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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 greatest underdog story of our time is back for one final round of the Academy Award-winning Rocky franchise. In Rocky Balboa, the former heavyweight champion steps out of retirement and back into the ring, pitting himself against a new rival in a dramatically different era.

After a virtual boxing match declares Rocky Balboa the victor over current champion Mason “The Line” Dixon, the legendary fighter’s passion and spirit are reignited. But when his desire to fight in small, regional competitions is trumped by promoters calling for a rematch of the cyber-fight, Balboa must weigh the mental and physical risks of a high profile exhibition match against his need to be in the ring.

Over the past thirty years, an entire generation of moviegoers have witnessed the Rocky franchise blossom and then become stagnant. The stories never really ended, nor had their loose ends tied up...until now. Stallone does an admirable job as he brings closure to the franchise we grew up with. Although not the greatest or most original of films, it is the best edition since the original. Just as a hint, be sure to stick around and watch the entire credit sequence. You won’t want to miss it!

Rocky Balboa Starring: Sylvester Stallone & Burt Young Director: Sylvester Stallone Company: Columbia Now Showing: In area Theatres MPAA Rating - PG Grade: B

DVD Picks

MIAMI VICE - Universal

After a tragic security breach in the Joint Inter-Agency Task Force (JIATF), the FBI ask for help from the Miami authorities, who are not part of the compromised group. This assignment goes to Detectives James ‘Sonny’ Crockett and Ricardo ‘Rico’ Tubbs. Going undercover as offshore boat racers and outlaw smugglers Sonny Burnett and Rico Cooper, they take on the narcotrafficking network of the mysterious Archangel de Jesus Montoya-Londono and his Cuban Chinese banker Isabella. The big risk in making a motion picture out of a popular TV series is that there will always be those who will trash it in favor of the original. I found this film to be ok with some reservations. I watched the TV show growing up enjoying the chemistry between Don Johnson and Phillip Michael Thomas and the life that they brought to the screen. In this film the flavor was different between Farrell and Fox leaving me at a loss. The original show as “ultra 80s” in every sense of the word and made a statement. This film capitalizes on modern urban crime-fighting with little emphasis on character development. The violence and graphic content puts this on a whole different level from the show making this more realistic and believable. I think this show would have done better if they used more of the more familiar extras from the original show including Crockett’s pet gator just to satisfy the die hard fans. As an action/cop thriller, this is worth a viewing. If you are expecting a remake of the original series, you will be disappointed. The DVD presents the film in Widescreen format with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround. Extras include featurettes “Miami Vice Undercover”, “Miami and Beyond”, “Visualizing Miami Vice” and a behind the scenes feature. There is also commentary with Michael Mann.

MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: Season One - Paramount

Jim Phelps is the head of a super-secret government agency (“Impossible Missions”), and is often given secret anonymous covert missions to attempt; quite often they are unmasking of criminals or the rescuing of hostages. He picks his team depending on which tasks need to be done. One thing is vital on an Impossible Mission: the mission must be carried out in entire secrecy, often relying on high-tech equipment and elaborate deceptions. This DVD will self-destruct in five seconds!!! Mission Impossible was one of the finest spy series of all time running from 1966 to 1973 showcasing a stellar cast including Peter Graves, Martin Landau, Barbara Bain, Greg Morris, Steven Hill and Peter Lupus. If you want non-stop suspense, action and drama, this is the set for you. The three films made from the TV series cannot hold a candle to this. The stories are excellently written with lots of plot twists and character development allowing the cast to expand on their personas. Special effects and the various props and gadgets are great, showing the creativity for the time period. James Bond would be proud of this series!! In addition to the great stories and cast, we cannot forget the incredible music written by Lalo Schifrin. His Main Title is one of the most widely known themes in cinematic history putting this series on a whole new level of intensity. I highly recommend this series. The DVD presents the entire first season on seven discs presented in Full Screen format with newly restored Digital 5.1 surround. Sadly, there are no extras in this set. The packaging is attractive with lots of photos from the series and an episode summary on the back of each volume.

GOMER PYLE: Season One - Paramount

Gomer Pyle was a sweet but not too smart Marine from Mayberry, North Carolina who was stationed at Camp Henderson near Los Angeles, California. Gomer’s innocence, naivete and low-key demeanor often got him into trouble, most frequently at the hands of his loud-mouthed superior, Sgt. Carter. Duke, Frankie, Lester and Larry were some of Gomer’s pals and fellow enlisted men at Camp Henderson, and Lou Anne Poovie was his sometimes girlfriend who worked as a singer at the Blue Bird Cafe, where Gomer and the boys often hung out. Shazam! The DVD is finally here. Now that the Andy Griffith Show is finally completed, we will start seeing the Gomer Pyle Series that ran from 1964 to 1969 starring Jim Nabors as Gomer Pyle and Frank Sutton as Sergeant Carter. Gomer Pyle was a spin-off of the Andy Griffith Show and stands alone as being one of the funniest shows in TV history. Jim Nabors is a genius and, combined with the talents of Frank Sutton, puts this show at the forefront of classic comedy. You never knew what Pyle would do next. No matter how outlandish Gomer would get, he always seemed to figure things out and make his sergeant look great. The stories were well-written and entertaining making for a great show. The sets were inventive and everybody knows the Main Title March written by Earle Hagen. The DVD set contains all 30 episodes on five discs presented in Full Screen format with restored picture and sound. Extras in this set include Audio intros by Jim Nabors, Audio Commentary by Jim Nabors and Ronnie Schell on selected episodes, Pilot episode from “The Andy Griffith Show”, Lucy show clip “Lucy get caught in the draft” and Jim Nabor’s appearances on the David Frost Show and Jim Nabors hour. The packaging is attractive with lots of funny pics from the show and an episode synopsis with each volume.

Nick be reached at Nick@filmlords.com

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   Last Update:  December 27, 2006