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)

“Midsommar” (R) (2.5) [Disturbing ritualistic violence and grisly images, strong sexual content, graphic nudity, drug use, and language.] — After a traumatized American psychology student (Florence Pugh), who has recently lost her parents and sister, goes with her boyfriend (Jack Reynor) of four years, two of his friends (Will Poulter and William Jackson Harper), and a Swedish exchange student (Vilhelm Blomgren) to a summer festival in the idyllic Swedish countryside in this bizarre, dark, depressing, violent, absurd, creepy, 140-minute horror film with striking cinematography, they unexpectedly find themselves in the midst of a strange cult where its pagan commune members (Liv Mjönes, Anna Åström, Anki Larsson, Henrik Norlén, et al.) are steeped in longheld traditions and perform sadistic rituals every 90 years.

“Spider-Man: Far from Home” (PG-13) (3) [Sci-fi action, some language, and brief suggestive comment.] — When geeky, smart, love-struck, 16-year-old Spider-Man (Tom Holland) leaves his devoted aunt (Marisa Tomei) in Queens to head to Europe with his best friend (Jacob Batalon) and other high school classmates (Zendaya, Angourie Rice, Remi Hii, et al.) on vacation in this fun, entertaining, humorous, twist-filled, action-packed, star-studded (Samuel L. Jackson, Jon Favreau, Cobie Smulders, and J. B. Smoove), 3D, 129-minute, sci-fi thriller dominated by terrific special effects, he ends up reluctantly drawn into a fight with destructive monsters made of Earth elements water and fire along with a mysterious superhero (Jake Gyllenhaal) in Venice, Prague, Austrian Alps, Berlin, and London.

On DVD

“Graduating Peter” (NR) (3) [DVD only] — An educational, inspirational, 75-minute, 2001 HBO documentary that follows the struggles of Peter Swazdauskas, who has Down syndrome, from 6th grade through graduation as he attends school in Virginia, suffers with depression, and tries different jobs as a janitor and a hotel kitchen helper in an attempt to live independently from his parents.

“I Hate Valentine’s Day” (PG-13) (2) [Some sexual content.] [DVD only] — The unrealistic dating rules of a relationship-shy, perpetually bubbly New York City florist (Nia Vardolas) in this contrived, lackluster, predictable, romantic, 88-minute, 2009 chick flick comedy hinder her chances of finding love with a neighborhood tapas bar owner (John Corbett).

“I Love You, Beth Cooper” (PG-13) (2) [Crude and sexual content, language, some teen drinking and drug references, and brief violence.] [DVD only]  — After a geeky valedictorian (Paul Rust) in Washington gives a commencement address at his high school graduation in which he finally professes his love for a comely blonde student (Hayden Panettieree) to the surprise of his proud parents (Alan Ruck and Cynthia Stevenson) and outs his towel-wielding best friend (Jack Carpenter) who does not realize that he is in the closet in this mildly amusing, juvenile, violent, 102-minute, 2009 comedy, he spends the night with his best friend, the woman of his dreams, and two other graduates (Lauren London and Lauren Storm) trying to escape from an obnoxious, enraged boyfriend (Shawn Roberts) and his two lame sidekicks (Jared Keeso and Brendan Penny).

“Morning Light” (PG) (3.5) [Some language.] [DVD only] — A fascinating, well-paced, exciting, informative, 87-minute, 2008 documentary sponsored by Roy E. Disney and narrated by Patrick Warburton in which sailing coaches Stan Honey, Robbie Haines, Mike “Moose” Sanderson, “Big Mike” Howard, and Terry Kirby begin on Jan. 7, 2007, a 6-month training session of 15 hopeful college students, including Jeremy Wilmot (aka the troll, age 21), Kit Will (age 22), Steve Manson (age 22), Chris Branning (age 21), Genny Tulloch (age 22), Chris Welch (age 19), Kate Thiesen (age 20), Mark Towill (aka Towiller, age 18), Robbie Kane (aka turtle, age 21), Graham Grant-Zawadzski (age 21), Chris Schubert (aka the bear, age 21), Pieter Van Os (age 22), Charlie Enright (age 22), and Jesse Fielding (age 20), who will ultimately be chosen to be part of the crew of 11 sailors to compete in the grueling and rewarding 2,300-mile Transpacific Yacht Race from California to Diamond Head, Hi.

“These Foolish Things” (NR) (2.5) [DVD only] — Terence Stamp steals every scene as a wisecracking butler in this wacky, uneven, romantic, 107-minute, 2005 film based on Noel Langley’s novel “There’s a Porpoise Close Behind Us” in which the comely, orphaned daughter (Zoe Tapper) of a famous British actress (Charlotte Lucas) falls for a handsome playwright (David Leon) and a smitten actor (Andrew Lincoln) while dealing with her obnoxious cousin (Leo Bill) and her equally obnoxious gay leading man (Mark Uber), as well as a wealthy theater patron (Anjelica Huston) and an aging actress (Lauren BaCall), in 1930s London.

“Under Suspicion” (R) (2) [Sexual content and language.] [DVD only] — Dirty secrets are revealed in this arty, slow moving, disappointing, 110-minute, 2000 film in which a divorced police chief (Morgan Freeman) and a police lieutenant (Thomas Jane) in Puerto Rico begin interrogating a powerful, photography-savvy, 57-year-old tax attorney (Gene Hackman) and his much-younger, sexy wife (Monica Bellucci) after two young girls (Nydia Caro and Vanessa Shenk) are found raped and murdered.

“Whatever Works” (PG-13) (3) [Sexual situations including dialogue, brief nude images, and thematic material.] [DVD only] While a cynical, sarcastic, limping, curmudgeonly, retired Harvard physicist (Larry David) surprises himself and his friends (Michael McKean, Adam Brooks, and Lyle Kanouse) by falling for an airhead Mississippi beauty pageant winner (Evan Rachel Wood) when she arrives on his doorstep in Woody Allen’s offbeat, funny, romantic, 93-minute, 2009 comedy, her Bible-thumping, stifled, artistic mother (Patricia Clarkson) tries to hook her daughter up with a smitten college student (John Gallagher Jr.) when she arrives in Manhattan and ends up in a ménage à trois relationship with two men (Conleth Hill and Olek Krupa) to the surprise of her estranged, adulterous husband (Ed Begley, Jr.) who also has made a new friend (Christopher Evan Welch).

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.

Aaron Shaffer About Aaron Shaffer
Follow Meteorologist Aaron Shaffer on Twitter. Aaron is a meteorologist who lives in Minneapolis and is the digital communications and social media associate for the nonprofit Avivo in Minneapolis. He is Ward 8's representative on the Minneapolis Bicycle Advisory Committee, Deep down he's a weather geek and has a degree in Atmospheric & Oceanic Sciences from UW-Madison to prove it. He's spent time working at TV stations in Wyoming, South Dakota, and Iowa prior to arriving in Minneapolis to work for WeatherNation and now forecasting for MinnyApple. His favorite weather career moment came while storm chasing for his Iowa station (he went on 40+ storm chases during that time), when he saw a mile-wide EF-4 rated tornado.