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sanctum -(SilverCity/Uni 4) This 3-D action-thriller follows a crew of cave divers as their efforts to trace an underwater river soon turns into a desperate struggle to survive against every nasty trick that nature can throw at them. Starts Fri.
■ Cascadia ★★ ½ — Scheming sisters, betrayal, infidelity, shopping addiction, corrupt politicians, beautiful Victoria locations, Melissa Szewczok, comeuppance!
■ !Women, Art, Revolution — Director Lynn Hershman Leeson has assembled extensive interviews with some of North America’s most prominent female artists over the past 40 years to create this look back at how female artists finally broke into the art scene in the 1970s.
With movie-making being such a generally crass enterprise these days, the audience for romantic comedies probably feels much like a hopeful but increasingly desperate single person who keeps going on first dates that end badly. Such will be the case with No Strings Attached, which stars Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher in a flabby and predictable tale about two “sex friends” who find their strictly physical relationship getting rocky when some genuine emotions rear their problematic heads.
blue valentine -(Odeon) Oscar-nominated Ryan Gosling (Half Nelson, Fracture) and Michelle Williams (Brokeback Mountain) are the protagonists in a frank, hard-hitting drama that shuttles back and forth in time to explain the breakup of a marriage. This one has been getting raves. Starts Fri.
no strings attached -(Capitol/SilverCity/Caprice) Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher star in a romcom about a couple who plan on keeping their relationship strictly physical but end up wanting something more. Gee, haven't we seen this plot a few dozen times already? Directed by Ivan Reitman. Starts Fri.
First came Thomas Hardy’s Far From The Madding Crow, which recently inspired the popular graphic novel by Posy Simmonds. Now adapted for the silver screen, Tamara Drewe is a modern black comedy that owes more to the sexy spirit of Bridget Jones than the bleak moralism of Hardy. Ex-Bond girl Gemma Arterton (Quantum of Solace) stars as the titular Tamara, who is returning in triumph to her tiny hometown in Devon. Although she left as an ugly duckling — mostly due to a schnozz the size of a teacup — some rhinoplasty and a glam job as a lifestyle journalist in London have transformed Tamara into a confident and desirable beauty.