Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Posted: 05/12/2013 1:00 AM | Comments: 0
The following movies have been previously reviewed by Free Press movie critic Randall King, unless otherwise noted.
THE BIG WEDDING
Grant Park, McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. 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)
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 3D, but the script doesn't pop off the screen quite so effectively. 'Ö'Ö'Ö (Reviewed by Christy Lemire)
Polo Park. 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
McGillivray. 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 a layered performance as Robinson and Harrison Ford in crusty codger mode as Brooklyn Dodgers GM Branch Rickey. 'Ö'Ö'Ö1/2
Globe. PG. 97 minutes.
Six former heads of the Israeli secret service Shin Bet discuss their careers and the five-decade battle with Palestine, their Arab neighbours and themselves in this revealing documentary. Director Dror Moreh utilizes some impressive visual tricks that give a three-dimensional perspective to historical events but the more impressive trick is to illuminate a consensus between these six men regarding Israel's political policy regarding Palestine. 'Ö'Ö'Ö
THE GOOD LIE
Globe. 14A. 94 minutes.
Winnipeg filmmaker Shawn Linden went to Montreal to direct this drama centred on Cullen (Thomas Dekker), a college student who, after his mother's sudden death, discovers he is biologically the product of a violent rape. A framing device involving Cullen's pals telling outrageous campfire stories injects some unseemly comedy into the premise, but otherwise, this is a solid revenge tale with good work from Dekker and Matt Craven as his desperate, non-biological father. 'Ö'Ö'Ö
THE GREAT GATSBY
Globe, Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, McGillivray VIP, Polo Park, St. Vital. PG. 142 minutes
Director Baz Luhrmann layers glitz and a Jay-Z-produced soundtrack on F. Scott Fitzgerald's Jazz Age romance between enigmatic millionaire Jay Gatsby (Leonardo Di Caprio) and the capricious, old-money trophy wife Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan). The glamour and eye-popping visuals are exhausting after a while, leaving us with a movie that jazzes up a classic novel that needed no such crutches. More's the pity, because the cast acquit themselves well enough, especially Di Caprio, who brings a danger and romanticism to the role so lacking in Robert Redford in the 1974 version. 'Ö'Ö1/2
IRON MAN 3
Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, McGillivray VIP, Polo Park, Polo Park Imax, St. Vital, Towne. PG. 131 minutes.
In the third instalment of the Iron Man franchise, a thoroughly rattled Tony Stark (Robert Downey) is forced to go without his usual high-tech toys to investigate both a powerful terrorist known as The Mandarin (Sir Ben Kingsley) and a rival genius (Guy Pearce) creating super-soldier technology. Comic-book purists may not appreciate liberties taken with the Mandarin and the dearth of a fully functional Iron Man, but for the rest of us, this is a witty, wild outing, closer in tone to The Avengers than the forgettable Iron Man 2. 'Ö'Ö'Ö1/2
JURASSIC PARK 3D
Polo Park. 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
Kildonan Place, McGillivray, Polo Park, 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
PAIN & GAIN
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
Polo Park, Towne. 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 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
SCARY MOVIE 5
Polo Park, 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)
Grant Park. PG. 99 minutes.
In 1968, a seedy musician (Chris O'Dowd) in Australia helps create a girl group from a quartet of talented Australian aboriginal women and finds them a touring gig... in Vietnam. Based on a true story, this often feels like a mash-up of showbiz movies -- Dreamgirls meets For the Boys. It's best to take the movie on its own terms as a piece of work unique unto itself, hinging on the curious harmony between O'Dowd's roguish charm and Deborah Mailman's magisterial gravitas at the group's alpha songstress. 'Ö'Ö'Ö
Grant Park. PG. 106 minutes.
An elderly New Brunswick man (James Cromwell) defies a persistent bureaucracy to build a new house for his ailing wife (Genevieve Bujold) in a drama based on a true story. Director-writer Michael McGowan, who made the cancer drama One Week as well as the execrable Score: A Hockey Musical, is afflicted with a tin ear for dialogue. But it's an affliction the cast rises above, Cromwell with his dignified presence and Canadian treasure Bujold with a combination of warmth and ferocity. 'Ö'Ö'Ö
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 12, 2013 ??65525
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