Victor Rebikoff Welcome to the movies at PS News.
   Each week, PS News’s film critic Victor Rebikoff will highlight the latest offerings from the silver screen and share his expert commentary for our information and guidance.

5 school holiday movies

With the school holidays upon us, Dendy, Greater Union and Hoyts Cinemas around the country are offering a variety of films that both children and adults will enjoy.

Rated PG, 106 Mins

Inkheart is a family fantasy movie based on Cornelia Funke’s best selling novel of the same name.
   It tells the story of book repairer, Mo Folchart (Brendan Fraser, The Mummy), who has the unique ability to bring fictional characters to life - but in so doing, he accidentally causes his wife Resa (Sienna Guillory) to disappear.
   Together with his daughter Meggie (Eliza Bennett, Nanny McPhee) and his audacious Aunt Elinor (played by Helen Mirren, The Queen), they embark on a mission to rescue Resa, while at the same time attempting to confine fictional villain Capricorn (Andy Serkis, Lord of the Rings) to the dustbin of history.
   Inkheart is a thoroughly entertaining movie that boasts a wonderful cast, superb cinematic settings and some great special effects.
VIC'S VERDICT:       3 ½ Rubber Stamps

Mary and Max
Rated PG, 92 Mins

Following his Oscar success with ‘Harvie Krumpet’, Australian writer/director Adam Elliott has brought to the screen his first full-length clay animated black comedy.
   Mary and Max revolves around two individuals - Mary Dingle (voiced by Toni Collette) who lives in Melbourne, and Max Horovitz (voiced Philip Seymour Hoffman) who lives in New York, and is poignantly narrated by Australia’s premiere celebrity, Barry Humphries.   
   The story of their pen-friend relationship spans some 20 years, and during this period they correspond on a range of complex issues –from where babies come from, to sexual differences, diseases (such as the one that afflicts Max), loneliness, obesity and finally, friendship.
   Elliott has endeavored to provide a realistic portrayal of his two main characters, and even though the movie is amusing in parts, there is a pervasive sadness about the life experiences confronting both Mary and Max that leads to a heart rendering conclusion.
   In view of the life-changing content and issues which are canvassed, this film may not appeal to younger audiences.   
VIC'S VERDICT:       3 Rubber Stamps

Monsters vs Aliens
Rated PG, 94 Mins

This much anticipated animated movie stars academy award winning actress Reese Witherspoon as Susan, a woman who is hit by a meteorite which causes her to grow to an
enormous size.
   Due to her extremely large form, she is captured and imprisoned along with other ‘monsters’ who include: Dr Cockroach (Hugh Laurie, House) - a mad scientist who is accidentally transformed into a roach-human hybrid; B.O.B. (Seth Rogen) - a brainless mass brought to life in an experiment gone wrong; The Missing Link (Will Arnett) - a Creature from the Black Lagoon-like lizard man; and the skyscraper-sized mutant larvae, Insectosaurus.
   When an unstable alien overlord, Gallaxhar (Rainn Wilson) arrives on Earth to obtain the precious element (that caused Susan to grow) and conquer the world, President Hathaway (Stephen Colbert) offers the monsters their freedom in exchange for defeating the evil mastermind and his legion of robots.
   The DreamWorks studio has delivered an absolutely enjoyable sci-fi comedy with plenty of laughs and great viewing for both children and adults.
   And of course watching the 3D version would make this an ‘out of this world’ movie experience’ for the entire family.
VIC'S VERDICT:       4 Rubber Stamps

Pink Panther 2
Rated PG, 92 Mins

Steve Martin is back as the bumbling French detective Inspecter Jaques Clouseau reprising his role as the famous detective in the first Pink Panther movie.
   Once again, a famous diamond has been stolen, together with other priceless artifacts across several countries, and it is not too long before Clouseau and a team of international detectives are assigned to hunt down the thieves.
   Even though Martin does not fully replicate Peter Sellars in the key role (or adopt Sellars’ unique French pronunciation), this is still a fun movie for the whole family.
   Martin carries out the numerous gags with a certain amount of aplomb and panache.
   His two co-stars are also quick to oblige, particularly John Cleese as Chief Inspector Dreyfus and French actor Jean Reno, his ‘sidekick’, detective Ponton.
VIC'S VERDICT:       3 Rubber Stamps

Race to Witch Mountain
Rated PG, 98 Mins

Dwayne Johnson (The Scorpion King) stars as cab driver Jack Bruno in this remake of the
successful ‘Witch Mountain’ movies that screened during the 1970s.
   The story begins in Las Vegas, where Jack picks up two passengers, Seth (Alexander Ludwig) and Sara (Annasophia Robb), who offer him a lot of money provided he drives them to a certain location.
   Jack is initially hesitant, but agrees, unaware that the government is chasing them.
   He is later told that both teenagers are aliens with special powers, who need to get to Witch Mountain in the hope of preventing an alien invasion that could destroy the Earth.
   As a Disney movie, this has all the ingredients for a great family outing, including some delightful interactions between Johnson and the two teenagers, as well as good action sequences and special effects.
VIC'S VERDICT:       3 ½ Rubber Stamps

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