Victor Rebikoff 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.

Push
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Director: Paul McGuigan, Icon Productions, Rated M, 111 mins

In Paul McGuigan’s (The Wrong Man) latest release, Push, it is hard to imagine a more complex and confusing sci-fi movie.
   Push isbased on David Bourla’s screenplay and has a super-human theme similar to X-Men.
  
In this production, which is set in an alternate future reality, the story is about a government agency (The Division) controlling people with unique abilities for military and other purposes.

During the opening credits, the narration is provided by the lead character Cassie Holmes (played by the wonderful Dakota Fanning of War of the Worlds).
   Cassie tells viewers of a clinical process used by the Nazis in 1945 on people who were born with particular abilities to create an ultra-powerful army.
   With the end of the war, other countries developed the process and set up their own divisions to deal with these special people.
   The ‘special people’ were categorised according to their talents – Watchers are able to see the future in quick flashes and scenes; Movers can move objects and people with their minds; Pushers can ‘push’ people into believing that certain things are or aren't true; Bleeders emit high-pitched sonic screams that make ears bleed; Stitches can disassemble or reassemble any scar tissue; Sniffers can take any object and get a history of where it's been in relation to its owner, and Wipers who are able to erase a person’s memory.
   There are also Shifters who can make objects appear to be something else and Shadows who have the ability to block the effectiveness of mainly Sniffers.
   Cassie herself is a second-generation Watcher, who knows the future but acknowledges it is always changing.

Despite setting his movie against Hong Kong’s exotic background and introducing some trendy special effects, McGuigan’s individual categorisation of his characters only contributes to the confusing storyline.
   Despite the confusion, the cast is made up of celebrated actors such as Fanning (whose performance is the movie’s major highlight), Chris Evans (Fantastic Four) as Nick, Djimon Hounsou (Blood Diamond) as the villain Henry Carver, and the beautiful Camilla Belle (10,000 BC) as Cassie’s mother Kira.
   Regrettably, this movie lacks any coherence and logic, is often difficult to follow and should be ‘pushed’ to one side.

VIC'S VERDICT:       2 Rubber Stamps


Aliens in the Attic 
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Director: John Schultz, Rated PG, 86 mins

This family oriented movie (filmed in New Zealand) deals once again with strange aliens invading Earth, only this time they must battle a bunch of kids (played by a group of unknown actors) and suffer the humiliation of being locked in an attic.
   Aliens in the Attic is entertaining and mostly tongue-in-cheek, taking advantage of some appropriate digital effects.
   The characters are appealing and funny and ensure that the action is nonstop.
   Even though Aliens in the Attic is classified as a family movie, it may not necessarily be to the liking of particularly young children as remarked by one five year old who stated the ‘aliens’ frightened him.

VIC'S VERDICT:       3½ Rubber Stamps


Up 
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Director: Pete Docter, Rated PG, 96 mins

Pixar’s 10th animated movie Up isthe first to be presented in 3D and is by far the most enjoyable and funniest to emerge from the Pixar studio.
   The lead character is an elderly widower, Carl Fredricksen (voiced by legendary movie and television actor Edward Asner).
   Instead of being forcibly removed from his house, he ties thousands of helium filled balloons to it and flies away to fulfill his dream of living in Paradise Falls, a remote part of South America.
   Carl soon discovers a stowaway on board in the form of Russell, a persistent eight-year-old boy scout (voiced by wonderful newcomer Jordan Nagai).
   Together the pair demonstrate they are a formidable odd couple.

Besides having some emotionally touching moments, the pleasure of watching this film is increased by the addition of the 3D technology.
   The fantastic array of colours and scenery shown throughout the movie is complemented by plenty of laughs arising out the many of fascinating situations the couple find themselves in.
   Up is a great story of adventure and friendship that will appeal to both young and old alike.

VIC'S VERDICT:       4 ½ Rubber Stamps


G-Force
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Release Date: 17 Sep VIC; 24 Sep ACT/SA/WA; 1 Oct NSW
Director: Hoyt Yeatman, Rated PG, 88 mins

Producer Jerry Bruckheimer brings his first 3D animated movie to the big screen with G-Force a comedy adventure about an undercover government operation to train animals to work as spies.
   Armed with the latest spy equipment, these highly trained guinea pigs discover that the fate of the world is literally in their paws.
   The G-Force consists of guinea pigs such as Darwin (voiced by Sam Rockwell), the group leader; Blaster (voiced by Tracy Morgan), a weapons expert; and Juarez (voiced by Penelope Cruz), a martial arts professional; a fly, Mooch (voiced by Dee Bradley Baker) the reconnaissance expert, and a star-nosed mole, Speckles (voiced by Nicolas Cage), a computer specialist.
   Along the way, the group encounters other members of the animal kingdom, including pet shop layabout Hurley (voiced by Jon Favreau) and the territorial hamster Bucky (voiced by Steve Buscemi).
   Their entire focus is on infiltrating the premises of an evil industrialist (Bill Nighy) and stopping him from destroying the world with household appliances.

Marking his directorial debut for Walt Disney, veteran visual effects artist Hoyt H. Yeatman Jr. has joined with action director Bruckheimer to deliver a funny yet unusual movie using a combination of live action and 3D.
   Overall, this is a skilfully directed family movie that young children will especially enjoy.
   It has a fast paced storyline, wonderful animation and special effects and hilarious characters.

VIC'S VERDICT:       4 Rubber Stamps


Imagine That
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Release Date: 17 Sep QLD/VIC; 24 Sep ACT/SA/WA; 1 Oct NSW
Director: Karey Kirkpatrick, Rated G, 107 mins                                           

This is a family friendly movie that provides for equal infusions of childish behaviour and seriousness, with performances that are convincing and sincere (but somewhat subdued for a comedic actor of the calibre of Eddie Murphy).
   Always focused and in control, Evan Danielson (EddieMurphy) is a fiscal wizard who arranges the financial affairs of his many clients, a job that leaves little time for his seven-year-old daughter Olivia (Yara Shahidi).
   Olivia thus finds herself dependent on her security blanket (named Goo-Gaa) that transports her to an imaginary world.
   It's all in her mind, but when Evan plays along, Olivia's invisible friends miraculously produce accurate advice on stocks, investments and insider tips.
   Suddenly Evan is immersed in his daughter's imagined fantasy, forcing himself to reassess his relationship with Olivia and the real meaning of life.
   Unfortunately Eddie Murphy's newest comedy Imagine That can only be classified as mediocre having less laughs than his earlier role in the sci-fi movie Meet Dave butshould still be sufficiently entertaining for children.

VIC'S VERDICT:       3 Rubber Stamps


Shorts
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Release Date: 17 Sep VIC; 24 Sep ACT/SA/WA; 1 Oct NSW
Director: Robert Rodriguez, Rated PG, 88 mins

Shorts is a children’s movie by Robert Rodriguez (who directed the Spy Kids trilogy) that is directly aimed at the younger members of the family.
   Jimmy Bennett plays Toby Thompson, a boy with no friends who lives with his parents (Jon Cryer and Leslie Mann).
   His parents work for Carbon Black (James Spader from Boston Legal), the head of a hi-tech kids’ toy company and whose kids, Helvetica and Cole, spend their time picking on Toby.
   One day Toby finds a magical rock and all his wishes are granted.
   But the other kids soon get their hands on it too and chaos ensues.
   The outlandish wish of each child has both amusing and chaotic consequences-getting what they want also results in wishing for something else to control their previous wish, with some spiralling results.
   This family movie is funny and cleverly told in a series of shorts but may be considered too childish for those in their teens.


VIC'S VERDICT:       3½ Rubber Stamps
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