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 Minute to Win It: wii Game, Billy the Exterminator: Season One, Billy the Exterminator: Season Two, Deadwood: Complete Series on Blu-ray, Pastor Shepherd, or Silly Band Z: Nintendo DS Game, 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!
LUTHER - BBC
Idris Elba is the magnetic star of the thrilling BBC police series Luther, a gritty, captivating drama that will impress fans of British TV, police procedural, and knotty character studies. Elba is a nuanced, tortured presence as DCI John Luther, a detective focused on understanding the most horrifying criminal mind. Luther also has sacrificed a normal personal life for his work, and Luther focuses on his back-story as much as on the plot at hand. The supporting cast is as brilliant as Elba, especially Indira Varma as his estranged wife, Zoe, and Ruth Wilson as the fragile-seeming but only marginally sane Alice, with whom Luther has been having a secret affair. The episodes are fairly straightforward police procedural, including serial killers and other creepy bad guys. But what keeps Luther extra engaging is the superior writing, direction, and production design--making watching Luther an immersive experience for the viewer. And it's not always a comfortable one--this is not the cleaned-up New York of Law & Order, where most bad things happen off screen.
GOING THE DISTANCE - Warner
Drew Barrymore and Justin Long, who have been a couple in real life, use their personal chemistry to effective ends in the film. They play Erin and Garrett, geography-crossed lovers who, after a whirlwind romance of six weeks in New York, try to see if they can keep the love fires burning when Erin must move to the West Coast. There are predictable pitfalls and speed bumps that populate any romantic comedy, as well as a sublime supporting cast of friends and siblings. Especially notable is Christina Applegate as Erin's sister, Corinne, jaded and hilarious, and fiercely protective of her sister.
SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS: Season Six,
Volume Two - Nickelodeon
SpongeBob SquarePants may be one of the hardest shows to quantify critically. The entire purpose of the show is to defy description beyond the simplest tag line of "A pants-wearing sponge has loads of adventures undersea with his friends". That's it. That's the show. Anything else and you're diving into episodic particulars. It can't claim any sense of continuity or really, any sense at all. Can you believe it then, that this show about nothing at all (like Seinfeld...but for the ADHD-afflicted among us) has made it into and through its sixth season? Typical of children's programming, the season has split between two volumes and this release marks the second half.
THOMAS AND FRIENDS: The Lion of Sodor - Lionsgate
Join Thomas as he roars down the tracks with the most special delivery yet, the Lion of Sodor. Thomas’ special delivery is not what he thinks it is – a real lion. When the other trains try to tell him that it’s actually a statue, he is too excited to listen. Hop on board with Thomas as he learns the importance of listening to others in this lionhearted collection of tales from the tracks.
THE DOG WHO SAVED CHRISTMAS VACATION - Anchor Bay
The Bannister family including former K-9 police hero Zeus (voiced by Mario López) is back, and this time they're spending their holidays at a beautiful Rocky Mountain resort. But toss in an unexpected visit from cocky Uncle Randy and his foxy poodle Bella (voiced by Paris Hilton) and a familiar pair of bumbling jewel thieves and this holiday may be headed downhill fast! Can Zeus solve the crime, save Bella and hit the slopes, all in time for Christmas Day? Gary Valentine and Elisa Donovan co-star in the all-new four-legged family adventure!
HUBERT H. HUMPHREY: The Art of the Possible - PBS
This is a marvelous story about an American politician who truly cared about America and the American people. Sure, Humphrey was a partisan Democrat but he truly cared for all Americans, especially the least among us. His record of legislative achievements is legendary and long, everything from the Peace Corps to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. But he always reached out to his opponents, with respect and great powers of persuasion. Sure, Humphrey was a liberal but he was loved by many conservatives, simply because he respected them, listened to them, and looked for ways to include them. This film tells the Hubert Humphrey story with great insight and balance.
THE SICILIAN GIRL - Music Box
Rita at then ten years of age in 1985 witnessed her father's assassination by rival mafia members. A war had started over control of money and the drug trade. Naieve to her own father's involvement at such a young age, Rita only remembers her father as the loving father and not the Mafia Don he was in his village and region. Years go by, and Rita swears vengeance upon her father's death and soon her brothers who also joins a similar fate. Through her adolescent years, Rita has both knowledge and witnesses the local mafia's dealings, comings and goings all the while taking pictures and recording these events in her journals. Now, at seventeen she decides to do the unthinkable.The one thing that no one would dream of doing or are too afraid to. Going against both her mother's wishes,family and the mafia itself she heads to Palermo to tell of all the things she knows bringing about the largest trial in history against the Sicilian Mafia.
SHREK THE WHOLE STORY - Dreamworks
The Shrek series started like a breath of fresh air. A non-Disney cartoon came along slinging a sarcastic take on the traditional fairytale and gave us a film that parents enjoyed just as much as their kids while simultaneously bringing two of its stars (Mike Myers and Eddie Murphy) and their careers back from the edge of obscurity (even if they did return there shortly after). It was just the kick in the pants the animated children's film genre needed (at least in terms of humor) and it seemed like Dreamworks's ogre franchise had a bright future. Unfortunately the series couldn't keep up the momentum and the tricks that made the first flick feel fresh, felt tired by the third installment. To make matters worse, it was at this point that Dreamworks pushed Shrek into marketing overdrive and they introduced ogre babies - only to hit the undo button with the fourth Shrek film. It's admirable that Dreamworks saw where it had made a mistake and remedied it, but it also forced their hand and ended the franchise. Shrek: The Whole Story has all of the Shrek films on their own Blu-ray discs packed with a rather healthy dose of extra features. Before we get into the breakdown of each disc's extras, let's do a quick recap of each of the movies, their highs and lows, and how the franchise as a whole pans out.
MOTHER AND CHILD - Sony
Rodrigo García explores the maternal instinct in Mother and Child through three disparate L.A. women: Karen (Annette Bening), a physical therapist, cares for her ailing mother; Elizabeth (Naomi Watts) works as a high-powered attorney; and Lucy (Kerry Washington), a bakery owner, plans to adopt (only Lucy has a spouse). An opening sequence reveals that Karen, who became pregnant at 14, gave Elizabeth up for adoption. Though the daughter has no desire to track down the mother, Karen has been mourning her loss for decades, never working up the nerve to take the next step. All three turn to the same adoption agency (Cherry Jones, who donned a nun's habit for Broadway's Doubt, plays Sister Joanne). When Karen yields to the advances of a kindly divorcé (Jimmy Smits), and Elizabeth, who's been sleeping with her boss (Samuel L. Jackson) and her married neighbor (Marc Blucas), finds herself with child, their feelings of anger and resentment start to melt. Lucy, meanwhile, has been meeting with a prickly expectant mother (Half Nelson's Shareeka Epps) who may hold the key to her happiness--assuming that a baby will solve all life's problems. García clearly venerates motherhood, but he doesn't let any of his characters off the hook: Karen can be cruel, Elizabeth can be cold, and Lucy can be whiny, but they overcome their lesser natures.
MICMACS - Sony
Jean-Pierre Jeunet makes movies like a mad scientist: a bit of this and a bit of that, comedy and horror, charm and madness--et voilà, an Amélie or Very Long Engagement is born. So it's quite appropriate that the central troupe in Micmacs is an eccentric band of tinkerers, toolsmiths, and circus folk; these are Jeunet's kind of people, and putting them together in odd combinations is his lab experiment. The "micmacs" live in a junkyard warren of their own devising, where they are joined by the film's nominal hero, Bazil (Dany Boon), a nondescript video-store clerk whose "career" is cut short when he takes a stray bullet to the head. Surviving this irritation, Bazil vows vengeance on the city's fat-cat arms manufacturers (as fate would have it, his father was killed by a land mine, adding extra incentive) and enlists his super-quirky band of buddies to help.
MEET THE PARENTS - Universal
Greg Focker (Ben Stiller) is the fool in love in Meet the Parents. Just as he's about to propose to his girlfriend Pam (Teri Polo), he learns that her sister's fiancé asked their father, Jack Byrnes (Robert De Niro), for permission to marry. Now he feels the need to do the same thing. When Greg meets Jack, he is so desperate to be liked that he makes up stories and kisses ass rather than having the courage of his convictions. It doesn't take an elite member of the CIA to see right through Greg, but that's precisely what Jack is.
DESPICABLE ME - Universal
Despicable Me is a compelling animated comedy about an aging supervillain's falling popularity at the hands of a younger supervillain and three young orphan girls. Gru is a true, bad-to-the-core evildoer who's earned the title of the world's No. 1 supervillain. But when young upstart Vector steals the Pyramid of Giza, Gru's status suddenly sinks to No. 2. Gru counters his fall by speeding up his plan to shrink and steal the moon, enlisting the help of his army of minions and the elderly Dr. Nefario, but a lack of funding and the difficulties involved in stealing the needed shrink-ray gun threaten to derail everything. Adopting three young orphan girls is an unlikely, but seemingly effective means to further Gru's evil mission, but Gru quickly discovers that caring for three young girls is more work, and distraction, than he could ever have anticipated. What unfolds is an unexpected shift in attitude that will forever change the lives of Gru, Vector, and all three young girls.
KNIGHT AND DAY - Fox
Knight and Day has action by the boatload, cheeky wit, unexpected double-crossing, sexual tension, and the blinding smile of its star, Tom Cruise. In short, what more could you ask of a rollicking good-time movie? Knight and Day, which also stars the irresistible Cameron Diaz as Cruise's super spy's ultimate foil, channels the best elements of earlier films like Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Mission: Impossible, the Bourne films, and even a little of Duplicity's sophistication. Mostly, though, Knight and Day is about moving things along merrily, if not completely coherently, as the two stars tangle, and tussle with trust issues, in a completely believable, compulsively watchable way. Cruise plays Roy, an on-the-lam spy (who may have had some kind of psychotic break--or who may in fact be the only person telling the truth); he runs into the winsome June (Diaz), who gets caught up in Roy's mad dash to escape the cabal of federal agents on his tail.
GERRY ANDERSON'S SPACE PRECINCT: Complete Series - Image
From sci-fi legend Gerry Anderson, this special-effects-filled series chronicles the adventures of two cops from Earth battling a rogue’s gallery of alien criminals in the year 2040. Transferred from the mean-streets of New York City to a teeming alien planet halfway across the galaxy, veteran police detective Patrick Brogan (Ted Shackelford) and his rookie partner (Rob Youngblood) struggle to adapt to their exotic new beat. Tangling with otherworldly outlaws in one deadly close encounter after another, the officers fight to bring intergalactic law and order to a mind-bending realm where the bad guy’s aren’t just bad… they aren’t even human!
PASTOR SHEPHERD - SKD
YouTube sensation Pastor Shepherd made the leap from cyberspace to the big screen in this comedy about a hapless freeze-dried pet salesman who finds himself out of work, and bound for an End Times Revival Event with some seriously quirky traveling companions. Pastor Shepherd lives with his elderly mother, a pill-popping television junkie who now faces bankruptcy for sending all of her money to smooth talking televangelists. When Pastor Shepherd loses his job, he takes his family doctor's advice and hits the road with his mother, their free-spirited neighbor Annamarie (Maria-Elena Laas), and Annamarie's ill-tempered father Phil (Danny Trejo) in order to attend a revival event that promises to transform their fate in ways they never thought possible.
DAVID BOWIE: Rare and Unseen - MVD
Most famous for his alter-ego, the ostentatious, androgynous "Ziggy Stardust", Bowie has continually reinvented his music and image. He has had numerous top ten hits in the US & UK, most notably China Girl, Space Oddity, Under Pressure and more. Told through archive interviews (originally thought lost) and rare and unseen footage, this DVD is a worthy addition to any Bowie collection. Items genuinely unseen and never before appeared on DVD including film from the ITN archive. Includes lost and now restored TV interviews from the past and rare film of the singer talking about his career.
DEADWOOD: Complete Series - HBO
Deadwood represents one of those periodic, wholesale reinventions of the Western that is as different from, say, Lonesome Dove as that miniseries is from Howard Hawks's Rio Bravo or the latter is from Anthony Mann's The Naked Spur. Set in an ungoverned stretch of South Dakota soon after the 1876 Custer massacre, Deadwood concerns a lawless, evolving town attracting fortune-seekers, drifters, tyrants, and burned-out adventurers searching for a card game and a place to die. Others, particularly women trapped in prostitution, sundry do-gooders, and hangers-on have nowhere else to go. Into this pool of aspiration and nightmare arrive former Montana lawman Seth Bullock (Timothy Olyphant) and his friend Sol Starr (John Hawkes), determined to open a lucrative hardware business. Over time, their paths cross with a weary but still formidable Wild Bill Hickok (Keith Carradine) and his doting companion, the coarse angel Calamity Jane (Robin Weigert); an aristocratic, drug-addicted widow (Molly Parker) trying to salvage a gold mining claim; and a despondent hooker (Paula Malcomson) who cares, briefly, for an orphaned girl. Casting a giant shadow over all is a blood-soaked king, Gem Saloon owner Al Swearengen (Ian McShane), possibly the best, most complex, and mesmerizing villain seen on TV in years.
SILLY BANDZ: Nintendo DS Game - Zoo Games
Silly Bandz have been stolen and it’s up to you to get them back! Knock out enemies and destroy the cages holding your Silly Bandz hostage, and they’re yours! Catapult a variety of colorful Silly Bandz to destroy everything in your way in order to collect your Bandz, but beware of enemies trying to sabotage your rescue – with 200 Silly Bandz on the line, they aren’t willing to let them go without a fight!
MINUTE TO WIN IT: wii Games - Zoo Games
Tackle unique challenges as you compete to win $1,000,000 in NBC s hit game show, Minute to Win It . With encouragement from All-American chef and host Guy Fieri, you will compete in series of simple, yet intimidating games that can lead you to a $1 million prize! The everyday household items used in each 60-second challenge may seem harmless, but it will take nerves of steel to conquer all 10 tasks. So be careful, because when that minute is up, so is your chance of winning. ESRP Rating E Games Features: 36 Fun and Exciting Mini Games, Full Character Customization, Balance Board, Compatible Solo & Multiplayer Players for up to one to four.
TWILIGHT SAGA: Eclipse - Summitt
The third installment of Stephenie Meyer's blockbuster vampire series is its most action packed, both in terms of fight scenes and human-vampire-werewolf lovin'. In Eclipse, the vampiric Cullen clan and the werewolves--their sworn enemies--unite against an army of "newborn" vampires, whose remnants of human blood in their veins makes them stronger and more uncontrollable, causing a string of murders in the Seattle area. They've been created by the vengeful vampire Victoria (Bryce Dallas Howard, taking over for Rachelle Lefevre), still keen on destroying human Bella (Kristen Stewart). Thus, Bella is under careful watch, and her undead love Edward (Robert Pattinson) and werewolf best friend Jacob (Taylor Lautner) spend a lot of time arguing over who is the better man for her. (In one hilarious scene where Bella's freezing and only Jacob has the lupine body heat to warm her, he looks over at Edward and cracks, "I am hotter than you." Go Team Jacob!) But there's more at the heart of the triangle than love: Bella, against Edward's warnings, doesn't want to grow older than him and would willingly give up contact with her parents, the chance to grow old with children, and more to be turned into a bloodthirsty vampire. (Jacob's trump card is that Bella wouldn't have to give up her mortality to be with him.) But the unfolding of this love triangle is even clumsier than it was on the page; you're never really convinced Bella has romantic feelings for Jacob, even during their climactic kiss on top of the mountain.