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BEFORE MIDNIGHT

Globe. 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 they have always, in part, created as well as enacted. 'Ö'Ö'Ö'Ö'Ö (Reviewed by Jeff Simon)

BLANCANIEVES

Globe. PG. 104 minutes

This silent, black-and-white version of Snow White from Spanish director Pablo Berger, set in 1920s Andalusia against a backdrop of bullfighting, is a satisfying exercise in purely visual storytelling with some striking old-school imagery and some unexpected wrinkles in the familiar tale, including the wicked stepmother's kinky proclivities and, instead of a handsome prince, a handsome dwarf. 'Ö'Ö'Ö

THE CONJURING

Grant Park, McGillivray, McGillivray VIP, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. 14A. 112 minutes

Director James Wan returns with his Insidious star Patrick Wilson for an allegedly real-life haunted-house story set in the '70s. Wan serves up some classic scary situations and provide a decent jolt or three, but horror audiences are more sophisticated than this story. 'Ö'Ö'Ö (Reviewed by Roger Moore)

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. 'Ö'Ö'Ö'Ö (Reviewed by Roger Moore)

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 as four childhood friends who reunite in the small town in which they grew up for their kids' last day of school. Sandler's latest lowbrow make-work project for all the ex-jocks, jockcasters, and Saturday Night Live has-beens is another pointless romp through Sandlerland -- where the women are buxom, the kids have catchphrases and the jokes are below average. 'Ö1/2 (Reviewed by Roger Moore)

THE HEAT

Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital. 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. 'Ö'Ö (Reviewed by Roger Moore)

THE LONE RANGER

Grant Park, 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. 'Ö1/2

MAN OF STEEL

Polo Park. 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. 'Ö'Ö'Ö1/2

MONSTERS UNIVERSITY

Polo Park, St. Vital. PG. 143 minutes

This prequel to Monsters Inc. details 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. 'Ö'Ö'Ö (Reviewed by Jill Wilson)

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." As he demonstrated in Pan's Labyrinth, director Guillermo del Toro respects the power of myth and uses its power wisely, mixed with an outsize sense of fun, to make the best summer movie of summer 2013. 'Ö'Ö'Ö'Ö

RED 2

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

A group of retired assassins, including Bruce Willis, John Malkovich and Helen Mirren, go back in action to track down a purloined portable nuclear device with Anthony Hopkins along for the ride as a dotty scientist. Sequel director Dean Parisot does a decent job balancing the comedy and violence as in the first film, but the element of surprise is gone, and with it, much of the first movie's appeal. If this is a franchise, we're already seeing Red start to fade. 'Ö'Ö1/2

R.I.P.D.

Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, Polo Park, Towne. PG. 96 minutes

Ryan Reynolds plays a slain cop revived from the dead to join forces with fellow undead lawman Jeff Bridges on a special after-life task force committed to taking down paranormal bad guys. Any resemblance to this film and Men in Black is crushingly obvious, but at least Bridges is allowed moments of surreal levity in an otherwise run-of-the-mill end-of-the-world summer movie: Apocalypse Again. 'Ö'Ö

RUFUS

Globe. Subject to classification. 110 minutes

Filmed in Saskatoon, this oddball Canadian film is about a young man (Rory J. Saper) who likes the taste of blood and may be immortal, but doesn't believe in vampires.'Ö'Ö1/2

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. 'Ö'Ö'Ö1/2

THE TO-DO LIST

Grant Park. 14A. 104 minutes

Aubrey Plaza of Parks and Recreation stars as a virgin who resolves to get the sexual experience she requires before going off to college in this comedy written and directed by Maggie Carey. 'Ö'Ö'Ö

TURBO

Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne, G. 96 minutes

Ryan Reynolds voices a snail who has aspirations of being a racer in this animated adventure. While small children may be enchanted by this little gastropod that could, adults will be more sorely tested. For all the horsepower the Turbo boasts about, the movie tends toward the sluggish -- as in slow as a slug. 'Ö'Ö1/2 (Reviewed by Roger Moore)

THE WAY WAY BACK

Globe. PG. 103 minutes

A 14-year-old boy (Liam James), bullied by his mother's overbearing boyfriend (Steve Carell) gets a job at a water park and finds an unlikely friend and confederate in the facility's outrageous manager (Sam Rockwell). 'Ö'Ö'Ö'Ö

THE WOLVERINE

Kildonan Place, McGillivray, McGillivray VIP, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. 14A. 126 minutes

The feral, adamantium-boned loner Logan (Hugh Jackman) is summoned to Japan by a man whose life he saved during the Second World War, only to find himself rendered physically vulnerable for the first time in his life. 'Ö'Ö'Ö1/2

WORLD WAR Z

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. 'Ö'Ö1/2

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 28, 2013 ??65523

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