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RECOMMENDED

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 rude, raucous but laugh-out-loud, shot-in-Winnipeg comedy scripted by Chernick and directed by Sean Garrity. Three and a ahlf stars

 

STARTING THURSDAY

TATSUMI

Cinematheque. Subject to classification. 98 minutes

A portrait in anime of graphic artist Yoshihiro Tatsumi, who revolutionized Japanese manga over his 50-year career.

 

STARTING FRIDAY

THE BIG WEDDING

Globe, Grant Park, McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital. 14A. 90 minutes

To protect their adoptive son from the disapproval of his rigorously Catholic birth mother, his dad (Robert De Niro) pretends to still be married to his ex-wife (Diane Keaton) in this feature-length situation comedy also starring Susan Sarandon, Amanda Seyfried and Robin Williams.

 

THE COLONY

McGillivray. 14A. 95 minutes

In a future frozen dystopia, survivors live in underground colonies and three members are obliged to investigate a neighbouring colony when they lose contact. This Canadian-produced thriller stars Kevin Zegers and Laurence Fishburne.

 

NO

Grant Park. 14A. 119 minutes

An arrogant Gen. Augusto Pinochet put his leadership of Chile to a vote in 1988 and it fell on a young advertising executive named René Saavedra (Gael Garcia Bernal) to mount an upbeat campaign to defeat Pinochet with a resounding "No."

 

PAIN & GAIN

Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, McGillivray VIP, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. Subject to classification

A trio of pumped-up bodybuilders (Mark Wahlberg, Anthony Mackie and Dwayne Johnson), conspire to kidnap and systematically rob from a minor hood (Tony Shalhoub) in this action-comedy loosely based on a true story. Directed by Michael Bay.

 

THE REP

Cinematheque. Subject to classification.

This doc follows the first year of business for three guys attempting to establish their own theatre, The Toronto Underground Cinema, while offering an overview of the fading world of repertory cinemas, with comments from rep-friendly filmmakers including Kevin Smith, John Waters, Atom Egoyan and George A. Romero.

 

NOW PLAYING

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

 

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. Three and a half stars

 

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. Three stars (Reviewed by Christy Lemire)

 

EVIL DEAD

Polo Park, 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. Three stars

 

42

Globe, Grant Park, McGillivray, McGillivray VIP, Polo Park, St. Vital. PG. 128 minutes

This is a solid biopic of Jackie Robinson, the athlete who broke major league baseball's colour barrier 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. Three and a half stars

 

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. Two stars

 

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." Two and a half stars (Reviewed by Roger Moore)

 

JURASSIC PARK 3D

Grant Park, Kildonan Place, 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. Three stars

 

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. Three stars

 

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 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. Three stars

 

OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL

Polo Park, St. Vital. 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. Three and a half stars

 

THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES

Grant Park, 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 Cianfrances'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. Three and a half stars

 

REVOLUTION

Grant Park. G. 87 minutes

This followup to director Rob Stewart's Sharkwater sees Stewart embark on a four-year mission that expands from saving sharks to saving the planet. 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. Three stars (Reviewed by Katherine Monk)

 

SCARY MOVIE 5

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. One star (Reviewed by Frank Scheck)

 

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. Four stars (Reviewed by Colin Covert)

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 25, 2013 ??65526

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