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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

EXTREME TRAINS: Season One - History

Your ticket to some of the most thrilling, high-octane train rides in history is here! Extreme Trains host Matt Brown, a real-life railroad conductor from New England, brings his infectious passion for these monster machines to rail journeys across the United States. Feel the force of railroads in history, and see how railroading is about more than machines, cargo and challenging terrain. From the demolition of Penn Station, to the first train robbers and how the Nazis tried to blow up the rails in World War II, to the human blood, sweat and tears of the stokers, engineers, and bathroom cleaners that keep the industry moving, tag along with Matt on one of history’s most exciting rides.

THE THREE STOOGES: Volume Six 1949-51 - Sony

The Three Stooges return with the next 24 digitally remastered shorts covering the years 1949-1951 in this sixth collection, which continues with Shemp as the third Stooge, who had stepped in two years earlier to fill the shoes left empty when Curly became ill and retired. This collection contains such classics as “Merry Mavericks” (1951), a reworking of “Phony Express” (1943) featuring Red Morgan and his gang of bandits; “Self Made Maids” (1950), in which the Stooges not only play themselves but assume the roles of their fiancÈes, their fiancÈes’ father (played by Moe) and their three babies; and “Don’t Throw that Knife” (1951), which features Larry, Moe and Shemp in brilliant improvisation with nothing but household items while confined to a single room. The Three Stooges Collection Volume 6 showcases Larry, Moe and Shemp at their best -- and things just keep getting better!

ALICE’S HOUSE - Indiepix

When Alice, a Sao Paulo manicurist, wife and mother has a chance meeting with an old flame, she is forced to re-examine her life and address her romantic dreams. Feeling her youth and sexuality slipping away, Alice flirts with a rapturous affair to escape her repressive family life and avoid the fate of her aging mother, who drags out her remaining years as the housemaid. Award-winning documentarian Carlos Teixeira silently immerses his camera in Alices household, recording day-to-day minutia and scorching passion with equal weight and no judgement. The result is a world all too real, overflowing the boundaries of its Brazilian setting and revealing the dreams and flaws which define our shared humanity.

TIME WARP: Season One - Image

Explore the world in astonishing, even radical new ways! Join the Time Warp team, Jeff Lieberman and Matt Kearney, as they reveal events that happen much too quickly or too slowly to be perceived in depth by our senses. With extremely sensitive slow-motion cameras, Jeff and Matt examine chainsaw juggling, freeze bullets in their tracks, find out what happens to the body when it’s blasted with a Taser gun, and so much more in this startling and exciting series!

BODY ARMOUR - Image

Disgraced bodyguard John Ridley (Til Schweiger) is torn between vengeance and duty when he’s forced to protect Lee Maxwell (Chazz Palminteri), the cold-blooded assassin who murdered Ridley’s client. But Ridley wants payback...and he’s determined to get it sooner or later any way he can. This is an in your face type program that will interest any fan of dramas. Get your copy today!

CROSSING OVER - Genius

Harrison Ford is on a quest for justice as an immigrations agent investigating the case of a missing illegal. In a cross-fire of crime and bureaucracy, fraud and murder, he must race against time to try to save a family from becoming collateral damage in the fight for the American dream. Critics rave, “Harrison Ford is terrific. An engrossing, thoroughly entertaining movie with great performances from a first-rate ensemble cast.”

DOMINICK DUNNE: After the Party - Indiepix

Hollywood outcast, best-selling author and chronicler of the rich and famous, Dominick Dunne is one of the world’s leading journalists and society commentators. This is his story. Vanity Fair Special Correspondent Dominick Dunne has become known the world over for his vociferous championing of the rights of the victim in high-profile murder cases. His powerful commentaries have made compelling reading in Vanity Fair for a quarter of a century. Now, aged 82, Dunne is covering his last murder trial for Vanity Fair - the trial of music producer Phil Spector - and reflects upon his past as a decorated World War II veteran, his rise and spectacular collapse as a Hollywood producer, and his rebirth as the writer we know today. Dunne’s mind offers a fascinating insight into the American psyche and its obsession with fame. Featuring Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter, Tina Brown, Joan Didion, Griffin Dunne, and New York Post gossip columnist Liz Smith as well as legendary Hollywood producer Robert Evans, the film uncovers what lies beneath a life.

MISTRESSES: Volume One - BBC

Four college girlfriends graduate to labyrinthine love lives in this red-hot BBC series. Unfaithfulness is the name of the game as each of the women bristle against the bounds of fidelity. Katie is a doctor heating up the sheets with a terminally ill patient. Trudi is a bereft widow trying to move on. In the meantime, Siobhan discovers renewed sexual vigor with a hot co-worker, while Jessica spreads herself thin with men (married and unmarried) that won’t stop coming. And that’s not the half of it! This volume presents all 12 episodes of the steamy series’ first and second seasons.

MONSTERQUEST: Season Three, Set One - History

Discover the truth behind the world s most persistent and compelling monster stories, from MegaJaws to the Swamp Beast of Boggy Creek, the Lake Demon to the Abominable Snowman. Using the latest technology to search for legendary creatures, MonsterQuest attempts to get to the bottom of these mysterious sightings in another fascinating season. Throughout history there have been countless sightings of mysterious creatures, from Megaladon, the father of the great white shark; to gators in the sewer, a result of the rising gator populations clashing with human encroachment; to the Snow Beast of the Colorado Rockies that is thought to be hunting the elk population while fleeing man. Most of what we know of these creatures comes from campfire stories, blurry films and grainy photographs. In Season three, MonsterQuest brings science and technology to bear on these creatures of legend and seeks new, reliable evidence of their existence.

WALLANDER - BBC

This is not your typical Kenneth Branagh program! Branagh plays Swedish detective Kurt Wallander in three new crime dramas based on the best-selling books by Henning Mankell, an international publishing phenomenon with over 25 million copies sold worldwide. Sidetracked, Firewall, and One Step Behind follow Inspector Kurt Wallander - a disillusioned everyman - as he struggles against a rising tide of violence in the seemingly sleepy backwaters in and around Ystad in beautiful southern Sweden. Baffling crimes and apparently motiveless murders lead to surprising and shocking discoveries in these Swedish noir thrillers. This is a must own for fans of the whodunit programs.

GLORY: Blu-ray - TriStar

One of the very best films about the Civil War, this instant classic from 1989 is also one of the few films to depict the participation of African American soldiers in Civil War combat. Based in part on the books Lay This Laurel by Lincoln Kirstein and One Gallant Rush by Peter Burchard, the film also draws from the letters of Robert Gould Shaw (Matthew Broderick), the 25-year-old son of Boston abolitionists who volunteered to command the all-black 54th Regiment of the Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. Their training and battle experience leads them to their final assault on Fort Wagner in South Carolina, where their heroic bravery turned bitter defeat into a symbolic victory that brought recognition to black soldiers and turned the tide of the war.

THE IT CROWD: Season Two - MPI

Do you enjoy a good comedy? This program is definitely for you as it completely redefines comedy! There are reasons the IT Department of Reynholm Industries is kept in the building s basement. In this second hilarious season of the award-winning hit, bitter slacker Roy (Chris O Dowd), uber-nerd Moss (Richard Ayoade), and technically clueless Jen (Katherine Parkinson) attend a night of theater, befriend a German cannibal, disrupt their boss funeral, throw a dinner party, design the ultimate bra, and commit further acts of personal and professional irresponsibility. Plug in for Version 2.0 of the UK sensation and current IFC hit from producer Ash Atalla and writer/director Graham Linehan, now featuring outtakes, audio commentary, behind-the-scenes footage and more.

WAITING FOR GOD: Season Four - BBC

Who hasn’t run into folks like this in their lifetimes? Those cantankerous senior citizens, Tom and Diana, cause more madness and mayhem in the fourth series of this delightful comedy. Diana runs into serious financial difficulties, and the management of Bayview delight in the prospect of losing her as a resident. Will soul mate and fellow inmate Tom come to her rescue? Meanwhile, when the local council cancels Tom and Diana’s favorite classes at the Adult Education Centre, Diana looks to roll some heads. But when they take on city hall, Tom and Diana are put firmly in their place.

AIR FORCE ONE: Blu-ray - Columbia

Harrison Ford plays a U.S. president who single-handedly employs his rigid anti terrorism policy when a band of Russian thugs hatch a mid-flight takeover of Air Force One. Gary Oldman, who chews the scenery as the lead terrorist, will shoot a hostage at the slightest provocation. Glenn Close plays the sternly pragmatic vice president who negotiates with Oldman from her Washington seat of power. If you can believe that the aircraft’s pressurized cabin can sustain hundreds of rounds of machine-gun fire, you’ll buy anything in this entertaining potboiler, especially thanks to Ford’s stalwart heroics and some wonderful special effects.

TOMB DETECTIVES - Smithsonian

Who isn’t interested in what can be found in a tomb? Tomb Detectives investigates some of history’s gruesome deaths, unraveling ancient mysteries that have defied explanation for hundreds, even thousands, of years. In each episode of this six-part series, archaeological teams travel to remote and exotic locales around the globe, using state-of-the-art scientific techniques on their quest to reveal how and why the victims met their ends. There are fascinating episodes included in this set!

ROY CLARK’S OPEN ALL HOURS: Complete Series - BBC

Already old-fashioned when the show was made, Open All Hours now seems like a glimpse into a much earlier world. Ronnie Barker stars as Arkwright, a tight-fisted middle-aged Doncaster shopkeeper, while David Jason as Arkwright’s nephew Granville makes deliveries by bicycle in a manner more evocative of the 1930s than the ‘70s. Barker’s relationship with Jason parallels his rapport with Richard Beckinsale in Porridge (1974-78), and while the pair may not be in prison, the confines of the small general dealer’s shop often seemlike that to Granville. Even though at 36 Jason seems way too old to play the supposedly teenage Granville, he and Barker make a great double act. The dry Northern humor centers mostly on money and sex, the latter interest in Arkwright’s case being the buxom charms of Nurse Gladys Emmanuel, very well played by Lynda Baron. Like writer Roy Clarke’s Last of the Summer Wine, the episodes are more amusing character sketches than stories.

WALTZ WITH BASHIR - Sony

This is, without a doubt, a film that will move you in multiple ways. This is a haunting narrative that will stick with you for a very long time. This dvd is interesting from the start. An animated documentary? Taking over where fact-based animations left off, Israel’s Ari Folman tries to wrap his head around 1982’s Lebanon War. Why do disturbing dreams plague his former army colleagues, while he remembers nothing? Folman meets with nine of them to find out. As they speak, animators recreate their experiences, but instead of rotoscoping or video-capture, Folman first shot his film on video and then assembled an animated version from the resulting storyboards. This graphic-novel approach suits their strange, surrealistic stories and parallels the work of Black Hole’s Charles Burns, who tends to walk on the shadowy side. War may be hell, but moments of grace and beauty shine through, best exemplified by Roni Dayag’s recollection of a late-night swim away from the scene of a beachfront battle. Arguably, he didn’t need to include actual footage of the deceased when stylized graphics get the point across fine. A conventionally beautiful film in an unconventional presentation. No matter. This film is wonderful, nonetheless!

NY YANKEES PERFECT GAMES & NO HITTERS - A&E

As American as apple pie and the U.S. Flag, the New York Yankees Perfect Games & No Hitters should be a staple in every sports fans home! An extraordinary compilation of baseball history, individual intensity, and the unbridled joy. This remarkable collection features perhaps the most pressure-packed pitching performance ever -- the quintessential masterpiece Don Larsen’s 1956 World Series Perfect Game. This classic game is elevated by the television play-by-play of legendary Mel Allen and young Vin Scully plus for the first time ever the radio play-by-play of Bob Wolf is included as an alternative baseball bonus track. Three Hall of Fame announcers providing coverage of a singularly historic event!

24: Season Seven - FOX

Federal Agent Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) returns from working alongside old friend Carl Benton at an underprivileged boys’ school in war-ravaged Sangala, Africa, where he was forced to spring back into action after a heinous warlord kidnapped schoolchildren to be recruited as soldiers for a planned coup. Back in the States, Allison Taylor (Cherry Jones) has been inaugurated as the country’s first female president, which puts her family in danger. Soon after returning, Jack discovers that the terrorists who have breached the government’s computer database infrastructure may be the same ones behind the Sangala incident. In addition, the CTU is out of commission and Elisha Cuthbert returns as Jack’s daughter, Kim. Included here are all 24 episodes.

HIGHLANDER: Complete Animated Series - Image

Is there any better animated program then Highlander? There can only be one! Seven hundred years after the Great Catastrophe, post-apocalyptic Earth is ruled by the evil Immortal Kortan. But now there has arisen a new champion, a young Immortal who will fulfill the ancient prophecy and bring peace to Earth. His name is Quentin MacLeod and he is Highlander. The ultimate fight between good and evil begins as Quentin embarks on a perilous quest to regain the knowledge that will allow him to destroy Kortan, save the human race and restore peace to the world. Join Highlander in his quest for peace in this complete series!

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:
September 09, 2009