Victor Rebikoff With school holidays already starting in the Northern Territory (19 June-21 July), NSW and QLD (26 June-13 July), and the ACT, SA and WA (3-20 July), movie theatres around the country have already rolled out some of their holiday movies.
   It is suggested that patrons check their local cinema guide to verify session times for a particular movie and releases differ across States.

The Proposal
   Director: Anne Fletcher, Rated PG, 108 minutes

Anne Fletcher (Director of 27 Dresses) has made a wonderful romantic comedy with a plot reminiscent of romantic comedies released half a century ago - complete with fantastic morality but updated to include the post-feminist era.
   The two leading characters are played by the fabulous Sandra Bullock (Miss Congeniality) and Ryan Reynolds (Definitely, Maybe).
   Reynolds handles his masculinity extremely well in order to function credibly in the ‘Doris Day role’, although Sandra Bullock deserves most of the praise.
   As a producer as well, Bullock knows her on-screen strengths and weaknesses, and most importantly, knows her audience despite the hard-nosed ice-queen role she plays in the movie.
   Margaret Tate (Bullock), nicknamed ‘Satan’s Mistress’ by her co-workers is the embodiment of a callous and uncompromising book editor while Andrew Paxton (Ryan Reynolds) is her hard working slave of an assistant whose personal life is second only to his boss’s gruelling work ethic and demanding hours.
   As a Canadian citizen working in the United States, Margaret is unexpectedly confronted with the reality that she is to be deported back to Canada due to her unresolved visa status.  She decides to fake an engagement to Andrew, despite his uneasy hesitation to resolve her dilemma.
   In fear of their masquerade being discovered by immigration services, they elope to Andrew’s hometown in Alaska to ‘meet the parents’ – mum (Mary Steenburgen), dad (Craig T. Nelson) and grandma Annie (Betty White).
   Andrew’s family are more than surprised by his sudden marriage plans but accept them, and from there it is up to Margaret and Andrew to maintain the pretext while ensuring they don’t kill each in the process.
   When the weekend ins over they need to confront the immigration official, Mr Gilbertson (played by the hilarious Denis O’Hare) to answer numerous questions that are of an intimate nature and need to be verified.
   The Proposal is a hilarious comedy with a great storyline, with much of the movie set amidst the beauty of a seaside town in Alaska, while New York City is made to look like something out of a travel brochure.
   Besides some first rate performances from the co-stars especially Betty White as Grandma Annie, it is the chemistry between Bullock and Reynolds that is particularly interesting to watch and which is sustained right through to the end of the movie.
   And, having seen a number of Sandra Bullock movies, this would have to rate as one of her best performances with Ryan Reynolds playing a perfect role as the reluctant husband to be.

VIC'S VERDICT:       4 Rubber Stamps

Ice Age 3- Dawn of the Dinosaurs
   Director: Carlos Saldanha, Rated PG, 94 Mins
   Release Date 1 July

The much anticipated sequel to the ‘Ice Age’ franchise has finally hit cinema screens, with director Carlos Saldanha returning with his team of superb actors and animators.
   After the climatic events in Ice Age: The Meltdown (number 2), life begins to change for Manny the mammoth (voiced by Ray Romano), his friends and his girlfriend, Ellie (voiced by Queen Latifah) who is expecting a baby.
   Diego (voiced by Denis Leary) is fed up with being treated like a house-cat and ponders his next move while Scrat (voiced by Chris Wedge) is still on the hunt to hold onto his beloved acorn, while also finding possible romance with a female sabre-toothed squirrel named Scratte (voiced by Karen Disher).
   It is only when Manny’s friend Sid (voiced by John Leguizamo) finds some dinosaur eggs that the adventure-and fun really begins.
   Besides the wonderful scenery amidst the brilliant colours, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs moves at a fast pace and has many laughs along the way.
   It is definitely an above average animated movie that is worth seeing-especially in 3D and will certainly appeal to grown-ups and kids alike.
VIC'S VERDICT:       4 Rubber Stamps

Hanna Montana: The Movie
   Director: Peter Chelsom, Rated G, 102 minutes
   Now Showing in QLD, ACT,SA,VIC,WA , Release date for NSW: 9 July

One of the biggest problems with Hannah Montana: The Movie is that it is aimed squarely at a particular demographic, namely pre-teen girls.
   Besides appearing condescending, it is likely to lack any entertainment value for the parents who accompany their teenage children to this movie.
   Based on the popular television series, the story focuses on a young girl, Miley Stewart (Miley Cyrus) and her trials and tribulations of growing up as a normal child at the same time as juggling a secret career as Hannah Montana, a young pop star.
   The movie follows on from the TV show and comes at a time when her celebrity character threatens to consume her life.
   As a result her father, Robby Ray, (real-life dad Billy Ray Cyrus) whisks her home to Tennessee to visit grandma, where she learns a few lessons about what really matters most in life.
   As she struggles to reconcile fame with normality, she tussles with a decision that could see her give up celebrity life for good.
   Brought to the screen by respected British director Peter Chelsom, the man behind the successful romantic comedy Serendipity, it is a surprise that Hannah Montana is not a better movie.
VIC'S VERDICT:       3 Rubber Stamps

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
   Director David Yates, Rated M, 153 Mins
   Release Date 15 July

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is the much anticipated fantasy film based on the novel of the same name by J. K. Rowling.
   It is the sixth film in the popular Harry Potter series
   It is directed by David Yates, the director of the fifth film, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, with Steve Kloves, screenwriter of the first four films (but not the fifth), returning as screenwriter for this production.
   This Harry Potter movie is much darker than the previous films, which  accounts for its M rating.
   It features Daniel Radcliffe in the key role of Harry Potter and Emma Watson as Hermione, with whom he becomes romantically involved - as well as the largest array of British stars ever assembled.
   Harry's sixth year at Hogwarts is tempered by the fact there is a war going on all around him - a war in which he must eventually win or face dying.
   Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) takes it upon himself to show Harry a partial history of Tom Riddle (Hero Fiennes-Tiffin) and in doing so discloses the secret to the Dark Lord's (Ralph Fiennes) immortality.
   Meanwhile, Harry has discovered a battered potions textbook, filled with the notes of a wizard calling himself the 'Half-Blood Prince'.
   Against Hermione's warnings he begins to rely on the book, and the spells within the pages.
   The war goes on though, and explodes onto the home front in the worst way imaginable.
   The beginning of the end has come.
   This would certainly be one of the best in the Harry Potter franchise and one that would be enjoyed by both older children and those not too young.
VIC'S VERDICT:       4 Rubber Stamps