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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.
 
“Lady in the Water”  

“A modest building manager named Cleveland Heep rescues a mysterious young woman from danger and discovers she is actually a nymph, a character from a bedtime story who is trying to make the treacherous journey from our world back to hers. Cleveland and his fellow tenants start to realize that they are also characters in this bedtime story. As Cleveland falls deeper and deeper in love with the woman, he works together with the tenants to protect his new fragile friend from the deadly creatures that reside in this fable and are determined to prevent her from returning home.”

M. Night Shyamalan did a superb job casting this picture. The role of Cleveland was taylor made for an actor of Paul Giamatti’s ilk. Bryce Dallas Howard shines as the alluring nymph who has come to our world to inspire humanity. There is a slight bit of tongue in cheek humor as Bob Balaban portrays a “know it all” film critic in the picture. Boy, I didn’t see that one coming.

“Lady in the Water” was created from bedtime stories Shyamalan used to tell his kids. This story centers on a piece of 21st century mythology - who doesn’t like mythology? The difficulty with this particular story stems from the verbiage used to tell the story. Unless you are paying very close attention, you will forget exactly who represents the scrunt, the nymph and the tartutics. It’s tough, but very doable.

I could hear the groans from the other critics around me during the film. “I can’t understand it,” said one critic, to which I replied, “Then maybe you should pay better attention to the movie as opposed to your date.” Well, I will tell the rest of that story at another time. This is an extremely funny movie and I sincerely enjoyed it. There are some flaws, but it is still a good solid story with excellent acting all around.

“Lady in the Water”

Starring: Paul Giamatti & Bryce Dallas Howard

Director: M. Night Shyamalan

Company: Warner

Now Showing: In area Theatres

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Grade: B


DVD Picks

“FINAL DESTINATION 3” - New Line

James Wong, who directed the original “Final Destination” film, returns to direct the third installment in the series. High-school senior Wendy (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is enjoying senior night at the amusement park and taking photos for the school yearbook. A control freak, she’s not particularly fond of rides, especially the roller coaster. Despite her fear, Wendy decides to go on the coaster, but is soon traumatized by a vision that a fatal accident is about to occur. She and a group of other riders disembark from the ride - and the rest of the riders do indeed suffer a horrific fate. Having cheated death once, Wendy is tormented by an ominous feeling that something is very

wrong.

Her classmate, Kevin (Ryan Merriman), does some research and learns that something similar has happened before: a high-school student had a premonition that a plane filled with his classmates was doomed, a group of them refused to board, and the plane exploded in flight. Following that incident, the survivors all died under mysterious circumstances and in the order that they died in the premonition. Soon, Wendy and Kevin realize that the same fate is about to befall those who got off the roller coaster and survived. Perhaps more disturbing is that clues to the impending deaths seem to lie in the photos that Wendy took on the evening of the accident. In an

instant, innocuous situations and common objects become fatal, causing particularly gruesome deaths.

Ultimately, the real question becomes whether or not Wendy and Kevin can save their classmates-and themselves-from impending doom before it’s too late. If you are a fan of the creepy movie genre, then this is for you. It will definitely keep you on the edge of your seat!

“THE TERRORISTS” - Fox

A gang of hijackers led by Ian McShane seize a British plane as it is landing in Scandinavia. Ruthless military police Chief Colonel Nils Tahlvik (Sean Connery) is assigned to rescue the plane and its passengers. But he must also deal with the problem of the British Ambassador, whose residence has been seized by a second group of terrorists. Strap in for a non-stop action/thriller.

This is your typical 1970’s-action film with all of the trimmings. The supporting cast is excellent with familiar faces including Ian McShane, Isabel Dean and Robert Harris. The story is very realistic, leaving little to the imagination. Jerry Goldsmith scores an intense soundtrack for the film making each scene come alive with excitement.

For those of us that grew up in the seventies with young Connery, I highly recommend this film to add to your action collection. The DVD is presented in Full Screen and Widescreen format with Dolby Digital sound. No extras are offered other than the Theatrical Trailer and various other Connery film trailers.

“AMAZING STORIES” - Universal

Television series created, produced and twice directed by Steven Spielberg. Truly amazing and sometimes odd stories are narrated. Many famous actors and actresses made guest appearances during the course of the series. “Amazing Stories” aired from 1985 to 1987 and was created by Steven Spielberg.

This series comprised various stories running about thirty minutes in length that dealt with the unexplained and supernatural: similar to Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone series. Spielberg made sure that every episode had a nice budget to work with and spared no expense on casting or musical score. Famous actors/actresses from Hollywood starred in the series including Charlie Sheen, Gregory Hines, Kevin Costner, Kiefer Sutherland, Sid Ceasar, Dom DeLuise, Loni Anderson, Mark Hamill, Eve Arden, Mabel King and John Lithgow, to name but a few.

The musical scores were written by various film composers including John Williams, Bruce Broughton, David Shire, Jerry Goldsmith, Craig Safan and Georges Delerue. All of the episodes in this first season are re-mastered with clear picture and sound. The packaging is excellent with the discs stored separately from the actual box. The box resembles a book and opens into a synopsis of all the episodes. There are also 20 minutes of deleted scenes on various episodes. Every collector should have this set. I eagerly await season two of this “Amazing” series.

“ACTION” - Sony

This is a DVD that you need to order right now. “Action” is the best TV series that you have never heard of. I was blown away by this show. Once I started, I could not stop—I watched all 13 episodes straight through.

What is “Action?” It is the story of an arrogant young movie Producer named Peter Dragon (Jay Mohr) who will stop at nothing to get a film produced. This show is not for kids — but adults will love it. There is plenty of sex, violence and Hollywood insider humor to keep you entertained for hours.

Produced by Joel Silver, “Action” is rumored to take real stories from behind the sets and tell them in a very graphic and funny way. This show is “out there,” and all 13 episodes lead up to the punch line in the final episode that takes during the conversation between Peter Dragon and hooker Wendy Ward (Illeana Douglas).

Unfortunately, there is only one season due to being cancelled by Fox early on. If this show had been on HBO, it could have been a big hit. “Action” was just too graphic for network TV.

This DVD has an interesting “making of” featurette and a great Hollywood Insider dictionary. The setup menu is really clever, and the picture and sound are of good quality.

“HALLOWEEN 4” - Anchor Bay

 

Following on from “Halloween II,” Michael Myers escapes from Richmond Mental Institute whilst being transferred, this time going after his niece, Jamie Lloyd. Doctor Loomis follows him back to Haddonfield and attempts to stop him once and for all.

The famed Mike Myers returns to his old stomping grounds to kill again in this long awaited sequel since the disappointment of “Halloween 3,” which had nothing to do with the actual story. Why they made that one is beyond me. This time Michael is coming for his niece, but is intercepted by Doctor Loomis (Pleasence), who is destined to destroy him once and for all.

As horror films go, this one is the most interesting due to the fact that there is an actual story to follow. I amazes me how many people have died by this guy. It’s not like he is fast. All he does is walk around slowly and slash at you.

The overall action and story in this film are gripping and intense. Director Dwight H. Little leaves “little” to the imagination with all of the graphic scenes. I would suggest eating before you see this one. John Carpenter’s familiar theme and Alan Howarth’s score set the tone for the film adding to the eeriness.

The DVD presents the film in Widescreen Format with Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround. Extras include commentary with actors Ellie Cornell, Danielle Harris and writer Alan B. McElroy. There is also a discussion panel about the film, Making-of feature and Theatrical Trailer.

Nick be reached at Nick@filmlords.com

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   Last Update:  September 07, 2006