The Adjustment Bureau
   Director: George Nolfi, Rated M, 105 Mins

Having written the screenplay for ‘The Sentinel’ and ‘The Bourne Ultimatum’ George Nolfi makes his directorial debut with his release of ‘The Adjustment Bureau’ for which he also wrote the screenplay that is adapted from a Philip K.Dick short story.
   The underlying theme of this romantic fantasy is the premise that there is a master plan in place for every person who is overseen by a higher authority known as “The Chairman” (most probably God) who sends agents (or adjusters) of the adjustment bureau to ensure that each individual sticks to the plan and don’t go off track.
The Adjustment Bureau
   Such is the storyline of Nolfi’s entertaining production that stars Matt Damon (‘Hereafter’) as the budding US congressman David Norris whose life starts to unravel after he meets (and kisses) a contemporary dancer Elise Sellas (played by the beautiful ‘Young Victoria’ star Emily Blunt) in a hotel bathroom-which is contrary to David’s plan.
   Accordingly two agents-namely Harry Mitchell (Anthony Mackie) and Richardson (John Slattery) - are sent down to counsel David and advise him that he is not to have any further dealings with Elise.
   But David is smitten by Elise and ignores the advice resulting in both Mitchell and Richardson trying to use their heavenly powers to stop David meeting Elise again-even bringing in Thompson (Terence Stamp from ‘Valkyrie) a superior agent from the bureau to show him what would happen to their respective futures if he persisted.
   Undaunted and determined to pursue his one true love David embarks on a cat and mouse game to thwart the agents and finds to his surprise help being provided from one of them.
   By introducing the concept of a higher being that has control over individual lives Nolfi has not been sufficiently convincing in having this perception portrayed in his movie.
   At the same time he has made a movie that is entertaining, intriguing and most of all thought provoking.
   Besides the chemistry and wonderful performances of both Damon and Blunt there is the overriding theme of free will and love conquering all-including those in the adjustment bureau.
VIC'S VERDICT:       3 Rubber Stamps


The Way Back
   Director: Peter Weir, Rated M, 133 Mins

Australian filmmaker Peter Weir has an impressive body of work including ‘Gallipoli’, ‘Dead Poet’s Society’ and ‘Master and Commander’ (released in 2003), with his latest movie being an inspiring true account of a group of escapees from a Siberian Gulag, based on Slavomir Rawicz’s acclaimed novel “The Long Walk: The True Story of a Trek to Freedom”.
   Moved by the unimaginable hardships that the seven escapees had to endure, Weir’s war time epic
The Way Back
‘The Way Back’ (his first movie in eight years)is an amazing story of endurance, survival and an indomitable spirit to undertake “the long walk” of some 4000 miles-from Siberia to India via the Gobi Desert in the early part of World War 2.
   Once again Weir is testing human nature under extreme conditions like he did in ‘Master and Commander’.
   In addition to the cinematic beauty of the locations (with filming taking place in Bulgaria, Morocco and India) Weir has assembled an impressive cast to play the key characters. They include Jim Sturgess (‘Crossing Over’) as Janusz the central character and instigator of the escape, Ed Harris (‘Gone Baby Gone’) as Mr Smith the sole American, Colin Farrell (‘Alexander’) as the heavily accented Russian Valka and ‘Atonement’s Saoirse Ronan as Irena the young Polish girl whom the escapees come across on their path to freedom; not to mention the European actors Dragos Bucur as Zoran, Alexandru Potocean as Tomasz, Sebastian Urzendowsky as Kazik and Gustaf Skarsgård as Voss portraying the other escapees.
   While Weir has done justice to such a compelling story and invested a great deal of realism, his production does appear to ‘drag’ at times due in part to the length of the movie (some 133 minutes in duration).
   Despite this there is still much to enjoy in this epic war time drama from one of Australia’s best directors including a great cast and some spectacular scenery.
VIC'S VERDICT:       3½ Rubber Stamps


DVD REVIEW (Sony)
The Social Network
   Release Date March 2011
   Director: David Fincher, Rated M, 120 Mins

David Fincher’s much acclaimed Golden Globe winning movie ‘The Social Network’ is being released this month by Sony on Blu-ray and DVD which is inspired by the creator of Facebook.
The Social Network
   The story is centred on 19 year old Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) creating a website that reaches 500 million users in six years and making him  the world's youngest billionaire.
   It succeeds because it is not just about the technology but more to do with friendship, creativity, conflict and betrayal.
   There is also the ideal combination of skilful direction, stimulating dialogue and some splendid acting particularly from Eisenberg and Andrew Garfield who plays his best friend Eduardo Saverin (and co-founder of Facebook)-before Saverin takes legal action against Zuckerberg.
   Despite an excessive amount of dialogue the movie is well paced and absorbing especially the scenes involving Zuckerberg in a number of legal hearings.
    ‘The Social Network’ is compulsive viewing and certainly belongs in one’s home movie library not to mention the fascinating collection of bonus features on Sony’s Blu-ray and DVD editions including audio commentaries and a special featurette titled “How Did They Ever Make a Movie of Facebook?”
VIC'S VERDICT:       4 Rubber Stamps


DVD REVIEW (Sony)
Resident Evil: Afterlife
   Release Date March 2011
   Director: Paul W. Anderson, Rated MA, 97 Mins

The fourth movie in the ‘Resident Evil’ series is also being released in March by Sony on both Blu-ray and DVD with Paul Anderson returning as writer/director and teaming up again with Milla Jovovich who reprises her role as the gun-toting, sword wielding Alice.
Resident Evil: Afterlife
   Fans of the popular series (and video game) will be aware from the first ‘Resident Evil’ movie that the world has been ravaged by a virus infection that turns the population into the walking dead.
   In this post-apocalyptic period Alice who had acquired some super human powers stands alone against the evil Umbrella Corporation while continuing her journey to save human survivors from the thousands of flesh-eating zombies.
   In this latest movie however Alice has apparently had her powers removed but this does not stop her from trying to find a safe haven for the remaining group of survivors.
   Like its predecessors ‘Resident Evil-Afterlife’ is not for the faint hearted but it certainly has a number of entertaining actions scenes and surprises that will certainly please the numerous fans who have already made this franchise a global box office hit.
   Sony’s Blu-ray and DVD editions also contain a number of interesting bonus features showing behind the scenes aspects in the making of the movie.
VIC'S VERDICT:       3 Rubber Stamps

To find out more about Victor Rebikoff click here.

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