The Couch Potato Report

Man I wish the ending of TRUE DETECTIVE was better!!!

The Couch Potato Report – June 14th, 2014

Earlier this year many people spent a part of their Sunday nights watching the detectives as the series TRUE DETECTIVE unfolded over the course of eight thrilling episodes.

Academy Award winner Matthew McConaughey of DALLAS BUYERS CLUB and Oscar nominee Woody Harrelson from ZOMBIELAND and NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN star as two Louisiana State Police Criminal Investigations Division homicide detectives hunting for a serial killer.

TRUE DETECTIVE follows their hunt over a 17-year period, and at times it even seems like one of the true detectives – or the other – may have something to do with the murders.

I loved almost everything about this series…except for how it ended, which I won’t spoil for you. It is so smart, has plenty of style, and TRUE DETECTIVE is exceptionally well-written and acted. The series is probably the best work about serial killers since THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS.

I only wish the ending was as strong as the rest of the series. It doesn’t totally ruin it…but everything that comes before it is just so much better.

Yes, I highly recommend you spend some time watching these true detectives.

TRUE DETECTIVE features characters that were brand new.

The action flick JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT does not.

John Patrick “Jack” Ryan, Sr. is a fictional character created by Tom Clancy. Ryan appeared in many of the late author’s novels and their respective film adaptations.

So far on screen he has been played by Alec Baldwin in THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER (1984), Harrison Ford twice PATRIOT GAMES (1987) and CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER (1989), and Ben Affleck in THE SUM OF ALL FEARS (1991).

And now, young Chris Pine – who also played Captain James T. Kirk in the two newest STAR TREK films – stars as the CIA analyst in JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT

In this film we meet a young Jack Ryan, yes this is a series reboot, as he uncovers a Russian plot to crash the U.S. economy with a terrorist attack.

Kenneth Branagh both directed the film and plays the bad guy.

JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT is never a bad film, it just really isn’t anything new. Plus, Keira Knightley is sadly miscast as Mrs. Jack Ryan and so is Kenneth Branagh as the bad guy.

I do mildly recommend it, but I probably won’t ever watch it again.

I also won’t watch the action thriller NON-STOP again, and I also mildly recommend it.

Liam Neeson from the TAKEN films stars as an unstable and barely employed air marshal who has to try and save the passengers on a transatlantic flight. Unless the airline transfers $150 million into an off-shore account, people on the plane will die.

Oscar nominee Julianne Moore from THE BIG LEBOWSKI and CRAZY STUPID LOVE is the woman who just happens to be sitting next to Liam Neeson…or is there a reason she is there?

NON-STOP is better than it should be, primarily because of the presence of great actors Liam Neeson and Julianne Moore, and that is why I’ll give it mild suggestion.

Up next is a film for martial arts fans. JOURNEY TO THE WEST – CONQUERING THE DEMONS is a blast!!

I could go into detail about the plot of this film, and tell you that the story is about a Buddhist trying to protect a village from three demons, while dealing with his his emerging feelings for a beautiful woman, who is also a demon hunter who helps him repeatedly, and how his life is changed by his encounter with the Monkey King.

I could do that, but instead, let me just tell you that it has some great effects and story ideas, and happily state that JOURNEY TO THE WEST – CONQUERING THE DEMONS is an odd but very entertaining martial arts comedy for fans of the genre.

If that is you, pick it up and enjoy!!

Finally this week, a documentary with a very interesting premise, that unfortunately plays like watching paint dry.

Directed by Teller – of the comedy magic act Penn & Teller – TIM’S VERMEER is the story of inventor Tim Jenison.

He is seeking to understand – and duplicate – the unique painting techniques used by Johannes Vermeer, the Dutch master from the 1600’s.

Penn Jillette – of Penn & Teller – narrates the film, and as I said, the story here is so interesting…but the movie is – primarily – about watching a man paint, and that isn’t always very entertaining. Ultimately I will recommend TIM’S VERMEER, because it did keep me interested until the end, but it is primarily for art fans.

The not awful, but not entirely successful documentary TIM’S VERMEER; the very good martial arts flick JOURNEY TO THE WEST – CONQUERING THE DEMONS; the not great, but better than it should be action film NON-STOP, starring Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore and Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o in a small role; the okay action reboot JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT; and the almost exceptional…if only it had a better ending…series TRUE DETECTIVE, co-starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson 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!