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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

ATTACK OF THE VEGAN ZOMBIES

Dionne Talbott and her husband, Joe Bryant, own and operate a family vineyard. After yet another failed crop, Joe wants to give up on their dream and sell the vineyard. Dionne solicits the help of her mother Audra, a practicing witch, who casts a spell on the farm. The following year they have such a bountiful harvest that they hire an old friend, Professor Frank, to help them pick the grapes. Professor Frank gets four college students to join him over the weekend. While working, they begin to notice phenomenal growth rates for the vines. Professor Frank ventures into the woods to investigate the water supply after their neighbor disappears. Dionne becomes suspicious and confronts her mother about the exact nature of the spell. Audra finally admits to her and Joe the potential threat it brings: the vegetation may attack people and turn them into zombies! They immediately summon the four students inside the house for their own safety. After Joe finds Professor Frank's bag in the woods, they reach the conclusion that he may be a zombie. Their fears are compounded when their missing neighbor emerges as a zombie and attacks Joe and Dionne. They retreat to the house only to realize that it has become a prison. Unable to flee or call for help, they must stand and fight the vegan zombies the only way they can: by concocting a counter spell and face the zombies in their own fields.

I must admit that, upon hearing of this film, I was a bit leary of taking the time to screen it. I mean, how often have you taken the time to watch a zombie flick only to be angry that you lost the two hours of your life? After allowing the screener to pick up dust on my desk, I decided to bite the bullet and watch the darn thing. Got to tell you, I am actually glad I did. The premise is out there, but the film is a popcorn flick that is sure to put a smile on your face. To me, part of the humor that I found while watching the film was trying to define what kind of Zombie film this represents. The zombies have a mean streak and are actually funny, but they are dramatic at the same time. What indie writer/director Jim Townsend has done is create a health conscious strain of green-hued zombies that have a strong thirst for blood that contains wine. Alcoholics should beware! The film is filled with witches, braniacs, cheerleaders and scientists all working the timing off one another. Better yet, the film is peppered with ripe dialog that will simply leave you in stitches such as, "what's the matter Jack, didn't your mom teach you to eat your vegetables?" Attack of the Vegan Zombies isn't brilliant, but it is fun. I highly encourage you to pick up a copy on Amazon.com or Filmbaby.com, make some popcorn, turn down the lights and enjoy the film. It's sure to put a wry smile on your face, vegetables not included.

Attack of the Vegan Zombies
Starring: Christine Egan & H. Lynn Smith
Director: Jim Townsend
Company: Dreamworks
Now Showing: on DVD
MPAA Rating: R
Grade: B

DVD REVIEWS

We are doing a Free DVD Giveaway! If you are interested in a chance at winning a free copy of the Lord of the Rings Animated Classic on Blu-ray or Bob the Builder: Heavy Duty Diggers on DVD, it is really easy. All you have to do is send me an email at Filmlords@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!

The Preschool Prep Company has created a gem of an education series that teaches children everything from sight words, colors, shapes, numbers and even letters. The seven DVD set begins with three volumes on sight words. These sight words are commonly used words that better to learn by recognition as opposed to sounding them out (phonics). Some examples of sight words are 'the,' 'of,' and 'you.' The teaching is fundamentally sound through all volumes, as each edition utilizes colorful graphics and animation in addition to covert repetition. Practice makes perfect and these DVD's provide plenty of opportunities for the kids to do just that.
The four remaining volumes in the set focus on learning colors, shapes, numbers and letters. In each volume, colorful characters represent the lessons being learned the educational premise is simple. By showing a letter/number/shape or color on the screen numerous times and in different positions, it keeps the limited focus of a child on the television screen. They anxiously await the appearance of the icon again. In the case of letters, you may see an M that turns into a mountain or even an A that turns into an airplane. Through the foundation of repetition, again the kids are making the obvious connection between both sight and sound. This set of seven DVD's is recommended for children aged 15 months through six years. As a former professional educator for 14 years, my opinion is the sooner you get your children into this set, the faster you will begin to see their formative years simply take off. You can obtain a copy by going to www.preschoolprepco.com.

Although it was ultimately overshadowed by Peter Jackson's live-action Lord of the Rings trilogy, Ralph Bakshi's animated adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy classic is not without charms of its own. A target of derision from intolerant fans, this ambitious production is nevertheless a respectably loyal attempt to animate the first half of Tolkien's trilogy, beginning with the hobbit Frodo's inheritance of "the One Ring" of power from Bilbo Baggins, and ending with the wizard Gandalf's triumph over the evil army of orcs. While the dialogue is literate and superbly voiced by a prestigious cast, Leonard Rosenman's accomplished score effectively matches the ominous atmosphere that Bakshi's animation creates and sustains.

A young girl seduced by an older man may be a common story, but An Education is no common movie. As Jenny, a precocious middle-class British schoolgirl charmed by a small-time criminal, newcomer Carey Mulligan is luminous; her face can be plain and beautiful at the same time, her eyes expressing a restless intelligence and a hungry soul. As David, the seducer, Peter Sarsgaard gives yet another rich, thoughtful performance. The script, adapted by Nick Hornby, is full of unexpected details that bring every moment to life. Director Lone Scherfig has made sure that every character is vivid and real; even seemingly minor moments have texture and vitality.

Party Down is a Starz original series about a group of struggling dreamers who are stuck working for tips while waiting for their big break. As employees of the L.A. catering company “Party Down,” these misfits mingle with guests at everything from sweet sixteen parties to the most lavish Hollywood soirees. Follow these engaging wannabes as they wait on guests while waiting on something better to come along.

The youngest president in our nation's history, who brought an unprecedented excitement and power to the office, the life of America s 26th president, Theodore Roosevelt, makes any fiction pale by comparison. His was the life of a magnificent maveric of a man of enormous popularity and legendary achievements. From the sidewalks of New York to the frontiers of Dakota, from the Spanish-American War to World War I, to his dynamic years in the White House, Roosevelt saw it all. Larger than life, Teddy was a true American hero who changed the country as have few other leaders. This DVD hits the stores on April 13.

Preserving and nurturing our soil preserves and nurtures life on the planet. We often look for the obvious, or plainly visible, and want the type of instant gratification that comes with easily recognizing something. In our soil lies the mostly invisible forces that make and sustain life on the planet. The fungus, bacteria, insects, and other minute, often microscopic beings and other elements that feed, support and recycle life as we know it. I hope you will get your copy and and see the wonder, glory and essential beauty of Dirt!

It was a time of ghouls, ghosts and most ghastly of all, the fine art of grave robbing. Dominic Monaghan stars as 19th century corpse snatcher Arthur Blake, who pilfered the cemeteries and coffins of England until his capture by police. But just before Blake is to meet the hangman s noose, he will confess to a peculiar priest (Ron Perlman) his gruesome tale of vampires, zombies and cadaver dealing that takes him from the savagery of the criminal underworld to the terrors of the undead.

Germany in the 1970s: Murderous bomb attacks, the threat of terrorism and the fear of the enemy inside are rocking the very foundations of the still fragile German democracy. The radicalised children of the Nazi generation led by Andreas Baader (Moritz Bleibtreu), Ulrike Meinhof (Martina Gedeck) and Gudrun Ensslin (Johanna Wokalek) are fighting a violent war against what they perceive as the new face of fascism: American imperialism supported by the German establishment, many of whom have a Nazi past. Their aim is to create a more human society but by employing inhuman means they not only spread terror and bloodshed, they also lose their own humanity. The man who understands them is also their hunter: the head of the German police force Horst Herold (Bruno Ganz). And while he succeeds in his relentless pursuit of the young terrorists, he knows he s only dealing with the tip of the iceberg.

New Moon, the second in Stephenie Meyer's blockbuster teen-fiction saga adapted for film, is stronger than its predecessor, Twilight. Director Chris Weitz, taking the helm from Catherine Hardwicke, brings a lighter, more assured touch to the sequel, which continues the star-crossed love story of mortal Bella (Kristen Stewart) and vampire Edward (Robert Pattinson). Incidentally, Edward is absent for most of the film; after an accident on Bella's birthday reminds Edward that her life is always at risk when he's around, he chooses to abandon her, sending her into a deep depression. The only person who helps her heal her broken heart is her friend Jacob (Taylor Lautner), a member of the Quileute tribe who, as he grows taller, beefier, and more aggressive, comes to realize he's not entirely human either. But even his love for Bella doesn't prevent her from throwing herself in the path of danger, because that's the only time she can see visions of Edward. One such fateful misunderstanding sends Edward into the coven of the Volturi, where the most dangerous vampires hold both Edward and Bella's fate in their cold, dark hands.

These New Jersey Housewives are a cheaper version of the soprano style housewives with more volatile and verbal assaults that would even make the cast and crew of the actual Sopranos quite tame. The abusive, vindictive nature about the housewives is more than I could handle and I've jumped ship. At least the other housewives in the franchise try to get along, this batch don't even try. These women are cruel and vicious particularly towards Danielle, the outsider. If you're not Italian or related to anybody in the family way, you won't be welcome in their lives and that suits me just fine. This show is actually hilarious and reminds me of the old 1980's nighttime serials like Dallas and Falcon Crest. Check it out if you like watching folks play the fool!

Crime abounded in late Victorian and Edwardian times--from the streets of London to the country houses of the nobility; from the royal apartments of Vienna to the hotel rooms of quiet Copenhagen. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous detective took on many of the era’s crooks, killers, blackmailers, and schemers, but so did the fictional sleuths of other celebrated writers of the time. There are thirteen episodes included in The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes Set Two. There are different appealing sleuth characters for each episodes each averaging about fifty-one minutes each. Detailed late-Victorian sets, both indoors and out make this restored TV series worthy of 21st century viewing. Authentic costuming and location detail perfection makes one wish to have lived in the late 1800s. An absence of background music adds to the period authenticity. Top-notch performances of some of the best British actors and actresses of the day.

Based on the 1973 film The Paper Chase, the TV series features John Houseman as Professor Charles W. Kingsfield, Jr. the almighty voice of law and order on the Ivy League campus. He presides over second year student James T. Hart (James Stephens) and a class of driven, intelligent, and morally challenged students who always seem to rise through the pressures of life and law in the pursuit of truth and justice. They will be challenged and you will be riveted. For the first time on DVD, this second season box features 19 one-hour episodes. It's a superb drama and a welcome addition to anyone's collection of classic TV.

This latest terrific set from Shout! Factory includes four more never before released episodes. Welcome to the Satellite of Love, the orbiting home of legendary hosts Joel Robinson and Mike Nelson, along with their robotic companions: Crow T. Robot, Tom Servo and Gypsy. Join them as they embark on their 17th, and perhaps most impressive, volume of gut-busting riffs on the classic cinematic missteps of yesteryear! Two have Joel Hodgson as host and two are hosted by Mike Nelson. Joel episodes are from the Comedy Channel/Comedy Central shows and the Mike episodes are from the Sci-Fi Channel period of the show. Note that show 101 is the first network episode, a must have for sure!

 

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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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