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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.


 

MOVIE REVIEWS

EDGE OF DARKNESS

Casino Royale filmmaker Martin Campbell directs a remake of his own BBC miniseries with this thriller. Mel Gibson stars as Thomas Craven, a man who has spent years as a detective in Boston. When his own daughter is killed near the door of his home, Craven realizes that her death is only one piece of a puzzle filled with corruption and conspiracy, and it falls to him to discover who is behind the crime. Written by Oscar-winner William Monahan and screenwriter Andrew Bovell, Edge of Darkness also stars Ray Winstone and Danny Huston.
As of late, nobody does a vengeance film better than Mel Gibson. Remember one of his older films, Payback? In a way, this film is a juxtaposition of that film and the Charles Bronson Deathwish series. The direction and performances are well done. The biggest negative here is the story is formulaic and cookie cutter in nature. While there are a number of twists to this story that you will anticipate, a couple will please and surprise you. The director finds a pretty cool way to focus attention on political and climatological issues. Both Gibson and Campbell are well served by their decisions throughout the film. Although this picture isn't Gibson's best work, it is a film worthy of viewing. Kudos to the writer and director for doing an adequate job of creating a film from the brilliant BBC series of the same name.


Starring: Mel Gibson
& Ray Winstone
Director: Martin Campbell
Company: Warner
Now Showing: In area Theatres
MPAA Rating: R
Grade: B-

DVD REVIEWS

Buddy Ebsen was 62 when The Beverly Hillbillies ended, but he was far from ready to hang it up. Crime shows were very popular, and in 1973 Ebsen made his debut as investigator Barnaby Jones on Quinn Martin's private eye series Cannon, before quickly launching the character into his own series. When his son Hal, a private investigator, is murdered, Barnaby decides to look into the case, aided by daughter-in-law Betty Jones, played by the lovely Lee Meriwether (Time Tunnel). After solving the case, Barnaby decides to continue as a private investigator.

William Conrad had been around for quite some time before he became best known for being private eye Frank Cannon in the Quinn Martin television series, "Cannon." He had been an actor, producer, and director for movies and television shows, and was best known for three programs that used his voice only - being the voice of Matt Dillon on the radio version of "Gunsmoke," the narrator of the classic cartoon series "The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle," and the narrator of another Quinn Martin series, "The Fugitive." When Martin looked for someone to play an overweight, but very capable private eye in Cannon, he could have picked a better actor than Conrad. Even though he was best known for his vocal talents, Conrad made Cannon a flesh and blood character - charming, humorous, compassionate, and on occasion, violent. For once, Conrad had a chance to show as much talent on camera as he had off camera. And with Martin's penchant for creating solid detective dramas, Cannon became a very popular series.

Limbo, Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Anger, Heresy, Violence, Fraud and Treachery! These are the 9 Circles of Hell made famous by Dante Alighieri in his famed masterpiece, Dante’s Inferno, his first story of The Divine Comedy. Dante’s Inferno: An Animated Epic will take you on a harrowing trip through Hell as Dante braves the forces of evil, slaying demons and monsters of extraordinary imagination, all to save his love Beatrice, from the clutches of Hell’s master - Lucifer. The companion piece to the hit Electronic Arts game, Dante’s Inferno: An Animated Epic, is inventively told through eyes of visionary animation directors from around the world, including Shuko Murase (Ergo Proxy) and Yasoumi Umetsu (Kite: Liberator) among others. 6 Directors, 6 terrifying visions of Hell, 1 heart-stopping epic adventure! 6 different covers - 6 different animation styles. See which cover you end up with!

Charlie Murphy is one of the most underrated comedians of all time. Throughout his career, Charlie Murphy has done it all. As co-star of Comedy Central's top-rated Chappelle's Show, writer of the DreamWorks comedy Norbit and voice on the critically acclaimed cartoon The Boondocks, Charlie Murphy has made quite a name for himself. His film credits have spanned the last 20 years, ranging from Harlem Nights with Eddie Murphy to The Perfect Holiday with Morris Chestnut and Gabrielle Union. Now, drenched in the same: in your face, style of comedy that has made him a fan favorite, Charlie Murphy delivers his debut stand-up performance, I Will Not Apologize, as only he can...raw and uncut.

William Friedkin briefly revived his faltering career with this sleek, bleak thriller of a pair of secret service agents on the trail of a counterfeiter. William L. Peterson is the hotshot protégé of a career agent killed by the ruthless, almost feral counterfeiting genius Willem Dafoe. Now Petersen, teamed with the smart but still green John Pankow, is ready to twist arms, lean on criminals, steal, and even murder to exact his revenge. The harrowing chase through the streets of Los Angeles that climaxes on the freeway at rush hour, where Friedkin's brilliant twist sends them heading the wrong way, careening through a sea of cars coming straight at them, is still one of the most breathtaking car chases ever filmed.

A solid and entertaining biopic, Walk the Line works less as a movie than an actors' showcase for its stars. Joaquin Phoenix's total immersion into the skin of singer Johnny Cash is startling and, while watching it, you can't believe this is the same guy who whined about being "vexed" in Gladiator. As he evolves from a farm boy to gospel croonin' plunker to the Man in Black, Phoenix disappears into Cash's deep baritone, his way of slinging the guitar onto his back, and his hunched-up style of strumming. But it's more than just picking up mannerisms: Phoenix also sings as Johnny Cash, and it's quite impressive.

Goodfellas has long been one of my favorite movies. I've watched it many times since I saw it in the theater. I've seen it on tape, on laser disc, on the original "flipper" DVD and the remastered anamorphic DVD, and now, Blu-ray. I'm happy to report that the Blu-ray is a significant improvement over the remastered DVD. The picture is brighter, the colors are more vivid, and many scenes have much more detail and clarity. Of course, the overall picture is much sharper. If you're a fan of the movie and are considering upgrading to the Blu-Ray, I'd highly recommend it. It's not an eye-popping effects movie to begin with, so this disc isn't the first one to reach for if you want to show off your system. But it's probably the best way to watch the movie.

A superlative continuation of the best season of the series...even without George Maharis. The themes laid out in Route 66: Season Three just aren't explored in mainstream network TV offerings today. And unlike the whining and perpetually frazzled folks on television today, Tod and Linc, for all their existential doubts and questions, aren't overwhelmed with today's idiosyncrasies that flood our airwaves constantly. Tod and Linc are confident, they work hard and they're open and understanding about their weaknesses. In other words: they're real men. I highly recommend Route 66. They definitely don't make television shows like this anymore.

 

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Contact Filmlords@gmail.com if you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column. Write a SIGNED letter to the editor with valid day time phone number--name can be withheld by request.

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