May 24, 2013 Sections
Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Grant Park, McGillivray, Polo Park. PG
Tina Fey makes a smooth transition from outlandish TV sitcom to mature movie comedy as a Princeton admissions officer faced with taking up the case of a brilliant student who may just be the boy she gave up for adoption years earlier. Starts Friday. 3-1/2 stars
Cinematheque, to March 24
Documentary by Bart Layton follows the stranger-than-fiction story of Nicholas Barclay, a 13-year-old Texas boy who vanishes from his home, only to reappear three years later in Spain with an unbelievable tale to tell.
Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. G
A stone-age family that's not the Flintstones, the Croods are a primitive clan forced from their cave by an earthquake, falling under the guidance of a charismatic nomad (Ryan Reynolds) in this animated comedy also featuring the voices of Nicolas Cage and Emma Stone.
OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN
Grant Park, McGillivray, McGillivray VIP, Polo Park, St. Vital. 14A
Not even Die Hard movies are appropriating the Die Hard formula any more, leaving the field open for this bullet-riddled thriller about a disgraced secret service agent (Gerard Butler) who must step up when terrorists invade the White House and take the president (Aaron Eckhart) hostage.
A young woman (Mia Wasikowska) begins to suspect the worst after her father is killed in an accident and an unknown "uncle" (Matthew Goode) moves in with her mom (Nicole Kidman).
PAUL WILLIAMS STILL ALIVE
This oddball documentary by Stephen Kessler (The Independent) examines the rise and fall of singer-songwriter Paul Williams, a ubiquitous fixture of pop culture in the '70s, now apparently a happy and fulfilled artist both in and out of the spotlight. 4 stars
The following movies have been previously reviewed by Free Press movie critic Randall King, unless otherwise noted.
Grant Park, McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. 14A
Halle Berry is a 911 emergency operator who confronts her tragic past when she tries to stand between a serial killer (Michael Eklund) and his next intended victim (Abigail Breslin) in a movie that starts out as a riveting, by-the-book kidnapping thriller. It's only when our Oscar-winning heroine puts down the phone and sets out to do some sleuthing of her own that The Call disconnects, turning into something far more generic and far less exciting. 2-1/2 stars (Reviewed by Roger Moore)
Polo Park, Towne. PG
A family suffers weird and unwelcome phenomenon in their home, only to learn an alien presence might be behind it all. Call it a horror mash-up: one-third haunted house movie, one-third demonic possession movie and one-third alien invasion movie. It gets to be a bit of a stretch to ask us to buy into ghost/demon/extraterrestrial beings that exist all in one package. 2 stars
Kildonan Place, McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital. 14A
A businessman (Jason Bateman) takes matters into his own hands when he discovers his identity has been stolen, only to discover an unlikeliest of perpetrators (Melissa McCarthy). McCarthy and Bateman bring their collective charm to bear, but as an escapist comedy, you probably have less stressful options, such as staying at home and paying bills. 2-1/2 stars
THE INCREDIBLE BURT WONDERSTONE
Grant Park, McGillivray, McGillivray VIP, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. PG
A once popular Vegas magician, Burt Wonderstone (Steve Carell) attempts to regain his place against an up-and-coming street magician (Jim Carrey) in this generic, fitfully funny mainstream comedy that doesn't nearly get the best from its name-brand players but doesn't qualify as a desecration, either. 2-1/2 stars (Reviewed by Ann Hornaday)
JACK THE GIANT SLAYER
Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. PG
Director Bryan Singer (X-Men) directs this fantasy about a likely lad (Nicholas Hoult) who ventures up a beanstalk to save a princess (Eleanor Tomlinson) and, oh yes, take on a race of malevolent giants. A solid, unpretentious entry in the busy bedtime story genre. 3-1/2 stars
THE LAST EXORCISM: PART 2
Polo Park, Towne. 14A
Nell (Ashley Bell), the possessed girl who predicated a Satanic conflagration in the 2010 found footage thriller The Last Exorcism, tries to move on with her life, only to find herself back in demonic clutches. Not reviewed.
OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL
Globe, Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, McGillivray VIP, Polo Park, Polo Park Imax, St. Vital. PG
This prequel to The Wizard of Oz posits how a travelling magician of dubious character (James Franco) lands in the magical world of Oz where he is greeted as both a saviour and a menace by a trio of witches (Michelle Williams, Mila Kunis and Rachel Weisz). Pity about Franco being miscast as a charismatic con man, otherwise this is a fun time with a touch of heart, brains and no small amount of courage in retooling cinematic sacred text. 3-1/2 stars
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. 3 stars
Polo Park, St. Vital. PG
A formulaic film based on a formulaic novel by Nicholas Sparks, this one has a beautiful stranger (Julianne Hough) who arrives in a North Carolina town under suspicious circumstances, only to fall for a handsome widower (Josh Duhamel). It's as similar to every other Nicholas Sparks movie out there, which may please the novelist's fans, but makes for a bit of an ordeal for the rest of us. 2 stars
SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK
Grant 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 (Oscar winner 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. 3 stars
McGillivray, Polo Park, Towne. 14A
Dwayne Johnson plays a regular guy who turns undercover cop to get the goods on a Mexican drug cartel in a desperate bid to save his son from a trumped up drugs charge. While the movie offers a refreshingly clear-headed view on the inequities and absurdities of the war on drugs, casting pumped up he-man Dwayne Johnson as a regular guy is just plain absurd. They might as well have cast Roger Rabbit and dubbed the movie Undercover Bunny. 2-1/2 stars
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 21, 2013 ??65524