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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  

GATTACA - Sony

In the 21st century, genetic engineering makes possible the creation of biologically superior human specimens (“valids”), who then grow to positions of power and prestige. Would-be astronaut Vincent (Ethan Hawke) born the old-fashioned way, can only hope for a janitorial position at the elite Gattaca Corporation--until he buys the blood, urine, and identity of a perfect but paralyzed athlete. But a murder in the company’s ranks attracts the attention of a detective who threatens to sniff Vincent out.

AUGUST RUSH - Warner

August Rush is part romance, part gentle fantasy, but this sweet drama is all heart. When young cellist Lyla (Keri Russell) and rock musician Louis (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) meet at a party in the mid 1990s, it’s love at first sight, and they spend the night in each other’s arms.

But Lyla’s father forces them apart, even though she later learns she’s pregnant. Later, an accident lands Lyla in the hospital, and though her father tells her that her baby died, the child survives and is given up for adoption. August Rush jumps to the present and begins to follow Evan (Freddie Highmore), an 11 year old who has grown up in a boys’ home. As Evan embarks on a crusade to find his parents, he imagines he can communicate with them through his gift for music. His journey to New York City brings him into contact with Wizard (Robin Williams), a man eager to capitalize on the child prodigy’s talent. Wizard gives Evan the name August Rush as he begins performing all over the city, but the boy’s ultimate goal is to find the parents he has never met.

NANCY DREW - Warner

Legendary teenage sleuth Nancy Drew enters the 21st century in this feature film from director Andrew Fleming. In Nancy’s (Emma Roberts) latest mystery, she and her father (Tate Donovan) make a temporary move from rural River Heights to Los Angeles. Determined to make the most of her stay, Nancy has chosen them a rental home with a notorious past: the mysterious death of its owner, starlet Dehlia Draycott, in the early 1980s. The closer Nancy edges towards the truth, the more trouble she encounters from someone who clearly doesn’t want the mystery solved. To make matters worse, old-fashioned Nancy doesn’t quite fit in with the cool kids--or anyone else--at Hollywood High, except for younger would-be Romeo Corky (Josh Flitter).

FLIGHT 29 DOWN: Season Two - Genius

What started as a school trip became the greatest adventure of their lives when these students crash-landed on a mysterious tropical island. How would they survive? How would they get rescued? And perhaps most importantly, how would they manage to get along? Here’s the complete collection of the second season of one of TV’s all-time great teenage adventure stories. Combining high drama with important life lessons, it’s a perfect program for the whole family to enjoy and discuss as the characters learn not just about survival, but about themselves.

DALLAS: Season Eight - Warner

The saga of the wealthy Ewing family - patriarch Jock Ewing, who started Ewing Oil, the family corporation; Miss Ellie, his wife who properly managed Southfork Ranch, the family home; and their three sons - J.R., the ruthless CEO of Ewing Oil, married to former Miss Texas Sue Ellen Shepard; Bobby, the nice guy, who married Pamela Barnes, daughter of the Ewing’s chief business rival; and Gary, considered an outcast by his father, who eventually moved to California with his wife Valene.Season eight opens with new faces including cousin Jamie Ewing played by Jenilee Harrison and Donna Reed playing the part of Miss Ellie. This was done to give Barbara Bel Geddes time to recover from illnesses. There is lots of drama and action in this season making it one of the most memorable in the series including the stunning cliffhanger. I feel like this show just gets more interesting with each season. The cast is showing some wear, but the writers bring in fresh characters to help supplement the original cast and mixing and matching personalities resulting in all sorts of bizarre plot lines. The show still surrounds what J.R. will say or do next, but the supporting cast puts variety in the shows and keeping the stories from being too one-sided.

CRIMSON TIDE: Blu-ray - Disney

Mutiny on the USS Alabama! The Executive Officer (Denzel Washington) of the Submarine Alabama prevents the Captain (excellently portrayed by Gene Hackman) from nuking the Russians by mistake during a global crisis. This is an intense film that will keep your attention to the very end. This Blu-Ray edition looks fantastic—excellent black levels and no artifacts. The audio is even better. Your subwoofer and surrounds will get a real workout with this PCM 5.1 uncompressed sound. This is the best sounding DVD I have heard to date. Your living room will turn into a submarine when you watch this DVD. Put this one on your list. There are a few extras included with this disc that include a making of feature and seven deleted scenes.

JIMMY CARTER: Man from the Plains - Sony

Jonathan Demme returns to documentary filmmaking for this dvd, which focuses on the former president’s book tour in support of Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid. The director and his subject clearly share a taste for unusual career choices, making them the perfect match for each other. Demme and his camera crew followed Carter over a three-month period beginning in late 2006. The footage they gleaned from these mammoth sessions includes lectures and plenty of debates, many of which offer a dual perspective on both Carter’s life and the media machine that hounds his every step. The most remarkable aspect of the director’s film is the boundless enthusiasm Carter has at the age of 83. Faced with reporters asking him questions about a book they don’t seem to have read, an endless number of signings to attend, and countless plane trips, the former president shows incredible patience and understanding.

Nick be reached at Nick@filmlords.com

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   Last Update:  April 02, 2008