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.
Director: Roland Emmerich, Columbia Pictures M 158 Minutes
Never has a date been so significant to so many cultures, religions, and scientists as that prophesised by the ancient Mayans as 21 December 2012. And who better to direct the disaster masterpiece than the ‘Master of Disaster’ maestro himself, Roland Emmerich following his huge success with ‘Independence Day’ in 1996, ‘Godzilla’ in 1998 and ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ in 2004.
With the aid of superior special effects (CGI) Emmerich’s ‘2012’ is by far the biggest disaster movie ever brought to the big screen. It is also an epic adventure about a global catastrophe that brings massive climatic changes around the world as well as tells of the heroic struggle of some of the main survivors.
As revealed in the opening scenes, it is American scientist Adrian Helmsley (Chiwetel Ejiofor) who first learns (coincidentally in 2009) that the planet is overheating, alerting the White House (initially Oliver Platt as the Presidential key adviser and the President himself-played by ‘Lethal Weapon’ star Danny Glover) of the impending doomsday scenario and suggesting that they use the time remaining to prepare for the doomsday scenario by building a number of huge ‘arks’.
One person who stumbles onto the truth is leading character and writer Jackson Curtis (John Cusack who appeared in another ‘numerical’ movie, ‘1408’) who goes all out to get his ex-wife (Amanda Peet) and children (Liam James and Morgan Lily) to safety.
Like many of his other blockbuster movies, Emmerich has again assembled a cast of well known actors including Chiwetel Ejiofor (from ‘American Gangster’) and Woody Harrelson (from ‘Seven Pounds’), with Harrelson providing plenty of laughs as a dispirited conspiracy theorist. Overall, the cast acquit themselves quite well, considering that none of them are competing for any awards.
In reality Emmerich is a great filmmaker who through the eyes of the Curtis family allows the audience to fully experience what is going on and to become fully immersed in what is actually happening to humankind. His scripts may appear weak at times, but his direction is not. He always draws out solid performances from his actors and his action editing is of the quality that is pure entertainment, trusting the images to create a sense of dread and excitement instead of letting them flash by. In fact, the images presented throughout the movie are truly thrilling, enveloping all of one’s senses.
“We were warned” is the tagline on the movie poster, with Emmerich’s ‘2012’ being presented as the disaster movie to end all disaster movies, but still providing excitement until the very end.
It is a matter of conjecture whether such cataclysmic events will take place on 21 December 2012 but irrespective it won’t be long before we all know if the Mayan prophecy will materialise.
In the meantime, for those concerned it would be wise to start building your own neighbourhood ark now!
VIC'S VERDICT: 4 Rubber Stamps
The Ugly Truth
Release Date: December 2009
Director: Robert Luketic, Lakeshore Entertainment, Rated M, 96 Minutes
Sony’s soon to be released DVD and Blu-ray editions of this ‘Battle of the Sexes’ romantic comedy is directed by Australian filmmaker Robert Luketic of ‘Legally Blonde’ fame and written by no less than three women (Nicole Eastman, Karen McCullah Lutz, Kirsten Smith).
‘The Ugly Truth’ stars Katherine Heigl as Abby, a workaholic television news producer whose idea of cyber-dating is doing a background check on the guy and presenting him with a checklist of talking points over dinner.
When her show's ratings plummet, Abby's boss informs her that the family oriented content will have to be spiced up more than a little by adding Mike (Gerard Butler), male chauvinist character to the schedule. Much to her dismay, not only is Mike a vulgar womaniser and proud of it, but his insanely popular segment “The Ugly Truth” thrives on sexual insinuations and grossing out the more prim segments of the female audience. His program soon becomes one of television’s most popular shows, which only further irritates Abby, but it is not long before romance is in the air.
It is quite clear that Luketic’s approach in ‘The Ugly Truth’ is not the typical romantic comedy as popularised by Doris Day but rather one with a daring use of language and sexual innuendo that he believes will provide for a modern insight into male/female relationships. That said it still is a delight to watch the two main characters (Heigl and Butler) ‘battle it out’ in what is essentially an amusing romantic comedy.
Luketic’s direction is full of energy and mischief in order to fit in with a script that is rather risqué but is still entertaining because of the performance of both leading actors, and as a DVD will still appeal to many interested in the romantic comedy genre.
Special features of the DVD/Blu-ray collection include:
VIC'S VERDICT: 3 Rubber Stamps