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 Clash of the Titans, The Losers, Cop Out, The Man with No Name Trilogy, Disney Parks Blu-ray Combo Pack, Avatar: The Last Airbender Complete Book One, The Best of Europe Greece, Germany, Italy, France or Music Lover's Europe, 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!
WHITE COLLAR: Season One - Fox
In this clever and thrilling new TV series, charming con man Neal Caffey (Matthew Bomer), escapes from a maximum-security prison, only to be recaptured by his nemesis, FBI Agent Peter Burke (Tim DeKay). With few options, Caffey agrees to help the bureau bring down other elusive criminals in exchange for his eventual freedom. But before long, Caffey finds himself playing a game of cat and mouse with those who want him back in prison or dead. Co-starring Tiffani Thiessen (Beverly Hills, 90210), White Collar is sewn with surprising twists, engaging characters and riveting excitement.
SAVING GRACE: Final Season - Fox
Grace Hanadarko (Holly Hunter) has been with the Oklahoma City Police Department most of her life. She’s good at her job; has amazing instincts and has an uncanny ability to discern when she’s being lied to. When the series began three years ago, Detective Hanadarko was driving too fast while intoxicated. After seemingly striking a homeless man with her car she begs God for a second chance. And then she meets Earl – an unconventional angel full of cryptic messages from her maker. Grace has always had a problem with organized religion, stemming back to childhood abuse at the hands of a priest. She finds it hard to reconcile a God which would let this happen to her; a God which would allow her sister to die in the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, leaving behind a newborn baby. Seasons one and two focused on the character’s disbelief and anger, and on fleshing out the person that one becomes after so much wrong is foisted upon them. This is sadly the last season in the series. It works to examine the relationships Grace has with the people around her.
THOMAS & FRIENDS: Creaky Cranky - Lionsgate
Thomas and his friends deliver cargo-loads of fun in this collection of uplifting episodes! Ride along as Thomas helps to deliver mail, mend engines, and prepare for the Spring Party on the Island of Sodor. Watch as Thomas learns that it pays to listen to advice, there’s more to a train than its undercoat, and that sometimes it takes a team of friends to reach your true destination.
BARNEY: Furry Friends - Lionsgate
Join Barney and his friends for some tail-wagging adventures, as they have a purr-fectly wonderful time with pets! Learn how to care for your favorite furry friends, from helpful guide dogs to stunning show dogs and all different kinds of cats. You're sure to have a doggone good time with Baby Bop™, BJ™ and everyone's favorite fun-loving dinosaur, Barney!
THE RUNAWAYS - Sony
In adapting Cherie Currie's memoir, Neon Angel, Floria Sigismondi focuses on three figures. Sensing imminent stardom, Sunset Strip impresario Kim Fowley (Michael Shannon) brings together blond Bowie fanatic Cherie (Dakota Fanning) with raven-haired rocker Joan Jett (Kristen Stewart). Manufactured bands weren't a novel phenomenon in the 1970s, but the Runaways wrote their own songs and played their own instruments, paving the way for the all-girl outfits to come. With a mother (Tatum O'Neal) in Singapore and a perpetually drunk father, Cherie and her sister, Marie (Riley Keough), must fend for themselves. When the group heads out on tour, there's no adult supervision, leading to drinking and drugging from California to Japan, where the crowds go wild, but just as they're taking off in public, they're falling apart in private. Cherie tires of Fowley's tough-love tactics, while her bandmates resent the focus on their sexpot singer.
OPERATION ENDGAME: Blu-ray - Anchor Bay
Rival squads of sociopathic covert agents turn on each other with vicious glee when their underground facility is threatened with flaming death. The fun of Operation: Endgame lies in the cast: this is a pretty unlikely collection of assassins, played by the likes of Rob Corddry, Zach Galifianakis, and Emilie de Ravin, alongside more traditional Hollywood super spy types such as Maggie Q, Ving Rhames, and Ellen Barkin. Operation: Endgame also has fun with spook lingo (the agents are all named after tarot cards, ranging from the Devil to Temperance to the High Priestess) and extremely graphic violence (truly, at least half of the movie is watching the agents kill each other with improvised weapons, like paper shredders and golf putters).
THE ART OF THE STEAL - IFC
Director Don Argott's documentary about the controversial move of the Barnes art collection to downtown Philadelphia, The Art of the Steal, is so adamantly against the relocation that it feels as if the viewer is watching evidence presented in a murder trial. Ex-Barnes student Lenny Feinberg funded the film, openly intending it to be an argument against the relocation, in recent years, of the Barnes Foundation, which was established in 1922. Albert Barnes envisioned his foundation as an art school rather than a museum, and he wrote a detailed will to dictate the future of his highly desirable collection (valued at $25 billion) of impressionist and postimpressionist works by artists like Picasso, Renoir, Matisse, van Gogh, Cezanne, and others. The film focuses on interviews given by people on both sides: advocates and art advisers, critics such as Christopher Knight, professors such as Dr. Robert Zaller, and those under fire, like Richard Glanson, ex-Barnes president who planned dubious legislation in the 1990s to move the art from its rural location. Copious research into what some call a crime shows, and one almost gets too clear a picture of, how a private art collection can be usurped through government.
MERCY: Season One - Universal
Nurse Veronica Flanagan Callahan (Taylor Schilling) has recently returned to her hospital job after a volatile tour in Iraq, and knows more about medicine than all of the residents combined. In order to navigate the domestic landmines of her personal and professional worlds, she’ll need the camaraderie of her fellow nurses Sonia Jimenez (Jaime Lee Kirchner) and Chloe Payne (Michelle Trachtenberg). This 5-disc set contains all 22 episodes presented uninterrupted in Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound and includes a stellar ensemble cast featuring James Tupper, Diego Klattenhoff, Guillermo Diaz, James Le Gros and a guest appearance by James Van Der Beek. Bold, realistic and instantly gripping, Mercy is unlike any depiction of the medical community you have seen before.
CLASH OF THE TITANS - Warner
In Clash of the Titans, the ultimate struggle for power pits men against kings and kings against gods. But the war between the gods themselves could destroy the world. Born of a god but raised as a man, Perseus (Sam Worthington) is helpless to save his family from Hades (Ralph Fiennes), vengeful god of the underworld. With nothing to lose, Perseus volunteers to lead a dangerous mission to defeat Hades before he can seize power from Zeus (Liam Neeson) and unleash hell on earth. Battling unholy demons and fearsome beasts, Perseus and his warriors will only survive if Perseus accepts his power as a god, defies fate and creates his own destiny.
MONARCHY: Complete Series - Acorn
Monarchy provides an excellent history of Britain as well as the Monarchy. Military history played a great part in both politics and the Monarchy--often one and the same. The 16 episodes provide a chronological picture of kings, queens and other royalty from the Saxons (year 802) to Queen Victoria (1901). Athena's "Monarchy"is a sophisticated, upper-level, educational experience, not unlike British Monarchy presented in a university study. The SUBTITLES help on many words--unusual, seldom used vocabulary such as "regicide" [killer of kings] and fratricidal" [killing of relatives]. Your mind will expand! I impatiently awaited the Monarchy role as it related to the USA history beginning with the 18th century. The final 2 episodes did not disappoint in this aspect. The narrator, Dr. David Starkey, is quite expressive in facial gestures, expressions, and his manner of speech. A wonderful series!
LYTTONS DIARY: Complete Series - Acorn
As portrayed by Peter Bowles, London gossip columnist Neville Lytton exudes a sophisticated charm that masks a tenacious commitment to his job. Whether consorting with banking tycoons and ex-dictators or investigating a gang of skinheads, Lytton strives to expose the high and mighty, the corrupt and the crooked--and to make sure "God" (his editor at the Daily News) is happy with his work. All the while, Lytton struggles to keep his love life in order, write the one novel he feels he has in him, and fend off the constant machinations and maneuvers of an old rival at the Daily Post. It’s all part of the daily grind for Neville Lytton--and grist for the scandalous news mill.
THE SECRET OF THE GRAIN: Blu-ray - Criterion
The focus of the film is Slimane Beiji (Habib Boufares) who is a dock worker and the leader of a French Arab family. He's been working at the same job for 35 years, but work has been slow and Slimane's boss has decided to drop some overhead and have layoffs. Unfortunately Slimane is let go. After spending some time contemplating his situation, Slimane takes the advice of those close to him and determines to go into business for himself. His plan is to open a restaurant inside an old boat that he has inherited. The plan is a huge risk from a financial standpoint, but if it's successful the new job could give him everything he wants. The Secret of the Grain is a very solid film that is never slow or boring. It's a film that really does have to be seen to be appreciated.
BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: Blu-ray Season Three - Universal
The third season of Battlestar Galactica got off to a rip-roaring start on New Caprica, where the settlers had found themselves under Cylon occupation at the end of the previous season. Dr. Baltar (James Callis) had been elected President based on his intention to stop looking for Earth and settle on New Caprica, but is now a puppet of the Cylons, forced to sign execution orders for numerous humans, including former President Roslin (Mary McDonnell). A resistance movement is building, however, led by Col. Tigh (Michael Hogan), and assisted by Chief Tyrol (Aaron Douglas) and Samuel Anders (Michael Trucco). Tigh's desperate tactics--including suicide bombers--raise interesting parallels to the U.S. war in Iraq, and he finds he has to make an even tougher choice. Thanks to Admiral Adama's (Edwards James Olmos) return and the unexpected help of Boomer (Grace Park), the colonists escape, then begin a series of trials in order to convict all of the Cylon collaborators, culminating in the explosive trial of Baltar himself.
BEST OF EUROPE: London & Beyond - Questar
Simply put, Rudy Maxa is a genius. The Best of Europe series follows Maxa's simple theory of showing quality images without the over abundance of chatter. This installment, London and Beyond, provides images are both stunning and incredibly informative. Maxa is interesting to listen to and he gives good tips for travelling in the areas he documents. More than anything, this package provides the opportunity to see a number of very interesting locales within the European setting. There are other titles in this series including France, Greece and Italy which are also just as beautiful, educational and interesting to watch.
IP MAN: Blu-ray - Well Go USA
One of the most astonishing displays of martial arts action on film in recent years, Wilson Yip's Ip Man chronicles the life of the eponymous Wing Chun master (Donnie Yen), who would later become instructor and mentor to Bruce Lee. Fans of Ronny Yu's Fearless, with Jet Li, will notice several similarities between the biopics. He soon draws the interest of the commanding Japanese colonel (Hiroyuki Ikeuchi), who exploits the starving locals by forcing them against his trainees for bags of rice. Ip must then pit his extraordinary Wing Chun against the colonel's karate for his own dignity, as well as the soul of his people. Were Yip's film simply a series of set pieces featuring Yen's incredible fighting skills, Ip Man would rank among the best martial arts films of the past three decades; the fight choreography, by Hong Kong legend Sammo Hung and Tony Leung Siu-hung, offers the same sort of eye-popping, rewind-required fist and footwork that Ip's disciple, Bruce Lee, inspired in the '70s, and Jackie Chan, Jet Li, and Tony Jaa displayed in subsequent years; a battle between Ip and 10 black belts, in particular, requires multiple views to absorb the speed and deftness on display.
SABRINA THE TEENAGE WITCH: Final Season - Paramount
Melissa Joan Hart continues to bring her unique magic to Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, the bewitching comedy series, as it enters its seventh and final season. Sabrina begins her professional life with a new job at an alternative music magazine and an office full of eccentric co-workers. A fitting sendoff for a great show!
THE LOSERS - Warner
The Losers provides nonstop and pretty thrilling action, with a stellar cast, doing the comic book series from which it was adapted proud in the process. The movie may not have an airtight plot line, but its enthusiastic, talented actors--Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Zoe Saldana, Chris Evans, and the under appreciated Jason Patric--and the crisp, punch-packing direction by Sylvain White more than make up for it. The Losers follows the gambits of a team of U.S. Special Forces, with appropriately comic-bookish names like Clay (Morgan), Roque (Idris Elba), Jensen (Evans), Pooch (Columbus Short), and Cougar (Óscar Jaenada). They're sent to Bolivia, where they are double-crossed and presumed dead--with a big bad evil guy, Max (Patric), hot on their trail. In the jungle, they join up with a mystery woman (Saldana) with her own agenda--and perhaps not the most trustworthy of intentions.
JESSE STONE: No Remorse - Sony
No Remorse, the sixth entry in the made-for-TV series of Jesse Stone mysteries featuring Robert B. Parker's small-town police chief, is another satisfying blend of detective thrills and character drama, anchored by coproducer-cowriter Tom Selleck's typically fine turn as Stone. Picking up shortly after the events of the previous Stone film, Thin Ice, the action finds Stone struggling with suspension from the force and his alcohol issues; intervention from old friend Commander Healy (Stephen McHattie) gets him back on his feet and on the trail of a serial killer preying on young men. Stone and his deputies (Kathy Baker and Kohl Sudduth) uncover a trail that leads them to Boston mob boss Gino Fish (William Sadler), whose secret past may uncover the guilty party. Meanwhile, Stone has to deal with a rash of convenience store robberies that have turned deadly, as well as his ex-wife and relationship issues with his new dog, Reggie.
A PROPHET: Blu-ray - Sony
In his labyrinthine portrait of a convict turned kingpin, Jacques Audiard (A Self Made Hero) combines the grittiness of HBO's Oz with the shifting loyalties of a Leone western. After assaulting a cop, Malik (Tahar Rahim) earns a six-year prison bid. Though illiterate, the 19-year-old speaks French and Arabic. Instead of congregating with the Muslim inmates, he keeps to himself, providing a perfect target for Mob boss César (Niels Arestrup), who makes him a Godfather-like offer he can't refuse: kill Reyeb (Hichem Yacoubi), an Arab set to testify against the Corsicans, or meet his maker. Malik decides he would prefer to live (in a surrealistic touch, Reyeb's ghost will haunt him for the rest of the film). In return, Luciani offers him protection but stops short of treating him like an equal.
FRONTLINE: College, INC - PBS
Frontline exposes how for-profit colleges are making investors rich but might not be good for the state of education. It notes that these schools cost four times as much as community colleges. Recruiters may use unconscionable practices. Further, though the students at these colleges comprise 10% of learners, they may compose 50% of student loan default. Moreover, this problem may come at the taxpaers' expense. These schools often spend more money on ads than on teaching. Still, the work ends by saying there are not enough seats in traditional schools to go around. It asks, "Will [for-profit colleges] become 'too big to fail'?"
THE KIM NOVAK COLLECTION - Sony
One of the most beautiful and talented stars to emerge from the studio era in the 1950s, Kim Novak has made an indelible mark on the cinema, and in the hearts of film fans all over the world. On August 3, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment unveils The Kim Novak Collection, featuring five of Novak's best-known films, fully restored and remastered, including two new to DVD. The must have collection includes "Jeanne Eagels" with Jeff Chandler and "Middle of the Night" with Fredric March (each making their DVD debuts), as well as the Novak classics "Picnic" with William Holden and Rosalind Russell; "Pal Joey" with Frank Sinatra and Rita Hayworth; and "Bell Book and Candle" with James Stewart and Jack Lemmon. There are a few extra features also included in the set.