The Couch Potato Report

Long Weekend? Need something to watch, or something to avoid? Tah dahhh!!

The Couch Potato Report – April 19th, 2014
Happy Easter Long Weekend!! If you have a few days off and are looking for a movie to watch you are in luck. The Easter Bunny probably won`t deliver the film to any kids, but adults should hope that someone gifts them with the beautiful, Academy Award nominated film PHILOMENA.
Based on the book “The Lost Child of Philomena Lee” PHILOMENA stars Oscar winner Judi Dench from THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL and SKYFALL as Philomena Lee, a woman who is searching for a child who was taken away from her almost fifty years ago after she became pregnant and was sent to live in a convent in Ireland.
Steve Coogan – and actor I love from his work in TROPIC THUNDER, IN THE LOOP and THE TRIP – co-wrote the script and co-stars as Martin Sixsmith, a cynical, unemployed journalist and former government adviser who reluctantly agrees to help Philomena after he’s offered a job by a publisher to write her story.
PHILOMENA has a great cast – who all give wonderful performances – and it is an interesting and engaging story. It’s not perfect, but it is very close.
I really enjoyed and highly recommend it. I’ve seen it twice now and I hope I get to watch again soon.
I probably won’t watch Ralph Fiennes second directorial effort again anytime soon, but I did enjoy his story about Charles Dickens’ mistress enough to also recommend it.
THE INVISIBLE WOMAN moves at a very slow pace, but that doesn’t necessarily work against it. The story tends to take it’s time getting where it’s going.
Based on Claire Tomalin’s book “The Invisible Woman: The Story of Nelly Ternan and Charles Dickens” the film takes place in the 1850s when Dickens is at the peak of his popularity. He is a rock star who can’t go anywhere without people asking for autographs and his time.
The married man then meets a much younger woman who eventually becomes his long-time secret lover.
Kristin Scott Thomas – who co-starred with Ralph Fiennes in THE ENGLISH PATIENT – plays the young woman’s Mother.
THE INVISIBLE WOMAN came and went from theatres quickly, so I really wasn’t sure what to expect when I started watching it, but I am happy to report that I enjoyed it.
It is very dramatic, and – as I said – very slow at times – but I do easily recommend it.
I’m not going to say too much about this next release, because the wannabe comedy RIDE ALONG is 100% and completely unfunny, totally predictable, and not worthy of much time.
This is one of those movies that doesn’t have one single original moment.
Here we have the story of a fast-talking, jumpy security guard who wants to be a policeman in Atlanta. He also wants to marry the beautiful sister of a detective who does not like the man at all.
When the security guard gets accepted into the Police Academy, the detective takes him on a 24-hour patrol of Atlanta in order to prove himself worthy of marrying his sister.
And wouldn’t you know it, they have to work together over the course of the film RIDE ALONG to take down the city’s top crime boss and save the sister – duh duh duuuuuh – who is being held hostage.
RIDE ALONG is predictable, it is not funny – not even once – and unless you are a huge fan of comedian Kevin Hart – who co-stars here – you absolutely must skip it.
It is a complete waste of your time.
Finally this week is the second film adaptation of James Thurber’s 1939 short story THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY.
This latest version is a romantic-adventure-comedy-drama and it was directed by, co-produced by and stars Ben Stiller – of NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM – as Walter Mitty, a man who frequently daydreams of fantastic adventures, and has a crush on his coworker.
Walter Mitty never takes risks or chances, until his job and the woman he loves – played by Kristin Wiig from BRIDESMAIDS – are in jeopardy, then he steps up and takes action in the real world embarking on a global journey that turns into an adventure more extraordinary than anything even he could have ever imagined.
The problem with THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY isn’t with it’s great cast, or the fact that the story doesn’t have a lot of depth to it, or that the movie moves very slowly.
No, the problem here is the fact that – if you’re paying attention – you can figure out what is going to happen at the end of the movie within the first fifteen minutes.
It isn’t just predictable, the movie actually gives you the ending.
I never disliked Ben Stiller’s THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY. I just wish it had tried harder to be worthy of my time. Subsequently I recommend you don’t waste any of your time on it this long Easter Weekend. Go on an Easter Egg Hunt instead, or plan one.
Bottom line, have some fun and skip this movie.
Ben Stiller’s well-made, but completely predictable remake of THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY; the unfunny and totally predictable wannabe comedy RIDE ALONG; the slow moving, but interesting drama THE INVISIBLE WOMAN and the beautiful, Academy Award nominated film PHILOMENA, co-starring Judi Dench and the great Steve Coogan are all available now, either on disc or on demand.
And that’s this week’s COUCH POTATO REPORT.
Enjoy the movies – HAPPY EASTER – and I’ll see you back here again next time on The Couch!