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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

WHITE OUT

Antarctica is an interesting place. The most isolated landmass on Earth 90° S. latitude, zero E. longitude. There are six million square miles of ice and it’s residents are subjected to six months of darkness. In addition, temperatures hover near minus-120 degrees with winds at 100 miles per hour. Nature never intended us to survive there. For U.S. Marshal Carrie Stetko, things are about to get even more dangerous. The only law enforcement in this unforgiving territory, she has just been sent to investigate a body on the ice. Antarctica’s first homicide. A shocking discovery in itself, it will plunge her into an even more bizarre mystery and the revelation of secrets long-buried under the endless ice...secrets that someone believes are still worth killing for. As Stetko races to find the killer before he finds her, winter is already closing in. In the deadly Antarctic whiteout, she won’t see him till he’s a breath away.

I knew this was going to be a bad film when I arrived at the theater and sat in gum. It figures. Every time the gum scenario takes place, I am in for a cinematic gem full of many things most of which I simply cannot write about. Oh, but I digress. Regarding White Out, give me a physical break. Aside from the opening scene with Beckinsale, this films title should be changed from White Out to Wipe Out. The acting is slow, the dialog is slow, and the production values just down right stink. Due to all of the wind and snow, the action sequences all seemingly take place in forced slow motion. Unfortunately, the film never picks up speed...ever. If it is any indication of just how good this film is, by the end of the movie I was more interested in the flavor of the gum I sat in rather than how this failed experiment would conclude.


Starring: Kate Beckinsale & Gabriel Macht
Director: Dominic Sena
Company: Warner
Now Showing: In area Theatres
MPAA Rating: R
Grade: F

DVD Reviews

We are doing a Free DVD Giveaway! If you are interested in a chance at winning a free copy Fringe on Blu-ray or DVD or one of these Acorn Media favorites that include Miss Marple: Season Four, Visions of Italy on Blu-ray, Visions of Britain & Ireland on Blu-ray, Intelligence: Season One, Playing Shakespeare, Armchair Thriller Set One, or Adventure of English, 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!

Travis Pastrana, legendary freestyle motocross pro and nine-time X Games gold medalist, has built an empire (not to mention his own private play land) doing the previously thought to be impossible and almost always inadvisable. 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.

At the insistence of his wife, the renowned Dutch artist Rembrandt agrees to paint a group portrait of the Amsterdam Musketeer Militia. But before he can finish his newest masterpiece, he discovers a murder plot involving his subjects. Determined to expose the conspiracy, Rembrandt builds his accusation in the form of the commissioned painting – The Night Watch – a decision which costs him everything. Directed by Peter Greenaway and starring Martin Freeman, Emily Holmes, Jodhi May, Eva Birthistle and Toby Jones. This 2-disc Special Edition also includes the feature-length documentary Rembrandt’s J’Accuse, in which Greenaway explores the theories and conspiracies behind The Night Watch. Simply brilliant all around!

What brings best friends together? For Daphne, Velma, Fred, Shaggy and Shaggy’s spunky pup Scooby-Doo, it’s a mystery! The feature-length live-action Scooby-Doo! The Mystery Begins original movie takes you back to when four teenage sleuths (plus one dog detective) first met. Unjustly accused of staging a spooky practical joke complete with ghosts, the kids are suspended from Coolsville High. To clear their names, they team to solve the supernatural mystery...and head straight into nonstop laughs and adventure. Special fun, special friends and extra-special effects make this “how-it-all-began” story – from boy-meets-dog to the first trip in the Mystery Machine and more – a doggone great time!

Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory won’t find our skateboarding hero lounging around and scheming at the familiar Rob & Big house in the Hollywood Hills. Instead he’s commanding operations in a massive, 25,000-square-foot industrial -- and fully skate-able -- warehouse and office complex near downtown Los Angeles. This is the new home of Dyrdek Enterprises, the veritable nerve center and hatching ground for all of Rob’s crazy schemes, business plans and uniquely ridiculous ideas. Rob is a hustler, with a laundry list of business ventures he’s trying to chase down. The MTV series Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory will follow the ridiculous action and comedy that seems to follow everything he takes on. Get ready to experience Rob Dyrdek on a whole new level.

With sublime awkwardness, Seth Rogen throws himself into the role of a deluded, socially inept shopping mall security guard. Ronnie Barnhardt (Rogen) protects his little kingdom with a mixture of grandiose passion and borderline incompetence; he can’t catch a flasher in the parking lot or a thief with inside connections because his prejudices and desires cloud his ability to see what’s right in front of him--all he can see is the trashy cosmetics salesgirl Brandi (Anna Faris) who thinks he’s nothing but a creep. Though he resents the intrusion of a police detective (Ray Liotta), Ronnie decides to pursue his true dream: Becoming a cop so he can carry a gun. The plot isn’t what matters in Observe and Report--this comedy is about letting talented actors create strange characters with enough roots in reality to make them very, very funny.

Dr. Helen Magnus (Amanda Tapping) is a brilliant and enigmatic scientist who seeks out all manner of monstrous creatures. Aided by her protégé, forensic psychiatrist Will Zimmerman (Robin Dunne), and her fearless daughter Ashley (Emilie Ullerup), the Sanctuary team tracks down, studies and protects the strange and often terrifying creatures that secretly populate our world. As seen on Sci Fi Channel, Sanctuary is one of the only series to shoot extensively on green screen using extraordinary visual effects and virtual sets. Simply put, this program is incredibly well done and will captivate everyone that sees the program.

This is a brilliant set from Warner! Four classic films that are sure to captivate your interest and keep you on the edge of your chair. This set includes The House of Wax starring Vincent Price, The Haunting starring Russ Tamblyn, Freaks by Tod Browning, and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde starring Spencer Tracy. Four original films with blockbuster stars - this is a must own!

A smash hit from the moment of its 2000 debut, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation remains one of the most popular, innovative, and critically acclaimed crime dramas in television history. Created by Anthony Zuiker and executive produced by movie maven Jerry Bruckheimer, the thrilling series centers on the Las Vegas Police Department’s night-shift forensics unit, which utilizes cutting-edge technology to solve the often grisly crimes of a glamorous city whose constant influx of visitors makes it rife with criminal elements. Quick-witted detective Gil Grissom (William Petersen) leads the highly skilled investigative team.

Jessica Biel, Colin Firth, Kristin Scott Thomas and Ben Barnes bring Noël Coward’s witty comedy of manners magnificently to life in this deliciously cheeky adaptation from director Stephan Elliott. When British playboy John brings his new wife Larita - a race car-driving feminist from Detroit - home to meet the family at their country estate, pretty much everyone’s expectations are disappointed. His snooty mother is offended by Larita’s carefree American ways, while Larita does everything she can to get her mother-in-law to loosen up, which only annoys her even more. John’s sisters have diametrically opposed feelings about their new sister-in-law, but his father is intrigued to have finally found another who sees through the family’s facade - and takes great perverse pleasure in watching his wife meet her match.

Director Zhang Yimou brings the sumptuous visual style of his previous films to the high-kicking kung fu genre. A nameless warrior arrives at an emperor’s palace with three weapons, each belonging to a famous assassin who had sworn to kill the emperor. As the nameless man spins out his story--and the emperor presents his own interpretation of what might really have happened--each episode is drenched in red, blue, white or another dominant color. Hero combines sweeping cinematography and superb performances from the cream of the Hong Kong cinema.

Pierre de Fermat was an amateur mathematician who is given credit for early developments that led to modern calculus. In particular, he is recognized for his discovery of an original method of finding the greatest and the smallest ordinates of curved lines, which is analogous to that of the then unknown differential calculus, as well as his research into the theory of numbers. This program is based on some of his mathematical principles. Four famed mathematicians, all strangers to one another, are invited to the remote home of a mysterious man known only as Fermat. Once there, they are locked in a room and given a series of logic puzzles that must be solved within one minute each. For each late answer, hydraulic presses will push the walls closer together. Why have they been placed in this elaborate death trap? What is their connection to each other? This DVD is of interest to any fan of mathematical history. This is a nail-biting fight for survival!

Billionaire shipping magnate Eric Benirall (Sam Neill) keeps losing ships in the Bermuda Triangle, so he hires a motley band of experts to uncover the mystery that has haunted the Bermuda Triangle for centuries. The team includes Howard Thomas (Eric Stoltz), a tabloid reporter and cynic who only takes the job to help make his alimony payments; Emily Patterson (Catherine Bell), a smart no-nonsense engineer; Stan Lathem (Bruce Davison), a sensitive psychic who intuitively grasps the hidden power of the triangle; Bruce Geller (Michael Rodgers), a thrill-seeking wildman and professor of meteorology; and perhaps most interesting of all, Meeno Paloma (Lou Diamond Phillips), the sole survivor of a wrecked freighter who has returned to discover that reality no longer matches the world he remembers.

Leonardo da Vinci was the original Renaissance Man - master of science, master of the arts, master of war. His revolutionary designs were the most advanced weapons of their day and were capable of unparalleled destruction. Yet no proof exists that they were ever constructed. In Doing DaVinci a team of expert builders will try to construct these unique inventions using only materials available in da Vinci’s own time. It’s a modern twist on the classics, but will these outrageous machines work? Or were Leonardo’s genius ideas better left in the history books? This DVD is completely fascinating for anyone that has an appreciation for creativity and genius!

Dora the Explorer is back and better than ever! It’s time to jump into another storybook adventure with Dora! This time she needs to help a brave girl named Allie save the beautiful Crystal Kingdom from the greedy king who hid all the magic crystals. Vámonos, let’s go! Perfect for young children, Dora is perfect!

The complete first and second seasons of the BBC s acclaimed new sketch comedy hit about love, sex, relationships and other bad behaviors between thirtysomething men and women. Nick Frost leads an ensemble of England s top comic talents featuring Amanda Abbington, Daisy Haggard, Ben Crompton, Meredith MacNeill, Nicholas Burns and more. Experience all the sometimes rude, often crude and always hilarious skits that already have over 15,000,000 YouTube hits, including Man Cold, Wedding Cake, Walk In The Park, Operating Theater, Blind Date, and Frost s now-classic Uncle Jack, all in the UK sensation that The Guardian calls slices of pure brilliance!

Another brilliant set for the classics collection, this one focuses on the murder mystery genre. Four classics are included in this set that are sure to thrill everyone. Included in this set are John Huston’s The Maltese Falcon, The Big Sleep starring Humphrey Bogart, Hitchcock’s gem Dial M For Murder, and The Postman Always Ring Twice. Get your copy now!

Director Lawrence Kasdan clearly set out to make an old-fashioned Western, but he couldn’t help bringing a hip, self-conscious attitude to the proceedings. Silverado thus finds its own funky tone--sometimes rousing, sometimes winking. Four cowpokes converge on a little Western burg called Silverado; they’re played by Kevin Kline, Scott Glenn, Danny Glover, and the rowdy young Kevin Costner. Kasdan peppers the somewhat generic action with smart dialogue and a parade of quirky supporting players, including John Cleese as a sheriff who seems to have stepped straight from a Monty Python sketch into an Old West saloon. Bruce Broughton supplies the music, a real throwback to the glory days of thundering Western themes.

When high school misfits Rickie and JT decide to ditch school and find themselves lost in the crumbling facility of a nearby abandoned hospital, they come face-to-face with a gruesome discovery: a body of a woman stripped naked, chained to a table and covered in plastic and soon realize she is anything but dead. Quickly the boys find themselves embarking on a twisted yet poignant journey testing the limits of their friendship, and forces both to decide just how far they’re willing to stretch their understanding of right and wrong. Daringly original and genre-busting, Deadgirl is an odyssey into the soul of our alienated youth that takes the conventions of the horror and coming-of-age movies and turns them on their heads.

Science Fiction classics from Warner are incredibly interesting. This set of four original classics include Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, Soylent Green starring Charlton Heston, Forbidden Planet starting Walter Pidgeon, and The Time Machine starring Rod Taylor. These are all must own titles for any film fan. These prints are wonderful and the clarity is impeccable.

Jennifer Aniston and Steve Zahn star in this rare romantic comedy that’s bursting with originality, humor and sweetness. It’s lust at first sight for laid-back motel night manager Mike (Zahn) when Sue (Aniston), an uptight sales rep, checks in. Convinced that Sue is his dream girl, Mike shakes up his slacker life in an outrageous pursuit across the country. But can he steal her away from her hot-tempered boyfriend (Woody Harrelson)? Both Mike and Sue must go on their own twisted journeys to find out if what they really need is each other. This is a brilliantly clever film that will tug at your heartstrings. Get your copy now!

It’s set during the Korean War, in a mobile army surgical hospital. But no one seeing M*A*S*H in 1970 confused the film for anything but acaustic comment on the Vietnam War; this is one of the counterculture movies that exploded into the mainstream at the end of the ‘60s. Director Robert Altman had labored for years in television and sporadic feature work when this smash-hit comedy made his name. Altman’s style of cruel humor, overlapping dialogue, and densely textured visuals brought the material to life in an all-new kind of anti-war movie.

Set sail with one of the world’s leaders in recovering sunken treasure. Odyssey Marine Exploration gears up for its most ambitious season yet. Its goal is extraordinary: to find two of the greatest shipwreck treasures ever, valued in excess of one billion dollars! But beyond the long-submerged riches, these dedicated adventurers hope to penetrate the mysteries of dozens of never-before-seen shipwrecks and to tell the world the forgotten stories of courageous men and women, tragic endings and remarkable rescues.

Eighteen-year-old Matthew Kidman (Emile Hirsch) is a straight-laced overachiever who has never really lived life - until he falls for his hot new neighbor (Elisha Cuthbert). When Matthew discovers his perfect girl next door is a former porn star, his sheltered existence spins out of control. There are some good laughs in a script that takes unexpected turns when we learn that Cuthbert’s character is attempting to leave her past behind, to the chagrin of her pimp-like producer (Timothy Olyphant). Director Luke Greenfield clearly recalls the turbulence that goes hand-in-hand with being young, horny, and confused.

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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   Last Update:
August 05, 2009