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 The Secret of Kells, Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radieant Child, Gasland Canyon Light Your Water on Fire?, The Trotsky, Red vs. blue: The Recollection: Season 6, 7 & 8, or Metropia, 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!
THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW: The Best of Mayberry - Paramount
Only one collection brings you the best of Mayberry, featuring the episodes most cherished by fans! Don't miss the full-length episode of The Danny Thomas Show that introduced Andy Griffith as Sheriff Andy Taylor. The hit television film Return to Mayberry serves as the heartwarming conclusion, reuniting all of your favorite characters for a final farewell. In between, you'll find the very best original network episodes digitally re-mastered with restored audio and vintage sponsor footage on select episodes. Get ready to rediscover the series hailed by TV Guide as "one of the greatest shows of all time!"
COMFORT AND JOY - Lifetime
Nancy McKeon stars as Jane Berry, a Manhattan advertising executive, in this made-for-cable twist on It's a Wonderful Life. Jane has a sleek sports car and a fabulous view of the city, but free time is in short supply. She also has a boyfriend, but the equally career-driven Richard isn't the "settling down" type. Her divorced mother, Frederica (Dixie Carter), likes to give her a hard time, while her bookstore manager father, George (Paul Dooley), worries she works too hard. When Jane gets into a car accident on Christmas Eve, she wakes to find that she's become a stay-at-home Connecticut mom with a loving husband, Sam (Steven Eckholdt), and two kids. Jane explains that they have her confused with someone else, but it's actually 10 years into the future. With no way to return to the past, she goes with the flow, which means cooking, ice-skating, and feeding the homeless.
ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO - Sony
Guns, guns, guns! And a few explosions as bodies fly through the air and crash into tables and fruit stands. Once Upon a Time in Mexico, like all Robert Rodriguez movies, is all about the kinetic kick of high-velocity action. Johnny Depp, blase and whimsical, plays a CIA agent who's drawn guitar-playing gun-slinger Antonio Banderas (long black hair flopping over his face like the ears of a Labrador puppy) into a ridiculously convoluted plot to overthrow the Mexican government. Along for the ride are a craggy-faced rogue's gallery including Willem Dafoe, Mickey Rourke, Danny Trejo, Ruben Blades, and (to balance things out) the smooth, tantalizing complexions of Eva Mendes and Salma Hayek.
THE LAST EXORCISM - Lionsgate
Just when you thought it was safe to see another shaky, handheld, faux-documentary horror movie… along comes The Last Exorcism to raise the creep factor. Supposedly we are watching a documentary crew tagging along after one Cotton Marcus (Patrick Fabian), a hell-raising preacher who sidelines in exorcisms. He's got a leather-bound volume full of dire drawings and incantations, and he knows the rubes just eat this kind of stuff up. Now Cotton has vowed to expose his own gimmicks for the camera, so he journeys to backwoods Louisiana to answer the call to save a putatively possessed girl--the better to debunk his own methods, once and for all, and get out of the exorcism business. Sounds like nothing could possibly go wrong. Then we meet the Sweetzer family: bible-thumping papa (Louis Herthum), not-quite-right son Caleb (Caleb Jones), and possessed daughter Nell (Ashley Bell). Someone's been mutilating the farm's livestock, and dear little Nell has the vacant stare and sweet smile of a demon child.
THE HORDE - IFC
A group of police detectives enter a housing complex located in the north of Paris. Their target is a Nigerian drug dealer and his brother, who they know are responsible for the death of their colleague. Their off-the-record raid goes terribly wrong when the gangsters and their henchmen fight back. Not only that; believe me nor not, the attack of a horde of flesh hungry zombies begin at the same time! The film mostly keeps a good pace, with generally fine acting from the cast and clever use of the run-down facilities as the film's location. The storyline about the two conflicting groups trapped in one place, which reminds us of "Assault on Precinct 13," is unique, but it could have been more interesting with a tighter, more focused narrative.
MAP OF THE SOUNDS OF TOKYO - IFC
A designer noir-romance with a designer title and designer emotions, Isabel Coixet’s follow-up to Elegy is as empty as a shiny new Prada handbag on a boutique shelf. Scripted for style and atmosphere rather than for substance, this lushly shot and scored Tokyo-set bauble with its dirge like pacing features unlikely couple Sergi Lopez and Rinko Kikuchi in an affair that seems dictated more by their star status than their chemistry, which is notably lacking. The slick production values, trendy global-fusion ambiance, glossy melancholia and raunchy but female-oriented sex scenes seem calculated to make this extended jazz-pop video a commercially viable date movie for couples looking for a bit of upmarket lust.
SOUL KITCHEN - IFC
If you're a fan of the German-born filmmaker, Fatih Akin, you will run not walk to see his latest creation, 'Soul Kitchen'. Akin's masterpiece is, of course, the unsurpassed Head-On [Gegen die Wand] - one of the best five movies you'll ever see. His Edge of Heaven comes very close to repeating that magic. Fans of Akin know that in those two works he delves deeply into Germany's rich and widening cultural and demographic ties with Turkey. In fact, 'Edge of Heaven' starts in Turkey and takes us back and forth across the two countries. Here, Akin turns his storyline to another ethnic community deeply embedded into the fabric of German society: the Greeks. Adam Bousdoukos and Moritz Bleibtreu (Baader Meinhof Complex) play brothers Zinos and Illias Kazantsakis respectively. Zinos is the entrepreneur in the process of re-inventing his erstwhile greasy spoon restaurant. Illias is his ne'er-do-well brother who needs Zinos' support to make his terms of prison parole stick.
SLAVE - Phase 4
When David's (Sam Page) fiancé Georgie (Natassia Malthe) is kidnapped while on a vacation in Spain, she becomes the trophy of a dangerous and masochistic psychopath known as the White Arab (David Gant). While Georgie fights for her life and her sanity, David must wade through a quagmire of corrupt officials, drug dealers and crazed locals in an attempt to discover her location and rescue her before it is too late.
BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: Razor - Universal
Battlestar Galactica: Razor was an oasis for BSG fans--when the double-length episode aired in November 2007, it was the only new material broadcast during the 12-month gap between seasons 3 and 4. But although it sets up some events in season 4, chronologically Razor is a prequel taking place within season 2, when Galactica had unexpectedly met up with a fellow Battlestar, Pegasus. The central character is new, Kendra Shaw (Stephanie Jacobsen), who becomes the XO after Lee Adama (Jamie Bamber) takes command of the Pegasus. Shaw's promotion is controversial among Starbuck (Katee Sackhoff) and others because Shaw learned the trade under the previous commander of the Pegasus, Admiral Cain (Michelle Forbes), who lived by her own wartime rules. The central conflict in Razor involves the Pegasus trying to rescue a Raptor crew from the Cylons. During the mission Shaw flashes back to 10 months earlier, and her experiences in the immediate aftermath of the Cylons' wipe out of Caprica influence how she handles this mission and its implications of a new Cylon-human hybrid.
ICARLY: Season Two, Volume Two - Nickelodeon
iCarly has achieved a creatively funny streak that easily reminds me of a better Nickelodeon. But there's a reason for that: Dan Schneider, one of the producers of All That writes for iCarly. Still running a show out of the loft where she and her brother live, Carly (Miranda Cosgrove) lives an otherwise normal life. Spencer (Jerry Trainor), her brother, is a comically eccentric sculptor with a penchant for spaghetti tacos, all-night video game obsessions and creating highly flammable metallic Christmas trees. Carly's two partners on iCarly are Freddie (Nathan Kress), the tech guy, and Sam (Jennette McCurdy), her co-host. More often than not, the show gets them into all sorts of trouble including trips to Japan for award shows, fake car giveaways and feuding with other Internet stars.
RESIDENT EVIL AFTERLIFE - Sony
A barrage of 3-D effects enlivens Paul W.S. Anderson's Resident Evil: Afterlife, the fourth entry in the seemingly endless action-science fiction horror franchise based on the popular Capcom video game series. Plot, dialogue, and character development all remain secondary considerations; what's key here are the set pieces that allow Milla Jovovich to unleash maximum damage to virally infected zombies, villainous henchmen, and just about anyone else who stands in the way of her stopping the shadowy Umbrella Corporation. Jovovich retains the blend of grit and pulchritude that have made her a fanboy favorite (though said viewers may decry the film's bit of shower-scene interruptus), and she's well supported by returning cast members Ali Larter and Boris Kodjoe (Undercovers) and Prison Break's Wentworth Miller, who, as Claire's brother, is back behind bars in a post apocalyptic jail overrun by plague zombies.
CASE 39 - Paramount
A top-notch cast led by Renée Zellweger meets Hollywood's newest member of the Evil Little Girl army in the long-gestating supernatural thriller Case 39. Zellweger is a concerned social worker who takes in young Jodelle Ferland after she is nearly roasted alive by her foster family. She soon discovers that the girl possesses a wide array of unpleasant abilities, from the prerequisite foul mouth and bad attitude to devastating powers of suggestion, which bring untimely ends to most of the cast. Director Christian Alvart, working once again with his talented Antibodies cinematographer Hagen Bogdanski, delivers a suitably creepy-looking film but can do nothing with Ray Wright's inert, derivative script.
DINNER FOR SCHMUCKS: Blu-ray - Paramount
Steve Carell, whose gift for playing dumb yet remaining sympathetic is unparalleled, and the astoundingly likable Paul Rudd make an excellent comedy team in Dinner for Schmucks. Tim (Rudd) gets invited to take part in a game his boss plays every year: each of his executives has to bring a perfect idiot to dinner; the biggest loser wins an award and the executive who brought him gets a promotion. Tim's girlfriend thinks the idea is appalling, and Tim reluctantly agrees--until he literally runs into Barry (Carell), an obtuse IRS agent who makes dioramas with stuffed dead mice. Barry is so perfect for the game that Tim can't resist inviting him to dinner--but by inviting Barry into his life, Tim loses control of everything he wants as Barry's bumbling attempts to help go hopelessly awry. Dinner for Schmucks has its share of broad slapstick, but what may surprise some viewers is the mix of verbal wit and elegant visual jokes.
GASLAND - Docurama
Little did director Josh Fox know that he'd find himself trailing the history and future of natural gas mining for this documentary, Gasland, or so he claims in this moving and evocative political exposé. Thankfully unpretentious and lacking in the didacticism that plagues many political documentaries, Gasland is edifying in the most entertaining and palatable way. Fox's open-ended questions presented during his narration are answered by interviewees found as he travels cross-country to source out water pollution happening as a result of hydraulic fracturing. The tension begins when Fox researches a letter he receives in the mail at his rural Pennsylvania farmhouse, inviting him to sell his land for $100,000 and permission to mine natural gas. He comes to discover how the Delaware River watershed's imminently endangered status will threaten New York City's main water source, and towards the end of the film focuses on New York City, as respected politicians like John Gennaro and Congressman Maurice Hinchey speak on behalf of this issue.
THE TROTSKY - Tribeca Film
This is a wonderfully dark comedy about a Canadian teenager who genuinely thinks he is the reincarnation of Lev Davidovitch Bronstein, better known as Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky. He imposes his own reality on those around him, much to their frustration, but no one can deny his determination. He's a one-man wrecking ball who won't take no for an answer. Trotsky's first wife was called Alexandra and was 10 years older than him. So when our teenager meets a 27-year-old woman called Alexandra, he pursues her with enormous energy. He infuriates his father so much that he's pulled out of his expensive private school and sent to a west Montreal high school, where he infuriates the strict new headmaster by insisting the students be allowed to create a union.
GUNSMOKE: Season Four, Volume Two - Paramount
Season Four, part two is a worthy follow-up to the series' Emmy® Award-winning Season Four. The season's first 19 black-and-white half-hour episodes on this three-disc set are taut character-driven stories, most of them written by series co creator John Meston. Some subvert Western convention. Matt Dillon (James Arness) is in charge of Dodge City, a town in the Wild West where people often have no respect for the law. He deals on a daily basis with the problems associated with frontier life: cattle rustling, gunfights, brawls, standover tactics, and land fraud. Such situations call for sound judgment and brave actions: of which Marshal Dillon has plenty.
BONANZA: Season Two, Volume One - Paramount
This is classic Bonanza the way it was meant to be -- in a wonderful, new collection well worth waiting for after years of bootleg, unauthorized sets of poorly packaged, inferior quality transfers, lacking the original music and sold in bargain basement bins. One of the longest running and most popular of all television westerns, Bonanza was both an action/adventure classic and family drama. For fourteen seasons, audiences enthusiastically tuned in to see the High-Sierra adventures of the Cartwright clan. Nestled amongst the pines above the shores of Lake Tahoe is the Ponderosa ranch, the thousand-acre home of Ben Cartwrignt and his sons, Adam, Hoss and Joe (aka "Little Joe.") Plots featuring revolving cast of interesting guest players helped to set Bonanza apart from the usual gun-slinging formula Westerns of the day.
VEGAS: Season Two, Volume One - Paramount
The sophomore season suffers from the loss of Judy Landers as Angie, and the delightful Naomi Stevens as Sgt. Bella Archer. I loved how Bella treated Dan like a naughty boy every time he decided to sidestep police procedures. Robert Urich continues to perfectly balance his role as rugged action hero and likeable everyman so that each episode is an enjoyable one. He is still being aided by beautiful and competent secretary Bea (Phyllis Davis--who's a brunette this season) and bumbling sidekick Binzer (Bart Braverman), while Greg Morris is back as his superior who tries to keep him in line.