The Couch Tomato: Rachel Getting Married, W.

Plus, Sam Jackson goes psycho and we smoke up Weeds season 3

by | July 9, 2009 | Comments

Couch Tomato Pick of the Week:

Consensus: Engrossing tale of family angst, highlighted by Hathaway’s powerful performance.

Anne Hathaway proves there is life beyond Bride Wars when she channels her Serious Actor Within as Kym, the drug addicted, pain-in-the-ass sister in Rachel Getting Married. Director Jonathan Demme goes to town with the hand-held shooting style he loves so much but it is Jenny Lumet’s (Sidney’s little girl) quick-fire script that keeps you gripped in the stomach-churning discomfort of familial dysfunction overload.

There are a lot of speeches, the family is unlikeable and it goes for just a bit too long; still, you can’t help but love it. Basically it is every family wedding you have ever been to — so pop the champagne, throw rice at yourself and get into it.

Special features: commentary with producer Neda Armian, screenwriter Jenny Lumet and editor Tim Squyres; commentary with actress Rosemarie DeWitt; Behind the Scenes; The Wedding Band; cast and crew Q&A; deleted scenes.

Available to rent and buy on DVD on Wednesday, 8 July.



Consensus: A surprisingly sympathetic portrayal of the 43rd American president, W. is fascinating in spots, but merely rudimentary as a whole.

Oliver Stone is at it again….the presidential biopic. He has done JFK and Nixon, and is now turning his gaze on our old mate, Dubya. If Bush-bashing is what you are after, you won’t find it here. What you will find is an entertaining film that is performed quite well and is… um… kind of nice. ‘Nice’ is not a word that should ever be used to describe an Oliver Stone film or George W. Bush — but there you have it. It focuses more on George’s relationship with his father and God than the effect his particular brand of leadership had on the world, and arguably its biggest crime is that it doesn’t dig very deep.

Still, it is surprisingly funny, in a good way, and the performances from Josh Brolin as the good ol’ boy himself, Elizabeth Banks as Laura and James Cromwell as Daddy Bush are very sound. Watch it for its well-performed character study, rather than any political insights.

Special Features: commentary with director Oliver Stone; Dangerous Dynasty: The Bush Presidency; No Stranger to Controversy: Oliver Stone’s George W. Bush; deleted scenes; and filmmakers’ research and annotations Guide.

Available to rent and buy on DVD on Wednesday, 8 July.

Consensus: This thriller about a menacing cop wreaking havoc on his neighbours is tense enough but threatens absurdity when it enters into excessive potboiler territory.

Samuel L Jackson stars as the psycho neighbour in this well-meaning thriller. You can’t help but ask yourself: What is a nice man like Sam doing in a movie like this? Remember when he was making good quality films like… Snakes on a Plane and… Jumper?

Lakeview Terrace starts well, and bless it, does have some message to impart around racism and class. But it lacks the subtly to do it well. Samuel L. Jackson is, as always, a force of nature on the screen, and the other performances are solid enough.

Resist the urge to pack your bags and move kilometres away from your nearest neighbour. Instead, scoot back to the DVD store and pick up Snakes on a Plane.

Special Features: commentary with director Neil LaBute and actress Kerry Washington; deleted scenes with optional commentary; Welcome to Lakeview Terrace: Behind the Scenes – An Open House; Welcome to Lakeview Terrace: Behind the Scenes – Meet Your Neigbours; and Welcome to Lakeview Terrace: Behind the Scenes – Home Sweet Home.

Available to rent and buy on DVD and Blu-ray on Wednesday, July 8.

RT on TV:

Weeds: Season 3

Nancy Botwin (Mary-Louise Parker), everyone’s favourite mull MILF, is back for another season after one hell of a cliff-hanger at the end of Season 2. Nancy’s story is a familiar one: a woman, newly widowed, decides the best way to provide for herself, her children, brother-in-law and blackmailing housekeeper is to set up a thriving drug-dealing business in her white-bread, middle-class town.

Season 3 offers Nancy her usual challenges. She is once again broke, in over her head and playing with people she shouldn’t. She is less green this time round, giving her a tougher edge as she juggles her many responsibilities whilst clutching a giant, caffeinated beverage. In this season everyone wants in on the family business — including an Olsen twin!

A stand-out amongst the supporting characters is acid-tongued Celia, played by Elizabeth Perkins. With a gin in one hand and a permanent air of moral righteousness she proves that with friends like these you don’t need enemies.

Special features: eight commentaries with cast and crew; seven trivia tracks; gag reel; Little Boxes music montages; Little Boxes Randy Newman featurette; Uncle AWOL featurette with Justin Kirk; Mary-Kate Olsen bio; and G.M.A.: Good Morning.

Available buy on DVD on Wednesday, 8 July.

The Tudors Season 2

This series traces the original love rat, Henry VIII, through his ferocious and deadly matrimonial adventures.

Henry, played by a charismatic Jonathan Rhys Meyers, is a busy boy this season, what with swapping out his first wife, Katherine of Aragon, and the Catholic Church for the sexy Anne Boleyn and the Church of England. And by season end, even our Anne is losing her head whilst Jane Seymour steps up to the plate.

This is an opulent series created by Michael Hirst, the screenwriter who brought us Elizabeth and Elizabeth: the Golden Age. Henry has lost his innocence of the first season and is starting his descent into the merry wife swapping for which he is so known, with a little church pillaging on the side.

If historical documentaries are not your thing, then this certainly is. It is a soft porn soap with lots of scandal, betrayal and heaving breast shenanigans. History is dealt with in broad strokes so if you are a stickler for accuracy, you may find yourself shouting at the television screen.

Special features: To Play a Pope; and Love and Passion in Tudor Times.

Available to buy on DVD and Blu-ray on Wednesday, 8 July.

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