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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.
 
DVD Picks  
Beavis & Butthead Do America - Paramount

Our intrepid adolescent heroes wake up to find their beloved television stolen, and embark on an epic journey across America to recover it, and, who knows, maybe even score. On the way they encounter a murderous smuggler of a deadly virus and his treacherous wife, an FBI agent with a predilection for cavity searches, a couple of rather familiar looking ex-Motley Crue roadies, Mr. Van Dreesen singing “Lesbian Seagull”, a little old lady and of course Mr. Anderson and his trailer. Can the Great Cornholio save the day? Just when you thought the TV series was bad enough, here comes a full-length feature film. With a surprisingly stunning cast of voices including Bruce Willis, Demi Moore and Robert Stack, this is evidence that even Hollywood Stars need to eat to stay alive. I felt that the bulk of the film was degrading to the point of offensive. There were pockets of humor that made me laugh, but the overall film was pure stupidity. If you like sick, perverted humor and pointless plot, this is the film for you.

LOST: Season Two - BVHE

A horrific plane crash leaves 48 passengers alive and stranded on a remote island in the South Pacific. The survivors include Doctor Jack, now freed prisoner Kate, one hit wonder rock star Charlie, Iraqi military vet Sayid, and a mysterious man named Locke. For a while their goal is simple survival, but they soon realize that it was far more than mere chance that brought them together, and each of them has a purpose that will help them unlock the island’s secrets. This has to be one of the best shows on Prime Time Television. Lost is one of those shows that ropes you in and keeps you coming back for more. The only other show with this much following is the new Battlestar Galactica on sci-fi. Lost has great stories and the character development is very intense. The final scene of each episode leaves you with a cliffhanger forcing you to see the resolution in the next chapter. Michael Giacchino’s score for the show adds a new dimension to the suspense. The best part about this show is the fact that you really don’t have any idea what will happen next. This makes for great storytelling and top-notch entertainment. If you missed this show from the first season, I would strongly suggest that you spend the money and catch up.

JIM HENSON FANTASY FILM COLLECTION - Sony

Labyrinth stars young Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) is left home alone by her parents and she has to babysit her little brother Toby. But the baby keeps crying and Sarah, while telling him a story to make him sleep, inadvertently conjures from a fantasy world the Goblin King (David Bowie) who steals the child and brings him to his castle in the middle of a labyrinth. Sarah has to rescue him before midnight, or the baby will became a goblin. The Dark Crystal: Starring Jim Henson, Kathryn Mullen, Frank Oz, Dave Goelz, Steve Whitmore, Louise Gold, Brian Muehl, Bob Payne and Mike Quinn. Another planet, another time. 1000 years ago the Dark Crystal was damaged by one of the Urskeks and an age of chaos began. Now the time of the great conjunction of the three suns is near. If the crystal is not healed now the control of the evil Skekses will last forever. Jen the last of the Gelfings nearly exterminated by monsters controlled by the Skekses starts his dangerous journey to find the missing shard of the crystal. Will he be able to heal the crystal and restore order on the planet? Mirrormask: Starring Jason Barry, Rob Brydon, Stephanie Leonidas, Gina McKee, Dora Bryan, Stephen Fry, Andy Hamilton, Simon Harvey and Lenny Henry.

MirrorMask centers on Helena, a 15 year old girl in a family of circus entertainers, who often wishes she could run off and join real life. After a fight with her parents about her future plans, her mother falls quite ill and Helena is convinced that it is all her fault. On the eve of her mother’s major surgery, she dreams that she is in a strange world with two opposing queens, bizarre creatures, and masked inhabitants. All is not well in this new world - the white queen has fallen ill and can only be restored by the MirrorMask, and it’s up to Helena to find it. But as her adventures continue, she begins to wonder whether she’s in a dream, or something far more sinister. Sit back and enjoy hours of great fantasy-adventure with the Jim Henson Fantasy Collection. Jim Henson’s talents have entertained us since the time of Kermit the Frog. Now, Henson takes us to wondrous lands filled with monsters, heroes and magic. All three films in this set are wonderful and show the talents of the Henson Company. Each film has bonus features including making-of documentaries, commentary tracks and deleted scenes. All three are re-mastered in High Definition with Dolby Digital Sound. The slipcase is attractive with lots of artwork and there is also a mini comic of the Dark Crystal and Labyrinth. This is a great way to purchase all three films and a must for fantasy collectors.

UNKNOWN WHITE MALE - Wellspring

Back in July of 2003 Doug Bruce lost himself in Coney Island. Really. The guy was on the subway and didn’t know who he was. Real amnesia and you get to see the true story of how Doug found a new life and forgot the old. When it was discovered who Doug was, he is reunited with his old friends and finds that he does not remember them. His friends state in the film that the “new” Doug is a better person and they hope he stays that way. Will Doug find who he really is? Watch this fascinating film and find out. This DVD exhibits average picture quality and the Dolby 5.1 sound track is adequate. There are quite a few interesting extra features on this disc that are listed below.

LAUREL AND HARDY COLLECTION: Volume Two - Fox

Here are three more comedy classics from 20th Century Fox. Laurel and Hardy are comedy icons from the 1940’s and these are three of the six movies they made for Fox. Many think that these films are not as good as the ones made at Hal Roach Studios, but I found them entertaining.

There are a few extras that include audio commentaries for each film.

Also, for you L & H purists, THE TREE IN A TEST TUBE, the duos only surviving color film, is included. There is also a 1950 TV interview with “Ship’s Reporter” Jack Mangan.

EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND: Season Seven - HBO

Everybody Loves Raymond, with standup comedian Ray Romano in the title role, revolves around Ray Barone, a successful sportswriter living on Long Island with his wife, Debra (Patricia Heaton) and their three children – and that is the good news. What is the bad news? Ray’s meddling parents Frank (Peter Boyle) and Marie (Doris Roberts) live directly across the street and manage to infiltrate their son’s home to unparalleled extent. And then there is Ray’s older brother Robert (Brad Garrett). Robert is a divorced policeman who lives with his parents, and is a constant thorn in his brother Ray’s side.

Everybody Loves Raymond, Season Seven is available in the atypical 16:9 ratio, Audio English 2.0, and is complete with subtitles in English, Spanish, and French. All 25 seventh season episodes are included, as well as numerous bloopers and deleted scenes from the series. The stories are original and the cast is absolutely brilliant!

This series represents true comic genius and is highly recommended to all!

BENNY HILL: Season Five - A&E

Benny Hill--Britain’s baron of bawdy buffoonery--bursts into full bloom in this boisterous collection from his golden fan-favorite era, The Hill’s Angels Years! Wildly popular all over the globe thanks to his trademark smirk and affinity for comic naughtiness, Benny rejuvenated the sketch-variety genre with his multi-award-winning Benny Hill Show. Satirizing everything under the sun, but sanitizing nothing, Benny and his crackerjack team of entertainers invented a squadron of crazy caricatures: lovable imbecile Fred Scuttle, avant-garde French filmmaker Pierre De Terre, and the verbally challenged Mr. Chow Mein. Backed by Benny’s half-dressed flock of frisky foxes, The Benny Hill Show continues to stand the test of time by making the world laugh itself silly. This is classic British humor at its best. If you don’t like British humor, give this a try anyway. Benny is really funny! This 3 DVD set features all 10 riotous episodes from 1982-1985. These are full-length episodes that were not shown in the US. A & E has put together a nice package here for die-hard Benny Hill fans. Be sure to check out the Benny Hill Cheeky Challenge Trivia Quiz—its great!

THE BEST OF MR. BEAN - A&E

Starring the incomparable Rowan Atkinson as Mr. Bean, this DVD features five of the funniest and most inspired episodes from the timelessly hysterical hit TV show. First unleashed in 1989, the classic British series emerged from Rowan Atkinson’s stage performances which featured the silent, physically outrageous comip acting that won him an Emmy, Cable Ace Award, and the Golden Rose of Montreaux. The madcap brilliance of the awkward man child puts Bean right on par with the comic greats of the past hundred years. This is gut busting DVD and is not to be missed!

Nick be reached at Nick@filmlords.com

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   Last Update:  October 04, 2006