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MAMA

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

A couple (Jessica Chastain and Nicolaj Coster-Waldau) take custody of a pair of long-lost feral sisters, only to find they have been accompanied by a spectral protector in this thriller produced by Guillermo del Toro. Expectations for a ghost story released in January may be minimal, but this particular thriller boasts inspired touches of visual poetry along with the terror. 'Ö'Ö'Ö1/2

NEW IN TOWN

56 UP

Cinematheque. PG

Michael Apted's groundbreaking documentary series is approaching the half-century mark, checking in with different British citizens from different social spheres every seven years from the age of seven.

STARTING TOMORROW

HANSEL AND GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS

Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, McGillivray VIP, Polo Park, Polo Park Imax, St. Vital, Towne. 18A

The siblings of the classic fairy tale grow up to be vengeful anti-witch mercenaries (Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton) in this violent adult fantasy directed by Tommy Wirkola, the Norwegian filmmaker whose previous claim is the Nazi zombie movie Dead Snow.

HYDE PARK ON HUDSON

Globe. PG

A personal view of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (portrayed by Bill Murray) and his special relationship with a distant cousin (Laura Linney) focusing on the weekend the president hosted King Albert (Samuel West), as he solicited American help in the face of imminent war with Germany.

MOVIE 43

McGillivray, Polo Park, Towne. 14A

A compilation of off-colour comedy shorts produced by Peter Farrelly and starring the likes of Kate Winslet, Richard Gere, Naomi Watts, Liev Schreiber and an especially hilarious Gerard Butler as a malicious leprechaun.

PARKER

Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. 18A

Jason Statham is the titular crook with a strict code of ethics in this adaptation of the Richard Stark (a.k.a. Donald E. Westlake) novel co-starring Jennifer Lopez as Parker's opportunistic confederate.

STARTING SATURDAY

THE WAITING ROOM

Cinematheque. 14A

A doc looks at the crisis in the American health-care system from the perspective of a single 24-hour period in Oakland's Highland Hospital, one of the busiest emergency rooms in the nation.

NOW

PLAYING

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

BROKEN CITY

Globe, Kildonan Place, St. Vital. 14A

Mark Wahlberg plays a private investigator obliged to look into the extramarital activities of a woman (Catherine Zeta-Jones) who happens to be married to New York City's mayor (Russell Crowe). Everything here is simultaneously too complicated and overly spelled out. Director Allen Hughes' film is a forgettable piece of pulp. 'Ö1/2 (Reviewed by Christy Lemire)

DJANGO UNCHAINED

McGillivray, 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 Sara!) But as usual, the disparate references add up to something entirely unique. 'Ö'Ö'Ö'Ö

GANGSTER SQUAD

McGillivray, McGillivray VIP, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. 18A

A noble cop (Josh Brolin) is tasked with taking on the spreading crime empire of Micky Cohen (Sean Penn) in this movie featuring Ryan Gosling as another cop dangerously courting Cohen's mistress (Emma Stone). It may look like a stylish exercise in L.A. noir, but it is merely a violent, stupid variant of The Untouchables, without any of the inspiration that made that movie great. 'Ö'Ö

THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY

Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, Polo Park, 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 box office. 'Ö'Ö'Ö

THE IMPOSSIBLE

Grant Park, Polo Park. PG

Maria (Naomi Watts) and Henry (Ewan McGregor) are the parents of a Brit family on vacation in Thailand who find themselves fighting for their survival when a tsunami hits. Spanish director Juan Antonio Bayona has crafted an intimate disaster movie, terrifying in its veracity, but inspiring in its story arc, particularly with respect to Maria's eldest son (Tom Holland) who experiences a rough road to empathy. 'Ö'Ö'Ö1/2

THE LAST STAND

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

Arnold Schwarzenegger returns to action hero territory as a small town sheriff obliged to stop a fugitive Mexican drug cartel boss from crossing the border through his town. This is a passable thriller, even if a ferociously mugging Johnny Knoxville seems to have parachuted from another movie. Also: not the best time to celebrate American gun love. 'Ö'Ö1/2

LIFE OF PI

Grant Park, Kildonan Place, Polo Park. 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

Grant Park, McGillivray. 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 Thirteenth Amendment banning slavery, an effort that required prodigious political skill. Daniel Day-Lewis offers a sure-thing Oscar quality performance. 'Ö'Ö'Ö'Ö

LES MISERABLES

Globe, Grant Park, 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

QUARTET

Grant Park. PG

Maggie Smith stars as a former opera diva who stirs things up at a retirement home for retired musicians, whose numbers include her own embittered ex-husband (Tom Courtenay) in this tasteful, safe drama directed by, of all people, Dustin Hoffman. 'Ö'Ö'Ö

SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK

Grant Park, McGillivray, McGillivray VIP, 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

THIS IS 40

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

ZERO DARK THIRTY

Kildonan Place, McGillivray, McGillivray VIP, Polo Park, St. Vital. 14A

Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker) directs this dramatic chronicle of the decade-long hunt for al-Qaida terrorist leader Osama bin Laden through the eyes of an obsessive CIA agent (Jessica Chastain). It may seem shapeless compared to the average war/espionage movie, but the gist of this compelling drama is that war has changed and war movies must change accordingly. 'Ö'Ö'Ö'Ö

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 24, 2013 ??65526

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