Nick’s Picks – July 30, 2014

FREE DVD GIVEAWAY

Cool Spaces D Day Sunken Design America Pony Sharks

We are doing a Free DVD Giveaway! If you are interested in a chance at winning a free copy of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Ong Bak Trilogy, The Protector 2, Designing America with Frederick Law Olmstead, Cool Spaces: Season One, Why Sharks Attack, D-Day’s Sunken Secrets or American Pharoah, 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 LITTLE PONY: Friendship is Magic Keys of Friendship – Shout Factory

Since her arrival in Ponyville, Twilight Sparkle has learned the true meaning and value of friendship. With her very best friends (Rainbow Dash, Rarity, Pinkie Pie, Apple Jack, Fluttershy and, of course, Spike) Twilight goes on the greatest of adventures and comes back with even more lessons. All of this has earned Twilight her wings and the crown of a princess and now you can learn what Princess Twilight Sparkle has learned and take with you the Keys Of Friendship.

 

FREDERICK LAW OLMSTED DESIGNING AMERICA – PBS

To Olmsted, a park was both a work of art and a necessity for urban life. Olmsted’s efforts to preserve nature created an “environmental ethic” decades before the environmental movement became a force in American politics. With gorgeous cinematography, and compelling commentary this film presents the biography of a man whose parks and preservation are an essential part of American life.

 

COOL SPACES: Season One – PBS

The stakes are high when a client asks for a signature architectural design. All sorts of challenges stand in the way, from budget issues to site constraints to construction logistics. It’s the great buildings, interiors, and landscapes that not only meet these challenges but exceed expectations. Cool Spaces! The Best New Architecture is a TV series developed for public television that profiles these projects and takes the viewer on an up-close and informative tour — not just of the building, but of the design process itself, from idea to reality.   Cool Spaces! features some of the 21st century’s most provocative and innovative public space architecture in North America. Each hour-long episode is organized around a central building typology theme — such as Performance Spaces or Art Spaces — and profiles three buildings. Season 1 will consist of eight episodes in 2013: four aired in the spring and four in the autumn.

 

WHY SHARKS ATTACK – PBS

Nova: Shark Attack! is an animal behavior documentary that features two of the sea’s deadliest creatures: great white sharks and tiger sharks. You’ll climb aboard a 14-foot-boat near the Farallon Islands off the coast of northern California to watch the great whites prey upon sea lions and seals, and you’ll travel to Hawaii to study the ambush patterns of tiger sharks. Statistical information on attack incidence is provided, and human attitudes toward sharks — from fear to awe to respect on religious grounds — are examined. Terrifying underwater camera shots in shark-infested waters are a special feature of the 60-minute film.

 

D-DAY’S SUNKEN SECRETS – PBS

On June 6, 1944, the Allies launched the D-Day invasion against the heavily defended Normandy beaches to liberate Europe from the Nazis. In less than 24 hours, more than 5,000 ships—the largest armada in history—crossed the English Channel, along with thousands of tanks and landing craft and 200,000 men. Throughout the operation, hundreds of ships sank while running the gauntlet of mines and bunkers, creating one of the world’s largest underwater archaeological sites. Now, 70 years later, NOVA has exclusive access to a unique international collaboration between military historians, archaeologists, and specialist divers as they carry out the most extensive survey ever done of the seabed bordering the legendary Normandy beachheads. The teams use submersibles, underwater robots and the latest 3D mapping tools to discover, identify and plot the relics on the sea floor in a special 2-hour presentation on NOVA: “D-DAY’S SUNKEN SECRETS.”

 

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: Cowabunga Classics – Lionsgate

Break out the pizza and relive America’s favorite turtle-action when Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Cowabunga Classics comes out of its shell and onto DVD July 29 from Lionsgate Home Entertainment. Fun for the whole family, the collection includes the “Top 10” rated episodes by fans as found on TV.com. Perfectly timed to the new theatrical release of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the 30th anniversary of the entire TMNT saga, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Cowabunga Classics DVD is complete with bodacious bonus features.

 

LEGENDARY – Lionsgate

Travis Preston assembles his team for an expedition to a remote region in China’s hinterland, where a wild animal that the locals believe to be a primeval monster they call the “Shocate” is said to roam free. Travis’s nemesis Jim Harker, a merciless trophy hunter, has already set up camp.

 

FIVE DANCES – Wolfe Video

The classic tale of finding success and romance in the big city is given a contemporary, and unconventional, spin in Alan Brown s new film, Five Dances. Collaborating with internationally renowned choreographer Jonah Bokaer, writer-director Brown has taken five gifted New York dancers, and fashioned a story about Chip (Ryan Steele), an extraordinarily talented 18 year-old recently arrived from Kansas who joins a small downtown modern dance company. In his first weeks of rehearsal, Chip is initiated into the rites of passage of a New York dancer s life, where discipline and endless hard work, camaraderie and competitiveness, the fear of not being good enough, and the joy of getting it just right, inform every minute of every day. Shooting in and around a Soho dance studio, Brown and his longtime cinematographer Derek McKane capture the exhilaration and emotional turmoil of a small dance company, and all of Chip s poignant firsts the forging of friendships, being chosen for the important solo, his first ever love affair with the intimacy and immediacy of a documentary. The result, Five Dances, is Brown’s most dynamic film.

 

DRAGONWOLF – WellGo USA

The Devil’s Cauldron – a city of depravity and violence, where only the lethal survive. Two hit men rule these streets, feared by all but loyal to one another. When a beautiful woman seduces them both, they turn on each other, igniting an epic battle that may bring the city to the brink of destruction.

 

THE OTHER WOMAN – FOX

After discovering her boyfriend is married, a woman (Cameron Diaz) tries to get her ruined life back on track. But when she accidentally meets the wife he’s been cheating on (Leslie Mann), she realizes they have much in common, and her sworn enemy becomes her greatest friend. When yet another affair is discovered (Kate Upton), all three women team up to plot mutual revenge on their cheating, lying, three-timing SOB.

 

CUBAN FURY – E1 Entertainment

Beneath Bruce Garretts shabby, overweight exterior, the passionate beating heart of a salsa king lays dormant. Only one woman can reignite his Latin fire, but first Bruce must learn how to unshackle his dancing beast, regain his long lost swagger and claim the love of his life. Spotlight hits, sweat drips, and heels click. Nick Frost IS Cuban Fury!

 

WOODSTOCK 40th ANNIVERSARY REVISITED – Warner

An intimate look at the Woodstock Music & Art Festival held in Bethel, NY in 1969, from preparation through cleanup, with historic access to insiders, blistering concert footage, and portraits of the concertgoers; negative and positive aspects are shown, from drug use by performers to naked fans sliding in the mud, from the collapse of the fences by the unexpected hordes to the surreal arrival of National Guard helicopters with food and medical assistance for the impromptu city of 500,000.

 

STAGE FRIGHT – Magnet

In this genre-bending “Glee”-meets-Rocky Horror musical comedy a starry-eyed teenager (Allie MacDonald) wants to follow in her mother’s (Minnie Driver) footsteps and become a Broadway diva; but instead, she’s stuck working in the kitchen of her step-father’s (Meat Loaf Aday) snobby performing arts camp. Determined to change her destiny, she sneaks in to audition for the summer showcase landing the lead role. However, just as rehearsals begin, blood starts to spill, and Camilla finds herself terrorized by a homicidal masked killer.

 

NYMPHOMANIAC – Magnet

Volume 1 is the story of Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg), a self-diagnosed nymphomaniac who is discovered badly beaten in an alley by an older bachelor, Seligman (Stellan Skarsgård), who takes her into his home. As he tends to her wounds, she recounts the erotic story of her adolescence and young-adulthood (portrayed in flashback by newcomer Stacy Martin). VOLUME I also stars Shia LaBeouf, Christian Slater, Uma Thurman, Sophie Kennedy Clark, Connie Nielsen and Udo Kier. NYMPHOMANIAC: Volume 2 continues with the story of the self-diagnosed nymphomaniac Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and her adulthood, during which her journey of self-discovery leads to darker complications. The film stars Jamie Bell, Willem Dafoe, Mia Goth and Jean-Marc Barr in addition to Stellan Skarsgård, Stacy Martin and Shia LaBeouf.

 

PICKPOCKET – Criterion

Director Robert Bresson chose Uruguayan nonactor Martin LaSalle for his leading man in Pickpocket. LaSalle’s inexperience works against the film for some viewers, though Bresson himself was satisfied because his star proved himself a quick study in the art of lifting wallets (a genuine pickpocket was engaged as “technical adviser”). Essentially, the story is a character study of a cocky young criminal who becomes so entranced by the act of picking pockets that he literally can’t stop himself. The Bressonian technique of concentrating more on the mechanics of the plot than the emotions of the characters is, as always, a matter of taste. Filmed in 1959, Pickpocket was released in the US in 1963. Loosely inspired by Feodor Dostoyevsky’s novel Crime and Punishment.

 

OPEN GRAVE – Cinedigm

A man (Sharlto Copley) wakes up in a pit of dead bodies with no memory of who he is or how he got there. Fleeing the scene, he breaks into a nearby house and is met at gunpoint by a group of terrified strangers, all suffering from memory loss. Suspicion gives way to violence as the group starts to piece together clues about their identities, but when they uncover a threat that’s more vicious — and hungry — than each other, they are forced to figure out what brought them all together — before it’s too late.

 

INSOMNIA – Criterion

Norwegian filmmaker Erik Skjoldbjaerg makes his directorial debut with the psychological police drama Insomnia. Swedish homicide detective Jonas Engström (Stellan Skarsgård) and his partner, Erik Vik (Sverre Anker Ousdal), arrive in a small Northern Norwegian town to help the local police investigate the murder of a teenage girl. When Jonas finds the girl’s backpack, he sets a trap for the killer near a remote shed. While waiting to make an ambush in the morning fog, Jonas accidentally shoots Erik. He knows it was only an accident, but he decides to keep it a secret because he could lose his job. Jonas chooses to carry on with his investigation while trying to cover up the evidence of Erik’s death. Meanwhile, he’s unable to get any sleep due to the constant sunlight of the Norwegian summer and his increasingly guilty conscience. His only help comes from highly intuitive local police officer Hilda Haugen (Gisken Armand), who begins to form her own doubts about Jonas. As he continues to lose his grip on the case at hand, he becomes dangerously close to the suspects, Jon Holt (Bjørn Floberg) and Frøya (Marianne O. Ulrichsen).

 

DIVERGENT – Lionsgate

Divergent is set in a world where people are divided into distinct factions based on human virtues. Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley) is warned she is Divergent and will never fit into any one group. When she discovers a conspiracy by a faction leader (Kate Winslet) to destroy all Divergents, Tris must learn to trust in the mysterious Four (Theo James) and together they must find out what makes being Divergent so dangerous before it’s too late. Based on the best-selling book series by Veronica Roth.

 

THE WIND WILL CARRY US – Cohen Media

When an engineer and his colleagues from Tehran arrive in a remote village in Iranian Kurdistan, the locals assume they are archaeologists or telecom engineers. Even though they form an ambivalent relationship with the community, the visitors behavior and keen interest in the health of an ailing old woman appear strange, and their true motives are shrouded in mystery. A haunting and visually stunning masterpiece from Palme dOr winning director Abbas Kiarostami, one of the most important figures in modern Iranian cinema.

 

GERONIMO STILTON GOING DOWN TO CHINATOWN – E1 Entertainment

Since this program is based on the incontrovertible hit book series by Scholastic, you can bet it will be of the highest quality and perfect for the entire family to enjoy together! This series focuses on the adventures of Geronimo Stilton. He is the head of his media empire and yet, since he is a mouse and an indelible klutz, he finds himself in untenable situations. His sidekick in his adventures is his nephew – and he is a riot! Check this one out!

 

THE DEN – IFC

After receiving a grant for her graduate thesis, Elizabeth Benton logs onto a video-chat site known as The Den on a mission to explore the habits of its users. During one of her random video-chats, Elizabeth watches in horror as a teenage girl is gruesomely murdered in front of her webcam. While the police dismiss it as a viral prank, Elizabeth believes what she saw is real and takes it upon herself to find the truth. Soon she finds herself trapped in a twisted game in which she and her loved ones are now targeted for the same grisly fate as the first victim. With nail-biting suspense, The Den plunges the viewer into the darkest depths of humanity and technology.

 

MONEY IN THE BANK 2014 – WWE

The fifth annual Money in the Bank pay-per-view is sure to bring lots of excitement as someone will win the opportunity to cash in a briefcase that contains a contract for a world title match anytime in the following 12 months.  And for the first time this year, with the titles now unified, there will only be one opportunity to win a contract!  Past briefcase winners include Kane, Daniel Bryan, John Cena, and Randy Orton.

 

GRACE KELLY COLLECTION – Warner

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (WBHE) will remember one of Hollywood’s most glamorous film stars with the debut of the Grace Kelly Collection. The Collection includes six of the iconic screen legend’s most popular films –– Mogambo, Dial M for Murder, The Country Girl, The Bridges at Toko-Ri, To Catch a Thief and High Society – in which she co-stars with some of Hollywood’s finest leading men, including Clark Gable, Cary Grant, William Holden, Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra. The Grace Kelly Collection offers films that have never been together in one set and also features her last, rarely seen TV interview Princess Grace de Monaco: A Moment in Time conducted by Pierre Salinger less than three months before her death. A collectible series of art cards, photos and memorabilia are also part of this set.

 

AMERICAN PHARAOH – PBS

Documentary About Egyptian National Soccer Team and Its Former Coach, American Bob Bradley, Debuts on PBS June 16 – Great TV during the 2014 World Cup. When success is defined by getting to the World Cup, every step there counts. PBS will air the dramatic and multi-faceted one-hour documentary American Pharoah, which goes behind the scenes with the Egyptian national soccer team — the “Pharaohs” — and its former coach, American Bob Bradley, to capture their historic attempt to reach the 2014 World Cup, which created intense national pride and sparked headlines across the globe.

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