Terminator Salvation

   Director: McG, Warner Bros, Rated M, 115 Minutes
   Showing at Dendy and Greater Union Cinemas

The much-anticipated screening of Terminator Salvation, thefourth in the Terminator franchise, has hit the movie theatres some 25 years after the initial Terminator movie was released by James Cameron, the director of Titanic.
   In the fourth movie, which is directed by McG (Charlie’s Angels), the audience is introduced to a dark and bleak post-apocalyptic 2018.
  It is here that John Connor (Christian Bale, Batman) is shown leading the human resistance against Skynet and its army of humanoid robots, which are responsible for the nuclear holocaust.
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   In the meantime, a criminal from the past, Marcus Wright (played brilliantly by Australian actor Sam Worthington) reappears in Connor’s future and accidentally meets up with Connor’s father Kyle Reese (Anton Yelchin, Star Trek).
   Reese is attempting to join up with his group of resistance fighters but is captured and taken to Skynet’s operation centre.
   Wright then comes across beautiful resistance fighter Blair Williams (Moon Bloodgood) who agrees to escort him to Connor’s camp, where Wright eventually offers to help Connor infiltrate the Skynet centre and rescue his Father.
   All this needs to occur so Reese can ultimately travel back in time to meet up with Sarah Connor - thus ensuring there will be a John Connor in the future.
   McG has gone to some length to have his movie line up with the previous Terminator franchise through his use of some impressive special effects and visually surprising action sequences that include incredible chase scenes with robotic motorbikes.
   But this is where the comparison with James Cameron’s classic Terminator movies ends.
   Despite some fine performances from leading cast members, there is insufficient time allocated for any character development – especially as far as the two main characters are concerned.
   Christian Bale portrays a ‘growly’ yet unlikely John Connor, while Sam Worthington’s wonderful performance as part-human part-machine is such that he constantly upstages Bale’s characterisation.
   Terminator Salvation is also the first of the franchise not to have Arnold Schwarzenegger playing the lethal cyborg with his sardonic humour and famous one-liners as shown in all three previous Terminator movies.
  He does, however, make a brief cameo appearance which was made possible through computer graphics.
   Notwithstanding some shortcomings, McG has still managed to make an entertaining movie that is worth seeing.
   It embellishes the continuing saga of John Connor in his fight against the humanoid robots.
   Ultimately it will be up to the audience to determine whether McG’s production is a worthy addition to the Terminator franchise.
VIC'S VERDICT:       3 Rubber Stamps


Disgrace
   Director: Steve Jacobs. Fortissimo Films, Rated M, 120 Minutes
   Showing exclusively at Dendy Cinemas

The setting for Steve Jacobs’ latest movie Disgrace is post-apartheid South Africa, and plays like a tragedy of a particularly foolish man who should have known better.
   English Professor, David Lurie (played superbly by John Malkovich) is dismissed from a Cape Town university and disgraced after an affair with a coloured female student.
   He leaves the city to visit his lesbian daughter, Lucy (Jessica Haines) who lives as a homesteader in the rural countryside.
   The father-daughter relationship is often tense and strained, but the retreat to the Eastern Cape has a calming influence on Lurie, as he volunteers with a local vet and settles into rural life.
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   The peace is short-lived when Lurie is forced to come to terms with a brutal attack on the farm in which his daughter is raped by three black men and he is assaulted.
   Making things worse, Lucy refuses to prosecute her attackers, even when her black neighbour takes one of them in.
   This somewhat disturbing movie is based on J.M. Coetzee's prize winning novel of the same name, and is brought to the screen by Australian screenwriter Anna-Maria Monticelli.
   It is the transition to a post-apartheid South Africa that director Steve Jacobs has captured so realistically in his movie, through the eyes of a white Capetown university professor.
   At the same time I must acknowledge that the lead performances are very strong.
   Arrogance and indifference come naturally to Malkovich but he reveals a much wider range of emotion after the violence, and his true humanity begins to come through.
   Jessica Haine’s Lucy is the hero of the piece and she brings a good deal of passion to her role.
   In fact, it is Lucy who understands what needs to be done in order to progress in her country, but it’s a difficult pill for the audience to swallow.
   Adapting a novel to a movie can be a double-edged sword, something is always lost in translation and it would appear that Jacob’s movie Disgrace has a great deal of unresolved feelings lying beneath the surface.

VIC'S VERDICT:       3 ½ Rubber Stamps

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