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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, Sanctuary, Season One on DVD, miscellaneous Doctor Who editions from BBC, or the loving children’s story - Where the Wild Things Are, 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!

Season 5 of The Hills kicks off as Lauren gets the ultimate surprise when Stephanie brings Heidi to her birthday party. Realizing that their friendship may never be what it once was as long as Spencer is still in the picture, will that keep Lauren and Heidi apart for good? Heidi thought Spencer was ready to grow up when he called off their quickie marriage to give her a dream wedding. But when a guys’ night out ends with Spencer hitting on a beautiful bartender and beating up his sister’s ex-boyfriend, Heidi must ask herself once and for all – is Spencer the guy that makes her happy, or simply the cause of all her problems?

After an old tree is removed from the ground, three young children accidentally release a horde of nasty, pint-sized demons from the hole in a suburban backyard. What follows is a classic battle between good and evil as the three kids struggle to overcome a nightmarish hell that is literally taking over the Earth. Somewhat similar in concept to the Gremlins, this film does present a fresh perspective on the story in a very appealing way. While somewhat predictable, it is still worth the viewing. Check it out.

A team of ecology students led by a famous environmental advocate discovers that some secrets are better left buried when they unearth the perfectly preserved remains of a frozen wooly mammoth and discover that an ancient parasite has been incubating inside the beast for centuries. Dr. David Krupien (Val Kilmer) is examining a melting ice cap in the Arctic when he unearths a prehistoric specimen the likes of which researchers have never seen. Elated by the possibilities of such a remarkable find, Dr. Krupien hastily summons four of his brightest students to the base to take part in the excavation. But something isn’t right; soon after extracting the massive prehistoric creature from the ice, the students are besieged by a swarm of unidentified insects that burrow deep into the flesh, and lay eggs in their host to reproduce. With each new infection, he prospect of containing the parasitic bane decreases. Now, stranded in the Arctic with their numbers quickly dwindling, the desperate students realize that their only hope of preventing the parasite from reaching the general population is to quarantine the base, even if it costs them their lives.

A decade after the sheriff of Dead River, Maine killed a murderous clan of cannibalistic savages, the nightmare returns to the sleepy small town in this brutal screen adaptation of Jack Ketchum’s terrifying novel (originally penned as a follow-up to his 1980 fiction debut Off-Season). Ketchum adapts his novel for the screen in this gripping story.

A romantic trip to China turns into a lunar nightmare for a pair of happy newlyweds when their taxi driver ditches them in a remote village, and the locals offer them up as sacrifices for the menacing moon creatures that return to Earth annually to replenish their ranks. According to Chinese legend, the dead return to Earth on the seventh month of the lunar year, when the moon glows full in the night sky. America-born Yul (Tim Chiou) and his new wife Melissa (Amy Smart) had just arrived in China to meet Yul’s family when their idyllic getaway takes a sudden turn for the worse. When night falls and their tour guide leaves them stranded in a darkened, boarded-up village, Yul and Amy quickly realize that this wasn’t a planned stop. Once a year, the lunar creatures return to Earth in search of a sacrifice. Yul and Amy have just been offered up, and now in order to avoid being assimilated into the collective that pursues them through the darkened forest, they will have to survive until the morning light casts the frightful beasts back to the moon for another year.

The tale unfolds in contemporary England during a late and snowy December, with a young married couple, Jonah (Stephen Campbell Moore) and Elaine (Eva Birthistle), journeying into the country to spend New Year’s with immediate family - Elaine’s sister Chloe (Rachel Shelley) and brother-in-law Robbie (Jeremy Sheffield). Accompanying the adults are three children: Casey (Hannah Tointon), Elaine’s adolescent daughter from a first marriage (who resents being dragged along), and youngsters Paulie (William Howes) and Miranda (Eva Sayer), her children with Jonah (who can’t wait to see their cousins Nicky and Leah). Upon arrival at Robbie and Chloe’s home, ominous and increasingly bizarre events begin to transpire: Paulie grows visibly ill, Leah and Nicky begin slipping into menacing and threatening behavior toward everyone, capped off by an ugly accident that they engineer involving Robbie - an incident that pushes him to the brink of death and ends with a gruesome act of carnage committed by the children. Soon, Elaine realizes that Paulie is infected with a bizarre, zombie-like virus that he is systematically spreading to other children, and promptly decides to ameliorate the situation by taking violence into her own hands and ending the boy’s young life. Little does she realize, however, just how pervasive the virus has grown.

This is a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at conspiracy theorists and the growing underground anti-globalist movement of people seeking to expose global elitists, who they claim are covertly masterminding a series of destructive events resulting in a mass breakdown of the world’s economy and society. Not simply a point the finger and move along presentation, this DVD actually does present information from multiple perspectives. Without question, this DVD is worth viewing. Keep your mind open!

Simply put, this is one of the most iconoclastic programs to ever hit the television airwaves. Fun! Laughter! And a touch of crass! The Bundys are back and more outrageous than ever in the eleventh and final season of Married... with Children. Highlighted by the hilarious three-part “Breaking Up Is Easy To Do” - where Al (Ed O’Neill) leaves Peggy (Katey Sagal) and the kids (Christina Applegate and David Faustino) to become Chicago’s swingingest single - plus hysterical Bundy misadventures involving strippers, Satan worshippers and a horde of angry obese women, these 24 final episodes prove that when it comes to sidesplitting, taboo-busting comedy, it ain’t over ‘til the fat lady sings. Woooo Bundy!

In divisively partisan times, it is easy to feel disillusioned, pessimistic, or gloomy about the state of the union. Let Charles Kuralt drive your blues away. In 1967, the CBS broadcaster set out in a mobile home and went looking for America. Unlike Wyatt and Billy in Easy Rider, he found it. Along back roads and in small towns, he met ordinary people doing extraordinary things, such as an elderly woman who kept her privately-owned library open 24 hours, a man dedicated to fixing and lending bicycles to local children, and men who built the Golden Gate Bridge. On the Road became a popular feature on The CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite. Compiled by the Travel Channel, this 18-episode collection contains more than six hours of this Peabody and Emmy Award-winning series’ most storied moments, and it never runs out of gas. This is reality television at its best and a celebration of the American character and “Yankee ingenuity” when we need it most. This DVD will be available on October 27 and should not be missed!

Two honeymooners rescue a mysterious car crash survivor in the Las Vegas desert. But their decision to save the man becomes increasingly regrettable when he turns on them, forcing the newlyweds to do the unthinkable. In a blur of paranormal chaos, the couple must take drastic measures to cover up their actions from the local police, ultimately leading each character to an inescapable fate. This program will keep your interest from beginning to end. Not for the faint of heart, it is recommended to not watch this alone.

Thought you knew the whole story? Well this September you’ll get a revealing look at the country’s most notorious & malevolent locations. From one of history’s most best known and most daring prison escapes to one of America’s most notorious hauntings, Smithsonian Networks investigates in The Real Story Part 1, landing on DVD Sept. 29 from Infinity Entertainment Group. This DVD contains two episodes that focus on The Escape from Alcatraz and The Amityville Horror. Not to be missed!

At one time the longest-running Broadway musical, My Fair Lady was adapted by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe from the George Bernard Shaw comedy Pygmalion. Outside Covent Garden on a rainy evening in 1912, dishevelled cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittle (Audrey Hepburn) meets linguistic expert Henry Higgins (Rex Harrison). After delivering a musical tirade against “verbal class distinction,” Higgins tells his companion Colonel Pickering (Wilfred Hyde-White) that, within six months, he could transform Eliza into a proper lady, simply by teaching her proper English. The next morning, face and hands freshly scrubbed, Eliza presents herself on Higgins’ doorstep, offering to pay him to teach her to be a lady. “It’s almost irresistable,” clucks Higgins. “She’s so deliciously low. So horribly dirty.” He turns his mission into a sporting proposition, making a bet with Pickering that he can accomplish his six-month miracle to turn Eliza into a lady. This is one of the all-time great movie musicals, featuring classic songs and the legendary performances of Harrison, repeating his stage role after Cary Grant wisely turned down the movie job, and Stanley Holloway as Eliza’s dustman father.

Year One is a broad comedy set in more-or-less ancient times. The film’s cockeyed timeline puts two wandering cavemen (Jack Black and Michael Cera) through a rapid-fire series of biblical events: Cain (David Cross) slaying Abel (Paul Rudd), Abraham (Hank Azaria) preparing to smite his son Isaac (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), and everybody converging on Sodom, the Genesis equivalent of Las Vegas. The jokes range from droll religious references to Apatow-ready testicular gags, but almost all of the real humor comes from the efforts of the performers to put things across. Black and Cera couldn’t be more different in their styles, but each manages to conjure up some laughs just by working in his particular vein: one can appreciate Black’s exuberant extrovert pouncing all over the material like a needy Golden Retriever and also savor Cera’s muttering wallflower as he flicks in his sidelong observations.

Allison Dubois (Arquette) is a strong-willed, devoted young wife and mother of three girls, who has gradually come to grips with her extraordinary ability to talk to dead people, see the future in her dreams and read people’s thoughts. This season, Allison and her family’s world is turned upside down after her abilities are publicly exposed, resulting in sweeping changes both professionally and personally. Medium represents one of the most creative and inspiring programs on television today. Always fresh, the writing and acting captivate the audience in ways most television programs can only dream of.

An ancient curse returns with a vengeance in this harrowing descent into shear terror! While searching for her missing father, pretty young Allie and her friends are dragged kicking and screaming into a living nightmare courtesy of the Seamstress, a local legend spoken of in whispers who still terrorizes the community after her brutal death at the hands of bloodthirsty locals years before. Now armed with her very sharp sewing needles and a diabolical imagination, she won’t stop until the last drop of blood is sewn. Lance Henrikson stars in this tailor-made exercise in terror that will rip you to shreds!

Danielle offered him a job with Cobra, an undercover anti-crime agency that provides justice for victims who haven t benefited from the system. Scandal is reluctant to leave his Alaskan life behind, but then her boss, Dallas Cassel, makes him an offer he can t refuse: the chance to catch the man who murdered his father five years earlier. From behind the wheel of his classic AC Cobra, Scandal dispenses justice in the fictional Bay City. Starring Michael Dudikoff, Allison Hossack, and James Tolkan, Cobra was created by legendary television producer Stephen J. Cannell, along with Steven Long Mitchell and Craig W. Van Sickle, and was filmed on location in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

He-Man & the Masters of the Universe was a revival of the classic 1980’s cartoon. These new episodes focus on the early adventures of Prince Adam, who, having just become Eternia’s most powerful guardian HE-MAN, grapples with his new, awesome powers. He-Man must lead the Masters of the Universe into battle against the villainous Skeletor and his evil warrior henchman, who scheme to rule Eternia and spread chaos through the kingdom. This Complete Collection starts with the three-part movie that shows how Price Adam becomes He-Man and leads Man-At-Arms, Teela, Ram Man, Buzz-Off, Mekanek and other Masters of the Universe as they battle Skeletor, Trap Jaw, Tri-Klops, Evil-Lyn, Mer-Man and other villains for control of Eternia.

Sam Kinison is and always will be in a league of his own. Loud, abrasive and shockingly honest with his viewpoint, Sam showed that comedy can be found in ANY situation. Sam introduced us to Stand-Up routines that were frequently combined with friends in the Rock N Roll business. An enthusiastic musician, Sam frequently brought his guitar with him on stage. This collection Sam Kinison: Wild Child captures Sam at his best. Hilarious and appalling, endearing and profane...Sam was one of a kind.

With its fifth season, Nip/Tuck slips the surly bonds of drama and enters a state of quasi-camp, which proves eminently appropriate for its mix of lurid melodrama and operating room theatrics. Four seasons of murder, adultery, serial killer hijinks and other over-the-top plot points precipitated the tone shift, which was cemented by the relocation of Troy/McNamara and staff to sunny Los Angeles; things turn immediately off-kilter as both docs become consultants to a prime-time sudser called Hearts ‘n’ Scalples. Despite the dips into Dynasty territory, Nip/Tuck remains anchored by its solid cast, with both McMahon and Walsh turning in straight-faced and sincere performances. One wonders whither Nip/Tuck from here, but not without a little wince.

Remember Snow Miser and Heat Miser, the two brothers who couldn’t stop fighting in The Year Without a Santa Claus? They’re back and they’ve been thrust into the most unexpected roles of potential saviors of Christmas thanks to the antics of their self-absorbed brother North Wind. North Wind is plotting to get rid of Santa and claim Christmas as his own holiday, but when his plans go awry, Snow Miser and Heat Miser are blamed for Santa’s mishap and their mother, Mother Nature, decides that a fitting punishment is to force the boys to work together and take Santa’s place during the holiday rush. A brilliant concept, I must admit a better pairing couldn’t have taken place between these two competitive brothers!

I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown! centers on ReRun, the lovable but ever-skeptical younger brother of Linus and Lucy. It’s Christmas vacation and, as usual, ReRun’s big sister is stressing him out, so he decides to turn to his best friend, Snoopy, for amusement and holiday cheer. However his faithful but unpredictable beagle companion has plans of his own, giving ReRun reason to ask Snoopy to invite his canine brother Spike for a visit. When Spike shows up, it looks like ReRun will have a dog for Christmas after all... but then the real trouble begins.

No film in history has captured the worlds imagination like Walt Disney’s first full-length animated masterpiece. The breathtaking animation and unforgettable music of the most revered Disney film of all time will enthrall you like never before! Join the beautiful princess Snow White as she escapes her jealous stepmother, the queen, and befriends a lovable group of dwarfs. But when she falls under the queens wicked spell, only true loves kiss can save her. One of the brightest nuggets from Disney’s golden age, this 1937 film is almost dizzying in its meticulous construction of an enchanted world, with scores of major and minor characters, each with a distinct identity. From the intricate and graceful movements of Snow White to the wicked queen’s poisoned apple that turns from killer green to rose red, you can’t help but recognize the absolute brilliance of Disney.

Before the Internet, before reality TV, no one saw what television could be more humorously and with more vision than Garry Shandling. In 1986 Garry Shandling was poised to become a permanent guest host on Johnny Carsons The Tonight Show. Instead, he took a chance on an offer from fledgling cable network Showtime to create his own television series. No questions asked. A surreal look at the daily life of a young single man who is a comedian, Its Garry Shandlings Show was not a typical sitcom: Shandling would break the fourth wall to include the studio audience and the viewers at home in on the actual making of the show. Experimenting with the sitcom form meant inviting the audience onto the set, playing with the passage of time and generally exploding the genre and making art of the debris. From its unforgettable theme song to its closing credits, Its Garry Shandlings Show was award-winning, mind-bending television for four seasons, and its influence is clearly seen in the best TV comedies through the decades to follow. Available on October 20, this program is a must own and should not be missed!

David Bowie hosts the second season of this spine-tingling horror anthology series from Executive Producers Tony and Ridley Scott, which features a phenomenal cast of familiar faces (including Giovanni Ribisi, Lori Petty, Jennifer Beals, Eric Roberts, Cathy Moriarty, Brad Dourif, Anthony Michael Hall and William Katt) as you’ve never seen them before. Inspired by leading genre writers, each episode will draw you into a mesmerizing world of terrifying characters and erotic encounters, where demons feed on the weakness of men and temptation consumes reason. With the vampire fervor that exists nowadays, this program isn’t merely a copy of a tried and true method. The Hunger is well written, acted and packaged. Simply brilliant!

Nothing lasts twelve years without having something going for it. In the case of Hawaii Five-O, it easy to dismiss it as a typically television crime drama that got lucky by finding its audience and keeping it. The same could be said for Law and Order. Except, in television years, luck usually runs out after two or three years. Gimmicks get old, the formula is figured out, and sharks are jumped so often they don’t even complain. But shows that last five years, much less 12, have to have something besides luck, gimmicks, and great scheduling. Hawaii Five-O had a number of things going for it. First of all, let’s be honest. The setting was, and still is so lush and exotic that it is easily intoxicating. Hawaii is beautiful, and most people either live there or want to live there. Filming on location has always been a blessing when it’s been done, and probably no more so than on this series. Filmed entirely on location in Hawaii, the show followed Jack Lord as he played Steve McGarrett, head of an elite state police unit investigating “organized crime, murder, assassination attempts, foreign agents, felonies of every type.” James MacArthur played his second-in-command Danno Williams, with local actors playing members of the Five-O team.

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