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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 Black Dahlia  

Master storyteller Brian De Palma, known for such classic crime dramas as The Untouchables, Scarface and Carlito’s Way, as well as his suspense thrillers Carrie, Dressed to Kill and Blow Out, directs this adaptation of James Ellroy’s best-selling crime novel. The Black Dahlia weaves a fictionalized tale of obsession, love, corruption, greed and depravity around the true story of the brutal murder of a fledgling Hollywood starlet that shocked and fascinated the nation in 1947 and remains unsolved today. Two ex-pugilist cops, Lee Blanchard (Aaron Eckhart) and Bucky Bleichert (Josh Hartnett), are called to investigate the homicide of ambitious silver-screen B-lister Betty Ann Short (Mia Kirshner) A.K.A. “The Black Dahlia”--an attack so grisly that images of the killing were kept from the public.

While Blanchard’s growing preoccupation with the sensational murder threatens his marriage to Kay (Scarlett Johansson), his partner Bleichert finds himself attracted to the enigmatic Madeleine Linscott (two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank), the daughter of one of the city’s most prominent families--who just happens to have an unsavory connection to the murder victim. True crime meets urban legend when De Palma brings Ellroy’s The Black Dahlia to the big screen. Though this ambitious noir crime-drama captures the atmosphere of its era, it suffers from subpar performances, a convoluted story, and the inevitable comparisons to other, more successful films of its genre.

The Black Dahlia

Starring: Josh Harnett & Scarlett Johansson

Director: Brian De Palma

Company: Universal

Now Showing: In area Theatres

MPAA Rating - R

Grade: D+

DVD Picks


The Adventures Of Chico & Guapo - Paramount

MTV brings you The Adventures of Chico and Guapo, a Beavis and Butthead style cartoon. Created by Orlando Jones, Chico and Guapo are interns at a recording studio. They get into funny situations while hoping to hit it big in show biz. If you like Beavis, you will love this one. I don’t recommend The Adventures of Chico and Guapo for those under 15, as it has pretty foul language and some adult humor in this unrated edition. This DVD has quite a few bonus features that include lots of funnies from the Orlando Jones Show. This picture is full of vibrant colors and the Dolby Digital sound is great.

Stella: Season One - Paramount

Cancelled after the first season, Stella is a Comedy Channel series about 3 roommates-- Michael, Michael, and David. Three guys who get evicted from their apartment do lots of wild and crazy (actually really weird) things. Stella is The Three Stooges for the New Millennium, only different. This is one you will either love or hate—I thought some of the episodes were downright hilarious and others were kind of strange. This two-disc DVD set includes several bonus materials including The History of Stella. The picture is a square 4.3:1 ratio and the sound is Dolby Digital 2.0.

TOO HOT NOT TO HANDLE - HBO

Heat waves. Melting glaciers. Rising sea levels. Catastrophic storms. Migrating viruses. Population displacement. Over the past 100 years, the mass consumption of fossil fuels, especially in America, has contributed to a dangerous warming of the earth that has adversely impacted the way we live. The cautionary documentary TOO HOT NOT TO HANDLE offers a guide to the effects of global warming in the United States. What an amazing film!! This subject brought global warming into a new light. I had no idea the catastrophic effects it had on the Earth until I watched this program. You think we would have learned by now? Not even close! The animation of the various scenarios was impressive not to mention the volumes of trivia and information discussed throughout the film. The original music composed by Joel Goodman combined with the various images on the screen make this documentary a “must” for all to see. Special recognition should go to Director’s MaryAnn DeLeo and Ellen Goosenberg Kent for all of their dedication in the production of this documentary. This film will make you think twice the next time you fill up your gas tank.

Curious George - Universal

Will Ferrell stars as The Man in the Yellow Hat, a gentleman who looks after his pet monkey - an inquisitive and wonderful creature whose enthusiasm often gets the best of him. This is a surprisingly good film. We all read the Curious George comics and books as kids and loved sharing in the adventures. Now we have a full-length feature film to continue the fun featuring the talented voices of Will Ferrell, Drew Barrymore, Frank Welker and many other familiar people.

The story fits the traditions of the original books and the animation pre-dates the CGI rage making for a classic look. This is fun for the whole family. It is rare that a film is made these days that is acceptable for the family atmosphere. The DVD presents the film in Widescreen Format with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround. Extras here include an exclusive Jack Johnson Music Video with a sing-along feature, deleted scenes and various activities for kids including how to draw your favorite monkey. There are 10 interactive games and a feature on the animation of George. The packaging is colorful with lots of stills from the film. I highly recommend this film for the entire family. Long live the funny monkey.

Nick be reached at Nick@filmlords.com

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   Last Update:  October 04, 2006