tinker tailor soldier spy -(Odeon) There is Oscar buzz surrounding what sounds like a 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. Starts Fri.
haywire -(Capitol/SilverCity) Steven Soderbergh directs this violent espionage thriller starring mixed martial arts champ Gina Carano as a CIA assassin who is set up and betrayed by her nasty bosses. Hey, if you were a ruthless killer, would you seek revenge on the dirtbags that done you wrong? Nah, didn’t think so! Co-starring Michael Douglas, Antonio Banderas and Ewan McGregor. Starts Fri.
extremely loud and incredibly close -(Odeon/Westshore) 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. Starts Fri.
red tails -(Capitol/Westshore) This is the little-known story of an all-black aviation corp in World War Two. Starring Cuba Cooding Jr. and Terrence Howard. Starts Fri.
underworld: awakening -(Capitol/SilverCity/Westshore) The usually hostile vampires and werewolves unite against a devastating war launched by us mean humans, as sexy-in-spandex Kate Beckinsale goes for the jugular one more time. Starts Fri.
★★★½ my week with marilyn -(Caprice) The twice Oscar-nominated Michelle Williams does a great job playing über-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. Starts Fri..
★★★½ the adventures of tintin -(Odeon/SilverCity/Westshore) 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 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/Uni 4) 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.
★★★★ beauty and the beast -(Capitol/SilverCity/Westshore) This beguiling 21-year-old classic from Disney’s animation studio gets a 3-D re-release.
★★★½ carnage -(Uni 4) Roman Polanski directs this savagely entertaining black comedy about two sets of parents who meet after their 11-year-old sons are involved in a fight. It doesn’t take long for the thin veneer of NYC civilization to get ripped off. The superb cast includes Jodie Foster, John C. Reilly, Kate Winslet and Christoph Waltz.
★★★ contraband -(Capitol/SilverCity/Uni 4/Westshore) Mark Wahlberg stars as an ex-smuggler who reluctantly goes to work for a deadly drug lord in order to get his brother-in-law out of a jam. Decent, well-plotted actioner. Co-starring Kate Beckinsale.
★★★ a dangerous method -(Odeon) 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. See review.
★★★ 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.
★½ the devil inside -(SilverCity) Considerably less disturbing than dinner with a dotty aunt, this religio-horror “shocker” uses the docu-verité style of the Paranormal Activity series to delve into the arcane world of exorcisms and demonic possession. Sadly, this isn’t quite laughably bad enough to be entertaining.
★★★½ the girl with the dragon tattoo -(SilverCity) 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.
★★★★ hugo -(SilverCity/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. See review.
joyful noise -(Capitol) Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton look like they have great chemistry in this feel-good comedy about two women who have very different ideas about the musical direction their choir should take as they head to the national championships.
★★★½ mission: impossible – ghost protocol -(SilverCity/Westshore) 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. (It’s worth the extra $5 for the IMAX version.)
★★★ the muppets -(Caprice) Miss Piggy, Kermit et al. make a perky return to the silver screen in a musical extravaganza chronicling efforts to save their beloved theatre from the schemes of a greedy oil baron. All the current Muppet mania seems a bit unmerited, but this is a cute exercise in happy-making nostalgia.
★★★½ puss in boots -(Caprice) 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.
★★★ sherlock holmes: a game of shadows -(Capitol/SilverCity/Uni 4/Westshore) Although the 2009 original didn’t appeal to Holmesian purists, Guy Ritchie’s irreverently revved-up version of the Victorian sleuth and his long-suffering sidekick certainly merited this entertaining sequel, a bromantic mash-up of Dickensian vibe and jokey modern violence. Starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law.
★★ the twilight saga: breaking dawn, part 1 -(Caprice) A wedding and a dangerous pregnancy provide some much-needed excitement for this increasingly vapid vampire soap opera that has bewitched tweens (and older viewers who should know better).
★★★ war horse -(SilverCity) 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. Note moves here from SilverCity on Fri.
★★ young adult -(Caprice) Charlize Theron stars in a flat and unconvincing drama about a recently divorced, alcoholic writer who returns to her small town desperate to rekindle a romance with her high school sweetie (Patrick Wilson) — too bad he’s married and has a kid. An unexpected flop from director Jason Reitman (Up in the Air) and writer Diablo Cody (Juno).
★★ happy feet two -(Caprice)
★ New Year’s eve -(Caprice)
★★ the sitter -(Caprice)
beavers -(daily 10am; Fri.-Wed., 1 pm; Fri.-Sun. & Tues.-Thurs., 4 pm; Sat., 7 pm) According to the ads, this is “the best dam movie” you’ll ever see about that iconic Canadian animal with the beautiful buck teeth.
★★★★ born to be wild -(Fri. & Sun.-Thurs., noon; Fri.-Sun. & Tues.-Thurs., 3 pm; Sat. & Mon.-Thurs., 6 pm) Take a remarkable safari as this documentary takes you up close and personal with the people who nurture orphaned baby elephants and orangutans en route to re-releasing them into the wild. Narrated by Morgan Freeman. This is a great film!
★★ happy feet two -(Fri.-Sat., 8 pm; Sun., 5 pm; Mon.-Wed., 7 pm) 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.
sea–rex -(Fri. & Sun.-Thurs., 11am; Fri.-Wed., 2 pm; Fri.-Sat. & Mon.-Thurs., 5 pm)
the wildest dream: conquest of everest -(Fri., 6 pm; Sat., 11am; Sun., 7 pm; Mon., 3 pm; Thurs., 1 pm) This 90 minute biopic stars Ralph Fiennes in the story of the first man to attempt to summit Mount Everest and, 80 years later, the climber who found his frozen body.
Movie Monday – Screening Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. Great greasy gobs of junk food cascade in an endless banquet from the sky (and elsewhere), in an animated 3D frolic that amuses adults as well as their kids. 6:30pm MONDAY in the 1900-block Fort. By donation. 595-FLIC. moviemonday.ca.
social justice film night -Screening Home, a visually compelling look at the beauty of our planet and how we seem to be wrecking everything via pollution, energy depletion, crass agri-business practices and other problems. THURSDAY, 7 pm, 2994 Douglas Stree.
Cinecenta at UVic screens its films in the Student Union Building. Info: 721-8365. cinecenta.com.
★★★½ tous les matins du monde -(Wed., Jan. 18: 7:00, 9:15) This 20-year-old French drama stars Gerard Depardieu as an aging Baroque composer looking back on his earlier days in the court of the king. The visuals are sumptuous, the music . . . glorious!
peace out -(Thurs., Jan. 19: 7:00 only) Don’t miss this award-winning doc on the dangers of energy extraction in northwestern Canada. The director and an expert in natural gas fracking will be in attendance.
★★★★ j. edgar -(Fri., Jan. 20: 3:00, 7:00, 9:40 & Sat., Jan. 21: 3:25, 7:00, 9:40) Clint Eastwood directs Leonardo DiCaprio in a balanced and compelling portrait of the controversial head of the FBI whose many peccadilloes included lackmailing his political enemies . . . and dressing in women’s clothing.
★★½ real steel -(Sat.-Sun., Jan. 21-22: 1:00 matinee) Hugh Jackman is an over-the-hill pugilist (and deadbeat dad in recovery) in a slightly futuristic world where “robot boxing” is the globe’s most popular sport. Uneven, overly long but certainly entertaining.
take shelter -(Sun., Jan. 22: 3:25, 7:00, 9:20 & Mon., Jan. 23: 7:00, 9:20) There is Oscar buzz for this challenging drama about a man (Michael Shannon, Revolutionary Road) who is plagued by apocalyptic visions that could be omens but may also be indications of a madness threatening his wife and family.
★★½ the help -(Tues., Jan. 24: 7:00, 9:40) More popular with audiences than critics, this is a look at the genteel racism experienced by black servants in Mississippi in the early 1960s.
miss representation -(Wed., Jan. 25: 7:10, 9:00 & Thurs., Jan. 26: 7:10 only) This underdog doc aspires to challenge the $256 billion ad industry in terms of its representation of women in modern American culture. On Thursday there will be a panel discussion with four experts.
Jan 20th to Jan 26th
“Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol” (PG) at 7:00 pm
“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1” (PG) at 9:15 pm
“Happy Feet Two” (G) 12:45 pm (Sat, Sun)
“Puss In Boots” (G) 2:30 pm (Sat, Sun)
“Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol” (PG) 4:00 pm (Sat, Sun)