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Movies

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Movies

Posted: 11/24/2013 1:00 AM | Comments: 0

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This image released by Relativity Media shows The President, voiced by Jimmy Hayward (left) and Reggie, voiced by Owen Wilson, in a scene from the animated movie Free Birds. (Relativity Media / The Associated Press)

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This image released by Relativity Media shows The President, voiced by Jimmy Hayward (left) and Reggie, voiced by Owen Wilson, in a scene from the animated movie Free Birds. (Relativity Media / The Associated Press)

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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 of his replay gift for the good of his nearest and dearest. Likewise, writer-director Richard Curtis (Love Actually, Pirate Radio), whose movies typically default to a setting of cute 'n' cloying, finds a more satisfying balance between comedy and sentimentality and delivers a pleasing romantic fantasy. 'Ö'Ö'Ö

 

JACKASS PRESENTS: BAD GRANDPA

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 Billy. 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

 

DALLAS BUYERS CLUB

Grant Park. 18A. 117 minutes.

Matthew McConaughey stars as Ron Woodroof, a Dallas electrician and rodeo rider who contracted the AIDS virus in the mid-'80s and, on his own, found a workable treatment for himself and many other AIDS sufferers at a time the Food and Drug Administration was insisting on patients participating in protracted drug trials. Director Jean-Marc Vallée (C.R.A.Z.Y.) keeps the story grounded by mapping a solid inspirational character arc for Woodroof, from exploiter to advocate, but McConaughey takes it to the next level, not just in the much-publicized 50-pound weight loss he took upon himself for the role, but in his deeper embrace of the character. 'Ö'Ö'Ö 1/2

 

DELIVERY MAN

Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. PG. 105 minutes

This English-language remake of the Quebec comedy Starbuck stars Vince Vaughn as a hapless truck driver who discovers a deeper purpose in his life when he learns he fathered some 500 young adults through a mistaken distribution of his contributions to a sperm bank. What we have here is the makings of a charming time-to-grow-up-and-be-responsible-comedy. And that is exactly what Delivery Man manages to be. 'Ö'Ö'Ö (Reviewed by Roger Moore)

 

ENDER'S GAME

Polo Park. 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 a deep impact given 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, 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. No one should be thankful for this turkey. 'Ö'Ö (Reviewed by Roger Moore)

 

GRAVITY

Kildonan Place, McGillivray, Polo Park, 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 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

 

THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE

Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, McGillivray VIP, Polo Park, Polo Park Imax, St. Vital, Towne. PG. 146 minutes.

Teen tribute Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) inspires rebellion in the future dystopia of Panem, compelling the evil President Snow (Donald Sutherland) to force her to compete in a rigged 75th edition of the battle-to-the-death. "Hunger" notwithstanding, this is an overflowing cornucopia of cinematic stuff: Romance, action, social commentary, nature gone mad, mystery, intrigue and even fashion. And yet, as in the first installment, there is the gnawing feeling of something lacking. 'Ö'Ö 1/2

 

THE LAST DOGS OF WINTER

Cinematheque. G. 78 minutes.

This documentary, shot entirely in Churchill, focuses on Brian Ladoon and his efforts to preserve the Canadian Eskimo Dogs in a losing battle against their extinction. But as with the best documentaries, the film defies its own parameters. Director Costa Botes offers up wider subject matter encompassing polar bears, individualism, small town living and the surprising roles in which people find themselves in the drama of life. It is, perhaps foremost, an excellent portrait of this northern Manitoba community. 'Ö'Ö'Ö 1/2

 

LAST VEGAS

Grant Park, McGillivray, 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, 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 on 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 (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 24, 2013 ??65523

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