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 hopeless mishmash-up blending the claustrophobic scares of The Descent and the found-footage contrivances of [Rec]. 'Ö'Ö (Reviewed by Jordan Mintzer)
Grant Park. 14A. 166 minutes.
This unique Richard Linklater film was 12 years in the making, delineating the growth of a Mason (Elar 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. 'Ö'Ö'Ö'Ö
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. 'Ö'Ö'Ö'Ö'Ö
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. 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) on which this is largely based. 'Ö'Ö'Ö (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. 'Ö'Ö
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. 'Ö'Ö'Ö
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. 'Ö'Ö'Ö'Ö
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. 'Ö'Ö'Ö
IF I STAY
Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital. PG. 107 minutes.
Chloe 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 the filmmakers 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. 'Ö'Ö'Ö1/2 (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. 'Ö'Ö (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. 'Ö'Ö (Reviewed by Roger Moore)
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. 'Ö'Ö1/2
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. 'Ö'Ö1/2
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. 'Ö'Ö
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. 'Ö'Ö1/2 (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. It's all a textbook example of too much of a good thing. If the first film allowed for a naughty skinny-dip in comic artist Miller's fatalistic realm, the second has you soaking in it, leading to the panicky sensation you may never come clean again. 'Ö'Ö
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 profanity-filled network on the Internet. One wishes it was at least as funny as TPB, but a lot of it is just sad, including the spectacle of three guys on the wrong side of 40 playing out this scatological frat-boy scenario. 'Ö1/2
TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES
Kildonan Place, McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. PG. 101 minutes.
This reboot from producer Michael Bay 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. 'Ö'Ö
THE TRIP TO ITALY
Polo Park. 14A. 109 minutes.
In this sequel to the hilarious travelogue The Trip, mildly antagonistic comics Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon do a culinary tour of Italy. Either on the road or at the dinner table, the two are a delight to watch because their onscreen friendship pings with a credible affection coupled with a surging undercurrent of competition and animosity, all improvised. 'Ö'Ö'Ö
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. 'Ö'Ö (Reviewed by Roger Moore)