Welcome to the movies at PS News.
Each week, PS News’s film critic Victor Rebikoff will highlight the latest offerings from the silver screen and share his expert commentary for our information and guidance.
At the movies now includes reviews of Sony Pictures DVDs that are yet to be released.
Sampson and Delilah
Director: Warwick Thornton, Footprint Films, Rated PG, 101 Minutes
Rarely has there been a director with the courage and conviction to have an Aboriginal story shown on the big screen, let alone be prepared to tell it with such sensitivity and realism.
However, award winning Australian director Warwick Thornton has just done that with his release of Samson and Delilah, a personal story about teenage love and the reality of Aboriginal life in the Territories.
Set against some beautiful Central Australian landscapes, the movie tells of the love between Aboriginal teenagers Samson (Rowan McNamara) and Delilah (Marissa Gibson), with Thornton bringing out the best in his inexperienced cast.
In fact the performances of both newcomers were quite remarkable as they handled the tragic and comic moments with relative ease.
One particular scene that was especially interesting involved Delilah cutting Samson’s hair.
It became quite apparent that the hair-cutting connection to the biblical story of Samson and Delilah is actually based on an ancient Aboriginal custom.
In bringing his magnificent movie onto the big screen, Thornton is also making the point that his story cannot be divorced from its social and political context.
The seeming hopelessness and helplessness of remote Aboriginal communities like this one screams out for not just understanding but some way forward.
It is no wonder that Thornton’s Samson and Delilah won the Camera D’Or Award at this year’s Cannes Festival, making it a must see movie for all Australians.
VIC'S VERDICT: 4 ½ Rubber Stamps
I Really Hate My Job
Director: Oliver Parker, Icon Film Distribution, Rated M, 90 Minutes
British director Oliver Parker (who recently resurrected the popular 60s St Trinians movie franchise) has brought a new independent movie, I Really Hate My Job, to the screen.
The title is a phrase sure to resonate with many people who have experienced such feelings.
I Really Hate My Jobis the story of five women who work at a restaurant in London's Soho district.
Each woman has different concerns yet all are dependent on one another.
Their daily pressures reach boiling point due to a couple of rats infesting the kitchen, disagreements about music, love and desire, burnt food and the prospect of entertaining a movie star (Danny Huston).
Ultimately these conflicts cause two of them to ‘blow up’ and one to breakdown.
Adding to the mix is a potpourri of issues such as serving, secrets, rage, nudity, lying, laughter, intrigue, hatred, friendship, cooking, conversation and ageing.
As the movie progresses, a great deal is learnt about each woman’s aspirations and distastes, including what they really think of each other.
Parker’s movie is based on a well-crafted script penned by Australian scriptwriter Jennifer Higgie (who was a waitress in her earlier life), with her brother Andrew acting as producer, and her sister Suzie contributing to some of the musical accompaniment.
But it is the interaction between the five main characters that make this movie particularly interesting to watch.
The five women are Alice, who is required to take on the role of chef (played by award winning British actress Shirley Henderson); Rita, the dishwasher and delusional older woman (played by award winning Romanian actress Oana Pellea); Madonna the boss (Anna Maxwell Martin); and waitresses Abi and Suzi (Neve Campbell and Alexandra Maria Lara).
An amusing sideline in the movie is each characters’ reaction to the news that movie star Danny Huston will be dining at their establishment.
Abi, an aspiring actress, hopes her chance meeting with the actor will open a new career path and allow her to leave her boring job, but to everyone’s surprise, blows the opportunity.
This all female ensemble cast is both vibrant and appealing, with each actor bringing something special to their performance, especially Madonna, who goes to great lengths to try and maintain control while her love life appears to be ending and the business is collapsing around her.
It is the script, storyline, and actresses that make I Really Hate My Job an amusing and pleasing experience.
The only drawback is the inconclusive ending which does not give solutions to each of the characters’ problems.
One thing is certain after seeing this movie – if you encountered the problems some of the characters displayed you would end up really hating your job!
VIC'S VERDICT: 3 ½ Rubber Stamps
(DVD release date: May, 2009)
Director: Gabriele Muccino, Rated M, 123 Mins
Italian director of The Pursuit of Happyness, Gabriele Muccino, reunites with award winning actor Will Smith (I Am Legend), in this heart-rending story about a man with a haunting secret.
The film follows his journey of redemption as he tries to help seven people, the same number that were killed, including his fiancée, Sarah Jenson (Robinne Lee) in a car crash he caused.
In one of his most dramatic performances to date, Will Smith takes on the name and role of his brother, Ben Thomas (actually played by Michael Ealy) as an IRS agent in order to learn more about out the seven people he plans to help.
Ben's plans become complicated when he meets and falls in love with Emily (Rosario Dawson), a young woman with a terminal heart condition.
Muccino’s direction and the cast are brilliant.
The script is clever and leaves you guessing until the last 30 minutes when the pieces finally come together and the full plot is revealed.
Anyone who watches this DVD will appreciate what an emotional roller coaster ride it is and how important it is to have such a memorable movie in their home collection.
VIC'S VERDICT: 4 Rubber Stamps