The Couch Potato Report – September 20th, 2014
Since his first appearance in 1954, Godzilla has become one of the biggest movie stars in the world.
Sorry Robert Downey, Jr., Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise and George Clooney, but Godzilla is better known around the globe than all of you.
GODZILLA, the “King of the Monsters”, returned to theatres this Summer with a made-in-Vancouver film that is a very enjoyable piece of work.
The acting and story here is pretty good, but you don’t watch a Godzilla flick for the acting and story, you watch it for the action, and the action here is fantastic! The character design is classic, yet fresh, and the MUTO creatures he fights across San Francisco also look great.
What I also liked about this GODZILLA is that not all the action takes place at night, which has become the norm these days in action films, but there is action here when it is light out, and that is extra cool!!
Because it stars Godzilla and not Robert Downey, Jr., Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise or George Clooney, GODZILLA isn’t for everyone, but it is for monster action fans and people who enjoy disaster flicks.
I really enjoyed it, and easily recommend it
Oh, and if you’re a fan of some of the other creatures in the Godzilla cinematic universe, don’t miss the two disc set for REBIRTH OF MOTHRA, which has all three of the newer films that were made featuring Mothra’s son saving the world.
Released in Japan in 1996, 1997 and 1998, these films don’t feature the greatest special effects you’ll ever see, in fact the creatures all look horribly fake, but that is a part of their charm.
They’re not great, and will never be considered a classic by anyone, but REBIRTH OF MOTHRA 1/2/3 are cheezy, yet entertaining compliments to the new GODZILLA film.
And now for something completely different.
THE FAULT IN OUR STARS is a young adult romantic drama based on the novel of the same name by John Green where we meet Hazel Grace Lancaster, an intelligent sixteen-year-old with terminal thyroid cancer.
Thinking her daughter is depressed, Hazel’s mother urges her to attend a cancer patients’ support group at a local church to make friends.
It is there where Hazel meets Augustus Waters, a seventeen year old who had suffered from osteosarcoma, which caused him to lose his leg.
The two bond almost immediately.
The cast all give very good performances in THE FAULT IN OUR STARS, the story isn’t totally predictable, and there are some nice scenes between the two lead actors, but I never fully bought into it.
The lead male character, for instance, lost his leg to cancer, yet he continually puts cigarettes in his mouth – without lighting them, because once you light them you give them the power to kill you. I understand that is his way of fighting back, but it comes across as something you’d see in a movie and not something that might actually happen in real life.
Moments like those took me out of the film, and while I admit that I did cry a few times, I never felt connected to the teenager’s story.
That’s why I don’t recommend THE FAULT IN OUR STARS. It’s never awful, it just isn’t something I can recommend that you watch.
Nick Hornby – one of my favourite writers – is an English novelist, essayist, lyricist, and screenwriter.
He’s best known for the books “High Fidelity”, “About A Boy”, “31 Songs” and the football memoir “Fever Pitch”. His work usually features music, sports, and the seemingly aimless and obsessive natures of his protagonists.
Hornby’s “About A Boy” was published in 1998 and it is a coming of age story of a cynical, immature, mid-thirties bachelor who is taught how to act like a grown-up by a teenage boy.
In 2002 the fantastic book was turned into a great film starring Hugh Grant, and now, in 2014, ABOUT A BOY has become a weekly television series.
In the series the story moves from London to San Francisco as successful songwriter and bachelor Will Freeman lives a carefree life as the “ultimate man-child”.
His perfect world is turned upside down when single mother Fiona and her 11-year-old son Marcus move in next door.
The source material is so strong here that it can’t really be messed up, however we’re not watching a movie this time around, this is a television show. So instead of the very well-known Hugh Grant in the lead, you get a guy named David Walton. David Walton is not a bad young actor, but he is no Hugh Grant and the ABOUT A BOY television series isn’t as good as the movie.
I didn’t really have any problems with SEASON ONE of ABOUT A BOY, it is always okay, but it would come third if I was making a list of ways you could enjoy this story, preceded by 1) Read the book and 2) See the movie.
Sadly, THE COMPLETE SEVENTEENTH SEASON of SOUTH PARK is also only okay.
Yes, the show continues to make me laugh out loud, but this was probably the show’s weakest season ever.
Season Seventeen got off to a pretty good start, but the quality of the writing really dipped mid-season and featured one of the series’ all-time worst episodes in “Ginger Cow”. Happily they stepped it up by the end and the season finished with a fairly strong trilogy of episodes parodying Game of Thrones, which also set the stage for the video game “South Park: The Stick of Truth”.
The season finale was also very good, but I’m hoping with the upcoming eighteenth season that creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone just focus on the TV show, foregoing the video games and Broadway plays they’ve also been doing over the past couple of seasons. The show is always better when they are focussed on it.
Even as uneven as it is, THE COMPLETE SEVENTEENTH SEASON of SOUTH PARK is still funnier than most of the sitcoms on the air right now, and I do recommend it to fans. I just know that Matt & Trey can do better, as they have for the better part of the past two decades now.
Finally this week, GHOSTBUSTERS – one of the greatest films of all time – and GHOSTBUSTERS II, the sequel that was originally very disappointing, but time has made seem better.
Directed by Canadian filmmaker Ivan Reitman, the original 1984 film starring Bill Murray, Ottawa’s Dan Aykroyd and the late Harold Ramis as three unemployed parapsychology professors who set up shop as ghost removal experts is still funny, fast moving and action packed.
The 1989 follow-up brought back all of the original cast and filmmakers, but it didn’t have half of the first one’s charm, humour and uniqueness. However, watched now on blu-ray for the first time in HD, there is a lot to like about the movie.
Even Ivan Reitman and Dan Aykroyd admit as much in an all-new retrospective bonus feature.
There are plenty of bonus features on the blu-rays, both old and new, AND for me the greatest one is the inclusion of the Ray Parker Jr. music video for the theme song. The first time it’s has been available on any release of the film, due to rights issues.
I love these movies, and highly recommend them both, yes, even the second one, to movie fans of all ages.
If you need a great movie to watch this weekend, who you gonna call?!
The still classic GHOSTBUSTERS and the good but rarely great sequel GHOSTBUSTERS II; the very entertaining, but not the show’s best, COMPLETE SEVENTEENTH SEASON of SOUTH PARK; the only okay SEASON ONE of the television series ABOUT A BOY, based on the spectacular book of the same name by Nick Hornby; the not great but never awful teen romance THE FAULT IN OUR STARS; the campy fun of REBIRTH OF MOTHRA I, II & III; and the superb, made-in-Vancouver action flick GODZILLA 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!