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DJANGO UNCHAINED

Globe, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, McGillivray VIP, Polo Park, St. Vital. 18A

Quentin Tarantino's latest stars Jamie Foxx as a freed slave who joins up with a bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz) to rescue his wife (Kerry Washington) from the decadent plantation of a depraved southern gentleman (Leonardo DiCaprio). It's a runaway stagecoach of a movie, suspenseful, shocking and grimly funny. As always with Tarantino, it is wildly referential. (Hey, that zoom shot is right out of The Wild Bunch! Hey, I recognize that music from Two Mules for Sister Sarah!) But as usual, the disparate references add up to something unique. 'Ö'Ö'Ö'Ö

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

CIRQUE DE SOLEIL: WORLDS AWAY

McGillivray. PG

This Cirque's Greatest Hits package has plenty of eye candy, as you'd expect of any 3D film built around the hotdog acrobatics and seemingly magical stagecraft of the Montreal-based circus, now a global brand known for its imaginative yet rigorous integration of music, costumes, sets, story and performance. What the movie lacks, unfortunately, is coherence. 'Ö'Ö'Ö (Reviewed by Michael O'Sullivan)

THE GUILT TRIP

McGillivray, Polo Park, Towne. PG

For their latest comic trick, Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen go for something that neither has been known for over the course of their respective careers: cute, with a holiday comedy safer for Streisand's audience than for Rogen's, a mild-mannered movie you won't be embarrassed to take your mom to. Well, not too embarrassed. 'Ö'Ö1/2 (Reviewed by Roger Moore)

HITCHCOCK

Globe. PG

Anthony Hopkins stars as Alfred Hitchcock, catching the celebrated director in transition as he contrives a career change-up with the movie Psycho. Peeking at the private man behind Hitchcock's carefully cultivated public image seems fair, given his voyeuristic tendencies. Shifting perspective from his authoritarian facade to the needy, repressed man within is one of the few neat twists in this affectionate, forgettable misfire. They could have subtitled it Dial M for Muddle. 'Ö'Ö1/2 (Reviewed By Colin Covert)

THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY

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

Director Peter Jackson revisits Lord of the Rings turf with another three-part epic, albeit one based on a much slimmer story than the first trilogy. Martin Freeman plays the young Bilbo Baggins and Ian McKellen returns as Gandalf who comes to the Shire with a mission to help restore a Dwarf kingdom to an heir to the throne. While it feels good to be back in Middle-earth, one can't help the niggling feeling that Jackson is padding out this story in a transparent attempt to duplicate LOTR's multi-billion-dollar box office. 'Ö'Ö'Ö

JACK REACHER

Grant Park, McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. 14A

Ex-military investigator Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise) investigates a trumped-up murder charge against an old comrade. Clever, well-crafted and darkly humorous, and it features one of those effortless bad-ass performances from Tom Cruise that remind us that he is indeed a movie star, first and foremost. Christopher McQuarrie's film moves so fluidly and with such confidence, it'll suck you in from the start. 'Ö'Ö'Ö1/2 (Reviewed by Christy Lemire)

LIFE OF PI

Grant Park, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. 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)

LINCOLN

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

LES MISERABLES

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

The hit musical finally gets its big-screen treatment as Victor Hugo's tragic novel comes to life with the help of Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe as, respectively, the fugitive Jean Valjean and the relentless Inspector Javert. While this may not be a feel-good movie, it's doubtful there has been any movie so invested with such raw feeling, especially a musical. Anne Hathaway's performance of I Dreamed a Dream is one for the ages. 'Ö'Ö'Ö1/2

MONSTERS INC. 3D

Kildonan Place, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. G

In anticipation of next year's Monster University, Pixar re-releases this 2001 comedy -- newly translated into glorious 3D -- about a couple of monsters (voiced by John Goodman and Billy Crystal) who start questioning their child-scaring ways. 'Ö'Ö'Ö'Ö

PARENTAL GUIDANCE

Kildonan Place, McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. G

The family-friendliest movie comedy this holiday season is a mild-mannered riff on parenting, then-and-now. Bette Midler and Billy Crystal as a pair of grandparents who attempt to bring some old-school child-rearing techniques on their grandkids while their parents are away for a vacation. Basically, it's a vehicle for Crystal, and to a lesser degree Midler, to riff on the spoiled, over-indulged and sometimes uptight kids their kid is raising. 'Ö'Ö1/2 (Reviewed by Roger Moore)

RISE OF THE GUARDIANS

St. Vital. 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 certainly take issue with the Hollywood impulse to render these gentle creatures as warriors. 'Ö'Ö

SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK

Grant Park, 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

SKYFALL

Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital. 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. 'Ö'Ö'Ö'Ö

THIS IS 40

Grant Park, McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital. 14A

This semi-sequel to Knocked Up focuses on the married couple Pete and Debbie played by Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann. As they enter their fourth decades the same week, they negotiate sex, parenting, careers and frayed relationships with their own parents in this raucous but relatable comedy from writer-director Judd Apatow. 'Ö'Ö'Ö1/2

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 27, 2012 ??65526

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