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)

“Alien: Covenant” (R) (2) [Sci-fi violence, bloody images, language, and some sexuality/nudity.] — When the Covenant crew (Katherine Waterston, Danny McBride, Demián Bichi, Carmen Ejogo, Callie Hernandez, Amy Seimetz, Jussie Smollett, et al.), including a humanoid robot (Michael Fassbender), aboard a spaceship carrying 2,000 colonists bound for a new home on a distant planet intercepts a radio transmission from an unlikely source in this lackluster, predictable, violent, 122-minute Ridley Scott sci-fi thriller filled with striking special effects and numerous plot holes, the captain (Billy Crudup) makes the unfortunate decision to investigate the new world with dire consequences.

“Buster’s Mal Heart” (NR) (3) — When a disillusioned hotel concierge (Rami Malek) with a wife (Kate Lyn Sheil) and 2-year-old daughter has a psychotic break after meeting a pessimistic homeless man (DJ Qualls) obsessed with conspiracy theories in this quirky, unusual, imaginative, dark, 96-minute thriller, he finds himself hallucinating, breaking into empty vacation homes, and trying to keep one step ahead of the authorities (Toby Huss, Bruce Bundy, et al.) in Montana.

“Chuck” (R) (3) [Language throughout, drug use, sexuality/nudity, and some bloody images.] — An engaging, well-acted, down-to-earth, factually inspired, star-studded (Naomi Watts, Ron Perlman, Jim Gaffigan, and Michael Rappaport), 101-minute biographical film that chronicles the tumultuous life and career of womanizing, egotistical, poem-writing, New Jersey heavyweight boxer Charles “Chuck” Wepner (Liev Schreiber) whose claim to fame was sparring for fifteen rounds on March 23, 1975, with Mohammed Ali in Cleveland and Sylvester Stallone (Morgan Spector) basing his Oscar-winning film ”Rocky” on his career, but then his life takes a nosedive when his fed-up wife (Elizabeth Moss) files for divorce, he becomes estranged from his daughter (Sadie Sink), and eventually spends 26 months in prison when he is busted for cocaine possession,

“Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul” (PG) (2) [Some rude humor.] — After an Indianapolis couple (Alicia Silverstone and Tom Everett Scott) decides to take a road trip with no cell phones or the Internet with their three children (Jason Drucker, Charlie Wright, and Dylan Walters) to visit grandma on her 90th birthday in this silly, pratfall, family-friendly, intermittently funny, 90-minute comedy, mayhem ensues when they win a piglet at a county fair, a disgruntled bearded vacationer (Chris Coppola) seeks revenge, they are sidetracked to a videogame expo, and the van experiences one problem after another.

“Everything, Everything” (PG-13) (2.5) [Thematic elements and brief sensuality.] — A touching, down-to-earth, family-friendly, romantic, predictable, 96-minute film based on Nicola Yoon’s bestselling 2015 novel and reminiscent of “Bubble Boy” and “The Boy in the Plastic Bubble “ about an artistic, bright, bibliophile 18-year-old student (Amandla Stenberg) who suffers from a combined immunodeficiency disorder (SCID) and is cared for by an understanding nurse (Ana de la Reguera) worries her widowed physician mother (Anika Noni Rose) when she risks life to leave Massachusetts and go on an exciting, but reckless adventure with the hunky, nurturing next door neighbor (Nick Robinson).

“Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent” (R) (3.5) [Language.] — Scrumptious food highlights this captivating, educational, 102-minute documentary that chronicles the extraordinary life and career of legendary, controversial, innovative, charismatic, influential culinary genius Jeremiah Tower, who started his career at Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley in 1972 and went on to build his world-famous Stars Restaurant in San Francisco in 1985, through archival photographs and film clips and interview snippets with Roots of American Festival director Stephen Torres, TV personalities (such as Martha Stewart, Anthony Bourdain, and Ken Friedman), former “Town and Country” food and wine critic James Villas, chefs and restaurateurs (such as Mario Batali, Wolfgang Puck, Jonathan Waxman, and Steve Ellis), former “Gourmet” magazine editor-in-chief Ruth Reichl, former “New York Times” food writer Regina Schrambling, friend Gregg Lowery, niece Alexandra Tower Ewers, food writer and journalist Andrew Friedman, restaurant consultant Clark Wolf, former Stars general manager Tony Angotti, former Stars chefs Mark Franz and Jean-Pierre Moullé, former Stars jazz pianist Mike Greensill, former Stars patron Jerry Matters, Tavern on the Green owner Jim Caiola, former Stars bartender Seamus Coyle, reservations manager Samantha Talbott, nephew Peter Tower, and Harvard college friends John Sanger, Michael Palmer, and Cathy Simon.

“The Lovers” (R) (3) [Sexuality and language.] — While a longtime married land surveyor (Tracy Letts) in California and his businesswoman wife (Debra Winger) find a renewed spark for each other despite his secret affair with an uptight  ballet dancer/instructor (Melora Walters) and hers with a handsome writer (Aiden Gillen) in this quirky, engaging, well-acted, unpredictable, 94-minute comedy, conflicts arise when they both promise their partners that they will tell their spouse of the affair after their estranged son (Tyler Ross) comes home from college for a visit with his girlfriend (Jessica Sula).

“Risk” (NR) (3) [Available on iTunes] — An eye-opening, informative, inspirational, controversial, 94-minute, 2016 documentary in which filmmaker Laura Poitras spends five years examining the life of WikiLeaks publisher and founder Julian Assange who has been living at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for five years after Ecuador granted him political asylum with the help of his lawyers Jennifer Robinson and Renata Avila in an effort to prevent his extradition to Sweden to answer sexual misconduct allegations and thereby preventing a possible extradition to the U.S. for leaking thousands of confidential government files with the help of WikiLeaks editors Sarah Harrison and Joseph Farrell and hacking experts, including Jacob Applebaum.

 


On DVD

 

“Coffee Date” (NR) (3) [DVD only] — After his mooching brother (Jonathan Silverman) sets him up with a blind date on the Internet with a movie-buff, gay Latino salon owner (Wilson Cruz) in this charming, pleasant, 91-minute, 2006 comedy, an uptight, recently divorced businessman (Jonathan Bray) returns to their Los Angeles apartment pretending to be gay but the ruse backfires when he tries to convince his widowed, well-intended mother (Sally Kirkland) and his coworkers (Jason Stuart, Deborah Gibson, et al.) that he is really straight.

“Gray Matters” (PG-13) (1.5) [Some mature thematic material, sexual content, and language.] [DVD only] — Stilted and unrealistic dialogue and characters mar this choppy, predictable, 96-minute, 2006 romantic comedy about a New York City advertising executive (Heather Graham) who jeopardizes her close relationship with her surgical resident brother (Tom Cavanagh) when she unexpectedly falls for a beautiful zoologist (Bridget Moynahan) she finds for him at a dog park.

“Shut Up and Kiss Me!” (NR) (2) [DVD only] — While an unlucky-in-love, accident-prone, greenhorn stockbroker (Christopher Daniel Barnes) who still lives with his eccentric, divorced mother (Victoria Jackson) in Miami tries to hook up with a knockout tour guide (Kristen Richardson) he literally runs into in his office building in this wacky, uninspired, 101-minute, 2004 comedy, his womanizing best friend (Brad Rowe) tries to get close to a beautiful Sicilian (Krista Allen) he meets during a grocery store robbery despite being protected by overzealous bodyguards hired by her mobster uncle (Burt Young).

“There Will Be Blood” (R) (3.5) [Some violence.] [DVD only] — The hunger and tenacity for oil and a deep-seated antagonism for a zealous evangelist (Paul Dano) of an aesthetic, greedy, and obsessive turn-of-the-century sociopathic prospector (Daniel Day-Lewis) in this compelling, but slow-moving, 2-1/2 hour, 2007 film that has a striking musical score and was inspired by Upton Sinclair’s 1927 novel “Oil” lead not only to riches for his partners (Ciarán Hinds, et al.) and to the estrangement of his son (Dillon Freasier/Russell Harvard) after a tragic accident leaves him deaf but to his slow descent in madness, bitterness, and self-imposed alienation.

“An Unreasonable Man” (NR) (3) [DVD only] — An in-depth and interesting, 122-minute, 2006 documentary about the profound, enormous, and widespread influence of infamous and famous lawyer and lobbyist Ralph Nader who has made a significant impact on human rights, consumer safety (such as seat belts and nutrition labeling), environmental safeguards, and worker protection and has forever shaped the American political scene after throwing his hat into the presidential ring as a Green Party candidate.

 

©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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