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.
GI Joe-The Rise of Cobra
Director: Stephen Sommers, Paramount Pictures, Rated M, 118 Minutes111 Minutes
Once again another cartoon and toy character has been brought to the big screen in a visually stunning blockbuster by acknowledged action director Stephen Sommers, renown for his popular Mummy movies.
Packed with great action sequences, spectacular visual effects, and a reasonable storyline, G.I. Joe-The Rise of Cobrais a real action adventure movie that is more entertaining and fun than Transformers 2-Revenge of the Fallen.
G.I. Joe delivers from beginning to end, thoroughly holding the attention of the audience despite the predictability of some of the scenes.
Even though the non-stop action may not appeal to everyone, it is still an enjoyable movie.
The story centres on a team of young agents who form part of an international force known as G.I. Joes who use high-tech equipment to fight global terrorism.
On their latest assignment they battle Cobra, a terrorist organisation headed by an evil Scottish arms dealer named McCullen aka Destro (played by former Dr Who star Christopher Eccleston).
From their underground base in the Egyptian desert to deep below the polar ice caps, the G.I. Joes fight McCullen and his deadly organisation to prevent them from plunging the world into chaos.
The fights take place in visually engaging scenes, including one that shows the collapse of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
Sommers has assembled a competent cast, led by Channing Tatum (as the dynamic character Duke) and Dennis Quaid (as the leader of the GI Joes, General Hawk).
Quaid and Tatum breathe life into a bunch of characters that otherwise could have been uninteresting.
Other performances worth noting are those by Sienna Miller whose role as Anna is that of an assassin and femme fatale (also Duke’s former love interest), Rachel Nichols as the attractive and intelligent Shana and Marlon Wayans as the fun-loving Ripcord – with all three bringing a frenetic energy to the screen.
Overall, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra is just riveting entertainment with the right balance of gripping action and lively storytelling.
Despite its lack of depth and substance it does succeed with its adrenaline-inducing cinematic sequences, as well as some commendable performances.
Sommers’ direction brings it all together in what is pure escapist fun.
The concluding scenes indicate there just may be a sequel or two.
VIC'S VERDICT: 3 ½ Rubber Stamps
Release Date end of August
Director: Jon Poll, Rated M, 93 Mins
Following his performance in two recent blockbuster movies – Star Trek and Terminator Salvation, Anton Yelchin returns in this 20th Century Fox DVD to play the title character, Charlie Bartlett in this somewhat amusing movie.
The story revolves around a troubled teenager whose troubled mother (Hope Davis) is forced to enrol him in a local school after he is tossed out of a number of private schools.
In order to gain his new classmates’ acceptance, Charlie takes on the role of a school psychiatrist and opens a makeshift clinic in the men’s room giving out advice and prescription drugs by using his own psychiatrist connections.
Along with new girlfriend Susan (Kat Dennings) and class bully turned business partner Murphey (Tyler Hilton), Charlie soon comes to the attention of school principal (and Susan’s father), Nathan Gardner (Robert ‘Iron Man’ Downey Jr).
Director Jon Poll (co-producer of Meet the Fockers), together with writer Gustin Nash, has put together an interesting black comedy.
With the exception of Downey and Yelchin, the performances for the rest of the cast appear adequate and sufficient to keep the story well grounded.
An interesting highlight is Robert Downey Jr’s onscreen relationships with Charlie and Susan.
This 20th Century Fox DVD has only a small number of features including two audio commentaries (one with Jon Poll and Gustin Nash, and the other with stars Anton Yelchin and Kat Dennings).There is also an unusual featurette entitled Restroom Confessional and a music video for Spiral Beach’s Voodoo
VIC'S VERDICT: 3 Rubber Stamps
Release Date end of August
Director: Savage Steve Holland, Rated PG, 86 Mins
After a reasonable absence from the big screen, ‘Savage’ Steve Holland has returned with his comeback production in this 20th Century Fox DVD, Legally Blondes.
Legally Blondes was intended to follow in the success of the Legally Blonde movies which starred academy award winning actress, Reese Witherspoon.
Instead, Holland has recruited two novice English twins, Milly and Becky Rosso to play the lead characters - blonde cousins Annie and Izzy Woods.
The two characters go to America and find themselves clashing at a high-class preparatory school which they attend.
Despite their initial fashion sense being frowned upon, they soon adapt to American trends and slowly find their way while thwarting the evil machinations of the movie's villain, Tiffany (Brittany Curran).
Unfortunately Legally Blondes features none of the original cast members and lacks the empathy of the original movies.
The visual techniques and keen sense of comic timing previously synonymous with cult filmmaker Savage Steve Holland (who made '80s teen classics Better Off Dead and One Crazy Summer) appear to have gone astray in this particular production.
They have been replaced by weak direction and some poor acting and casting- even though the lead characters come over as both cute and pleasing.
Holland has certainly been let down by an inept script from Chad Gomez Creasey and Dara Resnik Creasey (Pushing Daisies), limiting any moments of real comic relief and will be disappointed that his movie may not be a worthy addition to the ‘Legally Blonde’ franchise.
In relation to the special features, the DVD includes the following featurettes:
VIC'S VERDICT: 2½ Rubber Stamps