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)

“Book Club” (PG-13) (3) [Sex-related material throughout and language.] — A heartwarming, well-written, realistic, witty, pun-filled, star-dotted (Alicia Silverstone, Ed Begley, Jr., Tommy Dewey, and Katie Aselton), 100-minute comedy in which four longtime friends, including a divorced federal judge (Candice Bergen), a cynical hotel owner (Jane Fonda), a widowed housewife (Diane Keaton), and a frustrated, married chef (Mary Steenbergen), in Sacramento try to spice up their sex lives after reading the racy novel “Fifty Shades of Grey” with a tax attorney (Richard Dreyfuss) and a doctor (Wallace Shawn), a handsome New York City radio personality (Don Johnson), a flirtatious pilot (Andy Garcia) from Sedona, and a retired husband (Craig T. Nelson) with a waning libido, respectively.

“Breaking In” (PG-13) (2.5) [Violence, menace, bloody images, sexual references, and brief strong language.] — When an Illinois mother (Gabrielle Union) leaves her husband (Jason George) at home and heads to Wisconsin with her two children (Ajiona Alexus and Seth Carr) to get the smart home of her estranged, deceased father (Damien Leake) ready to sell in this taut, violent, predictable, cliché, seen-before, 88-minute thriller, she finds herself trying to outsmart four dangerous burglars (Billy Burke, Richard Cabral, Levi Meaden, and Mark Furze) who are searching for a safe that allegedly contains $4 million.

“Terminal” (NR) (3) — Double-crosses abound in this dark, violent, gritty, well-acted, 90-minute thriller with a surprise ending when a revenge-fueled, duplicitous British waitress (Margot Robbie) at a seedy underground cafe works with an abusive Catholic schoolteacher (Simon Pegg) who is terminally ill, two assassins (Dexter Fletcher and Max Irons) for hire, and a craggy terminal janitor (Mike Meyers) to get her just desserts against men who wronged her.

 

 

On DVD

 

“Bangkok Dangerous” (R) (2) [Violence, language, and some sexuality.] [DVD only] The last assassination for a ruthless mobster (Nitattisai Kaljaruek) of a much beloved political leader in Thailand does not go as planned in this violent, action-packed, inferior, 99-minute, 2008 remake of the 1999 Chinese film after a coldblooded, meticulous hit man (Nicolas Cage) ignores his own rules by mentoring an awestruck Bangkok pickpocket (Shahkrit Yamnarm) working as his courier and then falling for a beautiful, deaf pharmacy assistant (Charlie Yeung).

“Beer for My Horses” (PG-13) (2.5) [Some violence, sexual humor and dialogue, language, drug content, and brief nudity.] [DVD only] When a vengeful Mexican drug trafficker (Carlos Sanz) kidnaps the hot girlfriend (Claire Forlani) of an Oklahoma deputy sheriff (Toby Keith) in retaliation for the arrest of his brother (Greg Serano) after he is caught stealing fertilizer in this wacky, silly, cameo-dotted (Willie Nelson, Gina Gershon, Barry Corbin, Mel Tillis, et al.), but admittedly enjoyable, 86-minute, 2008 comedy based on the hit song, he and his two goofy partners (Ted Nugent and Rodney Carrington) ignore the order of the sheriff (Tom Skerritt) and head to Mexico to save the day.

“Boy A” (R) (3) [Language, sexuality, some disturbing content, and brief drug use.] [DVD only] After serving time as a juvenile for the heinous murder of a young girl with his abused and abusive childhood friend (Taylor Doherty) in this heartbreaking, compelling, 102-minute, 2007 realistic film, a morose, shy, guilt-ridden Brit (Andrew Garfield) tries to assimilate back into society by changing his name and relocating with the help of a compassionate caseworker (Peter Mullan) and by making emotional connections to two unsuspecting coworkers (Shaun Evans and Katie Lyons).

“Burn After Reading” (R) (4) [Pervasive language, some sexual content, and violence.] [DVD only]  While a discontented fitness center employee (Frances McDormand) in Washington, D.C., works with a moronic gym instructor (Brad Pitt) and her unsuspecting smitten manager (Richard Jenkins) to blackmail a canned, alcohol-bingeing, condescending CIA analyst (John Malkovich) with his own memoirs to pay for a series of cosmetic surgeries in this hilarious, well-crafted, twist-filled, well-acted, clever, delightfully witty, star-studded (J.K. Simmons, David Rasche, Dermot Mulroney, et al.), 96-minute, 2008 Coen brother satire, an inventive, bed-hopping U.S. marshal (George Clooney) inadvertently gets mixed up in the money-raising shenanigans when he cheats on his book-touring wife (Elizabeth Marvel) and his mistress (Tilda Swinton).

“Hidden Secrets (NR) (2) [DVD only] When a celibate, devout Christian (David A.R. White) arrives with his girlfriend (Stacy Kennan) of two years to the home of his guilt-ridden former girlfriend (Tracy Melchior) after her brother (Jason Brock) committed suicide and finds he still harbors feelings for her in this overly preachy, unsubtle, 96-minute, 2006 inferior and religious remake of “The Big Chill,” the reunion does not go as expected and strong prejudices and secrets are revealed as estranged friends (John Schneider, Gregg Binkley, Autumn Paul, Corin Nemec, and Sean Sedgwick) gather for the weekend after the funeral services.

“I.O.U.S.A.” (PG) (3.5) [Some thematic elements.] [DVD only] An alarming, frightening, eye-opening, eyebrow-raising, in-depth, 85-minute, 2008 documentary that presents an historical record through archival film clips and economic data of the “fiscal cancer” plaguing America; examines the astronomical and rapidly growing national debt of the United States, which was $8.7 trillion as of Feb. 2007, and offers potential solutions; and recounts the diligent attempts of former U.S. Comptroller General David Walker and Concord Coalition Director Robert L. Bixby to educate U.S. citizens through fiscal wake-up tours about the crisis that is exploding wildly and dangerously out of control.

“Snuff: A Documentary About Killing on Camera” (NR) (3) [DVD only] A controversial, disturbing, uncomfortable, stomach-churning, 76-minute, 2008 documentary that consists primarily of interviews with a film historian (Raymond P. Whalen), an FBI agent/profiler (Larry C. Brubaker), directors (Ryan Schaddelee and Todd Cobery), a video store owner, a producer (Mark L. Rosen), media and cultural studies lecturers (Michelle Lekas and Julie Wilson), and a policewoman (Linda Flanders) and film snippets of alleged on-camera murders to examine the correlation of snuff films to hardcore pornography and the horrifying and abhorrent urban legend and myth that snuff films exist in which people are tortured and then killed on camera for profit.

“The Women” (PG-13) (3) [Sex-related material, language, some drug use, and brief smoking.] [DVD only] While her sympathetic mother (Candace Bergen), her outspoken, housekeeper (Cloris Leachman), and her three best friends, including a stylish women’s magazine editor (Annette Bening), a pregnant-again mother (Debra Messing), and a lesbian writer (Jada Pinkett Smith), in New York City try to support her in this predictable, for-women-only, cameo-studded (Bette Midler, Carrie Fisher, Lynn Whitfield, et al.), 114-minute, 2008 remake of the 1939 chick flick, a Connecticut housewife (Meg Ryan) tries to find herself and reconnect with her precocious teenage daughter (India Ennenga) when she learns from a gossipy manicurist (Debi Mazar) that her husband of 13 years is having an affair with a curvy cosmetic salesclerk (Eva Mendes).

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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