The Couch Potato Report – April 26th, 2014
It’s another week where I’m saving the best for last – the Israeli comedic crime thriller BIG BAD WOLVES will conclude this week’s Report – but I’ll begin with a small romantic comedy I also liked, called AT MIDDLETON.
This one stars Andy Garcia of the OCEANS 11 films and THE GODFATHER – PART III and Vera Farmiga from UP IN THE AIR and THE DEPARTED.
They play two strangers who are both in unfulfilling yet ongoing marriages who meet as their kids – his son and her daughter – are about to take a tour of a college campus, in order to decide if they want to go there.
After an initial argument over a parking space, the two adults realize they enjoy each other’s company, so they ditch the tour and play hooky, using the Middleton campus as a sort of playground while getting to know each other better, and maybe they even fall in love, along the way.
AT MIDDLETON is never fancy, not always overly original, and after a smart first hour it does slow down for about twenty minutes before a strong finish, but I liked it, flaws and all, especially Andy Garcia and Vera Farmiga.
You might have to search this one out, but I think you should.
This week’s best new release is coming up, BIG BAD WOLVES received Five Awards from the Israeli Film Academy and I will tell you about it in a moment, but ahead of that great film, allow me to warn you to stay away from the less than entertaining, overly dramatic hip hop musical BLACK NATIVITY.
I mentioned that it was a musical…right?
Well, Academy Award winner Jennifer Hudson of DREAMGIRLS stars here as the Mother of a teenage son who she can’t support. They are being evicted from their apartment, and so she sends him to spend the holidays with his estranged Grandparents in New York City.
He’s never met them, yet he’s off to live with them, and he has a HUGE chip on his shoulder.
BLACK NATIVITY is based on the play of the same name by writer and poet Langston Hughes and in addition to Jennifer Hudson it stars Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett, Tyrese Gibson, Mary J. Blige, and Nas.
The movie wants to offer viewers an inspirational journey and show us the true meaning of faith, healing, and family, but it fails on just about every level. The songs aren’t memorable and they stop the film in it’s tracks whenever one starts, Jennifer Hudson can’t act, Forest Whitaker is over acting, and I never believed for a second that this group of people would stay estranged for the flimsy reason the story gives us.
I really liked the ending of BLACK NATIVITY, but it didn’t redeem the movie. As a whole it just isn’t very good and certainly isn’t worthy of your time. Just skip it, there are better films out there for you to spend your time on.
Finally…last and nowhere least this week is a horrific and graphic and great, Israeli comedic crime thriller called BIG BAD WOLVES.
BIG BAD WOLVES is about three men all connected to a series of brutal murders.
The father of the latest victim is now out for revenge.
A detective so convinced he knows who the killer is that he’s willing to do anything, including operating outside the boundaries of law to catch the killer.
And then there’s the main suspect. Is he guilty? Are the police targeting the wrong man?
Watch out for the BIG BAD WOLVES.
The comedy here isn’t laugh out loud, it is smart…and when BIG BAD WOLVES is funny it is very funny.
Due to the fact that it contains some very, very graphic torture scenes, I can’t recommend it to everyone.
But I do still recommend this winner of Five Awards from the Israeli Film Academy as I think it is a great film.
The horrific, graphic and great, Israeli comedic crime thriller BIG BAD WOLVES; the completely awful overly dramatic hip hop musical BLACK NATIVITY; and the very nice and extremely likeable romantic comedy AT MIDDLETON, co-starring Andy Garcia and Vera Farmiga 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!