Nick's Pics Nick
Nicholson Film & Home Entertainment Critic
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Pearl (Elijah Dejesus) is the true coming of ages story of a high spirited 12 year old girl who became the youngest licensed pilot in the United States. In 1928, the young lady became an aviator when she climbed into the plane of the legendary man of the skies, Wiley Post (Tom Huston Orr). That short flight opened the young Chickasaw girl’s eyes to a dream as big as the blue skies over her small Oklahoma hometown. Her father, blind businessman George Carter (Andrew Sensenig), has the vision to support that dream and by 13, Pearl was piloting her father and other area businessmen around the state in her Curtiss-Robin. By age 14, she had become an air show celebrity, known for her skill as a pilot, and for her intrepid spirit. Soon after Pearl falls in love and elopes, this teenager from a prosperous home encounters the harsh challenges of a young wife and mother starting her own family during the Great Depression. Faced with a difficult dilemma concerning career and family, Pearl finds the courage and strength of character to rise above the pressure and remain true to her heart’s desire.
There are a number of aspects that make this a special film, not the least of which is the performance of Elijah Dejesus in the title role. Dejesus utilizes her energy and charisma to keep the pacing of the film interesting and moving forward - which I am certain also is a tribute to King Hollis, the director of the film. The scenery is to be appreciated as well. The movie was filmed on various locations in the state of Oklahoma, including the historic Harn Homestead, the El Reno Municipal Airport, the Jude and Jody Airport and several locations in and near Guthrie. With a superb story that needed to be told, a cast that clicks and seems so perfect, and brilliant cinematography to match, Pearl is thing of beauty from beginning to end that is for the entire family to enjoy.
Starring: Elijah Dejesus & Andrew Sensenig
Director: King Hollis
Company: Chickasaw Nation
Now Showing: in Local
Theaters, Special Showings
MPAA Rating: NR
THE VIRGINIAN, MR JAMES DRURY - An Interview
The Virginian was a western themed television show that ran from 1962 - 1971, thought the name of the show was changed for the final season to The men from Shiloh. The program is significant as it has the third longest run of any western on television with nine seasons and 249 episodes (behind Bonanza and Gunsmoke). The Virginian was loosely based on a book by Owen Wister and concerned a ranch foreman who simply went by the name, The Virginian (his name was never revealed in the book, nor during the nine year television run.) The Shiloh Ranch was located in Medicine Bow, Wyoming and focused on The Virginian's work keeping everything in line on the Ranch. The show costarred Lee J. Cobb as Judge Garth, Roberta Shore as his daughter Betsy. The show also starred Doug McClure as Trampas and Gary Clarke as Steve Hill as the other ranch hands on the ponderosa. The digitally remastered first season of the show is now available in a collectible tin.
I recently had the opportunity to interview James Drury concerning the new release of The Virginian. One of the primary reasons the show was so successful was the energy of the main character. Some forty plus years later, I found James Drury to be just as energetic. "I am so pleased that Timeless Media is rolling out our show. The fact that our stories are being told again I believe will ring true for the kids. The kids are the key - they actually sit down and watch these shows and actually pay attention. That says a lot about what we did so many years ago," Drury quipped.
While discussing the longevity of the show, I inquired what his thoughts were as to why the show has endured for so long. "First off, the show was 90 minutes long per episode. You had to have excellent writers in order for that to work. We had meaty characters with long story arcs and the guests stars were invaluable, too. Not to mention the show was also shot entirely in color, which was very unusual for that time." Drury went on to comment how the potential guest stars would have "climbed over broken glass at the opportunity to have a guest appearance. Guest stars on the show included Art Carney, Charles Bronson and Joan Collins - to name a mere few.
Drury commented how the work schedule was tough because of the 90 minute format. "We spent a great deal more time preparing our show, which was actually 71 minutes and 30 seconds each (after you remove the commercials). It took us eight days to shoot an episode, which the studio ran every five days. Because of that schedule, we were often shooting anywhere from two to five different episodes at the same time. The cast were running all over from set to set doing two lines here and five lines there just to get everything in the can. Logistically, it was tough and very hectic," lamented Drury. It wasn't all work and no play, though, as James shared with me one occasion he decided to lighten the stress and tension of the cast and crew. "Everybody seemed a bit overly uptight at five AM call meeting. We were preparing to load a bus to ride out to the set, so I snuck out a bit early and took aim with a fire hose. As the cast moved across the street to load the bus, I let the water fly! Oh, they were a bit upset at first, but then the laughter started. We had a great time on the set - always."
James Drury is an enigma. One that is a professional and cares about his craft. His show is a timeless piece of art that, for any television fan, is a must see. Many shows today lack the total package that embodied The Virginian. Get your copy today!
Starring: James Drury& Lee Cobb
Company: Timeless Media
Now Showing: Available
MPAA Rating: NR
FREE DVD GIVEAWAY
We are doing a Free DVD Giveaway! If you are interested in a chance at winning a free copy of The Virginian: Complete Series and True Blood: Season Two, 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!
FOYLE'S WAR: Set Six - Acorn
For those wondering what this is: It's the continuation of the series, post war. Foyle is back on the job dealing with the lawlessness that plagued England as the country tried to rebuild. Still created by Anthony Horowitz and still starring Michael Kitchen and Honeysuckle Weeks, this set was filmed in 2009 and is finally available for all fans to pick up.
MONTY PYTHON: NOT THE MESSIAH - Sony
Something completely different is all well and good, but for Monty Python fans, there are few greater joys than hearing even for the umpteenth time a rousing live rendition of the troupe's adopted theme, "The Liberty Bell" march, or singing along to a bagpipes-enhanced "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" and "The Lumberjack Song." These pleasures frame Eric Idle and John Du Prez's 2007 comic "baroque and roll" oratorio inspired by Monty Python's Life of Brian. "Chaos and Confusion" (from the opening movement of the same name) reign in the first quarter hour, but things pick up once the hapless Brian Cohen (William Ferguson) enters the picture.
MR BELVEDERE: Season Three - Shout Factory
Shout Factory! serves up yet another serving of our favorite butler Mr Belvedere, with Mr Belvedere Season Three. The eagerly awaited set doesn't disappoint. The 22 episodes bring us yet another batch of laughter and tears in the Owens household, all with Mr Belvedere ending the day with his insightful and funny journal entries. The episodes are all the original network episodes, all running over 23 minutes in length. All the music featured in the episodes is included as well. Shout! did a great job in ensuring that we get to see Mr Belvedere the way we remember him during his network run.
RHODA: Season Two - Shout Factory
Rhoda was a show well before its time! Four DVDs containing all 24 season two episodes make up the set. All episodes have been vibrantly remastered and are uncut. This is a big improvement over season one, that had too many edited-for-syndication episodes (including a cameo appearance of Mary Tyler Moore playing Mary Richards in the pilot episode!). Everyone's favorite New York daughter returns for the second incredible season of Rhoda.
ADAM 12 - Season Four - Shout Factory
Officers Pete Malloy (Martin Milner) and Jim Reed (Kent McCord) hit the mean streets of L.A. running into all sorts of crime . . . from anti-Semitic criminals to assassins to hallucinating drunks: they see it all. A spin-off of the popular NBC TV series Dragnet (both created by the legendary Jack Webb), the show ran for seven seasons on NBC from 1968 1975. Get ready to roll out in the name of protection and service for Season Four of the action-packed police drama Adam-12. Best-selling author and prolific television producer Stephen J. Cannell (The A-Team, 21 Jump Street) joined the series this season as head writer and story editor. Los Angeles, 1972. A simpler time relative to today's high-tech police dramas, but with material just as compelling storywise. The cases are real and the criminals every bit as desperate, slick and ruthless.
THE ROOKIE: Blu-ray - Warner
This somewhat desperate-looking project pairs the aging Clint Eastwood (he also directed) with a younger actor (Charlie Sheen) who was hot at the time this film was made (1990). There's certainly nothing wrong with that strategy, but it would have helped if Eastwood had a decent story to wrap around his commercial strategy. The senior star plays a grizzled cop with a smooth-faced preppie (Sheen) as a new partner. Their odd-couple shtick is as predictable as one would expect, with each man approaching the same job with a wholly different set of convictions from the other.
HEARTBREAK RIDGE: Blu-ray - Warner
The controversial, Reagan-era invasion of Grenada by U.S. troops is, oddly enough, at the center of this initially interesting story of a seasoned Marine sergeant (Clint Eastwood) routinely insulted by younger officers for being a symbol of the war that America "lost" in Vietnam. Looking for both a victory and a little redemption, Eastwood's character trains a squadron of scrappy pups and turns them into fighting grunts, just in time to follow White House orders and take the little island.
FAMILY MATTERS: Season One - Warner
Originally, Family Matters - a spin-off series of the successful Perfect Strangers - was conceived to focus on the Winslows, a middle-class suburban Chicago black family. Harriet was the sarcastic elevator operator at the Chicago Chronicle newspaper while her portly husband, Carl, was a Chicago police sergeant; they had three children Eddie (14), Laura (12) and Judy (9). While somewhat successful in its early months on the air, "Family Matters" didn't become a true hit until the appearance of the Winslow's next door neighbor kid, Steve Urkel. The bespectacled Urkel, complete with high-pitched voice and suspenders, was the ultimate nerd who had an unrequited crush on Laura. His well-meaning but clumsy ways, in addition to countless back-firing contraptions and visits at inopportune times, caused no end of grief for Eddie, Laura and especially Carl; Harriet, however, was more understanding. A brilliant and often under rated show, Family Matters is without a doubt a must own!
CADDYSHACK: Blu-ray - Warner
A purely tasteless, moronic, guilty pleasure. Director Harold Ramis employs a mixture of Mad magazine/National Lampoon maturity and Saturday Night Live sarcasm in this goofball golf comedy set on the grounds of a posh country club. Somewhere buried in the slapstick antics, drug references, Marx Brothers-like insults, and gratuitous sex scenes are the intertwined, forgettable subplots of a poor caddie (Michael O'Keefe) trying to earn enough cash to attend college, and golf-tournament and class battles between rich and even richer snobs. Mainly, Ramis just lets his colorful group of eccentrics crash into each other, relying on several inspired performances to create several hilarious moments of sketch comedy.
THE STRANGER: Blu-ray - Anchor Bay
The Stranger is a throwback to home video's 1980s VHS heyday, when athletes and martial artists like Jeff Speakman and Thomas Ian Griffith were fodder for low-budget, direct-to-video action films produced to keep the product pipeline flowing. But six-time WWF champion Steve Austin demonstrates he is anything but Expendable in this Bourne knockoff, as an amnesiac who is wanted by the FBI and the Russian mob. "What could I have done to cause all this?" he asks. Erica Cerra (Eureka) costars as a psychologist determined to help him remember the traumatic events that blocked his memory. Adam Beach (Flags of Our Fathers) also stars as an FBI agent whose motives in helping the Stranger may be suspect.
ALICE IN WONDERLAND: Blu-ray - Disney
On the day of her engagement party, the 19-year-old Alice (a nicely understated Mia Wasikowska) is lead by a white-gloved rabbit to an alternate reality that looks strangely familiar--she's been dreaming about it since she was 6 years old. Stranded in a hall of doors, she sips from a potion that makes her shrink and nibbles on a cake that makes her grow. Once she gets the balance right, she walks through the door that leads her to Tweedledum and Tweedledee (Matt Lucas), the Dormouse (Barbara Windsor), the Blue Caterpillar (Alan Rickman), and the Cheshire Cat (a delightful Stephen Fry), who inform her that only she can free them from the wrath of the Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter channeling Bette Davis) by slaying the Jabberwocky. To pull off the feat, she teams up with the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp in glam-rock garb), rebel bloodhound Bayard (Timothy Spall), and Red's sweet sister, the White Queen (Anne Hathaway in goth-rock makeup). A wonderful addition to the story of Alice, all will be pleased with the latest addition. The package actually includes the DVD, Blu-ray and a Digital Copy. Pick up your copy today!
SORORITY GIRLS 3D - Retromedia
Sorority Girls 3D is fascinating in some respects. The premise is that six nubile young women are trying to get into a sorority, and to do so, they must play a naked game of "Truth or Dare." (You can probably guess what kind of questions and dares are involved. If you can't, let's just say there's a lot of kissing and fondling and whipped cream.) The gimmick is that it's in 3D! Seriously, that's it. How sad is it that I watched the entire hour-long video with those stupid cardboard glasses over my own? Pick it up and have the experience the same level of glee!
UNDISPUTED III REDEMPTION: Blu-ray - Warner
Isaac Florentine's Undisputed 3: Redemption is the best of the Undisputed series. Scott Adkins reprises his role as Russian inmate Boyka, now severely hobbled by the knee injury suffered at the end of Undisputed 2. No longer the feared prison fighter he was, he has declined so far that he is now good only for cleaning toilets. But when a new prison fight tournament begins - an international affair, matching the best fighters from prisons around the globe, enticing them with the promise of freedom for the winner - Boyka must reclaim his dignity and fight for his position in the tournament.
BURN NOTICE: Season Three - Fox
Burn Notice lures in the audience with their superb storylines, witty banter, romantic teasing, and "how-to tips." The chemistry between the cast and the way they outsmart the bad guys...priceless. Throw in some interesting clients and wacky side-kicks and you're hooked. In season 3, you will see how the characters have developed and genuinely love each through thick and thin. Burn Notice is simply must own - and must see - TV.
LIFE: Blu-ray - BBC
Aided by breathtaking high-definition cinematography, the enthralling BBC series Life (from the makers of Planet Earth) explores the more colorful strategies the world's creatures employ to procreate, evade predators, and obtain nourishment. Cameras travel though the air, under the water, and right into the faces of insects, like the alien visage of the stalk-eyed fly. Beauty at its finest, Life is for the entire family.
THOMAS AND FRIENDS: Greatest Stories - Lionsgate
With Thomas & Friends, children enter a world of imagination through the tracks of a train and the words of a story. As children embark for fun with their engine friends, adventures unfold that lead to timeless life lessons of friendship, cooperation and discovery. Celebrate 65 years of stories in this collectible special edition 2-disc set that is jam-packed with twenty of the best Thomas episodes, music videos, games, and more. See how Thomas met his famous friends and became one of the most beloved preschool characters of all time. With legendary narrators George Carlin, Ringo Starr, and Alec Baldwin guiding the tour, this is one express train you don’t want to miss.