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Movies - What's playing where this weekend

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RECOMMENDED

FINDING VIVIAN MAIER
Cinematheque. G. 83 minutes.

This amazing documentary portrait is part detective story, examining the life and work of Vivian Maier, a woman who kept a secret of her formidable photographic talent while working as a nanny in the employ of various families. Co-director John Maloof acquired trunk-loads of her negatives and initiated a search that reveals an eccentric, troubled, solitary soul whose gifts that were never appreciated until after her death. Starts today. 3 1/2 stars

 

NEW IN TOWN

HEAVEN IS FOR REAL
Polo Park, St. Vital. G. 100 minutes.

While on an operating table with appendicitis, four-year-old Colton Burpo had visions of heaven that ultimately rock the world of his pastor dad (Greg Kinnear) and their small-town Nebraska community. Writer-director Randall Wallace likes to wring maximum theological goods from his stories, and while he is better served by the material here than he was in his last film (Secretariat), this film's seemingly provocative premise is not really a serious inquiry but a spurious, comforting doctrinal lullaby. 2 1/2 stars

 

STARTING TODAY

7 BOXES
Cinematheque. 14A. 105 minutes.

This thriller from Paraguay follows a street kid, eager to escape the scrutiny of police, agreeing to help a butcher transport seven boxes across a crowded marketplace, only to encounter thieves and criminals with an interest in what those boxes contain.

 

STARTING FRIDAY

BEARS
Polo Park, St. Vital. G. 78 minutes.

This Disney Nature doc follows the raising of bear cubs in the wilds of Alaska.
DOM HEMINGWAYGlobe. 18A. 94 minutes.After serving 12 years in prison, the titular safecracker (Jude Law) is set free to exact payment for his silence, and also to come to terms with his estranged daughter (Emilia Clarke).TRAILER PARK BOYS: DON'T LEGALIZE IT
Kildonan Place, McGillivray, McGillivray VIP, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. 14A. 96 minutes.
TRANSCENDENCE
Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, McGillivray, Polo Park, Polo Park Imax, St. Vital, Towne. PG. 119 minutes.

Dr. Will Caster (Johnny Depp), on a mission to take artificial intelligence to the next level, gets more intimately involved in the process than he expected after an assassination attempt by an anti-technology extremist group. This science-fiction thriller marks the directorial debut of cinematographer Wally Pfister (Inception) and co-stars Rebecca Hall and Kate Mara.

 

NOW PLAYING

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


CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER
Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, McGillivray VIP, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. PG. 136 minutes.
After an assassination plot directed at a colleague, Steve Rogers, a.k.a Captain America (Chris Evans), teams with the Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson ) and the Falcon (Anthony Mackie) to face down the mysterious superpowered assassin called The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan). This latest Marvel franchise entry is not as funny as The Avengers, but it is an action-packed entry as timely and pertinent as a book from the comic book's Bronze Age. 3 1/2 stars

DIVERGENT
Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. PG. 140 minutes.
In a dystopian future society, every citizen at age 16 is designated for one of five social factions, but Tris (Shailene Woodley) discovers she doesn't fit into any one category, which places her life in danger from the clique-oriented powers that be. While an undistinguished piece of speculative pop fiction, the premise is at least more interesting and credible than The Hunger Games, and Woodley proves to be a sympathetic heroine of Jennifer Lawrence proportions. 3 stars
DRAFT DAY
Grant Park, McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. PG. 110 minutes.
A football-team GM (Kevin Costner) angles to rebuild his struggling team by scoring a No. 1 draft pick in this better-than-expected behind-the-scenes football comedy from Ivan Reitman, co-starring Denis Leary and Jennifer Garner. 3 stars

GOD'S NOT DEAD
Grant Park. PG. 113 minutes.
A college student (Shane Harper) is obliged to defend his faith against an atheist philosophy professor (Kevin Sorbo) in this Christian drama. The inspirational quotient may be low, but this is the angriest faith-based film in recent memory. And as mother always said, when you lose your temper, you've already lost the argument. 2 stars (Reviewed by Roger Moore)
THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL
Grant Park, McGillivray, Polo Park. 14A. 100 minutes.
Director Wes Anderson's latest stars Ralph Fiennes as the concierge of a legendary hotel, coping with crime, intrigue and destructive political forces on the rise. It's a dark, daft and deft triumph of design details. From the purple velvet hotel uniforms to the drinks, colognes and artwork of Europe between the world wars, Anderson ensconces his eccentric characters and us in a time of baroque, imaginary four-star hotels run on what used to pass for four-star service. 4 stars (Reviewed by Roger Moore)

THE LEGO MOVIE
Polo Park. 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
MR. PEABODY AND SHERMAN
St. Vital, Towne. G. 93 minutes.
This studio-produced animated epic, based on Jay Ward's more humbly satiric 'toon from the '60s, gives us the return of the time-travelling genius canine Mr. Peabody (voiced by Ty Burrell) attempting to undo the temporal damage done by his adopted son Sherman when he used their time-travel "Wabac" machine to impress a girl. Fans of the old TV show may take longer in adjusting to the new voices, but the witty word play and the pull-out-all-stops supporting cast pays off. 3 stars (Reviewed by Roger Moore)
MUPPETS MOST WANTED
St. Vital, Towne. G. 107 minutes.
Kermit the Frog falls victim to a look-alike international criminal named Constantine, who takes his place on a Muppets tour of Europe while Kermit is trapped in a Russian gulag under the command of a musical theatre-loving prison guard (Tina Fey). A slight comedown from its more inspired predecessor, this is still an entertaining, silly time for kids and their parents (although they won't always be laughing at the same thing). 3 stars

NEED FOR SPEED
Polo Park. PG. 131 minutes.
An ace mechanic and driver (Aaron Paul) participates in a reckless cross-country race to clear his name against the unsavoury professional driver (Dominic Cooper) who let him take the fall for a crime he didn't commit. Because its admittedly impressive stunts were all achieved without use of CGI. Need for Speed takes a claim to roots in movies of the '60s and '70s but has none of their grit: It's really here to rake in a little of the gearhead cash the Fast and Furious franchise is making by the truckload. 1 1/2 stars
NOAH
Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. PG. 138 minutes.
In director Darren Aranofsky's adaptation of the biblical story, Noah (Russell Crowe) lives in a time of human barbarism and gets the call from God to build an ark and populate it with two animals of every species. Big, beatific and (more or less) biblical, the film is a mad vision of a movie, an action adventure take on the Flood that cleansed the Earth. Aronofsky envisions it all through the lens of Hollywood, interpreting the Bible as myth and telling one of its most fantastical tales as a grand and dark cinematic fantasy -- a Lord of the Rains. 3 1/2 stars (Reviewed by Roger Moore)

OCULUS
McGillivray, Polo Park, Towne. 14A. 103 minutes.
Sister and brother Kaylie and Tim (Karen Gillan and Brenton Thwaites) steal a supernaturally powerful antique mirror with the intention of proving it was responsible for the death of their parents years earlier. It starts well, but by the self-destructing third act, the story falls prey to the affliction of many a genre movie. Just because anything can happen doesn't mean anything should happen. 2 1/2 stars

THE RAID 2
Globe, Kildonan Place. 18A. 150 minutes.
In this bigger, more ambitious sequel to the one-of-a-kind martial arts thriller The Raid, cop Rama (Iwo Ukais) goes undercover to infiltrate the criminal organization that came close to killing him in the first movie. If the first was like a grungy Die Hard, this one is more like a grungy Scarface, dark, violent but maddeningly irresistible. 3 1/2 stars

RIO 2
Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. G. 101 minutes.
Love birds Blu and Jewel are living the sweet domestic life in Rio de Janeiro until Jewel decides to take their kids for a trip to the Amazon rainforest to learn what life is like in nature. This sequel amounts to more characters, more actors, more songs, more pandering, and fewer laughs. 3 1/2 stars (Reviewed by Roger Moore)

300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE
Polo Park. 18A. 103 minutes.
This sequel to Zack Snyder's 300 offers stylized, bloody seagoing action concurrent to the events of the first movie, involving a raging female admiral (Eva Green) fighting for Persia against the Greeks, led by the formidable Gen. Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton). It's sexy, violent and stylish. 3 stars

LE WEEK-END
Globe. 14A. 93 minutes.
Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan play a later-middle-aged couple who take a trip to Paris in an effort to revive their failing marriage. A corrosive, witty and revealing story of a marriage laid bare. 3 1/2 stars (Reviewed by Roger Moore)

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 17, 2014 ??65524

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