In Time

   Director: Andrew Niccol, New Regency Pictures, Rated M, 109 mins

There are some scintillating sci-fi similarities in Andrew Niccol’s latest release and his earlier sci-fi thriller Gattaca released in 1997 but on this occasion the focus is totally on time as a way of life where people pay for their daily needs – not with money but with the number of years, days, hours, minutes and seconds emblazoned on their arms.
   Such is Niccol’s thought-provoking future premise about people living off time, with the rich living forever and the poor living on borrowed time – where everyone stops physically ageing at the age of 25 and then buying time to stay alive.
In Time
   This is the weird world that Will Salas (played by singer turned actor Justin Timberlake - Bad Teacher) finds himself in as a factory worker who lives with his youngish looking mother Rachel (Olivia Wilde - Tron Legacy) in a segregated poor zone, with his life suddenly changing when he is gifted in excess of 100 years after saving Henry Hamilton (Tim Bomer) from being time robbed by the marauding Minute Men.
   In spite of his fortune Will is unable to save his mother, and as a consequence, heads into the rich zone where Raymond Leon (the always awesome Cillian Murphy from The Dark Knight), chief of a corrupt police force known as “Timekeepers” is hot on his trail, suspecting him of murdering Hamilton and stealing his time collection.
   After meeting up with Sylvia Weis (Amanda Seyfried - Mamma Mia) the dysfunctional daughter of wealthy tycoon Philip Weis (Vincent Kartheiser) - head of a time banking empire - Sylvia and Will take on the role of a modern day “Bonnie and Clyde”, robbing her father’s banks and distributing time to the poor.
   Unlike his great success with Gattaca, Niccol’s latest movie has a complicated script and some action scenes appearing to slow down at times even when Sylvia and Will are on the run.
   But, there is no denying the chemistry between Seyfried and Timberlake including a strong performance from Murphy.
   Despite some shortcomings, In Time is still enjoyable to watch in view of Niccol’s intriguing concept-especially if one has the time!

VIC'S VERDICT:       3½ Rubber Stamps

DVD Review

Bad Teacher

   Director: Jake Kasdan,Sony Pictures, Rated MA, 92 mins (release date this month)

After her appealing appearance in Knight and Day, Cameron Dias does an about face by delivering a profane performance in this DVD directed by Jake Kasdan.
   Dias plays Elizabeth Hasley, a gold-digging teacher who finds herself being dumped by her rich fiancée and forced to keep her teaching job which she hates - demonstrated by her turning up to class with a hangover, sneaking a drink during class and attempting to sleep at her desk.
Bad Teacher
   Knowing that she has to keep her job to pay her bills, Elizabeth also wants the money to pay for a breast enlargement which she hopes will snag the new teacher Scott Delacorte (Justin Timberlake) who is from a wealthy background and is also being pursued by the manipulative rival teacher Amy Squirrel (Lucy Punch).
   Kasdan’s rendition of a bad teacher appears to be relished by Diaz in her portrayal of the main character but is hampered by a script filled with lewd jokes, excessive profanities and a distasteful sex scene featuring Diaz and Timberlake.
   In the end it is the rivalry between Diaz and Punch which is the main highlight in Kasdan’s irreverent movie besides being an example of a teacher behaving badly.
   The DVD also offers a few bonus features which are meant to be funny including a gag reel but are mainly tongue-in-cheek.
VIC'S VERDICT:       2 ½ Rubber Stamps

DVD Review

The Tempest

   Director: Julie Taymor, Walt Disney, Rated M, 110 mins (release date this month)

Julie Taymor, the award winning director of the theatrical production of The Lion King has had William Shakespeare’s masterful masterpiece The Tempest finally released on DVD, transforming Shakespeare’s timeless comedy drama into a magical movie of cinematic beauty through her unique visual prism.
   In Taymor’s production of the Shakespearean story, Helen Mirren plays the lead character, the female version of Prospera as the rightful ruler of Milan who has been deposed by her brother Antonio (Chris Cooper) and exiled to an island with her daughter Miranda (Felicity Jones).
The Tempest
   Then when a ship passes by carrying Antonio and Alonso, the King of Naples (David Strathairn), Prospera uses her magical stick to start a storm that shipwrecks them on the same island, allowing her to exact revenge against the very men who banished her.
    However when the king’s son, Ferdinand (Reeve Carney) meets Miranda, it is love at first sight which even Prospera’s magic is powerless to control.
   Taymor’s fantastic fantasy comes to life with Mirren’s spectacular performance as Prospera, showing her journey spiralling through vengeance to forgiveness in this masterly mix of fantasy, romance and the supernatural.
   It also features an all-star cast led by Oscar winner Mirren, Russell Brand, Tom Conti, Alan Cumming, Felicity Jones, Djimon Hounsou, Alfred Molina, David Strathairn and Ben Whishaw.
   The DVD contains some interesting bonus features (including ‘The Tempest’ documentary) and will appeal to most people especially Shakespeare fans and theatre enthusiasts.
VIC'S VERDICT:       4 Rubber Stamps

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