★★★★ 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. Starts Fri. See review.
ghost rider: spirit of vengeance -(Capitol/SilverCity) 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. Starts Fri.
this means war -(Capitol/SilverCity) In this lively rom-com Reese Witherspoon sparks incendiary battle when she starts dating two CIA guys, who then wage no-holds-barred combat in order to have exclusive rights to the blonde hottie. Starts Fri.
the secret world of arrietty -(Capitol/SilverCity) This Japanese-influenced animated tale features a family of four-inch-tall people who live secretly amongst normal humans — until their daughter is discovered. Starts Fri.
★★ man on a ledge -(Caprice) This silly crime thriller features an innocent man who takes extreme measures to expose the rich bastard who framed him for robbery. Starring Sam Worthington, Ed Harris, and Edward Burns. Starts Fri.
★★★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.
albert nobbs -(Capitol) Glenn Close pretends to be a man in 19th century Ireland in order to get work and survive. After 30 years, the charade has trapped the unfortunate soul in a very peculiar prison. With Mia Wasikowska (Alice In Wonderland).
alvin & the the chipmunks: chip–wrecked -(Caprice) Those helium-voiced rodents are back to bring their special brand of Christmas joy to children (if not their parents).
★★★½ the artist -(Odeon) Dazzling lead performances highlight this delightful homage to silent movies. Although in some ways more a whimsy than a real film, it probably will have a date with Oscar.
★★★½ corialanus -(Capitol) Ralph Fiennes directs and stars in a compelling adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic drama of war and politics, with the action relocated from classical Rome to a modern setting. With Vanessa Redgrave.
chronicle -(SilverCity) Three high school buddies develop super powers, then find their friendship tested as their pranks start to take on a much darker aspect.
★★★ a dangerous method -(Caprice) Set during the dawn of psychoanalysis, this account of the relationship between Freud and Jung puts a lot of emphasis on how Jung began an affair with one of his patients (who went on to become a noted psychoanalyst herself). Directed by David Cronenberg and starring Viggo Mortensen, Michael Fassbender, and Keira Knightley.
★★★ the descendants -(Odeon) 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.
extremely loud and incredibly close -(Caprice) Based on the novel by Jonathan Safran Foer, this drama focuses on the peculiar quest of a young boy after his father is killed in the World Trade Center attack. Starring Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock. By most accounts this is a glum serving of high-minded treacle.
★★★ the grey -(Capitol/SilverCity) 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 -(SilverCity/Uni 4/Caprice) Although Martin Scorsese isn’t exactly known as a child-friendly filmmaker he has been getting well-deserved raves 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 -(Odeon/Uni 4) Meryl Streep is amazing 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 -(Capitol/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.
★★ One for the money -(Caprice) Katherine Heigl is a bit too cutesy as she stars in a thoroughly routine action comedy about a newly-divorced woman who gets a job as a bounty hunter — and her first case involves tracking down an old flame. Moves here Fri.
★★½ safe house -(Odeon/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. See review.
star wars: the phantom menace -(Odeon/Uni 4/Westshore/SilverCity) Luke Skywalker, Yoda and all the other inter-galactic moneymakers for George Lucas get a 3D re-release.
★★★★ tinker tailor soldier spy -(Odeon) There is Oscar buzz surrounding 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.
★★ underworld: awakening -(Caprice) The fourth outing in this vampires-versus-werewolves saga suffers from a ridiculous plot and silly acting, notwithstanding the best efforts of sexy-in-black-leather Kate Beckinsale. Note: moves here from SilverCity on Fri.
The vow -(Odeon/Uni 4/SilverCity/Westshore) 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.
★★★ war horse -(Caprice)Steven Spielberg directs an assured but safe and often corny cinematic adaptation of the acclaimed play that focuses on the travails of a cavalry horse caught up in the nightmare of World War I.
★★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.
★★★ woman in black -(SilverCity/Westshore) 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.
★★★ contraband -(Caprice)
★★ One for the money -(Capitol/Westshore)
big miracle -(SilverCity/Westshore)
african adventure: safari in the okavango -(1 pm, 7 pm)
cirque du soleil: journey of man -(noon, 6 pm)
coral reef adventure-(11 am, 5 pm)
lewis & clark: great journey west -(10 am, 4 pm)
straight up!: Helicopters in action -(2 pm, 8 pm)
tornado alley -(3 pm, 9 pm) Take an incredible trip into the violent heart of tornadoes via never-before-seen footage collected by a fearless (crazy?) storm chaser.
Movie Monday – Screening ★★★★ The Hurt Locker. Six Oscars went to this riveting drama about an American bomb squad facing death as a matter-of-fact reality of life in war-torn Iraq. 6:30pm MONDAY in the 1900-block Fort. By donation. 595-FLIC. moviemonday.ca.
social justice film night -Screening Life in Occupied Palestine: Eyewitness Stories & Photos, a documentary providing insights into the Israeli/Palestinian conflict that are often unavailable through the mainstream media. THURSDAY, 7 pm, 2994 Douglas St. (BCGEU Hall).
open cinema -is screening an award-winning doc by Island filmmaker Richard Boyce. Rainforest: The Limit of Splendour, which offers a compelling look at the need to protect our ancient rainforests, including First Nation perspectives and a history of the local battle against clearcutting. WEDNESDAY, Feb. 22, 7 pm, Victoria Event Centre, 1415 Broad St.
Cinecenta at UVic screens its films in the Student Union Building. Info: 721-8365. cinecenta.com.
★★★½ west wind: the vision of tom thomson -(Wed.-Thurs., Feb. 15-16: 7:00, 9:00) The same filmmaking team that did The Inner Life of Glenn Gould do a grand job exploring the life and legacy of Group of Seven painting icon Tom Thomson, who did so much to celebrate the wild Canadian landscape.
★★★ the muppets -(Fri., Sept. 17: 3:00, 7:00, 9:00 & Sat., Feb. 18: 1:00, 3:00, 7:00, 9:00 & Sun., Feb. 19: 1:00) 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.
french immersion -(Sun., Feb. 19: 3:00, 7:00, 9:00 & Mon., Feb. 20: 7:00, 9:00) From the producer of Bon Cop, Bad Cop comes this irreverent send-up of the language intolerance between Quebecers and Anglos, with no stereotype left unspoofed.
★★★ the way -(Tues.-Thurs., Feb. 21-23: 7:00, 9:25) Emilio Estevez directs Martin Sheen (a.k.a. dear old dad) in an appealing examination of spirituality as an unlikely group of people befriend each other while walking a centuries-old pilgrim route in northern Spain. One of last year’s most likable films.
★★★½ puss in boots -(12:30, Sat.-Sun.) 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.
★★★★ hugo – Although Martin Scorsese isn’t exactly known as a child-friendly filmmaker he has been getting raves 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. Opens Friday 7 p.m., 2:10pm Sat & Sun
★★★½ the girl with the dragon tattoo – (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. Opens Friday. 9:15 p.m.
Pink Ribbon – 4: 30 pm SATURDAY AND SUNDAY