★★★★ A SEPARATION -(Odeon) This Oscar-winning drama from Iran features a marital dispute that widens into deceit, confusion, and tragedy. Easily one of the best films in recent years. See review.
JOHN CARTER -(Capitol/SilverCity/Westshore) Although Edgar Rice Burroughs is most famous as the creator of Tarzan he also wrote a series of epic sci-fi adventures about a Civil War vet who magically travels to Mars, there to have astonishing and violent adventures with strange beings. Starts Fri.
A THOUSAND WORDS- (Capitol) Eddie Murphy, whose incredible talents sadly include a knack for starring in dreadful comedies, is back with a whopper: after lying to a spiritual guru, Murphy’s literary-agent character learns a very harsh lesson about words and their consequences. Starts Fri.
SILENT HOUSE -(Capitol) Elizabeth Olsen, who had a remarkable break-out performance in Marcy Martha May Marlene, looks equally good in a stripped-down horror flick about two people trapped in a house filled with the spirit of evil. Starts Fri.
FRIENDS WITH KIDS -(Odeon) Two best friends decide to have a child together while keeping their relationship platonic. Supposedly, this is a comedy. Starts Fri.
★★ HAPPY FEET 2 -(Capitol/Uni 4) Those dancing penguins are back, in a bombastic and poorly plotted sequel that will only appeal to those who enjoy being bludgeoned by cuteness. Featuring the vocal talents of Elijah Wood and Robin Williams. Starts Mon., Mar. 12.
ALVIN & THE CHIPMUNKS: CHIP–WRECKED -(Capitol/Uni 4) Those helium-voiced rodents return to bring their special brand of joy to children (if not their parents). Starts Mon., Mar. 12
★★ ACT OF VALOR -(SilverCity) Real Navy SEALS enact a fictional tale about elite soldiers going up against narco-terrorists, jihadists, and other threats to our comfy way of life in the west.
★★★½ THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN -(Caprice) Steven Spielberg does a great — if slightly feverish — adaptation of the revered comics from the 1930s and ’40s starring a boy reporter who travels the world having great adventures.
ALVIN & THE CHIPMUNKS: CHIP–WRECKED -(Caprice) Those helium-voiced rodents are back to bring their special brand of joy to children (if not their parents).
★★★½ THE ARTIST -(Odeon) Oscar says: silence is golden! Dazzling lead performances highlight this delightful homage to silent movies (which in some ways is more a whimsy than a real film).
BIG MIRACLE -(Caprice) Drew Barrymore stars in a heartfelt movie (based on real events) about a news reporter and a Greenpeace volunteer who work to save a family of grey whales trapped by ice in the Arctic Circle.
chronicle -(Caprice) Three high school buddies develop super powers, then find their friendship tested as their pranks start to take on a much darker aspect.
★★★ THE DESCENDANTS -(Odeon/Caprice) The newest film from Alexander Payne (About Schmidt, Sideways) stars George Clooney as a wealthy man who has to rebuild relationships with his daughters after his wife has a terrible accident. Although episodic and digressive, this is an affecting drama.
★★ DR. SEUSS’ THE LORAX- (Odeon/SilverCity/Westshore) This is an over-stuffed, garishly coloured eco-parable that is preachy and only fitfully engaging. Featuring the voices of Danny DeVito, Zac Efron and Taylor Swift.
GHOST RIDER: SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE -(Westshore) Nicholas Cage once again reprises his role as an avenger from beyond the grave, in a third-tier Marvel Comic adaptation that has staggered from bad to worse.
★★ GONE -(SilverCity) Amanda Seyfried gets spunky in a ho-hum thriller about a young woman who survived an encounter with a serial killer only to become convinced that the same predator has just kidnapped her sister. The cops don’t believe her and she has to go it alone.
GOON -(SilverCity) The subject of hockey violence is explored in a raunchy comedy that has been slashed by most critics.
★★★ THE GREY -(Caprice) Liam Neeson heads up a manly cast in an adventure-thriller about the survivors of a plane crash whose struggle to survive in snowy wilderness is exacerbated tenfold by a wolf pack that wants them for dinner. A bit talky, but a well made and thoughtful movie.
★★★★ HUGO -(Uni 4) Although Martin Scorsese isn’t exactly known as a child-friendly filmmaker he got lots of Oscar gold for this beguiling tale of a 1930s Paris orphan who lives in the walls of a train station and gets involved with a legendary filmmaker from the earliest days of cinema. The great cast includes Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen and Christopher Lee.
★★★ THE IRON LADY -(Capitol) Meryl Streep finally got a date with Oscar for her amazing turn as Margaret Thatcher, in a biopic of England’s first female prime minister that explores her polarizing politics and the price she paid for power. Smoothly directed, although a bit of a standard “greatest hits” kind of biography.
JOURNEY 2: THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND -(Westshore/SilverCity) There’s lots of action and adventure in this fantasy tale of a rescue mission to a mysterious island that is home to lots of strange — and dangerous — critters. With Dwayne Johnson and Michael Caine.
★★★★ PINA -(Odeon) This Oscar-nominated documentary by legendary filmmaker Wim Wenders (Wings of Desire) is a wonderfully lensed portrait of avant garde German choreographer Pina Bausch. The braver fans of modern dance will love it; others, not so much.
★★ PROJECT X -(Capitol/SilverCity/Westshore) Three high school seniors throw “the party of a lifetime,” which inevitably spirals into chaos and debauchery — and that’s before most of the neighbourhood gets destroyed. It’s lewd, crude and occasionally funny.
★★½ SAFE HOUSE -(SilverCity/Westshore) Denzel Washington is great playing a rogue CIA agent — unfortunately, all the violence and jerky, Bourne-style camerawork can’t obscure how derivative the plot is. Ryan Reynolds is along for the ride.
★★½ THIS MEANS WAR -(SilverCity/Westshore) In this lively rom-com Reese Witherspoon sparks incendiary battle when she starts dating two CIA partners, who then compete increasingly aggressively for her affections. Slick, shallow, but entertaining.
★★★★ TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY -(Odeon) Don’t miss this superb adaptation of John Le Carré’s classic novel of double agents and Cold War espionage. The marvelous cast includes Gary Oldman, Colin Firth and Toby Jones.
THE VOW -(Uni 4/Caprice) Romantics can keep the spirit of Valentine’s alive by watching this sudsy confection about a woman (Rachel McAdams) who wakes up from a coma with no recollection that she’s married. Her distraught husband (Channing Tatum) has to make her fall in love with him all over again.
★★ WANDERLUST -(Odeon/Westshore) Two impoverished yuppies explore the world of a hippie commune in a hit-and-miss comedy starring Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston. See review.
★★½ WE BOUGHT A ZOO -(Caprice). Matt Damon plays a recent widower who takes his young family and decides to renovate and re-open a small zoo. Sentimental fluff, sure, but Damon elevates the material … and the animals are great. With Scarlett Johansson and Thomas Haden Church. Based on a true story..
★★★ WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN -(Capitol) Tilda Swinton is superb in an overly arty drama about a woman who realizes that her young boy is growing into a strange and violent teenager. With John C. Reilly. See review.
★★★ WOMAN IN BLACK -(Caprice) The post-Hogwarts Daniel Radcliffe is glumly effective in this deliberately old-fashioned and eminently English ghost story that’s full of gothic mood and eerie goings on in a small village..
★★★½ THE SECRET WORLD OF ARRIETTY -(Capitol/SilverCity)
AFRICAN ADVENTURE: SAFARI IN THE OKAVANGO -(10 am, 1 pm, 5 pm [except Sun.], 7 pm [Fri.-Sat.])
BEAVERS -(3 pm) That buck-toothed Canadian icon gets ready for his/her close-up.
★★★★ BORN TO BE WILD -(noon — except for Sat.) Animal lovers, prepare to be charmed!
MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: GHOST PROTOCOL -(8 pm, Thurs.-Sat., & 7 pm, Sun.-Wed.) Tom Cruise is back for a fourth outing with the IMF crew, in a particularly turbo-charged action flick with good performances, a tricky plot and amazing stunts. This is great in IMAX!
TORNADO ALLEY -(11 am [except. Sat.], 2 pm, 4 pm, 6 pm [except Sun. or Thurs.) Take an incredible trip into the violent heart of tornadoes via never-before-seen footage collected by a fearless (crazy?) storm chaser.
WILDEST DREAM: THE CONQUEST OF EVEREST -(11 am Sat., 5 pm Sun., 6 pm Thurs.).
MOVIE SATURDAY – Showcasing Daughter of Chaos, a creative autobiographical performance that goes deeply into the harsh challenges of mental illness and addiction. 7 pm SATURDAY in the 1900-block Fort. By donation. 595-FLIC. moviemonday.ca.
MOVIE MONDAY – Screening Daddy and Papa: A Story About Gay Fathers in America. This heart-warming doc from 2002 chronicles the challenges and rewards of adopting and raising children. 6:30pm MONDAY in the 1900-block Fort. By donation. 595-FLIC. moviemonday.ca.
QUOTE–ALONG CLASSICS -returns with The Princess Bride. Revisit the Fire Swamp, savour those Rodents of Unusual Size, and just laugh your head off at this wonderful Rob Reiner spoof. SATURDAY, Mar. 10, 8 pm, Vic Theatre, 808 Douglas St.
Cinecenta at UVic screens its films in the Student Union Building. Info: 721-8365. cinecenta.com.
CRAZY WISDOM: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF CHOGYAM TRUNGPA, RINPOCHE -(Wed.-Thurs., Mar. 7-8: 7:10, 9:00) Even non-Buddhists will likely enjoy this portrait of the eccentric Buddhist master who fled Tibet in the ’60s and came to the United States. “Rinpoche” founded the first Buddhism university in the West and blew a lot of minds with his unorthodox approaches.
★★★½ THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO -(Fri.-Sat., Mar. 9-10: 3:00, 7:00, 1:00) The talented David Fincher directs an elegantly chilling redo of the Swedish thriller about the goth-punk hacker on the trail of a serial killer of women. Starring Daniel Craig and Christopher Plummer.
★★★½ PUSS IN BOOTS -(Sat.-Sun., Mar. 10-11: 1:00 matinee) The endearing feline furball from Shrek gets his own swashbuckling prequel, in a witty and entirely delightful piece of animation. Featuring the vocal talents of Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek and Zach Galifianakis.
★★★½ MY WEEK WITH MARILYN -(Sun., Mar. 11: 3:00, 7:00, 9:00 & Mon., Mar. 12: 7:00, 9:00) The twice Oscar-nominated Michelle Williams does a great job playing uber-sex symbol Marilyn Monroe in this fact-based memoir based on Monroe’s troubled film shoot of The Prince and the Showgirl in England in the 1950s. Kenneth Branagh costars in the role of Laurence Olivier. This engaging, note-perfect movie will delight film fans and entertain everyone.
THE MUPPETS -(Mon.-Tues., Mar. 12-13: 1:00 matinee) Miss Piggy, Kermit et al. make a perky return to the silver screen in a musical extravaganza about efforts to save their beloved theatre from the schemes of a greedy oil baron. All this current Muppet mania seems a bit unmerited, but Muppets is a cute exercise in nostalgia.
PEACE OUT -(Tues., Mar. 13: 7:15, 9:00) This award-winning documentary takes a tough look at the costs of techological affluence as it examines the dark side of energy extraction in northwestern Canada.
ONCE UPON A TIME IN ANATOLIA -(Wed.-Thurs., Mar. 14-15: 7:15 only) We don’t see many Turkish films, and here’s a grand prize winner from the recent Cannes Film Fest, described as “a metaphysical road movie about life, death, and the limits of knowledge.”
Roxy Theatre Listings Mar 9th to Mar 15th
“The Vow” (PG) at 7:00 pm (Fri-Thurs)
“Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance” (14A) 9:00 pm (Fri-Thurs)
“Puss In Boots” (G) 12:30 pm (Sat, Sun)
“Hugo” (G) 2:10 pm (Sat, Sun)
“Big Miracle” (G) 4:30 pm (Sat, Sun)