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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  
PITTSBURGH - Anchor Bay

Jeff Goldblum stars as Jeff Goldblum in this half real, half fake mockumentary about the clash between Hollywood celebrity life and the small time Pittsburgh theater scene. The production he’s chosen? The Music Man. The reason? To get his real life Canadian fiancÈ a green card. To add to the absurdity, Goldblum enlists a host of celebrity friends to help him get the show running, including Ed Beagly Jr. and Ileana Douglas. Art and life continuously roll back and forth in this comedy that documents Goldblum’s real experience with musical theater and his ability to poke fun at life in the limelight.

THE VICTIM - Tartan

Based on real crimes and shot in the locations where they occurred, this Thai horror film crosses the boundary between the mystical and the criminal. When an aspiring actress is recruited by the police to reenact gruesome murder scenes to help them solve the crimes, she finds herself getting a little too involved in the productions. Are her portrayals of the victim’s last moments a sign of what fate has in store for her?

MARRIED WITH CHILDREN: Season Seven - Sony

The Bundy saga continues with the seventh season of this long-running, trend-setting sitcom. Staunchly underachieving, antisocial, and utterly hilarious, the Bundy family is headed up by shoe salesman Al (Ed O’Neill), who fondly looks back upon his better days as a high-school superstar. His wife, Peg (Katey Sagal), is a curvaceous shopaholic, daughter Kelly (Christina Applegate) is a blonde bombshell with a low IQ, and her brother Bud’s (David Faustino) anomalous intelligence doesn’t prove helpful with the ladies. The adventures continue with this seventh collection of episodes.

ROBINSON CRUSOE ON MARS - Criterion

In this innovative retelling of Daniel Defoe’s classic, the intrepid adventurer is a marooned astronaut who crash lands on Mars with his pet monkey in tow. He meets a runaway slave from an exotic planet, and the three use all their ingenuity and resources available to stay alive.

REIGN OVER ME - Columbia

Demonstrating the same understanding of the complexities of human relationships that characterized his 2006 film, The Upside of Anger, and his short-lived HBO series, The Mind of the Married Man, writer/director Mike Binder once again taps into the same fertile ground in this story of one man’s difficulty reconnecting with the world after experiencing a great tragedy. In another role showcasing his relatively untapped talent for dramatic roles, Adam Sandler is Charlie Fineman, a New York dentist whose post-traumatic stress caused by the loss of his wife and children on 9/11 sees him regressing to a sort of second childhood dominated by videogames, record collecting, and riding his motor scooter around the city. A chance run-in with his former college roommate, fellow dentist, and family man Alan Johnson (Don Cheadle) spurs Charlie’s first attempts at remembering his past. But though Alan is genuinely glad to try and help Charlie, it will take more than the company of a good friend to get Charlie back to the world. Reign Over Me is a charming, affecting tale of friendship and loss, with solid performances from top to bottom.

THE FLY COLLECTION - Fox

This collection is a veritable horde of horrors when all three original Fly movies descend in one dvd set! This package includes The Fly, Return of the Fly, The Curse of the Fly, and The Fly Collection Disc of Horrors. This fly collection will crawl under your skin and set your mind abuzz!

THE KING OF QUEENS: Season Nine - Sony

The hilarity of the Heffernan household continues into the ninth and final season of this popular sitcom. Kevin James stars as Doug Heffernan, a UPS delivery man who lives in Queens with his shopaholic wife, Carrie (Leah Remini). The couple’s life together is turned upside down when Carrie’s eccentric father, Arthur (Jerry Stiller), moves in with them, taking over Doug’s cherished TV room and usurping his sports-watching habits. The unusual family continues its attempts to live harmoniously in this season which brings the popular series to an end.

TRIAD ELECTION - Tartan

Wo Sing is Hong Kong’s oldest Triad Society. Under the leadership of its current Chairman Lok, it has grown to become the most feared crime organization in the city. Jimmy (Louis Koo), a twenty-first-century gangster with an M.B.A., wants to go clean by building a legitimate business empire. His profit-making enterprises have already made him a favorite in the upcoming Chairman election, but his popularity has also brought him to the attention of the Chinese authorities, who believe he is the perfect middleman to bring the Triads and the Central Government into peaceful co-existence. The Chinese authorities offer Jimmy access to the Mainland’s business market should he choose to lead Wo Sing for the next two years. The irony is not lost on Jimmy: in order to escape the Triads, first he must become their leader.

THE REEF - Genius

Grab your snorkel and swim on down to The Reef, a charming undersea adventure guaranteed to hook the entire family. When Pi, an orphaned fish, escapes the fisherman’s net to move in with his aunt on an exotic coral reef, he meets his true love, Cordelia. But before Pi can start his life with Cordelia, he must outsmart the bully tiger shark also determined to win her heart. Full of memorable characters and featuring the stellar voice talents of Freddie Prinze, Jr, Evan Rachel Wood, and Rob Schneider, The Reef is a fun-filled voyage that will keep you giggling till you come up for air.

BLACK BOOK - Sony

Dutch filmmaker Paul Verhoeven made his name in Hollywood with films such as Robocop, Basic Instinct, and Starship Troopers. But Verhoeven got his start in the industry by making films (the acclaimed Spetters and Soldier of Orange among them) in his native country, and it’s to Holland that he returns for Black Book -- his first Dutch film in 20 years. The story is set during the final days of World War II in Holland, and follows a Jewish singer named Rachel Stein (Carice Van Houten). Rachel attempts to avoid the Nazis and remains in quiet hiding until her family is brutally slain, causing her to join up with a resistance movement. On a subsequent undercover mission, Rachel crosses paths with a smitten German general named Ludwig Muntze (Sebastian Koch), with whom Rachel begins a relationship in order to feed vital information back to her colleagues in the resistance. But as the action and bloodshed escalate, Rachel realizes that she has genuine feelings for Muntze, and soon she is in enormous danger.

DOG THE BOUNTY HUNTER: The Arrest - A&E

With an impressive record of captures to his name, Duane “Dog” Chapman is a bounty hunter with a superb reputation. His mission is to travel the United States and make it a safer place for everyone to live in, joining up with a fearsome posse to bring miscreants to justice, and add to his list of captures in the process. But in this special show Dog ends up on the wrong side of the law after capturing a serial rapist, and finds himself doing some jail time. The Arrest includes full details on Dog’s detainment and his eventual release.

JINDABYNE - Sony

On an annual fishing trip, in isolated high country, Stewart, Carl, Rocco and Billy (‘the Kid’) find a girl’s body in the river. It’s too late in the day for them to hike back to the road and report their tragic find. The next morning, instead of making the long trek back, they spend the day fishing. Their decision to stay on at the river is a little mysterious — almost as if the place itself is exerting some kind of magic over them. When the men finally return home to Jindabyne, and report finding the body, all hell breaks loose. Their wives can’t understand how they could have gone fishing with the dead girl right there in the water — she needed their help. The men are confused — the girl was already dead, there was nothing they could do for her. Stewart’s wife Claire is the last to know. As details filter out, and Stewart resists talking about what has happened, she is unnerved. There is a callousness about all of this which disturbs her deeply. Stewart is not convinced that he has done anything wrong. Claire’s faith in her relationship with her husband is shaken to the core.

RED ROAD - Tartan

Developed at the Sundance Screenwriters Lab and winner of a Special Jury Prize at the Cannes International Film Festival, Red Road is a

bristling, atmospheric thriller that rumbles with intensity. In the squalor of urban Glasgow, Jackie (Katie Dickie) works at a video-surveillance firm that is in charge of protecting people who live on a single block of Red Road. One day a man appears on her monitor, a man she thought she would never see again. That man is an ex-con named Clyde (Tony Curran). Clearly shocked to see him free from prison, Jackie begins stalking Clyde, compelled to confront him for his crimes. What mysterious history do they share, and why is Jackie so determined to punish this man? Filmmaker Andrea Arnold keeps the audience guessing and the tension building as Red Road crescendos to an explosive finale. After three acclaimed shorts, including Wasp, which won the Sundance Jury Prize in Short Filmmaking and the Academy Award, Red Road marks Arnold’s highly anticipated feature debut. It was constructed within the framework of Lars von Trier’s experimental Advance Party project, the first of three films set in Scotland, by three different directors, using the same nine characters. Masterfully crafted, Red Road gets the project off to a stirring start.

Nick be reached at Nick@filmlords.com

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   Last Update:  September 27, 2007