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)

“First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers” (NR) (3.5) [Subtitled] [Netflix Only] — After a Khmer Rouge forces everyone to leave Phnom Penh claiming that the U.S. will bomb the city in 1975 in this gut-wrenching, harrowing, horrific, factually based, powerful, well-acted, violent, 136-minuter Angelina Jolie film based on Loung Ung’s memoir and filled with striking cinematography, a young girl (Sareum Srey Moch), her parents (Phoeung Kompheak and Sveng Socheata), and her siblings end up living in poverty in the countryside under the thumb of and constant threat from soldiers.

“My Little Pony: The Movie” (PG) (2) [Mild action.] — A chaotic, jumbled plot dominates this colorful, action-packed, family-friendly, star-studded (voiceovers by Kristin Chenoweth, Michael Peña, Taye Diggs, Sia, and Zoe Saldana), 99-minute animated musical based on the television series “My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic” in which the Twilight Sparkle pony (voiceover by Tara Strong) and her friends (voiceovers by Ashleigh Ball, Andrea Libman, Tabitha St. Germain, and Catherine Weseluck) travel to magical mountain and ocean worlds to try to help the city of Equestria when an unhappy, bitter unicorn (voiceover by Emily Blunt) called Tempest Shadow with a broken horn and the Storm King (voiceover by Liev Schreiber) arrive and threaten the inhabitants to gain magic.

“Our Souls at Night” (NR) (3) [Netflix Only] — After a gutsy, lonely widow (Jane Fonda) asks her handsome neighbor (Robert Redford) to sleep in her bed in this touching, poignant, down-to-earth, romantic, 103-minute film based on Kent Haruf’s novel, they find joy and comfort in each other while the townsfolk (Judy Greer, Bruce Dern, et al.) begin to gossip and her adult son (Matthias Schoenaerts), who is estranged from his wife, disapproves and feels the sleepovers are inappropriate in front of her grandson (Iain Armitage).

On DVD

“88 Minutes” (R) (2) [Disturbing violent content, brief nudity, and language.] [DVD only] — While an arrogant, renown, cavalier forensic psychiatrist and college professor (Al Pacino) receives anonymous death threats indicating that he has 88 minutes to live and a detective (William Forsythe) begins to investigate multiple murders in this convoluted, unrealistic, sporadically suspenseful, 108-minute, 2007 psychological thriller, some of his students (Alicia Witt, Leelee Sobieski, and Benjamin McKenzie) and associates (Amy Brenneman and Deborah Kara Unger) are targeted by a copycat killer whose M.O. is identical to a manipulative, charismatic, incarcerated raping serial killer (Neal McDonough) whose death row conviction was sealed based primarily on the damning testimony he gave.

“Baby Mama” (PG-13) (2.5) [Crude and sexual humor, language, and a drug reference.] [DVD only] — When an ambitious, successful, 37-year-old vice president (Tina Fey), who works for an eccentric, long-haired, “new age” owner (Steve Martin) of an organic, health food company in Philadelphia, hires a fashion-savvy, immature surrogate (Amy Poehler) to carry her baby in this pleasant, star-studded (Sigourney Weaver, Holland Taylor, Dax Shephard, Maura Tierney, et al.), 99-minute, 2008 comedy, her life is turned upside down when the pregnancy does not go as planned and she meets the handsome single dad (Greg Kinnear) who owns a juice bar.

Beaufort (NR) (3) [Subtitled] [DVD only] — An intense, powerful, 131-minute, 2007 intimate film about a 22-year-old Israeli sergeant (Oshri Cohen) and his scared soldiers (Ohad Knoller, Oshri Cohen, Arthur Perzev, Itay Schor, Eli Eltonvo, Itav Turgeman, Daniel Brooks, Gal Friedman, et al.) who try to survive daily Herzbollah bombing as they defend and then destroy a mountaintop 12th-century crusader fortress inside Lebanon in 2000.

“Cabal in Kabul” (NR) (3) [Subtitled] [DVD only] — Romanian journalist Dan Alexe turns filmmaker to shoot this fascinating, amusing, and engaging, 2007 documentary about two curmudgeonly Jews Isaac Levy and Zabulon Simantoo who, despite their contempt and hatred for each, live together in a rundown, abandoned synagogue in Afghanistan where one sells his amulets and the other his homemade brew to Muslim neighbors.

“Circumcise Me: The Comedy of Yisrael Campbell” (NR) (3.5) [DVD only] — This hilariously funny, 48-minute, 2006, satirical comedy presents Philadelphia-born, Catholic-raised comedian Chris Campbell, who converted to Judaism not once but three time and moved to Jerusalem, as he performs his witty, wry standup routine “It’s Not in Heaven” and tells true-to-life jokes regarding life as an orthodox Jew and living in Israel.

“Daughters of Wisdom” (NR) (4) [Subtitled] [DVD only] — Spectacular mountain scenery and gorgeous photography dominate this colorful and informative, 68-minute, 2007 documentary about a group of more than 300 Tibetan nuns (Ochi Drolma, Phunsok Tsomo, Yangchi, Rangzung Palmo, et al.) living at the historic, groundbreaking Kala Rongo Monastery, which was founded in 1990 by Lama Norlha Rinpoche, and receiving religious, spiritual, and educational training.

“Jar City” (NR) (3) [Subtitled] [DVD only] — While a crusty, methodical Icelandic police investigator (Ingvar Eggert Sigurðsson) tries to cope with a rebellious, drug-addicted pregnant daughter (Ágústa Eva Erlendsdóttir) and to work with his partners (Björn Hlynur Haraldsson and Ólafía Hrönn Jónsdóttir) to figure out the connection between an allegedly corrupt policeman (Eyvindur Erlendsson), a 30-year-old rape, and a couple of petty criminals in their murder investigation of a truck driver (Þorsteinn Gunnarsson) who was bludgeoned to death with an ashtray in this complicated and compelling, 93-minute, 2006 murder mystery based on Arnaldur Indriðason’s novel “Tainted Blood,” a grieving father (Atli Rafn Sigurðsson) traces his family’s genetic history looking for answers after the senseless death of his 5-year-old daughter (Rafnhildur Rósa Atladótir) from a genetic brain disorder.

“Priceless” (PG-13) (3.5) [Sexual content including nudity.] [Subtitled] [DVD only] — While a bashful, charming hotel bartender (Gad Elmaleh) on the French Rivera halfheartedly accepts the surprising offer from a wealthy widow (Marie Christine-Adam) to be her boy toy after a beautiful French golddigger (Audrey Tautou) dumps him on learning the truth about his working-class pocketbook in this witty, delightfully entertaining, 106-minute, 2006 romantic comedy, she keeps trying to ignore her intense, undeniable attraction to him in an effort to snag another smitten suitor with a flush bank account.

 

©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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