The Pirates! Band of Misfits
The Five-Year Engagement (Nicholas Stoller) The Five Year Engagement (Nicholas Stoller) is just as shaggy and casual as Jason Segel's Forgetting Sarah Marshall - though the structure is more ambitious, sprawling out over more than half a decade to chronicle the flailings of a San Francisco couple (Segel and Emily Blunt) who find their marriage plans constantly upstaged or thwarted by the simple progression of their lives. Segel and Blunt are terrific together, with a buoyant chemistry that feels both sexy and comfortable, and it's a pleasure to hang out with their characters, even when things get difficult for them. This is a deeper and richer film than its marketing suggests - it's ultimately about the characters' transition from carefree post-adolescence to the more demanding realities of living as adults - and that's something you should know going in. 123 min.
Rating: NNNN (NW)
Opens Apr 27 at 401 & Morningside, Beach Cinemas, Carlton Cinema, Coliseum Scarborough, Courtney Park 16, Eglinton Town Centre, Grande - Steeles, Grande - Yonge, Humber Cinema, Interchange 30, Queensway, Rainbow Market Square, Rainbow Promenade, Rainbow Woodbine, SilverCity Fairview, SilverCity Mississauga, SilverCity Yonge, SilverCity Yorkdale, Yonge & Dundas 24. See here for times.
The Pirates! Band of Misfits (Peter Lord) is as energetic and fearlessly goofy as anything to bear the stamp of England's Aardman Animation. When an affable Pirate Captain (voiced by Hugh Grant) and his jolly crew (including Martin Freeman, Brendan Gleeson and Anton Yelchin) embark on an adventure with scientists, the ship's parrot brings our heroes to the attention of both Charles Darwin (David Tennant) and Queen Victoria (Imelda Staunton). The story's cracked alternate history gets funnier as it goes along, and the film sails merrily through a series of inspired set pieces with lusty recitations of very silly dialogue. Shot in 3-D, which allows us notice the sight gags crammed into every corner of the frame. 88 min.
Rating: NNNN (NW)
Opens Apr 27 at 401 & Morningside, Beach Cinemas, Coliseum Scarborough, Colossus, Courtney Park 16, Eglinton Town Centre, Grande - Steeles, Grande - Yonge, Queensway, Rainbow Market Square, Rainbow Promenade, Rainbow Woodbine, SilverCity Fairview, SilverCity Mississauga, SilverCity Yonge, SilverCity Yorkdale, Yonge & Dundas 24. See here for times.
The Raven (James McTeigue) is a moderately entertaining murder mystery that casts famed writer Edgar Allan Poe as a sleuth when somebody uses his stories as the pattern for their grisly killings in 1849 Baltimore. The case provides some atmospheric, suspenseful fun, notably with a horseman at a party and the mystery of the missing stagehand. John Cusack as Poe can't make the alcoholic ranter the film depicts convincing, and neither he nor Alice Eve, the love interest, is believable as someone from the 19th century, but Cusack is enjoyable when he's detecting or romancing. 111 min.
Rating: NNN (AD)
Opens Apr 27 at 401 & Morningside, Canada Square, Carlton Cinema, Colossus, Courtney Park 16, Eglinton Town Centre, Grande - Steeles, Grande - Yonge, Kennedy Commons 20, Queensway, Rainbow Market Square, Rainbow Promenade, Rainbow Woodbine, SilverCity Fairview, SilverCity Mississauga, Yonge & Dundas 24. See here for times.
Safe (Boaz Yakin) is a Jason Statham movie, always a safe bet for dumbed-down, non-stop action. The dialogue is as brutal and in-your-face as Statham's feet, but even when Safe is bad, it's good. Statham plays a down-on-his-luck prizefighter who finds new purpose when he must protect a young Chinese girl from the Triads, the Russian Mob and corrupt NYPD officers, all with itchy trigger fingers. Statham bounces around scenes and people like a pinball that explodes on contact. There's something downright existential about his character, who becomes a garbage collector, a rundown cop and/or whatever else the plot dictates at any given moment. No matter what hat he's sporting (in any movie), when throwing down he's always Statham: stripped-down masculinity with a bullet-shaped head, a husky voice and a fist that dislocates jaws. 95 min.
Rating: NNN (RS)
Opens Apr 27 at 401 & Morningside, Beach Cinemas, Coliseum Mississauga, Coliseum Scarborough, Colossus, Courtney Park 16, Eglinton Town Centre, Empire Theatres at Empress Walk, Grande - Steeles, Queensway, Rainbow Woodbine, Scotiabank Theatre, SilverCity Yonge, SilverCity Yorkdale. See here for times.
The Lady (Luc Besson) is an expensive, somber biopic about Nobel Peace Prize-winning activist Aung San Suu Kyi. French action czar Besson (La Femme Nikita, The Fifth Element) seems confounded by the static nature of Suu Kyi's battle against the Burmese military dictatorship that confined her to house arrest while preventing her British husband from visiting her. Suu Kyi's opponents are drawn as one-dimensional fanatics and thugs who delight in thwarting her; Michelle Yeoh and David Thewlis carry themselves with great dignity as Suu Kyi and her husband, though Thewlis allows himself a little fun when he plays his character's twin brother. But every scene is staged with the self-importance of an Oscar clip because Besson can't think of any other way to present the drama. Some subtitles. 145 min.
Rating: NN (NW)
Opens Apr 27 at Grande - Yonge, Varsity. See here for times.
Material Success (Jesse Mann) is a blow-by-blow account of how Bruno Ierullo and his trusty seamstress, Susana Benavides, mounted his first fashion show in 2010, a mammoth 300-piece extravaganza. There are huge gaps. Who is this guy? Where did he train? How can he suddenly afford to stage one of Canada's largest-ever fashion shows? Except for tension over meeting the production deadline, there is zero conflict, even though show designer (as distinct from fashion designer) Paul Langill has the kind of ego tailor-made (ahem) for a personality clash with nice guy Ierullo. The focus is on Ierullo's drive, his obsession with colour and craft and his harping on the cliché that you should only do what you love. Interesting if you can't imagine what goes into a fashion show; otherwise not exactly a grabber. 83 min.
Rating: NN (SGC)
Opens Apr 27 at Projection Booth. See here for times.
Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale (Wei Te-Sheng) is the largest production in Taiwanese filmmaking history - and it shows. No expense was spared in recreating the massive battles between the indigenous Seediq tribes and their colonizing Japanese oppressors in 1930. Unfortunately this 2.5-hour international cut is roughly half the length of the original version, sacrificing characterization and narrative clarity. Without characters to care about, the endless action quickly becomes empty and exhausting. That streamlined editorial approach might work for an unapologetic B-movie like The Raid, but not for a project with artistic aspirations attempting to honour a true story. 154 min.
Rating: NN (Phil Brown)
Opens Apr 27 at Scotiabank Theatre. See here for times.
Darling Companion (Lawrence Kasdan) sends an empty-nester (Diane Keaton), her distracted husband (Kevin Kline), his affable nephew (Mark Duplass), the nephew's flighty mother (Dianne Wiest) and her doofus boyfriend (Richard Jenkins) racing all over a small Colorado town in search of a lost dog. And wouldn't you know it, they end up learning valuable lessons about themselves and each other along the way. Like director and co-writer Kasdan's earlier The Big Chill and Grand Canyon, this is about well-off people whose problems turn out to be the catalyst for self-discovery and happiness. But where those earlier films were genuinely concerned with searching their characters' souls, this one just feels ridiculously out of touch. 103 min.
Rating: N (NW)
Opens Apr 27 at Varsity. See here for times.
The Metropolitan Opera: Manon Encore is a repeat broadcast in high def of the Met's production of the Massenet opera, starring soprano Anna Netrebko in the tragic title role. 248 min.
Opens Apr 28 at Beach Cinemas, Coliseum Mississauga, Coliseum Scarborough, Grande - Yonge, Queensway, Scotiabank Theatre, SilverCity Yonge. See here for times.
One Man, Two Guvnors - Encore Presentation is a repeat broadcast from London's National Theatre of Richard Bean's English version of Goldoni's Italian comedy, starring James Corden. 160 min.
Opens Apr 26 at Coliseum Mississauga, Coliseum Scarborough, Grande - Yonge, Queensway, Scotiabank Theatre, SilverCity Yonge. See here for times.