The Kings of Mykonos
   Director: Peter Andrikidis, G.O. Films, Rated M, 102 mins

The wonderful “wog boys” Nick Giannopoulos and Vince Colosimo reprise their comedic roles (and Greek humour) as Steve and Frank in the sequel to their earlier smash hit The Wog Boy (2000).
   The Kings of Mykonos is really a funny movie shot against the beautiful background of Mykonos Island, the most famous of the Greek islands.
   Even though Peter Andrikidis’ main experience has been in TV production he has done a reasonable job in directing The Kings of Mykonos which is also co-written (and produced) by Giannopoulos.
   It delivers a straight-forward storyline in which Steve (Giannopoulos) receives a long distance phone call telling him that a long lost uncle has died and left him a beach on the island of Mykonos.
   Accompanied by his best friend Frank (Colosimo) Steve flies over to the island and is met by the wonderful character of Tzimi (Dimitris Starovas) who introduces Steve to his estranged family, local culture and customs - especially to what is commonly called “Greekonomics” which means giving one’s relatives free meals etc.
   With the movie being filmed almost entirely against the beauty of Mykonos it is not long before the dynamic duo encounter some beautiful women in particular Zoe (portrayed by attractive Greek actress Zeta Makrypoulia) and Miss Italy (played by stunning Italian actress Cosima Coppola) who is constantly pursued by the lecherous Frank.
   As greed and property are interacting forces there is always a villain, in this case Mihali, a wealthy property developer played by another Greek Australian, Alex Dimitriades. The only other character of note is Kevin Sorbo (TV’s Hercules) who plays Pierluigi, the self appointed ‘King of Mykonos’ who is always surrounded by beautiful women and whose title Frank is keen to have.
   Interestingly the dynamic of the original movie has shifted. It is not about being “wogs” anymore but about being Aussies on a Greek island as depicted through their frequent use of “cheers” and “mate” not to mention their use of some hilarious Aussie one liners.
   With such a magnificent setting and each actor blending into this beautiful background it is no wonder that the result is a really enjoyable movie experience with some in the audience scrambling home to book their holiday to Mykonos at the end of the screening.
VIC'S VERDICT:       3 ½ Rubber Stamps

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

Sony’s latest DVD is an exuberant musical from Academy Award winning director Rob Marshall that takes place in the mid 1960s.
   The film covers the mid-life crisis of a famous Italian film director, Guido Contini (Daniel Day-Lewis) whose personal life is crumbling around him as he struggles with his next big film.
   With everyone counting on him and only days before the commencement of shooting his movie Italia, he has no script and no inspiration.
   Contini tries to juggle the pressures of the film with the demands of his wife Luisa (Marion Cotillard), his mistress Carla (Penelope Cruz), his leading lady Claudia (Australia’s Nicole Kidman), his costume designer and confidant (Judi Dench), and his producer (Ricky Tognazzi)-not to mention his musing of a prostitute Saraghina as Fergie (Stacey Ferguson), his dalliance with Stephanie (Kate Hudson) and his chats with his deceased mother (Sophia Loren).
   Although Nine may not measure up to Marshall’s brilliant musical Chicago and could be considered saucy in parts, itis cinematically entertaining and visually tantalising.
   Special mention goes to the musical numbers performed by all the women in Guido’s life through a series of dream sequences, with a particular highlight being the ensemble presentation of ‘Be Italian’.
   In fact it is the choreography and cinematography (due to Australia’s Dion Beebe) that are simply scintillating and are complemented by a wonderful cast, most of whom are Academy Award winners.
   There is also the stand-out performance of Day-Lewis as the chain-smoking Italian director together with some memorable songs that makes this DVD a must to own.   It includes an impressive array of special features including:
  • Commentary by Director Rob Marshall;
  • 8 Featurettes with information on the cast, music, trivia etc; and
  • 3 Music Videos

VIC'S VERDICT:       4 Rubber Stamps

The Princess and the Frog
   Release date: 16 June
   Director: Ron Clements and John Musker, Walt Disney Pictures, Rated G, 97 mins

Disney’s latest animated DVD is the inspiring story of The Princess and the Frog jointly directed by Ron Clements and John Musker who were responsible for Disney classics The Little Mermaid in 1989 and Aladdin in 1992.
   Regarding the selection of the first African American princess, during a recent virtual roundtable question and answer session Clements revealed he was asked by the Executive Producer to consider the fairy tale of The Frog Prince and having the film set in New Orleans.
   Both directors liked the idea of doing an American fairy tale, using elements of voodoo, having an African American heroine and including the type of music played down south.
   The twist of having the heroine turn into a frog once she kissed the frog came from a children's book called The Frog Princess by E.D. Baker. Many of the characters in the movie such as Mama Odie, Tiana and Ray the firefly were inspired by actual people whom both directors met during their research trips to New Orleans.
   The story is set against the backdrop of the New Orleans’ French Quarter, and stars Tiana (voiced by Anika Noni Rose), a hardworking waitress who is inspired by her father to pursue her dream of having her own restaurant.
   With this dream close to reality, Tiana’s world is turned upside down when Prince Naveen (voiced by Bruno Campos), who is broke and in search of romance and a wealthy wife, visits New Orleans.
   Instead of finding his fortunes on the rise, he is seduced by the town’s evil voodoo magician Dr. Facilier (voiced by Keith David) whose plan is to fleece Big Daddy (voiced by John Goodman)-setting in motion a series of events that transform the Prince into a frog, with the Prince’s servant taking his place in proposing marriage to Big Daddy’s daughter Charlotte (voiced by Jennifer Cody).
   Later the “frog prince” mistakes the beautiful Tiana for royalty after she accidentally ends up wearing Charlotte’s clothes.
   Naveen subsequently entices Tiana to kiss him to break the spell but a hilarious twist of fate occurs with Tiana herself turning into a green frog. The pair must then travel into the mystical bayous of Louisiana in search of Mama Odie (voiced by Jennifer Lewis) a friendly but powerful voodoo magician who can reverse the spell and turn them back to their true form.
   Along the way they also befriend Louis (voiced by Michael-Leon Wooley) a trumpet-playing alligator and a hopelessly romantic firefly named Ray (voiced by Jim Cummings).
   There is no doubt The Princess and the Frog is bound to become another Disney classic due to the brilliance of hand drawn animation, refreshing characters that really come alive, jazzy songs and a great storyline.
   This memorable DVD definitely belongs in a home movie collection and is made more attractive by the exceptional bonus features that include an audio commentary, deleted scenes and games and activities.
VIC'S VERDICT:       5 Rubber Stamps

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