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RECOMMENDED

THE ANGELS' SHARE

Cinematheque. 14A. 102 minutes

Director Ken Loach, a filmmaker celebrated for social realism, offers up his version of a heist thriller in this Scotland-set story of a young man (Paul Brannigan) with a criminal past who seizes a chance for a new start in life when a rare cask of whisky goes to auction. The grim setting of urban Glasgow is here leavened with wit, suspense and a generous spirit. ***1/2

 

NEW IN TOWN

STARTING FRIDAY

GROWN-UPS 2

Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. 14A. 101 minutes

Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock and David Spade return for a sequel someone was apparently interested in seeing, playing four childhood friends who reunite in the small town in which they grew up for their kids' last day of school.

 

PACIFIC RIM

Globe, Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, McGillivray VIP, Polo Park, Polo Park Imax, St. Vital. PG. 132 minutes

When giant monsters arise from the depths of the oceans, humanity responds with giant fighting robots in a desperate (and visually impressive) bid to "cancel the apocalypse." This big-budget event thriller is directed by the always resourceful Guillermo Del Toro.

 

NOW PLAYING

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

 

BEFORE MIDNIGHT

Grant Park. 14A. 109 minutes

This is Richard Linklater's third entry in the chat-filled art movie franchise detailing the relationship of Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy), once hipsters, now parents of twins engaged with an examination of their morphing relationship while on vacation in Greece. It is a singular film achievement that we have watched these two performers over 18 years playing roles which they have always, in part, created as well as enacted. ***** (Reviewed by Jeff Simon)

 

DESPICABLE ME 2

Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. G. 98 minutes

This sequel to the 2010 hit sees Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) enlisted to save the world. It's a gag-filled delight from start to finish with more laughs in its first five minutes than Monsters University managed over its entire length. ****1/2 (Reviewed by Roger Moore)

 

THE EAST

Globe. 14A. 116 minutes.

An operative (Brit Marling) for an elite private intelligence firm finds her allegiances at risk when she infiltrating an anarchist eco-terrorist group known for executing covert attacks upon major corporations. It offers a lot to chew on as bad things happen to bad people, and to "good" people -- the dilettantes who see themselves as do-gooders but get just as down and dirty as those corporations they seek to punish. ***1/2 (Reviewed by Roger Moore)

 

FRANCES HA

Globe. 14A. 86 minutes

Twenty-something Frances (Greta Gerwig) adrift in New York City struggles to find herself in this comedy by Noah Baumbach. Kind of like Annie Hall without that intrusive Woody Allen character, this is primarily a self-constructed vehicle for Gerwig (who co-scripted) to display her awkward charm. ***

 

THE HEAT

Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, McGillivray VIP, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. 14A. 117 minutes

Sandra Bullock plays a super-competent FBI agent who turns into a rookie-like klutz in the proximity of tough city cop Melissa McCarthy in this female buddy comedy. It's a collection of scenes that force the stars to riff and riff until something funny comes out, which is rarely. ** (Reviewed by Roger Moore)

 

THE LONE RANGER

Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, McGillivray VIP, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. PG. 150 minutes

A ham-fisted, messy revisionist take on the legendary masked man with the emphasis on Tonto, a sidekick no more in the hands of a hammy Johnny Depp. Director Gore Verbinski and Depp should have left well enough alone with their excellent animated western Rango. *1/2

 

MAN OF STEEL

Grant Park, McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. PG. 143 minutes

After Superman Returns (Bryan Singer's slavish homage to Richard Donner's '70s Superman franchise), Warner Bros. goes for a grittier approach with this reboot from director Zack Snyder featuring Henry Cavill as Clark Kent and Michael Shannon as his Krypton-born nemesis General Zod, Snyder's Supe does not represent a more "realistic" approach to the Superman myth. It simply forgoes the more cornball mythology -- the red-and-blue Superman suit, the secret identity silliness involving mild-mannered Clark Kent, etc. -- favouring a more grounded, and literally darker rendition of Smallville's favourite son. ***1/2

 

MONSTERS UNIVERSITY

Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. PG. 143 minutes

A prequel to Monsters Inc. detailing the first meeting of monsters Sully (John Goodman) and Mike (Billy Crystal) at college, where their mutual enmity transforms into an unlikely friendship. There are mild laughs and amusing hijinks, but nothing uproariously funny. Where Monsters Inc. had a fly-by-the-seat-of-its pants charm that made it actually seem ad-libbed, Monsters University feels overly plotted and plodding. *** (Reviewed by Jill Wilson)

 

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING

Globe. 14A. 109 minutes

Director Joss Whedon follows up the monster hit The Avengers with a scaled-back, black-and-white contemporary take on Shakespeare's most upsetting comedy, shot in Whedon's own house. For crisp, sophisticated comedy, bet on Nothing. ***1/2

 

NOW YOU SEE ME

Polo Park. PG. 116 minutes

A team of illusionists (including Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher and Woody Harrelson) rob banks during performances and award the money to their audience in this oddball thriller co-starring Mark Ruffalo and Morgan Freeman. The razzle dazzles but the smoke never quite hides the mirrors in Now You See Me, a super-slick new magicians' heist picture that demonstrates, once again, how tough it is to make "magic" as a movie subject work. **1/2 (Reviewed by Roger Moore)

 

THIS IS THE END

Polo Park. 18A. 107 minutes.

A Hollywood-insider-buddy comedy conjoins with apocalyptic horror to coarsely funny effect when Seth Rogen takes Jay Baruchel to James Franco's house for a party and hell literally busts loose. ***1/2

 

WHITE HOUSE DOWN

Grant Park, McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. 14A. 132 minutes.

Or: Terrorists Invade the White House... Again. This higher-budgeted variant of Olympus Has Fallen stars Channing Tatum as the wannabe Secret Service agent and Jamie Foxx as the president obliged to redefine foreign policy... with their fists. If you see just one terrorists-take-over-the-White House thriller this year, make it White House Down. **1/2 (Reviewed by Roger Moore)

 

WORLD WAR Z

Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. PG. 116 minutes

Brad Pitt produced and stars in Marc Forster's adaptation of the Max Brooks novel of the same name, paring down the international, multi-character epic to a single hero's journey. Pitt is a UN investigator assigned to find the source of a zombie epidemic. If even half of Brooks' ideas and his grand apocalyptic tableau had survived the adaptation, this could have been something special. What it actually is: a classy but weak pop zombie trifle. **1/2

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 10, 2013 ??65524

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