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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.
 
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST: Complete Series - Paramount

A time-tested fairytale received a modern-day update--and made an unlikely sex symbol of bearish actor Ron Perlman--in the late-1980s television drama Beauty and the Beast. Created by Ron Koslow, the series centers on the love between New York district attorney Catherine Chandler (Linda Hamilton) and a deformed but chivalric man-beast named Vincent (Perlman), who lives in the city’s labyrinthine underground passageways along with an entire community of fellow outcasts. As Catherine’s crime-fighting duties frequently place her in mortal danger, Vincent is there to save her from harm and share a star-crossed love that can never be consummated, providing the series with much of its achingly romantic appeal.

SPEED RACER: Blu-ray - Warner

Based on the 1960s Japanese-manga-derived animated TV series of the same name, Speed Racer follows the adventures of the title character (Emile Hirsch), a young race car driver who sits behind the wheel of the lightning-fast Mach 5 vehicle. Aided by his family, which includes Pops Racer (John Goodman) and Mom Racer (Susan Sarandon), and his devoted doe-eyed girlfriend, Trixie (Christina Ricci), Speed racks up victory after victory, but still lives in the shadow of his late older brother, Rex (Scott Porter), who died in a race. When Speed garners the wrath of Royalton Industries, he must team up with the enigmatic Racer X (Matthew Fox) to defeat the ruthless corporation. Written and directed by Larry and Andy Wachowski, the masterminds behind the Matrix films, Speed Racer replaces the gritty techno patina of that blockbuster series with a polished, brightly hued virtual reality.

DECEPTION: Blu-ray - Fox

Marcel Langenegger makes his feature-film directorial debut with the aptly titled Deception, a film about secrets and lies. Jonathan McQuarry (Ewan McGregor) feels that life is passing him by. He completes short-term audits for a large firm, but doesn’t really feel any connection to his employer and finds it difficult to make friends at his assignments since he’s never there for long. Jonathan’s circumstances change overnight when charming lawyer Wyatt Bose (Hugh Jackman) befriends him. In an instant, the shy accountant is playing doubles tennis with his new friend and beautiful women and visiting upscale clubs. Just as mild-mannered Jonathan is getting used to his new lifestyle, Wyatt leaves town on business. When Jonathan finds himself mistakenly in possession of Wyatt’s cell phone, he also discovers a whole new world of anonymous sex in elite Manhattan hotels with powerful women known simply as “The List.” But soon Jonathan is in over his head: he’s the prime suspect when a woman goes missing, and the threat of extortion looms.

DAREDEVIL: Blu-ray - Fox

The latest Marvel Comics superhero to hit the big screen is Daredevil (Ben Affleck), a man blinded by a radioactive chemical accident as a young boy but left with superhuman senses and agile acrobatic ability. Like his Marvel compatriot Spider-Man, Daredevil attempts to lead a normal life by day as Matt Murdock, a Hell’s Kitchen defense attorney. By night Matt becomes Daredevil, a brooding superhero fighting for justice in the dark and squalid New York streets overrun with vermin and criminal injustice. Wearing a red leather suit and mask, Daredevil leaps from high skyscrapers and tracks his enemies with his radar-like vision, punishing those who are guilty but who he cannot tackle in the courtroom.

GANGLAND: Season One - History/A&E

The History Channel’s Gangland series profiles some of the uncompromising figures who make up America’s toughest gangs. Among the episodes featured on this collection are segments on the Hells Angels, the Mexican Mafia, the Aryan Brotherhood, and menacing street gangs such as the Bloods and the Crips. Each show focuses on issues that are a part of everyday life for gang members, such as gaining territory over rivals, drug dealing, acquiring weaponry, and internal conflict. Every episode from the first season of the show is included on this collection.

IRON MAN: Blu-ray - Paramount

For both comic book fans and those who can’t tell the Green Lantern from the Green Arrow, Iron Man is the type of summer blockbuster whose appeal lasts far beyond the season. Robert Downey Jr. stars as Tony Stark, a billionaire playboy and genius who puts as much effort into chasing skirts as he puts into chasing his next big idea. A trip to Afghanistan to sell weapons quickly devolves into chaos, and Stark finds himself at the mercy of a warlord who wants him to build a missile. Instead, Stark creates a powerful suit of armor, turning him into Iron Man and allowing him to escape. When he returns to America, his assistant Pepper Pots (Gwyneth Paltrow), friend Rhodey (Terrence Howard), and right-hand man Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges) all marvel at the change in the man they knew.

 

Nick be reached at Filmlords@gmail.com

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   Last Update:  December 03, 2008