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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.
 

MAN ON WIRE - Magnolia

James Marsh’s dazzling, invigorating documentary Man on Wire tells the story of a truly inspiring figure. In the early 1970s, a fiery young Frenchman named Philippe Petit wanted to shake up the world. When he saw the World Trade Center being built in New York City, he found his mission. Petit was a trained high wire walker, and his goal was to set up a wire between the two towers and give the world a show it could never have expected. As is often the case with these endeavors, the actual high-wire walking was the easiest part of the plan. For nearly seven years, Petit worked on the project, recruiting associates who supported him every step of the way. Finally, after eight months in New York, the day came when Petit and his cronies jumped into action. This wasn’t easy. They had to find a way to sneak past security and make their way to the top of the towers with heavy equipment, at which point they had to battle the elements to install the wire. After many close scares, the time came for Petit to realize his dream--and the rest, as they say, is history.

PETER AND THE WOLF - Magnolia

This combination of animation and live-action utilizes the Sergei Prokofiev composition as the musical backdrop for the classic fable of young boy who outwits a cunning wolf, this time featuring animation from the legendary Chuck Jones. Kirstie Alley, Lloyd Bridges, and Ross Malinger provide the vocal talent for this acclaimed production, which has won awards in one form or another since it’s creation.

THE LONGSHOTS - Genius

Based on the true story of the first female quarterback to play in a Pop Warner football game, The Longshots is an inspiring underdog story of personal triumph and small-town values. The film opens in down-on-its-luck Minden, Illinois, where 11-year-old Jasmine Plummer (Keke Palmer) copes with the pain of an absentee father and her classmates’ constant antagonism. Jasmine’s fortunes begin to change with the emergence of her uncle, Curtis (Ice Cube). Once a rising football star but now out of work, Curtis dreams of escaping Minden for the sunny promise of Miami. But when he sees Jasmine’s gift for throwing the football, Curtis helps her overcome self-doubt and skepticism to join Minden’s woeful Pop Warner team. Inspired by Jasmine’s skill and toughness, and with the addition of Curtis as a coach, the team earns a spot in the Pop Warner Super Bowl in Miami. But as the national media swoop in to cover the team’s story, Jasmine and Curtis come face-to-face with their biggest obstacle: the reappearance of Jasmine’s father. Will Curtis and Jasmine lead the team to glory, or will Jasmine’s father once again tear apart a loving family?

AMERICAN TEEN - Paramount

Hannah Bailey is smart and beautiful, but a misfit in her high school. She is a liberal, atheist living in a traditional, Christian, conservative town and dreams of moving to California after graduation. Colin Clemens is the star of the high school basketball team - and in Indiana, basketball is everything. Colin is under enormous pressure this year playing not only to make his town, his school, and his father proud, but for a college scholarship. Jake Tusing is considered to be a nerd in high school. Though quite funny and charming one-on-one, he is painfully shy in group situations and crushed with self-doubt. In his senior year he vows that nothing will stand in the way of him finding a girlfriend. Megan Krizmanich is the student council Vice President and the youngest daughter of a prominent local surgeon, anxiously awaiting word from Notre Dame University admissions. Wealthy, pretty, smart and popular, she rules her high school - just don’t get on her bad side. When Megan’s peers challenge her authority, she can’t help but take action, even if it means risking her future. Mitch Reinholdt is an attractive and charming Varsity basketball jock with a soft side. When he puts his social status on the line, avoiding his popular friends for dates with artsy Hannah Bailey, he strains to maintain his reputation while discovering a new side of himself.

CORAL REEF ADVENTURE - Image

Coral Reef Adventure (originally an IMAX presentation) offers a breathtaking look at the picturesque scenery of the South Pacific. With a combination of awesome underwater cinematographers and oceanographic experts, this is an intriguing look at some of the coral reef and ocean bed that surrounds the tropical islands. Naturally some of the reefs are slowly eroding, so this is an important historical document of sights that are sadly not destined to be around forever.

THE LIVING SEA - Image

Created for exhibition in IMAX Theaters, The Living Sea explores the Earth’s largest bodies of water and their inhabitants. This is unquestionably one of the most beautiful DVD presentations I have ever seen. Even though it was created for IMAX Screens, the transition to your television screen is very well done. For young and old, I highly encourage those that enjoy oceanic beauty to check this one out!

DOCTOR WHO: Season Four - BBC

The BBC continues its successful quest to rebrand the iconic Doctor Who franchise with this fourth series of 21st-century episodes. David Tennant continues as the 10th incarnation of the Doctor, with Catherine Tate (who first appeared in the 2006 Christmas special) joining him as his faithful companion, Donna Noble. Together, the time-travelers traipse through Pompeii the day before its eruption; investigate mysteries with Agatha Christie; and even meet up with the Doc’s previous roadie, Rose Tyler (Billie Piper). Also included here is the 2007 Christmas Special, featuring singer Kylie Minogue as a waitress aboard the Titanic.

THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL: Blu-ray - Fox

Beginning with a documentary style that immediately hooks the viewer, The Day the Earth Stood Still, based on the Harry Bates short story “Farewell to the Master,” becomes as much a human interest story as it does a sci-fi B-movie classic. The film soberly depicts the arrival of an alien dignitary, Klaatu (Michael Rennie), who has come to earth with his deadly robot, Gort (Lock Martin), to deliver the message that earthlings must stop warring among themselves--or else. After being shot at by ignorant, panicky military guards, Klaatu is brought to a Washington, D.C., hospital, where he begs a sympathetic but frank Major White (Robert Osterloh) to gather all the world’s leaders so he can tell them more specifically what he has come 250 million miles to warn them about. Losing patience, Klaatu slips into the human world, adapting a false identity and living at a boarding house where he meets a smart woman with a conscience, Helen Benson (Patricia Neal), and her inquisitive son, Bobby (Billy Gray). Both mother and son soon find themselves embroiled in the complex mystery of Klaatu, his message, and the government’s witch hunt for the alien.

 

Nick be reached at Filmlords@gmail.com

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   Last Update:  February 05, 2009