Nick's Pics Nick
Nicholson Film & Home Entertainment Critic
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THE LINCOLN LAWYER
Mickey Haller (Matthew McConaughey) is a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney who operates out of the back of his Lincoln sedan. Haller has spent most of his career defending garden-variety criminals, until he lands the case of his career: defending Louis Roulet (Ryan Phillippe), a Beverly Hills playboy accused of rape and attempted murder. But the seemingly straightforward case suddenly develops into a deadly game of survival for Haller.
The character was created by novelist Michael Connelly during a baseball game he attended. He stood in a concessions line and had a conversation with a lawyer who mentioned his office was literally his car. At that time, a character was born with the all-inclusive McConaughey drawl, the auto and all the up to date music one could stand. Mick's clients tend toward lowly and rough. A gang of 'motorcycle enthusiasts' pays him a visit with an interesting proposition, however Mick's gaming gets a workout once a bail bondsman friend (John Leguizamo) sends a deep-pockets client his way. Accused of the brutal assault of a young woman, Louis Roulet (Ryan Phillippe) is the baby-faced scion of real estate maven Mary Windsor (Frances Fisher). Ryan Phillippe shines throughout as he confuses and confounds everyone as Roulet. His performance is worth the price of admission alone.
The Lincoln Lawyer
McConaughey, Marisa Tomei & Ryan Phillippe
Director: Brad Furman
In Local Theaters
MPAA Rating: R
We are doing a Free DVD Giveaway! If you are interested in a chance at winning a free copy of The Walking Dead: Season One, Yogi Bear or Everyday, , 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!
MESKADA - Anchor Bay
Two boys - Eddie Arlinger (Kellan Lutz) and Shane Loakin (Jonathan Tucker) - drifters who go on the road to rob houses and sell their goods to pawn shops through their relationship with a bar girl (Grace Gummer) - accidentally kill a little boy during a robbery in Hilliard. The boy happens to be the son of a Meskada County Commissioner (Laura Benati). Young small town detective Noah Cordin (Nick Stahl) and his new partner Leslie Spencer (Rachel Nichols) are brought in to solve the crime despite the fact that the town sheriff (Michael Sirow) and cohort (Michael Cerveris) think they can handle the matter themselves: much of the clash is bringing in an outside detective who grew up in a poor small town not far from Hilliard, viewed as interference. The local Bar owner Billy (James McCaffrey) and Shane's brother-in-law Dennis (Norman Reedus) fight to protect Eddie and Shane, but events occur that reveal the true identity of the killer after a showdown between the out of town detective and the townsfolk that come to grips with a situation no one wants to explore.
BARNEY MOTHER GOOSE COLLECTION - Lionsgate
Come along with Barney, Baby Bop and BJ on a magical and music-filled journey into the land of Mother Goose. Join the fun and sing along as classic nursery rhymes like Hickory Dickory Dock, Humpty Dumpty, London Bridge and more come to life! Perfect for children of all ages and the messages will serve as educational resources for the entire family!
TREME: Season One - HBO
As Treme opens, a group of New Orleans residents are celebrating their first "second-line parade" since Hurricane Katrina blew through the city and across the Gulf Coast just three months earlier. Folks are strutting and dancing, a brass band is blowing a joyful noise--it's a celebration of "Nola's" resilience and proud spirit ("Won't bow--don't know how," as they say). But there's darkness just below this shiny surface, and anyone familiar with The Wire, co creator-writer David Simon's last show, won't be a bit surprised to find that he and fellow Treme writer-producer Eric Overmyer aren't shy about going there. The New Orleans we see is a city barely starting to recover from what one character calls "a man-made catastrophe… of epic proportions and decades in the making." Many people's homes are gone, and insurance payments are a rumor. Other locals haven't come back, and still others are simply missing. The people have been betrayed by their own government, and New Orleans' reputation for corruption is hardly helped by the fact that the police force is in such disarray that the line between cop and criminal is sometimes so fine as to be nonexistent.
THE QUIET ARRANGEMENT - MVD
When the wife of prominent lawyer Walter Briggs is kidnapped, he decides to take matters into his own hands. But things are not really what they seem and the abduction becomes more complicated for everyone involved.
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS: Blu-ray - Paramount
Legendary silent film director Cecil B. DeMille didn't much alter the way he made movies after sound came in, and this 1956 biblical drama is proof of that. While graced with such 1950s niceties as VistaVision and Technicolor, The Ten Commandments (DeMille had already filmed an earlier version in 1923) has an anachronistic, impassioned style that finds lead actors Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner expressively posing while hundreds of extras writhe either in the presence of God's power or from orgiastic heat. DeMille, as always, plays both sides of the fence as far as sin goes, surrounding Heston's Moses with worshipful music and heavenly special effects while also making the sexy action around the cult of the Golden Calf look like fun.
SONY MASTERWORKS: Classic Film Score Series - Sony
In 1972 Charles Gerhardt released his famous Classic Film Score Series featuring the music of some of the greatest composers of the Golden Age of film. Now 38 years later, the scores are being re-released on CD by Sony Masterworks, having been re-mastered using the original analog masters and including the original LP liner notes. Among this release is Citizen Kane - featuring music from scores by Bernard Herrmann, Sunset Boulevard - featuring music from scores by Franz Waxman, Elizabeth and Essex - featuring music from scores by Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Spellbound - featuring music from scores by Miklos Rozsa, Now, Voyager - featuring music from scores by Max Steiner, Laura/Forever Amber/The Bad and the Beautiful - featuring music from scores by David Raksin, and scores from movies featuring Bette Davis. These recordings are of the absolute highest quality, as is often the case with Sony. The series is incredible and the sound is clear perfection.
SHADOW - IFC
Director and co-writer Federico Zampaglione's terrifying film recalls Sam Peckinpah's ferocious "Straw Dogs" and Tobe Hooper's horror classic "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre," yet it feels as immediate as today's headlines. Jake Muxworthy plays a young soldier who embarks on a mountain-biking trip, walks into a cafe and meets the love of his life (Karina Testa). Unfortunately, he also meets a pair of violent hunters who make him their prey after he defends the young woman from their sleazy advances. But what appears at first to be a vicious cat-and-mouse game set in treacherous terrain turns into a full-blown nightmare when these adversaries become the captives of a mountain dweller whose depraved plans for them soon become all too apparent. Both a relentless horror film and a searing account of the brutal after-effects of war, "Shadow" is a scream-inducing descent into an abyss of unspeakable terror.
JAMES BROWN: Body Heat Live in Monterey 1979 - MVD
In 1969 at a concert in Monterey, James Brown announced his intention to retire from touring, but it wasn't until 1975 that he finally stopped. Then 1979 three young television producers convinced him to make a comeback performance. This outstanding concert was captured and then due to unfortunate circumstances the videotapes were locked in a vault for twelve years before they could be seen. Brown's transformation of gospel passion into the compelling intensity of rhythm and blues, combined with meticulous choreography and energetic showmanship is clearly demonstrated int his legendary concert footage. Featuring the hits Papas Got a Brand New Bag, Try Me and an unbelievable twenty minute version of Sex Machine.
TEENAGE PAPARAZZO - HBO
You can't accuse Adrian Grenier of being unaware of the ironies directing this movie. During his documentary Teenage Paparazzo, he makes ample references to the looking-glass fact that he himself is a pretty-boy actor who stars in a TV series about the craziness and rewards of fame (Entourage), who is making a film about the camera-toting insects who also feed off the great celebrity machine. He's taken for his central figure a 13-year-old paparazzo named Austin Visschedyk; so arresting was the sight of this tiny kid clamoring for his photograph that Grenier decided to focus on the boy as the subject of his documentary--a way of exploring why a child would be so obsessed with celebrity culture these days, and what that says about us, and… you know. Teenage Paparazzo is less successful as a piece of social inquiry than it is a profile of this specific kid, although Grenier does get a collection of grown-up paparazzi on record about why they do what they do, most of which comes down to a "We have to pay our bills, too" rationalization. One longtime photographer lets it slip how much he would die to be in Grenier's own movie-star shoes, a rare moment of authentic envy showing through.
SCARECROW & MRS KING: Season Two - Warner
Season two of Scarecrow & Mrs King does a great job of following up on season one- while keeping the humor and romance sparkling, they also did a great job of introducing us to wonderful new characters (Mrs. Farnsworth, played with warmth and wit by Jean Stapleton, to name one) and lovely locations- but keep in mind, this is still very much a spy show! The first half of the season takes Scarecrow and Mrs. King to London, Munich and Austria, and the second half sees them back in DC.
A SHINE OF RAINBOWS - Fox
Quality live-action family films are at a premium, and while this enchanting adaptation of Lillian Beckwith's novel does go over the rainbow at times, there is magic in it. Shy and stammering 8-year-old orphan Tomas (John Bell) is plucked from a city orphanage and brought to the idyllic island of Corrie off the coast of Ireland. His new mother (Connie Nielsen) is as loving and open as his new father (Aidan Quinn) is gruff and withdrawn, disappointed that his beloved wife chose "the runt of the litter." "Underneath it all," she assures Tomas, "he has a tender heart," but as time goes on, Tomas's adoption papers remain unsigned. This being an Irish tale, there are magnificent sweeping landscapes, mythical creatures--seals that are said to carry messages to the dead--and tragedy that threatens Tomas's new found home and happiness.
HOW DO YOU KNOW - Sony
Compared to previous James L. Brooks dramedies, like As Good As It Gets, How Do You Know feels slight, but it still marks an improvement over the ill-conceived Spanglish. The setup begins with a newly minted couple and a brand-new single. Lisa (Reese Witherspoon), a pro softball player, dates Matty (Owen Wilson), a major-league pitcher, who lives in the same Washington, D.C., high rise as financial exec Charles (Jack Nicholson, looking ill at ease), whose son and employee, George (Paul Rudd), gets the boot from his girlfriend after he loses his job. When George meets Lisa, who didn't make the team, sparks fly, but she's unavailable, so they get on with their lives. Hardly the brightest bulb, Matty raises Lisa's spirits with his goofy antics, so she moves in with him. Then George finds out he faces charges for tax fraud, even though he broke no laws. While his pregnant assistant, Annie (Crossing Jordan's Kathryn Hahn), supports him through the crisis, he can't stop thinking about the blonde from the elevator, so he tries to get to know Lisa better.
YOGI BEAR: 3D Combo - Warner
In this 3D live-action CGI adaptation of the Hanna-Barbera staple, the Borscht Belt–style biped (Dan Aykroyd) not only miscalculates his "smarter than the average bear" status but also his appeal beyond 20 minutes. As it is, director Eric Brevig has Yogi dropping a one-liner about his rectum to Ranger Smith (Tom Cavanagh) before the patchy plot even kicks in. Or tries to. In a retread of recent family films featuring forests, Yogi and Boo Boo (Justin Timberlake, continuing to surprise) bumble and scheme to help their human friend woo a girl (Anna Faris), thwart a broadly greedy, environment-savaging politician (Andrew Daly), and embrace the value of "being different." None of it is funny or entertaining, save for a turtle long on tongue but short on screen time. Boring, pointless, and instantly forgettable, this return to Jellystone Park is no picnic. The 3D effects are solid and the DVD/BD is sure to entice and entertain the little ones, but once you hit double digits in age, you better pass.
COUNT BASIE THEN AS NOW - MVD
Jazz great William “Count" Basie comes back to life in this rich documentary, which traces the history of the pianist, composer, and bandleader over several decades. Filmmaker Gary Keys juxtaposes a round table discussion among old cats from the Count Basie Orchestra with recorded performances, including a cameo appearance in Blazing Saddles. Archival clips and a gallery of portraits and snapshots shows the ever-smiling face of a man as vivacious as the grooves he delivers--his good humor suffusing the music and the players going at it all around him, from Lester Young to Ella Fitzgerald.
DUKE ELLINGTON: Reminiscing in Tempo - MVD
For years, friends of the late Duke Ellington came together at his very eccentric sister Ruth Ellington Boatwright's home to celebrate the life of the late musician. One guest, a religious man, states that he never met The Duke, but like many fans of the famous jazz composer and pianist, he got to know him through his music. Perhaps affected by Ruth's attire (huge glasses lined with jewels—no doubt fake—and a curly blond wig) and Al Hibbler's flapping dentures, the man opines matter-of-factly that we will die but The Duke's music never will. And it hasn't. Reminiscing in Tempo is a great excuse to hear Ellington's music…for anyone without a record player. You see, director Gary Keys is a cool cat and a great lover of music but this puff doesn't strain to understand Ellington the man, coasting on the appeal of The Duke's deceptively simple compositions and glossing over much of his personal life, his remote relationship to the Civil Rights movement, and the purpose of his perpetually classy demeanor.