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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.


 

THE HANGOVER

Two days before his wedding, Doug (Justin Bartha) drives to Las Vegas with his best buddies Phil and Stu (Bradley Cooper & Ed Helms) and his future brother-in-law Alan (Zach Galifianakis), for a blow out bachelor party they vow they’ll never forget. But when the three groomsmen wake up the next morning with pounding headaches, they can’t remember a thing. Their luxury hotel suite is beyond trashed and the groom is nowhere to be found. With no clue about what happened and little time to spare, the trio must attempt to retrace their bad decisions from the night before in order to figure out where things went wrong in the hopes of finding Doug and getting him back to L.A. in time for his wedding. But the more they begin to uncover, the more they realize just how much trouble they’re really in.

The Hangover proves that you don’t need name actors in order to have a successful comedy. The cast clicks from beginning to end as the chemistry between them continues to build throughout the film. One of the wonderful aspects of this picture - and one that makes it so funny - is that you only see the aftermath of the bachelor party, rather than the party itself. Make no mistake, this film is raunchy at times, but is without question one of the funniest films to hit the big screen since Death at a Funeral. Get out a see it now. You will leave with a headache from constant laughter!

The Hangover

Starring: Bradley Cooper & Ed Helms

Director: Todd Phillips

Company: Warner

Now Showing: In area theatres

MPAA Rating: R

Grade: A+

DVD Reviews

DO THE RIGHT THING: Blu-ray - Universal

It’s the hottest day of the summer. You can do nothing, you can do something, or you can...Do the Right Thing. Directed by visionary filmmaker Spike Lee, Do the Right Thing is one of the most thought-provoking and groundbreaking films of the last 20 years. The controversial story centers around one scorching inner-city day, when racial tensions reach the boiling point in a tough Brooklyn neighborhood. Do the Right Thing is a joyful, tumultuous masterpiece--maybe the best film ever made about race in America, revealing racial prejudices and stereotypes in all their guises and demonstrating how a deadly riot can erupt out of a series of small misunderstandings. Featuring over four hours of bonus features, a digitally remastered picture and new 5.1 surround sound audio, Do the Right Thing 20th Anniversary Edition captures an unforgettable piece of American history.

SHAUN THE SHEEP: Sheep on the Loose - Lionsgate

Shaun the Sheep and his barnyard gang are back with more chaos in the countryside! The Oscar winning creators of Wallace and Gromit do it again with sheeptacular new adventures and just shear wackiness. Shaun is a sheep who doesn’t follow the flock, and along with the other sheep and those naughty pigs, there’s sure to be plenty of mayhem in the meadow. Perfect for kids and educational, too!

NOSTRADAMUS: 2012 - A&E

It’s a year that many have prophesized will bring a catastrophic end to life as we know it. Whatever is in store a massive cosmic collision, a global environmental disaster, an Armageddon-like religious showdown, or a more subtle transformation many believe that 2012 will mark a major shift in the history of our planet. But what is there to substantiate such fears? A detailed, historical investigation of this chilling prophecy is the mission of Nostradamus 2012 an exciting History special that casts the doomsday warning in a frighteningly modern context. December 21, 2012 is bearing down on us with alarming speed. Whether or not we are able to collectively heed the warnings and affect a course to avert disaster may be the defining moment of the modern age.

BOB THE BUILDER: Truck Teamwork - Lionsgate

Join Bob the Builder and his ultimate team of trucks for five exciting adventures! The projects are piling up, and the team needs to complete everything from a major build to an exercise park, and an ice cream parlor. But when competition causes the projects to stack up and back up, the team must learn that no job can be complete without the right amount of cooperation. Watch Bob and the Can-Do Crew as they show that by working together they can always get the job done! This set rocks! Kids are gonna love the DVD and it even comes with a toy truck!

THE CELL 2: Blu-ray - Warner

This straight-to-DVD sequel to the 2000 Jennifer Lopez picture must play its mind games without Lopez herself. But the idea’s still intact: another telepathic mind-melder (played by Tessie Santiago) is employed by the police to get into the brain of a serial killer. She’s been clinically dead six times or something, and can see in a way others cannot. She was herself once held by the madman, who has figured out a way to wipe his face out of her visions of his dark, torture-filled world. Where the original film directed by Tarsem at least provided some gaudy visuals for the already-tired premise, The Cell 2 has 24 producer-director Tim Iacofano at the helm.

FRIDAY THE 13th: Blu-ray - Warner

The indestructible villain of so many bottom-of-the-barrel shockers isn’t about to change his shtick, and the 2009 Friday the 13th proves it. This, the umpteenth sequel to the original 1980 movie, gives us a clever prologue that manages to fit an entire Jason Voorhees killing spree in a brisk and bloody 20 minutes. Jumping ahead six weeks, the film introduces a carload of clueless teens headed for a weekend at a lakeside cabin, plus a lone motorcyclist (Jared Padalecki) in search of his missing sister (Amanda Righetti). When the “lakeside” happens to refer to Crystal Lake, of course, there can be only one outcome. The Blu-ray disc includes both the extended Killer Cut (which is 106 minutes compared to 97) and the theatrical cut, though it defaults to play the Killer Cut; if you want the theatrical cut, you have to select it on the special-features menu.

HISTORY ON MY ARMS - MVD

History on My Arms presents two compelling documentaries on the late Ramones bassist Dee Dee Ramone, a subject who was surprisingly willing to engage with the camera. Hey! Is Dee Dee Home? is a moving and chaotic portrait of the music legend’s life, with director Lech Kowalski drawing on a potent mixture of vintage footage and talking-head tributes to the affable yet drug-addled Ramone. In Vos Paris, the charismatic figure of the New York scene reveals the entire story behind what happened when he got together with some fellow musicians to form a punk super group in late-’90s Paris. Not just for music lovers, this dvd is a wonderful addition to any library.

GOTHKILL - MVD

Does Gothkill accomplish its major goal of providing a scary good time? Yes, it does. The film focuses on Nick Dread, a disgraced monk from Inquisition times who rebelled against the Church s hypocrisy by making a deal with the Devil; Nick wants his own kingdom in Hell, but first he must claim 100,000 souls. Fortunately, he has all of the lifetimes he needs at his disposal. So, when Nick is executed in modern-day New York, he comes back by possessing a bright-eyed young girl who has just arrived in the big city to make her dreams come true. Her dreams probably didn’t include killing a dozen Goths in a Lower East Side nightclub, but that just makes her doing so all the more fun. We are doing a giveaway on this title. Please email me if you are interested in a free copy!

THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK: Blu-ray - Fox

The Fox Studio Classic DVD release of The Diary of Anne Frank was outstanding and featured both a commentary track and wonderful extras. The Blu-ray is definitely worth the upgrade. The transfer of the film is beautifully done and all of the extras from the DVD are still intact, but the additional new material is worth the price of purchase. The Stevens World War II footage that he shot in 16mm Kodachrome has much more material then we have ever seen before. Steven’s Jr. experiences on the film are very interesting and the section in which he shares letters that his dad sent and received are touching. Alfred Newman’s composer sons (David and Thomas) discuss their dad’s work on his magnificent score for the film. If you are interested in the classic Anne Frank film, then this Blu-ray edition will be treasured addition to your library.

ENTOURAGE: Season Five - HBO

Entourage’s fifth season leaves our movie star in a pickle: his big Oscar shot, Medellin, is a dismal failure, and Vincent (Adrian Grenier) has burrowed away to Mexico to drown his sorrows in booze and women. How does a once-promising actor get his confidence, legitimacy and bankability back? That’s the key premise this time around, and like some of its previous seasons, is always more interesting when Vince is struggling than when he’s on top. Once his crew--manager Eric (Kevin Connolly), big brother Johnny Drama (Kevin Dillon), agent Ari (Jeremy Piven), and driver Turtle (Jerry Ferrara)--convince Vince to get back in the game, he finds many once-welcoming doors closed. He eagerly takes a meeting with Shawshank Redemption director Frank Darabont (playing himself), only to feel insulted when he finds it’s for a TV pilot. (His subsequent options? Appearing at a Sweet Sixteen party and doing a Benji movie.) Once a promising script about firefighters (called Smokejumpers) piques Vince’s interest, ensuing episodes become a complex chess game of job-hopping, backdoor-dealing, and back-scratching, which is always Entourage’s strength. As Vince watches his star fade, Grenier gets a chance to let his sunny optimism crack, even sitting in Ari’s office and begging to be told he’s a good actor.

NARUTO UNCUT: Box Set 14 - VIZ Media

The ninja of the Hidden Leaf Village are summoned on a mission to the Land of Stars, where a meteorite with incredible powers has been stolen! Naruto and the others begin to suspect it was an inside job when they learn that the ninja who stole the star used a special ninjutsu known only to the Star Village. Then, Choji, Hinata and Naruto set out for the Land of Greens to protect a group of merchants, one of whom turns out to be a princess! When Hinata is threatened by an evil ninja to reveal the princess’s whereabouts or Naruto will be hurt, will she choose to save a princess or the boy she loves? Take a guess! The story of Naruto continues in a wonderfully presented addition to the ongoing story!

HOME: Blu-ray - Fox

Narrated by Glenn Close and featuring the provocative and uniquely jaw-dropping aerial photography of famed photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand, this soaring trip across planet Earth allows viewers to experience their home as never before. The blu-ray edition is absolutely stunning! You must get your copy of this product today!

EVERY PICTURE TELLS A STORY - Acorn

Explore the secrets behind some of the world’s most famous paintings. With characteristic wit, art critic Waldemar Januszczak turns his educated eye to eight masterpieces of European painting, unraveling the secrets behind each. What did Gainsborough intend for the conspicuous void in Mr and Mrs Andrews? Why did Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa capture the world’s imagination? How did Manet shock French society with his Le dČjeuner sur l’herbe (“Luncheon on the Grass”)? From New York City to Paris to Rome, Januszczak searches out the art experts, literary and artistic allusions, and historical records--not to mention juicy gossip--to expose long-held secrets within the gilded frames. Works by Botticelli, Rembrandt, Giorgione, Caravaggio, and van Eyck also take on new and deeper meanings in this lively, engaging eight-part series.

WHAT GOES UP - Sony

What Goes Up is a film about a morally challenged New York reporter, Campbell Babbitt (Steve Coogan), who learns life lessons from a group of dysfunctional students. Upon arriving in the small New Hampshire town, Babbitt decides to call an old college friend, only to discover an apparent suicide. Babbitt gravitates toward his friends high-school students in hopes of finding an unsung hero story about a teacher who made a permanent impact on the social misfits of the school. Instead, he discovers the least likely teachers, a group of dysfunctional students, outcasts led by a narcissistic seductress (Hilary Duff), a repressed voyeur (Josh Peck), and a scheming pregnant teen (Olivia Thirlby). In a gradual reversal of roles, Babbitt soon finds himself learning from this unusual group of kids.

REBA: Season Six - Fox

Popular country music singer Reba McIntyre stars in this hit family comedy series. Reba is a recently divorced parent of three, whose dentist husband Brock (Christopher Rich) has left her for his painfully perky and pregnant assistant, Barbra Jean (Melissa Peterman). The trials and travails of this offbeat family are presided over by the take-charge, loving Reba, who manages to save the day almost every time, and whose motherly wisdom and openhearted good humor carry the show. All episodes of the award winning sixth season are included.

THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CAPITALISM - Acorn

Perhaps nothing crystallizes the theme of Ted Koppel’s excellent Discovery Channel series The People’s Republic of Capitalism like the production of Ethan Allen couches. Over four episodes, Koppel reveals increasing economic interdependence between the United States and China, and daily business for the American furniture maker is a case in point. While couch bases are made in Chinese factories using cheap labor, those bases are then sent to the U.S. to be assembled with other components. The finished couches are then sent to China to be sold to a growing middle class with money to spare. Such is the cycle of globalization, pushing the U.S. and China into a necessary partnership that has an upside for some and a profound downside for others. In order to understand that complexity, Koppel tells us, it’s important to grasp rapid changes in China, which has forsaken socialism, the very idea of a classless society, for a fervent embrace of new values and the goal of becoming an economic superpower.

BURN NOTICE: Season Two: Blu-ray - Fox

When intelligence agencies need to dispense with one of their spies they serve a burn notice. A burn notice informs other agencies that the spy has become unreliable, effectively ending his or her career. In the breezy yet adventurous tradition of Magnum P.I., the USA Network’s Burn Notice follows Michael Westen (Jeffrey Donovan), whose intelligence career comes to an abrupt halt after a botched job in Nigeria. Westen returns home to Miami, Florida, only to discover that he has been cut off from all his contacts in the agency and his bank account has been frozen. Without a penny to his name, Westen decides to work as an unlicensed private investigator, using the money he makes to launch his own investigation into his fate with the intelligence agency.

NIGHT TRAIN: Blu-ray - NEM

When a veteran conductor (Danny Glover), a young pre-med student (Leelee Sobieski) and a struggling salesman (Steve Zahn) discover a dead body on board a night train, the three strangers find themselves on a collision course with destiny. Among the deceased man’s mpossessions is a mysterious box, containing a treasure so valuable that they conspire to keep it for themselves. Their decision sets in motion a tense game of obsession and deceit, where greed betrays reason and morality gives way to temptation. Gripping and telling at the same time, this ride is one you don’t want to miss!

BLEACH: Volume 16 - VIZ Media

The violence and chaos of Soul Society behind them, Ichigo and his crew of would-be heroes return to the far friendlier violence and chaos of high school. But the palling around and pummeling of friend and family are short lived, as a new menace closes in on the apprentice Soul Reaper. A mysterious group begins abducting Ichigo’s friends, starting with Orihime, and, using them as leverage, forces Ichigo into a series of mind-bending “games” in which the stakes are anything but playful. The action is stylish, and stylistically uniform, and the angst is unsubtle and the jokes funny. The new characters really look like a part of the cast, and the extended structure of the fights is perfectly in keeping with the series’ usual narrative stride. Definitely worth the purchase for the general anime fan.

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 10, 2009