The Couch Potato Report – September 14th, 2013
Of the many movies and television shows shot in Canada, only a few of them are actually set in our home and native land. Most times our cities and towns fill in – beautifully – for cities and towns from around the world. I’ll never have a problem seeing a Canadian city on screen, but I always enjoy it just a little bit more when the city they are filming in is playing itself.
That wasn’t always the case with the made-in-Toronto television series FLASHPOINT. Initially, Toronto didn’t play itself. Initially the setting for the show was not identified it was merely a really big city. But as they moved through the first couple of seasons the setting became more significantly identifiable and in THE FIFTH AND FINAL SEASON it is unmistakable and that is just one of the reasons I enjoyed the show.
The Strategic Response Unit in FLASHPOINT is a handpicked team of elite cops who rescue hostages, bust gangs, defuse bombs and take care of all of the high risk situations that arise.
When they arrive on scene they’re in charge, and they usually always solve the crime and catch the criminals responsible.
THE FINAL SEASON of FLASHPOINT brings the series to a very satisfying conclusion with some strong episodes featuring great writing and acting. The two-part series finale is especially great.
FLASHPOINT was never one of my favourite shows, there were always better police procedural dramas on the air, but it was a Canadian one, set in Canada, and I always enjoyed it because of that. So let me recommend THE FINAL SEASON. It is so good it might even make you want to go back and see the other four, which I only mildly recommend.
I will highly recommend this next release, the spectacular space sequel STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS.
Some Trekkies and Trekkors had issues with J.J. Abrams second cinematic effort as they felt it had too much action and not enough dilemmas for the series. They also had a major problem with the fact that it borrows so much from the franchise’s legacy.
As a huge fan of the series myself, I can appreciate the complaints and gripes and understand the issues people had with STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS, but I loved this movie! I loved the action and adventure, I loved how derivative it was, I loved that it had nods to the past, present and future.
In the film, Captain Kirk leads the crew of the Enterprise into a war-zone to capture a one man weapon of mass destruction. He is played by the amazing Benedict Cumberbatch from the BBC’s SHERLOCK.
STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS isn’t perfect, this isn’t the greatest Trek movie ever made – but it borrows from the best – and I really enjoyed it.
I also really, really, really enjoyed SHARKNADO…one of the cheesiest, poorly made, stupidest films ever made.
I did, I really enjoyed it!!
Yes, this is a movie about sharks, in a tornado…a sharknado, and it is awful…but so much fun!!
A freak hurricane hits Los Angeles and thousands of sharks terrorize the city and surrounding areas as they are throw into the waterlogged area from the sky and attack everything they see on land, in water and even through the air.
SHARKNADO isn’t for everyone as it really isn’t a well-made or acted movie, the acting here is less that great, but at the same time what happens is unexpected, unpredictable, and completely cheesy. And the ending…wow! You will not see that coming, and the movie gets points for that!
This one is already a cult classic, and I – after shutting off my brain totally – really enjoyed watching it.
Here now are three more television shows released to own and add to our collections now, and two of them are great!!
The best of the bunch is THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON of THE WALKING DEAD.
THE WALKING DEAD is based on the comic book series of the same name by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard and it tells the story of the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse as a small group of survivors, travel across a ravaged land in search of a new home – one far away from the walking dead.
After a SECOND Season that featured more episodes than story, some storylines were stretched out for several episodes when they could have been resolved in one or less, the producers of the show fixed their mistake in season THREE and the result is some great television.
In this season the survivors move into a prison, fighting off others who have laid claim to the place, and have to deal with the Governor, a great villain who is the head of a small town of people trying to build a community right in the middle of the zombie infestation.
THE COMPLETE THIRD SECOND SEASON of THE WALKING DEAD has great twists, turns, zombies, and so much to offer those of us who love this stuff and I do love this stuff!!
If you’ve never seen the show, or read the comics, I highly recommend them…yes, even the mediocre SECOND SEASON, but especially this great SEASON THREE!!
You’re also about to hear me recommend the latest season of PARKS AND RECREATION.
PARKS AND RECREATION features a top notch ensemble cast lead by Saturday Night Live’s Amy Poehler playing an ambitious and hopeful small town government worker.
She is pushy and doesn’t always listen, and could have come across as unlikeable, but Amy is just such a great comedian, that instead of not liking her, you actually root for her.
Rashida Jones, Aziz Ansari, Rob Lowe, Aubrey Plaza, Chris Pratt, Adam Scott and Nick Offerman round out the cast of PARKS & RECREATION and in SEASON FIVE they continue to be the best ensemble cast on television!
I love PARKS AND RECREATION and highly recommend it to everyone!!
This next television program – PARADE’S END – is a five-part miniseries, adapted from the tetralogy of novels of the same name by Ford Madox Ford.
Set during and around World War I the cast is led by the great Benedict Cumberbatch of STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS and Rebecca Hall from THE TOWN as a conservative English aristocrat and his less-than-affectionate-and-caring socialite wife.
They live within a love triangle as he seeks affection, and then falls in love with a young suffragette.
PARADE’S END is exceptionally well made, and is very, very dramatic…but it is also very, very slow. To the credit of the filmmakers it plays like the books it’s based on.
That works to the detriment of the audience as we wait for things to happen at times…and wait…and wait…
I’m glad I’ve seen PARADE’S END as it is exceptionally well written and features a great lead and supporting cast, but I’ll never watch it again – and I do enjoy watching things I liked again – it is just too slow moving, so I can only mildly recommend it.
Finally this week is a film that I really enjoyed, even though it is a very predictable romantic drama.
From Academy Award winning director Susanne Bier LOVE IS ALL YOU NEED is a Danish film primarily about a hairdresser who has an escalating series of bad things happen to her, including losing her hair to cancer treatments.
She travels to Italy for her daughter’s wedding, and along the way she meets a man who blames the world for the loss of his wife, and is also about to become her in-law as it is his son her daughter is getting married to.
Former James Bond Pierce Brosnan plays the man and the two don’t like each other at first, but in a film called LOVE IS ALL YOU NEED it isn’t long before they do, and that what is predictable about the film.
Luckily there are several secondary stories that aren’t as easy to figure out, and the whole thing adds up to a film with an interesting cast and some beautiful scenery. As I said, I really it, and can easily recommend it.
The very entertaining adult drama LOVE IS ALL YOU NEED; the good but very, very dramatic five part series PARADE’S END; SEASON FIVE of the amazing ensemble comedy PARKS AND RECREATION; the spectacular THIRD SEASON of the action thriller zombie show THE WALKING DEAD; the horrible, but very entertaining, completely implausible, but fun – and stupid – SHARKNADO; the great, but derivative sequel STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS; and THE FIFTH AND FINAL SEASON of the made-in-Toronto, starring Toronto as Toronto, series FLASHPOINT are all available now, either on disc or on demand.
And that’s this week’s COUCH POTATO REPORT.
Enjoy the movies and I’ll see you back here again next time on The Couch!