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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.


DVD Reviews

We are doing a Free DVD Giveaway! If you are interested in a chance at winning a free copy The It Crowd, Seasons One, Two or Three or perhaps Sanctuary, Season One on DVD, 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!

With this third-season boxed set (24 episodes, plus bonus material, on six discs), Ugly Betty continues one of television’s most adroit balancing acts. This is the series, which chronicles the urban adventures of young Betty Suarez (American Ferrera), the archetypal fish out of water making her way through the cutthroat world of high fashion and drama. There are a number of terms to describe this show - outrageous, flamboyant, tender and absurd are just a few, but most of all, Ugly Betty remains compulsively watchable because it’s entertaining, pure and simple.

Stana Katic and Nathan Fillion star star in this new show from ABC. They are partners, whether she likes it or not. Castle: The Complete First Season is the romantic, clever dramedy that is reminiscent of Moonlighting with romantic tension between Castle, a crime novelist and Detective Beckett as they work in a unique way to solve crimes and mysteries.

From the studio that brought you Lost, comes the groundbreaking series that captured the imaginations of fans from coast to coast. With an irresistible soundtrack and one of the most celebrated casts on television, including Harvey Keitel, Michael Imperioli, Gretchen Mol and Jason O Mara, Life On Mars is a smart, suspenseful drama with a finish that will blow you away. Its one of those endings I believe will make you watch the series again, says Executive Producer Josh Appelbaum. There s a fine line between delusion and reality. NYPD detective Sam Tyler finds himself walking both sides of that line when he is suddenly hurtled back in time to 1973 after being struck by a car in 2008. Journey back to the 70s and uncover the secrets of Life On Mars.

After Heartland, a family-owned horse ranch in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, falls into debt, the ambitious Lou (Michelle Morgan) must leave her city life behind to help her grandfather Jack (Shaun Johnston) and her fiery teenage sister Amy (Amber Marshall) keep their dream alive. Includes 7 episodes based on the best-selling Scholastic book series by Lauren Brooke.

The heat moves all over Miami in this action-packed, sizzling seventh season of CSI: MIAMI. Horatio (David Caruso) and Delko (Adam Rodriguez) are out to solve case after case with style in each episode. Of course, these guys are too tough and smart to back down from the bad guys. But putting these thugs away is all that matters to these incredible officers of the law. This release includes every episode of the drama’s seventh season.

Here’s something to scream about: Friday the 13th’s second season is even better than the first, with more hell to pay as Micki (Robey) and Ryan (John D. LeMay), proprietors of the Curious Goods antiquities shop, race against time to reclaim the cursed objects sold to an unsuspecting public by their late Uncle Jack. The macabre fun of this Canadian horror anthology series--related to the slasher film franchise in name only--is that it cloaks even the most innocent objects with a palpable sense of dread. Sure to be of interest to anyone who enjoys the unusual, this is a must own.

A working-class Irish family is torn between right and wrong when two brothers live out their destinies on opposite side of the law. Brotherhood tells the story of two brothers who sometimes share a twisted sense of moral compromise - each with his own skewed, idealistic vision of what makes the American dream. Jason Isaacs stars in this fascinating program.

When terrorist groups, evil criminals and hostile aliens become too powerful for Earth’s armed forces, the virtually-indestructible robot Gigantor is built to combat them. Commanded by Jimmy Sparks through a remote control, Gigantor must battle to save the world from a never-ending assault by ruthless villains.

Eight months pregnant, Madeline Matheson deflects her demanding mother-in-law’s insistent pressure for standard hospital treatment, instead opting for the peaceful companionship of a trusted midwife. Though reluctantly compliant, her husband remains supportive of her choices until a sudden tragic accident leaves her unborn baby lifeless inside of her. Madeline remains determined to carry the stillborn baby to term, where she miraculously wills the delivered corpse into life. But it is not too long before the increasingly isolated mother realizes that something is not right with baby Grace, and she must make horrible sacrifices to keep her living.

John Krasinski (The Office) and Maya Rudolph (Saturday Night Live) star in the heartfelt film that explores the comedic twists and turns in one couple’s journey across contemporary America. Anticipating the birth of their first child, longtime couple Burt (Krasinski) and Verona (Rudolph) embark on an ambitious itinerary to visit friends and family in order to find their perfect home. Featuring a remarkable soundtrack and an incredible ensemble cast, this DVD is not to be missed!

Even in the modern age reports of human encounters with mysterious and often dangerous beasts continue to surface. Lost Tapes is a first person, immersive experience of encounters with bizarre animals that science is reluctant to recognize - in our waters, in our woods, and in our skies - they live among us - you will believe. Lost Tapes comes out in stores on October 6, so be sure to get yours before they disappear!

Chelsea (Adult Film Star Sasha Grey), a $2,OOO-an-hour Manhattan call girl, offers more than sex to her clients; it’s her companionship and conversation that provides her customers with the complete girlfriend experience. Chelsea thinks she has her life totally under control, but when you’re in the business of meeting people, control can be easily manipulated. A very interesting story, this is worth the purchase.

Witness the riveting rule of a modern-day monarchy in Kings: The Complete Series, the compelling, thought-provoking drama starring Golden Globe® winner Ian McShane (Deadwood). King Silas Benjamin (McShane) rules the country of Gilboa with steely determination unmatched by any rival. During a tense battle with the neighboring nation of Gath, David Shepherd (Chris Egan, Eragon), an idealistic young soldier from the countryside, heroically crosses over dangerous enemy lines and rescues a critical prisoner of war, the King’s son. Now, the lives of David and the King will become powerfully intertwined as greed, war, romance, forbidden love and secret alliances threaten to tear apart the kingdom.

Adapted from a Stephen King story by Oscar winning screenwriter William Goldman and directed by Rob Reiner, this chiller starring Kathy Bates and James Caan, is a Hitchcockian kind of cat-and-mouse game played between two cunning minds one as sharp as a tack and the other as blunt as a sledgehammer. Novelist Paul Sheldon (Caan) doesn’t remember the blinding blizzard that sent his car spinning off the road. Nor does he remember being nursed back from unconsciousness. All he remembers is waking up in the home of Annie Wilkes (Bates) a maniacal fan who is bent on keeping her favorite writer as her personal prisoner for the rest of his “cock-a-doodie” life!

Volume two of the 2009 release of Judy Garland’s 1963-64 black and white variety show begins with the famous episode featuring a 21-year-old Barbra Streisand singing such songs as “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered” and “Down with Love” by herself, then a number of songs with Garland, including the medley of “Get Happy” and “Happy Days Are Here Again” in counterpoint. Ethel Merman comes out of the audience and joins the two stars for “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” and as they talk Streisand mentions that her next big project will be Funny Girl. Though it lasted only one season, The Judy Garland Show remains a valuable archive of music variety shows in the 1960s and of Garland’s life and legacy.

An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving is one of Hallmark’s better holiday movies. Not as sweet and predictable as most Hallmark movies; this one has some bite to it, and that makes it believable. All of the actors are excellent, giving their characters depth--even the youngest boy is very, very good. As always, Jacqueline Bisset is a pleasure to watch--she is always so compelling in any of her roles. To be believable as a grandmother is a feat in itself, for she doesn’t seem old enough even now. This is a fine film that stays within the bounds of the original short story.

From the melancholy opening notes of the theme song, Taxi promised to be a different kind of sitcom, epitomized by the show’s central character, Alex Reiger (Judd Hirsch), who is down to earth and compassionate, with neuroses that smacked of real life and not the forced zaniness of too many television shows. Alex was the conscience and emotional caretaker of a makeshift family of cab drivers working out of a grungy garage in New York City, run by the domineering Louis De Palma (Danny DeVito). Taxi didn’t always maintain a degree of realism--if you haven’t seen it in a long time, you may be surprised by some of the cornier jokes and bits of slapstick--but at its best, the show managed to merge sadness and humor into rich and satisfying stories.

When it was released during Hollywood’s golden year of 1939, The Wizard of Oz didn’t start out as the perennial classic it has since become. The film did respectable business, but it wasn’t until its debut on television that this family favorite saw its popularity soar. And while Oz’s TV broadcasts are now owned and controlled by Ted Turner, the advent of home video has made this lively musical a mainstay in the staple diet of great American films. Young Dorothy Gale (Judy Garland), her dog, Toto, and her three companions on the yellow brick road to Oz, the Tin Man (Jack Haley), the Cowardly Lion (Bert Lahr), and the Scarecrow (Ray Bolger), have become pop culture icons and central figures in the legacy of fantasy for children. As the Wicked Witch who covets Dorothy’s enchanted ruby slippers, Margaret Hamilton has had the singular honor of scaring the wits out of children for more than six decades. The film’s still as fresh, frightening, and funny as it was when first released. It may take some liberal detours from the original story by L. Frank Baum, but it’s loyal to the Baum legacy while charting its own course as a spectacular film. This is simply required watching for kids and adults of all ages.

A desperate solution for a troubled country: Lex Luthor for President with the Justice League in the service of the government. Only Batman and Superman stand against the new regime – and their disloyalty proves to be exactly what Luthor intended. Using their outcast status to instigate a scandal against Superman, Luthor finally tastes a victory in his vendetta against The Man of Steel. From Executive Producer Bruce Timm and voiced by the cast from both hit Batman and Superman animated TV series including Kevin Conroy, Tim Daly and Clancy Brown, this DC Universe Original Animated Movie of Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness’s popular graphic novel seethes with political intrigue and action-packed battles between heroes all believing they’re on the right side of the law.

Version 3.0 has finally arrived, and your most urgent IT Department queries can now be answered: Will Jen s builder urinate in all her sinks? Why is Moss speaking like a manly football fan? How did Roy end up living on the street? Who is Reynholm s new Employee Of The Month? Can anyone stop the horror of Friendface? Should a charity calendar ever feature topless nerds? Have you tried turning it off and on again? Chris O Dowd, Richard Ayoade, Katherine Parkinson and Matt Berry star in this all-new season of the Emmy winning IFC hit from writer/director Graham Linehan and executive producer Ash Atalla. THE IT CROWD proves, says Wired, that nothing beats funny walks or electroshock-therapy pants when it comes to getting a big-ass belly laugh!

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