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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.
 
THE DARK KNIGHT

Bruce Wayne and his alter-ego Batman (Christian Bale) continue to eliminate crime in Gotham City with the help of Lt. Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman) and District Attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart). The Dark Knight wants to finally get rid of organized crime for good and be free of their corruption. Batman soon finds that a new psychopathic mastermind known as the Joker (Heath Ledger) has taken over organized crime. After the fall of Carmine Falcone, the remaining crime bosses try to pick up the pieces. However, the Joker is killing them off one by one. The Joker’s plan is to terrify the citizens and throw the city into chaos, and then kill Batman. Batman takes the fight with the Joker personal, which makes him confront his own beliefs. The Joker is the most dangerous criminal that Batman has encountered, and he will need all his strength and vigilance to defeat him.

No matter how you spin it, this is without question the most anticipated film of the Summer, if not the year. The highly anticipated sequel to the Batman franchise has certainly not disappointed. With outstanding performances by the major cast members and an Oscar worthy performance by Heath Ledger, the film catches the attention of the moviegoers from the start and refuses to release it’s grip until the two and a half hour thrill ride concludes. Bale shines ones again as Batman, but the show is stolen by Heath Ledger. Ledger’s passing is heartfelt, however the kudos he is receiving for his performance has nothing to do with his death. His performance is truly that good and, without question, is a performance for the ages. Personally, I believe his performance is comparable to Marlon Brando in A Streetcar Named Desire, to Gregory Peck in To Kill A Mockingbird, and to Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump. It is without question, impeccable. Get out to see this film immediately. You simply will not be disappointed.

The Dark Knight

Starring: Christian Bale & Heath Ledger

Director: Christopher Nolan

Company: Warner

Now Showing: In area Theatres

MPAA Rating - R

Grade: A+

 
STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE: Rockaberry Roll - Fox

Strawberry Shortcake and the rest of the gang are back in a loveable adventure for the entire family. The Shortcake series is wonderful for kids of all ages and is appropriate for even the little ones.

STAR TREK: Season Two - Paramount

Going boldly where no man had gone before, Gene Roddenberry’s cult phenomenon STAR TREK debuted in 1966 and reflected that decade’s optimistic preoccupation with space travel. Set in the 23rd century, the series chronicled the intergalactic adventures of the U.S.S. Enterprise on its five-year mission to explore the outer reaches of space. Encountering a now-iconic assembly of inventive alien life-forms such as the Klingons, Romulans, Tribbles, and Khan Noonian Singh, the ship’s jumpsuited crew was a then unheard-of font of multiculturism: Asian Sulu (George Takei), African-American Uhura (Nichelle Nichols), and Scotsman Montgomery Scott (James Doohan). But it was the contrasting personalities of cooly logical Vulcan Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy), emotionally intuitive medical officer Leonard “Bones” McCoy (DeForest Kelley), and womanizing ship captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner in definitive overacting mode) that lent the series much of its charm--and spawned a rabid cult following that continues to fuel costume sales and convention bookings to this very day. This collection includes every episode of the series’ second season. Beam me up, Scotty!

HAROLD & KUMAR: Escape from Guantanamo Bay: Blu-ray - Warner

America’s favorite pothead pals, Harold (John Cho) and Kumar (Kal Penn), return with an uproariously un-PC sequel that skewers everything from racial prejudice to the president of the United States. This film picks up shortly after the first film as the boys plan an impromptu trip to the Mecca of Marijuana: Amsterdam. There, Harold will unite with the love of his life and Kumar will achieve cannabis bliss. The two soon find themselves in hot water when Kumar sneaks a bong onto the flight and is mistaken for a bomb-wielding terrorist. Indeed, after a run-in with racist Homeland Security agent Ron Fox (Rob Corddry), the two land in the hottest water of all: Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. After escaping from prison and fleeing back to the U.S., the two set out across country to get help from Harold’s politically connected former classmate, who is also marrying the girl that Kumar let get away.

THE DOORS: Blu-ray - Lions Gate

Val Kilmer stars as Jim Morrison in Oliver Stone’s electrifying profile of the Doors, which takes the group from its inception to its demise with the death of the “Lizard King” in a Paris hotel room in 1971. In the early days of the group’s formation, Morrison is at his most benign; he’s just a guy hanging out at the beach writing poetry. But soon the Doors’ fame begins to spread--with Morrison as the focus of attention. Capable of an eerily correct vocal imitation of Morrison, Kilmer makes manifest the talent and charisma, as well as the confusion and despair, of the complex man who was the focal point of the group. As Morrisson’s drug consumption and erratic behavior increase exponentially, the rest of the band--Ray Manzarek (Kyle McLachalan), John Densmore (Kevin Dillon), and Robby Krieger (Frank Whaley)--begins to grow tired of his late arrivals, the increasing number of cancellations, and the drunken recording sessions requiring infinite retakes. But no one can help Morrison as he spirals downward into an inferno of drugs, alcohol, public obscenity, and depression, bringing the music to an untimely close.

TWO TICKETS TO PARADISE - First Look

After the glory days of high school over, three best friends flounder in their dull small-town. With their youthful dreams dimming, and responsibilities of adulthood pressing in, the trio go on a road trip to the College Football Championship Bowl. But rather than distract them from their troubles, their foible-filled journey lays bare their flaws. Can they come to some new understanding of themselves, or will this trip mean the end of their friendship?

THE EXECUTIONERS SONG - Paramount

Based on Norman Mailer’s novel, this version contains scenes of nudity and violence that were added later (the film was originally an NBC miniseries). With chilling neutrality it tells the story of multiple murderer Gary Gillmore, who demanded the death penalty rather than spend his life in prison.

FAMILY TIES: Season Four - Paramount

Michael J. Fox catapulted into superstardom--and created one of the most beloved television characters of all time--in the 1980s sitcom Family Ties. Created by TV impresario Gary David Goldberg, the series offered a clever take on the generation gap through the family interactions of two former ‘60s hippies, public-television producer Steven Keaton (Michael Gross) and his architect wife, Elyse (Meredith Baxter). Together, they struggle to retain their leftist ideals while raising three radically divergent children in suburban Columbus, Ohio: tomboy Jennifer (Tina Yothers); ditzy mallrat Mallory (Justine Bateman); and, most notably, Wall Street Journal-reading young Republican Alex P. Keaton (Fox), who served as the series’ main comedic foil. A fun and warmhearted throwback to the greed-is-good decade, Family Ties is resurrected in this collection of the series’ fourth season.

THE BANK JOB: Blu-ray - 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 London’s 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 don’t 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 London’s 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.

PENELOPE - Summit

Penelope begins with a generations-old curse by a jilted lover: the next girl in the aristocratic Wilhern family will be born with a pig’s snout and ears. Though ages pass, the bad luck finally manifests itself in young Penelope (Christina Ricci) much to the shame of her mother (Catherine O’Hara). In an effort to break the curse, her mother and father (Richard E. Grant) try to bring in a series of blue-blooded suitors. But when they see her face, the men all run screaming. Enter Max (James McAvoy), a down-on-his-luck gambler who connects with Penelope. But when he is exposed as a fraud, the heartbroken girl escapes into the surrounding city. Though she hides her face with a scarf, Penelope gets to experience life outside her family’s mansion for the first time. Pig nose and all, Ricci is adorable as the title character, excellent in alternating between naÔvetÈ and independence.

THE DEAL - Genius

Mired in a war in the Middle East, the US is seized by the worst oil shortage in history. Gas prices skyrocket, further weakening an already faltering economy. Wall Street is hobbled by corruption. The nation is on edge. Against this chaos, Wall Street big shot Tom Hansen, is shocked to learn of the death of his best friend Richard Kester, a top executive for one of the nation’s leading oil companies - Condor. But when he’s approached by Richard’s boss, Jared Tolsen, to advise on a big oil merger his friend was working on, he jumps at the chance to kickstart his faltering career. At the same time idealistic business school graduate Abbey Gallagher is convinced by Tom to join his prestigious investment bank to work on a deal that promotes alternative energy use.

Nick be reached at Nick@filmlords.com

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   Last Update:  July 30, 2008