Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Posted: 04/28/2013 3:17 AM | Comments: 0
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
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. The Big Wedding doesn't have a single moment of recognizable humanity, but on the plus side, it's short. 'Ö1/2 (Reviewed by Joe Williams)
McGillivray. 14A. 95 minutes
In a desolate frozen dystopia of the future, a few survivors live in underground communities. In one such colony, three adventurers (including Kevin Zegers and Laurence Fishburne) are obliged to investigate a neighbouring colony when they lose contact. It may sound like an out-there sci-fi concept, but this run-of-the-mill thriller, released after an especially long and brutal winter, isn't nearly escapist enough. 'Ö'Ö
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)
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. 'Ö'Ö'Ö
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 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
Polo Park. PG. 114 minutes.
Cory (Scott Elrod), a big league baseball all-star facing imminent self-destruction, is forced to spend eight weeks in a recovery program in his hometown. 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, 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 rude, raucous but laugh-out-loud, shot-in-Winnipeg comedy scripted by Chernick and directed by Sean Garrity. 'Ö'Ö'Ö1/2
Grant Park. 14A. 119 minutes
An arrogant Gen. Augusto Pinochet put his leadership of Chile to a vote in 1988 and it falls on a young advertising executive named René Saavedra (Gael Garcia Bernal) to mount an upbeat campaign to defeat Pinochet with a resounding "No." Both an interesting look at real-life political campaigning and a portrait of a country slow to emerge from its own self-imposed dark ages. 'Ö'Ö'Ö1/2
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 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 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. 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
PAIN & GAIN
Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, McGillivray VIP, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. 18A. 129 minutes
A trio of pumped-up bodybuilders (Mark Wahlberg, Anthony Mackie and Dwayne Johnson), conspire to kidnap and systematically rob from an obnoxious but wealthy victim (Tony Shalhoub) in this action-comedy loosely based on a true story. Director Michael Bay may eschew the robotics of his Transformers movies, but a comedy that includes a pair of real-world murders demonstrates that a sense of humanity eludes him still. 'Ö'Ö
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. 'Ö'Ö'Ö1/2
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. 'Ö'Ö'Ö (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. 'Ö (Reviewed by Frank Scheck)
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 28, 2013 A13
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