Nick’s Picks 02/15/12
FEATURE FILM REVIEW
THE SECRET WORLD OF ARRIETTY
Arrietty (Bridgit Mendler), a tiny, but tenacious 14-year-old, lives with her parents (Will Arnett and Amy Poehler) in the recesses of a suburban garden home, unbeknownst to the homeowner and her housekeeper (Carol Burnett). Like all little people, Arrietty (AIR-ee-ett-ee) remains hidden from view, except during occasional covert ventures beyond the floorboards to “borrow” scrap supplies like sugar cubes from her human hosts. But when 12-year-old Shawn (David Henrie), a human boy who comes to stay in the home, discovers his mysterious housemate one evening, a secret friendship blossoms. If discovered, their relationship could drive Arrietty’s family from the home and straight into danger.
Based on the book, The Borrowers by Mary Norton, this film is a bit of an enigma. The picture retains much of the cultural aspects of the book from the 1950′s time period, but the actual setting of the picture has been transported to current Tokyo. The film is perfect for the kids and many of the adult crowd that enjoy animated films will also find themselves smiling while watching. This is definitely not a Disney classic, but it is acceptable entertainment, particularly at this time of year where the pickings are unbelievably slim.
The Secret World of Arrietty
Starring: Bridgit Mendler, Amy Poehler & Carol Burnett
Director: Hiromasa Yonebayashi & Gary Rydstrom
Now Showing: In Local Area Theatres
MPAA Rating: G
THE COITUS PLAYS
The Coitus Plays are coming! Simply titled “Pre” and “Post” – The Coitus Plays take a humorous look at characters facing challenges that take place both before and after “the act.” The plays are written by Houston playwrights Peter Wittenberg, Jr. and Eric James, respectively. The newly formed NightCap Theatre (founded by James and Wittenberg) will produce THE COITUS PLAYS in association with Obsidian Art Space. Performances will be February 9, 10, 11, 15, 16, 17, 18, 23, 24 and 25. All performances are at 8pm at Obsidian Art Space: 3522 White Oak Dr. Houston, TX 77007. Please visit www.nightcaptheatre.com for more information. Tickets are $15 with a special pay-what-you-can industry night on Wednesday, February 15th. Tickets can be purchased at the door with cash or credit or you can call 281.788.2319 for reservations and advanced sales.
James and Wittenberg are both graduates of the University of Houston and studied under Tony and Pulitzer-Prize winning playwright, Edward Albee. After becoming fans of each other’s writing, they decided to create an evening of their own works: a night of one acts, each tackling one. But what would the topic be? Ideas were tossed around before one evening, just before the lights went down on a particularly bad play, James leaned over to Wittenberg and said, “The Coitus Plays. Pre and Post.” It was a joke. “But somehow it stuck,” says Wittenberg. In “Pre,” directed by Christine Weems, Doug can’t get it up. Is it the writer’s block or something more? And can his friends, ex-lovers and a porn star help him discover the answer and (maybe) even find the solution? “Pre” stars Rick Evans, Claire Anderson, Mark Stanley, Lulu Mire, Michael P. Shukis and Erin Elizabeth Reed. “Post,” directed by Eva Laporte, finds Chris and Dennis immediately following a one night stand. But when Dennis is ready for Chris to leave, Chris makes a confession. Then he makes another. Then Dennis has to examine himself and question whether he ever should have cruised through Craig’s List in the first place. “Post” stars Brad Goertz and Zach Lewis. “We just want to create an evening of fun and exciting theatre,” says Wittenberg. “That’s the goal of NightCap. Have fun. Preferably with great theatre. And a cocktail.” Due to subject matter, the performances are recommended for mature audiences.
FREE DVD GIVEAWAY
We are doing a Free DVD Giveaway! If you are interested in a chance at winning a free copy of Cookie Jar: Animated Action Bundle, Cookie Jar: Edutainment Bundle, Making Stuff with David Pogue, Fringe: Season Three, My Vietnam Your Iraq, Pokemon Arceus and the Jewel of Life, The Craft in America, Sesame Street: Silly Story Time, Van Morrison: Under Review, Bob Dylan Revealed, Punky Brewster, Outside the Wire, Paddington Bear: Marmalade Madness, Thomas and Friends: Curious Cargo, Timmy Time: Timmy Needs a Bath, Urbanized, Elite Squad, Elevate, Woody Allen: A Documentary or My Kingdom, it is really easy! All you have to do is send me an email at HoustonMovieGuy@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 or Blu-ray you would like. Winners will be selected by random drawing. Best of luck!
MY VIETNAM, YOUR IRAQ – PBS
My Vietnam Your Iraq focuses on the human side of the military and looks at the lineage within military families. The stories describe how common themes resonate as older servicemen and woman reflect on their own service and the thoughts they have about their children’s service. Vietnam veteran participants may agree or disagree with current policy; yet they all support their child’s decision to enlist. Some interviewees discuss the myriad of emotions they have gone through while separated from their family. While it would be unfair to say that these emotions are limited to parents who have served in the military, it is reasonable to assume that those who have similar military experiences may have a stronger bond or understanding of the military experience.
MAKING STUFF WITH DAVID POGUE – PBS
The new miniseries called “Making Stuff” is a four-part look at the materials and innovative technologies that will make things stronger, smaller, cleaner and smarter. Pogue takes a hands on approach to exploring the science behind materials like Kevlar, nanotubes, and invisibility cloaks.
POKEMON: Arceus and the Jewel of Life – VIZ Media
The Struggle for Time and Space Begins Again! The Legendary Arceus. Long ago, Arceus granted a fragment of its awesome power as the Jewel of Life to help Michina in the town’s hour of need, only to be betrayed when it was time that power to be returned. After so many years, Arceus is about to return to reclaim that stolen power—enraged, vengeful, and seemingly unstoppable! Not even the combined might of Dialga, Palkia, and Giratina can stop Arceus from devastating all existence across multiple dimensions. But Ash and his companions, joining forces with their new friend Sheena, may have discovered the only way to redeem that ancient betrayal. Their journey will be both dangerous and uncertain: even if Ash and his friends can set an old wrong right again, will there be time to return the Jewel of Life before Arceus destroys everything and everyone they’ve ever known?
SESAME STREET: Silly Storytime – Warner
After hearing the story of Rapunzel, Zoe wishes she had longer hair just like her, but when her Hairy Godperson grants her wish, it puts her in a hairy predicament! In another story, a wizard casts a spell on a grouchy princess that makes her sleep for 100 years.
VAN MORRISON: Under Review – MVD
Van Morrison – Under Review 1964-1974 is a 2 hour documentary film which covers this extraordinary musician and performer’s music during that period. From the formation of Them, through Van’s classic solo period – taking in albums such as Astral Weeks, Moondance, St. Dominic’s Preview, Tupelo Honey, Veedon Fleece and It’s Too Late To Stop Now – this was a time of quite startling creativity in a musical career that has rarely failed to delight fans and critics alike. This program looks again at these records, and the man who made them, and in doing so provides the most enlightening, revealing and entertaining Van Morrison documentary yet to emerge. Features include rare and classic Van Morrison performances re-assessed by a panel of esteemed experts, rare interviews, seldom seen footage, and unusual photographs from the period. Also included is footage of and comment on Morrison’s most notable musical influences, as well as live and studio recordings of Van Morrison classics.
Bob Dylan: Revealed – MVD
When Bob Dylan turns 70 in May 2011, his iconic career will have spanned five decades. Yet, a true portrait of the reclusive “voice of the generation” has eluded Dylan fans. Through exclusive insider interviews, and never-before-seen photos and footage spanning Dylan’s 50-year career, Bob Dylan Revealed offers an intimate biography of who Bob Dylan was, and who he is today.
PADDINGTON BEAR: Marmalade Madness – Mill Creek
Featuring 28 episodes of the original stop-motion production based on the acclaimed children’s book series from author Michael Bond, this collection follows the adventures of Paddington, a lovable bear who is adopted by an English family after leaving his homeland of Peru.
THOMAS AND FRIENDS: Curious Cargo – HIT Entertainment
Bunnies and birds and giraffes, oh my! Thomas and his railway pals are carrying some great and unusual freight in the all new release Thomas & Friends: Curious Cargo. Thomas and his engine friends embark on four fantastic adventures as they deliver the Wildlife Center’s newest, long-necked resident, make friends with local animals, chuff off in search of the perfect home for friend Bash and more! All aboard for a wild ride on the Island of Sodor as Thomas and his engine friends deliver some Curious Cargo – from giraffes and cows to birds and bunnies and more! Thomas meets a tall challenge while taking a giraffe to the Sodor Wildlife Center, Percy learns to be gentle with the animals of Sodor and Belle and Toby discover the importance of listening to others. Join Thomas on his wildest adventures yet!
URBANIZED – New Video Group
A feature-length documentary about the design of cities, Urbanized looks at the issues and strategies behind urban design and features some of the world’s foremost architects, planners, policymakers, builders, and thinkers. The challenges of balancing housing, mobility, public space, civic engagement, economic development, and environmental policy are fast becoming universal concerns. Yet much of the dialogue on these issues is disconnected from the public domain. By exploring a diverse range of urban design projects around the world, Urbanized frames a global discussion on the future of cities. This film serves as the third part of Gary Hustwit’s design film trilogy, joining Helvetica and Objectified.
ELEVATE – Docurama
Filmed over four years, Elevate follows the high-stakes journey of four young men across two continents, documenting the daunting challenges that come with being a stranger in a very foreign place. From mastering English, dating and drivers’ ed to navigating the vagaries that come with being a seven-foot-tall Muslim at a Christian high school, Elevate challenges the conventional conceptions of Africa, America and athletes while documenting the extraordinary personal journeys of four teens with big hearts, open minds and very tall dreams.
WOODY ALLEN: A Documentary – Docurama
Beginning with Allen s childhood, Woody Allen: A Documentary chronicles the trajectory and longevity of Allen s career, from his work as a TV scribe, standup comedian and frequent TV talk show guest, to a writer-director averaging one film-per-year for more than 40 years. Director Weide covers Allen s earliest film work in Take the Money and Run, Bananas, Sleeper, and Love and Death; frequent Oscar® favorites such as Annie Hall, Manhattan, Zelig, Broadway Danny Rose, Purple Rose of Cairo, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Husbands & Wives, Bullets Over Broadway, and Mighty Aphrodite; and his recent globetrotting phase with Match Point, Vicky Cristina Barcelona and the recent success Midnight in Paris.
ROBIN OF SHERWOOD: Set 2 – Acorn
Connoisseurs of the Robin Hood legend call this action-packed British series the standard by which all other adaptations are measured. Rich with authentic historical detail and cunning plot twists, Robin of Sherwood adds a bit of sorcery and mysticism to the swordplay and social justice that have made the heroic outlaw so endearing and enduring. In these tales, the young nobleman Robert of Huntingdon (Jason Connery, Shanghai Noon) assumes the mantle of the fallen Robin of Loxley. Guided by the forest spirit Herne, he reassembles Robin’s band and resumes the campaign against the greedy Sheriff of Nottingham. Children and adults will thrill to Robin’s feats of derring-do in the mysterious, misty depths of medieval Sherwood. With an award-winning score by the traditional Irish band Clannad. Includes the final 13 episodes of the series and presented for the first time on Blu-ray.
NUDE NUNS WITH BIG GUNS – Image
After deciding to take her vows at a convent, Sister Sarah becomes enslaved and victimized by the drug-pushing predators within the church walls and, on the verge of death, receives a divine message – to seek revenge! Packing heat and shedding her habit, this sister of no mercy embarks on a relentless rampage against these unholy men of the cloth and their partners in crime, a vicious biker gang known as Los Muertos. Packed with sex, violence, and wall-to-wall mayhem, this outrageous modern cult favorite in the tradition of the greatest drive-in action classics proves that hell hath no fury like a nude nun scorned.
DORA’S EASTER ADVENTURE – Nickelodeon
Dora and Boots are waiting for their friend, the Hip-Hop Bunny, to bring his basket filled with eggs and treats for their big egg hunt. Just as the Bunny arrives at the forest, Swiper swipes the basket and throws it far into the Rainbow Garden – where it’s headed for a waterfall! It’s Dora and Boots to the rescue as they join the Bunny on an Easter Day Adventure singing the Hip-Hop Bunny’s Easter song, going past the scratchy flowers at the Garden and racing down the Rainbow River on a giant rubber ducky to save the basket.
STORAGE WARS: Volume 2 – A&E
And they’re off! The gang is back searching, rooting and conniving to get the best deals on storage lockers through the Southern California area. Seeking storage facility auctions for in arrears renters, the gaggle of four bidders seek to outmatch and outwit each other to claim the treasure located in each locker. Everything from dirty clothes to Hollywood treasures can be had by the highest bidder. A program of pure entertainment, the cast is hilarious and Storage Wars is a must watch program!
BEAVIS AND BUTTHEAD: Season 4 – Paramount
Beavis is the one in the Metallica T-shirt. Butt-Head is the one in the AC/DC T-shirt. Hobbies include nose picking, head banging, and breaking stuff. Needless to say, they are very, very stupid. When not attending Highland High, working at Burger World, or watching the boob tube, they’re harassing Mr. Anderson, who’s often hiring them for some job or another. Emmy-winning creator Mike Judge, who voices the characters, hand-picked the shorts in this collection.
THREE OUTLAW SAMURAI – Criterion
The perfect tale of revenge and loyalty is told here in the first film by Hideo Gosha. Three Outlaw Samurai is recognized as one of the most intense and artistic films of the chambara genre. Tetsuro Tamba stars as Ronin, a wandering man of many talents. He becomes involved with two other samurai (Isamu Nagato and Mikijiro Hira) who have the least noble of intentions. Ronin becomes involved in a plot to execute a group of peasants who have kidnapped the daughter of a government official. Three Outlaw Samurai is brilliantly told, thrillingly acted and is an incredible tale that you are sure to enjoy.
THE DEVIL’S ROCK – E1 Entertainment
On the eve of the Normandy invasion, two Kiwi commandos are assigned to the Channel Islands to blow up a giant gun at a beach head fortress. But once inside the foreboding structure they hear unearthly screams and investigate the dark tunnel system to discover the cause. There they find the head of Hitler’s occult Gestapo squadron who has been experimenting with incantations from an ancient tome to allow a succubus to cross over from Hell. It’s all part of a master plan to win the war on the eve of D-Day. For those that enjoy the films of the supernatural genre, you will absolutely love it!
TWILIGHT SAGA: Breaking Dawn, Part One – Summit
In the highly anticipated fourth installment of The Twilight Saga, a marriage, honeymoon and the birth of a child bring unforeseen and shocking developments for Bella (Kristen Stewart) and Edward (Robert Pattinson) and those they love, including new complications with werewolf Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner). The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1 delivers strongly for the rabid fan base who have catapulted the novel series and movies to the worldwide phenomenon that it’s become, but it alienates a broader audience with a lack of any real action. There are numerous extras included in the DVD, including a 6 part making of documentary, a wedding video, a glimpse into Jacob’s Destiny as well as numerous audio commentaries.
CHUGGINGTON: Brewster’s Little Helper – Anchor Bay
Honk your horns for this all-new collection showcasing young trainee, Brewster, as he discovers adventure and responsibility in Chuggington. In these six traintastic episodes, Brewster gets some unexpected help from Zephie, cleans up a mess in the recycling yard with Koko, does a sign-reading exercise with pal Wilson, and even meets his hero Action Chugger! Together Brewster and his friends learn valuable lessons about friendship, patience, following instructions, and completing daily tasks. Join the trainees as they ride the rails of life in Brewster’s Little Helper!
MOZART’S SISTER – Music Box
Written, directed and produced by Rene Feret, Mozart’s Sister is a re-imagined account of the early life of Maria Anna Nannerl Mozart (Marie Feret), five years older than Wolfgang (David Moreau) and a musical prodigy in her own right. Originally the featured performer, Nannerl has given way to Wolfgang as the main attraction, as their strict but loving father Leopold (Marc Barbe) tours his talented offspring in front of the royal courts of pre-French revolution Europe. Approaching marriageable age and now forbidden to play the violin or compose, Nannerl chafes at the limitations imposed on her gender. But a friendship with the son and daughter of Louis XV offers her ways to challenge the established sexual and social order.
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