Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

   Director: David Yates, Warner Bros, Rated M, 130 mins

It is hard to believe that David Yates is directing his final Harry Potter movie (having directed the last four of the eight productions) and that it has been 10 years since the first was released in 2001 - some 14 years after J.K.Rowling’s original novel was published.
   Not surprisingly, Yates’ movie picks up immediately from where Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 concludes, with Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) trying to find the remaining magical horcruxes - responsible for Lord Voldemort’s immortality – while Voldemort’s (Ralph Fiennes) power and  number of supporters grow.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
   They waste no time in descending onto the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, sending fireballs onto the castle and attacking Harry and his friends with their wands.
   Unlike ‘Part 1’ which was disappointing in view of its length (146 minutes) and slow-paced storyline, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 is the complete opposite, replicating the excitement, the spectacular range of special effects and suspense that highlighted the viewing of its predecessors.
   Most importantly the final chapter features some major revelations and exciting magical scenes, especially the final battle between good and evil - the final (wand) confrontation between Harry and Voldemort - which is appropriately summarised in the movie poster as “it all ends”.
   Besides the great storyline, settings and cinematography it is the characterisations of Harry, Ron and Hermione that are really well portrayed; as well as that of Alan Rickman as Severus Snape and Maggie Smith as Minerva McGonagall - not to mention the outstanding performance of Ralph Fiennes as the evil Voldemort.
   As the ‘Harry Potter’ saga comes to an end, this final movie adaptation of one of the most beloved and successful series of novels ever written is a real tribute to the power of the novelist, the power of imagination and the legacy that the ‘Harry Potter’ franchise leaves for millions of Potter fans as well as movie goers around the world.
VIC'S VERDICT:       4 Rubber Stamp

DVD Review

Battle:Los Angeles

   Release Date Aug 2011
   Director: Jonathan Liebesman, Sony Pictures, Rated M, 116 mins

Hollywood’s latest venture into alien invasions due to director Jonathan Liebesman’s guns blazing, high octane sci-fi war drama is both clichéd and loud but thoroughly entertaining as a result of Liebesman’s use of a hand-held camera and computer-generated aliens that are reminiscent of techniques used in Cloverfield and Independence Day.
Battle: Los Angeles
   Liebesman wastes little time in showing the start of the invasion following a series of meteors hitting the major cities around the world which release armed aliens and saucer-shaped ships.
   The story takes place in Los Angeles (the final line of defence against the aliens) and centres on the experienced sergeant Michael Nantz (Aaron Eckhart) who is forced to join a platoon of soldiers led by Lieutenant William Martinez (Ramon Rodriguez).
   Their orders are to rescue a group of civilians who are trapped in a police station and after doing so (including saving the feisty sergeant Elena Santos-Michelle Rodriguez) they embark on a mission to destroy the command module of the mother ship that controls both the aliens and their fleet of space ships.
   Despite an unsteady hand-held camera, the level of special effects employed in relation to the alien creatures are impressive as are the well-orchestrated battle scenes, not to mention some good performances from Eckhart and Rodriguez.
   Both Blu-ray and DVD editions include four interesting bonus featurettes making this movie a worthy addition to the home DVD collection.
VIC'S VERDICT:       3 ½ Rubber Stamp

DVD Review

Just Go With It

   Release Date Aug 2011
   Director: Dennis Dugan, Sony Pictures, Rated M, 117 mins

Another DVD being released next month is from comedic director Dennis Dugan who has again collaborated with funny man Adam Sandler in his light hearted romantic comedy about a man who hasn’t quite grown-up.
   Sandler plays Danny, a plastic surgeon who enjoys coming onto young women by pretending that he is married at the same time as saying that he is being mistreated by his wife in order to gain their sympathy.
Just Go With It
   But his approach comes undone when he falls for the attractive Palmer (Brooklyn Decker) and she finds his (pretend) wedding ring.
   The fun really begins when Palmer insists on meeting his wife after Danny tells her that he is actually in the process of divorcing her.
   To comply with Palmer’s demands, Danny convinces his assistant, Katherine (Jennifer Aniston) and her two children - after agreeing to take everyone to Hawaii - to pose as his family where she encounters a former school friend Devlin Adams (Nicole Kidman).
   In between his fascination for Palmer and the lies, Katherine begins to see Danny in a more romantic light.
   Even though Sandler tries to be funny it is Aniston’s character that really shines in more ways than one amidst the beautiful Hawaiian background in what is an entertaining “chick flick”.
   The DVD also has a number of funny bonus features as well as an audio commentary from Dugan and Sandler.
VIC'S VERDICT:       3 Rubber Stamp

To find out more about Victor Rebikoff click here.

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