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.

   Director:Stephen Frears, Miramax Films, Rated M, 86 Minutes

From his successful direction of The Queen, Stephen Frears has turned his attention to directing a lavish romantic melodrama set in late 19th Century France.
   The film is based on renowned French writer, Colette's, dual novels Chéri and The Last of Chéri.
   Frears reteams with Dangerous Liaisons screen legend Michelle Pfeiffer and screenwriter Christopher Hampton.
   Michelle Pfeiffer stars as the beautiful Léa de Lonval, an aging courtesan who takes up with a much younger lover, nicknamed Chéri (Rupert Friend).
   Chéri is the son of one of her former rivals in this period piece of social and cultural excess in European upper classes.
   This movie is beautifully shot, due to Darius Khondji's mood-catching cinematography, Consolata Boyle's eye-catching costumes and Alan MacDonald's stunning sets, which can all be seen as entertainment in themselves.
   But it is composer Alexandre Desplat’s melancholic and romantic score that evokes the period perfectly.
   The acting is noteworthy, especially from Michelle Pfeiffer and the marvellous Oscar winner Kathy Bates (for her role in Misery), who plays the cheerful and loving mother of the spoilt and immature Cheri.
   Despite being tastefully sensual, sad and funny all at once, there seems to be an apparent lack of real emotion from the major characters.
   As Lea, Pfeiffer is attractive, but appears at times rigid – she is full of composure but lacks any real fire.
   As her young lover Cheri, Friend comes over better even though he has an almost girlish beauty.
   Furthermore there is an apparent awkwardness demonstrated by both the lead characters (Lea and Cheri) in expressing their true feelings, which is unusual in such relationships and not in keeping with Frears’ style to explore the artificiality of people’s behaviour.
   This tends to minimise the zest the story needs.
   As for the ending it appears it was added on as an afterthought, with the remaining scenes revealing the ultimate fate of Lea and Cheri.
   Still, as a movie it will have a special appeal to many people but as a member of the audience remarked at its conclusion, this was certainly not quite her cup of tea.

VIC'S VERDICT:       3 ½ Rubber Stamps

DVD Releases
Confessions of a Shopaholic
   Director: P.J.Hogan, Rated PG, 104 Mins
   DVD release 5 August 2009

Based on the best-selling novels Confessions of a Shopaholic and Shopaholic Takes on Manhattan by Sophie Kinsella, the film Confessions of a Shopaholic has a particular audience, and if you happen to fall into this category you will find this Walt Disney DVD both entertaining and funny.
   After her shopping addiction lands her deeply in credit card debt, college graduate Rebecca Bloomwood (Australian actress Isla Fisher) unintentionally lands a job as a journalist for a money management magazine in New York City which helps support her shopping habit.
   She soon becomes famous for her article The Girl in the Green Scarf and in the process, falls for the boss (Hugh Dancy).
   Directed by P.J. Hogan (My Best Friend's Wedding), Confessions of a Shopaholic is certainly a ‘chick flick’ with a winding plot, a cast of flamboyant characters, and a somewhat unusual script intertwined within an array of fashion’s best clothes, shoes-and scarfs.
   Somewhat surprisingly, this is noted action director and producer Jerry Bruckheimer’s first attempt at producing this type of picture, rendering a glimmer of hope for those looking for some sort of Bruckheimer elements-with this view fading just moments into the movie.
   If you have a taste for shopping and fashion accessories this cute and innocent spectrum of Confessions of a Shopaholic- together with the delightful performance of Isla Fisher, should have a special appeal for female audiences.
   Included in the special features of Confessions of a Shopaholic are deleted scenes (two of which are amusing), ‘Bloopers of a Shopaholic’ which is somewhat comical and a ‘Stuck with Each Other’ music video By Shontelle.

VIC'S VERDICT:       3 ½ Rubber Stamps

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