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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.

BLUE STREAK: Blu-ray - Sony

Martin Lawrence stars as ex-con Miles Logan--a crafty jewel thief forced to hide his stash of diamonds at a construction site when his $20 million heist went awry. Now that he’s out of the slammer, he wants the loot back! There’s only one problem--the place he hid them is now an L.A. police precinct. When he impersonates a badgeman to get close to his jewels, he winds up in the middle of robberies, drug busts and car chases with his unsuspecting rookie partner (Wilson). Which will happen first--Miles recovering his lost booty or gaining the respect of the police force for action in the line of duty?


This animated take on the Nutty Professor franchise combines the irreverent humor of the 1996 Eddie Murphy film with the progeny of the Jerry Lewis original and, for good measure, sprinkles in an appropriate dose of hipness for today’s young audiences. A whacked-out and hilarious coming-of-age tale ensues when Harold, the wunderkind grandson of the original Nutty Professor (voiced by Lewis himself), rediscovers a certain family potion. Drake Bell of TV’s DRAKE & JOSH heads a dynamic voice cast.


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) 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, GILMORE GIRLS) 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 separaing them.


Queer as Folk’s Robert Gant stars in Kiss Me Deadly as Jacob Keane, a gay man who can’t seem to escape his former life as a spy. His old partner, Marta (Shannen Doherty), is back, but her memory is gone and she has no idea who she is running from. Jacob and Marta rejoin forces, but will it be enough to save them from a powerful criminal?


The mines of northern Canada contain billions of dollars worth of gold and diamonds, but the only way to get supplies to those mines is a treacherous 350-mile-long road across frozen lakes--which don’t always stay frozen. This electrifying documentary series dives into the dangerous, sometimes glorious, potentially fatal world of Ice Road Truckers--the men who, each season, drive their trucks across the temporary and tenuous ice roads that are constructed anew each year.

NEWSRADIO: Complete Series - Sony

Newsradio began its life as a midseason replacement on NBC in 1995. The smartly written sitcom about the members of the news team at a fictional New York radio station earned a much deserved cult following that has kept it alive in syndication and now on DVD since it went off the air in 1999. The series’ 97 episodes stay fairly true to a format that shows the gang at work, tossing the various members of the ensemble situations to deal with and then letting them run. In addition to ongoing interpersonal relationships, the news setting allowed the writers to constantly invent new scenarios based on what kinds of news the station would cover or what kind of guests might visit the offices.

GOOD TIMES: Complete Series - Sony

The good times are here again in The Complete Series of the classic TV series, Good Times! This 17 disc set contains all 133 episodes from the six year run of the series about the Evans family, the family that doesn’t have much except for each other. The series was a spinoff of the series Maude, although it has become much more popular and well-known in syndication than the series it was spunoff from. The series stars Esther Rolle and John Amos as Florida and James Evans, a married couple that are trying to make it in the projects. They have three kids: JJ, Thelma, and Michael. JJ is played by Jimmie Walker and ultimately becomes the star of the show through using memorable catchphrases and sometimes reinforcing stereotypes that the show was probably intended to fight against. As the series progressed, James Evans was killed off (actually, John Amos was fired), but the series went on for three more years without him. In this time period, neighbor Willona (played by Ja’Net DuBois) became even more prominent in the series and was even the star of the series during the fifth season (when Esther Rolle temporarily left the series). To add to the series, Willona adopted a daughter of her own, Penny, played by future music superstar Janet Jackson. In a nutshell, that is the story of Good Times!

SANFORD AND SON: Complete Series - Sony

Sanford and Son was initially conceived as simply a vehicle for Redd Foxx, a nightclub comedian who was well-known in the comedy circuit for his outrageously raunchy records. Based on the 1960s British series Steptoe and Son, Sanford and Son could have simply fallen into obscurity like many sitcoms, given that Foxx wasn’t yet a megastar and his costar, Demond Wilson, was an unknown. Instead, Sanford and Son became a smash, running for seven seasons and nominated for several Emmy awards (though it never won any). Foxx became a household name and his character, crotchety junkman Fred Sanford, became a pop-culture touchstone. Even the show’s catchy theme song, by Quincy Jones, became iconic. Start humming it anywhere and it’s guaranteed someone else will finish it for you.


One morning, a seemingly average and generally solitary IRS agent named Harold Crick begins to hear a female voice narrating his every action, thought and feeling in alarmingly precise detail. Harold’s carefully controlled life is turned upside down by this narration only he can hear, and when the voice declares that Harold Crick is facing imminent death, he realizes he must find out who is writing his story and persuade her to change the ending. The voice in Harold’s head turns out to be the once celebrated, but now nearly forgotten, novelist Karen “Kay” Eiffel (Emma Thompson), who is struggling to find an ending for what might be her best book. Her only remaining challenge is to figure out a way to kill her main character, but little does she know that Harold Crick is alive and well and inexplicably aware of her words and her plans for him. To make matters worse, Kay’s publisher has dispatched a hard-nosed “assistant,” Penny Escher (Queen Latifah), to force Kay to finish her novel and finish off Harold Crick.

POPEYE THE SAILOR: 1941-43 - Warner

Celebrate the early years of the spinach-chomping, muscle-bound sailorman Popeye with this terrific compilation. Though he’s usually willing to let things go with a malicious mutter and an intimidating squint, if he’s pushed too far, watch out! And when Popeye winds up his fist, it’s usually to knock out Bluto, the oaf who’s always swaggering toward his lovely Olive Oyl. More than 30 black-and-white shorts covering the period 1941-1943 are included here.

CHARMED: Complete Series - Paramount

The Aaron Spelling-produced television drama CHARMED follows the adventures of three modern-day witches juggling their supernatural abilities with the demands of everyday life. The Halliwell sisters, Phoebe (Alyssa Milano), Piper (Holly Marie Combs), and Prudence (Shannon Doherty)--later replaced by Rose McGowan as half-sister Paige--use their magical powers to protect innocent people from demons while struggling to rise above the childish bickering of sisterhood to work together as a team. This collection presents the series in its entirety for a total of eight seasons.


Based on the popular teen series by Lisi Harrison, CLIQUE follows gawky Claire Lyons as she enters the shark-infested waters of New York’s Octavian Country Day school. She’s recently moved from Florida with her family and it’s obvious that Claire doesn’t fit in--especially to the school’s popular clique of mean girls: Massie, Alicia, Dylan, and Kristen. Can Claire survive this ruthless pack of narcissists, and maybe even come out on top?

MR BEAN: The Ultimate Collection - A&E

Mr. Bean, played by well-known British comic actor Rowan Atkinson, is a worldwide icon following a short, but successful TV series depicting the manchild’s struggles with everyday life and bizarre solutions to relatively simple problems. The seven hours of TV were followed by a pair of movies and an animated series, all of which have since been released on DVD. Rowan Atkinson, whose Mr. Bean carried the comedic torch in the ‘90s, set the bar for all comediennes to reach.


To say that Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight is the best comic book adaptation does the film a bit of a disservice. It may be a Batman film, but this isn’t a kid-friendly action movie full of the bams and pows of the original series. This is a pitch-black thriller with enough drama and tragedy to please even William Shakespeare, but it will certainly keep both comics fans and uninitiated audiences equally happy. The Dark Knight starts in the wake of Batman Begins: with the appearance of Batman (Christian Bale), Gotham City’s criminal underworld is unnerved. They’re also plagued by the new D.A., Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart), who, in his quest for justice, remains above the city’s corruption. Enter a new villain, the Joker (Heath Ledger), who wants to unite the criminals for a common purpose: to kill Batman. The Dark Knight is one of the most hyped movies to date, and a lesser film would be crushed under the weight of all that expectation. Some of the publicity stems from the early death of Ledger, who turns in an excellent performance. He provides moments of humor, but this Joker is terrifying, sharing more with classic villains such as Hannibal Lechter than with his comic book predecessors.


Nick be reached at Filmlords@gmail.com

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   Last Update:  February 05, 2009