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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.


 

FUNNY PEOPLE

Adam Sandler plays a 42-year old comic named George Simmons. He’s had a good run, and even had a nice movie career. He has everything you could want: an expensive car, a big house, and a great sense of humor.

The women want him and the guys all want to be his friend. He knows a lot of people but has no close friends, probably because he’s a very miserable and self-involved person. One day he learns that he has a rare untreatable blood disorder, and only has six months to a year left to live. This is the the beginning of Judd Apatow’s latest creation, Funny People.
Seth Rogen plays Ira, a 25-year-old deli counter worker and aspiring stand-up comedian who performs for free at a small LA stand-up club. He’s yet to figure out his stage persona, and his friends don’t even come to his shows for support. His jokes are pretty much what you might expect. Imagine what Seth Rogen would sound like if he were a stand-up comedian. Ira lives with two roommates, an aspiring comedian who has just been accepted to become an Improv regular named Leo (Jonah Hill) , and a sitcom star who likes to gloat about his new found salary named Mark (Jason Schwartzman).

George confides in Ira that he’s dying, and Ira eventually convinces George to tell people about his illness. The dominoes begin to fall from this point as the story and counter story begin to really evolve. There are twists and turns, a confrontation between Ira and his roommates, and a climax set as far outside the world of stand-up comedy as you can get. Funny People is very different tonally than anything Apatow has done before. Apatow might have a shot at Academy

Award consideration with this picture, particularly since the Academy has expanded to ten pictures in the category.

This picture is sure to bring in a great deal of interest from the teens and college crowds, but once word begins to spread about just how good this film is, the rest of the demographic groups are sure to line up for tickets. With varying degrees of humor, not to mention taste, in movies today - many are fearful of dense and stupid humor.

You won’t find that in this picture. Arguably the best of Apatow’s films, this one will tickle your funny bone and, when you least expect it, punch you squarely in the face.

Funny People
Starring: Adam Sandler & Seth Rogen
Director: Judd Apatow
Company: Universal
Now Showing: In area Theatres
MPAA Rating: R
Grade: A+

DVD Reviews


Armchair Thriller presents four stories from the haunting British series of the same name. How do ordinary people react when confronted by extraordinary circumstances? When their mundane worlds are turned upside down by unforeseen events? How do they respond to danger, to evil, to loss? With standout performances from British acting greats like Ian McKellen, John Shrapnel, and James Bolam, each eerie episode probes these haunting questions while you watch from the safe distance of your own armchair. This set should not be missed by any fan of suspense programs.

Academy Award-winner Robert Redford captures the majesty of the Montana wilderness and the strength of the American family in this acclaimed adaptation of Norman Maclean’s classic memoir. Craig Sheffer stars as the young Norman, and Brad Pitt stars as his brother Paul, an irresistible daredevil driven to challenge the world. Growing up, both boys rebel against their stern minister father. While Norman channels his rebellion into writing, Paul descends a slippery path to self-destruction. Co-starring Tom Skerritt as the Reverend Maclean and Emily Lloyd as wild-hearted Jessie Burns. One of the most cinematically beautiful films ever made, the Blu-ray presentation takes it to an even higher level with this Sony release. A beautiful family story that will tug at your heartstrings. Keep a box of tissues near you at all times!

Once again, the History channel shows us perfection in their programs. World War II encompassed some of America s greatest triumphs and most bitter defeats. The History Channel Ultimate Collections World War II is a comprehensive and intimate survey of this epic war featuring many of its greatest World War II documentaries, each packed with original archival footage, interviews with military experts and historians, and gripping reenactments. Whether a fan of history or not, this set is a must own. Picture and sound quality are incredible - even in the archival footage. Very well done!

A dedication ceremony at the world’s tallest skyscraper turns into a high-rise catastrophe when a defective wire in its systems-control panel causes an electrical flare-up. Within minutes the gala event turns into a hellish inferno, as a raging fire traps society’s most prominent citizens on the top floor. Winner of three Academy Awards, this spectacular suspense thriller features dazzling special effects and a star studded cast including Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, William Holden and Faye Dunaway. Simply one of the films that defined the 1970’s, it is a must own and is chocked full of extras. This film on Blu-ray is absolutely mesmerizing. Get your copy immediately before they are gone!

Throughout the episodes included in this set, we find that Doc Martin is surly, tactless, self-centered, and uptight...but he’s the only doctor in town. As a hard-charging London surgeon, Martin Ellingham (Martin Clunes) didn’t need a bedside manner. His patients were unconscious, so he could be as rude and arrogant as he pleased. All that changes when he develops a crippling fear of blood and is forced to give up surgery. Now a GP in a sleepy, picturesque Cornish fishing village, Doc Martin offends everyone in town, including the one person he wants to impress, beautiful teacher Louisa Glasson (Caroline Catz). Getting her attention proves even more difficult when Louisa’s old flame returns to the village and becomes his new rival. Martin Clunes shines in this award-winning comic drama set amid eccentric townsfolk and spectacular scenery. As the doctor says, “It’s good to be loathsome.”

A collective vanity piece for the so-called Brat Pack of the 1980s, this coming-of-age movie, written and directed by Joel Schumacher, is a largely unbelievable ensemble piece about college grads having trouble getting a lift-off into adulthood. As in John Hughes’s Breakfast Club, which has a lot of casting overlap with this film, each actor plays a rather narrow type with problems common to his or her classification. Some characters are more absurd than others - such as Rob Lowe’s, but that simply allows us to root for them more throughout the picture. Without a doubt, this film defines the 1980’s.

Austin O’Brien and Michelle Acuna star in Bounty - a welcome addition to the Western genre. Nate (O’Brien), a bounty hunter, keeps searching for money to pay back a debt. He discovers there’s an outlaw and her reward is enough to avoid his hanging. Nate must break the outlaw out of jail in order to save his life. Not particularly ground breaking in its storyline, this is a film that will keep your interest and will be a keeper for anyone who enjoys Westerns.
A popcorn flick if there ever was one, Blue Thunder is one of those flashy, superbly crafted high-tech thrillers in which the star is a machine, while intelligent plotting and human characters are a lesser priority. The machine in question is Blue Thunder - a heavily armored prototype helicopter that is secretly being tested for use in a devious government conspiracy. Roy Scheider plays the police pilot who catches on to the nefarious plot and takes to the skies against an evil army colonel (Malcolm McDowell) who will defend his conspirators at any cost. Director John Badham was a hot property in the early ‘80s, and Blue Thunder served as the popular model for many formulaic action thrillers to follow.


An edgy, contemporary spin-off of the iconic drama Beverly Hills, 90210, the new 90210 looks at life through the eyes of Annie Wilson and her brother Dixon, whose first day at West Beverly Hills High School leaves no doubt they’re not in Kansas anymore. Some of the characters from the original show return in guest parts to help give the show some momentum, but all in all this new edition really doesn’t make the grade. Inconsistency in the writing of the show really hurts the presentation. Give it a chance, you may very well like the program.



Weaving together natural history and biography, A Life Among Whales delves deeply into the unique relationship between humans and whales as told by renowned whale biologist Dr. Roger Payne. For four decades Payne has advanced the boundaries of science and activism, beginning with his pioneering work on whale songs in the 1970’s to his study of ocean pollution today. With beautiful and haunting imagery, the film forces us to question our stewardship of the Earth and our coexistence with some of its most intriguing creatures. A thoughtful, humbling, and full hearted film that makes it clear the destiny of whale populations must matter to us all. Beautiful...simply beautiful.



Zac Efron breaks free of his High School Musical legacy with 17 Again, leading a pack of fine comic actors in a body-switching comedy that freshens the genre with good ideas. Efron plays Mike, a high-school basketball star who blows a college scholarship in 1989 to marry his sweetheart. Cut to 2009, and late-30s Mike (Matthew Perry) is a sour guy passed over for a promotion and feeling estranged from that wife, Scarlett (Leslie Mann), and teen kids (Michelle Trachtenberg, Sterling Knight). Magical intervention causes Mike to turn 17 once more--albeit in the present--and tackle his failures with a fresh start. As the hot new kid in his children’s high school, Mike proves a better father to them as their peer than as a man, while Scarlett sees in him everything that attracted her to her husband two decades before.


This is the story is of a girl named Alyssa who takes on a job as a housekeeper out in the middle of nowhere for a woman named Miss Wu and her Aunt Chen. At first she thinks the job will be a nice peaceful relaxing job being so far out of reach of others, all except for the neighbor Blake who owns the horse farm next door. Alyssa soon finds herself being educated on traditional Chinese beliefs, like feng shui and things like that, but one particular event is the Ghost Month. Apparently the belief is that for a certain month every year, the ghosts are freed from hell and will come looking for you. Another installment in the Asian horror genre, this one will definitely keep you on the edge of your seat!



Obsessed stars Beyonce Knowles as Sharon, a one time temp who has become a dutiful wife to investment brokerage hot shot Derek (Idris Elba), as well as the mother to their son. Further temptation arrives in the form of Lisa (Ali Larter), who sets her blonde ambitions on Derek from day one. Sharon is wary but Derek remains a model of marital fidelity in the face of Lisa’s repeated flirtations - inappropriate incidents that he avoids telling Sharon about. But when Derek rejects Lisa’s sexual advances at the company Christmas party, her downward spiral of romantic obsession leads her to pursue Derek on a corporate retreat and attempt suicide in his hotel room. Promptly sent into spousal exile, Derek must win back Sharon’s trust while the two attempt to put Lisa’s psychotic episode behind them.

We are doing a Free DVD Giveaway! If you are interested in a chance at winning a free copy of a Paramount CBS Television DVD (Everybody Hates Chris, The Love Boat, or other possible titles), it is really easy. All you have to do is send me an email at Filmlords@gmail.com. The subject line of the email should read DVD GIVEAWAY. In the body of the email, be sure to put your name, full mailing address and which DVD you would like. Winners will be selected by random drawing. Best of luck!

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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