Johnny English RebornDirector: Oliver Parker, Universal Pictures, Rated PG, 101 mins
In time for the school holidays that have already commenced in NSW, Queensland and Victoria comes the British spy action comedy Johnny English Reborn with renowned comedian Rowan Atkinson (Mr Bean) returning as the bumbling British spy in Oliver Parker’s well-directed sequel following Atkinson’s initial role in 2003.
In his latest escapade, English is seen training with a group of Tibetan monks following a botched mission in an African country when he is suddenly recalled by British intelligence for a special assignment to prevent the attempted assassination of the Chinese Premier.
Besides displaying his usual dose of British humour with the monks, English wastes no time in causing more madcap mayhem with the head of MI7, agent Pamela Thornton (perfectly played by X-Files TV star Gillian Anderson) by accidentally causing her cat to fall from her office window and later in attacking her mother at a children’s’ party believing the woman dressed as a clown to be a hired assassin.
Despite the splendid opening titles sequence that are similar to the Bond movies and some hilarious scenes, Parker has made his movie more complex by adding a set of keys into the plot that English must locate in order to thwart the assassination - one of which is held by British agent Simon Ambrose (Centurion’s Dominic West).
Being a spy movie, Parker has also cast former Bond girl Rosamund Pike (Die Another Day) as MI7 psychologist Kate Sumner who also plays the part of English’s love interest.
Once again Atkinson excels in his role as the famed British agent and is wonderfully supported by the performances of Anderson, Pike and Ambrose including Daniel Kaluuya who plays his partner, agent Tucker.
Many, including older children will find Johnny English to be a great deal of fun, especially if one is a Rowan Atkinson fan.
VIC'S VERDICT: 3 ½ Rubber Stamp
One DayDirector: Lone Scherfig, Focus Features, Rated M, 102 mins
This beautiful but bittersweet romantic drama is directed by Lone Scherfig (An Education) and is adapted for the screen by David Nicholls from his bestselling novel One Day.
It is essentially a love story that spans more than 20 years between Emma Morley (Anne Hathaway - Bride Wars) and Dexter Mayhew (Jim Sturgess - Across the
Universe) after meeting at their college graduation, agreeing to begin a friendship to meet each year on the 15th of July.
Scherfig’s storyline shows the key moments of their relationship each July 15th with each year showing Emma and Dex together or at least talking to each other as they pursue their individual careers and lives.
Through their friendship and personal disagreements one is emotionally drawn into their good and bad times and most importantly into their missed opportunities.
Unfortunately, somewhere along their journey both Emma and Dex realise that what they are hoping and searching for has been there for them all along.
Apart from Dexter’s wealthy parents (Patricia Clarkson and Ken Stott) and Emma’s friend (Rafe Spall) it is Hathaway and Sturgess who steal the limelight and turn in such profound performances as they come to terms with their love for each other.
In many respects, Scherfig’s storyline is similar to Robert Mulligan’s classic movie Same Time Next Year in which Alan Alda and Ellen Burstyn agree to meet on the same weekend each year.
Unlike Mulligan’s romantic comedy, One Day is a particularly heartfelt movie that shows the full range of emotions which includes the dramatic conclusion.
In essence Scherfig has endeavoured to encapsulate through his main characters the true meaning of love and life itself.
VIC'S VERDICT: 4 Rubber Stamp
The Lion KingRelease Date October 2011
Director: Simon Wells, Walt Disney Pictures, Rated PG, 88 mins
The much awaited Blu-ray and DVD editions of Disney’s animated masterpiece The Lion King roars out of the Disney Vault for the first time on 12 October 2011 for a limited time. The unforgettable coming of age story starring the king of the jungle is told again in the extensively restored and remastered editions - from its magnificent musical opening, breathtaking African vistas to its emotional climax.
The all-star vocal talents include Rowan Atkinson, Matthew Broderick, Whoopie Goldberg, Jeremy Irons and Nathan Lane - providing their brand of comedy as well as uplifting messages of courage and loyalty, making this stirring story a thoroughly enjoyable experience for the whole family.
The pristine picture and sound presentations recapture the journey of Simba (Matthew Broderick), the feisty lion cub who “just can’t wait to be king”- much to the annoyance of his envious Uncle Scar (Jeremy Irons) who has plans for his own ascent to the throne when he forces Simba’s exile from the kingdom.
Simba soon joins the escapades of aN hilarious meerkat named Timon (Nathan Lane) and his warm-hearted warthog pal, Pumbaa (Ernie Sabella), adopting their carefree lifestyle of “Hakuna Matata”.
Simba ultimately realises his destiny, returning home to overthrow Scar and claiming the kingdom as his own thus completing the “Circle of Life.”
In addition to the stunning animation and colours there is the unforgettable array of Academy Award winning music and songs (such as the memorable “Circle of Life” and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight”) not to mention the fantastic bonus features, making The Lion King a must have for all Disney fans.
And for those interested in seeing The Lion King on the big screen, the 3D version is now showing in cinemas across Australia as part of the current school holidays.
VIC'S VERDICT: 5 Rubber Stamp
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