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This article was published 12/2/2014 (837 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
I AM DIVINE
Cinematheque. 14A. 86 minutes.
The early films of John Waters transformed overweight teen Harris Glenn Milstead into Divine, one of the world's most recognized drag queens and a sexual outlaw in his own right. In addition to outsize entertainment, this doc by Jeffrey Schwarz achieves something Waters never could: a genuinely moving testament to an outsider. 'Ö'Ö'Ö 1/2
New in Town
Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, McGillivray VIP, Polo Park, Polo Park Imax, St. Vital, Towne. PG. 118 minutes.
This remake stars Joel Kinnaman as a cop transformed into a law enforcement cyborg by a corporation with dubious respect for the rule of law. It lacks the ferocity and originality of the original Paul Verhoeven classic -- note the PG rating -- but it does take the material in an interesting direction. Cybernautic fighting units aren't as outlandish a concept as they were in 1987, and director José Padhila accommodates with a movie more grounded in reality. 'Ö'Ö'Ö
ABOUT LAST NIGHT
Polo Park. 14A. 100 minutes.
A new adaptation of David Mamet's Sexual Perversity in Chicago stars Kevin Hart and Michale Ealy as a couple of single men negotiating their rocky path from the bar scene to committed relationships.
McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. PG. 105 minutes.
This remake of a Brooke Shields melodrama from 1981 stars Gabriella Wilde as a girl from a privileged family who falls for a poor but honest hunk (Alex Pettyfer), much to the chagrin of her suspicious dad (Bruce Greenwood).
THIS AIN'T NO MOUSE MUSIC
Cinematheque. PG. 93 minutes.
This doc examines the life and career of Chris Stratchwitz, the founder of Arhoolie Records, as he searched for authentic American music as opposed to the poppy, disposable "mouse music" that dominated the radio airwaves.
Grant Park, McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. PG. 118 minutes.
A fantasy drama starring Colin Farrell as a burglar who exists in both present-day and 1900-era New York, where he falls in love with a dying heiress. Russell Crowe plays an insane Irish gangster.
The following movies have been previously reviewed by Free Press movie critic Randall King, unless otherwise noted.
Globe, McGillivray, Polo Park. 14A. 138 minutes.
Director David O. Russell follows up last year's unexpected hit Silver Linings Playbook with a movie deserving of any and all accolades, recycling two of that film's stars -- Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence -- paired with Christian Bale and Amy Adams of The Fighter. Russell's take on the Abscam affair offers riches of deception and danger with terrific performances by Cooper and Lawrence as genuinely horrible people. 'Ö'Ö'Ö'Ö
AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY
Grant Park. 14A. 121 minutes.
In the grand tradition of Tennessee Williams and Eugene O'Neill, playwright Tracy Letts introduces another dysfunctional American family in the Westons. Fire-breathing matriarch Violet (Meryl Streep) holds savage court when her three daughters (Julia Roberts, Juliette Lewis and Julianne Nicolson) show up to comfort their newly widowed, cancer-afflicted mom. Trimmed from its three-hour-and-20-minute stage incarnation, the downbeat drama retains its cathartic humour, but two hours of shrill tantrums and plate-smashing hysterics are overpowering. 'Ö'Ö'Ö (Reviewed by Kevin Prokosh)
BRIDE FOR RENT
Globe. PG. 111 minutes.
To get cash from his trust fund, Rocco (Xian Lim) agrees to marry the beautiful, destitute Rocky (Kim Chiu), who needs the money to prevent her family from becoming homeless. Released earlier this year, this film by Mae Cruz is already the third-highest-grossing Filipino romantic comedy of all time. In Tagalog with English subtitles. Not reviewed.
Kildonan Place, McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. G. 102 minutes.
A young princess (voiced by Kristen Bell) must rise to the occasion when her sorceress sister (Idina Menzel) accidentally puts their kingdom in a deep freeze in this Disney animated musical. The songs are more poppy than the enduring, Broadway-like songbooks of Disney musicals past, a weakness compensated in animation art that is particularly gorgeous. 3 stars
THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG
Polo Park, St. Vital. 14A. 162 minutes.
In this second instalment of Peter Jackson's latest J.R.R. Tolkien adaptation, Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) attempts to aid a band of plucky dwarves in reclaiming their kingdom from the titular dragon. It dispenses with much of the painstaking geek exposition of the first film and brings on the action, with help from a couple of ass-kicking elves (Evangeline Lilly and Orlando Bloom), but still hews too close to Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy in plot, theme and execution. 3 1/2 stars
Polo Park, Towne. PG. 93 minutes.
In a dystopian world where demons and gargoyles battle for supremacy, Victor Frankenstein's creation Adam (Aaron Eckhart), the key to the secret of human immortality, finds himself caught in the middle. Regrettably, the tone of the piece is saturated with phoney-baloney gravitas, which tends to leach the fun out of it. Adam is not the only thing in this movie without a soul. 1 1/2 stars
JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT
Polo Park, St. Vital. PG. 106 minutes.
Tom Clancy's canny CIA hero is rebooted for a second time with Chris Pine taking on the role of a newly minted CIA recruit who uncovers a Russian plot to destroy the American economy. The first of the Ryan films not based on a Clancy novel, Shadow Recruit offers a more holistic reboot and turns out to be a wholly satisfactory, handsomely mounted affair, especially compared with the franchise fumble The Sum of All Fears. 3 1/2 stars
Kildonan Place, Towne. PG. 111 minutes.
Director Jason Reitman adapted the Joyce Maynard novel about a convict (Josh Brolin) who forcefully enters the life of a depressed single mom (Kate Winslet) and her son (Gattlin Griffith). Veering away from his typically edgier fare, Reitman enters Nicholas Sparks territory with this romantic drama, but Winslet and Brolin keep the melodrama from flying out of orbit. 3 stars
THE LEGO MOVIE
Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. G. 101 minutes.An ordinary Lego figure (voiced by Chris Pratt) is enlisted to lead a force of Lego good guys (including Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman) against an evil megalomaniac plotting to glue the Lego universe together. This wild animated feature may appeal to kids, but adults will be heartened by its potent satiric undercurrent and its championing of creativity. 3 stars
Globe, Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, McGillivray VIP, Polo Park, St. Vital. PG. 118 minutes.
A platoon of art experts is assembled to retrieve stolen works of art from the Nazis in this fact-based combat drama starring and directed by George Clooney. It's a great idea for a war movie, but the screenplay feels a few drafts short of completion with a sketchy narrative that never achieves any momentum, in addition to Clooney's heavy-handed messaging: Art is good. 2 1/2 stars
THE NUT JOB
Kildonan Place, St. Vital, Towne. G. 110 minutes.
When his cache of acorns is destroyed, a squirrel and his friends contrive a plan to live through the winter by invading a nut store. This is a surprisingly simple, funny and often cute slapstick comedy, better than any animated film released in the doldrums of January has a right to be. 3 stars (Reviewed by Roger Moore)
Grant Park. 14A. 98 minutes.
A political journalist (Steve Coogan) gets emotionally involved when he helps an older woman (Judi Dench) search for the son she forcibly gave up for adoption decades earlier. Philomena is a standard issue little-old-lady tour de force for Oscar winner Judi Dench, but it's a delicious change of pace for snarky funnyman Steve Coogan. 4 stars (Reviewed by Roger Moore)
Polo Park, Towne. 14A. 100 minutes
Kevin Hart stars as a security guard who accepts the challenge when the cop brother (Ice Cube) of his intended bride invites him to accompany him on a 24-hour patrol of Atlanta. Even by the standards of the well-worn buddy-cop genre, this is a lazy movie, insulting the audience by letting us stay five steps ahead of the hack screenwriters. 2 stars (Reviewed by Roger Moore)
THAT AWKWARD MOMENT
Kildonan Place, McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. 14A. 95 minutes.
In a show of solidarity you'd only find in a rom-com, Jason (Zac Efron) and Daniel (Miles Teller) come to the support of their about-to-be divorced pal Mikey (Michael B. Jordan) by promising to stay single and unattached, a vow that inevitably comes back to bite them, especially when Jason falls for a winsome writer (Imogen Poots). Coming after Joseph Gordon-Levitt's more gutsy rom-com deconstruction Don Jon, this movie feels not only spineless but emasculated. 1 star
12 YEARS A SLAVE
Grant Park. 14A. 134 minutes.
Director Steve McQueen adapted a harrowing memoir by Solomon Northup (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. 5 stars (Reviewed by Roger Moore)
McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital. PG. 105 minutes.
Rose Hathaway (Zoey Deutch) is a Dhampir, a half human/vampire who attends a special school where she learns of her role as a protective go-between twixt the peaceful, mortal Moroi vampires and the bloodthirsty, immortal Strigoi. Sexy, sassy, flip and funnier than it has a right to be, it still feels slapdash, perhaps under-budgeted -- sort of a hit-or-miss, low-risk trial balloon to see if Twilight Fever has indeed, faded. 2 1/2 stars (Reviewed by Roger Moore)
THE WOLF OF WALL STREET
Grant Park, McGillivray VIP. 18A. 180 minutes.
Martin Scorsese draws a bold parallel between the underworld of Goodfellas and the supposedly straight world of high finance with this memoir of a depraved stockbroker (Leonardo DiCaprio). Instead of violent excess, the film goes with sexual excess, but it remains a concise macroscopic depiction of the over-arching greed that derailed the economy. 4 stars