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RECOMMENDED

MUSCLE SHOALS 'Ö'Ö'Ö'Ö

Cinematheque. PG. 77 minutes.

If you care about soul, rock 'n' roll and southern rock, Freddy Camalier's documentary about the history of a couple of Alabama recording studios is essential viewing. Interviews with key figures, including producer Rick Hall, Aretha Franklin, Mick Jagger, and Gregg Allman offer fascinating background to how a podunk town became a centre of the pop music universe in the '60s and '70s.

'Ö'Ö'Ö'Ö

STARTING FRIday

MEN WITH BEARDS

Cinematheque. 80 minutes.

Beards and the men who grow them are the subject of this talking-furry-heads doc by Winnipeggers Dylan Fries and Michael Sanders, examining the mundane, physical and spiritual ramifications of facial hair.

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

ABOUT TIME

Globe, Grant Park, McGillivray, Polo Park. PG. 124 minutes.

A young man (Domhnall Gleeson) learns from his dad (Bill Nighy) he has the ability to pop back in time. The skill serves him well in courting a lovely American (Rachel McAdams), but proves more challenging when he must determine the right balance for his replay gift for the good of his nearest and dearest. Likewise, writer-director Richard Curtis movies (Love Actually, Pirate Radio), who typically defaults to a setting of cute 'n' cloying, determines a more satisfying balance between comedy and sentimentality and delivers pleasing romantic fantasy. 'Ö'Ö'Ö

BAD GRANDPA

Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. 14A. 92 minutes.

Jackass's Johnny Knoxville adopts the persona of 86-year-old Irving Zisman for this semi-scripted road trip/prank movie in which Zisman raises the ire of bystanders while on the road with his eight-year-old grandson. Strip the danger out of Borat and the injuries out of Jackass and you've got a bead on Bad Grandpa. 'Ö'Ö 1/2 (Reviewed by Roger Moore)

CAPTAIN PHILLIPS

Globe, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, 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. 'Ö'Ö'Ö'Ö

CARRIE

Polo Park. 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, which rely too heavily on cheap-looking CGI for its ineffective shocks. 'Ö'Ö (Reviewed by Rene Rodriguez)

CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS 2

Polo Park, 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. 'Ö'Ö 1/2 (Reviewed by Roger Moore)

ENDER'S GAME

Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. PG. 114 minutes.

This adaptation of Orson Scott Card's sci-fi bestseller stars Asa Butterfield as Ender Wiggin, a young teen prodigy drafted by a gruff colonel (Harrison Ford) to lead a military incursion against a hostile alien enemy. Screenwriter-director Gavin Hood does very good work rendering the novel's universe on film, and avoids simplifying the final outcome of the battle. But the overall film fails to make deep impact given that this is a story about a child soldier, a boy cruelly manipulated by adults to function as a killer. 'Ö'Ö'Ö

FREE BIRDS

Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. PG. 91 minutes.

Two turkeys (voiced by Woody Harrelson and Owen Wilson) embark on a time-travel adventure in an effort to get turkey taken off the Thanksgiving menu in this animated comedy timed for American Thanksgiving release. No one should be thankful for this turkey. 'Ö'Ö (Reviewed by Roger Moore)

GRAVITY

Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, McGillivray VIP, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. PG. 91 minutes.

Sandra Bullock and George Clooney play 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 the 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. 'Ö'Ö'Ö'Ö

LAST VEGAS

Grant Park, McGillivray, McGillivray VIP, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. PG. 105 minutes.

A quartet of older guys (Morgan Freeman, Robert De Niro, Kevin Kline and Michael Douglas) venture out to Las Vegas for a weekend bachelor party ... of the type that only warrants a PG rating. Despite the presence of four Oscar winners in the ensemble, this is an exceedingly rote comedy enlivened here and there by Kline's eccentric sensibility and Freeman's redeeming cool. 'Ö'Ö

THOR: THE DARK WORLD

Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, McGillivray VIP, Polo Park, Polo Park Imax, St. Vital, Towne. PG. 112 minutes.

Marvel Comics' God of Thunder (Chris Hemsworth) faces off against the malevolent elf Malekith (Christopher Eccleston), who has devastating designs against Thor's home world, and his earthly love Jane Foster (Natalie Portman). The handsome heroics are impressive, but let's face it: Hemsworth's hero is a bit dull compared to his entertainingly wicked brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston). 'Ö'Ö'Ö

12 YEARS A SLAVE

Globe, Grant Park, Polo Park. 14A. 134 minutes.

Director Steve McQueen adapted a harrowing memoir by Solomon Northrup (here played by Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free black man in upstate New York, abducted and sold into slavery. The beauty of this movie is in how we identify with Northup and come to understand the awful effects his loss of liberty had not just on him, but on the moral relativists and outright sadists who ran the machinery of slavery. 'Ö'Ö'Ö'Ö'Ö (Reviewed by Roger Moore)

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 14, 2013 ??65524

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