THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2
Globe, Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, McGillivray VIP, Polo Park, Polo Park Imax, St. Vital, Towne. PG. 143 minutes.
In this sequel to the rebooted-too-soon franchise, Spidey (Andrew Garfield) battles three villains, including Electro (Jamie Foxx), the Green Goblin (Dane DeHaan) and Rhino (Paul Giamatti), but the supplemental villainy only results in sloppy writing and dramatic redundancy. Unlike Sam Raimi at the hand of the original trilogy, returning director Marc Webb has no discernible style, guiding the empty superhero spectacle with all the inspiration of a cop putting in overtime beside a busted traffic light. 'Ö 1/2
St. Vital. G. 78 minutes.
This documentary follows the raising of bear cubs in the wilds of Alaska. It is exactly the sort of doc we've come to expect from Disneynature, the film division of the company that rolls out a new documentary every year at Earth Day. It's gorgeous, intimate, beautifully photographed, cute and kid-friendly, with just enough jokes to balance the drama that comes from any film that flirts with how dangerous and unforgiving the wild actually is. 'Ö'Ö'Ö 1/2 (Reviewed by Roger Moore)
Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. 14A. 91 minutes.
This English-language remake of the French action movie District B13 teams the late Paul Walker with original star David Belle as, respectively, a cop and an ex-con who team up to prevent a Detroit crime lord from destroying the city. This A-level action/D-level plot is too typical of the lesser fare Walker squeezed in between the increasingly popular and decreasingly intelligent Fast & Furious movies. 'Ö'Ö 1/2 (Reviewed by Roger Moore)
CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER
Kildonan Place, McGillivray, 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 Johannsson) and The Falcon (Anthony Mackie) to face down the mysterious super-powered 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. 'Ö'Ö'Ö 1/2
Polo Park, St. Vital. 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. 'Ö'Ö'Ö
Globe. 14A. 109 minutes.
This Chilean film examines the life and love of Gloria, a 50-something woman whose life kick-starts in a new direction when she meets an older man with whom she proves to be compatible, at least sexually. The principle draw here is Chilean actress Paulina Garcia, who demonstrates the courage of her character in attacking the role with ferocious honesty. 'Ö'Ö'Ö 1/2
GOD'S NOT DEAD
Grant Park. PG. 113 minutes.
A college student (Shane Harper) is obliged to defend his Christian 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. 'Ö'Ö (Reviewed by Roger Moore)
THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL
Grant 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 between the two world wars. It's a dark, daft and deft triumph of design details. From the purple velvet with red piping hotel uniforms to the drinks, colognes and European artwork, Anderson ensconces his eccentric characters and us in a time of baroque, imaginary hotels run on what used to pass for four-star service. 'Ö'Ö'Ö'Ö (Reviewed by Roger Moore)
HEAVEN IS FOR REAL
McGillivray, 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. 'Ö'Ö
LEGENDS OF OZ: DOROTHY'S RETURN
McGillivray, Polo Park, Towne. G. 92 minutes.
In this animated adventure set in the present day, Dorothy finds herself returning to Oz on a mission to save the Cowardly Lion, the Scarecrow and the Tin Man from a new menace known as the Jester. It's a harmless, but almost charmless, adaptation of a book by L. Frank Baum's grandson and a derivative hash of grandpa's story. 'Ö'Ö (Reviewed by Roger Moore)
Grant Park. PG. 106 minutes.
A misdirected lunchbox connects a young dissatisfied housewife (Nimrat Kaur) to a widower (Irrfan Khan) on the verge of retirement. Weaving a deceptively intricate, piquant tale, writer-director Ritesh Batra offers up a poignant human story against a backdrop of crowded streets, trains, shabby offices and tiny apartments. 'Ö'Ö'Ö 1/2
MOM'S NIGHT OUT
Polo Park. PG. 99 minutes.
Facing a crisis of confidence, beleaguered mom Allyson (Sarah Drew) leaves the kids and goes for a fun night out with a couple of friends, only to find herself on a chaotic hunt for a missing baby. Instead of a sex farce, this is a decidedly Christian farce, balancing frenetic comedy with moments of spiritual introspection. The whole enterprise might be easier to take if it was funny. The filmmakers have evidently watched a lot of movies and know how to make something that looks and sounds like a real comedy, but the film feels hollow and imitative. This movie is about the sermon. The "comedy" is just the delivery system. 'Ö 1/2
Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, McGillivray VIP, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. 18A. 97 minutes.
A newly responsible dad and former party animal (Seth Rogen) finds himself in pitched battle with the frat kingpin (Zac Efron) next door. It makes for some rude fun. Director Nicholas Stoller knows a thing or two about directing raunchy comedies, and certainly Rogen knows a lot about carrying them. Between them, they hit more than miss, with gags involving sex toys, baby monitors and Batman preferences: Keaton versus Bale. 'Ö'Ö'Ö 1/2
McGillivray. PG. 138 minutes.
In director Darren Aronofsky'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. 'Ö'Ö'Ö 1/2 (Reviewed by Roger Moore)
NYMPHOMANIAC VOL. 1
Cinematheque. R. 118 minutes.
Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg), a self-diagnosed nymphomaniac, tells her story to the celibate gentleman (Stellan Skarsgaard) who rescues her from an alleyway in this film by director-provocateur Lars von Trier. Dull, carnal and explicitly so in both regards, it's a slow-moving slog through one crushed soul as she relates the empty, passionless pursuits of her youth. 'Ö'Ö (Reviewed by Roger Moore)
Polo Park. 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. 'Ö'Ö 1/2
THE OTHER WOMAN
Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, McGillivray VIP, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. 14A. 109 minutes.
Cameron Diaz is a vengeance-minded woman who comes to the realization her boyfriend is not only married (to Leslie Mann), but is also cheating on her with a younger woman (Kate Upton). This female-empowerment comedy and buddy picture is a PG-13 Bridesmaids, as if that was even possible, but it is because of Cameron and Mann, a great comic duo. 'Ö'Ö'Ö (Reviewed by Roger Moore)
THE RAILWAY MAN
Grant Park. 14A. 108 minutes.
Colin Firth stars as a Second World War vet obliged to come to terms to the trauma he suffered while a prisoner of the Japanese when his emotional issues fracture his relationship with his new wife (Nicole Kidman). Firth holds it all together playing the opposite side of the coin bearing the likeness of King George VI in The King's Speech. In that film, Firth essayed a vulnerable man obliged to construct a figure of strength. In this film, he delicately strips the stoic veneer from a veteran to reveal the fragile but compassionate soul beneath. 'Ö'Ö'Ö
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. 'Ö'Ö 1/2 (Reviewed by Roger Moore)
Globe. G. 80 minutes.
Magicians Penn and Teller produced and directed this amazing, provocative doc about contemporary inventor Tim Jenison, a non-artist who sets out on a mission to reproduce a painting by Dutch master Johannes Vermeer using an ingenious system of mirror-and-lens technology that would have been available to the artist in the 17th century. 'Ö'Ö'Ö 1/2
TRAILER PARK BOYS: DON'T LEGALIZE IT
Polo Park. 14A. 96 minutes.
Julian, Ricky and Bubbles go on a road trip from their Dartmouth trailer park, primarily geared to Ricky's mission to testify against pot legalization (which would diminish the cash returns of his grow-op). As with any movie aimed at an audience of potheads, the laughs may be in direct proportion to the number of tokes inhaled prior to viewing. That's bad news for film critics, who are pretty much required to stay straight while on the job. The movie is amusing, but not nearly the gut-buster the first film was. 'Ö'Ö 1/2
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 thoughtful, but windy and winded, sci-fi thriller shortchanges the science and the thrills. It's a mopey affair with indifferent performances, heartless romance and dull action. It transcends nothing. 'Ö'Ö (Reviewed by Roger Moore)