Nick's Pics Nick
Nicholson Film & Home Entertainment Critic
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Based on the remarkable true story, Secretariat chronicles the spectacular journey of the 1973 Triple Crown winner. Housewife and mother Penny Chenery (Diane Lane) agrees to take over her ailing father's Virginia-based Meadow Stables despite her lack of horse racing knowledge. Against all odds, Chenery, with the help of veteran trainer Lucien Laurin (John Malkovich), manages to navigate the male-dominated business, ultimately fostering the first Triple Crown winner in 25 years and what may be the greatest racehorse of all time.
The film comes out of the gate with the death of Penny's mother and father. She quickly learns the ins and outs of the horse industry, all the while taking on the management of The Meadow Stables. She constantly struggles with providing her family with the attention they deserve. Secretariat's segments are just phenomenal and his birth is awe inspiring. The expressions from the horse, particularly his eyes, would provide a rather sound argument against those that say animals lack intelligence!
Diane Lane is absolutely perfect as Penny Tweedy. her performance as the intelligent and fiercely willed owner is a sure fire Oscar contender. Her chemistry with the enigmatic John Malkovich is simply brilliant from start to finish and does nothing but enhance all elements of the film. Supporting characters are just as well done, particularly Kevin Connolly's portrayal as Bill Nack and James Cromwell in the role of Babe. The film's director, Randall Wallace, does a tremendous job not overdoing it with the horse racing sequences. The segments we do see are extremely well done and don't seem overtly 'in your face.' Wallace keeps the pacing of the film on track all the while providing the true story of arguably the greatest athlete of the modern era. Secretariat is perfect for the entire family.
Starring: Diane Lane, James
Cromwell and John Malkovich
Director: Randall Wallace
Now Showing: in area theaters
MPAA Rating: PG
FREE DVD GIVEAWAY
We are doing a Free DVD Giveaway! If you are interested in a chance at winning a free copy of Glee: Season One, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Season Five, The League: Season One, The Human Centipede, Bill Burr: Let it Go, Survivor: Marquesas, Survivor: Africa, Vietnam War Stories, Pure Terror, Dungeons and Dragons Animated Series, The Commish: Season Two, American History of the Wild West, He Man and the Masters of the Universe Battle for Eternia, Call of the Wild: Complete Series, Renegade: Season Two, America's National Treasures, The Fight for Freedom: Major Battles of WWII, or That was Nam: The Collection, 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!
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST: Diamond Edition - Disney
The film that officially signaled Disney's animation renaissance (following The Little Mermaid) and the only animated feature to receive a Best Picture Oscar nomination, Beauty and the Beast remains the yardstick by which all other animated films should be measured. It relates the story of Belle, a bookworm with a dotty inventor for a father; when he inadvertently offends the Beast (a prince whose heart is too hard to love anyone besides himself), Belle boldly takes her father's place, imprisoned in the Beast's gloomy mansion. Naturally, Belle teaches the Beast to love. What makes this such a dazzler, besides the amazingly accomplished animation and the winning coterie of supporting characters is the array of beautiful and hilarious songs by composer Alan Menken and the late, lamented lyricist Howard Ashman.
DORA THE EXPLORER: Christmas Carol Adventure - Nickelodeon
When Swiper tries to swipe the Christmas Star from Dora’s Nochebuena Party, he lands on Santa’s naughty list. To get back on the nice list, Dora must help Swiper travel to the past, the present, and the future to discover the true spirit of Christmas. Will you help too? Filled with original songs and exclusive extra scenes, this all-new Christmas special, exclusive to DVD, will become a holiday favorite for the whole family!
THE KARATE KID - Sony
12-year-old Dre Parker (Jaden Smith) could've been the most popular kid in Detroit, but his mother's (Taraji P. Henson) latest career move has landed him in China. Dre immediately falls for his classmate Mei Ying - and the feeling is mutual - but cultural differences make such a friendship impossible. Even worse, Dre's feelings make an enemy of the class bully, Cheng. In the land of kung fu, Dre knows only a little karate, and Cheng puts "the karate kid" on the floor with ease. With no friends in a strange land, Dre has nowhere to turn but maintenance man Mr. Han (Jackie Chan), who is secretly a master of kung fu. As Han teaches Dre that kung fu is not about punches and parries, but maturity and calm, Dre realizes that facing down the bullies will be the fight of his life.
SECRETARY: Blu-ray - Lionsgate
This kinky love story features a standout performance by Maggie Gyllenhaal, an offbeat young actress in her first starring role. Gyllenhaal plays Lee, a nervous girl who compulsively cuts herself, who gets a job as a secretary for Edward, an imperious lawyer (James Spader, an old hand at tales of perverse affection). Edward's reprimands for typos and spelling errors begin with mild humiliation, but as Lee responds to his orders--which are driven as much by his own anxieties and fears as any sense of order--the punishments escalate to spankings, shackles, and more. Secretary walks a fine line. It finds sly humor in these sadomasochistic doings without turning them into a gag, and it takes Lee and Edward's mutual desires seriously without getting self-righteous or pompous.
HIGH TENSION: Blu-ray - Lionsgate
For much of its running time, High Tension earns its title as a gory and suspenseful tale of hot pursuit. Originally titled Switchblade Romance in England, and trimmed of its most excessive gore to avoid an NC-17 rating during its brief U.S. theatrical release, this French horror film provokes a memorable case of high anxiety from its alluring female lead (Cecile de France), but it's an otherwise brainless exercise with a ludicrous conclusion that renders the entire film null and void. It's essentially a Texas Chainsaw wanna-be, which isn't such a bad thing if you're a horror buff with an appetite for gruesome death at the hands of a brutal and nameless serial killer. Dressed in greasy coveralls and a baseball cap, and driving a rusty old delivery van, the killer indiscriminately destroys an entire family before chasing after the tomboyish Marie (de France), who is trapped in a nonsensical screenplay that won't let her go.
THE ESSENTIAL GAMES OF THE SEATTLE MARINERS - A&E
The Seattle Mariners, just thinking about them makes me smile and if your a Mariners fan this collection is a must have. The first game on this collection is the 1995 AL West One-Game Playoff when the Seattle Mariners played the California Angels at the Kingdome. The Mariners were tied with the Angels with the record 78-66 causing a one game tie-breaker. The second game is the 1995 AL Division Series Game 5 Winner. The Mariners faced the New York Yankees in a thrilling 11 inning game. In my opinion, these first two games are perfect selections for this DVD set; they highlighted this incredible Mariners team at their highest point. The third game features the 2000 AL Division Game 3 Series Winner against the Chicago White Sox. This is the first game in this collection that features Safeco Field, which in my opinion (and almost everybody else's) is a WAY better place for a ball game than the Kingdome. Last of all we get a game from the historic 116 win season from the Seattle Mariners. During that time Safeco Field was jam packed and a fantastic place to be. The game is the AL West Division Clinch vs. the Cleveland Indians.
MONK: The Complete Series - Universal
Sherlock Holmes, Columbo, Hercule Poirot -- genius detectives are usually a bit quirky. But no other is as quirky as Adrian Monk, the obsessive-compulsive detective -- and "Monk: Complete Series " compiles every episode of this funny, likable little mystery series. Tony Shalhoub shines as title character, solving the case with his gift/curse and his willingness to go anywhere... that doesn't have germs. Adrian Monk's wife Trudy was killed in a car-bombing, and the devastated detective fell apart completely. Years later, Monk (Tony Shalhoub) is partially recovered, but he still is obsessive-compulsive and has dozens of phobias. The only way he manages is with his assistant Sharona (Bitty Schram) -- and later her successor Natalie (Traylor Howard) -- babysitting him. Courtesy of his friend Captain Stottlemeyer (Ted Levine), Monk is called in for dozens of bizarre, baffling cases. His excellent memory and his OCD ("It's a gift.... and a curse") allow him to see patterns and details where other people see nothing.
LEAVES OF GRASS - First Look Studios
Leaves of Grass as a title, referring here to both Walt Whitman and marijuana, is indicative of this film's hybridity in regards to genre--half comedy and half brutal crime drama--and tone, which is at once irreverent and highly philosophical. Directed by Tim Blake Nelson, who also costars as the redneck pothead Bolger, Leaves of Grass is about the troubles that follow two identical twins, philosophy professor Bill Kincaid and his marijuana-growing brother Brady, both skillfully played by Edward Norton. When Brady, the man with a criminal mind but an open heart, convinces Bill to return home to their small Oklahoma town, Bill becomes inadvertently embroiled in more than either sibling can handle. While their schemes get complicated, one meets the zany women in their lives, including Daisy (Susan Sarandon), their ex-hippie mom who at a very young age has relinquished herself to a retirement home; Brady's teen sweetheart, Colleen (Melanie Lynskey); and Bill's fling, high school teacher and poet Janet (Keri Russell), who has turned her back on the rigors of New England academic life for one of catfish noodling and Whitman's poetry.
FANGORIA FRIGHT FEST: Eight Film Series - Phase 4 Films
Not for the faint of heart, Fangoria has done it again with the next Fright Fest installment. The eight film series includes Dark House, Fragile, Grimm Love, The Haunting, Hunger, Pig Hunt, Road Kill and The Tomb. All films are closed captioned and The Haunting also includes English subtitles. The films are reach the different pinnacles of film genre. From horror to comedy to spoof and the silly, this set of eight films is sure to contain something that you will enjoy!
AGORA - Lionsgate
Set in ancient Egypt under Roman rule, AGORA follows the brilliant and beautiful astronomer Hypatia (Weisz) who leads a group of disciples fighting to save the wisdom of the Ancient World, as violent religious upheaval spills into the streets of Alexandria. Among these disciples are two men competing for her heart: the witty, privileged Orestes (Isaac) and Davus (Minghella), Hypatia’s young slave, who is torn between his secret love for her and the freedom he knows can be his if he chooses to join the unstoppable surge of the Christians.
SCENIC NATIONAL PARKS: Yellowstone,
Yosemite and Grand Canyon - Questar
This definitive collection of America's premier national parks on Blu-ray is also available in this specially-priced box set. Distinctive foil-embossed packaging makes this three-pack a must own collectible. Blu-ray captures like never before the sweeping beauty and extraordinary natural wonders of America's premier national parks. Film and mastered in high definition, Scenic National Parks takes you off the beaten path to discover untamed places, unique wildlife, and invigorating activities. Yellowstone - Vast, beautiful and untamed, Yellowstone's rugged wilderness ignites the imagination like no other national park. Llama trekking, wolf-watching, and geyser gazing are just a few of the out-of-the-ordinary activities that await you in this mesmerizing program that gives you a ringside seat for geothermal wonders and up-close looks at the diversity of wildlife that gave Yellowstone the nickname, America's Serengeti. Bonus Program: Grand Teton - Grand Teton National Park is a geological wonder and hiker's paradise. Home to nearly 400 species of wildlife, it is one of the best parks to see animals. Its landscape is an irresistible lure for thrill seekers. In this exhilarating program, you will climb a sheer cliff wall, raft a raging river, visit an avalanche lab, spend a day with a fearless search and rescue team, hang your Stetson at a working dude ranch, and rough it in style at posh retreats. Yosemite - Experience Yosemite's awe-inspiring wonders in breathtaking Blu-ray, including such icons as the granite monoliths El Capitan and Half Dome, and the spectacular Bridal Veil and Yosemite Falls. Learn about Yosemite's fascinating history as the first land set aside for preservation. From a staggering array of wildlife to its sweeping landscape that inspired John Muir and photographer Ansel Adams, you will discover why Yosemite is called one of America's Crown Jewels. Bonus Program: Wild National Parks - From grizzly bears of Katmai National Park in Alaska to rattlesnakes of Montezuma's Castle in Arizona, take a walk on the wildest side of America's National Parks. By land, sea and sky, this fascinating program crisscrosses parklands to get up close to creatures of all shapes and sizes, including the pronghorn, one of the fastest land mammals. Dedicated national park workers also reveal what it takes to nurture generation after generation of these magnificent creatures. Grand Canyon - Experience the grandeur and supreme spectacle of the Grand Canyon. This insider's view of one of the world's natural wonders takes you rim-to-rim to hike hidden canyons, plunge into ancient pools, raft world-class white water, discover man-made gems and explore extreme backcountry. Bonus Program: National Parks of the Great Southwest - From Canyonlands and Arches to Saguaro and Death Valley, the wonders of the American Southwest spread across extreme lands of astonishing beauty. Climb the face of the monolith millions of years in the making, seek out a sunrise, horseback ride through cactus country, and uncover the mysteries of the scorching desert.
MAGIC & BIRD: A Courtship of Rivals - HBO
Of all the videos about Bird and Magic that have come out through the years, this is by far the best. It is very important to note this is not a highlight reel. This is about how they are forever linked in so many ways. They are linked in a lot of ways by being polar opposites from each other on some things. Black and white, East and West, charismatic and awkwardly quiet, Boston and LA, among about a million other comparisons. I saw this twice on HBO and I plan on buying it as soon as it comes out. Their story is pretty much storybook type material. No two players in NBA history have ever been forever linked as Larry Bird and Earvin Johnson. Only a few rivalries in sports history compare. As I said before, this is not a highlight reel. This is as indepth life and career overview that has been made about these two men. Being too that it is made by HBO, it gives it much more credibility than any other previous biographies about them.
ELLERY QUEEN MYSTERIES - E1 Entertainment
The 1975 Cult-Classic TV whodunit Ellery Queen starring the brilliant Jim Hutton is finally being released on DVD in its entirety, thanks to E1 Entertainment. The series was based on the popular classic Ellery Queen mystery books from the 1930's. The show lasted only one season on NBC, but has remained a fan favorite. Set in the post-WWII 1947, the show closely followed the format of the Ellery Queen mystery novels, which carefully laid out the clues before the reader/audience and invited them to attempt to solve the mystery before Ellery Queen presented the solution. The show premiered March 23, 1975 with a telepilot, "Too Many Suspects," which was adapted from the book, The Fourth Side of the Triangle. Beloved veteran character actor, David Wayne, portrayed Ellery's crusty but loveable father, Inspector Richard Queen throughout the series. Wayne perfectly delivered folksy dialog ostensibly from the 1940's like, "Why don't we cut all the banana oil?" Hutton (the father of actor Timothy Hutton) played Ellery to perfection, blending absent-minded goofiness with genuine emotional depth and boyish charm. Together, he and Wayne had the perfect on-screen chemistry, creating an authentic charm that remains undiminished after all of these years. In all, 22 fun one-hour episodes followed beginning on Sept. 11, 1975, the last show airing on April 4, 1976.
INSPECTOR LEWIS: Series Three - PBS
Counter Culture Blues-Lewis finds himself in the unfortunate position of policing the heroes of his youth when he's sent to censure a rock legend for firing off his hunting rifle during the local Sunday service. Already somewhat starstruck at the prospect, he is shocked to come face to face with the band's singer, Esme Ford (Joanna Lumley), believed to have drowned years ago. But before word gets out, or the band can reunite, Lewis and Hathaway need them to answer some questions about a roadie with a drug problem, a garroted professor, and a closet full of skeletons. The Dead of Winter-Still reeling from a recent, grueling case-ending with the discovery of a murdered young girl-Hathaway finds himself investigating the murder of Dr. Stephen Black at Crevecoeur Hall, a sprawling Oxford estate on which Hathaway spent much of his childhood. And as it becomes clear that Hathaway is less interested in solving the case than he is in the glamorous Scarlett Mortmaigne, daughter of Crevecoeur's owner and his childhood sweetheart, Lewis feels his relationship with Hathaway pushed near the breaking point-and starts to question his young partner's future with the police. Dark Matter-Andrew Crompton, Master of Gresham College and amateur astronomer, is found dead at the foot of the University Observatory stairs only days before he expected to experience "an excess of joy," leaving Lewis and Hathaway to unravel a puzzle fraught with campus intrigue spanning decades.
FAMILY GUY: Partial Terms of Endearment - Fox
Ever since it first aired, "Family Guy" has pushed the limits of good taste, and often succeeded wildly in doing so. For the most part Fox has allowed them to do and get away with quite a lot, but occasionally the show has gone farther than the network will allow. The last time it happened was with the largely non-offensive "When You Wish Upon a Wienstien". The most recent is with this story, "Partial Terms of Endearment". The plot centers around an old college friend of Lois' who wants to have a baby. She and her husband have tried time and again to have one, and just haven't been successful. So they ask if Lois would be willing to act as a surrogate. She agrees and then they die. Lois debates whether or not to have an abortion and hilarity ensues!
VIETNAM WAR STORIES - Mill Creek
An 11-Part Documentary Series, witness the Vietnam War, its roots, its battles, its heroes and the price paid in the name of freedom. This stunning, detailed collection shows the war with heartbreaking realism. It looks at troubling questions about America's justification for the conflict, the horrors of jungle warfare and the human calamity of the war. Ultimately, it profiles the courage of the soldiers who put their lives on the line in the name of patriotism.
DUNGEONS & DRAGONS: Into the Magical Realm - Mill Creek
The complete Dungeons & Dragons series! In this extremely popular series an enchanted roller coaster delivers six youth into the magical realm of Dungeons and Dragons. There, each of them gains magical talents and abilities, all the better to survive their time in the Realm. The bow-shooting ranger, the acrobat, the thief, the cavalier, the boy wizard, and the barbarian are soon joined by a baby unicorn and tutored by the mysterious and inscrutable Dungeon Master. Opposing them is the evil Sorcerer Venger, as well as various ogres, demons, bounty hunters, dragons, lizard men, skeleton warriors and more, all intent on keeping the kids from getting back home!
THE COMMISH: Season Two - Mill Creek
Tony Scali (Michael Chiklis) is everything The Shield's Vic Mackey isn't: kind, considerate, caring. (He's also a little heavier and has more hair.) Commissioner Scali loves his wife, his son, even his partners (but more on that later). He's not so crazy about the crooks, but he's always ethical in his dealings with them. It's hard to believe the two characters are incarnated by the same guy, but the Emmy Award-winning Chiklis (Spirited Away, Fantastic Four) is one versatile actor. Set in Upstate New York, The Commish is a throwback to the cop shows of the 1970s, when police had personal lives and gore wasn't obligatory, but a sensitive look at social issues--and some lighthearted humor--never hurt.
HE MAN AND THE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE:
Battle for Eternia - Mill Creek
The legend of He Man returns! A hero...whose courage knows no bounds...whose strength has no equal...a hero known as HE-MAN! Prince Adam, who, having just become Eternia's most powerful guardian He-Man, has to learn how to handle his new powers, and lead his allies into battle against the evil Skeletor. With the aid of his own Evil Warrior henchmen, Skeletor schemes to blanket Eternia in chaos, and rule over the planet in dominion. Only He-Man, guided and advised by the Sorceress of Castle Grayskull, stands in his way.
CALL OF THE WILD: Complete Series - Mill Creek
Jack London s Beloved Story is Brought to Life! Based on the classic novel by Jack London, this exciting adventure series follows Miles Challenger (Shane Meier), a 15-year-old boy living in an Alaskan mining town at the turn of the century, whose life changes forever when he encounters a heroic and powerful dog named Buck. This outdoor adventure series follows the thrilling exploits of 15-year-old Miles Challenger (Shane Meier) and his loyal canine companion Buck, who together battle nature's toughest elements, stand up against hardened criminals and rescue people in danger. Inspired by Jack London's classic novel, this exhilarating television series provides quality entertainment for the entire family. Jack London's classic adventure story has been interpreted several times, but this stunning TV series captures all the excitement and the drama of London's timeless coming-of-age tale. Starring Nick Mancuso and Shane Meier, this endearing series is perfect for the entire family.