Nick’s Picks 03/20/13
FEATURED FILM REVIEW
THE INCREDIBLE BURT WONDERSTONE
Superstar magicians Burt Wonderstone (Steve Carell) and Anton Marvelton (Steve Buscemi) have ruled the Las Vegas strip for years, raking in millions with illusions as big as Burt’s growing ego. But lately the duo’s greatest deception is their public friendship, while secretly they’ve grown to loathe each other. Facing cutthroat competition from guerilla street magician Steve Gray (Jim Carrey), whose cult following surges with each outrageous stunt, even their show looks stale. But there’s still a chance Burt and Anton can save the act-both onstage and off-if Burt can get back in touch with what made him love magic in the first place.
A poor script and discombobulated directing are the primary reasons this film is a dissapointment. It seems Steve Carell has his mind elsewhere throughout the entire film and the only performance worthy of positive comments was that of Jim Carrey. The slight of hand tricks are one thing, but the laughs in this film are painfully slow. So much so that you can’t help wondering if the film playing next door would have been a better choice.
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone
Starring: Steve Carell, Steve Buscemi & Jim Carrey
Director: Don Scardino
Now Showing: in Local Theaters
MPAA Rating: PG-13
CAESAR & OTTO’S DEADLY XMAS
With the holiday season approaching, Caesar and Otto (Dave Campfield and Paul Chomicki) find themselves employed at Xmas Enterprises Inc. where, a disgruntled employee in a Santa suit has begun a killing spree. Now it looks like he’s found himself the perfect patsies. Poking fun at the 1980s wave of Christmas slasher films, Caesar and Otto’s Deadly XMas, is a horror parody in the vein of the Abbott & Costello horror/comedy crossovers. Ain’t It Cool News says that “Like Abbott & Costello before them, Caesar and Otto bring genuine humor to the horror genre.”
Caesar and Otto’s Deadly XMas features a ensemble cast of some of the all time great B movie stars including former CKY and current World Under Blood frontman Deron Miller, “Sleepaway Camp” star Felissa Rose, Brinke Stevens, Joe Estevez, Troma CEO Lloyd Kaufman, Debbie Rochon, and Linnea Quigley in a role that lampoons her death scene in “Silent Night, Deadly Night.” These legends join a cast of up and coming talent such as Paul Chomicki, Ken MacFarlane, Samantha Barrios, Avi K. Garg, Summer Ferguson, and youtube sensations Lauren Francesca, and Shawn “Coolduder” Phillips, most recently seen in The Asylum’s “The Haunting of Whaley House.”
Horrorhound writer Jason Hignite adds “Dave Campfield (Caesar) and Paul Chomicki (Otto) have perfect comedic timing. The budget is obviously low but, the film making is brilliant. If you are a fan of horror comedy, see this film!” Shot in eleven days on a far from whopping four figure budget, Caesar & Otto’s Deadly is the follow-up to the comedy-horror “Caesar & Otto’s Summer Camp Massacre” which itself lampooned the summer camp slasher subgenre. If the current films proved to be successful, Campfield promises many more adventures from the duo.
FREE DVD GIVEAWAY
We are doing a Free DVD Giveaway! If you are interested in a chance at winning a free copy of The Hunt for Bin Laden, The Other Son, Dark Feed, The Hobbit, Curandero, Ripper Street, Prehistoric Park, Somewhere Between, Alice through the Looking Glass, WWE Elimination Chamber, The Bay, Duck Dynasty: Season 2 Volume 1, Care Bears: Totally Sweet Adventure, 17 Girls, Special Forces, Thomas & Friends: Go Thomas Go, Barney: Play With Barney, Predator Dinosaurs, Extreme Dinosaurs, You’ve Been Trumped, Royal Rumble 2013, The Invisible War or Curious George: Swings into Spring, 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!
On May 2, 2011 Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind the 9/11 bombings, was killed by American special forces, marking an end to the longest, most expensive manhunt in American history. Witness the 20-year search for the most wanted man on Earth, as counter-terrorism experts in the White House, the CIA, and the FBI divulge their firsthand accounts. This inside story reveals the presidential frustrations, missed opportunities, and vicious turf wars that tainted the operation right up until the night Navy SEALs ended Bin Laden s reign of terror.
A provocative tale filmed in Israel and the West Bank of two young men – one Israeli the other Palestinian who discover they were accidentally switched at birth and the complex repercussions on themselves and their respective families.
When a film crew moves into an abandoned psychiatric hospital with a shadowy past to shoot a low budget horror film they get more than they bargained for. The late nights and lack of sleep begin to take a toll and the longer this crew works the more the leaky wet building seems to be coming back to life feeding off its new inhabitants. As the shoot wears on members of the crew exhibit increasingly strange behavior leaving those still sane realizing they need to get out of this place before they too succumb to the building’s infectious hold the only problem the old hospital is not ready to let them go.
The adventure follows the journey of title character Bilbo Baggins, who is swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the fearsome dragon Smaug. Approached out of the blue by the wizard Gandalf the Grey, Bilbo finds himself joining a company of thirteen dwarves led by the legendary warrior, Thorin Oakenshield. Their journey will take them into the Wild; through treacherous lands swarming with Goblins and Orcs, deadly Wargs and Sorcerers. Although their goal lies to the East and the wastelands of the Lonely Mountain, first they must escape the goblin tunnels, where Bilbo meets the creature that will change his life forever Gollum. Here, alone with Gollum, on the shores of an underground lake, the unassuming Bilbo Baggins not only discovers depths of ingenuity and courage that surprise even him, he also gains possession of Gollum’s “precious” ring that holds unexpected and useful qualities A simple, gold ring that is tied to the fate of all Middle-earth in ways Bilbo cannot begin to know.
Robert Rodriguez presents Curandero: Dawn of the Demon, an action-packed horror flick that takes a couple on a horrifying journey through the deepest bowels of the Mexican underworld. When beautiful federal agent Magdalena calls upon curandero Don Carlos (Carlos Gallardo) for his services to purify a police station, the two of them suddenly find themselves immersed in a satanic cult s blood-thirsty battleground.
Haunted by the failure to catch London’s most evil killer Jack the Ripper Inspector Edmund Reid now heads up the notorious H Division – the toughest police district in the East End. Charged with keeping order in the blood-stained streets of Whitechapel Reid and his men find themselves fighting to uphold justice and the rule of law; but always in the background lurks the fear of the Ripper is he back for another reign of terror? Rich episodic storylines meld with the intrigue of a criminal underworld festering on the hard streets of Victorian London following the battle of the men whose job it is to bring the law to the lawless.
At Prehistoric Park, the very knowledgeable veterinarian Suzanne is similarly adept at adapting current medical knowledge and practice to help the prehistoric animals under her care and park caretaker Bob is a master improviser, building containment pens and modifying environments, and sometimes animal behavior, to ensure a healthy and safe captivity. An adventure series in the truest sense, each 47-minute episode juxtaposes the modern with the prehistoric and the scientific with the imagined, is full of suspense and drama, and features an amazing combination of very skilled computer animation and realistic animatronics that leave audiences believing that they’ve just seen genuine footage of prehistoric creatures. Scenic locations are stunning and conjure up localities ranging from the subtropical prehistoric park to the icy tundra, rock formations of Scotland, and ash-strewn volcanic lands of prehistoric China.
In profiling Chinese adoptees in contemporary America, this deeply moving documentary from Linda Goldstein Knowlton (The World According to Sesame Street) illustrates that even the most specific of experiences can be universally relatable. Of the roughly 80,000 girls who have been adopted from China since 1989 a decade after China implemented its One Child Policy the film intimately follows four teenagers: Haley, Jenna, Ann and Fang. These four wise-beyond-their-years yet typical American teens reveal a heartbreaking sense of self-awareness as they attempt to answer the uniquely human question, “Who am I?” They meet and bond with other adoptees, some journey back to China to reconnect with the culture, and some reach out to the orphaned girls left behind. In their own ways, all attempt to make sense of their complex identities. Issues of belonging, race and gender are brought to life through these articulate subjects, who approach life with honesty and open hearts.
Join Alice on her journey through the mirror in BBC’s fanciful adaptation of Lewis Caroll’s classic novel! In an alternate world, just on the other side of the mirror’s reflection, Alice finds herself in the middle of a life-sized chess game, where she encounters a variety of surreal scenarios and fantastical characters, including Tweedledee and Tweedledum, Humpty Dumpty, the Red Queen and others. To be crowned queen and return home, Alice must traverse all the ranks to the end of this massive chessboard-but will she make it?
With WrestleMania 29 on the horizon the last stop on the road to the biggest show of the year is the callous coliseum known as the Elimination Chamber. With the WrestleMania line up taking shape the WWE and World Heavyweight Champions face the most daunting challenge in any championship reign – outlasting five other competitors in a barbaric steel chamber for the right to carry the title into the show of shows for a chance at immortality. In one of the most unpredictable matches of the year two Superstars start in the middle of the ring and four pods open at random during the course of the match adding another Superstar to the fray. Who will have the iron will to emerge victorious? Plus several other rivalries begin to reach a boiling point as the entire Raw and SmackDown rosters aim to prove themselves worthy of the grandest stage.
Two million fish washed ashore. One thousand blackbirds dropped from the sky. On July 4, 2009 a deadly menace swept through the quaint seaside town of Claridge, Maryland, but the harrowing story of what happened that Independence Day has never been told – until now. From Oscarr-winning director Barry Levinson and the producers of Paranormal Activity and Insidious comes this nerve- shredding tale of a small town plunged into absolute terror. The authorities believed they had buried the truth about the tragedy that claimed over 700 human lives. Now, three years later, a reporter has emerged with footage revealing both the cover-up and an unimaginable killer: a mysterious parasitic outbreak. Told from the perspective of those who were there and saw what happened, The Bay unfolds over 24 hours though people’s iPhones, Androids, 911 calls, webcams, and whatever else could be used to document the nightmare in Claridge.
In Season 2, Volume 1, of the hit series Duck Dynasty on A&E, Louisiana’s bearded, camouflage-clad millionaires continue to live out the American dream while staying true to their rugged outdoorsman lifestyle and Southern roots. Ask anyone in Louisiana and they’ll tell you that the bayou state’s favorite first family doesn’t live in the governor’s mansion but in the backwoods, where the Robertsons’ rags -to-riches story is still unfolding. A homegrown mom-and-pop operation, Duck Commander has become a sporting empire by fabricating top-of-the- line duck calls and decoys out of salvaged swamp wood. This newly-minted multimillionaire family is kept in line by business-savvy Willie, who runs Duck Commander with the help of his brother Jase, their respective wives Korie and Missy, patriarch and founder of the company, Phil, and uncle Si. Together they run a booming business that employs half their neighborhood, but at the end of the day you can find the whole family around matriarch Miss Kay’s dinner table. Each episode brings a new set of challenges, met with a special brand of Southern know-how and a down-home sense of humor.
Ride the rainbow to Care-a-Lot and join Share Cheer and all their buddies in four exciting new adventures! Whether it’s teaching a new friend how to find her courage against the sneaky Beastly bringing sweetness back to Sweet Dreams Bear’s bad dreams or helping Grumpy get unstuck from”Stick-’Til-You’re-Stuck” sand the Bears are always there for each other! And when Share gets jealous of Grumpy’s delicious cookies at her potluck get ready for a bear bake-off bonanza in these delightfully sweet tales for a new generation!
This French film, based on real events that took place in Gloucester, Mass., in 2008, has been relocated to Lorient, a shabby port city on the Brittany coast and the hometown of the filmmakers, who are sisters. The movie takes you inside the dreamy collective mentality of bored, mildly rebellious girls who look with horror at the lives of their mostly working-class parents. A core group makes a pact to have babies simultaneously and bring up their children together. The inner circle widens, and in short order 17 girls are pregnant.
Chris Mankowski’s gets suspended from the Detroit Police Department for investigating the rich, powerful and completely drunk Woody Ricks, so he decides to takes matters into his own hands. with hilarious results.
Thomas and his friends are charged up and ready to Go, Go! Thomas shows Gordon that being quick is as useful as being strong, while Flynn the fire engine learns to put his pride aside and race to the rescue. Thomas causes some trouble on the tracks trying to be a model engine for a new photographer, while Spencer’s on the move, ignoring warnings about electric engine Stafford’s battery. Thomas pumps his pistons to Misty Island to help fix Ol’ Wheezy. Will the number one blue engine be on track and on time? Ready, Set. Go, Go Thomas!
Join Barney and his friends as they play games and learn valuable lessons about being a team player. From taking the lead to taking turns facing challenges to just having fun Barney and his team show why Play with Barney is one of the best ways to build character!
The most terrifying dinosaur ever discovered comes to DVD from the BBC In the fight for the title of ultimate predator of the Jurassic period, there are a number of contenders. However, all could be eclipsed by a startling discovery deep in the Polar Arctic: Predator X. Deep in the permafrost at the top of the world, the fossil of a giant sea-monster has been uncovered. Weighing five times as much as Tyrannosaurus Rex, its body was more than 50 feet long. Four huge flippers enabled it to accelerate quickly through the waves, while its bite power – estimated at over 33,000 pounds (four times the strength of T-Rex) – made it the most formidable predator in the Jurassic oceans.
If you thought T-Rex was the scariest dinosaur – think again. In “Extreme Dinosaurs,” Paleontologist Dr. Phillip Currie believes he has found a six-ton flesh-eating dinosaur that hunted its prey in packs. Until recently there was little evidence to support Currie’s ideas. But that’s all changed with his discoveries in two mass dinosaur graves. One site lay untouched for decades until Currie himself tracked it down and the other contains the bones of a giant new species of dinosaur. In “T-Rex: Warrior or Wimp?” T-Rex’s place as the scariest dinosaur comes into question. T-Rex has been known as the meanest, most bewitching dinosaur of them all. But could our picture of this monster be completely wrong? Was the T-Rex in fact a slow, lumbering creature with hideously bad breath? Was T-Rex, in fact, a wimp?
In this David and Goliath tale, a group of proud Scottish homeowners take on Donald Trump as he gets set to destroy the crown jewels of Scotland s national heritage in order to build a luxury golf resort. The local residents make their last stand in the face of police harassment, constant legal threats and interruption of their water and electricity. Director Anthony Baxter himself becomes international news after being thrown in jail. The film captures the cultural chasm between the glamorous, jet-setting and media savvy Donald Trump and a deeply rooted Scottish community. For the tycoon, the golf course is just another deal, with a possible billion-dollar payoff. For the residents, it represents the destruction of a globally unique landscape that has been the backdrop of their lives. At turns funny, inspiring and heartbreaking, You’ve Been Trumped is both an entertaining, can t-believe-it s-true tale and an environmental parable for our celebrity-driven times.
WWE kicks off The Road to WrestleMania with the 2013 Royal Rumble and this year The Rock is back to electrify the WWE Universe once again! Will the Peoples Champ finally bring the WWE Championship home to Team Bring It for the first time in over ten years? Plus 30 or more Superstars compete in WWE’s historic over-the-top rope main event where one resilient Superstar earns a chance to main event WrestleMania! Sheamus emerged from the pack in 2012 and went on to claim the World Heavyweight Championship on the grandest stage. Who will add their name to the illustrious list of Royal Rumble winners this year and will they have a date to go one-on-one with the great one The Rock at WrestleMania 29? This is truly a monumental edition of one of the WWE’s most long-standing events and a must-have for all WWE fans.
THE INVISIBLE WAR – Docurama
From Oscar and Emmy-nominated filmmaker Kirby Dick comes The Invisible War, a groundbreaking investigative documentary about one of America’s most shameful and best-kept secrets: the epidemic of rape within the U.S. military. The film paints a startling picture of the extent of the problem – today, a female soldier in combat zones is more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire. Twenty percent of all active-duty female servicewomen are sexually assaulted. Profoundly moving, the film follows the stories of several idealistic young servicewomen who were raped and then betrayed by their own officers when they courageously came forward to report. Both a rallying cry for the hundreds of thousands of men and women who’ve been assaulted and a hopeful road map for change, The Invisible War is one of those rare films so powerful it has already helped change military policy.
You know it must be springtime if a curious monkey named George is dancing on the balcony at sunrise! George is so excited about Spring that he wants Hundley to have Spring Fever too. But even blooming flowers, baby animals and canoe rides cannot make Hundley love Spring. Even worse, Hundley gets lost in the country. Searching for his lost friend, George accidentally launches the hot air balloon rally and sails over the countryside. Luckily he manages to grab Hundley from a hilltop along the way. Together they return triumphantly to the city. The Man with the Yellow Hat, the Doorman and Lydia stage a daring rooftop balloon rescue. Not only are George and Hundley saved, but they manage to win the coveted Spring Building Prize! Finally, to George’s delight, now Hundley has Spring Fever too!
ANGUS BUCHAN’S ORDINARY PEOPLE – Sony
A desperate criminal narrowly evades death at gunpoint. A hardened auto mechanic finds himself caught between grief and debt. A struggling young alcoholic yearns to escape from his misery. Three very different men seek hope in an unlikely place: the Mighty Men Conference held by Angus Buchan, the real-life farmer whose spiritual transformation inspired the celebrated film Faith Like Potatoes. The tale of Angus’s own journey intertwines with the stories of three men among the many thousands who travel to hear his words. Paths will cross and lives will be forever transformed in a powerful new motion picture based on true events.
STRANGE FRAME – Wolfe
This gorgeous animated sci-fi story explores the theme of the transformative power of love between two women. As our story begins it is the 28th century, 200 years after the Great Earth Exodus. We re on Ganymede, one of Jupiter’s moons. Our hero Naia is a feisty, young singer-songwriter who falls in love with the beautiful saxophonist Parker. The two embark on their new relationship and also form a band and now they have to not only make it as musicians but also to fight for their freedom. Dramatically rendered in rich, hand drawn animation, Strange Frame brings us into a world of space pirates, indentured slaves and genetic mutations infused with music throughout, to create a dreamlike tale unlike anything you ve ever seen.
DORA’S EASTER COLLECTION – Nickelodeon
Get ready for an Egg-Citing Easter Adventure as you help Dora and Boots save the Hip-Hop-Bunny’s basket of eggs! Plus, go on an Egg Hunt with Dora. The perfect DVD for the little princess in your home, not to mention the educational aspect for Easter. Live it up with Dora’s Easter Collection today!
HEMEL – Art Sploitation
Sacha Polak s debut feature is a frank and explicit look at carnal desire that is told from a distinctly female perspective. She paints an erotically charged portrait of a woman whose casual sexual encounters mask a loneliness and a craving for intimacy. Hemel (Hannah Hoekstra) is a young woman who drifts through a series of anonymous one-night stands and seems only close to her father. When he finds himself a girlfriend, Hemel s jealousy puts her on the emotional edge. An emotionally and physically raw study of sexuality that is nothing less than mesmerizing.
CYBERSTALKER – Lionsgate
Thirteen years ago Aiden’s world was torn apart after an online stalker followed her into the real world and broke into her home to claim the object of his desire. The resulting night of terror ended with the murders of both Aiden’s mother and father. The stalker escaped the scene without Aiden seeing his face; he is gone without a trace an unknown man a murderer now watching Aiden’s every move. To escape this danger Aiden spends the next 13 years offline in therapy and secluded anonymity. Who should Aiden trust in a web of deception where no one may be who they seem? There is nowhere for Aiden to hide when someone wants to love her to death.
SHADOW PEOPLE – Anchor Bay
Back in the 1970s several patients in an experimental sleep study reported seeing shadowy intruders. These patients – and hundreds of others – died in their sleep soon after. Doctors called the phenomenon ‘Sudden Unexplained Nocturnal Death Syndrome’. They refused to discuss the shadows. Now a struggling late-night radio host (Dallas Roberts) and a skeptical CDC investigator (Alison Eastwood) have begun researching a disturbing new outbreak of shadow sightings and sleep fatalities. Could this be a case of paranoid hallucination or are these victims literally being scared to death by actual nightmare creatures?
RUST AND BONE – Sony
From the director of the multi-award-winning A Prophet comes a gripping tale of two souls finding strength in each other after tragedy reunites them. Marion Cotillard gives a tour-de force performance as Stephanie, an orca trainer whose life is transformed when tragedy strikes during a show. Faced with unbearable circumstances she turns to Ali (Matthias Schoenaerts), a street boxer fighting his own battle with life-changing events. As their stories intersect, they navigate a gritty relationship in a world where love and courage appear in many forms.
THE FIRST TIME – Sony
Dave (Dylan O’Brien) is an incurable romantic in love with the hottest girl in school, Jane (Victoria Justice). Unfortunately, she only thinks of him as a friend – without benefits. Through a chance encounter, Dave meets Aubrey (Britt Robertson), an alluring girl from a nearby school, which sparks a flame that soon becomes a red-hot romance filled with all the angst, missteps & awkwardness of a first time love! Hilarious & heartwarming, The First Time is an unforgettable coming of age comedy featuring a sizzling ensemble cast.
THIS MUST BE THE PLACE – Anchor Bay
A bored retired rock star (Sean Penn) learns that his father is close to death and travels to New York to reconcile with him, only to arrive too late. He embarks on a quest to find his father’s nemesis and persecutor — an ex-Nazi war criminal taking refuge in the U.S.
THE LIFE & DEATH OF COLONEL BLIMP – Criterion
Arguably the best British film ever made, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp is a picture that broke the mold. Created by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, this Criterion release follows General Clive Candy and his view of the changing world from 1902 to 1942. Roger Livesey’s performance is absolutely brilliant and ANton Walbrook and Deborah Kerr star as Candy’s German enemies turned lifelong friends. Moving and stylish in every way, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp provides a look into love, war, growing old and obsolescence.
PHANTASM 2 – Shout Factory
The Tall Man is back with a vengeance in Phantasm II, the second chapter in the cult classic Phantasm series! Released after seven years in a mental hospital, Mike convinces his old pal Reggie to join forces with him to hunt down and destroy The Tall Man once and for all. Mike’s visions lead the two to a quiet little town where a horde of flying killer balls aim to slice and dice their gruesome way through everyone. Exploding with special effects, unparalleled thrills, horror and suspense, Phantasm II climaxes with a blood-curdling conclusion that you have to see to believe.
MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000: XXVI – Shout Factory
For this 26th volume of MST3K, an introduction could well be pared down to ’one cult TV series with two guys, two robots, four movies and 10,000 jokes. This new collection of previously unreleased episodes picks up where the last 25 left off: seating you next to the funniest peanut gallery in television history. It’s a deep dive into the human instinct for survival, where our warped warriors aboard the Satellite of Love find the funny in the tragic…or at least the cheesy. In fact, it’s not too hyperbolic to insist that what Joel, Mike, Tom Servo and Crow T. Robot do, as they defend us against the slings and arrows of outrageously unfortunate movies, is nothing less than keep us sane. If you don’t agree, you re obviously crazy.
STAR TREK ENTERPRISE: Season One – CBS Paramount
Now, for the first time on Blu-ray, follow Starfleet’s earliest forays into deep space with breathtaking 1080p high definition picture and remastered 7.1 sound. Jonathan Archer (Scott Bakula) commands the Enterprise NX-01, the first Earth-built vessel capable of breaking the Warp 5 barrier. With his trusted Chief Engineer, Charles “Trip” Tucker III (Connor Trinneer), Science Officer T’Pol (Jolene Blalock), and security expert Lt. Malcolm Reed (Dominic Keating), Capt. Archer is tasked with exploring new, unknown star systems. Propel your imagination farther and faster than before with an ever-expanding universe of captivating characters, interstellar intrigue, and adventures that will come to define the very essence of Starfleet.
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