• 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.

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TITLE: Hellboy

YEAR: 2004

GENRE: Superhero/Comics

I have to admit that I am finding many of the new comic book heroes being created in the independent circuit to be enjoyable. Nothing against the old guard, but stories like Kick-Ass and The Walking Dead are wonderful additions to the comic book world and their subsequent film and television adaptations have been wonderful additions to any comic book fan’s collection. Discovered by fans through an independent comic book distributed by the creators of the world-famous Comic-Con in 1991 and discovered byHollywoodat the same festival years later, Hellboy was licensed for a theatrical release in 2001 and was released a couple years later. Hellboy is an excellent superhero adaptation that creates a unique fantasy world that combines the fantastic with the modern world in a fairly seamless fashion.

In a last ditch effort to win World War II, a group of Nazis use occultist practices to attempt to bring demons to Earth to fight on the side of the Axis. American forces stop the ceremony, but not before a single baby demon crosses over to our world. Having compassion for the little monster, Professor Trevor “Broom” Bruttenholm (played by John Hurt) acts as a surrogate father to the demon and raises Hellboy (Ron Perlman) to fight for the cause of good and to repress his more demonic side. Bruttenholm starts the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense which features Hellboy as its main front line defense against monsters that go bump in the night. Aided his aquarian sidekick Abe Sapien (Doug Jones) pyro-kinesis expert and love interest Liz Sherman (Selma Blair), Hellboy is out to save the more normal people against the evils of the supernatural.

Hellboy is a very under rated superhero film for several reasons. First of all, the concept alone is unique: the epitome of evil—a demon—becomes the good guy, and his continual conflict to suppress his natural origins to be a hero rather than a proverbial goat is especially interesting. The writing in this respect is especially intelligent when Hellboy deals with the knowledge that these supernatural superheroes know that they are considered freaks yet they are commissioned to protect the very same people that they are forbidden to fellowship by their government. Despite all his differences with normal people, the character of Hellboy is effective in its portrayal of a conflicted soul that just wants to be normal. Add to the fact that Perlman’s enactment of the title character is well done and he brings the quirkiness and more complicated characterization at a high level. Abe Sapien is a great compliment to Hellboy as both are afflicted by their freakish nature, yet Abe is more accepting of his weird features and more than happy to stay in his oversized fish tank, eat rotten eggs, and work on his continually frustrating Rubik’s Cube.  The makeup on Hellboy by Rick Baker (who did The Howling and An American Werewolf In London) is especially good, and the rest of the characters look fantastic in all their rubber and prosthetic glory. The story is well written and moves well enough despite some hiccups here and there, and the fight scenes are well choreographed and at times comical in their presentation.

There is one official live action sequel and two animated films using all the main voices from this film, and all of them are acceptable and worth watching. Both live action films were modest hits but unfortunately a third installment in the franchise has been cancelled. Despite this, this is the best film of the four and Hellboy is a quality production that is very worthy of your time and efforts. Hellboy is periodically on Saturday afternoons on FX, but take the time to add this to your Netflix queue and enjoy the roller coaster ride through the unnatural fight scenes and the good vs. evil conflict that Hellboy has within his own soul. Hellboy is a quality production that should belong in most collections and at the very least at least one viewing for fans of superhero films.

* * * * 1/2



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