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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.


We are doing a Free DVD Giveaway! If you are interested in a chance at winning a free copy of Sesame Street: 40 Years of Sunny Days, The Velveteen Rabbit, The Dog Who Saved Christmas, Wubbzy’s Christmas Adventure or another miscellaneous children’s program 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!

Julie & Julia is a film that should be relished with gusto--accompanied by the freshest and best ingredients, pounds of butter, and bottles of the very best wine. It lovingly celebrates the life of one of American food’s most influential and beloved figureheads: Julia Child--played here with zest, humor, and a sweet, subtle respect by Meryl Streep, whose performance is spectacular. Julie & Julia is based on the book by Julie Powell, a frustrated New York bureaucrat who wants to be a writer. “But you’re not a writer until someone publishes you,” she moans. So she gives herself a challenge: to cook her way through Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking in one year, and to blog about it. As Powell (Amy Adams), begins to find her groove as a cook, and her voice as a writer, the project takes on a life of its own--and in the end it does provide the struggling young woman with her life’s purpose, to her very pleasant surprise. A very rewarding film, this is a must own for any film fan.

Christmas spirit is waning around the globe, and people are losing sight of the real meaning of Christmas. Up at the North Pole, Santa and his trusty dog Santa Paws are alarmed because the Christmas icicle, which is the source of Christmas magic, is melting. Even scarier is the fact that only Santa Paws’s young pup Puppy Paws can spread the word about the importance of Christmas spirit to the new generation, but all he wants to do is be a normal dog. After looking at the naughty list, Puppy Paws hitches a ride to Fernfield, Washington, to catch up with Budderball and participate in what he perceives to be a more normal life. Budderball, B-Dawg, Rosebud, Mudbud, and Buddha all take a turn hosting Puppy Paws, but he doesn’t seem to quite fit in with any one of them. While in Fernfield, Puppy Paws is shocked by the widespread disbelief in Santa Claus and Santa Paws as well as by the general lack of holiday spirit. He also gets a rude surprise when dogcatcher Stan Cruge grabs him and locks him behind bars in the local pound. It takes all of the Buddies working together with a special dog named Tiny and an elf-dog from the North Pole to save Puppy Paws and reignite the town’s Christmas spirit.

The epic story of Lost twists, turns and time shifts in its brilliant fifth season. Packed with bonus material, including a revealing interview with the cast and an exclusive behind the scenes feature with Josh, Lost is better than ever. When destiny calls, the Oceanic 6 frantically race back to the island. Discover what forced them to return and find out the fate of all those who were left behind. The answers to some of Lost’s most pressing questions are revealed in this spectacular 5-disc collection, complete with deleted scenes, a behind the scenes celebration of the 100th episode and an incredible vault of exclusive bonus features. The show that revolutionized prime time proves once again why it is television’s most addictive and creative series. There are numerous bonus features that enhance this incredible set.

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is an educational Disney Channel television series that’s aimed at toddlers. The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse itself is the place where fun, adventure, and learning begin for Mickey Mouse and his friends Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Pluto, and Goofy, as well as preschool viewers around the world. When Professor Von Drake visits Mickey Mouse and the gang at the clubhouse, he brings some exciting news - he’s just invented Easy Freezy Snow, a snow that never melts, even in the sun. The professor needs some help moving the snow down to the clubhouse from the top of Mistletoe Mountain to try it out in the sun, so Mickey and the gang grab some mousketools and head out to find the pieces of their choo-choo train, assemble it, then lay some track to make the trip up the mountain. Along the way, they learn about shapes and patterns and use logic to choose mousketools that will help them complete their journey. Playing in never-melting snow is fun, but it’s even more fun with friends, so the gang heads out in the train again to pick up some other friends for a Big Easy Freezy Party. Their trip provides a lesson in time-telling, reading a schedule, counting, and shape identification. Best of all, it results in a fun party and a chance to do the Hot Dog dance.

Chart a course for nonstop fun with Handy Manny s first full-length adventure! Feel the wind in your hair, and join Manny as he packs up his Tools for an exciting road trip. They re heading out to a fiesta grande Manny s family reunion! But when Pat veers off in search of his own family, Manny s plans take a detour. Can he race to the rescue in time to make it to the party? Filled with new songs, old friends, and an inspiring message, Manny s Motorcycle Adventure shows that when it comes to family, there s always something to celebrate!

In the early 1960s, Herb & Dorothy Vogel a postal worker and librarian began purchasing the works of unknown Minimalist and Conceptual artists, guided by two rules: the piece had to be affordable, and it had to be small enough to fit in their one-bedroom Manhattan apartment. They proved themselves curatorial visionaries; most of those they supported and befriended went on to become world-renowned artists. HERB & DOROTHY provides a unique chronicle of the world of contemporary art from two unlikely collectors, whose shared passion and discipline defies stereotypes and redefines what it means to be a patron of the arts.

Look out, Temecula, here comes Don Ready and his band of X-treme salesmen, rarin’ to boost sales at a struggling car dealership over the course of a single hardcore weekend. That’s the plan in The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard, a scattershot comedy featuring fast-talking Jeremy Piven as the slippery Mr. Ready, who knows how to lay on the discounts, the free food, and the personal appearances by bottom-tier celebrities. He and his for-hire team (Ving Rhames, David Koechner, and Kathryn Hahn) have three days to clear the lot, or the owner (a game James Brolin) will lose his business. The movie’s at its funniest when going for non sequitur craziness (best exemplified by the zany-creepy vibe between Hahn and Brolin’s ten-year-old son, played by Rob Riggle, whose glandular condition makes him look like a strapping 35-year-old).

Shown on PBS when the series was first released, The Shape of the World has until now only had limited availability through VHS. Now readily available on DVD, these six 50-minute episodes will, for those of us for whom world geography is a foggy haze, serve as a welcome crash course. Why do maps matter and what are their political implications? While this topic may sound dry, The Shape of the World is ultimately fascinating, especially as narrated by Patrick Stewart of Star Trek fame. Produced in consultation with the British Library and the Royal Geographical Society, the series functions like a college course: episodes are broken up chronologically and thematically and there’s even a 20-page supplementary booklet that asks pertinent questions about each show. All in all, it reminds one just how arbitrary and subjective drawing up a map can be.

Ho, ho, heyooo! Christmas is upon us and the Paddy’s gang has got the spirit. Well, not really. For them, the holidays have always been a time of trickery, backstabbing, and disappointment. But this year things are going to be different as they are determined to rediscover the joy in Christmas. Join Mac, Charlie, Dennis, Dee and Frank as they embark on a holiday adventure filled with stolen toys, childhood videos, naked elves, and a bloody run in with Santa Claus that is guaranteed to blast Christmas spirit all over you!

Streetwise charmer Eddie (Nick Moran) enters the biggest card game of his life with the savings of his three best friends: Tom (Jason Flemyng), Bacon (Jason Statham) and Soap (Dexter Fletcher). But he leaves the table owing his underworld boss Hatchet Harry half a million and has a week to come up with the money. Now Eddie and his friends must outsmart and outgun all types of lowlifes on their way to pay off Harry before time runs out.

Now fully into its 6th season, Spongebob Squarepants has become a kiddie cartoon institution. The first 8 episodes of Season 6 have been packaged into Spongebob Squarepants: Spongicus, named after the episode of the same name. Spongebob has a huge cult following and is definitely for all fans of the little square dude.

Terminator Salvation restores some of the balance of huge freakin’ explosions and emotionally compelling plot to the Terminator series. Set entirely after the nuclear assault that left the computer system Skynet in control of the world, Terminator Salvation follows John Connor (Christian Bale) as he grapples with both murderous robots and his superiors in the resistance, who aren’t sure they believe the prophecies that Connor is destined to save humanity. Into the midst of this struggle tumbles Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington, who would later star in James Cameron’s Avatar); the last thing he remembers was being executed in prison decades before. Baffled, he falls into company with Kyle Reese (Anton Yelchin) and a mute little girl, who soon get captured--but Wright then meets and bonds with Blair Williams (Moon Bloodgood), a resistance fighter who remains loyal to the confused Wright even though Connor suspects he’s not what he seems or what he believes himself to be.

The Three Stooges simply never get old! These 22 digitally remastered shorts from 1952-1954 were made during a tumultuous time for The Three Stooges. First, in 1952 Curly succumbed to the illness brought on by his stroke six years earlier; he was only forty-eight when he died. Shemp had really hit his stride by this time and he is at the top of his game in the new shorts from this period, but budget cutbacks at Columbia forced director Jules White to recycle some old footage, so although the work in this collection is first-rate, one can’t help but wonder what could have been done if they’d had the opportunity to develop more new material. Fortunately, this era did leave us with such classics as the Stooges’ first 3-D shorts, Spooks (1953) and Pardon My Backfire (1953) ; Shot in the Frontier (1954) a parody of the classic film High Noon ; and Larry’s hilarious spoof of Brando in Cuckoo on the Choo Choo (1952). These shorts are all presented as they were projected in the theaters; some in wide screen for the first time since their original release. The Three Stooges Collection Volume Seven shows how the genius of Moe, Larry and Shemp rose above all obstacles and enabled them to be the best at their craft.

What a brilliantly made television show! In Rescue Me, the season continues as Tommy’s drinking begins to spiral out of control. Sean recovers from his illness and heads back to work where Tommy’s temper problems still get him in trouble. Needles and Lou both have new women in their lives, providing endless entertainment around the firehouse. Meanwhile, Tommy’s womanizing ways begin to catch up to him when he finds himself caught between Janet, Sheila, and an intriguing newcomer. Tensions boil over in a shocking turn of events during a late night at the bar, leaving Tommy Gavin in serious jeopardy in the hottest season yet.

Four hundred years after the founding of the Republic, Rome is the wealthiest city in the world, a cosmopolitan metropolis of one million people, epicenter of a sprawling empire. But now, the city’s foundations are crumbling, eaten away by corruption and excess...And two soldiers unwittingly become entwined in historical events, their fates inexorably tied to the fate of Rome itself. The entire award-winning, critically-acclaimed series will be available as a Blu-ray gift set, just in time for the holiday season. Brilliantly packaged, HBO puts the entire series into one space saving set that is sure to please all those who pick it up.

Duffy the big man on campus who is marrying Adriana, a debutante heiress to a global wine fortune, right after they both graduate from the same prestigious University. Unfortunately , the final Frat Party of his college career is the night before his wedding and there are many obstacles in his way, including a soon to be Father -In-Law who is less than happy with his daughter’s choice and will stop at nothing to stop the wedding.

After the loss of the brilliant Denis D’Amour, it was assumed that Voivod was done and the band would not be able to continue on. Years after Denis’ death, Voivod is back and with a vengeance. Their first Japanese performance is one for the ages and should definitely not be missed. Of particular note is the return of original bass player Jean Yves Theriault, which is not just pleasing to the ear. His playing is immaculate and for the ages. Don’t delay, get your copy today!

Based on a true character, Penance stars Marieh Delfino as a stripper who falls into the hands of sadistic surgeon (Graham McTavish) with genital mutilation on his mind. Previously titled The Devil’s Dungeon and filmed in 2008 in Los Angeles, Penance is the tale of a young, demure single mother, Amelia (Delfino), who hits upon hard times and decides to take her future into her own hands and becomes a stripper. Everything is going well until Suzy, her stripper friend, is beaten up on a job and recruits Amelia to take her place. Reluctantly, Amelia takes the job, only to find the job isn’t everything it seems. Driven to a strange location by a dark and mysterious man (Tony Todd), and confronted by a grizzled hit man (Michael Rooker), Amelia’s world is turned upside down, as her captor (the mind bending McTavish), is intent on one thing and one thing only to purify Amelia and the other women in his incarceration.

Teaching kids the right way has never been more apparent than watching Sesame Street. It is indeed hard to believe that Sesame Street has been around for the past four decades. Whether teaching counting, the alphabet, or how to eat cookies, this trip is definitely worth the purchase. Young and old as well as the shy and bold will simply love this DVD full of nostalgic moments. Remember Bob, Maria and Gordon? The clothes, too! They are all here in this brilliantly packaged and must own set!

Janky Promoters follows the shenanigans of a pair of shady concert promoters (Cube and Epps), self-described Modesto’s finest, who get in over their heads when they get a shot at booking a big-name hip-hop act. Complications come in the form of a pot-growing neighborhood nemesis named Mondo and Cube’s character’s son (Little JJ), who is under contract with the old man. A cute film that is worth the buy.

Michael J. Fox is back as Deputy Mayor Mike Flaherty, the damage-controlling spin wizard to New York Citys favorite blundering boss man, Mayor Randall Winston. Season Three spells reelection time, and that means business in the office, aside from a steady stream of assassination plots, supermodels, teenage girl muggers, ex-girlfriends and a city full of problems. With all the ensuing chaos, there are enough distractions and obstacles to make business nearly impossible for Mike and his crew.

Don’t let the low price fool you, this is a pretty good TV Fireplace Blu-ray DVD.Everyone has their own idea about what is most pleasing watching these types of videos. This DVD comes with 26 different fireplaces and settings. The picture is good and there is a choice between listening to music or natural fireplace sounds. Whatever your mood is there should be something on this DVD to satisfy it. The picture and program are brilliantly clear and definitely worth the purchase!

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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:
December 2 , 2009