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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 Reviews  

SEINFELD: The Complete Series Giftset - Sony

No show captured the eccentricities of New York like the Larry David created sitcom Seinfeld. Helping to define America’s view of New Yorkers, the series gained endless fans over its nine season run. Though it wasn’t the first show to assert the rudeness of Gotham’s citizens, its characters are selfish to a fault--not that there’s anything wrong with that. Self-obsessed comedian Jerry Seinfeld is joined in the cast by his neurotic ex-girlfriend, Elaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus); his chronically lazy pal, George (Jason Alexander); and Cosmo Kramer (Michael Richards), who takes the sitcom clichČ of the weird neighbor to impressive new heights. Despite their faults (or perhaps because of them), they’re some of the most hilariously watchable characters in television history. The entire series is presented here.

EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND: The Complete Series - HBO

Ray Romano’s long-running and much-loved sitcom finally comes to an end after nine seasons, during which time audiences did indeed come to love Raymond. A surprise hit when it first came out, the show was based on Romano’s stand-up routine that targets married life from the male perspective. He plays Ray Barone, a successful sports writer living on Long Island, who by all accounts has it all: a beautiful wife, Debra (Patricia Heaton), upon whom he dotes, great kids, and a successful career. But familial bliss is constantly interrupted by Ray’s meddlesome parents, Frank (Peter Boyle) and Marie (Doris Roberts), who live across the street; an annoying brother, Robert (Brad Garrett), further gets in the way. Needless to say, none of the family members believe in knocking. In the final season, Frank and Marie are on the verge of moving to a retirement home, until Debra voices some doubts. Ray learns the joys of angry sex, while Debra’s divorced parents rekindle their own relationship over Thanksgiving--or do they? Frank endures some unfortunate side effects to his potency medication, while a minor faux pas Ray makes with a friend of his son’s spins wildly out of control. The entire series is presented here.

SHREK THE THIRD - Dreamworks

In the third installment of the wildly popular Shrek series of computer-animated movies, everyone’s favorite hygienically challenged green ogre (voiced by Mike Myers) faces both parental and royal responsibility when his wife, Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz), finds out that she is pregnant and that her father, King Harold (John Cleese), is on his death bed. The shock of these revelations leads Shrek on a journey with his loyal companions Donkey (Eddie Murphy) and Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) to seek out another heir to the throne--an awkward young boy named Artie Pendragon (Justin Timberlake). Waiting in the wings is the scheming Prince Charming (Rupert Everett), who sees the perfect opportunity to make his own bid for power and rallies a villainous crew to attack the castle.

PRISON BREAK: Season One - Fox

Lincoln Burrows (Dominic Purcell) is the victim of a political conspiracy that is determined to bring him down, and the only one who can save him is his brother, Michael Scofield (Wentworth Miller). A prison engineer, Michael gets himself arrested and locked up in the same prison where his brother sits on death row, intending to use his intimate knowledge of the jail to help them both escape. Unfortunately, Michael isn’t prepared for what he finds on the inside--but he remains determined to see his plan through. This collection includes the entire first season.

PAPRIKA - Sony

With Paprika, Satoshi Kon unleashes another eye-popping anime adventure. The visually striking thriller is set in the not-too-distant future, where doctors are developing a groundbreaking new psychotherapy treatment called PT. This coincides with the invention of a device called the “DC Mini,” which enables researchers to enter the dreams of a subject and explore matters of the unconscious mind. But one day, a “DC Mini” prototype goes missing, and the doctors are thrown into a world of confusion. They realize how dangerous a turn of events this could be, and to ensure that things don’t spiral out of control, they embark on a mad quest to track down the missing prototype. The pretty but timid Dr. Atsuko Chiba teams up with the food-loving Dr. Tokita to find his assistant, Himuro, who has disappeared. Unfortunately, it is at this time that Atsuko’s boss, Torataro Shima, tries to commit suicide. Dr. Tokita calls in an old friend, Detective Konakawa, to help the team find an answer to the rapidly devolving problem. As the characters use their dreamworld alter egos to enter the dreams of troubled patients, the line between reality and unreality begins to blur, until no one knows for sure what is real and what isn’t. An adaptation of a story by the acclaimed Japanese writer Yasutaka Tsutsui, Paprika tells a tough-to-decipher, but spellbinding, tale. Kon’s thought-provoking film features an absurdly catchy J-pop score and an unforgettable visual landscape.

I KNOW WHO KILLED ME - Sony

An idyllic small town is rocked when Aubrey Fleming (Lindsay Lohan), a bright and promising young college student is abducted and tortured by a sadistic serial killer. When she manages to escape, the traumatized young woman who regains consciousness in the hospital insists that she is not who they think she is -and that the real Aubrey is still in mortal danger. A taut and stylish psychological thriller with a captivating riddle at its center, I Know Who Killed Me explores the dark side of identity, family and obsession.

HAIRSPRAY - New Line

Originally written and directed by filmmaker John Waters in 1988, and then put on Broadway, the camp musical Hairspray could easily have run its course with viewers. But thanks to playful direction, flashy costumes, over-the-top performances, and a positive message of peace, this newest spin proves to be yet another enjoyable incarnation. Set in 1960s Baltimore, the story follows a plump young girl named Tracy Turnblad (Nikki Blonski) on an amazing journey as her dream of dancing on the popular Corny Collins Show becomes a reality. The local television program is a shiny spectacle spear-headed by Corny Collins (James Marsden), a gang of young dancers, and producer Velma Von Tussle (Michelle Pfeiffer), a seductress ice queen whose manipulative ways ensure her daughter Amber (Brittany Snow) gets more than her fair share of screen time as one of the show’s stars. When Tracy shows up at an open call, Velma can barely contain her rage, and sets out to rid the show of Tracy and the talented black dancers who make up the show’s popular “Negro Day.” Thus begins a war of talent and a battle for justice, with those in favor of integration meeting many obstacles along the way.

GENE SIMMONS FAMILY JEWELS: Season Two - A&E

Gene Simmons isn’t just the frontman of KISS; he’s also a dedicated family man, in his own decidedly offbeat way. The second season of this nutty reality series finds the family just as close and just as entertaining as ever. Highlights include appearances by crazy Aunt Tracy, some revelatory moments for Gene’s teenaged offspring, and matching his-and-hers facelifts for Gene and Shannon. All 22 episodes are included in this release. Trust me - you have never seen the king of rock like this!

RATATOUILLE: Blu-Ray - Disney

A rat named Remy (Patton Oswalt) lives in Paris with a dream (and the talent) to be a chef. Opting to raid the kitchens of Paris rather than the garbage cans and sewers of the city with his family, Remy is inspired by the philosophy of one of the city’s most legendary chefs, the late Gusteau (Brad Garrett). One night, Remy can’t resist practicing his skill in Gusteau’s restaurant. While his guard is down, Remy is discovered by a klutzy young man, Linguini (Lou Romano), who cleans the kitchen. Together Remi and Linguini become a culinary duo, with Remy playing puppeteer by concealing himself under Linguini’s chef’s hat. Remy pulls Linguini’s hair to direct his hands, helping to bring Remy’s creations to life. Soon Gusteau’s restaurant becomes the talk of the town--but would it still be the toast of Paris if everyone knew a rat was running the show? The positioning of a city-dwelling rodent with a distinct palate and the aptitude to concoct mouthwatering dishes in one of Paris’s finest eateries is the winning ingredient in Ratatouille’s inspirational presentation. And Remy’s brave conviction to break away from the pack and risk his life for what he loves and believes in gives the film a positive and heartwarming message for all ages.

THE AWFUL TRUTH - Docurama

From the critically acclaimed, Emmy Award winning, and always confrontational filmmaker Michael Moore comes a television series that publicly exploits the truths that many would rather be kept secret.

His insistent and excessively persistent “guerilla” style approach has led him into controversial confrontations with the Mayor of New York, high-powered industrialists, and numerous conflicts with the law. Even his Corporate Crime-Fighting Chicken landed itself in Disney World’s very own jail! Comedy meets controversy in this complete series of The Awful Truth.

Nick be reached at Nick@filmlords.com

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   Last Update:  January 02, 2008