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)

“Toy Story 4” (G) (4) — When a young girl (voiceover by Madeleine McGraw) makes a toy out of a fork at orientation day at school and it ends up in an antique shop with a doll (voiceover by Christina Hendricks) desperate for acompanion of her own and her mischievous sidekicks when her parents (voiceovers by Laurie Metcalf and Jay Hernandez) take a road trip in this adorable, charming, family-friendly, well-written, funny, 3D, star-studded (voiceovers by John Ratzenberger, Joan Cusack, Tony Hale, Bonnie Hunt, Estelle Harris, Patricia Arquette, Jodi Benson, Don Rickles, Kristen Schaal, Timothy Dalton, Wallace Shawn, and Jeff Garlin), 89-minute Disney animated comedy, the loyal cowboy Woody (voiceover by Tom Hanks) reunites with his longtime friend Bo Beep (voiceover by Annie Potts) and her sheep and along with astronaut Buzz Lightyear (voiceover by Tim Allen), a nervous motorcycle stunt driver (voiceover by Keanu Reeves), a fluffy duck (voiceover by Keegan-Michael Key), and bunny (voiceover by Jordan Peele) attempt to retrieve “Forky” while the other toys try to help from inside the van to get everyone home safely.

“Echo in the Canyon” (PG-13) (3.5) [Drug references and some suggestive content.] — Wonderful, nostalgic music dominates this fascinating, entertaining, uplifting, informative, 88-minute, 2018 documentary narrated by Jakob Dylan that examines the birth and influence of popular folk-rock music from bands such as The Beach Boys, The Association, The Mamas and the Papas, The Byrds, and Buffalo Springfield in Laurel Canyon in the 1960s and showcases music from both rehearsals and a 2015 concert at the Orpheum Theater in Los Angeles, archival film footage, and interviews with singers and musicians such as Tom Petty, Brian Wilson, Michelle Phillips, Jackson Browne, Ringo Starr, Graham Nash, Stephen Sills, David Crosby, Lou Alder, Beck, Eric Clapton, Fiona Apple, Norah Jones, Cat Power, Roger McGuinn, John Sebastian, Jade Castrinos, and Regina Spektor.

“The Last Black Man in San Francisco” (R) (3.5) [Language, brief nudity, and drug use.] — A quirky, moving, touching, factually inspired, well-acted, star-dotted (Danny Glover, Rob Morgan, Mike Epps. Finn Wittrock, Thora Bircha, and Tichina Arnold), 2-hour film in which a desperate, twenty-something, African-American personal health attendant (Jimmie Fails) squats with his artistic, playwriting, fishmonger best friend (Jonathan Majors) in a $4 million Victorian mansion in San Francisco allegedly built by his grandfather in 1946 with the hopes of eventually buying the property in the posh neighborhood.

Late Night” (PG-13) (3) [Language throughout and some sexual references.] — After a placating television producer (Denis O’Hare) hires a smart, feisty, outspoken chemical plant quality control specialist (Mindy Kaling), who lives with her aunt and uncle in Queens, as a token diversity hire to write for the legendary, acerbic, complacent, shallow, coldhearted, fire-happy late night talk show host (Emma Thompson), who is married to a Parkinson’s-afflicted, retired professor (John Lithgow), in this funny, satirical, entertaining, poignant, star-dotted (Seth Meyers, Bill Maher, Annaleigh Ashford, and Halston Sage), 102-minute comedy, the greenhorn newbie tries to fit in and revitalize the testosterone-heavy writing staff (Hugh Dancy, Reid Scott, Max Casella, Paul Walter Hauser, John Early, et. al) and they band together to reignite a fire in the show and its host when the network president (Amy Ryan) decides to hire a crass, standup comedian (Ike Barinholtz) as the new host.

On DVD

“Carol’s Journey” (NR) (3.5) [Subtitled] [DVD only] — Gorgeous cinematography dominates this poignant, engaging, coming-of-age, 103-minute,  2002 film about a headstrong, 12-year-old girl (Clara Lago) who leaves her pilot father (Ben Temple) in Manhattan in 1938 to go with her ill mother (María Barranco) to visit her kindhearted grandfather (Álvaro de Luna) and uncle (Carmelo Gómez, Lucina Gil, et al.) in Spain, where she is befriended by a rambunctious boy (Juan José Ballesta) and the colorful locals (Rosa María Sardà, Ana Villa, et al.) during the Spanish Civil War.

“Country Teacher” (NR) (3) [Subtitled] [DVD only] — After a Czech natural science teacher (Pavel Liska) leaves his prep school job, his parents (Zuzana Kronerová and Miroslav Krobot), and his angry, forlorn lover (Marek Daniel) in Prague in this sensitive, poignant, down-to-earth, 103-minute, 2008 film, he finds himself the object of a widowed cow farmer’s (Zuzana Bydzovská) flirtations and jeopardizes his relationship with her when he is attracted to her 17-year-old son (Ladislav Sedivý) who only has his eyes for a free-spirited teenager (Tereza Vorísková).

“Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs” (PG) (3) [Some mild rude humor and peril.] [DVD only] — While a buck toothed, tango-dancing squirrel (voiceover by Chris Wedge) competes for an appetizing acorn with a flirtatious, manipulative squirrel in this imaginative, funny, three-dimensional, wit- and star-filled (voiceovers by Jane Lynch, Bill Hader, and Kristen Wiig), 94-minute, 2009, animated sequel, a rules-loving, eye-patch-wearing weasel (voiceover buy Simon Pegg) helps a wooly mammoth (voiceover by Ray Romano) and his pregnant mate (voiceover by Queen Latifah), two possums (voiceovers by Josh Peck and Seann William Scott), and a saber-toothed tiger (voiceover by Denis Leary) save their sloth friend (voiceover by John Leguizamo) from a dinosaur trying to find and protect her three babies.

“The Man from London” (NR) (1.5) [Partially subtitled] [DVD only] — Melancholy music and a bleak atmosphere accompany this dark, plodding, black-and-white, 139-minue, 2007 Béla Tarr adaptation of Georges Simenon’s novel in which a somber railway switchman (Miroslav Krobot), who lives a mundane life with his unhappy wife (Tilda Swinton) and daughter (Erika Bók) near the French seaside, finds a suitcase with £60,000 near the ferry docks and an aging London police inspector (István Lénárt) investigating a murder and the whereabouts of the alleged thief (János Derzsi).

“My Sister’s Keeper” (PG-13) (3.5) [Mature thematic content, some disturbing images, sensuality, language, and brief teen drinking.] [DVD only] — A heart-wrenching, well-acted, factually inspired, 109-minute, 2009 film in which a headstrong, fed-up, 11-year-old student (Abigail Breslin) hires an epileptic lawyer (Alec Baldwin) in Los Angeles in order to sue her worried, stressed-out parents (Cameron Diaz and Jason Patric) for medical emancipation and to be granted a hearing before a grief-stricken judge (Joan Cusack) so that she can have the legal right to make decisions regarding her own body and donating a kidney to her strong-willed, older, leukemia-stricken sister (Sofia Vassilieva) who is in renal failure.

“Pontypool” (NR) (2.5) [DVD only] A strange, nonsensical, oddly compelling, 98-minute, 2008  psychological thriller based on a Tony Burgess novel about a scruffy Canadian radio host (Stephen McHattie) who is manning a radio broadcast in the basement of a church with his coworkers (Lisa Houle and Georgina Reilly) on Valentine’s Day when they receive reports that nearby Ontario citizens are rioting and have been infected with an unknown virus that turns them into crazy, blabbering cannibals.

“Public Enemies” (R) (3.5) [Gangster violence and some language.] [DVD only] While J. Edgar Hoover (Billy Crudup), an FBI agent Melvin Purvis (Christian Bale), and other G-men (Stephen Lang, et al.) desperately try to capture infamous, charismatic, smart, prolific, gutsy, and slippery bank robber John Dillinger (Johnny Depp) and his loyal cronies, including Pretty Boy Floyd (Channing Tatum), Baby Face Nelson (Stephen Graham), Alvin Karpis (Giovanni Ribisi), and Homer Van Meter (Stephen Dorff), in 1933 in this intense, action-packed, factually inspired, bullet-riddled, cameo-filled (Alec Baldwin, Lili Taylor, Shawn Hatosy, Leelee Sobieski, Emilie de Ravin, James Russo, Rory Cochrane, David Wenham, et al.), 140-minute, 2009 film, the smitten thief tries to protect and reunite with his hat check girlfriend Billie Frechette (Marion Cotillard) despite being in the slammer.

“Spring Breakdown” (R) (2) [Crude humor and sexual references.] [DVD only] — When a loudmouth, rifle-toting U.S. senator (Jane Lynch) in Washington, D.C. sends her ambitious office manager (Parker Posey) to South Padre, Tx., to watch over her supposedly wild daughter (Amber Tamblyn) on spring break in this wacky, over-the-top, sporadically, funny, 84-minute, 2009 comedy, her two best friends, a lonely dog trainer (Amy Poehler) and a horny fiancée (Rachel Dratch) who just broke up with her boyfriend (Seth Meyers) due to his questionable sexuality, decide to join her on the spring romp they never had during their college days.

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.

MinnyApple About MinnyApple
MinnyApple is a relatively new Minneapolis source for news and weather information. Find us on the Twitter and Facebook links below.