Nick's Pics Nick
Nicholson Film & Home Entertainment Critic
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FREE DVD GIVEAWAY
We are doing a Free DVD Giveaway! If you are interested in a chance at winning a free copy of Outsourced, Juno Baby: The Day the Music Stopped, Vietnam War Stories, Renegade: Season Two, Dark Oracle, The Commish: Season Two, Prime Time Crime: The Stephen J. Cannell Collection, Fangoria Fright Fest: 8 Movie Pack, Drive in Cult Classics: 32 Movie Collection, Pure Terror: 50 Movies, Kylie: Rare & Unseen, Brian Wilson: Songwriter 1962-1969, Water Life: The Big Blue on Blu-ray, The Return of the Living Dead on BD, Invasion of the Body Snatchers on BD, The Amityville Horror on BD, or Dog: The Bounty Hunter - The Wild Ride, 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!
SILENT LIGHT - Palisades Tartan
Johann has a problem. He has a wife and children who he loves, and another woman who loves him and who he can't stop thinking about. The Mennonite community in Mexico that is the backdrop for this story has a culture built on attempts to escape from the urgency of the clock, and pattern life according to a rhythm that respects nature and the sacred. But there are other urgencies that are hard to avoid.
YOU THE LIVING - Palisades Tartan
This film is made up of 55 shots, most of which represent a discrete narrative element. Connections do occur, the most evident of which is the dream recounted by the man in the first scene, which connects to the final five shots of the film. But there are stories, here, too - if the axiom that character is story holds true. There is Mia, who considers the withholding of alcohol a form a sadism, and who complains that nobody understands her; she recurs in four vignettes. Similarly, the film checks in occasionally with Anna, a groupie of a musician for "The Black Devils"; she extrapolates a single instance of kindness from the musician into an agony of unrequited love. There are other characters, in agonies of their own. A psychiatrist addresses the camera: "People demand...to be happy, at the same time they are egocentric, selfish and ungenerous. They are quite simply mean, most of them." Vignette after vignette, that is what we see, the meanness of people. That is what unifies these diverse pieces of film. Whatever kindness we see is superficial.
NATURAL CITY - Palisades Tartan
Set in a futuristic megacity in the year 2080, it's about a sullen policeman (Yu Ji-tae) who wants to extend the life of his beautiful android dancer Ria (Seo Rin) by finding a new host for her brain-chip. As she's nearing her sell-by date, which requires her complete destruction, this puts him at odds with fellow cop Noma (Yun Chan) and evil android Roy Batty...err...evil uber-android Jeon Doo-hong, who has plans on accessing android headquarters and programming a massive robot uprising. Flying police cars, slow-floating dirigibles with gigantic projection screens, endlessly vertical skyscrapers forming a mountain of technology in a post-war wasteland.
THE HIDDEN BLADE - Palisades Tartan
Yoji Yamada's Twilight Samurai was an extraordinary treat. Following in similar footsteps, The Hidden Blade is again a samurai tale where a lower samurai must weigh matters of principle against what is politically and financially advantageous. Shown at film festivals in Berlin & Newport Beach, the main character is Munezo Katagiri whose sister marries out of the household. Masatoshi Magase who played so romantically as the second love interest in The Sea Is Watching does the title role. He's very sensitive and honest, but a bit out of touch with his own emotional needs. Takako Matsu who has only made 3 films including 2006's Suite Dreams plays the housekeeper Kie. She works hard and lovingly takes care of Katagiri's house. Matsu's beautiful good looks and expressive face make her a charmer. Caste issues divide her from the samurai. When Kie marries, her new family abuses and fails to appreciate her. This results in her illness and rescue by Katagiri who barges into the household and rescues Kie from her own husband! Kie is nursed back to health.
TRIAD ELECTION - Palisades Tartan
The ever-reliable Johnnie To's Election 2: Harmony is a Virtue aka Triad Election is in many ways more impressive and definitely more ambitious than its predecessor even though it lacks its relentless forward momentum. Where the first film was a literal relay race, this is more of a distance event, but it's a much more engrossing look at the nature and politics of corruption. It does amp up the violence from the first film, particularly in one literally grinding sequence, but it never deteriorates into a gore show, focusing less on Simon Yam's Triad chairman after a second term than reluctant contender Louis Koo, contrasting the one's troubled relationship with his son (who qualified for a lifetime in therapy at the end of the first film) with the other's hopes for his future offspring. It ends with the possibility of hope for one son but the certainty of damnation for another that hasn't even been born, the film bookended by scenes at the same location, the first full of sunlight and promise and confidence, the second dark and cloudy as one character finds that the price of respectability is the very violent life he wants to turn his back.
PHONE - Palisades Tartan
Phone concerns a young investigative journalist named Ji-Won, who begins to receive menacing calls on her mobile phone. Suspecting it is one of the men she recently wrote an exposé on, she has her number changed, but what she hears when her phone rings next is even more disturbing. After her best friend's daughter accidentally receives one of the calls, the girl begins behaving erratically. The only clue Ji-Won has to go on is the phone number that keeps appearing on her laptop, so she begins to look into the people who had her number previously, and what she finds is interesting indeed.
ASSAULT OF THE SASQUATCH - MVD
When a merciless bear poacher is caught and arrested deep in the woods of a state park, he and his truck are taken to a neglected precinct in the heart of a dying city. Unbeknownst to the authorities, the impounded truck holds a deadly cargo in the form of the legendary Sasquatch! Now, stuck in an unfamiliar world, the creature will let nothing and no one stop it from coming face-to-face with the unscrupulous man who ruthlessly ripped it from its environment. Taking an inventive and action packed approach, "Assault of the Sasquatch" breaths new and exciting life into the immortal legend of Bigfoot.
NIGHT OF THE DEMONS - E1 Entertainment
Maddie Curtis and her friends Lilly and Suzanne are ready for a great Halloween night. They go to a party thrown by their friend Angela at the notorious Broussard Mansion in New Orleans. Over eighty years ago, six people disappeared from the mansion without a trace and the owner, Evangeline Broussard, hung herself. This dark history enhances the Broussard Mansions appeal on Halloween. At the decadent, out-of-control party, Maddie and Lily run into their exes, Colin and Dex, while Suzanne parties it up. Good times end, however, when the police bust up the party. After the rest of the guests leave, Angela, Maddie, Lily, Dex, Colin, Suzanne and their friend Jason discover a horrible secret. Their cell phones don't work. The mansion gates are now mysteriously locked and it soon becomes clear that supernatural forces are at work and that there may be more to the tale of Evangeline Broussard than anyone knew.
WILD GRASS - Sony
France's Alain Resnais has been subverting audience expectations for six decades, and Wild Grass proves no exception. Flame-haired Marguerite (Sabine Azéma) sets the story in motion when she buys a pair of designer heels. Moments later, a thief steals her yellow handbag (cinematographer Éric Gautier makes the most of this primary-color palette). While entering a parking garage that night, Georges Palet (André Dussollier) finds a billfold devoid of money. The pilot's license, however, inflames his imagination. Hesitant to contact this formidable woman, a dentist by trade, he hands the matter over to Bernard (Mathieu Amalric), the country's most impatient cop. When Marguerite calls to thank him, Georges complains that she isn't sufficiently grateful.
BENNY HILL: The Complete Megaset - A&E
This is the best version of A&E's Benny Hill shows for purchase. The discs contain the same contents as previous editions. You get 58 one-hour specials, plus the half-hour "Eddie In August" (which I count as episode #59), along with 2 documentaries about Benny, and 3 about Hill's Angels -- at least 50 hours total. What makes this the one to buy is the packaging. Toss out your old bulky sets. This one has all 18 discs in 3 6-disc cases, packaged in a sealed box, with all the information about the shows on a single foldout "booklet". Talk about saving shelf space -- the entire set only takes up the space of 3 regular DVD cases. You can hold the entire set in one hand. Much better than previous sets. Set 1 (6 DVDs in 1 case, 1969-1972) shows Benny climbing the mountain, getting funnier all the way. Set 2 (6 DVDs in 1 case, 1973-1981) is Benny reaching the mountain top, at his best, never funnier, sheer brilliance, every second is a gem.
TIM AND ERIC AWESOME SHOW: Season Four - Adult Swim
Oh lordy, they're 40!!! The seminal fourth season kicks off...now! This season goes brown early, but keep watching for too many surprises to count. Alan Thicke, Ben Hur, Michael Ian Black, Fred Willard, Richard Dunn, Jonah Hill and James Quall co-star alongside Tim Heidecker and Rick Wareheim.
FORBIDDEN LIES - Indiepix
Norma Khouri is the supreme con woman and she is a mystery. Men lust after her, Islamic extremists want her dead, and the world of publishing wants her to vanish. Khouri managed to fool the literary establishment by selling it the so called true story about an honor killing---that of her supposed best friend, Dalia, in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. The book she wrote, "Forbidden Love" had half a million readers and she had publishers and journalists in over 15 countries wanting to tell her story. Australian journalist, Malcolm Knox, discovered that Khouri's book was a fake in 2004 and exposed her as a married Chicago real-estate agent and mother of two who was under investigation by the FBI for fraud (since 1999). She was definitely not a Catholic virgin from Jordan who was on the run from heads of the Islam religion who had placed a "fatwah" on her head because she openly spoke about honor crimes in the Arab countries. When this came to light, the literary world was sent running and the FBI reopened its files on her. Khouri then took a lie detector test, sued Knox for defamation, left her kids with a Rachel Richardson (an ex-heroine addict) and fled for America with $350,000 owed to her publishers and has remained in hiding. Now she wants to talk so we may know the whole story. And what a story it is.
STARGATE UNIVERSE 1.0 - Fox
A group of soldiers, scientists and civilians fleeing an attack, is stranded billions of miles from Earth on an Ancient ship known as the Destiny. Locked on an unknown course, they must fight to survive and find a way home. The danger, adventure and hope they find on board the Destiny will reveal the heroes and villains among them. This set includes three DVDs and stars Robert Carlyle, Ming Na and Lou Diamond Phillips.
WINTER'S BONE - Lionsgate
Family loyalty and self-reliance take on whole new meanings in this dark story of one family's desperate struggle to survive in the Ozark woods of southern Missouri. Day-to-day life is tough in the economically depressed, unforgiving harsh rural landscape that's home to the extended Dolly clan, but it's made much tougher thanks to their history of cooking crank and deep involvement in the local drug culture. For Jessup Dolly and the other men of the family, looking out for oneself has become the first priority. Seventeen-year-old Ree (Jennifer Lawrence) has been caring for her mentally ill mother and her two younger siblings while her father runs from the law. Ree has been managing OK, but when the sheriff shows up with news that her father has put the house up as bond collateral and is unlikely to show for his court date, things get desperate. Ree is well aware of the family code of silence, but desperation forces her to confront her relatives in search of her father, regardless of the personal consequences. One by one, Ree's relatives refuse to help, protecting themselves even at the cost of one of their own.
SPLICE - Warner
In the grand movie tradition of doomed scientists, Clive (Adrien Brody) and Elsa (Sarah Polley) won't let the official quashing of their Frankensteinian experiment stand in the way of working on the scheme anyway. Sure, the ethics of swizzling together human genes with various lab potions is queasy, and the initial result of their rogue project is disconcertingly pitched somewhere between a human baby and a monster thing with a stinger in its tail. And yes, the beastie is growing fast. Like, really, really fast. But this is science, right? Surely the breakthrough in human evolution that would come with this experiment justifies a little corner cutting? Splice is going to answer these questions in a reliably familiar way, and in its early going it finds some fun in working hip variations on the mad-scientist genre--plus, in Brody and Polley, the film already distinguishes itself by reaching up to the top shelf for actors.
THE INFIDEL - New Video
Meet Mahmud Nasir (Omid Djalili), loving husband, doting father and something of a relaxed Muslim. He may not be the most observant, but in his heart he is a true Muslim. After his mothers death, Mahmud finds his birth certificate, which reveals that he was adopted at birth and... hes Jewish, with the real name of Solly Shimshillewitz! As Mahmud tumbles headlong into a full-scale identity crisis, the only person he can turn to is Lenny (Richard Schiff, The West Wing), a drunken Jewish cabbie. Soon Mahmud is embarking on lessons in Jewishness, starting with how to dance like Topol and the proper way to say oy vey. This revelation couldn t come at a worse time, with Mahmuds son about to marry the stepdaughter of a radical Muslim cleric. Archie Panjabi (The Good Wife) and Matt Lucas (Little Britain) join the cast of this hilarious English farce meets Woody Allen (Ricky Gervais).
DOGHOUSE - IFC
The zombie resurgence continues (really now, the undead are everywhere!) in the delightfully silly British import, Doghouse. The horror/comedy zombie mine has been drilled so many times lately, I was afraid this film might be dead on arrival. But with a playful wink at sexual politics, Doghouse adds a new man versus woman angle that keeps things lively. Director Jake West manages to infuse the film with plenty of appropriately gruesome moments, gross visuals, hilarious sight gags, and then tops it off with a biting social satire on sexism. The film starts out as a bit of male wish fulfillment. To support a friend going through a divorce, a group of guys decides to take a "boys only" vacation. The joke is that they decide to go to a remote town where women reportedly outnumber men four to one. Even though the logic of this escapade is a bit sketchy, the guys are eager to take a break from their everyday lives. So maybe this vision of a town with randy and willing ladies seems perfectly reasonable. Traveling via bus (in scenes eerily reminiscent of Severance--check it out as well), the guys eventually discover things all but deserted--until they start finding body parts and bloody remnants. But that's not all--the women have been turned into ravenous zombies!
JONAH HEX - Warner
Another DC Comics hero gets a workout in Jonah Hex, the movie incarnation of DC's scar-faced bounty hunter, played here by Josh Brolin. Out to exact revenge on the varmint who wrecked his face and killed his family, Jonah also gets yanked back into the service of his country--against his will, of course. Said varmint, Quentin Turnbull, is played by John Malkovich, although the more spirited villainy is provided by Turnbull's tattooed Irish assistant (Michael Fassbender). In this 80-minute hodgepodge of a movie, Jonah regularly checks in with his lady friend, a prostitute (Megan Fox) whose bordello room has a remarkable amount of glamour lighting, and in his spare time investigates Turnbull's plot to use a super weapon against Washington, D.C. By giving Jonah a halfway-interesting supernatural talent--he can talk with the dead, by placing his hands on them--the film adds a kicky new wrinkle, but it's not enough to improve the mangled storytelling or the sleepwalking pace.
SHAUN THE SHEEP: Season One Giftset - Lionsgate
The complete first season of Shaun the Sheep is here – 40 episodes loaded with mischief, mayhem and plenty of Naughty Pigs! Join Shaun and his barnyard buddies, Bitzer, Shirley, Timmy, and more as they deliver a flock-load of wacky shenanigans from the farm. From bath time to party time and everything in between, the entire family will love this collection filled with sheepish delight!
THOMAS & FRIENDS: Best Tales on the Tracks - Lionsgate
Hop on board and enjoy the very best that Thomas & Friends have to offer. This one-of-a-kind gift set is jam-packed with 6 DVDs and 50 episodes. A perfect gift for the holidays, this great value is the best of Thomas and his friends.
FISTS OF VENGEANCE: Martial Arts Collection - Mill Creek
Fists of Vengeance contains over 23 hours of martial arts mayhem starring the enigmatic Bruce Lee. Mill Creek has done an admirable job piecing together some of the most interesting of the Lee flicks. Check this set out if you are a fan of the martial arts!
TEN THOUSAND WAYS TO DIE:
Western Collection - Mill Creek
Loaded six-shooters, fast-paced action, luscious ladies and a hearty dose of comedy can all be found in this outstanding collection of acclaimed movies from the epic film making genre affectionately known as Spaghetti Westerns. Filled with gangs of outlaws, crooks and law enforcement, these 12 films from a bygone era contain all of the usual fights, gun battles and explosive surprises that make the Spaghetti Western genre so entertaining to watch and cherish.