• A Review Page For Those Movies You Watch At Home!

    Couch Potato Movie Reviews is, obviously, a blog that exclusively reviews movies. What makes this blog different is the fact that all of the films we are reviewing are all movies that are available on home movie rental companies such as Redbox, Netflix, Blockbuster, and your quickly disappearing neighborhood rental store. This blog is designed to take a more detailed look at those movies that either were sent straight to DVD, received a very limited release in the theaters, or were distributed through the art house or film festival circuit. We will also review those big Hollywood films, but only after they are available for home viewing.

    All the reviews are written by fans of the great art of film making rather than some newspaper reviewer or stuffy film student. We don’t know everything about film but we do know what we like, and we are more than happy to share our opinions with you. What you do with those opinions are totally up to you, although comments are welcome and encouraged.

    Each film review has a one to five star rating at the end of the critique. Here is what those star ratings mean for you couch potatoes:

    * * * * * : Five stars: go and buy this one, don’t just rent it!

    * * * * : Four stars: put this at the top of your rental list.

    * * * : Three stars: average, not bad just not great either.

    * * : Two stars: only rent if you have to see everything.

    * : One star: don’t waste your time with this.

Buried

TITLE: Buried

YEAR: 2010

GENRE: Horror and Drama

American movie goers are used to films that have elaborated sets and scenery. Whether this is a futuristic society, a sprawling urban setting, or some beautiful landscape, directors like to have numerous selections of scenery in order to add character and beauty to their finished film project. Films with limited backdrops can also bore the viewer and require special actors, directors, and production values to make the finished project work on a level that raises the film above its scenic restrictions. Buried is one of those films that has very limiting scenery yet the film makers are tremendously successful in the creation of a tense and suffocating production.

Paul Conroy (played by Ryan Reynolds) is a civilian truck driver working for a service company contracted by the United States military in war-torn Iraq. Paul’s convoy was attacked by insurgents and Paul awakens to find that his prison courtesy of the insurgents is unique: a wooden board coffin buried in the ground. All Paul has is a working cell phone, a jackknife, a couple glow sticks, a small flashlight, a pencil, a lighter, and a flask of alcohol to work with to escape. He uses the cell phone and discovers that the U.S. government is not much of a help and his kidnappers want a $1 million ransom for his freedom. Will Paul be able to escape his gravely prison?

The main challenge of Buried was the fact that the entire film’s scenery is the insides of the before mentioned coffin, which also limited the movements and actions of Reynolds. This does not serve as a deterrent for director Rodrigo Cortez but rather a challenge, and Buried turns out to be a fantastic study of a man faced with his own demise. Reynolds gives the performance of his career in Buried as he is utterly fantastic as the claustrophobic and trapped Conroy. Some of the phone conversations are interesting in the film especially the one he has with his employer’s attorney (Robert Clotworthy) which is the epitome of the evils of big business. The filming in Buried is obviously dark because the film is staged underground, but limited lighting is used in certain situations and is effective in its execution. Some online fan critics have reported displeasure with the film’s ending, but from a  realistic perspective Buried more than likely would have finished in this way if it was real life and I appreciated the fact the dénouement is not a standard Hollywood happy ending.

Buried was the surprise hit of the Sundance Film Festival in 2010 and has given director Cortez numerous new opportunities including the director’s chair in the upcoming horror thriller Red Lights starring Robert DeNiro and Cillian Murphy. This film may become part of the independent film legacy that introduces new talent to the Hollywood, but even if it does not Buried is an important low budget production that give the film world a new breath of fresh air. Buried may not be the best film for everybody due to its claustrophobic nature and subsequent ending, but those who enjoy true horror films will find Buried to be a breath of fresh air among all the run of the mill serial killer, vampire, and werewolf films filling their Netflix queues. Even if Cortez does not eventually end up on a list of Hollywood’s elite directors, Buried is a memorable piece of dark art that is worthy of viewing for more mature horror fanatics.

* * * *

–Mark

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