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RATINGS 5 Outstanding 4 Very Good 3 Good 2 Fair 1 Poor - Here are thumbnail reviews from Postmedia News film critics of movies playing in Greater Victoria. For showtimes, check advertisements or visit timescolonist.
L-R: Jessica Chastain, Sam Worthington and Marton Csokas star in John Madden's espionage thriller "The Debt."

RATINGS 5 Outstanding 4 Very Good 3 Good 2 Fair 1 Poor

- Here are thumbnail reviews from Postmedia News film critics of movies playing in Greater Victoria. For showtimes, check advertisements or visit


Bucky Larson: Born To Be a Star (SilverCity) A grocery bagger going nowhere in a small town discovers that his strait-laced parents used to be adult-film stars and heads to Los Angeles to follow in their footsteps. With Nick Swardson, Christina Ricci, Don Johnson and Stephen Dorff. 18A

Contagion (Empire Capitol 6, Empire University 4, SilverCity) When a lethal airborne virus causes a pandemic, the medical community races to find a cure as ordinary people struggle to survive in an unravelling society. With Marion Cotillard, Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne and Jude Law. Directed by Steven Soderbergh. PG

Warrior 3

(Cineplex Odeon Victoria, SilverCity) Tom Hardy, Nick Nolte and Joel Edgerton star in this surprisingly smart fight movie that's steeped in cliché, but, miraculously, transcends the tropes through great performance and subtle scripting. Nolte plays a father to two sons who end up competing against each other in a high-stakes match. This rather long drama drenched in testosterone is yet another brilliant turn from underrated English actor Tom Hardy. - Katherine Monk. PG

The Whistleblower 3

(Cineplex Odeon) Rachel Weisz stars as a policewoman investigating human trafficking in Bosnia in this real-life expose. The movie is a powerful indictment of United Nations complicity in a sexual-slavery ring, but it hammers home every point relentlessly. - Jay Stone. 14A


30 Minutes or Less 2

(Roxy) A sad-sack buddy comedy with Jesse Eisenberg as a pizza delivery guy who's captured by two dangerous layabouts, strapped to a bomb and forced to rob a bank. It's a half-baked idea that never plays out as either crude comedy or exciting action: Director Ruben Fleischer gets the tone all wrong. - Jay Stone. 18A

Another Earth

(Cineplex Odeon Victoria) On the eve of the discovery of a duplicate Earth, tragedy strikes and the lives of two strangers become irrevocably intertwined. PG

Apollo 18

(Empire Capitol 6, SilverCity) On a topsecret moon mission in 1973, two astronauts uncover a deadly secret that explains why NASA never went back. Written by Brian Miller. Directed by Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego. 14A

Bridesmaids 4

Roxy) Kristen Wiig co-wrote and stars n this smart, raunchy comedy about a roup of women helping to organize he wedding of a friend. Wiig's character, Annie, is at odds with Helen (Rose Byrne), the bride's new best friend, and the film's depiction of female rituals is comically astute. It also includes the most disgusting poop joke in the history of bridal cinema. - Jay Stone. 14A

Captain America: The First Avenger 4

(Caprice) In the latest cinematic tale from the Marvel Comics universe, 98pound weakling Steve Rogers (Chris Evans, digitally condensed) is rejected by the U.S. army, but catches a break when a kindly German scientist decides he'd make the perfect test subject for a super-serum that will amplify his everything. The resulting movie is fun and refreshingly retro, although a tad long at 125 minutes. - Chris Knight. PG

The Change-Up 3

(Empire Capitol 6, Star) Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds star as mismatched friends - a responsible family man and an irresponsible Lothario - who magically switch bodies. Bateman is especially good as the sex-mad slob suddenly saddled with infant children, and the results are often funny in a crude way: It's better than you expect. - Jay Stone. 18A

Conan the Barbarian 2 1/2

(SilverCity) Jason Momoa stars as the titular muscle man in this revamp of the Arnold Schwarzenegger classic about a kid who grows up to become the fiercest warrior of the Dark Ages. Because the movie never takes itself too seriously, Momoa and the cast get enough room to move around with their oversized swords and clunky dialogue. And despite the ambient silliness and TV-plot predictability, the movie finds entertainment value in the execution, thanks to Momoa and the winks to genre. - Katherine Monk. 18A

Cowboys and Aliens 3

(SilverCity) A nutty combination of genres that lessens, rather than enhances, them. Daniel Craig is an outlaw who finds himself wearing a bracelet that shoots death rays, and Harrison Ford is a tyrant rancher whose son is abducted by aliens. Together with Olivia Wilde, they set out to find the creatures and restore order to the Old West. There's nothing to do but sit back and enjoy the explosions. - Jay Stone. 14A

Crazy, Stupid, Love 3

(Caprice, Cineplex Odeon Victoria, Empire University 4) Several unexpected twists keep this romantic comedy from falling into too-predictable territory. The film stars Steve Carell, Emma Stone, Julianne Moore and Ryan Gosling as Jacob, a cocky metrosexual playboy who transforms into a sweet, slightlyless-cocky metrosexual monogamist in under two hours. Love is a many splendoured thing, especially when you've found your soulmate. This one is about true romance and wading back into the dating pool. PG

The Debt 2 1/2

(Empire Capitol 6, Empire University 4, Star) Helen Mirren and Jessica Chastain play older and younger versions of a Mossad agent, who, with two others (including Tom Wilkinson and Sam Worthington), captured a Nazi war criminal 30 years earlier. The film is about what really happened, but the upshot seems like small potatoes compared to the enormity of the crimes it represents. - Jay Stone. 14A

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark 3 1/2

(Cineplex Odeon Victoria) An artful monster movie with Guy Pearce and Katie Holmes as a couple living in a huge old mansion that has mini-creatures in the walls. Only young Sally (Bailee Madison) sees them, but who listens to a little girl? Guillermo del Toro, who co-produced and co-wrote, gives it an imaginative tone. - Jay Stone. 14A

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 5

(Caprice, Empire Capitol 6, SilverCity) This being the final chapter in the wildly popular series, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and pals Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) are free to leave rubble in their wake. They do so spectacularly, from a raid on a bank to the destruction of their alma mater, Hogwarts. It's all to defeat Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes), while allowing each character a final, fan-thrilling closeup.

The film, like the books, ends with a brief coda set 19 years in the future. Let's just say that Ron has finally managed to tame that mop of hair. Shorter than the interminable farewells in The Lord of the Rings, this final scene feels, like the rest of the movie, perfectly paced and entirely satisfying.

- Chris Knight. PG

The Help 3

(Cineplex Odeon Victoria) Emma Stone and Viola Davis play the only grey zones in an altogether black and white look at race, as witnessed by a group of black maids living in Jackson, Mississippi, circa 1962. Stone plays a young reporter looking to chronicle the stories of oppression, while Davis plays the black maid looking to speak her truth. Contrived, forced and completely manipulated to solicit a select group of emotions,The Help looks great, but may well make you feel dirty, despite all the ambient cooking and cleaning.All the same, good performances save the day. - Katherine Monk. PG

Kung Fu Panda 2 2 1/2

(Caprice, Roxy) A 3-D sequel to the animated film finds Po the panda (voiced by Jack Black) trying to trace his birth parents and fighting off another evil villain (Gary Oldman). Technically wonderful, but it's a dispirited adventure without many laughs. - Jay Stone. G

Midnight in Paris 3 1/2

(Empire University 4, Star) It must have been one helluva casting call. Wanted: Actors to play Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein and Pablo Picasso. Apply to Woody Allen. Owen Wilson plays Gil Pender. Visiting Paris with his fiancée (Rachel McAdams), he goes for a walk and winds up in the 1920s. Hemingway and Stein offer literary encouragement, and a lovely muse named Adriana (Marion Cotillard) takes a shine to him. Midnight in Paris keeps us laughing while delivering a sly philosophy about our longings for the past. - Chris Knight. G

One Day 3

(Caprice, Star) A hard-to-buy romance with a gimmick. Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess play near-lovers who dance around their involvement for 20 years. We meet them once a year, on July 15, to catch up on their lives and personalities. The actors have good chemistry, but the characters are handicapped by the stop-and-start romance that flattens the magic. - Jay Stone.


Our Idiot Brother 3

(Cineplex Odeon Victoria, SilverCity) Paul Rudd stars as Ned, a pothead organic farmer who gets busted selling a cop a bag of weed. Upon his release, he's forced to live with his three neurotic sisters, who all find Ned immature, naive and irritating. Director Jesse Peretz tries to find a Woody Allen tone for the family dynamics, but he can't find the magic fulcrum between bitter absurdity and all-out mean-girl shtick. Because some of this just feels ill-spirited, it's hard to jump on the bandwagon of wackiness. However, Rudd makes it all worthwhile, thanks to a performance inspired by Scooby-Doo's Shaggy. - Katherine Monk. PG

Rise of the Planet of the Apes 3 1/2

(Cineplex Odeon Victoria, SilverCity) The Frankenstein story gets extra mileage when you throw accelerated Darwinism into the tank, which is why Rise of the Planet of the Apes may well be the most important piece of the simian puzzle we've seen so far.

Taking us back to the moment when intellectually enhanced apes began walking the Earth, this prequel to the 1968 movie starring Chuck Heston (and the resulting cheesy '70s TV show) isolates the moment of species cleavage. Smart but silly, it all works in true B-fashion. - Katherine Monk. PG

Shark Night 3D ??

(Empire Capitol 6, SilverCity) A messy combination of horror film, college romance and dangerous animal movie that seems half-hearted at best. It's about a group of university students who discover sharks in a Louisiana lake. The horror is lukewarm, but the underwater photography is expert. - Jay Stone. 14A

The Smurfs 3 1/2

(Caprice, SilverCity) The little blue creatures come to the big screen with surprising zest in a film that sends them to New York City ahead of the evil wizard Gargamel (the deliriously hammy Hank Azaria). The film is aware of the story's shortcomings - that irritating theme song, for one thing - and cleverly blends self-criticism into an amusing slapstick adventure for kids. - Jay Stone. G

Spy Kids: All the Time in the World 2 1/2

(Roxy, Star) The gimmicks and the technology - including a scratch-and-sniff card - overwhelm the charm in this latest film in the franchise about junior secret agents. Jessica Alba plays a stepmother spy in a story about how time is speeding up, although not enough. - Jay Stone. PG

X-Men: First Class 3 1/2

(Caprice) Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass, Layer Cake) directs an all-star cast of next-gen stars including James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence in this dramatically ambitious prequel to the X-Men movies. It's not easy addressing the Holocaust in a comic book franchise, but the whole thing works a mutant magic as Vaughn finds the human dimensions of intolerance. - Katherine Monk. PG


Last Night of the Proms Live (SilverCity, Saturday) Swan Lake Bolshoi Ballet (SilverCity, Sunday and Monday)


Super 8 - PG (Fri. and Sat., 7: 10 and 9: 30 p.m.)

Eco-Pirate: The Story of Paul Watson - PG (Sun. and Mon., 7 and 9: 10 p.m.)

2001: A Space Odyssey - G (Tues., 7 and 9: 40 p.m.)

The Tree of Live - G (Wed., Thu., 6: 45 and 9: 25 p.m.)


Schedule effective Friday

Transformers: Dark of the Moon: The Imax Experience - 8 p.m. (Thur.-Sat.), 7 p.m. (Sun.-Wed.)

SEA-REX: Journey to a Prehistoric

World (G) - 10 a.m., noon, 2, 4, 6 p.m. (no 6 p.m. Sept. 15)

Born to Be Wild - 11 a.m., 3 and (7 p.m. Thur.-Sat. only)

Rescue: Disaster Response - 1 and 5 p.m. (6 p.m. Sept. 15 only)