Nick’s Picks – April 23

Houston Area Film Happenings

Lagniappe Film & Music Festival

May 08, 2014 – May 10, 2014

Jefferson Theatre

345 Fannin

Beaumont, TX 77701


A lagniappe (LAN-yap) is a small gift given to a customer by a merchant at the time of a purchase (such as a 13th doughnut when buying a dozen), or more broadly, “something given or obtained gratuitously or by way of good measure”.

The Lagniappe Film and Music Festival (LFMF) is the premiere yearly entertainment event in Southeast Texas. We provide more bands, more film and way more lagniappe than you have ever experienced. LFMF is dedicated to the discovery and advancement of the very best independent films and musicians from around the world.

Lagniappe hopes to provide our community with opportunities to experience films and musical events not typically shown in our area. We want to provide our attendees the chance to meet and discuss their projects with industry professionals. We hope to educate, entertain and to continue the growth of the Golden Triangle on an international level.

– See more at:

DVD Reviews


We are doing a Free DVD Giveaway! If you are interested in a chance at winning a free copy of Seven Warriors, Frontline: Secret State of North Korea, Snake & Mongoose, Angry Birds Toons Season One and Two, Todd Oliver Funny Dog or The Bunker, it is really easy!  All you have to do is send me an email at  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!

Snake Mongoose Seven Warriors Korea Funny Dog Bunker Angry Birds


Seven Warriors

China’s warlord era ’30s, many soldiers banditry, nuisance farmers, resulted in hardship. Guangxi to defend their homes in a small village hired seven distinctive paladin, and resist the bandits violated. Many villagers and paladin occur during friction, everyone is not unity, resulted bandits win. Fortunately, the villagers wake up to the last, one mind without fear paladin joint heroic defeat the bandits.


FRONTLINE: Secret State of North Korea – PBS


Just two years in the job and armed with nuclear weapons, North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un is the world’s youngest dictator, ruling one of the world’s most isolated countries. Like his father and grandfather, he wants to maintain tight control over what North Koreans see of the world – and what the world sees of North Korea. But with unique access, Frontline goes inside the secret state to explore life under its new ruler, and investigate the enigmatic “Morning Star King” as he tries to hold onto power. Using new footage smuggled from inside and never-before-told stories from recent defectors living in South Korea, the film offers a rare glimpse of how some North Koreans are defying authority in a country where just being caught with illegal DVDs could mean immediate imprisonment.


Snake Mongoose

Start your engines for the incredible true story of the greatest rivalry in drag racing history: Don The Snake Prudhomme versus his longtime friend and nemesis Tom The Mongoose McEwen. From the fiery days of early speedways through the explosive peak of their popularity, these are the personal triumphs and tragedies behind the legendary races and Hot Wheels partnership that created a global phenomenon. Ashley Hinshaw, Kim Shaw, Fred Dryer, Ian Ziering, Tim Blake Nelson and Noah Wyle co-star in this nitro-burning drama of the two men who battled business and each other to change motorsports forever.

ANGRY BIRDS TOONS: Season 1, Volume 2 – Sony

Angry Birds

Life isn’t easy on Piggy Island for the Angry Birds. Red and his fearless feathered companions, Chuck, Matilda, Bomb, the Blues and Terence, must band together to protect their eggs and their future from the wily plotting of the Bad Piggies! Angry Birds Toons brings to life the characters and adventures from one of the beloved games in history, now as mini episodes for the whole family to enjoy.


Funny Dog

Join in the fun as nationally known comedian Todd Oliver and his amazing talking dogs (All Oliver family pets!) bring the down the house in this over-the-top family-friendly performance! Even with all of the Kardashian jokes and references, this is a side-splitting classic that is sure to tickle the most ardent of funny bones!

THE BUNKER – Inception


Set in the uncharted lands of The Ho Bo Woods of southern Vietnam 1965, The Bunker is a fictional story of courage and heroism. Pvt. Schenke attempts to save his fellow troops and an accused North Vietnamese Army operative from a rogue Special Forces unit lead by a madman called Ranger. Escape becomes a matter of strength, daring and brute force as Pvt. Schenke and his fellow soldiers try to evade Ranger and his renegade Special Forces squad while operating out of an abandoned bunker. The death toll runs high in brutal, bloody scenes that take hand-to-hand combat to an adrenaline pumped climax.


Upon its initial American release, Stranger on the Prowl’s credits read: written and directed by Andrea Forzano. In truth Forzano was two people: screenwriter Ben Barzman and director Joseph Losey, both of whom had been blacklisted by Hollywood and were forced to work under pseudonyms. The film stars screen legend Paul Muni as a disillusioned vagrant who accidentally kills a shop owner. While on the lam he befriends a young street urchin (Vittorio Manunta) who suspects the police are after him for stealing milk from the same shop owner. The police pursue the two lost souls through the war-torn streets and buildings of an Italian port city. This neorealist film noir was based on a story by novelist Noel Calef.

BAREFOOT – Lionsgate

The “black sheep” son of a wealthy family meets a young psychiatric patient who’s been raised in isolation her entire life. He takes the naive young woman home for his brother’s wedding. This is an okay film, but it is very underwhelming when compared to the original German version.


A series of brutal murders puts the lives of three men on a collision course: the father of the latest victim now out for revenge, a vigilante police detective operating outside the boundaries of law, and the main suspect in the killings – a religious studies teacher arrested and released due to a police blunder.


Madea’s neighborhood takes a turn for the worse when a foster mother moves in with her unruly kids. Suspicious activity leads Madea to take justice into her own hands. With Aunt Bam by her side, Madea uses her unique wit and wisdom for unforgettable results. As long as you know it’s stereotypical humor going in, you will have a blast!


This is an intimate look at one of the world s most recognized sex symbols, told in her own words for the first time. In Mori’s alluring documentary, the real Bettie Page emerges from the veil of myth and rumor via audio interviews taped a decade prior to her death in 2008. With earthy, razor sharp wit, Bettie tells her life story — from humble beginnings as one of six children in an impoverished southern family, to high school salutatorian, to scandalous 50s pin-up model, to shocking retirement in 1957 at the peak of her modeling career. Sharing rare details about her short-lived first marriage and many torrid affairs, this keen insider s glimpse follows Bettie through decades of broken marriages, born-again Christianity, and bouts of mental illness, before her ultimate return to the public eye in the early 90 s, unaware of her cult status.


Both of Claude Chabrol’s murderous black comedy, feature film mysteries starring Jean Poiret as the incomparable Inspector Lavardin: Chicken with Vinegar: When a small town begins losing its citizenry in a series of grisly murders, out-of-town police inspector Jean Lavardin is sent to investigate. Could the killers be a bullied son and his cruel mother, who run the local post office? Or a pushy trio of would-be land developers? Inspector Lavardin: When a wealthy and devout Roman Catholic writer is found murdered on a beach with the word “PIG” written on his back, Inspector Lavardin is sent to investigate. In the course of his probing, he discovers that the widow is an old flame of his and that the small coastal town holds other secrets.


With another creation from the super hero mastermind of Stan Lee comes the Mighty 7 Beginnings. When seven aliens crash land on Earth in hot pursuit by evil forces, they meet the famous comic writer Stan Lee who is in the midst of a writer’s block. The perfect subjects for his new book, Stan agrees to hide them in his Malibu beach house and teach them all they need to know about becoming super heroes. Fun for kids, but the film struggles overall to determine exactly what it wants to be.


The origin story of Hercules, mythical Greek hero – the son of Zeus, a half-god, half-man blessed with extraordinary strength. Betrayed by his stepfather, the King, and exiled and sold into slavery because of a forbidden love, Hercules must use his formidable powers to fight his way back to his rightful kingdom. Through harrowing battles and gladiator-arena death matches, Hercules embarks on a legendary odyssey to overthrow the King and restore peace to the land.


Officer Duke has a bit of a problem: he accidentally shot a man while holding a teenager (Marilyn Manson) captive, and now he s storing the body in the trunk of his car. Luckily Office Duke fits right in with the rest of the local police force, who really couldn t care less about solving crimes and are much more interested in petty theft, blackmailing their colleagues, soliciting prostitutes, sexually harassing the community, and starting careers in electronic music. So they probably aren t going to be all that helpful when it comes to dealing with that body in the trunk anyway, which means Officer Duke may not have that much of a problem after all. In this absurdist ensemble comedy from director Quentin Dupieux (Rubber, Wrong), the cops may have gone wrong, but their depraved behavior makes the laughs feel… also wrong.


In 1885 the newly reinvented Nelly (Felicity Jones) is a happily married mother and school teacher. Yet, she’s haunted by the past. At 18, she met Charles Dickens (Ralph Fiennes), then 45 and at the height of his career. Nelly was a budding actress who had appeared in a play he’d adapted – and the two embarked on a relationship that had to be kept secret, given that he was married with 10 children.

AN UNREAL DREAM – First Run Features

In 1986 Michael Morton’s wife Christine is brutally murdered in front of their only child, and Michael is convicted of the crime. Locked away in Texas prisons for a quarter century, estranged from his son, he has years to ponder questions of justice and innocence, truth and fate. Though he is virtually invisible to society, the Innocence Project and Michael’s pro bono attorney spend years fighting for the right to test DNA evidence found at the murder scene. Their discoveries ultimately reveal that the price of a wrongful conviction goes well beyond one man’s loss of freedom.

PEPPA PIG: My Birthday Party – E1 Entertainment

Already a longtime UK phenomenon (#1 Pre-school property 3 years running), this fun-filled DVD is sure to capture the hearts of parents and little ones alike with the undeniable charm and fun disposition of the adorable Peppa. The “My Birthday Party” DVD welcomes preschoolers to the magic of Peppa’s world with 80 minutes of adventures featuring 14 fun-packed “Peppasodes” (12 regular plus 2 bonus), from the award-winning series, plus 2 Never-Before-Seen educational extras, “Learn the Alphabet” and “Learn to Count”. In the title episode, “My Birthday Party”, it’s Peppa’s birthday and all of her friends are invited to her party where Daddy Pig gets lots of laughs with his attempt at performing a magic show. Other episodes include an exciting boat race, a school play, a train adventure, a day at the beach, a costume party and more! Airing daily on Nick Jr., Peppa Pig follows the hilarious adventures of Peppa, a loveable little piggy, her family, and all of her animal friends, including Suzy Sheep, Pedro Pony, Danny Dog and more. Peppa loves playing games, dressing up, visiting exciting places and making new friends, but her absolute favorite thing is jumping up and down in muddy puddles! Peppa’s adventures are filled with wholesome entertainment the entire family can enjoy and always end happily with loud snorts of laughter. Recommended for kids 2-6, the episodes feature themes that kids can relate to and reinforce strong values such as family, friendship, trust and humor.

MAYBERRY R.F.D.: Season One – Warner

Imagine a world with no cell phones, no Internet, and no rock ‘n’ roll. It’s not science fiction… it’s Mayberry R.F.D.! This 1968 spinoff of the popular series The Andy Griffith Show stars Ken Berry as widowed farmer Sam Jones, who’s raising his son Mike with the help of their outspoken, headstrong, and lovable housekeeper Aunt Bee. Add to the mix Sam’s girlfriend Millie, good-natured Goober, County Clerk Howard, and fix-it man Emmett, and you’ve got a charming, laugh-filled slice of American small-town life! Take a leisurely spin down memory lane with all 26 Season One episodes of the heartwarming TV classic that celebrates family values, neighborly ways, and country living at its most entertaining.

WHEN JEWS WERE FUNNY – First Run Features

Insightful and often hilarious, Alan Zweig’s documentary When Jews Were Funny surveys the history of Jewish comedy, from the early days of Borsht belt to the present, ultimately exploring not just ethnicity in the entertainment industry, but also the entire unruly question of what it means to be Jewish. The answers are surprising. Veterans of the 1940s and 1950s, an age when assimilation was a goal, deny, sometimes vehemently, that their comedy reflected anything of Jewish culture. For several of the younger comics, their biggest influences are family members, fathers, aunts, yentas. Many bemoan the loss of Yiddish, while arguing about the quintessential Jewish joke. As Zweig and his subjects shuttle from the universal to the particular and back again, the movie’s real subject isn’t so much comedy but what it means to be Jewish. It’s an impossible question to answer, of course. But it’s also one well worth exploring, especially in a movie as funny and heartfelt as this one.

LABOR DAY – Paramount

Henry Wheeler (Gattlin Griffith), 13, struggles to be the man of the house and care for his reclusive mother Adele (Kate Winslet) while dealing with the pangs of adolescence. On a back-to-school shopping trip, Henry and his mother encounter Frank Chambers (Josh Brolin) a man both intimidating and clearly in need of help, who convinces them to take him into their home. They later find out he’s an escaped convict. The events of this Labor Day weekend will shape them for the rest of their lives.



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