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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.


 

CAPE NUMBER 7

When director Wei Te-sheng began looking for fundraising aspects forhis latest project, Cape No. 7, not even he realized just how difficult a task he had in front of him. Those with the purse strings werenÕt very eager to invest in a Taiwanese film which had become an industry on its death bed. At his wits end, he decided to shoot the film on his own. After mortgaging his own home and borrowing from his family and friends, Cape No. 7 was shot and released initially to a small amount of acclaim. Once word began to spread, the film picked up steam and developed quite a following.

Cape No. 7 is a romantic musical comedy that centers on a group of folks that live in the seaside resort town of Hengchun. Upon hearing the news that a Japanese singing sensation was going to perform a concert, the mayor of Hengchun demands that a local band open for the pop star. As fate would have it, a local band is nowhere to be found. One of the local kids decides to put a band together full of misfits and no-names. The new band experiences all of the usual trials and tribulations and steals the show. Although this isnÕt an altogether original format for a film, the director does a tremendous job of keeping the momentum of the story moving forward quickly enough, it keeps your interest from beginning to end.

It is interesting to note that Cape No. 7, with itÕs slow beginnings, has received a number of very impressive accolades. The film has been released in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and South Korea to resounding success. In addition, the film won six Golden Horse Awards which lead to itÕs release in China. This is one of a very small number of Taiwanese films to achieve this accomplishment. Cape No. 7 is also now the most successful Taiwanese movie of all time and the second-highest grossing movie ever released in Taiwan. Take this opportunity to see the film at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston this Thursday and Friday at 7 pm.

Cape No. 7

Starring: Neil Armsirons & Chin Yen Chang

Director: Te Sheng Wei

Company: Taiwan

Now Showing: Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

MPAA Rating: N/A

Grade: A-

DVD REVIEWS

Shark Week: Great Bites Collection - Image

Every year around the end of July the Discovery Channel presents Shark Week. For seven days, Discovery airs programming dealing with every aspect of sharks from eyewitness attacks to the evolution of the species. Last year, Image released an Anniversary box set of popular episodes from various years. This year, Image Entertainment releases the companion set with completely new documentaries in addition to classic episodes from popular shows such as Myth busters and Dirty Jobs. Because this new set does not contain any repeated shows from the first box set, it becomes a necessary companion to the other set making this a complete collection. Each program contains a wealth of information about Sharks in addition to breath-taking footage of these amazing creatures. Take a bite out of this set today.

Star Wars: Robot Chicken Episode II - Warner

Cartoon Network brings us a spoof surrounding the second installment from the Star Wars franchise titled Robot Chicken: Episode II. As spoofs go, this one is quite funny. If you have seen ŅSpaceballsÓ, you will enjoy this program. The voices are great and show off the talents of Ahmed Best, Hugh Davidson, Seth Green, Conan OÕBrien, Rachael Leigh Cook and Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia Organa. The overall story is well done with lots of campy one-liners. If you enjoyed the first Robot Chicken Star Wars, this one will keep your interest. For die-hard fans, this show is completely up their alley. Cartoon Network has done a great job promoting this and keeping the Star Wars craze alive and well. The overall animation is fine reminding me of a cross between Gumby and Muppets in Space. If you are in a light-hearted mood and want a good laugh, this is for you.

BEST OF JOAN SUTHERLAND - Kulture

Dame Joan Sutherland, Australian Icon and declared National Treasure, has been described as the foremost soprano of our age and one of the greatest operatic artists of all time. Showcasing highlights of her stage performances with Opera Australia, this double DVD set includes many of her most internationally famous and highly acclaimed roles. Musical performances are conducted by Richard Bonynge.

AN EMPRESS AND THE WARRIORS - Genius

In the tradition of Seven Swords comes the action saga of a kingdom locked in a desperate battle for survival. Martial arts superstar Donnie Yen and Hong Kong Film Award winners Kelly Chen and Leon Lai team up as sword-wielding heroes on a quest to unite a divided nation and wage a massive war against an invading horde. Created by the celebrated action choreographer and cinematographer behind Jet LiÕs Hero and House of Flying Daggers, An Empress & the Warriors takes epic action to new heights.

CHARLIES ANGELS: Season Four - Sony

Another season of the hit classic series comes to DVD! This season, the Angels go on the Love Boat to investigate a major art theft, go back to college to stop a white slavery ring, and find more than just fingerprints when CharlieÕs yacht is stolen. Jill gets help from the Angels after her date with a crown prince is interrupted by sniper fire, and Kelly meets a man who may be her long-lost father. This fourth season also finds another new angel in the lineup as well. All episodes from the fourth season are included in this set.

CHICKA CHICKA 123 - Scholastic

Counting can be so much fun with great music, and when you learn about math through classic stories, numbers come to life. Numbers are an integral part of our lives, whether we are sitting in class or counting in a crowd. This DVD shows a variety of ways we use numbers in life. Although some of the information is a bit outdated, such as counting the planets including Pluto, most of the information presented is timeless. Sing along and have some fun as you help your child learn about basic numbers and math concepts. Learn how big a million really is. Enjoy viewing simple animations of your favorite storybooks as images from favorite animators come to life with crisp images drawn in bold lines. Children watching this title asked to watch it over again. They enjoyed counting along and singing the songs. After viewing the title, they started counting things in the world around them.

A TOUCH OF FROST: Season Fourteen - MPI

Award winning actor David Jason (Only Fools And Horses) returns as maverick detective Jack Frost in three intriguing new episodes of the successful crime drama series. In the first, a murderer is released from prison, and with grim new evidence - the body of the murdered woman killed 20 years before - Frost is forced to question everything that happened all those years ago. In the second, Frost is involved in a race against the clock to rescue kidnap victims, and solve a twisted revenge plot. In the third episode, a shallow grave is uncovered and three bodies are discovered. Could this be a ritual killing? This is one of BritainÕs most famous television shows!

COMIC LEGENDS - MPI

This four disc collection features five favorites of times gone by. Included in the set are a few of Dick Van DykeÕs most beloved routines, Phyllis Diller and her ŅNot Just Another Pretty FaceÓ specials and Tim Conway hamming it up. Also included is a Groucho Marx and Redd Foxx segment that will leave you busting at the seams!

ROUTE 66: Season Three, Volume One - Infinity

The adventures of straight-laced Yale graduate Tod Stiles (Martin Milner) and his Ņbad boyÓ friend Buz (George Maharis) continue in Route 66: Season 3 Volume 1. This time around, the pair encounters even more interesting characters as they drive cross-country in search of adventure along the iconic American Route 66. This is a very interesting show that should appeal to those that want fresh shows that arenÕt constantly recycled.

CORALINE: Blu-ray - Universal

Coraline is based on the haunting book Coraline by Neil Gaiman. The first stop-motion feature shot in stereoscopic 3-D, Coraline features big-headed, stick-bodied animated characters with huge eyes and demonic grins set against menacing backgrounds and an undercurrent of spooky music. Coraline is a teenager who has just moved to an old house in the middle of nowhere with her writer parents and she is bored, bored, bored. Her only companions are an annoyingly talkative boy Wybie (short for Why Born), some eccentric neighbors from the theater and circus, and a strange, button-eyed doll with a marked resemblance to Coraline which Wybie found in an old trunk of his grandmotherÕs. Wonderfully done in the style of spookiness, this Blu-ray DVD is sure to engage both the young and old.

THIRD WATCH: Season Two - Warner

Sometimes it seems as if the world is crashing in on itself. ItÕs the job of the first responders to hold it together. Police, firefighters, paramedics: The men and women of the 3-11 PM shift called third watch are ready to serve in situations ranging from small (attending to a frequent 9-1-1 dialer) to playful (a football match between fire departments) to harrowingly large and complex (tracking an elusive sniper who targets cops). The original team of heroes returns and an FDNY newcomer joins them in a 22-episode Season Two that combines the rigors of duty with compelling vignettes of life away from work. What kind of person defies a gun-wielding madman or rushes into a burning building? This kind Š the people of Third Watch. All episodes from the second season are included in this set.

JOURNEY TO THE MOON - Millcreek

On May 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy made a historic speech where he pledged to send astronauts to the moon before the end of the decade. Eight years later, on July 20, 1969, Apollo commander Neil Armstrong stepped out of the lunar module and made a giant leap for mankind - a step that symbolized one of the most remarkable feats in human history. In celebration of this historic event, Mill Creek Entertainment is releasing an original 45 minute documentary on the Apollo 11 landing including reflections by Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin. This DVD set also contains 6 classic documentaries from the NASA archive along with 2 photography slide shows. This amazing footage recalls the breathtaking story behind the Apollo space program and its heroic crew, bearing witness once again to the strength and determination of the American people.

McHALE'S NAVY: First Eight Episodes - Millcreek

From 1962 to 1966,McHale s Navy was the ABC networks must-see comedy series. With an amazing cast, including Academy Award winner Ernest Borgnine (Lt. Commander McHale), comic genius Tim Conway (Ensign Parker), the one-of-a-kind comic talent of Joe Flynn (Captain Binghamton) this series remains second only to M*A*S*H as a truly funny military sitcom. Veteran seaman Quinton McHale is commissioned into the Navy Reserve at the start of WWII. He becomes Skipper of the Torpedo Patrol (PT) Boat #73 stationed on the island of Taratupa in the Pacific. Assigned to his command are six free-spirited, good-hearted swabbies who love to have fun. McHale and his men are constant irritants to their base commander, Captain Wallace B. Binghamton. Binghamton is forever trying to find a way to get rid of McHale and his rule-bending crew, while McHale & Co. are forever scheming to keep him from succeeding. Despite their hilarious party-boy shenanigans and utter disregard for Navy regulations, when duty calls, the crew of PT 73 does its job and does it well.

JOE SCHMO TWO: Season Two - Millcreek

The Joe Schmo Show was a reality TV show parody which aired on the American cable network Spike TV. The showÕs concept is reminiscent of the movie The Truman Show. The targets, regular schmoes; such as Matt Kennedy Gould, were led to believe that they were contestants on reality shows. Unbeknownst to the showÕs main characters, everyone else on the show, including the host, is actually an actor. The show itself is in fact an elaborate hoax designed to elicit comedic reactions from them. This DVD release includes 13 Hilarious Episodes including never before seen footage of the cast and crew! Take a fascinating glimpse behind the scenes of one of the most notorious reality show debacles in history!

1001 Classic Commercials - Millcreek

Tons of fun for the whole family is in store with this comprehensive collection of the most unforgettable, exceptional, and memorable commercials to hit the small-screen! This is an entire history of American pop culture in its most eloquently simple and straight-forward form. Enjoy reminiscing about years gone by while watching all of your favorite commercials from the past! This set includes legendary favorites from some of the most well-know household brands like Speedy from Alka-Seltzer, The Jolly Green Giant, Barbie, Marlboro, Chevy and more!

DOCTOR WHO: Planet of the Dead - BBC

David Tennant began his victory lap as the Tenth Doctor with this engaging special episode of Doctor Who, one of four from 2009 that brought his tenure as the Time Lord to a close, and the first to be shot in HD. TennantÕs palpable energy and quirky charm are the engines that drive Planet of the Dead, and heÕs well-matched by Michelle (Bionic Woman) Ryan as his one-off companion, Lady Christina de Souza. The ladyÕs chosen profession--jewel thief--launches the story when she attempts to evade the police on a tour bus occupied by the Doctor. As things of this nature often go in Doctor Who, the bus slips through a wormhole in time and space and winds up on the desert planet San Helios, which harbors both the industrious, fly-headed Tritovores and a species of stingray-like creatures with voracious appetites.

FRAGMENTS - Sony

One moment can change a lifetime. Shots ring out and the early morning tranquility of a diner shatters. As survivors pick up the pieces, they find themselves transforming in the most unexpected ways as they cope with the aftermath. One brief moment and their lives are changed forever. Featuring an all-star cast including Kate Beckinsale, Dakota Fanning, Guy Pearce, and Academy Award winners Forest Whitaker. A brilliant film, this DVD will keep you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end.

THE SOLOIST: Blu-ray - Paramount

An award-winning columnist with the Los Angeles Times, Steve Lopez (Robert Downey Jr.) ultimately becomes an advocate for L.A.Õs homeless population when he meets Nathaniel Ayers (Jamie Foxx), a talented musician whoÕs been playing a two-stringed violin while living on the streets and battling mental illness. Struck by AyersÕs passion for music, Lopez begins to write a series of columns about his new acquaintance while attempting to get him off the streets and playing music again. Amidst numerous achievements and setbacks, Lopez and Ayers develop a friendship based on mutual respect despite their many differences, and Lopez rediscovers his humanity. You are sure to experience the full range of emotion with this Blu-ray package.

DAKOTA SKYE - E1 Entertainment

Dakota Skye (Eileen April Boylan) has a super power. For as long as she can remember, she has been cursed with the ability to see the truth in any lie she hears. Now seventeen, Dakota has become apathetic towards life, until her boyfriendÕs best friend Jonah (Ian Nelson) arrives and catches her eye. An award-winning, film festival favorite that mixes Juno with a touch of Heroes, this film will capture your heart strings!

POKEMON ELEMENTS: Volume One & Two - VIZ Media

Pokemon Adventures follows the storyline of the video games. Professor Oaks grandson, Gary, ie, Blue in this one, is still here but once again they donÕt reference Gary from the show either. Team Rocket is present however it also does not have Jesse, James, or Meowth. So ultimately, this manga takes place in the video game world and takes some elements from the anime, but does not directly reference them. Fans of the Pokemon series are sure to enjoy this latest edition in the series.

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: Season 4.5 - Universal

All will be revealed as the thrilling final episodes of Battlestar Galactica 4.5 land on DVD. From their initial action-packed battles against the Cylons to their desperate attempts to find the fabled 13th colony, Earth, a determined band of human survivors has captivated audiences everywhere with their desperate quest to find a new home for their dwindling numbers. Join them now as the fleet journeys into the furthest reaches of unexplored space and faces a crucial decision that will change all of their lives irrevocably. Presented uninterrupted in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound, this epic 4-disc set contains over 10 hours of intense, groundbreaking DVD features, including extended episodes that never aired - a must own addition to every fanÕs collection. Relive the anticipation, the action and the excitement of this groundbreaking series that is destined to live on as one of the best dramas on television.

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