The Lincoln Lawyer
Director: Brad Furman, Lionsgate, Rated M, 118 Mins
This surprisingly entertaining and intriguing legal thriller from novice director Brad Furman (‘The Take’) is based on Matthew Connally’s best selling novel and relates to a street-wise lawyer who runs his practice from the backseat of his chauffeured driven black Lincoln vehicle with the number plate “NTGUILTY”.
Matthew McConaughey (‘Tropic Thunder’) is great in the lead role of Mick Haller, an unconventional defence attorney whose clients include members of a bikie gang.
It is his next client that the movie focuses on - that of rich kid Louis Roulet (Ryan Phillippe) who is accused of rape and an earlier murder charge that resulted in the imprisonment of another Haller client.
As Haller prepares for the trial he begins to suspect his client is hiding important facts which his investigator Frank Levin (William Macy from ‘The Maiden Heist’) begins to uncover until he is murdered.
Besides McConaughey’s strong performance there is a well balanced cast that includes Macy, Phillippe, Marisa Tomei (as Haller’s ex-wife) and Michael Pena (as the prison inmate).
With such an intriguing storyline that includes a number of twists and turns this gripping thriller is sure to be compelling viewing right through to the amazing conclusion.
VIC'S VERDICT: 4 Rubber Stamps
SCHOOL HOLIDAY MOVIES
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules
Director: David Bowers, Rated PG, 101 Mins
David Bowers makes his directorial debut with his sequel to the pre-teen hit based on the second book in author Jeff Kinney’s bestselling series.
With the summer vacation over Greg Heffley (Zachary Gordon) is back and with him the awkward antics that made his first year of middle school so hilarious to watch.
Once again Greg chronicles his never-ending middle school problems alternating between home and school but focusing this time on the particular punishment handed out by his parents to his older brother Rodrick (Devon Bostik).
Due in large part to the interaction between Greg and Rodrick, Bowers rendition of the wimpy kid is considered much better and funnier than the first movie-as well as some lessons to be learnt in brotherly relationships.
Even though this sequel will have a special appeal to the pre-teens there should still be plenty of enjoyment for adults.
VIC'S VERDICT: 3 Rubber Stamps
Director: Tim Hill, Rated G, 95 Mins
From the creators of ‘Despicable Me’ comes Tim Hill’s delightful comedy ‘Hop’ in time for the Easter holidays which mixes live action with CGI animation that will particularly please both toddlers and adults alike.
The opening scenes will have particular appeal to those who believe in the Easter Bunny revealing an Easter Island with a delicious “Easter Bunny’s Warehouse” that makes a variety of sweets (comparable to “Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory”) where the chief Easter Bunny (voiced by Hugh Laurie) is keen to retire and pass on responsibility to his son E.B (voiced by Russell Brand).
However E.B prefers to become a drummer in a rock band and heads to Hollywood where he accidentally meets up with a lazy Fred O’Hare (James Marsden) after being hit by Fred’s car.
This is when the funny antics really begin as Fred tries to cope with a talking bunny similar to what happened in ‘Alvin and the Chipmunks’ which Hill also directed. So for a fun-filled family movie hop along and see ‘Hop’.
VIC'S VERDICT: 3 ½ Rubber Stamps
Director: Carlos Saldanha, Rated G, 96 Mins
The successful director of the ‘Ice Age’ trilogy Carlos Saldanha has chosen an animal of the feathered kind-that of a macaw bird-as the focus for his latest animated venture which is beautifully set in South-America.
The story is about two macaws-the first, a shy bird called Blu (voiced by Jesse Eisenberg) that cannot fly and the pet of Linda (Leslie Mann) a bookstore owner in Minnesota, the second, a Brazilian bird called Jewel (voiced by Anne Hathaway).
As both birds are rare and Blu is the last known male macaw in captivity ornithologist Tulio (Rodrigo Santaro) convinces Linda to come to Rio de Janeiro so that Blu can meet the female Jewel for the purposes of mating.
It turns out not to be the perfect match with a number of hilarious situations arising amidst the colorful festivities of Rio’s Carnivale celebrations-including a bird knapping. Besides creating some wonderful characters and music Saldanha has infused a wonderful array of colours into his brilliant animation thereby ensuring that the whole family will enjoy this entertaining movie as long as “they go to Rio”.
VIC'S VERDICT: 4 Rubber Stamps
Director: Zack Snyder, Rated M, 110 Mins
Since his hugely successful direction of ‘Watchmen’ in 2009 Zack Snyder has now made his weirdest movie to date with the strange title of ‘Sucker Punch’ which tells the story of Baby Doll (played by Australian actress Emily Browning) who is institutionalised in a mental facility by her abusive stepfather.
As a means of coping with her dire situation Baby Doll’s mind appears to fracture into three alternate realities as she attempts to devise a plan to escape her tragic fate, enlisting the help of four beautiful inmates - Sweet Pea (Australian actress Abbie Cornish), Rocket (Jena Malone), Blondie (Vanessa Hudgens) and Amber (Jaimie Chung).
Besides having a complicated plot and storyline Snyder has really gone over the top in his creation of Baby Doll’s fantasy world with the main attraction being the performances of the two Aussie women (Browning and Cornish) and the vivid imagery that is supplemented by some special visual effects.
This is one movie that would only be suitable for adults and one would be a sucker to go!
VIC'S VERDICT: 2 Rubber Stamps
DVD REVIEW (Sony)
Release Date 20 April 2011
Director: Patrick Hughes, Hughes House Film, Rated M, 124 Mins
Sony’s new DVD being released in April is the highly acclaimed Australian movie ‘Red Hill’, a gripping, intense and visually exciting outlaw action thriller set in an Australian country town where the moral boundaries of a rookie police officer are pushed to the limits as he fights to stop the killing spree of an escaped convict with mysterious and sinister motivations.
Patrick Hughes makes his directorial debut with his well crafted suspenseful storyline featuring Aussie actor Ryan Kwanten as the young policeman Shane Cooper who faces his biggest challenge on his first day when the town is besieged by a crazed Aboriginal convict (Tom E.Lewis) who has broken out of prison to seek revenge against Bill (Steve Bisley) Cooper’s boss for a past injustice.
Hughes has really directed a gem of a movie (reminiscent of ‘No Country for Old Men’) through his stunning cinematography, capturing the beautiful Australian landscape, a great musical score and superb performances from Kwanten and Bisley especially a standout performance from Aboriginal actor Tom E.Lewis.
VIC'S VERDICT: 4 ½ Rubber Stamps
DVD REVIEW (Disney)
Release Date April 2011
Director: Joseph Kosinski, Walt Disney, Rated PG, 125 Mins
A special Disney DVD being released on 20 April is the long awaited sci-fi spectacular ‘Tron Legacy’.
It is hard to believe that it has been some 30 years since the original ‘Tron’ movie was made featuring a young Jeff Bridges playing Kevin Flynn who is abducted into a computer world and forced to participate in a series of gladiator style contests where his only chance of escape is with the help of a security program.
Bridges reprises his Flynn character in Joseph Kosinski’s visually stunning sequel as does Bruce Boxleitner who returns as Alan Bradley but this time around Flynn’s tech-savvy son, Sam (Garrett Hedlund) is involved as he investigates his father’s mysterious disappearance and finds himself being pulled into the same world of gladiatorial games and fierce programs which his father encountered more than 20 years ago.
In his directorial debut Kosinski has incorporated some breathtaking special effects besides maintaining the same atmospherics experienced in the original movie which makes this a worthy sequel and a must to own (not to mention the fantastic array of bonus features such as “Launching the Legacy” and “Visualising Tron”) together with the original ‘Tron’ movie.
VIC'S VERDICT: 4 Rubber Stamps
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