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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.
 

GUNSMOKE: Season Three, Volume One - Paramount

This show chronicles the adventures of Marshall Matthew Dillon and the town of Dodge City. The action and adventure heat up the screen with Gunsmoke Season 3, volume 1. James Arness reprises his role as Marshal Dillon of Dodge City with the help of Milburn Stone, Dennis Weaver, and Amanda Blake. All of the episodes are in Black & White with restored picture and sound. Every episode starts with the Marshal on the top of “Boot Hill” setting the tone for the show. This series is a great way to unwind after a long day at work. The stories tend to be repetitive with basically the same outcomes, but you still crave the next episode. Some of these seasons highlight include “Doc’s Reward”, “Buffalo Man”, “Gun for Chester” and “Kitty Caught”. The third season contains 19 episodes on three discs. There is an episode synopsis on the inner jacket detailing each episode with airdate postings. Extras include sponsor spots. The law is back in town by the name of Matt Dillon.

HAPPY DAYS: Season Four - Paramount

Join the Cunningham family as they live through the 1950’s with help and guidance from the lovable and almost superhuman greaser, Fonzie. This is one series that gets better with each season. The adventures of Richie, Ralph, Potsie and the Fonz provide endless entertainment and laughter at every turn. The Fonz is a major part of the Cunningham family by this season and the chemistry shared on screen is priceless between the cast members. This season also provides many memorable episodes starting with the three-part “Fonzie Loves Pinky” and the famous demolition derby plot. Other episode highlights for this season include the two-part “Graduation” involving the Fonz going back to school, “Time Capsule” trapping the gang in a vault and “Fonzie’s Baptism” putting Fonzie’s morality at stake. The DVD presents all 23 episodes in airdate order with restored picture and sound on four discs. Extras in this set include “The Third Anniversary Show” special taking a look back on classic moments in the series. The packaging includes an episode synopsis on the insert and colorful artwork throughout.

RAWHIDE: Season Three, Volume Two - Paramount

Gil Favor is trail boss of a continuous cattle drive; he is assisted by Rowdy Yates. The crew runs into characters and adventures along the way. The trail heats up with season three, volume 2 of Rawhide. Clint Eastwood, Eric Fleming, Paul Brinegar, Steve Raines, James Murdock and Sheb Wooley lead one of the most famous cattle drives in TV history. There is never a dull moment and action at every turn. This volume completes the third season with 15 great stories. Some of these seasons’ highlights include “Incident of the Running Iron”, Incident of the Brother’s Keeper” and “Incident before Black Pass”. Guest stars for this set include Leonard Nimoy, Claude Akins, Dan Hagerty, Zachary Scott, Leif Erickson, Rosemary Decamp and Brian C. Hutton. The DVD contains the final 15 episodes of the third season on four discs. The inner jacket has a synopsis of each episode. All the episodes are in Full Screen Format with Dolby Digital sound.

THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD - Criterion

Martin Ritt’s adaptation of the John Le Carre bestseller The Spy Who Came in From the Cold stars Richard Burton as Alec Leamas, a burnt-out spy soon to retire from British Intelligence. For his final assignment, Alec must pose as a drunk who wants to defect to East Germany, where the chief of operations for the Communists, Hans-Dieter Mundt (Peter van Eyck), has captured several British spies. His acting works: Communists throw Alec into jail for public drunkenness and for having an affair with a young member of the local Communist party, Nan (Claire Bloom). In jail, he is approached by Mundt’s agents and asked to defect. They take Alec to East Berlin where he is grilled by Mundt’s top man, Fiedler (Oskar Werner), who believes that Mundt is actually a double agent. Shot in stark black and white in documentary style, Ritt’s film is a realistic portrait of the grim life of a spy, revealing all of the profession’s complexities in a style that is equally as thrilling as an elaborate action scene in a James Bond movie. At the heart of the film is Burton’s bitter and world-weary Alec, and his performance here ranks among the best of his career.

SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS 2: Blu-ray - Warner

In this follow-up to The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, the four heroines find themselves drifting apart the summer after their first year of college. Quirky Tibby (Amber Tamblyn, JOAN OF ARCADIA) is stuck taking summer school classes at NYU, while the commitment-phobe in her struggles with her relationship with Brian (Leonardo Nam). Independent Bridget (Blake Lively) takes a break from playing soccer at Brown University to work on an archaeological dig in Turkey. Quiet Lena (Alexis Bledel) still misses her Greek love, Kostos (Michael Rady), but her drawing classes at the Rhode Island School of Design--and the man she meets there--keep her distracted. Meanwhile Carmen (America Ferrera), who had hoped to spend her summer with her best friends, begins working at a Vermont theater festival with some surprising results. As each of them takes her turn wearing the magical pants of the first film, they realize that it isn’t just distance that is separating them.

TROPIC THUNDER - Paramount

A desperate director named Damien Cockburn (Steve Coogan) trying to make a Vietnam war movie drops his pampered actors into the heart of the jungle. Cockburn’s stars include Stiller as an action hero who’s starting to make bad career choices, Jack Black as an insecure low-brow comedy star going through heroin withdrawals, and Robert Downey Jr. as an Australian Oscar winner so lost in his “craft” he underwent a procedure to become black for his role. In the jungle, they remain under the delusion that they are still being filmed even after they encounter a dangerous gang of druglords.

CANNON: Season One, Volume Two - Paramount

Cannons are hefty, difficult to maneuver, and explosive. So is Frank Cannon. He’s a gruff ex-cop who may be losing his hair but not his hunger for gourmet cuisine--and justice. As a private detective he doesn’t come cheap, but he certainly provides his clients with their money’s worth, making wrongs right and eating criminals for breakfast. Playing the overweight gumshoe is William Conrad, one TV’s most unconventional stars, who later went on to headline one-half of Jake and the Fatman. This collection presents the second volume of the 1970s series’ debut season, bursting with daredevil car chases and dialogue so sharp it could cut through a T-bone steak.

GANGLAND: Season Two - History

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 second season of the show is included on this collection.

 

Nick be reached at Filmlords@gmail.com

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   Last Update:  February 05, 2009