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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.

PERRY MASON: Season Three, Volume Two - Paramount

Perry Mason is an attorney who specializes in defending seemingly indefensible cases. With the aid of his secretary Della Street and investigator Paul Drake, he often finds that by digging deeply into the facts, startling facts can be revealed. Perry Mason aired from 1957 to 1966 and stars Raymond Burr as an attorney that has never lost a case. Season three, volume 2 finishes this box set enabling all three seasons of this show to be available for the public. I think they could have done this entire series in one big “Greatest Episodes” set. I was bored with this last volume to the point of hitting the skip button on the remote. Get the picture??? I enjoy good courtroom drama and this show has always been a good one in my opinion, but if you have seen one court case with Perry, you have seen them all. The DVD presents 14 episodes to conclude season three. All the episodes are presented in Full Screen Format with Dolby Digital sound.


A pinnacle of the Golden Age of Television, Studio One presented a wide range of memorable dramas and received 18-Emmy nominations and five wins during its prestigious nine-year-run on CBS. Showcasing some of the greatest talents of the era, this groundbreaking series created an enormous impact and still remains a treasured part of America’s broadcasting history. Embracing the work of some of television’s most iconic writers, directors, actors and technical artists, the Studio One Anthology features the complete 1954 original television production of “Twelve Angry Men” and is highlighted by early performances by Charlton Heston, Art Carney, Jack Lemmon and Leslie Nielsen as well as teleplays written by Rod Serling and Gore Vidal. Also included as part of this 6-DVD release are all the original Westinghouse commercials as well as extensive archival interviews and other rare bonus materials.

KUNG FU PANDA - Dreamworks

Kung Fu Panda features Jack Black as Po the Panda, a lowly waiter in a noodle restaurant, who is a kung fu fanatic but whose shape doesn’t exactly lend itself to kung fu fighting. In fact, Po’s defining characteristic appears to be that he is the laziest of all the animals in ancient China. That’s a problem because powerful enemies are at the gates, and all hopes have been pinned on a prophesy naming Po as the “Chosen One” to save the day. A group of martial arts masters are going to need a black belt in patience if they are going to turn this slacker panda into a kung fu fighter before it’s too late.


The hunt for those seemingly countless Little Rascals releases is over. For the first time ever, all 80 of Hal Roach’s original 1929-1938 classic shorts featuring Buckwheat, Spanky, Alphalpha, and the rest of Our Gang--from the era before Roach sold the rights to MGM--are available here in one package. Included among this complete collection of uncut, remastered, and restored episodes are numerous contributions of various types from noted film historians, an additional 10 silent shorts from Hal Roach’s personal library, several documentaries including a look at racism as it pertains to the show, a special “where are they now” update featuring some of the surviving cast members, and much more.

PLANET OF THE APES: 40 Year Evolution Blu-ray Collection - Fox

The compelling and classic 1968 Planet Of The Apes stars Oscar-winner Charlton Heston as an astronaut who crash lands on a planet ruled by apes who use a primitive race of humans for experimentation and sport. Beneath The Planet Of The Apes tells the story of a daring rescue mission that leads to a subterranean city where mutant humans worship a weapon capable of destroying the entire planet. In Escape From The Planet Of The Apes, two futuristic simians who have traveled to present-day Earth enjoy celebrity status - until a government plot forces them to run for their lives! In Conquest Of The Planet Of The Apes, apes have been domesticated and trained as pets and personal servants - until their continual mistreatment leads to a spectacular revolt. In the final Apes chapter, Battle For The Planet Of The Apes, an idyllic society of man and ape is threatened by both a militant gorilla and a tribe of still-intelligent mutant humans.


On a magical tropical island, a fun-loving group of misfit animals and people make a marvelous discovery... a baby dinosaur frozen since prehistoric times! Little Impy, as they call him, is loving his new family and ready to explore this strange new world. But when a king from a faraway country vows to capture the loveable baby dino for his private collection, all the inhabitants of Impys island must join together to save their new friend.


It seems impossible that the monumental, rambunctious comedy of Monty Python’s Flying Circus could be contained in a single set, but it’s all here: the cheese shop, Atilla the Nun, the dead parrot, and even the fish-slapping dance. In one fell swoop, fans can trace the troupe’s Absurdist arcs, and revel in the inimitable talents of Cleese, Palin, Jones, Idle, Chapman, and Gilliam, collectively the most celebrated sketch comics of the modern era. This more-than-complete collection includes every single episode from the legendary show’s four-year run on the BBC, as well as four additional performances and rarities: Live at the Hollywood Bowl, Monty Python Live at Aspen, Parrot Sketch Not Included, and Monty Python’s Fliegender Zierkus. For fans who crave a glorious death-blow of even more Python material, the set offers a “Pythonism” glossary and an art gallery of Terry Gilliam’s animations.

BEVERLY HILLS 90210: Season Six - Paramount

The glitzy series chronicled the coming-of-age dramas of Minnesota siblings Brandon (Jason Priestley) and Brenda Walsh (Shannen Doherty) as they adjusted to their new lives in the affluent environs of the zip code of the title, where they attended the fictional West Beverly High with a tight-knit group of teenage friends: goodnatured jock Steve Sanders (Ian Ziering); naive virgin Donna Martin (Tori Spelling); aspiring DJ David Silver (Brian Austin Green); blonde siren Kelly Taylor (Jennie Garth); and troubled bad-boy Dylan McKay (Luke Perry). Like Degrassi, the series attempted social commentary by crafting storylines featuring a wide range of issues affecting ‘90s teens, including alcoholism, drug abuse, sex, and depression. This sixth season continues the social drama and love affairs as the privileged pals brave the pressures of the adult world--including cocaine, pregnancy, and, for Dylan, a hitman.

I DREAM OF JEANNIE: Complete Series - Sony

The misadventures of astronaut Captain Tony Nelson (Larry Hagman) and his beautiful Jeannie (Barbara Eden) continue throughout all five seasons of this classic 1965-70 television show. Tony discovered a strange bottle on a deserted island while on a mission and inadvertently freed the lovely genie inside. Now she is indebted to her “master” and tries to use her powers for his benefit, but often winds up doing more harm than good. Follow Jeannie and Tony from their now-colorized beginnings to their sweetly romantic resolution, with plenty of hi-jinx along the way. Every fan should have all 139 episodes of this iconic series about America’s favorite genie and the spaceman who loved her.


In honor of the 50th anniversary of Tom and Dick’s first performance, this 2008 Time Life collection features highlights from the final season of their legendary series, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. Irreverent, wildly popular, and often controversial, the 1960s variety show always attracted the biggest names in comedy, including George Carlin, Bob Newhart, and Steve Martin, each of whom makes an appearance in this remarkable set. In addition to 11 full episodes, the collection offers over five hours of bonus interviews with the Brothers’ friends, followers, and colleagues.


There are heroes... there are superheroes... and then there’s Hancock (Will Smith). With great power comes great responsibility – everyone knows that – everyone, that is, but Hancock. Edgy, conflicted, sarcastic, and misunderstood, Hancock’s well-intentioned heroics might get the job done and save countless lives, but always seem to leave jaw-dropping damage in their wake. The public has finally had enough – as grateful as they are to have their local hero, the good citizens of Los Angeles are wondering what they ever did to deserve this guy. Hancock isn’t the kind of man who cares what other people think – until the day that he saves the life of PR executive Ray Embrey (Jason Bateman), and the sardonic superhero begins to realize that he may have a vulnerable side after all. Facing that will be Hancock’s greatest challenge yet – and a task that may prove impossible as Ray’s wife, Mary (Charlize Theron), insists that he’s a lost cause.


Nick be reached at Filmlords@gmail.com

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   Last Update:  November 26, 2008