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Nick's Pics
Nick Nicholson
Film & Home Entertainment Critic
 

This column expresses the personal opinions/views of the writer. If you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column, write a SIGNED letter to the editor. Name can be withheld by request with a valid day time phone number.


 

DVD REVIEWS

The director of Smokin’ Aces and Narc brings you back into the adrenaline-pumping world of blood, bullets and badasses. Packed with insane mercenaries, sexy assassins, and more of the fan-favorite Tremor family, this all-new explosive film tells the story of a low-level FBI agent with a high-price on his head! May the best hit man survive! he story contains two characters from the first film, but there is no other other connection and each of them only have bit parts that provide a few laughs so watching the first film is not mandatory to get anything happening here. The FBI protects one of their own from a conglomerate of assassins, all of whom get their chance to display their special skills.

As raw and offensive as ever, Artie Lange returns to his roots in Jack and Coke, shot at one of his favorite clubs in his beloved New York City. One of America’s funniest stand-up comedians, Lange’s irreverent, uncensored humor gets huge laughs from this NYC crowd. The culmination of nearly four years of touring, Jack and Coke includes nearly an hour and a half of insanely honest, hilarious material. If you are a die hard Artie Lange fan, you have probably heard all of these jokes before.

After Olympic fever swept the nations, especially the United States in 1976 (the nation’s bicentennial), the worldwide sporting competitions would be sorely missed until 1980, as well as 1984, when the U.S. would be the host nation for the Summer Games. Fortunately Hanna-Barbera provided a worthy substitute in animated form as up to 45 of their cartoon characters (classic and otherwise) were featured on this show competing for the gold medal. While some events were similar to real-life Olympic events, most were pretty offbeat and quite unusual, and could only be done on cartoons like this. Among these weird events were racing on ostriches, camels, kangaroos, rickshaws and unicycles, as well as scavenging for creatures like the Abominable Snowman, vampires, and the Loch Ness Monster. With events like these, each Laff-A-Lympics was bound to be a major adventure!

Kendra is great and the DVD’s have everything from the first season... perhaps too much. These DVD’s are not suitable for kids, definitely not without adult supervision. The show on DVD is UNCENSORED, so every word bleeped on TV can be heard on the DVD’s, and everything blurred or pixelated on TV is totally visible on the DVD’s. That aside, the show is great. Kendra is funny, pretty and likeable. Kendra and Hank make a great couple. The fact the episodes on DVD are uncensored should’ve been disclosed though.

A reinvigorated Dallas returns in this dramatically vibrant Season 12 DVD which has a lot more entertaining action, humor and on-location filming than any other season of the show. This action-packed season has some good and imaginative plots but also a couple of mediocre ones. This is also a fun and light-hearted season that is quite fast-paced with plot-twists galore, and there are great one-liners in most episodes. Larry Hagman is still priceless in his signature role as J.R. Ewing.

Rupert Wyatt scored big on this, his first feature film. He nails it as both writer and director; the characters are interesting and believable, the movie looks grimly gorgeous, and his time-shifting script pays off in the end in unexpected ways. He pulls fine performances from the entire cast, with Brian Cox leading the way. The music is also first-rate, always in tune with the director’s intentions and often quite moving in its own right. It is in fact a very smart film in most every way; even the title takes on great resonance as the tale plays out.

A brilliant picture that was first shown at the Tribecca Film Festival to huge acclaim, this is a must see for any fan of history! In 1960, Cuban photographer Alberto Korda Díaz snapped a photo of Ernesto Che Guevara. Eight years later, the image exploded throughout Europe and Latin America, where it became a symbol of protest and dissent. Today, the photograph remains one of the most dominant icons of the twentieth century. Chevolution is a film about a single photograph, and how this portrait, with its enigmatic gaze, became a symbol of countless visions for change.

Artistic expression is examined from beginning to end in this incredibly interesting documentary. From sampling to who is entitled to what money, the entire process is reviewed.

Whatever She Wants is the story about one woman s determination to rediscover who she really is. Vivian Wolf (Vivica A. Fox) has suffered one heartbreak too many and has no room left for unfulfilled relationships. Now she has come up with the solution to every woman s problem, a private club called Whatever She Wants where men have to qualify to get in.

Touched By an Angel was an American drama television series that chronicled the missions of a group of angels sent by God. Created by John Masius and produced by Martha Williamson, it ran on CBS for nine seasons, from September 21, 1994 to April 27, 2003, and aired in many countries all around the world. Regular production was based in Salt Lake City, Utah. The show’s premise was based heavily on non-denominational Christian concepts. During its run, it was one of the highest-rated shows on CBS, and acquired a substantial fan base.

In the Touched by an Angel series, angels were sent to Earth to inspire people who were at a crossroads in their lives. Monica (Roma Downey), was an angel just beginning her earthly assignments. She reported to and worked with Tess (Della Reese), her wise and compassionate supervisor. They were joined by Andrew (John Dye), the gentle Angel of Death who often helped Monica and Tess out as a caseworker on various assignments. The inspirational “Touched by an Angel” stories were based upon the temptations, hardships and sorrows that effect all of us: grief, fear, loneliness, anger, addiction. The angels never offered a quick fix, but always helped the struggling humans work through their situation while delivering a message of hope, faith, truth, and love.

Clark Gesner’s musicalization of Charles Schulz’s “Peanuts” comic strips was a hit off-Broadway in 1967 and on Broadway in 1999. This video presents 49 minutes of the show, combining the familiar look of “Peanuts” animated television specials with Gesner’s charming skits and songs, including the title tune, Snoopy’s ode to eating “Suppertime,” the Beethoven adaptation “Schroeder,” the baseball yarn “T-E-A-M,” and the sweet-as-a-warm-puppy anthem “Happiness.” It should be noted that Gesner’s clever score, while inspired by the actual strips, is aimed at a slightly older viewing audience than are most “Peanuts” videos, and that these young voices occasionally strain to keep up with its demands. Still, it’s solid entertainment, and for anyone who performed the show in school and wishes there were a stage performance recorded on video, this is the next best thing.

In the tradition of The Devil’s Backbone comes the internationally acclaimed Argentine/Spanish horror saga from writer/director Paco Cabezas. During a road trip to visit their dying father, an estranged brother and sister discover a hidden diary that reveals a family legacy of fear and torture. But when past and present begin to collide, the siblings must confront the truth behind the trail of ‘the disappeared’: 30 000 people kidnapped and murdered under Argentina’s military dictatorship...some of whom may have now returned to our world. Ruth Díaz and Javier Pereira star in this startling combination of supernatural chiller and shocking political thriller that Eye For Film hails as a modern ghost story made with commitment, passion and effective terror.

Best known for their award-winning and hilariously deadpan Sundance shorts, acclaimed independent filmmakers the Zellner Brothers now deliver a new feature length comedy about a man who loses his wife, his job and his mind. But worst of all, he s also lost his beloved cat Goliath. What follows is a laugh-out-loud grim search for the sweetest, most wonderful cat in the whole world that straddles the line between humor and pathos like few other comedies you ve ever seen. Writer/director David Zellner, producer/editor Nathan Zellner, Wiley Wiggens and Andrew Bujalkski star in this indie festival hit that Cinematic calls, a welcome funny and human reminder of the simple fact that the little things can mean a lot, both in life and in art.

Louis Armstrong: Good Evening Ev’rybody, an invaluable live concert recording, is based on never before publicly seen footage of the entertainer’s 70th birthday party at the 1970 Newport Jazz Festival. The feature-length high-definition production has recently aired, in a shorter version, on public broadcasting channels (PBS) in the United States, and on several international broadcasters, including BBC4 in the United Kingdom. Famed jazz producer George Wein, who created the Newport Jazz Festival and has produced it for many years, threw Armstrong’s all-star party, featuring Mahalia Jackson and Dizzy Gillespie as well as many other jazz greats; he also had the foresight to get it professionally filmed, though the film was never released. He even went to Armstrong’s house, in Queens, New York, and, by asking the musician a series of artfully-framed questions, got what is, in effect, a narration from the master. Mind you, Armstrong was not well at the time; he passed on July 6, 1971, and this is believed to be his last filmed concert performance. The original, first generation 16 mm. film of the 1970 concert was produced and directed by Wein, filmmaker Sidney J. Stiber, and executive produced by Jack Lewerke. Producer Albert Spevak created new hi def masters from the original, and digitally restored the audio from the original concert masters.

This entire series is masterfully done! Instead of a bunch of facts and figures delivered by the usual talking heads often seen in documentaries, this series focuses on 12 individuals that were on the front lines during the war. The battles of WWII are told in their own words, through their letters, reports, and interviews, making the entire documentary intensely personal. The narration provided by Gary Sinise seamlessly intertwines the personal accounts with the facts of the battles and strategies used, giving the viewer all of the background information they need to understand what’s going on without being the least bit intrusive. The added backdrop of the never-before-seen color WWII footage of the events really makes it seem as if the viewer is right in the middle of the action; watching and experiencing everything for themselves. History teachers and textbook authors take note: this is how history should be taught!

A fascinating look into one of the oldest professions in the United States. Pawn Stars takes a gander into the only family run pawn shop in Las Vegas, Nevada. This pawn shop has been a mainstay within the Vegas arena where the family entrepreneurs use their assessing skills to value anything and everything for their customers. This program provides a wide array of emotions that run the full gamut regarding customer and employee mood swings. Every episode provides levity and humor as both sides attempt to make more money.

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   Last Update:
January 20, 2010