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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.
 
MOVIE REVIEW  
SPIDERMAN 3

Things are going well for Peter Parker (Toby Maguire). He is about to propose to his high school sweetheart, Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst). Everyone loves his alter-ego, Spiderman. The problems begin when he becomes too self absorbed to notice the pain others that are close to him are feeling. Mary Jane breaks up with him. Harry remembers he wants to kill him. His uncle’s real killer escapes from prison and transforms into the evil Sandman (Thomas Hayden Church). An alien suit called Venom forms around him changing him into a revenge bound Spiderman. Somehow Peter must break the spell of the suit and set things right again.

As has become customary in the Spiderman series, there are numerous moments of tenuous action. The special effects are fantastic. Simply put, it isn’t that this movie is bad, it is just that it isn’t on the same level as the previous two. While the performances are fine, Topher Grace really stands out as a worthy villain and I would have really loved to have seen more of him. They did go out of their way to make this as family friendly as possible. With no bad language and a minimum of violence, the only objectionable material is the scariness of Venom.

Most Spiderman die-hards will take exception to all of the mindless action in this particular installment. (Remember the Fantastic Four movie? Bingo!). There are too many characters involved in this particular film for those that weren’t married to the comic book to follow. The character of Venom should be better developed and more integral to the story. As a fan of the comic books though, I don’t remember the alien Venom being so darn cheesy. While I really liked Sandman, I wish they could have really developed him instead of giving us a superficial comic villain. Saving him for another pic could have really done the movie justice. Trying to cram too much into the story makes Spidey’s third time out a disappointment.

Spiderman 3

Starring: Toby McGuire & Kirsten Dunst

Director: Sam Raimi

Company: Columbia

Now Showing: In area Theatres

MPAA Rating - PG-13

Grade: B-


DVD Picks

HIGHLANDER: ULTIMATE COLLECTION - Starz

Taken from the film, Highlander, Duncan MacLeod, clansman of Connor in the film also finds he is being stalked by not only other immortals trying to kill him before the time of the gathering, but also a secret society of mortals who call themselves ‘The Watchers’ and also seem intent on killing him. The Highlander films were a major success in the theater forming a following that eventually led to a TV series. Adrian Paul plays the part of Duncan Macleod. His character is similar to Conner MacLeod played by Christopher Lambert. The TV series was able to expand on the characters and the plot, which in turn made this more consistent than the films. Duncan is faced with danger at every turn as he avoids certain decapitation from the other immortals. There is also a group of mortals called “The Watchers” that are after him as well. Every episode is full of suspense, action and drama bringing you into Duncan’s world as an immortal. The stories are well-written and the cast is excellent. Adrian Paul is perfect for this role and made the series as popular if not more popular than the films themselves. I thoroughly enjoyed this series and highly recommend it to those who enjoyed the films. This DVD box set presents the 15 best episodes of the series in chronological order voted on by the fans and producers of the show. This six-disc set contains over three hours of bonus footage including featurettes “Highlander in Paris with Bill and Dennis”, Highlander Worldwide”, “Marto”, “The Cutting Edge” and “Game play”. The packaging is attractive with lots of pictures from the show on the inserts and on the discs themselves all contained in a beautiful slipcase. Highlander fans will want this for their collection and for those who missed this show in it’s initial run will have the opportunity to get a proper introduction without having to buy the entire series.

FANTASTIC FOUR: World’s Greatest Heroes - Fox

This TV animated series follows the adventures of Mr. Fantastic, The Invisible Woman, The Human Torch and The Thing, otherwise known as Marvel’s most famous family, the Fantastic Four. Following the original comic story-lines, characters, and plots, the Fantastic Four will battle their most famous villains including their mortal enemy, Dr. Doom. The Fantastic Four live on in this animated spin-off of the comic book and recent films. I read the comic when I was a kid and enjoyed the cartoons from the late sixties. The movie was equally entertaining with the much-anticipated sequel on the way. This animated series captures the flavor of the films with cutting edge animation. The voices are excellent and the stories are well-written. This “new-age” style series combines anime with high-tech making a unique combination on the screen. I am personally a fan of the other animated series that was released in 1994. This one is geared to the current “anime” generation. The DVD contains the first four episodes in the set. It is a shame that they didn’t release more than four per DVD. This will take up considerable space in the collection and cost more in the long run. There are no bonus features offered in this volume.

FILMS OF ALEJANDRO JODOROWSKY - Anchor Bay

Directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky, the strange classic El Topo was “lost” for 30 years. It tells the tale of two young people who search through a destroyed world for a mythic city called Tar, where it is believed that all of one’s wishes can come true. Instead, along the way, they are corrupted and driven mad. The film caused a riot upon its premiere at the 1968 Acapulco Film Festival. With its combination of surreal imagery and assault on the ideals of the Western, El Topo may appear to be equal parts Luis BuÒuel and Sam Peckinpah, but it’s all Alejandro Jodorowsky. In addition to his directing duties, Jodorowsky contributes to the film’s writing, music, editing, and costumes, as well as starring as El Topo (“the Mole”). El Topo journeys across the desert to battle a group of gunfighters, but it’s not the plot that’s important in this midnight movie classic. The masterful blend of brutal violence and beautiful images make Jodorowsky’s film essential viewing for anyone looking beyond the offerings of the megaplex. Decades have passed since its first screening, but El Topo hasn’t lost any of its ability to shock and amaze. The 1973 film The Holy Mountain continues the strange and surreal tradition that cult director Alejandro Jodorowsky began in his Fando Y Lis and El Topo. Marrying mysticism with religious imagery, The Holy Mountain centers on the Thief, a man who is messianic in both appearance and ideals. He meets the Alchemist (Jodorowsky), who wishes to rid people of all the trappings of modern living and take them on a spiritual quest. Like Jodorowsky’s other work, the plot is secondary to the visuals, which are at once bizarre and beautiful. This films will simply blow your mind.

FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS - Dreamworks

It is the most memorable photograph of World War II, among the greatest pictures ever taken. The winner of the Pulitzer Prize for photography and one of the most-reproduced images in the history of photography, the picture has inspired postage stamps, posters, the covers of countless magazines and newspapers, and even the Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Virginia. “Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima,” a picture taken by Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal on February 23, 1945 depicts five Marines and one Navy Corpsman raising the U.S. flag on Mount Suribachi. The image served as a counterpoint for one of the most vicious battles of the war: the fight to take Iwo Jima, a desolate island of black sand barely eight square miles that would prove a tipping point in the Pacific campaign. Lasting more than a month, the fight was a bloody, drawn-out conflict that might have turned the American public against the war entirely, had it not been for the photo, which was taken and published five days into the battle. The photograph made heroes of the men in the picture as the three surviving flag-raisers were returned to the U.S. and made into props in the government’s Seventh War Bond Tour. Uncomfortable with their new celebrity, the flag-raisers considered the real heroes to be the men who died on Iwo Jima; still, the American public held them up as the best America had to offer, the supermen who conquered the Japanese...

THE MESSENGERS - Sony

A Chicago-based family comprised of Roy (Dylan McDermott), his wife, Denise (Penelope Ann Miller), their teenage daughter, Jess (Kristen Stewart), and young son, Ben (played by twins Evan and Theodore Turner) try to put the hard times behind them with a move to a picturesque farmhouse in North Dakota. Jess quickly becomes convinced that the house is haunted after some peculiar occurrences while she’s alone there with young Ben. But Ben can’t articulate what he’s seen, and Jess’s story is met with skepticism by her parents. It soon becomes apparent that past family tensions are slowly boiling to the surface. Meanwhile, the ghosts keep coming, and the Pang brothers never keep their audience waiting for long before another

nerve-jangling scene shudders into view. But as the ghosts torment their new residents, Jess does a little research on the old farmhouse and discovers a few secrets that may just hold the key to why this is all happening.

Nick be reached at Nick@filmlords.com

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   Last Update:  May 31, 2007