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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 hills have eyes  

Stay Away! The stench from this picture will linger like bad roast beef in a volkswagon.

The Hills Have Eyes

Starring: Aaron Stanford & Vinessa Shaw

Director: Alexander Aja

Company: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Now Showing: In area Theatres

MPAA Rating - R

Grade: F


DVD Picks

CAPOTE - Sony

For those that aren’t familiar with the storyline of “Capote”, it’s fairly simple. In Holton, Kansas a family of four were shot and killed. Truman Capote (Phillip Seymour Hoffman), a writer for The New Yorker, saw an opportunity to write about the killing and turn it into a book. As time told, he did and his book, “In Cold Blood” turned out to be the jewel in his crown. Capote brings with him his friend and fellow author, Harper Lee (Catherine Keener) who herself would find fame with her award-winning “To Kill a Mockingbird”. As he starts to dig deeper and find the facts, he develops a close relationship with Perry Smith (Clifton Collins Jr.), who was one of the killers. The film isn’t so much a history lesson as it shows different people from different walks of life. Capote and Lee are New Yorkers thrust into the vast wheat fields that is Kansas and it’s a great character study to boot. Sony has done a remarkable job with this product. I highly recommend it!

DOMINO - New Line

Midway through director Tony Scott’s action-orgy Domino, the title character, a stunningly beautiful model-turned-bounty hunter, describes a co-worker as having “the attention span of a ferret on methamphetamine.” That about sums up the director and the movie, too—watching Domino is exhausting because Scott never rests for a second; the film does everything but punch its audience in the face (and likely only stops there because Scott hasn’t figured out a way to turn a visual assault into a physical one). Domino Harvey was a real person, the daughter of the late actor Lawrence Harvey. She died of an accidental drug overdose last summer, and never saw the movie based on her life. She modeled for a while, and turned to bounty hunting in the early 1990s because she was restless, obsessed with weapons, and apparently had something to prove. If action pictures are your forte, and you prefer action as opposed to substance, I heartily recommend this picture. Caution. proceed at your own risk.

MIDNIGHT COWBOY - MGM

Joe Buck (Jon Voight) is a prostitute whose services attract men as well as women. Joe is both a fantasist and a fantasy, a naÔve Texan transplant in seedy Manhattan, playacting the part of a cowboy in the misguided belief that rich New York women are dying to be serviced by such a stud. The reality is a bit different: Men respond much more readily to the image Joe projects than women, who tend to look at him as if he has just landed from Mars. And he has absolutely no business sense; his pickup lines are absurdly awkward, and he does not get the cardinal rule of prostitution, which decrees that one always demand payment before any services are rendered. No wonder he’s such an easy mark for Ratso Rizzo (Dustin Hoffman) when the small-time con man offers to help but instead fleeces him out of a portion of his rapidly dwindling reserves. This is a tremendous film with incredible picture and sound. There are numerous extras included in the package. This is not to be missed. Pick yours up today!

CLEOPATRA - Fox

No movie in the history of Hollywood has as infamous a reputation as 20th Century Fox’s Cleopatra. Known as the film that bankrupted the studio, this elaborate epic was a true spectacle — both on-screen and off — due to its staggering salary pay-out to star Elizabeth Taylor, its mismanaged production budget and resultant spiraling costs, its endless and troubled shooting schedule, its near-destruction of gifted but overtaxed director/screenwriter Joseph L. Mankiewicz, and the swirl of worldwide publicity surrounding the intriguing Richard Burton/Taylor affair. With a final budget of $44 million, Cleopatra was the most expensive film ever made. And though it made $24 million in its first run, won five Academy Awards, and has long since recouped its costs with additional worldwide revenues, video, etc., Fox closed the books on the film and the moniker “bloated blockbuster” has been used as an adjective ever since. The cumulative effect of this three-DVD Cleopatra set is curious because it draws as much attention to what’s missing as it does to what’s there. After Zanuck’s cuts, the existing four-hour film is, indeed, flawed. At best, it’s visually astonishing, historically intriguing, and cleverly wrought. At worst, it’s overblown, dull, histrionic, and absurdly silly. Without the expanded characterizations included in the trimmed footage, the characters are largely reduced to plot-point narrators. Yet as an example of Hollywood history in the making, Cleopatra is as compelling and roughly hewn as its eminently watchable star.

Nick be reached at Nick@filmlords.com

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   Last Update:  September 07, 2006