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


Grant Park, McGillivray. PG. 94 minutes.

Michael Douglas is a cranky widower who relies on his next-door neighbour (Diane Keaton) when he gets temporary custody of a granddaughter he didn't know he had. While a senior-years romantic comedy is not, in itself, offensive, one does have reason be offended by a comedy that enlists aging boomers to participate in the kill of the mortally wounded genre, stabbing the beast with sticky sentiment, a predictable plot and clichés up the ying-yang. 'Ö 1/2


Towne. 14A. 101 minutes.

Director John Carney attempts to reproduce the magic of his music-laced romance Once, but with bigger stars (Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo) and a bigger budget. The result is an insistent puppy of a movie, just about willing you to like it. And while it certainly has appeal -- you'd have to be a troll to resist it completely -- you may end up wanting to enjoy it more than its qualities will allow. 'Ö'Ö'Ö (Reviewed by Kenneth Turan)


Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, McGillivray VIP, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. 14A. 101 minutes.

The genetically enhanced apes introduced in the franchise reboot Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) are back and beginning to take control of the world. This action-packed epic is a moving sci-fi allegory rendered in broad, lush strokes by the latest state of the computer animator's art. But it's all in service of an utterly conventional story, however, one you'll be three steps ahead of even if you have no memories of the '70s Apes movie (Battle for the Planet of the Apes) this is largely based on. 'Ö'Ö'Ö (Reviewed by Roger Moore)


Polo Park. PG. 125 minutes.

Based on the bestselling John Green novel about two disdainful teens, Hazel and Gus, who meet at a cancer support group. Shailene Woodley stars as Hazel and Ansel Elgort plays Gus in this film about the thrills and the tragedy of being alive and falling in love. 'Ö'Ö 1/2 (Reviewed by Roger Moore)


Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, Polo Park, Polo Park Imax, St. Vital, Towne. 14A. 98 minutes.

Dwayne Johnson plays Herc as a simple mercenary whose demi-god status is actually presented as PR, making this the first Hercules movie to openly question the existence of Zeus. Hence, this is a summer movie with sufficient wit, action and spectacle to pass as a modestly entertaining summer diversion. The sincere Johnson is sufficiently pumped-up to make his more ridiculous feats of strength (including horse-tossing) seem not all that ridiculous. 'Ö'Ö'Ö


Grant Park. 14A. 134 minutes

Director Clint Eastwood brings this Tony Award-winning musical to the multiplex. The story follows the history of the 1960s group the Four Seasons, and focuses on the ups and downs of four men who grew up in poverty in New Jersey, and their rise to stardom. Just like the Broadway musical, the songs are the stars of the show, but the transition between the music and the story is a bit shaky. 'Ö'Ö'Ö 1/2 (Reviewed by Brad Oswald)


Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, McGillivray VIP, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. 14A. 90 minutes.

Scarlett Johansson stars in this Luc Besson action movie as a reluctant drug mule who accidentally ingests an overdose of a new chemical concoction that allows her to utilize her brain power to superhuman effect. It comes off as the kind of science fiction created by someone who never actually read a book on science. Besson's intellectual energy went into making this a calculatedly international hit, designed as a three-prong attack on Asian, European and American audiences, with Johansson at the calm centre, going from panicky tourist to ass-kicking demi-goddess with aplomb. 'Ö'Ö 1/2


Polo Park, St. Vital. PG. 97 minutes.

This revisionist take on Disney's animated Sleeping Beauty fairy tale stars a darkly glamorous Angelina Jolie as Maleficent, a fairy who, we learn, comes by her thirst for baby-dooming vengeance legitimately. Like Wicked, this is a playful twist on an old story that sparks a reconsideration of canonical villainy, and what it lacks in musical numbers, it makes up for with sumptuous visuals. 'Ö'Ö'Ö


Grant Park. 14A. 122 minutes.

Philip Seymour Hoffman, in his last starring role, plays a German spymaster attempting to recruit a suspected Muslim terrorist in this adaptation of a novel by John le Carré. Director Anton Corbijn resists any impulse to spice up le Carré's story with gratuitous sex and/or violence, making this is an entirely admirable movie about post-9/11 espionage, even more uncivilized now than it was in le Carré's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy hero George Smiley. 'Ö'Ö'Ö


Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. G. 84 minutes.

This sequel to last year's unexpected hit Planes offers up the return of racer Dusty Crophopper (voiced by Dane Cook) facing a forced retirement from competition and entering the world of aerial firefighting. A couple of flight sequences take us over majestic deserts and amber waves of grain -- beautiful animated scenery. Other than that, there's not much to this. But its predecessor was so story-and-laugh starved, there was nowhere to go but up. 'Ö'Ö1/2 (Reviewed by Roger Moore)


McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. 14A. 104 minutes.

In this quickly-produced sequel to last year's dystopian hit, innocent citizens find themselves trapped on the streets during an annual event in which all crime is made legal over the period of one single violent night. It's preachier, more diverse in its casting than the first one, all of which make it more specific and limit it. Throw in generally lacklustre performances and illogical plot twists and Anarchy is seriously crippled. 'Ö'Ö (Reviewed by Roger Moore)


Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, McGillivray VIP, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. 18A. 95 minutes.

Jason Segal and Cameron Diaz are a couple trying to prevent the titular home movie from going viral, making for a raunchy contemporary twist in the traditional sex farce. But it's a PG plot for an X-rated story, trying to bridge the gap between the traditional romantic comedy and today's porn-addled digital world. The high-concept comedies spawned by The 40-Year-Old Virgin need to start using birth control. 'Ö'Ö (Reviewed by Jake Coyle)


Grant Park, Polo Park, St. Vital. 14A. 97 minutes.

Melissa McCarthy is Tammy, a slovenly, morbidly obese vulgarian who is fired from her fast-food restaurant job and catches her husband cheating on her. More hijinks ensues when she decides to go on a road trip to Niagara Falls, joined by Granny (Susan Sarandon). McCarthy continues her quest to milk anything and everything for a laugh, while ignoring her size. 'Ö'Ö'Ö (Reviewed by Roger Moore)


Kildonan Place, McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. PG. 165 minutes.

The Autobots and Decepticons are back in the fourth film of the Michael Bay-lensed series. This time around, Mark Wahlberg stars as a mechanic whose garage discovery brings the feds down on him and his family. The Transformers fear that humanity has it out for them and strike back. At two hours and 45 minutes, this is popcorn piffle without end. 'Ö'Ö1/2 (Reviewed by Roger Moore)


Polo Park. 14A. 112 minutes

Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum return as mismatched cops whose dubious youthfulness gets them sent undercover -- this time in college. Jokes hit the same targets repeatedly -- yes, the guys look too old to be college students and yes, sequels are always the same only different -- yet the movie manages to score more than its share of laughs largely due to Tatum, who proves to be an able comedian. 'Ö'Ö'Ö


Grant Park, Polo Park. PG. 107 minutes.

Zach Braff follows up his indie hit Garden State with another little comedy about a failed actor (Braff), this time attempting to get through a difficult stretch when he is obliged to deal with a dying dad (Mandy Patinkin), an increasingly resentful wife (Kate Hudson) working at a job she hates, and a couple of sheltered kids. Braff famously took to Kickstarter to raise more than $3 million for this film, raising questions of whether a wealthy actor should be seeking money on Kickstarter. The more urgent question remains: Why didn't Braff use this money to make a better film? 'Ö'Ö

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 27, 2014 ??65523

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