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)

“Blaze” (R) (3) [Language throughout, some sexual content, and drug use.] — Memorable songs and striking cinematography dominate this engaging, factually based, well-acted, meandering-paced, star-studded (Charlie Sexton, Josh Hamilton, Richard Linklater, Sam Rockwell, Steve Zahn, Kris Kristofferson, Ethan Hawke, Sybil Rosen, and Alynda Lee Segarra), 128-minute Ethan Hawke film adapted from Sybil Rosen’s memoir “Living in the Woods in a Tree: Remembering Blaze Foley” that chronicles the tumultuous life and career of hard-drinking, talented, struggling country singer/songwriter/guitarist Blaze Foley (Ben Dickey), who died  in Texas in 1989, and his love of his life and wannabe-actress waitress Sybil Rosen (Alia Shawkat).

 

“Crime + Punishment” (NR) (3.5) Striking cinematography highlights Stephen Maing’s captivating, ire-inducing, informative, eye-opening, 111-minute documentary that used hidden audio and video recordings to follow a group of minority officers known as the NYPD 12, including Edwin Raymond (6 years), Felicia Whitley (9 years), Sandy Gonzales (12 years), Derick Waller (20 years), Kareem Abdullah, Pedro Serrano (9 years), Adhyl Polanco (8 years), Richtie Balz (10 years), and Julio Diaz, who filed a class-action lawsuit in 2015 against the NYPD claiming supervisors in charge (such as Commissioner William Bratton, lieutenant Hackey, and sergeants Ho and Campbell) discriminated and retaliated against them for not engaging in illegal use of “stop-and-frisk” tactics to make their monthly quotas of summons, fines, and arrests and not coercing so-called witnesses and consists of commentary and interviews with television host/journalist Touré Neblett, 19-year veteran sergeant Cyress Smith, retired detective Graham Witherspoon, attorneys Emika Nwokoro and John Scola, private investigator Manuel Gomez, Latino officers association president Anthony Miranda, center for alternative sentencing and employment services leader Ruskia Lumumba, Make the Road Adilka Pimentel, NY Justice League Tamika Mallory, and erroneously convicted teenage inmate Pedro Hernandez.

 

“Pick of the Litter” (NR) (3) An educational, inspirational, engaging, 81-minute documentary that follows five adorable Labrador puppies (Phil, Primrose, Poppet, Potomac, and Patriot) as raisers and trainers go through a series of steps to determine whether the canines are suitable to become guide dogs for the disabled, including those who are blind, suffer from PTSD, and have diabetes, and the dogs that are determined to be ideal candidates go through intensive, specialized training.

 

“A Simple Favor” (R) (3) [Sexual content and language throughout, some graphic nude images, drug use, and violence.] After her stylish, martini-loving, PR director best friend (Blake Lively), who is married to a handsome English professor (Henry Golding) and has a young son (Ian Ho), suddenly disappears from their small Connecticut community in this captivating, twist-filled, campy, star-studded (Jean Smart, Linda Cardellini, Rupert Friend, Andrew Rannells, Kelly McCormack, Aparna Nancherla, and Bashir Salahuddin), 117-minute thriller based on Darcey Bell’s novel, a widowed vblogger (Anna Kendrick), who also is raising a young son (Joshua Satine), tries to unravel her strange disappearance, and when a body is discovered in a Michigan lake, the mystery deepens and becomes even more bizarre.

 

“Unbroken: Path to Redemption” (PG-13) (3) [Thematic content and related disturbing images.] When Olympic track star Louis Zamperini (Samuel Hunt) returns home after suffering terribly as a prisoner of war in a Japanese prison camp run by vicious, torturous commander Watanabe “The Bird” (David Sakurai) during WWII in this poignant, factually based, intense, down-to-earth, well-acted, religious-based, 98-minute sequel to the 2015 “Unbroken” film based on Laura Hillenbrand’s bestselling novel, the PTSD-afflicted war hero drinks incessantly to squelch his vivid nightmares while pitching war bonds for a military major (Bob Gunton) across the country, and when his wife (Merritt Patterson) threatens to divorce him and to leave with their young daughter unless he gets help, he seeks treatment from a psychiatrist (Gary Cole) and finds peace and God while attending a Billy Graham (Will Graham) revival meeting in Los Angeles in 1949.

 

“White Boy Rick” (R) (3) [Language throughout, drug content, violence, some sexual references, and brief nudity.] A sobering, factually based, dark, gritty, violent, star-dotted (Bruce Bern, Piper Laurie, and Eddie Marsan), 110-minute film in which 15-year-old dropout Richard Wershe Jr. (Richie Merritt), who lives with his divorced illegal gun-dealing father (Matthew McConaughey) and drug-addicted sister (Bel Powley) in rundown Detroit, is initially coerced by two corrupt FBS agents (Jennifer Jason Lee and  Rory Cochrane) and a narcotics detective (Brian Tyree Henry) in 1985 to become an FBI informant by getting close to drug traffickers (RJ Cyler, Jonathan Majors, et al.), but eventually the drug-dealing life comes calling and gets him arrested.

 

 

On DVD

 

“Divorce, Italian Style” (NR) (3.5) [Subtitled] [DVD only] — After falling madly in love with his gorgeous, seductive cousin (Stefania Sandrelli) in this hilarious, satirical, critically acclaimed 105-minute, 1961 comedy, a Sicilian baron (Marcello Mastroanni) daydreams about murdering his wife (Daniela Rocca) of 12 years and tries to coerce her into having a fling with an infatuated painter (Leopoldo Trieste) so that he can eventually get rid of her, but his scheme does not quite go according to plan.

 

“Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands” (R) (3) [Subtitled.] [DVD only] — When a beautiful Portuguese widow (Sonja Braja) marries a well-to-do pharmacist (Mauro Mendonça) after the sudden death of her handsome, gambling-addicted husband (José Wilker) in 1943 in this risqué, Golden-Globe-nominated, 1976 Brazilian film, she finds herself being haunted by and making love to the ghost of her erotic, good-for-nothing first husband.

 

“Mister Foe” (R) (2.5) [Strong sexual content and language.] [DVD only] — After a disturbed, voyeuristic, repressed, 17-year-old Scotsman (Jamie Bell) believes his stepmother (Claire Forlani) was responsible for his mother’s death two years earlier and his architect father (Ciarán Hinds) wants him to follow in his sister’s footsteps and leave their home in this dark, unusual, 95-minute, 2007 film, he develops a strange relationship with a human resources manager (Sophia Myles), who is having an affair with a married man (Jamie Sives), when he accepts a job at a Glasgow hotel as a dishwasher.

 

“Panic in the Streets” (NR) (3) [DVD only] — While two murdering thugs (Jack Palance and Zero Mostel) in New Orleans try to evade the police after dumping a gunshot victim into the canal in this 86-minute, black-and-white, 1950 film in which tension and panic escalate, a concerned doctor (Richard Widmark) with the public health service and a police captain desperately try to find someone who knows the victim, who is carrying a highly-contagious and deadly bubonic plague, to prevent an epidemic.

 

Transporter 3 (PG-13) (2.5) [Sequences of intense action and violence, some sexual content, and drug material.] [DVD only] — Car chases, crashes, and fight scenes dominate this quip-filled, action-packed, fast-paced, 104-minute, 2008 sequel in which a martial-arts-savvy driver (Jason Statham) is forced to accept a hazardous assignment driving across eastern Europe when a ruthless American (Robert Knepper) blackmails a Ukrainian minister (Jeroen Krabbé) by kidnapping his free-spirited, freckle-faced daughter (Natalya Rudakova) and then seeks the help of a French police inspector (François Berléand) to come to his aid.

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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