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)

“BPM (Beats Per Minute)” (NR) (3) [Subtitled] — Robin Campillo’s heartbreaking, powerful, inspirational, factually inspired, thought-provoking, risqué, 140-minute film that follows the tenacious, heartfelt efforts of Act Up (the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) French activists (Adèle Haenel, Antoine Reinartz, Adèle Haenel, Félix Maritaud, Médhi Touré, Catherine Vinatier, et al.) in Paris during the 1990s who struggled with AIDS or an HIV-positive status while trying to educate the often apathetic public through nonviolent protests on the dangers of unprotected sex and the use of dirty needles and to pressure pharmaceutical companies to release results of new promising drugs to treat AIDS in a more timely manner that may have the potential to save many more lives, and in the mist of the heated debates and protests, two gay activists (Nahuel Pérez Biscayart and Arnaud Valois) fall in love and then must deal with AIDS when one of them falls ill.

“Lady Bird” (R) (2.5) [Language, sexual content, brief graphic nudity, and teen partying.] — An engaging, realistic, down-to-earth, star-dotted (Lois Smith, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Bob Stephenson, Jake McDorman, and Andy Buckley), coming-of-age, 93-minute comedic drama that follows the senior year in 2003 of a Catholic high school student (Saoirse Ronan), who lives with her middle-class parents (Laurie Metcalf and Tracy Letts) and grocery clerk brother (Jordan Rodrigues) in Sacramento, as she dreams of attending college on the East coast, struggles with her relationship with her best friend (Beanie Feldstein) after she begins to hang out with a popular student (Odeya Rush), and explores the dating scene when she meets a handsome student (Lucas Hedges) during auditions for the school musical and later an immature, free-spirited musician (Timothée Chalamet) to whom she loses her virginity.

“Murder on the Orient Express” (PG-13) (3) [Violence and thematic elements.] — After the legendary Orient Express luxury train leaves Istanbul in 1934 and an un savory child killer (Johnny Depp) is found murdered in this love-it-or-hate-it, well-acted, unevenly paced, dialogue-heavy, thought-provoking, 114-minute remake of 1974 classic film based on Agatha Christie’s 1934 mystery novel and highlighted by gorgeous cinematography and striking period wardrobe, the famous, meticulous, mustache-sporting detective Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh) begins to investigate the murder and to interview possible suspects (Judi Dench, Derek Jacobi, Michelle Pfeiffer, Penélope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Josh Gad, Lucy Boynton, Daisy Ridley, Leslie Odom Jr., Tom Bateman, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Sergei Polunin, and Ziad Abaza) while onboard the stalled train in an attempt to deduce who stabbed the victim to death.

On DVD

“Deception” (R) (3) [Sexual content, language, brief violence, and some drug use.] [DVD only] — A regimented, milquetoast auditor/accountant (Ewan McGregor) falls for a beautiful, mysterious blond (Michelle Williams) in this thrilling, but 113-minute, 2008 predictable thriller when he stumbles into anonymous encounters with high-powered women (Natasha Henstridge, Maggie Q, and Charlotte Rampling) after he meets a dangerous, charismatic swindler (Hugh Jackman) who has an ulterior motive and a moneymaking agenda.

“Flight of the Red Balloon” (NR) (2.5) [Subtitled] [DVD only] — Poor pacing hinders this beautifully shot, low-key, 115-minute, 2007 French film in which a Beijing film student (Song Fang), who is remaking the 1956 children’s classic “The Red Balloon,” is hired by an overworked, stressed-out professional puppeteer (Juliet Binoche) to help her care for her 7-year-old son (Simon Iteanu) in a cramped Paris apartment.

“Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay” (R) (1.5) [Strong crude and sexual content, graphic nudity, pervasive language, and drug use.] [DVD only] — Over-the-top-raunchy scenes, vulgarity, and inanely stupid characters dominate this unfunny, groan-inducing, satirical, 104-minute, 2008 comedy with a potentially funny premise when two best friends (Kal Penn and John Cho) escape from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, after being erroneously arrested as terrorists and run into absurd racial profiling, nude partygoers, smores-roasting Klu Klux Klan members, incestuous Alabama hillbillies, tush-branding Neil Patrick Harris, a moronic Homeland Security bigwig (Rob Corddry), and a pot-smoking president on their way to Texas to seek help from friends (Eric Winter and Danneel Harris).

“Iron Man” (PG-13) (3.5) [Some intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, and brief suggestive content.] [DVD only] — After a genius scientist and wealthy weapons industrialist (Robert Downey, Jr.) escapes from Afghan rebels (Faran Tahir, et al.) by building a powerful iron man suit and returns to the United States in this fast-paced, action-packed, wit-filled, entertaining. 126-minute, 2008 film based on the Marvel comic book, he surprises his longtime assistant (Gwyneth Paltrow), his devious business partner (Jeff Bridges), and an Air Force colonel (Terrence Howard), who is his military liaison, when he announces his plans to take his company in another direction and out the weapons business.

“Miracles: Mister Canton and Lady Rose” (PG-13) (3) [Violence.] [Subtitled] [DVD only] — Pratfall antics and skilful martial arts sequences highlight this delightfully wacky, 139-minute, 1989 Chinese remake of Frank Capra’s “A Pocketful of Miracles” in which luck changes for a broke, acrobatic Chinese man (Jackie Chan) in 1930s Hong Kong when he ends up as the new leader of the Black Dragon gang after he buys a rose from a flower vendor (Ah Leh Gua), who he and his new girlfriend (Anita Mui) help save face when her engaged daughter (Gloria Yip) arrives from Shanghai with her fiancée.

 

©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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