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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  
FLICKA - Fox

Young Katie claims a wild horse as her own -- an effort to prove to her father that she is capable of one day taking over the family ranch. This film is an updated version of the original ďMy Friend FlickaĒ that starred young Roddy McDowell as Ken Mclaughlin. As remakes go, this one isnít too bad. Allison Lohman portrays the confused and defiant teenager that is looking for her place in the world and the chance to make her father proud. Lovely Maria Bello plays the mother and the biggest surprise of the film for me was the father, played by Tim McGraw. Wow, he can act too?? The story stays close to the book and the original film with obvious differences including the main character being played by a female this time. Horse-lovers will enjoy the breathtaking mountain scenery and the various shots of horses throughout the film. The script is very predictable and leaves little to the imagination. I donít see this being a classic, but ok for a night of entertainment. The DVD presents the film in Widescreen format with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround. Extras include commentary with Director Michael Mayer, Deleted Scenes with optional commentary, bloopers and a gag reel.

HELLBOY: SWORD OF STORMS - Starz

A professor of folklore opens a forbidden scroll and becomes possessed by the ancient Japanese demons of Thunder and Lightning, who seek to return and dominate our world. The Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense sends Hellboy and a team of agents to investigate, but when Hellboy picks up a samurai sword, he literally disappears into a weird wonderland of Japanese legends, ghosts and monsters. Meanwhile, BPRD agents Kate Corrigan and Russell Thorne are on the trail of the possessed professor to bring Hellboy back. If you like the comic book and the movie, you will love this film. The cast includes the voices of actor Ron Perlman, Doug Jones and Selma Blair with a supporting cast including John Hurt, Peri Gilpin and Yuriana Kim. The overall script is entertaining and full of plot and action that will keep you pinned to your seat. I enjoyed the movie and seeing this animated film brought me closer to the story. The animation is top-notch and original musical score by Christopher Drake really puts the show into perspective. The DVD presents the film in Widescreen with Dolby

Digital 5.1 surround. Extras include a collectable comic book, Audio commentary with Hellboy creator Mike Mignola, Supervising Producer/Director Tad Stones and Director Phil Weinstein. There are numerous featurettes on this disc that give backstory to the characters, special effects, creating Hellboy to name but a few. The packaging is attractive with lots of color and stills from the show. Donít view this as just an animated adaptation of a comic book, look at this as the next chapter in a great series.

RENO 911 - Paramount

Created by the team behind the cult television series The State and Viva Variety, Comedy Centralís Reno 911! parodies reality cop shows through the outrageous antics of an inept police force in Reno, Nevada. The seriesí eccentric characters--a closeted lieutenant in hot shorts, a former topless dancer, a bilingual police dog trainer, and more than a few mentally unhinged deputies--are brought to zany life by a funny cast that includes The State alums Thomas Lennon, Ben Garant, and Kerri Kenney. This compilation presents a selection of episodes chosen as the seriesí best. If you are into uncensored humor, check it out. You wonít regret it!

BABEL - Paramount

Richard and Susan (Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett) are a wealthy couple from San Diego who are vacationing in Morocco in order to heal after the death of their young child; their other two children are at home with their Mexican maid, Amelia (Adriana Barraza). In a complex shift of ownership to which the audience is privy, a rifle finds its way into the hands of a local herdsmanís young sons (Said Tarchani and Boubker Ait El Caid), who recklessly take a shot at a tour bus and catch Susan in the shoulder, causing her to nearly lose her life. The distraught Richard calls home to tell Amelia of the situation, who promptly departs for Mexico to attend her childís wedding, with Richard and Susanís children in tow. Disaster thus multiplies, with the situation in Morocco ascribed to terrorists in the media, while Amelia meets with the harsh immigration policies of the Bush

administration. Meanwhile, in Tokyo, a widower (Koji Yakusho) tied to the rifle in question attempts to deal with his memories and his raucous, promiscuous, deaf daughter (Rinko Kikuchi). Nearly every performance of the film is devastating, offering an intimate, emotional experience that would approach melodrama if it werenít rendered so realistically. Cinematographer Rodrigo Prietoís color palette masterfully captures the muted tones of the harsh natural landscapes of Morocco and the Mexican border, as well as the fluorescent lights of Tokyo that denote another, though equally barren, end of the spectrum. The misunderstandings born of cultural, language, and class barriers are on par with those that occur between family members, depicting a world that, while connected in the least expected of ways, is also faced with a deep-seated crisis that threatens to alienate humanity from itself. Simply put, you donít want to miss this DVD in your collection.

Nick be reached at Nick@filmlords.com

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   Last Update:  March 07, 2007