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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.


 

THE YOUNG VICTORIA

The year is 1837 and a very young Victoria (Emily Blunt) is the object of a royal power struggle. Her uncle, King William (Jim Broadbent), is dying and Victoria is in line for the throne. Everyone is attempting to win her favor, however Victoria is kept from the court by her overbearing mother, The Duchess of Kent (Miranda Richardson), and her ambitious advisor, Conroy (Mark Strong). Victoria hates them both. Her only friend is her doting governess, Lehzen (Jeanette Hain), but she is smothering and over-protective. Victoria’s handsome cousin, Albert (Rupert Friend) is invited to visit by her mother. It’s obvious that Albert has been coached to win her hand. At first she’s annoyed as she has no intention of being married as she never wants to be controlled again. Albert soon becomes tired of being manipulated by his relatives. Victoria and Albert talk openly and sincerely and become friends. When he returns home she grants him permission to write to her. King Leopold is delighted and pushes Albert to woo her. Albert refuses because he knows she’s not ready and he won’t return to London until she invites him.

Meanwhile King William dies and Victoria is crowned Queen of England. The public loves their new Queen. She’s cheered as she rides through the streets but this honeymoon with the public comes to a sudden end. Melbourne’s party is defeated in the elections and his rival, Peel (Michael Maloney), demands that Victoria replace her ladies in waiting, who are all supporters of Lord Melbourne, with the wives of his own allies. Victoria refuses. Peel resigns and the backlash is furious. The newspapers declare that Victoria is opposing the public’s will. They are outraged. It is only now that Victoria understands how much she needs Albert’s support. Against Melbourne’s wishes, she summons the young Prince back to England. This time Albert is determined not to be kept waiting in the wings any longer. Seeing his new resolution and struck by how handsome and sincere he is, Victoria invites him to marry her. Brilliant performances abound from the entire cast. Emily Blunt deserves Oscar consideration for her role as Victoria. Sure to be a crowd pleaser for everyone!

The Young Victoria
Starring: Emily Blunt
& Jim Broadbent
Director: Jean-Marc Vallee
Company: Apparition
Now Showing: In area
Theatres
MPAA Rating: PG
Grade: A-

AN INTERVIEW WITH THE DUCHESS OF YORK

It isn’t everyday you can meet royalty, is it? I recently had the opportunity to interview Sarah Ferguson, The Duchess of York, while she was in Houston to promote her new film, The Young Victoria (which she produced) and the re-release of Clive Christian’s perfumes - “X”, “1872,” and “Clive.” The perfumes were all discontinued years ago, but their re-release is indeed an interesting story. The Duchess commented that “Clive Christian and his daughter, Victoria, found a sealed bottle of the perfume under the loose floorboards in their house. It took some doing, but the original perfumes were replicated for reissue.” Coincidentally, the perfume is coming out the same time the film hits the theaters. Sarah Ferguson served as a producer on the film, and rightfully so, as the film was based on her two books. “It was very important to me this story be told completely and as honestly as possible. I didn’t want Hollywood to dramatize anything that wasn’t real,” Ferguson emphatically stated. The Young Victoria is indeed a love story and the coming of age of the young queen. “Queen Victoria was completely selfless to her duty and everything she did from the time she was 18 was for the good of England,” the Duchess commented. She went on to point out that this film points out just how much Victoria loved Albert. Together, they had nine children and twenty-two grandchildren. Ms. Ferguson also mentioned that “love is ageless and that it is important to follow your passions and dreams and not to allow anyone to take that (love) away from you.” The Young Victoria represents the perfect love story but with a number of twists and turns to keep your interest. There is no doubt that Sarah Ferguson has many passions. The perfume fragrance is very nice and the film about Queen Victoria is simply outstanding.

DVD REVIEWS

We are doing a Free DVD Giveaway! If you are interested in a chance at winning a free copy of The Hangover, 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 format (DVD or Blu-ray) you would like. Winners will be selected by random drawing. Best of luck!

This movie is what started it all! This award-winning drama stars Kym Wilson and Tammy McIntosh as sisters Tess and Claire and their estranged father Jack (Jack Thompson). The normal definition of family dysfunction just doesn’t do justice with this family. All differences aside, the family experiences a tragedy that puts their Australian ranch in jeopardy.

In the middle of the Depression, Paul Edgecomb (Tom Hanks) runs death row at Cold Mountain Penitentiary. Into this dreary world walks a mammoth prisoner, John Coffey (Michael Duncan) who, very slowly, reveals a special gift that will change the men working and dying (in the electric chair, masterfully and grippingly staged) on the mile . As with King’s book, Darabont takes plenty of time to show us Edgecomb’s world before delving into John Coffey’s mystery. With Darabont’s superior storytelling abilities, his touch for perfect casting, and a leisurely 188-minute running time, his movie brings to life nearly every character and scene from the novel.

This is a lunatic fantasia of WWII, a brazen re-imagining of both history and the behind-enemy-lines war film subgenre. There’s a Dirty Not-Quite-Dozen of mostly Jewish commandos, led by a Tennessee good ol’ boy named Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) who reckons each warrior owes him one hundred Nazi scalps--and he means that literally. Even as Raine’s band strikes terror into the Nazi occupiers of France, a diabolically smart and self-assured German officer named Landa (Christoph Waltz) is busy validating his own legend as “The Jew Hunter.” Along the way, he wipes out the rural family of a grave young girl (Melanie Laurent) who will reappear years later in Paris, dreaming of vengeance on an epic scale. As the masterly opening sequence reaffirms, Tarantino is a true filmmaker, with a deep respect for the integrity of screen space and the tension that can accumulate in contemplating two men seated at a table having a polite conversation. This is simply a must own film.

Space. The Final Frontier. The U.S.S. Enterprise embarks on a five year mission to explore the galaxy. The Enterprise is under the command of Captain James T. Kirk. The First Officer is Mr. Spock, from the planet Vulcan. The Chief Medical Officer is Dr. Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy. With a determined crew, the Enterprise encounters Klingons, Romulans, time paradoxes, tribbles and genetic supermen lead by Khan Noonian Singh. Their mission is to explore strange new worlds, to seek new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before, so see this in a way no one ever has before...now! Get your blu-ray copy today!

Best known as a creator of broad film farces and uproarious parodies, jack-of-all-trades Mel Brooks has been entertaining audiences for years with his wacky and absurdist humor. Now just in time for the holidays, the king of comedy’s brilliant work is available for the first time in high definition in The Mel Brooks Collection on Blu-ray Disc, debuting December 15 from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. Embark on a hilarious adventure over and over again as the ultimate gift set debuts with some of Brooks’ best films including Blazing Saddles, High Anxiety, History Of The World Part I, Robin Hood: Men In Tights, Silent Movie, Spaceballs, To Be Or Not To Be, The Twelve Chairs and Young Frankenstein. The collection also features an exclusive book created in conjunction with Mel Brooks highlighting his remarkable life and unforgettable films.

Silent Night, Deadly Night 1 and 2 were classic films. Listen to the director’s commentary on the dvd and you’ll see why. That being said, I couldn’t wait to view the rest of the series. The picture quality is clear and crisp. The only extra’s are trailers for other Lion Gates films and many of them were released long ago. This package is worth the purchase for real slasher film fans.

Criss Angel is one of the most imaginative magicians of our time. The tricks he performs in front of crowds, always keeping the camera in the shot, simply mystifies even the most ardent of skeptics. This set contains all four seasons of the Mindfreak show in addition to a number of special features that include six never before seen episodes and his halloween special. This set is beautifully packaged with stellar picture and sound quality. Be sure to pick up your copy today before they all disappear!

The only way to spin this is to simply state that the BBC tends to irritate me. They (the BBC) has tremendously entertaining programs, particularly the older ones, however over the decades they have ‘lost’ numerous master stock footage of their programs - see Doctor Who has a perfect example. Well, with the original BBC Sherlock Holmes program starring Peter Cushing (Holmes) and Nigel Stock (Watson), they can only find five of the episodes! Not that I climb off my soap box, these five episodes are incredibly well done. Cushing and Stock are the perfect Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson as they compliment each other tremendously well! The mysteries are full of twists and turns that will keep you guessing throughout as you see the stars all around the sights in England!

Michael Jackson was the most famous human being on earth and the greatest entertainer of all time. When a king dies, the heir or a peer takes over the throne. The passing of Michael Jackson, The King Of Pop is a different case. Michael is irreplaceable. He was born on August 29th,1958 in Gary, Indiana to a working class family. He died on June 25th, 2009 as the undisputed King Of Pop. Michael’s last days and the Memorial Service, are captured in this engaging film that pays respect to the King. As the world celebrates Michael’s life and legacy, it is easy to see why he was the brightest star. As an artist and entertainer, he still looms larger than life. The King will live forever through his music. Appearances at the Memorial Service include: Usher, Janet Jackson, Jermaine Jackson, The Jacksons, Berry Gordy, Brooke Shields, Magic Johnson, Rev. Al Sharpton, Stevie Wonder and Lionel Richie.

The fourth season of Robot Chicken finds Seth Green and company still as demented and hilarious as it always has been. Included in the chaos to be found here are the revelations that Tila Tequila is really a cyborg, a woman wanting her husband to role play being Jack Sparrow gets more than she bargained for, another Terminator comes back in time in a very different form, the spirits from Raiders of the Lost Ark try to get Indy to open his eyes, Jazz is still alive at the end of Transformers, Stephen King and Dean Koontz have a face off, and there’s a fantastic Yellow Submarine spoof as well. Any fan of real comedy will love Seth Green’s brainchild.

They planned a Vegas bachelor party that they would never forget. Now they really need to remember what exactly went down! A baby? A tiger? Why is one of them missing a tooth? And most of all, where is the groom?! What the guys did while partying can’t compare to what they must do sober in an outrageous caper that has them piecing together all their bad decisions from the night before-- one hazy clue at a time. The ensemble cast meshes perfectly. When four pals go to Vegas to celebrate the imminent nuptials of one of them, they partake in a rooftop toast to “a night we’ll never forget.” But they’re in for a big surprise: their celebration drinks were laced with date-rape drugs, so when they awake in their hotel room 12 hours later, not only are they hung over, but they can’t remember what they did all night long. Oh, and by the way, they’re missing the groom-to-be.

I have to admit that Kyle XY is a show that I never really understood. There is a handsome kid (Matt Dallas) who appears naked and covered in gel in the middle of the Washington State forest. He makes his way to a small town, where he’s arrested and taken into custody. But the nice doctor in town, Mrs. Trager (Marguerite MacIntyre) thinks that this quiet, almost preternaturally creepy kid is far more than a neighborhood pervert; she thinks he’s a newborn child trapped in the body of a 16-year-old. So she takes him home, introduces him to the family, and they all live happily ever after . Well, except for that nameless, faceless government organization that is chasing after him because he’s some kind of humanoid super-genius who’s worth a great deal of money to the American government. This projects like a soap opera for teens and young adults. Some of the stories are strong, but generally the story arcs are very convoluted.

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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 16 , 2009