• 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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Urban Legend

TITLE: Urban Legend

YEAR: 1998

GENRE: Horror

Once Scream was released in 1997, a sudden resurgence in the slasher film arose and Hollywood and independent film makers started cranking out this 1980’s drive-in staple. As with the Reagan era, most of these copies of the film that spawned the interest were nowhere near as good as the original and most of them plodded in the stereotypical footsteps and tired formula of this overdone genre. One of the most famous Scream clones would be Urban Legend, a $14 million production released by Columbia Tri-Star Films. Although a financial success, Urban Legend played too much on a tired and not so true formula that makes the film feel very much like a run of the mill and uncreative horror offering.

Natalie Simon (played by Alicia Witt) is a beautiful and smart college student at Pendleton University, which is snuggled deep in rural New England. Natalie attends a class on urban legends taught by Professor Wexler (Robert Englund), himself a bit of a legend on campus for genuine creepiness. Natalie’s friends, school journalist Paul Gardner (Jared Leto) and fellow student Brenda bates (Rebecca Gayheart), starts to piece together various mysterious deaths on campus and comes to the conclusion that a psychopathic killer using urban legends as motivations for the deaths. Most of the students blow it all off as hogwash until they start dropping dead one by one. Now Natalie has to contemplate who to trust as the killer could be anybody including her friends or her college professor. The truth however is much more unnerving than Natalie could possibly imagine.

Urban Legend does deserve some credit for tying in a fair amount of urban legends throughout the film for a few laughs, such as a roommate substituting birth control pills for baby aspirin and a cheerleader who contemplates having her stomach pumped after performing oral sex on the football team. Despite this, the film comes across as way too paint by numbers and lacking substantial creativity. The film is nicely made production-wise and the acting is better than most slasher films, but the kills are downright boring and the film lacks a significant suspense element. There are some fairly cool cameos, such as Brad Dourif (the voice of Chucky in the Child’s Play films) as a maniacal gas station attendant attempting to save one young lady from the axe-wielding killer and Tara Reid (Josey And The Pussycats, American Pie) as a college DJ who also meets an untimely end. The problem with the characters in Urban Legend is that with the exception of Natalie none of them are properly developed and as a result they turn more into killer fodder than characters the viewer may care about in any way.

Urban Legend did gross $72 million worldwide and as a result spawned the sequels Urban Legend: Final Cut (2000) and Urban Legend: Bloody Mary (2005) and both are even more tripe than the original. The film does have some creative elements, but unfortunately Urban Legend is way too stereotypical and formulaic to make the production a serious entry in the horror genre and as a result the film is unmemorable.

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