The Descendants

   Director: Alexander Payne, Twentieth Century Fox, Rated M, 115 mins

Award winning actor and director George Clooney (The Ides of March) has just won the 2012 Golden Globe for his performance as a distraught husband in the family drama The Descendants helmed by Alexander Payne, director of the Oscar winning movie Sideways.   Clooney plays Matt King, a workaholic husband and father grieving for his comatose wife Elizabeth (Patricia Hastie) following a boating accident as well as having to care for his dysfunctional and estranged daughters Alexandra (Shailene Woodley - TV’s The Secret Life of the American Teenager) and Scottie (a debut role by Amara Miller).
The Descendants
   To make matters worse, Matt who is a real estate kingpin and in the midst of deciding to sell the family’s land in Hawaii (which has been handed down from Hawaiian royalty) is then informed by Alexandra that Elizabeth was having an affair with young real estate broker Brian Speer (Matthew Lillard).
   It is at this point that the depth of Matt’s anger and frustration is revealed, at the same time as he tries to develop a closer relationship with his daughters and appease his relatives including Cousin Hugh (Beau Bridges - Max Payne) who are keen for Matt to sell the prized land.
   When Matt is told that his wife is not going to make it, he and his daughters track down Speer at his holiday home and confront him and his wife Julie (Judy Greer).
   Payne’s movie (wonderfully shot in Hawaii) goes beyond the betrayal aspects of this emotion-filled drama, presenting a heartfelt and humorous story, with Clooney delivering one of his finest performances to date.
   He is ably supported by a good cast that includes Woodley’s wonderful portrayal of Alexandra, not to mention the performance of her unusual boyfriend Sid played by Nick Krause.
   The Descendants is a thought-provoking movie about life, death and family relationships, generating a range of realistic emotions that is highlighted by a stand-out performance from Clooney.
VIC'S VERDICT:       4 Rubber Stamps

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island

   Director: Brad Peyton, Walden Media, Rated PG, 94 mins

Brad Peyton’s entertaining sequel to the Journey to the Centre of the Earth (released in 2008) sees only Josh Hutcherson (The Kids are Alright) reprise his character of Sean Anderson in this fun filled fantasy adventure that incorporates aspects of Jules Verne’s most celebrated sci-fi novels.
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island
   As a rebellious 17-year-old who is unable to relate to his step-father Hank (Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson - Faster), Sean engrosses himself in finding his long-lost grandfather (Michael Caine - Harry Brown) after receiving a coded message from him.
   As a means of bonding with Sean, Hank decides to accompany him on his journey, hiring a dilapidated helicopter from Gabato (Luis Guzman - Old Dogs) and his delightful daughter Kailani (Vanessa Hudgens - High School Musical Trilogy) to take them to an uncharted island in the South Pacific.
   After a turbulent ride through the eye of a hurricane they crash onto a mysterious island where they encounter giant bees, pint-sized elephants and a volcano that spurts out gold flakes-not to mention discovering Captain Nemo’s “Nautilus”.
   Despite some exaggerations to Verne’s novels, Peyton has painted a really pleasurable picture through its tropical settings and storyline.
   It is further complimented by a well balanced cast that includes an enjoyable performance from Johnson as well as from legendary actor Caine as the eccentric grandfather. This is one journey worth going on and seeing.
VIC'S VERDICT:       3 ½ Rubber Stamps

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