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Ride along, with squirrels and Her

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The Winter Games are coming up fast so it's timely that The Crash Reel is the January Monthly Movie Series flick at Millennium Place. Snowboarder Kevin Pearce's story hits really close to home — The Crash Reel plays on Wednesday, Jan. 29. That's next week but this is the early heads up for tickets.

This week, the digitally enhanced Village 8 theatre is opening Ride Along, a buddy-cop movie starring Ice Cube (Boyz in the Hood, Friday, Are We There Yet?) as an asshole veteran and comic Kevin Hart as the gasping new recruit out on a ride along. The twist is the new guy wants to marry the veteran's sister, so he has to impress.

The rest of the movie ultimately doesn't, but you can't blame Cube. He anchors things just like he always does. The problem is the comedy doesn't really mesh with director Tim Story's serious-toned action sequences. Hart fires a few good warning shots but ultimately misses more than he hits. And you can guess how it ends — Damsel in Distress once again. Ride Along is probably not the worst way to spend a warm spring evening in January though, it beats playing video games alone.

Also opening Friday (and boasting the tagline "No Nuts No Glory") Will Arnett (Hot Rod, Ratatouille) stars as an animated screw-up squirrel about to pull off the heist of the century in The Nut Job. Of course even with his romantic interest (Katherine Heigl) along for support, Surly the Squirrel ends up biting off way more than he can stuff into his cheeks.

You can't drop an animated-squirrel flick without expecting a Ratatouille comparison and The Nut Job is nowhere nearly as expertly prepared. A four-year-old won't care of course, but it's kind of dull and stupid (exhibit A: Gangnam Style jokes).

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit opened earlier in the week and it looks pretty good. Set against the paranoia of global geopolitics and imminent financial collapse this one stars Chris Pine (Star Trek, Bottle Shock) as a younger version of Tom Clancy's classic character. Seems the Russians are up to something sneaky (just wait, it gets worse) and only Jack Ryan can save the day while also salvaging a relationship with his fiancée (Kiera Knightly). It's not that bad, and director Kenneth Braunaugh has some fun, but the script certainly isn't forging too far off the path and into Fresh-Idea-Land.

And also, hands up if you're tired of romantic subplots in action movies. Give the ladies something decent to do or else just make your explosions-and-bike-chases movie with all dudes. (Good luck, even Predator had a chick in it.)

Her is not playing in Whistler but if you're in the city with time it's the new Spike Jonze (Adaptation, Being John Malkovich) flick about a heartbroken shut-in who falls in love with his new Artificial Intelligence computer operating system. Scarlett Johansson stars as the voice and Joaquin Phoenix (I'm Still Here) is the dude. Her is a love story with a creepy paranoid underbelly because Jonze, who also wrote the flick, creates such a fully realized and believable world where the machines walk among us. It's kinda like Terminator, but with Scarlett Johansson whispering in your ear. One of 2013's best. (For sex-not-love, Wolf of Wall Street is still playing and also excellent.)

Now the stupid news: apparently the Sochi Dolphinarium in Russia snared two Orca whales and dragged them from their pods in order to display them in a tank during the 2014 Winter Olympics. Ridiculous, and the must-see download of the Week is Blackfish, it's about that exact thing.

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