THE HUNTS­MAN: WIN­TER’S WAR

Winnipeg Free Press - SundayXtra - - MOVIES -

Choud­hury) who ends up treat­ing him. Tyk­wer’s stylis­tic flour­ishes are some­times at odds with the mis­sion of con­nect­ing us to the oft-baf­fling set­ting, but the char­ac­ters do the job, giv­ing the film a sense of hope and re­newal against a back­drop of globalist de­spair and un­ease with all things Is­lamic. 1/ 2 ( Re­viewed by Ran­dall King) THE HUNTS­MAN: WIN­TER’S WAR Kil­do­nan Place, McGil­livray, McGil­livray VIP, Polo Park, St. Vi­tal, Towne. PG. 114 min­utes. The ads sug­gest Snow White’s evil queen ver­sus Frozen’s frosty princess, but this pre­quel/se­quel to Snow White and the Hunts­man is ul­ti­mately just a cash-in. Like The God­fa­ther II, it takes us both be­fore and af­ter the events of the first movie, pit­ting Chris Hemsworth’s hunky hatch­et­man and his war­rior lover, Sara, (Jes­sica Chas­tain) against the love-deny­ing sor­cer­ess Freya (Emily Blunt), sis­ter to the fiendish evil Queen Ravenna (Char­l­ize Theron) who, like a glam­orous zom­bie re­turns from the dead to chew up scenery. Ef­forts to match the oft-star­tling na­ture im­agery of the first film are half-hearted and ran­dom, but then, so is this en­tire movie. ( Re­viewed by Ran­dall King) THE IN­VI­TA­TION Cine­math­eque. Sub­ject to clas­si­fi­ca­tion. 99 min­utes. Lo­gan Mar­shall-Green is Will, a man who takes his girl­friend to a Hol­ly­wood hills din­ner party be­ing held by his ex-wife ( Tammy Blan­chard) and her new hus­band (Michiel Huis­man). But dur­ing the course of the evening, Will starts to sus­pect the cou­ple has a sin­is­ter agenda as para­noia leads to hor­ror. Di­rec­tor Karyn Kusama keeps torque­ing the ten­sion with the sense some­thing much more fun­da­men­tal is “off” at this up­per-mid­dle- class gath­er­ing. Satir­i­cal and gen­uinely scary, the film also has a deep emo­tional un­der­tow mak­ing The In­vi­ta­tion that rare thing: a hor­ror film for grown-ups. ( Re­viewed by Ali­son Gill­mor) THE JUN­GLE BOOK Grant Park, Kil­do­nan Place, McGil­livray, Polo Park, St. Vi­tal, Towne. G. 106 min­utes. In this new adap­ta­tion of the Rud­yard Ki­pling story, a boy named Mowgli (Neel Sethi) is raised in the jun­gle with the help of var­i­ous help­ful an­i­mals, in­clud­ing the pan­ther Bagheera (Ben Kings­ley) and the lov­able bear Baloo (Bill Mur­ray). It’s hard to love any movie dom­i­nated by ul­tra- crisp pho­to­re­al­is­tic an­i­ma­tion de­signed to look real. That said: this movie is pretty good. 1/ 2 ( Re­viewed by Michael Phillips, Chicago Tri­bune) LADY IN THE VAN Towne. PG. 105 min­utes. In this drama based on a true story, Mag­gie Smith plays a tran­sient woman liv­ing in a van who de­cides to park her place of res­i­dence in a Lon­don drive­way owned by writer Alan Ben­nett (Alex Jen­nings). The ar­range­ment en­dures for 15 years of ups and downs. The script has lit­tle oomph, but lovely anec­dotes and di­a­logue, com­bined with Smith’s peer­less comic tim­ing, over­come its stagey feel. 1/ 2 ( Re­viewed by Ali­son Gill­mor) MID­NIGHT SPE­CIAL Grant Park. PG. 115 min­utes. When he learns his son pos­sesses pow­ers of in­ter­est to shad­owy govern­ment forces, a fa­ther (Michael Shan­non) hits the road with the kid in tow to be­come a wanted fugi­tive. A well-made film can hyp­no­tize us with im­prob­a­bil­i­ties logic could never ac­cept and fuel our imag­i­na­tion with fan­tasy. That’s the ef­fect of this en­thralling, sus­pense­ful chase thriller set in sparse Texas towns and dusty back roads. 1/ 2 ( Re­viewed by Colin Covert, Min­neapo­lis Star Tri­bune) MILES AHEAD Grant Park. 14A. 101 min­utes. Don Chea­dle di­rected and stars in this film ex­am­in­ing a trou­bled pe­riod in the life of jazz great Miles Davis (played by Chea­dle) as he en­lists a Rolling Stone re­porter (Ewan McGre­gor) to help his re­trieve some valu­able stolen tapes. The film au­da­ciously jet­ti­sons the stan­dard biopic nar­ra­tive, which is great. But Chea­dle never re­ally finds a vi­able al­ter­na­tive, and this anti-biopic re­mains in­ter­mit­tently fab­u­lous but ul­ti­mately frus­trat­ing. ( Re­viewed by Ali­son Gill­mor) MIR­A­CLES FROM HEAVEN St. Vi­tal. PG. 106 min­utes. When Christy Beam (Jen­nifer Garner) dis­cov­ers her 10-year- old daugh­ter, Anna (Kylie Rogers), has a rare, in­cur­able dis­ease, she be­comes a fe­ro­cious ad­vo­cate for her daugh­ter’s heal­ing as she searches for a so­lu­tion, which comes from an un­ex­pected source. The film runs a bit long and be­comes over­wrought, but this fam­ily melo­drama about a dev­as­tat­ing ill­ness and the freak ac­ci­dent that cured it is sur­pris­ingly ef­fec­tive, even for those of lit­tle faith. ( Re­viewed by Katie Walsh, Tri­bune News Ser­vices) MY BIG FAT GREEK WED­DING 2 Grant Park, Kil­do­nan Place, Polo Park, St. Vi­tal. PG. 94 min­utes. Nia Varda­los’s heroine, Toula, once faced with find­ing love in the first film, is now faced with find­ing space from her de­mand­ing, pushy and ag­ing fam­ily to re­con­nect with her hus­band (John Cor­bett) and fight­ing her own smoth­er­ing urges with her re­bel­lious 17-year- old daugh­ter (Elena Kam­pouris). Varda­los’s screen­play keeps ca­reen­ing past re­lat­able to cutesy and broad. And most of the jokes are just left­overs from the 2002 orig­i­nal. Some things work. An­drea Martin, as usual, is a comic gem as Aunt Voula, and as the par­ents, Michael Con­stan­tine and Lainie Kazan add some real poignancy to the sen­ti­men­tal side of the story. Cor­bett and Varda­los share a nice, easy chem­istry. But th­ese fa­mil­iar plea­sures don’t out­weigh the fact Varda­los doesn’t find much new to say about the Por­toka­los clan or the im­mi­grant fam­ily ex­pe­ri­ence in gen­eral. ( Re­viewed by Ali­son Gill­mor) ZOOTOPIA Kil­do­nan Place, McGil­livray, Polo Park, St. Vi­tal, Towne. G. 109 min­utes. This Dis­ney an­i­mated fea­ture is a weird hy­brid of an­thro­po­mor­phic car­toon hul­la­baloo and po­lice pro­ce­dural telling the story of a rookie bunny cop (voiced by Gin­nifer Good­win) paired with a conartist fox (Ja­son Bate­man) to get to the bot­tom of a miss­ing-mam­mal mys­tery. It’s lav­ishly an­i­mated and very funny, but its sub­text on the sub­ject of prej­u­dice and racial pro­fil­ing is both so­phis­ti­cated and, in an Amer­i­can elec­tion year, sur­pris­ingly per­ti­nent. ( Re­viewed by Ran­dall King)

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