Nick's Pics Nick
Nicholson Film & Home Entertainment Critic
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Ben Affleck plays Doug MacRay, who opens the movie by pulling off a well-orchestrated bank heist with his three accomplices, including childhood friend and possible psychopath Jim (Jeremy Renner). To ensure a clean getaway, the group abducts bank manager Claire (Rebecca Hall), later dropping her off unharmed. Spooked by attention from a dogged FBI agent (Jon Hamm), Doug and his crew decide to keep an eye on Claire, except Doug takes things a little further, flirting with Claire at a Laundromat and then starting up a relationship with her, all while keeping his identity a secret, since his entire crew was masked during the hold-up. It’s foundation is certainly not original and is full of the normally expected cliches, including the one final job, the older puppeteer who pulls the strings and the guy who just wants out of the business. Affleck has a knack when it comes to characters, their interactions and the setting in which they work. Affleck knows Boston better than anyone and it shows in the film. He is a master craftsman that builds suspense well. The film may be slightly predictable, but the performances of Affleck, Jeremy Renner and Rebecca Hall make the price of admission well worth every red cent.
Starring: Ben Affleck & Jeremy Renner
Director: Ben Affleck
Now Showing: in area theaters
MPAA Rating: R
FREE DVD GIVEAWAY
We are doing a Free DVD Giveaway! If you are interested in a chance at winning a free copy of Soundtrack for a Revolution, Red vs. Blue: Revelation Season 8, Richard III, The Grapes of Wrath, Moby Dick, Thomas & Friends: Misty Island Rescue, Shaun the Sheep: Party Animals, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Season Five, The League: Season One, Stripped Naked, or Barney & Friends: A Counting we will Go, 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!
NARUTO UNCUT: Season Three Box Set One - VIZ Media
Naruto returns from his training journey eager to see his friend Sasuke. But Sasuke has only one thing on his mind: his quest for revenge against his older brother. His unquenchable thirst for power knows no bounds, and soon he is lured from the Leaf Village by Orochimaru’s minions, the Sound Four. Determined to get him back, Shikamaru and Naruto put together a team of the top genin in the village to go after him, and the chase begins!
NARUTO SHIPPUDEN 11 - VIZ Media
Naruto is horrified to learn that he's responsible for the destruction caused by his rampage under the influence of the Nine-Tailed Fox, which includes Sakura's injuries. Though the battle takes a severe toll on his body, the team continues on to Orochimaru's lair to find Sasuke. But the mysterious Sai has disappeared along with Orochimaru, and the implications could spell disaster for the Leaf Village.
BLEACH: The Arrancar - VIZ Media
Ichigo and his friends undergo exhaustive training, and Captain Hitsugaya's advance troops prepare for the showdown with Sosuke Aizen. But Lieutenant Rangiku Matsumoto is more interested in exploring life in the World of the Living, embarking on the shopping spree of a lifetime. Her fun is interrupted by the appearance of a formidable new enemy, Mock Arrancars that are wreaking havoc in Karakura Town.
NARUTO SHIPPUDEN 12 - VIZ Media
The long wait is finaly over one of naruto's favorite characters is finaly here! Sasuke is back with new powers and a new look and Naruto is ready to take him back to the village but Sasuke isn't ready to go back. He still has some business to take care as well as other points to ponder. For naruto and his team, that's not an option. This dvd has some fine episodes and you surely will not be disappointed.
JOHNNY WINTER: Live Through the 80's - MVD
This DVD contains an incredible collection of official archival footage from the '80s including performances from MTV Rock Influences '84 "Guitar Greats", Massey Hall (Toronto '83), Roskilde DRTV (Roskilde, Denmark '84), New Hampshire ('84), Sonet Studio (Bromma, Sweden '87), Piazza Duomo (Pistoia, Italy '88), and more. Intermixed with the live content is interview footage from various locations. This program is the definitive document of Johnny's career in the '80s.
TRIPLE DOG: Blu-ray - Wellgo USA
The story follows a group of popular high school teenage girls on the night of a sleepover as they venture out, led by the ringleader Chapin (Brittany Robertson), in a competitive game of challenging dares called triple dog. As the antics escalate, and the dares become more extreme, the girls unravel the truth behind a former student's rumored suicide. As the game becomes more difficult, will the ultimate dare be deadly?
GANGSTER'S PARADISE: Jerusalema - Anchor Bay
Inspired by a true story, Gangster's Paradise: Jerusalema is an unflinching look into the crime, corruption and the transgressions of those looking to survive in the most crime-infested district of Johannesburg. Starting off with simple smash and grabs, Lucky Kunene quickly graduates to more aggressive heists such as armed robbery and carjacking. Soon Lucky realizes he needs a bigger score to fulfill his goals of making it big, and escaping from the slums, to a dream house by the sea. Kunene hatches an elaborate and violent plan to make his fortune - hijacking buildings from landlords of Johannesburg tenements by winning the favor of the tenants, and then holding their rent hostage from the landowners. His high-profile real estate acquisitions attract the attention of the local police force who have no qualms about using unprovoked brutality to bring him down. His trouble with the law, coupled with an escalating war between a local drug lord, creates a tense standoff: both sides are closing in, and Kunene must stay one step ahead, or his empire, and his life, will come crashing down.
JUST WRIGHT - Fox
If you've ever doubted that Queen Latifah is a movie star, watch Just Wright. It's not that Just Wright is a great movie--it isn't. It's a perfectly capable romantic comedy with some lovely touches and some typical clichés. The plot--physical therapist Leslie Wright (Latifah) becomes the personal therapist to basketball star Scott McKnight (rapper Common) after a devastating injury, and gradually, love blossoms--isn't really the point. What makes the movie work are little moments of pain and pleasure, such as the flicker of betrayal when Leslie watches her mother give a pair of heirloom earrings to Leslie's prettier childhood pal, Morgan (Paula Patton), or the hesitation, followed by a leap, when Leslie and Scott have their first kiss. Director Sanaa Hamri, who also made the unjustly ignored interracial romance Something New, has an excellent eye for the details of how people interact; she never forgets that people rarely know what they're going to do until they actually do it, so her movies are in a constant state of discovery.
BABIES - Universal
The babies in Babies are four newborns, photographed in their natural habitat in distinctly different parts of the world. Hattie is in San Francisco, Mari's in Tokyo, Baryarjargal lives out in the Mongolian steppes, and Ponijao is born amid the simple straw huts of Namibia. In the course of less than 80 minutes, we're going to follow this quartet through their first year of life, a chronicle that director Thomas Balmes and producer Alain Chabat have likened to a nature documentary that happens to focus on humans. We can cut to the chase here and say that above and beyond any sociological weight this project might possess, this film's main method can be summed up in the words of David Byrne and Talking Heads from the song "Stay Up Late": "See him drink / From a bottle / See him eat / From a plate / Cute cute / As a button /Don't you want to make him stay up late." In short, babies are cute, babies are funny, and a camera focused on a baby is going to catch the sudden mood shifts and clunky crawling and all the other ingredients of home movies. Along the way, we may pause to notice the cultural differences between the locales, as the American baby seems elaborately nurtured (maybe baby yoga classes could wait a year?) and the African baby views a world just as full of wonder and newness as anywhere else, despite the material poverty of the locale. The Namibia and Mongolia sequences are certainly more arresting than the two urban sections, because their backdrops are so dramatically unusual to most Western eyes.
BLACK CAULDRON - Disney
Fantasy, magic and fun are all brewed together in Disney’s legendary adventure The Black Cauldron. Created from a new digital master this 25th Anniversary Edition features vibrant picture presentation and includes exciting new bonus features! Don't allow the preconceived notions that Black Cauldron is a second class Disney feature keep you away. Nothing could be further from the truth! This product is a sure fire hit for the entire family. The animation is beautiful and the story is extremely interesting!
RICHARD III - MGM
This film adaptation of a critically acclaimed stage production of Shakespeare's historical drama stars Ian McKellen in the title role. The setting is a comic-book vision of 1930s London: part art deco, part Third Reich, part industrial-age rust and rot. The play's force is turned into a synthetic high by art directors and storyboard sketchers, all of whom have a field day condensing the material into disposable pop imagery. This is a fun film, more than anything, so infatuated with its own monstrous stitchery that even the most awkward casting (Annette Bening and Robert Downey Jr.) seems a part of the ridiculous design. McKellen is the best thing about the movie, his mesmerizing portrayal of freakish despotism and poisoned desire a thing to behold.
THE GRAPES OF WRATH - Fox
Ranking No. 21 on the American Film Institute's list of the 100 greatest American films, this 1940 classic is a bit dated in its noble sentimentality, but it remains a luminous example of Hollywood classicism from the peerless director of mythic Americana, John Ford. Adapted by Nunnally Johnson from John Steinbeck's classic novel, the film tells a simple story about Oklahoma farmers leaving the depression-era dust bowl for the promised land of California, but it's the story's emotional resonance and theme of human perseverance that makes the movie so richly and timelessly rewarding. It's all about the humble Joad family's cross-country trek to escape the economic devastation of their ruined farmland, beginning when Tom Joad (Henry Fonda) returns from a four-year prison term to discover that his family home is empty. He's reunited with his family just as they're setting out for the westbound journey, and thus begins an odyssey of saddening losses and strengthening hopes.
MOBY DICK - MGM
There are so many things right about this 1956 production of Moby Dick, it's a shame it is remembered for the one (debatable) thing wrong with it. As Captain Ahab, the bearded, one-legged, insanely obsessed whaler, Gregory Peck has often been called miscast. The mild, level-headed Peck had many talents, but the volcanic eruptions of Ahab seemed beyond him--even Peck himself felt he was a bad fit for the part after he finished playing it. Yet Peck's quiet brooding works an intriguing variation on the fiery character. John Huston, a director with a taste for location shooting, had his hands full with the difficult open-water filming in Ireland and the Canary Islands. Since Ahab is chasing the rare white whale, three false whales had to be constructed, two of which were lost at sea.
NATURE AMAZING PLACES: Hawaii - Questar
There are two programs included in the package. The first, Kilauea: Mountain of Fire focuses on the volcano and how it continually molds that big island of Hawaii. Violent and destructive, yet beautiful and creative, this episode explores the incredible power of the volcano and the constant shadow it creates for all within it's deadly reach. The narration by F. Murray Abraham is captivating and the cinematography is absolutely mesmerizing! It's as though you are actually there viewing the masterpiece in person. The second program is Violent Hawaii. This episode focuses upon flowing lava, violent storms, monster waves and other dangers on the island. The spectacular views and charismatic beauty that emanates from this program is unsurpassed in the home entertainment medium. James Naughton provides enthusiastic narration.
NATURE EXTRAORDINARY ANIMALS: Bear and Wolves - Questar
The wilds of Yellowstone National Park are a world of predators, scavengers and opportunists. In this vast and complex kingdom, two dominant predators reign supreme: the grizzly bear and the wolf. Size and power square off against speed and teamwork, as mighty grizzly bears contend with powerful packs of wolves for control of the food supply. Though these two fearsome hunters would normally rule their ranges uncontested, in Yellowstone they must share resources, or face starvation. Wolves are majestic animals and their grace is shown in full view within the program. Frankly, bears scare the crap out of me, but for those that don't have a bear phobia, pick this DVD up! Incredible and captivating!
NATURE: Incredible Life - Questar
Nature's most amazing moments and incredible stories are all here! Watch the incredible journey of a baby humpback whale from Hawaii to Alaska. Run with Cloud, the wild stallion of the Rockies that has won the hearts of America! Immerse yourself in the intense battle between Bears and Wolves in Yellowstone. Plus more astonishing stories of Life! Includes: Fellowship of the Whales, Cloud: Challenge of the Stallions, Clash: Encounters of Bears and Wolves, Born Wild, Endangered Animals, What Females Want and Males Will Do.
THOMAS & FRIENDS: Misty Island Rescue - Lionsgate
The film starts off with Thomas helping to build the brand new Sodor Search and Rescue Center. Special wood from far away, called "Jobi wood", is needed to build it. Diesel tries to take the wood himself, but ends up almost crashing; Thomas saves him, but all the wood is lost in the sea. Sir Topham Hatt is proud of him, and as a special award, he arranges for Thomas to visit the Mainland to visit the Search and Rescue Center there. Along the way, Thomas's raft breaks away from the ship, and he end up on a faraway place called Misty Island, where he meets strange engines called Bash, Dash, and Ferdinand. Meanwhile Sir Topham Hatt hears Thomas has gone missing, and orders a search with the help of Harold the helicopter and Captain, the new lifeboat.
SHAUN THE SHEEP: Party Islands - Lionsgate
Oh, no! They changed the look of the Farmer and Bitzer!!! This was very distractive and disappointing, if you've seen all the first episodes. They also have tons of background sound effects and noises (like blowing raspberries) that overwhelm the previous quietness of the previous episodes. While I understand the need to change the mouths of both the Farmer and Bitzer for quicker transitions for shots, it's just not as high quality as the first episodes. Plus, they completely changed Bitzer's look: extended lighter belly fur up to his new mouthline, and added a fox-like tail....argh! It's not the Bitzer we've all come to know and love.
HOWARD ZINN: You Can't be Neutral
on a Moving Train - First Run Features
This is a marvelous film about an amazing man. Depending, of course, on your point of view. Which is Zinn's point. In any case, if you agree with Zinn, you'll love the movie. If you don't, but have an open mind, you might be interested in his ideas. The film follows Zinn from his experiences as a bomber pilot in WWII, through the birth of modern American activism in Atlanta (where he was fired from Spelman College for encouraging students in non-violent activism), through the Vietnam war, and up to his current activities and ideas. It also contains a very nice section about his book "The People's History of the United States," which looks at American history from the point of view of the victims. Not to mention, it is the only mention I have ever seen in film or television of the tragic Ludlow, Colorado massacre of the strikers by those staunch defenders of American democracy: the Pinkertons. That's right, the mine owners brought in their own private army of Pinkertons who burned the strikers' tent city in the middle of a Colorado winter and then shot the survivors.
DIRECTORS LIFE BEHIND THE CAMERA - First Run Features
It is, in fact, a series of short clips from interviews conducted by, I presume, the American Film Institute with thirty-three major motion picture directors. They include Robert Altman, Tim Burton, James Cameron, Jonathan Demme, Clint Eastwood, Nora Ephron, Ron Howard, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Oliver Stone and many others. These interviews are enhanced with occasional film clips and on-camera remarks from various actors and other folk with whom these directors have worked (e.g. Kevin Bacon, Harrison Ford, Tom Hanks, Leslie Nielsen, Roy Scheider, etc.) The two-disc set is totally interactive. The viewer chooses a topic, such as "Everyone Has to Start Somewhere," or "The Art of Writing and Choosing Scripts," or "The Care and Feeding of Actors," or "Will the Industry Survive," then he can either decided to listen to all of the responses to that subject, or just select the directors that interest him.
SUCK - E1 Entertainment
The Winners are a down and out band who find their road to stardom by riding rock-n-roll’s highway to hell. It all begins when their bass player, Jennifer (Jessica Paré), disappears with a mysterious vampire and reemerges with a sexual charisma that drives the audiences wild. Now, The Winners are topping the charts and blazing a bloody trail across North America with legendary vampire hunter Eddie Van Helsing (Malcolm McDowell) hunting them along the way. If you liked Rocky Horror or Phantom of the Paradise, this vampire-rock-horror comedy is sure to meet all of your expectations. A cult classic in the makings, Suck is going to live on for years!
MY SON, MY SON, What Have Ye Done - First Look Studios
The film takes place in Southern California, the story comes from an actual case, and the cast includes Willem Dafoe and Grace Zabriskie. It sounds like a David Lynch picture, except it isn't. Instead Lynch produced, while Werner Herzog directed. If Bad Lieutenant was Herzog's swamp noir, My Son, My Son is his desert noir. In another Lynchian touch, two cops (Dafoe and Michael Peña) provide entry into the San Diego-set story. Called to the scene of a murder, they meet actor Brad McCullum (Michael Shannon), who utters "Razzle dazzle" as they enter the flamingo-pink ranch house to find Mrs. McCullum (Zabriskie), dead by sword. Before Brad's fiancée, Ingrid (Chloë Sevigny), arrives, Herzog flashes back to Brad's days in Peru, where he found his "inner voice." The flashbacks continue to his participation in the famously matricidal Oresteia (Udo Kier). Combined with Ernst Reijseger's off-kilter score and Peter Zeitlinger's sun-bleached cinematography, it all exerts a certain queasy fascination, but Herzog's "whydunit" never really takes flight.