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

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, McGillivray, 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, 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

FIRST POSITION

Cinematheque. G. 95 minutes

This rote documentary examines one of the world's most intense ballet competitions, the Youth America Grand Prix, and the efforts of six young competitors to win scholarships or contracts. Director Bess Kargman randomly bounces between her young subjects when only one, 14-year-old orphan Michaela rebuilding a tragic life that began in Sierra Leone, deserves a movie of her own. 'Ö'Ö1/2

42

Globe, Grant Park, McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital. 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, 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 was using action figures instead of actors and the results are correspondingly silly and uninvolving. 'Ö'Ö

HOME RUN

Polo Park. PG. 114 minutes.

Cory (Scott Elrod), a big league baseball all-star facing imminent self-destruction, is forced to spend eight weeks spend in a recovery program in his home town. This is an utterly conventional faith-based film built around Cory's coming to grips with his demons, making amends for his wrongs and finding religion. The cast does what it can to enliven that, but the 12-step meetings are too familiar to play as fresh and the film's leaden pace only makes us wonder how long it will be before we hear "The Serenity Prayer." 'Ö'Ö1/2 (Reviewed by Roger Moore)

JURASSIC PARK 3D

Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, Polo Park, 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 best 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

MY AWKWARD SEXUAL ADVENTURE

McGillivray, Polo Park. 18A. 103 minutes.

An accountant (Jonas Chernick), dumped by his girlfriend, resolves to become a better lover under the tutorship of a seasoned exotic dancer (Emily Hampshire) in this raucous but smart shot-in-Winnipeg comedy scripted by Chernick and directed by Sean Garrity. 'Ö'Ö'Ö1/2

OBLIVION

Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, McGillivray VIP, Polo Park, Polo Park Imax, St. Vital, Towne. PG. 125 minutes.

Patrolling the skies of an earth devastated by interplanetary war, Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) comes to the realization his understanding of earth's apocalyptic history may not be the truth. It's a promising premise, but the film doesn't register as serious science fiction because it is, first and foremost, a Tom Cruise vehicle. 'Ö'Ö'Ö

OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN

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 go it alone when terrorists invade the White House and take the president (Aaron Eckhart) hostage. It's a far more satisfying action movie that 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

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

Grant Park, 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 impacts on 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. With product in his hair and camera in hand, he dives headfirst into the whole climate-change scene. Because Stewart has the squeaky-clean persona of a kids' show host, a lot of Revolution feels like curriculum for a middle school science class. Then again, Revolution isn't looking to proselytize the calcified curmudgeons who made the mess we're in today. This is a movie focused on changing the way the next generation approaches its relationship to the life-support system called Earth. 'Ö'Ö'Ö (Reviewed by Katherine Monk)

SCARY MOVIE 5

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

A jumbled-together collection of sketches riffing on a disparate group of films including Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Inception, Cabin in the Woods, Paranormal Activity and even Black Swan. Their collective lameness is numbing. 'Ö (Reviewed by Frank Scheck)

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 21, 2013 A13

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