Iron Man 3 (Shane Black) proves Black is the best director Robert Downey Jr. has ever had. The writer/director of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang - which started the comeback that landed Downey in Tony Stark's metal boxers five years ago - has replaced Jon Favreau at the helm, and the result is the best Marvel superhero movie to come out of the Avengers initiative yet. With the same sort of busy-busy plot that made the last Iron Man a bit of a slog, Black not only keeps all the narrative balls in the air, but makes it look effortless, tying valid character development to genuinely thrilling action sequences that use 3D for depth and scale instead of bombast. The bombast comes in the ingenious uses of the Iron Man armour, both as a full suit and in pieces: Iron Man 3 is what happens when you ask the effects teams what they'd like to do this time around. Downey's always worn the snappish, self-absorbed character of Tony Stark like a second skin, but Black lets the personae fuse a little more: Stark Mark III is sharper, angrier, a little more scared. It looks good on him. 129 min.
Rating: NNNN (NW)
Opens May 3 at 401 & Morningside, Beach Cinemas, Coliseum Mississauga, Coliseum Scarborough, Colossus, Courtney Park 16, Eglinton Town Centre, Grande - Steeles, Grande - Yonge, Humber Cinemas, Queensway, Rainbow Market Square, Rainbow Promenade, Rainbow Woodbine, Scotiabank Theatre, SilverCity Fairview, SilverCity Yonge, SilverCity Yorkdale, Varsity. See here for times.
Kon-Tiki (Joachim Rønning, Espen Sandberg) celebrates Norwegian scientist Thor Heyerdahl's 1947 crossing of the Pacific on a raft made of balsa wood logs in order to prove that Polynesia was originally settled by South American natives who made the journey in similar rafts. There's something pleasantly old-fashioned about the earnestness with which directors Rønning and Sandberg (Max Manus: Man Of War) tell their story. It's like a 50s newsreel: See Heyerdahl's eureka moment in Polynesia! Watch him try to convince the National Geographic Society to fund his expedition! Enjoy the chummy camaraderie between Heyerdahl and his makeshift crew of scientists! Rønning and Sandberg play up the dangers of the voyage to generate tension, and several moments at sea are legitimately thrilling. But there's a mechanical feel to Kon-Tiki that keeps it from ever really soaring. Note: this is the predominantly English-language version of the film, 16 minutes shorter than the cut screened at the Toronto Film Festival last fall. Some subtitles. 102 min.
Rating: NNN (NW)
Opens May 3 at Varsity. See here for times.
Still Mine (Michael McGowan) returns writer/director McGowan to the territory he mined in Saint Ralph and One Week, focusing on another flawed hero who sets himself a near-impossible challenge in the face of a devastating illness. It's the true story of New Brunswick senior Craig Morrison (James Cromwell), who starts building a bungalow for himself and his wife, Irene (Geneviève Bujold), when her worsening Alzheimer's makes their two-storey home too dangerous. He quickly finds that his DIY approach doesn't sit well with government inspectors. It's basically the Canadian answer to Amour, but McGowan presents Irene's deterioration as inconvenient rather than horrific and Craig's irascibility and disdain for filing plans and obeying codes as a sign of grit and gumption, instead of digging into the psychology of a man staring down his wife's inevitable death as well as his own. Cromwell and Bujold are both excellent - and nicely paired as a couple who've been together for their entire adult lives - but these tremendous talents are still starring in a feel-good movie about Alzheimer's. 103 min.
Rating: NNN (NW)
Opens May 3 at Grande - Yonge, Queensway, SilverCity Mississauga, Varsity. See here for times.
The Metropolitan Opera: Francesca Da Rimini Encore is a high-def broadcast of Zandonai's rarely performed opera, starring Eva-Maria Westbroek and Marcello Giordani. Subtitled. 237 min.
Opens May 4 at Beach Cinemas, Coliseum Mississauga, Coliseum Scarborough, Grande - Yonge, Queensway, Scotiabank Theatre, SilverCity Yonge. See here for times.
Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! Live is a live staging of the popular NPR quiz show, featuring panelists Paula Poundstone, Mo Rocco and Tom Bodett and just-added comic Steve Martin playing a song. 120 min.
Opens May 2 at Coliseum Mississauga, Eglinton Town Centre, Grande - Yonge, Queensway, Scotiabank Theatre. See here for times.