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The Couch Potato Report – October 11th, 2014

The last time iconic Canadian comedian Mike Myers was included in a new release on The Couch Potato Report was in 2010, at the end of the run of the very successful Shrek films.

I didn’t have anything positive to say then about SHREK FOREVER AFTER…and I still don’t today.

But I do have plenty of positive things to say about Mike Myers’ latest, his first movie release in four years and his first in the director’s chair. And it’s not a comedy, it’s a documentary, called SUPERMENSCH, about the life and career of legendary Hollywood talent manager Shep Gordon.

Shep Gordon has had an astounding career. He went from selling drugs in Hollywood to befriending Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix. Hendrix suggested he become a manager, and so he did, working with many superstar artists since the mid seventies, including Alice Cooper, Pink Floyd, Groucho Marx, Teddy Pendergrass and Canadian superstar Anne Murray.

SUPERMENSCH: THE LEGEND OF SHEP GORDON is very interesting, informative and even touching at times. Plus its full of some great historical footage of Janis, Jimi, Jim Morrison and even Anne Murray.

I really liked it and can easily recommend it.

When the trailer for FAMILY GUY creator Seth MacFarlane’s second film A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST first appeared, it looked very good.

It was to be a comedy western that starred MacFarlane, along with Academy Award winner Charlize Theron and Amanda Seyfried, Liam Neeson, Sarah Silverman and Neil Patrick Harris.

Sadly, even with that great cast and an interesting story of how a cowardly sheep farmer finds his courage with the help of a mysterious new woman in town, A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST just isn’t funny.

It has a few laughs, even a couple of big ones, but for a comedy, it really isn’t that funny.

I never disliked A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST, so I will mildly recommend it, just know going in that it isn’t very good.

I love baseball and baseball movies, so even though MILLION DOLLAR ARM is cliche in every way and completely predictable, I still sort of liked it.

MILLION DOLLAR ARM stars Jon Hamm from MAD MEN as a failing sports agent who needs a miracle to save his business and career and what he decides to do is recruit talented cricket players from India and train them to play baseball.

Everyone tells him that his plan won’t work, and if MILLION DOLLAR ARM wasn’t based on the true story of baseball pitchers Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel who actually signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates, I wouldn’t believe it either.

But it is based on a true story, a great true story, however a great story does not a great movie make.

MILLION DOLLAR ARM is cliche and predictable, and if you like baseball and baseball movies as well, I can mildly recommend it to you. Otherwise, even though I still sort of liked it, you might want to just skip it.

There are some films I can easily recommend this week, but only one that is a true classic, Walt Disney’s 1959 animated film SLEEPING BEAUTY.

SLEEPING BEAUTY was a disappointment at the Box Office when it was originally released, so disappointing that Disney didn’t adapt a fairy tale again for another 30 years later, with the release of 1989’s THE LITTLE MERMAID.

It may have been a disappointment initially, but time has seen the film endure and become the classic it deserved to be, both because of the story of a princess under a spell that only a prince can break, and technically because of how it was produced.

I’ve always enjoyed SLEEPING BEAUTY, and it looks so fantastic now in HD on blu-ray!!

It is a classic the whole family can enjoy together!

Now, on the other hand, one Summer Movie trailer that didn’t originally grab my attention was the one for director Doug Liman’s EDGE OF TOMORROW, and it is one of my favourite films of the year, so far.

Tom Cruise stars here as Major William Cage, a man who is killed within minutes of the start of a suicide mission. Yet, he somehow survives and finds himself caught in a time loop, forced to live out the same mission over and over, fighting and dying again and again.

Emily Blunt from LOOPER is one of the military’s best soldiers and is one of the only people who understands what Tom is going through.

Cruise is great here, Emily Blunt is great here – as are all the members of the supporting cast – and the action and story are all also great in EDGE OF TOMORROW. Yet it didn’t do well in theatres…and I have no idea why.

This is a very entertaining Summer action flick, one that I easily recommend to you.

The great action flick EDGE OF TOMORROW; the Disney animated classic SLEEPING BEAUTY; the predictable but okay drama MILLION DOLLAR ARM; Seth MacFarlane’s only occasionally funny western comedy A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST; and Canadian comedian Mike Myers’s great entertainment industry documentary SUPERMENSCH: THE LEGEND OF SHEP GORDON 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!

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The Couch Potato Report – October 4th, 2014

Back in 2003 there was a really nice little Quebecois film released called LA GRANDE SEDUCTION about a small, dying fishing village in Quebec that dreams of being great again.

That opportunity presents itself when a company considers building a factory nearby, but first, the village needs to have a Doctor.

Thus, LA GRANDE SEDUCTION, the grand seduction begins as every resident in the village – young and old alike – conspire to get a doctor who has been coerced into working in the community for a month, to move there permanently.

An English version was put into production in 2012, with the setting changed from Quebec, to Newfoundland.

THE GRAND SEDUCTION stars Taylor Kitsch of the television series FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS and once again, the residents must convince the young doctor to take up residence in their small fishing village, by any means necessary.

I really like both versions of this film, and easily recommend them both, but I must admit that the French version is the better of the two.

Yes, Newfoundland looks great on film, and the local actors in the movie – like the legendary Gordon Pinsent – give it extra charm, but the characters in the English version aren’t as fully formed. For instance, there is no reason to believe that the Doctor would be attracted to the woman who becomes his love interest as she just isn’t nice to him…at all.

Flaws aside, THE GRAND SEDUCTION is a very entertaining film, one of two that I highly recommend this weekend.

The other release I highly recommend this week is Jon Favreau’s CHEF.

After making the big budget flicks IRON MAN I & II and COWBOYS and ALIENS, Favreau returns to making smaller movies with CHEF, about a disillusioned chef who loses his restaurant job and decides to open a food truck to rediscover what he loves about food and cooking.

The truck also helps him get closer to his son and ex-wife, although not right away.

CHEF is a really entertaining movie, that doesn’t have a villain, and that is refreshing. It’s just full of characters that all bring something to the story, and you hope things work out in the end.

Plus, the cast…what a cast! In addition to Jon Favreau, CHEF stars Sofía Vergara, Scarlett Johansson, Dustin Hoffman and Robert Downey, Jr.

I really enjoyed CHEF, and am sure you will to. A warning though…do not watch it on an empty stomach as you will be starving as soon as the Chef starts cooking.

Four years after it went off the air, the action series 24 returned to television this year with the limited run series 24: LIVE ANOTHER DAY.

24 originally ran for eight seasons, from 2001 to 2010. Each 24-episode season covered 24 hours – one day – in the life of Counter Terrorist Unit (CTU) agent Jack Bauer, played by Canadian actor Kiefer Sutherland.

This version of 24 – 24: LIVE ANOTHER DAY – is only 12 hours, its a 12 part series that sees Jack Bauer come out of hiding in London to head off a massive terrorist attack.

He is also trying to avoid being caught by the British, the American forces dispatched by President James Heller, and the Russians he had angered the last time we saw him.

24: LIVE ANOTHER DAY isn’t a classic season of the show, but it is better than the last couple. Plus, it is great to have Jack Bauer back, trying to save the world, no matter what.

I didn’t love 24: LIVE ANOTHER DAY, but I can recommend it, and it does have me hoping that it will lead to at least another series, whether it is 12 or 24 episodes long.

If you’re a fan of Japanese Animation, or Anime, one of the greatest films ever released in that style is now available on blu-ray in a 25th ANNIVERSARY EDITION.

Unfortunately, this version of GHOST IN THE SHELL doesn’t come with any retrospective or bonus features at all.

Not a single one.

GHOST IN THE SHELL is about a female cyborg cop and her partner who are hunting for a mysterious and powerful hacker called the Puppet Master.

With the assistance of her team, she tracks and finds their suspect, only to be drawn into a complex sequence of political intrigue and a cover-up.

As it was when it was first released, GHOST IN THE SHELL Is amazing to look at, the animation style is still great, and the story is involving and always interesting.

And it is for those reasons that I can easily recommend the 25th ANNIVERSARY EDITION of GHOST IN THE SHELL.

I recommend it for the movie.

The fact that they are marketing it as an anniversary release without any extras is a huge surprise, but the movie is still so good that I think you should pick up this release anyway.

Finally this week, a warning: Stay away from TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION at all costs.

This is the fourth big budget action film based on the Transformers toy series and it stars Mark Wahlberg in the lead role, instead of Shia LaBeouf, who had been in the first three.

Even though he’s been great in a lot of films, he can’t save this one, nothing can save it, it is a 144 minute waste of your time.

Yes, okay, the special effects and CGI in TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION are amazing, it all looks sort of real, and if that is all you need from a movie, then enjoy.

But if you want a story, interesting characters, or to feel like you’re not completely wasting your time, skip this mess.

It is even a waste of time as a meaningless Summer Action Flick where you’re supposed to shut off your brain and just enjoy.

Man, it is awful!!

The completely useless sequel TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION; the 25th ANNIVERSARY EDITION of the classic Japanese Anime GHOST IN THE SHELL; the very good return of Jack Bauer – played by Canadian Kiefer Sutherland – in 24: LIVE ANOTHER DAY; the great food film CHEF; and the great made-in-Newfoundland comedy THE GRAND SEDUCTION 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!

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The Couch Potato Report – September 27th, 2014

Canadian actor, writer, comedian and filmmaker Seth Rogen began his career performing stand-up comedy during his teenage years and he won the Vancouver Amateur Comedy Contest in 1998 when he was only sixteen years old.

A year later he began working on the television series FREAKS AND GEEKS, and since then has been a part of the cast or creative team – usually both – behind THE 40-YEAR-OLD VIRGIN, KNOCKED UP, SUPERBAD, PINEAPPLE EXPRESS and THIS IS THE END, just to name a few of his many credits and hits.

This summer, Seth Rogen teamed up with the director of FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL and former teen idol Zac Efron for the comedy NEIGHBORS.

Rogen is part of a couple with a newborn baby. Their quiet life comes to a crashing halt when the house next door is sold to a fraternity. Yes, they now live next door to a frat house, and that poses an infinite amount of problems.

They want their neighbours to stay quiet, yet they can’t stay away from the parties.

NEIGHBOURS is a Summer comedy, so it is best enjoyed when you shut your brain off. That way you don’t question anything that happens, you just laugh at the situations…and you will laugh at the situations.

I laughed out loud, repeatedly, and think that you will too.

NEIGHBOURS is not always as funny as it could be, but at times it is actually smarter than it should be and that is why I can easily recommend it.

We’re off to Australia now for an interesting film called THE ROVER.

THE ROVER takes place in a hard, stark, desolate time, ten years after a global economic collapse. Guy Pierce from MEMENTO and L.A. CONFIDENTIAL plays a loner who goes after the men who stole his only possession, his car, and he’s prepared to do just about anything to get it back.

Along the way to get his car back, Guy manages to capture one of the thieves’ brother. He knows where they’re heading and he has his own reasons for catching up with the.

The brother is played by Robert Pattinson, of the TWILIGHT films.

THE ROVER is a slow moving, violent, grim and very interesting film that doesn’t have a lot of dialogue. I really got caught up in it, and wanted to find out why this guy needed his car back so badly and that is why I can easily recommend it.

When a show has been on the air for five years now, like the Emmy Award winning comedy MODERN FAMILY, I often wonder if I really need to recap what it’s about when I review it…or does everyone already know everything about it?

Ultimately I decided to recap it, but only briefly, so I can get to another great clip from the show.

MODERN FAMILY is a show about Jay Pritchett, his second wife, their infant son and his stepson, and Jay’s two grown up children and their families.

The show is told mockumentary style with the camera sometimes acting as a confessional, but mostly it is an observer.

THE COMPLETE FIFTH SEASON of MODERN FAMILY was the fifth – of five – to win the Emmy Award for Best Comedy. Yes it has won every year it’s been eligible, and it will probably keep winning for years.

It is just heads above any other comedy on television right now, and if you have yet to see an episode…see an episode. See them all!!

It is fun and funny and even really nice at times.

Watching THE COMPLETE FIFTH SEASON of MODERN FAMILY could be some of the most fun you have this year.

The only complaint I have about THE COMPLETE FIFTH SEASON of MODERN FAMILY is that it is now only available to own on DVD. The previous years were available on both DVD and Blu-ray. I have seasons 1 to 4 on my shelf on blu-ray, but this latest season is DVD only…and I am very disappointed about that.

But that is the only thing I’m disappointed about, the show itself is still great!!

When it comes to hour long dramas on television, I love a good one, a good guilty pleasure. A show you love, but maybe don’t tell everyone that you watch it.

I like these shows to be dramatic, have good storylines, and several interesting characters. What I don’t like is when an hour long drama is too dramatic, too much like a night-time soap opera, like DYNASTY or FALCON CREST. I don’t like them too soapy.

Season One of the show NASHVILLE started off with the right mix of everything, great setting, cast of characters and storylines.

In Season Two, it’s just a soap opera.

NASHVILLE is a show about a fading country music star – think Reba McEntire – who is fighting to hold onto her crown against a young, up and coming competitor – think Carrie Underwood.

When it was – and is – just about the music industry and the things that happen behind the scenes to get the music to the people, NASHVILLE is still very, very interesting.

Sadly, too often for my liking in THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON, the show is not about the music industry or even music. It is about lying and cheating and drinking and fighting and double crossing and…just about everything you’d expect from a soap opera.

I’ve watched two season of NASHVILLE now, and while it is no longer a show I watch and look forward to – a great guilty pleasure – it hasn’t gotten so bad that I won’t be watching Season Three, because I will.

But as far as my review of THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON of the show is concerned, I can only recommend it to people who love night-time soap operas, and I mean really love them. Otherwise, just skip NASHVILLE.

It is just too soapy.

Finally…it doesn’t seem that long ago when we all used to tune into CBC Television, every weekday afternoon – after Video Hits – to spend time with our friends Jack and Janet and Chrissy, then Cindy and Terry, and The Ropers, and then Mr. Furley, and their neighbour Larry.

No, it wasn’t that long ago when we all used to watch THREE’S COMPANY.

THREE’S COMPANY is a show about the misunderstandings and misadventures of two women and one man living in one apartment. It is also about their neighbours and their landlords, including the great Don Knotts starring as Mr. Furley.

THREE’S COMPANY ran for eight seasons, and all of them are now available in a fun 29 disc box set that comes with some great never before seen bonus materials, and several tributes to the one and only John Ritter, who died far too young in 2003 at the age of 54.

There are so many great moments, some huge laughs, and some great old friends inside the THREE’S COMPANY – THE COMPLETE SERIES 1977-1984 box set.

If you want to relive them, and I highly recommend that you do, come and knock on their door…they’ve been waiting for you…
The still fun and funny 29 disc box set THREE’S COMPANY – THE COMPLETE SERIES 1977-1984; THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON of the too dramatic and soapy NASHVILLE; the still funny and heartwarming COMPLETE FIFTH SEASON of MODERN FAMILY; the interesting Australian film THE ROVER, co-starring Guy Pierce and Robert Pattinson; and the great Summer comedy NEIGHBORS, starring Vancouver’s Seth Rogen 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!

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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!

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I do love those Marvel movies!!

The Couch Potato Report – September 13th, 2014

Of all the films based on characters in the Marvel Comic Book Universe, the 2011 release CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER ranks 18th in Box Office Receipts.

The highest grossing films are THE AVENGERS, IRON MAN 3 and Sam Raimi’s SPIDER-MAN from 2002, and CAPTAIN AMERICA is 18th.

I bring those numbers up to demonstrate that the first CAPTAIN AMERICA film wasn’t that popular with movie-goers. However the second one – this year’s CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER – was popular, in fact it is the second highest grossing film of of 2014, having made $260 million, which is good enough for tenth place on the all-time Marvel list.

Picking up after the events that took place in THE AVENGERS, THE WINTER SOLDIER finds Steve Rogers – and Captain America – struggling to embrace the modern world, and modern warfare.

In addition to fighting modern techniques, he soon has to do battle with someone he might know, an agent known as the Winter Soldier and some high ranking members of S.H.I.E.L.D. the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division that all The Avengers work for.

CAPTAIN AMERICA – THE WINTER SOLDIER has a great story, some spectacular action scenes, and is very entertaining. It also features screen legend Robert Redford in a supporting role AND retired Canadian mixed martial artist Georges St-Pierre fighting Cap in the film, and talking about it in the bonus materials.

It is a lot of fun, I highly recommend CAPTAIN AMERICA – THE WINTER SOLDIER and if you enjoy it, you should also watch the television series AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. as it too picks up after the storyline in THE AVENGERS, plus it takes place at the same time as THE WINTER SOLDIER, and adds on to what happens in the movie.

THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON of AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. is not something you could watch if you haven’t seen the Marvel Movies, but if you have seen them – and like them – you should definitely check it out.

The show has a good cast, is fun at times, and it brings in some great guest stars. Even though it starts of slow, not sure how much to play off the films versus standing alone as it’s own show, but it picks up by the end and I can easily recommend it too.

As long as you’ve seen all the movies.

The new four-disc STAR TREK set THE COMPENDIUM is a must own for all Trek fans, especially if you don’t already own the 2009 STAR TREK reboot and 2013’s STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS on blu-ray.

Now I love the films, and the versions that I already own are good enough for me, but when STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS was first released the studio decided to split up the Bonus Materials to different retailers.

If you bought it at one store, you got one set of features. Buy it at another and you got another set, and so on. That didn’t sit well with the fans, and so now THE COMPENDIUM has been released and it comes with all 23 of the behind-the-scenes featurettes. Every single one of them!

THE COMPENDIUM also offers up an audio commentary on the first film and the IMAX 2D version of STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS, which shifts back and forth from the theatrical aspect ratio to the IMAX framing for select scenes. That fills up the screen more during that second film’s big action sequences.

The question, as it always is with these reissues, is whether it is worth the money. Should you buy it again?

Well, while STAR TREK – THE COMPENDIUM is a fantastic set featuring two great films, and all the Bonus Materials you can imagine – and more – I wouldn’t buy it again. After I’ve watched the special features on almost every release, I never sit through them a second time, so I’m happy with the versions I have.

Should you be a big enough fan that you will watch them all again, even repeatedly, then don’t miss STAR TREK – THE COMPENDIUM. You will love it!!

During the 2013-2014 television season, I kept seeing commercials and promos for a show called THE GOLDBERGS. I never made time to watch it, but it always did looking interesting to me.

THE GOLDBERGS is set in the late 1980s and is about a family of five, your typical television family of five that doesn’t always get along.

Jeff Garlin from CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM is the patriarch and Wendi McLendon-Covey from BRIDESMAIDS is his wife and the kids over-bearing Mother.

The show isn’t always that funny, however I did laugh out loud a few times, and the cast – other than the parents – are nothing special. But what I liked about THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON of THE GOLDBERGS was how much about the 1980s they got right.

The show truly looks and sounds like it is from that eighth decade, the one that I love so much, and thus I enjoyed the show.

Not enough to start watching it every week when the second season debuts, but enough to mildly recommend THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON of THE GOLDBERGS to you on DVD.

Finally this week is THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON of the above average action adventure show HOMELAND.

After two very strong seasons, SEASON THREE of HOMELAND is possibly the best yet. This one features one-time terrorist Brody, who became a congressman, now on the run from the U.S. government following the bombing of the CIA headquarters. He didn’t actually do it, or did he, yet it was made to look like he did.

Meanwhile, Claire Danes’ CIA agent continues to fight. She fights to keep the world safe, for her own freedom, and to clear Brody’s name. She also has a secret. The result of her affair with Brody.

It all leads to a fantastic season, that came with a surprise conclusion that I really enjoyed!

HOMELAND is a great show and THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON features some incredible writing, acting and twists & turns.

I highly recommend the show, not just this latest season, the whole show, to everyone. It is so great!
THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON of the above average drama HOMELAND; THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON of the not great but occasionally funny series THE GOLDBERGS; the great, but only necessary for completists release STAR TREK: THE COMPENDIUM; the very good COMPLETE FIRST SEASON of AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D., and the great action flick CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER 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!

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I do so love a great guilty pleasure!!

The Couch Potato Report – September 6th, 2014

Canadian producer and director Ivan Reitman is responsible for some of the most successful and quoted films ever made. He has literally provided the world millions of laughs through his involvement with ANIMAL HOUSE, MEATBALLS, STRIPES, GHOSTBUSTERS, TWINS, KINDERGARTEN COP and TRAILER PARK BOYS: THE MOVIE.

Reitman has also entertained us since the 1970s with some great dramatic films as well. His filmography includes LEGAL EAGLES, DAVE, UP IN THE AIR, NO STRINGS ATTACHED and now DRAFT DAY, starring Kevin Costner and Jennifer Garner.

Costner stars here as the General Manager of the Cleveland Browns who trades for the Number One pick at the NFL Draft on Draft Day.

That pick could help his team win now, and win for the foreseeable future, and everyone around him has a different idea about what he should do with it.

His head coach isn’t happy either.

Add to all the drama on the football field, Costner’s character is also trying to deal with family issues, which include that fact that his semi-secret girlfriend – played by Garner, who also works for the team – is pregnant.

Now, if you’re looking for a documentary about the NFL Draft and the machinations that go on behind the scenes, and a look at how decisions are made by General Managers and agents and players, DRAFT DAY is absolutely not it. But it is a very good drama about events that take place on Draft Day with some likeable movie characters, played by some pretty good actors.

I really liked it and can easily recommend it. It is another entertaining release from the great Canadian filmmaker Ivan Reitman.

I have a challenging romantic comedy to tell you about now, thats also a bit dramatic. THE ONE I LOVE starts with a late-twenties couple in a marriage that’s falling apart and the movie ends…well, interpreting how the movie ends is part of the fun.

Character actor Mark Duplass of YOUR SISTER’S SISTER and ZERO DARK THIRTY and Elisabeth Moss of MAD MEN are the couple and Ted Danson from CHEERS is the marriage counsellor who sends them away on a weekend together that he promises will change everything.

There is a twist that happens near the start of THE ONE I LOVE that changes the story, but will also make you constantly wonder what is going on.

The twist kept me hooked, these great characters actors and the story kept me watching. I was so curious to see how it ended.

THE ONE I LOVE isn’t perfect, the film does play for another hour after the twist is revealed and that is a long time, plus there is also a lot of anger in the movie as the couple fights, but I still really enjoyed it. This is a great movie to watch with someone else so you can talk about what you think happens at the end.

I gotta be honest with you…I didn’t really care for this next movie, but I love the cast and the premise, so I watched it all the way through, but I won’t recommend the cliched, boring and predictable drama LUCKY THEM to you.

Toni Collette from LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE is a rock music journalist in Seattle who works for a magazine in need of a great story to save it.

That story involves her ex-boyfriend, a local rock legend, who left one night before a show and then is reported to have killed himself…although many people don’t think he is actually dead.

And that’s the story. She is tasked with either proving he’s dead, and finding him alive.

Thomas Haden Church from SIDEWAYS and WINGS is the friend that she brings with her for the ride. He is another ex-boyfriend who can bankroll her story, after she loses the money the magazine gave her.

I like the entire cast of LUCKY THEM, and thought the story was strong enough to carry the movie, but the minute the writer walked into her messy apartment, full of records, and put a record on…showing us that she is a super hip person who lives in the past and never updated to MP3s…as soon as I saw that it was obvious the film would be cliched and predictable. The fact that it is also boring works against it too.

Bottom line, to the people who have never seen this movie I say lucky them.

I also say that they – and everyone – should skip the movie LUCKY THEM

It is Guilty Pleasure Time!!

But first, let’s re-cap: At the end of my review of SEASON ONE of the television show REVENGE I stated how excited I was for the second season of the show. At the end of my review for SEASON TWO I admitted that I was so disappointed that I didn’t even care if there was a third season.

And now, after watching THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON of REVENGE, I say bring on Season Four!

The very beautiful Canadian born actress Emily VanCamp stars in REVENGE and she plays a young woman who becomes a part of a close-knit community populated by people who have no idea that she is only there to exact revenge on those who destroyed her family.

The problem with SEASON TWO was the fact that the plotting and scheming went away for most of it, and instead people seemed to actually get along and their problems weren’t interesting at all.

Happily, the show returned to guilty pleasure form in SEASON THREE as Emily Thorne returns to the Hamptons with a vengeance. She once again will stop at nothing to uncover the secrets of her father’s murder, and I love it!!

More than ever I now want to see if Emily will get her revenge, and I am so pleased that THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON of REVENGE went back to it’s roots.

This is the textbook definition of Guilty Pleasure, and I love it!!

Finally this week is the SECOND SEASON one of the smartest, funniest, and most entertaining shows on television, THE MINDY PROJECT, created by and starring Mindy Kaling from THE OFFICE.

Mindy is young-ish, and hip-ish, and fresh-ish, and her self confidence – and lack thereof – as she bumbles and stumbles her way through life as a doctor in New York City is the basis of the show.

We share Mindy’s life and loves and the life and loves of the quirky co-workers she has in her practice.

SEASON TWO of THE MINDY PROJECT gave us a will-they-or-won’t-they storyline regarding a co-worker in her office and that didn’t work for me, but everything else about the show does.

If you aren’t watching THE MINDY PROJECT, I recommend that you should, and I hope that you enjoy it as much as I do…and I really, really do!
SEASON TWO of the fun, funny and laugh out loud series THE MINDY PROJECT; THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON of the great guilty pleasure drama REVENGE, starring Canadian actress Emily VanCamp; the well meaning and well cast, but cliched and boring drama LUCKY THEM; and the very good drama DRAFT DAY, from the great Canadian filmmaker Ivan Reitman are available now, either on disc or on demand.

The very interesting romantic comedy drama THE ONE I LOVE, co-starring Mark Duplass and Elisabeth Moss from MAD MEN is available now 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!

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Overall, it’s a pretty mediocre week.

The Couch Potato Report – August 30th, 2014

There are some huge stars in this Labour Day Long Weekend edition of The Report. Its just too bad the films that they’re in aren’t more worthy of your time. The stars’ fans will enjoy them, but most of these new releases are not for everyone.

First up is the drama THE NORMAL HEART starring Mark Ruffalo from THE AVENGERS, Jim Parsons of THE BIG BANG THEORY, and Julia Roberts.

Based on a true story, THE NORMAL HEART is the story of the rise of the HIV-AIDS crisis in New York City between 1981 and 1984. Mark Ruffalo plays writer/activist Ned Weeks, the founder of a prominent HIV advocacy group.

Ned is trying to raise awareness of the epidemic, and get help. To do that he’s often fighting with politicians, who don’t want to help or even hear about what’s going on, and even members of his own organization.

THE NORMAL HEART is exceptionally well written, and the acting is fantastic, but overall the film is not that compelling or engaging. I never felt connected to it…I never felt that I was watching real people seeing their loved ones die from a disease they knew little about…instead it seemed more like big name actors sharing their star power for a film and cause they believed in.

The story in THE NORMAL HEART is worth knowing, so history doesn’t ever repeat itself with another unknown disease, and that is why I will mildly recommend it. Just know going in that while it does have some great scenes, the movie isn’t as good as it should be.

Knowing that they’ve done one great romantic comedy together – THE WEDDING SINGER in 1998 – and one pretty good one together – FIFTY FIRST DATES in 2004 – could lead you to think that the re-teaming of Adam Sandler with Drew Barrymore would lead to something that isn’t a complete waste of time.

Please don’t think that. BLENDED is a complete waste of your time!

Drew and Adam star here as single parents who met during a bad blind date and don’t like each other, yet – as happens in movies like this – they end up sharing a resort in Africa. And wouldn’t you know it, they fall in love.

While I’ll admit that BLENDED isn’t the worst film of the year – I actually laughed a few times, and I was smiling at the end – but it is mostly boring and predictable.

Adam and Drew have done better before, and I hope they do better again, but BLENDED isn’t worthy of your time.

Okay, how is this for a cast of stars…John Turturro from THE BIG LEBOWSKI, Sharon Stone of BASIC INSTINCT, Sofia Vergara from TV’s MODERN FAMILY and Woody Allen?!

Now that is a cast, and they all star in the comedy FADING GIGOLO.

John Turturro – who also wrote and directed the film – stars as a man who agrees to become a professional Don Juan as a way of making money to help his cash-strapped friend.

His friend acts as his “manager”, finding the women for him to seduce, but soon love and money get on the way, occasionally with hilarious results.

It must be said that even though Turturro wrote and directed FADING GIGOLO, it is basically a Woody Allen film, so if you don’t like Woody’s films, skip it at all costs.

Now for those of us who do enjoy his films, admittedly this is Woody Allen light…this is not ANNIE HALL, or even close…but it is still pretty good. It isn’t great, but I liked it, and can recommend it…but to fans only.

Okay, how about a positive review now? I’m about to be totally positive as I recommend the latest season of PARKS AND RECREATION.

PARKS AND RECREATION features a top notch ensemble cast lead by Saturday Night Live’s Amy Poehler playing an ambitious and hopeful small town government worker.

She is pushy and doesn’t always listen, and could have come across as unlikeable, but Amy is just such a great comedian, that instead of not liking her, you actually root for her.

Rashida Jones, Aziz Ansari, Rob Lowe, Aubrey Plaza, Chris Pratt, Adam Scott and Nick Offerman round out the cast of PARKS & RECREATION and in SEASON SIX they continue to be the best ensemble cast on television!

I love PARKS AND RECREATION and highly recommend SEASON SIX…and the previous seasons as well…to everyone!!

There was a lot of hype last year at this time surrounding a television show starring James Spader called THE BLACKLIST.

That hype was totally worth it, as this show is well above average!!

Spader has previously starred on the television shows THE PRACTICE and BOSTON LEGAL. In those shows he played a lawyer.

In THE BLACKLIST he plays a former government agent who has eluded capture for decades, only to walk in to the FBI headquarters in Washington one day to surrender.

He then offers to help catch criminals on a “blacklist”, people who he believes are dangerous to society, most of whom are unknown to the FBI.

But, he’ll only speak to Elizabeth Keen, a young FBI profiler who’s just barely out of Quantico.

Spader is so great here, so smart and creepy and confident and relaxed. With a different actor THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON of THE BLACKLIST might have been another run of the mill police procedural drama. With him, it is great, it crackles and is well above average.

I really enjoyed the show, and am looking forward to SEASON TWO!!

Finally this week is BELLE, a film full of character actors who are all stars in their own right. You might not know their names, but you definitely know their voices and faces from all of the Academy Award winning films they’ve been in.

Tom Wilkinson, Miranda Richardson, Matthew Goode, Emily Watson and Tom Felton all appear in BELLE, which tells the story of a mixed race daughter of a Royal Navy Admiral who is raised by her aristocratic great-uncle in 18th century England.

Had BELLE focussed more on what an aristocratic woman of mixed race could and couldn’t do at the time, it would have kept my attention longer. Unfortunately it spent too much time on the love triangle she is involved in, and so I can really only mildly recommend BELLE to fans of historical dramas.
The interesting but not that engaging drama BELLE; SEASON ONE of the above average series THE BLACKLIST; SEASON SIX of the still great show PARKS AND RECREATION; the likeable but not all that funny comedy FADING GIGOLO; the mostly boring and predictable, almost totally unfunny Adam Sandler/Drew Barrymore reunion flick BLENDED; and the also very good, but not engaging AIDS drama THE NORMAL HEART are all full of stars not doing their best work, and 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!

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Spider-Man is soooo awful!!

The Couch Potato Report – August 23rd, 2014

Alice Munro is an Ontario born author who – in 2013 – became the first Canadian to win the Nobel Prize for literature.

Various adaptations of her stories have been filmed over the years, including Sarah Polley’s Academy Award nominated/Genie Award winning AWAY FROM HER in 2006, which was based on Munro’s “The Bear Came Over the Mountain,” from her 2001 collection “Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage”.

Novelist Mark Poirier recently mined Alice Munro’s “Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage” as well to write the screenplay for a movie simply called HATESHIP LOVESHIP, co-starring Kristen Wiig of SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE and BRIDESMAIDS in a dramatic role.

Oscar nominee Hailee Steinfeld, of the Coen Brothers’ remake of TRUE GRIT, co-stars as a teenage girl who – with a friend – writes a love letter to Wiig’s lonely housekeeper. The letter is from the girl’s father, and isn’t the only one the teenagers send. There are so many, in fact, that the housekeeper quits her job and moves to Chicago to be with him, only to find out she was misled and is now stuck with nowhere to go.

Guy Pierce from MEMENTO and THE KING’S SPEECH is a recovering addict who is living in a hotel he’s hoping to fix up and run. And he is great in the role. Kristin Wiig is very good in HATESHIP LOVESHIP as well.

This is a mature, smart, well-written film that takes it’s time getting where it’s going, and I had no problem waiting, even when it got predictable. I enjoyed HATESHIP LOVESHIP and can easily recommend it.

I don’t, on the other hand, I do not recommend the Summer Blockbuster THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2. This thing is as far away from amazing as a superhero movie can be.

The worst Spidey movie ever made is still Sam Raimi’s 2007 mess SPIDER-MAN 3, back when Tobey Maguire was still playing the web-slinger, and if I have anything positive to say about THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 it is that this film isn’t as bad as that one.

But it comes close at times.

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 has too many storylines and villains, is slow and very boring in the middle, tries to be too cute too often, and Andrew Garfield has never been good as Spider-man…and he is especially not good here.

I love superhero movies but THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 just isn’t amazing in any way, so unless you are a hardcore fan too, because I know you have to see it, but everyone else should just skip it.

BOARDWALK EMPIRE has been the best show on television about underworld characters since THE SOPRANOS went off the air in 2007, but after watching THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON this week, I glad that it’s going off the air after one more season. I’d rather have a show end while it is still good, instead of losing interest in a once great show.

BOARDWALK EMPIRE stars Steve Buscemi from FARGO and THE BIG LEBOWSKI as Nucky Thompson, the undisputed ruler of Atlantic City, who started off as part politician, part gangster…but he is mostly gangster now.

BOARDWALK EMPIRE is a great show, that is exceptionally well made, written and full of engaging characters and performances, but what works against it is the fact that it is the type of show you never need to see it again…once you’ve seen it, you’ve seen it.

Plus, during THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON there are several characters that are no longer necessary, they could be written out or killed off and they wouldn’t be missed.

But, even though I’ll never watch any episode of the show a second time, I always enjoy the first viewing. I like this show, I respect this show, and I can easily recommend THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON of BOARDWALK EMPIRE.

I haven’t highly recommended anything yet this week. Well, that changes now with TOY STORY OF TERROR!

This is the 22 minute TOY STORY program that airs at Halloween on television, featuring all of our favourite toys, trapped in their very own scary movie. In classic horror movie form, they disappear one by one and it’s up to Jesse to overcome her fears and save the day.

The Halloween show would be great as is, but this superb Blu-ray release also features the Toy Story Toons – Small Fry, Partysaurus Rex and Hawaiian Vacation.

TOY STORY OF TERROR is a great release that is jam packed with quite a few extras. It is fun for the whole family and I highly recommend it!

Unfortunately, I can only mildly recommend the nature documentary BEARS…and I love nature documentaries!!

Filmed in Alaska, the footage of the bears is spectacular as the film showcases a year in the life of a bear family, mother Sky and cubs Amber and Scout.

What does not work in BEARS is the narration. Done by the great comedic actor John C. Reilly of TALLADEGA NIGHTS and WRECK-IT-RALPH it is meant to be playful and fun, but it didn’t work for me. I don’t want playful and fun with my nature documentaries…I want facts and great footage.

So they got it half right, and as such I’ll mildly recommend it.

For me, the best part about the 1999 animated Walt Disney film TARZAN is the Academy Award winning songs and music of Phil Collins, which all sounds great on the new blu-ray.

Based on the story “Tarzan of the Apes” by Edgar Rice Burroughs, this version is the only one that’s been animated, thus opening up the story to allow the title character – a man raised by gorillas – to do some amazing things.

Sadly, the filmmakers don’t create enough sights to capitalize on those amazing possibilities.

This TARZAN features the voices of Tony Goldwyn, Minnie Driver, Glenn Close, Rosie O’Donnell, and Wayne Knight and the age old story of the difficult decision of where he really belongs once Tarzan discovers he is a human.

TARZAN is a very good, but never great animated film the whole family can enjoy together. But the kids may get bored before the full story has played out.

Finally this week is a movie where nothing really happens for two hours, but I couldn’t take my eyes off of writer/director Jim Jarmusch’s ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE.

Jim Jarmusch is the independant, mostly non-commercial filmmaker who has given us many unique films that only cinephiles will have heard of…like DOWN BY LAW, DEAD MAN, GHOST DOG, BROKEN FLOWERS and THE LIMITS OF CONTROL.

Here we have the story about a depressed musician who reunites with his lover. Their love has already endured several centuries, because they’re vampires. He lives in Detroit, and he convinces her to come visit.

Tom Hiddleston, Loki from THE AVENGERS and THOR and Oscar winner Tilda Swinton from MICHAEL CLAYTON star as the two leads in ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE and they are great, just talking and thinking aloud…as I said, nothing really happens here, but I still really enjoyed it.

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE is artsy and slow and hypnotic. Cinephiles shouldn’t miss it, and I also recommend regular film viewers search it out as well, should you be looking for something a little different

Jim Jarmusch’s slow but entertaining drama ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE; Disney’s very good 1999 animated version of TARZAN; the just okay documentary BEARS; the great TOY STORY OF TERROR – which also features the short films made featuring the gang; the very good, but slipping, COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON of BOARDWALK EMPIRE; the never amazing, quite awful sequel THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2; and mature, smart, well-written drama HATESHIP LOVESHIP, co-starring Kristn Wiig and based on a short story by the Nobel Prize winning Canadian author Alice Munro 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!

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Yes, rest in peace, Robin Williams.

The Couch Potato Report – August 16th, 2014

When I compile my list of the best films of 2014 in a mere four months, it is very likely that the documentary LIFE ITSELF about film critic Roger Ebert will be at or near the top of that list.

Roger Ebert was a film critic, newspaper journalist, and screenwriter who first gained fame in 1975 when he teamed up with Gene Siskel to do movie reviews on television.

LIFE ITSELF is a biographical documentary based on Ebert’s 2011 memoir of the same name. It looks back at his career and also features footage and interviews with friends, celebrities and Ebert himself.

LIFE ITSELF also shows us Ebert’s daily routine while in a hospital and rehabilitation center in the last few months of his life.

Some of those scenes are difficult to watch, but they help the film tell the whole story of Roger Ebert, and it tells it warts and all.

I have never said this about a movie before, because it is Siskel & Ebert’s trademarked phrase, but I’ll say it right now: LIFE ITSELF gets “Two Thumbs Up” from me. I absolutely loved it and highly recommend it.

I continue now with some FILTH for you.

FILTH is a Scottish comedic crime drama based on Irvine Welsh’s novel of the same name. It stars James McAvoy from the recent X-MEN films as a scheming, manipulative, misanthropic police detective who spends most of his time indulging in drugs, alcohol, and abusive relationships, all while trying to get a promotion and win back his wife and daughter.

I was interested in FILTH as I watched it play out. I haven’t read the book so I was curious to see what would happen next, what scheme the cop would launch to get what he wanted.

Ultimately, FILTH is never great, but McAvoy is at times, and so I can easily recommend the film to anyone who likes their movies raw, bleak and unhappy.

We found out a few weeks ago that even though NBC has cancelled the television series COMMUNITY, the show’s dream of six seasons and a movie is still alive as Yahoo! picked it up for a sixth season.

That was as great news this summer as the fact that NBC would do a fifth season last summer was!!

That Fifth Season was fun and it’s now available to watch and own on disc.

COMMUNITY is a smart, hip, funny, always fresh show that is full of characters that I always enjoy hanging out with!!

COMMUNITY is sitcom about a group of people who first met when they joined a study group at Community College in Colorado. Over the course of the show they’ve had their ups and downs…and the show has too.

After the third season, the show’s creator – Dan Harmon – was fired. But then the network re-hired him back for Season Five because the show wasn’t as good, or as funny, without him.

The newly released SEASON FIVE of COMMUNITY isn’t the series’ best, but it is still fun and still has an amazing ensemble cast.

If you are looking for some laughs, you will definitely find some in THE COMPLETE FIFTH – and FOURTH and THIRD and SECOND and FIRST seasons of COMMUNITY.

So enjoy!!

Right from the get-go, the people behind the family film MUPPETS MOST WANTED want us to know that sequels are rarely as good as the movies that precede them.

And MUPPETS MOST WANTED is definitely not as good as the 2011 reboot THE MUPPETS, but I still liked it. Full disclosure though, I am a lifelong Muppets fan.

This time around The Muppets – Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie, Gonzo and the gang – are hot! They’re popular and a promoter wants them to go on a world tour to profit from their popularity.

While on their grand tour, The Muppets find themselves wrapped up in a jewel-heist caper headed by a Kermit the Frog look-alike and his sidekick.

MUPPETS MOST WANTED is a fun family film, it’s just not as fun as the last Muppets movie. It isn’t the worst of their films either…it sits somewhere in the middle of the great Muppet legacy and I can easily recommend it to young and old alike.

Finally this week, Robin Williams.

Over his five decade career in television and films, Robin Williams created several unforgettable characters and gave us some superb performances, especially in GOOD MORNING VIETNAM, DEAD POETS SOCIETY and GOOD WILL HUNTING, for which he won his only Academy Award.

Williams also appears in several great films the whole family can enjoy. POPEYE, JUMANJI, MRS. DOUBTFIRE and – especially – ALADDIN.

As many of us did, I loved Robin Williams and I’m still shocked that he’s gone. That’s why I wanted to take a moment this week to share the number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

If you – or someone you know – if you feel that you have no other option, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline serves Canada and the U.S., and they are there for you twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

The number is 1-800-273-TALK.

That is 1-800-273-TALK.

Rest In Peace, Robin Williams.

The many great films and television shows featuring Robin Williams; the fun, but not as fun as the last movie MUPPETS MOST WANTED; THE COMPLETE FIFTH SEASON of the still funny series COMMUNITY; the good but not great comedic crime drama FILTH are all available now, either on disc or on demand.

The exceptional documentary LIFE ITSELF – about film critic Roger Ebert – is available now 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!