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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 Crew, The Gate, or perhaps one of the Ghost House Underground sets that contain Offspring, The Children, Seventh Moon or The Thaw 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!

It was Afghanistan, November 2001: Two months after 9/11, a CIA operative leads a hardcore U.S. Special Forces squad on a classified mission deep into harsh and hostile Taliban territory. Their objective is to locate a Muslim cleric with possible ties to a deadly cache of WMDs. But what they instead discover is a phenomenon beyond anything known to man. You cannot fight what isn’t there. You cannot kill what doesn’t live. And in a land ravaged by war and ruled by superstition, who or what is the ultimate enemy?

Year One’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.

It is good to see that Esther William’s films that did not make Volume 1 of her DVD collection are being given a general release with lots of extras rather than being put on DVD-R into the Warner Archive. The Archive is a good idea for obscure films in which visuals are not that important - Marie Dressler’s films of the early 1930’s are good examples of such films - but Esther’s Technicolor musicals needed to be restored to their original visual splendor to be appreciated. Warner has done an exceptional job with the films included here such as Thrill of a Romance, Fiesta, This Time for Keeps, Pagan Love Song, Million Dollar Mermaid and Easy to Love.

Many things have gone missing in this world: Amelia Earhart, D.B. Cooper, the Olmec civilization, Jeff Tremaine’s waistline, even the whole continent of Atlantis. Most important and culturally relevant, though, is a big mess of Jackass segments that had apparently slipped through a crack in Mianus and never found a home on any of the DVD releases for the classic MTV television series. The “Self Defense Test,” “Stun Collar,” “Unicycle Poo Barf,” “Fast Food Football,” “Roller Jump,” and “Satan vs. God” (in its original long butt kicking form!) are just some of the absurd gold that what was once lost but now is found, not to mention all the original show opens, credit montages, and a bunch of other bonus footage that was never shown on television—or wasn’t allowed to be shown.

From dating dilemmas to career conundrums, the recently engaged Ted and his feisty friends find themselves at the crossroads of young adult life. While newlyweds Marshall and Lily contemplate parenthood, single gal Robin explores the advantages of having “friends with benefits.” Meanwhile, the irrepressible, opinionated Barney continues his hilariously dogged pursuit of the fairer sex. As for Ted, his Miss Right is out there, but amid bar brawls, blizzards, and buck-naked strangers, how will he ever find her? Loaded with irresistible laughter and filled with outrageous fun, there’s just one word for the hit comedy How I Met Your Mother: Awesomeness!

Packed with explosive action and edge-of-your-seat suspense, The Unit delivers a non-stop blast of spectacular thrills and hard-edged excitement! Risking their lives on deadly undercover missions around the globe, the Unit is a highly skilled, ultra-secret contingent of special forces soldiers operating outside the traditional chain of military command. Now, the hunters become the hunted as the team and their families are targeted by a deadly and far-reaching conspiracy. And, as they are forced to relocate and assume new identities, Season Four follows the complicated day-to-day lives, intricate military operations, and extraordinary heroism of the world’s finest counter-terrorism strike force – The Unit!

What would you do if you found out your father may have been a terrorist? A high school boy writes a story for class that makes this claim. Is it true? Friends, family, teachers and internet chat-room partners start to wonder and worry. Now he must journey through a maze of family secrets to find the truth about his dead father. From Academy Award-nominated director Atom Egoyan (1997, Best Director, The Sweet Hereafter) comes a story of a young man who must question everything he knows in order to learn who he is and who his father was. Adoration presents a world where there is no such thing as us versus them and the truth is never as simple as right and wrong.

In Drag Me to Hell there’s even a story: a sad loan officer (Alison Lohman) turns down the aforementioned denture-wearing gypsy for a loan extension, which leads to an evil curse and a date in hell in three days’ time. A séance, an animal sacrifice, and a session in a storm-tossed graveyard will make the 72 hours pass very nervously, thank you, along with assorted scares. Justin Long plays Lohman’s upper-class boyfriend, and Raimi fills the rest of the cast with some unusual and unfamiliar types. Along with the giddy horror-comedy that bursts out of the movie every 10 minutes or so, there’s also an underlying mood of pity: Lohman’s character is something of a hard-luck sad sack, who does enough wrong things to make her seem like a truly abject individual, well outside the heroic model of most multiplex offerings.

According to official statistics, more than 210,000 missing persons reports are filed every year. Some cases are never solved. Now six friends head off to a country estate for a weekend of bonding, bed hopping and home-cooked feasts. But their good times go very bad when they encounter a clan of slaughter-happy psychopaths with expert skills in butchery and a ravenous hunger for teen-meat pies. What follows is a brutal battle for survival, complete with shocking carnage, killer twists, and graphic reasons to avoid UK cuisine forever. This is the Texas Chainsaw Massacre in the English countryside in this grisly debut from director Gregory Mandry that walks a knife s edge between tongue-in-cheek humor and teeth-in-flesh terror. Bring a strong stomach and a hearty appetite: British horror is back with a vengeance!

Bundle up with your favorite preschool pals in these fun-filled wintertime tales. Join Barney, Bob the Builder, Pingu, Thomas & Friends, and Kipper as they enjoy playful adventures in the snow. Learn the true meaning of Christmas with your best friend, Barney, build a snowman with Bob, go sledding with Kipper, whistle down the tracks with Thomas, and laugh along as Pingu plays hilarious tricks on his friends. Brilliant for children of all ages!

Longtime crime boss Ged Brennan has had enough of the increasingly brutal criminal underworld. But to fund a legitimate business, he’s got to rely on his crew to successfully pull off one final robbery. When his boys have plans of their own and the heist goes horribly wrong, gang warfare erupts. With betrayal all around him, Ged must summon everything he’s learned from more than two decades in the world of vice if he’s going to survive in this pulse-pounding thriller.

Cats chase mice - it’s a simple law of nature - but few have cultivated the art of the chase as skillfully as Hanna Barbera did in their animated Tom and Jerry cartoons in the mid-1940s and early-1950s. Every episode is essentially an extended comedic chase bursting with subterfuge, destruction, and an abundance of action. Tom, the cat, is 100-percent fixated on catching Jerry, the mouse, so when Tom can’t seem to prevail in a simple chase, he resorts to a mail-order book for some new techniques that are sure to yield results at tickling your funny bone. Check out the latest Tom & Jerry Chase edition!

In this graphically shocking and internationally acclaimed debut feature by Belgian writer/director Peter Van Hees, Eline Kuppens stars as a dedicated professional runner sidelined by an infection. But when she impulsively decides to move into her new boyfriend s high-rise apartment on the outskirts of Antwerp, she will discover that his perfect home may hold strange powers and even darker secrets: Their sexual passion becomes extreme. Her body undergoes bizarre changes. The previous tenant disappeared under mysterious circumstances. And deep within the building s dark basement lurks an ancient evil that waits to be reborn. Welcome to a neighborhood where obsession meets madness, history is written in blood, and modern horror is alive and well in a place called Left Bank.

Futurama: The Complete Collection will be released on DVD October 13, 2009. This giant set includes 19 DVDs, all packaged in a collectible Bender head, including a detachable rubber antenna. The press release claims that only 25,000 copies will be produced one time -- ever. So you better get out and obtain your set today! For those fans that already own every Futurama adventure on DVD, a limited number of empty Bender heads will also be available for purchase. Not only is every episode of Futurama available on this 19 disc set, but also all four straight-to-DVD movies are included. For fans of the Futurama series, you aren’t going to want to miss this set!

Architect Wilbur Post (Alan Young, The Time Machine) and his wife Carol (Connie Hines) move into a beautiful new home complete with a barn in the backyard. When Wilbur takes a look in his new barn, he finds that the former owner left his horse behind. This horse is no ordinary horse . . . he can talk, but only to Wilbur, which leads to all sorts of misadventures for Wilbur and his trouble-making sidekick Mister Ed. Premiering in 1960, Mister Ed became the first syndicated series ever to be picked up by a network when CBS adopted the show in 1961 for the remainder of its five-year run. The program won a Golden Globe Award as Best TV Show in 1963. You never heard of a talking horse? Well, check out the famous Mister Ed. This set includes all 26 original season one episodes!

All six seasons of Lovejoy starring Ian McShane as the irresistible rogue with a keen eye for antiques, is finally available! This 21 dvd box set features every episode from the classic BBC-TV series. From his cottage in the Fens, antique dealer and part-time detective Lovejoy scours the murky salesrooms, auction halls and stately homes of East Anglia, always on the lookout for a new find. Whether it’s a priceless old master or pretty young lady, there’s never a dull moment with Lovejoy around. The series was amicably written by Ian la Frenais and is a must own for any fan of classic British television.

Crabby and cranky, ill tempered and irritable - all these things and more combined to make the character of Victor Meldrew, played by Richard Wilson, one of the best loved in the history of British comedy. Joined by long suffering wife Margaret (Annette Crosbie) and neighbours Patrick (Angus Deayton) and Pippa (Janine Duvitski), the irascible Victor made One Foot in the Grave one the biggest comedy hits of the 1990s. This lavish 12 disc Complete One Foot in the Grave Box set contains all six wonderful series, each of the enormously popular Christmas specials including the wonderful “One Foot in the Algarve”, and commentaries with Richard Wilson and writer David Renwick. One Foot in the Grave originally premiered with the story of an already peevish security guard being forcibly retired and replaced with a box. Since then, Victor has been bitterly complaining his way into the hearts of the world.

Sandra Bullock and the affably charming Ryan Reynolds’s superb chemistry turn The Proposal from otherwise standard romantic-comedy fare to one that is entertaining and sure to garner laughs. Margaret (Sandra Bullock) is a workaholic, tyrannical book editor (reminiscent of The Devil Wears Prada) who suddenly finds her career in jeopardy as she faces deportation back to Canada. Her solution is to simply fake an engagement to her unsuspecting assistant Andrew (Ryan Reynolds), who in turn blackmails her for a promotion. However, when Margaret is forced to head to Alaska with Andrew to visit his family in an effort to make their story believable to the deportation officers, they soon realize that their plan may not be so simple after all. The supporting cast of Dad (Craig T. Nelson), Mom (Mary Steenburgen), and kooky Grandma (Betty White) is great casting that makes for many amusing scenes.

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:
October 14, 2009