The Couch Potato Report

“A” for effort for me as well!! ;)

The Couch Potato Report – August 9th, 2014

DIVERGENT is the first film based on the books in The Divergent Trilogy, a series of young adult science fiction adventure novels by Veronica Roth. The stories all take place in a post-apocalyptic version of Chicago.

DIVERGENT takes place in a society that divides its citizens up by their social and personality-related affiliation and places them in one of five different factions.

The main character is Beatrice “Tris” Prior, and she – like everyone else – takes an aptitude test at the age of sixteen to determine with faction they’ll live. Tris’ test indicates that she has the aptitude for three factions. Thus Tris is Divergent and won’t fit in, and as the story goes on, she discovers a plot to destroy Divergents.

Tris is not acting alone, her faction of choice is Dauntless and she finds some new friends and in a relationship with a guy named Four. Together they search to find out what makes Divergents dangerous before it’s too late.

I think what made DIVERGENT believable at all to me is the level of acting. In some other film series based on young adult books the producers have hired really bad actors. For this film the supporting cast is lead by Golden Globe nominee Ashley Judd and Academy Award winner Kate Winslet. Their presence and talent make a world of difference.

DIVERGENT might not make my list as one of the ten best of the year, but it is still a very good movie with a great cast. I can easily recommend it, even if you haven’t read the book(s).

The list of bad movies based on successful video games is a long, long one and you can now place NEED FOR SPEED alongside SUPER MARIO BROTHERS, SILENT HILL, MORTAL KOMBAT, STREET FIGHTER and BLOODRAYNE.

Aaron Paul from BREAKING BAD stars in NEED FOR SPEED as street racer Tobey Marshall. After getting out of prison he takes part in a cross-country race to try and avenge his friend’s death at the hands of a rival racer…but it doesn’t matter.

Even though the movie has some spectacular racing scenes and cars, it is both awful and boring.

There is nothing in NEED FOR SPEED that you haven’t seen before, and seen done better. Yes, is has great racing scenes, and some incredible stunts, but it is a bad movie.

Only racing and adrenaline junkies need to bother with it. Everyone else should skip it.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I like a good horror film. Sometimes I even like a bad horror film.

A creepy new movie called OCULUS is both good and bad, and so I kind of liked it.

OCULUS had its world premiere last September at the Toronto International Film Festival, and stars Karen Gillan – Amelia Pond from DOCTOR WHO. She is a woman in her early twenties who is convinced that an antique mirror is responsible for the death and misfortune her family has suffered.

Yes, forget the house or a person, the mirror is haunted in this one.

The story and plot points in OCULUS don’t all hold up until the end, but the performance of Karen Gillan does. She fully believes the whole time that the mirror has destroyed her family and must be destroyed and I enjoyed her here, more than I ever did on DOCTOR WHO.

Had the movie been as good as her, I would highly recommend the film. As it is, I kind of liked it, but I like good and bad horror films.

If you do too, I mildly recommend that you check it out. If you do not, skip it. This isn’t a movie for you.

Finally this week is a movie that fails, brilliantly fails, and I give it points for doing so, and for trying.

“A” for effort for Terry Gilliam’s THE ZERO THEOREM!!

Former Monty Python animator Terry Gilliam has given us some great films over the years – such as BRAZIL, TWELVE MONKEYS and THE FISHER KING – and some real stinkers – such as TIDELAND and THE BROTHERS GRIMM. But no matter how bad his movies are, they are still always great visually with uniques sets and costumes.

THE ZERO THEOREM is no exception, it looks amazing, and what a cast!! Academy Award winners Christoph Waltz, Matt Damon and Tilda Swinton all appear in the movie along with David Thewlis from THE BIG LEBOWSKI.

Christoph Waltz stars here as a computer hacker whose goal is to discover the reason for human existence, but the story and plot of THE ZERO THEOREM actually come secondary to the visuals and sets and they aren’t really all that important. No one is ever going to watch this film for the story or the plot.

But the visuals and sets are worth it, for film lovers and Gilliam completists. You people should not miss this movie!! Everyone else should skip it. Avoid it at all costs.
The odd but interesting Terry Gilliam film THE ZERO THEOREM; the very creepy but not great horror flick OCULUS; the boring action film NEED FOR SPEED – which does have some great racing scenes; and the very good first movie in the DIVERGENT series are available now, both on disc and 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!