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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.


 

STAR TREK

The greatest adventure of all time begins with Star Trek, the incredible story of a young crew’s maiden voyage onboard the most advanced starship ever created: the U.S.S. Enterprise. On a journey filled with action, comedy and cosmic peril, the new recruits must find a way to stop an evil being whose mission of vengeance threatens all of mankind. The fate of the galaxy rests in the hands of bitter rivals. One, James T. Kirk (Chris Pine), is a delinquent, thrill-seeking Iowa farm boy. The other, Spock (Zachary Quinto), was raised in a logic-based society that rejects all emotion. As fiery instinct clashes with calm reason, their unlikely but powerful partnership is the only thing capable of leading their crew through unimaginable danger, boldly going where no one has gone before!

The first thing that comes to my mind regarding this film is wow! On every level, this film delivers without question. The character development, the plotlines, and even the special effects leave us wanting nothing but the next installment. What provides the greatest shine in this that is without a doubt not your daddy’s Star Trek is the cast. Chris Pine and Zach Quinto were phenomenal choices as the new Kirk and Spoke. Simon Pegg as Scotty keeps us rolling with laughter and John Cho’s depiction as Sulu will no doubt please every fan of the helmsman. Zoe Saldana gives us an ultra-sexy Uhura that actually reveals her first name in a round about way. However, Karl Urban’s depiction of Dr. McCoy is spot on with mannerisms, expressions and even insults.

This latest installment is a fine juxtaposition of the new and the old. Trekkies will worship this installment and those that just want an outstanding sci-fi flick will love it as well. As someone who isn’t a Trekker, but one who has over a decade of film critiquing behind him, I am going to give you an honest assessment of this film. Not only is this one of the best films I have ever seen, but I am going to go out on a limb and state this film is on the same level as The Godfather and Forest Gump. Would Michael Corleone agree? Who cares? The only folks that won’t like this film would have to be deaf, blind and stupid. With this latest installment, there is no doubt that Star Trek will indeed live long and prosper!

Star Trek

Starring: Chris Pine & Zachary Quinto

Director: J.J. Abrams

Company: Paramount

Now Showing: In area Theatres

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Grade: A+

DVD Picks

DOCTOR WHO: E Space Trilogy = BBC

Tom Baker stars as the interstellar traveler, Doctor Who in this wonderful BBC television show. A collector’s set of three “Doctor Who” adventures in the alternate realm of E-Space. Includes “Full Circle,” “State of Decay,” and “Warrior’s Gate.”

THE SPECTACULAR SPIDERMAN: Volume Four - Sony

As if Spider-Man didn’t have enough to worry about with an ever-increasing gallery of villains that seem to only get more vicious and powerful, summer is now over. Once he takes the suit off and becomes mild-mannered Peter Parker, he’s got a problem even scarier than all of the Sinister Six: the unforgiving halls of high school! This fourth volume of episodes from the animated children’s series that began in 2008 is full of web-slinging fun.

DOCTOR WHO: Battlefield - BBC

When the Tardis answers a distress call, the Doctor makes two unexpected and dangerous discoveries: the body and sword of legendary King Arthur are immersed at the bottom of a lake, and two Arthurian villains, Morgain and Mordred, aren’t far behind.

FLIRTING WITH FORTY - Sony

Heather Locklear stars in this romantic dramedy as Jackie Laurens, a bored, weary divorcee and mother of two who thinks she’s found the perfect way to celebrate the big 4-0: a relaxing vacation in Hawaii. But when the combination of a mid-life crisis and a sizzling one-night stand with a half-her-age surfing instructor (Robert Buckley) gets to Jackie’s head, she finds herself escaping back to Hawaii at every possible moment--sometimes at the expense of her family and work life. Funnily enough, it may take the unconventional wisdom of Jackie’s young lover to remind her how to come to grips with getting older. Flirting with Forty is based on the bestselling novel by Jane Porter.

INCENDIARY - Image

Director Sharon Maguire tackles more serious fare with this drama featuring Michelle Williams, Ewan McGregor, and Matthew McFadyen. Williams stars as a young woman living in a fictional, near-future London that is dominated by terrorist attacks. When her husband and son are killed by a bomb exploding in a football stadium, she was with her lover, causing her to pile guilt on top of her grief. However, she gets a chance at redemption when she uncovers a sinister plot to cover up the nature of the attack. Incendiary is adapted from the novel by Chris Cleave.

A GALAXY FAR FAR AWAY: Inside the
Universe of a Phenomenon - Cinevolve

The “Star Wars” movies have sold more tickets and made more money than any other film in history. Now, the documentary “A Galaxy Far Far Away” goes deep into what drives this phenomenon. What was it about these movies that inspired so many people? With cameos by Samuel L. Jackson, Joe Pesci, Andy Garcia and Meat Loaf, “A Galaxy Far Far Away” features interviews with hundreds of fans, movie executives, high profile producers and other celebrities shedding new light on the film trilogy that has captivated generations of moviegoers. The complete, often hilarious, exploration of the “Star Wars” phenomenon brings together a group of interesting, hysterical and often touching fans. Yet, it is not just a movie about zealous fans. “A Galaxy Far Far Away” offers new insight into the reasons these fast-paced science fiction films struck a mysterious and powerful chord that crossed race, gender and age lines. . Americans were in awe this year about all the young people who spent 42 days on line to see “The Phantom Menace.” It was an example of how far people will go for something they have passion for. The filmmakers search for answers behind the “Star Wars” phenomenon took them on a journey just as intense, and sometimes weirder.

LAST CHANCE HARVEY: Blu-ray - Anchor Bay

Set in London, this romantic comedy stars Dustin Hoffman as Harvey Shine, a divorced and haggard jingle-writer quickly aging out of his career and workaholic ways. With a warning from his boss (Richard Schiff) to not bother rushing back, Harvey goes to London, begrudgingly, for his daughter’s wedding, fielding that work calls the whole time he’s there. When Harvey greets his estranged daughter, Susie (Liane Balaban), it becomes clear just how far away he’s grown from his family. The film never spells out in exactly what ways Harvey was a bad father, but it is clear he missed the boat when Susie asks her stepfather (James Brolin) to give her away. As Harvey leaves his heartbreak at the ceremony for an emergency work call, he misses his flight and gets fired. While nursing a whiskey at the airport bar, Harvey bumps into Kate (Emma Thompson), an airport employee escaping her own bad day with a glass of wine and a book. Suddenly taken by Kate’s British charm, a tipsy Harvey bombards her with tales of his trouble. This unlikely trading of sob stories leads to lunch, a walk around London, and a day of unexpected romance.

FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS: Season Three - Universal

Football is one of the most popular sports in America, but in Texas it’s closer to religion. This Emmy Award-winning show uses the game as a focal point for each episode’s structure--but the gridiron action often takes the backseat to the more pressing issues of life in Middle America. The real star of the show is the fictional town of Dillon, a place that represents the struggle of hardworking yet flawed human beings getting through another year of life in a small town.

NOTORIOUS: Blu-ray - Fox

The dramatic retelling of the life, improbable rise, and violent fall of rapper Christopher Wallace (aka the Notorious B.I.G.), Notorious plays like A Star is Born set to a rattling gangsta snare. With crisp direction by George Tillman Jr., the film is briskly paced and strikes a worthy balance between sensationalized celebrity biopic and behind-the-scenes drama. Angela Bassett anchors the latter with a nuanced performance as Voletta, Wallace’s long-suffering single mother who attempts to shelter him from the mean streets of Bed-Stuy. With deep involvement by those who knew him best--the real Voletta Wallace and Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs (played dynamically by Derek Luke) co-produced--the film nonetheless unflinchingly portrays Biggie’s troubled history as a teenage crack dealer, his chronic infidelity and poor fathering skills, and his own role in stoking the ludicrous coastal rivalry that claimed both his and Tupac Shakur’s lives.

HOW IT ALL WENT DOWN - E1 Entertainment

Jack-of-all-trades Silvio Pollio writes, directs, and stars in this harrowing crime drama. A young, struggling filmmaker does what he thinks he has to do to make it only to find himself slipping deeper and deeper into the city’s underground world of drugs, prostitution, and murder.

THE WALTONS: Season Nine - Warner

When CBS debuted its new series The Waltons in 1972, no one was prepared for the level of success it reached. Telling the story of a large family living on Walton’s Mountain during the Great Depression, the series tackles universal themes that continue to ring true to this day. Told from the perspective of John Boy (Richard Thomas), an aspiring writer who makes his way through college and into adulthood, The Waltons is a timeless work of entertainment.

JACK TAYLOR OF BEVERLY HILLS - Indie Pix

Trendsetter Jack Taylor has been making custom suits for Hollywood royalty for over 60 years. Documentary filmmaker Cecile Leroy Beaulieu brings the fascinating story of a fashion legend to life through interviews with clients and archival footage.

THE WRESTLER: Blu-ray - Fox

Mickey Rourke isn’t the Italian Stallion -- he’s Randy “The Ram” Robinson, a man who has spent decades slicing himself open in choreographed fights while adoring crowds roar. Pro wrestling isn’t as lucrative as it was for Randy in the 1980s, but he stays at it while working menial jobs because performing isn’t just the only thing he craves--it’s the only thing that, at 50, he knows how to crave. While courting his one true friend, a stripper named Cassidy (Marisa Tomei), Randy does his best to restart a relationship with the angry daughter he abandoned. But Rourke imbues the image of Randy, ready to pounce from the ropes, looking almost as unreal as the box art on action figure packaging, with an expression of pain, desperation, and joy. It’s a close-up that makes two things clear. For one, Randy’s charisma is inseparable from the crippling fixation that’s kept him alive.

MYTHBUSTERS: Collection Four - Image

The Discovery Channel’s Mythbusters show is an entertaining attempt to extract the indefatigable truth from an eclectic array of urban myths. The hosts of the show, Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage, introduce a series of experiments that are designed to provide conclusive answers to questions such as: Is it possible to escape from Alcatraz? Can a positive drug test result from the consumption of poppy seeds? Is there a danger of getting sucked into a toilet seat during air travel? The answers to all these questions, and many more, are provided in these episodes from the shows fourth season.

LIVING PROOF - Sony

Harry Connick Jr. leads an all-star cast as Dr. Dennis Slamon, a brilliant oncologist whose development of a breakthrough treatment for breast cancer is cut short by a lack of financing. But when Slamon finds a couple of powerful supporters in big-hearted philanthropists Lilly Tartikoff (Angie Harmon) and Ron Perelman (Joe Nemmers), he is once again free to continue his research to the full. Unfortunately, a caveat for his new miracle cure may be waiting just around the corner.

DALLAS: Season Eleven - Warner

Sucking in viewers with the dramas, scandals, and intrigues of the Texan elite, Dallas quickly became a national sensation after debuting in 1978. The most popular nighttime soap since the 1960s series Peyton Place, the series would run for a total of 13 seasons and become one of the biggest hits of the 1980s. Driven principally by the dramatic affairs of the rich Ewing family, Dallas derived much of its drama from its characters’ pursuit of money, sex, and power. Starring Larry Hagman as the nefarious J.R. Ewing, the series also boasted a talented supporting cast, including Barbara Bel Geddes, Patrick Duffy, Victoria Principal, Linda Gray, and many more.

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