35th ANNIVERSARY EDITION released on blu-ray.

THE MUPPET MOVIE is all about Kermit and his new found friends as they trek across North America to find success in Hollywood, against some seemingly insurmountable odds.

This NEARLY 35th ANNIVERSARY EDITION of THE MUPPET MOVIE includes some great old Special Features, but doesn’t offer a retrospective or any new documentaries, and that is too bad as the movie – especially the scenes where Kermit is riding a bicycle – wasn’t easy to make.

But it does offer the film, and the print – while it isn’t pristine – is very good and the movie itself is still great!!

THE NEARLY 35th ANNIVERSARY EDITION of THE MUPPET MOVIE is available now on blu-ray and I highly recommend it. Pick it up and have some fun, with the whole family!!

THE NEARLY 35th ANNIVERSARY EDITION of THE MUPPET MOVIE, which is still fun and entertaining; THE SEVENTH AND FINAL SEASON of the great eighties show FAMILY TIES; the overly dramatic and less funny COMPLETE SECOND SEASON of GIRLS; the not as good as the first three FOURTH SEASON of COMMUNITY; the just average crime thriller WELCOME TO THE PUNCH; the never great adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s 1957 novel ON THE ROAD; and director Terrence Malick’s visually stunning – but little else – romantic drama TO THE WONDER co-starring London, Ontario born actress Rachel McAdams are all available now, either on disc or on demand.

Coming up inside the next Couch Potato Report

The Academy Award winning Foreign Film AMOUR; SCARY MOVIE V; the second season of REVENGE; the third season of BOARDWALK EMPIRE; plus the interesting small film WHAT MAISIE KNEW.

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!