The Couch Potato Report – October 26th, 2013
Love is in the air this week as I have movies about love, movies to love, and movies to share with the people you love.
We’ll star with FIRST LOVE, which is both the title and subject of a heartbreaking little made-in-Quebec film about 13-year-old Antoine.
Antoine and his parents are spending the summer in a rented cottage on an island in the middle of the Saint-Lawrence River. His neighbour for the summer is a beautiful 17-year-old girl named Anna that he just can’t get enough of.
As Anna is his first love, Antoine has no idea what to do, so he starts to follow her because he just wants to be around her as much as possible.
After initially encouraging his behaviour and attention, she soon starts to become distant, and Antoine discovers why.
Anna has a first love of her own.
FIRST LOVE is the sort of film that doesn’t give any more than it has to, even with dialogue. Sometimes just a glance between two characters, or body language, says more than words can say. I really liked that about the film.
It also doesn’t give us all the answers…but in a good way…and that leads to a lot of red herrings.
I really enjoyed FIRST LOVE. This one is worth searching out.
THE WAY WAY BACK is another coming of age story, and the love here is between a 14-year-old boy named Duncan and the one man who takes him seriously, when everyone else dismisses him, especially his Mother’s new boyfriend.
Steve Carell from LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE plays the boyfriend, and Sam Rockwell of SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS is the man who convinces the boy that he isn’t just a three.
Rockwell’s character also provides many of the film’s biggest laughs.
THE WAY WAY BACK is fun and funny and heartfelt. It’s not perfect, this type of story has been told dozens of times before and so we know what to expect by now, but this one is above –average and I really enjoyed it.
To the third in a trilogy now, a trilogy about love that I love.
We first met Jesse and Celine in 1995’s BEFORE SUNRISE. They got off a train in Vienna and spent the evening walking and talking.
2004’s BEFORE SUNSET takes place nine years after they first met and we get some details about what happened after that night as Jesse is in Paris promoting the book he wrote about their time together. We also find out that he is now married and has a son, but by the end of the film, it appears Jesse and Celine are destined to be together.
And now, after another nine years, we have BEFORE MIDNIGHT, the continuing story of Jesse and Celine, brought to us by actors Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy and director, co-writer Richard Linklater.
Jesse and Celine are now together and deeply in love in BEFORE MIDNIGHT and they have twin daughters. But like all couples, they also have plenty of disagreements.
I love this series and these characters and I was not disappointed by BEFORE MIDNIGHT.
Admittedly, their conversations were a little too raw and honest at times, but after almost twenty years together – in real life or in movies – people do speak to each other that way.
That honesty and the ongoing fantasy of meeting a stranger on a train and spending the rest of your with them is still one that keeps me coming back to this series, and recommending BEFORE SUNRISE, BEFORE SUNSET and now BEFORE MIDNIGHT to anyone who hasn’t seen them yet.
I can’t wait to meet up with Jesse and Celine again in nine years!!
Time for some GLEE now, specifically THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON of the Emmy Award winning show.
I have no problems admitting that I enjoyed watching GLEE when it first debuted. The musical numbers were always well done, and the writing and characters were very strong.
But into Season Three I stopped caring. I only watched the show sporadically as there was too much melodrama and not enough fun musical segments.
And now we have Season Four of GLEE and some of the characters are in New York City and others still in Ohio, so the show has to keep finding reasons to bring them together.
That stuff didn’t work for me at all. Either have them together or take them off the show.
And that is another thing that didn’t work, the new characters they’ve brought in to replace the cast members who’ve left the show aren’t as interesting as the old cast, or are just carbon copies of them.
But since I watch GLEE mostly for the musical numbers, and there are still plenty of those, I still enjoy it…just not as much as I used to.
So call that a mild recommendation, and here’s hoping it gets better, and not worse.
Danny Trejo is an actor who has made his name in the films of director Robert Rodriguez. He is an instantly recognizable man and usually plays the same one note character. Why he’s been successful in films like MACHETE and FROM DUSK TILL DAWN is due to the fact that is has a lot of charisma on screen.
Even in something like DEAD IN TOMBSTONE, and more action than dialogue revenge flick. Even in a low budget release like this, you want him to always come out on top.
DEAD IN TOMBSTONE is about a man who was betrayed by his gang, including his half-brother, and must kill them all – in the name of Satan – or face eternal damnation himself.
DEAD IN TOMBSTONE is never great, but Danny Trejo is at times, and so I can mildly – very mildly – recommend the film to those who love movies that feature lots of fights and explosions.
Otherwise, just skip it.
Our final love story is another one I – and many others – truly love. NOTTING HILL may just be the perfect romantic comedy.
This 1999 film stars Hugh Grant as the owner of a small book store in London whose life changes forever when he meets the most famous film star in the world.
She is played by Julia Roberts.
NOTTING HILL is a fantastic film with a great cast and a fantastic supporting cast.
The new blu-ray doesn’t get as high praise as it doesn’t offer any new retrospective features, but it does have the movie itself. The beautiful, lovely, involving movie itself.
Pick it up and fall in love all over again.
The fantastic NOTTING HILL; the mildly entertaining action packed flick DEAD IN TOMBSTONE; THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON of the less and less interesting GLEE; the great, very mature third part of the BEFORE series – BEFORE MIDNIGHT; the fun, funny and heartfely coming of age film THE WAY WAY BACK; and the very good made-in-Quebec film FIRST LOVE 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!