Nick's Pics Nick
Nicholson Film & Home Entertainment Critic
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PRIME SUSPECT: Complete Collection - Acorn
Helen Mirren's Detective Chief Inspector Jane Tennison, the only female DCI on an old boy's club London homicide squad, is like a phantom lurking around the edges of the action while the men rush through their latest murder case, joshing and winking in the kind of male camaraderie the cop genre has celebrated for decades. When DCI Shefford dies of a sudden heart attack, Tennison demands to take over. Despite her superintendent's resistance, she becomes the squad's first woman to head a murder investigation. Scrutinized at every moment by her superior officers, Tennison is faced with a case that spirals out from a single murder to a serial spree, a second-in-command who undermines her authority and her investigation at every turn, a team resistant to taking orders from a woman, and a private life unraveling due to her professional diligence. Lynda La Plant's script is a compelling thriller riddled with ambiguity that turns dead ends, blind alleys, and the mundane legwork of real-life cops into fascinating details. Mirren commands the role of Tennison with authority, intelligence, and a touch of overachieving desperation. Superb performances, excellent writing, and understated direction make this BBC miniseries one of the most involving mysteries in years.
Prime Suspect developed over it's 15 year run in many different ways. Early on the series left a bit to be desired, but after the first initial episodes, the program had the most impressive aspects of production. Each program consists of two or three 100 minute episodes constructed around a single event or crime. All kinds of topics are discussed on the program, including corruption, murder, racial tension, etc. One of the reasons this program was so ground breaking was it's use of current topics in the episodes. Helen Mirren is a tremendous actress and her performance alone warrants picking up this set!
FREE DVD GIVEAWAY
We are doing a Free DVD Giveaway! If you are interested in a chance at winning a free copy of Angelina Ballerina: Love to Dance or Red vs Blue: the Recollection (Season six, seven and eight), 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 SECRET IN THEIR EYES - Sony
The Secret in Their Eyes (El Secreto de Sus Ojos), an Oscar winner for Best Foreign Language Film, is part cold-case mystery, part long-lost love story, and part thriller set both in the present and in 1970s Argentina, under the tight control of its infamous military dictatorship. Director Juan José Campanella manages to tread easily across these genres with a story that's gripping, a little outlandish, and compelling--if full of a growing sense of dread. The Secret in Their Eyes stars Ricardo Darín as Benjamin, a policeman who gets pulled into investigating a decades-old crime, and becomes drawn in, almost against his will, as layers of information about the missing (murdered?) girl slowly come to light. As Benjamin investigates, he runs into a woman for whom he has long carried a torch, Irene (Soledad Villamil), an ambitious judge who had also at one point been involved in adjudicating the old crime.
WHY DID I GET MARRIED TOO? - Lionsgate
Part Couples Retreat and part Douglas Sirk on steroids, Tyler Perry's sequel to his 2007 ensemble drama from the play of the same name reunites the four dysfunctional couples from the original film and runs each relationship (and the audience) again through the wringer. If you missed the first trip, don't sweat it. Perry writes in broad strokes, rendering each character readily definable (prideful husband, harpy wife, etc). The Bahamas is an exotic upgrade from Colorado, but the couples arrive for their annual retreat with even more baggage. Relationship guru Patricia (Janet Jackson) is unable to save her own marriage to Gavin (Malik Yoba). Terry (Perry) suspects his attorney wife Diane (Sharon Leal) is cheating on him, while Angela (Tasha Smith) is convinced her husband Marcus (Michael Jai White), now a successful sports talk show host, is cheating on her. Sheila (Jill Scott) is now married to former sheriff Troy (Lamman Rucker), who cannot find a job.
AMERICAN BEAUTY - Paramount
Weaving social satire, domestic tragedy, and whodunit into a single package, Alan Ball's first theatrical script dares to blur generic lines and keep us off balance, winking seamlessly from dark, scabrous comedy to deeply moving drama. The Burnham family joins the cinematic short list of great dysfunctional American families, as Lester is pitted against his manic, materialistic realtor wife, Carolyn (Annette Bening) and his sullen, contemptuous teenaged daughter, Jane (Thora Birch). Into their lives come two catalytic outsiders. A young cheerleader (Mena Suvari) jolts Lester into a sexual epiphany that blooms into a second adolescence. And an eerily calm young neighbor (Wes Bentley) transforms both Lester and Jane with his canny influence.
TAGGART: Set Three - Acorn
On TV since 1983, this Scotland crime investigation series finds some of the disgusting and heinous crimes challenging, and eventual discoveries of the unexpected. That's why it survived so long. This 8-episode set draws from 2005 airings. Disturbing crime investigated with state-of-the-art techniques, and intuition. Suspense, action, thrilling sequence, which meets the competition of so many great British Mystery and Crime series. It stands among the top of the greats.
MR PALFREY OF WESTMINSTER: Complete Collection - Acorn
If you like watching a spy catch a spy; here's a set to own. It's created in mid 1980s when British spies used floppy disc drives, VHS tape, audiotape, and dial phones. Mr. Palfrey (Alec McCowen) is a spy-buster. A hunter of spies within. He's slick & effective--Westminster's ace. The spy activity is believable--not Hollywood super-hero, super-tech, super-action style. Palfrey was a bit stuffy in the 1st season (episodes 1-4) but eventually the dialogue gave him some quick wit adding sprinklings of humor amid the intrigue. Call it 4 1/2 stars, if you must, for age, but it's better than most 21st century spy films.
30 ROCK: Season Four - Universal
This show is absolutely brilliant. The writing is clever and dynamic. Every character is fleshed out and interested, relatable and hilarious. Tina Fey plays Liz Lemon, a woman who has it all together and at the same time is a total mess. There's a little bit of Liz Lemon in us all, I think. Alec Baldwin is brilliant as Jack Donaghy, and I appreciate that just because the two leads are a heterosexual man and a woman the show doesn't try to force them together. The supporting characters all have story lines that are fully realized and funny and the show never talks down to its audience.
SHAUN THE SHEEP: Party Animals - Lionsgate
The farm is once again party central as Shaun, Bitzer, Timmy, and those Naughty Pigs cause all sorts of mayhem, from flying cue balls and pillow fights to nights of disguise and intrigue. Grab your invitation to laughter for some sheepherding mayhem that’s sure to rock the flock! The DVD features 7 episodes and runs for 50 Minutes.
BARNEY: A Counting We Will Go - Lionsgate
Barney and the gang go around the park and caboose counting up from 1-10, singing songs and dancing around in this fast-moving episode that runs about an hour. The main objectives that the purple and green dinosaur and his human friends have to deal with are teaching Baby Bop how to count to ten so she can participate in hide and seek. Baby Bop learns how to count to ten through a pretend store set up in the caboose where the little dinosaur is given coins to purchase things like books and food, and also by associating the numbers 1-10 with aspects of life like days in the week. The gang also is preoccupied with things to do for a counting party.
THE PLAYER - Warner
A wicked satirical fable about corporate backstabbing--and actual murder--in the movie business, The Player benefits from director Robert Altman's long and bitter experience working within, and without, the Hollywood studio system. Rising young executive Griffin Mill (Tim Robbins) is tormented by threats from an anonymous writer. The pressure and paranoia build until Griffin loses control one night and semi-accidentally kills screenwriter David Kahane (Vincent D'Onofrio), who may or may not be the source of the threats. From that point, Griffin's life and career begin to fall apart. In keeping with the ironic spirit of the film itself, Altman's scathingly funny attack on the moral bankruptcy of Hollywood was embraced by many of the same people it was intended to savage, and restored the director to commercial and critical favor.
CAMP ROCK 2: The Final Jam - Disney
Get ready to rock with the biggest musical event of the year—now in an extended edition with exclusive scenes & songs! Join Mitchie (Demi Lovato), Shane, Nate, and Jason (Jonas Brothers), and some brand new campers across the lake for 2 times the music, 2 times the dance moves and 2 times the fun in Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam! Plus only this extended edition combo pack includes a behind-the-scenes introduction to the newest stars, music videos by camp rockers from around the world, “Rock-Along” where you take center stage and more!
TINKER BELL & THE GREAT FAIRY RESCUE - Disney
The story is about Lizzy, a young girl whose father has little time for her. She is fascinated by fairies, whereas her father is caught up in facts and scientific research. Through a twist of fate, Lizzy meets Tinker Bell and they become good friends. Tink sees that Lizzy's father is not giving her the love and attention that she needs, so she helps Lizzy put together a book of facts on fairies, thinking that it might appeal to her dad. Meanwhile, Tinker Bell's fairy friends go on a journey to rescue Tinker Bell from the human world, putting themselves in grave danger. Can Lizzy catch the attention of her dad? Will Tink's friends be able to "rescue" her without getting caught by Lizzy's dad and used for research? A fun film for the family and is great for all ages!
DOCTOR WHO: The Time Monster - BBC
The six-episode "Time Monster" was the final story of the ninth season of Doctor Who, a strong run that also saw Jon Pertwee's Third Doctor in "The Day of the Daleks" and "The Sea Devils." The Master, Roger Delgado, is at the Newton Institute, experimenting with a fragment of crystal, which can summon Kronos, a time-eating entity from beyond space-time. The Doctor, Jo Grant (Katy Manning), and UNIT become involved in a sequence of strange temporal dislocations, eventually leading to ancient Atlantis itself. There Jo faces the Minotaur, played by Dave Prowse in a bull mask five years before he found fame as Darth Vader. "The Time Monster" is classic Doctor Who at its most surreal, the effects ranging from mediocre to functional, the Atlantis sets surprisingly lavish.
DOCTOR WHO: Underworld - BBC
The Doctor Who adventure "Underworld" finds Tom Baker's incarnation of the Doctor, accompanied by Leela (Louise Jameson) and faithful robot dog K9, materializing on a Minyan spaceship, one of two surviving vessels from a world destroyed 100,000 years before. The crew is on a quest to find the lost gene banks of their race, which were placed on a second ship around which a young planet has since formed. In a similar scenario to the previous season's "The Face of Evil," the descendants of the crew of this second ship have degenerated into superstitious primitivism ruled by a malfunctioning computer and, as in so many Doctor Who adventures, including the immediately proceeding "The Sun Makers" (1977), they are dominated by a brutal, self-serving elite.
GREATEST NFL RIVALRIES: Cowboys vs Redskins - Warner
Beating the Washington Redskins is a time-honored Cowboys tradition. While all triumphs over their heated rivals are valued, three are now yours to own on DVD in this exciting DVD set. Relive the 1999 season opener when the Dallas Cowboys found themselves down 35-14 and countered with one of the greatest comebacks in franchise history. Experience once again Terrell Owens four-touchdown performance against Washington in 2007 and the "Triplets" emerging with a thrilling comeback victory in 1997. View these classic Cowboys victories in their original broadcast format and enjoy the moments that helped define this classic NFL rivalry. NFL's Greatest Rivalries - Cowboys vs. Redskins is a must-have for any Cowboys fan!
SPARTACUS: Blood and Sand Season One - Anchor Bay
Spartacus: Blood and Sand continues cable television's dominance in quality programming outshining all network shows by a landslide. The series debut on Starz TV in January, 2010 and before the series was even broadcast the station ordered two full seasons worth of episodes which shows Starz's dedication to broadcasting high quality progamming. This is a historical weekly drama, made along the same lines as Rome and The Tudors, but with more graphic violence, sex, and language. The series is about a Roman gladiator named Spartacus who is captured and becomes a slave in a gladiator school headed by Batiatus in Capua. There, Spartacus must fight for his freedom, and he ultimately becomes the head of all slaves as others look up to him for his determination and willpower.
WALL STREET - Fox
Michael Douglas won an Oscar for perfectly embodying the Reagan-era credo that "greed is good." As a Donald Trump-like Wall Street raider aptly named Gordon Gecko (for his reptilian ability to attack corporate targets and swallow them whole), Douglas found a role tailor-made to his skill in portraying heartless men who've sacrificed humanity to power. He's a slick, seductive role model for the young ambitious Wall Street broker played by Charlie Sheen, who falls into Gecko's sphere of influence and instantly succumbs to the allure of risky deals and generous payoffs. With such perks as a high-rise apartment and women who love men for their money, Charlie's like a worm on Gecko's hook, blind to the corporate maneuvering that puts him at odds with his own father (Martin Sheen).
GLEE: Season One - Fox
A truly unique vision, Glee, takes us into the lives of High School Glee club that was once filled with pride only to be forgotten. Former Glee star now Spanish teacher Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison), takes it upon himself to resurrect the program and bring Glee back. This is a well to do metaphor the show brings showing that you can take some of those beloved things in your life and the things that make you happy and bring them back instead of meandering through your existence bored and depressed. In the high school Schuester encounters problems relating to lack of interest in the club to his nagging wife. Perhaps the best obstacle is in the form of Sue Sylvester, an intense and arrogant celebrity status Cheerleading coach with boosters and school funding all to her disposal. Sylvester is played brilliantly by Jane Lynch, who provides a raw humor that you just love when seeing someone who is evil and doesn’t hide it.
CRIMINAL MINDS: Season Five - Paramount
Criminal Minds revolves around an elite team of FBI profilers who analyze the country's most twisted criminal minds, anticipating their next moves before they strike again. The Behavioral Analysis Unit's most prominent agent is David Rossi (Joe Mantegna), a founding member of the BAU, who returns to help the team solve new cases, while pursuing some unfinished business of his own. Each member brings his or her own area of expertise to the table as they pinpoint predators' motivations and identify their emotional triggers in the attempt to stop them.
ANGELINA BALLERINA: Love to Dance - Lionsgate
Put on your dancing shoes and get ready to take center stage with Angelina Ballerina! On Angelina’s first day at Camembert Academy she discovers new forms of music and dance, like jazz, tap, and hip-hop. Together with her friends, Angelina realizes that becoming a prima ballerina requires collaboration and compromise – but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun! Get ready to step, leap and groove as you discover your own love of dance in these fun-filled episodes!
THE BIG BANG THEORY: Season Three - Warner
Leonard (Galecki) and Sheldon (Parsons) are brilliant physicists, the kind of "beautiful minds" that understand how the universe works. But none of that genius helps them interact with people – especially women. All this changes when a free-spirited beauty named Penny (Cuoco) moves in next door. Sheldon, Leonard's roommate, is quite content spending his nights playing Klingon Boggle with their socially dysfunctional friends, fellow Caltech scientists Howard Wolowitz (Helberg) and Rajesh Koothrappali (Nayyar). Leonard, however, sees in Penny a whole new universe of possibilities ... including love.
SCOOBY DOO: Camp Scare - Warner
Back-to-nature chills and thrills with Scooby-Doo's all-new original movie! Welcome to Camp Little Moose--where the counselors are friendly, the activities are endless and the urban legends are intense. In fact, every time someone tells a ghost story, the creepy creature comes to life! But the Mystery Inc. gang doesn't spook that easily so gather 'round the campfire to roast some bad guys. Scooby-Doo, Shaggy, Freddy, Daphne and Velma fish for clues to solve the mysteries of The Woodsman, The Fishman and The Banshee of Black Canyon. And of course, Shaggy and Scooby-Doo are hot on The Case of What's for Dinner! Scare up summertime fun with the Mystery Inc. gang in this hilarious, feature-length movie that gives new meaning to camp spirit!
RED VS BLUE: The Recollection
Seasons Six, Seven & Eight - Flatiron
Halo fans rejoice! The internet sensation, Red vs. Blue, has been a favorite of Halo lovers everywhere for quite some time now. The Bungie/Microsoft video game franchise took the web by storm in 2003, and to this day it's still going strong. Multiple episodes have stretched across several seasons and there have been some DVD sets released along the way. For those of you interested in the packaged together season of six, seven and eight, be sure to pick this up as the bonus features are tremendous.
NARUTO SHIPPUDEN: Box Set Three - Viz Media
After fierce battles with the Akatsuki, Sakura, Granny Chiyo, Kakashi and Naruto have finally retrieved Gaara from Deidara's clutches. But is it all too late? Back in the Leaf Village, Kakashi's on bed rest for overusing his Mangekyo Sharingan, and Naruto's preparing to recruit some of his friends for Team Kakashi. But the village elders have beat him to it, and their choice of the unfeeling Sai has Naruto spitting mad!
VAMPIRE KNIGHT - Viz Media
Vampire Knight is the story of a high school girl torn between two platonic lovers; or four fangs, in this case. After all, when it comes to vampire fiction, any horror noob knows that a vampire's bite is essentially synonymous with sex. And since so many romantic anime are so annoyingly coy about physical expressions of affection, that makes vampires a welcome addition to the shojo (girlie anime) genre. Now the heroine is free to get her rocks off and the boys have to do all the sucking for once. Is this an anime version of Twilight? Well, in a word, yes. But it isn't all that bad. In fact, it wasn't far from being really good. The vampire mythology is unique without deviating too far from established genre norms and some of the characters are quite likeable.