AbductionDirector: John Singleton, Rated M, 106 mins
Twilight’s Taylor Lautner (who appears as a werewolf in the franchise – as well as shirtless) makes a fair fist in his first breakaway movie from Four Brothers director John Singleton who appears to characterise Lautner as another Jason Bourne in this action thriller together with a talented cast that includes Alfred Molina (An Education), Michael Nyqvist (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) and Sigourney Weaver (Avatar).
The somewhat perplexing plot revolves around high school student Nathan Price (Lautner) who stumbles upon a photo of himself as a little boy on a missing person’s website. Realising that his parents (Maria Bello and Jason Isaacs) are not who they are (actually CIA agents) and that his life is a huge lie, Nathan starts to search for his true identity and his biological parents with the help of his neighbour’s daughter Karen (Lily Collins).
He soon discovers that he is being targeted by a team of foreign agents led by a Russian operative named Kozlow (Nyqvist) as well as being chased by the CIA’s head honcho Burton (Molina).
With both Nathan and Karen on the run – and ably assisted by none other than his psychologist Dr Bennett (Weaver) – Nathan begins to piece together the disturbing and startling truth to his real identity.
Even though Singleton has developed an interesting storyline for what appears to be a teenage version of Jason Bourne, his movie will ultimately appeal to a teenage audience especially those who are Lautner fans and are prepared to put up with Lautner’s shirtless and smouldering “Twilight” look.
VIC'S VERDICT: 3 Rubber Stamp
The Lion King – 3DDirector Simon Wells, Rated PG, 88 mins
Walt Disney’s animated masterpiece ‘The Lion King’ is now showing in cinemas across Australia over the school holidays.
The unforgettable coming-of-age-story starring the king of the jungle is told again in 3D from its musical opening, breathtaking African vistas to its emotional climax.
The vocal talents of Rowan Atkinson, Matthew Broderick, Whoopie Goldberg, Jeremy Irons and Nathan Lane provide their brand of comedy as well as uplifting messages of courage and loyalty-transforming this stirring story into a thoroughly enjoyable experience for the whole family.
The presentation recaptures the journey of Simba (Matthew Broderick), the feisty lion cub who “just can’t wait to be king”- much to the annoyance of his envious Uncle Scar (Jeremy Irons) who has plans for his own ascent to the throne after forcing Simba’s exile from the kingdom.
Simba initially joins the escapades of fun-loving meerkat named Timon (Nathan Lane) and his warm-hearted warthog pal, Pumbaa (Ernie Sabella), adopting their carefree lifestyle of “Hakuna Matata” but ultimately realises his destiny in returning home to overthrow Scar to reclaim the kingdom as his own thus completing the “Circle of Life.” Besides the excellent animation and colours there are the unforgettable songs (such as the memorable “Circle of Life” and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight”).
The Lion King is a movie for both young and old alike with the opportunity to see it on the big screen and in thrilling 3D during this school holiday period.
VIC'S VERDICT: 5 Rubber Stamp
Spy Kids – All the Time in the World in 4DDirector Simon Wells, Rated PG, 88 mins
After an absence of eight years, writer-director Robert Rodriguez returns with his fourth sequel in the popular ‘Spy Kids’ franchise, retaining only two of the original cast with Alexa Vega reprising her role as Carmen Cortez and Daryl Sabara playing her brother Juni.
Instead of husband and wife duo Antonio Banderas and Carla Gugino in the lead roles, Rodriguez has substituted Jessica Alba (Fantastic Four) as Marissa Cortez Wilson and Joel McHale (The Informant) as her husband Wilbur.
This time around Marissa (Alba) a dedicated spy and nine months pregnant decides to retire after apprehending arch villain ‘Tick Tock’ (Jeremy Piven) but within a year he and his accomplice ‘The Time Keeper’ (also performed by Piven) are back at their attempt to rob the world of “time.”
In order to save the world Marissa recruits the whole family including her niece and nephew Carmen and Junie (Vega and Sabara) as well as their dog Argonaut (voiced by Ricky Gervais) to join in her dangerous mission.
Despite Alba’s particular performance, the special effects and wizardry (including 4D and aroma-scope) Rodriguez has been unable to generate the same excitement that was so enjoyable for both adults and children alike in each of the earlier Spy Kids movies.
VIC'S VERDICT: 2 ½ Rubber Stamp
The Smurfs – 3DDirector Raja Gosnell, Rated G, 103 mins
The lovable ‘Smurfs’ have finally hit the big screen much to the joy of countless numbers of children around the country and poorer for the parents who will have to fork out for the purchase of the cute figurines after leaving the cinema.
The director of Beverly Hills Chihuahua Raja Gosnell has set the scene for this first movie appearance of the blue smurfs by initially introducing them in their magical world-such familiar faces as Papa Smurf (voiced by Jonathan Winters), Smurfette (Katy Perry), Brainy (Fred Armisen), Clumsy (Anton Yelchin), Grouchy (George Lopez), and Gutsy (Alan Cumming) – and later showing them being chased by the wicked wizard Gargamel (The Simpsons’ Hank Azaria) through a magical portal into the middle of bustling New York. They soon find refuge with a young couple, Patrick Winslow (TV’s Neil Patrick Harris How I Met Your Mother) and his pregnant wife Grace (TV’s Jayma Mays Glee) which is the start for the smurfs’ adventures in the city that never sleeps and their hope of getting back to their world.
Gosnell has done a reasonable job in combining the live 3D action with the animated scenes involving the six blue smurfs but stumbles with the storyline despite the performances of Azaria and Patrick Harris.
All in all, the kids will get a great kick out of seeing some of their favourite characters while their parents will be able to reminisce back to the ‘80’s when they first saw The Smurfs as cartoon characters on television.
VIC'S VERDICT: 3 Rubber Stamp
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