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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  
BEWITCHED: Season Six - Sony

After a man (Darrin Stephens) marries a very pretty woman, he finds out on his honeymoon that she is a witch who twitches her nose & uses hand gestures to do witchcraft. Samantha (the witch) promises her husband to try not to use any magic as long as they are married. Her mom, Endora, disapproves of the marriage & is always trying to break them up. Get set for more silly witchcraft, enchantments and fun with season six of Bewitched. The whole cast is back again for more side-splitting humor with exceptional performances from Elizabeth Montgomery, Dick York, and Agnes Moorehead. This season has more first-rate episodes including “Samantha’s Curious Cravings”, “Darrin, the Warlock”, “Super Arthur” and “Okay, Who’s the Wise Witch?. Special Guest Stars this season include Jack Cassidy, Bernie Kopell, Henry Gibson, Johnny Whitaker and Carol Wayne with returning performances from Erin Murphy, Bernard Fox, Maurice Evans, Sandra Gould, Kasey Rogers and the lovable Paul Lynde. The DVD contains all 30 episodes on four discs complete with a synopsis on the back of each volume and great stills of the cast for artwork. Each episode is in color and presented in Full Screen format with Dolby Digital sound.


This TV animated series follows the adventures of Mr. Fantastic, The Invisible Woman, The Human Torch and The Thing, otherwise known as Marvel’s most famous family, the Fantastic Four. Following the original comic story-lines, characters, and plots, the Fantastic Four will battle their most famous villains including their mortal enemy, Dr. Doom. Continue the adventures of the Fantastic Four in this animated spin-off of the comic book and recent films. This animated series captures the flavor of the story with cutting edge animation to boot. The voices work well on the screen in addition to entertaining stories bringing out the best in the team. Volume 3 contains four classic episodes putting the team in countless dangers against impossible odds. Among the villains in this set are Doctor Doom and Annihilus with a special appearance from Iron Man. Cash in on the action today with this great set. The DVD contains four more episodes in this explosive series. It is a shame that they didn’t release more volumes at once. All episodes are in Full Frame format with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround. There are no bonus features offered in this volume.


A young artist creates a mannequin so perfect that he falls in love with it only to have it come to life. This is one of those classic 80s quirky love stories that showcases “ultra camp” with good wholesome humor in a ridiculous surrounding. Andrew MCarthy was at the top of his game at this point coming off of “Saint Elmo’s Fire”. “Mannequin” put McCarthy in the spotlight with young Kim Cattrall for a match made in heaven and on the screen. Both performances are great and show the creativity of director Michael Gottlieb. Some other familiar faces in the film include G.W Bailey, Meshach Taylor and James Spader. The story is cute and ends in the usual way with the guy getting the girl, or in this case, the mannequin. Overall, I thought this film was a bit too silly. Some films should be left in the 80s. Mannequin 2: On the Move. A department store employee falls in love with a mannequin that is inhabited by a 17th century ghost. Ok, this sequel is stupid. The first one had enough of a ridiculous plot, but this one goes to the next level of “idiot”. The only redeeming quality of either film is the female “eye candy” of Kim Cattrall and Kristy Swanson. William Ragsdale is not as convincing as Andrew McCarthy in his role, but he obviously had little to work with. The story is weak and the script is pathetic. I know we have to think outside the box but this is not even “good thinking”. The soundtrack by David McHugh is even weak. I would pass on both of these films in favor of “Weekend at Bernie’s” or “Sixteen Candles”. At least there is a story there and a palatable script. Both movies are presented in Widescreen format with Dolby Surround. No extras are in this set.


Francis Ford Coppola returns to the director’s chair for the first time in nearly a decade with his ambitious parable Youth Without Youth. Set in Romania on the eve of World War II, the tale begins when 70-year-old linguistics professor Dominic Matei (Tim Roth) is struck by lightning, miraculously restoring him to the flower of youth. Swaddled in bandages, blind, and mute, Dominic astounds his doctor (Bruno Ganz) with his swift recovery--new teeth, smooth skin, and a shining mane of hair--and even the young nurses start to take an interest in the dashing, vigorous septuagenarian. But things turn perilous when the Third Reich learns of Dominic’s rejuvenation and wants to harness his new, superhuman abilities. On the run in wartorn Europe, Dominic uses his powers to keep one step ahead of the Nazis and finish his life’s work, an expansive study on language and human consciousness. The unpredictable plot thickens when Dominic falls for Veronica (Alexandra Maria Lara), a beautiful young woman who reminds him of a lost love and, what’s more, has also had a fateful encounter with lightning--leaving her possessed by the spirits of her past lives! As she journeys from Switzerland to Malta to India, Veronica’s unusual predicament may hold the key to completing Dominic’s encyclopedic masterwork, but perhaps at the cost of their new life together.

P.S. I LOVE YOU - Warner

Two-time Oscar winner Hillary Swank tries her hand at romantic comedy\ in this touching film based on the bestselling Irish novel. Holly Kennedy (Swank) and her charming Irish husband Gerry (Gerard Butler) are a young couple struggling to get by in New York City. Their marriage is 10 years strong, and they are madly in love, but the fates soon step in, when Gerry develops cancer and dies. Holly is completely devastated, and her friends Denise (Lisa Kudrow) and Sharon (Gina Gershon) do their best to console her. Her mother (Kathy Bates) and sister, Rose (Nellie Mckay), also offer their support, but it seems nothing can pull Holly out of her grief. Then one day, she begins to receive love letters Gerry penned before his death. The letters are filled with various stories and instructions, and one of them even contains a plan that sends her and her friends on a trip to Ireland. As Gerry’s posthumous letters buoy her up, Holly slowly begins to piece her life back together. His letters help her to celebrate their special love story, and remind her that she must continue to live her life, and seek out happiness.

27 DRESSES: Blu-ray - Fox

Jane is idealistic, romantic and completely selfless – a perennial bridesmaid whose own happy ending is nowhere in sight. But when younger sister Tess captures the heart of Jane’s boss -- with whom she is secretly in love – Jane begins to reexamine her “always-a-bridesmaid....” This is a wonderful family film that will leave you with a smile on your face!


Denzel Washington directs and stars in this uplifting drama based on a true story about a small East Texas all-black college in 1935 that rises to the top of the nation’s debate teams in a duel against Harvard. A poet and debating coach at Wiley College, Professor Melvin Tolson (Washington) sees debating as “a blood sport” and recruits the meanest and brightest, including troubled Henry (Nate Parker), driven Samantha (Jurnee Smollet), and the 14-year-old prodigy James Farmer, Jr. (Denzel Whitaker). Oscar winner Forest Whitaker (no relation) plays Farmer’s father, the initially unsupportive president of the school. There’s tough training, romantic heat over the attentions of fiery Samantha (the first girl on the team), and some no holds-barred racism (including a witnessed lynching) before the big match-up against the Ivy League school, adding to the overall emotional force. Though feel-good historical competition movies like this have been done before, Washington serves up his effort as a lean, mean family dinner, with minimum fuss and maximum nutritional-educational value. Historical accuracy may be thrown to the wind more than once--Farmer is the only real student among the team, and the final debate was against USC, not Harvard--but the acting is uniformly superb. It’s great to watch these kids slowly incorporate Tolson’s incredible poise and intellectual rigor into their lives, and the message is as important as ever.

THE 4400: Season Four - Paramount

When 4400 alien abductees return to earth just as mysteriously as they vanished, the Department of Homeland Security demands answers. But even more pressing than the concerns of the government are the experiences of the victims as they readjust to life on earth. Upon their return, these formerly missing persons lose all memory of what happened to them. Though they can’t remember where they’ve been, they are haunted by the knowledge that their experiences have changed them. Operating in a cloud of unknowns, the victims start to go through mysterious changes, gaining powers that they can’t always control. A moody, innovative take on sci-fi television drama, THE 4400 continues with this collection of all 13 episodes of the series’ fourth season.


Screenwriter Jeff Lowell makes his directorial debut with the slightly unconventional romantic comedy Over Her Dead Body. Overbearing bridezilla Kate (Eva Longoria Parker) is reviewing final details at the reception venue on her wedding day when the unthinkable happens: she’s crushed by an ice sculpture of an angel before she makes it to the altar. A year later, her fiancÈ, Henry (Paul Rudd), is still devastated. To appease his concerned sister, Chloe (Lindsay Sloan), he visits Ashley (Lake Bell), a caterer and sometime psychic, in an attempt to contact Kate in the afterlife and gain some closure. Henry and Ashley hit it off, but misguided spirit Kate hasn’t quite made it to heaven yet, and takes to haunting Ashley to protect her ex-fiancÈ from his potential new love interest. Will this otherworldly interference keep Henry from moving on with Ashley? Or will Kate realize that the best gift she can give Henry is happiness with someone new? Jason Biggs stars as Dan, Ashley’s best friend and catering partner, who is a hiding a big secret from her. Rudd is his usual likable self as Henry, a veterinarian who manages to find humor in every situation despite his lingering sadness. Watch for a very amusing scene with his pet parrot. Longoria looks great as a very fashionable ghost, sporting a new hairdo and a new white outfit almost every time she appears on screen. Bell exudes an air of earnestness and optimism as Ashley, who decides that love is worth being haunted by a ghost.


Nicolas Cage stars as the brilliant Benjamin Franklin Gates, third generation treasure hunter. All his life, Gates has been searching fora treasure no one believed existed: amassed through the ages, moved across continents, to become the greatest treasure the world has ever known. Hidden by our Founding Fathers, they left clues to the Treasure’s location right before our eyes ... from our nation’s birthplace, to the nation’s capitol, to clues buried within the symbols on the dollar bill. Gates’ life-long journey leads him to the last place anyone thought to look: a map hidden on the back of the Declaration of Independence. But what he thought was the final clue is only the beginning. Gates realizes in order to protect the world’s greatest treasure, he must now do the unthinkable: steal the most revered, best guarded document in American history before it falls into the wrong hands. In a race against time, Gates must elude the authorities, stay one step ahead of his ruthless adversary (Sean Bean), decipher the remaining clues and unlock the 2000 year-old mystery behind our greatest national treasure.

NATIONAL TREASURE: Book of Secrets -

Blu-ray - Disney

Treasure hunter Ben Gates (Nicolas Cage) embarks on a new adventure in director Jon Turtletaub’s sequel to National Treasure. Ben and his father, Patrick (Jon Voight), take great pride in their ancestors and their family’s devotion to the United States. When Mitch Wilkinson (Ed Harris) produces a page from the diary of Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth allegedly linking Ben’s great-great grandfather to the plot, Ben and Patrick set out on a path to clear their family’s name. Ben also believes that the diary page contains hints to the whereabouts of a treasure map leading to an ancient city made of gold, and soon the hunt is on. Tech expert Riley Poole (Justin Bartha) and Ben’s now ex-girlfriend Abigail Chase (Diane Kruger) join the Gates in their quest, which takes them from Washington, DC, to Paris, London and the Black Hills of South Dakota. It’s true that the storyline and the actions of Gates and his team--which include breaking into the Queen’s study at Buckingham Palace, sneaking into the Oval Office, and kidnapping the President of the United States--are completely unbelievable. But with a storyline built on true, interesting trivia and great locations, this film is an amusing, family-friendly romp. Cage has some great moments as Gates-- loyal, patriotic, fair to a fault, and very funny as he goads on Buckingham Palace security. Harris plays Wilkinson with just the right air of mystery and menace: is he after fortune, or does he just want to leave his own mark in history? Helen Mirren fits the bill as Ben’s mother and Patrick’s\ estranged ex-wife, Emily, a scholar and historian in her own right.

SHALL WE DANCE: Blu-ray - Miramax

A workaholic lawyer’s life and marriage take an unexpected twirl when he follows a beautiful woman to a Chicago dance studio and becomes a clandestine ballroom dance competitor in Shall We Dance. What begins as a romantic comedy soon turns into an exhilarating tale about the unexpected places one finds passion. Shall We Dance is directed by Peter Chelsom from a screenplay by Audrey Wells (“Under The Tuscan Sun”) based on the runaway Japanese hit that won fans around the world. Inspired by the Japanese film’s light-hearted wit and thrilling dance sequences, this new version brings the story to the American search for fulfillment and happiness. Richard Gere stars as John Clark, a man with a wonderful job, charming wife (Susan Sarandon) and loving family, who nevertheless feels that something is missing as he makes his way every day through the city. Each evening on his commute home, John sees an entrancing young teacher (Jennifer Lopez) staring with a lost expression through the window of a dance studio. Haunted by her gaze, John impulsively jumps off the train one night, and signs up for dance lessons hoping to meet her. At first, it seems like a mistake. His teacher turns out to be not Paulina, but the older Miss Mitzi (Anita Gillette), and John proves just as clumsy as his equally clueless classmates on the dance-floor. Even worse, when he does meet Paulina, she icily tells John she hopes he has come to the studio to seriously study dance and not to look for a date. But, as his lessons continue, John discovers that his attraction to Paulina pales in comparison to the invigorating effects of falling in love with dancing. Now, keeping his new obsession from family and co-workers, John feverishly trains for Chicago’s biggest dance competition. His friendship with Paulina blossoms, as his enthusiasm rekindles her own lost passion for dance. But the more time John spends away from home, the more his wife becomes suspicious until she hires a private detective to uncover a possible affair. With his secret about to be revealed, John will have to do some fancy footwork to keep his dream going and realize what it is he really yearns for.

Nick be reached at Nick@filmlords.com

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   Last Update:  May 28, 2008