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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 Reviews  

THE UNTOUCHABLES: Season Two, Vol. Two - Paramount

Special Agent Eliot Ness and his elite team of incorruptible agents battle organized crime in 1930s Chicago. Continue the exciting adventures of Eliot Ness as he and his team battle prohibition and Al Capone on the streets of Chicago in the 1930s. The show ran from 1959 to 1963 and stars Robert Stack as Eliot Ness with Nick Georgiade as Agent Enrico Rossi, Abel Fernandez as Agent William Youngfellow, Paul Picerni as Agent Lee Hobson and Steve London as Agent Jack Rossman. The stories are fun and intense with good character interaction and depth. Stack is perfect in his role as Ness. This type of show is timeless in the world of TV. They just don’t make shows like this anymore. If you enjoy mobster films and want to see how it all got started, this is the series for you. The DVD presents 14 episodes on four discs including a bonus episode from “The Lucy Show” titled “Lucy and the Gun Moll”. All the episodes are digitally re-mastered with crisp picture and sound. There is an episode synopsis on the inside jacket and attractive artwork on the cover.

SUPERMAN: Doomsday - Warner

When LexCorps accidentally unleash a murderous creature, Doomsday, Superman finally meets his greatest challenge as a champion. This film is based from the award-winning “The Death of Superman” trilogy. If you enjoy the Superman films, animated series and comics, this is the show for you. Warner Brothers and DC Comics give Superman fans another stunning film in the franchise with “Doomsday”. The premise of the story surrounds a creature unleashed by the Lexicorp Company to combat Superman. This is truly one of the best fights in the franchise. The action sequences are brilliant and the story is intense with every passing scene. Between the superb director’s and the “cutting edge” CGI, this show can’t go wrong. The voice talents of Adam Baldwin as Clark Kent and Anne Heche as Lois add a nice touch to the screen. I felt the emotions of the characters and the loss of one of the world’s greatest heroes. You have to see this film! The DVD is presented in Widescreen format with digital sound. Extras include a comprehensive documentary titled “Requiem and Rebirth”, Commentary with Producer Bruce Timm, Writer Duane Caprizzi, Voice Director Andrea Romano and Executive Producer Greg Noveck. There is also a sneak-peek of the new “Justice League: The New Frontier” film and two features titled “Superman’s Last Stand” and “Behind the Voice”. I strongly recommend this film to Superman lover’s everywhere.

BALLYKISSANGEL - BBC

Father Peter Clifford has no idea what he’s in for when he’s assigned to a parish in the small Irish town of Ballykissangel. Meeting the hilarious characters that populate the gorgeous mountain town, Father Clifford must rely on his easygoing demeanor to keep himself from going nuts. The entire series of the show is collected here, and features one of the first starring roles for actor Colin Farrell.

HOME OF THE BRAVE - MGM

The Vietnam War provided plenty of cinematic ruminations on the futility of battle and the struggle of returning soldiers to adjust to normal life. With Home of the Brave, director Irwin Winkler applies similar concepts to the Iraq War of the early 21st century, positing actors Samuel L. Jackson, Jessica Biel, Brian Presley, and 50 Cent in the roles of army recruits who tussle with the mundanity of life after war. The action begins during the heat of battle, with an ambush that leaves many of its victims either dead or wounded. Winkler subsequently transports the action to the struggles his characters endure once safely back home, with alcoholism, prosthetic limbs, parental abuse, and a hostage crisis all causing innumerable problems, none of which are helped by a military that remains uninterested in their frantic pleas for help and guidance.

A MIGHTY HEART - Paramount

Prolific director Michael Winterbottom takes an unusual turn by helming A Mighty Heart, a studio picture starring Angelina Jolie. Jolie stars as Mariane Pearl, the widow of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. Daniel was kidnapped and executed in Pakistan in 2002, and Winterbottom’s film centers on the frantic activities leading up to his death. Fellow journalist Mariane revs into action as soon as the disappearance of her husband is announced, calling on the FBI and experts in terrorism to help in the desperate search. With the media circling around the story like hawks, Mariane endures a very public display of grief, and her plight is perfectly captured by the unlikely alliance of Winterbottom and Jolie. The film was shot mostly in Karachi and uses locations that Daniel was known to have visited, adding a heady dose of authenticity to the proceedings. Winterbottom uses shaky, hand-held cameras, which add to the feeling of chaos as multiple organizations descend on Pakistan in the quest to find Daniel; fortunately the director uses some much-needed on-screen captions to make sure viewers are up to speed on who everyone is. A Mighty Heart is tough, emotional viewing that will be challenging (yet rewarding) for many audiences, even those who are already familiar with this heartbreaking story.

HOLLOW MAN  - Columbia

Washington D.C. scientist Sebastian Caine (Kevin Bacon) is under contract with the U.S. government to formulate a serum which will render human beings invisible. When his test serum makes a laboratory gorilla disappear and then successfully brings her back, Caine decides that it is time for him to be the next guinea pig. He and his team are ecstatic when the serum work. When the antidote fails to work as it did on the gorilla, however, Caine finds himself in the initially enviable, but ultimately horrifying predicament of being permanently undetectable to the human eye. Faced with the opportunity to perpetrate any crime he desires without fear of apprehension, Caine gives in to his basest desires. But when he learns that his that his ex-girlfriend and assistant, Linda McKay (Elisabeth Shue), is involved with their fellow co-worker Matt Kensington (Josh Brolin), Caine goes over the deep end, and is willing to kill anyone who tries to stand in his way, including his trusted fellow researchers.

SHERMAN’S MARCH - History Channel

The story of General William Tecumseh Sherman, who helped devastate the South’s army at the end of the Civil War, is told here via vivid reconstructions of his actions.

SOPRANOS: Season Six, Part Two - HBO

The personal and professional adventures of Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) continue in this sixth season of episodes. This time out, Tony faces heightened tension between the New York and New Jersey families, as Johnny Sack’s (Vince Curatola) imprisonment causes innumerable problems. Christopher (Michael Imperioli), Paulie (Tony Sirico), and Silvio (Steve Van Zandt) still keep their eyes on the business end of Tony’s life, while Anthony Jr. (Robert Iler) and Meadow (Jamie Lynn Sigler) learn some tough lessons as the offspring of a notorious mob boss. As always, the ever-reliable Dr. Melfi (Lorraine Bracco) is on hand to beat off Tony’s advances and steady his nerves through her therapy sessions.

FANTASTIC FOUR: Rise of the Silver Surfer: BluRay - Fox

The sequel to the 2005 blockbuster Fantastic Four, Rise of the Silver Surfer finds the Marvel superhero quartet of Reed Richards (Ioan Gruffudd), Sue Storm (Jessica Alba), Johnny Storm (Chris Evans), and Ben Grimm (Michael Chiklis) facing an extraterrestrial threat in the form of the title character (played by Doug Jones and voiced by Laurence Fishburne), an enigmatic being whose presence on Earth could signal the planet’s end. Amidst the ensuing action, Reed and Sue attempt to tie the knot, and an old foe (Dr. Doom, portrayed by Julian McMahon) waits in the wings, allowing for plenty of levity and drama.

28 WEEKS LATER: BluRay - Fox

Danny Boyle’s surprise 2003 hit, 28 Days Later, gets the sequel treatment here. The zombies (again referred to as “the infected”) from the first film have died out and England is ready for repopulation. The American military are slowly bringing British citizens back to London, where a heavily guarded community is picking up the pieces and trying to return to normal life. Carlyle plays Don, a man who has lost his wife but is reunited with his children, Andy (Mackintosh Muggleton) and Tammy (Imogen Poots), near the start of Fresnadillo’s film. The two kids soon escape from the heavily guarded community, go off searching for their childhood home, and discover that mom might not be quite as dead as they originally thought. Chaos follows, with the sadistic military and the forlorn survivors battling both each other and “the infected.”

CIVIC DUTY  - Fox

A nervy, claustrophobic look at post-9/11 anti-terrorism hysteria, Civic Duty asks the difficult question: What would you do if you thought you next-door neighbor might be a terrorist? Our proxy in this rapid slide into paranoia is Terry Allen (Peter Krause) a newly unemployed accountant. With large amounts of free time, Terry finds himself glued to cable news channels and their constant updates of homeland security and threat of jihad from Muslim extremists. After noticing that Gabe (Khaled Abol Naga), the new neighbor across the courtyard in his apartment complex, is Middle Eastern and is often carrying boxes into his apartment with other Middle Eastern men, Terry becomes suspicious. After he notifies an FBI agent (Richard Schiff) of Gabe’s possibly dangerous activities, Terry’s own behavior becomes increasingly manic and dangerous, threatening both his marriage and his sanity.

HOSTEL - Sony

The hallowed tradition of the post-college European backpacking trip turns into an unimaginable nightmare for two unsuspecting American 20-somethings in Eli Roth’s sensational second outing. Paxton (Jay Hernandez) and Josh (Derek Richardson) have embarked upon a hedonistic tour of the continent, and somewhere along the way they picked up an Icelandic lunk named Oli (Eythor Gudjonsson). In Amsterdam the trio partakes of the pastimes most dear to frat boys everywhere: weed, prostitutes, and nightclubs. But when a fellow traveler tells these thrill-seekers about the decadent scene that awaits them in Bratislava, they find themselves unable to resist its lures; enticed by the promise of a hostel full of beautiful girls who love Americans, they set out for the remote areas of Eastern Europe. There, the sex farce to which the film’s first half is devoted slowly turns ominous, as the boys hook up immediately with the gorgeous Natalya (Barbara Nedeljakova) and Svetlana (Jana Kaderabkova), whose eagerness masks more sinister intentions.

SAM KATZMAN: Icons of Horror - Sony

This set contains four terrifying features from horror producer Sam Katzman: THE GIANT CLAW (1957), CREATURE WITH THE ATOM BRAIN (1955), ZOMBIES OF MORA TAU (1957), and THE WEREWOLF (1956). 12:08 EAST OF BUCHAREST - Tartan 16 years after the Revolution and just days before Christmas, a local television station in Bucharest has invited several guests to share their moments of glory, as they allegedly stormed city hall, chanting “down with Ceasescu!,” before Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, and his wife fled the presidential palace by helicopter so many years ago. An alcoholic history teacher and a lonely retiree, who moonlights as Santa, are forced to answer questions from dubious viewers who aren’t overly convinced that the Revolution ever took place in their city.

11:59 - Tartan

After breaking the story of his career, a broadcast journalist awakens to find himself in a mysterious field, with no memory of the past 24 hours. With strange events unfolding before him, Aaron is propelled on a quest to recover his lost past.

BOB THE BUILDER: Ultimate Adventure - HIT/Fox

Bob the Builder and his machine team are ready to tackle any project. As they hammer out the solutions that lead to a job well done, Bob and the can-do crew demonstrate the power of positive-thinking, problem-solving, teamwork and follow-through. Most importantly, from start to finish, the team always shows that The Fun Is In Getting It Done! Bob the Builder is produced by HOT Animation and can be seen building, digging and hauling on PBS KIDS(r) and PBS KIDS Sprout.

THOMAS & FRIENDS: Steam Engine Stories - HIT/Fox

Created by a father for his son, Thomas & Friends invites children to enter a world of imagination through the tracks of a train and the words of a story. Today, families in more than 100 countries enjoy fun and adventure with their engine friends while experiencing timeless life lessons including discovery, friendship and cooperation. Thomas & Friends is making tracks to great destinations weekly on PBS KIDS(r) and PBS KIDS Sprout.

Nick be reached at Nick@filmlords.com

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   Last Update:  October 17, 2007