Nick’s Picks – August 26, 2015

THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.

Man From uncle

This film, reprised, revamped and inspired by a 1960s television series of the same name, directed by Guy Ritchie (best known for the Sherlock Holmes movies and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels) fails to connect and deliver on the inspired, uniqueness of a Guy Ritchie film.

Ritchie is a very creative risk taker and surprises us with imaginative storytelling. But in this movie he stumbles along, plodding aimlessly trying to find the right balance between action, suaveness and witty dialogue. This is no Mission Impossible full of spies, intrigue and over the top action. This is a film with the stylings of the 1960s (think early James Bond films from that era) handled nicely in making it believable, but intelligently boring compared to the action movies of today’s generation.

U.N.C.L.E. provides great eye candy with actors Henry Cavill (Man of Steel and The Immortals); Armie Hammer (best known for The Social Network and the forgettable The Lone Ranger and Mirror Mirror films); and Alicia Vikander (wonderful in Ex Machina) along with some cuddly surprises toward the end of the film, but it’s not enough to save it.

Set in the 1960s, during the height of the Cold War, U.N.C.L.E. pits CIA Agent Solo (Cavill) against KGB operative Kuryakin (Hammer) who must work together and try to stop a strange and mysterious criminal organization using nuclear weapons to create devastation throughout the world. So many minor plots are sprinkled throughout the story that you become disinterested in solving the puzzle. Gaby (Vikander) a sexy, feisty auto mechanic becomes a cog in the wheel because her father is an A-bomb expert. Another piece to this confusing puzzle. True to Ritchie’s style of filmmaking, the surprises alone are worth the ticket price. Seeing Hugh Grant back on the big screen as Waverly, delivering his usual wit and humor brings life to the film. Waverly becomes a sort of leader of a new spy organization, sort of like Judi Dench as M in the James Bond films (can we say sequel?) blending the CIA, KGB, MI5 agents under the U.N.C.L.E. banner. Building a U.N.C.L.E. franchise around Grant would be a very smart move for Ritchie. Grant invigorated this film sort of like how Robert Downey Jr. invigorated the reprisal of Sherlock Holmes.

U.N.C.L.E is a nice film, tame but nostalgic that anyone wanting to reminisce of the 60s golden era, but it lacks the classy, sophisticated charm of the original television series. Nonetheless, it makes for an interesting ride.

THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.
Starring: Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Alicia Vikander & Elizabeth Debicki
Director: Guy Ritchie
Company: Warner Brothers
Now Showing: In Theatres
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (action, violence, sexual content/nudity)
Grade: B –

===============Houston Happenings====================
Houston FanFair Debuts with actor Jesse L. Martin’s First US Convention appearance

Houston FanFare

Houston, TX — The largest pop-culture con in Texas is putting on a fan appreciation event, Comicpalooza, The Texas International Comic Con, presents Houston FanFair on September 19 & 20 in Hall A1 of the George R. Brown Convention Center. This is a more intimate event than Comicpalooza, and is designed as a great entry-level event to bring friends who have never experienced a con.
Guests scheduled to appear at Houston FanFair include Jesse L. Martin in his first US convention appearance (Detective Joe West from The Flash, Detective Ed Green from Law and Order, and Tom Collins from Rent), Alfonso Ribeiro (Carlton from Fresh Prince of Bel-Air), Grey DeLisle (Grammy and Emmy Award-winning popular voice actress) and Charisma Carpenter (Cordelia Chase, Buffy the Vampire Slayer/ Angel).
In celebration of the 10th Anniversary of SyFy’s Battlestar Galactica, coming to Houston Fan Fair are series regulars Aaron Douglas (Chief Gaylen Tyrol), Kandyse Mcclure (Anastasia Dulles), Tahmoh Penikitt (Lt. Karl “Helo” Agathon) and Kate Vernon (Ellen Tigh and currently seen on on the hit show The 100). Stay tuned for additional guest announcements.
Tickets are $25 for both days. Free admission for up to two children ages 11 or younger with each adult purchase. With fan favorite celebrities, vendors and artist alley, we continue to bring fun and affordable pop-culture events to the City of Houston year round.
For tickets, signing and photo ops information and additional convention information, please visit www.comicpalooza.com

For sponsorship opportunities and media interview and requests, email media@comicpalooza.com

===============DVD Reviews===============================

Camilla Dickinson Criminal Minds Elementary NCIS LA NCIS NO NCIS

FREE DVD GIVEAWAY

We are doing a Free DVD Giveaway! If you are interested in a chance at winning a free copy of NCIS: Season 12, NCIS Los Angels: Season 6, NCIS New Orleans: Season 1, Criminal Minds: Season 10, Elementary: Season 3 or Camilla Dickenson, 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!

CRIMINAL MINDS: Season 10 – CBS Paramount

Criminal Minds revolves around an elite team of FBI profilers who analyze the country’s most twisted criminal minds, anticipating their next moves before they strike again. The Behavioral Analysis Unit’s most prominent agent is David Rossi (Joe Mantegna), a founding member of the BAU, who returns to help the team solve new cases, while pursuing some unfinished business of his own. Each member brings his or her own area of expertise to the table as they pinpoint predators’ motivations and identify their emotional triggers in the attempt to stop them.

ELEMENTARY: Season 3 – CBS Paramount

Perfect Crimes Meet the Perfect Match. In the City That Never Sleeps, one mind never rests. The eccentric detective Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) possesses an unquenchable thirst for intellectual puzzles and a ruthless instinct for justice. As a consulting detective to the NYPD, he takes on bizarre cases that baffle the most seasoned cops. But he can’t do it alone. Holmes relies on Joan Watson (Lucy Liu), a former physician who’s the one person who can keep up with his racing mind. Their partnership may be challenging, but it’s nowhere near as difficult as the impossible mysteries that lead them on breathtaking chases through New York City’s maddening maze. Join the hunt in the 24 episodes of the third season, collected in this six-disc set.

CAMILLA DICKINSON – Cinedigm

Film adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s novel follows daughter of a well-to-do family in 1948 Manhattan. Fifteen-year-old Camilla Dickinson, leads a sheltered life in New York City until her parents’ marriage begins to fall apart. When Camilla meets her best friend’s rebellious brother Frank she finds a way to escape her troubles. As her relationship with Frank deepens, Camilla discovers a world outside of her own and begins to understand a little of what it means to grow up.

WHERE HOPE GROWS – Lionsgate

Calvin Campbell is a former professional baseball player sent to an early retirement due to his panic attacks at the plate. Even though he had all the talent for the big leagues, he struggles with the curveballs life has thrown him. Today, he mindlessly sleepwalks through his days and the challenge of raising his teenager daughter. His life is in a slow downward spiral when it is suddenly awakened and invigorated by the most unlikely person – Produce, a young-man with Down syndrome who works at the local grocery store. Calvin slowly loses the chip on his shoulder as he begins to experience the world through Produce’s eyes. Faith, work, purpose and most importantly family, blossom into Calvin’s life as their friendship develops. The unlikely pair becomes intertwined giving Calvin’s life new meaning and purpose, but unfortunately leads to tragedy due to single decision echoed from Calvin’s past.

EASY MONEY / MEN AT WORK – Shout Factory!

EASY MONEY – No cheating! No gambling! No booze! No smoking! No pizza! No nothin’! Monty Capuletti (comedy legend Rodney Dangerfield) is a hard-living baby photographer with a family that’d drive anyone to drink. But when his mother-in-law passes away, the irresponsible Monty stands to earn a big inheritance… if he can give up all of his well-worn vices for a full year. With temptation around every corner, can Monty give up his ways of hard living for some Easy Money?

MEN AT WORK – The laughs don’t stop with Charlie Sheen and Emilio Estevez in the anything-but-trashy comedy Men At Work. Rebellious garbage collectors Carl (Sheen) and James (Estevez) are always up to mix a little mischief with their sanitation engineering. But when they discover a little something extra in their usual pick-up (the body of a local politician), the two find themselves in more trouble than usual. Something about all this stinks worse than the garbage they collect: and it could easily spell doom for both their town and their lives!

NICKELODEON FAVORITES: Puppy Palooza – Nickelodeon

This DVD features seven episodes starring puppies and popular Nickelodeon characters. Seven different characters which is a nice change of pace from the sale ole’ characters. It is cute how all the episodes feature puppies. The episodes have all previously aired on television but it is nice to have them all on this one DVD.

CITIZENFOUR – Anchor Bay

Citizenfour is a real life international thriller that unfolds by the minute. With unprecedented access, this gripping behind-the-scenes chronicle follows award winning director Laura Poitras and journalist Glenn Greenwald’s remarkable encounters with whistle-blower Edward Snowden in a hotel room in Hong Kong, as he hands over classified documents that provide evidence of mass indiscriminate and illegal invasions of privacy by the National Security Agency (NSA). The documentary not only shows the dangers of governmental surveillance, but makes audiences feel them. After seeing the film, viewers will never think the same way about their phone, e-mail, credit cards, web browser or digital footprint again.

BERRY GORDY’S THE LAST DRAGON – Sony

Martial arts student Leroy Green (Taimak) is on a quest to obtain the elusive all-powerful force known as “The Glow.” Along the way, he must battle the evil, self-proclaimed “Shogun of Harlem” – a kung fu warrior also known as Sho’nuff (Julius J. Carry III) – and rescue a beautiful singer (Prince protégée Vanity) from an obsessed record promoter. Combining pulsating music, cutting-edge dancing and the best in non-stop action.

FALLING STAR – IndiePix

It was November 1870, Spanish Courts elect the Italian Amadeo of Savoy as the King of Spain with a paltry 191 votes. Much to the dismay of the Spanish, Amadeo is a reluctant King who prefers beauty of power and passion over duty. Upon arrival in Madrid, his protector is assassinated. In the midst of a crumbling empire, Amadeo chooses to lose himself in wine, fruit, sex, and melancholy. His reign will be short…

IRIS – Magnolia

From legendary documentarian Albert Maysles, IRIS pairs the late 88-year-old filmmaker with Iris Apfel, the quick-witted, flamboyantly dressed 93-year-old style maven who has had an outsized presence on the New York fashion scene for decades. More than a fashion film, the documentary is a story about creativity and how a soaring free spirit continues to inspire.

SKIN TRADE – Magnolia

With nothing but vengeance to live for, detective Nick Cassidy (Dolph Lundgren) ransacks his way through the Bangkok underworld in pursuit of Viktor Dragovic (Ron Perlman), the human trafficker who attempted to kill his family. As the crossfire grows more deadly, FBI Agent Eddie Reed (Michael Jai White) is sent to bring Nick home, while Thai detective Tony Vitayakui (Tony Jaa) questions the motives and methods that have brought Nick across the globe. Through dire circumstances, detectives Cassidy and Vitayakui must come together to destroy Dragovic’s human trafficking network.

THE GOOD WIFE: Season 6 – CBS Paramount

Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies) stood by her husband (Chris Noth) on his tumultuous path to the governor’s office, but now she’s entering the world of politics on her own terms by running for state’s attorney. As Election Day approaches, Alicia must balance the demands of her firm and campaign as she supports her partner Car (Matt Czuchry) during shocking developments that could end his career… and life as he knows it.

JUSTICE LEAGUE: Attack of the Legion of Doom – Warner

Crime is on the run as the newly formed Justice League keeps Metropolis safe and this makes evil genius Lex Luthor very unhappy. Together with Black Manta, Sinestro and a gang of ruthless recruits, Lex builds his own league and declares them the Legion of Doom. Now with a super powered team of terror and a plan to attack the top-secret government site, Area 52, can Lex finally be on the verge of victory? Get ready for the bricks to fly when Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and the rest of the Justice League face off against the world’s greatest super villains!

THE WALKING DEAD: Season 5 – Anchor Bay

Season Four of The Walking Dead ended with Rick and the group outgunned, outnumbered, and trapped in a train car awaiting a grim fate. Season Five picks up shortly thereafter. What follows is a story that weaves the true motives of the people of Terminus with the hopeful prospect of a cure in Washington, D.C., the fate of the group’s lost comrades, as well as new locales, new conflicts, and new obstacles in keeping the group together and staying alive. Stories will break apart and intersect. The characters will find love and hate. Peace and conflict. Contentment and terror. And, in the quest to find a permanent, safe place to call home, one question will haunt them. After all they’ve seen, all they’ve done, all they’ve sacrificed, lost, and held on to no matter what the cost.

STUDENT BODIES – Olive Films

In this slasher film parody, a psychotic serial killer called “The Breather” is killing off sexually active high school students when not making threatening phone calls (with a rubber chicken disguising his voice). Among The Breather’s weapons of choice are paper clips, eggplants, and wooden horse-head bookends, and one of the murders is committed to commemorate Jamie Lee Curtis’s birthday.

THE LAST AMERICAN VIRGIN – Olive Films

A group of teens search for a woman to help them lose their innocence in this sex comedy from Boaz Davidson.

THE BABYSITTER – Olive Films

A nubile young babysitter (Alicia Silverstone) has no idea that she is the center of a maelstrom of male sexual fantasies. Based on a disturbing short story by Robert Coover, the drama presents a non-linear account of a perfectly mundane event. Having a social engagement, a couple calls for their babysitter. She arrives, they go out, her boyfriend comes over, and the weirdness begins — for director Guy Ferland makes little distinction between the character fantasies and what is really occurring. Something will happen, and then it will happen again; only the outcome is different. What makes this dark film so disturbingly creepy is that none of the males involved, neither the frustrated boyfriend, the horny husband who hired her, or even her little charge has nice fantasies about her. The film contains several sexual scenes and some scenes of violence.

THE SINGING DETECTIVE – Olive Films

Dan Dark gives new meaning to the term “scars of childhood.” A hack writer of detective stories, he has suffered from psoriatic arthropathy, a crippling disease of the skin and bones, from the time he was eight-years-old. His latest and worst outbreak has landed him in the hospital where he deliriously tries to figure out who he is and how he got to this terrible place in his life. His fevered mind mingles real people with his fictional characters, and his past with his present. As his condition grows more desperate, he is dispatched to the charge of the eccentric psychiatrist Dr. Gibbons. Initially reluctant to confront his tortured past, Dark is gradually lured out from the “cave in the rocks” under which his spirit has crawled. Dark is visited in the hospital by his ex-wife, whom he fears his sleeping with a character from his past and conspiring to steal the screenplay he wrote years ago of his first novel, The Singing Detective. But nothing is exactly what it appears here. In his hallucinatory state, Dark re-imagines the plot of his novel, casting himself in the starring role of a gumshoe who doubles as a singer in a dance band.

DANIEL – Olive Films

Adapted from The Book of Daniel by E. L. Doctorow, while attending college during the turbulent 1960s, the son and daughter of a couple who have been executed for spying against the United States attempt to cope with the results of their parents’ activities.

THE SENDER – Olive Films

A suicidal patient is placed in a mental hospital for observation. A psychiatrist realizes that the fellow contains telepathic powers with which he’s capable of transferring his own fear-filled nightmares into the minds of others. When he directs his ephemeral madness into the minds of the doctors and patients around him, the hospital turns into a nightmarish melee.

THE AGE OF ADALINE – Olive Films

After miraculously remaining 29 years old for almost eight decades, Adaline Bowman (Blake Lively) has lived a solitary existence, never allowing herself to get close to anyone who might reveal her secret. But a chance encounter with charismatic philanthropist Ellis Jones (Michiel Huisman) reignites her passion for life and romance. When a weekend with his parents (Harrison Ford and Kathy Baker) threatens to uncover the truth, Adaline makes a decision that will change her life forever.

ANIMALS – Oscilloscope

Jude and Bobbie are conning their way through life to feed their endless addiction. When confronted with the reality of their situation, the young lovers must decide if true love can prevail in the face of all else.

SALOME AND THE FORBIDDEN – MVD
In 1970s Liverpool, Clive Barker and a small group of friends from college made two short films. Salome (1973) and The Forbidden (1978) feature early footage of Barker, who also did most of the special effects, and Doug Bradley, who went on to fame as Pinhead in the Hellraiser films. Also included are interviews with Barker, Bradley and other key players. Contains graphic violence and nudity. Salome is an 18-minute version of the tale based on the Oscar Wilde play and The Forbidden is a 35-minute short.

Synopsis used with permission

Posted under: Home Entertainment