Nick's Pics Nick
Nicholson Film & Home Entertainment Critic
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FREE DVD GIVEAWAY
We are doing a Free DVD Giveaway! If you are interested in a chance at winning a free copy of Thomas & Friends: Pop Goes Thomas, Angelina Ballerina: Ballet Dreams, The Stranger, Kansas City Confidential, Wubbzy's Egg-Celent Easter, Chuggington: Chuggers to the Rescue, it is really easy! All you have to do is send me an email at HoustonMovieGuy@gmail.com. The subject line of the email should read DVD GIVEAWAY. In the body of the email, be sure to put your name, full mailing address and which DVD or Blu-ray you would like. Winners will be selected by random drawing. Best of luck!
COLIN MOCHRIE & BRAD SHERWOOD: Two Man Group - Image
Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood, stars of the Emmy®-winning Whose Line Is It Anyway?, have finally recorded their hilarious live stage show!! These masters of improv comedy have performed their outrageous, one-of-a-kind show to sold out audiences all over the country. Colin and Brad’s TWO MAN GROUP is a riotously funny, interactive, and completely improvised tour de force. Using nothing but their lightning fast wits and some audience volunteers, Colin and Brad create pandemonium on the spot in one of the funniest live shows you will ever see.
STAND BY ME: 25th Anniversary - Sony
A sleeper hit when released in 1986, Stand by Me is based on Stephen King's novella "The Body"; but it's more about the joys and pains of boyhood friendship than a morbid fascination with corpses. It's about four boys ages 12 and 13 (Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, Jerry O'Connell) who take an overnight hike through the woods near their Oregon town to find the body of a boy who's been missing for days. Their journey includes a variety of scary adventures (including a ferocious junkyard dog, a swamp full of leeches, and a treacherous leap from a train trestle), but it's also a time for personal revelations, quiet interludes, and the raucous comradeship of best friends. Set in the 1950s, the movie indulges an overabundance of anachronistic profanity and a kind of idealistic, golden-toned nostalgia (it's told in flashback as a story written by Wheaton's character as an adult, played by Richard Dreyfuss). But it's delightfully entertaining from start to finish, thanks to the rapport among its young cast members and the timeless, universal themes of friendship, family, and the building of character and self-esteem.
SCARY MOVIE 4 - Vivendi
Some comedy is like a scalpel; the Scary Movie series is a hand grenade, spewing bodily fluids and big-breasted women in all directions as they lampoon the latest horror. In Scary Movie 4's case, the main targets are War of the Worlds, The Village, The Grudge, Saw, and Tom Cruise jumping all over Oprah's couch. Along the way, potshots get taken at non-horror fare like Brokeback Mountain and Million Dollar Baby, as well as obvious targets like Michael Jackson and George W. Bush, among others. Anna Faris and Regina Hall (The Honeymooners) return as the central characters wandering through a crazy quilt of horror scenarios, joined by Craig Bierko doing a dead-on parody of Cruise at his most manic. Cameos include everyone from Charlie Sheen to Shaquille O'Neal to Carmen Electra.
DINOSAURS: Giants of Patagonia: Blu-ray 3D - Image
Narrated by Donald Sutherland, this fascinating film focuses on the history, evolution and extinction of the dinosaurs. In larger-than-life fashion, you will explore a subject matter whose mystique and appeal are unquestioned. Dinosaurs are amongst the most fascinating animals to have ever walked the Earth. We are captivated by their enormous size and intrigued by the fact that they disappeared millions of years ago Dinosaurs: Giants of Patagonia will take you on an unprecedented and unique journey into the world of the largest known dinosaurs and, in the process, explore some of the great paleontological discoveries of modern time. Done in close collaboration with the foremost scientists of the domain, the movie will show never seen before computer generated footage of the Giganotosaurus and the Argentinosaurus to name a few. At the moment of initiating this extraordinary project, one question comes to mind: "Is your screen big enough?
FIRE BREATHER: Blu-ray - Cartoon Network
For those not familiar with the comic, it deals with Duncan and tells the story of a teenager discovering he's different. The story begins with Duncan already aware he has powers and coping with a move to a new town with his mother. Typical teen angst ensues while Duncan deals with his mom nagging him to focus on his homework, school bully Troy making his life miserable and figuring out what's going on with his new friend, Ken Rogers. What makes this teen-story different is Duncan's father is actually a 120-foot, fire-breathing dragon. And he's not just a regular dragon, he's the King of the Kaiju, a species of dragons that exist in this world. Like most fathers, Duncan's dad wants him to follow in his footsteps. He's been waiting years to meet Duncan and present him his legacy and that time is now.
THE VENTURE BROS: Season Four - Adult Swim
Brock's back in all his glory, Sphynx plays an integral element with Hunter at the helm along with Shoreleave now an important and hysterical addition, Whitey and Billy feature prominently, Molotov Cocktease and her comrades are back to up the ante, the Monarch is ever-present along with his henchmen and muse, the adorable yet husky-voiced Dr. Mrs. the Monarch, the Guild is fleshed out a bit more and the Triad is afoot and, somewhere in the midst of all this monumental madness, Team Venture manages to get a bit of screen time as well. On top of it all, the one hour season finale is probably one of Adult Swim's crowning achievements.
TOPSY-TURVY: Blu-ray - Criterion
Topsy-Turvy is the story of the creation of the Gilbert & Sullivan operetta, "The Mikado." It contains not just the story of the musical's creation but many scenes from Mikado and other G&S musicals. Long-time "G&S" (Gilbert & Sullivan) fans probably found this movie a long time ago. I am one of them, so first I'll say that I found the performance of the G&S material in this movie absolutely superb. I've never seen a Mikado as genuinely funny and eccentric as Tim Sprall's, or a Yum-Yum as winsomely self-centered as Shirley Hendersen's Leonora Branham. Viewers who find musicals simplistic or shallow or generally silly should make an exception in the case of Topsy-Turvy. It is none of those things. In true Mike Leigh fashion, the actors inhabit their characters like second skin. No one is simple or shallow. Nor does Leigh avoid the seamier side of London theatrical life. I particularly liked Jim Broadbent's bitterly comic and misanthropic Gilbert, Martin Savage as the opium-addicted George Grossmith, and Lucy Manville as Gilbert's long-suffering wife.
DOCTOR WHO: The Ark - BBC
No Doctor Who collection is complete without this rarely seen, vintage 1966 episode of the venerable British series's third season, and starring William Hartnell, the first incarnation of the cosmos-hopping Time Lord. But even if you are a recent initiate into the Who universe, you will find this episode contagious. The TARDIS, an interplanetary time machine that on the outside resembles a police call box, lands Doctor Who and his companions, the chirpy Dodo and forthright Steven, on a spacecraft called the Ark. They learn that Earth is about to plunge into the sun. The Ark contains all human, plant, and animal life and is bound for the planet Refusis. But Dodo has a cold, against which the Ark's Guardians and the slave race called Monoids have no immunity. The Doctor is able to overcome the Guardians' fears and suspicions and finds an antidote. The TARDIS is allowed to take off, but it returns, seemingly seconds later. Actually 700 years have passed. The time-traveling trio is stunned to discover that a mutant strain of the fever has led to an evolutionary shift--the Guardians are now the slaves and the Monoids rule.
DOCTOR WHO: The Seeds of Doom - BBC
Two alien plant plods are found frozen in the Antartic, and examining the pods might lead to the extinction of all animal life on earth. Like "Terror of the Zygons", Robert Banks Stewart dishes us out another masterpiece! There is an extreme urgency in this story to quell the problem, and keeps you the on edge throughout ALL six parts, an element missing in a majority of six-parters. Baker and Sladen are brilliant, Baker giving a dramatic performance with hints of his own absurdity. Harrison Chase is an unforgettable character and is quite chilling! All actors involved give it their best. Some interesting video viuals are used for the Antartica location, really quite effective. Not only was the story influenced by "Day of Triffids", "Quatermass Experiment" and many others, it also echoes "Night of the Living Dead" as our heroes and outcasts nail and hammer themselves in Chase's mansion. A great way to end the season!
SKYLINE - Universal
Skyline, an effects-laden thriller from directors Colin and Greg Strause, wears its various influences--films like Alien, District 9, Independence Day, and War of the Worlds--on its sleeve, but even if it doesn't measure up to those predecessors, the film offers enough thrills and action to keep sci-fi fans interested. The Brothers Strause, as they call themselves, have done visual-effects work on blockbusters like Avatar, Titanic, and 300, and the effects are by far the best part of this tale (scripted by Joshua Cordes and Liam O'Donnell) about an armada of giant spaceships that suddenly appear in the skies over Los Angeles and immediately set about their business--namely, shooting down immense blue columns of light that hoover every human in sight up into the ships, where aliens will do nasty things to them. Observing this horror from a posh Marina Del Rey penthouse are a group of gorgeous, strikingly solipsistic young people in skimpy clothes, including Jarrod and Elaine (Eric Balfour and Scottie Thompson), a couple visiting from New York. A few action sequences find them trying to escape.
THE TOURIST - Sony
Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie use their star power to help propel The Tourist to its ultimate, satisfying destination. It just takes a little while to get there. Director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck sets a leisurely pace for The Tourist, which lets the film be equal parts mystery, romance, thriller, and comedy. But because of its lush cinematography and location-based shooting, The Tourist is perhaps first and foremost a valentine to the city of Venice. Jolie plays Elise, an international woman of mystery, somehow caught up with a glamorous thief who's double-crossed a gangster, Shaw (Steven Berkoff). On a train from Paris to Venice, Elise meets Frank (Depp), a schlumpy math teacher from Wisconsin on holiday. Before the train hits Venice, poor Frank has become entangled in a dangerous web that he can't begin to understand. As the plot unfolds, a group of stone-headed thugs dashes after Frank and Elise, darting through canals, across tile rooftops, and into some of the most beautiful hotel rooms in the world.
MADE IN DAGENHAM: Blu-ray - Sony
Rita O'Grady (Sally Hawkins) finds herself unexpectedly thrust into the limelight when she becomes the leader of a strike by the women who sew the upholstery for a Ford factory in Dagenham, England--a strike that, thanks largely to the efforts of management and unions alike to dismiss it, turns into a struggle over equal pay for women. But because of a smart and subtle screenplay, understated direction, and above all outstanding performances by the entire cast--also featuring Rosamund Pike, Miranda Richardson, and Bob Hoskins. Made in Dagenham never stops being about people, even as its political scope widens.
WASTELAND - New Video
Brazilian artist Vik Muniz combines visual beauty with social awareness. Waste Land--a documentary about Muniz collaborating with the trash pickers in a staggeringly huge landfill--achieves the same fusion. Muniz, a remarkably upbeat and earnest fellow, is almost just an excuse for the movie to investigate the lives of the trash pickers, who are amazing people living on the fringes of a highly polarized society. The documentarians capture startlingly open and complex interviews with a handful of men and women striving to maintain some hope and personal dignity in some of the worst circumstances imaginable. Their vibrance and vitality will make you want to live your own life more fully. The tricky ethical issues around the entire project get a substantial discussion; Muniz is aware of the potential for exploitation and capsizing these delicately balanced lives, but proceeds with fervor.
THE THIRD TESTAMENT - Dominion 3
The Third Testament follows the discovery of four lost gospels that are included in the canon of the bible as the third testament. Some believe the gospels are fake, while others believe their discovery will lead to the improvement of humanity. For one nonbeliever, it is the key to finding her husband, a documentary film maker gone missing after interviewing the archaeologist who discovered the missing gospels. First-time director Matt Dallmann’s The Third Testament is a thriller/mockumentary that tells the “what if” story of the discovery of a third testament in the Bible and missing filmmaker Jacob Mathews.
FAIR GAME: Blu-ray - Summit
Fair Game is one of the best politically themed films in quite some time - an equally riveting and well told story of the Bush administration's leak of CIA agent Valerie Plame's identity to the general public. I highly recommend this movie no matter what side of the political spectrum you are on - if for nothing more than two see the two Oscar-worthy performances of Naomi Watts and Sean Penn. The movie is great, and the final sequence of the film is one of the year's best.
DALZIEL & PASCOE: Season Three - BBC
Peter Pascoe, a university man, is cultured, better educated and almost as smart as his boss. He wants to catch criminals just as much as Andy does. By now Dalziel and Pascoe have formed an effective team, but there's no doubt who is in charge. We've also met the third member of Andy's team, Detective Sergeant Edgar Wield (David Royle). Wield is tall, quiet, reliable and thorough. He can be surprising at times. The four episodes of Series Two are: Ruling Passion, where Peter and his new wife, Ellie, go to visit a friend and find three corpses; A Killing Kindness, where a serial killer admires Hamlet; Deadheads, where a man with a passion for roses is accused of murder; and Exit Lines, where Peter finds himself investigating Andy.
DEBBIE & FRIENDS: Story Songs and Sing Alongs
Combine a love of children, music, and education and you've got Debbie and Friends. Babies, kids and their grown-ups all love Debbie and Friends songs. They're fun, educational and stylistically diverse -- from rock, pop, and show-style tunes, to down-home country and story songs -- there's something for everyone. Think Shari Lewis and Raffi meet Carole King and Elton John. Get ready for some sing-along, dance-along, laugh-along fun!
WUBBZY'S EGG-CELLENT EASTER - Anchor Bay
Nobody celebrates the Easter season quite like Wubbzy and his friends! In these 6 egg-ceptional episodes, Wubbzy discovers new ways to decorate eggs for the Easter Egg Hunt, celebrates the first day of spring with his kickity-kick ball and has to save the holiday when Easter is cancelled! There are plenty of fun and important lessons in this collection of egg-citing Easter episodes from the town of Wuzzleburg!
CHUGGINGTON: Chuggers to the Rescue - Anchor Bay
Honk your horns for the worldwide hit television series that delivers action and laughter from Chuggington! In these six traintastic episodes, Brewster, Wilson and Koko find fun and excitement while helping each other out of jams, learning emergency rescue skills and taking on new responsibilities! There are jetpacks, storm machines and daring escapades too. Join the chuggers as they learn about patience, accountability, following instructions, and how to get the job done in Chuggers To The Rescue!
JUDGE JOHN DEED: Season Three - BBC
Every episode in the Judge John Deed series is intelligent, top- notch drama with an ongoing romance. It is particularly interesting to see how the British courtroom system works. The behind the scenes interaction between the judges, high court judges, police and the Head of Chancellory operates The courtroom drama is often riveting. It is entirely refreshing to watch dramas dealing with such a variety of subjects instead of the same old thing on N.A. television, i.e. drugs, rape and drugs and more drugs. To be sure, Judge John Deed does have cases on those subjects but they are not the rule. The subjects include murder, hit and run by a diplomat who subsequently feigns a mental breakdown, cell phones implicated in illness, incest, mature child refuses transplant, someone blows up a lab hoping animal rights movement will be blamed, revenge killing, an au pair charged in death of infant, war crimes trial at The Hague, homosexual charged with theft by his partner and the defendant ends up murdered, a government official takes his wife to court so their child can be inoculated (or 'jabs' as the British call it). They still share the same roof. Mom has her experts and dad has his, and a host of other subjects. The best part is to watch just how the judge ingeniously gets at the truth of each case while not allowing himself to be bullied or entrapped by corrupt officials.