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THE SAPPHIRES 'Ö'Ö'Ö
Grant Park. PG. 99 minutes
In 1968, a seedy musician (Chris O'Dowd) in Australia helps create a girl group from a quartet of talented Australian aboriginal women and finds them a touring gig ... in Vietnam. Based on a true story, this often feels like a mash-up of showbiz movies -- Dreamgirls meets For the Boys. It's best to take the movie on its own terms as a unique piece of work unto itself, hinging on the curious harmony between O'Dowd's roguish charm and Deborah Mailman's magisterial gravitas at the group's alpha-songstress. 'Ö'Ö'Ö
STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS
Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, McGillivray VIP, Polo Park, Polo Park Imax, St. Vital. PG. 132 minutes
J.J. Abrams lets the other reboot drop with this sequel to the hit relaunch of the Star Trek franchise, with Kirk (Chris Pine) and Spock (Zachary Quinto) going up against a superhuman (Benedict Cumberbatch) with a grudge against Earth. See review in Friday's entertainment section.
BEWARE OF MR. BAKER
Cinematheque. 14A. 90 minutes
If you thought the late Keith Moon was the pre-eminent crazy Brit drummer, meet (the still-living) Ginger Baker, the influential rhythm king behind Cream and Blind Faith. This doc opens with a scene in which Baker breaks the nose of director Jay Bulger, which suggests Baker's rep as a fiery rock character is well-deserved.
THE COMPANY YOU KEEP
Globe. PG. 122 minutes
A respected civil rights attorney (Robert Redford) is exposed by an aggressive reporter (Shia LaBeouf) as a former '60s radical still wanted for murder in this drama directed by Redford and co-starring Julie Christie and Susan Sarandon.
Polo Park. Subject to classification. 130 minutes
A couple of Arkansas boys discover a fugitive (Matthew McConaughey) living alone on an island and resolve to help him reunite with the trashy woman (Reese Witherspoon) he considers his soul mate. Directed by Jeff Nichols (Shotgun Stories, Take Shelter).
WAKE IN FRIGHT
Cinematheque. 14A. 114 minutes
A shocking Australian film from 1971, considered lost, about a schoolteacher (Gary Bond) who stops in a small, violent outback town en route to Sydney and finds himself enmeshed in a culture of violence, rape and bloodsport. Directed by Ted Kotcheff.
The following movies have been previously reviewed by Free Press movie critic Randall King, unless otherwise noted.
THE BIG WEDDING
McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. 14A. 90 minutes
To protect their adoptive son from the disapproval of his rigorously Catholic birth mother, his dad (Robert De Niro) pretends to still be married to his ex-wife (Diane Keaton) in this feature-length sitcom. The Big Wedding doesn't have a single moment of recognizable humanity, but on the plus side, it's short. 'Ö1/2 (Reviewed by Joe Williams)
Kildonan Place, 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)
McGillivray. PG. 128 minutes
This is a solid biopic of Jackie Robinson, the athlete who broke major league baseball's colour barrier in 1946. Writer-director Brian Helgeland may not deviate from the sports biopic formula, but he touches all the bases and gets that legendary number on the board, with Chadwick Boseman offering up a layered performance as Robinson and Harrison Ford in crusty codger mode as Brooklyn Dodgers GM Branch Rickey. 'Ö'Ö'Ö1/2
Globe. PG. 97 minutes
Six former heads of the Israeli secret service Shin Bet discuss their careers and the five-decade battle with Palestine, their Arab neighbours, and themselves in this revealing documentary. Director Dror Moreh utilizes some impressive visual tricks that give a three-dimensional perspective to historical events but the more impressive trick is to illuminate a consensus between these six men regarding Israel's political policy regarding Palestine. 'Ö'Ö'Ö
THE GREAT GATSBY
Globe, Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital. PG. 142 minutes
Director Baz Luhrmann layers glitz and a Jay-Z-produced soundtrack on F. Scott Fitzgerald's Jazz Age romance between enigmatic millionaire Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio) and the capricious, old-money trophy wife Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan). The glamour and eye-popping visuals are exhausting after a while, leaving us with a movie that jazzes up a classic novel that needed no such crutches. More's the pity, because the cast acquit themselves well enough, especially DiCaprio, who brings a danger and romanticism to the role so lacking in Robert Redford in the 1974 version. 'Ö'Ö1/2
IRON MAN 3
Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, McGillivray VIP, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. PG. 131 minutes
In the third instalment of the Iron Man franchise, a thoroughly rattled Tony Stark (Robert Downey) is forced to go without his usual high-tech toys to investigate both a powerful terrorist known as the Mandarin (Sir Ben Kingsley) and a rival genius (Guy Pearce) creating super-soldier technology. Comic-book purists may not appreciate liberties taken with the Mandarin and the dearth of a fully functional Iron Man, but for the rest of us, this is a witty, wild outing, closer in tone to The Avengers than the forgettable Iron Man 2. 'Ö'Ö'Ö1/2
Kildonan Place, Polo Park, Towne. PG. 125 minutes
Patrolling the skies of an earth devastated by interplanetary war, Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) comes to the realization his understanding of earth's apocalyptic history may not be the truth. It's a promising premise, but the film doesn't register as serious science fiction because it is, first and foremost, a Tom Cruise vehicle. 'Ö'Ö'Ö
PAIN & GAIN
Kildonan Place, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. 18A. 129 minutes
A trio of pumped-up bodybuilders (Mark Wahlberg, Anthony Mackie and Dwayne Johnson), conspire to kidnap and systematically rob from an obnoxious but wealthy victim (Tony Shalhoub) in this action-comedy loosely based on a true story. Director Michael Bay may eschew the robotics of his Transformers movies, but a comedy that includes a pair of real-world murders demonstrates that a sense of humanity eludes him still. 'Ö'Ö
THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES
Towne. 14A. 141 minutes
Director Derek Cianfrance reunites with his Blue Valentine star Ryan Gosling in a tripartite tale of a bank robber (Gosling), a cop (Bradley Cooper), and how their fateful meeting impacts on the lives of their two sons. It has the makings of an excellent melodramatic saga along the lines of, say, East of Eden, but Cianfrances's pseudo-realism tends to undercut the film's dramatic potency. A restless, shaky camera is not the best medium for the heartbreak at the movie's core. 'Ö'Ö'Ö1/2
SCARY MOVIE 5
Towne. G. 87 minutes
A jumbled-together collection of sketches riffing on a disparate group of films including Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Inception, Cabin in the Woods, Paranormal Activity and even Black Swan. Their collective lameness is numbing. 'Ö (Reviewed by Frank Scheck)
Grant Park. PG. 106 minutes
An elderly New Brunswick man (James Cromwell) defies a persistent bureaucracy to build a new house for his ailing wife (Genevi®ve Bujold) in a drama based on a true story. Director-writer Michael McGowan, who made the cancer drama One Week as well as the execrable Score: A Hockey Musical, is afflicted with a tin ear for dialogue. But it's an affliction the cast rises above, Cromwell with his dignified presence and Canadian treasure Bujold with a combination of warmth and ferocity. 'Ö'Ö1/2