• 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: Splice

YEAR: 2009

GENRE: Science Fiction and Horror

Every year there are a couple deserving films released during the busy summer season that end up being overshadowed by films with much larger advertising budgets. Take for example the film Splice, an independent sci-fi/horror offering that was nominated for Best Picture at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival. The film did receive a Hollywood release but was placed head to head against the big budget comedy Take Him To The Greek and the Ashton Kutcher action comedy Killers as well as a week after the release of the monstrous family film Shrek Forever After. Splice ended up losing out against the much larger competition, but the real losers were the nerd cinema fans who missed this fantastic release in the theaters. Splice is a fast-paced sci-fi thriller that offers a great storyline, an interesting morality dilemma, and superb acting skills.

Genetic engineers Clive Nicoli (played by Adrien Brody) and Elsa Kast (Sarah Polley) are scientists who are working on splicing together DNA chains of various animals to create new hybrids specifically designed for medical research and development of new drugs and other medical advances. A female prototype has been successfully created, and now Nicoli and Kast wish to move to the next level and start combining animal DNA with human specimens. When their financers refuse to continue to write the check for their research, the twosome decides to venture out on their own and create a human/animal mixture they affectionately name Dren (Delphine Chaneac). As Dren matures and grows through the equivalent of adolescence it starts to develop some violent tendencies, and their beautiful creation becomes a vicious abomination.

Splice is a great movie because of how effective it can be on a variety of levels. First of all, Splice is a great thriller that delivers some excellent scenes of action and some bloodshed but this is just the scraping of the surface. Director Vincenzo Natali (whose earlier work includes the independent hit Cube) has also created a great homage to the Frankenstein legacy as well as the works of directors such as David Cronenberg, but most important Splice questions the potential dangers and morality of science and technology in the fact that just because a certain idea or creation can be accomplished does not mean that the work should be attempted. Another aspect that makes Splice work so well is the work of the three main actors. Brody and Polley both do an excellent job as the concerned scientists and offer a unique chemistry together in that the viewer believe in the characters, but the story is that Chaneac could have delivered the best monster portrayal since Boris Karloff in Frankenstein as the continually evolving, curious, and at times devious Dren. Chaneac is truly fabulous and honestly deserved an Academy Award nomination for her performance. The ending is a little left to be desired and I could have pictured a more thrilling and satisfactory ending, but this is a minor complaint as Splice will satisfy most viewers when the final credits roll and the dénouement does fit pretty well with the theme of science versus morality.

Hollywood has stood up and taken notice of Natali and Chaneac: Natali has been contracted to helm the resurrection of the Swamp Thing franchise and Chaneac has become a fairly in demand actress with several projects in production and development as of this writing. The summer movie season is best known for huge budget films that are more for popcorn sales than intellectual thought and genuine thrills and chills, and it appears that Splice could have benefitted from a release date in a time frame with less theatrical competition. Despite this, Splice is a challenging, smart, and thrilling story about a creation that should not have been and the scientists who raise experimentation above morality. This is a question that society has grappled with since Copernicus proposed that the Earth revolved around the Sun, and Splice does a great job in adding to the debate. This is a film in which to stay sober, watch with your more intellectual friends, and have a fun debate on the topics discussed. Recommended.

* * * * 1/2



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