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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  
HAPPY DAYS: Season Two - Paramount

Join the Cunningham family as they live through the 1950’s with help and guidance from the lovable and almost superhuman greaser, Fonzie. After much delay, we finally get the second season of Happy Days. Continue the adventures of Richie, Ralph and Potsie as they go through Jefferson High school exploring dating and trying to survive the “peer pressures” of adolescence. There is never a dull moment with these three and only the “Fonz” can keep them in line. This season has the characters established and brings Fonzie closer to the Cunningham family. Some episode highlights include a Christmas episode that established the Fonz as a member of the Cunningham family, Richie moving in with his older brother Chuck, the Halloween episode and the famed “Howdy Doody” episode. This show gets better with age! The cast is stunning and the scripts are creative. Every family should own this set. The DVD presents all 23 episodes in airdate order with restored picture and sound. The packaging includes an episode synopsis on the insert and colorful artwork throughout.


A group of Australian commandos launch a secret mission against Japanese forces in World War II. This is a gritty version of the Guns of Navarone. Attack Force Z is one of those forgotten World War II films that got caught in the cracks. The cast for this film showcases some of Hollywood’s best in their younger years including Mel Gibson, Sam Neill, John Phillip Law and Chris Haywood. The action is intense and the scenery is authentic. It is a real treat to see Neill and Gibson as young “pups” working together in this early classic. If you saw “Too Late the Hero” starring Michael Caine and liked it, this one is right up your alley. I found the overall film entertaining and intense. There is very little “Hollywood fluff” here. The DVD is presented in Widescreen format with Dolby Digital Mono sound. The picture is not terribly clear to the point of being dirty, so don’t expect HD quality here. The only bonus is a short interview/feature. WWII buffs will enjoy this one, but the average watcher might want to pass in favor of Guns of Navarone or Devil’s Brigade.

FLIPPER: Season One - MGM

Ranger Porter Ricks is responsible for the animal and human life in Coral Key Park, Florida including his 15-year-old son Sandy and 10-year-old Bud and, especially, their pet dolphin Flipper. Flipper, need we say more? This show was one of my favorites growing up and we all wanted to live the lifestyle of Bud and Sandy and own our very own dolphin. The show is very “dated” with all of the bad scripts and cheesy outfits, but that is part of the fun. The only thing cheesier than the dialogue was the theme song. Young kids who didn’t grow up with this show can now experience the fun of Flipper over and over with this season one box set. The set contains all 30 original episodes with restored picture and sound on four discs. There is an episode synopsis on the back of each volume and colorful artwork throughout. As an extra bonus, there is a trivia quiz designed for all-ages to help bring back the fun and memories. I have to admit it was fun to see the old adventures again bringing back fond childhood memories.

OVERLORD - Criterion

This Criterion DVD presentation of Overlord seamlessly intwines archival war footage and a fictional narrative into a must own for any fan of WWII. Stuart Cooper’s immersive account of one twenty year old’s journey from basic training to the front lines of D-Day brings all the terrors and isolation of war to life with jolting authenticity. Overlord, impressionistically shot by Stanley Kubrick’s longtime cinematographer John Alcott, is both a document of World War II and a dreamlike meditation of man’s smallness in a large, incomprehensible machine. There are numerous extra features included in this feature, including a video feature on the Imperial War Museum. This DVD is simply a must own.


Howard Hesseman, Loni Anderson, and Tim Reid turn the comedy up to 11 in this sitcom about a radio station in the Buckeye state. The station WKRP may not have been a rousing success, but this series found its audience through its strong cast and running gags. Hesseman plays DJ Johnny Fever, who was a hotshot in Los Angeles, but an on-air gaffe forces him to small-time Cincy. With sexy secretary Jennifer (Anderson) and disc jockey Venus Flytrap (Reid), WKRP in Cincinnati shows the station’s attempts at climbing out of a ratings dive. This release includes every episode of the first season, as well as episode commentary from cast members and creator Hugh Wilson.


Little Children follows several inhabitants of a small American town as they fumble their way through adulthood. Numb-to-life housewife and mother Sarah Pierce (Kate Winslet) finds an outlet for her yearning in gorgeous househusband Brad Adamson (Patrick Wilson), who is crippled with insecurity over the fact that his perfect wife, Kathy (Jennifer Connelly), is the family breadwinner. When Sarah and Brad meet at the local playground one afternoon, a passionate affair is sparked. In a further attempt to reclaim his youthful fire, Brad joins a night football league with Larry Hedges (Noah Emmerich), a former cop who has begun to harass a convicted sex offender, Ronnie J. McGorvey (Jackie Earle Haley). These troubled lives eventually collide, causing each individual to take full responsibility for their not-so-responsible actions. This is an incredible film - one of the best of the year!


Bob Fosse’s semi-autobiographical film celebrates show business stripped of glitz or giddy illusions. Joe Gideon (Roy Scheider) is at the top of the heap, one of the most successful directors and choreographers in musical theatre. But he can feel his world slowly collapsing around him--his obsession with work has almost destroyed his personal life, and only his bottles of pills keep him going. As he struggles to right his relationships with his ex-wife, his lover, and his daughter, he also has to cope with his failing health. Soon it’s clear he’ll have to make a choice: his art--or his life. There are numerous extras included in this set.

Nick be reached at Nick@filmlords.com

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   Last Update:  May 23, 2007