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Calvary

RECOMMENDED

BOYHOOD

Grant Park. 14A. 166 minutes.

This unique Richard Linklater film was 12 years in the making, delineating the growth of a Mason (Ellar Coltrane) from the age of six to 18, coming to terms with his parents' marital breakup, enduring a new alcoholic stepdad and flirting with drugs, alcohol and girls. Given an opportunity to engage in real-world nostalgia, Linklater doesn't take that bait. The emphasis is on an organic coming-of-age tale where the audience is spared the typically jarring transition in which a child actor is suddenly replaced by a different teen actor. HHHH

 

NEW IN TOWN

THE NOVEMBER MAN

Grant Park, McGillivray, McGillivray VIP, Polo Park, Towne. 14A. 108 minutes.

As Pierce Brosnan never got to say his goodbye to the James Bond franchise, his role as professional assassin Peter Devereaux may be the next best thing. Alas, the story here is pure boilerplate spy thriller with Brosnan's retiring spy brought unwillingly back into the game when he is betrayed by the CIA and the people he loves are threatened by the political ascent of an evil Russian war criminal. Pity. The sheer unoriginality of it all undercuts the nostalgic pleasure of seeing Brosnan back in the spy game. HH

 

STARTING FRIDAY

AS ABOVE, SO BELOW

Kildonan Place, McGillivray, Polo Park, Towne. 14A. 93 minutes.

A research mission in the creepy catacombs beneath Paris transforms into a non-stop supernatural nightmare in this claustrophobic thriller in the tradition of The Descent.

 

SWEARNET

Polo Park, St. Vital. 18A. 112 minutes.

The stars of Trailer Park Boys, realizing that it's tough to maintain an R-rated career in a PG world, set out to start their own network on the Internet in this raucous, expletive-laced comedy.

 

GHOSTBUSTERS

St. Vital. PG. 106 minutes.

The supernatural comedy starring Bill Murray, Harold Ramis and Dan Aykroyd gets a celebratory 30th anniversary re-release.

 

TOM AT THE FARM

Cinematheque. 14A. 103 minutes.

Attending the rural funeral of his partner, Tom (played by director Xavier Dolan) is compelled to stay on by his dead lover's son and his mother.

 

THE TRIP TO ITALY

Polo Park. 14A. 109 minutes.

In this sequel to the comic travelogue The Trip, mildly antagonistic comics Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon do a culinary tour of Italy.

 

WE ARE HERE

Cinematheque. Subject to classification. 82 minutes.

Director Francine Zuckerman's documentary examines the lives of Polish Jews and the revival of Jewish culture in contemporary Polish culture in the aftermath of the Holocaust.

 

NOW PLAYING

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

 

CALVARY

Towne. 14A. 101 minutes.

Brendan Gleeson plays a much-loved Irish priest threatened with murder by an enraged anonymous parishioner abused years earlier by a different cleric. As in director John Michael McDonagh's last collaboration with Gleeson, the unsung comedy The Guard, the writing here is wonderfully sharp and the performances uniformly excellent. Gleeson is especially magnificent as a decent man visited upon by the sins of other Fathers. HHHHH

 

DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES

Polo Park. 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. HHH (Reviewed by Roger Moore)

 

THE EXPENDABLES 3

Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. PG. 126 minutes.

Sly Stallone rounds up the usual aging action star suspects (including Harrison Ford, Wesley Snipes, Antonio Banderas, Jet Li and Arnold Schwarzenegger) to take on the rogue co-founder of the Expendables (Mel Gibson). This entry essentially sucks all the marrow from the old bone of '80s action movie tropes, leaving behind the dry, bleached bones of the genre. HH

 

THE F WORD

Grant Park, Polo Park. 14A. 98 minutes.

Daniel Radcliffe stars as a medical-school dropout who befriends a charming animator (Zoe Kazan) but must tamp down his percolating sexual attraction for her out of respect for her relationship with her live-in boyfriend. Director Michael Dowse (Goon, Fubar) himself tamps down his own raw comic instincts to create a surprisingly sweet romantic comedy. HHH

 

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY

Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, McGillivray VIP, Polo Park, Polo Park Imax, St. Vital, Towne. PG. 121 minutes.

Marvel Studios dares to give us a one-off about an obscure band of heroes familiar to few but the most committed comics geeks, consisting of a thief (Chris Pratt), a glamourous assassin (Zoe Saldana), a muscle-bound, vengeance-obsessed "maniac" (Dave Bautista), a super-intelligent, genetically enhanced raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper) and a tree creature named Groot (Vin Diesel). Employing a wise-ass sensibility, a penchant for sardonic dialogue, and a soundtrack of all-'70s hits, director James Gunn makes it work very well by locating a heart in all the lovingly rendered comic book mayhem. HHHH

 

THE HUNDRED FOOT JOURNEY

Grant Park, McGillivray, McGillivray VIP. G. 123 minutes.

Helen Mirren plays the persnickety owner of a snooty French restaurant who goes on the attack when an Indian restaurant, the Maison Mumbai, opens within 100 feet of her establishment, a problem that amplifies when her sous-chef (Charlotte Le Bon) falls in love with the Maison's gifted chef Hassan (Manish Dayal). It's a nice concoction, but director Lasse Hallstrom makes it all relentlessly pretty, whether in its depiction of racism or kitchen procedure. HHH

 

IF I STAY

Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital. PG. 107 minutes.

Chlo´ Grace Moretz plays a 17-year-old cellist who finds herself trapped between life and death following a car accident and is forced to decide for herself if she wants to die or live. Evidently all they needed to do was cast the most appealing couple they could find and stay faithful to the story, so the kids should be happy. If only the dialogue worked as well. Shauna Cross's script lapses into syrupy platitudes far too often. Just as a scene is building, you may suddenly feel as if you've walked into a life-size Hallmark card. HHH 1/2 (Reviewed by Jocelyn Noveck)

 

INTO THE STORM

St. Vital. PG. 89 minutes.

A weather disaster movie in the tradition of Twister, this summer epic is centred on a small town hit by a series of ever-worsening cyclones where a group of high school students recklessly decide to hang around and document the effects of the high winds. The most unbelievable accomplishment here is that it makes viewers long for the preposterous, over-the-top camp gore of the Sharknado TV films. HH (Reviewed by Kevin Prokosh)

 

LET'S BE COPS

Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. 14A. 105 minutes.

Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr. play two Ohio losers in L.A. who experience an upswing in popularity and excitement when they dress up as cops, only to find themselves in conflict with the Russian mob. The laughs are loud, lewd and infrequent in a comedy that is pretty much the definition of an August comedy release: a month designated as a dumping ground for titles for which the studios don't have high hopes. HH (Reviewed by Roger Moore)

 

LUCY

Polo Park, St. Vital. 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. HH 1/2

 

MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT

Grant Park. G. 97 minutes.

Woody Allen's latest comedy -- as awkwardly stagey as a drawing-room comedy from the 1920s -- assigns a cynical professional illusionist (Colin Firth) the task of debunking a winsome young medium (Emma Stone) suspected of fleecing Europe's wealthiest denizens. HH 1/2

 

PLANES: FIRE AND RESCUE

Polo Park, St. Vital. 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. HH1/2 (Reviewed by Roger Moore)

 

SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR

Kildonan Place, McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. 18A. 102 minutes.

This sequel to Robert Rodriguez/Frank Miller's hardboiled Sin City offers return engagements by Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Rosario Dawson and Bruce Willis with new blood (literally in most cases) supplied by Joseph Gordon Levitt, Josh Brolin and, vying for the role of the most fatale femme ever, Eva Green. HH

 

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES

Kildonan Place, McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. PG. 101 minutes.

This reboot combines martial arts action with turtle power, starring Bay's formerly exiled Transformers leading lady Megan Fox as reporter April O'Neil. It captures some of the thrills of the much-loved comic book franchise, but is hampered by miscasting and some baffling action sequences bearing the stamp of producer Michael Bay. HH

 

WHEN THE GAME STANDS TALL

Grant Park, Polo Park. PG. 115 minutes.

Surreal title notwithstanding, this is the altogether conventional story of high school football Bob Ladouceur (Jim Caviezel) and his record-breaking 151-game winning streak of the De La Salle High School Spartans football team. For all the naked manipulation of the music and the story, this film never delivers that lump in the throat that a Rudy or We Are Marshall or Friday Night Lights managed. HH (Reviewed by Roger Moore)

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 28, 2014 ??65524

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