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Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, McGillivray VIP, Polo Park, Polo Park IMAX, St. Vital, Towne. PG

Director Peter Jackson revisits Middle-earth with another three-part epic, albeit one based on a much slimmer story than the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Martin Freeman plays the young Bilbo Baggins and Ian McKellen returns as Gandalf who comes to the Shire with a mission.



Globe. PG

Anthony Hopkins stars as the redoubtable Alfred Hitchcock as he contrives a career change-up with the movie Psycho. Co-starring Helen Mirren as Hitch's wife and creative partner Alma Reville and Scarlett Johansson as Janet Leigh.



The following movies have been previously reviewed by Free Press movie critic Randall King, unless otherwise noted.


Grant Park. 14A

Keira Knightley stars as the tragic Russian heroine who flirts with disaster when she abandons her husband (Jude Law) for a Russian military exquisite (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), inciting the contempt of all of Russian society. Layering Leo Tolstoy's sumptuous marital melodrama with a heavy dose of airless artistry, director Joe Wright (Atonement) abandons the notion of holding a mirror up to society, la Tolstoy, in favour of reflecting his own creative ingenuity. 'Ö'Ö


Towne. 18A.

After a botched casino heist, two siblings (Eric Bana and Olivia Wilde) have an unexpected reunion when they join the Thanksgiving dinner of another family. Deadfall has the earmarks of a dozen earlier thrillers and Austrian director Stefan Ruzowitzky gives it the right tone and look. You could almost forgive the questionable geography, predictable directions and melodramatic flourishes of this tale of accidents and blood-stained coincidences -- until they start to pile up like a February snowdrift. 'Ö'Ö (Reviewed by Roger Moore)


Grant Park. 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


Polo Park, Towne. 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. In its own chatty and slight way, this is the Unforgiven of hit-man thrillers, a gritty, riveting nuts-and-bolts-of-murder tale that vividly illustrates what it is that these much-glamorized thugs do, and the gruesome, agonizing fate of their victims. 'Ö'Ö'Ö'Ö (Reviewed by Roger Moore)


Globe, Grant Park, McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital. PG

Ang Lee adapts the bestselling 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


Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, St. Vital, Towne. PG

A former soccer star (Gerard Butler) attempts to bond with his son and reunite with his estranged wife (Jessica Biel), but finds himself distracted by the soccer moms attending the games he coaches. Look upon the PG rating and despair: The emphasis on a run-of-the-mill family drama is especially annoying because movies could really stand to revive the ribald sex farce. Playing for Keeps fails to go there and subsequently fails altogether. 'Ö1/2


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


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 Bogey Man for the imaginations of the world's children. But one can take issue with the Hollywood impulse to render these gentle creatures as warriors. 'Ö'Ö


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


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. 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. 'Ö'Ö'Ö'Ö


Kildonan Place, McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. 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. The finale is a doozy, 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)


Kildonan Place, 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 his game 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

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 13, 2012 C12

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