Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 17/8/2013 (1042 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The following movies have been previously reviewed by Free Press movie critic Randall King, unless otherwise noted.
THE ACT OF KILLING
Cinematheque. 14A. 120 minutes.
This extraordinary documentary examines some of the men -- paramilitary and local gangsters -- who killed between 500,000 and one million Communists (in reality, anyone who opposed the military junta) in Indonesia in the mid-'60s. The filmmakers frame the killers' admissions in the lexicon of movies, reproducing the crimes in the lexicon of movies from crime melodramas to musicals -- a truly shocking spectacle. Four stars
Grant Park. PG. 98 minutes.
Woody Allen splices the Bernie Madoff affair with A Streetcar Named Desire in a potent drama starring Cate Blanchett as the Blanche DuBois-like wife of a high-rolling Wall Street fraudster (Alec Baldwin). After his misdeeds are exposed, she journeys to San Francisco to live with her unpretentious sister (Sally Hawkins) to make a fresh start, but a life based on lies dies hard. Three-and-a-half stars
Grant Park, McGillivray, McGillivray VIP. 14A. 133 minutes.
Lee Daniels (Precious) directs this drama starring Forest Whitaker as a sharecropper's son who grows up to become a White House butler in service to every U.S. president from Eisenhower (Robin Williams) to Reagan (Alan Rickman). The stunt casting is off-putting and Daniels prefers seamy melodrama to insights into the varying characters of presidents, but the central idea manages to provoke. Three stars
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. Three stars (Reviewed by Roger Moore)
DESPICABLE ME 2
Kildonan Place, Polo Park, St. Vital. 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. Four-and-a-half stars (Reviewed by Roger Moore)
Globe, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, McGillivray VIP, Polo Park, Polo Park Imax, St. Vital 14A. 110 minutes.
This science-fiction epic takes place in the year 2154 where a dying man (Matt Damon) realizes his only hope is to live is to escape the wretched, toxic confines of a polluted earth and invade the titular paradise-like space station occupied exclusively by the very rich. It's wonderfully pertinent, simultaneously evoking the immigration debate currently raging in the U.S., as well as the widening divide between the ultra-wealthy and the rest of us. Pity writer-director Neill Blomkamp can't resist the lure of techs and violence with all those robotic smackdowns. Three-and-a-half stars
Globe, Grant Park, Polo Park. PG. 128 minutes
Ashton Kutcher plays computer brainiac Steve Jobs in this biopic about Jobs' rise, fall and resurrection in Apple. Kutcher, usually recognized as a dim goofball (Dude Where's My Car?) pulls off a decent performance, but even while it acknowledges Jobs' vanity and tempestuous temper, it still feels more like hagiography than legit biopic. Three stars
Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. 18A. 103 minutes.
This sequel to the 2010 comic-book movie sees Dave/Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Mindy/Hit Girl (Chloe Moretz) face a new menace in the form of Chris D'Amico (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), who has gone the route of the super-villain with an assembly of serious bad guys in his thrall. Not yet reviewed.
Polo Park, 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. Four stars
Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. PG. 115 minutes.
A promising young techie (Liam Hemsworth) is made a pawn in a high-finance duel between competing tech kingpins (Harrison Ford and Gary Oldman) in this slow, slick and superficial thriller from director Robert Luketic. Two stars (Reviewed by Roger Moore)
PERCY JACKSON: SEA OF MONSTERS
Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. PG. 106 minutes.
This sequel to Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief sees our demi-god hero (Logan Lerman) and his friends attempting to save their refuge by going on a mission to the Bermuda Triangle to discover the Golden Fleece. The saga gets points for attempting to illuminate the world of Greek mythology for young audiences, but it's too bad the result is largely lacklustre. Two-and-a-half stars (Reviewed by Claudia Puig)
Grant Park, McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. G. 92 minutes.
A humble crop dusting plane named Dusty Crophopper (voiced by Dane Cook) aspires to be a racer and enters an around-the-world contest in this Disney spin-off of Pixar's Cars franchise. The movie earns a few bonus air miles with some exotic locales and a few genuinely funny moments but a wartime flashback is a tad too grim for the presumably juvenile crowd. Two stars
THE SMURFS 2
Kildonan Place, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. G. 105 minutes.
The Wizard Gargamel (Hank Azaria), needing some Smurf magic, conjures up a couple of Naughties (elfin Smurf-like entities of dishonest disposition) to kidnap Smurfette (Katy Perry). Filled with Smurf wholesomeness, Smurf puns and posi-Smurf messages about "never giving up on family," The Smurfs 2 still sucks Smurfberries. Two stars (Reviewed by Roger Moore)
McGillvray, Polo Park. 14A. 109 minutes.
A couple of bank robbers (Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg) accidentally steal $40 million from a small-town bank, leading to the slow unravelling of a massive conspiracy involving the DEA, the CIA, the Navy and a Mexican drug cartels. It all feels like a '70s throwback (specifically recalling the '73 classic Charley Varrick) and Washington and Wahlberg have a bit of charisma, which helps with an otherwise rote action movie. Two-and-a-half stars
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). A nifty blend of humour, heart and drama. Four stars (Reviewed by Colin Covert)
WE'RE THE MILLERS
Grant Park, McGillivray, McGillivray VIP, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. 14A. 110 minutes.
Jason Sudeikis is a lowly pot dealer forced to assemble a bogus wholesome family to get a huge shipment of marijuana across the border from Mexico. A twist on the snobs-vs.-slobs comedy formula --call it straights-vs.-reprobates -- this is a pleasingly raunchy summer farce with Sudeikis ideally cast as a lowlife with a wholesome facade and Jennifer Aniston gleefully tearing apart her Friends image as the sensible good girl, in the role of a desperate stripper at the end of her G-string rope. Three stars
Kildonan Place, McGillivray, 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. This gets points for going somewhere new in a superhero movie, where the norm is to get stuck in the fertile but familiar mud of the origin story. Three stars