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)

“Dark Phoenix” (PG-13) (3) [Intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, including some gunplay, disturbing images, and brief strong language.] — After a troubled mutant (Sophie Turner), who grew up with other children with unusual powers when her parents (Scott Shepherd and Hannah Emily Anderson) were in a tragic car accident when she was eight years old, is struck by and absorbs a cosmic solar flare on a mission to save astronauts by the request of the president (Brian d’Arcy James) and becomes one of the most powerful X-Men on Earth in this entertaining, thrilling, action-packed, fast-paced, 114-minute, sci-fi film filled with amazing special effects and makeup, she finds that she cannot control her newfound powers and becomes the target of ruthless, homeless aliens (Jessica Chastain, Ato Essandoh, et al.) trying to use her abilitie to make the Earth their home while worried X-Men (James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, Tye Sheridan, Nicholas Hoult, Evan Peters, Alexandra Shipp, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Kota Eberhardt, Andrew Stehlin, et al.) try to stop her from taking a dark path.

“Rocketman” (R) (3.5) [Language throughout, some drug use, and sexual content.] — Amazing songs, terrific dance choreography, and ostentatious costumes highlight this entertaining, well-acted, factually inspired, critically acclaimed, moving, 121-minute musical that showcases the early life of talented, gay, charismatic, flamboyant pianist and singer Elton John (Taron Egerton) growing up in Liverpool, England, with his adulterous, cruel mother (Bryce Dallas Howard) and kindhearted grandmother (Gemma Jones) while estranged from his indifferent father (Steven Mackintosh), his historic rise to fame despite dealing with drug and alcohol issues, his lifelong collaboration and friendship with lyrist Bernie Taupin (Jamie Bell), and working with his greedy, manipulative, coldhearted manager John Reid (Richard Madden).

On DVD

“Departures” (PG-13) (4) [Thematic material.] [Subtitled] [DVD only]  When a Japanese cellist (Masahiro Motoki) loses his job and moves with his supportive wife (Ryoko Hirosue) to his childhood home after his orchestra in Tokyo is disbanded in this moving, heartwarming, heartbreaking, Oscar-winning, 130-minute, 2008 film, he ends up jeopardizing his marriage when he cautiously accepts a job as “encoffineer” where he works with a longtime widower (Tsutomu Yamazaki) to respectfully and gingerly perform a ceremony that prepares the deceased for their departure to the afterlife.

“Don’t Tempt Me” (R) (2.5) [Language, some violence, and sexual content.] [Partially subtitled] [DVD only] — While the manager (Fanny Ardant) from a black-and-white Heaven set in Paris sends a nightclub singing angel (Victoria Abril) to retrieve the soul of an injured, suicidal boxer (Demián Bichir) working as a security guard in this strange, convoluted, oddly compelling 2001 film, the operations manager (Gael García Bernal) from Hell sends his hot, devilish, waitressing agent (Penélope Cruz) to Earth to win the same soul.

“Inferno” (R) (2) [Violence, language, and some nudity.] [DVD only] A gritty, violent, uninspired, 95-minute, 1999 film in which a New Mexico artist (Gloria Rueben) unknowingly befriends a bruised and battered mobster (Rat Liotta) she finds suffering from amnesia in the desert and helps him figure out who he is while evading a ruthless bad guy (Armin Mueller-Stahl) on his trail.

“The Proposal” (PG-13) (3) [Sexual content, nudity, and language.] [DVD only] After a hated, tyrannical, emotionally-distant editor-in-chief (Sandra Bullock) at a New York City publishing company is threatened with deportation to Canada and she blackmails her ambitious assistant (Ryan Reynolds) into marrying her in this funny, well-paced, romantic, 108-minute, 2009, chick flick comedy, they end up traveling to scenic Alaska for the weekend to meet his parents (Mary Steenburgen and Craig T. Nelson) and to celebrate the 90th birthday of his feisty grandmother (Betty White).

“Spinning into Butter” (R) (2.5) [Language.] [DVD only] Racial tension and student unrests escalate at a prominent Vermont college in this run-of-the-mill, unpredictable, 86-minute,  2007 film when a dean (Sarah Jessica Parker) loaded with emotional baggage finds herself at odds with the college president (James Rebhorn), her colleagues (Miranda Richardson, Beau Bridges, et al.), and a newscaster (Mykelti Williamson) after an African-American student (Paul James) becomes a target of heinous hate crimes.

“The Take” (NR) (3) [Partially subtitled] [DVD only] A fascinating, insightful, 2004 documentary that examines the economic and financial collapse in Argentina in 2001 and chronicles the struggle of distraught and tenacious unemployed workers at more than 200 factories, including auto parts, garments, ceramics, shipbuilding, and tractors, as well as schools and medical clinics, to establish cooperatives in Buenos Aires during a time of political turmoil and the presidential campaigns of former President Menem and Senator Kirchner.

“Valentino: The Last Emperor” (PG-13) (3.5) [Some nudity and language.] [DVD only] Timeless, classic, beautiful, hand-sewn, haute couture evening gowns dominate this fascinating, informative, behind-the-scenes, 96-minute, 2008 documentary filled with film clips, runway shows in Paris and Rome, and stars as it chronicles the privileged life, sumptuous and affluent lifestyle, creative process, and 45-year career of iconic and well-tanned Italian fashion designer Valentino Garavani and his longtime relationship with lover and business partner Giancarlo Giammetti.

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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