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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 New World

Starring: Colin Farrell & Christian Bale

Director: Terrence Malick

Company: New Line

Now Showing: In area theatres

MPAA Rating - PG-13

Grade: D+

DVD Picks

THE RAT PATROL: Season One - Lion’s Gate

Set in North Africa during World War II, this series chronicles the adventures of a 4-man team of commandos within the Long Range Desert Group. (In utter defiance of historical accuracy, the team consists of three Americans and one Brit.) Armed with jeeps equipped with .50-caliber machine guns--and endless chutzpah--they wage a highly irregular war against Rommel’s Afrika Korps. Their most common nemesis is Hauptmann Dietrich, though Dietrich and the Rats join forces from time to time against a common enemy.

Prepare for non-stop action and adventure with the Rat Patrol. This show ran for two seasons from 1966 to 1968 and captivated audiences every week as they took on the German Afrika Korps with two jeeps mounted with two 50-Caliber Machine Guns. Christopher George led the patrol as Sgt. Sam Troy as they dodged the Germans at every turn hoping to come home alive. Their nemesis was Hauptmann Hans Dietrich played by Hans Gudegast who provided drama and a voice from the enemy. Each story is well-written, full of action from opening to closing credits. Dominic Frontiere’s rousing score and incidental music pushes the action forward adding greatly to each episode. The DVD presents all 32 episodes from the first season digitally re-mastered with picture and sound. The packaging is attractive with photos from the show and a synopsis of each episode on the back of each volume. There is also a collectable Dossier showcasing the stars of the show. Don’t miss this great WW II show from the sixties.


Season One - Universal

By the mid-21st Century, humankind has colonized the oceans and formed the UEO--the United Earth Oceans--as a military organization to police it. Formerly a high-ranking member of the UEO, Nathan Bridger retired after the death of his wife, and retreated to an isolated island to study dolphins. An attempt is made to hijack the Seaquest DSV, the UEO’s most powerful undersea vessel, and Nathan--its original designer--is convinced to return to active service, to assume command of it.

Remember the Irwin Allen TV show Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea? Well, this is was an attempt to capitalize on that idea that failed. The show had a great cast including Roy Scheider, Stacy Haiduk, Jonathan Brandis and Michael DeLuise. Unfortunately, the overall story was a bit weak and the scripts tended to ramble. CGI was in the beginning stages and like most shows that relied on this technology, it just looked too unrealistic. The sets were impressive and some of the effects were creative, but in many episodes, there just seemed to be something missing. However,composer John Debney did provide a nice score and music for the show. The DVD presents all 23 episodes in airdate order with Full Screen format and Digital Surround. The extras include over thirty minutes of deleted scenes. This could have been a great show if they had approached it like the various Star Trek spin-offs.


This is an incredible box set showcasing some of the world’s finest conductors that include Esa-Pekka Salonen & the Los Angeles Philharmonic, John Eliot Gardiner & the English Baroque Soloists/ Monteverdi Choir, Valery Gergiev & the Rotterdam Philharmonic, Pierre Boulez & the Vienna Philharmonic, and Christoph Von Dohnanyi & the Philharmonia Orchestra. Go behind the scenes and hear the interviews as these amazing conductors talk about their work and what inspired them. Each volume contains close-up rehearsals of these masters as they shape the music with their emotions, giving each piece a personality of it’s own. The performing ensembles and orchestras are among the strongest in the world with breath-taking performances. One of my personal favorites was the Gergiev rehearsal for Stravinski’s Firebird Suite. Seeing the orchestra work with him was inspiring and uplifting. This is a great way to see just how it is done and a great way to share the magic of classical music in your own home. Watching this set will give you a greater respect and appreciation for those who inspire us with the gift of music. Don’t miss this great opportunity to experience these fine conductors and ensembles.


The high-testosterone world of sports betting comes to the big screen (now DVD) as Two For The Money, D.J. Caruso’s thrilling tale of how to mentor a bookie. Brandon Lang (Matthew McConaughey) is an injured, non-gambling football player who is almost psychic in ability to pick the winner of football games. His successful phone tip line is noticed by Walter Abrams (Al Pacino), a gambling addicted man who is the big cheese in the sports gambling world. He recruits Brandon and mentors him into gambling stardom and how to make lots of money.

As you might expect, conflicts occur, and the two men try to out con each other. Walter’s wife, Toni (Rene Russo) tries to keep him straight, but things turn mean and the movie dies. Two For The Money, starts off fast and exciting but then drags on and the predictable plot gets a little boring. The quality of this DVD is excellent and the 2.35:1 anamorphic picture is very film-like and has good shadow detail. The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack presents the dialog well, but makes little use of the surrounds. There are plenty of extras on this disc including the story of the real “Brandon”.


Easily the best of John Hughes’ teen comedies, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off runs with the simple premise of a kid faking sick to get out of another boring day at school(Matthew Broderick). With his parents tucked away at work and (bitter) sister Jeanie safely ensonced in class, invincible Ferris convinces his friends, hypochondriacal Cameron Frye (Ruck) and gorgeous Sloane Peterson (Sara), to join him on a day of sight-seeing in downtown Chicago. It’s a last ditch effort on Ferris’ part to unwind the perpetually uptight Cameron, as well as a final blow-out for the three before graduation separates them. This is an incredible dvd that is a must own for any DVD collector!

Nick be reached at Nick@filmlords.com

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   Last Update:  September 07, 2006