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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.
 
KIT KITTREDGE: An American Girl  

In the first feature film based on the hugely popular American Girl book series, Oscar nominee Abigail Breslin stars as a resourceful young girl whose bravery, compassion and determination help her solve a mystery that saves her familyís home during the Great Depression. Aspiring reporter Kit Kittredge canít resist bringing home strays, whether itís Grace, an abandoned basset hound or Will and Countee, a pair of young hobos willing to trade work for meals. Bright, inquisitive and generous, Kit is a natural born leader. But her happy childhood is abruptly interrupted when her father (Chris OíDonnell) loses his car dealership and must leave Cincinnati to look for work. Kit and her mother Margaret (Julia Ormond) are left to manage on their own, growing vegetables, selling eggs and even taking in an assortment of boarders including an itinerant magician (Stanley Tucci), a vivacious dance instructor on the prowl for a husband (Jane Krakowski) and a zany mobile librarian (Joan Cusack).

When a crime spree sweeps Cincinnati, all signs point to the local ďhobo jungle,Ē where Will and Countee live with a group of their impoverished companions. Kit, who always has her antennae out for a good news story, convinces her new friends to take her to see the hobo camp for herself and writes an article that creates a sympathetic portrait of the campís residents. But when Kitís mother and their boarders become the latest victims in a string of robberies, Kitís loyalties are tested. Will is accused of the crimes and, with all of their savings gone, the Kittredges face losing their house to foreclosure. Determined to recover the stolen money and believing Willis innocent, Kit recruits her friends Ruthie (Madison Davenport) and Stirling (Zach Mills) to help her track down the real culprit. Together they uncover a plot that goes far beyond Cincinnati! This film was a true joy to see! Breslin shines as the title character. The story is very down to Earth and is sure to put a smile on your face. Kit Kittredge is wholesome entertainment for the entire family!

Kit Kittredge: An American Girl

Starring: Abigail Breslin & Stanley Tucci

Director: Patricia Rozema

Company: New Line

Now Showing: In area Theatres

MPAA Rating - G

Grade: A


DVD Reviews

THE BANK JOB - Lions Gate

A car dealer with a dodgy past and new family, Terry (Statham) has always avoided major-league scams. But when Martine (Burrows), a beautiful model from his old neighborhood, offers him a lead on a foolproof bank hit on Londonís Baker Street, Terry recognizes the opportunity of a lifetime. Martine targets a roomful of safe deposit boxes worth millions in cash and jewelry. But Terry and his crew donít realize the boxes also contain a treasure trove of dirty secrets - secrets that will thrust them into a deadly web of corruption and illicit scandal that spans Londonís criminal underworld, the highest echelons of the British government, and the Royal Family itself...the true story of a heist gone wrong...in all the right ways.

HEATHERS: 20 Year Reunion Edition - Anchor Bay

Veronica Sawyer (Winona Ryder) has sacrificed everything in order to preserve her place in Westerburg Highís most impenetrable social clique, the Heathers. As the only member of the group not named ďHeatherĒ, Veronica has to work extra hard just to stay afloat. Going against her own morals and intelligence, Veronica succumbs to peer pressure on a daily basis, faking her delight in the humiliation of the schoolís less popular students. Bored of the frat parties and cow tipping so popular among her friends, Veronicaís curiosity is peaked when a mysterious new guy named JD comes to town. The dark, brooding JD (Christian Slater at his best) observes Veronica among her pack in the lunchroom (where social hierarchy is most clearly displayed), concluding that Veronica is not a Heather at heart. When Veronica confides in JD that she hates her friends and wishes Heather #1 was dead, she never expects her words to have such dire consequences. Before she knows whatís happening, JD is dragging Veronica on a killing spree staged as a teen suicide outbreak. But as Veronica soon learns, even death cannot stop the Heathers. As one Heather dies, her red scrunchee (the symbol of all power) gets passed on to the next Heather in line, and the clique that was the Heathers starts to feel like an inescapable social disease. How far will this war for popularity go?

THE RUINS - Dreamworks

While vacationing on the Yucatan Peninsula, 20-something Americans Jeff (Jonathan Tucker), Amy (Jena Malone), Eric (Shawn Ashmore), and Stacy (Laura Ramsey), befriend German traveler Mathias (Joe Anderson), who invites them to accompany him into the jungle to meet up with his archaeologist brother at an ďoff the mapĒ Mayan temple. They agree, but once they arrive, angry locals shoot one of their party and refuse to allow them to leave. The Americans and Mathias retreat to the top of the temple, only to find the archaeological camp deserted. Mathias falls into the temple and is badly injured, but that is only the beginning of their troubles, as it soon becomes apparent that the vines covering the temple are alive in a way that goes beyond normal vegetation.

I DREAM OF JEANNIE: Season Five - Sony

Here it is: the final season of the iconic 1965-70 series about everyoneís favorite genie (Barbara Eden) and the spaceman who loved her. It all started when astronaut Tony Nelson (Larry Hagman) unexpectedly landed his one-man space capsule well outside of his designated zone and found himself on a deserted island with a mysterious bottle. A couple rubs and--poof!--there was Jeannie. She moved in with her new master and, in short order, the two fell in love. The rest, of course, is arm-folding, head-nodding history. This final season of I Dream of Jeannie goes out with a bang...or rather, wedding bells? First, though, trouble arises almost immediately when Jeannie decides to give the country of Basenji to Tony for his birthday shortly after NASA has charged him with the responsibility of speaking with the ambassador of Kajsa. As luck would have it, however, Kajsa is an enemy of the Basenji government! It looks as though things are going to get worse before they get better as Tony deals with an absolute international relations nightmare before I Dream of Jeannie comes to its sweet conclusion. With this release, fans can finally relive the syndication hit in its entirety.

JUMPER - Fox

David (Hayden Christiansen) has inexplicably been given the power to teleport himself, or jump. He can jump into a bank vault, then to the top of the Sphinx, then back to his luxury Manhattan apartment. But despite all his power, he still misses his childhood love, Millie (Rachel Bilson). When the opportunity arises, David jets off to Rome with Millie, but itís not all romance in the Italian city. Davidís unique abilities place him in the middle of a war between the jumpers and the paladins, a secretive group intent on hunting down the teleporters. Led by Roland (Samuel L. Jackson), the paladins track David and fellow jumper Griffin (Jamie Bell) across the world, and Millie may be caught in the crossfire. JUMPER moves as fast as its teleporting hero, condensing the novel into a slim, action-packed offering.

INSANITARIUM - Sony

Heís played a terrifyingly mono-syllabic kidnapper and murderer, an eccentric drug dealer, and Satan at least once each, so it was only a matter of time for the well-trained Peter Stormare to take on the role of Dr. Gianetti, the unhinged head physician of the Mid-Psych mental institution. When the punky Jack (Jesse Metcalfe) discovers the patients of Mid-Psych--including his sister--are being subjected to experimentation and turned into vicious killers, itís up to him and his nervous-yet-trusty friend and sidekick (Kevin Sussman) to take care of business.

TRANSFORMERS CYBERTRON: Ultimate Collection - Paramount

The Autobotsí home planet, Cybertron, is in imminent danger as a black hole threatens to suck it into its dark vortex. The morphing machinesí only hope is to locate the Cyber Planet Keys--with the despicable Decepticons hot on their trail! But if they can find the keys, it will lead to plenty of fireworks as it will let Optimus Prime and the Autobots unlock the transforming powers of Cybertron itself! More sci-fi action and robotic shape-shifting are in store for viewers in this exciting animated adventure.

RENO 911: Season Five - Paramount

Comedy Centralís Reno 911 parodies reality cop shows through the outrageous antics of an inept police force in Reno, Nevada. The seriesí eccentric characters--a closeted lieutenant in hot shorts, a former topless dancer, a bilingual police dog trainer, and more than a few mentally unhinged deputies--are brought to zany life by a funny cast that includes The State alums Ben Garant, Thomas Lennon, and Kerri Kenney. This collection presents every episode from the seriesí fifth season in unblurred, uncensored editions.

21 - Columbia

Kevin Spacey is crafty MIT professor Micky Rosa, who trains brainiac students to count cards and then flies them out to Vegas to raid the blackjack tables between classes. At first they rake in a bundle, but then catch the unwanted attention of tough-guy security chief, Cole Williams (Laurence Fishburne) who wants to prove himself before heís replaced by face recognition software. Super math genius Ben Campbell (Jim Sturgess) originally joins the ring in order to come up with the $300,000 he needs for tuition money, but heís also gaga over the ringís resident babe, Jill (Kate Bosworth). When he finds out Professor Rosa hasnít been dealing entirely from a straight deck, Benís high-end shopping spree dreams turn sour (though card counting is not illegal) and the battle of wits is on, no second chances given.

SLEEPWALKING - Anchor Bay

Forced out of her home after her boyfriend is arrested, Joleen Reedy (Charlize Theron) needs a place to stay with her 11-year-old daughter, Tara (AnnaSophia Robb). She turns for help to her younger brother, James (Nick Stahl) a simple and overly trusting man who doesnít hesitate to welcome them into his modest rental apartment. Almost as soon as she moves in, however, Joleen hits the road with another man. Utterly ill-equipped to be the sole guardian of an adolescent girl, James does his best to make his distraught niece happy. But before long, things spin out of control: he loses his road crew job and Tara is put into foster care. Additionally, old wounds from his emotionally abusive and sometimes violent father (Dennis Hopper) begin to reopen as James is forced to re-examine his life.

JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH - Genius

This dvd is based on the Jules Verne Novel and set in the late 1870ís. A Woman (Victoria Pratt) hires an anthropologist/adventurer (Rick Shroder) to track down her husband (Peter Fonda), who has disappeared while searching for an elusive passage to the center of the earth.

This particular version is the made for television production.

Nick be reached at Nick@filmlords.com

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   Last Update:  August 06, 2008