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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

The brilliant man who brought us the likes of Office Space, Beavis & Butthead, and King of the Hill steps to the plate with his next project, Extract. Mike Judge directs this comedy that is bursting with talent that includes Jason Bateman, J.K. Simmons, Kristin Wiig and Mila Kunis. Bateman stars as a man who is anxious to sell his business, but his plans are threatened by a strange, unexpected event. Extracts diverse cast also includes David Koechner, Clifton Collins Jr., Gene Simmons, and Ben Affleck in cameo appearances.

Never one to really want to ruin a story for those that haven’t seen the picture, I can tell you this one is a bit off the mark. Kunis and Bateman do amicable jobs - and Gene Simmons’ performance as the attorney is priceless, but many others seem droll or overdone. Judge seems to let this one get away from him as the film sort of limps to the finish line leaving everyone with a sense of dissatisfaction. Yes, I am serious. There is no doubt that I expected far more than the simple serving I received. Still worth the viewing, but go to a matinee so you aren’t angry over the ticket price.

Starring: Jason Bateman & Mila Kunis
Director: Mike Judge
Company: Miramax
Now Showing: In area Theatres
MPAA Rating: R
Grade: C+

DVD Reviews

A rogue asteroid smashes into the moon in a tremendous explosion of rock and debris. Within days, disastrous abnormalities start happening on Earth. What started as the most beautiful and the largest meteor shower in 10,000 years unexpectedly becomes the catalyst for a potential collison between the moon and planet Earth. The world’s leading scientists, Alex Kittner (David James Elliott) and Maddie Rhodes (Natasha Henstridge) have 39 days to stop the moon’s course or the Earth and all of mankind will perish. A somewhat interesting spin on an already told story.

One Halloween, a little witch decides to see what humans are really like. Plus seven more slightly scary stories: By the Light of the Halloween Moon; A Dark, Dark tale; Georgie; The Witch in the Cherry Tree; The Three-legged Cat; The Three Robbers, and Little Tim and the Brave Sea Captain. This DVD set is brilliant and a must own for anyone with young children. The set hits stores across the country on September 29.

The year 1540 was a crucial turning point in American history. The Great Indian Wars were incited by Francisco Vazquez de Coronado when his expedition to the Great Plains launched the inevitable 350 year struggle between the white man and the American Indians. From that point forward, the series of battles between the United States and the Native American Indians began where blood was shed and ultimately tens of thousands of lives were lost on both sides. The Battle of Tippecanoe, the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, all three Seminole Wars and the Battle of Little Big Horn were some of the most important conflicts that led up to the last massacre, the Battle of Wounded Knee, where America’s landscape would be forever changed.

He was the mastermind of the most notorious murders in U.S. history, a crazed guru who terrified the world and plunged the city of Los Angeles into a state of paranoia and panic. This two-hour docudrama takes viewers deep inside Charles Manson s twisted world of hate, fear, and mind control to tell the story of how one man transformed a harmless group of hippies into a gang of brutal murderers. Intertwining first-person accounts with rare archive footage, Manson looks back at the nine months leading up to and including the brutal murder of Sharon Tate, the Manson family s most famous victim, four decades after her bludgeoning. It features key Manson family member Linda Kasabian, who was at the scene of the Sharon Tate murders as lookout and getaway driver, in her first interview in 20 years, as well as interviews with fellow Manson family member Catherine Share as well as the prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi. For anyone interested in the Manson story, this is simply a must own DVD. This isn’t the same old recycled material on the same subject. Get your copy today!

They claim they re merely a civic-minded fraternity, bound together by harmless rituals. But throughout their long history, the Freemasons have been reviled as devil worshippers, accused of provoking revolution, and suspected of plotting to take over the world. Witnessin Mysteries of the Freemasons the untold story of the world s oldest secret society as clandestine codes, patterns in the sky, and murder reveal a radically new picture of the nation s founding fathers. Dramatic reenactments, expert interviews, sophisticated CGI, and original location documentary footage transport viewers back to the time when Freemasons led the Revolution, framed the Declaration of Independence, designed our nation s capital and, in the early years of the Republic, grew to unmatched heights of influence and power. This DVD exposes the origins of this underground society, from the stealing of King Solomon s treasure to the three evils against which Freemasons believe they’re still struggling: ignorance, fanaticism, and tyranny, to a present-day initiation ceremony attended by 2.5 million Freemasons from around the world.

A Group of Travelers visiting the exotic forests of Thailand is suddenly attacked by a multi weapon wielding maniac. Some manage to escape; others perish under his merciless blows. The maniac is the Spirited Killer, a forest dweller who kills anyone stepping into his jungle. Leading the pack to help stop this madman is Tony Jaa(Ong Bak), making his film debut! The Killer is played by none other than his mentor, Panna Rittikrai, who was a major action star in Thailand. Together with Jaa and his other stuntmen protégés, Rittikrai gives Jackie Chan and Jet Li a runfor their money with blinding action and superb stunts! This is the start of a group that would later give the world the action epics Ong Bak and Tom Yum Goong! For the first time on DVD in the US, Mill Creek is proud to bring you the 2nd and 3rd installments in this highly sought after and much anticipated trilogy of films! All of the action and excitement of the first film combined with exciting new stars and martial arts action.

A feel-good drama, Fireproof has a strong agenda: stay married, lead an honest life, and let your faith in a higher power help guide you. A still boyish-looking Kirk Cameron stars as Caleb Holt, a mercurial-tempered firefighter whose marriage is on the rocks. He clearly enjoys his status as a hero, but it comes at the expense of his marriage. His wife Catherine (Erin Bethea) is tired of the distance and wants him to make more of an effort at home, rather than surf porn on the Internet and hoard his earnings toward his dream fishing boat instead of helping out her disabled mother. This is a wonderful film that will see you run the full gamut of emotions. Worth the purchase!

When a mail-order apprentice witch (Angela Lansbury) is saddled with three sibling refugees from London during World War II, the outlook is grim. But the kids soon discover her secret and sign on for adventure in the name of England. With the aid of a magical bed, they track down her fraudulent headmaster (David Tomlinson) to find the spell that will aid the Allies. Fascinated that she has actually achieved results with his lessons, he joins forces. The quintet does battle with corrupt booksellers, animated-lion royalty, and, eventually, invading Germans. Classic Disney at it’s best, this DVD is perfect for the entire family!

Jackass producers Jeff Tremaine, Johnny Knoxville, and Trip Taylor team up with Travis Pastrana, Gregg Godfrey, and Jeremy Rawle to deliver the first televised season of Nitro Circus on MTV. Travis Pastrana, legendary freestyle motocross pro and nine-time X Games gold medalist, has built an empire doing the previously thought to be impossible and almost always unadvisable. Whether it is jumping out of an airplane without a parachute or being the first rider to ever double back-flip a motorbike, Pastrana knows no bounds. Joining him on this latest stunt-fueled fest of bad ideas and good times are childhood friend and pro mountain biker Jim DeChamp, washed up pro motocross rider and loud-mouth Andy Bell, pro motocross racer Jolene Van Vugt, professional skier/base jumper Erik Roner, and husky construction worker/stunt dummy Streetbike Tommy. Together, the tight knit crew’s hilariously intense and irrational rivalries make Nitro Circus the most entertaining train wreck of a show to slam onto the television airwaves in years. Extra features are included in this hilarious, albeit idiotic, set.

Grab your safari hat and get ready for a one-of-a-kind musical jungle adventure! Join your best friends, Barney, BJ, and Baby Bop as they laugh, dance, and sing through an enchanted rain forest and learn about all of the amazing plants, animals, and insects that call the rain forest their home. Watch and learn as kids play with monkeys, collect butterflies, and search for the legendary Higgledy Piggledy Pear Tree in this super-dee-duper tale of friendship and fun! Children will love this edition of Barney and his pals. What a wonderful program that serves as an excellent teaching tool!

Being the wife or girlfriend of a pro-football player might sound like a glamorous and stress-free existence, but Melanie Barnett (Tia Mowry) is about to discover the truth. Melanie’s boyfriend, Derwin, is the new third-string wide receiver for the San Diego Sabers. While Derwin wo ries about the plays on the field, Melanie learns about the power plays that NFL wives use to get their men the best agents, managers, endors ments, merchandising deals and even the “in” charity. As she deals with egos, groupies and image consultants, Melanie is finding out how “the game” is played among the women behind the athletes.

Why is America so interesting? Host Dave Mordal takes us on a guided tour of America’s backyard adventurers and free-time fanatics! Whether it’s punkin’ chunkin’ in Delaware, bar stool sledding in Wisconsin or alligator wrestling in Colorado, Dave leaves no corner of the country unexplored in his quest for imaginative people who aren’t afraid to make their own fun. From hometown traditions and competitions to downright quirky pastimes, this is the kind of American ingenuity that makes this country so unique.

A mentalist is a master manipulator of thought and behavior. The mentalist is Patrick Jane (Simon Baker), a celebrity psychic whose wife and child are viciously murdered by an elusive serial killer called Red John. Devastated, Patrick admits his paranormal act is fake, renounces his earlier life and uses his astonishing skills of observation and analysis talents that made him appear psychically gifted to bring killers to justice. At crime scenes across California, Patrick now helps an elite team of detectives break their toughest cases. But no matter how many criminals he catches, Patrick never forgets his central goal: Find Red John. And bring him down. Wow, this is a damn good show! A must see, and must own!

Lie to Me is simply one of the most unique shows on television. Lie to Me defies so many trends and presents a fascinating show without the trite cliches of so many other programs. There are no guns, no explosions, car chases or tiring drama. Tim Roth delivers an award winning performance and is brilliant in the lead role. The stories are captivating with many twists and turns. Pick this one up, it’s worth it!

A prime time soap with a truly contemporary take on the happily ever after, Desperate Housewives takes a darkly comedic look at suburbia where the secret lives of housewives aren’t always what they seem. Desperate Housewives The Complete Fifth Season fast forwards five years where new mysteries bind true friendships with a balance of humor and drama, twists and surprises. All season five episodes are included with several bonus features that are sure to grab you interest!

Odd Horten is a neat, meticulous, pipe-smoking train conductor, winding up 40 years of service for the Norwegian railways. O’Horten poses the following question: When a man’s life has been determined by timetables and clearly-defined journeys along narrow tracks, how does he spend his free hours? Director Bent Hamer provides the answer in this droll comedy, which follows Odd Horten about his final work shifts and then into the uncertain world of retirement. Horten meets the dilemma of buying a new pipe with the same placid curiosity he brings to meeting a stranger who invites him to his home and proposes they test the stranger’s theory that he can drive a car with his eyes closed. What a curious program!

Purchase 30 Rock so you can re-enjoy the complete third season of this unquestionably brilliant show! Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin star as corporate executive Jack Donaghy and TV writer Liz Lemon. Together, Jack and Liz manage the workplace chaos with no help from Liz’s loose-cannon stars Tracy Jordan and Jenna Maroney (Tracy Morgan and Jane Krakowski) and hapless NBC page Kenneth Parcell (Jack McBrayer). The end result is topless break-dancing, professional tetherball, geriatric kidnapping, bird murder, sexual espionage, Appalachian witchcraft, patricide, gay lion tattoos and important life lessons learned from sasquatches. Join in the behind-the-scenes fun with lots of exclusive content and all 22 episodes of the acclaimed third season of 30 Rock from executive producer Lorne Michaels.

Silas Parker (James Franco), a small-time thief, marries his parole officer’s niece Camille (Sienna Miller), believing that he can use the romantic honeymoon to flee to Canada. On the way to the border, a reckless truck driver runs them off the road. At first, the new bride seems relatively unscathed, but as her body begins to decay, Silas discovers that maybe she didn’t survive the accident after all. Camille also stars David Carradine and Scott Glenn in epic performances. This is a beautiful presentation on Blu-ray that is simply more than a great story.

Set in 1851 on Christmas Eve, and the Cybermen stalk the snow of Victorian London. When the Doctor arrives and starts to investigate a spate of mysterious deaths, he’s surprised to meet another Doctor and soon, the two must combine forces to defeat the ruthless Miss Hartigan. But are two Doctors enough to stop the rise of the CyberKing? Broadcast under intense speculation as to whether it would lead to David Morrissey taking over the title role (he didn’t), Doctor Who: The Next Doctor actually turned out to be a really enjoyable 2008 Christmas special for the show, crammed with action and ideas. The premise of The Next Doctor, that there are two Doctors on the go, is set up early, as David Tennant’s Doctor encounters Morrissey’s character wielding a screwdriver, talking of the TARDIS, and fighting foes. This allows Tennant to slip into the role of the assistant, and his double act with Morrissey is excellent, with the latter making the most of a meaty, evolving role.

Long before Donnie Brasco brought similar drama to the big screen, Ken Wahl brought charisma, credibility, and chutzpah to his small-screen role as Vincent Terranova, a handsome 30-year-old agent with the FBI s Organized Crime Bureau. As conceived by co-creators Stephen Cannell and Ken Lupo, Wiseguy followed an innovative story-arc structure, allowing Vinnie s deep-cover missions to last only as long as necessary to bring each case to a sensible conclusion. Since copied by countless TV shows, this unique approach to storytelling attracted a devoted following of viewers addicted to the self-contained plots that forced Vinnie, his sourpuss OCB handler Frank McPike (Jonathan Banks), and disabled covert liaison Dan Lifeguard Burroughs (played by double-amputee Jim Byrnes) to achieve their objectives.

Richard Greene stars as our gallant hero who fought the forces of the evil Prince John and his local official the Sheriff of Nottingham, who threatened the common people and loyal subjects of King Richard. Brought to you by Mill Creek Entertainment, this brilliantly produced program is packaged in its entirety for your family enjoyment. Wholesome entertainment for all. Get your copy now or Little John will find you!

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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August 05, 2009