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Movies

Posted: 03/31/2013 1:00 AM | Comments: 0

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ADMISSION

Grant Park, McGillivray, Polo Park. PG. 117 minutes

Tina Fey makes a smooth transition from outlandish TV sitcom (30 Rock) to mature movie comedy as a Princeton University admissions officer compelled to take up the case of a brilliant student who may just be the boy she gave up for adoption years earlier. Fey is dependably droll, but this film by Paul Weitz (About a Boy) allows her a rare chance to explore some darker, deeper shadings that take her well out of the Liz Lemon shallows. 'Ö'Ö'Ö1/2

AMOUR

Globe. PG. 125 minutes

Oscar-winner for best foreign language picture this year, this quietly intense film by Michael Haneke examines the lives of an elderly couple (Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva) thrown into turmoil when she suffers a series of strokes, leaving him to struggle to care for her at home. In film, the visual language of love tends to be sex, but Haneke offers a bold and beautiful reconsideration. 'Ö'Ö'Ö'Ö

THE CALL

Polo Park, Towne. 14A. 94 minutes

Halle Berry is a 911 emergency operator who confronts her tragic past when she tries to stand between a serial killer (Michael Eklund) and his next intended victim (Abigail Breslin) in a movie that starts out as a riveting, by-the-book kidnapping thriller. It's only when our Oscar-winning heroine puts down the phone and sets out to do some sleuthing of her own that The Call disconnects, turning into something far more generic, far more routine and far less exciting. 'Ö'Ö1/2 (Reviewed by Roger Moore)

THE CROODS

Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. G. 100 minutes

A stone-age family that's not the Flintstones, the Croods are a primitive clan forced from their cave by an earthquake, falling under the guidance of a charismatic nomad (Ryan Reynolds). The animated adventure features a strong, star-studded cast (including Nicolas Cage and Emma Stone) and dazzles visually in wondrously colourful, vibrant 3-D, but the script doesn't pop off the screen quite so effectively. 'Ö'Ö'Ö (Reviewed by Christy Lemire)

DARK SKIES

Towne. PG. 97 minutes

A family suffers weird and unwelcome phenomenon in their home, only to learn an alien presence might be behind it all. Call it a horror mash-up: one third haunted house movie, one-third demonic possession movie and one-third alien invasion movie. It gets to be a bit of a stretch to ask us to buy into ghost/demon/extraterrestrial beings that exist all in one package. 'Ö'Ö

ENTRE LE BRAS (STEP UP TO THE PLATE)

Cinematheque. G. 117 minutes

A documentary capturing the transition of the famed three Michelin stars restaurant Bras as chef Michel Bras decides to hand the business over to his son. As an examination of the high end of the family restaurant, don't expect reality TV-style emotional flambé. This father and son are set on a slow simmer. 'Ö'Ö'Ö

G.I. JOE: RETALIATION

Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, McGillivray VIP, Polo Park, Polo Park Imax, St. Vital, Towne. 14A. 111 minutes

This sequel puts Channing Tatum in the back seat to place Dwayne Johnson and Bruce Willis up front as members of the G.I. Joe team intent on reclaiming the country from the clutches of the sinister Cobra. Director Jon M. Chu (Justin Bieber: Never Say Never) stages action precisely as if he was using action figures instead of actors and the results are correspondingly silly and uninvolving. 'Ö'Ö

LE GRAND AMOUR

Cinematheque. PG. 87 minutes

Overshadowed by Jacques Tati, the comic French filmmaker Pierre Étaix enjoys a revival of his films following years of legal hassles. Le Grand Amour (1969) is a pleasant enough fantasy about a man facing the travails of marriage. 'Ö'Ö'Ö

THE HOST

Kildonan Place, McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital. PG. 126 minutes.

Adapted from the novel By Stephenie (Twilight) Meyer by brainy writer-director Andrew Niccol (Gattaca), this blend of teen romance and science fiction posits a race of aliens who have taken mind control of earthly humans, except one young woman (Saoirse Ronan) isn't quietly relinquishing her humanity. But there's only so much value that Niccol's slick presentation can add to Meyer's shallow material. The movie lacks a sense of danger and urgency. 'Ö'Ö1/2 (Reviewed by Colin Covert)

IDENTITY THIEF

Kildonan Place, Polo Park, St. Vital. 14A. 111 minutes

A businessman (Jason Bateman) takes matters into his own hands when he discovers his identity has been stolen, only to discover an unlikeliest of perpetrators (Melissa McCarthy). McCarthy and Bateman bring their collective charm to bear, but as an escapist comedy, you probably have less stressful options, such as staying at home and paying bills. 'Ö'Ö1/2

THE INCREDIBLE BURT WONDERSTONE

Grant Park, McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. PG. 100 minutes

A once popular Vegas magician, Burt Wonderstone (Steve Carell) attempts to regain his place against an up-and-coming street magician (Jim Carrey) in this generic, fitfully funny mainstream comedy that doesn't nearly get the best from its name-brand players but doesn't qualify as a desecration, either. 'Ö'Ö1/2 (Reviewed by Ann Hornaday)

JACK THE GIANT SLAYER

McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. PG. 114 minutes

Director Bryan Singer (X-Men) directs this fantasy about a likely lad (Nicholas Hoult) who ventures up a beanstalk to save a princess (Eleanor Tomlinson) and, oh yes, take on a race of malevolent giants. A solid, unpretentious entry in the busy bedtime story genre. 'Ö'Ö'Ö1/2

OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN

Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, McGillivray VIP, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. 14A. 120 minutes

Not even Die Hard movies are appropriating the Die Hard formula any more, leaving the field open for this enjoyable cinematic cheese plate about a disgraced secret service agent (Gerard Butler) who must step up go it alone when terrorists invade the White House and take the president (Aaron Eckhart) hostage. It's a far more satisfying action movie that A Good Day to Die Hard, and it's a particular relief to see Butler in This-is-Sparta mode after he has done hard time in the realm of the drippy drama/insipid rom-com. 'Ö'Ö'Ö

OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL

Globe, Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, McGillivray VIP, Polo Park, St. Vital. PG. 130 minutes

This prequel to The Wizard of Oz posits how a travelling magician of dubious character (James Franco) lands in the magical world of Oz where he is greeted as both a saviour and a menace by a trio of witches (Michelle Williams, Mila Kunis and Rachel Weisz). Pity about Franco being miscast as a charismatic con man, otherwise this is a fun time with a touch of heart, brains and no small amount of courage in retooling cinematic sacred text. 'Ö'Ö'Ö1/2

QUARTET

Grant Park. PG. 98 minutes

Maggie Smith stars as a former opera diva who stirs things up at a retirement home for retired musicians, whose numbers include her own embittered ex-husband (Tom Courtenay) in this tasteful, safe drama directed by, of all people, Dustin Hoffman. 'Ö'Ö'Ö

SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK

Grant Park. 14A. 122 minutes

Bradley Cooper plays an unemployed bipolar school teacher who moves back in with his parents (Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver) planning to reunite with his estranged wife, only to be distracted by a young widow (Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence) with issues of her own. Director David O. Russell returns to the same eccentric/blue-collar milieu as The Fighter but a climactic dance competition doesn't have the same impact as a prize fight, and Bradley Cooper doesn't have the same impact as Mark Wahlberg. 'Ö'Ö'Ö

SNITCH

Towne. 14A. 112 minutes

Dwayne Johnson plays a regular guy who turns undercover cop to get the goods on a Mexican drug cartel in a desperate bid to save his son from a trumped up drugs charge. While the movie offers a refreshingly clear-headed view on the inequities and absurdities of the war on drugs, casting pumped up he-man Dwayne Johnson as a regular guy is just plain absurd. They might as well have cast Roger Rabbit and dubbed the movie Undercover Bunny. 'Ö'Ö1/2

SPRING BREAKERS

Polo Park. 18A. 94 minutes

Harmony Korine drafts a pair of former Disney princesses (Vanessa Hudgens and Selena Gomez) into this sordid movie about a quartet of college students engaging in a criminal good time under the influence of a gun-toting grill-toothed gangsta (James Franco). Korine comes close to saying interesting things about race, gender and power, but alas, he still aspires to be an American Godard, which here translates into contempt for bourgeois notions of character and plot. 'Ö'Ö

STOKER

Globe. 14A. 99 minutes

A young woman (Mia Wasikowska) begins to suspect the worst after her father is killed in an accident and an unknown "uncle" (Matthew Goode) moves in with her mom (Nicole Kidman). South Korean director Park Chan-wook balances knuckle-gnawing anxiety and florid melodrama, and he finds his characters charismatic and toxic, pathetic and frightening, absurd and overwhelmingly sad. 'Ö'Ö'Ö'Ö (Reviewed by Colin Covert)

 

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 31, 2013 A13

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