60-SECOND FILM REVIEWS

New movies showing in Minneapolis

By Wendy Schadewald (Rating system: 4=Don’t miss, 3=Good, 2=Worth a look, 1=Forget it)

“Aladdin” (PG) (3) [Some action/peril.] — When a charming, cocky, handsome thief (Mena Massoud) and his sticky-fingered capuchin monkey sidekick find a magical lamp in a dangerous mountain cave full of treasures after he is forced by ambitious advisor (Marwan Kenzari) to the sultan (Navid Negahban) to enter the cave in this entertaining, witty, family-friendly, colorful, 3D, 128-minute, Guy Richtie, Disney, musical remake of the 1992 animated film, he is granted three wishes by a powerful blue genie (Will Smith) and uses some of the wishes to win over the feisty, headstrong, beautiful princess (Naomi Scott).

“All Is True” (PG-13) (3.5) [Thematic elements, suggestive material, and language.] — Striking cinematography, gorgeous scenery and costumes, and memorable poetry snippets highlight this engaging, well-crafted, charming, well-acted, thought-provoking, 101-minute film that focuses on renowned poet and playwright William Shakespeare (Kenneth Branagh) in his final years following the burning of the Globe Theater in London in 1613, his trying to cope with the death of his son Hamnet (Sam Ellis) in 1856, his move home to Stratford to reflect on his life and legacy and be closer to his neglected wife (Judi Dench) and two beautiful daughters (Kathryn Wilder and Lydia Wilsona), and his joy of gardening until his death in April 1616.

“Booksmart” (R) (1.5) [Strong sexual content and language throughout, drug use, and drinking—all involving teens.] — When two smart, bookworm, studious best friends (Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein) in high school decide to go wild and let their hair down by finding the best party in Los Angeles on the evening before graduation in this disappointing, lame, intermittently funny, star-dotted (Will Forte, Lisa Kudrow, Jason Sudeikis, Jessica Williams, and Billie Lourd), 102-minute Olivia Wilde comedy filled with crass jokes, crude humor, and foul language, the night of partying with other graduating seniors (Skyler Gisondo, Eduardo Franco, Diana Silvers, Andrea Susan Bush.Noah Galvin, Stephanie Styles, et al.) does not go as hoped; may appeal to college-age moviegoers.

“John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum” (R) (3.5) [Pervasive strong violence, and some language.] — After a highly skilled, widowed assassin (Keanu Reeves) with nine lives breaks the cardinal rule at a sanctuary hotel in New York City by killing someone on the premises and a $14 million bounty is placed on his head in this bullet-riddled, riveting, action-packed, fast-paced, extremely violent, star-studded (Halle Berry, Randall Duk Kim, Saïd Taghmaoui, Jason Mantzoukas, Jerome Flynn, Robin Lord Taylor, and Lance Riddick), 130-minute thriller filled with dead bodies, he finds himself the target of gun-, knife-, and saber-wielding assassins (Mark Dacascos, Hiroyuki Sanada, et al.) who desperately want to claim the money while an adjudicator (Asia Kate Dillon) imposes dire penalties on some of the people (Ian McShane, Laurence Fishburne, and Angelica Huston) who helped him escape after the murder.

“Photograph” (PG-13) (3) [Some thematic material.] — When a handsome photographer (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) in Mumbai is constantly pressured by his well-meaning grandmother (Farrukh Jaffar) to get married so that she can show off her grandchildren in her village and struggles to pay off  his family’s longtime, stifling debt in this charming, well-acted, coming-of-age, unpredictable, thought-provoking, romantic,110-minute film with a frustrating, abrupt ending, he ends up meeting a beautiful accounting student (Sanya Malhotra), who lives with her middle-class parents, after snapping her picture at the Gateway to India and they slowly develop a connection as she poses as his fiancé.

“We Always Lived in the Castle” (NR) (3) — When their charming, devious, handsome cousin (Sebastian Stan) who has ulterior motives arrives at an isolated Victorian mansion in New England to try and lay claim to the family fortune after the owners of the house mysteriously died of arsenic poisoning five years earlier in this dark, somber, well-acted, slow-paced, 95-minute psychological thriller based on Shirley Jackson’s 1962 novel, the mentally unstable, superstitious, 18-year-old teenager (Taissa Farmiga) unravels even more and becomes increasingly obsessed with casting supernatural spells in an attempt to protect the house and her beautiful, older sister (Alexandra Daddario) and her wheelchair-bound, dementia-afflicted uncle (Crispin Glover).

On DVD

“Call of the Wild 3D” (PG) (2.5) [Some violence, language, thematic material, and brief smoking.] DVD only]— When a young girl (Ariel Gade) goes to Montana to visit her widowed grandfather (Christopher Lloyd) and nurses a stray wolf dog back to health in this family-geared, star-dotted (Veronica Cartwright, Wes Studi, Timothy Bottoms, and Joyce DeWitt), three dimensional film, she and a teenager racer (Kameron Knox) enter him in a dogsled race to compete against another racer (Devon Graye) with the hopes of winning the race and taking the dog home with her to Boston.

“Easy Virtue” (PG-13) (3) [Sexual content, brief partial nudity, and smoking throughout.] DVD only]— Beautiful photography punctuates this entertaining, whimsical, comedy of manners satire, which is based on Noel Coward’s 1924 play, about a spirited, allergy-prone, champion race car driver (Jessica Biel) from Detroit with a scandalous past who arrives in England during the roaring 1920s with her new younger husband (Ben Barnes) and tries her best to fit in with his snobbish and prickly mother (Kristen Scott Thomas), scruffy and wry-humored father (Colin Firth), and two skeptical sisters (Kimberley Nixon and Katherine Parkinson) at their sprawling, gentrified countryside estate.

“Forever Strong” (PG-13) (3) [Thematic material involving teen drug and alcohol use, and for some disturbing images.] [DVD only] — After a reckless, high school star rugby player (Sean Faris) disappoints his parents (Neal McDonough and Julie Warner) and lands in a Utah detention center for a second DUI conviction in this family-friendly, inspirational, factually based film, the caring reformatory administrator (Sean Astin) and no-nonsense rugby coach Larry Gelwix (Gary Cole) take him under their wing and get him on the right road for his promising future.

“Imagine That” (PG) (2.5) [Some mild language and brief questionable behavior.] DVD only]— When a workaholic, skeptical, divorced financial advisor (Eddie Murphy) in Denver comes to believe that his precocious daughter (Yara Shahidi) is receiving sound investment advice from three imaginary friends with the aid of her blue blanket in this delightful, family-friendly, predictable, cameo-dotted (Vanessa Williams, Danny DeVito, Nicole Ari Parker, Mel Harris, Bobb’e J. Thompson, et al.) comedy, he decides to use the information to deal with an equally ambitious, irritating rival (Thomas Haden Church) at work as they try to impress their bosses (Ronny Cox and Martin Sheen).

“The Karamazovs” (NR) (2.5) [Subtitled] [DVD only] — Art imitates life and life imitates art in this complicated, unusual, engaging film about a production manager and a group of Czech actors (Lenka Krobotová, Michaela Badinková, et al.) from Prague who go to a rundown steel mill in Poland to begin rehearsing a play, which is primarily based on the final chapter of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s famous Russian play “The Brothers Karamazov,” in which a father (Ivan Trojan) is killed and one of his sons (David Novotný, Martin Mysicka, Igor Chmela, and Radek Holub) is accused of his murder.

“Rudo y Cursi” (R) (3) [Pervasive language, sexual content, and brief drug use.] [Subtitled] [DVD only]  — When a flamboyant, manipulative talent scout (Guillermo Francella) finds two contentious, soccer-playing half brothers, one an accordion-playing singer (Gael García Bernal) and the other a married foreman (Diego Luna) at a banana plantation in Mexico, catapults them in the world of money, fame, and women in Mexico City in this compelling, unpredictable film, one of them falls victim to a gambling addiction while the other to fast cars and a fast woman (Jessica Mas).

Film Critic Wendy Schadewald reviewed films in the Twin Cities since 1986, and has been a guest critic on KARE-11’s Showcase Minnesota, WCCO radio, and AMC-950 radio. She reviews more than 250 films annually and has been a film buff for as long as she can remember. To see more of her film reviews, log on to shortredheadreelreviews.com.

©1986 through 2019 by Wendy Schadewald.

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