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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.
 

YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN: Blu-ray - FOX

An affectionate parody that pays homage to the Frankenstein films directed by James Whale in the 1930s, Young Frankenstein is both a zany comedy and a cinematic tour de force. Written by director Mel Brooks and the film’s star, Gene Wilder, YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN has all the usual--and in this case slightly unusual--suspects: the reluctant scientist Frederick Frankenstein, who is actually the grandson of the infamous creature-creator (pronounced “Fronken-steen” and played by Wilder), his spoiled fiancÈe (Madeline Kahn), Igor the pop-eyed hunchback (Marty Feldman), his dizzy assistant (Teri Garr), the castle’s hideous head housekeeper (Cloris Leachman), and, of course, the Monster (Peter Boyle).

THE OMEN COLLECTION: Blu-ray - FOX

Includes the entire OMEN saga. In the original film a wealthy diplomat learns that his adopted son, Damien, may be the son of Satan, plus three sequels in which the forces of good and evil contend for rule of the world. The DVD release of OMEN IV: The Awakening is only available in this box set.

HALLOWEEN: Blu-ray - Genius

While Zombie’s Halloween is faithful to Carpenter’s vision, there are some obvious changes, the most pronounced of these being the substantial focus on Michael Myers’s childhood. The film posits Michael (played by a creepily vacant Daeg Faerch) as a troubled child made all the worse by a horrible home life--wonderfully illustrated via William Forsythe’s performance as Deborah Myers’s boyfriend--and constant abuse at school. Zombie paints Michael’s pain with palpable grit and sleaze, but he isn’t out to put our culture on the couch--he simply wants to show Michael killing his family. With the exception of Michael’s therapy sessions while incarcerated, the film, post-massacre, stays loyal to the original. Zombie’s film is clearly the work of a filmmaker who knows and loves the genre. The director’s signature is stamped all over Halloween (most notably in the use of grainy home movie footage and a smokin’ classic rock soundtrack), although remnants of Carpenter’s brilliant original still remain. When it comes to remakes, it’s hard to ask for much more.

DIARY OF THE DEAD: Blu-ray - Genius

When a mother-in-law makes her son-in-law’s life miserable, his solution is murder. But it’ll take more than six feet of dirt to keep her down. Perhaps the best installment in the famous “dead” series, this film will definitely keep you on the edge of your seat.

THE UNIT: Season Three - Fox

Created by David Mamet, this television drama follows the exploits of a special forces unit, tracing the heroism of its members, as well as their foibles. The team is charged with some of the U.S. military’s most top-secret, dangerous missions, while their families at home deal with the trials and tribulations of having a loved one with such a unique and dangerous occupation.

JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH: Blu-ray - New Line

This 2008 movie update of Jules Verne’s classic sci-fi/fantasy novel uses the 1864 tale as a template, with its hero, scientist Trevor Anderson (Brendan Fraser), referring to his missing brother’s notes on the novel. His nephew Sean (Josh Hutcherson) in tow, Anderson travels to Iceland to investigate his sibling’s theories, enlisting a fellow scientist’s daughter, Hannah (Anita Briem), as a guide. Soon the trio’s Icelandic mountain trek descends into a cave and, then deeper still to, naturally, the center of the earth, where dinosaurs and other strange prehistoric creatures still dwell. After many dangerous encounters with the native flora and fauna, Trevor, Sean, and Hannah must find a way back to the surface or face being stranded miles below the earth’s crust.

TREASURY OF 100 STORY BOOK CLASSICS - Scholastic

This is a bountiful collection of beloved stories, all produced with a great deal of care and frequently including the original authors and illustrators as collaborators. The voice talent is also uniformly excellent and includes such names as James Earl Jones, Mary Beth Hurt, Laura Dern, Rob Reiner, Cyndi Lauper, Randy Travis, John Lithgow, Debby Boone, Sarah Jessica Parker and Meryl Streep. Virtually all of the features include superb scores, including one by Lauper on the feature she voices, and two on the Sendak set by the quirky Peter Schickele, who also narrates both the features he scores. A lot of the content comes from the 1980s and 1990s, though some of the extras venture back into the dark ages of the 1970s and even include some material originally shot on film. There is a surfeit of styles included here, as befits the many authors represented, which should keep most kiddies interested for hours and hours to come. This is also certainly a relative bargain in the boxed set as opposed to buying each of the titles separately. Regardless of the number of shopping days left until the holiday of your choice, this looks like a big winner for parents and kids.

JAMES BOND BLU-RAY: Wave One - MGM

MGM Home Entertainment has released on Blu-ray the James Bond films ‘Dr. No’, ‘Die Another Day’, ‘Live and Let Die’, ‘For Your Eyes Only’, ‘From Russia With Love’, and ‘Thunderball’, due to hit store shelves on October 21st. Video will be presented via 1080p AVC accompanied by a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. Each title, which has recently been restored and re-mastered via Lowry’s digital frame-by-frame restoration, will include a movie ticket to the upcoming Bond flick ‘Quantum of Solace’. They will also be packaged in sets of three, with Volume 1 featuring ‘Dr. No’, ‘Die Another Day’, and ‘Live and Let Die’ while Volume 2 will feature ‘For Your Eyes Only’, ‘From Russia With Love’, and ‘Thunderball’. These three-packs will feature two movie tickets. These films represent wave one of the James Bond to Blu-ray releases and should definitely not be missed. Get out and pick up your today!

FAMILY GUY: Season Six - FOX

Seth MacFarlane’s animated comedy continues its assault on pop culture, good taste, and the Fox censors with its riotous sixth season. Even though nothing has really changed for the Griffin family, there’s still plenty of comedic ground to cover. Peter keeps his crown as the laziest man in Quahog, Rhode Island, but getting older means experiences that no man should have to go through.

 

Nick be reached at Filmlords@gmail.com

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   Last Update:  November 05, 2008