THE FIFTH ESTATE
Globe, Grant Park, McGillivray, Polo Park. 14A. 128 minutes.
At its best, this the story of the creation of whistleblower website WikiLeaks and its embattled founder Julian Assange (Benedict Cumberbatch) does manage to concise narrative through-line to the twisted tale. At its worst, though, the human story is crowded out by frantic visuals. Imagine The Matrix wherein both Neo and Agent Smith are played by Julian Assange. ***
ALL IS LOST
Polo Park. PG. 106 minutes.
Robert Redford, all by himself, stars as a man whose leisurely solo sea cruise becomes a desperate fight for survival when he suffers a series of escalating misfortunes. Directed by J.C. Chandor (Margin Call).
Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, McGillivray VIP, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. 14A. 92 minutes.
Jackass's Johnny Knoxville adopts the persona of 86-year-old Irving Zisman for this road trip/prank movie in which Zisman raises the ire of bystanders while on the road with his eight-year-old grandson Billy.
Cinematheque. PG. 89 minutes.
This documentary portrait of legendary casting director Marion Dougherty features remembrances by a host of actors who got a boost from Dougherty's discerning eye for talent, including Clint Eastwood, Robert Duvall, Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Glenn Close, Diane Lane and Robert Redford.
Globe, Grant Park, McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital. 14A. 118 minutes.
A lawyer (Michael Fassbender) puts his life in danger when he gets in over his head in the drug trade. Directed by Ridley Scott from an original script by Cormac McCarthy, this film co-stars Javier Bardem, Brad Pitt and Penelope Cruz.
Grant Park. G. 91 minutes.
This film by Jennifer Baichwal and Edward Burtynski examines the human relationship with bodies of water -- sometimes spiritual, sometimes curious but more often controlling and downright abusive.
The following movies have been previously reviewed by Free Press movie critic Randall King, unless otherwise noted.
Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, McGillivray VIP, Polo Park, St. Vital. 14A. 134 minutes.
Tom Hanks plays the titular captain whose vessel was overtaken by Somali pirates in 2009, the first American cargo ship to be hijacked in 200 years. Director Paul Greengrass employs documentary realism to build tension but it's Hanks who impresses most with a performance that portrays not just heroism but the emotional cost of heroism. ****
Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. 14A. 100 minutes.
This remake of the teen horror classic stars Chloe Grace Moretz as the telekinetic teen whose poignant attempts to get past her outsider-geek status are stymied by mean kids and a religious zealot mom (Julianne Moore) resulting in apocalyptic consequences. Brian De Palma's 1976 version casts a tall shadow over this iteration by director Kimberly Peirce, which seems especially haphazard in its horror elements and relies too heavily on cheap-looking CGI for its ineffective shocks. ** (Reviewed by Rene Rodriguez)
CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS 2
Kildonan Place, McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. G. 95 minutes.
After creating a massive food storm with his machine in the original 2009 film, inventor Flint Lockwood (voiced by Bill Hader) discovers his technology is now creating animal-food hybrids such as a taco-diles and shrimpanzees. The novelty of the first film is gone, and while the colour palette and design is as glorious as ever, the laughs are few and the innovations are fewer. ** 1/2 (Reviewed by Roger Moore)
Polo Park. 18A. 90 minutes.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt wrote and directed this gutsy comedy-drama debut as well as starring as a porn addict forced to re-evaluate his life choices when challenged by a demanding girlfriend (Scarlett Johansson) and an older-wiser college classmate (Julianne Moore). If the film feels a little raw technically, the performances are uniformly solid, especially Johansson as a dream girl with a touch of nightmare. *** 1/2
Polo Park. PG. 93 minutes.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus stars as a divorcee who learns the new man in her life (James Gandolfini) also happens to be the ex-husband of her new best friend (Catherine Keener). Director Nicole Holofcener has a gift of sensitivity to the nuances of insecurity and awkwardness that beset us as we struggle to avoid disappointing the people who mean the most to us. **** (Reviewed by Kenneth Turan)
Grant Park, McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. 14A. 116 minutes.
Sylvester Stallone plays a high-security prison designer forced to escape from his most challenging pen yet with a little help from a resourceful fellow inmate (Arnold Schwarzenegger) in a movie that is equally clumsy and amusing. The tempered violence and the easy bonhomie of our leads certainly make Escape Plan go down easier than the other Rambo/The Last Stand/Expendables pictures that brought these two aged action stars back from the dead. ** 1/2 (Reviewed by Roger Moore)
Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, McGillivray VIP, Polo Park, Polo Park Imax, St. Vital, Towne. PG. 91 minutes.
Sandra Bullock and George Clooney play a couple of astronauts facing a crisis in outer space when their space shuttle is destroyed by exploded satellite debris and they find themselves marooned and alone 600 kilometres above Earth. Director Alfonso Cuaron constructs a sometimes awesome dramatic thriller that flows together so seamlessly, it seems like it wasn't even edited. When it comes to Hollywood narrative, it may be a game changer, and in that capacity, it deserved a more interesting protagonist. ****
INSIDIOUS CHAPTER 2
Polo Park, Towne. 14A. 106 minutes.
This sequel to the low-budget 2010 chiller carries on with the story of a family (including Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne) besieged by malevolent forces from an unseen spirit world. While not as shriek-inducing as the commercials would have you believe, it does sustain director James Wan's admirable lo-fi approach to the material. When it does scare, it does so as a result of solid acting, writing directing and editing, not digital trickery. ** 1/2
Globe. PG. 94 minutes.
Set in Dallas during the Kennedy assassination and its aftermath, this multi-character drama attempts to translate that historic event through the experiences of the regular people in the midst of the tragedy, including an emergency room doc (Zac Efron) tasked with saving the life of the president, Abraham Zapruder (Paul Giamatti), the amateur moviemaker who filmed the shooting, and Robert Edward Oswald (James Badge Dale), the brother of the accused assassin. Aside from some dubious casting -- Zac Efron as a doctor -- this film's intimate views of a tragedy suggest the emotional connections to history are in its footnotes. ***
Polo Park, St. Vital. 14A. 153 minutes.
Hugh Jackman is a desperate father who resorts to vigilantism when his young daughter goes missing, and the creepy guy under suspicion (Paul Dano) has been released by the police. Jackman delivers the dramatic goods reasonably well and Jake Gyllenhaal offers more subtle shadings as the twitchy investigating cop. Quebec director Denis Villeneuve's Hollywood studio indulgence is a running time that's just a tad too much for the grim material. ***1/2
McGillivray. 14A. 123 minutes.
A dramatization of legendary rivalry in the '70s between Formula One racers as directed by Ron Howard, with Chris Hemsworth as Brit party boy James Hunt and Daniel Brºhl as persnickety Austrian Niki Lauda. If it's a sophisticated portrait of opposing personalities, it delivers the vroom-vroom goods too, befitting the director whose first effort was Grand Theft Auto. ***1/2
WE'RE THE MILLERS
Kildonan Place, St. Vital. 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 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. ***