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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.
 
DEATH RACE

Jason Statham leads the cast of an action-thriller set in the post-industrial wasteland of tomorrow, with the world’s most brutal sporting event as its backdrop. A penitentiary full of felons has inspired the jailers to create a grisly pastime ripe for lucrative kickbacks. Now, adrenalized inmates, a global audience hungry for televised violence and a spectacular arena come together to form the Death Race. Three-time speedway champion Jensen Ames (Statham) is an expert at survival in the harsh landscape that has become our country. Just as he thinks he has turned his life around, the ex-con is framed for a gruesome murder he didn’t commit. Forced to don the mask of the mythical driver Frankenstein -- a crowd favorite who seems impossible to kill -- Ames is given an easy choice by Terminal Island’s warden (Joan Allen): suit up or rot away in a cell. His face hidden by a metallic mask, one convict will be put through an insane three-day challenge. Ames must survive a gauntlet of the most vicious criminals in the country’s toughest prison to claim the prize of freedom. Driving a monster car outfitted with machine guns, flamethrowers and grenade launchers, one desperate man will destroy anything in his path to win the most twisted spectator sport on Earth.

This movie is insane. Now don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of action in the film, but beyond that everything is simply fodder for a migraine headache. Things blow up incessantly and their are plenty of deaths to mentally absorb but after awhile, enough is enough. If that is what you are looking for then this film is definitely for you. This is popcorn entertainment at it’s lowest level. As I was exciting the theatre, a gang member actually agreed the violence was a bit over the top. Wow...I guess there is always hope!

As for the perfomances, there really isn’t much to talk about. I would love to see a copy of this script as I am sure there is no more than twenty pages of dialog, tops. Everything else is action, car wrecks and multiple levels of mayhem. Everything about this film is simply what you would expect. Some will say this picture is in the same vein of the 1975 original, but it simply doesn’t touch it with a ten foot pole.

Death Race

Starring: Jason Statham & Joan Allen

Director: Paul W. S. Anderson

Company: Universal

Now Showing: In area Theatres

MPAA Rating: R

Grade: D


88 MINUTES - Sony

In 88 Minutes, Dr. Jack Gramm (Al Pacino), a Seattle-based college professor and forensic psychiatrist, is informed by an enigmaticcaller that he has exactly that amount of time to live. The threat is linked to Gramm’s role in putting a convicted serial killer (Neal McDonough) behind bars nearly a decade earlier, and sends the scholar/consultant on a desperate run to avert his imminent demise. Entering into Gramm’s dangerous orbit are his dutiful assistant (Amy Brenneman), an FBI agent (William Forsythe), and his admiring young students (most notably Alicia Witt), all of whom add layers to the tense mystery.

CHEERS: Season 10 - Paramount

One of the most beloved and critically acclaimed television series of all time, Cheers ran for 11 seasons and centered on the colorful staff and patrons of the Boston bar “where everybody knows your name.” Run by former Red Sox pitcher and ladies’ man Sam Malone (Ted Danson), the establishment’s ever-present characters include neurotic bar manager Rebecca Howe (Kirstie Alley), salty barmaid Carla LeBec (Rhea Perlman), dimwitted bartender Woody Boyd (Woody Harrelson), barflies Norm Peterson (George Wendt) and Cliff Clavin (John Ratzenberger), pompous psychiatrist Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammer), and his frosty love interest Lilith Sternin (Bebe Neuwirth). This collection presents every episode of Cheers’ tenth season.

THE THREE STOOGES: Volume Three - Sony

Join Moe, Larry and Curly during the strongest period of their careers in this wonderful DVD from Sony. This release highlights the of the Three Stooges from 1940-1943, a key period in Stooge history.

THE MORGUE - Lions Gate

A group of six strangers plagued by a condition that causes them to be invisible--although not quite dead--to the temporal world soon find themselves thrown together by fate. Congregated in a strange morgue, their common problem allows them to relate to each other. Before the night is out, however, the morgue will reveal to them a shocking secret.

THE PRESIDENTS COLLECTION - Paramount/PBS

PBS’s American Experience has long documented the guiding forces, formative events, and pivotal individuals of history. This collection of biographies look at some of our most intriguing Americans: our presidents. Included here are programs on Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, John Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and George H.W. Bush.

THE OFFICE: Season Four - Universal

Based on the popular British comedy of the same name, The Office takes place in and around the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Using the same mockumentary style as the original, the series succeeds in capturing the quiet desperation of the poor souls working in this socially stifling environment under the direction of delusional boss, regional manager Michael Scott. Comic actor Steve Carell beautifully inhabits the role, playing a man so eager to be liked, he completely alienates people with one stupid antic after another. Blindly believing himself beloved by his employees for his laid-back nature, Michael fails to see that, with the exception of nerdy and bizarre Dwight (Rainn Wilson), he is resented and despised by all. Carell perfectly walks the line between despicable and pathetic, enlisting his audience’s sympathies just moments before doing or saying something horribly inappropriate.

SHOCKWAVE - History

Every episode of Shockwave offers remarkable footage of events that must be seen to be believed. Often captured by amateur cameramen, the powerful videos in this collection let viewers witness the planet’s most amazing spectacles, including natural disasters, explosive military catastrophes, and bizarre human accidents.

THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS: Blu-ray - Disney

The dazzling new make-over of the musical-fantasy was led by the film’s original filmmaking team of Tim Burton and director Henry Selick as well as the talented technical wizards at Industrial Light + Magic. Audiences will get closer than ever to Halloweentown’s beloved Pumpkin King, Jack Skellington (Chris Sarandon), as he attempts to take over the Christmas holiday. Against the advice of Sally (Catherine O’Hara), a lonely rag doll who has feelings for him, Jack enlists three mischievous trick-or-treaters – Lock, Shock, and Barrel – to help him kidnap Santa Claus. Jack eventually realizes his mistake but has to contend with the evil Oogie Boogie before he can make things right and restore the Christmas holiday.

BILLY BLUE HAIR: Why Do Giraffes Have Long Necks? - Kayo Media

Young Billy Blue Hair loses his dog while playing fetch. As he looks for Doogie, Billy gets transported to a real-life scenic landscape overflowing with animals, such as a herd of American bison. This educational program for children features interactive animation sequences designed to explain basic zoology facts.

JANE AND THE DRAGON: A Dragon’s Tale - Shout

In the kingdom of Kippernium, girls are typically raised to be ladies in waiting, but Jane isn’t exactly a typical 12 year old girl. When Jane rescues Prince Cuthbert from a ferocious dragon, who turns out to be not so ferocious after all, she is granted special permission by King Caradoc to begin training as a knight’s apprentice, with the gentle wisecracking Dragon by her side.

 

Nick be reached at Filmlords@gmail.com

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   Last Update:  August 27, 2008