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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

What could I possibly say about Battlestar Galactica that you don’t already know? Now you can relive every action-packed moment of the epic story that Entertainment Weekly proclaims “Riveting”! Rejoin the fight to save the human race as a small but determined fleet quests for the fabled planet Earth while being hunted by their nemesis, the robot cylons. Presented uninterrupted and in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound, experience the phenomenon from beginning to end on 20 discs. In my opinion, Battlestar Galactica is one of the greatest science-fiction television series to ever hit the screen, and the Blu-ray release of Battlestar Galactica: The Complete Series is the way to watch this show. If you missed this series on television, this Blu-ray release is the way to catch everything you missed. If you are a fan, the high definition picture and new exclusive Blu-ray features make it worth the purchase. In addition to including every episode of the series and the extended version of Battlestar Galactica: Razor, the massive set, which includes a Collectible Cylon Figurine, features deleted scenes; behind the scenes featurettes; podcast commentary and video blogs; an interactive guide to the characters and ships; a glossary of Battlestar Galactica terms; What the Frak Happened to You?; quizzes (Are You a Cylon? and Military Assessment); and a look at the music of the show.

Children will love this collection of TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES collectors edition. This set includes all the films from the series and numerous extras that are a must own. Enjoy the colorful antics of these four martial arts wielding turtles who are on the good side of the fight against crime.

Floating toward Beaver Mills, Alaska, is a glacier—an icy tomb for a prehistoric winged creature. Once released, it turns the small community into a feeding ground sending helpless residents into a fight for their lives. With time running out, trucker Jake Suttner sees only one option: steal the creature’s egg from its nest and use it as bait in a trap. But beware - the Wyvern is one angry mother.

Prepare for a riveting portrayal of some of the most exciting battles of ancient history as well as the tales of betrayal, lust, conquest and brutality that often accompanied them. Battles BC, the exciting series from History, uses computer graphics and live-action stunts to bring to life the battle strategies, tactics, and weapons of past military leaders, from Hannibal and the Romans to Moses, the Athenians, and David. Using a graphic style similar to 300, the contemporary novel that became a Hollywood blockbuster, Battles BC shows how leaders from the ancient world fared in some of the greatest conflicts in history, exposing the truths and myths behind the legendary feats of the epic heroes and villains who didn t just wage war, but invented it.

Three real-life buddies (John Cassavetes, Peter Falk, and Ben Gazzara) team up to play three pals whose lives suffer a shock wave when a fourth friend drops dead. After the funeral, the three friends, feeling death’s hot breath on their own necks, take off on a weekend-long debauch, with way too much drinking and loose women. But, in the process, they have lengthy heart-to-hearts about the nature of friendship, manhood, and marriage, among other things. As strong an example of Cassavetes’s improvisational art as any of his films, this film may test your patience with his indulgent treatment of actors, allowing them to explore their characters on film. Sometimes they come up empty, but more often, they find precious moments and revelations. And these three guys play off each other like long-time partners in a high-wire game of chicken in which they all emerge as winners.

From Joss Whedon comes a new groundbreaking show starring Eliza Dushku as Echo, an operative in an underground organization that provides hired personas for various missions. The concept of this show is actually brilliant as things never stagnate. Different people, different scenarios, and different locations make this a series that will keep your interest. Pick up your copy today!

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.

Based on a video game set in the year 2707, war rages between Earth’s four giant Corporations as they battle over the planet’s dwindling resources. Amid heavy combat, an ancient buried seal shatters, releasing a horrific mutant army from its eternal prison deep within the Earth. As the mutant plague threatens human extinction, a single squad of soldiers descends into the Earth to save mankind. Wow! If you are a sci-fi fan, you are sure to love this program!

Inspired by his childhood experiences, comedian Chris Rock narrates the hilarious, touching story of a teenager growing up as the eldest of three children in Brooklyn, New York during the early 1980s. Uprooted to a new neighborhood and bused into a predominantly white middle school two hours away by his strict, hard-working parents, Chris struggles to find his place while keeping his siblings in line at home and surmounting the challenges of junior high. This responsible, resilient adolescent brings a distinct, funny spin to his everyday trials and traumas in this single-camera comedy. This package contains all of the episodes from the shows fourth and final season.

Dark and sinister is the new sexy, thanks to Dexter, which in its second season has proven to be the most successful series Showtime has offered up yet. Remember how much you squirmed in your seat during the season one finale? Believe it or not, the premiere of season two felt like it could have been a season finale, because jaws were on the floor when the credits rolled. For being a supposed sociopath, Dex is pretty broken up about the gruesome events that concluded last season. The one and only person who could possibly understand him is six feet under, and it seems our unlikely hero is losing his homicidal grip. He’s even having a little trouble slicing up a few of his latest victims (from a murderous gang member to a chainsaw-wielding fiend from his past). Enter Lila (Jaime Murray, Hustle), a lady with a sweet British accent and a few dark secrets of her own. She seems to accept Dex for who he really is, and he finds himself feeling relaxed for the first time in his life. In contrast, his relationship with his girlfriend Rita (Julie Benz) has been stretched almost to a breaking point.

Kate Hudson twinkles as the heroine of How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, a magazine writer assigned to date a guy, make all the mistakes girls make that drive guys away (being clingy, talking in baby-talk, etc.), and record the process like a sociological experiment. However, the guy she picks--rangy Matthew McConaughey--is an advertising executive who’s just bet that he can make a woman fall in love with him in ten days; if he succeeds, he’ll win a huge account that will make his career. The set-up is completely absurd, but the collision of their efforts to woo and repel creates some pretty funny scenes. McConaughey’s easy charm and Hudson’s lightweight impishness play well together and the plot, though strictly Hollywood formula, chugs along efficiently. At moments Hudson seems to channel her mother, Goldie Hawn, to slightly unnerving effect.

They re known for killing and terrorizing, and they ve left their violent mark on our nation s history. Delve deep into the rich and often brutal bloodlines of America s gangs, from Memphis and St. Louis to Dallas, Charlotte, and Detroit, as Season Four of Gangland goes to the darkest corners of the country to infiltrate some of the most dangerous terrain in the world. Unprecedented access to the inner workings of the country s most feared gangs, incisive historical analysis, and interviews with law enforcement specialists paint a violently accurate and compelling portrait of gang life in America, and provide insight into why these gangs exist, how they operate, their increasingly destructive methods, and the alarming rate at which they re spreading to suburban and rural areas.

“Greetings, Starfighter! You have been recruited by the Star League to defend the frontier against Xur and the Kodan Armada.” So begins an adventure of galactic proportions in The Last Starfighter. After Earthling Alex (Lance Guest) conquers the Starfighter video game, he is recruited by alien Centauri (Robert Preston) to be part of an elite legion of fighters. Leaving behind his trailer park home for the outer regions of space, Alex becomes the last hope for the beleaguered Star League and hundreds of worlds – including Earth. Loaded with out-of-this-world bonus features and digitally remastered for optimum picture quality, The Last Starfighter 25th Anniversary Edition is the ultimate video game fantasy come true!

Raw and revealing, Playboy TV’s spin on the singles game is the most entertaining guilty pleasure on TV! Fantasies come to life as every episode sets up two gorgeous girls and two hunky guys on a 24-hour blind date that starts in a lavish Hollywood hilltop mansion and ends in any number of erotic situations. When the sparks (and the clothes) fly, cameras are there to capture it all. Anything can happen as trash-talking studs turns out to be all-talk duds, and shy girls get turned on and aggressive. Every uninhibited moment is captured on film, making Foursome the hottest reality dating show ever.

A flying saucer, ray guns, body snatching and a one-eyed monster from outer space! It’s all here in this action-packed sci-fi adventure! Eric McCormack stars as an astronomer who gets possessed by a friendly alien bent on saving our humble planet. But even with the help of a lovely diner waitress, is he any match for the Ghota, a one-eyed evil alien on a murderous rampage? A period piece if there ever was one, you must check out Alien Trespass. Chock full of stars, the actors all portray the corny home bodies of the 1950’s with total seriousness about them. This is a must own and one that will keep your sides in pain with laughter!
THE INFORMERS: Blu-ray - Sony
The Informers follows the hollow, toxic lives of the privileged and the deprived in 1980s Los Angeles. A movie producer (Billy Bob Thornton) can’t decide between his ex-wife (Kim Basinger) and his local news-anchor girlfriend (Winona Ryder); a cockney rock star finds underage sex partners are the only thing that distracts him from his drug-fueled ennui; a blond young man (Lou Taylor Pucci) loathes his boozy father (Chris Isaak) but goes to Hawaii with him anyway; another blond young man (Jon Foster) grows uncomfortable with the group sex he and his beautiful girlfriend (Amber Heard, who has more nude scenes than lines of dialogue) keep having; and a neurotic doorman (Brad Renfro, in what is sadly his last role) has an intimidating house guest (Mickey Rourke) who’s a human trafficker.

It’s senior year for our beloved Upper East Siders, and the drama is at an all-time high. Applying for college is only one small part of the story, as new romances (and some not-so-new romances) bloom and fade, scandals erupt at every turn and alliances shift even faster than Gossip Girl can send an update. Families and reputations are destroyed and made; so are fortunes. And even the strongest friendships are tested. In this sizzling 25-episode, 7-disc Season Two, you never know what’s next for Serena, Blair, Dan, Nate, Jenny, Chuck and Vanessa. Good thing Gossip Girl is always there to provide us with the latest, juiciest info!

The Christian invaders were regarded as infidels. The Arabs were scorned as lawless pagans. The Westerners saw their quest as literally a sanctified crusade, while the Muslims launched their own holy war, called a jihad, in retaliation. Sound familiar? It should, because although the events depicted in the History Channel’s The Crusades - Crescent & The Cross took place nearly a thousand years ago, they are but a distant mirror to what’s going on in the Middle East right now. This two-part, three-hour program impressively details all three Crusades, starting in the late 11th Century, when Pope Urban II dispatched a huge force to reclaim Jerusalem, which had been under Muslim control for some 400 years. For the knights and others who made the journey, it was a noble spiritual quest, not to mention an escape from Europe’s petty wars and famines; in the end, the fact that many of them were greedy butchers who murdered Muslims, Jews, and even other Christians indiscriminately detracted not at all from their conviction that they were acting in the name of God.

The very notion is deliciously ghoulish: What happens to earth if--or when--people suddenly vanished? The History Channel presents a dramatic, fascinating what-if scenario, part science fiction and part true natural science. “Welcome to Earth, Population: 0” is the catchy tagline, Life After People’s 94 minutes are so gripping you nearly forget while you watch that you, yourself, will be gone too. It turns out that earth can go along very nicely without us. The hardest part of the special is probably in the first 15 minutes, when pet owners confront what likely will happen to their dogs (thankfully, the show follows those dogs who break out of their houses, and the prognosis for them to survive as scavengers is good). As the fictional days and weeks tick by, the process of nature’s reclaiming the planet becomes less grim and more fascinating. The impact of the lack of people will be noticed right away, as most power grids shut down around the planet.

If Sunshine Cleaning occasionally recalls Sundance sensations like Little Miss Sunshine and Happy, Texas, it still offers an irresistible charm all its own. They don’t look much alike, but Amy Adams and Emily Blunt offer convincing, heartfelt performances as Albuquerque sisters who barely get along. Single mother and former cheerleader Rose (Adams), the optimistic and semi-responsible one, cleans houses for a living. Norah (Blunt), the pessimistic and irresponsible one, lives with their father, Joe (Arkin), a loving grandfather and lousy salesman, and attempts to earn her keep as a waitress. When both women find themselves in need of a quick influx of cash, Rose convinces Norah to join her as a crime-scene cleaner, a job her married, police-officer lover assures her pays well. He’s right, but the ladies find the work even more emotionally demanding than physically repulsive, especially once they become entangled with Lynn (Mary Lynn Rajskub), a lonely blood-bank worker, and Winston (Clifton Collins Jr.), a one-armed cleaning-supply salesman.

Bear Grylls has served with the British Special forces, climbed Everest and explored the Arctic. In this exciting series he shows us how to survive the toughes and most visited environments on the planet by putting himself in the position of a stranded tourist. He parachutes into rain forests, abseils into deserts and lakes, and onto the highest, most inhospitable peaks in America. Using his specialist survival techniques to find his way out of these wildernesses he climbs sheer cliffs, navigates white water and icy crevasses, encounters snakes, spiders and predators and forages for food, from maggots and raw fish, to roots and berries.

Over the decades of New York Yankees dominance many have earned their pinstripes through performance or victories or popularity. However, the most exclusive club in the Bronx has been reserved for the men whose leadership, personalities, and attitude exemplify the ideals and virtues befitting the Captaincy. This special edition Yankeeography two DVD collection salutes seven Captains from Lou Gehrig to Derek Jeter. Culled from the Emmy award- winning Yankeeography series, these seven player profiles span the eras of Yankees greatness, generations of fandom, and acknowledge the role each played for their teams. A must own for any Yankee fan!

100 Years in the making the Major League Baseball All-Century Team was an all-time roster chosen from the more than 15,000 men who played Major League Baseball in the 20th Century. A blue ribbon panel of experts narrowed the candidates to 100 stellar players. This list was then presented for the final voting and determination of the 30 greatest players: the Major League Baseball All-Century Team. Created by Major League Baseball Productions, this DVD presents these 30 legendary players who set the standard for baseball brilliance across every era of modern baseball. With rare archival footage, exclusive interviews, and compelling stories, the Major League Baseball All-Century Team program honors the greatness of these all-time heroes through the awe-filled words of teammates, opponents, and even their own recollections.

We are doing a Free DVD Giveaway! If you are interested in a chance at winning a free copy of a Here’s Lucy: Season One, Nights & Weekends, or the History Channels Life After People, The Crusades, Yankeeography Captains Collection, Art of War 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!

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