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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.


 

DVD Picks

MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: Season Six - Paramount

The Impossible Mission Force head to the homefront in season five of Mission: Impossible. While previous years pitted these Cold War warriors against international goons, the show’s later seasons increasingly found the crack squad of saboteurs using their gadgets and cunning to foil more native threats: drug cartels hooking Americans on dope and mobsters using their collective power to evade justice. The result is more time spent by Jim (Peter Graves), Barney (Greg Morris), Willie (Peter Lupus), and Paris (Leonard Nimoy) in the good old U.S.A. stanching the flow of drugs and busting the Syndicate, bit by bit. All through their daredevil adventures, the team’s skills still prove razor-sharp--especially with the help of a foxy new member, Dana Lambert (Lesley Ann Warren). This collection presents all of the episodes of the show’s thrilling sixth season. The clock’s ticking.

THE FUGITIVE: Season Two, Volume Two - Paramount

This classic 1960s television series features David Janssen as Dr. Richard Kimble, a man falsely convicted of murdering his wife. While he’s being transported to death row, his train derails, setting him loose and granting him the opportunity to clear his name. As Kimble scours the country for his wife’s murderer--the famed “one-armed man”--he must also keep one step ahead of the lawman, Lt. Gerard (Barry Morse), who is pursuing him. A groundbreaking series with an engaging storyline and excellent direction, The Fugitive was such a pop-culture phenomenon that its finale was the highest-rated television episode of its time. The hunt is on in this second batch of episodes from the series’ second season.

HELLRAISER: Blu-ray - Anchor Bay

Clive Barker’s feature directing debut graphically depicts the tale of a man and wife who move into an old house and discover a hideous creature--the man’s half-brother, who is also the woman’s former lover--hiding upstairs. Having lost his earthly body to a trio of S&M demons called the Cenobites, he is brought back into existence by a drop of blood on the floor. He soon forces his former mistress to bring him human sacrifices to complete his body... but the Cenobites won’t be happy about this.

SESAME STREET: Follow That Bird - Warner

Follow That Bird is as much a journey through time as it is a romp past the Sesame Street stop sign. Curiously, the cast members--live ones like Gordon and Maria, not just the Muppets--have the timeless look to them. Only the cameos (by Sandra Bernhard, John Candy, and others) plus a few ill-conceived hairdos clue us in that this feature film was made in 1985. Otherwise, it’s all sophisticated Sesame humor and bighearted fun here as Oscar, the Count, and crew set off to rescue Big Bird, who’s on the lam from a family of adoptive dodos. Only one conceivable complaint: The latter crop of Street viewers may miss Elmo, who hadn’t been created when Bird first flew into theaters.

1612 - E1 Entertainment

After the brutal slaughter of Tsar Boris Godunov and his family, Russia descends into chaos. Guided by faith and mysticism, Andrey, the only witness to the massacre, transforms himself from servant to cavalier and sets off on a quest to save Princess Ksenia, the missing daughter of Godunov. Andrey joins forces with Prince Pozharski, the people’s army leader, and faces down the Polish army in an explosive, blood-soaked battle for Moscow. This DVD includes over 45 minutes of bonus features.

ICARLY: Season One, Volume Two - Paramount

In this Nickelodeon show for the information age, Carly and her best friend Samantha (“Sam”) turn into instant celebrities when they take a routine homework assignment to the World Wide Web. As the young co-hosts of ICARLY, the duo offer an interactive experience that lets viewers become part of the act--even creating content that might become part of the show! This collection presents 12 more episodes from this program aimed at teens.

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE: Blu-ray - A&E

Pride and Prejudice stars Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennet, a witty and headstrong young woman in 19th century England. When she meets the standoffish Mr. Darcy (Colin Firth), they initially clash, but there may be something deeper behind their animosity. Firth sets the standard for period film heroes with his portrayal of Mr. Darcy, a character sure to make both minds and hearts race. The classic novel of manners, society, and love includes much of Austen’s rich commentary on human nature, and features extensive, gorgeous location shooting in and around historic English country homes.

FROST/NIXON - Universal

For three years after being forced from office, Nixon remained silent. But in summer 1977, the steely, cunning former commander-in-chief agreed to sit for one all-inclusive interview to confront the questions of his time in office and the Watergate scandal that ended his presidency. Nixon surprised everyone in selecting Frost as his televised confessor, intending to easily outfox the breezy British showman and secure a place in the hearts and minds of Americans. Likewise, Frost’s team harbored doubts about their boss’ ability to hold his own. But as cameras rolled, a charged battle of wits resulted. Would Nixon evade questions of his role in one of the nation’s greatest disgraces? Or would Frost confound critics and bravely demand accountability from the man who’d built a career out of stonewalling? Over the course of their encounter, each man would reveal his own insecurities, ego and reserves of dignity -- ultimately setting aside posturing in a stunning display of unvarnished truth.

CAPRICA - Universal

An astonishing breakthrough is taking shape on the planet Caprica. The rapidly evolving spheres of human and mechanical engineering have collided, along with the fates of two families. Joined by tragedy in an explosive instant of terror, two rival clans led by powerful patriarchs, Joseph Adama (Esai Morales) and Daniel Greystone (Eric Stoltz) duel in an era of questionable ethics, corporate machinations and unbridled personal ambition as the final war for humanity looms. The latest phenomenon from the executive producers of Battlestar Galactica (Ronald D. Moore and David Eick), set in a time over 50 years earlier, Caprica is entirely its own world - provocative, thrilling and startling relevant to our own.

HAWAII FIVE-0: Season Six - Paramount

One of TV’s longest-running crime dramas, the 1970s television series Hawaii Five-O captivated audiences with its smart and stylish take on the standard policier formula. Filmed entirely on the Hawaiian Islands, the action-packed series followed the crime-fighting adventures of an elite state-police squad anchored by quintessential tough guy Steve McGarrett (Jack Lord) and his detective team of Danny “Danno” Williams (James MacArthur), Chin Ho Kelly (Kam Fong), and Kono Kalakaua (Zulu). Almost single-handedly rewriting the book on police dramas, the series distinguished itself with intricate plotting, inventive cinematography, exotic locations, and, of course, an indelible theme song. This collection presents the iconic series’ sixth season in its entirety.

THE LAST WORD: Blu-ray - Image

Geoff Haley’s feature debut is a hilariously dark romantic comedy set in the City of Angels, where aimless souls are desperate to either make a connection or go out with a bang. Evan Merck (Wes Bentley) is a writer who has found a most peculiar niche. Evan makes his living composing other people’s suicide notes. His reclusive world is thrown for a loop when, at a client’s funeral, Evan meets the beautiful, free-spirited Charlotte (Winona Ryder), the dead client’s sister. Unaware of his real day job—much less his connection to her brother’s suicide—Charlotte develops a fascination for the young writer. Sparks fly, and Evan is not one for sparks. As his feelings for Charlotte spiral, Evan desperately tries to keep his career a secret. Deceptions snowball, rocking the delicately crafted balance of Evan’s life and, consequently, the lives of his hapless clients. Surprisingly touching, quirky, and wickedly intelligent, this charming comedy confronts loss, redemption, and our curious need to leave a legacy.

SQUIDBILLIES: Volume Two - Turner

Somewhere out in the mountains of north Georgia there’s an inbred family of trashy, beer drinking, fist fighting folk who are as American as apple pie, except for one thing--they’re squids. That’s OK though, because it’s not going to stop these dirt poor sea animal rednecks from robbing liquor stores, running from the sheriff, or getting a little hillbilly nooky. Here is the complete first season of this hilarious and absurd cartoon made by the same people behind Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Space Ghost Coast to Coast. It’s an often surreal and always funny animated series that is sure to join the ranks of other adult cartoon hits.

WHILE SHE WAS OUT - Anchor Bay

Kim Basinger delivers perhaps the most audacious performance of her career as Della, a suburban housewife, caught in a nightmare of violence and desperation as she is mercilessly stalked by a group of young thugs. Armed with only a toolbox and the will to survive, Della is engaged in a fight for her life and has to make it through the night or succumb to the rabid predators. Haas plays the manipulative psychopath leading the gang on their murderous rampage.

JAMES BOND: Blu-ray Volume Three - MGM

The set features The World is Not Enough with Pierce Brosnan, Moonraker with Roger Moore and Goldfinger, with Roger Moore as well. A must own for any James Bond fan, this set contains obvious picture and sound improvements to the original films. Get out and get your copy before they are gone!

THE HIT - Criterion

Terence Stamp is Willie, a gangster s henchman turned informer trying to live in peaceful hiding in a remote Spanish village. Sun-dappled bliss turns to nerve-racking suspense, however, when two hit men played by a soulless John Hurt and a youthful, loose-cannon Tim Roth come a-calling to bring Willie back for execution. This stylish early gem from Stephen Frears boasts terrific performances from a roster of England s best hard-boiled actors and ravishing photography of its desolate Spanish locations a splendid backdrop for a rather sordid story.

THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL - Fox

A remake of the 1951 sci-fi classic of the same name, The Day the

Earth Stood Still follows astrobiologist Helen Benson (Jennifer Connelly) as she is unceremoniously plucked from her everyday life with her stepson (Jaden Smith), and whisked away to consult the government on a top-secret matter. That matter happens to be the arrival of a massive glowing sphere in Central Park, accompanied by a towering robot-like protector dubbed Gort and an alien ambassador named Klaatu (Keanu Reeves), who takes up human form to communicate with the people of Earth. When Klaatu finds himself faced with hawkish, uncompromising officials, he goes on the run with Benson and her son as the fate of the world gradually becomes clear.

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