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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  

GOMER PYLE: Season Three - Paramount

Gomer Pyle was a sweet but not too smart Marine from Mayberry, North Carolina who was stationed at Camp Henderson near Los Angeles, California. Gomer’s innocence, naivete and low-key demeanor often got him into trouble, most frequently at the hands of his loud-mouthed superior, Sgt. Carter. This show continues to be one of the funniest sitcoms in the history of TV! Jim Nabors reprises his role as Gomer Pyle with all of his innocent country hospitality. Frank Sutton is also back as the lovable and intense Sgt. Carter. I think of Gomer Pyle as the original Forrest Gump of the Marines. One never knows what will happen next in Pyle’s mind!! Some of this seasons highlight includes “Marry Me, Marry Me” finding Gomer engaged, “Gomer, The Recruiter” where Gomer recruits a bank robber and “Gomer, The Welsh Rarebit Fiend” involving Gomer sleepwalking. I promise you will be laughing endlessly with each timeless classic. The DVD set contains all 30 episodes on five discs presented in Full Screen format with restored picture and sound. The packaging is attractive with lots of funny shots from the show and an episode synopsis on the inside cover.

THE BATMAN: Season Four - Warner

This series takes place in Batman’s third year of trying to save the mighty city of Gotham with this help of an orphan named Dick Grayson. As animated series go, this one is quite good. The story of Batman has been told time and again from other animated shows to comics and eventually TV and Film. This series has more realistic moments leaving out the “campy” humor from other shows. The stories are very well-written and the casting for the voices is excellent. Animation never looked better in this series. I really enjoyed how they drew the characters with a hint of Japanese Animation. Batman looks sinister and the effect is overpowering during the fight scenes. This set contains all thirteen episodes on two discs with superior picture and sound. Special features include “The Batman: Season 4 Unmasked”. If you are a fan of the franchise, I would suggest adding this to your collection.

YOUNG INDIANA JONES: Volume One - Paramount

This show shares the first adventures of Indiana Jones as a young boy. Getting this set of DVDs is like winning the lottery for me. I have wanted this set since I saw the show on TV and hoped that they would eventually make it to DVD. The show is basically the background stories of Indiana Jones that eventually lead to the feature films. Sean Patrick Flanery portrays the part of Indiana Jones and does a remarkable job. I never felt like I was getting cheated a performance when he was on the screen. The supporting cast adds greatly to the stories starting with George Hall as Dr. Jones and Ronny Coutteure as Remy. The cast works well together and are convincing to the watcher. I thought that the stories were very creative and entertaining. One of my favorites was the episode “Spring Break Adventure” involving Thomas Edison and Pancho Villa. The music for the series is also memorable due to the talents of Joel McNeely and Laurence Rosenthal.

The overall special effects, costumes and set design are nothing short of a major film making this a great companion to the series. Another feather goes to George Lucas for this great masterpiece. The DVD box set contains the first batch of episodes in a 12-disc with tons of extras. Each episode has been re-mastered in picture and sound. All episodes have their own special features and commentary. Disc 12 is a special interactive disc putting you in the timeline of historical events along with Indiana Jones. The box art and construction are very attractive with pictures and painting from the show. This set will brighten anyone’s Christmas.

TITANIC: Anniversary Edition - Paramount

Beginning with an undersea expedition in the 1990s, in which scuba divers are searching the sunken ship for lost relics, a painting of young Rose DeWitt Bukater (Kate Winslet) is found. This triggers a flashback to the young woman’s story as it happened on the doomed Titanic. Rose is a daughter of privilege on her way to be married to an arrogant but wealthy young man (Billy Zane). Despairing, Rose finds herself falling in love with Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio), a carefree and poor young artist who is also aboard. When the great ship strikes an iceberg and begins to sink, Rose and Jack have only each other as their world falls apart around them.

BAD SANTA: Blu-Ray - Dimension

This holiday season the traditional Christmas tale will never be the same with the cleverly twisted, merrily irreverent story of a Santa so bad he’s wickedly funny. Terry Zwigoff’s Bad Santa stars Billy Bob Thornton as one of the most crooked, corrupted and downright hysterical Kris Kringles ever to grace the screen. Inspired by a mix of movie classics including the outrageous one-liners and outcasts of “The Bad News Bears” and the riotous impertinence of “South Park,” with a dash of the holiday spirit of “A Christmas Carol,” albeit one that would make Dickens wince, Bad Santa is a Christmas comedy unlike any other.

THE SISSI COLLECTION - Koch

The Sissi Collection includes the trilogy of romantic films about the Austrian princess: Sissi, The Young Empress, and Sissi: The Fatefull Years of the Empress. The three movies follow the adventures of Sissi and her husband Kaiser Franz Josef (Karl Heinz Bˆhm). Romy Schneider, stars as the young princess, who has to endure the frustrations of court life in Vienna and a difficult mother-in-law. This popular series of costume dramas was directed by Ernst Marischka, and this collection also includes two of his other movies, The Story of Vicki and Forever My Love.

FUTURAMA: Benders Big Score - Fox

The first feature length production of television’s hit sci-fi animated parody is loaded with all the absurd and intelligent humor that makes the series so much fun. Planet Express has become the victim of a hostile takeover by a company of lurid spammers and the new bosses want to send Bender back in time to steal the world’s most valuable treasures. Where does this ability to send him back in time come from? Fry’s butt, of course. And that’s just the beginning of this wild ride, with the usual cast of characters as well as cameo appearances by Al Gore and Coolio.

THE ROCKET - Palm

The extraordinary story of Maurice “The Rocket” Richard, whose tireless fight on and off the ice ignited – and forever changed – a generation. As a young boy from blue collar QuÈbec, Richard had a dream to play in the National Hockey League. Beneath his soft-spoken, working class exterior burned a passion that transformed this young factory working into “The Rocket.” In the 1950s pre-helmet days of hockey, facing constant discrimination, The Rocket played with a finesse, speed, and the fire that defied all odds and made him a legend.

12 Angry Men - MGM

Sidney Lumet’s directorial debut is a snapshot of the American judicial system in action. Twelve average New York males convene in a very small jury room on a very hot day in order to reach a verdict in a murder trial. Almost everyone wants to vote guilty and get on with their lives except for Juror No. 8 (Henry Fonda), a conscientious citizen who insists on establishing reasonable doubt. Arguments are made, cigarettes are smoked, murder weapons examined, diagrams drawn, and prejudices revealed. Firm opinions weaken and reverse; voices get raised, the clock ticks, and a ghetto kid’s life hangs in the balance. Lumet’s direction and camerawork steadily builds pressure into the plot. Things start out casual, but wind up so close and tight you can count the pores on the actors’ noses. Fonda is good in a role well-suited to his extra-large sense of human dignity but the stealth giant in this actors dozen is the ferocious Lee J. Cobb. Jack Klugman, E.G. Marshall, Martin Balsam, Ed Begley, and Jack Warden play some of the other jurors, and a better assemblage of grizzled method actors shouting at each other won’t likely come again. 12 Angry Men was originally written for television, it is a true classic of the anti-McCarthy message era, and is not to be missed.

THE FAMILY HOLIDAY - Porchlight

There’s one thing a con man usually doesn’t have--stability. But that’s going to have to change for one lovable, if a little unscrupulous, small-time criminal if he wants to inherit his uncle’s $20 million. And not only that, he’s going to have to get a real job, a real home, and a real family to prove that he’s entitled to the cash. Can he pull off the biggest con of his life? Or will he discover something more meaningful than just ripping people off in this charming Christmas season comedy for the whole family.

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND: Blu-Ray - Sony

Close Encounters is Steven Spielberg’s extraordinary film about a man named Roy Neary (Richard Dreyfuss) who becomes obsessed with meeting extraterrestrials after encountering a UFO on an abandoned road one night. Against the wishes of his wife (Teri Garr) and children, Neary, along with another witness to the sighting (Melinda Dillon), travels to a mysterious mountain where the government has built a landing strip hoping to attract the aliens. Director FranÁois Truffaut costars as Claude Lacombe, one of the organizers of the project. Spielberg hoped to follow up the huge success of JAWS with a low-budget film that would be an easy shoot, but, thanks in part to the complicated special effects, Close Encounters quickly snowballed into being an expensive endeavor but a commercial and artistic success. No one who has seen the film has ever looked at a plate of mashed potatotes the same way again.

Nick be reached at Nick@filmlords.com

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   Last Update:  January 09, 2008