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Mirror Mirror, Wrath of the Titans and eight other new films reviewed

Julia Roberts has fun playing it evil in the Snow White send-up, Mirror Mirror

There are 12 new movies opening this week. You can read about all but two right here but let me also mention one that’s returned. People of a Feather is a beautiful, thoughtful film about climate change as it’s coming on to a small Inuit village in Hudson’s Bay. Made by a Vancouverite, given a too-short first release, the Fifth Avenue Cinema has brought it back. I gave it 4 ½ stars.

Here are the new ones:

Mirror Mirror:  3 stars

Wrath of the Titans:  2

The Footnote:  3 ½

Le Vendeur (The Salesman): 4

Norwegian Wood:  3

Two about artists ….

West Wind: The Vision of Tom Thomson:  3

The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye:  2

Two from China ….

Red Light Revolution:  2 ½

Love in the Buff:  3 ½

Servitude:  1

 

MIRROR MIRROR: Snow White re-imagined, but not particularly for children. Few of them would get this goofy send-up which is much like the old Fractured Fairytales on the Rocky and Bullwinkle show. Teens and certain nostalgic adults might. The humor is tongue-in-cheek and the best fun is in some sharp and ironic lines of dialogue. (Not enough of them, though).

Much has been changed. Snow White, played by Lily Collins (Phil’s daughter and an Elle magazine writer) now has a feminist edge. She not only clashes with her evil, preening mother (played with relish by Julia Roberts) but learns to use a sword which is handy when she joins a rebellion and when she struts standard romantic comedy moves with her teacher (Armie Hammer) who is also the prince. The dwarves don’t march off to work in the mines. They’re thieves who mug travelers in the forest. A big measure of modern cynicism has crept in. The real stars here are the set designers and art directors. Scene after scene, filmed entirely in a Montreal studio, looks glorious. (International Village and many suburban theatres) 3 out of 5

 

WRATH OF THE TITANS: Two years after Clash of the Titans became an undeserved hit, here’s the sequel taking more liberties with Greek mythology and showing not much more intelligence. It strives to be profound with a big focus on father and son issues and they come in several tiers. Zeus (Liam Neeson) needs to stop Hades (Ralph Fiennes), the brother he exiled to the underworld from bringing back their father Kronos from a sort of rock prison to which in earlier times they had confined him. Zeus asks for the help of his son Perseus (Sam Worthington) who now has a son of his own and doesn’t want to get involved. But then Zeus is captured by another son, Ares, and tied up in Hades’ cavernous digs. The time of the gods could end. That’s only a small précis of one very muddled story.

The acting from everyone is forced intense but you can enjoy the excellent special effects: pillars shattering, gods disintegrating into sand, a giant fiery arm reaching up the screen, a battle with three Cyclops in a booby-trapped forest, a fire monster attacking a village. But not Pegasus, which Perseus flies a few times. It looks phony. Kronos when he finally emerges looks OK but what father of a god resembles a giant clump of charcoal flashing yellow burning eyes? The 3D is not embarrassing like last time but still not essential. (Dolphin, Scoriabank and many suburban theatres) 2 out of 5 

 

FOOTNOTE: This is a very funny film about something you probably never imagined you’d be interested in. Competing egos in academia. Specifically, in this case, among Talmudic scholars at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. They also happen to be father and son.

 

More in New Movies

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A vengeful mom, a demonic nun and Michael Caine’s memories of the swinging 60s

Also: a tulips and Mafia fantasy in Italy and the troubling lives of three skateboarders

Opening and closing VIFF films announced along with a high profile line-up

Both The Hummingbird Project and The Front Runner have Canadian connections
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