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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  

HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX

In Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix, Harry returns for his fifth year of study at Hogwarts and discovers that much of the wizarding community is in denial about the teenager’s recent encounter with the evil Lord Voldemort, preferring to turn a blind eye to the news that Voldemort has returned. Fearing that Hogwarts’ venerable Headmaster, Albus Dumbledore, is lying about Voldemort’s return in order to undermine his power and take his job, the Minister for Magic, Cornelius Fudge, appoints a new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher to keep watch over Dumbledore and the Hogwarts students. But Professor Dolores Umbridge’s Ministry approved course of defensive magic leaves the young wizards woefully unprepared to defend themselves against the dark forces threatening them and the entire wizarding community, so at the prompting of his friends Hermione and Ron, Harry takes matters into his own hands. Meeting secretly with a small group of students who name themselves “Dumbledore’s Army,” Harry teaches them how to defend themselves against the Dark Arts, preparing the courageous young wizards for the extraordinary battle that lies ahead.

As a huge fan of the entire Harry Potter franchise, I am just as guilty as the next person when I compare each film to the correlating book. I must admit, I am a bit dissapointed with this particular installment. Of the five films, this one branches away from the book the most. There are things that are flatly changed and so much of the text is left out. I compare this particular movie to eating a fat free pizza. You sort of like what you are eating, but you know that something is missing. This film seems to be transitional in nature and that could be why it just seems different. Phoenix definately is a “set up” for the sixth installment, which should definately interest everyone. While perhaps not reaching the heights of the earlier Potter films, The Order of the Phoenix is nevertheless an entertaining, action-packed installment that captures the dark mood of the novel.

Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe & Rupert Grint

Director: David Yates

Company: Warner

Now Showing: In area Theatres

MPAA Rating - PG-13

Grade: C+


DVD’S Picks

PATHFINDER - Fox

Vikings invade America 600 years before Columbus where they encounter tribes of Indians and an orphan Viking. I can’t help but like this film. What a neat concept to combine Vikings and Indians in the same picture. This film has elements of “13th Warrior” Vikings mixed with Indian battles from “Last of the Mohicans” and a hint of “Conan/Rambo” for effect. Karl Urban (Lord of the Rings) plays the part of Ghost who tries to find his place in the world regardless of his past. The whole idea that he was a Viking and is now an Indian is just like Tarzan being raised by apes and found by humans. You just got to love this concept. The supporting cast includes Moon Bloodgood as the woman who will fight to the end with Urban. She is not only stunning to look at, but pulls off her role well. The Indian chief, played by Russell Means, really sets the tone of the film providing a realistic look at the Indian culture at its best. The other hero of the story is the lead Viking played by Clancy Brown. It doesn’t get more “Viking” than this! Brown really takes the role to its limits and goes even further. The casting for this film was perfect for this film. The story is creative with lots of action, gore, and violence that would even compare to the film “300”. Jonathan Elias’s score adds much to the pacing of the film. The DVD presents the unrated version of the film in Widescreen format with Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS. The unrated version extends some of the battle footage and a few scene extensions. Extras include Theatrical Trailer, Deleted Scenes and several shorts on the making of the film, locations, stunts and the legend of the pathfinder.

 

STAR TREK FAN COLLECTIVE: Captain’s Log - Paramount

The fans of Star Trek and the Captains have chosen his or her favorite episodes encompassing this amazing collection. The “Fan Collective” series enters a new compilation DVD set titled “Captain’s Log”. In this set, we get the best episodes chosen by fans and the Captain’s from all of the perspective shows. All of the episodes are in timeline order which makes it fun to see the progression of the show through the years. I was very excited to get this set seeing that most of these episodes are among my personal favorites. For those who already own all the DVD sets, this may not be in your best interest to purchase. It is, however a great way to view certain episodes from the different shows in order without having to pull out your entire collection. The artwork for the set is great with lots of color and stills from the shows. There is an episode synopsis on the back of each volume detailing each episode. The DVD set contains five discs presented in Full Screen format except for Enterprise which is presented in Widescreen. The surround is 5.1 and 2.0 depending on the series. There are tons of extras in this set including intros by the Captain’s on certain episodes and several short featurettes hosted by the various Captains’ looking back on the Star Trek Universe. The interviews make this set special. If you are a “Die-Hard” fan and have to own it all, this set should don a special place on your shelf.

 

RED DAWN - MGM

What if Cuba and the Soviet Union opted for a conventional invasion of the U.S. rather than a nuclear attack? Then, their troops would have another think coming. Namely a group of high school students turned commandos. These teenagers -- Jed, Robert, Erica, Matt, Toni and others -- one day look outside their classroom windows to see Communist paratroopers descending from the clouds and landing on the soil of their small town. Skilled hunters and tenderfoots alike, Jed and his friends take whatever food and weapons they can find and head for the mountains. It is not long, however, before the enemy soldiers follow their trail, take prisoners, rape women, and execute “subversives.” Now the fate of one theater of World War III rests in the rifle-filled hands of America’s youth. This two disc special edition contains numerous special features, including a retrospective look at the making of the film.

 

MONTANA SKY - Sony

A strange deal is struck with three sisters after the death of their father--they must live together on his ranch in order to inherit the riches he has left behind for them. Complications arise as the estranged sisters try to adapt to living together while also attempting to thwart people who don’t want them to succeed. A touching film that the entire family can enjoy. Picture and sound quality are exceptional. There are no extras included on this DVD.

 

ANGELS FALL - Sony

Mysterious events unfurl in a small town in Angels Fall. Heather Locklear plays a chef who witnesses a murder in the town and is subsequently baffled and alarmed as she has a hard time convincing anyone that the event actually happened. She hits the open road with no destination in mind, desperate for a fresh start. After a few more unfortunate events, she begins to question her own sanity. There are no extras included on this DVD.

Nick be reached at Nick@filmlords.com

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   Last Update:  August 02, 2007