Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Movie Listings

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

AMLIE

Garrick. PA

Love as it could be, Paris as it should be, and the goofy-gorgeous ingenue Audrey Tautou just as she is. This delicious French import, about a shy waitress who starts magically changing the lives of her neighbours, has everything: Vivacious writing, vivid performances and the odd, intricate and -- for once -- radiantly happy vision of director Jean-Pierre Jeunet. 5 stars

A BEAUTIFUL MIND

Grant Park, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. PG

Director Ron Howard and screenwriter Akiva Goldsman try to reduce a difficult life to a smooth Hollywood arc of tragedy and triumph in this problematic bio-pic, "based on events in the life of John Forbes Nash, Jr." Fortunately, Russell Crowe's risky performance as the brilliant but troubled mathematician is real enough to grab audiences and get them wondering what really happened. 3-1/2 stars

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

IMAX. G

Bigger is actually better with the 10th-anniversary IMAX re-release of this lively, lovely Disney fairy tale -- the only animated feature ever to be nominated for a best picture Oscar. With tuned-up sound and a cleaned-up picture that is so vast you feel like you can walk right into it, the story of Belle and her soon-to-be-reformed-by-true-love Beast is an absolute pleasure for the whole family. (Just remember, girls, that relationships with angry, emotionally unavailable men rarely turn out this well.) 4-1/2 stars

BLACK HAWK DOWN

Grant Park, Kildonan Place, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. R

This fact-based account of the battle of Mogadishu is a gruelling, gory, ground-level examination of modern warfare, filmed with ramped-up realism by Ridley Scott and featuring effective ensemble performances by Josh Hartnett, Ewan McGregor, Sam Shepard and more. The pure visceral effect of two hours of fighting is undeniable, but, unlike the truly great war films, Black Hawk Down doesn't go much beyond the gut. 3-1/2 stars

THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO

Polo Park, St. Vital. PG

Revenge is a dish best served cheesy as director Kevin Reynolds and a swashbuckling cast (including Jim Caviezel as the falsely imprisoned Edmond Dantes) barrel through a handsome, potboiling and very satisfying version of the Dumas classic. 3-1/2 stars

GOSFORD PARK

Grant Park, Towne. PA

Robert Altman takes on the serpentine subtleties of the English class system in this "upstairs-downstairs" take on a shooting party at a country estate in the '30s. The faultless ensemble cast is made up of British acting royalty -- even the bit parts are played by Dames and Sirs -- clearly enjoying themselves in Altman's most consistent and complete film since The Player. 4 stars

HARRY POTTER AND THE PHILOSOPHER'S STONE

Kildonan Place, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. PG

This energetic, inventive and immensely appealing family film is just what it should be -- a loyal adaptation of the hugely popular children's book by J.K. Rowling. Follow the adventures of a boy who finds out that he is a wizard, and expect lots of magic -- the old-fashioned eye-of-newt kind and the new-fangled lights-camera-action kind. 4-1/2 stars

I AM SAM

Grant Park. PG

Sean Penn gives a problematic script a real lift with his fearless performance as a developmentally disabled man fighting for custody of his daughter with the help of a high-powered, high-strung lawyer (Michelle Pfeiffer). 3-1/2 stars

IN THE BEDROOM

Garrick. PA

You've heard the Oscar buzz about this family drama. Now you can see why it's justified. This story of a long-married middle-class couple forced to confront the buried tensions in their marriage after a domestic tragedy is restrained, graceful, generous and subtle; it's a film that derives its extraordinary power from what it doesn't say. Sissy Spacek, Tom Wilkinson, Marisa Tomei and Nick Stahl all give controlled but thoroughly resonant performances moving towards an emotional climax that is much more devastating than anything found in much messier melodramas. 4-1/2 stars

INERTIA

Garrick. PA

Local director Sean Garrity and the talented cast who collaborated on this anti-romance certainly understand love in a cold climate. Four twentysomething Winnipeggers try to survive a frigid winter and the confusions of male-female relationships, in a small film that -- at its best -- is funny, smart and spontaneous. 3-1/2 stars

KUNG POW: ENTER THE FIST

Grant Park, Kildonan Place, Polo Park, Towne. PG

You really have to be in the mood for silly to get any enjoyment from writer-director Steve Oedekerk's (Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls) trick of digitally inserting himself into an actual '70s kung fu movie. Anyone who has ever digitally defaced a Britney Spears JPEG will understand the subversive joy of the process. Once in the groove, there are laughs, especially if you have been exposed to the pre-John Woo Hong Kong movie genre being parodied. 3 stars

-- Reviewed by Randall King

THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING

Garrick, Grant Park, Kildonan Place, Polo Park, St. Vital. PA

It has a three-hour running time that flies faster than a Ringwraith, and still the movie doesn't have a conventional ending. That's because this exciting adaptation of the first entry in the J.R.R. Tolkien trilogy is true to the story where it counts. It is also classical, well-cast, tastefully mounted, and occasionally terrifying. Think hard before taking small kids, it is rated Parental Accompaniment. 4-1/2 stars

-- Reviewed by Randall King

THE MOTHMAN PROPHECIES

Kildonan Place, Polo Park, Towne. PG

This is a supposedly fact-based thriller about a reporter (Richard Gere) investigating a supernatural creature who shows up in a Pennsylvania burg with dire predictions of catastrophe. Weird-but-allegedly-true are always better served by a restrained style, but director Mark Pellington can't help impose his artsy vision, an incessant, unwelcome reminder that it's only a movie. 2-1/2 stars

-- Reviewed by Randall King

OCEAN'S ELEVEN

Kildonan Place, Polo Park, St. Vital. PG

Plausible? No way. Stylish? You bet. Steven Soderbergh's polished little caper flick -- a remake of the Rat Pack not-so-classic classic -- boasts an A-list cast (including George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Don Cheadle and Matt Damon) all having a ball, thanks to smooth filmmaking, and a nonchalant attitude that is slick and self-deprecating at the same time. 3-1/2 stars

ORANGE COUNTY

Garden City, Polo Park. PG

Colin Hanks plays a decent, sensible kid struggling to come to terms with his loony family in this intelligent but somehow underwhelming film. 2-1/2 stars

THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS

Polo Park, St. Vital. PA

Director Wes Anderson and writing partner Owen Wilson, the wonky wonderboys behind Bottle Rocket and Rushmore, face a grown-up challenge in this eccentric story of family dysfunction -- how to retain their trademark deadpan humour while broadening their emotional range. The alchemical process by which the film's loopy tone, literary conceits and delicious artificiality are transformed into real feeling remains mysterious but completely convincing, as the Tenenbaums, led by a deftly comic Gene Hackman, follow their triumphantly weird path to forgiveness and maturity. 4 stars

THE SHIPPING NEWS

Grant Park, Towne. PA

Director Lasse (Chocolat) Hallstrom's adaptation of E. Annie Proulx's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel may head toward picturesque sentimentality, but that off-kilter Newfoundland sense of humour keeps this story of a widower (Kevin Spacey) and his damaged family from drowning in woe. 3-1/2 stars

SNOW DOGS

Garden City, Polo Park, Kildonan Place, St. Vital. G

Who let this dog out? This family flick about a Miami dentist (Cuba Gooding Jr.) who somehow ends up in Alaska with some Husky sled dogs is cinematic mush. 2 stars

A WALK TO REMEMBER

Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. PG

And a movie to forget. When the town bad boy (Shane West) falls for the preacher's daughter (MTV songstress Mandy Moore), we get most of the clichs recently itemized in Not Another Teen Movie. That would be bad enough, but the string-pulling, sickly sweet ending is atrocious. 1 star

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 1, 2002 $sourceSection$sourcePage

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