The Couch Potato Report

It is a cold and stormy weekend…why not watch a movie?

The Couch Potato Report – January 4th, 2014

The first week of any new year will never be the biggest week for new releases…Happy New Year, by the way…but there are a few that are worth mentioning, including the interesting DON JON, which marks the directorial debut of former child star Joseph Gordon-Levitt, from THIRD ROCK FROM THE SUN, who has recently appeared – as a grown-up – in THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, LOOPER and INCEPTION.

DON JON finds him playing a regular guy who is fully dedicated to his family, friends, and church.

One night he meets a beautiful and seemingly perfect woman – played by Scarlett Johansson of THE AVENGERS and LOST IN TRANSLATION – and Don falls in love.

Unfortunately, no matter how perfect she seems, no matter how much he loves her and his family love her, Don loves something else even more than her, more than any woman, in fact. Don is addicted to adult films.

Don Jon is trying to find happiness and intimacy with his potential true love, but he struggles to give up the adult films he loves so much.

With a lesser cast, DON JON could have been a film that wasn’t worthy of our time, but this cast – that also includes Julianne Moore and Tony Danza – is so strong that I can actually recommend the movie.

Yes, DON JON is a bit repetitive and the subject matter may turn some people away, but I do mildly recommend it, especially during the first week of the new year, when there isn’t much else out there.

Horror fans, Happy New Year to you!!, I have something for you…remember the 2010 film INSIDIOUS about the couple whose son became comatose and a vessel for ghosts in an astral dimension?

Well, that creepy flick now has a sequel and in INSIDIOUS – CHAPTER 2, the boy is safe, but his parents are possibly at risk and need to discover how they have become connected to the spirit world…before it’s too late!!

I didn’t think that the first INSIDIOUS film was great, but it was an effective horror film. It did what I expect from movies like this: scare me a little, creep me out, make me jump back a few times, and show me something I haven’t seen before…or at least not seen too often.

INSIDIOUS – CHAPTER 2 is all of that as well, plus it is extra creepy. And I mean that in the good way that horror films can be.

Non-horror fans should skip INSIDIOUS – CHAPTER 2, but I do easily recommend it to anyone who likes this kind of stuff.

Every year or so a small little film comes out that I usually gravitate toward and easily recommend.

Even without much acclaim or fanfare, I tend to love these movies. Last year that movie was YOUR SISTER’S SISTER and when I first heard of TOUCHY FEELY, I thought it would be one of these films for me as well, after all it has a cast I like and a premise I find interesting, but – unfortunately – it is just a small little film that I’m glad I’ve seen, but won’t recommend.

TOUCHY FEELY is the story of a massage therapist who finds herself unable to touch human skin. She is one of the best at what she does, but one day she just can’t touch people…at all.

That I still find interesting, but instead of examining how someone can turn into someone who has an aversion to touching skin, TOUCHY FEELY is also about that woman’s brother, an uptight dentist who somehow becomes a man with the power to heal.

That secondary story wasn’t interesting as the character is basically a jerk, with little to no redeeming qualities, and the tertiary story in the film – featuring Canadian actress Ellen Page as a young woman with a crush on her Aunt’s boyfriend – was the least interesting part of the film.

I never disliked TOUCHY FEELY, as I said, I’m glad I’ve seen it, but I don’t recommend it…at all. Nothing really happens, and then it just ends. Like this review.

I also can’t recommend the film WRECKERS, starring Benedict Cumberbatch of the BBC’s SHERLOCK. This is an older film, made before he was the well-known actor he is today, and it isn’t one most people need to see.

Benedict stars here as one half of a married couple who move back to his childhood village to start a family.

All is – seemingly – going well, until the day they receive a surprise visit from the husband’s brother.

A visit that re-ignites some age old sibling rivalry and makes the wife start to wonder if she even knows the man she’s married.

The problem with WRECKERS is that it has very little that we haven’t seen before, and the result is a movie that is barely a step above boring.

This one is for huge fan, and I mean HUGE fan of Benedict Cumberbatch’s only. Everyone else should just skip it.

Hey, let’s laugh now, and laugh you will at THE SIXTEENTH SEASON of the classic animated show THE SIMPSONS!!

SEASON SIXTEEN features guest voices Jason Bateman, Gary Busey, James Caan, Stephen Hawking, Eric Idle, Liam Neeson, Amy Poehler, Ray Romano and plenty more! Plus, they make fun of Saskatchewan!!

I agree, this season of the show isn’t included when fans talk about the glory years of the show, but there are still some huge laughs, and I really enjoyed it!!

THE SIMPSONS – THE SIXTEENTH SEASON, guaranteed to fit on your shelf between SEASONS FIFTEEN and SEVENTEEN!!

And guaranteed to fit on your shelf between VOLUME 11 and 13 is VOLUME 12 of FAMILY GUY!!

I’ve been saying for more than a couple of years that FAMILY GUY is waaaaay past its prime, and I maintain that stance right now, but I’ve also been saying that said, it does still make me laugh out loud on occasion.

And it does…at least it made me laugh out loud.

FAMILY GUY – VOLUME 12 features the show’s 200th episode and a few extra surprises.

I can’t highly recommend VOLUME 12 of FAMILY GUY because it is past its prime, and continues to feature lazy, borderline racist humour, but I will admit that it did make me laugh.

Just as I’m sure VOLUME 13 will.

Hey, do you remember, back in the mid-to-late-eighties, when all of those movies about people switching bodies came out at around the same time?

There was LIKE FATHER LIKE SON, 17 AGAIN, VICE VERSA, ALL OF ME and BIG, just to name five.

Most of them haven’t stood the test of time and can be hard to find on DVD or Netflix, except for BIG, which has just been re-released in HD on blu-ray in a fantastic 25th ANNIVERSARY EDITION.

Directed by Penny Marshall, BIG stars Tom Hanks – in an Academy Award nominated performance – as Josh Baskin, a young boy who makes a wish “to be big” and wakes up the next day an adult, much to his delight, but to the dismay of his parents.

The new blu-ray of BIG also features an extended cut of the film, and some great behind-the-scenes retrospective materials.

I’ve always loved BIG, Tom Hanks is great in it, and I thoroughly enjoyed re-watching it again this week.

The 25th ANNIVERSARY EDITION of still great comedy BIG; VOLUME 12 of the occasionally funny FAMILY GUY; the very enjoyable SIXTEENTH SEASON of THE SIMPSONS; the for Benedict Cumberbatch fans only drama WRECKERS; the completely skippable drama TOUCHY FEELY; the creepy horror flick INSIDIOUS – CHAPTER 2; and the interesting, yet odd DON JON – written, directed by and starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt – are all available now, either on disc or on demand.

And for the first weekend in January 2014, that’s this week’s COUCH POTATO REPORT.

Enjoy the movies and I’ll see you back here again next time on The Couch!