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: Rob Marshall, Weinstein Company, Rated M, 118 mins

Following his Best Picture Academy Award for Chicago in 2003, director Rob Marshall is now hoping to repeat this success with his latest musical Nine, which is an adaptation of Fellini's classic 8 ½.
   Marshall’s exuberant movie, which takes place in the mid 1960s, is about the mid-life crisis of a famous Italian film director Guido Contini (superbly acted by Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood) whose personal life is crumbling around him as he struggles with his next big film.
   With everyone counting on him and only days until his film Italia commences shooting he has no script and no inspiration.
   Contini tries to juggle the pressures of his film with the demands of his wife Luisa (Marion Cotillard), his mistress Carla (Penelope Cruz), his leading lady (Australia’s Nicole Kidman), his costume designer and confidant (Judi Dench) and his producer Dante (Ricky Tognazzi)-not to mention his dalliance with Stephanie (Kate Hudson) and his chats with his deceased mother (Sophia Loren).
   Although Nine may not fully measure up to Chicagoand may be considered ‘saucy’ in parts, itis cinematically entertaining and visually tantalising - especially the musical numbers that are performed by the women in Guido’s life through a series of dream sequences.
   A particular highlight is the ensemble presentation of ‘Be Italian.’
   Despite a weak plot the choreography and cinematography (due mainly to Australian cinematographer Dion Beebe) are simply scintillating. This is complemented by a great cast, most of whom are Academy Award winners, namely Cotillard, Cruz, Day-Lewis, Dench, Kidman, and Loren.
   However it is the performance of Daniel Day-Lewis that really stands out as the chain-smoking Italian director.
   Surely Day-Lewis must be a serious contender for Best Actor at this year’s Academy Awards.
VIC'S VERDICT:       4 Rubber Stamps

DVD Release
Julie and Julia
   Release Date: February 2010
   Director: Nora Ephron, Sony Pictures, Rated PG, 123 mins

Sony’s soon to be released DVD Julie & Julia can best be described as a ‘delicious’ comedy about two women in different time periods who have a fascination with gourmet cooking.
   Based on two true stories, renowned director Nora Ephron adapted the script from Julia Child's published memoir My Life in France and Julie Powell's entertaining account of the time she spent cooking each of Child’s recipes.
   Legendary actress Meryl Streep plays Julia Child, an eccentric six foot American woman who moves to France in the 1950s with her diplomat husband Paul (Stanley Tucci).
   Here she learns to become a connoisseur in French cooking and co-writes her famous book Mastering the Art of French Cooking, which details 574 recipes.
   The parallel story to Child’s character is depicted some 50 years later when Julie Powell (played by the delightful Amy Adams) is looking for a challenge in her life and decides to replicate all of Child’s recipes and write a blog about each.
   This fascinating DVD will certainly appeal to a wide-ranging audience but especially female viewers due to the fact the story’s focus is on the cooking prowess of two special women.
   The film also provides a unique insight into the mouth-watering recipes that are served up, making this DVD a ‘delicious’ comedy to own.
   Besides Ephron’s skilful direction, it is the wonderful performances of both leading actors that make this film special, especially that of Streep who delivers a thoroughly convincing portrayal of the famous Julia Child.
   The DVD has some interesting special features, including an audio commentary presented by director Nora Ephron and a great featurette detailing the making of the movie.
VIC'S VERDICT:       4 Rubber Stamps

DVD Release
   Release Date: February 2010
   Director: Duncan Jones, Sony Pictures, Rated M, 97 mins

The highly anticipated movie Moon, by first time writer-director Duncan Jones can be considered a homage to some of the sci-fi movies from the ‘60s, ‘70s and  ‘80s including 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and Silent Running (1972).
   In Jones' vision of the future the world's energy needs are solved by mining the moon for helium-3 which can be used as power back on Earth.
   Living on the dark side of the moon is Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) who is coming to the end of a 3 year contract.
   He has lived in isolation with only GERTY (voiced by Kevin Spacey), a station computer not unlike HAL from2001: A Space Odyssey, to keep him company.
   Moon is engrossing, intelligent and well crafted, with a near perfect production design and a brilliant performance from Rockwell.
   Despite a small budget Jones demonstrates that his sci-fi movie can be meaningful and doesn't need to resort to plenty of action and explosions to generate interest.
   This DVDis both entertaining and thoughtful, and looks at themes of identity, isolation and the future of mankind.
   There is also an ongoing mystery that will exercise your mind while you watch this remarkable fim.
   The DVD includes commentaries from the director and making-of the movie featurettes.
   This is one DVD that belongs in the home collection.
VIC'S VERDICT:       4 ½ Rubber Stamps

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