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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.
GET SMART: Complete Series - Sony

Decades after the original series, this return to the CONTROL headquarters finds Maxwell Smart (Don Adams) as the new chief of the organization. Meanwhile, Zach, the son of Max and Agent 99 (Barbara Feldon), has joined the spy ranks and is a chip off the old block. Andy Dick assumes the role of Zach Smart, keeping the KAOS in check in this complete seven-episode release.


Based on the memoir by Adolf Burger, the film tells the inspiring story of a pre-World War II criminal whose cunning and fiery spirit enable him to overcome deadly odds and survive life in Germanyís Sachsenhausen concentration camp. Before the war, Salomon Sorowitsch (Karl Markovics) was one of the worldís most ingenious counterfeiters, until he was finally caught and arrested by Friedrich Herzog (Devid Striesow). Years later, as the Nazi movement is in full swing, the nefariously charming Herzog--now a Nazi leader--recruits Sorowitsch to lead an enormous counterfeiting project called Operation Bernhard. Placed in a horrific position of moral corruption, Sorowitsch is forced to decide whether or not to save his own life or prevent the Nazis from causing further damage on an even grander scale.


In Stargate Atlantis, an international crew of scientists and soldiers finds yet another Stargate...one which leads to the Lost City of Atlantis. This Stargate, though, isnít on Earth but in the far-away Pegasus Galaxy, and the secret city holds a formidable new enemy--the Wraith. With this fourth season of the hit sci-fi series, things take a turn in a bleak new direction, with team leader Dr. Weir injured and captured by the evil Asurans as the damaged city of Atlantis drifts through space. Meanwhile, McKay reprograms the Asuran base code, causing the alien race to wage a war with the Wraith. Finally, hybrid Michael plays against both the humans and his own former Wraith race as this electric season hurtles toward its thrilling conclusion.


In director John Badhamís Wargames, Matthew Broderick stars as David Lightman, a young hacker who accidentally logs on to the Department of Defenseís network. Thinking that heís found a cool new computer game manufacturer, David plays checkers, chess, and other more intriguing games like Global Thermonuclear War. Realizing that their system has been tampered with, military operatives arrest him. However, the computer continues to play the ďgameĒ of thermonuclear warfare without David and generates the very real threat of World War III. In an attempt to prevent global disaster, David and his girlfriend, Jennifer (Ally Sheedy), search desperately for the scientist who designed the system before the goverment computer initates a full-scale nuclear war.

SAVING GRACE: Season One - Fox

For a functioning alcoholic, detective Grace Hanadarko is an unusually effective asset to the Oklahoma City police department. Spending her time off the job sleeping around with married men, flashing her elderly neighbor, and binge-drinking herself into oblivion, the brilliant and loving Grace has a completely different passion and set of ethics when itís time for work, investigating major crimes with the kind of gusto usually reserved for someone who remembers what she did last night. As this first season opens, a drunken Grace finds herself confronted with the scruffy, divinely winged Earl (Leon Rippy) after accidentally killing a pedestrian with her car and crying out for Godís help. Before disappearing, taking the hit-and-run victim with him, Earl tells Grace sheís heading for hell. All thatís left is a trace of blood, which Grace promptly takes to her forensic expert friend (Laura San Giacomo) for examining. The blood, it seems, belongs to a still-living death row inmate (Bokeem Woodbine), who also receives visits from Earl.


Jonas Ball makes his feature-film debut as Chapman, the crazed gunman who shot John Lennon on December 8, 1980. Basing his script on Chapmanís own words from interviews, writings, court transcripts, and depositions, Piddington retraces the events leading up to the shooting, which reverberated around the world. He goes back three months, showing Chapmanís dysfunctional relationship with his mother (Krishna Fairchild) and his inattentiveness to his wife (Mie Omori) in Honolulu, where he was living after leaving his hometown of Decatur, Georgia. Chapman soon becomes obsessed with J. D. Salingerís classic novel THE CATCHER IN THE RYE, seeing himself as fictional character Holden Caulfield, who must root out the phonies of the world.


Israeli filmmaker Eran Kolirinís debut feature, The Bandís Visit, is a subtle, heartfelt, and humane work that goes a long way toward dissolving the incredibly complex cultural divide that continues to plague the Middle East. When the Alexandria Ceremonial Police Orchestra flies from Egypt to Israel to perform at the opening of an Arab culture center, they are left stranded at the airport. Their leader, Tewfiq (Sasson Gabai), orders the handsome violinist, Khaled (Saleh Bakri), to solve their predicament, but it turns out that heís gotten the wrong information. By that time, itís too late. All eight members are left standing alone in a quiet desert town far from their intended destination with no way to get where they need to go. Tired, hungry, and confused, they find shelter at a restaurant run by the pretty but brash Dina (Ronit Elkabetz). Itís clear that Dina is bored with her lonely life, so she talks Tewfiq into letting the band stay over for the night: he and Khaled will stay with her, and the others will be put up at the home of Itzik (Rubi Moscovich). Over the course of the night, Tewfiq and Dina bond, Khaled helps a hapless local discover his inner Romeo, and the other band members find themselves caught up in a domestic situation that is less than perfect.

THE MUMMY: Blu-ray - Universal

In the 1920s, a group of archaeologists led by adventurer Rick OíConnell (Brendan Fraser) discovers the mummified body of Imhotep, an Egyptian priest who was cursed for falling in love with the Pharoahís mistress. When they accidentally resurrect him, the battle for survival begins, as the mummy begins to use his powers to reclaim his long-lost love. Director Stephen Sommers updates this classic Universal monster for the 1990s, using a dazzling array of computer-generated special effects. Fun performances from Fraser and Weisz add to the tongue-in-cheek Saturday matinee appeal.

DOOMSDAY: Blu-ray - Universal

After a deadly plague results in the quarantine of the entire country of Scotland, a wall is built around the country preventing anyone from going in or out. Thirty years later, the British government believes everyone within the wall to be dead, but when they find signs of life and learn of the possibility of a cure, a team of specially trained agents led by Eden Sinclair (Rhona Mitra) become the first outsiders to venture inside the country since the epidemic. They discover that there are plenty of survivors who have splintered into fierce, warlike tribes, living in a lawless society where cannibalism and murder are the order of the day.

BELLY: Blu-ray - Lionsgate

A stylish urban drama about two childhood friends who stand on opposite sides of the law. A visually stunning, brutally honest film from critically acclaimed music video director Hype Williams. Rappers Nas and DMX make their big screen debuts.

THE BERENSTAIN BEARS: Family and Friendship - Sony

Take a trip deep into bear country to discover where bad dreams come from and how giving is the other end of receiving. Share the cool lessons learned from new neighbors, and why growing-up should takes its own sweet time. Mama, Papa, Brother and Sister invite you to share the bonds of family and friendship in these lively everyday adventures with the Berenstain Bears.

URBAN LEGEND: Blu-ray - Sony

Behind the gothic stone facade and pretentious air of history and tradition at New Englandís Pendleton College-just named the safest university in the country-classic urban legends are being realized with fatal results. But who is doing it? And why? As Pendletonís American Folklore instructor, Professor Wexler (Nightmare on Elm Streetís Robert Englund), cautions, urban legends by definition are said to contain hidden moral admonitions for their victims. Unfortunately, some of us have to learn our lessons the hard way.


After a post-graduation Fourth of July beer blast, four tipsy teens accidentally smash up a pedestrian with their car, and, in a panic, dispose of the almost-dead body in the ocean. Sure enough, the following summer, the reunited group is stalked by a mysterious figure clad in fishermanís garb--replete with fish hook. A putative echo of screenwriter Kevin Williamsonís mega-hit ďScream,Ē substituting that movieís inside-jokiness for genuine feelings of guilt and angst.


A chilling new aspect of the psychology behind the self-proclaimed Boston Stranglerís false confession rears its ugly head in this horrific crime thriller based on real events. This untold tale examines the manipulative relationship of Albert De Salvo and his mysterious cellmate, and how the former was convinced to participate in a devious plot allegedly designed to afford both prisoners the notoriety--as well as the reward money--associated with the serial killerís case. Meanwhile, an intrepid detective by the name of John Marsden (Andrew Divoff) attempts to piece together the puzzle.

Nick be reached at Nick@filmlords.com

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   Last Update:  July 23, 2008