The Couch Potato Report

The weekend is here…why not watch a movie?

The Couch Potato Report – June 28th, 2014

As the Summer Movie Season rolls along in theatres this long weekend with the loud, action packed release TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION, another movie that requires you to shut your brain off in order to enjoy it, I have an alternative to that for you this week, a pair of interesting Academy Award nominees.

I’ll begin with the Palestinian film OMAR, which was nominated as Best Foreign Language Film of the Year.

Omar is a pretty decent young man who works in a bakery whose been drawn into the violent political warfare of the West Bank through his love for a woman, due to his circle of friends from childhood, and because he was mistreated by the local authorities.

Omar agrees to be an informant, working against his friends, after he’s tricked into an admission of guilt after the killing of an Israeli soldier.

OMAR is both thrilling and dramatic, and it has some great story twists and turns. It also features a great love story between Omar and Nadia – a young woman who is the sister of one of his friends, a friend who is the main suspect in the Israeli soldier’s shooting.

OMAR was justly nominated for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year, and if you are looking for something great to watch this long weekend, I highly recommend that you search it out.

The other Academy award nominated film I have for you is ERNEST & CELESTINE. This French-Belgian animated comedy-drama competed in the Best Animated Feature Film of the Year, against the Hollywood hits THE CROODS, DESPICABLE ME 2 and the eventual winner, FROZEN.

Based on a series of children’s books of the same name, published by the Belgian author and illustrator Gabrielle Vincent, ERNEST & CELESTINE is about an unlikely friendship between a bear named Ernest and a young mouse named Celestine.

This movie takes place in a world where the Bears live above ground in their cities and the rodents live below in their underground cities.

Celestine, an apprentice mouse dentist, finds a momentary common cause with Ernest, a poor street Bear musician, and that causes them both to be labelled outcasts in their respective worlds.

ERNEST & CELESTINE is a great film with fully realized characters and the animation is beautiful to look at.

I don’t know if kids will watch it as often as they’ve seem to be re-watching FROZEN, but I think it is worthy of their time. Plus, I think parents will enjoy it too.

And, you can watch it either with the original French language soundtrack, or in English, featuring a well-known Hollywood cast including William H. Macy, Lauren Bacall, Paul Giamatti and Forest Whitaker.

ERNEST & CELESTINE tells a nice story and I really enjoyed it. Search this one out, if not for the kids, for yourself.

And I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Okay, I have a pair of superb TV show sets for you right now.

Both are smart and well written and feature great performances from some great actors.

SEASON SIX of STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION is coming up, but up first is the show MASTER OF SEX.

MASTERS OF SEX is based on Thomas Maier’s biography Masters of Sex: The Life and Times of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, the Couple Who Taught America How to Love.

It tells the story of Dr. William Masters and Virginia Johnson, two pioneering researchers of human sexuality at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.

Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan star as the lead characters in MASTERS OF SEX and their performances are amazing. Plus, the story in very interesting, and the show is exceptionally well written and produced.

Due to it’s very graphic nature, SEASON ONE of MASTERS OF SEX won’t be for everyone, but I do still highly recommend it.

It is one of the best television shows in production right now, and I’m really looking forward to SEASON TWO!

Time now for the blu-ray set for SEASON SIX of STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION.

One could argue that SEASON SIX was the best season of THE NEXT GENERATION as it features Captain Picard being tortured, Worf discovering a life-changing secret in the Deep Space Nine crossover episode, and Geordi rescues Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott from a 75 year transporter limbo.

Yes, Scotty from the original series – Canadian actor James Doohan – guest stars in SEASON SIX.

And once again, the blu-ray set comes with a wealth of special features including the continuing retrospective series where the entire cast and crew look back at the show, including Commander Riker – Jonathan Frakes.

SEASON SIX of STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION looks amazing on blu-ray and is a must own for fans, and a must see for those who haven’t ever seen it.

I highly recommend it, even if you don’t usually watch science fiction.

This is great stuff!!

Finally this week is a that I did not enjoy. 300 – RISE OF AN EMPIRE is the follow-up to the great action film 300, about King Leonidas and a force of 300 men who fought against the Persians in 480 B.C.

This sequel actually takes place before, during, and after the events of the first movie and even if you absolutely loved the original, this is still a major step down.

Even though it is action packed at times, 300 – RISE OF AN EMPIRE is actually quite boring. Plus, the special effects – which were so great the first time around – look dated and fake most of the time, and with the exception of Bond Girl Eva Green from CASINO ROYALE, the cast have nothing to offer.

300 – RISE OF AN EMPIRE is a release for those who absolutely have to see every action film that comes out. Everyone else – heck, even those people – should skip this mess.
The nowhere near as good as the original, completely forgettable sequel 300 – RISE OF AN EMPIRE; the very good SEASON SIX of STAR TREK – THE NEXT GENERATION; SEASON ONE of the informative and interesting series MASTERS OF SEX; the very entertaining Academy Award nominated French/Belgian animated ERNEST & CELESTINE; and the also very entertaining Academy Award nominated Palestinian film OMAR are all available now, either on disc or on demand.

And consider those last two a great alternate to the loud and explosive Summer Movie Season.

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!