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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.


 
Race to Witch Mountain

For years, stories have circulated about a secret place in the middle of the Nevada desert known for unexplained phenomena and strange sightings. It is called Witch Mountain, and when Las Vegas cab driver Jack Bruno (Dwayne Johnson) encounters two teens with supernatural powers in his cab, he suddenly finds himself in the middle of an adventure he can’t explain. Working together, Jack and his young passengers discover that the only chance to save the world lies in unraveling the secrets of Witch Mountain, and the race begins.

Walt Disney Pictures’ Race to Witch Mountain marks the Disney reunion of director Andy Fickman and Dwayne Johnson. This film is based on the book titled “Escape to Witch Mountain” by Alexander Key, as was the original film from the 1970’s. This picture is a modern day re-imaging of the Key’s book, which was made into the aforementioned 1975 classic “Escape to Witch Mountain” and whose characters inspired the 1978 film sequel, “Return from Witch Mountain.”

This picture seemingly moves along because of all the chase scenes. Remember the A-team? In that all too familiar television show, the A-team kept running from the bad guys, yet they never really ever went anywhere. This movie falls into that category. Now, don’t get me wrong here. There is substance to this movie. Unfortunately, due to all of the chase scenes, the film stops telling the story...over, and over, and over again. Chase scenes for the sake of something to do is never an excuse. Give the kids enough popcorn and they will love this film. The adults? Well, folks, I just don’t have the energy.

Race to Witch Mountain

Starring: Dwayne Johnson & AnnaSophia Robb

Director: Andy Fickman

Company: Disney

Now Showing: In area Theatres

MPAA Rating: PG

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DVD Picks

PINOCCHIO: Blu-ray - Disney

The legendary masterpiece that inspired millions to believe in their

dreams has reawakened with an all-new, state-of-the-art digital restoration that shines brilliantly on 2-disc DVD. Now, for the first time ever, the richly detailed animation, unforgettable award-winning music When You Wish Upon A Star; and heartwarming adventure-filled story comes to life like never before. Plus, all-new dazzling bonus features transport you into Pinocchio’s fantastic world! Join Geppetto’s beloved puppet with Jiminy Cricket as his guide on a thrilling quest that tests Pinocchio’s bravery, loyalty and honesty, virtues he must learn to become a real boy. The one and only Pinocchio will live on forever in the heart of anyone who has wished upon a star. The bonus features include Pinocchio Knows Trivia Challenge, All-New Making Of Pinocchio, The Sweat Box, and many more. Get your hands on this title as quickly as possible!

THE BOONDOCK SAINTS - Fox

Fraternal twins Conner (Flanery) and Murphey (Reedus) MacMannus are on a mission from God to rid Boston of crime. However, instead of signing up for the police force, these hard-drinking Irish-American brothers take the law into their own hands a la Charles Bronson in DEATH WISH. Heralded as saints by the city’s beleaguered residents, the brothers also attract the attention of Paul Smecker (Dafoe), the openly gay FBI special agent assigned to investigate the spate of killings amongst the ranks of the Russian mafia.

FAMILY TIES: Season Five - Paramount

Michael J. Fox catapulted into superstardom--and created one of the most beloved television characters of all time--in the 1980s sitcom Family Ties. Created by TV impresario Gary David Goldberg, the series offered a clever take on the generation gap through the family interactions of two former ‘60s hippies, public-television producer Steven Keaton (Michael Gross) and his architect wife, Elyse (Meredith Baxter). Together, they struggle to retain their leftist ideals while raising three radically divergent children in suburban Columbus, Ohio: tomboy Jennifer (Tina Yothers); ditzy mallrat Mallory (Justine Bateman); and, most notably, Wall Street Journal-reading young Republican Alex P. Keaton (Fox), who served as the series’ main comedic foil. A fun and warmhearted throwback to the greed-is-good decade, Family Ties is resurrected in this collection of the series’fifth season.

DODES ‘KA-DEN - Criterion

Akira Kurosawa’s film is a sprawling social portrait of life in a Tokyo shantytown. A colorful array of down and out characters populate a cluttered dumpsite, where every day becomes a another protracted struggle just to survive. Kurosawa skillfully intertwines a number of separate narratives into a moving panorama of tortured and suffering humanity.

MILK: Blu-ray - Universal

In 1977, Harvey Milk was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, becoming the first openly gay man to be voted into public office in America. His victory was not just a victory for gay rights; he forged coalitions across the political spectrum. From senior citizens to union workers, Harvey Milk changed the very nature of what it means to be a fighter for human rights and became, before his untimely death in 1978, a hero for all Americans. Sean Penn stars as Harvey Milk under the direction of Gus Van Sant in Milk, filmed on location in San Francisco from an original screenplay by Dustin Lance Black, and produced by Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen. Milk charts the last eight years of Harvey Milk’s life. While living in New York City, he turns 40. Looking for more purpose, Milk and his lover Scott Smith (James Franco) relocate to San Francisco, where they found a small business, Castro Camera, in the heart of a working-class neighborhood. With his beloved Castro neighborhood and beautiful city empowering him, Milk surprises Scott and himself by becoming an outspoken agent for change. With vitalizing support from Scott and from new friends like young activist Cleve Jones (Emile Hirsch), Milk plunges headfirst into the choppy waters of politics. Bolstering his public profile with humor, Milk’s actions speak even louder than his gift-of-gab words.

SOUTH PARK: Season Twelve - Paramount

What began as a construction-paper film short evolved into a veritable pop-culture phenomenon for Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s outrageous animated comedy series South Park. Centered on the hilarious misadventures of four potty-mouthed grade-schoolers in the perpetually wintry environs of South Park, Colorado, the series skewers the vagaries of the modern American cultural landscape with politically incorrect humor and satirical plotlines ranging from homophobia and terrorism to boy bands and talking poo. This collection presents all the episodes from the long-running series’ 12th season.

BOB DYLAN: Never Ending Tour Diaries - MVD

Drummer Winston Watson performed 400 shows with Bob Dylan over five years, traveling the world 10 times over. Watson energized Dylan fans and Bob Dylan himself with his joyful and dynamic drumming style, as he helped launch Dylan’s “Never Ending Tour” in 1992 that continues to this day. Winston Watson chronicled his incredible 5-year journey with Bob Dylan in daily personal diaries and in home video footage with his Video 8 camera. Now Watson shares it all in a never-before-told insider account, revealing behind-the-scenes details of the thrilling and challenging journey as drummer for the legendary Bob Dylan. A skilled storyteller, Watson paints an intimate portrait of Bob Dylan’s band, life on tour, Dylan’s music, and the mercurial, brilliant Bob Dylan himself. In this in-depth, often humorous portrayal of his years with Dylan, Winston Watson emerges as an ordinary guy who experienced the extraordinary. Bob Dylan Never Ending Tour Diaries is the personal tale of a starry-eyed drummer who reached the mountain top, and how it changed him forever!

BARNEY MILLER: Season Three - Sony

This classic television comedy, which ran on ABC-TV from 1975-1982, details the exploits of Greenwich Village police captain Barney Miller (Hal Linden) and his diverse group of coworkers as they deal with an endless stream of strange characters--criminal and otherwise--on the job. Notable for a its stellar cast and smart, character-driven story lines, Barney Miller was a success with critics and audiences alike. The strong cast includes Abe Vigoda (whose character, Detective Fish, got his own spinoff series in 1978), Max Gail, Ron Glass, Jack Soo, Barbara Barrie, and Gregory Sierra. This set includes the entire third season.

AFRO NINJA DESTINY - Lightyear

Combining soul-searching drama with martial-arts action, Afro Ninja Destiny tells the story of Reggie (Mark Hicks), a mild-mannered postman who wakes up possessed by a warrior spirit. While he’s under the supernatural visitor’s spell, Reggie becomes a taut, powerful fighting machine, and soon has the strength and courage to fulfill his destiny.

Contact Filmlords@gmail.com if you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column. Write a SIGNED letter to the editor with valid day time phone number--name can be withheld by request.

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   Last Update:
April 30, 2009