The Rebound

The Rebound
Whilst it may be a lucky co-incidence that married couple Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones share the same birthday, it is a less happy co-incidence that they should both have films released to DVD by Roadshow in the same month; in the case of the latter with only a blink-or-you-miss-it theatrical run. Solitary Man, featuring Douglas, saw him receive some of his best notices of recent times yet it dribbled into Region 4. It was an opposite fate to Zeta-Jones' latest rom-com, The Rebound, which comes to DVD here prior to a December cinema date in the US. Although Solitary Man is the better film, both could be seen as victims of the GFC where it is cheaper to just get the film out rather than lavish millions on promotion.

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Déjà Vu

Déjà Vu
Deja Vu is how the French described the sensation of seeing or experiencing something you feel you've already seen or experienced before. Movies have created all sorts of mystical contexts or explanations for it (one of my particular favorites came from The Matrix) but Tony Scott's latest offering has a new take on the concept. For his new film he tosses in a heavy dose of sci-fi to give the phenomenon of Deja Vu an intriguing techno-edge. There's also plenty of good humor and a twist of romance, but make no mistake: it's first and foremost an action thriller and Scott, as usual, delivers.

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Fistful of Dollars

Fistful of Dollars
A drifter, later to be known as The Man With No Name (Clint Eastwood), is born in director Sergio Leone’s Spaghetti Western, A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS. The stranger arrives in a small Mexican village that is over run by two competing gangs who control the guns and the liquor. The only legit business that seems to prosper is the old coffin maker. The anonymous drifter decides to make money by working both sides of the gang as a hired killer, adding more fuel to the hatred feud between the two families.

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Killer by Nature

Killer by Nature
The troubled teenager Owen Whitmore has a sleep disorder and occasionally sleepwalks. Owen is having therapy sessions with Dr. Katherine Ramos. Having just joined the medical school, he has to move to another town, but he is divided between the college and his sweetheart, Maggie. His parents Leona and Walter Whitmore are very worried about him. When Owen has violent dreams, Dr. Ramos decides to consult with Dr. Jonas Julian, a specialist in dream analysis and sleep disorders. Meanwhile, people are protesting in front of the Townsend State Prison where the infamous serial killer Dr. Eugene "Mean Gene" Branch will be executed. Dr. Eugene is the son of another serial-killer and had performed sadistic medical experiments on his victims. Out of the blue, Marcia Freeman who went missing, is found dead in precisely the way that Owen saw in his dreams - the murder set up as if carried out by Dr. Branch. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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Beastly

Beastly
A curse transforms a handsome and arrogant young man into everything he detests in this contemporary retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Wealthy Kyle Kingson (Alex Pettyfer) has everything a teenager could want in life, but he still gets off on humiliating the weaker and less attractive. When Kyle invites his misfit classmate Kendra (Mary-Kate Olsen) to an environmental rally at their school, she questions his motivations but reluctantly accepts. Later, Kyle blows Kendra off, prompting the spurned goth girl to cast a dark spell on the swaggering egotist.

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Bourne Supremacy

Bourne Supremacy
The Bourne Supremacy is a serviceable thriller - no more, no less. This may come as a disappointment to those anticipating something on the same level as the surprise hit 2002 movie, The Bourne Identity. Sadly, the cinematic second installment of Robert Ludlum's trilogy falls short of its predecessor in almost every area, except perhaps acting. There's nothing wrong with any of the performances in this movie; it's just that the actors aren't as important as they were two years ago. Action has moved to the fore, shouldering aside plot and character development in order to maintain the frantic pace that director Paul Greengrass believes is necessary to retain his audience's attention.

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Primer

Primer
Story:
Scientists and best friends Aaron and Abe (director Shane Carruth and David Sullivan) are trying to find a scientific breakthrough that will allow them to quit their day jobs, when a series of side effects allows them to accomplish some thing they never dreamed possible. As they try to find ways to take advantage of their new discovery, cracks start to form in their friendship as they begin to question the morality and implications of their actions.

Analysis:
That plot may sound a bit vague and maybe not so enticing, but that's only because Primer is the type of movie where the less you know going in, the more likely you'll be surprised by where things lead.

The crux of the story is that science can be a tricky thing. Besides dealing with unexpected side effects, it's about how scientists deal with discovering something seemingly impossible and try to find ways to use that information, while dealing with the repercussions when compromises need to be made in their moral compasses.

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White Ribbon

White Ribbon
Michael Haneke's The White Ribbon, which won the Golden Palm Award at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, is the quintessential art film: slow, demanding, and rewarding for those willing to put forth the intellectual effort necessary to puzzle out its ambiguities. Set in a small German village on the eve of World War I, the movie explores themes that fit in with Haneke's dark view of human nature (as seen in his other films, particularly Funny Games). The film is about the corruption of innocence and how those who foster such corruption can reap the ugly fruits of their labor. The White Ribbon also argues that "righteousness" can be little more than a cloak of disguise - some of the most apparently upright individuals are those with the deepest moral desiccation.

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Crossing Over

Crossing Over
Crossing Over is Wayne Kramer's Crash-inspired look at the world of immigration in Southern California. Like Paul Haggis' Oscar winning film, this one is replete with coincidences and contrivances but, unlike Crash, it also features too many instances in which the message overshadows the characters. The storylines are less compelling and there are times (such as one instance in which the action pauses for a lengthy homily) when the movie seems more concerned about advancing a political perspective than telling a story; The Visitor made many of the same points in a more organic fashion. Enough things in Crossing Over work to keep the film from becoming a bore, but this is a definite step down from Kramer's past efforts, The Cooler and Running Scared.

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A Grand Day Out with Wallace and Gromit

A Grand Day Out with Wallace and Gromit
Following in the fantastical footsteps of filmmakers Georges Méliès, Ray Harryhausen, and Will Vinton, director/animator Nick Park offers his own space epic in the first Wallace and Gromit film. When slightly kooky inventor Wallace runs out of cheese on a bank holiday, he decides that he and his dog, Gromit, should travel to the moon, because "everybody knows the moon's made of cheese."

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Little Manhattan

Little Manhattan
10-year-old Gabe (Josh Hutcherson) meets 11-year-old Rosemary Telesco (Charlie Ray), a girl he's known since kindergarten. But after being partnered with her for sparring, he suddenly notices her as a girl, not another face. To Gabe's elation, they begin spending time together and he is completely enamored with not only her, but her life. He discovers that Rosemary is soon leaving for camp for six weeks and won't be back until summer's end. She lives with her loving upper-class parents (John Dossett and Talia Balsam) on the edge of Central Park. Rosemary's parents take her and Gabe to hear a jazz pianist at The Carlyle, where the young twosome finally hold hands. After the show, Rosemary's parents tell them to say goodnight and her parents go to get milk. After the parents leave, Rosemary starts talking to Gabe, in which he interrupts by kissing her. The Telescos' life is in contrast to Gabe's; he lives with his soon-to-be-divorcing parents (Cynthia Nixon and Bradley Whitford), who have declared an awkward truce while waiting for their divorce to be finalized.

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Bobby G. Can't Swim

Bobby G. Can't Swim
Bobby G. lives life on the edge in this real, raw New York street drama. Bobby is a small-time coke dealer, always on the hustle but rarely successful. He lives in Hells Kitchen with his Puerto Rican girlfriend Lucy, who makes ends meet as a prostitute. A typical day finds Bobby selling 20 bags to neighborhood locals and passing cars. A yuppie kid looking to score a kilo of coke approaches him to broker a deal and Bobby sees the opportunity of a lifetime to make some real money. His rough days may just be over. With the tidy profit he could even leave the business.

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Little Black Book

Little Black Book
Stacy Holt, an associate producer for a daytime talk show, is confounded by her boyfriend Dereks unwillingness to talk about his previous relationships. Egged on by her co-worker Barb, Stacy sneaks a look at his personal digital organizer, scores the names and numbers of his exes, and sets up interviews with them--all in an effort to get closer to her man. Her plan starts to unravel, however, when she becomes friends with one of the women.

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Logan's War: Bound by Honor

Logan's War: Bound by Honor
Logan Fallon was ten years old when his prosecutor father was marked for murder by a gangster he was prosecuting. Logan has this uncanny ability to sense danger before it happens, and he sensed the gangsters hitmen coming and survived their attack but the rest of his family was not so lucky. Logan chose not to tell the investigator who killed his family cause he wants to get them himself. He is taken in by his Uncle Jake whos an ex Army Ranger and a martial arts expert, he teaches Logan martial arts and gets him into the Rangers so that he could prepare himself to go after the people who killed his family.

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Mad Money

Mad Money
Three female employees of the Federal Reserve plot to steal money that is about to be destroyed.

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Mao's Last Dancer

Mao's Last Dancer
A drama based on the autobiography by Li Cunxin. At the age of 11, Li was plucked from a poor Chinese village by Madame Maos cultural delegates and taken to Beijing to study ballet. In 1979, during a cultural exchange to Texas, he fell in love with an American woman. Two years later, he managed to defect and went on to perform as a principal dancer for the Houston Ballet and as a principal artist with the Australian Ballet.

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