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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.


 

LOOK - Anchor Bay

The Post 9/11 world has forever changed the notion of privacy. There are now approximately 30 million surveillance cameras in the United States generating more than 4 billion hours of footage every week. And the numbers are growing. The average American is now captured over 200 times a day, in department stores, gas stations, changing rooms, even public bathrooms. No one is spared from the relentless, unblinking eye of the cameras that are hidden in every nook and cranny of day-to-day life. Shot entirely from the point of view of the security cameras. Adam Rifkin’s Look follows several interweaving, story lines over the course of a random week in a random city. Lookis a film about the things that people do when they don’t know they’re being watched. Based on the premise that everyone has secrets, Look takes us on a voyeuristic journey into the most personal parts of ordinary people’s lives. Everyone is guilty of selective deception. We all hide aspects our lives from those around us. It might be as benign as picking your nose in an empty elevator or perhaps something much darker. Look poses the question: Are we always alone when we think we are? Look around you and wonder...who is watching?

NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH - Sony

Inspired by real-life political events, director Rod Lurie once again delves into issues of power and gender with Nothing But the Truth, an engaging thriller about the right to a free press and the price of principles. As the film opens, the president of the United States has survived an assassination attempt. Believing that the leader of Venezuela was behind the plot, the U.S. launches a military attack against the country. In Washington, D.C., reporter Rachel Armstrong (Kate Beckinsale) has revealed that Erica Van Doren (Vera Farmiga), the wife of the U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela, is a C.I.A. operative who found no proof of a plot. Armstrong quickly finds herself contending with both Van Doren and special prosecutor Patton DuBois (Matt Dillon), hellbent on discovering Armstrong’s source. When she refuses to reveal her source, Armstrong is jailed for contempt of court. In the troubled year that follows both women will confront the harsh realities of life during wartime, including the questioning of their patriotism and even threats to their lives.

TRANSPORTER 3 - Lions Gate

Combining Western-style car chases and Hong Kong-inspired fight sequences choreographed by martial arts legend Cory Yuen, the Luc Besson-created Transporter films have found international success as a sort of working-class James Bond series. Jason Statham, who has become the go-to guy for big-budget B-movie thrills, returns once again as Frank Martin, the driver-for-hire for whom no job is too risky. Brimming with the usual jaw-dropping stunts, this is another crowd-pleasing entry in the saga, delivered at a brisk and flashy clip by director Olivier Megaton. Following the coercion of Ukrainian environmental official Leonid Vasilev (Jeroen Krabbe) into signing papers permitting the shipping of toxic materials into a harbor by criminal mastermind Johnson (Robert Knepper), Frank Martin is forced into accepting the job of driving Vasilev’s kidnapped daughter, Valentina (Natalya Rudakova)--acting as human collateral--from Marseilles to the Black Sea coastal city of Odessa.

PUNISHER: WAR ZONE - Lions Gate

Punisher: War Zone, the third screen appearance from Marvel Comics’ angel of death, continues the saga of Frank Castle, normal New York City citizen turned Mafia-slaying vigilante following the murder of his wife and daughter. Upping the violence level to the intensity of a horror film, this outing requires no prior knowledge of the character’s screen antics and features an appealingly stoic performance from Ray Stevenson, who cuts an imposing physical presence, and is a more-than-worthy successor to previous Punishers Dolph Lundgren (1990) and Thomas Jane (2004). Six years after the death of his family, Frank Castle is still waging war against organized crime in New York. After he ambushes a party for an aging mob boss and turns it into a bloodbath, the battle moves to a recycling warehouse where Castle pushes gangster Billy Russoti (Dominic West) into a swirling vat of broken glass.

JAKE & THE FATMAN - Paramount

William Conrad stars as Jason Lochinvar “Fatman” McCabe, a rotund, cigar-chomping district attorney with a bulldog’s tenacity. Along with his suave investigator, Jake Styles (Joe Penny), he secures convictions for some of Southern California’s most bewildering crimes, bringing to justice a despicable mix of killers, thieves, and rapists. Assisting the odd couple are Jake’s sunny assistant Derek, his fork-tongued secretary Gertrude, and of course his wrinkly old bulldog Max.

EARTH: FINAL CONFLICT - Universal

From the imagination of Star Trek producer Gene Roddenberry, Earth: Final Conflict follows a sophisticated alien race as they adventure to planet Earth in the 21st century. Claiming that they’re only interested in peaceful interaction, the aliens select two humans--William Boone (Kevin Kilner) and Lili Marquette (Lisa Howard)--as their ambassadors. When other Earthlings catch wind of the outsiders’ arrival, however, they form an underground resistance, and Boone and Marquette must decide where their true loyalties lie. This collection includes 22 episodes from the show’s first season.

HEARTS OF WAR - Image

Roy Scheider stars as a Nazi soldier who falls for a young Jewish woman in this heart-rending story about forbidden love. When he first meets Rachel (Nina Dobrev), the daughter of a local rabbi, it is clear they cannot have a relationship; as their passions develop, however, they risk life and limb to be together.

THE LIFE & LEGEND OF WYATT EARP: Season One - Infinity

The most celebrated lawman of the Old West rides again in Season One of the popular TV series The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp. Hugh O’Brien stars as the famed marshal whose exploits with Doc Holliday, Bat Masterson, and the Clanton Gang are boldly brought to life in episodes based on actual events. With his signature Buntline Special in hand, Wyatt Earp held posts in a series of increasingly lawless towns and battled dangerous men in his efforts to keep the peace. Through Ellsworth, Wichita, Dodge City, and Tombstone, Earp’s reputation as a just and formidable marshal grew, culminating in a storied gunfight that would seal his legend.

HOLLYWOOD THE DARK SIDE: Death & Scandal -
Little Dizzy Home Video

While the lives of celebrities are enthusiastically celebrated by the public, their deaths have inspired equal fascination, provoking eternal speculation. Throughout Hollywood’s history, there have been countless examples of talented lives and flourishing careers suddenly cut short including James Dean, Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo, Dorothy Stratten, Bob Crane and many, many more. Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, Del Shannon, John Lennon, Tupac Shakur, Notorius B.I.G., Kurt Cobain, Frank Zappa, Bob Marley, Elvis, Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Keith Moon, Brian Jones, Joey Ramone, Freddie Mercury and Dennis Wilson are just some of the musicians whose death by drugs, murder or accident have shaken the rock, pop and hip hop worlds.

HOLLYWOOD THE DARK SIDE: Frank Sinatra & Marilyn Monroe - Little Dizzy Video

Marilyn Monroe, the blonde bombshell of the 1950s, symbolized the sexual contradictions of the period. Scorned as a “loose woman,” she was the desire of most American men and the envy of most American women. Unique and unmatched, Marilyn conquered Hollywood and changed the studio stranglehold on actors forever. There will be other blond bombshells, but no one will ever be more famous or be more beloved than Marilyn Monroe. From Frank Sinatra’s rough and tumble youth in Hoboken, NJ to his days as a crooner and his spectacular comeback in “From Here to Eternity,” Sinatra persevered and left a legacy as a man who succeeded at all costs. Through all the controversies that surrounded his life, Sinatra triumphed and left a legacy as the best singer of all time and one of the greatest stars the world has ever known. Beautiful blonds have always been part of the Hollywood mystique. But for some unknown reason, many of the most legendary of these blonds have been victims of tragedy, untimely death or been involved in scandals involving drugs, sex and other deviant behavior. From Jean Harlow, Carole Lombard, Lana Turner and Jane Mansfield to Pamela Anderson, Paris Hilton and Britany Spears, this feature covers many of Hollywood’s most famous, and infamous, blonds.

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:
June 26, 2009