Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

MOVIES

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ADMISSION

Grant Park. PG. 117 minutes

Tina Fey makes a smooth transition from outlandish TV sitcom (30 Rock) to mature movie comedy as a Princeton University admissions officer compelled to take up the case of a brilliant student who may just be the boy she gave up for adoption years earlier. Fey is dependably droll, but this film by Paul Weitz (About a Boy) allows her a rare chance to explore some darker, deeper shadings that take her well out of the Liz Lemon shallows. 'Ö'Ö'Ö1/2

AMOUR

Globe. PG. 125 minutes

Oscar-winner for best foreign language picture this year, this quietly intense film by Michael Haneke examines the lives of an elderly couple (Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva) thrown into turmoil when she suffers a series of strokes, leaving him to struggle to care for her at home. In film, the visual language of love tends to be sex, but Haneke offers a bold and beautiful reconsideration. 'Ö'Ö'Ö'Ö

THE CALL

Polo Park, Towne. 14A. 94 minutes

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, far more routine and far less exciting. 'Ö'Ö1/2 (Reviewed by Roger Moore)

THE CROODS

Grant Park, Kildonan Place, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. G. 100 minutes

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). The animated adventure features a strong, star-studded cast (including Nicolas Cage and Emma Stone) and dazzles visually in wondrously colourful, vibrant 3-D, but the script doesn't pop off the screen quite so effectively. 'Ö'Ö'Ö (Reviewed by Christy Lemire)

EVIL DEAD

Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, McGillivray VIP, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. 18A. 92 minutes

Technically, this remake of Sam Raimi's groundbreaking cabin-in-the-woods shocker from 1981 has a better script, better actors and better visual effects, yet lacks the sheer inspiration of its predecessor. Director Fede Alvarez does competent work, but fails to break new ground, which is what the original The Evil Dead was all about. 'Ö'Ö'Ö

42

Grant Park, McGillivray, Polo Park. PG. 128 minutes.

This is a solid biopic of Jackie Robinson, the athlete who broke major league baseball's colour bar in 1946. Writer director Brian Helgeland may not deviate from the sports biopic formula, but he touches all the bases and gets that legendary number on the board, with Chadwick Boseman offering up a layered performance as Robinson and Harrison Ford in crusty codger mode as Brooklyn Dodgers GM Branch Rickey. 'Ö'Ö'Ö1/2

G.I. JOE: RETALIATION

Kildonan Place, McGillivray, McGillivray VIP, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. 14A. 111 minutes

This sequel puts Channing Tatum in the back seat to place Dwayne Johnson and Bruce Willis up front as members of the G.I. Joe team intent on reclaiming the country from the clutches of the sinister Cobra. Director Jon M. Chu (Justin Bieber: Never Say Never) stages action precisely as if he were using action figures instead of actors and the results are correspondingly silly and uninvolving. 'Ö'Ö

THE HOST

St. Vital. PG. 126 minutes.

Adapted from the novel By Stephenie (Twilight) Meyer by brainy writer-director Andrew Niccol (Gattaca), this blend of teen romance and science fiction posits a race of aliens who have taken mind control of earthly humans, except one young woman (Saoirse Ronan) who isn't quietly relinquishing her humanity. But there's only so much value that Niccol's slick presentation can add to Meyer's shallow material. 'Ö'Ö1/2 (Reviewed by Colin Covert)

JURASSIC PARK 3D

Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, Polo Park Imax, St. Vital, Towne. PG. 126 minutes

Velociraptors not only run amok, they get in your face in this 3D retrofit of Steven Spielberg's 1993 blockbuster about a theme park featuring cloned dinosaurs and a handful of humans who fall prey to the beast when the systems fail. Now that the film's groundbreaking visual effects are standard operating procedure for genre films, we are left to consider how Spielberg throws in every trick in his book and ends up with a film where the serious science-fiction premise is undercut by the director's penchant for transparent manipulation. 'Ö'Ö'Ö

KEVINFEST FILM FESTIVAL

Cinematheque.

In association with the Winnipeg Comedy Festival, former Kid in the Hall Kevin McDonald curates and introduces his favourite comedy films at Cinematheque at 7 p.m. ending tonight with Preston Sturges's The Lady Eve.

OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN

Grant Park, McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. 14A. 120 minutes

Not even Die Hard movies are appropriating the Die Hard formula any more, leaving the field open for this enjoyable cinematic cheese plate about a disgraced secret service agent (Gerard Butler) who must step up and go it alone when terrorists invade the White House and take the president (Aaron Eckhart) hostage. It's a far more satisfying action movie than A Good Day to Die Hard, and it's a particular relief to see Butler in This-is-Sparta mode after he has done hard time in the realm of the drippy drama/insipid rom-com. 'Ö'Ö'Ö

OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL

Kildonan Place, McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. PG. 130 minutes

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. 'Ö'Ö'Ö1/2

THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES

McGillivray, McGillivray VIP, Polo Park. 14A. 141 minutes

Director Derek Cianfrance reunites with his Blue Valentine star Ryan Gosling in a tripartite tale of a bank robber (Gosling), a cop (Bradley Cooper), and how their fateful meeting affects the lives of their two sons. It has the makings of an excellent melodramatic saga along the lines of, say, East of Eden but Cianfrance's pseudo-realism tends to undercut the film's dramatic potency. A restless, shaky camera is not the best medium for the heartbreak at the movie's core. 'Ö'Ö'Ö1/2

REVOLUTION

Grant Park, Polo Park. G. 87 minutes

This follow-up to director Rob Stewart's Sharkwater sees Stewart embark on a four-year mission that expands from saving sharks to saving the planet. Not reviewed.

SCARY MOVIE 5

Grant Park, Kildonan Place, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. G. 87 minutes

"I've come back from worse," says Charlie Sheen in this fifth horror parody, offering up crude satires of recent chillers including Paranormal Activity, Mama, and Black Swan. That remains to be seen, Charlie. Not reviewed.

SPRING BREAKERS

Polo Park. 18A. 94 minutes

Harmony Korine drafts a pair of former Disney princesses (Vanessa Hudgens and Selena Gomez) into this sordid movie about a quartet of college students engaging in a criminal good time under the influence of a gun-toting grill-toothed gangsta (James Franco). Korine comes close to saying interesting things about race, gender and power, but alas, he still aspires to be an American Godard, which here translates into contempt for bourgeois notions of character and plot. 'Ö'Ö

STOKER

Globe. 14A. 99 minutes

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). South Korean director Park Chan-wook balances knuckle-gnawing anxiety and florid melodrama, and he finds his characters charismatic and toxic, pathetic and frightening, absurd and overwhelmingly sad. 'Ö'Ö'Ö'Ö (Reviewed by Colin Covert)

TRANCE

Globe. 14A. 102 minutes

A fine art auctioneer (James McAvoy) involved in a plot with a gang of thieves claims to be suffering amnesia with regards to the whereabouts of a stolen painting and employs a hypnotherapist (Rosario Dawson) to recover the memory before the gang employs less gentle methods. Director Danny Boyle's film is not a simple smash-and-grab yarn but an abstract psychological thriller, telling us a story of a perfect crime gone awry. But like his protagonist, Boyle is really shifty about it. 'Ö'Ö'Ö'Ö (Reviewed by Colin Covert)

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 14, 2013 A13

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