60-SECOND FILM REVIEWS

NowShowing

New movies showing in Minneapolis

By Wendy Schadewald (Rating system: 4=Don’t miss, 3=Good, 2=Worth a look, 1=Forget it)

“Annihilation” (R) (3) [Violence, bloody images, language, and some sexuality.] — After her PTSD-suffering military husband (Oscar Isaac) returns deadly ill from his mission into the shimmery veil caused by a meteor that landed on the southeastern coast of the United States in this fascinating, bizarre, mysterious, unpredictable, violent, love-it-or-hate-it, 115-minute sci-fi thriller based on Jeff VanderMeer’s novel and dominated by stunning cinematography and special effects, a biologist (Natalie Portman) joins a stern psychologist (Jennifer Jason Leigh), a paramedic (Gina Rodriguez), an anthropologist (Tuva Novotny), and a physicist (Tessa Thompson) to venture into the ominous shimmer ultimately to try and help her husband and to determine exactly what is happening.

“Submission” (NR) (3) — After a literature professor (Stanley Tucci) at an arts college, who is married to a doctor (Kyra Sedgwick), agreed to read and critique the beginning chapters of an erotic novel by one of his ambitious, manipulative college students (Addison Timlin) in thus well-acted, risqué, unpredictable, stat-studded (Peter Gallagher, Janeane Garofalo, and Matt Ballard), 105-minute film based on Francine Prose’s novel “Blue Angel,” he finds himself attracted to her and then in a lot  of hot water when the student records one of their meetings.

“Thoroughbreds” (R) (3.5) [Disturbing behavior, bloody images, language, sexual references, and some drug content.] — When a troubled, melancholy teenager (Anya Taylor-Joy), who lives with her detached, divorced mother (Marina Vasileva) and her egotistical boyfriend (Paul Sparks) in the wealthy suburb in Connecticut, reconnects with an emotionally devoid friend (Olivia Cooke) from years earlier in this superbly acted, engaging, tension-filled, 92-minute psychological thriller with a haunting soundtrack, they contemplate blackmailing a drug dealer (Anton Yelchin) to do the unthinkable.

On DVD

“All the Boys Love Mandy Lane” (NR) (1.5) [DVD only] — A lame, twist-filled, 90-minute, 2006  teen slasher thriller with a shocking, unfortunately nonsensical ending in which a suicidal killer (Michael Welch) stalks and terrorizes a ranch hand (Anson Mount) and a beautiful, virginal, and seemingly sexually unattainable high school student (Amber Heard) who has joined five other teenagers (Luke Grimes, Aaron Himelstein, Edwin Hodge, Melissa Price, and Whitney Able) for a supposedly relaxing weekend at a Texas ranch.

“Cleaner” (R) (2.5) [Bloody images, some violence, and language.] [DVD only] — After an ex-cop and owner (Samuel L. Jackson) of a biomedical hazard cleaning company in New Jersey, who has a troubled and inquisitive teenage daughter (Keke Palmer), is hired to scrub down a crime scene and then learns from the wife (Eva Mendes) of a mob accountant that her husband is missing in Renny Harlin’s twist-filled, 88-minute, 2007 crime thriller, the cleaner calls on his former partner (Ed Harris) to help him investigate the murder when other detectives (Luis Guzmán and Edrick Browne) become nosey and he discovers a ledger that incriminates numerous cops.

“CSNY/Déjà Vu” (R) (4) [Some language and brief war images.] [DVD only] — A nostalgic, rabble-rousing, conscience-raising, politically in your face, 96-minute, 2008 documentary that chronicles the illustrious career of David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Graham Nash, and Neil Young and shows the group hitting the road in the summer of 2006 with war correspondent Mike Cerre from New York City to Los Angeles on their controversial, anti-war “Freedom of Speech” tour singing old and newly written songs such as “No More War,” “Let’s Impeach the President,” “Families,” “Ohio,” and “Living with War” in the hopes of making people feel, even ire, and making the point that even though these are different times and a different war the same problems exist as during the Vietnam era.

“Fat Girl” (NR) (3) [Subtitled] [DVD only] — A shocking ending punctuates this enticing, moving, sexually explicit, 86-minute, 2001 French film about a beautiful coy 15-year-old virgin (Roxane Mesquida) on summer holiday at the seaside with her parents (Romain Goupil and Arsinee Khanjian) who is seduced by a caddish, smoothing-talking Italian law student (Libero de Rienzo) while her overweight 12-year-old sister (Anaïs Reboux) struggles with jealously and self-esteem and daydreams about finding love.

“Hero Wanted” (R) (2.5) [Strong violence, language, and brief sexual content.] [DVD only] — When petty crooks double-cross a widowed, small-town garbage collector (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) and local hero during a botched bank robbery in which a dark-haired bank teller (Christa Campbell) is shot in the head to the horror of her widowed mother (Jean Smart) in this unpredictable, twisting crime, 94-minute, 2008 drama, a suspicious Michigan detective (Ray Liotta) tries to piece together evidence and determine whether the hero is involved in a string of murders.

“Lies & Alibis” (R) (3.5) [Language and sexual content.] [DVD only] — An hilarious, entertaining, star-peppered (Selma Blair, Debi Mazar, Henry Rollins, Jerry O’Connell, Deborah Kara Unger, et al.), 90-minute, 2006 comedy about a professional liar and alibi provider (Steve Coogan) who starts an elaborate and delicious con with his stunning assistant (Rebecca Romijn) after the engaged, buffoonish son (James Marsden) of a horny businessman (Josh Brolin) who is cheating on his wife (Sharon Lawrence) accidentally kills the girlfriend (Jamie King) of a Mexican chauffeur (John Leguizamo) and then finds out that a Mormon assassin (Sam Elliott) with three wives has a contract to rub him out.

“The Woman with Red Boots” (NR) (2.5) [Subtitled] [DVD only] — A strange, intriguing, and eerie, 92-minute, 1974 Juan Luis Buñuel thriller in which an elderly, wealthy Frenchman (Fernando Rey), who is cared for by a loyal valet/chauffeur (José Sacristán) and his housekeeper (Laura Betti) of 20 years, invites a mysterious, stunningly beautiful French novelist (Catherine Deneuve), who lives with an artist (Jacques Weber), to his estate to write a book about her life and then coaxes an unemployed art magazine director (Adalberto Maria Weber), who accidentally killed his wife (Emma Cohen) in a hunting accident, to join the party.

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 2018 by Wendy Schadewald.

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