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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  

THE FUGITIVE: Season Two, Vol. One - Paramount

A doctor wrongly convicted for a murder he didn’t commit, escapes custody and must stay ahead of the police to find the real killer. David Janssen reprises his role as Dr. Richard Kimble in this stunning second season of The Fugitive. David Janssen continues his search for the one-armed man who was responsible for the murder of his lovely wife. The stories are getting more intense each week as we get closer to the killer. Barry Morse returns as the inspector chasing after Kimble. We are seeing a change in the inspector as clues are emerging showing Kimble as t he innocent victim. Barry Morse and Janssen’s performances on the screen show the depth of their talents creating a tone that only they can portray. Peter Rugolo continues to provide a high-paced action Main Theme and great episode music. Additional music for the series includes music from Gunsmoke and the Twilight Zone. The DVD presents the first 15 episodes of season two on four discs with restored picture and sound. The synopsis for each episode is on the inside cover.

CITY SLICKERS - Fox

Three men from the big city leave their boring jobs for a high-paced action adventure in the wild old west in the hopes to regain some excitement in their lives. City Slickers is a “One-of-a-Kind” film that will last a lifetime. Billy Crystal, Bruno Kirby and Daniel Stern are priceless on the screen and provide endless laughter throughout the film. Jack Palance plays the perfect “villain” in the film. His character is the quintessential “old cowboy” that is trying to hold on to what means the most to him. Crystal and Palance are an amazing combination which puts this film on a higher level than the standard comedy. I am convinced that this is one of the best films coming from the 1990s. The DVD presents the film in Widescreen format with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround. Extras include commentary with Director Ron Underwood, Billy Crystal and Daniel Stern. Featurettes include “Back in the Saddle: City Slickers Revisited”, “Bringing in the Script”, “A Star is Born: Ode to Norman” and “The Real City Slickers”. There are also deleted scenes. This is a great film and a perfect way to start your summer off.

CONTROL - Genius

Control is as near perfect a filmic telling of the story of Joy Division and Ian Curtis as any fan could hope for. It’s also a beautifully rendered piece of cinema about the crippling effects of love and regret, and the salvation we seek in art. Born out of England’s post-Sex Pistols punk explosion, Joy Division played a dark, minimalist version of the nascent sound, and became cult heroes thanks in part to their brilliant yet disturbed frontman Ian Curtis (played by an eerily perfect Sam Riley). Corbijn does a wonderful job recreating the Manchester band’s music and live show, cutting straight to the essence of Joy Division’s unique appeal. Credit must also be given to the three actors who portray the rest of Joy Division. Playing all the instruments themselves, they perfectly capture the band’s powerfully stoic presence, one that translates both live and on record into the sonic equivalent of an existential crisis.

THE WALKER - ThinkFilm

In The Walker, his lonely man is Carter Page III (Woody Harrelson), a charming social accessory in the Capote vein, escorting the wives of high-powered politicians to society gatherings and offering witty rejoinders at the appropriate moment. Dressed in a peacock’s assortment of tailored suits, Carter attends an exclusive, trash-talking canasta game with the wilting wives of D.C. power brokers: queen bee Natalie Van Miter (Lauren Bacall), old vet Abigail Delorean (Lily Tomlin), and newcomer Lynn Lockner (Kristin Scott Thomas). It is not unimportant that Carter, the prodigal son of a famed Southern politician, is gay and living in a city controlled by a right-wing administration. Indeed, it is Washington D.C. that provides Schrader’s stifling “room,” a landscape where everyone has an angle, sympathies change in a heartbeat, and lives are ruined with a whisper. The film’s plot is set into motion when Carter chauffeurs Lynn to a sexual rendezvous with a Washington lobbyist; she discovers him dead, perforated by stab wounds. Fearing scandal, Carter covers up for her and soon finds himself under the spotlight of an investigation.

THE ODD COUPLE: Season Four - Paramount

Their characters may have been brought to the big screen by Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau, but Tony Randall and Jack Klugman went on to match, and arguably surpass, their predecessors’ portrayals with the classic 1970s television series The Odd Couple. Based on Neil Simon’s hit Broadway play of the same name, the beloved sitcom chronicled the charmingly antagonistic friendship between neat freak Felix Unger (Randall) and carefree slob Oscar Madison (Klugman), whose polar-opposite personalities hilariously clashed after they became unwilling roommates following their respective divorces.

HAWAII FIVE-O: Season Four - Paramount

One of TV’s longest-running crime dramas, the 1970s television series Hawaii Five-O captivated audiences with its smart and stylish take on the standard policier formula. Filmed entirely on the Hawaiian Islands, the action-packed series followed the crime-fighting adventures of an elite state-police squad anchored by quintessential tough guy Steve McGarrett (Jack Lord) and his detective team of Danny “Danno” Williams (James MacArthur), Chin Ho Kelly (Kam Fong), and Kono Kalakaua (Zulu). Almost single-handedly rewriting the book on police dramas, the series distinguished itself with intricate plotting, inventive cinematography, exotic locations, and, of course, an indelible theme song and timeless catchphrase (“Book ‘em, Danno!”). This collection presents the iconic series’ fourth season in its entirety.

JOHN ADAMS - HBO

This epic miniseries from HBO takes viewers inside the incredible life of John Adams, the second president of the United States. Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book by David McCullough, the seven-part series follow Adams (Paul Giamatti) during his leadership of America during some of its most turbulent times. It also captures his profound relationship with his wife Abigail (Laura Linney), one of history’s great love stories. From the Boston Massacre--where Adams defended the accused British soldiers--to his role in the Revolution and framing the Constitution, Adams showed himself to be an uncommon man, following his convictions while also facing his own personal demons. It’s a story of tragedy, love, war, friendship, freedom, liberty, and a uniquely American life.

OTIS - Warner

This dark comedy about a serial killer stalking a typical suburb is a cynical take on both American culture and family dynamics. When a young girl is taken prisoner by a sadistic killer, she uses her wits to escape. But her freedom is just the beginning of the gruesome, and oddly hilarious, downward spiral her family takes when they decide to get even with her abductor. It’s a twisted ride that will leave audiences torn between laughing and covering their eyes.

BURN NOTICE: Season One - Fox

When intelligence agencies need to dispense with one of their spies they serve a burn notice. A burn notice informs other agencies that the spy has become unreliable, effectively ending his or her career. The USA Network’s Burn Notice follows Michael Westen (Jeffrey Donovan), whose intelligence career comes to an abrupt halt after a botched job in Nigeria. Westen returns home to Miami, Florida, only to discover that he has been cut off from all his contacts in the agency and his bank account has been frozen. Without a penny to his name, Westen decides to work as an unlicensed private investigator, using the money he makes to launch his own investigation into his fate with the intelligence agency. Westen’s new career presents him with plenty of opportunities to delve into Miami’s seedy underbelly, with drug dealers, gunrunners, prostitution rings, and gangsters all coming under his watchful eye.

THE EYE - Lions Gate

The Eye adapts the influential 2002 Hong Kong ghost tale by the Pang brothers into a star vehicle for Jessica Alba. While it remains faithful to the original story, this version ups the number of jolts for thrill-seeking Western audiences. Writing/directing team David Moreau and Xavier Palud, creators of the popular 2006 French thriller THEM, make their U.S. debut with a screenplay by Sebastian Gutierrez, putting a few new twists on a cult favorite. Concert violinist Sydney Wells (Alba) has been blind since she was five, when an accident involving firecrackers damaged her corneas. Now in her mid-20s, she has just undergone a transplant, a risky procedure that is not always successful. When the bandages come off, her sight slowly returns, and everything she sees is a new experience.

FANTASTIC FOUR: World’s Greatest Heroes - Season One - Fox

The origin of the Fantastic Four, the superhero team of scientists who each develop unique powers and body chemistry after inadvertently exposing themselves to cosmic rays, is re-imagined and newly animated for this release. Join the elastic Mr. Fantastic; Sue Storm, the Invisible Girl; Johnny Storm, the Human Torch; and of course Ben Grimm, aka the Thing, as they take on the nefarious Victor Von Doom.

Nick be reached at Nick@filmlords.com

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   Last Update:  August 06, 2008