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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.
 
SHREK THE THIRD  

The story begins on a bit of a down note, as the Frog King (John Cleese) has passed away, and names his son-in-law Shrek (Mike Myers) as heir to the throne. The death throws the kingdom into turmoil because Shrek doesn’t want the job, so he sets out to bring cousin Artie (Justin Timberlake) back to the kingdom to rule instead.

Meanwhile, Prince Charming (Rupert Everett) joins forces with Captain Hook and the other fairy tale villains, staging a palace coup. It’s up to Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz) and the rest of the princesses to save the day with a very funny version of Charlie’s Medieval Angels.

Oh yeah, Donkey (Eddie Murphy) and Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) tag along, and although they get a body swap subplot, they are mostly there to add humorous asides to the already jam-packed story.

“Shrek III” has a lot of humor, much of it coming so fast that it will take repeat viewings to catch all the gags. I’m still a huge fan of the Gingerbread Man, and his origin montage makes for my favorite moment in the film. Others may get a kick out of Artie’s high school, which plays like “The OC” of ye olden days. Puss in Boots has the best sight gags while Shrek and Fiona provide plenty of potty humor that will appeal to young fans. The film is very funny, but the film doesn’t seem fresh any more. There have been so many fractured fairy tale movies lately that “Shrek III” has been robbed of its novelty.

Freshness issues aside, the animation is superb, the voice acting is uniformly great, and the action is grand enough that families will be thrilled by the continuing adventures of the not-so-jolly green ogre and his silly friends. “Shrek III” is a lot of fun and should be a huge hit, even if it’s a bit of a letdown from the silly fun of the first two films.

Shrek The Third

Starring: Mike Myers & Eddie Murphy

Director: Raman Hui & Chris Miller

Company: Paramount

Now Showing: In area Theatres

MPAA Rating - PG

Grade: B


DVD Picks

ROCKFORD FILES: Season Four - Universal

Jim Rockford, an ex-con pardoned for an armed robbery he didn’t commit, is a private investigator specializing in closed cases. He is sometimes assisted by his father Joseph (a.k.a. Rocky), his best friend Sgt. Dennis Becker of the LAPD, his lawyer/girlfriend Beth Davenport, and his former cell-mate Evelyn “Angel” Martin. This show is one of the best in the “cop show craze” from the seventies.

Running from 1974 to 1980, Private Detective Jim Rockford has shared his adventures with TV audiences worldwide. James Garner continues in his role with a superb supporting cast of talented actors including Joe Santos and Noah Beery. Highlights in this season include “Requiem for a Funny Box”, “Forced Retirement”, “A Deadly Maze” and “The House on Willis Avenue”. Some of the guest stars in this season include Rita Moreno, Tom Selleck, Robert Loggia and Larry Hagman. This is the kind of show that has “staying power” to be enjoyed for years to come.

Season four contains all 21 episodes on five discs presented in Full Screen format with Dolby digital sound. The packaging is attractive with an episode guide on the inside cover. Extras include a feature “America’s Top Sleuths and a bonus episode from season five titled “White on White and Nearly Perfect.”

RAWHIDE: Season Two, Vol. One - Paramount

Gil Favor is trail boss of a continuous cattle drive; he is assisted

by Rowdy Yates. The crew runs into characters and adventures along the way. Rawhide ran from 1959 to 1966 and is considered to be one of the “quintessential” TV Westerns of all time. Clint Eastwood, Eric Fleming, Paul Brinegar, Steve Raines, James Murdock and Sheb Wooley continue the adventures of the trail riders with this season two, volume one set. The stories are inventive and showoff the classic

Western flavor. Some of this seasons highlights include “Incident at Jacob’s Well” involving the team in search of water, “Incident of the Day of the Dead” putting the team against a wild stallion that has killed all that rode her and “Incident in the Valley of the Shadow” involving a search for a girl kidnapped by Indians. This show keeps getting better by the season! The DVD contains 16 episodes on four discs. The inner jacket has a synopsis of each episode. All the episodes are in Full Screen Format with Dolby Digital sound. Sadly, this season got split up into to volumes, which makes more expensive to buy. The artwork isn’t as impressive as season one, but still warrants a purchase.

MAGNIFICENT SEVEN: Season Two - Sony

When an Indian village is threatened by ex-Confederate soldiers, several villagers head out to seek help. They recruit seven men, each with unique skills, who return to the village and take on the raiders.

Following this, the men take up residence in a small town, making their skills available to those in need. Continue adventures of gunfighter Chris Larrabbe and his band of men as they maintain order in the brutal West. Michael Biehn reprises his role as Chris with a talented supporting cast including Ron Perlman and Laurie Holden. The stories are not too bad but tend to follow the “TV formula” for a 45 minute show. The series begins to lose its flare during these final episodes. Elmer Bernstein’s music is used in moderation, but not enough leaving me feeling as if something is missing. As modern-day Westerns go, this one is tolerable, but missed the mark as a great show. This DVD set contains the final 13 episodes of the series. The episodes are presented in Full Screen Format with Dolby Digital Sound.

I wouldn’t break down any doors for this series.

COMING TO AMERICA: BluRay - Paramount

This fantastical fairy tale stars Eddie Murphy as Prince Akeem, a pampered African prince who is yearning to be self-sufficient in his extremely opulent society, where his every whim is catered to. When Akeem turns 21 he defies the wishes of his kingdom and refuses to marry the beautiful bride who has been chosen for him. Instead, he sets out for America to find true love with his trusty sidekick, Semmi (Arsenio Hall). Determined to appear common, the pair arrive in Queens, New York, and quickly have to adapt to a world where they are no longer royalty and can’t seem to find a modern woman who suits the prince’s tastes--until he meets Lisa McDowell (Shari Headley), the lovely daughter of Cleo McDowell (John Amos), who owns McDowell’s restaurant, a fast-food restaurant suspiciously like McDonald’s. Akeem and Semmi get jobs at McDowell’s and set about charming the unsuspecting Lisa. As the romance blossoms, Akeem has an increasingly difficult time hiding his true identity, especially when his royal parents (James Earl Jones and Madge Sinclair) and their entourage arrive in New York, eager to return their only heir to Africa. John Landis’s comedy is an intelligent, funny movie that shows off the myriad talent of Murphy and Hall.

Nick be reached at Nick@filmlords.com

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   Last Update:  June 13, 2007