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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.
“World Trade Center”  

September 11, 2001 was an unusually warm day in New York. Will Jimeno (Michael Pena), an officer with the Port Authority Police Department, was tempted to take a personal day to enjoy his hobby of bow hunting, but ultimately decided that he would go to work. Sergeant John McLoughlin (Nicolas Cage), a respected veteran of the PAPD, had been up for hours - a requirement of his daily, one-and one-half-hour commute to the city. They and their colleagues mad etheir way to midtown Manhattan, just like they did any other day. Only this wasn’t any other day.

A team of PAPD first responders drove from mid town Manhattan to the World Trade Center. Five men, including McLoughlin and Jimeno, went into the buildings themselves and became trapped as the towers collapsed. Miraculously, McLoughlin and Jimeno survived, but were buried and pinned beneath slabs of concrete and twisted metal 20 feet below the rubble field above. Though they couldn’t see each other, they could hear that the other had survived, and for the next 12 hours, McLoughlin and Jimeno kept each other alive. They talked about family, their lives on the force, their hopes and their dreams. This movie is their story.

This film also follows the men and their families who suffered in their own confined circle of hell, with no messages or contact information about their loved ones. The film also chronicles the improbable search by a determined ex-Marine from Connecticut, Dave Karnes (Michael Shannon), who found the two officers that night and then the dozens of volunteers that helped to rescue them over the next twelve hours.

Let me tell you, this doesn’t seem like an Oliver Stone film. It is really good, don’t get me wrong, but this picture is missing the typical cynicism or conspiracy theory of his other pictures. “World Trade Center” is very tastefully done and the casting is absolutely outstanding. Although this isn’t a “feel good movie,” you will definitely have feelings during the film. This picture will refresh your memory as to what it means to be an American.

World Trade Center

Starring: Nicolas Cage & Michael Pena

Director: Oliver Stone

Company: Paramount

Now Showing: In area Theatres

MPAA Rating - PG-13

Grade: A

DVD Picks

“Larry The Cable Guy: Health Inspector” - Paramount

This was a film for Larry’s fans. If you do not like Larry the Cable Guy’s brand of non-PC country humor, you will not like this film. If you are a fan — enjoy. “Larry the Cable Guy - Health Inspector” is an irreverent cripple bashing redneck fart fest. It has its moments, but some of the jokes get old after awhile. I prefer Larry’s stand up routine to this movie; it is much more entertaining. Many of the jokes from his routine are in this film and they just don’t seem to work as well in a movie setting.

This DVD has some trailers and one Larry the Cable Guy - Health Inspector Featurette included. Both widescreen and pan-and-scan versions are included on the single DVD. The picture has some noticeable edge enhancement and the colors seem a bit muted compared to the theatrical presentation. This is one DVD that belongs in every trailer home.

“Mr. Moto Collection” - Fox

Early Hollywood was not known for being politically correct. Just think - a German actor (Peter Lorre) cast as a Japanese detective. If that does not bother you, you will love this newly restored film collection. Fox decided to get these ultra-rare treasures out of the vault and put them on DVD.

Some will argue that the Mr. Moto series of detective films are not as good as the Charlie Chan series, but I think Mr. Moto is better. The storylines are easy to understand and the mysteries will keep you on the edge of your seat. If you are too young to know who Mr. Moto is, he is a Japanese detective who solves murders and chases nefarious criminals to exotic locations. He is sort of an Indy Jones/ Magnum P.I. kind of guy from the 1930’s who always found the bad guys.

This set of four movies (“Thank You Mr. Moto,” “Think Fast, Mr. Moto,” “Mysterious Mr. Moto,” and “Mr. Moto Takes a Chance”) are great family entertainment. The restoration of the films look stunning and the sound is beautiful mono. Yes, Mr. Moto is very dated and corny, but this series is really entertaining. Rent or buy this boxed set today — you don’t want to miss out on these film treasures.

“Rawhide: Season One” - Paramount

Gil Favor is trail boss of a continuous cattle drive; he is assisted by Rowdy Yates. The crew runs into characters and adventures along the way. “Rawhide” ran from 1959 to 1966 and is considered to be one of the

“quintessential” TV Westerns of all time. Rivaling at the top with Gunsmoke and Bonanza, this show spawned a young Clint Eastwood in “Cowboy Garb” among a great cast including Eric Fleming, Paul Brinegar, Steve Raines, James Murdock and Sheb Wooley.

Every episode is a classic Western in every sense ranging from stampeding cattle to Indians and Outlaws. The Main Title music by Dimitri Tiomkin is as memorable as the show. The DVD contains all 22 episodes, plus one episode from season two, on seven discs. Each volume has a synopsis on the back complete with pictures from the show and beautiful artwork on the discs themselves. All the episodes are in Full Screen Format with Dolby Digital sound. Western enthusiasts should take advantage of this amazing classic.

“Curb Your Enthusiasm: Season Five” - HBO

“Curb Your Enthusiasm,” for better or worse, is based upon the same concept as Seinfeld in that it is a show about, well, nothing. See Larry have lunch with his manager. See Larry go to dinner parties. See Larry visit his doctor. See Larry pick up the laundry. Yada, Yada, Yada and you get the picture. It is a show about mundane everyday events that, in Larry David’s universe, take on humorous and embarrassing twists in ways that only Larry can conceptualize. It not only proves how simple daily chores can go so wrong with either the slip of Larry’s tongue or his social paranoia, but it is also a testament to Larry’s ability to recognize and show us the extremely funny side of life.

“Curb Your Enthusiasm” is a lot like art imitating life imitating art. For instance, while the former stars of Seinfeld are desperately trying to shake their post-Seinfeld blues of being recognized more for the characters that they played on the sitcom, in “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” Larry David actually has to remind people of his Seinfeld affiliation; which he does a great deal in this show.

The major players on this show are Larry David, who plays himself, Cheryl Hines, who plays his wife Cheryl, and Jeff Garlin, who plays his manager Jeff Greene. There are also recurring characters like Larry’s pal, Richard Lewis (himself), Jeff’s wife Susie (Susie Essman) and Jeff’s mother (Mina Kolb) and father (Louis Nye).

This DVD set consists of the usual ten episodes that are each approximately 30 minutes long. Season Five of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” features more of the same brilliance as the first four seasons. Larry David’s enigmatic and odd sense of humor is a welcome change from the regular television monotony we see everyday. Here is hoping that Larry David continues to build his audience base for this show, as I have no idea what I would do without it! This show is absolutely addictive in a very schizophrenic sort of way!

“Star Trek: Klingon Fan Collective” - Paramount

This newest collection of Classic Star Trek episodes voted on by the fans is titled “Star Trek-Fan Collective: Klingon.” This massive collection spans the Star Trek timeline from the classic Kirk episodes through “Next Generation” and “Deep Space Nine” to “Voyager” and “Enterprise.” Fans will love watching the evolution of the Klingon people and the emergence of Worf with his impact on the Star Trek Universe.

All the episodes are in timeline order with restored digital picture and sound. This set contains all of the most popular episodes on three discs stored in a lavishly packaged case complete with episode summaries and color pictures from the various shows. Extras in the set include text commentary on certain episodes and audio commentary on “Broken Bow” from Brannon Braga and Rick Berman. I enjoyed watching the episodes in this manner. I already own all of the various Star Trek box sets, but it was nice to view the Klingon episodes in a timeline. Die-hard fans will need this set to add to their collection.

Nick be reached at Nick@filmlords.com

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   Last Update:  September 07, 2006