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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.
 
SHOOTER  

In a gripping action performance, Mark Wahlberg stars at Bob Lee Swagger, a former Marine scout sniper and disgruntled American hero who thought he had walked away from the job forever after a devastating betrayal. Now, despite having sequestered himself in a stunning but remote mountain hideaway, Bob is apprached by retired Colonel Isaac Johnson (Danny Glover), who tells him the country desperately needs him. As Johnson tells it, an assassination attempt on the President of the United States is imminent and only Swagger’s lethal skills and savvy expertise in long-range ballistics can halt the threat.

Swagger reluctantly agrees one last time to serve his country, but what he doesn’t know is that the entire mission is a set-up by a dark government cabal with its own agenda. by the time Swagger realizes the even has been rigged, it’s too late. Suddenly, he finds himself in the headlines as the lone gunman who tried to shoot the President. Hunted at every turn, with nowhere to hide and no one to help him except a mystified woman he’s just met (Kate Mara) and a novice FBI agent risking his career (Michael Pena), Swagger is in a desperate battle which will put everthing he knows to the test. The clock is ticking as he tries to figure out who the real hit men are before they hit him. But Swagger soon realizes even more than his own survival is at stake, because he’s about to lift the veil off a devastating

conspiracy at the very heart of American power.

This isn’t your run of the mill cookie cutter action movie. Yes, lots of things blow up and there are plenty of sniper head shots for the lower-level ilk to enjoy, however this film is anything but predictable. The parallels to our modern and historical government operations are very ingenious. For instance, what if Lee Harvey Oswald had lived and thus spoke out? This movie really makes you think. From an entertainment perspective, this movie is stolen right out from under Mark Wahlberg’s feet when Swagger travels to an old man’s home in the hills in order to ask for knowledge. Levon Helm (the old man), when asked about the seriousness of an assassination attempt, states “I still have the shovel.” I can still hear the laughter. I cannot endorse this movie more highly. Get out and see this one. You won’t be dissapointed!

Shooter

Starring: Mark Wahlberg & Michael Pena

Director: Antoine Fuqua

Company: Paramount

Now Showing: In area Theatres

MPAA Rating - R

Grade: A


DVD Picks

BLOOD DIAMOND - Warner

Set against the backdrop of the chaos and civil war that enveloped 1990s Sierra Leone, “Blood Diamond” is the story of Danny Archer (Leonardo DiCaprio), an ex-mercenary from Zimbabwe, and Solomon Vandy (Djimon Hounsou), a Mende fisherman. Both men are African, but their histories and their circumstances are as different as any can be until their fates become joined in a common quest to recover a rare pink diamond, the kind of stone that can transform a life...or end it. Solomon, who has been taken from his family and forced to work in the diamond fields, finds the extraordinary gem and hides it at great risk, knowing if he is discovered, he will be killed instantly. But he also knows the diamond could not only provide the means to save his wife and daughters from a life as refugees but also help rescue his son, Dia, from an even worse fate as a child soldier. Picture and sound quality are impeccable in this release. There are numerous extra features included in this must own set.

ROCKY BALBOA - Sony

Rocky Balboa, the sixth installment of the long-running film franchise, is all heart. Thirty years after Sylvester Stallone first introduced the underdog backroom brawler from Philadelphia in the Oscar-winning Rocky, Rocky Balboa returns for one last dance. Speculation as to whether Balboa, in his prime, would have been able to defeat lackluster champ Mason “The Line” Dixon spurs Dixon’s management to set up an exhibition fight between the two. That Balboa is in his 50s in the film and wouldn’t be sanctioned to fight anyone, let alone a man 30 years his junior and in the prime of life, must be left up to the viewer’s ability to suspend disbelief. To its credit, however, the movie addresses at every turn the insanity of a man approaching 60 getting back into a boxing ring, and Balboa’s impassioned explanation of his motivations is just believable enough to give all other improbabilities a free pass. Though it may sound like faint praise, this is the best ROCKY movie since the original. Life hits harder than any man can, and one’s ability to keep getting up until the final bell rings is the true measure of self. There are numerous extra features included in this set including an alternate ending.

LITERARY CLASSICS COLLECTION - Warner

Some big screen adaptations of literary classics are featured in this collection. The titles included are: The 1962 version of Billy Budd, Captain Horatio Hornblower, Madame Bovary (1992), both the 1952 and 1978 versions of The Prisoner of Zenda and the 1948 version of The Three Musketeers. The picture and sound quality on all six films included in this set are outstanding, particularly considering how old the prints are. These are all classic films that should be added to the library of any film connoisseur.

DOCTOR WHO: THE INVASION - BBC

Filling in the gaps that fans of the series demanded, this Doctor Who special episode explores the character of Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart. Doctor Who (Patrick Troughton) and his team go to International Electromatics in search of a missing scientist. The Brigadier’s UNIT force aids the Doctor in discovering what lies under the surface of International Electromatics and what exactly it’s nefarious leader, Tobias Vaughn, is up to. Episodes one and four, initially lost from the film archives, have been recreated for this dvd set. Finally, this episode is available in its entirety.

EVERYONE’S HERO - Fox

This heartwarming, wholesome family fare was originally conceived by the late Christopher Reeve (SUPERMAN), and reflects a theme of perseverance against all odds from which the whole family can learn. Set in Depression-era New York, the film follows 10-year-old baseball fan Yankee Irving (voiced by Jake T. Austin), who is more adept at remembering stats than he is at playing the game. Despondent over his sandlot misfires, Yankee is cheered when he makes the acquaintance of a baseball named Screwie (voiced by Rob Reiner) who can actually talk. Later, Yankee visits his dad at the Yankee Stadium, where he is allowed to visit Babe Ruth’s famous bat, Darlin’ (voiced by Whoopi Goldberg). The bat soon goes missing, Dad loses his job, and Yankee takes off for Chicago with a notion to deliver the bat to Babe. Along the way, he makes numerous friends, including a trio of down-and-out bums who take him under their wing, and a little girl with a mean pitch. The scene with the Detroit Tigers, where the team gives Yankee baseball pointers en route to Chicago, is the film’s most charming, while the bumbling bad guy, Lefty Maginnis (voiced by William H. Macy), provides an abundance of slapstick humor.

Nick be reached at Nick@filmlords.com

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   Last Update:  May 02, 2007