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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  
BODY HEAT - Warner

Ned Racine (William Hurt) is a small-town Florida attorney who usually handles sleazy clients. When he wanders into a free concert near the beach, he notices sexy Matty Walker (Kathleen Turner) as she goes for a smoke. Though married, she flirts with him before she disappears.

Ned continues to bed plenty of one-night stands, but he fantasizes about Matty. Eventually he tracks her down and finally beds her. A torrid on-going affair ensues. Matty complains about her loveless marriage, a fact that entices them to think of actions that they could take to get rid of her rich husband Edmund (Richard Crenna). The rest of the film follows their relationship, their plot, and all the complications that come along the way. The picture and sound quality of this product is fine, but I wish more had been done with the surround system. Most of the sound focuses on the center speakers. There are numerous extras included as well.

THE MALTESE FALCON - Warner

The film opens with a text introduction to a priceless object called the Maltese Falcon. We learn that it went missing many years ago, but clearly many folks still crave that ultra-valuable token. We then move to current day San Francisco and meet a private detective named Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart). A client named Miss Wonderly (Mary Astor) hires Spade to find her sister Corinne. She allegedly has become involved with a shady character named Floyd Thursby. Spade’s partner Miles Archer (Jerome Cowan) takes a shine to Miss Wonderly, and he agrees to tail Thursby and talk some sense into him. While on the case, someone shoots Archer, and Thursby turns up dead as well. The tale continues spinning from there. This is a wonderful three-disc package that is representative of the AFI top 100 list. This edition contains over seven hours of extra bonus features. The sound and picture quality are absolutely incredible. The Maltese Falcon is an absolute must own for any true film collector.

THE DA VINCI CODE - Columbia

Dan Brown’s international bestseller comes alive in the film The Da Vinci Code, directed by Ron Howard with a screenplay by Akiva Goldsman. Join symbologist Robert Langdon (Academy Award Winner Tom Hanks) and cryptologist Sophie Neveu (Audrey Tautou) in their heart-racing quest to solve a bizarre murder mystery that will take them from France to England - and behind the veil of a mysterious ancient society, where they discover a secret protected since the time of Christ. With first-rate performances by Sir Ian McKellen, Alfred Molina and Jean Reno, critics are calling The Da Vinci Code “involving”, “intriguing”, and “a first rate thriller.” The picture is presented in anamorphic widescreen and the sound is in Dolby Digital 5.1. There are numerous extras included in the package.

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE THREE - Paramount

Tom Cruise, the most exciting and successful star in the world, returns to one of his signature roles, Secret Agent Ethan Hunt, in “Mission: Impossible III.” In this pulse-racing, mind-bending action thriller, Hunt confronts the toughest villain he’s ever faced -- Owen Davian (Academy Award winner Philip Seymour Hoffman), an international weapons and information provider with no remorse and no conscience. The film is co-written and directed by J.J. Abrams, who brings his unique blend of action, character, comedy, and drama to the franchise. The millions of loyal viewers of Abrams’s landmark creations, the television series “Lost” and “Alias,” know what to expect: an enthralling, intricate story with an unexpected and arresting payoff that satisfies on every level. With “M:i:III,” Abrams and Cruise turn the spy thriller on its ear as they hark back to the best aspects of the original TV series that inspired the films -- a well-connected team of agents centered around a bold and heroic leader, the most exciting action stunts imaginable, and elaborate twists and turns thatkeep you on the edge of your seat. “M:i:III” is the action movie audiences have been waiting for. This two disc collectors edition contains numerous extras. The picture and sound qualities are absolutely outstanding.

SEINFELD: Season Seven - Sony

The show that literally redefined the sitcom genre, Seinfeld evolved from an idea of “a show about nothing” into a sacred pop culture icon. The show follows the life and times of comedian Jerry Seinfeld and his best friends, George Costanza (Jason Alexander), Cosmo Kramer (Michael Richards), and Elaine Benes (Julia Louis-Dreyfus). Living lives of complete selfishness, they’re joined by an extensive cast of eccentric supporting characters such as Newman, Uncle Leo, J. Peterman, the Soup Nazi, Frank and Estelle Costanza, and countless others. The Seinfeld DVD features some of most hilarious episodes in the series including the Soup Nazi, The Engagement, and The Maestro. There are numerous extras which include the season’s blooper reel and interviews with the cast. Seinfeld represents sitcom perfection. Don’t miss this - pick yours up today!

A-TEAM: Season Five - Universal

In 1986 a mysterious freelance intelligence operative, former General Hunt Stockwell, struck a deal with the government whereby he in effect kidnapped the A Team for final court martial and had them executed - a ruse for them to carry out covert missions in exchange for eventual pardon. Well, we finally get to the final season of one of the most beloved action shows from the eighties. It took four seasons, but the A-team finally gets caught and tried in a military court for a crime for which they are not guilty. The show changes gears now and the team works for a man named Stockwell (Robert Vaughn) who sends them on various missions of mercy. There are some new faces including a young special effects artist that works with Stockwell and Hannibal named Frankie “Dishpan” Santana who adds a new wave of humor to the cast. We still see some older familiar characters including Lance DeGault as Colonel Decker and Carl Franklin as Captain Crane. The stories are to the point of being completely predictable and it is evident that the cast is getting tired of the same story retold over and over again. This is the weakest season by far, but still makes the set complete for those who bought the other four seasons. The DVD presents the final 13 episodes of the show on three discs in Full Frame format and Dolby Digital sound. Extras on this season include a new Feature titled “Rumors of Soldiers of Fortune” interviewing Stephen J. Cannell about the show. Article by Richard Maher.

MAGNUM P.I.: Season Five - Universal

The series follows Magnum on his various adventures, involving clients, guests staying on the estate, or plots involving his days in Vietnam. Magnum requires assistance occasionally from his friends, TC, Rick, Asst. D.A. Carol Baldwin, his buddies in Naval Intelligence; even Higgins lends a hand from time to time. Launch into the fifth season of Magnum P.I. with more great adventures in every episode. This season puts Magnum in more wild situations including ghostly apparitions, taking care of a young Vietnamese child and going back to Vietnam on a rescue mission. The stories are entertaining and the cast is tighter than ever. To me, this show never really gets old. I love the vast scenery of Hawaii and the interaction among the cast. John Hillerman gets better with each season and Mosley and Manetti’s characters have more of an impact on the show especially in the fourth and fifth season. Magnum is just good prime-time entertainment! This DVD season presents all twenty amazing episodes on five discs with Full Frame format and Dolby sound. There is a detailed episode summary for each disc and a teaser bonus episode from season six. Continue your collection with this timeless classic. Article by Richard Maher.

Nick be reached at Nick@filmlords.com

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   Last Update:  November 29, 2006