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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.
 
FLUSHED AWAY - Paramount  

The story of an uptown rat that gets flushed down the toilet from his penthouse apartment, ending in the sewers of London, where he has to learn a whole new and different way of life. I had a great time watching this film. Finally we have a film that the whole family can enjoy without any worries. This film is composed in the style of “Chicken Run” and “Wallace & Gromit” with all of the creative animation and imagination that made them famous. The talented voices of Hugh Jackman, Kate Winslet and Ian McKellen bring the characters to life adding laughter at every turn. The basic story surrounds a mouse named Roddy who has the easy life of living as a child’s pet in a fancy mansion. When the family goes away on a holiday, Roddy is greeted unexpectedly by Spike, a rat from the sewer that soon takes over the house. In an effort to rid Spike from the home, Roddy is accidently flushed down the toilet and into the sewer where he discovers a whole city inhabited by creatures of down below. It is at this time when he meets Rita, a boat operator who is on a quest to recover a stolen ruby. They soon embark on a series of adventures that involve a frog’s plan for the destruction of the city and the end of “Rodent-kind”. The animation is priceless and Harry Gregson-William’s score adds much to the film. The humor here is geared toward children and adults. I loved the “cheeky” British comments that aimed at the “Yanks” and the countless “one-liners” geared towards the government. This made the film fun for all. Out of everything in the picture, the ones who stole the show were the slugs. I haven’t laughed that much in quite a while. There are so few great family films out there and you always wonder if it is appropriate for the kids. Well, this one is a winner in my book. I know you will enjoy this film as much as I did. Hat’s off to the people of Dreamworks on another great animated masterpiece. Article by Richard Maher.


DVD Picks

LOWER CITY - Palm Pictures

Traffic, this is not. But then again, I was not hoping that it would be. One may be set up for great disappointment by trying to compare this fine foreign film to the current taste in the U.S.

As winner of the “Award of the Youth,” at the Cannes Film Festival, Lower City is by no means substandard. Our eyes find it less than difficult to follow a sultry and demure Alice Braga, as she portrays a prostitute and exotic dancer in the lower portion of the Brazilian port of Salvador de Bahia.

Her seductive enticement of two friends, Deco and Naldinho, make her unique cargo en route to Salvador. Aboard their steam vessel, the film really heats up and this voyage turns out to be more than your average three hour tour. Two best friends, brilliantly played by Ramos and Moura, both begin to feel entranced by, Karinna, the simple and ordinary girl from the street.

As the film presses on, an intense and passionate love triangle ensues. The picture is pregnant with murder, gambling, robbery, drugs, prostitution, sex, violence, and a few other surprises. Best friends, close as brothers, are brought to violence against one another. Each vows his own way to secure a future for himself, and win her away from the other.

Machado’s camera dares not capture the picturesque scenery of Salvador de Bahia, but shows us her apartments, slums, night clubs, boxing rings, and fights to capture the picture of life in the bowels of this beautiful city. If you’re in the mood for a scintillating, sultry, young drama, then look no further than right at your feet... to Lower City.

MACGYVER: Season Seven - Paramount

Macgyver is an enigmatic loner who often finds himself working for an organization called the Phoenix Foundation, the government, or a friend in need. He encounters all types of dangers and escapes from them not with weapons, but with his ability to create gadgets out of everyday objects. The final season is here at last. Season seven marks the end of one of America’s favorite prime time hero. Richard Dean Anderson has entertained us with a veritable host of gadgets, narrow escapes and endless adventures for seven years. This final season has some of the best stories of the series packing a punch up to the very end. Some of these seasons highlights include the two-part episode “Good Knight MacGyver” putting our hero in the midst of King Arthur’s Court on a quest to rescue the princess from an evil queen. We also have “The Prometheus Syndrome” involving MacGyver tracking down an arsonist setting fire to the city. The final episode titled “The Stringer” brings the show full-circle as father and son are finally united. Even though many of the stories resemble one another, this show still holds its own in the annals of classic TV.

Shows like this are just not made anymore. I am so glad to have this series on DVD. The DVD presents the final 14 episodes on four discs in Full Screen format and Dolby Digital sound. There is an episode synopsis on the back of each volume and colorful artwork throughout.

Sadly, there are no extras here.

VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA: Season Two, Vol. One - Fox

Voyage chronicled the adventures of the world’s first privately owned nuclear submarine, the SSRN Seaview. Designed by Admiral Harriman Nelson, she was a tool of oceanographic research for the Nelson Institute of Marine Research. Strap yourself in and prepare for more wild adventures with the crew of the Seaview in our second season of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. Richard Basehart and David Hedison take us into the vast depths of the ocean encountering monsters, enemy submarines and countless natural disasters. Our second season starts off with a great episode titled “Jonah and the Whale” involving Admiral Nelson and a Russian scientist trapped in the belly of a whale from inside a diving bell. The story sounds absurd, but was quite entertaining. There are all sorts of plots ranging from spies to monsters from outer space. The writers never got bored and always managed to come with some new situation for the crew to get out of.

My favorite episode involves the Seaview rescuing a World War II sub that has been trapped in a cave for 28 years. The special effects are better this season and the sets are more detailed giving the show more to work with. For the time period, this show ranked quite high in “action-adventure” category making it a classic then and now. This DVD presents the first 13 episodes of the second season on three discs shown in Full Screen format with Dolby Digital sound. Extras here include some special effects footage from the show and various still galleries. The artwork is very colorful showing clips from the show.

There is also an episode synopsis on the back of each volume. Don’t expect amazing realism and stellar effects with this series. Just enjoy it for what it is.

Nick be reached at Nick@filmlords.com

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   Last Update:  November 29, 2006