The Kingís Speech
   Director: Tom Hooper, Rated M, 118 Mins

One of the major highlights of this amazing historical drama from British director Tom Hooper (The Damned United) is the stunning portrayal of King George V1 by Colin Firth (A Single Man) as well as the performance of Australian Oscar winner Geoffrey Rush (Pirates of the Caribbean) in the ideal role of the King’s speech therapist Lionel Logue.
   As a result of David Seidler’s well written screenplay, Hooper has masterfully directed the incredible true story of the Duke of York (later George V1) who overcame his stuttering problem to succeed to the British throne amidst the dramatic events of his brother Edward’s sudden abdication (due to his decision to marry Wallis Simpson) and a looming war with Nazi Germany.
The King’s Speech
   Besides the brilliant portrayals by both Firth and Rush of their historic characters, there are also wonderful  performances from Helena Bonham Carter (Alice in Wonderland) as Queen Elizabeth, Australian actor Guy Pearce (Animal Kingdom) as the wayward brother Edward and Timothy Spall (The Damned United) as the effusive Winston Churchill.
   Hooper has truly delivered a magnificent movie that is both deeply moving, heart warming and a real pleasure to watch - especially the sequences between the Royal (Firth) and the commoner - let alone an irreverent Australian (Rush) who insisted on calling his royal client “Bertie”, the nickname which only the Royal Family used in speaking to the future King. In fact it is Rush who provides the continuous comic relief to the often serious events unfolding throughout the movie.
   Overall Hooper provides a fascinating insight into a British King’s disability (unbeknown to many) and his ultimate triumph over a speech impediment due in large part to the unorthodox methods of an Australian speech therapist with whom the King forms a lifelong friendship.
   It is therefore no surprise that both Firth and Rush have been nominated for awards in the coming weeks as this movie - this speech - is certainly one not to be missed.
VIC'S VERDICT:       4 ½ Rubber Stamps

Little Fockers
   Director: Paul Weitz, Rated M, 98 Mins

Ben Stiller and Robert de Niro reprise their roles as the contentious sparring partners  Greg Focker and Jack Byrnes in the third of the Meet the Parents franchise which was a huge hit for director Jay Roach in 2000 and again in 2004 with his sequel Meet the Fockers.
   This time around American Pie director Paul Weitz is at the helm and although there are some comical sequences that are funny it somehow lacks the natural humour and spontaneity that was so enjoyable in the previous movies.
Little Fockers
   Building on earlier storylines (where we met the Byrnes and then the Fockers) Weitz turns his camera onto the Fockers busy life in suburbia, raising their twins Henry (Colin Baiocchi) and Sam (Daisy Tahan) and preparing to move into a new house.
   In order to make ends meet Greg (Stiller) as head of his nursing profession vigorously pursues his career and one day is approached by an attractive pharmacy rep, Andi Garcia (Jessica Alba), to make more money by promoting a new Viagra type drug. Before long, this acquaintance and relationship comes to the attention of Greg’s suspicious father-in law and ex-CIA agent Jack (de Niro) who earlier has anointed Greg to be “The God Focker”.
   All this takes place amidst the Fockers staging a special birthday party for their twins which brings into the picture Greg's parents Bernie (Dustin Hoffman) and Roz (Barbra Streisand) as well as Kevin Rawley (Owen Wilson) former boyfriend of Greg’s wife Pam (Teri Polo). It is at this point that the laughs start to diminish and confusion reigns supreme.
   By varying the successful storyline adopted by Roach in the earlier movies Weitz has been unable to duplicate the type of gags and humour that generated so much laughter and were such a hit for the audience.
   Despite this, Little Fockers is still an entertaining movie with a number of funny scenes - with the “chalk and cheese” rivalry between de Niro and Stiller being a particular highlight.
VIC'S VERDICT:       3 Rubber Stamps

Furry Vengeance
   Release Date: January 2011
   Director: Roger Kumble, Rated PG, 91 Mins

Brendan Fraser (from The Mummy Trilogy) has a “close encounter of the furry kind” in
Furry Vengeance
his role as Dan Sanders, a land developer preparing to replace a nature park with more real estate - which upsets the furry creatures dwelling within the reserve.
   Dan soon learns that that these creatures (in particular one clever raccoon) are out for revenge and through a number of comical situations start wreaking havoc on his life and development plans with Dan becoming quite hysterical - believing that the bears, beavers, birds, raccoons - including the skunks - are out to get him and stop his project from going ahead.
   Even with a strong environmental message, director Roger Kumble has still managed to present a funny story that will appeal to family members, especially the younger set.
   The special features that are included in Sony’s DVD and Blu-ray editions will also appeal.
VIC'S VERDICT:       3 Rubber Stamps

The Other Guys
   Release Date: January 2011
   Director: Adam McKay, Rated PG, 107 Mins

Another recently released Sony DVD is Adam McKay’s latest comedy flick about two mismatched detectives (Will Ferrell as Detective Allen Gamble and Mark Wahlberg as
The Other Guys
Detective Terry Hoitz) who, because of some embarrassing mishaps, are confined to their desks to carry out the paper work for two hot-shot detectives - Christopher Danson (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) and P.K. Highsmith (Samuel Jackson).
   That is, until they stumble upon a conspiracy involving the shady business dealings of David Ershon (Steve Coogan) who is linked to gangsters and corrupt officials.
   As director and co-writer of The Other Guys, McKay brings the best out of the leading actors (Ferrell and Wahlberg) including Michael Keaton as the police captain in this variation to the usual good cop movie. It cleverly combines action with comedy and focuses on the “other guys” in the police force who end up capturing the robbers - and not just the hot-shots.
   A major highlight of Sony’s new DVD is of course the interaction between Ferrell and Wahlberg (and their subtle humour) not to mention the hysterical bonus features included in the DVD and Blu-ray editions.
VIC'S VERDICT:       3 ½ Rubber Stamps

The Sorcererís Apprentice
   Release Date: January 2011
   Directors: Jon Turteltaub, Rated PG, 109 Mins

Disney’s latest DVD is a fantastic fantasy adventure from National Treasure director Jon Turteltaub, starring the talented Nicolas Cage in the lead role of Balthazar Blake, a sorcerer from Merlin’s time who transports himself to modern day Manhattan in search of a special person to become his apprentice and Merlin’s successor.
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
   Balthazar finally comes across  Dave (Jay Baruchel) and convinces him to take on the role that will help free his love interest Veronica (Monica Bellucci) from captivity as well as prevent his arch enemies Horvath (Alfred Molina) and Morgana Le Fay (Alice Krige) from taking over the world.
   Besides Baruchel’s wonderful performance as the uncomfortable apprentice, Turteltaub has assembled a wonderful cast as well as collaborated with noted action supremo Jerry Bruckheimer (Pirates of the Caribbean) in incorporating the spellbinding action sequences and CGI effects.
   Once again Bruckheimer has added the right amount of magic into his grand production which is cleverly intertwined into an entertaining storyline that is further enhanced by Cage’s brilliant performance.
   Besides being a thoroughly enjoyable movie for the whole family and lots of fun to watch, this latest DVD from Disney has an amazing array of features included within both the DVD and Blu-ray editions and is one that definitely belongs in the home movie collection.
VIC'S VERDICT:       4 ½ Rubber Stamps

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