Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, McGillivray VIP, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. 14A
The 24th James Bond movie pits Daniel Craig's secret agent against a former agent (Javier Bardem) intent on destroying the British Seceret Service, and M (Judi Dench) in particular. In the 50th year of the franchise, Bond manages to be realpolitik-pertinent while paying discreet homage to the films of the past. Director Sam Mendes also brings unexpected dramatic heft but manages the action stuff very well too.
National Geographic photographer James Balog utilized a radical form of time-lapse photography to document climate change in the Arctic in this doc.
KILLING THEM SOFTLY
Globe, Grant Park, McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital. 18A
Brad Pitt reteams with director Andrew Dominik (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford) for a crime story based on a novel by the great George V. Higgins (The Friends of Eddie Coyle) in which Pitt plays a mob enforcer investigating a heist of a mob-protected poker game.
MONTREAL, BERLIN AND BACK: THE FILMS OF LYSANNE THIBODEAU
The short films of Montreal-based independent filmmaker Lysanne Thibodeau offers up examples of her specialty -- the cinematic essay. Thibodeau will introduce the films. Friday only.
100 YEN: THE JAPANESE ARCADE EXPERIENCE
Winnipeg director Brad Crawford shot this doc examining the prevalence of the still-thriving video game arcades of Tokyo.
SIDE BY SIDE: THE SCIENCE, ART AND IMPACT OF DIGITAL CINEMA
This doc functions as a symposium on digital cinema and its impact on filmmaking, featuring interviews with heavy-hitters such as Martin Scorsese, Danny Boyle, David Lynch, Lars von Trier and Lana and Andy Wachowski.
The following movies have been previously reviewed by Free Press movie critic Randall King, unless otherwise noted.
Grant Park. 14A
Ben Affleck doesn't let facts get in the way of a good story with this based-on-fact tale of a CIA agent sent to rescue six American embassy workers trapped in the Canadian consulate during the hostage crisis in Iran by posing as a film producer scouting for Persian locations for a science fiction movie. The film shifts the focus of heroism away from the Canadians and onto American intelligence operatives who ... ahem ... kind of caused the mess in the first place. But as long as you remember that "based on a true story" is not the same things as "a true story," Argo is a fun ride. 'Ö'Ö'Ö1/2
A film adaptation of the challenging novel by David Mitchell in which events and characters from the past, present and future are all tied together by invisible bonds. Stars Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Sturgess, Jim Broadbent and Hugh Grant each play multiple roles in multiple plot strands. If you're 20 years old and high, the platitudes presented here may seem profound. Anyone else in his or her right might should recognize it as a bloated, pseudo-intellectual self-indulgent slog. 'Ö'Ö (Reviewed by Christy Lemire)
Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, Polo Park, Towne. 18A
Denzel Washington stars as an airline pilot who has to fight for his professional career after an accident threatens to expose his secret as a prodigious substance abuser. Director Robert Zemeckis paces with the momentum of a thriller but Washington's presence adds the gravitas of a gritty character drama. 'Ö'Ö'Ö1/2
HERE COMES THE BOOM
St. Vital. PG
Raising cash to save his friend's job, a tubby high school teacher (Kevin James) becomes a mixed martial-arts sensation. Yes, it is every bit as ridiculous as it looks. That's not such a bad thing for the movie, whose makers embrace the fact that they're essentially doing a live-action cartoon. 'Ö'Ö1/2 (Reviewed by David Germain)
LIFE OF PI
Globe, Grant Park, McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital. PG
Ang Lee adapts the best selling novel by Yann Martel about a young man who finds himself adrift on a lifeboat with a man-eating tiger. Lee crafts one of the finest entries in his eclectic resume with this gorgeous, ruminative film that is soulfully, provocatively entertaining. 'Ö'Ö'Ö1/2 (Reviewed by David Germain)
Grant Park, Polo Park. 14A
Steven Spielberg succeeds at getting under the skin of American icon Abraham Lincoln from the perspective of his singular genius as he negotiates the passing of the 13th Amendment banning slavery, an effort that required prodigious political skill. Daniel Day-Lewis offers a sure-thing Oscar-contending performance. 'Ö'Ö'Ö'Ö
Polo Park. PG
A raucous comedy about a troubled college girl (Anna Kendrick) who joins an a cappella singing group at the insistence of her father, only to bond with a collection of musical oddballs. As an attempt to revive the magic of the femme comedy Bridesmaids, it's lacking, but the music and the supporting cast do pitch in to deliver a modestly fun time. 'Ö'Ö1/2
Kildonan Place, McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. 14A
As a pure action film, this remake of John Milius's commie-baiting, Reagan-era paranoid thriller is just acceptable. But the decision to change the villainous invading force from Chinese to North Korean is sheer cowardice, a demonstration that the filmmakers don't have the courage of their lunatic convictions. 'Ö'Ö
RISE OF THE GUARDIANS
Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. G
One can't fault the lush animation in this story of mythical kid heroes (Santa Claus, the Sandman, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy) joining forces with Jack Frost to fight the Boogey Man for the imaginations of the world's children. But one can certainly take issue with the Hollywood impulse to render these gentle creatures as warriors. 'Ö'Ö
SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN
Malik Bendjelloul's movie about a little-known folk singer named Rodriguez is easily the feel-good movie of the summer and promises to surprise even the most jaded cynic with its heart, humour and historical significance. I'd tell you more, but I'd spoil the sweet sense of surprise. 'Ö'Ö'Ö'Ö (Reviewed by Katherine Monk)
SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK
Polo Park. 14A
Bradley Cooper plays an unemployed bipolar school teacher who moves back in with his parents (Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver), planning to reunite with his estranged wife, only to be distracted by a young widow (Jennifer Lawrence) with issues of her own. Director David O. Russell returns to the same eccentric/blue-collar milieu as The Fighter but a climactic dance competition doesn't have the same impact as a prize fight, and Bradley Cooper doesn't have the same impact as Mark Wahlberg. 'Ö'Ö'Ö
THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN PART II
Grant Park, McGillivray, McGillivray VIP, Polo Park, St. Vital. PG
The very last chapter of the Twilight franchise has Bella (Kristen Stewart) and Edward (Robert Pattinson) defending their vampiric daughter Renesmee against a threat by those bloodsucking hoodlums, the Volturi. Whatever happens before it, the finale is a doozy, almost certain to be satisfying to fans and impressive even to the casual Twilight viewer. But so much of what comes before that payoff is mundane, dull ... all talk and no action. 'Ö'Ö (Reviewed by Roger Moore)
Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. G
A video-game villain (voiced by John C. Reilly) in a primitive arcade game goes rogue when he escapes to prove his mettle in other, more sophisticated games in this funny, inventive Disney adventure. This riff on the realm of video games past and present may lack Pixar prestige, but it blasts out fun as relentlessly as a Low Orbit Ion Cannon. 'Ö'Ö'Ö'Ö