Harry Brown
   Director: Daniel Barber, Marv Films, Rated MA, 103 mins

In what is promoted on the poster as “The UK’s answer to Gran Torino” (Clint Eastwood’s vigilante type movie) comes Daniel Barber’s powerful rendition of justice being carried out by an elderly Englishman in Britain.
   That Englishman is Harry Brown (Michael Caine, The Dark Knight), a retired marine who lives alone on a depressing housing estate.
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   Harry has only one companion, his close friend Len (David Bradley), whom he regularly meets for chess at the local pub.
   First-time director Barber has undoubtedly impressed with his debut feature by painting a somewhat brutal picture of a part of British society that is filled with drug dealers and thugs that harass and terrorise a working class community.
   It is within this environment that Harry’s friend Len makes the fatal mistake of confronting the thugs at their heavily graffitied pedestrian underpass.
   When Harry is informed by Detective Inspector Alice Frampton (Emily Mortimer, The Pink Panther) of Len’s murder he feels compelled to act and forced to dispense his own brand of justice.
   He enters the fray in one of the most unpleasant sequences in the movie.
   Caine’s commanding performance is reminiscent of his roles as British super spy Harry Palmer in The Ipcress File (1965) and vengeful gangster in Get Carter (1971).
   Unlike Eastwood’s cold hearted performance in Gran Torino, Caine’s vigilante portrayal demonstrates a certain degree of remorse especially when he rescues a female ‘sex slave’ from a couple of hardened drug pushers.
   Harry Brown is compelling viewing but extremely disturbing in parts, and definitely deserves its MA rating.
   It is certainly not for the faint-hearted, with Barber crafting a bleak and thought provoking movie that suggests that the answer to societal problems may lie in having more people like Harry Brown dispensing their own brand of justice.

VIC'S VERDICT:       3 ½ Rubber Stamps

DVD Sleeping Beauty
   Director: Clyde Geronimi, Walt Disney Pictures, Rated G, 79 mins

A perennial favourite and one of Disney’s greatest love stories, Sleeping Beauty tells the story of Princess Aurora who is blessed with beauty and song by the good fairies of the kingdom.
   Engaged to Prince Phillip the son of a neighbouring king, Princess Aurora is cursed to die by the prick of a spinning wheel spindle before her 16th birthday by the evil fairy, Maleficent.
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   Determined to prevent this tragedy from occurring the good fairies hide the princess in a secluded cottage in the forest giving her the name of Briar Rose where she blossoms into a lovely young woman who is unaware of her real name and birthright.
   Briar Rose soon falls in love with Prince Phillip who she believes is a peasant boy.
   However, when Aurora is stricken by Maleficent’s terrible curse her only glimmer of hope is a kiss from her Prince.
   Just as this first full-length animated movie has delighted children and adults for some 50 years (since its first release in 1959), Disney’s Platinum 2 Disc Edition will have particular appeal to a new technologically savvy generation as it comes with a fantastic array of bonus features including:
  • Audio Commentary
  • Princess Fun Facts
  • The Peter Tchaikovsky Story
  • Picture Perfect- The Making of Sleeping Beauty
  • Eyvind Earle-The Man and his Art
  • Storyboard Sequences
  • Briar Rose’s Enchanted Dance Game
  • Sleeping Beauty’s Castle Walkthrough
  • Alternate Opening
  • Deleted Songs
The Blu-ray bonus features include all the DVD bonus features plus:
  • Customisable Living Menu;
  • Cine-Explore;
  • Dungeon Escape;
  • Maleficent’s Challenge; and
  • 1-Disc DVD format of Sleeping Beauty full-length feature film.
The film is visually stunning as a result of its all new digital restoration and has enhanced picture and sound, a new 5.1 Disney enhanced Home Theatre Surround Sound and a new ‘Once Upon a Dream’ music video.
   In addition this timeless classic allows the magic and personality of the Disney characters to actually come to life delighting young and old alike and is a must in any home movie collection.

VIC'S VERDICT:       5 Rubber Stamps

DVD
101 Dalmatians
   Director: Clyde Geronimi, Walt Disney Pictures, Rated G, 79 mins

A delightful combination of humour and fur-raising adventure, 101 Dalmatians is a beloved animated masterpiece featuring some of Disney’s most outrageous and memorable characters such as the wicked Cruella De Vil and the inseparable
Dalmatian dogs- Pongo and Perdita.
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   It is interesting to note that Pongo is actually voiced by Australian actor Rod Taylor.
   Pongo and Perdita fall in love and Perdita gives birth to a litter of delightful puppies.
   One night the proud dogs' puppies are kidnapped by their owner’s boss, Cruella De Vil.
   Cruella is stealing young Dalmatians to make a puppy fur coat she has set her heart on.
   Enlisting the help of the animal kingdom, Pongo and Perdita set out to find and rescue their litter of pups from Cruella’s fearful sidekicks, Jasper and Horace.
   However Pongo and Perdita are in for a bit of a shock when finally find their litter and are faced with parenting a total of 99 stolen Dalmatian puppies.
   As a result of its digitally restored animation, enhanced picture and sound, 5.1 Disney enhanced Home Theatre Surround Sound and a new ‘Cruella De Vil’ music video, the 2 Disc Platinum Edition is simply great viewing and a must to have for any home movie collection.
   There are also spectacular new bonus features including:
  • The Making of 101 Dalmatians
  • Sincerely Yours, Walt Disney
  • Cruella De Vil-Drawn To Be Bad
  • Virtual Dalmatians Game
  • 101 Pop Up Trivia Facts

VIC'S VERDICT:       5 Rubber Stamps

DVD
Everybody’s Fine
   Release date: 2 June
   Director: Kirk Jones, Miramax Films, Rated PG, 99 mins

Disney’s latest DVD is a beautiful yet emotional movie that may leave some scrambling for the tissues.
   Directed by Kirk Jones, Everybody's Fine tells the heartfelt story of Frank Goode (Robert DeNiro), a lonely father who is dealing with an empty house and retirement after the death of his wife.
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   The opening sequence shows Frank preparing for a reunion with his four adult children before each of them cancels at the last moment.
   Against the advice of his doctor, Frank decides to make a surprise trip to the homes of each of his kids in New York, Chicago, Denver, and Las Vegas. What eventuates is a heavy realisation that maybe everybody's not fine.
   Jones has made a wonderful movie and there's no denying the warmth it conveys to families or anyone finding themselves in similar circumstances.
   In addition to fine performances from a supporting cast that includes Drew Barrymore. Kate Beckinsale and Sam Rockwell, it is DeNiro’s strong acting that really carries this sentimental story of a father trying to reconnect with his adult children.
   It also places a strong emphasis on family relationships and does a fine job in engaging and keeping one’s attention as DeNiro's character embarks on an odyssey of emotional discovery.
   Besides DeNiro’s standout characterisation and a number of bonus features (such as deleted and extended scenes) included in Disney’s DVD, ‘Everybody's Fine’ is worth having in one’s movie collection.
VIC'S VERDICT:       4 Rubber Stamps

To find out more about Victor Rebikoff click here.
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