New movies showing in Minneapolis
By Wendy Schadewald (Rating system: 4=Don’t miss, 3=Good, 2=Worth a look, 1=Forget it)
“After the Storm” (R) (3) [Brief nudity.] [Subtitled] — Strong characters highlight Hirokazu Koreeda’s low-key, well-acted, down-to-earth, 117-minute, 2016 film in which a divorced, broke, Japanese gambling addict (Hiroshi Abe), who was once a prize-winning novelist, steals from his lonely, widowed mother (Kirin Kiki) as he works at a detective agency with his partner (Sosuke Ikematsu) to earn money for child support while dreaming of his next novel and tries to keep connected with his young son (Taiyô Yoshizawa) despite the reluctance of his ex-wife (Yôko Maki) who is now dating a well-to-do boyfriend.
“Gifted” (PG-13) (3.5) [Thematic elements, language, and some suggestive material.] — When his controlling, wealthy mother (Lindsay Duncan) shows up more than six years after the suicide of her math prodigy daughter in an attempt to move her precocious, genius, challenging, 7-year-old, math savant granddaughter (McKenna Grace) to Boston after being alerted by a grade school principal (Elizabeth Marvel) that the girl needs to be at an academy for gifted students in this engaging, superbly acted, well-written, down-to-earth, 101-minute film, her loving and concerned uncle (Chris Evans), who repairs boats in a small seaside town in Florida, hires a lawyer (Glenn Plummer) and desperately fights to retain custody of his special niece in order to raise her in as normal a life as possible with the help of his warmhearted neighbor/landlord (Octavia Spencer) and her first grade schoolteacher (Jenny Slate).
“Going in Style” (PG-13) (3.5) [Drug content, language, and some suggestive material.] — When a frustrated, retired New Yorker (Michael Caine) can no longer afford his mortgage payments and the bank threatens to foreclose on his home in this delightful, funny, entertaining, star-studded (Ann-Margret, John Oritz, Matt Dillon, Christopher Lloyd, Joey King, and Kenan Thompson), 96-minute remake of the 1979 comedy, he convinces his two longtime friends (Morgan Freeman and Alan Arkin), who are also losing their pensions after their factory that they worked at for more than 30 years was sold to South Korea and the pensions are being used to pay off the company debt, to rob a bank so that they can have their pie and eat it too.
“Alvin and the Chipmunks” (PG) (3) [Some mild rude humor.] [DVD only] — After a struggling songwriter (Jason Lee) gets fired from his advertising executive job and a snobbish, money-grubbing music producer (David Cross) hates his latest song in this fast-paced, chuckle-inducing, family-oriented. 92-minute, 2007 comedy, three waffle-loving and rambunctious chipmunks (voiceovers by Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler, and Jesse McCartney) charm their way into his cupboard and his life and influence his career and his love life with a beautiful neighbor (Cameron Richardson).
“Blind Dating” (PG-13) (2) [Sexual content and language.] [DVD only] — An uneven and unfocused, 94-minute, 2006 story about a virginal, fiercely independent, blind pre-law student (Chris Pine) who goes on a series of horrendous blind dates arranged by his well-meaning brother (Eddie Kaye Thomas), who takes a chance on an experimental eye operation with the encouragement of his therapist (Jane Seymour) and his ophthalmologist (Stephen Tobolowsky), and falls in love with a beautiful Indian receptionist (Anjali Jay) who is already engaged to another man (Sendhil Ramamurthy).
“Juno” (PG-13) (3.5) [Mature thematic material, sexual content, and language.] [DVD only] — When a smart-aleck, caustic-tongued, free-spirited high school student (Ellen Page) in Minnesota learns that she is pregnant to the surprise of her boyfriend (Michael Cera), her best friend (Olivia Thirlby), and her understanding and supportive parents (Allison Janney and J.K. Simmons) in this witty, smartly written, 96-minute, 2007 comedy, she decides to let a St. Cloud commercial composer (Jason Bateman) and his wife (Jennifer Garner) adopt her child.
“Lust, Caution” (NC-17) (3.5) [Some explicit sexuality.] [Subtitled] [DVD only] — When an innocent, idealistic, and patriotic Chinese student (Tang Wei) is initially drawn into an underground movement in 1938 Hong Kong with other greenhorn resistance fighters (Lee-Hom Wang, Chu Tsz-ying, et al.) who plan to assassinate a powerful Japanese collaborator (Tony Leung) in Ang Lee’s engrossing, intriguing, and erotic, 157-minute, 2007 thriller, she continues her all-out, artful seduction of the heavily guarded, traitorous political leader and gets close to him 4 years later in Japanese-occupied Shanghai by playing mahjong with his beautiful wife (Joan Chen) with ultimately startling consequences.
“The Perfect Holiday” (PG) (2) [Brief language and some suggestive humor.] [DVD only] — Queen Latifah narrates this cutesy, contrived, and predictable, 96-minute, 2007 Christmas film about a wannabe songwriter (Morris Chestnut) and part-time Santa with his best friend (Faizon Love) who get into a jam after he poses as a office supply salesman when he meets the gorgeous ex-wife (Gabrielle Union) of a shallow music producer (Charles W. Murphy) with three kids (Malik Hammond, Khail Bryant, and Jeremy Gumbs).
“Starting Out in the Evening” (PG-13) (3.5) [Sexual content, language, and brief nudity] [DVD only] — While an aging, workaholic, widowed novelist (Frank Langella) who relishes his privacy and has been on the back burner of the literary world for years cautiously and somewhat reluctantly agrees to let a cheeky, tenacious, ambitious graduate student (Lauren Ambrose) interview him at his New York City apartment and get into his head and eventually his bed for a comparative critical analysis of his work that she is writing for her master’s thesis in this compelling, well-acted, 111-minute, 2007 film with well-rounded characters and a smoldering undercurrent, his 40-year-old daughter (Lili Taylor) is at a romantic crossroads trying to come to terms with her relationship with a smitten lawyer and an old flame (Adrian Lester).
“The Treatment” (NR) (2.5) [DVD only] — After breaking up with his girlfriend (Stephanie March) and countless hours of examining his life with an imaginary therapist (Ian Holm) in this satisfying, 96-minute, 2006 romantic comedy, an English teacher (Chris Eigeman) and basketball coach at a private school begins dating a wealthy widow (Famke Janssen) with a young son (Eli Katz) who hopes to adopt a baby girl with the support of her mother (Elizabeth Hubbard) and a social worker (Blair Brown).
©1986 through 2017 by Wendy Schadewald. The preceding films were reviewed by Wendy Schadewald, who has been a Twin Cities film critic since 1986. To see more of her film reviews, log on to 60-Second Film Reviews.
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