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MOVIES

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THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2

Kildonan Place, McGillivray, Polo Park, 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

BELLE

Globe. G. 104 minutes.

Director Amma Asante's film tells the fact-based story of Dido Elizabeth Belle Lindsay (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), the illegitimate daughter of a British naval officer and an African slave, raised as a noblewoman in 18th-century Britain. Imagine a Jane Austen adaptation, with all its empire waistlines and romantic longing, but also a film in which the obstacles to love are far greater than mere social standing, a story that transcends its comed-of-manners frame and is actually about something. 'Ö'Ö'Ö'Ö 1/2 (Reviewed by Roger Moore)

BLENDED

Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. PG. 118 minutes.

Adam Sandler reunites with Wedding Singer co-star Drew Barrymore in playing a mismatched couple whose families wind up taking a vacation together in Africa. While not as disagreeable as Sandler's recent comedies, one wishes he would hire a non-hack director resistant to the Sandler modus operandi of throwing crude comedy and pathos on the screen to see what sticks. 'Ö'Ö

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER

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 film as timely and pertinent as a book from the comic's Bronze Age. 'Ö'Ö'Ö 1/2

FED UP

Grant Park. G. 96 minutes.

This documentary exposé produced and narrated by Katie Couric examines the way the food industry has spread misinformation about basic nutrition at the expense of a population afflicted as no other with unprecedented levels of obesity and poor health. It often feels like a dish we've been served before, but it is effective at zeroing in on Dietary Enemy No. 1 -- sugar -- and the food industry's unrelenting work to redirect the nation's efforts away from the problem. 'Ö'Ö'Ö (Reviewed by Chris Foran)

GODZILLA

Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, McGillivray VIP, Polo Park, Polo Park Imax, St. Vital, Towne. PG. 123 minutes.

Hollywood's second take on Japan's seminal kaiju (giant monster) is a vast improvement over the silly 1998 version, taking the more serious tone of the original. But, deprived of historical context or metaphoric resonance, it ultimately registers as a big noisy spectacle that will be forgotten about the same time as the Godzilla-roar-induced ringing in your ears ceases. 'Ö'Ö'Ö

GOD'S NOT DEAD

Globe. 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 artwork of Europe between the 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. 'Ö'Ö'Ö'Ö (Reviewed by Roger Moore)

HEAVEN IS FOR REAL

Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. 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

MILLION DOLLAR ARM

Grant Park, McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital. G. 124 minutes.

A desperate sports agent (Jon Hamm) recruiting baseball pitchers decides to exploit an untapped resource from the realm of Asian cricket players in this comically thin "true story." 'Ö'Ö 1/2 (Reviewed by Roger Moore)

NEIGHBORS

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 vs. Bale. 'Ö'Ö'Ö 1/2

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE

Globe. 14A. 124 minutes.

This droll, non-terrifying, wistfully romantic and altogether delicious vampire movie from director Jim Jarmusch casts Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton as a not-quite-ageless vampire couple who register as a more evolved species of humanity (notwithstanding Mia Wasikowska as Swinton's impetuously evil vampire sister) self-exiled to Detroit and Tangier. 'Ö'Ö'Ö'Ö

THE OTHER WOMAN

Kildonan Place, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. 14A. 109 minutes.

Cameron Diaz is a vengeance-minded woman who comes to the realization that 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 Diaz 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 trying 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 present a figure of strength. In this film, he delicately strips the stoic veneer from a survivor to reveal the fragile-but-compassionate soul beneath. 'Ö'Ö'Ö

RIO 2

Kildonan Place, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. G. 101 minutes.

Lovebirds 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)

X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST

Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, McGillivray VIP, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. PG. 132 minutes.

The director of the first two X-Men movies, Bryan Singer, resumes hold of the mutant franchise in which the younger cast of the '60s-set First Class entry interact with the millennial X-Men, with the ageless Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) bridging the gap. The onslaught of characters is a bit much and the third act drags and drags before delivering a heartfelt payoff. But Days of Future Past is most everything we'd hoped the summer's earlier popcorn pictures would be -- fun. 'Ö'Ö'Ö 1/2 (Reviewed by Roger Moore)

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 25, 2014 A13

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