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New Rental Releases This Week (01/02/10)

New DVD rental releases at DVBee this week:




GAMER (2009)
Director: Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor
Starring: Gerard Butler, Michael C. Hall
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Age Restriction: 16 LNSV

This high-intensity actioner from the team that brought you Crank and Crank: High Voltage is every "adult" gamer's kind of movie. Ultra-violence, half-naked babes, dark comedy and a storyline bridging the real with the unreal. It's a no holds barred, adrenalin junkie's fix and if you play your games 16+, this splatter-fest is guaranteed to entertain. Gamer is all about the style and action - so if you're looking for explosive Sci-Fi action, fire away - just remember to leave your brain on ice at the door.


An Education Movie Review: A Schoolgirl's Memoir

An Education is the story of Jenny, a precocious teenage girl living in suburban London in the 1960s. This coming-of-age drama deals with her transition from school girl to refined woman, as a well-to-do suitor nearly twice her age sweeps her off her feet. The education she receives is one on morality, ethics and coping in the big bad world. While the premise does open itself to teen exploitation in the same league of The Babysitters, it's mild in comparison with Lolita and is as prim and proper as an aristocrat's tea party.

Carey Mulligan is Jenny, and steals the show with her terrific debut performance as the young, not-so-innocent 16-year-old. Her dark brooding performance is composed from teenage angst and a side order of ice-cream parlor decadence as she aspires to be wiser in the ways of the world and more French of course. French music, Parisian holidays... are all a distant dream, until David (Sarsgaard) arrives on scene.

Jenny's father (Molina) couldn't be more pleased that his daughter is dating a man twice her age. David's charms are no match for her parent's practical sensibilities, and it's a matter of hook, line, sinker... rod and fisherman. The young gentleman knows his wines, is accommodating on curfews and generous with invitations. However, all is not as it seems on the surface of things as Jenny discovers another side to the gentleman's...continued.


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The $1 Billion Plus Movie Club

So AVATAR has recently joined the $1 Billion Plus Club making headlines worldwide, smashing box office records and leaving its competition in the dust with its new wave of mesmerising 3D film-making. At this point in time, it has yet to cross the $2 billion mark in gross earnings at the box office, but what about its peers? Which other films have crossed the $1 billion threshold? Well, it's surprising to learn that three of the Top 5 grossing films of all-time are in fact sequels?!

The Dark Knight Movie Poster

Then THE DARK KNIGHT (RANK: 5th) wrangled its way over the $1 billion mark with a brilliant sequel to follow Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins. The Warner Bros. sequel received loads of publicity on the back of The Joker's casting and Heath Ledger's death in the build-up to the film.

This gave The Dark Knight another dimension as audiences watched a posthumous Oscar-winning supporting performance good enough to rattle Jack Nicholson's cage in action. Nolan's crime epic was welcomed by critics and fans alike, ranking in the top 5 of films ever made on IMDB and receiving an extended box office run with repeat waves of interest.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest Movie PosterPIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN'S CHEST (RANK: 4th) cruised in on the tidal wave created by Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, Disney's theme park ride adaptation starring Johnny Depp. The first 2 1/2 hour film captured everyone's imagination with pirates becoming the in-thing and both kids and adults getting a taste for adventure.

The blockbuster set the scene for a sequel, one which received significant exposure as a new pirate ship, more money and more stars were thrown into the mix. Everyone was poised to see how Disney were going to follow-up on part one. The result was only disappointing since the film ended on a To Be Continued... and it didn't have the magnitude of a J.R.R. Tolkien story to steer its course.

The Lord of the Rings - Return of the King Movie PosterTHE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING (RANK: 3rd) marked the culmination in a three part trilogy of films by Peter Jackson, crowning the New Line Cinema series with a 4-hour adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Return of the King, part Ttree of the epic fantasy novel.

This film was ushered in by two critically-acclaimed parts to the trilogy in The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers, building up to a grand finale to rule them all. The success of the previous films helped gather enough momentum and public interest to make the completion of the film cycle a must on everyone's film calendars. A defining moment in film history.

Titanic Movie Poster

TITANIC (RANK: 2nd) smashed all records in 1997 with its epic romance and dazzling CGI disaster effects, capturing the famous last moments of the Titanic. The Paramount/20th Century Fox movie was a big hit at awards ceremonies with numerous accolades and nominations and many people watched it 3 or 4 times... despite its 3 hour run time.

Just like Spielberg's Jurassic Park, Titanic was a cutting edge marvel and a demonstration of CGI's impressive capabilities in film at its time led by two rising stars in Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. James Cameron's T2, Aliens and True Lies gave Titanic blockbuster credibility and gave it the impetus to override all previous box office takings... a record that would last 12 years.

Avatar Movie Poster

Then AVATAR (RANK: 1st) rocked the box office (as it continues to do so at the time of this article) with its electrifying display of 3D visuals and its epic saga borrowing narratives from some of Cameron's favourite films over the last decade.

The $500 million tag blockbuster had a long lead time, but in quickly gathered momentum after its worldwide December release through 20th Century Fox. Cameron silenced his critics by capturing the world's imagination all over again - making it his second film to gross in excess of $1 billion!

So the $1 billion plus movie club of top grossing films of all time gets a slight reshuffle... but which of these films truly deserves its prolific money-making spot in the Top 5? Which is your favourite?


Up in the Air Movie Review: Inbetween Days

Up in the Air Movie Poster

Have you ever been fired or had to fire someone? It's never nice. In fact, it's the reason bosses let people go on a Friday. We think we're defined by our jobs. It's the first thing anyone ever asks upon introduction, "So what do you do for a living?". I guess that's why it's so painful... taking the very thing that defines or establishes us in society and whipping it right out from under us. There's no way to avoid 'retrenchment' and 'being fired' from being anything but personal, and this weightless scenario is where Ryan Bingham finds himself, Up in the Air.

For Ryan Bingham (George Clooney), firing has become something of an art. Companies that want to keep their hands clean and protect themselves from wrongful dismissals and work place incidents contract agencies like Ryan's to let the heads roll and clean up afterward. Bingham is like a traveling salesman, flying from company to company, state to state... letting "firees" down easy and offering hope for their futures. He's an insincere guidanceĀ counselor, a buffer for the companies to get a move on with their corporate downsizing and an axe to deadwood.

There's a false sense of intimacy in Ryan's interactions. He gets to be in each candidate's head space for a couple of minutes... without feeling any intrinsic responsibility for his actions. Poverty, suicide, loss of self-esteem... these concerns are best forgotten. His smooth talking and off-the-cuff charm give him the license to operate within this realm with repetitive one-liners, but that's not to say there aren't any serious repercussions.

For one, he himself is on the way out... thanks to a new video conference system designed to make virtual firing a possibility. Bingham's own insecurity and feelings of emptiness and loneliness begin to emerge...continued.

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