The Couch Potato Report

Love that Hobbit!!

The Couch Potato Report
April 12th, 2014

If this first film I have for you this week was made by Hollywood, and featured an all-star cast, I wouldn’t be as positive as I’m about to be. But since it is a small, made in and around Montreal, Canadian film, I’ll be nice.

I’ll say it…I just don’t expect as much from Canadian films like this, but with lowered expectations I usually enjoy them.

Had THREE NIGHT STAND starred Jennifer Lawrence, Keira Knightley and Joseph Gordon-Levitt – for example – and been shot in and around Aspen, Colorado, I would have been very disappointed in it.

But since it was filmed in the Laurentians and stars Sam Huntington and Meaghan Rath from the television show BEING HUMAN and Emmanuelle Chriqui, from ENTOURAGE, I am more than happy to cut it some slack.

THREE NIGHT STAND is about a married couple who leave Montreal for a long-deserved romantic getaway weekend. Once they get to the ski lodge, and find out that it’s run by his ex-girlfriend, a woman he is still obsessed with, everything changes…but – as happens in movies like this – they decide to stay anyway.

THREE NIGHT STAND is never great – in fact at times I was wondering how in the world we are supposed to believe that one, yet alone two gorgeous women were ever interested in this guy – and the continuity is pretty bad at times…in one scene they are skiing, then they’re on a snowmobile, then they’re skiing again…but it is likeable enough for me to mildly recommend it.

Oh, and if you watch the boxing comedy GRUDGE MATCH with low – and I mean very low – expectations, you should enjoy it too.

This one features Robert De Niro – who played real life boxer Jake La Motta in the film RAGING BULL – and Sylvester Stallone – umm, Rocky Balboa in the ROCKY series of movies. That’s the gimmick, that is what’s worth seeing, Raging Bull against Rocky. The story and the film itself…not so much.

Henry ‘Razor’ Sharp and Billy ‘The Kid’ McDonnen have fought twice and each man won once. There was never a third fight.

But now, this pair of aging rivals are coaxed out of retirement to fight one final bout – one because he needs the money, the other because he needs the spotlight – and that fight will take place 30 years after their last match.

Oscar winner Kim Bassinger from L.A. CONFIDENTIAL plays Stallone’s former love interest, the women who came between the boxers.

GRUDGE MATCH features Rocky versus Jake La Motta, yet it never seems to get that. There are a couple of brief nods to those films, but otherwise it wants to stand on it’s own merits, and it doesn’t quite make it. The weight of those other movies eventually gets in the way.

I liked the cast, thought the story was okay, but I wanted more. So if you go in with lowered expectations, you might just enjoy it.

Personally, I can only mildly recommend it.

Of all this week’s new releases, the movie I enjoyed the most was the second film in Peter Jackson’s THE HOBBIT TRILOGY.

And I did really enjoy THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG!

Fans of Jackson’s adaptations of J.R.R. Tolkien’s THE LORD OF THE RIGHTS and 2012’s THE HOBBIT – AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY have already seen it, now own it, and they don’t need me to recommend it…but movie fans who’ve been wondering if they need to see these films, to you I say yes.

As the dwarves, along with Bilbo Baggins and Gandalf the Grey, continue their quest to reclaim their homeland, from Smaug the dragon the special effects are spectacular! They story, well the story will stand the test of time and live forever – and the dragon – voiced by SHERLOCK’s Benedict Cumberbatch is amazing!!

Even the new character that Jackson and his writers created – Tauriel, who is not in the books, but is played by Alberta born actress Evangeline Lilly, who was Kate on LOST – even she fits in and is great!

I have never really been a fanboy of THE HOBBIT, but I really THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG. The barrell escape scene alone is worth your time and money.

Bring on THE HOBBIT: THERE AND BACK AGAIN!! I am so pumped for it’s release on December 17th!!

Back in 2007, a horror film was released called PARANORMAL ACTIVITY. Since then there have been four sequels, of deteriorating quality.

The first one was simple – a young couple becomes increasingly disturbed by a nightly demonic presence after moving into a suburban home – and each subsequent one tried to up the ante.

Well, by the time the virtually unwatchable PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 4 was released in 2012, the series was dead in the water.

Happily, the producers decided to give the series’ main storylines a break – for the most part – and earlier this year gave us PARANORMAL ACTIVITY – THE MARKED ONES.

As I said, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 4 was so bad that I had absolutely no faith in this one, and I think that is why I thought it was pretty good. The ending doesn’t work at all…but I even sort of kind of liked that.

PARANORMAL ACTIVITY – THE MARKED ONES is not great in any way…in any way…but I can easily recommend it to fans of the series.

And finally this week, the film that won Best Foreign Language Film at the 86th Academy Awards, last month, the Italian comedy THE GREAT BEAUTY.

Here is a picture about Jep Gambardella, a journalist who has used his charm and powers of seduction to enjoy the lavish nightlife of Rome for decades.

Since the legendary success of his one and only novel, he’s been a permanent fixture in the city’s literary and social circles, but after turning 65, everything changes, and Jep finds himself taking stock of his life.

Just like LA DOLCE VITA, there is no real “story” in THE GREAT BEAUTY, we just see things happening, but it all adds up to Jep’s increasing disillusionment with his lifestyle, one he wants to give up…except that he enjoys it too much.

THE GREAT BEAUTY is a little indulgent at times, but the people in it all seem real, and Italy looks amazing! I really enjoyed it and can easily recommend it, warts and all

The very good Academy Award winning THE GREAT BEAUTY; the okay – if you like the horror series – PARANORMAL ACTIVITY – THE MARKED ONES; the very entertaining sequel THE HOBBIT – THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG; the okay, for fans of the cast, GRUDGE MATCH starring Robert De Niro and Sylvester Stallone, and the mildly likeable made-in-Quebec would be romantic comedy THREE NIGHT STAND – co-starring Emmanuelle Chriqui, from ENTOURAGE – 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!